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Title: The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer
Author: Jennifer Lynch
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 187
Date read: July, 2017

THE SECRET DIARY OF LAURA PALMER chronicles Laura's life from age 12 to her death at 17, and is filled with secrets, character references, and even clues to the identity of her eventual killer. Laura's diary makes compelling reading as she turns from a naive freshman having her first kiss to a "bad girl" experimenting with drugs, sex and the occult.

Definitely not a book to read if you haven't either seen Twin Peaks quite recently, or remember it clearly. Otherwise the book will a) make little to no sense and b) spoil parts of Twin Peaks for you.

I'm not a huge fan of Twin Peaks, but it intrigues me - and as I'd somehow gotten my hands on this book AGES ago (years before I even saw TP for the first time... don't ask me why), I figured I might as well get around to reading it.

I'm glad I did. It gave me a very different insight into Laura Palmer, and while it didn't actually answer any of the questions I had, it provided me with a more nuanced picture of some of the characters.

Laura really didn't sound her age for most of the diary though. It became less obvious as she got older, but her "voice" didn't change between her being 12 at the start and 17 at the end.
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Title: The One-in-a-Million Boy
Author: Monica Wood
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 336
Date read: May, 2017

For years, guitarist Quinn Porter has been on the road, chasing gig after gig, largely absent to his twice-ex-wife Belle and their odd, Guinness records-obsessed son. When the boy dies suddenly, Quinn seeks forgiveness for his paternal shortcomings by completing the requirements for his son's unfinished Boy Scout badge.

For seven Saturdays, Quinn does yard work for Ona Vitkus, the wily 104-year-old Lithuanian immigrant the boy had visited weekly. Quinn soon discovers that the boy had talked Ona into gunning for the world record for Oldest Licensed Driver... and that's the least of her secrets. Despite himself, Quinn picks up where the boy left off, forging a friendship with Ona that allows him to know the son he never understood, a boy who was always listening, always learning.

Very much a character-driven book and while engaging enough, I honestly couldn't tell you what I thought of it. The plot putters along slowly and is of no real consequence, but you do end up caring for the characters (Quinn and Ona especially) regardless, and while very slow-moving, I never considered giving up on it.

But still - it's not a book I'm likely to reread, and actually probably not even a book I'm likely to recommend. It most definitely had its moments, but at the end of it, I was left wondering what the fuss was all about.
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Title: I'm Still Here
Author: Clélie Avit
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 262 pages
Date read: April, 2017

Elsa is spending her thirtieth birthday in the hospital bed where she's lain for months after a devastating mountain accident. Unable to speak, see, or move, she appears to be in an irreversible coma, but her friends and family don't know that she's regained the power of hearing.

That day, a stranger named Thibault enters the hospital to visit his brother, who's just been injured in an accident that killed two young girls. He instead seeks refuge in the room where Elsa lies, and quickly becomes intrigued by the young woman, returning day after day to sit beside her, convinced that his words are being heard.

As their connection grows, the doctors deliver a devastating blow to her family. Is it possible that Thibault knows something no one else does, and can he reach her before it's too late?

A quick and easy read. It didn't strike me until long after that it's obviously a retelling of the Cinderella story, because of course it is. I did find the love-story slightly more believable though -- at least from Elsa's POV.

But this is one book where different POVs really work! I liked that every second chapter was told by Elsa and every second by Thibault. It helped us get inside the minds of both, and I grew to care for both of them. Probably especially Thibault actually. I loved seeing how he interacted with his friends and goddaughter - very cute!

I did think the book ended just slightly too abruptly, which brought it down to 4 stars, but all in all I found it a very enjoyable story.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Truly, Madly, Guilty
Author: Liane Moriarty
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 415
Date read: January, 2017

Despite their differences, Erika and Clementine have been best friends since they were children. So when Erika needs help, Clementine should be the obvious person to turn to. Or so you'd think.

For Clementine, as a mother of a two desperately trying to practise for the audition of a lifetime, the last thing she needs is Erika asking for something, again.

But the barbecue should be the perfect way to forget their problems for a while. Especially when their hosts, Vid and Tiffany, are only too happy to distract them.

Which is how it all spirals out of control...

