Ack! I’ve been letting my blog slide into oblivion again as I do volunteer stuff for the PTO. Luckily, I have some super-mini-reviews ready to go.
I Am The Messenger by Marcus Zusak Where I Got It: Paperback Swap Genre: Fiction, YA, Contemporary My Rating: 3 stars
After falling in love with Zusak’s masterpiece, The Book Thief, I wanted to read more by him. However, this book was a real disappointment. The writing felt flat, and I just couldn’t buy into the premise (a young guy gets playing cards in the mail that identify people he needs to help). The book just didn’t work for me, and it was a bit of chore to finish it. I’m guessing this is an earlier book than The Book Thief, but it feels like it was written by a totally different author. It wasn’t a BAD book, but I guess I was so disappointed after the high of The Book Thief that this felt really low.
The Call by Yannick Murphy Where I Got It: Bought it from Amazon Genre: Fiction, Contemporary My Rating: 4 stars
Written as entries from a rural veterinarian’s call sheet, The Call is a pleasing and odd little book that had a lovely sly sense of humor that pleased me. I was surprised how the author managed to tell the story (which involves a hunting accident and the vet’s son) and convey the details of one family’s life with such convincing warmth, humor and goodwill. I also felt it told the story of a marriage that felt real and lived-in—something you don’t often come across. Make time for it.
Lamb by Bonnie Nadzam Where I Got It: Bought it from Amazon Genre: Fiction, Contemporary My Rating: 3.5 stars
Ti was responsible for me reading this book and man … what a strange story this is! I felt vaguely uncomfortable while reading it—like I was privy to a crime or something. The story involves an older man (David Lamb) and the trip he takes with an 11-year-old girl named Tommie that he happens to meet in his town. Throughout the story, I had a sense of sickening dread, and Nadzam does a good job of making things feel very murky about what is OK and what isn’t OK. Definitely disturbing but compelling at the same time. I suspect it isn’t a book that everyone will want to read though.
The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan Where I Got It: Bought It Genre: Fiction, Literary, Historical My Rating: 3.5 stars
I was really pumped up to read this book after reading several gushing and amazing reviews of it in magazines, and it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. This is NOT really a book about surviving at sea in a lifeboat (although that is the exact situation that our narrator, 22-year-old newlywed Grace Winter, finds herself in after the ship she is sailing on with her new husband sinks). Instead, the book is about our very unreliable narrator and trying to figure out the truth of who Grace Winter really is and what role she played in what happened on the lifeboat. (She is on trial when the books starts so we know that SOMETHING happened.) I expected to be blown away by this book, but I wasn’t. If you’re thinking this is a survival book, it isn’t. It is really a psychological thriller masquerading as a survival book. The 1914 setting may appeal to some (these are proper ladies in full dress after all), but I suspect it may end up disappointing you as much as it did me. Still, I was interested in the character of Grace and figuring out the truth of her situation. You’ll want to have someone to discuss it with afterward though and I stand ready to answer your e-mails. : )
The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen Where I Got It: Paperback Swap Genre: Fiction, Literary My Rating: 4 stars
This is magical realism done really well—the way Alice Hoffman used to write in her earlier books. Josey Cirrini is a lonely isolated girl (daughter of the richest man in town … now deceased) who has a complicated relationship with her mother and an unrequited love for the mailman. But when the town’s “loose woman,” Della Lee Baker, enters Josey’s life, things start to happen—and Josey’s world opens up in a way it never did before. I’ve seen many bloggers rave about this author, and now I understand why. It is really hard to pull off magical realism and make it work but Addison Allen has the perfect touch. This was a lovely little book, and I look forward to exploring more by this author.