Review: The Book Thing by Laura Lippman

The Book Thing by Laura Lippman

I am a fan of Laura Lippman, books and short stories. The Book Thing combines all three. Win win! I have mostly read Lippman’s stand alone novels, but this short story falls within the Tess Monaghan series. The Book Thing contains not-so-subtle commentary on book stores vs. e-books. The underlying question throughout the story seems to be: Do we, as a society, still value paper books?

A short, fast read for fans of Laura Lippman and Tess Monaghan. I love that this falls within a series of Bibliomysteries. I think I need to pick up others in the series.

Thank you to MysteriousPress.com and Open Road Media for providing me with a copy to review.

Book: The Book Thing | Author: Laura Lippman | Published: MysteriousPress.com and Open Road Media; January 15, 2013 | Format: e-Galley | Source: NetGalley | Rating: 4 out of 5

Review: The Best American Mystery Stories 2011

The Best American Mystery Stories 2011I am a fan of both short stories and mysteries, so The Best American Mystery Stories 2011 was bound to pique my curiosity. This year’s collection was edited by Harlan Coben, so I knew this would be a good set of stories.

Surprisingly, I think my favorite story was The End of the String by Charles McCarry. This story involves an American in Ndala who becomes involved with a military man wishing to overthrow the president. This is not a topic I would normally seek out, but what a storyteller! I was completely drawn into the plot.

I also enjoyed Destiny City by James Grady, which centers around a terrorist plot. I am not one to seek out terroristic or political crime stories, but I found that I enjoyed all of them in this collection.

My second favorite story in this collection was The Hitter by Chris F. Holm. The Hitter is about a hit man who kills other hit men. This hit man contracts with potential victims to profit off the fact that he can save their lives by killing their would be assassins. Eventually, his chosen profession catches up to him.

Flying Solo by Ed Gorman is about two elderly men who befriend one another while receiving chemo treatment, and together they become vigilantes, fighting injustices.

Honorable mentions include Who Stole My Monkey? by David Corbett and Luis Alberto Urrea, A Crime of Opportunity by Ernest J. Finney and The Stars Are Falling by Joe R. Lansdale. I discovered many new authors through this collection, as well as an interest in subject matter that I would not normally seek out in my reading.

Many thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for providing me with a copy to review, via NetGalley.

Book: The Best American Mystery Stories 2011 | Various Authors | Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; October 4, 2011 | Format: e-Galley | Source: NetGalley
Rating: 4 out of 5

Review: Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day

Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day by Ben LooryLoory’s collection of wry and witty, dark and perilous contemporary fables is populated by people–and monsters and trees and jocular octopi–who are united by twin motivations: fear and desire. In his singular universe, televisions talk (and sometimes sing), animals live in small apartments where their nephews visit from the sea, and men and women and boys and girls fall down wells and fly through space and find love on Ferris wheels. In a voice full of fable, myth, and dream, Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day draws us into a world of delightfully wicked recognitions, and introduces us to a writer of uncommon talent and imagination.

I really enjoy a good short story collection. I am not a particularly fast reader, so short stories provide the opportunity for me to finish a story or two (or three) in one evening. When I saw the description of Ben Loory’s Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day, I knew I had to read the book. Just look at that fantastic cover. The design inside the book is equally nice.

As I read the first couple of stories, I began to sense Loory’s style, which I might sum up as short and abrupt. Many of the stories finish out at 3-5 pages. I would finish a story and think, That’s it? But what happened? Readers will often have to figure out what the ending of each story means to them. I don’t always do so well with this writing style because I like closure. I am still pondering the ending of The Man Who Went to China as I write this review.

With that said, there are quite a few gems in the collection. My favorites include: The Swimming Pool, The Octopus, The Duck, UFO: A Love Story, The Little Girl and the Balloon, The Afterlife is What You Leave Behind, The Tree, The House on the Cliff and The Sea and The Woman and the Basement.

The Octopus is my favorite story in the collection. This is the story of an octopus who has moved to the city. His nephews, who live in the sea, come to visit him. They want to see the city, but the octopus realizes that he doesn’t leave his apartment very often so he’s not sure what to show them. When he drops his nephews off at the sea after their visit, he considers his current life in the city compared to his former life in the sea.

As I mentioned, the reader has to figure out what each story means to them. At first this bothered me a bit. However, with a week away from the stories, I can appreciate the style a bit more. The beauty of a short story collection is that you can pick it up from time to time just to take in a quick nugget of work.

Many thanks to the publisher, Penguin Books, for providing me with an e-Galley for review, via NetGalley.

P.S. There is currently a giveaway for the book happening at Goodreads.

Book: Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day | Author: Ben Loory | Published: Penguin Books; July 26, 2011 | Format: e-Galley
Source: NetGalley | Rating: 4 out of 5

Audiobook Review: Deadly Housewives

Deadly Housewives To be honest, I was not expecting much from this collection of short stories. I was in the mood for a new audiobook and Deadly Housewives was available right away through overdrive. So, I gave it a shot. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself hooked on some of the stories. My favorites included “Lawn and Order,” “The Next-Door Collector,” “Acid Test,” “He Said…She Said” and “How to Murder Your Mother-in-Law.”

There was a problem with the sound on the version that I checked out. Some parts were so quiet that I had to turn the volume up very loud, only to have the next story blast out too loud. I also favored one narrator’s style over the other.

Description:

Wisteria Lane has nothing on the grande dames of mystery. A Bitch In the House for the fiction set, Deadly Housewives is a mystery anthology from fourteen of today’s best–loved and bestselling female mystery and suspense writers.

Critically acclaimed mystery writer Christine Matthews has gathered the biggest names in women’s mystery and suspense writing today, in this intriguing short story collection. Nevada Barr, Sara Paretsky, S.J. Rozan, Denise Mina, Carole Nelson Douglas, Marcia Muller, Nancy Pickard, Julie Smith, Vicki Hendricks, Suzann Ledbetter, Elizabeth Massie, Christine Matthews, Barbara Collins and Eileen Dreyer have all signed on.

The millions of viewers tuning in every Monday night to see the latest installment of Desperate Housewives are compelling evidence that there’s a huge audience hungry for entertainment based on the premise that there’s more to suburban housewives than meets the eye. With each never–before published story illuminating a different dark corner of the housewife–psyche, including sex, marriage, careers–left–behind, jealousy, kids, and female friendship, this anthology is perfect for the audience that’s made Desperate Housewives must–see T.V. And the murder and mysteries on Wisteria Lane will look like a chorus bake sale compared to the thrills and suspense that these masters of crime writing cook up!

Book: Deadly Housewives | Authors: Nevada Barr, Sara Paretsky, S.J. Rozan, Denise Mina, Carole Nelson Douglas, Marcia Muller, Nancy Pickard, Julie Smith, Vicki Hendricks, Suzann Ledbetter, Elizabeth Massie, Christine Matthews, Barbara Collins and Eileen Dreyer
Published: Phoenix Audio; August 1, 2006 | Format: Audiobook | Source: Library | Rating: 3.5 out of 5