Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What I was reading, August 2012

Finally, a little catch-up.  August was a great month for reading, at least for me.  Lots of titles, some great reads by favorite authors, and some new authors as well. Ready?  Here we go.

You Don't Want to Know, by Lisa Jackson.  I wish I had lots of good things to say about this one, but Jackson's latest effort is not my favorite.  The book was too long, there were a plethora of red herrings, and the plot twists were more like kinks in a hose, clunky and breaking the flow of the story.  After Ava's toddler goes missing, she spends the next two years in and out of Seattle mental institutions.  When she finally returns to her family's estate, it's to a loveless marriage, strained friendships, and the conviction that her son is still alive.  Fighting people who doubt her sanity, detectives who don't take her seriously, and her own demons, she struggles to prove herself once and for all.  Ultimately, what seems like a great premise just didn't live up to its potential for this reader.  416 pages.

Shadow of Night, by Deborah Harkness.  The second book in Harkness's All Souls trilogy, which started with A Discovery of Witches, was released this past July and was very much anticipated by library staff and patrons alike.  In my opinion, it did not disappoint.  When novice witch Diana and her vampire mate Matthew step back in time to avoid their enemies, they step into Elizabethan England during a time of religious unrest, witch hunts, and the beginnings of the scientific revolution.  If you've been reading here for awhile, you know that Tudor England is a passion of mine, and in this regard, the novel extremely loyal to fact while still remaining a work of fiction.  People, places, and social customs are all pitch-perfect.  I don't want to give much away, but if you've read the first book, you really owe it to yourself to read this, too.  And if you haven't?  What are you waiting for!?  584 pages.

The Sinner, by Tess Gerritsen.  I'm still enjoying going back and reading Tess Gerritsen books I'd never read, and this, the third in the Rizzoli & Isles series, is no different.  When the team arrives at chapel of Our Lady of Divine Light on a bitterly cold night, they find the bodies of two nuns, one dead and the other critically wounded, victims of a brutal attack that seems to have no motive.  Then Dr. Isles discovers that the young deceased nun had been recently pregnant, and before they can find out more, yet another body is found that seems to be related to the chapel attack.  Together the team unfolds a nightmare that crosses the globe, complete with corporate intrigue and hired assassins.  Truly, this one was a nail-biter.  355 pages.

Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn.  Ah, Gone Girl.  Readers either love it or hate it.  My recent review of it revealed a very marked division on the title--there is not much gray area to be had.  Personally?  I loved it--I found it gripping and well-told with a number of plot twists I really never saw coming.  I admire authors who can surprise me again and again, and Flynn most certainly did.  419 pages.

The Hypnotist's Love Story, by Liane Moriarty.  From the Australian author of What Alice Forgot, this newest work is a unique twist on the classic love story.  Ellen O'Farrell, a hypnotist who helps clients overcome addictive behaviors, phobias and confidence issues, falls in love with Patrick, a landscape architect, and right away, there are complications.  He's a widower with a young son, and Ellen has no experience with children.  Oh, and he's being stalked by his ex-girlfriend, Saskia.  Told in alternating parts by Ellen and Saskia, we finally get to understand what drives Saskia's urge to stalk as well as Ellen's drive to make the relationship work despite Saskia's constant interference.  Warm, humorous, compassionate, and surprising.  Loved it.  416 pages.

Body Double, by Tess Gerritsen.  Book 4 of the Rizzoli & Isles series.  When Dr. Maura Isles returns home from a medical conference, she finds police cars outside of her home and her colleagues all look like they've seen a ghost.  The victim in the car parked on her street, you see, looks just like her.  What follows is a cat-and-mouse game in which Dr. Isles must not only confront her own past, but must also battle wits with a serial killer.  Told in Gerritsen's signature taut style.  Of course, I loved it.  352 pages.

Vanish, by Tess Gerritsen.  And straight into book 5.  Detective Jane Rizzoli finds herself in a situation she never thought possible.  Not only is she married, pregnant and in labor, but she's also a hostage in the hospital, held by a patient who mere hours earlier had been mistaken for dead and awakened in the morgue.  Now Jane makes it her mission to find out who wants this woman dead, and what makes her so desperate to escape the hospital.  Gerritsen does it again--this was excellent.  336 pages.

12.21, by Dustin Thomason.  If you believe that the Mayans predicted the end of the world, then the date in the title is rather significant.  Thomas queries...What if it really is the dawning of a new age?  An ancient artifact carries a mysterious curse, and those exposed to it become ill.  As the plague spreads and the CDC fights to lock down quarantine, it's up to a historian and a rogue CDC doctor to race against the clock to find a cure.  Part Indiana Jones looking for a lost city, part historical mystery, and full of intrigue and deception, this was a unique thriller that I really enjoyed.  If I had to name one flaw, it was that parts of the story felt a little rushed, and I wished occasionally for a little more detail.  Overall, Thomason has promise.  323 pages.

August totals:
3,201 pages
8 titles

2012 totals:
21,764/50,000 pages = 44%
52/100 titles = 52%

Not sure I'm going to make my challenge goals this year, but it's already giving me motivation for next year's challenge!  Are you challenging yourself to read more this year?  I'd love to know how you're doing.

I'll be back on Thursday with what I've been reading in September, and then I'm caught up!  Happy reading!

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