I stayed busy with non-reading activities this week, so I was up late finishing up my second book last night. I would hate to disappoint my 4 readers by only having a review of one book for the week. No fun!
Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller
This novel was a highly anticipated "seductive psychological portrait" that I'm sure will really satisfy a huge chunk of readers. On the plus side, Claire Fuller is a beautifully descriptive author ("George smiled and I saw how his gums had withdrawn from his teeth such a distance that they could at any second have come loose and dropped into his empty bowl with a clatter.") and I really enjoy how she unfolds her story here. For me, though, the story unfolds a little too slowly and the characters were unlikable. Thus, I didn't care what happened to them. I also felt like I've read too many versions of this book. Awkward single woman befriends intriguing couple only to find out that they are not what they seem. Yawn, moving on.
Note: Nothing seductive. The psychological portraits abound, though.
Pair with: The characters do drink tons of wine, which may make you desire a glass or two (without the hangovers they experience.)
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
Much like Bitter Orange, this novel will have readers who will rightfully love it very much, but for me, this book started out kinda cheesy and evolved into a cheese-fest akin to the Macaroni-N-Cheese at Noodles & Company where they pile an unnecessary and artery-clogging heap of grated cheddar on top of their already cheesy mac-n-cheese. Similarly, I could eat it up with a spoon in the right frame of mind. Alas, I wasn't feeling it this time. It tries to be Harry Potter, a John Green YA novel, and a light science fiction all at once and fails at all.
The author uses a method of description that I have been noticing all the time lately and it's really been grinding my gears. "All." As in, "My office is all loose papers and half-used notebooks." or "My kitchen is all empty boxes of cereal and wine corks." "My 3 pm work face is all smeared mascara and bitten-off lipstick." You get the idea. Annoying!
Also, halfway through the book, Mr. Penumbra doesn't say a sentence without including "My boy!" before or after sharing his thought. Cuz that's how old men talk, okay?
However! There are definitely some laugh-out-loud one-liners. Maybe you'll really like it and then we can fight it out in the comments.
Pair with: At one point the main character grabs a lunch from the Google headquarters, and included with his delicious meal were several perfect spears of asparagus, which I've been craving ever since. So instead of reading this book, let's go have some asparagus, which I assume is no longer in season, although I don't know much about seasons/food/produce. I bet we could find some!
Next up: I just started this month's book club book. I'm really excited, because book clubber Angie, who has lovely taste in books, just gave it 5 stars on Goodreads and added a really long review which I won't read so I can go in blind. ALSO I accidentally ordered my library copy in LARGE PRINT so I'm going to feel even more like a senior citizen than I already do, my boy!
Mom of four, wife of one. By day I fund-raise with coffee, by night I read with wine and chocolate.