Saturday, April 27, 2019

This Week's Page-Turners

Yes, once again it's a two-for-one post, as I finished one book yesterday and the other book today, before I'd even had time to update this blog. So here we are. 

My Lovely Wife (by Samantha Downing)

This is a suspense novel in the vein of Gone Girl, narrated by a husband who is married to a lovely woman named Millicent. Their hobby? Murder. Without being graphic, this novel is incredibly suspenseful. Yes, the ending is somewhat ridiculous but I couldn't put this one down and found it wickedly entertaining. (I can't even write that word without hearing John Travolta's voice in my head. "The wick-edly talented Adele Dezeem.") Pulpy fun.

The Valedictorian of Being Dead (by Heather Armstrong)

I was disappointed in It Sucked and Then I Cried, and I was expecting this to be similarly glib and full of all caps annoyingness, but I still have vestigial interest in Dooce and her life so I wanted to read it anyway. However, I was so pleasantly surprised. The writing is more restrained (in the acknowledgements she gives credit to her editor, so well done editor) but it's also more detailed, more earnest, more honest, and more emotionally vulnerable than I was anticipating.  Everything that was wrong with that first memoir is right with this one. Truly good!

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Monday, April 22, 2019

Vacation Reads: PNW Road Trip Edition

Somehow a "vacation reads" post with only two books in it feels paltry, but I haven't finished my other two reads (Library Book and The Fifth Season) yet so here we are. Fortunately I'm the only person on earth who cares about the format of these book reviews.

Golden State (by Ben Winters)

I love the work of Ben Winters, even if his speculative fiction sometimes goes a bit off the rails, as it does here.  It's always interesting at the very least. This is about a near-future where truth is regulated and lying is punished by exile. A noirish detective story with a good twist and a strange ending. Didn't love it as much as Underground Airlines or the Last Policeman trilogy but I honestly will read whatever he writes.

An Extraordinary Union (by Alyssa Cole)

For the Read Harder Challenge category "historical romance by an author of color." This is about a free black woman posing as a slave to spy for the Union, and the man posing as a Confederate officer who becomes her ally. I'm not typically a romance reader but I really enjoyed this, found it well-researched and sexy. I loved the character of Elle and was thrilled to find she was loosely based on a real person. If you like historical romance you will probably enjoy this and bonus: it's the first book of a series!

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Monday, April 08, 2019

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (by Alan Bradley)

I had this on my list because of the "cozy mystery" category of the Read Harder Challenge, and even though I already checked off that category, I'd heard enough about the Flavia de Luce novels to think I might enjoy them.

Narrated by a brilliant, Sherlockian 11-year-old, this mystery involved post-war traipsing around the English countryside, stamp collecting, and an intimate understanding of chemistry. Even the nicknames of her sisters -- Daffy and Feely -- are so freaking English. I suspended disbelief about Flavia being 11 and enjoyed the atmosphere and the unfolding of the mystery. 

I'm not sure how Flavia is going to get involved in more mysteries but I'll definitely add the next novel in this series to my library list.

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