Saturday, July 21, 2007

More Summer Reading

I'm waiting for UPS to bring my Harry Potter book, so I thought I'd write up a few quick reviews.

No Nest for the Wicket by Donna Andrews - This is the latest in her Meg Langslow mysteries. I really enjoy these, and Wicket was no exception. Meg and her family are lots of fun, there's an evil developer (always fun in a mystery), Duck plays an important role, and the mystery takes place around an eXtreme croquet tournament played by the cream of Caerphilly society. I would recommend starting with the first, Murder With Peacocks just to get acclimated to the Langslow clan, but you can really start anywhere in the series.

Antiques Roadkill by Barbara Allan - This is the first in a new cozy mystery series (Trash 'N' Treasure), and there was a lot to like. I guess I'm interested in reading the follow-up, Antiques Maul, to see if "she" (the author is actually a pseudonym for a husband and wife team) settles down a bit. The constant asides and parenthetical comments were disruptive, and the heroine isn't all that sympathetic. Well, the story is written in first person, and you learn quickly that she had an affair with a married man, this ended her marriage, and her husband has custody of their son. But you don't learn how she feels about any of that, which is weird, because she vents pretty much any other thought that enters her head, including rants about fashion, architecture, and more. She also turns the narration over to her bipolar mother for ten pages, which is unnecessary and tedious. The mystery was pretty well-done, though I did figure it out, at least partly, which I usually don't do. Some of the humor was very well-done, too, and it was enjoyable to read at times. I guess, pick this up if you're desperate for a new cozy mystery.

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin - This is an extraordinary book. It's a YA novel that opens with Liz, an almost-sixteen year old waking up on a boat, with no memory of how she got there. She realizes quickly that she's dead, and the boat is taking her to Elsewhere. (This isn't a spoiler--you can find that out by reading the back of the book.) Read this with a box of tissues handy. It's funny and poignant and beautiful. I don't want to give away any more of the plot, but if the premise sounds at all interesting to you, pick it up. Liz and the supporting cast are wonderfully drawn, and the writing is a delight.

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