What I Read in May 2016

blood butterflysnow

Blood Defense by Marcia Clark (Yes, THAT Marcia Clark)
Our main character, Samantha Brinkman, defends criminals. Sometimes she defends very bad criminals and this time she’s caught a grisly murder case involving a hollywood starlet, an LAPD detective, and the celebrity’s unlucky roommate. Of course that’s just the broad strokes. A number of bizarre, dangerous, and usually implausible (but they work in this context) events go down. Samantha is pretty badass and I grew rather attached to her. I really enjoyed this book and I was a tad disappointed when I realized that the next title in the series doesn’t come out until November.  I ended up impulse pre-ordering book two which is something I seriously never do. So, quick — go fetch a copy for yourself!

The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchinson
If you’re squeamish, don’t read this book. If you live alone, don’t read this book. If you get goose bumps every time someone says, “put the lotion in the basket” — you guessed it — don’t read this book. That being said, I couldn’t put it down. The Butterfly Garden was an Amazon Kindle First selection and I rarely like or even finishing reading whatever free title I select each month. This creepy book ended up being an overwhelming exception to that rule. The story unfolds in a series of present day interactions between two FBI agents who are interrogating a survivor of a horrible crime. Essentially a very wealthy and powerful man has a thing for butterflies and kidnapping young girls to be his sex slaves. He then tattoos them with intricate butterfly wings and treats them as his own private harem. A few dozen girls exist in his revolting yet thoroughly well appointed prison. Inside his sinister dome you’ll find a waterfall, a garden, and a personal cook/nurse. That all sounds a little nice, right? Except for the fact that you get to walk by your dead friends every single day. You see, when a “butterfly” reaches the age of 21 they hit their captivity expiration date and get stuffed in a resin filled display case. I’m sure seeing that every morning on the way to breakfast is an awesome way to start that day. But is our evasive survivor, Maya, really what she seems? Hmm….

A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon
This is book six in The Outlander series and I’m exhausted. I absolutely loved the first four books. The last two have been a bit of a chore. I go back and forth between being hooked and bored in equal measures. I think that if I’d read them as they were published, with a few years in between each one, it would be easier. I’m starting to feel like Claire Frasier is the historical novel equivalent of Jessica Fletcher. How many times can a person really be kidnapped, put in jail, stab someone, and be accused of witchcraft? Could we just let the woman sit in peace for four or five chapters? Anyway, I’ve definitely overdone it a bit so I’ll be taking a break from our time traveling friends, Jamie and Claire, for a little while so I can eventually bring myself to find out what happens in books seven and eight. I feel like there’s very little I can write here specific to this book’s plot as, if you aren’t caught up, everything is a huge potential spoiler. However, please don’t let my current Outlander novel fatigue get you down! The television show on Starz is absolutely stunning and you have so many extremely cool adventures coming up.

Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson
This is sort of like Mememto but with a middle-aged British woman and less tattoos. That being said I was incredibly into this book. I think I probably knew on some level who the actual “bad guy” was right from the start, but even so the storyline and characters were really tightly woven and extremely fascinating. The premise is also absolutely terrifying if you start to ruminate on it in the middle of the night (not that I’d ever do that, of course…). What if, every time you went to sleep your memories erased and you only remembered events that happened in your early twenties and prior? I guess on a personal level I’d be really annoyed that I couldn’t find my choker necklaces and chunky heeled shoes. This book has been out for awhile so it already has a film version starring Nicole Kidman and Mark Darcy — I mean Colin Firth. I haven’t watched it yet but you better believe it’s in my Netflix queue.

The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter
*Sigh* OK. This new YA novel has a slew of rave reviews and I really wanted to like it but I unfortunately kind of didn’t. There were parts of the book where there were echoes of really excellent storytelling surrounding Cassie and her struggle with coming to terms with the realties of her extremely dysfunctional family, but much of the plot felt too hurried. I think this might actually have been a more appealing tale had it been longer. The themes of abuse, mental illness, self-esteem, breaking free from bad patterns etc… need a lot of space to be fully realized and Cassie’s healing process felt very forced and much too tacked on. Plus, there’s a “secret” throughout the book that we’re supposed to be uncovering with Cassie (as she’s blocked it out) but it was pretty easy to ascertain what this lost memory entailed. I don’t think it’s that I didn’t like the basic plot or the writing (let’s be clear, the writing is lovely) I just needed more development and time with the characters to really connect. Have you read this book? If so, I’d be curious what you thought.

