Tuesday, January 27, 2015

REVIEW: November Books

How about some more snapshot reviews from more books I read last year? I still like having a bit of a record of what I read and what I thought (or can remember) about the books. Eventually I'll add some new books I'm reading in this actual year.

82. Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice - Phillip Hoose (audiobook)
One of those free audiobook downloads from the summer, this is the pre-Rosa Parks incident that seemed to prep the civil rights leaders for how to deal with Rosa Parks. Funnily, I started reading this just after I saw a Drunk History segment on Claudette Colvin.

83. The Paying Guests - Sarah Waters (576 pages)
I'm a Waters fan, but sometimes I like her books more after the fact, (other than Fingersmith, that was page-turning awesome). This was a period of time I enjoy - 1920s London, still World War One effects, but changing class structures are turning things on their head. Adding a secret lesbian daughter who becomes infatuated with her new tenant led to a good story. Things got a bit weird with a crime that occurred, and made me want to shake the stupid girls. The story went on a little long, and bad relationships are frustrating to read about regardless of who is in it. Still, an okay Sarah Waters is still a good read.

84. We Were Liars - E Lockhart (240 pages)
 One of those books it is best not to know too much about, and apparently my ability to foresee twists was gone on vacation while I read this, so I was quite surprised. This was a quick read that reminded me of another writer or story which I have not been able to remember.

85. Leaving Everything Most Loved - Jacqueline Winspear (352 pages)
Aww, the last of the Maisie Dobbs (until the next one; it's more that I got all caught up reading six Maisie Dobbs this year). I enjoy these contemplative books and seeing Maisie grow. Winspear took a year off to write a stand alone novel, but there is a new Maisie coming this year.

86. You Are One of Them - Elliott Holt (audiobook 8 h, 26 min)
Narrated by Cassandra Campbell who has narrated a lot of books I've listened to!
Sometimes I listen to audiobooks halfway, depending on what other task I am doing, and how much the book pulls me in. I remember the gist of this book which was partly set in 1980s Cold War America and Russia. A girl becomes a bit obsessed with Russia after her school friend crashes in a plane crash after becoming famous for an invitation from Russia. (That poorly constructed sentence is brought to you by my poor memory of this book) But did she die? This is a book I think I would have enjoyed more in print form and my poor listening skills should not dissuade you from reading.

87. Dark Places - Gillian Flynn (audiobook 13 h, 44 min)
Best book of the month - it is actually one of my favorite reads from 2014. Now this one kept my attention! For fans of Gone Girl, I recommend this twisty, thrilling ride, but it is very twisted and dark. Libby Day's family was slaughtered when she was seven, and she identified her brother as the killer. Twenty years later, she is living off the trust fund and the attention of serial killer fans. She begins to wonder about her brother's guilt based on some of the serial killer fans. Warning: Fans of serial killers are not the worst thing that happens in this book.

There were three narrators - Libby, her brother Ben, and Libby's mother in the past, one of which is the delightful Cassandra Campbell again. The story goes back and forth, with more and more horrid (Satan worship, sex, drugs, etc, it gets bad) details being revealed. This is the fictional version of In Cold Blood; not really but it feels a lot like it.  I can't wait for the next Gillian Flynn novel!