Review: Keturah and Lord Death

Keturah and Lord Death, Martine LeavittWhile wandering the woods outside her small village, Keturah becomes lost. On the third day, Death comes for her.

Using her talents as a storyteller, Keturah convinces Death to let her live for one more day. But she must find her true love before the next sunset, or she will die.

I can’t even

This book is so dumb I couldn’t even finish summarizing it.

I’m tempted to list excuses. It’s a young adult novel targeted at girls, so of course it’s sappy and ridiculous. There are some potentially interesting themes. But in truth, it’s…it’s just not good.

The plot is uneven. Death wants to kill Keturah, but she tells a story that he somehow considers compelling enough to let her live. She spends the next several hundred pages setting her friends up with husbands, but then there’s also a plague and a witch?

It felt super generic and overly sappy. I kept imaging Death as a kid wearing all black, who does a lot of whining and constantly has his hair combed over one eye.

The author couldn’t make me care about any of the characters. I skimmed after page 50, mostly to see if it got any better. It didn’t. The ending is nearly nonsensical.

A totally unexpected bummer of a read.

(I read this book for the Monthly Motif Challenge. September’s challenge was to read a book that involves a game of some sort.)

Review: Witches of America

Witches of America, Alex MarAlex Mar is a writer and skeptic. Like many people in her age bracket, she doesn’t feel a connection to the religion in which she was raised. But she envies those who do — in particular, the witches.

Witches of America is a chronicle of Mar’s exploration of witchcraft, from its (surprisingly contemporary) roots to its current incarnations. Along the way, Mar questions her own biases, as well as asks herself why we believe the things we choose to believe.

Eh…

For most, the term “witch” conjures images of green-skinned women, pointy black hats, or even the Salem Witch Trials. For the modern practitioners of Paganism, it’s a description of what they are.

Mar is a lapsed Catholic interested and confused by witches’ faith in their religion. What makes them choose pagan gods over mainstream ones? Are they different from the rest of us, or remarkably the same? How do they survive in a world that considers any kind of witchcraft evil?

I wanted to enjoy this book, but it couldn’t hold my attention. I don’t find Mar likeable, and many of the people and events she describes are too strange (and sometimes disturbing). I think it’s interesting that people are drawn to witchcraft and are able to find larger meaning in life because of it — but it’s just not my “thing.”

Witches of America would be perfect for those looking to learn more about the history of witchcraft and the practices of the different sects. I’m just not interested in Mar’s hand-wringing over her unsatisfactory professional and love lives.

Quickie Reviews: Landline and American on Purpose

In which I cut the fluff and get to the heart of some reviews.

Landline

Landline, Rainbow RowellWoman whose marriage is on the verge of crumbling discovers she can call a younger version of her husband from her mother’s landline. Drama ensues. Mainly I just ended up mad at the husband, who doesn’t seem to have any real dreams/plans of his own but sulks and is super passive aggressive at his wife when she goes after what she wants. Drop the dud and move on, girl!

American on Purpose

American on Purpose, Craig FergusonI love Craig Ferguson’s stand-up, but had no idea he’d written a memoir. The book covers his childhood in Scotland, his fight with alcoholism, and his rise to stardom in the US. A dark and fabulous read. “Between safety and adventure, I choose adventure.”

Review: Seven Deadlies

Seven Deadlies: A Cautionary Tale, Gigi Levangie14 year-old Perry Gonzales is what her teachers would call “precocious.” She’s the smartest student at the prestigious Mark Frost Academy, and is often called on to tutor students older than herself.

In a series of college admissions essays (yes, she’s only 14, but there’s no time like the present), Perry writes about seven of her clients, each of whom typify one of the “seven deadlies” (sloth, lust, etc.). She tries to help them save themselves, but in the end each is destroyed by their greatest flaw.

Well…huh

I spent the first few chapters of Seven Deadlies: A Cautionary Tale thinking, “This is kinda weird,” the middle few thinking, “Um…okay?” and then last couple like this:

via GIPHY

I’m not alone in this reaction — the reviews are overwhelmingly negative. I think author Gigi Levangie was going for social commentary, and did well in some spots, but the book never really came together.

Something about the book made me expect some kind of twist — Perry’s really just too unbelievable a character to be real. But the last couple chapters were over-the-top ridiculous, and I finished the book with a grateful sigh.

Seven Deadlies had some shining moments (Perry’s mother is amazing), but overall was a dud. Lamesauce.

Quickie Reviews: Heroes, Crowns, and Dirty Minds

Although I’m picky enough about what I read that I’m generally sure I’ll enjoy the books I borrow or buy, occasionally there are some that miss the mark. These are books that had promise, but fell flat.

The Hero and the Crown

The Hero and the Crown Robin McKinleyThis book was promising — strong female main character, dragons, etc. — but it was just so dull. It took me weeks to get through because I never wanted to keep reading. I think I’m finally ready to give up on Robin McKinley. I’ve read several of her books, but Deerskin is the only one I’ve enjoyed.

Dirty Minds

Dirty Minds, Kayt SukelThis one’s my own fault. At the very beginning of the book, author Kayt Sukel says specifically that Dirty Minds: How Our Brains Influence Love, Sex, and Relationships doesn’t contain any relationship advice. It’s focused entirely on the science of chemical and hormones. I thought I’d enjoy it regardless, but I was wrong. It was another dull slog that took me a few weeks. It was especially boring compared to Emily Nagoski’s Come as You Are, which I can’t stop thinking about.

Hopefully another trip to the library will provide me with more interesting reading.

Have you given up on any books recently?