Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thumbnail Reviews

I don't usually do this, but in the past few weeks I've read some books I really enjoyed but didn't have a chance to blog about--honestly, sometimes didn't have a lot to say about.  Still, good books!  Fun!  Share!  So let's be brief about them.

His At Night, by Sherry Thomas. We can thank Sarah for this one--specifically, her ability to read an entire novel during a slow bus ride, meaning she plows through the library's ebook catalog as fast as they can update it.  She reads all the bad romances out there; when she gives one three stars, I sit up and pay attention.  And sure enough, here you have likeable characters caught in tough situations, an exciting plot, and believable emotions.  The sex gets a little dirtier than in most straight-up romances I've read--and in one part it's disturbingly rapey, which is sadly common in romance--but with apologies for that, this was a lot of fun.

The Diviners, by Libba Bray.  Brenda plugged this one, and she was right.  This was really about the Roaring '20s, and that's its biggest strength.  The cast was a bit sprawling, and some of them didn't really get used effectively--this is definitely not a book for the many people I know who don't read the beginning of a trilogy till the third one is out.  But I liked Memphis and Evie and Theta.  Some of the characters weren't adequately fleshed out, but there's more coming, and I can't wait for it.

The Round House, by Louise Erdrich. This was a book club pick, and it's one of those reasons I'm glad to have a book club.  I probably wouldn't have picked it up on my own--it's kind of a family saga, coming of age thing, and it's pretty long.  But there was also a core of a mystery/drama around the narrator's mother being raped and beaten, which did a lot of the work of driving the story forward, which very much kept me interested.  The coming of age part--which is really the meat of the story--was great, with lots of the observed details of life that don't usually excite me, but somehow worked well for me here.  I didn't like the ending--it seemed weirdly random--but (unlike my book club friend Kris), I did like most of the characters, as messed up and flawed as they were.  While the book sometimes swung suddenly between the family drama/coming of age and the mystery/thriller parts of the story, they balanced each other out to make this a really touching, thoughtful read.

I think I might make this a regular thing.  When I don't have a whole review in me--because the book didn't hit me that hard, or because too much time has passed--I'll whip up a mini-review and when I have three call it a post. content.

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