Quick takes- August 2018

Visible Empire. 3 stars. Great story, but it’s based on a true event, so real life is doing most of the work here. The characters all felt flat and undeveloped. A real missed opportunity.

All We Ever Wanted. 4 stars. High four stars. I was totally into this story, I loved the issues of parenting in the age of social media, and what happens when you discover your kids don’t share your values anymore. The book goes too easy on its main character but this was terrific and would be a great book club pick.

The Incendiaries. 5 stars. A sort of love story, but when you’re losing your girlfriend to a cult. Great concept, great execution. Couldn’t put this one down.

The Coincidence Makers. 5 stars. Five million stars. Oh I loved this story of a former Imaginary Friend who is now a Coincidence Maker, orchestrating people’s lives from behind the scenes. The plot goes in so many cool directions, eventually asking the question, “Do coincidence makers have coincidence makers?” So utterly charming.

Fruit of the Drunken Tree. 3 stars. 3 1/2 maybe? I don’t know why this didn’t really do it for me. There were two different points of view and I found one much more interesting than the other. Good story but it just missed the mark.

Neverworld Wake. 3 stars. This comes so close to being great, but it’s way too muddled in the middle. I loved the ending, and I appreciate the concept, but it didn’t quite land. I feel like she’s got a masterpiece in her someday.

Educated. 3 stars. A little bit on me, because I never like memoirs. This had potential to be better though. Interesting story but too disorganized in the telling.

A Place For Us. 4 stars. Would be five stars with a good edit. Good story, it just took its time a little too much. I loved this family, and the last section was a standout.

Ghosted. 2 stars. Ugh, I really wanted to like this. I just could not get on board with the premise. If a guy is ghosting you, he’s not into you, move on. This kind of thing just encourages obsessive stalking behavior.

Eternal Life. 5 stars. Did you ever want to live forever? Read this book to learn why it’s such a bad idea. I loved everything about this. Heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time.

Bad Man. 2 stars. I don’t even know why I read this. Kind of cinematic horror I guess? So many red herrings and a nonsensical resolution.

The Brief History of the Dead. 4 stars. I love the premise of this one. There is a sort of limbo between life and death, where you reside until there is nobody left on earth who remembers you, and now there has been a global catastrophe so there is literally one person left alive. I didn’t go nuts for the ending but otherwise I loved it.

Top picks: The Coincidence Makers, Eternal Life, The Brief History of the Dead.

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