Mini Reviews: Ptolemy's Gate, Interstellar Patrol, Shopaholic & Sister, Shopaholic & Baby

Bartimaeus 3Ptolemy’s Gate (Bartimaeus Trilogy #3) by Jonathan Stroud
Publication: Miramax (December 20, 2005), Hardcover, 512 pages / ISBN 0786818611
Genre: Fantasy, YA
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Challenges: Read Your Own Books 2009 (#21)
First sentence: The assassins dropped into the palace grounds at midnight, four fleet shadows dark against the wall.

In one sentence: Disappointing conclusion to an otherwise fantastic series.

I was really looking forward to finally reading the conclusion to a series I loved, but unfortunately I could barely stand this one. The plot was good, kinda. I liked that Nathaniel finally stopped being a jerk (does that count as a spoiler?), but I hated the way he got his “redemption.” I do not agree with–SPOILER now– redemption via death. It’s too easy, for both the character and the author. It comes off as cowardly to me. It’s a cheap ending and it actually really pisses me off (can you tell?).

Thinking back on it now I can’t actually recall anything I liked about the book besides Mr. Stroud’s writing style. Oh well.

Interstellar Patrol Interstellar Patrol by Christopher Anvil
Publication: Baen Books (April 2002), ebook
Genre: Sci-Fi
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Challenges: The Final Frontier Challenge (#1)

In one sentence: Fantastic collection of clever, smart sci-fi stories.

I started reading Interstellar Patrol, a collection of short stories and one novella set in Christopher Anvil’s Federation of Humanity universe, with no expectations except that it would have excellent writing (based on the reviews at I was extremely pleased to find that not only did it have that excellent writing I was looking for, but that it also had excellent characters, stories, and a wonderful, deep universe. I loved it! The tremendously clever ways the characters solved their problems, the very neat tying-up of endings, etc– I couldn’t get enough! And luckily there’s a whole other collection available, too. If you like clever sci-fi with the sensibilities of a Hercule Poirot story, then try Interstellar Patrol.

Shopaholic SisterShopaholic & Sister by Sophie Kinsella
Publication: Dial Press Trade Paperback (August 30, 2005), Paperback, 368 pages / ISBN 0385336829
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Beach Read
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Read Your Own Books 2009 (#19)
First sentence: I know.

In one sentence: Surprisingly good!

I was a little wary of reading Shopaholic and Sister because a) the plot sounded so stupid and b) I didn’t think the series could go anywhere after Shopaholic Ties the Knot. Silly me.

The weirdness of the plot was explained in, I thought, a very straight-forward way that made it sound almost reasonable. And while I still didn’t think it was entirely necessary to the series, I did like that we got to see what Becky and Luke were like after the honeymoon was over. And, even better, I think we even got a deeper insight into Becky’s personality! And Luke as well, which I really enjoyed– I’ve wanted to know more about him ever since he was first introduced. He was always a bit of an enigma to me, so I was glad for the details Ms. Kinsella included about him. Huzzah!

Shopaholic and Sister turned out to be a really cute addition to the Shopaholic series, with some wonderful new characters and even a little bit of character growth. Yay!

Shopaholic BabyShopaholic & Baby by Sophie Kinsella
Publication: Dial Press Trade Paperback (December 26, 2007), Paperback, 368 pages / ISBN 0385338716
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Beach Read
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Challenges: Read Your Own Books 2009 (#20)
First sentence: OK. Don’t panic

In one sentence: Though not entirely my cup of tea, entirely enjoyable nonetheless.

I am not into pregnancy stories at all, so I was surprised at how much I enjoyed reading Shopaholic and Baby. Maybe it was the bitchy rival trying to sabotage Becky and Luke’s marriage– I am into that kind of thing (I love seeing the bitchy rival get her comeuppance), so that was the plotline that worked for me the most. The baby thing was nearly always last in interesting plotlines, actually, and as a result it was a little bit of a surprise for me when Becky’s baby showed up at the end. Ha.

But now I really don’t know where the series can go after this, except for something with Becky’s daughter as a toddler or something. Oh geeze, is that where the Shopaholic series is going? Can you imagine? I wonder if Baby will be a mini-Becky or be something else. Eek!

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