I completely forgot to review this book, probably because it was just a really forgettable story. For all the hype of the synopsis nothing really happI completely forgot to review this book, probably because it was just a really forgettable story. For all the hype of the synopsis nothing really happened here. While I was tempted not to finish, I did slog through it in the hopes that it would get better (and because I received this book compliments of the Goodreads “first reads” program). The protagonist was highly unrelatable and unlikable. Goodreads member, Ioana hits the nail on the head in her review and pretty much said everything I could say to that. While I don't have to agree with a character's (or author's) politics, I can usually still enjoy the story, but in this case, there wasn't enough story or depth to the characters to draw me in....more
Loved this book. Wish I'd had the time to sit down and read it in one or two sittings. I usually don't go crazy over books this short in length as theLoved this book. Wish I'd had the time to sit down and read it in one or two sittings. I usually don't go crazy over books this short in length as they seem to be too lacking in character development, but Olshan has a way of fleshing out characters that really made it work. Also loved the unsentimental writing style and sparse prose. Despite the style, the setting still seemed quite vivid to me. The broad leaps back in time added a unique aspect but never seemed jarring or confusing. It all came together well.
I hadn't known about the Marshlands of Iraq, and when I requested this book from the "first reads" program I wasn't even sure it would be an interesting topic for me, based solely on that. Boy was I wrong. I've already added a couple of non-fiction about the Marshlands to my reading list. A fictional book that leaves me wanting to know more about the "real thing" is always a good sign.
Thank you, Goodreads, for a complimentary copy of this wonderful book!...more
Judging by the title and cover art alone I might not have picked up this book, but when I saw a number of advance reading copies available from the puJudging by the title and cover art alone I might not have picked up this book, but when I saw a number of advance reading copies available from the publisher I decided to give it a try. The blurb about it being "good scary fun" is one thing that lured me in. I was sort of ready for something fun. I wanted a story that would sort of whisk me away and completely get my mind off real life. I'm not big into the scary genre these days, and hadn't read anything else by Lisa Unger, but I thought it would be a nice deviation from my usual reads. It did not disappoint.
The first couple of pages I wasn't so sure I was going to like it, but after that it drew me in and held my attention. I found myself appreciating many aspects of the book; not just the story and characters, but little things like the protagonist being a graphic novelist. I've never been able to understand graphic novels, and have given up ever trying to read them, but something about witnessing the process through the eyes of the main character gave me a deeper appreciation and helped me understand the format a little better. I thought the scenes where the protagonist was illustrating the panels in the graphic novel were quite vivid and even touching. So that was a big surprise.
All in all it was a well-told story. Good plot, pacing and characters. I would definitely read another book by this author....more
Full review to follow shortly - but wow, great book! Had no idea about this chapter in American History, though reminds me of "mirages" still being soFull review to follow shortly - but wow, great book! Had no idea about this chapter in American History, though reminds me of "mirages" still being sold today via media and politicians. Quite scary how easy it is to pull the wool over people's eyes even in the face of reality. Thank you to Goodreads and the publisher for the complimentary copy via the "First Reads" program. A more thoughtful review to come....more
I received a complimentary copy of this via the S&S Book Club (and I am so sorry I forgot to write a review even though I read and rated it rightI received a complimentary copy of this via the S&S Book Club (and I am so sorry I forgot to write a review even though I read and rated it right away!).
This was an interesting family drama and a great book club pick. The Cal Bomber in the story is loosely based on the real-life Unabomber, but as the synopsis indicates it is more about what it is like being the family of such a terrorist. It was a compelling read as you find yourself often wondering what you would do in the main character's situation.
I don't think it was the author's intent with this particular story, but in addition to the story at hand, I did find myself wanting to learn more about the real Unabomber situation. Ted Kacynski is not someone I know much about, other than the obvious mail-bombing, anti-technology, and living off the grid in some tiny cabin. But as the case in the story developed, I felt myself compelled to find out what transpired in the real life scenario.
Hard to say much more without giving away the story, but character-wise I wanted a little more at times (which is why the 4 out of 5 stars). Natalie could be frustrating, which some people will feel maybe it make here more real. Some of the best parts were the way in which the entire family reacted throughout the crisis and with each other, but even more so in the flashbacks. The way different personalities handle the same situation different ways and the way some people won't really deal with it at all, or they only see things they way they want to see it. The synopsis says it best by saying: "...some of the most dangerous things in the world are the stories we tell ourselves."...more
4.5 stars. Very entertaining, and quite funny. I would have finished a lot sooner, but I got hit with several ARCs at once, plus the holidays. The wri4.5 stars. Very entertaining, and quite funny. I would have finished a lot sooner, but I got hit with several ARCs at once, plus the holidays. The writing was incredible. I just kept thinking how I wish I could write so well. It’s not cutesy or trying to be overly clever, just very natural—and so true! I am roughly the same age as the author so it was interesting reading about the pop culture of my youth as seen through the eyes of a coming-of-age immigrant. The only reason I didn’t give it 5 stars was because my interest waned a little towards the end, as I found it hard to relate to the author’s party days at Oberlin College.
I have wanted to read The Russian Debutante's Handbook since I first heard of it, and I'd picked up Absurdistan at a book sale a couple years back but have yet to read it. I will definitely be bumping those up my TBR list after reading this book!
I received a complimentary copy via the Goodreads “first reads” program. ...more