Monday, 20 April 2015

Quick Lit April 2015

 I have really made an effort to get back into reading over the past 12 months. I discovered the joys of Good Reads and then I found Modern Mrs Darcy and her excellent book posts (I think through the Little Gold Pixel blog). This month I am going to join in Modern Mrs Darcy's Quick Lit post and share the books I read in March.

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica  was a well paced thriller set in the Mid West of the US. A woman is kidnapped as part of an extortion plan. Her complicated family relationships and a series of choices made by her kidnapper see her confined to a deserted lakeside cottage in rural Minnesota while the police and her her mother attempt to track her down. This was an engaging quick read which I gave four stars. I would have rated it a three and a half but the final twist was totally unexpected.

The Likeness by Tana French is the second in the Dublin series of thrillers. I have had no luck getting the first book through the library so I bit the bullet and started with book two. This was a very absorbing read. The story is successful as a stand alone novel (phew) and the lead characters were well drawn. The plot had enough twists and turns to keep me turning the pages well after bedtime even if the main premise is a bit of a stretch. The lead character, Cassie, is a police woman who is called to a murder scene as the victim is the image of her. With few clues to draw on the decision is made to insert Cassie into the victim's life and see if she can solve the murder herself. A good four and a half star read.

 Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell was a Young Adult book that I really connected with. I found the characters so well crafted and believable. It is, at its core, a love story but so much more than the usual boy meets girl formula. The time period (the mid 80's) was exactly the time I was about this age and I really loved all the musical references and familiar experiences in the book. I was all set to give the book five stars but I felt the ending really let the rest of the book down. A very solid four stars though from me.

One Plus One by Jojo Moyes is the first book I have read by this author. I was under the (false) impression that she was a bit like Jodi Picoult and so I suspected I would not be a fan. I was wrong. This novel about a modern family dealing with the pressures of modern life was at times laugh out loud funny but at other points in the book I found tears in my eyes. The characters were really believable and it was nice to see a non traditional family portrayed so positively and vividly. A good four star read and I look forward to reading more books by this author.

A Dark and Twisted Tide by Sharon Bolton is the fourth book in the Lacey Flint series. I am a huge fan of Lacey Flint. She is ballsy and fierce and totally focused on her role as a policewoman. These books can be read as stand alones but I would suggest starting at the beginning of the series as the back story does explain some of Lacey's behaviours in this novel. This is a police procedural set in London and the river Thames dominates this story almost to the point of being a character itself. Dark, scary and well written I gave this novel four stars.

The Ocean At the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman was a book I had heard a lot of buzz around a couple of years ago but as I generally am not a huge fan of Fantasy I didn't read it at the time. I wish I had. This book is beautiful from start to finish. The quality of the writing and the imagery has stayed with me for weeks after reading it. It is a Fantasy novel but it is so much more than that. All I can really say is that if you have not read this book you should. It was an emphatic five star read for me.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler suffered a little for being read straight after Neil Gaiman's book but I just did not enjoy this one much at all. I found the early part of the novel quite interesting but once the twist was revealed (about a third of the way through) I started to lose interest. The story seemed to peter out from this point on and it was a struggle to finish. I gave it three stars when I finished it but it may actually be closer to a two star read for me with the benefit of a few weeks passing.

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill was a beautiful read. This is a short but very sharp read. I could see so many familiar aspects of the drudgery of baby raising and the difficulties of relationships in the contemporary Western world that really resonated with me. The author has a powerful writing style that contains so much beauty and truth. My second five star read of the month and book I intend to buy as I really loved it.

So that is my month of March in books. I got through quite a few books. My daughter had two weeks of school holidays in early April so my April list will be considerably shorter. I would wholeheartedly recommend Dept. of Speculation and The Ocean at the End of the Lane if you are looking for a great read. Both the Sharon Bolton and Tana French series are worth a look if you like your thrillers. My sole don't bother book this month is We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves but I think I am in the minority with this one. Lots of people loved it.

I am linking up with the Quick Lit post at Modern Mrs Darcy. It is well worth a look if you are looking for something to read as there are over 60 links to posts like this one there.

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