I rarely read short story collections, but I tore through this one, devouring a story or two each night before I’d sleep. There is a sharpness to ElliI rarely read short story collections, but I tore through this one, devouring a story or two each night before I’d sleep. There is a sharpness to Ellis’s stories — they are very New York, but very Proper Southern Lady at the same time, which is exactly how I imagine Helen Ellis to be. An imagining that has turned out to be pretty accurate, if you read this article http://www.lennyletter.com/work/inter... (she’s also a poker player!).
My favorite stories were Dumpster Diving with the Stars, about a writer participating in a reality show, and The Fitter, which had a sadder edge to it. There were a couple that didn’t work for me. My Novel is Brought to You by the Good People at Tampax just didn’t do much for me, and Hello! Welcome to the Book Club had a tone that I didn’t care for due to the subject matter.
Overall, this was collection of stories that was quick and fun. I think it would make a great summer beach read!...more
J.A. Konrath is brutal. He can dream up some of the sickest, most twisted things I’ve ever seen in print (maybe a little bit of influence from AlbertJ.A. Konrath is brutal. He can dream up some of the sickest, most twisted things I’ve ever seen in print (maybe a little bit of influence from Albert Fish here?). Yet it’s not overwhelming, tempered by Jack’s competency and sense of humor. These books keep me engaged, and there was a twist at the end of this one that I didn’t see coming until it was upon me....more
This book was not the least bit enchanting. Will is incredibly self-absorbed, and unable to commit to anything other than completing his degree. Can’tThis book was not the least bit enchanting. Will is incredibly self-absorbed, and unable to commit to anything other than completing his degree. Can’t commit to his chosen job path, or to his girlfriend, or to his hookup, or to his new job, or his new new job, or even to the crush he’s obsessed with. He changes his mind at the slightest whim, without any thought to how anyone else may be affected.
And he’s a jerk! He guilts his EX-girlfriend into not seeing anyone else (or at least, not telling him about it), even though he’s the one who strayed. And he treats most of his friends like they are below him, though I confess that some of that feeling may be because of how the author treats them. Frankly, Anil and Timmo are his most interesting friends, but they are treated as jokes.
Oxford is the most compelling character in the book. Learning about the school and how it is set up and operates was the only part of the plot that was actually interesting. And speaking of the plot, oh my god I kept waiting for something to happen. Especially because the author continually seems to foreshadow some sort of major happening, but I never figured out what it was supposed to be. Other than his friend Tom’s family tragedy, the only thing tragic about this story is the praise it has received.
If people like this are the result of “grow(ing) up as an American in the twenty-first century”, then we are in a lot of trouble....more
This was a scary scenario! Someone is going around the city of Chicago and randomly poisoning people. That potato salad you bought from the deli? It cThis was a scary scenario! Someone is going around the city of Chicago and randomly poisoning people. That potato salad you bought from the deli? It could kill you. Ordering breakfast at your local diner? He might get you there too! Is there going to be poison in the air? The water? Where can you go? What can you EAT?
Luckily, Jack is there to answer these questions and save the day, but not without loss.
I enjoy the tone of this series. Konrath has a knack for dreaming up things that are just a little more dastardly than what you normally see. He pulls no punches. I also appreciate the setting more now that I’ve been to Chicago. Every once in a while I think, “Hey, I know where that is!”. This is a series I plan to continue!...more
Having never read C.J. Sansom, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up this book. But a mystery set in Henry VIII’s England, with a middle-aged,Having never read C.J. Sansom, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up this book. But a mystery set in Henry VIII’s England, with a middle-aged, hunchbacked lawyer at its center? Count me in!
The event that forms the background of the investigation is the systematic dissolution of Catholic monasteries throughout England. Shardlake is not only there to investigate his predecessor’s death, but to find a reason for Cromwell to dissolve the monastery and take its riches for the king.
Shardlake is not your usual investigator. He is not detached, or systematic. In fact, his feelings get very involved in his investigation. Especially troublesome are his feelings of envy of his protege and ward, young and handsome Mark. The investigation goes in many directions, sometimes too many, but the end result was satisfying.
I thought an interesting touch was the weather and terrain keeping the monastery very isolated from the politics that overwhelm most Tudor-era novels. It’s still a part of the backdrop, but not a part of the day-to-day workings.
This was a really great book. It is kicked off by a terrible tragedy, but the rest of it is beautiful. I loved how the story is woven through many difThis was a really great book. It is kicked off by a terrible tragedy, but the rest of it is beautiful. I loved how the story is woven through many different points of view, even through people who are only involved in the most peripheral way. It also travels through time, revealing the entire picture one tiny piece at a time.
It’s less about what actually happened to June’s family, and more about how people handle grief, revelation, and forgiveness. It’s full of tiny pieces of kindness, things, like a thermos of soup, that shouldn’t make a difference but actually do.
I feel like I should say so much more, but I read it a few months ago and it’s not as fresh in my mind as it was. But it’s definitely a book I would recommend to anyone. Perhaps my favorite this year....more
This is the second Jennifer McMahon book I’ve read, and my comments on the first still apply to the second: “Interesting concept, mostly okay executioThis is the second Jennifer McMahon book I’ve read, and my comments on the first still apply to the second: “Interesting concept, mostly okay execution.”
At the heart of this story is the Tower Motel and the family that runs it. Chronologically, the story begins with Sylvie and Rose, the daughters of the Tower’s builder and owner. Sylvie is the darling older daughter, sparkling and talented and prepared to take Hollywood by storm. Rose is the quieter, plainer, younger sister, always in Sylvie’s shadow and content to care for her cow.
Decades later, we meet Amy, Rose’s daughter, and her friends Piper and Margot. Amy is obsessed with the mystery of her aunt Sylvie’s disappearance, and pulls Piper and Margot into the mystery with her.
And then decades past that, we meet Amy, Piper, and Margot as adults. But something terrible has happened at the Tower Motel, and it’s connected to the events of the past.
The three time periods are woven together so pieces of the puzzle are slowly revealed. This part, I enjoyed. I like to get bits and pieces of the story at a time, and try to figure out how everything fits together in the end.
But there’s also a supernatural element here, and that’s the part that I found disappointing. I kinda wish it wasn’t there. It’s not that I dislike supernatural stuff — I have read my fair share — but this particular piece of the supernatural world didn’t appeal to me. I would have rather it been a mental disorder, a delusion.
But overall, I enjoyed this story, and I like McMahon as an author. I’ll certainly read more of her books....more