Some Mini-Reviews

Some of my Goodreads posts from last April – I was going to title this “April Reads Part 1” and then got a bit embarrassed that it would be eight months late.

I’m going to be reposting my Goodreads reviews here by the way, because I find it more convenient if they’re on my blog – so sorry for the dupes for those of you who follow me on Goodreads!

They’re pretty much word-for-word identical, though I have added some commentary (in italics) around reading order and context.  Uh, that sounds grander than what I actually mean.


Raw BlueRaw Blue by Kirsty Eagar (young adult)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this because of Angie’s review, which made me hunt down the ebook version immediately.

Well, raw is right. RAW BLUE is hard-hitting, yet full of the uncertainty and the “growing-up” that I love about YA books.

The Aussie voice is wonderfully authentic and so different from the other books out there that it immediately felt refreshing while doing the trick of immersing me in Carly’s world on the other side of the planet.

And surfing – where do I start? I’ve never surfed ever in my life, and I admit I have no more than a passing interest (if that) in the sport, and yet it didn’t matter at all. Carly lives and breathes the surfing culture, therefore I did as well.

RAW BLUE ends with Carly trusting in herself, independent, and willing to grow up – and if she still has some open issues to work through with her family and friends, you close the book with the feeling that she’s ready to do so.

There’s a bit of an Aussie YA moment in the spotlight, and I think that’s because they have genuinely different voices to the rest of the YA books out there. 


Touched by an Alien (Katherine Touched by an Alien by Gini Koch (SF romance)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked the quirkiness and humour in this book, but Kitty, the heroine, was just that little bit too clever and, well, perfect. There was more SF and world-building than I expected (never judge a book by its cover?), although arguably the characters spent a lot of time explaining and theorising.

For me, this was *almost* a good ‘un, but never quite made it onto my list of 2011 favourites. The ending, however, totally worked and I definitely want to read the sequel.

Which I did…


Alien Tango (Katherine Alien Tango by Gini Koch (SF romance)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the sort of book where you keep on reading because you have to know just how it ends.

It’s addictive reading, but I have to say Kitty, the heroine, veers between being too clever (the only person who figures out what’s happening, really?) and being incredibly dense at times. I found this one somewhat reminiscent of early Mary Janice Davidson‘s Betsy books – plot combined with crazy humour that somehow *works*, and oh, the fact that everyone falls in love with Kitty.

Having said that – see addictive comment above. I still want more.

Famous last words… 


Calamity's ChildCalamity’s Child by Sharon Lee (SF/fantasy)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was surprised by how much I liked these two short stories – the first one, “Sweet Waters”, being about a Liaden scout crash-landing on an isolated world and integrating himself into local culture. Bittersweet but satisfying at the same time – the sort of story begging for a sequel.

The second (non-Liaden) story, “A Night at the Opera”, was something completely different – a fantasy/mystery in a world reminiscent of Caroline Stevermer or Patricia Wrede turn-of-the-century fantasy novels, with sly references to Nick & Nora Charles. A one-off story from what I gather, but I certainly wouldn’t mind reading more stories set in this world.

This was when Sharon Lee and Steve Miller was releasing their short story backlist as ebooks and I, well, just bought them all.


Halfling Moon (Adventures in The Liaden Universe Number 16)Halfling Moon by Sharon Lee (SF)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Two short stories that fill in a couple of gaps in the Liaden universe post-I Dare – definitely worth reading for Liaden fans.

I liked the first story especially, as it focused on the characters who have been off-stage in the latter books as well as giving a glimpse of the next generation of the Korval clan.

I don’t think I reviewed all the Liaden shorts on Goodreads – only the ones that left a bit of impact.


Juggling Briefcase and BabyJuggling Briefcase and Baby by Jessica Hart (contemporary romance)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I posted the original review on my blog.  One of the rare few this last year.


Song of Scarabaeus (Scarabaeus, #1)Song of Scarabaeus by Sara Creasy (SF)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I started reading SONG OF SCARABAEUS trying to keep my extremely high expectations in check (because everyone appears to have really loved this book) but I’m glad to say this book totally met my expectations and more.

