This was an exciting weekend for me because I was able to visit a bookstore on my bucket list, R.J. Julia’s, in Madison, CT. You can read all about my trip on an upcoming post on Thursday. I was able to get a good bit of reading done last week too, from another mystery in an ongoing series, to sci-fi, to a five star fiction read.. Here’s what I read this week:
I mentioned this series in my post last week about my favorite mysteries. I don’t want to give too much away about this book, because I really think you should start the series from the beginning. I will say that the more of these books I read, the more invested I get in the lives of these characters. I also like the fact that these mysteries are not the typical “woman found dead, did her husband do it?” type. If you like mysteries, or even just a good series with likeable characters, give this one a shot.
Borne by Jeff VanderMeer
This is the story of Rachel, a woman living in an unnamed, and mostly destroyed, city of the future. There are weird biotech creatures, insects that act like drugs, and a giant killer bear that stalks the city. Rachel is a scavenger and one day finds a pulsing green blob that she takes home, cares for, and names Borne. Borne eventually starts growing and changing, and causing friction between Rachel and her partner, Wick.
Throughout this entire book, I had such a hard time deciding how I felt about it.
Things I liked: I enjoy post-apocalyptic, dystopian settings, and this was a good one. It was definitely a page turner; I read it in two sittings. I was initially worried that I would be disappointed in the ending, or that it would leave things unresolved, but that was not the case. VanderMeer’s writing is challenging, but in a good way.
Things I wasn’t so crazy about: The biggest one here is that although the characters were likeable, I just couldn’t get myself to care too much about what happened to them. I really wanted to know where the main character, Rachel, came from and what had happened to her parents. Near the end of the book though, some of that information is revealed, and without spoilers all I can say is that I was disappointed in the direction the author went with this. Also, I just couldn’t get used to the idea of Rachel having such strong motherly instincts towards Borne when, to me, he was never really all that human like.
My feelings about this book may be complicated, but it definitely made me think, and has stuck with me since I finished it. Worth the read for sci-fi fans.
The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti
This is the story of Loo (Louise) and her father, Hawley, living in Massachusetts, where Hawley is a fisherman and Loo is dealing with typical teenage stress. But it’s also the story of Hawley’s early, criminal life, how he met Lily, Loo’s mother, and how Lily died. Told in alternating chapters, between past and present day, we follow this family as Loo figures out that her father hasn’t told her everything about his past and her mother’s death.
I loved this book. Part fiction, part YA novel, part mystery; it pulled me in and had me rooting for the characters the entire time. Tinti makes her characters relatable, not because of what they’re going through, which is vastly different than anything I’ve experienced, but in their feelings and their relationships with others. Put this one on your TBR list!
This is Patrick’s debut novel , which comes out June 6th. I was excited to receive a digital copy of this for free from NetGalley, prior to its publication. I found that I enjoyed Patrick’s writing style and that the pace of the book was good. The characters were believable, likable and I was really happy with the first 2/3 of the book. However, I felt that things fell apart at the end.
In Rules of Half, Regan Whitmoor, along with most of the other characters, is dealing with a lot. Her mother committed suicide in front of her, leaving her with an abusive stepfather. Regan runs away and finds her biological father, Will, a man who is bipolar, and dealing with his own divorce and the recent death of his infant daughter. Regan’s aunt, Janey, is a lesbian and dealing with the discrimination of a small, backwards thinking town that is run by a power hungry mayor. She has left her home and girlfriend in NYC to take care of her brother.
This book had the potential to shed light on mental health issues that deserve recognition and thought. However, there were so many other major issues that distracted me from Will and his struggle to deal with his illness. It may be too much to expect one book to tackle mental illness, homophobia, parental abuse, teenage romance, and the death of a child.
My major issue with the book however, was its ending. The book has an epilogue that takes place one year after the “end” of the story. In my opinion, that epilogue should not have been included. I was so upset by the way the author left things; I did not feel that the character’s actions were authentic or true to the way they would have acted, based on what I had come to know about them. The author had left some loose ends at the end of the story and it seemed like she was trying to tie them all up in a page or two; which didn’t work in my opinion.
The reviews of this book on Goodreads are fantastic (4.11) so clearly my opinion is not shared by many. Even though I had trouble with the ending, I would read something else by the author in the future.
Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy- by Karen Abbott: I have had this one on my TBR list for quite a while. I read about 50 pages before calling it quits. The truth is that as much as I want to read more nonfiction, for me, historical nonfiction needs to be told as a really interesting story. I love the idea of this book, and certainly these women and the things they did were fascinating, but I just didn’t care for the author’s story telling. The writing was too dry for me, and with so many books waiting to be read, I gave up on this one.
Here are a few books I might get to this week: