08 July 2011

The Last Aloha ~ Gaellen Quinn

< OK >

Girly twaddle.
Ok ... there is an Historical Novel between the covers as well

As always, I am drawn to read about Hawaii and this has it’s historical background in the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy and the US annexation of Hawaii.

This rich and turbulent history was sugar wrapped in girly romance. And so unoriginal and predictable (“Ohhh! No!! No wonder I was drawn to him .... sighhhh ... he is my half brother ... ahhhhh). Good Grief. Characters are cardboard stereotypes with the baddies being bad and the goodies being good relentlessly.

07 July 2011

The Art Of Racing In the Rain ~ Garth Stein


New York Times Bestseller
Ohmygod! Not for me! Yerk!

I gave up. Worried about my sugar levels.

Much as I love my dog and can have long conversations with him, I just can’t get into “Dog” books (this one, and “Marley & Me”).

To each his own ... and obviously as a NYT Bestseller, I am the minority.

But just so this review isn’t completely wasted :

Here is a picture of my dog, Mac.
Awww! Isn’t he cute!!!

06 July 2011

The Grand Hotel ~ Gregory Day


Bellingen Writers Festival
Unfinished ... put aside till another day.

A rare thing that I put a book aside but after reading a quarter of this book I still hadn’t engaged in any way.

This read like a yarn (a bit of an Aussie Keillor Garrison ... but without the witty sharp observations). So it yarned away without any depth to the characters. I know that there is a “series” of his books set in Mangowak so maybe I needed to start at the first (though I thought that this was) because there was an inference about things that had already happened and characters who had a past. But in the long run ... who cares? Maybe I will go back to it again.

05 July 2011

The Reversal ~ Michael Connelly

** OK **

#3 in the Mickey Haller series.
Combines Bosch + Haller

Even though this featured long established Bosch and relative newbie Haller, the characterisation tended to be shallow with them just popping in and out of scenes with a chorus of other characters - wives, children, co-workers, protagonists.

It ended up being rather shallow, not all that suspenseful and with a conclusion that raised your eyebrows in disbelief.

04 July 2011

Crooked Letter Crooked Letter ~ Tom Franklin

< OK >

Not much to comment on ... a beach/airport read.
Ummm ... that’s about it!

I liked the southern dialogue y’all but the characters were a bit one dimensional and the ending was just too “nice”.

Crooked-letter-crooked-letter refers to a way to remember the spelling of “Mississippi” ... which is nothing to do with the story other than it is set in Mississippi. The sense of place is the best thing about the book ... from White Trash Road to the food from the greasy diner. The hero has feet of clay. The poor bullied citizen does little to help himself. The villain is about the most believable.

2011 Gold Dagger Award

03 July 2011

Caribou Island ~ David Vann

* LIKE *

A bit of a morbid/depressing read!
Bleak House being built in a Bleak Place by Bleak People

Had read reviews of this book on SF Gate but resisted ... gave in to this resistance after his guest appearance on “First Tuesday Book Club”. He was very eloquent, well read and interesting ... and this book was the same (eloquent, well expressed, easy read but with depth)

The book was short and rather brutal about human relationships. The setting was as stark as the characters. Set in Alaska and it didn’t gussy it up as an idyllic escape but maybe more as a frontier for those with a set of problems.

The husband-wife relationship was a bit on the scary side. Other relationships weren’t quite as as well developed. While I found their interpersonal relationships believable, I thought the ending rushed itself.

02 July 2011

Skippy Dies ~ Paul Murray


Longlisted : Man Booker Prize 2010
Finalist : National Book Critics Circle Award 2010 
Tournament of Books : 2011

A wonderful multilayered read.

Hard to use the word “enjoyed” ... it was so melancholic with dashes of sweet humour... but it was an such an enjoyable read. It was a well written and absorbing narrative, jumping between characters and voice.

Yes, Skippy dies right at the beginning .... he is a teenage schoolboy at an exclusive Irish boarding school. The story gives background to Skippy and his friends with teenage angst and coming of age, but also gives background though the stories of the school staff.

There is a mix of bullying (by the boys and their teachers) and pedophilia and the sad tangles of life that impacted on Skippy.

Alphie also really enjoyed this ... for a different set of reasons ... as I said, it is multi-layered and has many themes running through it.