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
I listened to the audiobook version of this title and I just loved it. The reviews are all over the place. I think that people are being way to hard on it. Sittenfeld has written a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice that I thought was spot on. I’d rank this right up there with Clueless. The present day versions of the Bennet sisters have been updated as follows: Lizzie is a writer for a magazine in New York, Jane is a Yoga instructor also living in New York, Kitty and Lydia and obsessed with the Paleo diet and Crossfit, and Mary obsessively takes online classes and racks up degrees. Mrs. Bennet is a shopaholic bordering on hoarder, and Mr. Bennet is well…still Mr. Bennet. The novel mainly takes place in the Bennet’s hometown of Cincinnati and it’s here that they meet Darcy and Bingley. The dashing duo are doctors. Of course. There are many fabulous twists in the novel but a major one happens to be that Chip Bingley is famous for being on a Bachelor-esque reality tv show. I thought the entire story was heartwarming, hysterical, and very unique. People need to take a chill pill. Pick this up immediately for your next lazy afternoon at the beach, lake, or your back deck.

The Fireman by Joe Hill
The amazing Kate Mulgrew is the narrator for the audiobook version of this novel. I’m not usually a traditional “horror” novel fan but I really enjoy Joe Hill’s books. If you haven’t read any of his work before then I’d definitely recommend picking up his short story collection 20th Century Ghosts. The Fireman takes the whole a plague hits and the end of the world is nigh trope and gives us some rather unique twists. This plague isn’t zombies, or ebola, or Donald Trump. This time humanity is faced with a disease called “Dragonscale” that marks people with swirly, black and gold designs and eventually causes them to spontaneously combust. Cool! As the disease progresses and the world starts burning down, Harper, our heroine, takes shelter with a group of fellow infected people hiding at a summer camp in New Hampshire. Things get weird fast. What makes me chuckle though is that 80s MTV VJ Martha Quinn is an integral part of the book. She’s mentioned so many time that if you made a drinking game for the book she’d definitely be on the list and you’d be drunk. I also learned that even though I grew up in Maine I’ve been pronouncing the Town Machias incorrectly my whole life. Here’s how you’re supposed to say it. Thanks Kate Mulgrew!

What I Read in April 2016


fellsideI adore Mike Carey. Well…I adore his Felix Castor series and have been waiting for what seriously feels like eons for the next book to be released. I have a calendar item that pops up every few months and reminds me to do a Google search to see what the current status is. In case you’re wondering, it’s still a bit up in the air. In the meantime though he’s published The Girl with All the Gifts, which was a phenomenal and extremely unique take on zombies (sort of) and will soon be released as a movie. Then, last month, his new book Fellside made it’s way into my life. The premise is utterly bizarre but I think you should seriously consider giving it a go. It’s billed as a haunted prison story but really it’s so much more than that. At any rate it should tide you over a bit more until we can find out Felix Castor’s fate.

Hidden Bodies


This is the second book in an utterly insane (aka amazing) series by Caroline Kepnes. Caroline’s narrator “Joe” is unlike anyone you’ve ever read before. Being deep inside his head while he rationalizes yet again who is authentic or fake, whether you’ve wronged him or if you’re on his side, and finally who lives or dies, is not a fun place to be but it’s certainly very entertaining – in a Dexter Morgan, meets Holden Caulfield, with a big dose of Patrick Bateman way. Fair warning: when you start either of the books you will not be able to put them down and you’ll find yourself saying things aloud like, “You’ve got to be kidding me. Seriously!?” and “Leave him alone, Joe!” So maybe don’t read it on the subway.