I approached this book with very high expectations, as I've loved everything else I've read by Liane Moriarty. Unfortunately, it couldn't live up to those expectations at all. Liane Moriarty used much the same tactic of foreshadowing/hinting/secrecy as in "Big Little Lies", but whereas I loved it in BLL, it just didn't work at all here, and instead came across as being rather silly. (I think the difference is that in BLL the surprise came later chronologically, whereas here, it was danced around as something that happened in the past - which just made me roll my eyes and want to yell at Moriarty to just reveal it already!)

So why still 3 stars? Despite my annoyance at her ridiculous use of foreshadowing, I do enjoy Liane Moriarty's writing style, and the pages almost turned themselves. I liked that the characters were generally nice to one another, and I liked that people talked things through, instead of letting misunderstandings and lack of communication ruin their lives. It made for a refreshing change :)
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Delicious!
Author: Ruth Reichl
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
# pages: 384
Date read: December, 2016

Trying to escape her unhappy past, Billie Breslin leaves her home in California for New York to take a job at the premier food magazine Delicious!. Everyone there cooks but Billie refuses to, despite her perfect palate; she prefers to write about recipes rather than revisit a past she would rather forget.

At Delicious!, Billie discovers a treasure: the magazine's hidden library. There she finds the letters of Lulu Swan, a young girl who wrote to the magazine in 1941. As Billie reads Lulu's vivid evocations of wartime life, she finds that she is able to make peace with her own grief... and sets on a journey to meet her in person...

I really, really wish I could have given this book five stars straight, but it just didn't quite make it. The book is divided up into 3 parts, and the first part was so decidedly my favourite, that I had to subtract half a star because the other 2 parts couldn't quite live up to it.

This is the third book I've read by Ruth Reichl, but her first novel, and it completely lived up to my expectations. It had all the interesting food tidbits I wanted (at least in the first part... this was where the two other parts slacked off) and a large cast of interesting characters. I loved Billie, Sammy and Sal (... his entire family, come to think of it), and while I wish "Mr. Complainer" had been fleshed out more, he did seem decent enough.... even if I did think he was extremely unreasonable in their fight!

I'd guessed the "twist" at a fairly early stage, but that's alright - it made sense.

So all in all very enjoyable book. I just wish the first part had been longer!
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
Author: Rachel Joyce
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 2.5/5
# pages: 357
Date read: October, 2016

Recently retired, sweet, emotionally numb Harold Fry is jolted out of his passivity by a letter from Queenie Hennessy, an old friend, who he hasn't heard from in twenty years. She has written to say she is in hospice and wanted to say goodbye. Leaving his tense, bitter wife Maureen to her chores, Harold intends a quick walk to the corner mailbox to post his reply but instead, inspired by a chance encounter, he becomes convinced he must deliver his message in person to Queenie--who is 600 miles away--because as long as he keeps walking, Harold believes that Queenie will not die.

So without hiking boots, rain gear, map or cell phone, one of the most endearing characters in current fiction begins his unlikely pilgrimage across the English countryside. Along the way, strangers stir up memories--flashbacks, often painful, from when his marriage was filled with promise and then not, of his inadequacy as a father, and of his shortcomings as a husband.

I'd expected to love this, so this low rating was both surprising and disappointing.

My opinion of this book changed hugely while reading it. It went from being slightly slow-moving, but very charming and British, to being really frustrating and kinda depressing... although it did have a hopeful ending, I guess.

I'd heard it compared to "The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of a Window and Disappeared", which is a misrepresentation if I ever saw one! The two are nothing alike! (I'd be more inclined to say it has shades of "Forest Gump" - but it's been so many years since I read that one, so I might be wrong). I got fonder of both Harold and Maureen as the book went along, but thought the 'twist' completely unnecessary (not the contents of the twist, but the fact that it was kept a secret to be revealed, rather than just being open about it from the beginning).

Apparently there is a companion novel, told from Queenie's POV. I don't think I'll be reading that one.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Britt-Marie Was Here
Author: Fredrik Backman
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 5/5
# pages: 377
Date read: October, 2016

For as long as anyone can remember, Britt-Marie has been an acquired taste. It's not that she's judgemental, or fussy, or difficult - she just expects things to be done in a certain way. A cutlery drawer should be arranged in the right order, for example (forks, knives, then spoons). We're not animals, are we?

