Friday, September 30, 2011

Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett

Wonderful book, a re-read for a book group, and still absolutely amazing. A group of dignitaries are taken hostage in an unnamed South American country (based on the 146 day long take-over of the Japanese embassy) and the hostages and their captives interact and develop truly remarkable relationships.

The Affair, by Lee Child

Fantastic Lee Child Jack Reacher thriller, giving a backstory to Reacher and why he is the way he is. So well done.

Hark! A Vagrant, by Kate Beaton

So funny. Literary and history based cartoons. Had me laughing out loud, literally.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ashes, by Ilsa Blick

Unrelentingly dark YA. 17 year old Alex is on a solo hike when EMP bombs are set off. Horrifying scenes ensue, and that's just in the wild- when she meets humans, that's when the real trouble starts. Really disturbing images and some pretty ghastly violence made this a hard read, but I struggled through it hoping for some kind of redemption or hope- yeah, not so much. This read more adult to me, just for the level of horror and the utter hopelessness.

Monday, September 26, 2011

When She Woke, by Hillary Jordan

Dazzling dark dystopian fiction. Jordan's newest is a kind of cross between Margaret Atwood and Nathaniel Hawthorne- a futuristic America where gender politics and religion have resulted in abortion becoming illegal in 40 states, and in a nation where there is a Secretary of Faith. Chromosomal changes turn "criminals" skin different colors, to relieve overcrowding in prisons, and Hannah, the protagonist of this thought provoking novel is a Red, for murder of her unborn child. Excellent book.

Mercy, by Sarah Thompson

I really wanted to like this Rhode Island set YA novel, but I felt it was an awkward mix of realistic and paranormal, and can't say it was very good.

All These Things I've Done, by Gabrielle Zevin

Fantastic dark futuristic dystopian  YA. Mafiya heiress Anya just wantes to go on living with her grandmother and older brother, who suffered brain damage as a child, but a Romeo and Juliet style teenage romance propells a sequence of events reminiscent of the Godfather- she has to step into shoes she never wanted to fill. Clever twists on the dystopian future included museums functioning as nightclubs (Little Egypt), prohibitions on chocolate and coffee, and a lot of government censorship. Really well done.

The Leftovers, by Tom Perrotta

Wonderful literary take on a post-rapture world. Intertwined characters within a small community have varied responses to the Sudden Departure, from joining a cult of silent Watchers to dropping out of college to follow an evangelist to tryoing to just enjoy the rest of their days. Beautifully written, and interesting for a serious writer to take on a topic more regularly approached in thrillers and in religious schlock.

Bringing Home the Birkin, by Michael Tonello

Surprisingly fascinating and enjoyable book about a man who found a bizarre and lucrative career bying and reselling Hermes Birkin bags.
Wonderful writing really made this funny quirky story come to life. Really great casual non-fiction read.

Monday, September 19, 2011

40 Love, by Madeleine Wickham

Blogger won't let me add the cover. GRRRRR!!!!!
Cleverly done novel. 4 couples with varied ties to each other interact over a weekend tennis tournament being held by Patrick and Caroline, who have come far from their roots and are trying to impress some new friends, while Caroline still wants to remain close with Annie and Stephen, old friends from their old neighborhood. Intricate class issues come into play, but the book doesn't slam the old or the new or the no money- it was just a delicately done novel of manners.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Pretty Bad Things, by C.J. Skuse

Pretty Bad Things
Angry teen twins go on a violent attention getting rampage when they find out that their sociopathic grandmother has been lying to them about their imprisoned father never trying to get in touch with them. Paisley and Beau, the Wonder Twins,  head to Las Vegas aftrer hearing rumors that that is where their father is, taking along a gun they took after burning down their grandmother's house.
This was kind of Natural Born Killers, but improbably, to  me, Paisley and Beau hold up candy stores and popcorn trucks in their attempt to get national attention to help them find their dad.
It was well written, but strange, I did not love it, but that's not much of a review, is it.

The Red Blazer Girls: The Mistaken Masterpiece, by Michael Beil

The Red Blazer Girls: The Mistaken Masterpiece Another excellent and clever Childrens/young YA mystery. These are so well done.

Murder Most Persuasive, by Tracy Kiely

Murder Most Persuasive: A MysteryNot a lot to say about this, clever well done cosy mystery with an Austen flavor. Contemporary, but the protagonist is an Austenite.

The Lipstick Laws, by Amy Holder

The Lipstick Laws
Forgettable YA. Cliques and bullying, with a rebellion. Mean Girls with less clever writing.