2019 Reading Challenge

2019 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 0 books toward her goal of 200 books.
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Book Review: The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Well, THAT happened…

Yeah, that’s pretty much how I felt throughout a lot of this one. Jewell has crafted a bizarre, Shirley-Jackson-esque gothic family drama with cults and lost children and murder and suspicion and secrets and guilt and a host of other things that are almost overwhelming in their entirety but somehow work (mostly) seamlessly. The blurb led me to expect something very different – and while that’s usually a recipe for disaster, here it worked out better than expected.

The tale unfolds in three alternating voices. I don’t always like that as a construct, although in a complex tale like this one, where every narrator is unreliable either intentionally or unintentionally, it is probably the only way to tell the story without resorting to massive telling (as opposed to showing) along the way. Continue reading Book Review: The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Book Review Blurb: Malamander by Thomas Taylor

What an extremely cute, fun, and entertaining story this was! I loved the construct of the Malamander, and the two main characters were a delightful blend of charm, precocity, and, straight-up kid mischief. I loved the word play with character and location naming. Eerie-on-Sea and the Hotel Nautilus offered a marvelous setting for the magic and mystery, as both were full of just the right mix of dilapidation and possibility. The story was well devised, engaging, and offered openings for further adventures. And the concept of the Lost and Foundery was fabulous – a great way to explore childhood fears and concerns and offer myriad opportunities for future installments. In other words, the book delivered exactly what I like to see in this type of children’s story!

My review copy was provided via NetGalley.

Book Review: This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

Save me from non-traditional narratives please… When, oh when, will I learn that they aren’t for me?! I try and try, but always struggle. It’s ABSOLUTELY a case of “it’s not you, it’s me” – especially here.

I was so excited by this one, the blurb and the excerpt grabbed me right from the first time I saw them. The writing was poetic and lovely and the plot was a very clever construct in a field – time travel – that is rapidly becoming overpopulated and repetitive. But I struggled with it from the second time interlude on, and ultimately had to admit it wasn’t for me. Continue reading Book Review: This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

Book Review: Takes One to Know One by Susan Isaacs

Yeah, so this is a book about a former FBI agent who retires and becomes a suburban housewife who is so bored with her life that she starts eyeballing a neighbor as a Person of Interest. She can’t tell if she’s trusting her well-honed instincts or just, well, bored.

I vote for bored. I don’t care what the revelations throughout the story say or what the neighbor is actually up to. Want to know why? Because if I was living her life, as told in the book, I’d be bored too. I was, in fact. So bored that I literally had to force myself to turn pages until I finally realized that I Just. Didn’t. Care. And that’s when I stopped and called it… Continue reading Book Review: Takes One to Know One by Susan Isaacs

Book Review: The Ghosts of Eden Park by Karen Abbott

This was a very entertaining – if a bit overly detailed at times – tale about Prohibition-era America. It’s a time-frame that doesn’t get as much attention as it seems like it should. It was, after all, a time of capital-C Characters, on both sides of the law, as well as money, drama, crime, and secrets – normally all topics that lend themselves to fabulous storytelling. In Abbott’s latest we get all of that in spades, including a fascinating peek behind the curtain of women in early 20th century American politics. It was a fascinating tale of wine, women and song and I enjoyed it – mostly. Continue reading Book Review: The Ghosts of Eden Park by Karen Abbott

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