Thursday, June 5, 2014

Recent reading

When I'm not really engaged in stories, it takes me forever to get through a book. After devouring the Corine Solomon series, my reading has ground to a near standstill. It took me way too long to finish two recently, though my binge of Solomon and the Divergent books over spring break still has me ahead on my goal of 52 books in 2014. That number makes me sad. I remember when I could've easily read triple that in a year. I just don't have the time right now.

Anyway, the two that took me forever to finish:

City of Dragons by Kelli Stanley: This one had me written all over it. Female detective set in 1940 San Francisco. It's meant to be hard-boiled noir with a female protagonist. Miranda's an ex-prostitute turned private detective with a slight detour as a war nurse where she lost the love of her life. So much potential, right? While the mystery was pretty good, it just took too damn long to get through it. The book could've easily lost a third without missing anything. It would've dramatically helped the pacing. But the author was too in love with long sections where Miranda just sits around or walks around musing on 1940 San Francisco or how miserable her life is. A little bit is good. A lot becomes redundant. Normally, I would give up after a couple chapters of this, but the problem with this book was that it would get really good for a couple chapters, and then grind to a dead halt with the navel-gazing. By the time I realized it wasn't going to improve, I was halfway through and needed to see how the mystery played out.

Any Bitter Thing by Monica Wood: This is a flashback type of story about a woman who is nearly killed in a car accident who slowly rebuilds her life and tries to come to grip with the losses she's endured. Literary fiction and it got rave reviews, but while the prose was pretty, it was soooooooo slow. I would've given up after the first chapter if I hadn't been so intrigued by the premise (she'd been taken away from the priest uncle who was raising her after her parents were killed when there were charges of abuse, and thought him dead but then believed she saw a vision of him at her bedside when she was in the hospital). Others might enjoy it more than I did. The reviews are pretty uniformly very good at Amazon. It's probably just a not-for-me style. Pretty prose but bored me to tears for the most part.

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