Doctor Who and an Unearthly Child by Terrance Dicks

Title: Doctor Who and an Unearthly Child
Author: Terrance Dicks
Length: 128 pages
Genre: Science Fiction, TV Tie-in
Format: ePUB
Rating: 4/5
Why I read it: It’s Doctor Who.

What it’s About: This is the Novelization of the very first Doctor Who Serial. It goes from the first story arc from the first episode “the Unearthly Child” to episode 4 “the firemaker” It starts with teachers Ian and Barbra discussing how peculiar their student Susan behaves sometimes. Stating historical dates and events that have never happened, and using scientific formulas that don’t exist. In a state of concern, Ian and Barbra decide to follow her home and talk with her Grandfather, who she lives with. Upon meeting her grandfather, they are swept away in the TARDIS and taken on an adventure to the past where they are captured by cavemen and forced to make fire for the tribe or face death.

The Good: Having watched the first episode before reading the book, it was easier to follow what was happening, and as with the first episode, I loved the build up to the first meeting of The Doctor. I love that the first Doctor is a somewhat pompous person who is also childish and stubborn. He’s everything you expect him to be. A know-it-all who has a short temper and expects to get his way, but you can’t help but follow him, admire him, and trust him. As for Susan, she can be just as mysterious as The Doctor, but she can also be quite naive. At this point Not much is known about either He or The Doctor, except they seem to be protective of each other. I love Ian and Barbra. They are not afraid to challenge The Doctor, and I think it’s something he needs from time to time. I also like that they seem to take time traveling in stride.

The Bad: I know that in the 60’s the “men have to protect the women” mentality was quite normal, but I seriously doubt Susan and Barbra were as helpless and weak as the men believed. I also don’t like that Barbra and Ian seemed to trust The Doctor to carry them away in his little blue box, but not trust that he could get them home. They seemed reluctant to just let the adventure happen. At the same time though, I disliked that The Doctor didn’t seem to value Barbra and Ian’s opinions or trust that their ideas in a dangerous situation would work. I think Barbra and Ian tend to forget that although The Doctor looks human, he isn’t and that is where the arguments start.

Final Thoughts: I think for me the Episode and the boo were both a bit…..lacking. I get it, I grew up in a time where tv and books a more fast paced. And I did enjoy both the book and the episode, but they, for me, were too slow. I think if you like Doctor Who, and you can’t find the episodes, this is a great alternative, and despite the slow pace, they are quick reads and highly entertaining.

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Dash and Lily’s book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Title: Dash and Lily’s book of Dares
Author: Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Length: 260 pages
Genre: YA
Format: ePub
Rating: 4/5
Why I read it: December book club selection

What it’s About: While at a book store Dash finds a red notebook and opens it to find clues from Lily, who he does not yet know. Throughout Christmas, Dash and Lily leave the notebook at various places for the other to find, passing it back and fourth in a scavenger hunt fashion.

The Good: I found both Dash and Lily delightful. Oddly they were both relateable to me when I was 16. Innocent, snarky, and wordy. I loved that when it cam to Christmas, they were complete opposites. Lily loved it and reveled in being festive, where as Dash had a more charming “bah humbug” attitude. I think if there were a sequel, it would be interesting to see how their two attitudes toward Christmas would influence and affect each other.

The Bad: This would be a book that would have been better if Dash and Lily never met. Don’t get me wrong, I liked this book, but I kinda like the idea of them being mysteries to each other. Or sort of Pen Pals. For me, the whole book seemed a little too….perfect at times.

Final Thoughts: I found this to be a very cute book, and a fun read. I started it early because I was worried about it being too tedious, but it was the opposite and I fear I’ve finished it too early.

Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard

Title: Pretty Little Liars
Author: Sara Shepard
Length: 286 pages
Genre: YA, Mystery, Thriller
Format: HardCover
Rating:….3/5
Why I read it: Re-read

What it’s About: Three years after their friend Ali disappears, Hannah, Spencer, Aria, and Emily start getting messages from an anonymous person. The texts claim to know the four girls secrets, secrets that only Ali knew. But soon after the texts start, The girls learn that Ali’s body has been found.