Ashley Bell


I’m not even sure what to say about this Dean Koontz novel. I really hated it at first, but then something switched (ok a whole bunch of very weird events began happening in the book including something called scrabblemancy) and I read frantically trying to figure out what was really going on with Bibi. Hang in there. Eventually even the surfer lingo will grow on you. Really. The payoff is pretty unique — especially if you were an English major. In the end you’ll want to call up some friends and have an impromptu book club session ASAP.

The Passenger


I read this book like it was my job. I couldn’t put it down. The writing is fast-paced and the action is non-stop. There’s a nice thread interwoven that hints at the main character’s troubled past, but the craziest part is that I’m pretty sure we now have a great work of fiction that walks you through how to successfully disappear yourself, steal a new identify, and keep-on-keeping-on. It’s a bit like Jason Bourne lite but with a lot more hair dye. Tanya/Amelia/fill in the blank here is a compelling narrator and I wish that there was something left unfinished so we could have a sequel. Also, I can’t wait to see this as a film as there’s no way this isn’t getting optioned.

A Study in Charlotte


I was absolutely dying to read A Study in Charlotte as soon as I found out about it and promptly placed myself on the waitlists at all my libraries. When I finally had my turn with it I was definitely not let down. If you have Sherlock and Benedict Cumberbatch withdrawal then this is a great stopgap. Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson are the modern day teenage descendants of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. In this world the famous mystery solving duo were actually real people. Charlotte and Jamie meet at boarding school (how perfect!) and almost instantly have a murder on their hands. Both Charlotte and Jamie are extremely well constructed characters. The book has excellent dialogue, more than a few unique twists and turns, and even delves into some pretty heavy stuff, including sexual assault and drug abuse, with a deft hand. Just this once I’m actually glad that a novel is part of a Trilogy!

What I Read in March 2016

This blog hasn’t been updated since 2013 (!) so in the interest of just getting something up I’m going to recap what books I read or listened to last month. The first thing you should know is that I always have at least two books queued up. Generally this means I’ll have one book on my Kindle and one audiobook either from Audible or, if it’s something I’ve pulled from a library, I use Overdrive. On a side note, if you aren’t taking advantage of your local library’s eBook and audiobook lending services then you’re really missing out. I’m a bit spoiled and have access to the library sites from the various places I’ve lived over the past decade. I also have a weekly recurring time scheduled on my calendar to check each of the sites for new listings so I can get on hold lists. This is especially great for audiobooks as I tend to get through those much faster.

I didn’t start listening to audiobook regularly until the spring of 2014. Initially I used to just listen to them while I was walking or running but then I realized that I could listen while I was cooking, cleaning, sorting the recycling, doing my hair — you get the picture. Audiobooks are a fabulous distraction for me, although all the mindfulness books I’ve read are probably giving me the evil eyeball for admitting it. Sorry, mindfulness, I’m just not ready to be one with my thoughts right now.

Anyway, in March I consumed the following:


The Martian
I so wish I had read this before I saw the movie. In the end I think it was really excellent though. It’s not often you can say that about a film and a book. I can’t believe it was originally a self-published novel. That’s just nuts. The narrator of the audiobook kind of sounds like Matt Damon too which was nice.

Try Not to Breathe
I’m so glad Gone Girl was written and became super popular so that zillions of writers now churn out lots of twisty, topsy-turvy, weird, suspenseful books for me to read. If I had my way I’d only read this type of novel. I love, love, love them. Of course, some are better than others. This one, thankfully, is one of the well done ones. The main narrator, Alex, is so painfully self-destructive that my discomfort level while reading some of her scenes would best be compared to how I feel watching The Real Housewives have yet another high heeled, cocktail fueled, brawl on national TV. Total train wreck. The girl in a coma mystery was actually intriguing and nuanced, and I ended up very entertained.

