Beckie reads Maddaddam by Margaret Atwood

Why did you read this book? I was looking forward to this book because I really liked the first two in the trilogy.

Has Jeremy read it? No. I’d probably recommend the trilogy if it were only one book.

42 word review: The first two Maddaddam stories connect in the final installment. Not a lot seemed to happen, just enough to fill in some backstory and extrapolate the future. It was well-written, of course, and sometimes amusing, but I didn’t find it very compelling.

Overall rating: 3 pigoons (out of 5)

Beckie reads Fun & Games by Duane Swierczynski

Why did you read this book? We went looking for book in genres that have worked as good road-trip reading fare before: plot-filled thrillers and teen murder stories. This was the former.

Has Jeremy read it? Yes, he already reviewed it.

42 word review: House-sitter with a mysterious past stumbles upon star hiding from assassination team. Everyone survives way too many outlandish injuries, and the villains come up with ludicrously complicated plans instead of just killing anyone. Action-packed plot, even if it doesn’t hold together well.

Overall rating: 2 puncture wounds (out of 5)

Beckie reads Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A. S. King

Why did you read this book? We were looking for something like The Basic Eight to read while driving. This seemed to have the high school murder and potential for humour.

Has Jeremy read it? Yes. He listened to me read it aloud while driving around New Zealand.

42 word review: High-school student’s ex-best friend dies, then tries to convince her to clear his name. Pretty good as an emotional coming-of-age story (not the dark comedy I was expecting). The motivations for the characters’ bad actions (other than plot necessity) weren’t always believable.

Overall rating: 3 scraps of napkin (out of 5)

Beckie reads Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne Valente

Why did you read this book? I loved The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, and Wild West Snow White seemed like a fun premise

Has Jeremy read it? Yes

42 word review: Snow White in the wild West. Darker and less whimsical than I was expecting. Beautiful writing with creative turns of phrase that were fun to read aloud. Imaginative reinterpretation of the fairy tale elements. Not perfect, but I’m having trouble remembering flaws.

Overall rating: 4 tame foxes (out of 5)

Beckie reads The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Why did you read this book?: Because The Secret History and The Little Friend are awesome.

Has Jeremy read it?: Yes. I was waiting until he finished to put up my review, but I should have written it before my opinion was influenced by his.

42 Word Review: Black-market art thriller meets literary coming-of-age story. I was immediately taken in by the characters and prose, and I enjoyed it enormously. The plot- and character-driven elements didn’t always mesh perfectly, making the ending feel slightly anticlimactic, but it was still wonderful.

Rating: 4 masterpieces (out of 5)

Beckie reads The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

Why did you read it: It won the Booker Prize (youngest novelist and longest book to do so), and it sounded interesting.

Has Jeremy read it?: Yes. I’m editing my original post to match the format he came up with for his review.

42-word review: I mostly ignored the astrological framing device while reading this gripping 848-page jigsaw puzzle of a book. Turns out, that’s the cleverest part. The masterful characterisation and plotting that kept the mystery intriguing over its entire length made the book great, anyway.

Rating: 5 kiwis (out of 5)