Thursday, June 21, 2012

Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link

First sentence:

"I used to go to thrift stores with my friends."


"Magic for Beginners is many things. Sweetly strange. Liberally scattered with brilliance. A magical lens on the stuff of life that moves and makes us. These are stories of the real world made beautifully unreal: of transformation, love, zombies and brothers fired from cannons. They are the stories you have been waiting to read." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this collection of short stories in which the odd and familiar live side by side. Some of my favorite stories were "Catskin" and "Magic for Beginners."

Date read: 6/20/2012
Book #: 24
Challenge: Off the Shelf Challenge 2012
Rating: 4*/5 = great
Genre: Fantasy

ISBN-10: 000724200X
ISBN-13: 9780007242009
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Year: 2005
# of pages: 271
Binding: Trade Paperback
LibraryThing page

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson

First sentence:

"Leeds: 'Motorway City of the Seventies.'"


"It's a day like any other for Tracy Waterhouse, working security at the local shopping center to supplement her pension from the police force. Then she makes a purchase she hadn't bargained on. One moment of madness is all it takes for Tracy's humdrum world to be turned upside down, the tedium of everyday life replaced by fear and danger and the first sparks of love.

Witnesses to Tracy's Faustian exchange are Tilly, an elderly actress teetering on the brink of her own disaster, and Jackson Brodie, the reluctant detective whose own life has been stolen and who has now been hired to find someone else's. Variously accompanied, pursued, or haunted by neglected dogs, unwanted children, and keepers of dark secrets, soon all three will learn that the past is never history - and that no good deed goes unpunished." -- from the inside flap

My thoughts:

This was a good mystery with seemingly unimportant threads which prove useful in the end. I look forward to reading the first book in the series, Case Histories.

Date read: 6/6/2012
Book #: 23
Series: Jackson Brodie, #4
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Mystery

ISBN-10: 0316066737
ISBN-13: 9780316066730
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Year: 2011
# of pages: 371
Binding: Hardcover
LibraryThing page

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Bad Monkeys by Matt Ruff

First sentence:

"It's a room an uninspired playwright might conjure while staring at a blank page: White walls."


Jane Charlotte has been arrested for murder.

She tells police that she is a member of a secret organization devoted to fighting evil; her division is called the Department for the Final Disposition of Irredeemable Persons—"Bad Monkeys" for short.

This confession earns Jane a trip to the jail's psychiatric wing, where a doctor attempts to determine whether she is lying, crazy—or playing a different game altogether. What follows is one of the most clever and gripping novels you'll ever read.

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this quirky, amusing book about good, evil, reality and fiction. I especially liked Jane's interactions with her instructors.

Date read: 6/2/2012
Book #: 22
Challenges: Off the Shelf Challenge 2012, A-Z Challenge 2012
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Fiction

ISBN-10: 0061240419
ISBN-13: 9780061240416
Publisher: HarperCollins
Year: 2007
# of pages: 227
Binding: Paperback
LibraryThing page