Kristen Otte

Finding Love and Laughter through Story

March 2014 Book Reviews

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March was a fun month for reading. I had much more time than the past few months to spend with my kindle. I read a few nonfiction books this month, albeit both are writing related books. The reviews are below. Keep in mind my book reviews are my opinions based on my reading preferences, and I post them to help you find a new book to read. Enjoy and Happy Reading!


Torrent by Lindsay Buroker – Torrent, an urban fantasy, is a big departure from the Emperor’s Edge series. Delia, an archaelogist and her buddy Simon, stumble upon a monster who is ripping people’s heads off in Arizona. They team up with Delia’s old friend Temi and look for clues about the monster. The story quickly turns to fantasy as learn about the monster and two other mysterious people who are trying to kill it. The story is fast paced and I read through it quickly. I thought the character development could be better (especially compared to the EE series). In many ways, this novel is a fun, easy read for entertainment. I think the series could be good if she decides to pursue it. 4 stars

Wonderbook by Jeff VanderMeer – The Wonderbook is a great guide to help creative writers (especially those in the fantasy or sci-fi realms). The book is very dense–I will need to read through sections a few more times. It’s worth buying a copy and keeping around the house if you are a writer. I especially loved all the illustrations and visuals throughout the book. 6 stars


In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner – In the Shadow of a the Banyan is a fictional story based on the author’s real life experience of living through the Khmer Rouge takeover as a child. The story is told through the point of view of a young child. The point of view was a big stumbling block for me. I felt the lyrical prose of the book didn’t match the child narrator. Although the prose was beautiful, I couldn’t get past the POV. I also think the storyline could have been deeper with an adult point of view. However, I am glad I read the book to get this sobering account of the Khmer Rouge. It was tough to read at parts, but worth it anyways. 4 stars


Phantom by Jo Nesbo – It’s been a year since I read any Harry Hole books by Jo Nesbo. The Phantom continues the story of Harry Hole, a former Oslo police detective. In this book, his son is accused of a drug related murder and he needs to figure who is behind it to free his son. The clues lead to a drug called Violin and a drug lord called Dubai. As with the previous Hole books, the story is dark, violent, and filled with unexpected twists. The ending left me stunned and intrigued to pick up the tenth book in the series. If you like crime thrillers, as always, try the Harry Hole series. 5 stars


How to Market a Book by Joanna Penn – Joanna Penn is a well known Author-Entrepreneur. Her website and podcast is one of the best for advice and information on self-publishing and the industry. This book is essentially a concise summary of the information she has learned over the years. I think it’s a great reference book for indie authors. From my own research over the past few years, I didn’t learn anything new, but it is a book I will keep around for the next few years to remind me of best practices. 5 stars

 

Rating System Guide

7 stars = Phenomenal book – one of the  best book’s 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.

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