Well this one was a disappointment. Alexa and Drew meet when they're stuck in an elevator together and on a whim Drew asks Alexa to be his date to the wedding he's there to attend. Talk about a meet-cute, right? Sadly, it's all down-hill from there. The banter is clunky and there is a lot of telling, not doing. All these two seem to do is have sex. I have no idea what they see in each other besides their physical attraction to each other. And although they are thirty something professionals (the mayor's chief of staff and a paediatric surgeon, respectively) the miscommunications, and the conflict that result from them, are decidedly immature and could easily be avoided if these two ever actually talked. But maybe I was expecting too much? This book came with a beautiful cover (it actually got bumped up a half star for this cover), a lot of hype and a $15 price tag. I suppose I assumed it would be a little more polished. *sigh*
All that said, there is actually a lot to like about the book. The heroine is a successful, curvy, black woman and the white hero clearly respects her and listens to her. They have explicitly safe, consensual sex and there are some great points made about privilege. There was just so much about this book that I wanted to like, just not quite enough technical skill to pull it off.
I'm a bit meh about this book. The basic plot is simple enough; California-girl Charley's father dies, leaving her with a derelict sugar plantation on the other side of the country. Charley heads out there with her eleven year old daughter to try and make a go of things. Of course, when she gets there, she finds nothing but trouble. The story meanders along, introducing us to the characters and the intricacies/politics of sugar cane farming. For me, the farming was the best part of the story and I wish Ms. Baszile had spent more time with Charley actually working the farm. Instead, we see Charley navigate through her relationships with family, including her daughter Micah, her estranged brother, Ralph Angel, and the family matriarch, Miss Honey. The issue here is that the characterizations are not quite fully realized. You feel just enough to get interested in them, but then frustratingly unfulfilled as the narrative proceeds and they fail to acquire any more depth. And that's basically my issue with the book as a whole, actually. There's just enough here to pique my interest, but not enough depth to actually realize it. Still, as a first offering there's a lot to enjoy, and some strong themes running throughout. I would definitely pick up another book by the author.
This is probably more accurately a 3 1/2 star book but I found myself very invested in the subplot concerning Astrid and Charley (in large part because they're being played by Gemma Chan and Harry Shum Jr. in the upcoming movie) and even when the story does go entirely off the rails it's at least entertaining. These stories are basically Dynasty with bigger bank accounts and set in Singapore/Hong Kong and once I understood that and stopped looking for anything deeper (like a cohesive narrative or character development) I was better able to enjoy them. Fun, light reads, good for a lazy day. :)
This was pretty much a meh for me. I don't really feel like the author got the tone right, but am also on a lot of cold medication right now, and it is entirely possible that I missed something. I want to give the author the benefit of the doubt because he clearly knows how to write, but the dry narration in counterpoint to the fantastical environment wasn't really working for me. I think that's more a disconnect between my expectations and the author's intent...I was just expecting the book to be something it never really advertised itself as, and so, couldn't deliver. I'm still looking forward to the movie. I think Alex Garland can make something pretty great out of it. If nothing else it will be visually stunning. I still like the concept, very much, I guess I'm just not crazy about the execution.
So my big goal this year (aside from actually finishing...ha,ha) is to pull all my Halloween bingo titles from books I already own. I thought this would be a fantastic opportunity to whittle down my TBR. So here it is:
Serial Killer Spree - Dead Dancing Women by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli
American Horror Story - Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire
Country House Mystery - Generation Loss by Elizabeth Hand
Magical Realism - Blindness by Jose Saramago
Witches - Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett
Murder Most Foul - The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
Supernatural - A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore
In the Dark, Dark, Woods - Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer (I'm not entirely sure this one qualifies...I think it takes place in a jungle but we'll see) or River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey (lots of swampy trees on the cover)
Haunted Houses - House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (have you seen how big this book is? I'm thinking it's going to be a challenge)
Classic Horror - We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
Darkest London - A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Aliens - Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang
Ghost - The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James
Amateur Sleuth - Crocodile on the Sandbank (or any other Elizabeth Peters novel, I've read them all a dozen times and this one's just going to be a pure guaranteed pleasure re-read)
Diverse Voices - The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino
80's Horror - Phantoms by Dean Koontz
Horror - Bird Box by Josh Malerman
Gothic - Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid
Terrifying Women - The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
Werewolves - How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper
And that's it! Now September 1st just has to hurry up and get here!
I'm going to make this one short. This was a miss for me. There is a lot of telling in this book and very little showing. The exposition crosses frequently into info dumping territory. The sex is not horrible but it's better in her fic. I did like her main characters quite a bit (except for when they were being info dumpy but I do have to admit that they were quite a lot like her characterizations of John and Rodney from her SGA fanfiction) and most of the supporting characters were also likeable, which is good as I assume this is intended to be a series. There were times when some of the supporting characters took busy bodying to a whole new level of inappropriate and I really just wanted to smack them for their interference/rudeness. They seriously pissed me off and the lack of response from the MC just infuriated me even more, really. Also, there was a lot of build-up towards a show-down with an antagonist that ends with more of a whimper than a bang, which was disappointing for me. Two and a half stars.
This was great! Toby and Ethan go back to Minnesota to celebrate Christmas and Ethan's sister's wedding vow renewals. Ethan is sad and jealous because he and Toby have no plans to ever get married and Toby is acting strangely. There are no big surprises here, it goes pretty much where you think it's going to go, but frankly that's exactly what I was looking for today. A sweet story with likeable characters and an established couple that genuinely feel established. Four stars!