Rapid Reviews – The Pass/Fail Version

I’m behind on my reviewing, so in an effort to catch up I’m going to do a few rapid reviews of random books that I haven’t had time to talk about yet.

Remember in college when you could take a class and opt to either pass or fail it? No letter grade, just pass/fail. Well, that’s the idea here. A “Pass” is a book that’s worth reading (consider this a grade C or above – or in book terms, a 3-5 star read). A “Fail” is… well, you get the idea.

Inside a Silver Box – Walter Mosely
Buy the book

This is my first attempt at a book written by this author. The writing is solid, and the idea is unique, but it just didn’t grip me. It felt pretty disjointed, and the long philosophical diatribes made this short book feel a lot longer than I expected it to feel, often overwhelming the plot. On its own, I would have probably enjoyed this book, but the tedium of it left me underwhelmed.

Grade: Fail

Armageddon Rules – J.C. Nelson
Buy the Book

This is the second book in the Grimm Agency series, and I have no idea why, but so far this series just doesn’t hit me right. It’s funny, light, with the right amount of mystery and tension. In fact, I’m pretty sure that this novel flawlessly balances a lot of elements in urban fantasy. The thing is, this series is based on a really fun premise, a world basically run by fairy godparents, complete with indentured servitude, class issues and more. So what doesn’t work for me? I don’t even know. Some books just don’t work for a person, and apparently this series is one of those for me.

Grade: Objectively, Pass.
Personally, Fail. 

Echo 8 – Sharon Lynn Fisher
Buy the book

Oddly enough, I’ve started to really enjoy Fisher’s take on science fiction romance. When I want to read something a little fluffier, she’s an author I turn to because I know the quality will always be excellent. Echo 8 is the third book of hers that I read, and it’s is a lot of fun while lacking some of the pizzazz of previous novels. Fisher keeps the novel moving forward at a good clip, the tension is thick, and the romance angle(s) is/are really well done in the framework of the world that Fisher has created. Perhaps the only downside to all of this is the fact that this book is a bit more romance heavy than her previous novels. That’s not really a bad thing, though. Fisher just keeps getting better and better.

Grade: Pass

The Whispering Swarm – Michael Moorcock
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This is the first novel I’ve read by this author and it left me quite underwhelmed. The premise was wonderful, but the execution left me more frustrated than impressed. The writing felt disjointed, the plot felt fragmented, and the semi-autobiographical nature of the book left me feeling a bit… well, wanting something else. It’s not that Moorcock isn’t interesting, but I think I went into this expecting more of an easy flow, a plot that clicked a bit better than this did, and a novel that was more fantasy feeling. It took a while for this one to take off, and while the interest will manage to pull readers in, it takes some effort.

Grade: Pass

Housewitch – Katie Schickel
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You know, I started this one not expecting to like it at all, and ended up far more enthralled than I thought I’d be. Yes, it is kind of campy. The magic is a little woo-woo, and the social structure felt surreal and unbelievable, and yes, the actual “mystery” of who is doing what is easy to figure out. It’s not those elements I loved. It was the kinship, family elements, and the general loving ties that pulled our protagonist through her trials that really got me. In some ways, the mother in me could absolutely relate to a lot of what Allison felt, and while I didn’t love a lot of this book, I really loved the heart that Schickel put into it.

Grade: Pass (which surprised me!)

Maplecroft – Cherie Priest
Buy the book

I loved this book.

Loved. It.


Grade: Pass (with flying colors. GIVE ME MORE!) 


2 Responses

  • Definitely want to read Maplecroft! I’ve heard amazing things about it, and I want to see what all the fuss is about!

  • I’ve heard good things about Maplecroft, might have to check it out after your rapid review here. Not sure if much more needs to be said. 🙂 And I just got a copy of Echo 8, look forward to checking it out. Not sure I’ve read Science Fiction Romance before.

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