Books I am reading

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Shanley Family in Free Fall

     I admit straight out that I only read about 15% of the book. It is the story of the Shanley family; mother, Deb; father, teenage son, Simon; and pre-teen, Kay. And an angry ex-lover of Jack. She prints out all the e-mails and texts sent during their torrid romance, and leaves this time-bomb at the desk of the apartment where Jack lives. Kay comes home, and the doorman asks her to take the box to her mother. Her curiosity leads her to begin reading what is in the box, she shares it with her brother, who then shows it to his mom, etc.
     It is quickly revealed that Deb met Jack while he was still married to someone else. I decided I had no desire to wade through the rest of their sordid life. Other reviews have pointed out that the book is divided into four parts, with the second part revealing how each family member turns out, and then going back to explain how they arrived where they ended.
     Ms Pierpont's writing is good. I just didn't feel like wasting my time with this family. I give it 2 stars.

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Bones of You

     The Bones of You is the story of a young woman, Rosie, 18 years old, who goes missing and is ultimately found murdered. It is the story of her family and the dynamics that have lead to this moment in time, and, of a neighbor who becomes consumed in understanding what has happened to Rosie.
     Ms Howell's utilizes the device of moving between the concerned neighbor, Kate, who has a daughter the same age as Rosie, and Rosie's observations from the hind-sight of her death. It is similar to Alice Seabold's The Lovely Bones, I do not feel that Ms Howell is able to pull it off as smoothly or convincingly. 
     While the writing is adequate, the story is so disturbing, that I did not like this novel. It was a story of pure evil, generational abuse, and how children can become lost in the abuse of their parents. For this reason, and the awkward passing back and forth between the living and the dead, I only give 2 stars to this novel.

The Truth According to Us

     Macedonia, WV is a small town running on history and a shakey hold on the present. Layla Beck is a priveleged young woman, sent to Macedonia throught the Works Progress artists' writing project, exiled by her Senator father in order to grow up and get in touch with real life.
     Miss Beck is assigned to live with the Romeyn family, once the leaders of Macedonia, but now languishing on the outer edges of society. Felix is the shady son of the former president of the local mill. He has two daughter's, Willa, 11, and Bird, about 8 years old, cared for by his sister, Jollie, a 30-something spinster. There are also twin sisters, Mae and Minerva, who live in the family home.
     Layla interviews town's people in order to write the Sesquesentenial History of Macedonia, she begins to understand there are deeply hidden secrets that few people want uncovered, an agreed upon understanding of the past that doesn't line up with the facts, and a mystery surrounding the fire at the mill that killed Felix's best friend and Jollie's love, and caused the downfall of their father from being the president of the mill.
     Willa is determined to "assist" Layla in order to learn more of the roles of her father and aunt in Macedonia, to understand why her father comes and goes secretly, why Jollie has never married, and, to keep Layla from falling in love with her father and stealing even more of his time away from her.
     The story is complicated with many twists and turns that kept me engaged throughout the book. The device of interspeecing letters with narative did not always work and slowed the forward movement too often, especially in the first have of the book. But it was definitely worth persevering through those spots to glean the richness of the characters.
     I give this a 4 star rating, and highly recomend it for those who like historic fiction, family sagas, and explorations of "history" and "perception".

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Rhyme of the Magpie by Marty Wingate

     The Rhyme of the Magpie is the first book in a new series by Marty Wingate. I read the first in her Potting Shed series and signed up through Netgalley to review this book as well.
Julia Lanchester has just started a new job as the public relations promoter for Smeaton-Under-Lyme, hired by the local earl to make his village a tourist destination. We soon learn that she has recently quit working for her father, the famed birder, Rupert Lanchester, who hosts an award-winning show on BBC Two. It was not an amicable split, so when Rupert comes to try to patch things up, Julia quickly asks him to leave without hearing him out. Julia's step-mother calls the next day to say that Rupert has gone missing and she is concerned. Julia decides to visit the family retreat to see if Rupert hqas holed up there to plan next season's shows, but stumblews across a dead body while searching the grounds. Rupert's new assistant, Michael Sedwick, has shown up, and offers to help Julia look for Rupert, and now clear any suspicion that he had anything to do with the death on his property.
Many twists and turns occur as Julia digs more deeply into her father's recent activities. She is not quite sure if Michael is a help, or part of the problem. And several people around Rupert appear "freindly" but also taking advantage of Rupert's broadcast fame. Who to trust?
This is a fun, light-hearted cozy mystery with interesting characters and sites. Warm a pot and pour your tea as you follow Julia on the quest to find her father and save his reputation. I give this 4 solid stars!