But behind the passive-aggressive, socially awkward, absurdly pedantic busybody is a woman who has more imagination, bigger dreams and a warmer heart than anyone around her realizes.

So when Britt-Marie finds herself unemployed, separated from her husband of 20 years, left to fend for herself in the miserable provincial backwater that is Borg - of which the kindest thing one can say is that it has a road going through it - and somehow tasked with running the local football team, she is a little unprepared. But she will learn that life may have more to offer her that she's ever realised, and love might be found in the most unexpected of places.

I'd read "A Man Called Ove" at the last readathon and thought it alright. Pretty good, but not the masterpiece other people made it out to be. However, I'd also heard that "Britt-Marie Was Here" was supposed to be better, so when a friend of mine offered to lend it to me for the October readathon, I jumped at the chance.

It was SO good! The very first page had me giggling, and I kept laughing out loud at regular intervals throughout the book. The last third turned slightly more serious, and the laughter turned into tears at times, but I still closed the book with a happy sigh. Funny and poignant, it was everything I'd hoped for, and I am now firmly convinced of Backman's talent as a writer.

I loved Britt-Marie (once I got over my frustration with her!), I loved 'Somebody', I loved Vega, Omar and Sami. I loved the ending.

Absolutely brilliant book all around.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Nest
Author: Cynthia D'Aprix Sweetney
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 373 pages
Date read: August, 2016

Every family has its problems. But even among the most troubled, the Plumb family stands out as spectacularly dysfunctional. Years of simmering tensions finally reach a breaking point on an unseasonably cold afternoon in New York City as Melody, Beatrice, and Jack Plumb gather to confront their charismatic and reckless older brother, Leo, freshly released from rehab. Months earlier, an inebriated Leo got behind the wheel of a car with a nineteen-year-old waitress as his passenger. The ensuing accident has endangered the Plumbs joint trust fund, “The Nest,” which they are months away from finally receiving. Meant by their deceased father to be a modest mid-life supplement, the Plumb siblings have watched The Nest’s value soar along with the stock market and have been counting on the money to solve a number of self-inflicted problems.

Melody, a wife and mother in an upscale suburb, has an unwieldy mortgage and looming college tuition for her twin teenage daughters. Jack, an antiques dealer, has secretly borrowed against the beach cottage he shares with his husband, Walker, to keep his store open. And Bea, a once-promising short-story writer, just can’t seem to finish her overdue novel. Can Leo rescue his siblings and, by extension, the people they love? Or will everyone need to reimagine the future they’ve envisioned? Brought together as never before, Leo, Melody, Jack, and Beatrice must grapple with old resentments, present-day truths, and the significant emotional and financial toll of the accident, as well as finally acknowledge the choices they have made in their own lives.

I browsed through the first few chapters at a bookstore and found myself strangely intrigued, despite the fact that the blurb on the back of the book hadn't really caught my fancy. Still, I couldn't stop thinking about it, and ended up getting hold of an e-copy a few days later.

Once again, this is a character-driven narrative rather than a plot-driven one. The plot itself is very quickly explained, but the people themselves - this highly dysfunctional family - are fascinating. I found myself putting the book down frequently, as I could see this person or that heading towards a bad decision, but I kept picking it back up, as I grew to care about the siblings, and had to know how everything got resolved.

An intriguing read about people I grew to care about... but am not really sure I like very much.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: What Alice Forgot
Author: Liane Moriarty
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 528
Date read: June, 2016

Alice is twenty-nine. She adores sleep, chocolate, and her ramshackle new house. She's newly engaged to the wonderful Nick and is pregnant with her first baby.

There's just one problem. All of that was ten years ago...

Alice has slipped in a step-aerobics class, hit her head and lost a decade. Now she's a grown-up, bossy mother of three in the middle of a nasty divorce and her beloved sister Elisabeth isn't speaking to her. This is her life but not as she knows it.

Clearly Alice has made some terrible mistakes. Just how much can happen in a decade?

Can she ever get back to the woman she used to be?

I really wanted to give this book 5 stars. For most of it I lived the book, in a way that I haven't done for a long time. I loved seeing people react to "young Alice" and was fascinated by the idea of having lost all memory of the last 10 years (how would I react if I thought it was 2006 and woke up to 2016? Probably wouldn't be quite as big a shock as for Alice, as there haven't been quite as many changes in my life - but still!).