The Hypnotist’s Love Story
Liane Moriarty is my new favorite author and this novel was the last one I had left to read so I was “keeping it” until I just couldn’t stop myself. Now I want to be or go to or befriend a hypnotist. The other thing that really stood out for me was the main character’s ability to actually use and apply things like thought stopping techniques and really pointed self-observation (why am I acting like this right now…what is the real problem) whenever she was uncomfortable or flipping out about something. I also feel an overwhelming need to move to Australia and I’m happy to report that just as I finished this last novel Liane announced her new book. This means I have just a few more months until I can fall back into this fantastic writer’s extremely well plotted and uniquely populated world.

Black Eyed Susans
I really didn’t see the twist coming in this one. Really. It was also very atmospheric and creepy. Read it. You’ll like it. You’ll probably never trust anyone in your life ever again but it’s a great book.

The Duchess
When I was growing up, I read way too much Jude Deveraux. This is one of my favorites in her very large catalog of romance novels. I didn’t read the Outlander books until recently so this is how I learned about how sexy Scotland, the highlands, kilts, and whiskey were. The dashing gentleman in the book is a bit of a departure from the usual hunk and there’s a household full of quirky and bizarre family members. Even revisiting it now, many years later, I still think it’s one of the more creative and unique romance novels I’ve ever read.


The Last Coyote
I loved the show Bosch on Amazon so much that I started reading the books. They’re great hardboiled detective stuff. There are also 21 books in the series and this is book 4. Book 4, as you can imagine, was published awhile ago so I am endlessly amused by people using fax machines and ancient computers. In case you’re wondering, yes the tv show and the novels differ enough so that you can enjoy both. They aren’t just a repeat of one another.

The Widow
OK. A lot of people loved this book. Stephen King even tweeted about it. That’s great. However, I don’t understand why this is being marketed as a book to read if you liked Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train (both of which I loved) when it’s absolutely not a psychological thriller. If it hadn’t been promoted in that manner I’d feel like it was a perfectly fine novel. It’s very well written, but there is nothing truly twisty in it and because I kept waiting for one of those “you’ve got to be kidding me” moments to appear I just ended up being a little let down.

A Madness So Discrete
This is historical YA that revolves around a very wealthy young woman, Grace, who has been confined to an insane asylum by her father. The asylum is horrifying (remember those scenes with Eva Green in Penny Dreadful) and eventually she begins to assist a doctor with a series of serial killings. The secondary characters are very well fleshed out. We even have an ex-prostitute who is treating her Syphilis with mercury. Fun. I bet the book banning nuts will be all over that. I feel like this is going to be a series? If it happens to become one I’d read the next book. I think there’s a lot of promise here.

The Light of the Fireflies
Oh. You thought your family was dysfunctional? Well wait until you get to know these people. They live in an underground bunker, everyone except the youngest child has horrible disfiguring burns, and the daughter (who wears a mask) just had a baby. Guess who the dad is?! This was so disturbing and not in the way I like. I was hoping for an apocalypse but what I got was very different and unfortunately almost as emotionally awful. The book is very well written but I never want to read it or frankly think about it again. I suppose that makes it a success?

The Walls Around Us
This is a gorgeously written book with unreliable narrators galore. I just loved reading it. It’s a little supernatural, a lot twisty, there are ballerinas, and a juvenile detention center. Wait. Is this a show on the CW? I kid…but it is really atmospheric and it’s also one of those books that you can finish and just feel tremendously satisfied.

The Sixes by Kate White

I loved this book! I stayed up late two nights in a row, absolutely freaking myself out to the point that even though CK was asleep next to me I still had to get out of bed and go in the living room to watch TV so my mind would stop racing with thoughts of serial killers. I couldn’t get enough of the take charge main character, the college setting, the Fall season, and the bitchy co-eds. I’m so glad that I’m taking a trip home to Maine in October because this novel (while taking place in Pennsylvania) made me seriously want to go sit under a tree in a wool sweater letting bright red leaves fall on my head and then go have four beers at a townie bar. Afterwards I’d have to check to see that all of the windows and doors were locked at my house and that nothing had crawled under the bed but that’s the fun part, right?

The Sixes takes place at Lyle College and opens with the murder of a perky young female student. Author Phoebe Hall is hiding out at the Lyle post professional scandal and teaching a few sections of non-fiction writing at the urging of her old boarding school roomie who is now the president of the college. Having worked with faculty for many years I definitely got a huge kick out of the descriptions of some of the more colorful members of the community.

