Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Last Hours

Fiction by Minette Walters.

This novel is set in 14th century England at the outbreak of the black plague. Although that sounds like a terrible place to put a story, I really enjoyed this book, mostly because the author manages not to kill off everyone you like. The plot was very good and the characters were believable.

The only problem was, apparently this story is just an opening to a series, and the book ended with"to be continued..." Grrr.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Wife

Fiction by Alafair Burke.

Now THIS is actually the "psychological thriller" it claimed to be.

It starts out with Angela, who is apparently standing by her husband, although he's being accused of some kind of assault. She's a tightly controlled character, hyper-focused on her son and her perfect homelife; it's not surprising at first how loyal she is to him, and what her reactions are. Still, as the story unfolds, we get more and more layers of information about her and her relationships and it gets really interesting. By the end, the story packed in so many surprises I was practically yelling WOW!

This is en exciting read!

Saturday, September 15, 2018


Fiction by Ernest Cline.

I recently read Ready Player One by this author, and it was really good, despite being basically a giant gamer fantasy. (I am not a gamer, and usually find those sorts of things kind of lame.)

This book was also a giant gamer fantasy, but it was not nearly as good as Ready Player One. However, it was not completely lame either. The characters were good and the story turned out to hold together rather well, but I thought it had too many fantasy battle sequences, which I would unfortunately call lame. Have you seen that scene in "The Big Bang Theory" where Leonard, Sheldon, Raj, and Howard are all playing a fantasy game together?


There were a bunch of scenes like that, where the reader is supposed to think these dues are cool and saving the world and all, but really I just kept picturing a bunch of nerds in some basement on their laptops.

Besides that, this was a good book. And if you're into gamer stuff, you might not even have to skim those parts...

Friday, September 14, 2018

Night Over Water

Fiction by Ken Follett.

Did you know that, just before World War Two, they used to have flying boats? Apparently these were huge, luxurious, passenger seaplanes that could fly over the Atlantic, London to New York, in about thirty hours. This sounds like a fabulous way to travel.

This story is of a fictional flight of one of those actual planes, taking off right as England declared war on Germany. It carefully follows several passengers and one crewman in the events leading up to the journey and on the long flight itself.

As usual, Ken Follett's characters are a joy to read about, and the history seems to come alive. This story also had a large element of suspense. It's a really great book!

I also read recently by this author: A Dangerous Fortune.

Sunday, September 9, 2018


Fiction by Caroline Kepnes.
In this story, a 13-year-old boy called Jon is cutting through the woods on the way to school, a route he takes to avoid bullies. Even though he is semi-secret close-friends with Chloe, a popular girl who hangs out with the bullying boys, he is still routinely victimized by the boys while she fails to intervene. Then he disappears.

Oddly enough, the bullies are not to blame. No one knows (or seems to care much, with the exception his parents and Chloe) where he is, until he suddenly reappears four years later, and he comes back changed. He's different, and I mean in a Pet Sematary kind of way that I can't explain without a major spoiler. The rest of the story deals mostly with his continuing relationship with Chloe, a girl he seems forever linked to through what seems a combination of her guilt and his obsession.

I really liked this book at the beginning because the characters were so real and engaging, and that continued throughout the reading (with the addition of a police detective who was equally well-drawn), but I became more and more troubled by what was happening in the story. I like a complicated plot that I can eventually figure out, and I don't mind weird unexplained elements that eventually get explained or resolved somehow, but this book did not manage to get the resolution on track. I found the ending very unsatisfying.

Still, it held my attention and engaged my emotions. I'm still giving a qualified thumbs-up.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

They're Not Your Friends

Fiction by Irene Zutell.

This book should have been a fun read; it's basically about celebrity gossip writers. It had some fun elements and funny bits, but I had some trouble enjoying it.

The main characters are Lottie, a underpaid gossip-writing genius; Lem, a used-to-be-great gossip writer on his way out of a job; and Mike, an overpaid, neurotic guy who couldn't write his way out of a gossip paper bag. They were all well-written and realistic characters, but I couldn't properly like them, and I wasn't sure who to root for. I think the story got to heavy for the light reading it was supposed to be.

I'm not sure what rating to give this one.

Saturday, September 1, 2018


Fiction by Sandra Brown.

This was an exciting story about a (handsome and dashing male) pilot and a (beautiful and sexy female) doctor. You can guess where that storyline is going...

But the plot still has plenty of surprising twists. It was a fun read!

I also read recently by this author: Sting