The Open Book

aka bookjunkie1975

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory: Mini Review

The Wedding Date - Jasmine Guillory

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. 

Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile: Mini Review

Queen Sugar - Natalie Baszile

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. 

Great Books!

Today my TL is full of people LOVING the books they're reading and that is just really great to see! 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 59%.

Fangirl by Rowell, Rainbow (2014) Paperback - Rainbow Rowell

Loving this so far!

Fun with a side of crazy...

China Rich Girlfriend: A Novel - Kevin Kwan

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. :)

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer: Mini Review

Annihilation - Jeff VanderMeer

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. 

Reading progress update: I've read 105 out of 195 pages.

Annihilation - Jeff VanderMeer

So far this is not nearly as engaging as I was hoping it would be. Or as creepy. Or suspenseful. In fact, I'm really quite bored. :(

Halloween bingo: Take Your Head Start!

Reblogged from Obsidian Blue:
Oh man. It's on.

For those of you who can't wait to start reading!

 

Good news!

 

You don't have to wait to start!

 

You just have to wait to finish!

 

My Halloween Bingo 2017 Book List

— feeling big smile

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 StorySparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire

 

Chilling Children  - Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older or The Unquiet Past by Kelley Armstrong

 

Country House MysteryGeneration Loss by Elizabeth Hand

 

Magical RealismBlindness by Jose Saramago

 

The Dead Will WalkAfterlife with Archie by Roberto Aquirre-Sacasa/Francesco Francavilla or This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzie Lee 

 

WitchesWyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett

 

Murder Most FoulThe Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

 

SupernaturalA Dirty Job by Christopher Moore

 

In the Dark, Dark, WoodsAnnihilation 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 HousesHouse of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (have you seen how big this book is? I'm thinking it's going to be a challenge)

 

VampiresSunshine by Robin McKinley or Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

 

Classic HorrorWe Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

 

Darkest LondonA Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

 

AliensStory of Your Life by Ted Chiang 

 

GhostThe Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James

 

Amateur SleuthCrocodile 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 VoicesThe Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino

 

80's HorrorPhantoms by Dean Koontz 

 

MonstersHelen and Troy's Epic Road Quest by A. Lee Martinez or Monstress by Marjorie Lui/Sana Takeda

 

HorrorBird Box by Josh Malerman

 

GothicNorthanger Abbey by Val McDermid 

 

Terrifying WomenThe Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

 

WerewolvesHow to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper

 

And that's it! Now September 1st just has to hurry up and get here! 

 

 

 

Reblogged from The Quilty Reader:

My Halloween Bingo Card!
My Halloween Bingo Card!

Buried in Beignets by J.R. Ripley: Mini Review DNF

— feeling angry
Buried in Beignets - J.R. Ripley

I DNF'd. This book was pretty awful. I expected a fun little cozy with quirky characters but instead I got an irritating MC and the relentless disparaging of pretty much every other character in the book. I think it was supposed to be funny? DNF'd about 40 pages in. 

Fall For You by Keira Marcos: Mini Review

Fall for You - Keira Marcos

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. 

Analog to Digital by Posy Roberts: Mini Review

Analog to Digital (2016 Advent Calendar - Bah Humbug) - Posy Roberts

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! 

A Family For Christmas by Jay Northcote: Mini Review

A Family for Christmas - Jay Northcote

Office sweetie Rudy takes quiet new guy Zac home for Christmas where, yep, you guessed it, everyone thinks they're dating and hand wavy circumstances force them to fake a relationship and share a bed. Which is all fine. Tropes are great and exist because we love them, right? And the premise to this story is sweet and frothy and exactly what I was in the mood for. For the most part, the story delivers on it's promise. The main characters are likeable, Rudy's family is charming and there's an adorable kitten. I will say that the dialogue occasionally suffers from a bit of a disconnect to the tone of the story, I found it a bit graphic for the set up and that took me out of the story more often than not. All in all though, this was a quick and frothy little read that was just right for the holidays. Three and a half stars. 

what did you eat yesterday volume 1 by fume yoshinaga: Mini Review

— feeling confused
[ What Did You Eat Yesterday?, Volume 1 BY Yoshinaga, Fumi ( Author ) ] { Paperback } 2014 - Fumi Yoshinaga

So this was my first manga, and probably a pretty good pick for easing in to the genre. It depicts the day to day life of a 40 something gay couple in Japan, centering the narrative around the food Shiro prepares each night for boyfriend Kenji. The art is relatively simple and aesthetically pleasing and the food sounds amazing, with instructions that are detailed, yet simple enough to make me consider actually attempting some of them. The domesticity of the series is comfortable and easy to slip into. The characters themselves are a bit more problematic. Shiro, as he stands so far, is not particularly easy to like. He's kind of a jerk, actually. He's cheap, a bit of a narcissist and not the most openly emotionally available guy, even with his boyfriend. And Kenji, while sweet, is also not without his faults. He has a tendency towards jealousy that could definitely become grating. As the story goes on, though, we begin to see where some of the emotional baggage Shiro is carrying comes from, and I have pretty high hopes that the next issue will delve a little deeper into those and flesh the characters out a bit more fully. The main issue I have is in the fat shaming that pops up here and there throughout the story. I don't know if this is a cultural attitude but it was really unsettling to read. There is also a fair amount of homophobia that Shiro and Kenji deal with on a fairly daily basis, but none of it is internalized and it's great to read a story about two middle aged men who both know who they are and are happy with it. I'm definitely going to read the next volume, and hopefully we'll get more character building and a deeper look into their relationship. 3 stars for me, on this one. 

Currently reading

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person
Shonda Rhimes
Fangirl by Rowell, Rainbow (2014) Paperback
Rainbow Rowell
Progress: 59 %
House of Leaves
Mark Z. Danielewski