I'm more than a little late to the Show Us Your Books link up but I had such a good reading month in January that I had to share. I started 2017 off right with reading ten books with some really good ones in there. It helped that I went on vacation in January so there was lot of travel reading which I love. I have no problem sitting at an airport or on a plane and getting lost in a book.
Chief Inspector Gamache #10
The Long Way Home was a slightly different Penny novel. It centered around the main characters and I found it to be pretty depressing and bleak, which is totally not a bad thing, just different from her usual. I found myself feeling frustrated with Clara from time to time. I know she had to do things her way on this journey but sometimes I wanted Gamache to take charge. Errol used to work with asbestos so I found that aspect interesting. The ending was heartbreaking. I was kind of angry at Penny for getting me to actually like Peter for once and then nope, jk. I dove right into the next one, The Nature of the Beast, right away.
All the Missing Girls hooked me from the first page. The backwards time flip flop was weird and had me confused at first but once I wrapped my head around it, I realized that it helped add to the mystery. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. Miranda had all of the elements of a great thriller; lost love, a disappearance, fragmented memories. While this may be morbid, I love stories of disappearances. I would recommend this to fans of The Girl on the Train and Gillian Flynn.
I devoured this book and I found myself thinking about it long after. What really hit home for me was the section of the book where Lina was in Siberia. I kept thinking about how I think it's cold here when it's negative 10-15 but that is nothing compared to what Lina endured. I remember taking a hot shower at one point and just feeling thankful that I have never felt that cold. I was fascinated by the whole story. I never knew that people were deported to Siberia during WWII and held there long after the war ending. I can't imagine being stuck there for 12 years and surviving it. I would have liked to know more about her liberation and Andrius.
Another WWII winner. Lilac Girls did not evoke my emotion the way Nightingale or All the Light We Cannot See did but it was still thoroughly engrossing. I liked the way it was told from three women's point of views and didn't just focus on the war itself but the after effects, both physical and psychological, of living during that time. While I could not agree or even understand Herta's perspective, I appreciated that Kelly included it. You rarely see that point of view but Herta's complicity and belief that even after the fact she did nothing wrong, left me so angry. I struggled with Kasia and her anger as well. She was such a positive and strong women during the war and after, she was so full of hate and anger that she let it ruin so many years of her life.
I'm generally a fan of Bohjalian but this wasn't my favorite. Bohjalian is from Vermont so he tends to write about areas that I am familiar with. The Double Bind started out slow but the setting (Burlington,VT) and the whole Great Gatsby thing was intriguing. The depiction and development of the character's mental state was not at all where I thought this story was going. It started as a mystery and slowly turned into a psychological thriller of sorts.
A short and quick read that left me with a smile on my face. I tend to be a glass half full type of person and loved the positive theme of this book. The writing and the story were original. I liked that it made you question your version of happiness. I shared the same opinion as the happiness doctor in that I think happiness is a state of mind and that some people are more predisposed to be happy/positive than others. I'm interested in reading the other Hector books.
It's hard for me to formulate an opinion on this book. It was just so fucked up that part of me really liked it but the other was like wtf just happened. I spent the whole book waiting for the thing to happen that when it did, it left me reeling. I'm still trying to decide if Reid constructed a brilliant story or not. Another book about the psychology of madness but this was more intense than The Double Bind.
This is my third Tropper book and it didn't disappoint. Totally different than Book of Joe, One Last Thing reminded me of This is Where I Leave You. Tropper has a thing for writing about middle aged men divorced and going through a mid-life crisis. My one negative of this book is the open ending. I hate endings that leave you wondering what happened and if the author meant for you to believe that the outcome that you wanted to happen, happened.
I think if I had listened to this and not known so much of the Maura Murray story, I would have liked it a lot better. Maura Murray disappeared not far from where I live. I've been by the crash site many times and because it happened in basically my backyard, I'm interested in the case. I read Renner's blog about Maura several years ago and was actively reading it when he mentions some of the things happening in the book. I even went down the Topix message board rabbit hole because I was so into the theories and what everyone was saying. Because of this, there were no huge revelations in this book for me. If you've read his blog, this book is basically there. The only thing that isn't is the parts about Renner's personal life, which I had a hard time with. I personally had a problem with him sharing so much about his son's behavioral issues and didn't feel that it was his right to share some of it. I also found it a little too neat/convenient when he basically self diagnosed himself as a psychopath. Errol and I listened to this together and one day even took a ride by the crash site while listening to the book because we're cool like that. I'd like to believe that Maura did run away over the alternative that there is some pyscho in my backyard.
I bought this book on a whim and man, what a let down. I was expecting so much more out of this book and it was not at all what I thought it was. It was boring and pointless. I thought it was going to be about an abduction and someone being taken and it was about everything but that.
Love It: Between Shades of Gray and All the Missing Girls
Leave It: A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain