Sometimes I don’t feel like writing a full review for whatever reason, either because life is busy and I don’t have time, or because a book didn’t stir me enough. Sometimes, it’s because a book was so good that I just don’t have anything to say beyond that I loved it! Frequently, I’m just wayyy behind on reviews and am trying to catch up. For whatever reason, these are books that only have a few paragraphs of thoughts from me.
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan – 4*
I’ve had the Percy Jackson series on my radar for literal years and finally picked up the first book in the series in February. While this one didn’t become an instant classic for me, I could definitely see why it has appealed to so many people. I found it it to be entertaining and enjoyable, even if it didn’t blow me away. I loved the concept of moving the ancient Greek/Roman gods to modern-day America and found Percy to be a likable hero. This book was definitely more about action than it was world-building, but it’s a middle grade read so I wasn’t really anticipating a lot of lengthy explanations, and it’s a book that is more enjoyable if you don’t scrutinize it too closely. I saw a lot of reviews just absolutely slamming this book for being a Harry Potter knockoff, but that’s apparently because a lot of people think that Rowling invented things like the Chosen One trope, or the concept of having two boys and a girl have adventures together. There are a few similarities between the two, but definitely not to a level where I felt like Riordan was trying to copy Rowling at all. This book was published at the height of Harry Potter madness (this came out the same year as Half-Blood Prince) and I think HP fans were just weirdly obsessed with Rowling being the only person who could write a fantasy story. ANYWAY all that to say that I found this book good entertainment and am continuing the series. There wasn’t a lot of depth, and there was a lot more running around fighting monsters and getting through due to good luck than there was character-building, but sometimes that’s the kind of story that just hits the spot, and I can definitely see the high-action sequences appealing to its intended MG audience, especially for reluctant readers, where that faster pace can pull them along.
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens – 5*
As part of my 2022 reading goal to tackle longer/more difficult books, I started David Copperfield on January 1 and read a chapter a day until it was finished. However, on the first of every month I add another book, so there is some overlap, depending on how long the books are. I finished this one at the end of February, and it was such a worthwhile journey. I had read this one back in high school but couldn’t remember any of the details – just that Uriah Heep was SO creepy (spoiler: he’s SO creepy!!!) Overall, I couldn’t believe how this book, published in 1850, contained so many people and situations that resonated with me completely. While a chapter a day doesn’t always work for me, it was kind of ideal for a book like this. I think I may have been less patient with DIckens’s rambles if I had been trying to read this one straight through. As it was, 10-20 pages of Dickens a day was just about right. I fell in absolute love with so many of the characters here and found myself completely choked up on more than one occasion. Is it a perfect book? No, of course not. But is it well worth the read? Absolutely.
I thought I’d also include these photos of my edition – first off, so many of the chapter titles in this book absolutely cracked me up (did I mention that this book is funny?? Because it had me snorting with laughter on multiple occasions) and secondly, there isn’t a copyright date for my specific edition, but there is this notation on the flyleaf that it was owned by Ethel Chamberlin in 1900, which I just thought was absolutely the coolest thing.
Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon – 3.5*
Modern/loose B&B retelling set a a private school for rich, almost-in-trouble kids in Colorado (the school, that is – the kids can be from all over the world lol). This was a fun concept and I actually really liked the characters, but it was just glaringly obvious from almost the first chapter who the “bad guy” actually was, which meant that there wasn’t really any suspense and it was almost painful to watch Jaya be mad at the wrong person (even though it was not as obvious to Jaya so like she wasn’t stupid, really – the reader just has a lot more information than she does). Usually I like have the perspective of both main characters, but hearing from Gray in this scenario just meant we know for 100% sure that he’s a good guy, which doesn’t leave us with a lot of bad guy options. There were some fun moments and some interesting characters, but while I mostly enjoyed this one, I didn’t absolutely love it.
Of Princes and Promises by Sandhya Menon – 3*
So for the first 75% of this book I actually enjoyed it more than the first book. It’s a Frog Prince riff and was done so well. I love how Menon gives us these situations where you can’t say with absolute certainty whether or not magic is real. I really liked the characters here and there was a lot of good story about learning to embrace your true self and not be worried about what other people think about you, etc etc etc. But THEN for literally no reason Menon decided to throw in a VILLAIN and just – the whole story went right off the rails, leaving me completely confused. Suddenly, the entire book was about this other person and her backstory and what had happened to her – and like… I didn’t care?? She was a stranger?? She had nothing to do with the rest of the book?! Why is she here?? What is the point of her?? It was very disorienting and made the entire ending of the book feel weird and awkward instead of satisfying. It was a really bizarre decision on where to go with the conclusion of the book and quite aggravated me. So overall it was a fun read, but the weird ending really brought down my overall rating.