This Week In Books – 23 September 2015

ThisWeekInBooksThis meme was set up by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

 

My post today is going to be a bit different as I have a bit of a backlog of books to review and realistically I can’t see myself getting round to it, so I’m going to post a summary here.

These are books I’ve read in the past week or two…

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E Smith

statsHadley is flying from the US to London to attend her father’s wedding to a woman she has never even met. She isn’t happy about the situation, which is made even worse when she misses her flight. But then she finds herself sat next to the gorgeous Oliver… Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver’s story will make you believe that true love finds you when you’re least expecting it.

This is a very sweet and simple Young Adult book, with two characters being the main focal point of the action. I really liked the way we slowly find out more about the pair as their journey over the Atlantic progresses, and the banter between the two works well and is convincing. Once they get to London, I felt the book went off track a bit, but there was still a good amount of tension and I really wanted to read on to get to the somewhat predictable ending!

This is a really easy read and I would recommend it for young teens, and possible even younger readers. It deals with a few issues, but in a gentle way, but it is ultimately a romance novel and I don’t think there would be enough here to keep older teens entertained.

The Supremes at Earl’s All You Can Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore

earlPull up a chair by the window table at Big Earl’s diner and meet the ‘Supremes’: three women from Plainview, Indiana, who’ve been best friends since their high school days in the sixties. There’s Clarice, a pious wife and mother who is struggling with her husband’s infidelity; Barbara Jean, who must confront the tragic reverberations of a youthful love affair; and Odette, whose fearlessness has saved her friends many times, but who now faces a terrifying situation of her own.

I found it a bit hard at first to keep up with who was who in this novel – there are a lot of characters, the narrative voice switches between first and third person, and we go back and forth in time too. It did all prove quite confusing but I loved the story, so decided the best way to deal with the confusion was to read as much as I could of the novel in as short a time as possible! Which resulted in me reading the final three quarters of the book in one day, which helped me keep track of who was who, and also increased my enjoyment of the book!

The novel is a really fantastic mix of bitter and sweet, funny and sad. The characters are great – they are all flawed but even the ‘bad’ characters have good qualities – philandering husband Richmond springs to mind. They are very ‘real’, and the author has done a great job of creating a lot of three dimensional characters who you really care about. A lot goes on over the course of the book, taking in tragedy and comedy, and again this mix works well. You really feel you get to know a lot about the lives of the residents of the small town. I loved this novel and was disappointed to find out this is Moore’s only novel to date!

Killing Hemingway by Arthur Byrne

hemingwayThis is the story of a young genius who grows into a hopeless romantic. We follow his life from age six, through high school at age twelve, and on to his decision to go back to college (for a PhD in Literature) after finishing his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physics at eighteen. A coming of age novel about life, decisions, love, and genius.

Although I knew this was a Young Adult novel, I found it very odd to begin with as we are introduced to six-year-old Teddy and, frankly, the book reads as if it is written for this age group! However as the book progresses and the protagonist gets older, the style of writing changes accordingly.

Teddy is a sweet character and I found myself drawn to him even though he’s unnaturally clever! However it really tailed off at the end for me, especially as four years of his life, when he leaves home, were skipped over in one paragraph! I also found the final section a bit dull too.

I would find it really hard to know which age group to recommend this to as I think older readers would be put off by the opening sections, but there is a bit of bad language towards the end of the story. Although I quite enjoyed reading this, I didn’t really ‘get’ it if I’m honest!

The Summer I Learned to Dive by Shannon McCrimmon

diveEighteen-year-old Finn has always lived her life according to a plan. But on the night of her high school graduation, things take a dramatic turn when she discovers that her mother has been keeping a secret from her. In the middle of the night, Finn packs her bags and travels by bus to Graceville, seeking the truth.

Another Young Adult novel! And this definitely follows a tried and tested format, with a young girl going on a voyage of discovery. I really liked the main character in this novel, and I loved the way she changed and progressed as she meets new members of her family. There is a twist at the end that wasn’t very convincing but was still interesting, and I think overall this is a good example of Young Adult fiction, and would  be good for the 15+ age group.

Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg

 mazieMeet Mazie Phillips: big-hearted and feisty, she runs The Venice, the famed movie theatre in the rundown Bowery district of New York City. She spends her days taking tickets, chatting with drunks and eccentrics, and chasing out the troublemakers. After closing up, the nights are her own, and she fills them with romance and booze aplenty – even during Prohibition. When the Great Depression hits, and homelessness soars, Mazie opens The Venice to those in need, giving them shelter and dimes for food and booze, and earning the nickname ‘Saint Mazie’.

I loved The Middlesteins by the same author, and I had been looking forward to reading this for a while. However I have to say that ultimately I was disappointed by it.

Although the vast majority of the book took the form of Mazie’s diary, there were extracts throughout the book from others telling their views on Mazie. This didn’t work for me as it distracted from Mazie’s own narrative and was also quite random, coming from the odd neighbour and even the son of one of Mazie’s lovers. Sometimes these extracts were so short – occasionally just a line or two – that I wasn’t sure they added anything to the story.

Also, I think the synopsis above makes the story sound more interesting than it really is! Although I enjoyed the start of the novel, which detailed Mazie’s relationship with her sisters, other parts of the story were a bit dull and repetitive. In fact I found it quite boring at times, as not really much happens. By the end I was really tiring of it.

Overall I was really disappointed with this novel as I don’t think it really lived up to my expectations, and it kind of fell flat for me.

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7 thoughts on “This Week In Books – 23 September 2015

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