Ashlie’s #CBR5 Review #34: Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris

Vampires, supernatural creatures, violence, love triangles (quadrangles?) and mystery. This is what you can expect from each installment of this Charlaine Harris series.

These books aren’t particularly well-written, and a little obvious, but they are my brain candy and the perfect vacation read. The 10th installment means I’m closer to the end of the series, and that makes me sad. I know I could always watch the show, but as a Louisianian the accents and misappropriation of geography and what Shreveport is actually like makes my eye twitch.

I know Harris has other mystery series’, so I’ll probably pick those up too. If you enjoy a mystery and the supernatural, this series is a lot of fun.

Ashlie’s #CBR5 Review # 33 Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

I waited to read this book because it was on reserve at the library: that was terrible because I couldn’t wait for it after the first. I wasn’t disappointed by this one either. Collins did a great job of continuing to flush out the characters and paint a clear vision of her world. It is action-filled, exciting, and compelling. Can’t wait to read the last in the trilogy!

Ashlie’s #CBR5 Review #32: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) By Mindy Kaling

“Mindy Kaling is my spirit animal.” This was my thought as the audiobook drew to a close. (More on that in a minute.)

I had been on the fence about this book for a while. I heard good things, enjoyed her on “The Office” and sporadically see “New Girl” but I wasn’t convinced. As I was packing for a long solo road trip, I found this in my library’s digital collection and figured it would pass the time.

I am SO glad I picked it out! I’m not sure if I would have enjoyed reading it as much as i did listening to it. It was basically like having a funny, interesting, authentic friend in the car for six and a half hours. Highly enjoyable, and a few laugh out loud moments.

Back to the spirit animal observation. I have some great girl friends, but I don’t always fit well in an all female dynamic, so I was surprised at how well I identified with this book, and with Mindy. As a single woman in the south, it’s easy to let that define you (since other people do) but her attitude reminds me to be the sassy, hopeful, independent woman I am.

Ashlie’s #CBR5 Review #31: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Here is what I originally had to say when I read it in 2011: I had heard a lot of people raving about Hunger Games and finally decided to see what all the fuss about and I am ECSTATIC that I did. One of my favorite novels is 1984 so I find anything with Big Brother themes to be intriguing. Although this is Young Adult, the content is deep and arresting. It reminds me of Harry Potter in the sense that you root for the good guys and can’t wait to see what’s next.

New Thoughts: Insofar as they relate to me, The Hunger Games Trilogy is the Indiana Jones Trilogy (because there is no four) of books. What I mean is that it doesn’t matter that I’ve seen Indiana Jones a gazillion times, if it’s on TV I can’t seem to tear myself away. I decided read The Hunger Games (book one) today and couldn’t put it down if I tried. And I think I could almost start at the beginning again right now.

It’s certainly not an entirely new concept, but the dystopian setting, roller coaster of emotions, and commanding heroine are just impossible for me to resist, and I really adore it.

Ashlie’s #CBR5 Review #30 – Replay by Ken Grimwood

I’ve had this book for years, moved across the country and then sitting on my nightstand, collecting dust. It came highly recommended from members of a science fiction book club, but I just couldn’t bring myself to read it.

It is a time traveling story, a la Groundhog Day but with a darker bend. Jeff Winston is in a dead-end job with a souring marriage and finds himself suffering chest pains and in his office, dying. A moment later, he is back in his college dorm. Reeling with confusion, he comes to terms with his situation and discovers that he is somehow reliving his life. Why is this happening? What does it mean? He wrestles with these questions.

This mystery is complex and rich and will leave you with more questions than answers. It’s an unsettling book, but I think you need to read something that shakes you every now and again.

Ashlie’s #CBR5 Review 29: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

I’m a big Gaiman fan and had pretty high expectations of this book because of the post about the Pajiba book club. I am pleased to say it exceeded my expectations.

I don’t want to say much because I want everyone to go into it knowing little to have the best possible experience. It’s powerful, magical, and you should really just drop whatever you are doing and read it right this minute.

Ashlie’s #CBR5 Review 28: Saints and Sinners by Edna O’Brien

It has been quite some time since I have read a short story, possibly not since college. I picked this collection up at a book sale because it seemed to have good reviews on Goodreads and I wanted to try something different.

If you are in the mood for something unrelentingly depressing, then this is what you are looming for. I think I maybe would have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t tried to read it like a novel and had taken my time, but I just slogged through it, grimacing.

She’s certainly a good writer, but I found her usage of pronouns and narrators to be a bit misleading and frustrating. I have been buoyed to give other short story collections a go, but this one just wasn’t for me.