Mini-reviews: The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan, The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell, Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin, Brisingr by Christopher Paolini

Title: The Dead-Tossed Waves
Author: Carrie Ryan
Genre: Dystopian fiction, speculative fiction
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: Tara Sands
First line: The story goes that even after the Return they tried to keep the roller coasters going.

I loved The Forest of Hands and Teeth, but I only liked The Dead-Tossed Waves. I still appreciate the world Carrie Ryan has invented, and she is good at creating mood, but I really did not like the character of Gabry – she was very whiny. I didn’t find the love triangle believable, either, and her flip-flopping between two boys had me rolling my eyes several times. I’ll still be on board for book three, though.

Title: The Wordy Shipmates
Author: Sarah Vowell
Genre: History, non-fiction
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from the public library
First line: The only thing more dangerous than an idea is a belief.

Sarah Vowell is as witty as everyone says she is, and I love the way she writes. I learned a lot about the Massachusetts Bay Company, a section of early American history that is often neglected in favor of the Pilgrims, Plymouth Rock, the First Thanksgiving, and Squanto. I experienced very similar feelings when reading Nathaniel Philbrick’s Mayflower – the Puritans that started some of the first American colonies were made of stern and hardy stuff, and every once in a while, their hearts seem in the right place. But most often, they seem like legalistic, hateful, self-righteous haters of all things non-Puritan, and their behavior toward the Native-Americans makes me physically ill. Still, it is a part of our history we should know, and reading Vowell’s book makes for an entertaining way to do that. She lost me a bit about 2/3 of the way through in a long section about the Pequot war – I had a hard time keeping track of which tribes sided with whom, but that’s probably not Vowell’s fault.

Title: Rules of Survival
Author: Nancy Werlin
Genre: YA contemporary fiction
Publisher: Speak
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: Daniel Passer
First line: For me, the story begins with Murdoch McIlvane.

This story of an abused teenage boy’s desire to protect his two little sisters from their sociopathic mother, Nicki, is very well-written and realistic. I loved the character of Matthew, who tells the story in first person. His attempts to get the few other adults in his life to understand how dangerous Nicki is were heart-breaking, and made me want to shake some sense into their heads. Werlin does a good job, though, of explaining how hard it is for these adults to want to step in, knowing that it will turn their lives upside down. The audiobook reader was especially good, too.

Title: Brisingr
Author: Christopher Paolini
Genre: YA fantasy
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: Gerard Doyle
First line: Eragon stared at the dark tower of stone wherein hid the monsters who had murdered his uncle, Garrow.

I really like this series, and it is especially fun to watch Paolini’s writing skills improve with each successive book. I enjoyed watching Eragon begin to grow up, while still occasionally making the impulsive decisions that get him into trouble – one of which we are yet to know the consequences of. Definitely looking forward to book four – and will do that one on audio, too, because the reader is amazing.

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15 Responses to Mini-reviews: The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan, The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell, Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin, Brisingr by Christopher Paolini

  1. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread
    says:

    Way to go, knocking out all these reviews! I should take the cue one of these days. I only post three book reviews a week, just to keep everyone from getting bored to death, and at this point I am posting into July! Anyway, I did love The Wordy Shipmates on audio. She is like a female David Sedaris in many ways. It did get a little hairy in the middle there, but I just let it flow over me and enjoy her crazy wit!
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..The Heart Is Not a Size – Beth Kephart =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Sandy – I get overwhelmed when the reviews start to get backed up, so mini-reviews are my way of getting rid of the stress! :)

  2. S. Krishna
    Twitter: skrishna
    says:

    It’s funny, I just liked FOREST but loved DEAD-TOSSED! I love the short review format by the way, great way to catch up!
    .-= S. Krishna´s last blog ..Book Review: Spooky Little Girl – Laurie Notaro =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Swapna – I hate getting behind on reviews – I like using mini-reviews to keep me from feeling overwhelmed. :)

  3. Melissa
    Twitter: avidreader12
    says:

    Good to hear your thoughts on The Wordy Shipmates. I felt the same. I love Vowell’s work, but she did loose me a bit with this one.
    .-= Melissa´s last blog ..Friday Favorites: Falling Angels =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Melissa – I am looking forward to reading another of her books, because I do really like her writing style.

  4. Wrighty says:

    I’m reading The Dead Tossed Waves now and like it so far. Glad to hear you you liked it even if it wasn’t as much as the first one. I really like your mini reviews too. I’ve wanting to do that as well to catch up on stuff. Awesome job! :)

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Wrighty – I definitely don’t like to get behind on reviews and this helps me keep caught up.

  5. Beth F
    Twitter: BethFishReads
    says:

    Yay!!! Almost every says they liked DTW better than Forest of Hands and Teeth. I think I like DTW better than you did, but I really loved Forest of Hands and Teeth.
    .-= Beth F´s last blog ..Weekend Cooking: Review and Giveaway of SOS! by Aviva Goldfarb =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Beth – I’m curious as to where she’s going to go with the third boo – will it be a direct sequel or a generation later like this one.

  6. Michelle says:

    I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy Dead Tossed Waves. I actually liked it more that Forest of Hands and Teeth. I agree on the relationship dynamics being so quick (well with Elias more than Catcher anyway) and Gabry was whiny but for some reason it didn’t bother me. LOL
    .-= Michelle´s last blog ..I Heart NY [Volume 2] =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Michelle – I think the whiny-ness probably bothered me more because I listened to it on audio. Probably wouldn’t have been as much of an issue if I’d read it in print.

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