Unfortunately the end was a bit of a let-down. Once Alice gets her memory back, everything is just resolved far too quickly. I did like the way it was resolved, but would have appreciated being shown rather than told that that was what happened.

But otherwise a brilliant book! I definitely need to read more of Liane Moriarty's work.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: A Man Called Ove
Author: Fredrik Backman
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 358
Date read: April, 2016

Meet Ove. He's a curmudgeon - the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him "the bitter neighbor from hell". But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn't walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove's mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents' association to their very foundations.

Unfortunately not as good as I had expected. I liked it well enough, but I didn't love it the way I had expected to, nor did it blow me away like it apparently has so many others.

It's written in much the same style as The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson (which I adored!) but without the same joyfulness that made that book so charming. The writing style was excellent, but for about the first half of the book I wondered, "Yes, but what's the point?".

Fortunately it improved, and the last 100 pages were awesome, so I may still want to read more of Fredrik Backman after all.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Lesbian Assassins 4
Author: Audrey Faye
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 112
Date read: December, 2015

James Turking is the most evil man Carly and Jane know.

And he's about to crash back into their lives. As usual, he wants something they can't give - and this time, he has leverage.

Fourth and final book in the series, and unfortunately also the weakest of the lot, so it's probably a good thing that Audrey Faye is moving on to other characters. I still like Carly and Jane... not to mention Rosie and Lelo... but too much of the plot happened between the lines and/or felt unrealistic.

I was glad to get some of the loose ends all wrapped up though.

(And I loved the stocking stuffer - very sweet and Christmasy :) )
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Sense of an Ending
Author: Julian Barnes
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 150
Date read: December, 2015

Tony Webster and his clique first met Adrian Finn at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they would navigate the girl-less sixth form together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumour and wit. Maybe Adrian was a little more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they all swore to stay friends for life.

Now Tony is retired. He's had a career and a single marriage, a calm divorce. He's certainly never tried to hurt anybody. Memory, though, is imperfect. It can always throw up surprises, as a lawyer's letter is about to prove.

Interesting style of writing that I definitely don't think is for everybody. I was intrigued by it, but think it would have gotten old if it had been a full length novel, rather than a novella.

The book somehow reminded me of some of the books I read for AP Danish ("Det forsømte forår", "Midt i en jazztid" etc.) which isn't necessarily a bad thing, and made me appreciate the book in a way I might not have done otherwise.

There's not much action or plot, but I really felt like I got to know Tony, and could relate to many of his musings about growing older and looking back at your teenagehood. (That makes me sound really old :-P).
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: S.
Author: J.J. Abrams & Doug Dorst
Genre: Epistolary
Rating: 4.5/5
# pages: 456
Date read: October, 2015

One book. Two readers. A world of mystery, menace, and desire.

A young woman picks up a book left behind by a stranger. Inside it are his margin notes, which reveal a reader entranced by the story and by its mysterious author. She responds with notes of her own, leaving the book for the stranger, and so begins an unlikely conversation that plunges them both into the unknown.

THE BOOK: Ship of Theseus, the final novel by a prolific but enigmatic writer named V. M. Straka, in which a man with no past is shanghaied onto a strange ship with a monstrous crew and launched onto a disorienting and perilous journey.

THE WRITER: Straka, the incendiary and secretive subject of one of the world's greatest mysteries, a revolutionary about whom the world knows nothing apart from the words he wrote and the rumours that swirl around him.

THE READERS: Jennifer and Eric, a college senior and a disgraced grad student, both facing crucial decisions about who they are, who they might become, and how much they're willing to trust another person with their passions, hurts, and fears.

I don't usually post photos in my reviews, but the charm of this book is best explained via visual aids.

The minute I saw this book, I knew I had to have it. I adore books that play with the media ("Lost in a Good Book" and "The City of Dreaming Books" spring to mind as other books that do this really well), so when I realized that half the plot in this book was told via the book "Ship of Theseus" and the other half was told through comments in the margin of said book as well as clippings, photos etc. inserted throughout the book - I was sold. What an altogether brilliant idea! I almost didn't care about the plot itself.

