Wednesday, October 20, 2010

September Books

I only finished four books this month. Obviously I must have accomplished other things. Like . . . hmmm, well there was . . . and maybe . . .

Nope. Just plain underachieving in September.

ROCKET BOYS/Homer Hickham/C-
Memoir of growing up in coal country and designing rockets in the 1950s. A popular book, turned into a movie titled OCTOBER SKY. Maybe I was just in a particularly bad mood when I read it, but Hickham irritated me no end. My favorite person was his father, who I thought got the worst possible interpretation by his son. But maybe that's because I've got teenage boys myself at the moment and I hope they give me the benefit of the doubt much more than Hickham gave his father.

THE ANGEL'S GAME/Carlos Ruis Zafon/B+
" . . .if Shadow of the Wind is the nice, good girl in the family, The Angel’s Game would be the wicked gothic stepsister"
That is how the author compares his two novels. Apparently I am the good girl in the family, because I liked SHADOW a little better than this one. But it is hauntingly gothic, set in Barcelona between the two world wars, following David Martin who writes pulp fiction in large and silent house whose secrets are slowly poisoning him. It's got devils and scripture and mysterious death and dangerous love. Zafon's books can easily be read alone, but there is power in the subtle connections he makes between different characters inhabiting the same world.

In 1978, four university students in Scotland stumble over the dying Rosie Duff in the snow. The four young men are the only suspects, but the police cannot find evidence. The original investigation ends in a tragedy--and then the book jumps to 2003 and the creation of a Cold Case Squad. Rosie's murder is one of those resurrected cases, and not just by the police. Two of the four students are soon murdered themselves and the remaining two must do their own digging into the past before they're next. Excellent story.

CRESCENDO/Becca Fitzpatrick/A-
Full Disclosure: Becca is my friend. She sent me a signed ARC of CRESCENDO which allowed me to read it before it was released in the U.S. She signed a hardcover for me at Wordstock, also before the U.S. release. I find it difficult to review a book within that context. So I will say simply this: Becca's a NY Times bestseller for a reason. She writes for her audience and delivers what they want in unexpected ways. In this sequel to HUSH, HUSH, Nora can't understand why bad boy Patch (now her guardian angel) is pulling away. But there is, of course, a reason. It's a pretty twisty-turny reason that unwinds throughout the story, and it has everything to do with the murder of Nora's father one year ago. Of course I'm going to tell you to read it. And of course I'm going to tell you to start with HUSH, HUSH. And I'm also going to say: "Becca, have fun on your two-week book tour of the UK. You deserve it."

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