Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Hypnotist's Love Story

Fiction by Liane Moriarty.

The Hypnotist's Love Story: A Novel

This is an awesome story about a woman who is a hypnotherapist  and her relationship with a man who happens to be burdened by a dead wife, a young son... and a stalker ex-girlfriend.

Really good book.

Also by this author: Big Little LiesThe Husband's Secret, What Alice Forgot, The Last Anniversary, Three Wishes

Friday, January 30, 2015

Sheltering Rain

Fiction by Jojo Moyes.

Sheltering Rain

A good inter-generational story about a daughter, mother, and granddaughter, this book reminds me of Maeve Binchy in its Irish-ness. This is an early novel by JoJo Moyes, so she had not established her style completely yet, I guess. Better stories she wrote later are: Me Before You, The Girl You Left Behind

A novel worth reading, still.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Laughing at my Nightmare

Nonfiction by Shane Burcaw.

Laughing at My Nightmare

This is a funny autobiography of a kid with a debilitating congenital disease.

Okay, that sentence did not sound very good.

But seriously. This is a really funny book.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

We Were Liars

Fiction by E. Lockhart.

We Were Liars

A great book with a surprise ending, this is the story of a trust-fund teenager and her golden family, who of course are not all that they appear to be.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Chestnut Street

Fiction by Maeve Binchy.

Chestnut Street

I really like Maeve Binchy. In the last post I wrote about her (see A Week in Winter), I mentioned that I was sad she would be writing no more books now that she's passed away.

Well, I was wrong.

Here's a new book.... from beyond the grave....

Actually this is a collection of short stories she wrote before she died, some of which had been previously published in other places. They were all good stories, but I like full novels better. Just when I get interested in the characters, the story ends.

In other words, the problem with short stories is that they are short.

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Boston Girl

Fiction by Anita Diamant.

The Boston Girl: A Novel

This is the story of a girl born in Boston in 1900 and her family. It's really good.

I'm not giving anything else away.

By the author of The Red Tent. (If you haven't read that one, DO IT NOW!)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Flower Net

Fiction by Lisa See.

Flower Net (Liu Hulan Series #1)

I usually love Lisa See, but this early novel of hers did not keep my interest.

It's a completely different style than her later books (On Gold Mountain, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, China Dolls) so I don't know if the problem is that she was still developing as a writer, or that I just prefer her later style.

Anyways, this was the story of an investigator in China in the late nineties and an American investigator she works with. The details about post-Cultural-Revolution China are good, and the story is all right, but I didn't really care about these people that much.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Skink No Surrender

Fiction by Carl Hiaasen
Skink--No Surrender

This was a cute story by the author of Hoot, which is a kids' novel but quite good. Skink no Surrender is a teen novel, but still very readable for adults.

It is about a teenage boy whose cousin goes missing, and the weird way he decides to save her. Interesting characters and crazy situations make this into sort of a "caper" novel, which is a style I like. (Defined by the dictionary as a " frivolous escapade or prank," a caper is a lighthearted, fun story in which the main character is drawn into a crazy mess, possibly including a journey, and has to find his/her way out, usually with the help of strange people.)

Carl Hiaasen is an environmentalist, so all his stories have some crunchy, conservation, save-the-world-ish elements, but in this book that did not distract from the story.  (This was not the case with Flush, which in my opinion got so bogged-down in environmental detail that it lost all lightheartedness.)

This is a short, fun read.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Wedding Gift

Fiction by Marlen S. Bodden.

The Wedding Gift

A great book about an Alabama plantation in pre-Civil War nineteenth century, this novel was originally self-published by its first-time author and then picked up by a publishing house for major distribution. I didn't know that even happened. But I can sure see why now!

Really, it's very good. Read it.

Read it NOW.

Another great book on this subject was The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Some Luck

Fiction by Jane Smiley

Some Luck

This novel follows an Iowa farming family through the years 1920-1953. It's a great set of  portraits of several diverse characters, even including some convincing bits from the points of view of babies and children, which is unusual.

It's a really good "family-saga" type of book.

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Fever

Fiction by Megan Abbott

The Fever

This is the story of a mysterious illness striking teenage girls in a high school. It was interesting, albeit a little dark, and the ending was a surprise.