August 2015 Wrapup: Weeks 3 & 4

1 Sep

Well, August has come and gone, and though I was sure I’d screw up my reading goals for it after the first two incredibly slow weeks, I actually had a decently satisfying reading month! I read a series, I read one of my favorite books of the year (A Little Life), what more could you want? Well, more than 14 books finished, but we can’t always get what we want.

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In The Woods, by Tana French: Finished August 20th. This was a re-read, and a pretty recent one at that. I first read it last year and loved it. Yet it’s part of a series, and I never thought of continuing on? Crazy. Why. So I decided it’d be my series for August, even though I finished it on the 20th and there are 5 books in total. I’m not going to say much about this here because I’m planning a post on just this book, and then one on the series. I’m just obsessed. Crime fiction isn’t usually my thing, but I will always make an exception for Tana French.

Lipstick Rating5 Full

 

 

 

 

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The Likeness, by Tana French: Finished August 22nd. This book has such mixed reviews, but I adored it. I loved Cassie in ITW, so following her story almost directly after that was magical. The premise (that a detective is the doppelganger of a murdered girl and sinks into her life) is indeed far-fetched, and I think if you like really hardboiled crime fiction that might be an issue, but my usual jam is speculative fiction and magical realism. So, yeah, not so much an issue for me.

The atmosphere is hands-down the best part of Tana’s books. I mean, okay, the characters are great, the thematic overlap is amazing, but she is so killer at setting up a unique and amazing set that just pulls you in. I felt like I was living at Whitethorn house while reading this. More importantly, I wanted to live at Whitethorn house, even with all of its messed up and insidious happenings.

Lipstick Rating 4 And 1 Half

 

 

 

 

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The Faithful Place, by Tana French: Finished August 24th. This is many people’s favorite book in the series, but it ended up being my least-favorite. Don’t get me wrong–I still really enjoyed it, but I found it the least compelling. I guess the whole “close-knit messed up family in poverty” just wasn’t my favorite theme. The protagonist, Frank, was actually one of my favorites, but between my kind of meh feelings about the rest of the characters and the fact that I guessed the culprit the first time we met them, it was just a little lackluster compared to the other 4 books.

Lipstick Rating 3 And 1 Half

 

 

 

 

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Broken Harbor, by Tana French: finished August 26th. My second-favorite book in the series, definitely. Each book has its own distinct mood, but I think Broken Harbor has the same creepy, eerie vibe as ITW. There’s something almost surreal about the way events unfold here: what seems like a normal (if gruesome) murder turns into an absolutely bizarre and twisted story about insanity and family. I mean, all of her books are about family way down in the core. But this one touched some cord within me. I loved all the characters, the plot, the mystery, the twists… this was almost as perfect as In The Woods. Almost.

Lipstick Rating5 Full

 

 

 

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Secret Place, by Tana French: Finished August 29th. The last book in the series! So far, because I’m sure there will be more. The format, where the main characters are only loosely connected and each case is essentially a stand-alone, makes it so it never gets old. With a lot of detective/crime series you get SO tired of the main detective, which is obviously not an issue here. So Tana French, please write a million more. I WANT SO MANY MORE.

Ahem. Secret Place is a bit different than the rest of the series: it takes place in one day, to start, and many of the ongoing themes (duality of characters & past/present, which I’ll be talking about in the full post) are subverted. Also, every single suspect is a teenager, which makes for a twisted web of girl subterfuge to dig through. It’s also nice proof that not every book with teenage girls in it has to fall into the tropes & pitfalls of young adult. This is actually my 4th-favorite book in the series, but I love them all so much.

Lipstick Rating 4 Full

 

 

 

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Working For Bigfoot, by Jim Butcher: Finished August 29th. When I finish a series I really love, I get kind of a book hangover. Once I read that last page of Secret Place, my immediate reaction was “great, now where’s the next one?!” And I tend to dislike the book I read right after, so I thought long and hard about what to read after the Dublin Murder Squad series. And really, what’s better than another entry in another series that I love? Yeah, more Dresden Files for me. I have the comics left, too, but now I’m trying to stretch it out as much as possible.

This is a collection of 3 novellas about, well, working with a Bigfoot. Who is actually mentioned in Skin Game, so it was exciting to go back and get the backstory on that. Since these were so short they were lacking in the signature character development of the Dresden world, but they were still fun reads that just make me want the next book so bad.

Lipstick Rating 3 Full

 

 

 

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Murder On The Orient Express, by Agatha Christie: Finished August 30th. I wanted a really fast read, and I enjoyed And Then There Were None a lot, so this seemed like the obvious next choice for me. This was an interesting reading experience. Up until the end I was convinced it was a 3-star read for me: I found the strange sexism/racism (Italians kill people with knives cause they’re passionate, what) offputting, and all of the coincidences were just too much.

And then. You get to the end. Oh Christie, you got me! The resolution was absolutely amazing: in plain sight the whole time, but not something you would ever get. The clues are all there, though, and this was just such a masterful mystery. While I’m not a huge fan of Christie’s characters, she sure as hell can weave together a mystery.

Lipstick Rating 4 Full

 

 

 

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Rule, by C.D Reiss: Finished August 31st. I’m reading the Malazan series in September, so I wanted to end August on something fun and easy. C.D Reiss is such a guilty pleasure author for me, and I devour her Drazen books like candy. This is the last of Theresa’s books, so it was kind of a bittersweet read. I love her (even though Fiona is my favorite Drazen, gotta be honest), and having to see her story end was so sad. Plus Reiss rips our hearts out several times… I just want Theresa and Antonio to be happy! Why are you torturing me! And why do I love it so much!!

Lipstick Rating 4 Full

 

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