Anyway, Phoebe puts her stellar research skills to good use when her old school chum asks her to look into the possibility that there’s a secret society on campus and the members might have something to do with the mounting local body count. And then all hell breaks lose and the super creepy rains down hence my lack of aforementioned sleep. Definitely pick-up or download this book to your Kindle. It is the perfect end of summer read. No beach required but you might want to invest in a nightlight…just in case.

Pretty: A Novel

A drug and boozed soaked evening leads to an inevitable tragedy and just like that we’re following Bebe’s adventures in post-rehab halfway house land with a side of beauty school fumes. I really didn’t want to like Bebe Baker but she made it impossible for me to stay angry with her. Besides I’m a sucker for a good “I’ve hit rock bottom” story and the inevitable feelings that tag along with a read like this which are generally of the “my life is looking pretty good right now” variety.

The characters Bebe befriends in Serenity house are fantastically unconscious about flying their freak flags. There’s Jake, the schizophrenic who believes he’s Jesus, Buck, real name Becky and self-defined “Republican Dyke from Alabama” and all-around super sweetheart (honestly I kept picturing Toni Colette’s character from The United States of Tara) and Violet, goth girl and self-mutilator who is known to sport her mother’s official Snow White Disneyland costume on occasion. Group therapy never gets old with this crew.

When Bebe isn’t stealing her house-mate’s peanut butter by the spoonful in midnight snack binges (a girl after my own heart) she’s listing her diagnosed initials in a litany like manner: ADD, MDD, CD, PTSD (aka Attention Deficit Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, Chemical Dependency, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder respectively). If that isn’t enough she’s also coasting on fumes towards beauty school graduation (528 hours down. 72 hours left to go) and still has fifteen wet sets to create before she completes the required two-hundred hairdos.

Bebe is a mess but somehow Jillian Lauren makes you love her, root for her to succeed and grip the book just a bit more tightly when she starts to slip.  At times I wished that I could physically drag Bebe towards the right path — the one that would finally get her to San Francisco and the fresh start she wished for and frankly deserved. In my imagination I frantically stood on the sideline waving her toward the Yellow Brick road, but honestly I felt a little guilty for not warning her that it’s always 66 degrees here and at least in LA you can be ADD, MDD, SD, and PTSD with a tan.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Delirium (a word I can’t seem to type without the aid of spell check) is the first YA novel in awhile that I loved from cover to cover. I have yet to read Lauren Oliver’s debut novel, Before I Fall, but it has certainly been added to my unwieldy wish list.

One of the first things I loved about Delirium was that it takes place in Portland, Maine. A city I love and lived in for several years after college. Following Lena, our heroine, around the streets, beaches, and landmarks of Portland was fantastic and really fun. I could almost always picture exactly where the action was taking place as I’d been there before. Although, as an aside, it got on my nerves a bit when Oliver referred to The Old Port as just “Old Port” or the Eastern Prom as Eastern Promenade as though they were the same as Brown Street or Smith Ave. I know a single article in a sentence isn’t that important but I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone refer to THE Old Port without adding a “the” to the phrase. But I digress…

The Portland I know and remember is drastically different in this dystopia. The world weaved is one of isolation, governmental brainwashing, disinformation and an intense amount of fear. The United States has closed her borders and declared love a disease. To cure this “affliction” citizens are essentially lobotomized after graduating from high school. The operation is supposed to cure all symptoms of Amor Deliria Nervosa [love] and then men and women are paired for marriage by a scientific committee. Anyone who shows too much emotion, laughs to loudly, is caught dancing, or even caring too much about their children can be prosecuted and potentially sent to The Crypts, a dungeon where inmates are left to rot in deplorable conditions.

At the beginning of the novel Lena goes along with this reality. She is resigned to the fact that her operation is scheduled for a date merely a few months away. She’s complacent and obedient — the perfect sheep, but then Lena meets Alex and everything changes.

