I have let myself fall behind on the book reviews, so here are some short ones to catch up a bit.
1. The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield (Rating 5/5). This is an amazing book about an out of work preacher's family in
1956 Arkansas. Financial problems force them to move in with his in-laws. Great characters and story make this feel like a worthy
successor to "The Help". The little girl named Swan Lake (yes, really) has much of the feel of Scout from "To
Kill A Mockingbird". One of the best of the year. My friend Lesley wrote a great review that led me to read this. You can check out her review here.
2. In One Person by John Irving (Rating 3/5). The newest novel by one of my favorite authors was a disappointment. I was intrigued by the plot, but could not get interested in the characters. This is the story of a bisexual man's life, it is especially heartbreaking during the AIDS breakout of the 1980s. Irving's writing is excellent as usual, but several themes from previous books are repeated here.
3. The Astounding, the Amazing, and the Unknown by Paul Malmont (Rating 3/5). A fun thriller set during World War II featuring a team of real life science fiction writers (including Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, L. Sprague deCamp, and L. Ron Hubbard) on a military mission that involves the secret history of Nicola Tesla and Thomas Edison, an imminent Nazi threat, and more. The author did a lot of research and it was a good read, but then the ending didn't quite hold up for me.
4. The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan (Rating (2/5). Well reviewed fiction about a young woman among a group of people in a lifeboat after their ship is sunk in the Atlantic in 1914. Intriguing at first, with it's story of survival and conflict in the lifeboat, but it soon bogs down with a courtroom drama.
5. Alpha by Greg Rucka (Rating (3.5/5). Excellent thriller - think "Die Hard" at Disneyland. The new head of security at a large California theme park must stop a terrorist attack the same day that his ex-wife and daughter are visiting the park. Well plotted, edge of your seat action - would make a great movie.