title: A Long, Long Sleep
author: Anna Sheehan
genre: Science Fiction / Fairy Tale
I liked this better than I thought I would. I was initially dubious with the descriptions of 'stasis sleep' and 'interplanetary empires' on the back cover, but it started promisingly enough. I stumbled a bit after that though, getting annoyed with some of the nonsensical and arbitrary slang that was chucked in to make it sound 'futuristic'. "Sky", "Noid" and "Coid" to name three, which just make no sense at all. However, past the halfway point the book really started to find its groove and I loved that it didn't go for the 'easy' ending, which a lot of fairy tale adaptations sometimes seem to. It plays with relationships and builds them up and down wonderfully, and gives a fantastically bittersweet payoff at the end. Not the most well-crafted book in the world, you can sort of see the bits that show its a first novel, but there's plenty of promise to come.
title: Alice's Adventures Under Ground (handwritten Facsimile edition)
author: Lewis Carroll
genre: fantasy / children's?
This is essentially the first draft of Alice in Wonderland, as was told to Carroll's young friend Alice Liddell, which he then hand wrote and illustrated for her and gave to her as a Christmas present. It's a gorgeous edition, and his handwriting is lovely and the illustrations are beautiful in their simplicity. The story itself is only 90 pages long, and it's an easy read - a much shorter and simplified version of the eventual one he released. However, the introduction was fascinating as well, tracking his relationship with the Liddell family and how this brought about the story.
title: The Spirit Thief
author: Rachel Aaron
Easy reading, semi-high fantasy. It was enjoyable fluff, but didn't really go that deep, and I wasn't particularly drawn to any of the characters. I'm not sure I'll bother with any of the next ones, but glad I gave it a try.
author: David J Schwartz
Recommended to me on the NaNo forums, and I really really enjoyed it. Lots of very personal stories in this comparatively short book. There's no traditional villains, it's just a very human story with the powers used as a catalyst to explore the lives and developments of these characters, set against the backdrop of the run up to, and short time after, 9/11. A very good book!
author: Kimberly Spencer
genre: urban fantasy / young adult
This was a free ebook, which is the only reason I'm not cross that I read it. It's self-published, and you can tell - the pacing is off, scenes which should be important are rushed and in some cases it feels like they are missed out entirely, whilst other scenes, such as a fascination with the main character's school nemesis at the beginning of the book take up a lot of wordage considering they're never mentioned again. The character development is non-existant, and the relationship development is patchy. Jensen goes from finding Liam creepy in one scene to "starting to adore" him in the very next. Explanations are left out - we are told her sister is a 'con artist', and just left to believe it with no backing up of it. That's a fairly large plot-bomb to drop casually into a novel and then ignore. And how does that seem to have affected the main character? Not too badly, she's just bummed she can't go to the cinema. She doesn't change as a character through the story, and whilst she nominally reacts to events, they don't seem to really bother her all that much. The dialogue is pretty clunky in places too. Why does Liam trust her after exchanging perhaps not even 500 words with her in the whole book?
It's total nonsense. I could rattle on about it for ages. It's just crap. However, in its favour, it's also very short.