Friday, July 22, 2016
The Hatching by Ezekiel Boone
If you have a spider phobia this book will either desensitize you to the crawling beasties or send you quivering and babbling into a corner never wanting to hear mention of the eight-legged again.
Swarms of spiders are hatching and what seems like an isolated incident seems to be spreading worldwide. Millions of spiders are coming up in various areas and the world is in deep trouble. How do you kill millions of swarming spiders? Nukes seem like a great option, but do you really want to drop a nuke on your own country? (Spoiler alert: one country does just that.)
This is a great thriller addressing how the world powers, media, and ordinary citizens handle something so bizarre it is most of the time, at least for this reader, impossible to comprehend.
Best thing about the book? There will be more! This is part one of a trilogy and it ends in the lovely horrific “just when you thought things couldn’t be worse” sort of way.
Posted by Yvonne the Librarian at 12:05 PM
Friday, July 15, 2016
The Hanging Girl by Jussi Adler-Olsen
Seventeen years after a young woman is found hanging from the branches of a tree on the Danish island of Bornholm, Department Q is called in to work the cold case after the dramatic suicide of a police officer who was obsessed with the case and sure that detectives more experienced than him could catch the killer. Quickly determining that the former investigator was correct, it was murder not a hit and run, Department Q starts to dig into the extremely cold case.
It was great reading about Carl, Assad and Rose again. All three characters get a lot of page time; we even start to learn more about Assad’s life before Denmark! The plot goes all over the place and while necessary, some of the detours were a little longer and detailed than I thought they needed to be. Sun cults, vengeful women, red herrings, hypnotists, this book has it all.
I have listened to all the Department Q novels and enjoyed this one very much as well. The plot isn’t as tight as previous books in the series, but issues with one of the main characters that are revealed at the end of the book make me anxious for the next.
Posted by Yvonne the Librarian at 7:52 AM
The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain
Riley MacPherson grew up thinking her family moved because her older sister committed suicide. After her father’s death Riley starts to sort through his belongings to discover that her sister committed suicide after being accused of murder. Then as she digs into her family’s story she begins to suspect that her sister is still alive and out there somewhere living under a new identity. Riley desperately wants to find her sister but is afraid that if she does she will put her sister at risk because there are people still looking for her and wanting her to stand trial.
From the beginning of the book you know that Lisa (now Jade) is alive and fled to California. You read about the life she begins under her new identity while twenty-three years later Riley starts to sort her father’s things. You’d think there wouldn’t be a lot more secrets to be revealed but there are plenty! Riley learns a lot more than she bargained for about her family as she starts the journey to find Lisa.
Suspenseful and hard to put down, this is a great summer read.
Posted by Yvonne the Librarian at 7:49 AM
Friday, July 8, 2016
The Girls by Emma Cline
Reviewed by Yvonne and Laura
This story follows Evie, a girl who is obsessed with the residents of a nearby ranch. Evie is basically left on her own her final summer before she is sent to boarding school. She notices Susan dumpster diving behind a local restaurant and then later bumps into her at a convenience store. Pretending to steal toilet paper for Susan, but actually paying for it, Evie is invited to ride with the group back to the ranch. The ranch is a commune of sorts, everyone does their share of the chores, but nothing ever seems to get done or actually be clean. Children are raised by the entire community but actually run free. It’s a group of hippies all mesmerized by their leader, the charismatic Russell. As Russell’s displeasure over a supposedly promised record deal continues to not materialize the girls at the ranch begin to plot revenge.
Yvonne’s opinion: Why does everyone love this book so much? I get that it was loosely based on the Manson murders, but I just didn’t see the motivation behind the hideous acts. One day everyone were happy hippies and then BOOM! I didn’t see the build up from commune to cult to murderous band. And the storyline of Evie in the present was jarring in that it didn’t lend anything to the plot or our understanding of Evie. It was a well-written book, but I would say it was only okay.
Laura’s opinion: Cline is a gifted, literary writer. She expertly captures the awkwardness and burgeoning sexuality of a teen girl who feels disconnected from her family and friends and is looking for something or someone to make her feel special. Cline lovingly describes California in the late 1960s and particularly its denizens who are eschewing the social norms of the time.
Since the book is so clearly based on the Manson family, I had certain expectations about the characters and the story arc. It just didn’t come together for me as a reader. And perhaps that was a deliberate choice by Cline to frame certain characters in Evie’s past as toggling the line between good and evil rather than just being one or the other. Characters in Evie’s present- day narrative were more clearly defined to me. Overall, I was disappointed in this much-ballyhooed book.
Posted by Yvonne the Librarian at 10:04 AM
Rams (Foreign Drama – Icelandic)
As many who know me (or have read this blog for a while) know I love anything and everything Icelandic. When I heard an award winning film came out of my home away from home I couldn’t wait to see it.
This is the story of two brothers who have neighboring farms and raise specially bred sheep. Each competes each year for the best ram in the remote area of the northeastern part of the country. Good natured sibling rivalry? Hardly. These brothers haven’t spoken in who knows how many years. When scabies is found in that year’s prize ram each of the brothers reacts differently to the edict that the entire flocks be killed to stop the spread of the incurable disease.
I wanted to love this movie. It’s awkward and darkly funny in spots, but overall I found it quite sad rather than the quirky story I thought I was getting. Also I wasn’t a fan of the ending. It was one of those endings when the credits start rolling and you look around your living room in disbelief that the movie could end suddenly like it just did. For fans of strange foreign films with a definite dark side.
Posted by Yvonne the Librarian at 10:02 AM
Wednesday, July 6, 2016
An Unattractive Vampire by Jim McDoniel
I am a complete sucker for fiction books with footnotes, so this one had a fan from the very beginning, but the snarky writing kept me as a fan throughout.
Yulric Bile is an old school vampire. He’s pretty darn ugly, not easily killed and sort of evil. When he awakens two decades after being buried under the floor in a (now suburban) basement the world has changed. Vampires are pretty, gorgeous even. And they seem to be good. And have television shows. And can go around making new vampires. Yulric is incensed but is glad to know that vampires evolved in one good way, to his thinking at least, vampires are now really easy to kill.
So it is that Yulric begins his quest to learn all he can about modern times from the young woman, her very young brother and the television that occupied the house he woke up underneath. Looks like Yulric is going to need to call in reinforcements, more ugly, scary vampires to wipe out the current scourge to the perfectly wonderfully evil vampire name.
If you like dark comedy and find sparkly sweet vampires annoying this book will give you some maniacal giggles. I really enjoyed the way the author merged the vampires of ancient times in different cultures with the pop culture vampires of today. Yulric is evil, but he has a point; vampires are not nice creatures, shouldn’t be nice creatures, and that is a good thing.
The Wave (Foreign Action Film – Norwegian)
The small city of Geiranger lies at the end of a fjord in a picturesque yet dangerous location. If the closely monitored, highly unstable, rock face on a mountain down the fjord was to break away it would trigger an eighty foot tsunami to rush towards the city. To protect the city there are people who constantly monitor the situation with sensors and other technology.
Geologist Kristian just resigned from his job and is planning on moving his family to a large city to work for an oil company. The day before he is supposed to leave the sensors are picking up some strange readings. His former co-workers think it’s nothing but Kristian is afraid that disaster could be about to strike.
The name of the movie is “The Wave” so I don’t think I’ll be giving anything away letting you know that the tsunami does happen. This is a great action movie that completely stressed me out. I kept getting off the couch and pacing and jumping up and down during the nail biting suspenseful parts.
What freaked me out the most? This movie was based on something that could actually happen. There is a mountainside in Norway being monitored right this minute…