Thursday, December 07, 2017

Brief Reviews: a collection

There are a number of books I've read over the  last few months that I've never reviewed here: some because I didn't have enough to say about them, some because I reviewed them for the Library Journal as part of my professional duties & so can't do so here. But I can share some brief thoughts about all these kind of reads, and today is the day!

First off, some Library Journal reads:

Wildwood / Elinor Florence

A Canadian novel of survival in a remote farming community, the heart of the story is in its focus on women's relationships throughout the generations. Really enjoyed it; wholesome writing, great setting. Forthcoming in 2018.

The Other Mother / Carol Goodman 

Haven't reviewed this one yet, just finished it -- it is forthcoming. But as with most of Goodman's books I can recommend it. This tale moves toward the very popular domestic suspense genre but still carries the aura of Goodman's gothic predilections. 

The Marriage Pact / Michelle Richmond

Loved it! A fun, suspenseful read that I like to call "the Da Vinci Code for marriage counsellors". You can see some of my LJ review on the author's website if you scroll down a bit.

Modern Lovers / Emma Straub

While I wasn't a huge fan of Straub's novel The Vacationers, I really enjoyed this one. It has heart. See my LJ review here.

And now for a few random reads that I never got around to talking about after I'd finished them.

The Snow Child / Eowyn Ivey
I had this on my tbr for years! I finally got around to it this year and was sadly underwhelmed. Perhaps I wasn't in the right mood but the story seemed too slow paced for me and the ending was a bit of an eyeroll. Sorry to those who've loved it! 

The Clothes on their Backs / Linda Grant
This story of an immigrant family in England faced with the existence of the main character's flashy uncle (involved in things that aren't always just so) was a complex and interesting read. I felt a little disconnected from the narrative though. I was engaged while I was reading but found the ending a bit of a let down. Lots of very tactile description in it, however, which I really liked.

Under Plum Lake / Lionel Davidson
This classic children's book was recommended to me as a vision of true utopia. I read it. I disagree strongly that the vision of a life under the sea with a very masculine focused society and a snotty know-it-all main character who condescendingly references his mother and little sister is a utopian vision. Times change, thankfully.

Mr. Rochester / Sarah Shoemaker
I read this "true story" of Mr. Rochester of Jane Eyre fame quickly -- I liked it despite my usual hesitation over either real people or other writer's characters being used in new books. The writing was good and it seemed to stick to possibilities suggested by the original text. But it has quickly faded from memory. I think my own Mr Rochester is stronger in my readerly brain. But the cover is too gorgeous!

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler / E.L. Konigsburg
I would have LOVED this as a kid. I don't know how I missed this story of unappreciated Claudia who runs away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art with her little brother when I was the right age for it. I liked it as an adult reader but it just doesn't have the same magic when you don't find it at the right time.

I hope that I've now caught up a bit; this year has been getting away from me! More reviews and a yearly roundup to come, though... 


  1. I was lucky enough to read The Mixed-Up Files as a kid, and I did love it. I still have a copy on my shelves. But I have never read most of her other books. I don't know now if our library didn't have them, or I just stuck with the book that I loved.

    I was also underwhelmed by The Snow Child, and you're the first other reader I've found who felt that way.

    1. Thanks Lisa - I know I would have really loved it at the right age. As it is I feel that connection to A Wrinkle In Time, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, and Mara Daughter of the Nile. :)

      Whew, glad to find at least one other reader who felt the same about The Snow Child. I just couldn't connect.

  2. Great post. I need to start doing shorter reviews. Then maybe I'd actually get around to writing about ALL the books I read, and not just some of them. :D

    1. Yes, I feel *so*far*behind* in my reviewing this year!

  3. Sometimes brief reviews suffice. I read and loved From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler as a child. Lovely mini reviews! :)

    1. Yes, sometimes there isn't that much to say about certain books, and sometimes I can't seem to put two thoughts together even if there is something to say ;)


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