kindle books

August 2014 Book Reviews

Before the pugs take over the blog for the rest of the week, here are my August book reviews. I have so much more to say about Words of Radiance, so expect a blog post about that book very soon. Until then, happy reading! Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson - The only disappointing part about Words of Radiance was knowing the next book in the series won't be out until Fall of 2015. Words of Radiance is the 2nd in the ten book epic fantasy series titled the Stormlight Archive. Words of Radiance is perhaps the best book I will read this year, and better than its predecessor. Whereas The Way of Kings focused almost entirely on world building and character development, the second book dives into story and action. The world building continues in breathtaking fashion, meanwhile more depth and layers are added to the main characters. Since I knew what I was getting myself into, I didn't mind the length at all, and the pacing of the story was great. I often had to force myself to shut off the kindle every night to get sleep. 7 out of 7 stars!

Frost by Kate Avery Ellison - Frost is the first in a YA fantasy/dystopian series. I picked the book up through a special promotion, so I didn't know much about the series or author beforehand. I enjoyed the book. The descriptions were great to put you into the setting, and the characters were likeable and relatable. I think the potential for the series is great with the setup created in this book, but this book was a little too simple and predictable for me. It is a YA title, but it reads more like a middle grade novel to me. The book was enjoyable; I just expected a little more which might come in book two. 4 out of 7 stars

The Necromancer's Betrayal by Becca Andre - The Necromancer's Betrayal is a novella set in between the second and third book in the series. We are introduced to a new character, Elysia, while learning more about James. Just like the novels, the story is fast-paced and fun. Normally, I'm not a huge novella fan, but I love how these novellas in the Final Formula series get us into the heads of other characters. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to book 3! 5 out of 7 stars

Paper Towns by John Green - I'm having a hard time nailing down how I feel about this book. I'll start with the positives. I love the voice of the book. Green has a knack for putting his readers inside the head of teenagers. The pacing is great–I wanted to keep reading and reading to find out what happened to Margo. I give credit to Green for not settling for stereotypical happy ending. Yet, I felt like I wasn't fulfilled by the ending, and I didn't like the character of Margo. The book did make me think about the lives we lead and our "paper towns." With all that in mind, I'm giving it 5 out of 7 stars.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell - I'm sorry it took so long for me to read this book. It's been on my to-read list for awhile, and I finally got an audio book copy through overdrive. I don't do audiobooks often–I simply enjoy reading more than listening, but Eleanor & Park was a great audiobook. The narrators were fantastic. I loved the dueling point of views. It really added depth to this book. Eleanor and Park are adorable and their love story is much different than many of the YA books I've read. I don't want to give too much away, so just read the book. 6 out of 7 stars

Rating System Guide

7 stars = Phenomenal book – one of the  best books I’ve read

6 stars = Great book – worth your time to read

5 stars = Solid book, if you like the genre pick it up

4 stars = Okay book, maybe lacking something in the way of language, character development, story

3 stars = I probably should have stopped reading this book.

1 or 2 stars = Serious issues with plot, structure, language, or not a book for me.

How Many Pages is too Much for a Book?

I am currently reading A Storm of Swords, the third book in George R.R. Martin’s "A Song of Ice and Fire" series. Each book in his epic fantasy series is long. Goodreads tells me A Storm of Swords has 1,177 pages (I’m reading on my kindle and it didn’t give me page numbers for this book). That’s a ginormous book. I’ve been reading the book for over a week and I’m only halfway through the book.

As I read this book as an author, I keep thinking about the length of the book. How many pages is too much for a book?

I know the "Song of Ice and Fire" books are long. Even though I enjoy the series, I find it challenging for me to start the next in the series because of its length. Therefore, I usually start reading when I have an excess of free time–maybe I’m on vacation at the beach or the time off between Christmas and New Year’s. I didn’t do that with A Storm of Swords.

I am on a pretty regular schedule, maybe even a bit busier than normal with finishing up edits for my novel, picking up more hours at work, and setting up workshops. I don’t expect to finish A Storm of Swords until the end of April. Since I enjoy the series, I suppose it’s fine, albeit a bit disheartening to slowly watch the percentage read tick by on my kindle. In a way that bums me out, I like being able to read many books in a month, and I’m not sure if that makes me an odd or normal reader.

Because I read a good amount of young adult literature, most books I read are between 250-350 pages. I can bust through a book that size in 3-5 days. The page count jumps to 400 or 500 pages if I pick up adult genre fiction–crime, historical fiction, or literary fiction. I don’t mind a 500 page book if I am engaged in the book.

When the page count hits 700, I start to grow weary. A few months ago, I read The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Once again, I read this book on my kindle and it didn’t have number of pages. (I can’t tell you why some kindle books do and don’t). When I picked it up, I had no idea it was 700 pages long. I think the book took a week and a half for me to read. I didn’t like the book either and I felt it could have been trimmed to a more reasonable page count. (Maybe 500 pages). When I finished, I was disappointed with the time invested in the book. In retrospect, I would rather have read two great YA books instead of one long book I didn’t enjoy.

For me, I think 700 pages is my magic number. When a book hits that size, the book better be worth the time invested. I’m less willing to take chances on a new author or series with a book length that size.

How many pages is too many for you?  What are some great books over 700 pages in length?