Friday, February 27, 2015

8. In The Woods

By Tana French (429 pp)

Yes. I read a book in 1 day. I had the crud and the only thing that felt comfortable was sitting up in bed reading. I can't remember the last time I did that and, other than being sick, it was quite enjoyable. I read an interview with this writer and her books sounded good so I put her on my list. It's a contemporary murder mystery set in Dublin. The protagonist was one of three children who disappeared when they were young. He is the only one ever found, blood in his shoes and no memory of what happened. In present day another murder of a child happens in the same place and he is one of the detectives. I really liked it and was glad to read it one sitting. I liked the characters and setting. There were a few bits that strained reader credulity but overall recommend for mystery fans.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

7. Before I Fall

By Lauren Oliver (470 pp)

This is a YA that I saw described somewhere as "Groundhog's Day" meets "Mean Girls" and I would call that accurate. It's about a wealthy, popular, shallow, mean girl who apparently dies in a car wreck after a big party and then wakes up to relive that same day. The book is pretty long-winded and my interest waned in the middle. My problem is that the protagonist and her friends were all awful. Not just awful in the way that teenagers are self-absorbed and thoughtless, but "let's go out of our way to be cruel and make less fortunate kids fear us" awful. I don't like these people. I don't care that they had backstories to help me understand that they had pain. Non-wealthy, non-attractive kids with nothing going for them also have pain in their backstories and none of the perks to go along with it. I didn't hate the book and the story pulled off a reasonably satisfying ending.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

6. Some Assembly Required

By Anne Lamott (272 pp)

A Journal of My Son's First Son

I read Operating Instructions a long time ago. The link says it came out in 1993 so probably close to 20 years ago. I loved that book, which is about Anne's first year with her son, and just recently found out that this "sequel" existed so I grabbed it from the library. I love how honest Lamott is about her flaws. There are some great moments in here and overall I enjoyed it but it felt a little phoned-in.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

5. City of Lost Dreams

By Magnus Flyte (355 pp.)

This is a sequel to City of Dark Magic that I read a couple of years ago. In this one the main character goes to Vienna to try to find a cure for a sick teenager that she befriended in the last book. It's not exactly time travel but there are time portals and alchemists and mustache-twirling villains. It's fun, light reading but gets pretty silly, especially the ending.

Friday, February 6, 2015

4. Broken Monsters

By Lauren Beukes (436 pp)

I am disappointed. This book did not work for me. Last year I read The Shining Girls which I loved. Both books have a speculative element that is never really explained. It worked in TSG but not really in this one. This is a serial killer story set in Detroit that follows the detective and several other characters. It just felt like a bunch of terrible things happening without understanding why, to characters I felt mostly ambivalent about.