Visitation Street (Dennis Lehane)
I've been excited to read this book because it was printed under Dennis Lehane books and I love Dennis Lehane. LOVE. I had pretty high hopes for it, and it mostly didn't disappoint. I enjoyed that it was set in Red Hook, Brooklyn because I've been there before and it's interesting neighborhood. You have gentrification and the yuppies moving in, but then you have the Red Hook projects, so it was a great setting for this novel. It starts out on a hot summer night with two girls, Val and June, who take a pink raft out in the bay. In the morning, Val is unconscious on shore with no memory of what happened and June is missing. I loved the mystery as it unfolded and I loved the characters in this story, but I wished that the author had given more depth to all of the characters. They were each so interesting, but I didn't feel as connected to them as I wanted to because she introduced so many (which made sense, to give a broad view of the neighborhood) and never really gave them true depth.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane
I love Neil Gaiman and was pretty excited when this was released, but so was everyone else at the library because it felt like I waited forever on the wait list. I loved this book. I read it in one sitting and found it an unnerving fairy tale. Is it on the level with American Gods or Anansi Boys? Well, no, but come on. It wasn't meant to be. In this book, the main character revisits his childhood, during which a man commits suicide in his father's car and while the body is being removed, he's thrust upon his neighbors: an old woman (older than time itself), her daughter and her daughter's daughter. The youngest, seemingly his age, shows him the ocean at the end of the lane that she claims to have crossed to come to this country, but the ocean is really just a pond--or is it? After this, the boy is left dealing with an entity from another world intent on taking over his life and that of others around him. There isn't much else to say without giving it a way, but it's a good, quick read.
Sisterland: A Novel
I love Curtis Sittenfeld's Prep and American Wife to the point that I've read them multiple times and this one has garnered a lot of praise. I didn't love it as much. I loved the premise. I loved the plot. The narrator grated me to the point that I couldn't enjoy it as much as I wanted. To put it bluntly, she reminded me of a really overbearing Internet mom and I wanted to unfollow her on twitter, only I couldn't. It was overdone to a point in the beginning where I wondered if it was part of the character or the author trying to push her own beliefs because a sentence like, "I poured myself a cup of coffee (when I'm breastfeeding, I limit myself to one cup of coffee and one beer per day)" seemed so clunky and NO ONE CARES. My annoyance with the narrator aside, I enjoyed the idea of twin sisters, one living the suburban mom life ignoring the fact that she used to be able to sometimes predict things about people (have senses), the other a clairvoyant embracing her senses who believes there will be a major earthquake soon, both trying to balance each other out.
Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality
I was wary of reading this one because I thought it would tell me things like: don't ever stay in a hotel again because you will get bedbugs and diseases and die. Fortunately, it did not. I would say that this is basically to hotels what Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential was to the restaurant industry. I loved it! The author has a great voice and sense of humor and gave an inside look into what it would be like to work in the service industry, as well as some tips on what to do and what NOT to do when staying at a hotel. I'm not sure if I will ever have the nerve to tip the person at the check-in desk $20 to try for an upgrade, but I may have to work up the nerve someday!
Joyland (Hard Case Crime)
Does anyone remember the Stephen King who wrote "The Body"? Because I love that author and much to my sheer delight, he's back in Joyland. Joyland is not a horror novel. There were parts that creeped me out and are supernatural, yes, but it isn't The Shining. It's somewhat a coming of age story that centers around a college aged boy, Devin, who takes a job at an amusement park and learns that the house of horrors is supposedly haunted by the ghost of a girl who was murdered there years ago (her killer was never found). As the story unfolds, King introduces a rich cast of characters, supernatural elements and of course, continues the mystery. This is one that I stayed up past midnight reading because I had to know how it ended.
What are you reading?