2022 mini-reviews part 1

Often, I don’t write full book reviews for every book I read. However, I like to capture my thoughts about each book whenever I can.

This is a collection of mini-reviews on books I’ve read so far in 2022. There will be a part 2 with more reviews coming soon!

L.A. Weather

L.A. Weather by María Amparo Escandón is a contemporary fiction book, set in Los Angeles. Centered on the Alvarado family, the book dives into the troubles of Oscar and his wife Keila, as well as each of their three daughters.

While I didn’t find anything particularly wrong with this book, I didn’t love it. I’m not even sure I really liked it. It’s a classic story of a plot where if the characters would only talk to each other, much of the drama could be avoided. I didn’t connect with the characters and in some cases, actively disliked them. Each is so caught up in their own issues, they fail to support each other.

And then, somehow, most things are resolved in a not-so-happy-but-better-than-the-status-quo ending.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

The Sun Down Motel

The Sun Down Motel by Simon St. James is a paranormal mystery thriller. Told in alternating points of view, we follow our main character Carly as she re-traces her Aunt Viv’s steps to The Sun Down Motel, trying to uncover what happened when Viv had disappeared 20 years earlier.

Is the motel haunted? Is there something more nefarious going on? The plot was just interesting enough to keep me reading until the end. However, I found the audiobook hard to follow as the voices of Carly and Viv were similar, and like a lot of books with alternating POVs, you’ve got to be paying close attention to know which one you’re on.

Another that I didn’t really love or hate.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Empire of the Vampire

An epic vampire saga, Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff is an amazing start to a new series.

While quite lengthy, Empire gives us a rich world of Vampires, the lore behind the vampires, and an origin story for our main character, Gabriel de León.

Gabriel is a silversaint on a mission to destroy the vampires and defend the remaining humans from slaughter. The novel covers decades, and a strong narrative makes the timeline jumps seem natural. At first, the narrative device of having the main character tell his life story felt a little contrived. However, this was executed exceptionally well, apart from a few places where it did intrude on the story a bit.

Overall, if you like epic fantasy, and particularly vampire stories, I highly recommend this one.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Golem and the Jinni

Another epic fantasy novel, The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker tells the story of Chava, the golem, and how she comes to meet Ahmad, the Jinni.

While I had high hopes for this, however, ultimately I found it well-written but very boring. At over 800 pages, it’s quite long. And our titular characters don’t even meet until about halfway through!

This is a heavily character-driven novel, and I would have loved to see more plot.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Assassin’s Blade

A collection of novellas, Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Mass is a prequel to Throne of Glass. If you haven’t read Throne of Glass, I recommend starting with that before reading this one.

Containing 5 separate stories, all of these give us insight into the life of Celaena Sardothien and how she came to be imprisoned in Endovier.

I found these very interesting, although lacking in most of the fantasy elements present in the main Throne of Glass series.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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