Saturday, February 01, 2014

2013 - The Lost Cannonball Year, Part I

As I mentioned in my previous post, I wasn't able to do book reviews last year like I had planned, but I still read many books.

So, as part of getting organized for Cannonball 6 , here are short ratings of some of the books I read in 2013.

1. Sweep Series Books 1-15 (also known as The Wicca Series in some countries) by Cate Tiernan (audiobooks and ebooks)

Sweep: Book of Shadows by Cate Tiernan cover
I started this series in 2012 with the audiobooks (for the first couple or so) and then continued with the ebooks in 2013 to finish the whole 15 book series.  The audiobooks really set things up well for defining the characters and I continued to keep that voice in my head while reading the later books.   I'm not quite sure it would have been quite so good without those at the beginning.

These books were short on description and vocabulary, but were fun, quick reads.  For me, they blur together more like really long chapters, rather than completely separate books.  They combined the usual teen issues of fitting in and sexuality with discovering your own identity and abilities - in this case, some paranormal ones.  I liked that as the main character was discovering her witch heritage, her Catholic parents were not made out to be stereotypically stupid or rigid, nor the teenager overly rebelious and disrespectful.  It is a loving family.  And likewise, the lesbian aunt isn't the stereotypical "gay", but rather just part of the family. 

Book #7, The Calling was the weak one out of the group and really was just a set up for Book #8, Changeling.  But, I still recommend that you read them all, and in order, to fully appreciate the story.

I was sorry that they ended when they did, but glad that the last book Night's Child jumps ahead into the future to give a bit of closure...but I still would have liked more.

4 stars for the series as a whole

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2. Virals and Seizure by Kathy Reiches (audiobooks)

Virals by Kathy Reichs cover
These are Books #1 and #2 of a juvenile/young adult series about Tory Brennan who is niece of the forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan from Kathy's more adult books, her Temperance Brennan (Bones) series.

I haven't yet read any of the Bones series to compare how Kathy's style translates to a younger audience level.  Overall, they were OK.  I liked the first book better, although both got a little repetitive and fell back on the over-used idea that teens never learn and will keep doing the same thing to get into the same trouble.  Some parts were a bit too corny for my taste too and I thought that Seizure tried too hard to get into a popular theme (pirates), rather than focusing on the uniqueness of the characters.

As an audiobook, at least the first one included one of the few really good uses for sound effects that I have heard.  All too often, they are just a distraction when in an audiobook. (I think it might have been dropped for the 2nd one - I can't remember now.)

3 stars for Virals; 2 stars for Seizure