I didn’t post last week as I hadn’t quite finished either book I had been reading. I had put them aside to do a little therapeutic junk journal making, a very relaxing, zen like activity.
What I finished reading….
“The Rocky Mountains have cast their spell over the Courtlands, a young family from the plains taking a last summer vacation before their daughter begins college. For eighteen-year-old Caitlin, the mountains loom as the ultimate test of her runner’s heart, while her parents hope that so much beauty, so much grandeur, will somehow repair a damaged marriage. But when Caitlin and her younger brother, Sean, go out for an early morning run and only Sean returns, the mountains become as terrifying as they are majestic, as suddenly this family find themselves living the kind of nightmare they’ve only read about in headlines or seen on TV.”
Before I start discussing this novel I’d like to make one thing clear at the beginning. While it is described as a page turning thriller it isn’t. It is much more of a character driven story about what happens when people’s lives fall apart. Each individual is fully drawn their character, both good and bad, laid out fully on the page. Plot details and emotions are not laid out in an easily digestible form, rather there remains an ambiguity to these individuals much like real life. Of all the characters I felt the most involved in Sean, referred to as the boy for much of the narrative. As Sean drifts throughout the midwest we see again and again his desire to be a heroic figure, the type of figure that might have saved his sister and when he fails it is heartbreaking. I will say that I felt the male characters were stronger but I still felt such sympathy for both Angela and Caitlin.
The sense of place is spot on, especially for those individuals who have seen the wilder side of Colorado, and the writing is beautiful. Highly recommended for those people looking for a profound character study versus a plot driven thriller.
Veering from literary to “fun”.
“Beneath the streets of London lie many secrets. Subterranean rivers carve channels through darkened caverns. Hidden laboratories and government offices from WWII offer a maze of corridors and abandoned medical experiments. Lost in the depths of this underground are the contents of a looted Spanish galleon from the days of Henry VIII and a Nazi V-2 rocket that contains the most horrible secret of all. Carmen Kingsley, in charge of London projects for the British Museum, and Scotland Yard Inspector Sherwood Peets race to unravel the mysteries behind these contents before the great city succumbs to a frightening disease not seen since the age of the Henrys – the English Sweat. It all comes to a climax beneath London with the discovery of a horrifying species of genetically altered “super rats” that threaten to invade London and the British Isles.”
What can I say, I love me a good mutant rat story. This is also the second book I’ve read recently which discusses the underground rivers underneath London, the other being a series by Ben Aaronvitch, and I’m sort of fascinated by this whole concept of a vast world lying underneath on of the larger cities in the world. So let’s get to it. The story goes back and forth between World War II and what we presume is present day London. In present day Inspector Peets discovers a body underground and in a parallel story we learn that Carmen is monitoring a dig elsewhere in the city. Suddenly SIS sweeps in and takes all Inspector Peet’s notes and Carmen is told she is no longer in charge of the dig. Hmmm, could the two be related? You betcha. In the meanwhile the WWII story follows an ex pat Norwegian who just happens to be a pilot and is put in charge by Churchill of retreiving some confidential research going on in remote Norway. Could the research be biologically based? You’ll have to read and see.
So this is pure escapist fiction and for most of the book I enjoyed the heck out of the various shenanigans everyone got up to. Could the plot have been a little more original? Sure. Could the author have done a much better job at ending the story, most decidely. I think he wrote himself into a corner and let the WWII story end very abruptly with a coda at the end. As for the rats, well they are still dragging people off and eating them at the end of the book. I still had a good time though.
What I’m reading now….
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill – I suspect that 95% of all readers would gravitate to this book based solely on the fact that our main character works in a bookstore. The fact that she is also an expert trivia player and there is going to be romance involved won me over as well. I am about a third of the way through and am very much enjoying it.
Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore. I’m not sure how far I’ll get into this one due to the heavy subject matter but it came up as an electronic loan so we’ll see how it goes. I had intended to read The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires but am putitng off due to this new library book.
My current viewing crush…
I hope you all are watching the new season of What We Do in the Shadows – Guillermo has never been better! Killing Eve has also started its new season but I’m so far behind on that one it may be awhile before I get to enjoy one of th emost complicated relationships on TV. What have you been binge watching to get through the days?