Thursday, April 30, 2015

Funny Girl

Fiction by Nick Hornby.

Funny Girl

Okay. This is NOT the Barbra Streisand movie. It has nothing to do with the musical or stage show.

It's the story of a BBC sitcom star in the sixties, sort of a British Lucille Ball.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Dear Daughter

Fiction by Elizabeth Little.

Dear Daughter: A Novel

This was a thriller about a girl convicted of murdering her own mother. It was exciting.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Thursday, April 23, 2015

One Plus One

Fiction by JoJo Moyes.

One Plus One

JoJo Moyes can really write characters you care about. I have loved every book of hers I've read. (see Me Before You, The Girl You Left Behind)

This one is about a software billionaire and a house cleaner/pub waitress, both of whom make possibly criminal mistakes. They are completely different mistakes, however, and with vastly disparate consequences.

Such a good book. Really.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Light in the Ruins

Fiction by Chris Bohjalian.

The Light in the Ruins

A murder mystery set in post-World-War-II Italy, this was a good story with interesting characters. The picture it paints of an Italy who sorely regrets siding with Nazi Germany is really interesting.

Sunday, April 19, 2015


Nonfiction by Richard Russo.


This is a memoir, a story about the author's mother. I've mentioned before that I think the memoir is the hardest type of book to write, and that most of them kind of stink.

Now this book did not stink. The author was able to be truly honest about himself and his mother, and that's what makes a memoir feel genuine. Still, he seemed to go on a bit too long at the end for me to give two thumbs up here. So this was a good book, but not great. It's definitely worth the read, however.

For a truly great story about the author's mother, check out The Color of Water by James McBride.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

See How Small

Fiction by Scott Blackwood.

See How Small: A Novel

This book jumped around in time, and among narrators, way too much to hold my attention. I'm not even sure what the plot was supposed to be.

And don't even get me STARTED on the ending...

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Etta and Otto and Russell and James

Fiction by Emma Hooper.

Etta and Otto and Russell and James: A Novel

The eponymous Etta is an 83-year-old woman who takes it into her head to walk across Canada, despite the fact that she's having a bit of trouble remembering who she is at times. (If you're interested in the rest of the title, Otto is her husband, Russell is her neighbor, and James is a coyote.)

This was an odd little book, but it held my attention. The ending was a little too ambiguous.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

A Private Hotel for Gentle Ladies

Fiction by Ellen Cooney.

A Private Hotel for Gentle Ladies

Charlotte Heath, a young woman in the year 1900, rises from an illness her family thought might kill her to find her husband kissing another woman, and she does some unexpected things.

I'm really unsure how to rate this story. Parts of it were good and parts of it I really hated. Some of it was interesting and some not. I thought the ending was pretty good, but it left a lot unanswered.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Saving Grace

Fiction by Jane Green.

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This was a good book, but I suffered from Oh-No-I-Can't-Look Syndrome through the middle of the story.
That's when you know a main character is making a major error in judgement that's going to have huge and terrible consequences.

In this case, she allows a person into her life that you just KNOW is going to wreck it. (I don't consider that information a spoiler when the front cover of the book says "Sometimes the perfect marriage can also be the perfect target.") Still, it comes out all right in the end. Mostly.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Girl on the Train

Fiction by Paula Hawkins.

The Girl on the Train

A thriller that reminded me in some ways of Gone Girl, this was an exciting read.

Monday, April 6, 2015

And When She Was Good

Fiction by Laura Lippman.

And When She Was Good: A Novel

Heloise is a suburban mom who runs a call-girl service. That sounds interesting, right? It was.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Flight Behavior

Fiction by Barbara Kingsolver.

Flight Behavior

This is a story of a young wife and mother stuck in a nothing town in the middle of nowhere, and an extraordinary thing that happens. It's a really good book, with believable characters I cared about. I would give this one two thumbs up, except...

There was one problem, though: I absolutely hated the ending. It was just the last few pages, but they ruined the experience of the novel. I'm pretending they didn't happen, even now. So you should skip that part.