The Good: I will give the it this, it is a compelling read. Why? I honestly don’t know. For me I think it’s a mix of things, it makes me ask questions. Like Why does Ali, hold so much power over people? Why does this anonymous A care about secrets of Ali’s friends? I also want to learn more about the girls. It’s no Christie, but I love the whodunit aspect of Ali’s death and A’s identity.

The Bad: I will not rant about how inappropriate these books are for impressionable teen girls. I don’t really believe that anyway. Hopefully if you are reading the books, you are smart enough to know it is fiction and shouldn’t be imitated. What I do think is a big flaw with it is that Shepard seemed to use the story as one big ad for various products. I don’t need to know what brand of jeans a fictional person is wearing. Adding the brand doesn’t add depth to the story, and Shepard seemed too preoccupied with her own personal logo quiz. For as fascinated as I am with the characters, the book, at least this one is drawn out too long. It’s a fast read, but that’s because you want to know if any questions will be answered.

Final Thoughts: I honestly don’t know how I feel about this book. It has it’s likable points, but I don’t like it, and I don’t hate it. I do honestly like the television show better, and actually started reading the books because of the show, but it’s one of the few times that the original material doesn’t measure up.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Title: The Song of Achilles
Author: Madeline Miller
Length: 384 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: ePUB
Rating: 4/5
Why I read it: Book club pick for the month

What it’s About: In this retelling of The Iliad, Miller tells the tale of the infamous Trojan war, as told from the POV of Patroclus. However, before we get into the battle, we are taken through Patroclus and Achilles’ journey from being companions to each other, to falling in love, then eventually the war, and even in death.

The Good: I think the general consensus of my book club loved how tasteful the love story was portrayed. One of the girls commented that it felt more “R rated movie” and not “porn movie” at all, and I agree. I Love that Miller put it in at all. I’ll be honest, I squealed like a fan girl when they finally kissed. Another thing I loved was, surprisingly, the battle. I say surprisingly because, I liked the movie Troy, I liked Lord Of the Rings, I like epic movies that have big battles in them, I just don’t like the battles themselves. Let’s face it sometimes they get drawn out way too long, and can get boring, and that’s in movies. When the whole second half of the book you are reading is centered around a war, then you expect more of the same. However, Miller had a way of describing the battle without it getting tiresome, and she described the day to day life during the war so well that although you knew they were at war, you could almost forget. And You can’t forget that with a story about Achilles comes his Mother Thetis. I hated her as a whole. I hated how manipulated she was over Achilles. But for all her faults she was bad ass. Because of what happened to her, she hated all mortals. Didn’t matter how good the person was, if you were mortal, she hates you, especially if you are male. Therefore she hated Patroclus, and he knew it. Thetis was not hiding it from anyone. You knew where you stood with her, and once she made her mind up, that was it and she was unapologetic.

The Bad: I mentioned to the ladies in book club that I often wondered if Patroclus loved Achilles more than Achilles loved Patroclus, and the girls said that they felt that it was equal, but because Achilles had this destiny, and he knew what that destiny was, he acted accordingly to that. And others said that if felt more like Patroclus was better at expressing his feeling than Achilles was. However, I still fell that their feelings, while very real, were not equal. I think in every relationship, be it friendship, as a couple, and even between family members, one always loves more. One Lady in the book club mentioned how much Achilles’ son was just….an ass. I agree with her. I hated him and I don’t know if it was because Thetis raised him, and I hate her, or if it was because he seemed to get all Achilles’s bad qualities, and magnify them. He was arrogant, and there were a few times I expected there to be a pissing contest between him and a few of the remaining kings after the war. For everything that I loved about this book, I couldn’t help but feel that the last 50 pages or so lacked something. They seemed rushed a little bit. And this is in the book that although throughout the book, years have passed, it felt relaxed and laid back. but it felt that Miller, during the last 50 or so pages wanted to be done with the story and wrap it in a neat bow. And I don’t know if that was on her end or the editor’s or perhaps her publisher’s.

