Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What I Read Wednesday

Scorch (Croak)
Rogue (Croak Series Book 3)
These are the last two books in the Croak series. I really enjoyed them. In these books, it continues the development of the first book. Lex discovers that her powers go beyond simply releasing a soul from the body, and she begins to learn why she has these powers. Additionally, it is discovered that the Grimsphere is being harmed and there is a potential that the souls in Afterlife will cease to exist if nothing is done about it. These books left me pretty attached the characters, particularly the sometimes insightful, always morose soul of Edgar Allan Poe. I enjoyed the author's take on the Afterlife, in which all souls go to the same place, regardless of their life--picture an afterlife where Abraham Lincoln is taunting John Wilkes Booth over a game of Checkers.

The Girl on the Train: A Novel
I was really anticipating this one, based on everyone's reviews. However, like my take on Gone Girl, it fell flat. The story is narrated by three woman: Rachel, Megan and Anna. Rachel is an unemployed alcoholic, reeling after her husband left her for another woman. Due to her drinking and other issues, Rachel is unreliable--not just as a narrator, but as a human being. Megan is a girl who lives near Rachel's ex-husband and who Rachel watches from the train. Megan narrates the events of the story up to her murder. Anna is married to Rachel's ex-husband and picks up the narration post-murder. I enjoyed the story and the set up of the events, but the characters fell flat. They were all one-dimensional to me, and the eventual ending was laid out so easily that I guessed it with about 60 pages left in the book. It definitely didn't wow me like I'd hoped, though I still enjoyed the story.

My Notorious Life: A Novel
Inspired by the story of a real life 19th century midwife, this book chronicles that life of Axie Muldoon, who begins as an unwanted orphan on an orphan train. Leaving behind her brother and sister, Axie returns on the train to New York, where she is reunited briefly with her mother, until her mother dies in childbirth. Lexie is then taken in by the doctor and midwife who helped her mother, and she is trained in the art of midwifery. Following the death of the woman with whom she apprenticed, Axie and her husband quickly become wealthy beyond their wildest dreams by marketing Lunar Tablets for the problem of "female obstruction." However, Axie quickly finds herself in the crosshairs of religious crusaders and is threatened by the thought of losing everything she holds dear.
I loved this story. I don't know how closely it is based on actual history, but from what I've gleaned, the actual story part of her career and eventual disbarring of her rights is pretty accurate. This was an absolutely fascinating story.

Before I Wake
Ahh, here was the psychological thrilled I hoped for with The Girl on the Train. Susan's daughter is in a coma after stepping in front of a bus. Susan's husband, Brian, swears it was an accident, but Susan has a hunch it was more, especially after reading her daughter's diary and learning she had a secret. Susan spends the rest of the novel desperately trying to unravel her daughter's secret, but in layers from Susan's own diary, the reader learns that Susan was once in a very abusive relationship. And Susan… has some mental issues as a result. Is she unreliable and crazy? Or does no one believe her because she was once teetering on the brink mentally? In the midst of trying to discover the reason for her daughter's suicide attempt, Susan fears that her abusive ex-boyfriend James has returned and is out to get her, but is he? Or is he as much a figment of her imagination as her daughter's supposed secret? Although this book was somewhat formulaic and didn't have a huge surprise ending, it was still one that kept me wondering.

What are you reading?


Barb Ruess said...

My Notorious Life ended up being more of a page-turner than I expected. That was a good one.

This week I've read:
- Before I Go: a little on the sappy side (woman has stage 4 cancer, decides to try & find her husband a wife before she dies) but the main character was interesting and it was an entertaining enough story to keep me reading.
- The Ploughmen: I do like stories with sparse dialogue and settings. I think you were the one that said this reminded you a bit of Haruf's books. I agree and I liked the narrative and evolution of the characters quite a bit.

Unknown said...

I am reading The Good Girl by Mary Kubica. It's okay..not one I would highly recommend. It's about a young woman who is abducted. We know right away that she survives, because the story keeps switching to tell what happened before/during the trauma and then to the present day aftermath.

Lyndsay W said...

I'm finishing up 'The Children Act' - didn't love it but I also haven't had a chance to sit and read for a good chunk of time so maybe I didn't give it a fair chance.

I'm also reading an investing book at the urging of my dearest husband. After being in Florida in February he's re-evaluating our investing/retiring plans and wants me to know some things. It's so boring.

Up next is:
The Kitchen House or
The Secret Place

Theresa Mahoney said...

Before I Wake sounds like one I would like. I just took back The Enchanted to the library. I put a few books on hold, so we'll see what comes in first for my next read.