Monday, September 27, 2010

Mini-review Monday 3

Hello! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. As per usual, here is a small selection of mini-reviews for today! No theme today, just a collection of books that I've read recently that I haven't had the time to write out full, thoughtful reviews of. Thankfully, I've enjoyed all of these books! :)

Glass Houses by Rachel Caine - Welcome to Morganville, Texas.

Just don't stay out after dark.

College freshman Claire Danvers has had enough of her nightmarish dorm situation, where the popular girls never let her forget just where she ranks in the school's social scene: somewhere less than zero.

When Claire heads off-campus, the imposing old house where she finds a room may not be much better. Her new roommates don't show many signs of life. But they'll have Claire's back when the town's deepest secrets come crawling out, hungry for fresh blood.

I was very pleasantly surprised by this the first book in the Morganville Vampire series! I didn't have a very good impression of the books beforehand, but then I didn't know very much about them either. I wasn't even considering reading yet another bunch of vampire books, but I took pity on someone on the book-swapping website I use and took a chance on swapping for this book. And I really, really liked it! And luckily, I have the next few books in the series waiting for me. (Squeeee, I've been totally converted to this series!)

Glass Houses takes on an interesting take on vampires - that the town is run and controlled by them, which I think will be explored a bit in the rest of the series. The vampires didn't seem to be the focus of this book - but on the main characters, Claire and her group of new friends. Claire is quite young to be attending university, but after a rocky start, she's really trying to gain some independence and control over the situations that she finds herself in. I wasn't sure of Glass Houses at first, when Claire starts being bullied by some very cliched characters in her dorn rooms, but the book really picks up once she joins forces at Michael's house and the quirky group of kids who live there. Michael, the musician nightowl with secrets, Eve the likeable goth girl. Hunky Shane. I really connected with each of these characters and I felt like I'd love to part of their little circle and be their friend and roommate!

Now that I've hashed out a quick (albeit terrible) review of this book, I can read the sequels.. Bring them on!


Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott - Everyone thinks their parents are embarrassing, but Hannah knows she's got them all beat. Her dad made a fortune showcasing photos of pretty girls and his party lifestyle all over the Internet, and her mom was once one of her dad's girlfriends and is now the star of her own website. After getting the wrong kind of attention for way too long, Hannah has mastered the art of staying under the radar...and that's just how she likes it.

Of course, that doesn't help her get noticed by her crush. Hannah's sure that gorgeous, sensitive Josh is her soul mate. But trying to get him to notice her; wondering why she suddenly can't stop thinking about another guy, Finn; and dealing with her parents make Hannah feel like she's going crazy. Yet she's determined to make things work out the way she wants -- only what she wants may not be what she needs...

Oh, another enjoyable Elizabeth Scott book! Another gentle love story, similar in tone and style to Bloom. I'll really need to pick up one of her other books that is very different to her love stories and if it works out well, she'll be very close to being on my list of current favourite authors. There's just something about her books that make me want to smile. They're very happy-inducing these books (though I know not all of her books are! eek).

Hannah has the most awkward parents ever. Her father came across as a sort of Hugh Heffner type, as an older man constantly surrounded by really young models hanging on his arm. And her mom, who now makes her money by sitting in front of her webcam in her underwear. Things can be a little embarassing for poor Hannah. Especially when all she wants to do is go unnoticed ... except by her long-standing crush, Josh. And then there's Finn. Who notices her and pays attention but isn't as showy-offy as Josh.

This one is quite a slim, quick read. Very sweet with an endearing main character who you can't help but root for!

Wintercraft by Jenna Burtenshaw - Ten years ago Kate Winters’ parents were taken by the High Council’s wardens to help with the country’s war effort. Now the wardens are back...and prisoners, including Kate's uncle Artemis, are taken south on the terrifying Night Train. Kate and her friend Edgar are hunted by a far more dangerous enemy. Silas Dane – the High Council’s most feared man – recognises Kate as one of the Skilled; a rare group of people able to see through the veil between the living and the dead. His spirit was damaged by the High Council’s experiments into the veil, and he’s convinced that Kate can undo the damage and allow him to find peace. The knowledge Kate needs lies within Wintercraft – a book thought to be hidden deep beneath the graveyard city of Fume. But the Night of Souls, when the veil between life and death is at its thinnest, is just days away and the High Council have their own sinister plans for Kate and Wintercraft.

Sometimes, I'm just in the mood for a really good fantasy book. And Wintercraft was the perfect book for my fantasy craving. It has everything I look for... an interesting new world, believeable characters and a fast paced plot.

Right from the very first page I was drawn in by Wintercraft. There's Kate living with her Uncle in a bookshop and along come the Wardens and their hunt for the Skilled and Kate's world is thrown into chaos as she's hunted by scary Silas Dane. I thought Silas Dane was a fantastically depicted villian - the creep factor was pretty high! And Edgar was lovely as Kate's friend-with-secrets. And along with all the mysteries and questions, so kept coming the twists.

I thoroughly enjoyed my journey with Wintercraft. It reminded me a little bit of the Old Kingdom trilogy by Garth Nix, with the whole veil between the living and the dead and a circle must be cast and all. That comparison though? Totally a good thing. I've just heard the next book in the series is out early next year, YAY! Wintercraft comes highly recommended from me!


Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore - Nimira is a music-hall performer forced to dance for pennies to an audience of leering drunks. When wealthy sorcerer Hollin Parry hires her to do a special act - singing accompaniment to an exquisite piano-playing automaton, Nimira believes it is the start of a new life. In Parry's world, however, buried secrets stir. Unsettling below-stairs rumours abound about ghosts, a mad woman roaming the halls, and of Parry's involvement in a gang of ruthless sorcerers who torture fairies for sport. When Nimira discovers the spirit of a dashing young fairy gentleman is trapped inside the automaton's stiff limbs, waiting for someone to break the curse and set him free, the two fall in love. But it is a love set against a dreadful race against time to save the entire fairy realm, which is in mortal peril.

I don't like books with fairies in them. Fairies sort of creep me out, so I have no idea why I bought Magic Under Glass. Not only is this book about a fairy trapped in an automaton, but the fantasy world that it is set in feels like Victorian London. And historical fiction is another area of literature that I tend to avoid. And yet, I still enjoyed Magic Under Glass.

It was kind of a gentle read, nothing happens too quickly or too suddenly. But we see our main character, Nimira go from being a dancer in a dingy performance hall to being hired as a singer to accompany a piano-playing automaton. There's a bit of a strange undercurrent at this new place out in the country, about the automaton and spooky goings-on. There's even a room in this new house of stuffed fairies which is quite creepy. Nim soon finds out that a fairy is trapped inside the automaton and could hold the key to save all of fairy-kind but preventing a terrible war. That description makes it sound a little more fraught with peril than it really is.

As the fairy is trapped inside another body, it didn't feel too much like other fairy books and the Victorian feel of the world they live in was only most apparent in the first half of the book so the historical feel of it didn't ruin my enjoy for the book at all. In fact, it turned out to be quite a sweet little story, one I'm happy to have read.


Looking For Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta - This book is not just about sex and drugs. It's about how hard it is to fit in when you're different. this book expresses a girl's life and the phases she goes through. I wrote this book because of my Nonna emmigrating to Australia. I wanted to know how it felt to live without a close member of the family near you. I never knew I was going to sit down and write about racism or suicide. If you liked this book, watch out, because a movie's coming your way.

I thought Looking For Alibrandi was a truly beautiful book. It was the first I'd read of Melina Marchetta but it certainly won't be my last.

Looking For Alibrandi covers so many things. Josephine Alibrandi is a 16 year old girl with an Italian heritage living in Australia. She doesn't feel like she fits in with the upper-class Australians at her school and deals with a fair bit of racism during the course of the book. There's also lots of family drama surrounding Josie's relationship with her mother and her grandmother. She uncovers long-standing family secrets that explain some of the behaviours and attitudes that her mother and her Nonna have for each other. Josie's father, who she's never met, re-enters her life and she gains a new boyfriend. At school, her friends persuade her to do things she otherwise wouldn't do. As she struggles to come to terms with who she is and where she fits in she must also struggle with the loss of a close friend.

Honestly, I wept buckets over this book. I loved Josie's feisty attitude, could definitely relate to her feelings of not belonging, her reactions to racism. I loved the whole family dynamic of her and her mother, their strained relationship with her Nonna, this newly emerging relationship with her father. Dysfunctional families are so soothing for me to read about. Her adventures into dating were quite comical, and I felt like her and I both did a bit of growing up towards the end of the novel. The sad bit? Was really sad and took me by surprise and left my heart in pieces.


And there we have it, the end of another Mini-review Monday. Are you enjoying the mini-reviews? I'd fallen quite far behind in my reviews, which is why it was quite necessary in order to lump a handful of books together. I'm a little better caught up with the reviews now, but would you like to me to carry on? Yes? No? No thoughts either way? Leave me a comment.

And as always, have you read any of these books? Have something to add?


  1. Yes! I love all of your reviews, whatever size they are. (Though I think your mini reviews are pretty comprehensive!) It was great to read these. I agree that Looking for Alibrandi is a wonderful book, and one I can really relate to with my own Italian heritage.

  2. I love these mini-review posts. Would you mind if I used the same idea? I would link back of course. It just seems like a good way to mention books that were fine but not worthy of a full review post.

  3. I loved the film of Looking for Alibrandi but I don't remember it being quite so heartbreaking.

  4. YOur mini reviews are fabulous. Especially when I own three of the books and haven't read them. I have Glass Houses, Wintercraft and Magic Under The Glass. I am glad to hear Glass Houses is good as I was beginning to get a bit vampired out. Can I recommend The
    Historian as an adult believable vampire book!

  5. I read Glass Houses and at first I thought Claire was the most annoying character in the history of the vampire novel. She kind of grew on me but after reading the next four(ish) books I got kind of bored with the series. I know lots of people love them though. I really like the vampires keeping humans captive in the town concept too.

  6. Becky - Aww. I'm hoping they don't wear thin for me by book four. I can see how it happens though (House of Night!!)

    Vivienne - Thank you. I really enjoyed all three of those books, so I hope you do get to them soon. Also, a book recommendation is always appreciated :) Especially from you!

    Splendibird - I've already spoken to you about this on twitter - mini-review away, it certainly isn't an original idea from me!

    Ms Mac - You didn't think it was heartbreaking?! I cried not only at the sad bit, but before that with Josie and her mom and Nonna. Mostly because I have MOM-ISSUES!

    Luisa - Thank you for saying so :) I think I will carry on with the mini-reviews for now.. and yes, I can see how you could relate with your background. Even I felt like I could relate with mine. Same, but different :)

  7. I LOVE the Morganville Vampires series. LOVE them.

  8. Sophie - Ooh. Looking forward to reading the next one just a little bit more now :)

  9. It always astounds me the pace at which you read. No wonder you need to put a few reviews together.
    I wish I was a selective with my words as you are - I tend to ramble lol.

  10. Emma - I don't think you ramble, I like the amount of detail you go into on your reviews!


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