I found myself able to relate to Lena wholeheartedly. She was a fully realized character with nuance and extreme likability. While light on actual romance, what there is was handled sweetly and believably. This book is part of a trilogy so thankfully yet another cliffhanger ending will be resolved at a later point. But this does bring out my continued annoyance with the trend for YA, as of late, to always be multi-parted. Even if I’m absolutely in love with a collection of characters sometimes it’s nice to have a succinct and tidy wrap-up to a book. What do you think? Is this sequel happy world getting a bit much? Or do you subscribe to the “more is more” camp?

Room by Emma Donoghue

I received an arc of Room via Shelf-Awareness during my summer of moves. It sounded intriguing at the time but a bit dark for a summer read so it was packed away for future consumption. Now several months later it’s on numerous bestseller lists and everyone is talking about it. In case you’re wondering if you should pick up the book on your next bookstore excursion or Kindle splurge I’m going to offer up a resounding yes!

Room by Emma Donoghue is the first book in quite some time that made me want to stay up all night reading. I literally couldn’t put it down and practically broke my leg one morning when I was so engrossed in the pages that I didn’t notice the escalator had arrived at the top of Porter Square Station. If a book makes you look like a fool then it has to be a keeper.

Admittedly I was a bit wary of the subject matter examined in the story. Lately the press has had a field day recounting the stories of kidnapped women who were held captive for years by sadistic people — did I really want to read about that sort of horror in my free time? To help the reader overcome these feelings Donoghue has quite brilliantly written this harrowing and heartbreaking tale from the point of view of Jack, the captive woman’s five-year-old son. A son she conceived against her will during her years of imprisonment.

Jack and Ma live in Room which is essentially a fortified shed in their captor’s backyard. Room is the only world that young Jack has ever known. The only contact they have with the outside world is via an old television and the nightly visits from “Old Nick” their jailer. The imaginative use of language and the world that Ma is able to weave for Jack is truly astonishing. I believe you’ll find yourself simply overwhelmed by the creative ways she manages to teach, inform, protect, and entertain her son in such a hostile environment.

I know I’m bordering on gushing over this story but I honestly don’t think I’ve ever read anything quite like it. I promise you’ll fall in love with Jack and revel in his bravery and perseverance. Don’t shy away from this title just because it’s “ripped from the headlines” a la a Law and Order episode. Room is a book that begs reading and then a prompt hand-off to your best friend so that the two of you can discuss it over wine.

The Carrie Diaries

Oh boy…what to say.  I alternated between disliking and loving this book practically every other chapter. In the end I think I finally decided that I liked it but do yourself a favor and read it at a beach while you’re slathered in sunscreen. I think it will come off in a more positive light with a little personal atmosphere.

One of the problems I had with The Carrie Diaries was simply that it would have been much more interesting had it not been framed as a Young Adult novel. Now, before anyone jumps down my throat I adore YA. I eat it up weekly with a fork and spoon, but since the general audience of Sex and the City is decidedly not the 13-17 set in 2010 (or maybe it is…I think they’re more in-tune to Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber at the moment though) it doesn’t seem to make sense to release the title as YA. Why not spice it up a bit and ship it off to the adult market ? Just because YA is super hot right now doesn’t mean that every mainstream author needs to release books in the genre. It’s total overkill.

That being said it was entertaining to watch Carrie morph into shades of the woman, writer, and fashionista that she becomes later in life. I feared that the outfits Bushnell would describe her wearing would sound way too much like a Claudia Kishi out take from a Baby-Sitters Club book but much to my chagrin clothes weren’t really mentioned very much. Carrie sports a mink stole of her grandmother’s at one point and has the dead animals heads drink beer at a bar — that’s about as quintessentially Carrie as the fashion gets. It’s been a long time since I read the original book though so I may be basing my thoughts on how the character should dress a little too much on the Carrie from the television show.