Final Thoughts: I was surprised by this book. In a good way. Honestly, when I first heard about it, I though it sounded interesting, and the cover was so pretty, but I probably wouldn’t have given it a chance had it not been for my book club. I was expecting to get bored with it by the time the Trojan war cam around, but I was just as enthralled with the book as ever. For all my expectations, this book exceeded them and was a very pleasant and quick read. I literally couldn’t put it down. I was sitting up reading it at 4 in the morning. If you are a fan of Greek Mythology I would strongly recommend this book. If you have read the Iliad, and liked it (I haven’t read it, but I intend to now), I would recommend this book. This was a stunning debut, and I can’t wait to see what Miller comes out with next.

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

Title: Rules of Civility
Author: Amor Towles
Length: 335 pages
Genre: Fiction
Format: Paperback
Rating: 3/5
Why I read it: Book Club

What it’s About: New York 1938, Katey Kontent moves from social circle to social circle, all the while trying to make the most of her life. She’s fallen in love, fallen out of love, made life long friends, and lost friends along the way. She’s gone from being a secretary at a law firm to being a secretary at a new magazine. Although one friend, Eve, has gone her separate ways, Katey is still pulled to her in one way or another, be it a phone call or a visit with Their mutual friend Tinker.

The Good: It was amazing to see just how much a person can change and stay the same in the course of a year. And I loved Katey. She took no bullshit from anyone, and it seemed that she could be a loyal friend while at the same time not let herself be taken advantage of. It seemed that everyone knew exactly where they stood in Katey’s world, and that is something that is hard to come by.

The Bad: I think I may be the only one to say this, but I hated Tinker and Eve. It seemed like Eve didn’t care about anyone but herself, and as for Tinker, I think he was a coward. I really saw no point to them being in the book at all, and I was glad when they went on their little trip and I didn’t have to read about them. I was even happier when Eve went to LA. But Tinker just kept making sporadic appearances, and he got on my nerves.

Final Thoughts: This was a book club read that we had the meet up for back in July. I only recently picked it up again and finished it. So despite the long break from it, I did enjoy it. Give me a book set in 1920,30,40, or 50s, and I’ll read it. I would recommend it as a book club read. it’s one of those books that is interesting to see what other’s opinions on it would be.

Waiting to Be Heard by Amanda Knox

Title: Waiting To Be Heard
Author: Amanda Knox
Length: 480 pages
Genre: True Crime, Memoir
Format: ePUB
Rating: 2/5
Why I read it: My sister recommended it

What it’s About: This is Amanda Knox’s account of what happened to her in Perugia Italy. It starts with her telling how and why she decides to go to Italy to study, her relationship with Meredith and her experiences leading up to Meredith’s murder, Knox’s arrest, her time in Prison, and during her hearings.

The Good: I will be honest, when I don’t know much about Knox’s case. I’d heard snippets about it on the news, or seen cover stories about it on magazines, but other than that I knew nothing. That said, I found Knox’s version of events….insightful. Only her and her house mates knew how close Knox and Meredith were. Only she knew what she was feeling and thinking. I liked being able to humanize Knox after so many people made her look like a monster. I also liked hearing how differently things are done in Italy.

The Bad: I don’t know about anyone else who read this book, but I found Knox to be a bit of a brat. I can understand that the first few months in prison, you’d be naive and not want to step on toes, and not understand simple things, but it seemed to me that even after three years, Knox was still wanting special treatment, and acting like she was in high school. At one point she mentions that she got an iopd and a mac computer, along with permission to use them, and I know she didn’t ask for said items or the right to use them, but seriously?! And while I know she was innocent of the crime she was accused of, everyone else assumed her to be a murderer, so when she was in court and saw Meredith’s family for the first time, why did she expect them to be friendly to her? For all they knew she really did kill their daughter, and I don’t know, but if my daughter was murdered I wouldn’t smile and wave to the person I thought did it.

Final Thoughts: Shortly after I started reading this, I learned that Knox and Raffele are being retried, So It would be interesting to see if this book plays a part in that in any way. Also, after reading this book, I’m interested in reading Raffele’s book, just to get his pespective of it all. Other than that, I’d skip this book if you are the type of person that doesn’t suffer fools very well.