Book 499: The Laramie Project – Moisés Kaufman

This is not the first time I’ve read this. I have seen the film adaptation and I have read this multiple times. There are no surprises in this for me, and yet there I was sitting on the train with tears rolling down my face trying not to make that horrible noise when you can’t breathe, but you have to breathe or you’re going to choke on your tears. I clearly need to read this every few years to remind me of my humanity.

I have vague recollections of Matthew Shepard’s murder and the media circus that ensued in the late ’90s, but I do remember staying up late secretly watching the HBO adaptation (IMDB link) as a Junior/Senior in high school. It was a defining moment as a young man coming to terms with my sexuality. It didn’t really scar me or anything, but it definitely made me realize the “don’t ask, don’t tell” with which my family and most of my town it seemed operated under was just as easily broken as the “live and let live” as that in Wyoming.

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Book 481: Dark Places – Gillian Flynn

I’m going to go ahead and say it, this was better than Gone Girl. There, now let’s get on to my actual thoughts on this novel.

As with the few Harlan Coben novels I’ve read and even the few J.K. Rowling Cormoran Strike novels I have to ask WTF these people eat/drink/smoke to make them come up with these stories! I know a lot of them are based on some evidence of truth, but really some of these, especially this one, are some dark dark stories.

I had very little expectations going into this one as it’s been sitting on my shelf for a little over two years. I purchased it just after finishing Gone Girl and after I realized a little later that I wasn’t as much of a fan as it seemed everyone else was of that one, I put off reading this one and I’m a little disappointed I did so. There were enough differences between the two and this one I just liked more because I guess it was less psychological and more murder mystery.

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Book 458: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne

Rowling, JK, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne - Harry Potter and the Cursed ChildI’m glad I waited until after a lot of the hype died down and that I didn’t come across any spoilers, in the time that it took me to get to read this one. I also haven’t read any other reviews so I’m not sure what other people think about it. (I have plenty stored on my reader though.)

It’s fairly simple for me though, it was pretty much just a meh for me. I’ll read it again because I loved having the opportunity to dive back into Harry Potter’s world, but if I’m honest there are better works on Pottermore.

I think a large part of this has to do with this being a script and not a novel. The other part of it is that I think there might have been too many “cooks in the kitchen.”

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Book 448: Daddy Dearest – Paul Southern

Southern, Paul - Daddy DearestI’m not going to lie. I am very surprised I made it all the way through this one. VERY surprised. If you’ve followed me for a while you’re aware I’m not the biggest fan of self-published works. I took a chance on this one, because the author reached out to me about a review copy*, but I was a bit overwhelmed at the time and asked him to check back in and he did so very politely. So I figured the least I could do would be to give the book a go.

The reason I don’t read self-published novels often is because they usually haven’t been through a full editing process. Some have had some sort of editing, but most haven’t had the full process (developmental, content, line, copy and proofreading). Unfortunately for this novel, if it did go through the full process, I couldn’t tell and that sucks because the story had a lot of potential and I could tell that as I forced myself to keep reading.

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Book 440: Jane Steele – Lyndsay Faye

Faye, Lyndsay - Jane SteeleThis was incredibly entertaining and fascinatingly fun to read, but it wasn’t at all what I expected. I think perhaps I’ve read too many Austen fan-fiction novels that fit into one of two molds: modern retelling or prequel/sequel. There are the occasional paranormal/sci-fi mash-ups but mostly they fit within those first two molds. This novel was completely different.

I knew it would be different because the Brontë’s are such different writers, but I wasn’t aware how different it would be in terms of fan-fiction. I’ve only read a few Brontë fan-fiction works, 50% or more of which made me want better stories or better writing. When I reached out to the publisher, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, for a review copy I didn’t quite know what I was getting into, but I’m definitely glad I requested it!*

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Book 436: Dragons in the Waters (O’Keefe Family #2) – Madeleine L’Engle

L'Engle, Madeleine - Dragons in the Water (O'Keefe Family #2)I am slowly making my way through the final books in the Kairos portion of L’Engle’s oeuvre. This is the sixth book in chronological story order and the fourth book published in the Murray-O’Keefe books (AKA Kairos). It takes place about six months after the action of The Arm of the Starfish and a few years (I think) before A House Like a Lotus which my response should be published later this week.

I’m glad I’ve expanded my L’Engle reading if only to fully finish the Murray-O’Keefe story line, which the more I dig into the less I think I have actually read because all of her works are intertwined, but I think I will be giving her a rest after I finish this Super-Series. With only A House Like a Lotus and An Acceptable Time left to go I think that would be both a reasonable and acceptable dive into L’Engle’s works.

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Book 433: Fool Me Once – Harlan Coben

Coben, Harlan - Fool Me OnceThis is one of those books where you have to wonder where people get their ideas from. I’ve read far creepier books and far more suspenseful books, but Coben’s way with slowly building up to a crescendo and crashing denouement is superb! I know how cliche it is but when I hear someone say they want to read a page turner this is the type of book I think of. I started this at lunch on Wednesday and finished Thursday afternoon, working two full eight-hour days!

As I said in my response to The Stranger, after receiving an advance copy of this from Dutton*, AND hearing my friends Hayley and Kennedy liked Coben, I bumped these up my list and they were totally worth it. I will most definitely be keeping an eye out for any of his other ridiculous number of novels next time I’m at the used book store or local library sale 😀

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