And the book didn't disappoint. I loved getting to know Eric and Jen through the comments in the margin - trying to figure out the timeline as they jumped back and forth to have conversations and follow up on things. I cared less about the story of SOT, but I don't think we were really supposed to, as it was mostly a means to an end. The main problem with the book - and the only reason it didn't make a straight 5 star rating - is that it was almost too realistic in Eric and Jen's way of communicating, so some things were just implied or understood, as they were referring to events they obviously both knew the outcome of. This also made the ending slightly abrupt, and left me with a few unanswered questions.

Nothing major though, and at the end of the day, the charm of the book won through. Definitely the most unusual book I have ever read.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Veronika Decides to Die
Author: Paulo Coelho
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 210
Date read: October, 2015

Twenty-four-year-old Veronika seems to have everything she could wish for: youth and beauty, pleny of attractive boyfriends, a fulfilling job, and a loving family. Yet something is lacking in her life. Inside her is a void so deep that nothing could possibly ever fill it. So, on the morning of November 11, 1997, Veronika decides to die. She takes a handful of sleeping pills expecting never to wake up.

Naturally Veronika is stunned when she does wake up at Villete, a local mental hospital, where the staff informs her that she has, in fact, partially succeeded in achieving her goal. While the overdose didn't kill Veronika immediately, the medication has damaged her heart so severely that she has only days to live.

I've only read two Paulo Coelho books so far, but my impression of "Veronika Decides to Die" is much the same as my impression of "The Alchemist": I'm not entirely sure what I think of it, but it's so well written that I'm glad I've read it all the same. The writing style is so subtly captivating that I found myself devouring the book without really being able to make up my mind whether or not I actually like it.

"Veronika Decides to Die" had the option of being a really depressing book, but instead turned out to be life-affirming and optimistic.

I don't think it's a book I'll ever reread, and I'm no closer to rushing out and reading more of Coelho's books than I was prior to reading this - but I'm glad I've read it all the same, and would recommend it in a heartbeat.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Derailed (Windy City Neighbors #2)
Author: Dave Jackson, Neta Jackson
Genre: Christian fiction
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 320
Date read: August, 2015

Forced to give up his hard-earned retirement, Harry Bentley goes back to work as a detective. Receiving a bizarre undercover assignment that sends him across the country by train. Things suddenly go awry when it appears one of his new neighbors may be part of a smuggling ring and suspicion rises about his own son’s involvement in a major drug cartel.

As far as I can deduce, Neta and Dave Jackson took turns being the main writer vs. co-editor of this series, so Neta wrote (most of) the first one, Dave wrote (most of) the second one, etc. Unfortunately, while still being an able writer, Dave just doesn't have the same talent as Neta does, and it shows. The plot is decent enough, and I love the characters enough that I had problems putting the book down, but the writing is a lot more clumbsy, there's a lot more telling and less showing, and it just doesn't come across as effortless as Neta Jackson's books do. Nor did it come across with as strong and moving Christian message. This was a decent Christian book, but it didn't move me remotely as much as the earlier books did.

The book covers the same time period as "Grounded" which was a bit of a disappointment, as I was eager to see what happened next! But on the other hand, I did enjoy getting to see Harry and Corey together :)

The only thing I really, really, really didn't like was the epilogue. That knocked off an entire star by itself. It was sickeningly saccharine and tacky... I can't believe the Jacksons would stoop to that level.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: A Little Piece of Me
Author: Stephan A. Geller
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 2.5/5
# pages: 293 pages
Date read: July, 2015

Marcia Kleinman has a difficult husband, a difficult mother and a little boy, Max, who has a rare chronic liver disease that will eventually require a liver transplantation.

When Max becomes ill Marcia and her husband, Michael, are presented with difficult choices that include allowing Marcia to donate a portion of her own liver, or waiting until an appropriate liver becomes available from another child of Max's approximate age and size.

During the months during which Max's condition slowly worsens Marcia seeks relief from stress by deciding to learn Beethoven's "Appassionata" piano sonata, a piece that her mother recorded but that Marcia had not been able to master in the past.

I'm really hard pressed to say what I think of this book. Parts of it were absolutely excellent, while other parts (mostly the flashbacks) were a slog to get through. It's one of those books where I'm not really sure what the author was trying to achieve by it, which made the depressing parts seem somewhat pointless -- and while I don't mind if my book has depressing parts, I want it to be for a reason!