SONG is very much a romance, but also an excellent SF story at the same time. Sara Creasy has built an inventive, yet accessible world – I was initially worried the jargon would be hard to grasp, yet I sank easily into her world right from the start.

The story is written deep in Edie’s perspective, and her backstory is slowly unveiled. I loved how she developed, growing stronger and more independent, over the course of the book. And Finn mmm… well, he just grew on me.

The writing was spot-on – there were some beautiful sentences that really struck me, as well as some genuinely horrifying images towards the end, and the story held my attention from beginning to end.

There was an almost-cliffhanger ending, which for once, I didn’t care about as I get to pick up Children of Scarabaeus straightaway.

I will say – the book title? SONG OF SCARABAEUS totally makes sense *after* having read the book, but it didn’t really do anything to draw me to the book and I still find it difficult to spell Scarabaeus!


Children of Scarabaeus (Scarabaeus, #2)Children of Scarabaeus by Sara Creasy (SF)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I thought the first book, Song of Scarabaeus, was good – well, CHILDREN OF SCARABAEUS was even more satisfying.

I may have mentioned previously that I love reading books that focus on the same set of characters over time because we get to see them grow, and CHILDREN just proved that to be true. Both Edie and Finn have matured since SONG; Edie, especially, is so much stronger in this book, which in turn meant I could really believe in Edie and Finn’s relationship and HEA. As with SONG, the world-building had depth and I found myself sinking back easily into Sara Creasy’s universe, this time with the added benefit of knowing and caring about the characters from the start – learning more about Finn’s background in particular was a bonus.

The plot reveal caught me by surprise – I probably should have guessed, but didn’t. And there was possibly a slight tinge of deus ex machina towards the end to wrap things up, but I didn’t really care by that point.

A very excellent duology – easily one of my favourites of the year – and I look forward to seeing what Sara Creasy writes next.

I devoured these two books – I am impatiently waiting for Sara Creasy to announce her next project.


Oh-So-Sensible Secretary (Harlequin Romance)Oh-So-Sensible Secretary by Jessica Hart (contemporary romance)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really liked the heroine’s first person POV in this book – I found it fresh and engaging, more please!

What I didn’t care that much for was the well-used plot – the heroine pretending to be in love to get her ex back and then falling in love with the hero. Having said that, it was done well. And as a bonus (as I managed to read the sequel Juggling Briefcase & Baby first), I loved Lex’s sardonic cameos in this book.

Good read.

I picked this up after loving the previous Jessica Hart – I think 2011 was the year I started getting back into category romance.

10 thoughts on “Some Mini-Reviews

  1. Looks like you April was your Sci-fi month 🙂

    I gave up on the Kitty Katt series because I found Kitty was a bit too Mary Sue. She’s so clever she figures out everything and everyone loves her. Meh. I did lend these books to a friend and she really enjoys them. The writing is good and the books are fun. If only Kitty was a bit more average LOL.

    Got Song of Scarabaeus on Hils’ rec, but haven’t managed to read it ^_^;

    The Jessica Hart books were nice and quick reads 🙂 LOL, indeed, it was fun to see Lex in Oh-So-Sensible Secretary

    • YES on the Kitty books – the next one was where it just got a bit too much… I know some people really like them though, so it’s probably a YMMV thing.

      And I just loved those two Jessica Harts.

      It’s funny because I don’t think I’ve been reading much SF and I want to read more – it’ll be interesting to look at my overall stats (if and when I ever finish all my mini-reviews for 2011) and see what the true picture is.

    • Oh, I totally recommend the Creasy books! Hopefully you can get around to some of these during your SF Experience – I’d love to read about what you end up reading.

  2. Oh, you read RAW BLUE and the Scarabaeus books! I’m so happy you enjoyed them. I fell hard for them as you know.

    Finn really does grow on you nicely, doesn’t he? 🙂

    • Your RAW BLUE review convinced me to read it, and I’m glad!

      I cannot wait to find out what Sara Creasy writes next – part of me wants another Scarabaeus story, but on the other hand, I am perfectly happy having Edie and Finn where we left them…

  3. I didn’t even mind that I’m clueless when it comes to surfing, I was still interested in it while reading Raw Blue. Aussie YA books are amazing, aren’t they? Hope you get to read more of them soon!

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