The Carrie Diaries opens in Carrie’s senior year of high school. The class of 1980 is filled with your typical cliques and Carrie pals around with some interesting characters including:

Mouse — the brainy plain friend
Lali — the competitive frenemy
Maggie — the neurotic romantic
Walt — the gay BFF (who only comes out half way through the book but believe me this isn’t really a spoiler as you’ll see it coming a mile away)
Sebastian Kydd — the bad boy

Sound familiar? Yes, it’s all a little too cookie cutter. The strength of the book was almost always internal scenes where we are granted access to Carrie’s inner thoughts, feelings, and confusion over her future: to go to Brown or not to go to Brown, whether or not to lose her virginity, and how to deal with her broken family.  Yes, Carrie actually has a family. Two younger sisters, a scientist father who cries at the drop of a hat, and a dead mother.

The love interest, Sebastian Kydd, (to be frank) is a total dick and it’s excruciating watching Carrie attempt to date him. He’s definitely no Mr. Big.

In the end what I enjoyed the most was the sprinkling of 70s and 80s references to pop culture and I loved that Carrie and her friends were constantly going to their small town’s local bar, The Emerald. Yes, once upon a time the drinking age used to be 18. In case you’re wondering Carrie’s signature drink is the Singapore Sling. Every time she ordered one I cracked up and my stomach churned a bit as I recalled my early drinking days of hideous Midori and Whiskey Sours.

Fans of the book, television show, and movies (of which I most decidedly am) will undoubtedly enjoy this book even with the flaws, and those of you who haven’t had conversations with your girlfriends trying to decide if you’re a Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, or Charlotte should definitely stay clear. I hope the next book is about Charlotte. I can’t wait to hear all about her tennis lessons and pearl shopping.

My Name is Memory

I finished Ann Brashares latest novel My Name is Memory last night and instantly wondered if maybe my review copy had left out a much needed “to be continued…” at the end of the book. The way the first novel ends is incredibly frustrating, but thankfully after a little online research I discovered that this is going to be a trilogy so I can now stop my eyes from bugging out of my head in annoyance. In all seriousness though a little clue into that fact right up front might have helped me deal with the agony I was feeling when I was down to the last five pages and nothing was wrapping up. I’m curious if the actual copies that are for sale in bookstores now alert readers to this fact or not? I’ll have to pop over to Porter Square Books at lunchtime and see.

Notwithstanding the rather abrupt ending, My Name is Memory weaves together elements of so many genres that I love including historical fiction, romance, and sci-fi. The best part is that they all seem to work harmoniously together. The basic premise of the book revolves around the many lives of Daniel. Daniel has a memory that stretches across centuries. Thankfully not in the “I’m a vampire and I’ve lived for 2000 years” mode. Daniel lives and dies like a normal man, but somehow Daniel is able to retain his memory from each of his lives as he is reincarnated over and over again.

Many of his lives intersect with a woman whom he refers to as Sophia. In each of these instances he is consumed with persuading this woman of their destiny. As you can imagine having a strange man you’ve never seen before explain that you have hundreds of years of history together could be a bit daunting. The present day incarnation of “Sophia” who is actually known as Lucy essentially runs screaming from Daniel when he starts spouting his seemingly crazy notions. But his strange tale stays with Lucy and she begins to wonder if perhaps there could be something to Daniel’s claims.

While Lucy ponders, Daniel takes the reader on an epic jaunt through his past lives. I loved Daniel’s portions of the book. Reading about his many adventures in various foreign and far-flung places offered an exciting pace to the story, and the frequent near-misses in Daniel and Sophia’s tragic inability to ever be together left me feeling frantic for them to meet in the present day.

Of course, nothing comes easily to these star-crossed lovers. In true villain fashion Daniel’s evil brother, who also harbors the same supernatural ability but with a more wicked twist, decides it’s time to make his presence known.

Will Sophia and Daniel ever live happily ever after? Well you wont find out in this book, but perhaps by book three we’ll all be able to celebrate a merry resolution to this epic love story.

Just as an aside, I actually had this book with me on a flight home from Houston where Alexis Bledel sat two rows in front of me. I was instantly star struck and thought it was such a cool coincidence that the star of the film versions of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants was on the same plane with me while I read an Ann Brashares novel. I know…I know…I’m a total geek.