Review: The Name of the Star

The Name of the Star (Shades of London, #1)The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This wasn't on my to-read list, but I got it from BooksFreeSwap a while ago and had put it in a pile of books TBR, and promptly forgot about it. No idea why I "ordered" it, no idea why I wanted to read it, but it was certainly a gem of a book.

I've never been too into the Jack the Ripper mystery, but I found it all very fascinating while I was reading this book, written mostly from the perspective of a 17-year-old high school senior from Louisiana who winds up spending her senior year at a private school in London, being marked by a ghost.

I don't really like ghost stories either, but this one was particularly engrossing. The POV was a bit belabored, she sometimes read like a caricature of a modern teenager instead of a real one, although her sarcasm and train-of-thought ramblings got better as the book progressed. And for a book that's not realistic in the slightest, it definitely felt, well, realistic. I mean the way the ghosts were presented and explained, and the "squad" Rory finds herself sort of a part of, were pretty well thought-out. More so than many other books I've read lately, anyway.

Aside from Rory's somewhat mediocre POV, the only other thing I had a major issue with was the pages-long "confession" at the end, that read like a cliched scene from a superhero comic: You've (sort of) caught me, but I can kill you if I want to, so I'm going to tell you my entire story, and you're just going to stand there. It made me roll my eyes. But since I'd only knock the entire book down about a half star for that, I'll just leave my rating at 4 stars.

It appears this is only book 1 in a series, and I think I will go put book 2 on my TBR list now. Didn't particularly want to get sucked into another series, but hey, let's go with it.

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Review: Thunderstruck

Thunderstruck & Other StoriesThunderstruck & Other Stories by Elizabeth McCracken
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in the Goodreads First Reads giveaways.]

The back and inside jacket of this book has adjectives like "magnificent" and "exquisite" and "marvelously quirky," but I didn't really see much of that in the actual stories. I wasn't, I suppose you could say, impressed with the stories themselves, and the writing style was generic in that I felt I had read several other authors who write the same way. Nothing really stuck out to me as being "magnificent" or "marvelously quirky," just a bit plain.

I managed to make it through to the end, feeling a bit more satisfied with the title story than with the rest of them, although I enjoyed "Peter Elroy: A Documentary by Ian Casey" and "The Lost and Found Department of Greater Boston" almost as much. It felt a bit like trudging through mud to get there, though, which is unfortunate because I did have high hopes for this collection. Maybe that's what did me in.

So rather unfortunately, this book is just "okay" for me, and therefore gets 2 stars. Obviously others enjoyed it more than I did, but it was not my cup of tea.

(Also, as an aside, every time I look at the cover of this book I start to hear this in my head.)

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Review: Glow by Aubrey Hadley

Glow: Book I, Potency by Aubrey Hadley My rating: 3 of 5 stars NetGalley provided me with a free e-copy of this book to review. 2.5 st...