I was taken in by the cover (actually the reason I requested this book in the first place), and loved the musical aspects of the story, so while the end might seem callous to some - I totally get it.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Lesbian Assassins 3
Author: Audrey Faye
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 113
Date read: July 2015

Carly and Jane are tough, road-hardened assassins. Or they were.

Now they've got weddings to attend, babies to cuddle, and friends they can't seem to shake. But none of that will shake their confidence as much as their next case...

Just as good as I've come to expect from Audrey Faye, but as always much too short! It's not that I found it rushed, but I'd just like to have seen the ending fleshed out a bit more. I felt we got a nice resolution to both the Accountant and Rhonda, but I'd like to have gotten a bit more closure regarding Judi.

Even so, I've yet to meet a bit of Audrey Faye's writing that I didn't like, and especially the first scene at the wedding did me totally in. Guess I just have to get better at reminding myself that this series is more a series of novellas than of full-length novels.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Lesbian Assassins 2
Author: Audrey Faye
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
# pages: 176
Date read: June, 2015

Jane and Carly are back -- only now their team has grown to include Rosie and Lelo. Jane worries that involvement with them will trarnish Lelo's innocence. But it is Lelo who finds their newest assignment -- one that will challenge their ingenuity.

The sequel to Lesbian Assassins did not disappoint - in fact, I think I might even have liked it a tiny bit better than the first one, as we now know the characters and the scene has been set. Also, I think I found the ending slightly more realistic than in the first book, which has bumped my rating up the extra half-star.

I love Carly and Jane, Rosie and Lelo, and wish the book had been twice as long, so there had been more page-time to devote to their relationships and secrets. Audrey Faye writes characters so well, and creates people you'd want to meet and befriend in real life.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Rosie Project
Author: Graeme Simsion
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 327
Date read: March, 2015

Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a "wonderful" husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical - most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.

Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent - and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don's Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie - and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper.

I think this is one of those situations where the book suffered from too much hype. I liked it well enough, but that was it. And when you go into a book expecting to absolutely adore it, "liking it well enough" is a bit of a disappointment.

But when I try to separate my thoughts of the book itself from that disappointment, I really did enjoy it. Don and Rosie were both delightfully described, and thanks to "Big Bang Theory" I had no problems at all imagining somebody as utterly socially clueless as Don. (Although, on the other hand, sometimes the similarities between Don Tillman and Sheldon Cooper seemed too huge to be coincidental, which did rub me the wrong way somewhat). There were a lot of funny scenes, and I loved seeing Don slowly fall in love - without realizing it himself until it was almost too late.

So on one hand I'd probably have liked this more if I'd approached it without any expectations, but on the other hand I did look at it back when it was brand new, and put it down again, because the back blurb didn't catch my fancy, so obviously I did need the hype to get me curious. I doubt I'll be reading any more of this series though.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Lesbian Assassins
Author: Audrey Faye
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 117
Date read: February 2015

"There are lots of people who think these guys can't change, that respect and decency can't be created overnight. They haven't spent three minutes with us in an alleyway."

Meet two women with sharp knives, soft hearts, and a big secret. Oh, and a new recruit they can't seem to dislodge from the back seat.

Carly and Jane travel the roads, helping women in need. This time, someone has asked for their help - but the guy she wants them to take care of isn't scared of their knives. And probably hasn't done anything worth ending up dead for. Yet.

You can't hide talent. And that also goes for this author, writing under a different pen-name in a completely different genre. The wordsmithery is still there, as is the ability to create engaging characters and wacky situations.

I've put off reading "Lesbian Assassins", as I wasn't sure it could live up to my expectations, being so completely different from what I'm used to from this author. Fortunately, my concerns were unfounded, and I ended up reading the book in two quick sittings. It's ridiculously readable, and I quickly fell in love with the characters.

Looking back at it, I did think that perhaps the climax was just a tad too perfect to be entirely realistic, but it didn't bother me too much, so I'm keeping it at four stars.

I really hope Audrey Faye goes ahead and writes a sequel. I'd love to read more about these charming characters, and am certain we haven't even scratched the surface of their secrets yet.


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