Sunday, September 19, 2010
Saturday, August 14, 2010
The cover of Malinda Lo's Ash shares a lot about the tone of the book--it is somewhat dark, scary, and sad but also peaceful and magical and beautiful.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Eugenia Kim's The Calligrapher's Daughter is historical fiction that feels epic even though it only follows one woman's life over 30 years.
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Melanie Benjamin's Alice I Have Been was a bit befuddling, but not in a frustrating way. Hence, I've put off writing about, and now feel even more directionless.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
In short, Laurie Halse Anderson's Wintergirls is a YA novel about an 18-year-old girl with anorexia who is relapsing for the third time after the death of her childhood best friend, who had bulimia. In short, not a pretty story.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
I didn't like Alan Bradley's The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag nearly as much as the first book in the series, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. Although Readers' Advisors are supposed to look for what in a book will be appealing to readers, all I can do now is take the opposite approach and try to identify what I didn't like about it.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Finally, a thriller I really liked! Lisa Gardner's Hide is narrated from two perspectives--Annabelle, a potential victim who's case may be related to a discovery of six girls' bodies, tells her side in the first person, while Det. Bobby Dodge's perspective is told in third person.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
I stopped reading Brenda Jackson's Irresistible Forces forces because there was just too much sex. (WTF, Anna? I know.) The thing is, the only conflict in the book was that maybe the couple was falling in love even though that wasn't their intention, and conflict is what makes romance great. There was no anticipation, no coyness, nothing held back.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Lisa Scottoline's Think Twice is a thriller about twin sisters--one mostly good, one mostly bad. The bad one tries to kill the good one and temporarily take over her life as a rich lawyer. The pace feels fast, as short chapters are narrated by 3 characters (the twins, and a colleague and friend who is being duped) and typically end on cliffhangers. This is a plot-driven story, but the characters are complex and well developed.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Richard Castle’s Heat Wave is, in a way, the perfect thriller for me. I’ve complained before that the thrillers I’ve read haven’t had enough character development for me, but, being the spin-off of the TV show Castle, I already had a sense of the characters (the book is “written” by the main the character of the show, and the novel’s protagonist is based on the show’s other main character). The two sidekick detectives weren’t fleshed out at all, but I simply pictured the two from the show.
The book gave a greater sense of New York City than the TV show, and the comparatively slow-motion action scenes allowed for a lot more detail about police stances, tactics, etc.
There was a mystery whodunit aspect to the story, made enjoyable with the smart twist that the detectives were teasing the main character (a journalist riding along with them for background for an article) about not having figured out the killer. I hadn’t either.
Witty dialog and romance are also big selling points for this book. The crime feels somewhat small and domestic to me after reading part of Andrew Gross’s The Dark Tide, and I liked the less complex scope.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
The conflict that is central to most (all?) books in the romance genre feels so much more natural in Lee Rowan's Tangled Web: An M/M Romance because it is a romance between two men in Regency London. There are details of horse riding and breeding, old army days, a young woman's high-society courtship. There is a secret underground sex club with a feeling of escape and subculture within a culture of propriety reminiscent of parts of Sarah Waters's Tipping the Velvet.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
I didn't finish Andrew Gross's The Dark Tide. Again, I think it comes back to characterization--I didn't know that was so important to me until I started reading thrillers. Other genre fiction, like Romance, Mystery, and Sci Fi, in my experience often have fewer narrators and main players and spend more time describing their thoughts, feelings, and motivations.
Friday, April 9, 2010
I'm going through a breakup, and Sarah Waters's Fingersmith was thankfully a satisfying companion. The tone is dark enough to make me feel that at least I don't have it that bad, but it is not so emotionally devastating as I feared it could be as an overall reading experience.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Sarah Dunant's Sacred Hearts is detailed, lush, slowly unfolding historical fiction. In The Readers Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction (which, unfortunately, I had to return to the library before I finished with and is expensive), Saricks devotes a chapter to Women's Lives and Relationships, similar to what many call women's fiction, but this category is not self-contained (i.e., books in other genres are often good for readers who like this type of fiction), and Sacred Hearts is one of them.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
After much internal debate, I decided J.A. Jance's Desert Heat is softer-edged suspense, which is hilarious since the subtitle is "A Brady Novel of Suspense," (see my preliminary attempt to understand thriller-related genres). It's the first in her series featuring Arizona sheriff Joanna Brady.
Monday, March 8, 2010
I finally got The Readers' Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction from the library holds list! This year, I'm using the Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge to expose myself to and start to get a handle on thrillers, but I've been unsure if what I'm reading are even technically thrillers, and it's starting to drive me nuts.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
I finished three amigurumi vegetables from Amigurumi Knits. The veg section of the book is easier than the insects and sea creatures also in the book, but they were still a challenge. I did learn short row knitting from the carrot, how to pick up stitches from the eggplant, and a few different decreases and increases.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Craig Thompson's Blankets is a graphic novel that follows Craig from boyhood to adulthood, and focuses on his first love.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Last Journey by Darrell Griffin Sr. and Darrell "Skip" Griffin Jr. is a nonfiction book about Skip's two tours in Iraq before he was killed in action in 2007. He had planned to write a book about his experiences, his take on war, and how to resolve the conflict, but his father finished the book by compiling his emails, journal entries, photos, and a blog post.
Monday, February 8, 2010
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Laura Lippman's Every Secret Thing is psychological suspense--I think it would qualify as my first thriller! I was anticipating something a bit more suspenseful, but I was intrigued by questionable characters and slowly revealed details from multiple perspectives.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
The first of three veggies I'm knitting for a foodie friend. Wish I could get them done in time for Valentine's Day, but, although small, they require a lot of attention to make and are harder to do while doing other things.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Jonathan Tropper's This Is Where I Leave You is a character-centered novel that packs an emotional punch. The tone is humorous and profoundly sad at the same time. The narrator's voice (a thirtysomething man who recently caught his wife cheating on him and is back at his parents' old home to sit shiva for his recently deceased father) is so authentic, this reads almost like a memoir, save the occasional too-well-timed-to-be-real irony.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Sunday, January 24, 2010
I'm going to count this as my first review of 12 for the Thriller and Suspense challenge, per the rules, although I do intend to focus more on thrillers, and Laura Joh Rowland's The Cloud Pavilion is a mystery. I'm not sure I entirely know the difference between thrillers and mysteries, but I think it has a lot to do with tone. In the Cloud Pavilion, readers aren't sitting on the edge of their seats in suspense. It's more of a slow reveal as we follow detective Sano Ichiro investigate kidnappings and rapes happening in his 1701 Japan.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Sunday, January 17, 2010
First of all, long time no post, I know. Happy New Year! I have this crazy notion that once I get a Sony reader (next week!), I will magically be able to read faster, so I should be less neglectful of my little blog.