Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Not enough

Chris Pavone is a good writer. I wanted to love his book, The Expats, but didn't. This is a case where loving the style and loving the story are different. In the end, though I will definitely look at his next book, I did not love the plot or characters enough to finish this book. 

There's a whole genre in this: "Books-we-wanted-to-like-but-didn't," as opposed to "Books-we've-pretended-we've-read-but-haven't." "Books-we-were-supposed-to-return-but-they're-holding-up-the-couch." "Books-we-wish-we-could-read-again-for-the-first-time." "Books-we-wish-weren't-stuck-in-our-heads."

Authors, the fault is not with you. It's just one of those things. I truly wish you the best. We just need to see other people. Have a wonderful life. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Get the Signal

Signal (Sam Dryden, #2)Signal by Patrick  Lee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sam Dryden is back in another heart-pounding adventure. Patrick Lee has solidified his place on Miss Em's "Don't miss the next book" list with this second entry in what she hopes will be a long running series. So far, there's a near-future, sci-fi twist to these thrillers highlighting government or corporate secret research and nefarious wrongdoing that our hero tries to right. Sam is as compelling a character as Lee Child's Jack Reacher: appealing to both men and women, a talented everyman who saves the day while remaining true to his own code, a man of particular honor.

The book starts out with what you are sure is another ripped-from-the-headlines tragedy--but turns into something completely different. Can we know the future? Is it possible to change the future? Is it wise? Is it possible not to try? These are the big questions behind the racing plot. Sam is drawn in to the drama by an old friend who needs help. There's a conspiracy that goes back to Nazi days. There are murders and intrigue and danger abounding, twists and turns and impossible choices, everything that's good about the genre. Don't wait years for the movie, the book is always better!

I received an ARC from the publisher, Minotaur, for review., and I have one to give away. Comment to enter for a chance to win.

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Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Little Paris BookshopThe Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Little Paris Bookshop is a bookseller's dream- a book of great appeal to fellow booksellers, librarians, and book lovers all. A quest for lost love, a true depiction of biblio therapy, with a nod to Proust and a Wind in the Willows feel. From the book:“There are books that are suitable for a million people, others for only a hundred. There are even remedies—I mean books—that were written for one person only…A book is both medic and medicine at once. It makes a diagnosis as well as offering therapy. Putting the right novels to the appropriate ailments: that’s how I sell books.”
I fell  in love with the writing, the characters, the story. It's a look at life and love from a young person's and a middle-aged person's point of view--refreshing! It's deep and sweet and wonderful. It is a book that will justify your hope and your pain, your sadness and joy, your loves and passions; it might make you cry; it will make you smile and wish that world was real when you're done, and maybe make you able to see its colors in the sunset and the water and the lights of your favorite bookstore...

I received an EARC for review from the publisher and Netgalley; then bought a hardcover for my shelves. Recommended for rereading and bookclubs and gifting!

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Friday, July 3, 2015

The Center Can Hold

The PeripheralThe Peripheral by William Gibson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow and wow again. Gibson has delighted and surprised. The street-smart voice and savvy of his earlier work is back, coupled with the insight and utter normal weirdness of his latest books. Flynne lives in our world (possibly), in a future that hasn't changed much. Everything comes from 3D printers, but the rich are still rich and the poor still have to hustle any way they can. From the flap: "Where Flynne and her brother, Burton, live, jobs outside the drug business are rare. Fortunately, Burton has his veteran’s benefits, for neural damage he suffered from implants during his time in the USMC’s elite Haptic Recon force. Then one night Burton has to go out, but there’s a job he’s supposed to do—a job Flynne didn’t know he had. Beta-testing part of a new game, he tells her. " Flynne thinks she's part of a video game, but she's really visiting the future virtually. She witnesses what was almost certainly murder, and it doesn't feel like a game. The search for truth (and maybe justice) is a wild ride from a writer at the top of his game. With youth's clear eyes of doom and destruction, and the wisdom and experience (and hope!) of maturity, Gibson has crafted another masterpiece.

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Truth is Fiction

The Truth According to UsThe Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Truth According to Us takes place in West Virginia in the late 1930s; it’s a story about history and stories and truth and mystery and growing up. It’s more Ivy & Bean than Guernsey, but that is fitting. No question that Annie Barrows is a good writer and no question that her aunt was, too.

This book has the leisurely pace of the South. To read it, you need to be able to “come to the porch and set a while.” If you’re in a hurry, you’ll think the book is too long; if you take your time, you’ll enjoy the atmosphere and subtlety that the writer’s eye has created. Barrows has built a layered portrait, literary time travel. Carefully placed backgrounds and vignettes bring to life a forgotten time…

Layla is a socialite on a mission: to get back to socializing in wonderful Washington, D.C., after her stint on FDR’s Writer’s Project has softened her father’s wallet. She’s stuck in West Virginia writing the town of Macedonia’s history until that blessed day, though.  Layla is rooming with the Romeyn family, once the most prominent in town. There’s some history there, she learns.  Twelve-year-old Willa Romeyn is also beginning to wonder why her family isn’t top dog in town any longer. And how come her father’s comings and goings are so mysterious? And does her aunt Jottie have a tragedy in her past? Forget the New Deal. What’s the real deal? What’s the secret? What’s the story?

Enlivened and intrigued by questions, Layla and Willa and the reader find that history may be facts and lies mixed up together to make a cohesive story. Like fiction. Like life. 

Recommended for summer reading and book clubs. I received an EARC for review from the publisher and Netgalley.

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