Book mini-reviews part 2

Yeah, I should have done this sooner. I just haven’t wanted to. Still reading a lot, which is pretty much the easiest thing on my list of stuff I want or have to do. So sadly, my impressions might not be as fresh as they were a while back. Still, I’ll do my best to at least be fair.

The Comfort of Strangers by Ian McEwan – Quite possibly the most surreal experience of the challenge. McEwan’s writing style is rather dense. This story itself is quite short, and although I wouldn’t call it “engaging” per se, it does suck one in. More like quicksand than anything else. I don’t recommend it to people who need a happy ending. It’s depressing pretty much throughout, and it might seem to lack purpose to some.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke – I really wanted to like this one. The concept of the cosy mystery appeals to me on many levels, and I like baked goods. Unfortunately, I just had too many problems with this book. First and foremost, I never warmed to the main character. She just seemed like a judgemental know-it-all to me. There were an overwhelming number of named characters, to the point that I looked up from the book once and asked hubby if there would be a test at the end. Nearly none of them were important, which made the ones who were less remarkable. Even the mystery seemed to be secondary, but I wasn’t sure to what.

Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks – Also one I wanted to like, but found too many obstacles. The main character is a genius kid and the son of the world’s foremost criminal mastermind, who eventually enrols in an academy of evil founded by his father. The problem there is the word, ‘eventually’. Everything in this book takes too long. Some of the twists are also quite easy to spot, which makes the time taken that much more of a waste. There’s also a disappointing imbalance in the book’s own “genius level”. Some things, usually to do with maths, are on a higher level of education, while others are… well, crisp-spattered grinning references to things that wouldn’t confuse a goose. I was particularly annoyed when the main character, a computer enthusiast, referred to keyboard shortcuts as though they are used exclusively by disabled users who have difficulty with the mouse. Just… what?

Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie – It’s Poirot. What else can I say? This particular novel is more a collection of short stories, with a mystery per chapter. It was a particularly quick read for me, since I’ve seen most or all of them adapted into television format.

When Day Breaks by Mary Jane Clark – I was expecting more of a genre crossover with this, but it wasn’t a bad prime-time sort of mystery. It was also the sort of mystery wherein the victim was not someone whom the reader would mourn at all, and a few things were obvious very early on. But that is often not an issue, even in cases like this where the murderer is supposed to be a legitimate mystery. Some characters were too stupid to live (and did not survive), but my chiefest complaint with the characters is that there didn’t seem to be a main one. Just a gaggle of people. It’s not a big issue, and it may just be my own issue. Still a good book.

The Talisman Ring by Georgette Heyer – I love this book. On the second page, there is a cantankerous old man who has made his deathbed an opulent scene of red luxury, and he snarks like nobody’s business. It only gets better from there. Most of the characters are hopeless romantics in the worst way, contrasted against the way the real world works and my favourite character, a pragmatic man who, when faced with their insistence that romantic tropes are physical laws, just stares down the silliness with a raised eyebrow. He reminded me of my hubby. It’s not the best Macguffin plot, but the characters are what you’re really there for.

Wow. I have read fifty books this year. Remember when I was worried about only reading fifteen?

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