Sunday, September 28, 2008

Catching up

More Carol Goodman, and I'd say this is my favorite of hers so far. The Ghost Orchid is considerably more tinged with the supernatural than anything else I've read by her, and apparently that was just what I needed right now. As always with Goodman's books, it's a great balance of solid writing and not-so-heavy reading.

I can't remember how I happened to find How Far is the Ocean from Here. One day, the library notified me that the copy I requested was in, and even though the subject matter isn't something I'd have normally picked up, I figured I must have had a reason for requesting it. And I'm very glad I gave Amy Shearn's novel a chance. It's a cast of quirky characters brought together in a motel in the middle of nowhere by a young surrogate mother on the run. The premise is perhaps movie-of-the-week with an alt-indie twist, and somehow Shearn makes it work -- it's often just too much, and at the same time, it's just right. Without giving anything away, I found the ending too neat, especially compared to the messiness of life throughout the book. But discounting that, it's very good writing and a satisfying read.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Disappearing acts

My second venture on the Stephenie Meyer bandwagon: I finished New Moon last night. This one left me more perplexed as to why so many adult women are obsessed with these books. For teenagers, I get it completely, but for me, the teen angst is just a bit too much to take. I spent most of the book being annoyed with Bella's logic (lack thereof?), and quite a large chunk of plot toward the end seemed incredibly forced. I didn't dislike it, but I'm not becoming a devotee by any means. (Of course, I'll have to read the next two...) And the Edward love? He's just not my type. Assuming I got over the vampire problem, he's way too protective with a few too many moments of irrational behavior. I'll take old-school Angel and Buffy any day over whiny Bella and crazy Edward.

Maggie O'Farrell's The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox was an enjoyable read, but not terribly memorable. The ending stayed with me but the characters have pretty much already escaped my (admittedly over-extended) mind. The story was intriguing and kept me reading, and I have no real complaints about the writing. It was pretty good. How's that for an underwhelming review?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Arty mystery

I was working on a punny post title like "Mr. Chick-lit" -- combining chick lit plus mystery. But it didn't work.

I like Carol Goodman because her books are interesting enough to hold my attention, well-written enough to keep me from being annoyed, but light enough to read when I don't have a lot of brain left for concentration. The Drowning Tree fits that beautifully, combining (fake) art history with human drama plus a whodunnit. Nice, simple, satisfying. And readable even when my eyes close after about two pages a night.