Hey look, it’s another review post!
Voices by Arnaldur Indriðason: An Icelandic murder mystery investigating the murder of a hotel’s doorman/Santa. It turns out that this book is part of a well-known mystery series in Iceland and that this one is pretty well into the series. This one stands well on its own, and I liked it. You learn a lot about the morose detective as well as the murdered and the suspects, and the subplots add to instead of detract from the plot. Still, the plot gets weird pretty fast and that’s all I’m saying without spoiling it.
Goodreads rating: 4 out of 5 suspects
29 by Adena Halpern: Remember Freaky Friday where the mom and kid swap bodies for a day? This book is a little like that, except a 75-year-old lady becomes 29 for a day. It’s a great premise for a story and the execution wasn’t that bad either. But the reason this book got 3 stars is because of the mediocre writing and the pain in the ass daughter and best friend. Dear Baty, I wanted to slap them every time their points of view appeared. Those traits were overdone to the point of annoyance. It was a quick read and a page-turner, though.
Goodreads rating: 3 out of 5 birthday cakes
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart: A group of exceptionally gifted children have to save the world from evil. It’s a charming read, really. The kids take a test filled with contradictions and puzzles and then discover they have been selected for a secret mission at an institute where there are no rules… except that there are. As one of those former smart kids I found the book quirky and well-written and the characters well-developed. The plot lagged a little in parts, but it was interesting enough to make up for occasional slowness. 4.5/5, which I rounded up.
Goodreads rating: 5 out of 5 non-rule rules
March by Geraldine Brooks: Little Women is one of my favorite books, so reading a Pulitizer Prize-winning fanfic of what the dad was up to sounded interesting. And it was. Part One features flashback chapters interspersed with current action, while all of Part Two takes place during the Civil War. To be honest, the war action parts were my least favorite parts. Maybe that’s because March isn’t really a war/action character and therefore it’s kind of weird reading action scenes in a philosophical writing style, or maybe war and action scenes just aren’t my main thing in books. Still, this is a good read if you liked the original book.
Goodreads rating: 4 out of 5 little women who barely show up in the book
Brave New World Revisited by Aldous Huxley: Brave New World is one of my favorite books, so this looked promising as well. The book isn’t a sequel but an essay collection concerning some issues tackled in Brave New World and how they’re coming true. This book was published in the late fifties, and while some things like numbers are dated, the issues still hit home. Some things don’t change.
Goodreads rating: 4 out of 5 soma doses
The Magicians by Lev Grossman: I tried to like this book. I really did. The premise was a good one, and the miserable genius of a main character got my attention. But so many of the chapters are essentially tl;dr summaries and the main character spends so much time in his head thinking about stuff I don’t care about and there’s so much more telling than showing. Still, I see a lot of these mistakes in my own writing (especially narrators stuck in their own heads), and reading them in someone else’s book has taught me what I don’t want to read (or write).
Goodreads rating: 2 out of 5 incantations
Run with the Horsemen by Ferrol Sams: This one is a coming-of-age tale in Depression-era Georgia. But I found myself not caring about the first fifty or so pages and even considered putting the book down. I’m glad I didn’t; the rest of the story picked up. But even in later parts of the story, the prose suffers from pages of description that I found myself skimming. Still, the story itself is good, so a solid 3 from me.
Goodreads rating: 3 out of 5 class points
Up next: Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer. This is the last of my Little Free Library queue (though I have lots of other libraries to find in my near future). Goal for May: Read ALL the books!