Friday, April 13, 2018

Mini Book Reviews (2)

On to the second set of mini book reviews...

I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara

I'd heard about this book only after Michelle McNamara died in her sleep a couple of years ago. I know who Patton Oswalt is and that she was his wife. I learned about her book in-progress and became fascinated about her search for this killer. I didn't know a thing about this case before I read the book. Parts of California were terrorized for 10 years while this killer was active. McNamara takes us through the crimes, all the clues left behind and what the investigations have yielded after all this time. It's been a truly frightening look into the actions and psychology of a serial rapist/killer. I can't deny a nightmare or two or checking my windows more than once before bed. I can only hope they finally catch this man and bring him to justice. But read with the lights on....

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

This was Ware's first book. A lot of people on Goodreads said this was her best and their favorite. Well, I read the Woman in Cabin 10 right after and can tell you I enjoyed that one much better.

This one was a bit rough for me. Nora is a reclusive writer of crime novels at age 26. She likes it that way. But she receives an email from an old friend she hasn't been in contact with for 10 years, inviting her to her bachelorette party (or hen party in the UK). She agrees as long as another friend from high school agrees to go too. It's rough for me because I didn't quite buy that she would go to this party. But OK. The person hosting the hen party seems a bit unhinged and overly dramatic. She seems obsessed with Clare (the one getting married). Well, we find out Nora dated Clare's fiance in high school and something happened with him to make Nora leave school and never contact anyone again.

The story goes back and forth between Nora at the hen party in the dark, dark woods and Nora in the hospital bruised and broken and unable to remember much. It ended up being a bit convoluted for me and the characters a bit weak. It wasn't my favorite but it's quick and maybe it would appeal to a slightly younger audience? At 26 and still hung up on a boyfriend she only dated for 6 months when she was 16 just had me rolling my eyes...

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

This was a lot better experience for me. Her world and characters seem a lot more mature. I also listened to it on audio and Imogene Church does a fantastic job with voices. She does accents from Sweden to American to Bostonian to Irish...amazing. The story truly came alive for me.

The story did drag in a few spots at the beginning and toward the end. And the protagonist does make a few weirdly plot convenient mistakes. But overall, this was Ware's better book. It's a great thrill ride and listen to it if you can!

I've been reading a lot of thriller/mystery/horror/true-crime for Michelle's Spring Into Horror Readathon!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Cat Thursday-- April 12, 2018

Cat Thursday is hosted by Michelle over at True Book Addict!

A new trending meme in Japan...taking pics of your cat in a stretch pose! Oh, Japan. How I love you!

This is a cute video of Mulder the magic cat who can open doors! That's why you get the round knob handles!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Mini Book Reviews (1)-- April 11, 2018

I am behind on 7 books for reviewing! Yikes. OK. I'll do some themes here and hopefully catch up between two posts....

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson

This was suggested to me by Powell's Books...25 Memoirs to Read Before You Die. I love lists and I love memoirs and Powell's so great combo. I'd never read anything by her before, but I had heard of her book "Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit." Her memoir was not the easiest of reads. She had a very troubled and abusive childhood which was hard to fathom. But her chapters come across more as essays and glimpses into her life rather than a full picture. Which probably makes sense when one writes about one's life...but it was a bit hard to follow.

She's a thinker and a philosopher. Her writing is beautiful and full of insight. I'll just leave one quote:

"...Reading things that are relevant to the facts of your life is of limited value. The facts are, after all, only the facts, and the yearning passionate part of you will not be met there. That is why reading ourselves as a fiction as well as fact is so liberating. The wider we read the freer we become."

She carries a distance from herself in her writing. I can understand why but at the same time it made for a more cold reading of her life. Overall, a fascinating and very different memoir from what I'm used to.

The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir by Alexandria Marzano-Lesvenich

The material in this book was very disturbing and was hard to get through. She writes about her life while she writes about the murderer of a young boy. The way she intertwines it all is beyond anything I can describe. Reading her memoir and true crime book all-in-one is truly an experience. But you must be up for this grim experience.

The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester

As a Linguistics major, I used and studied a lot from the OED. As such, I'd been meaning to pick this one up for years. The story is a conglomeration of history of Linguists at the time, the making of dictionaries, and mental illness and how it was treated at the time. You get a bit of everything. Overall, it truly is a fascinating tale on how a doctor who is criminally insane, helps out with the making of this grand dictionary. It's almost impossible to believe. The only complaint I have is it was a bit dry. It's a quick read but it felt a lot longer than it should have. I don't think this would be a book for everyone. More for those who have a love of language and history who can trudge through the dry bits and dig into the story at hand.

The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole by Michelle Cuevas

I read this one aloud with G. It was a surprisingly quirky, fun, and sad book. Great things about this book. She mentions Carl Sagan and his project Voyager that contained a golden disc with sounds and images from Earth that is still sailing away in space. Boom. I was sold.

We follow Stella's journey as she wades through her grief after the death of her father. The book is one long letter to him as she tells him all about a small dog-like black hole that shows up and causes all sorts of problems like eating her Brussels sprouts or pictures of her and her father or other things. It's a beautiful story of grief and how we work through it, though it never truly leaves us.

*all images were retrieved from