Recent Reads: September

loner-the-girls-book-reviewThe Real Liddy James
I liked this one and got through it pretty quick. It was sent to me by the publishers but I had no obligation to review. It centered on a potentially tired trope – the whole “can she have it all,” thing, about a woman who’s trying to balance work and career and has it all in a precarious balance – but I felt like this was a fresh spin on it. I enjoyed the writing and found it kind of charming.

The Girls
This was also a gift from the publisher with no obligation to review. I read this at the end of the summer and it was a good poolside read. It was one of those books where you really feel transported to the setting – the 60’s, a hot, hazy summer, with all of these basically unsupervised girls who are kind of lost and fall in with a cult. That was what really stood out to me, was how differently kids are supervised now than they were back then (or weren’t), which is something that my Mom has pointed out to me. Everyone just trusted everyone back then – you didn’t lock your doors, you let your kids go out without strict supervision…it was definitely a different time. Anyway I liked the book and the only drawback I felt was that I didn’t really feel like the author made the reader understand the magnetism of the cult leader. I always wonder this when I see documentaries or read about cults – what is it about the leader that makes people follow him and allows him to get them to do such crazy things? I rarely get the answer so I guess I can’t blame the author for that…it could be just one of those inexplicable things.

The Decent Proposal
Liked this also. It was definitely better than I expected it to be. The setup for the plot was slightly ridiculous (two strangers receive a proposal from a mysterious benefactor – they spend two hours per week together for a year and receive half a million dollars at the end of it, no strings attached). But for such a silly premise, the author kind of pulled it off! It kept my interest and I liked the characters. I didn’t like the end as much as the rest of the book which is always a bit disappointing, but overall I liked it. FYI, if you’re from LA or are into LA, you will probably love this book. As much as I despise this saying, I can’t think of another way of saying it – this book was a “love letter” to LA (ugh). So yeah, I don’t care much about LA so that part of the book didn’t do it for me, but if it had been set in NYC I would have been completely charmed by that layer that the author added to the story.

Loner
Ooh, this one was so good. Chilling, creepy…but that’s really over simplifying it. It’s about a student at Harvard who’s sort of awkward and nerdy and then gets obsessed with one of his fellow students to an increasingly uncomfortable degree. The great thing that Teddy Wayne did here was to make his character human. Yes, he’s mentally disturbed and does terrifying things, but he’s also recognizable, and has qualities that we can all relate to – times when he feels awkward, and feels like the only awkward one in the room…I mean, we’ve all felt that at one point or another (or many times). That’s what made this book stand out – the multi-dimensional character development, the intimate look inside the main character’s mind, and the way you almost feel for him even as you feel increasingly uneasy. Then also the plot is just super compelling and it’s a total page-turner, plus I’m a big fan of books that take place at prep schools and colleges (Prep, The Art of Fielding, etc). Really, really well done.

The Woman in Cabin 10
Liked it! I don’t know, I just like Ruth Ware. She writes the kind of thrillers I enjoy and even though they’re not perfect (just in terms of plot plausibility), overall I enjoy them. Just like with her first book, In a Dark Dark Wood (I reviewed it here), The Woman in Cabin 10 evokes that sort of Agatha Christie And Then There Were None type vibe by placing a cast of characters in an isolated environment and letting the mystery unfold. If you like thrillers like Girl on the Train, et al., I think you’ll be into Ruth Ware.

The Couple Next Door
Ummm…not sure on this one. While I was reading it I couldn’t help but think that it just really wasn’t very good. The writing wasn’t my favorite and the plot was pretty outlandish and well, actually, simply ridiculous. That being said, I did finish it so it can’t be that bad! Seriously though, can’t recommend this one.

Have you read any of these? Do you agree with my assessment or vehemently disagree? Let me know in the comments!

7 comments

  1. Nnenna says: October 3, 2016

    I haven’t read any of theses yet, but The Girls has been on my TBR for a while. I’ve also wanted to read one of Ruth Ware’s books because I’ve heard a lot of people buzzing about them. Loner also sounds super interesting- I love novels about disturbed characters who are somewhat sympathetic!

  2. karen says: October 3, 2016

    Chevy Stevens is one I highly recommend for the thrill lovers. She has about 7 books to date . I can still remember her first book.Still Missing. Whew, the ending of that book I did not see coming.

    1. Elana says: December 9, 2016

      I love Chevy Stevens books, Lisa Unger’s as well. Noah Hawley’s The Fall was also a terrific, flawed character read.

  3. Maria Fernanda says: October 3, 2016

    I tried reading The Girls, but for some reason I couldn’t get trough it.

    The woman in cabin 10 sounds good, might listen to the audiobook.

    Thanks for your great recommendations!

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