Winter Reading: Mini-Reviews

Well… it’s been a long time since I’ve done this, but here we go. Book reviews on some of my reading over this past winter.

Cress and Winter

Overview: The final two books of the Lunar Chronicles… I enjoyed the series but, all told, Cinder was my favorite. I loved her story and her character and I found myself looking forward to getting back to the parts with her and with Kai.

Technical aspects: Writing: 4.3 of 5 – Characters: 4.5 of 5 – Dialogue: 5 of 5

My thoughts: Winter did get a little long. I thought it could have been better if the climax happened a few hundred pages earlier. I enjoyed the series as a whole, though not enough to reread them (not as if I’m rereading much of all these days). And, like I said, Cinder was my definite favorite – both the book and character.

Recommendation:  4 of 5. They are interesting. Keep in mind that romance is also a big part of each book. It never gets terrible, but by book four you do have four couples and all the attendant brooding and misunderstandings that goes along with it. 😉

The Lays of Beleriand

Overview: Containing various lays by Tolkien, this book also goes through some of his changes to both the stories and the wording. I did read that part, but focused mainly on the lays. I’ve never read much poetry, though these are too epic to just be called poems. I loved them so much, even if some of them just… ended. *sniffs*

Technical aspects: Writing: 5 of 5 – Characters: 5 of 5

My thoughts: The lays were beautiful. I absolutely loved them. These are one of the few things I’ll have to reread one of these days.

Recommendation:  5 of 5. I want nothing more than to find someone who hasn’t read them, sit them down by a crackling fire, and read these out loud. Even better… if someone who could pronounce all the names wanted to read them to me, I could listen for hours.

The Napoleon of Notting Hill and The Ball and the Cross

Overview: The Napoleon of Notting Hill deals with nationalism, in which England is plunged back into a medieval type of formality, while The Ball and the Cross follows two men trying to find a quiet place to duel to the death due to their argument on the view of God’s existence.

Technical aspects: Writing: 5 of 5 – Characters: 5 of 5 – Dialogue: 5 of 5

My thoughts: Love these books! Chesterton’s works are fascinating and thought-provoking. I love his sarcasm and the theme and philosophy woven into both of these works.

Recommendation:  5 of 5. Granted, The Napoleon of Notting Hill does start rather slow, but both books are fascinating, both in their themes and in philosophy. I highly recommend them.


And there you have it. Yes, I’ve read more than these books over the winter. But either they were nonfiction or I didn’t feel like reviewing them for various reasons… 😉 I did reach my 100 book goal last year, and am 20 books into another 100 book goal for this year. We’ll see how that goes…

How about you? Have you read any of the books I mentioned? What was your favorite read this winter?

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  1. I can pronounce all the names! I volunteer! XD

  2. I haven’t read Lays of Beleriand yet. I haven’t even read the Silmarillion. It’s a crying shame, I know.

    But I have read the two Chesterton books, and they are excellent books. I want to say so much about them, but for the sake of those here who haven’t read them and who dislike spoilers, I’ll keep my mouth shut. Suffice it to say that they are wonderfully complicated, ingeniously detailed, and wholly truthful books.
    Have you read Manalive, also by Chesterton? That’s probably my favorite of his novels.

    My favorite read this winter was probably ‘Jayber Crow’, by Wendell Berry. Best novel I’d read since ‘Pendragon’s Heir’ a few months prior.

    • The Silmarillion is so good! Except the chapter on geography which I tend to skip…

      No, I’ve not read Manalive. I’ll have to check that out. Right now I’m reading The Man Who Was Thursday.

      • Have fun. That’s another great book, but like The Ball and The Cross, it took me a little bit to get some sense of what was going on and what to do with it. You kinda have to stop trying to understand what’s happening, trust Chesterton to get you through the story, and then make sense of it all afterwards.

  3. I love the Lunar Chronicles and am planning on rereading it at some point…
    As for me, I read a whole ton over the winter. I’m 32 books into my goal of 100 and am slowly falling behind because of duties to school and to camp NaNo. My favorite was probably The Book Thief, although I guess since I read that in late March it doesn’t necessarily count as a winter book.

  4. I love the Lunar Chronicles, and I agree that Cinder is probably my favorite. I also really like Cress and Scarlet, and Winter was okay, but I think it could have been much, much better. My view of Winter is that it suffered from what I call ‘epicness syndrome’ which is when an author writes a series that becomes really popular, so when she gets to the last book she pulls out all the stops in an attempt to make it epic and live up to the hype, but she ends up losing sight of what made the series great in the first place.
    I’ve never read any Cheserton, but I’ve heard a lot of goods stuff about his works. Maybe I should get around to it one of these days…
    And I love the Lays of Beleriand (It made me cry at least twice)! I also know how to pronounce all the names, so if you want another person to read it to you, I’m game. (I’m a huge Silmarillion geek but only personally know two other people who’ve read it, so when I do meet someone who’s read it I kind of freak out).

    • Yes, the ‘epicness syndrome’. I’m going to need to study it to make sure I don’t do the same thing when I get onto my longer series. 😛

      Yessss, I love the Silmarillion. I’ve only read it twice, so I don’t know history by heart or any such thing, but I still love it.

  5. I just read Cress and Winter! And I so agree–they DID get a little long 😛 But it looks like the Lays of Beleriand is good? I’ll have to look for it today! Thanks for doing this! 😀

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