As previously mentioned in my non fiction round up I have failed miserably at Cannonballing this year while still managing to hit my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal. My hope had been to finish my backlog today at work but, while we weren’t very busy there were more people around so I never quite found time to play around on the Internet. Therefore these are going to be even more bare bones than my non-fiction round up.
The Chelsea Girls – Fiona Davis
I read several Fiona Davis novels this year and The Chelsea Girls, the most recent, was probably my least favorite. Davis changes up her m.o. by having the novel span decades but follows the same two characters throughout the years; going from WWII to the McArthur era and beyond with actress Maxine Mead and playwright Hazel Riley. There was a little bit of mystery but no big connecting “Ah-ha” moment to really bring the whole thing together.
Mrs. Fletcher – Tom Perrotta
I picked this one up because it was recently adapted into a television series starring the perennially under rated Kathryn Hahn. Unfortunately I was underwhelmed by this coming of middle age novel surrounding an empty nesting divorcee who discovers porn after her son goes off to college. I also didn’t like how abrupt the ending was.
Lost Roses- Martha Hall Kelley
Lost Roses is the prequel to Lilac Girls and focuses on Caroline Ferriday’s mother, Eliza; her friend, Sofya, a Russian aristocrat at the onset of the Bolshevik Revolution; and Varinka a Russian girl whose abusive guardian is leading the uprising in their area. While I enjoyed Lilac Girls more than Lost Roses this was still a well written and engaging novel that was expanded on a subject I don’t know that much about. While Kelley has probably exhausted the Ferriday women’s usefulness as characters I do look forward to her next historical novel.
Mrs. Everything- Jennifer Weiner
I really loved the decades sweeping story of the Kaufman sisters. Weiner starts outside Detroit in the 1950s and ends worlds away in the 2010s telling the story of wild-child Bethie and the closeted Jo. Both women have peaks and valleys, and never seem to be on top at the same time, but overall the story seems rooted in reality and is probably the best of Weiner’s recent novels.
Rich People Problems- Kevin Kwan
Rich People Problems finishes out the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy but unfortunately is not as good as its predecessors. While Rachel and Nick are still at the forefront of the novel there is an increasing focus on secondary characters like Astrid, whose half-hearted love triangle between her ex-boyfriend and her shitty husband has worn thin, and Kitty Pong, the wife of a billionare feuding with her similarly aged step-daughter. Rich People Problems also drags out more peripheral characters to mixed results with highs like Su-Yi’s backstory and lows like the infuriating cousin Eddie. The main story line is that Nick’s grandmother’s health has deteriorated and her lavish Singaporean property, Tyersall Park, is at the center of the family’s dysfunction. Overall this felt like a sequel that didn’t need to happen.
Bird Box- Josh Malerman
Unless you were living under a rock you’ve probably heard about the Netflix movie Bird Box, an adaptation of Malerman’s novel. Mysterious beings that, when seen by humans (and animals), send people into a homicidal and suicidal rage. Malorie, who has survived five years in the post-apocalyptic world with her two children, has decided to make her way down river to a commune she heard about at the start of the downward spiral. The novel, like the movie, is good but not great although it doesn’t have Sandra Bullock to elevate the material.
The Rest of Us Just Live Here- Patrick Ness
This was a charming YA novel that focuses on the characters who aren’t part of the main story line. There are small snippets of the “main actions” but the primary focus is on regular student Mikey as well as his sister, the object of his affection, Henna, and his best friend who happens to be part cat-God. I loved the tongue and cheek nature of this one so much so that I was able to overlook some of the deficiencies in the actual storyline
You Bring the Distant Near–Mitali Perkins
Another decades spanning novel about two sisters that is an absolute winner. In terms of breadth Mrs. Everything is probably a more complete novel, You Bring the Distant Near jumps years more rapidly, but overall Perkins’ novel about two Indian sisters coming of age in 1970s and 80s America is fantastic especially as it leaves the story of Sonia and Tara in favor of their daughters, Shanti and Anna.
The Impossible Fortress- Jason Rekulak
In 1987 three friends go on a quest to retrieve the Holy Grail, Vana White’s issue of Playboy, and while the premise is ridiculous the novel is adorable. One of the boys, Billy, is an up and coming video game programmer who strikes up a friendship with the shopkeeper’s daughter, another programmer. He begins visiting the store daily to get help entering a big programming contest from the one person in town who dwarfs his computer skills. Unfortunately Billy lets his friends think he is trying to sweet talk the alarm code out of Mary so they can steal the magazine at night and it causes big problems down the line.
Since my laptop isn’t working and I’ve been doing all this on my phone which SUCKS and takes forever I don’t see myself realistically getting even three sentences written about the below five books before I pass out for the night/ before the cut off tomorrow.
The Problem With Forever
And We’re Off
Dear Girls (read after writing my non-fiction round up)
I hate half-assing things and I can’t see myself finding any more time in the day in 2020 so I will be bowing out of CBR12. I look forward to reading all of your reviews at 2am while I have a machine or baby attached to my boobs. See you in 2021?!