Hope the holidays are going well for all of you! I'll have some pictures to post, but I'm still sorting through my thoughts. I figured I should slip this post in before the New Year. I've still been going heavy with the mysteries, but I at least broke it up a bit this time. I'm splitting it into two sections, so that it's clear which ones are which.
Last Night in Montreal - I expected to love this book immediately, because of Station Eleven, but I have to admit I was irritated with the main character for at least half of it. I hate, hate, hate "quirky" female characters that are mysterious and not quite functional. I plowed through and gradually ended up falling into the writing and getting caught up. I still have issues with it, but I enjoyed it.
The Truth According to Us - A charming little novel set in 1930's small town West Virginia. This is charming, funny and sweet and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The only quibble I have with it (is this even a quibble?) is that while it's a period novel it has a very modern sensibility, somehow. I never felt like I was reading something that was actually written in the 30's, but that was okay.
My Brilliant Friend - Another reader recommendation, which was so popular at the library that I had to wait awhile! This is an immersive, detailed exploration of a friendship in 1950's Italy. If you like a saga, you'll love this. There are more in the series and I need to get on the waiting list.
All the Birds, Singing - A haunting, beautiful, little novel about isolation and fear. I was surprised by how much I loved this book. It sucks you right in. Word of warning - there is a lot of animal death, which normally I wouldn't be able to handle but somehow it works right in with the wildness and desolation of the story.
And the mysteries:
Disclaimer - Touted as the next Gone Girl, which always makes me skeptical. This twisty thriller is absorbing and the plot premise is interesting, if far-fetched. If you're into this genre, I'd say try it but keep your expectations in check.
The Lake of Dead Languages - For some reason (sheer stubbornness? lack of reading material?) I keep trying Carol Goodman's books even though I'm always only half on board. I'm happy to say that this is the best one I've read so far! The plot is dark and creepy, and it plays out well. I feel comfortable recommending this one to anyone who likes this type of book.
The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next series) - Bridget recommended this series and it was promptly seconded by a couple of you, so I had to try it. Unsurprisingly, I loved it. I'm not sure how to describe it other than completely odd ball and I love a screwy, comedic, surreal mystery. Time travel? An evil villain bent on destroying a literary masterpiece from within? Sure, I'm in! It probably helps that Jane Eyre is one of my all time favorite books.
The Last Girl, The Stranger You Know, The Kill - Books 3, 4 and 5 in the Maeve Kerrigan series and going strong. I highly recommend this one, if you enjoy detective thrillers.
Let the Dead Lie - The second in the Emmanuel Cooper series set in apartheid South Africa and I didn't love it as much as the first, just because the particular mystery didn't grab me. This is par for the course with mystery series (and very individual!), so I'll still be picking up the next one.
Murphy's Law - A period mystery featuring a young Irish woman who has just arrived in America. This is the first of a series and I can see myself checking out more. It's more cutesy than realistic, but sometimes that's what you want.
X - I had been on the wait list for Sue Grafton's latest for so many months that I was starting to get antsy. It arrived on Christmas Eve, just like a gift from the library. I continue to be impressed with how this series has held up. This wasn't my absolute favorite, but the writing was good, the plot and side plots were interesting and I still love all the characters.
Burn Out, Locked In, Coming Back, City of Whispers, Looking for Yesterday, The Night Searchers - I've always enjoyed the Sharon McCone series from Marcia Mueller, so I was excited to suddenly discover that I was several books behind. I caught up in a binge over the holidays. I will say that I think this series is going downhill just a little bit (didn't love the premise of Locked In, which also made Coming Back a bit tiresome) but it's still a fun read.