The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
This is a post-apocalyptic, dystopian, zombie novel that is detailed in the best way. No word is a waste. There are five main characters and you get to know each one of them very well. The plot moves at a great pace . It's slower in the beginning, but that reflects what the days of the characters are like at that point in time. Once the shit hits the fan, the story moves along quickly. There's military, academia, and science. The ending was a surprise and I'm rarely surprised by revelations in books. I thought it was better than World War Z and California.
Recommendation: Highly recommend if you are into post-apocalyptic, dystopian novels, even if you're not into zombies.
The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike Book 2) by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
I read the first book and loved it. It's fits into the classic noir detective genre - somewhat tortured detective with a colorful backstory. This one, however, is very dense and very detailed, but not in a good way. The story gets bogged down in a lot of spots then it seems like the climax happens in a couple of pages. Luckily, it is an interesting mystery and you want to know how it's solved.
Recommendation: If you're a fan of the Michael Connelly Bosch series or the Walter Mosley Easy Rawlins series, then I do recommend checking out this series.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
This is a coming of age story about two Latino boys living in Texas in the 1980s. I don't know whether it was intentional, but it reads like it was written by an angst-y teen. I don't have a problem reading stories from the point of view of children (Haven Kimmel's memoirs are the best), but the main character came across as so whiny, it was annoying. It's not that I don't remember being an angst-y teen. It was quite frustrating and confusing at the time, but at 35, whiny teenagers are annoying.
Recommendation: Good for teens, especially those that aren't good at talking about their feelings.
Some Luck: A novel by Jane Smiley
At first, this seems like a simple story about a farming family living in Iowa in the early 20th century and I guess it is, However, I ended up getting really attached to the members and their stories spanning across 3-4 generations. It's also a great story if you're into history. There's no political commentary and some things aren't named outright, but if you know American history, there are moments of excitement when you recognize certain events that were HUGE in retrospect. There's no real plot other than people living their everyday lives lost in their own thoughts and worlds. There are no answers, no revelations, It's simple and good like a pastoral scene in book form.
Recommendation: I liked this book a lot, but I don't know to whom I would recommend it.
Fire (Graceling Realm Book 2) by Kristin Cashore
I read the first in the series and it was better than okay, so I thought I would give this a try. The first two books have strong, teenage, female protagonists. However, like most female protagonists in books I've read, they are hard on themselves and internally so fucking whiny (see A History of Witches series, The Mortal Instruments series, and The Hunger Games). They're these badass women and girls that have AMAZING strengths and talents that are all, "Why would anyone like me? What does anyone see in me? I just ruin everything all of the time. I'm so weak and don't know anything!"). I
guess it’s a good style because everyone wants someone
to discover, through all of their crap, how amazing they are. I guess . . .
Most of the time, the women learn that their strengths are not something to hide or diminish, but, wow, it's a long, whiny road to get to that point. The Clarice Starlings and Smilla Jaspersens of literature are few and far between.
Recommendation: If you're into fantasy worlds, I say give the series a shot. There isn't a lot of depth, but it passes the time.