45. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
The kingdom of Orisha was once filled with magic wielded by the maji people until the day the king killed many of the maji and drove magic from the land. Now many years later Zelie aided by the king’s daughter discovers that she may have the keys to restore magic to Orisha.
This book has gotten a ton of good reviews, so I suspect it just wasn’t for me somehow. I really liked it at the beginning but grew bored with all the battles and the quests on the way to restore the magic. Even the forbidden love story couldn’t really hold my interest. Obviously this book is very much of the fantasy quest genre, which is not my favorite thing so I suspect I’m the one with the issue not the book. I do appreciate how this book brings some much needed diversity to that genre though and I hope that people who like this kind of thing enjoy the book even though I was bored by it. I give it a 5 out of 10.
44. The Collector’s Apprentice by B.A. Shapiro
This was a highly fictionalized book inspired by Albert Barnes who created the collection now housed by the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. It’s 1922 and Paulien Mertens is on the run after her fiance is revealed to be the head of a Ponzi scheme that everyone believes she too had a hand in. She assumes the name Vivienne Gregsby and moves to Paris where she becomes connected to the art world rubbing elbows with people like Gertrude Stein and Henri Matisse. Her ultimate goal is to get back her father’s art collection, which was lost during the scandal. She enters the employ of art collector Edwin Bradley who is attempting to build a museum of post-Impressionist art in Philadelphia, but things become increasingly complicated by her ex-fiance’s reappearance and her indictment for Edwin’s murder.
I really loved B.A. Shapiro’s previous books, but for some reason this one didn’t grab me as much. All the stuff with her ex-fiance seemed overly convoluted. Neither the plot nor the characters really did much for me. I give it a 6 out of 10.
43. A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult
This book follows an attack at an abortion clinic telling the stories of the gunman, a doctor, a nurse, patients, and the hostage negotiator whose teenage daughter is stuck inside. The story moves backwards in time with each chapter taking you an hour earlier in the events. I’m not sure the structure was really necessary, but it worked fine. I think Picoult handles the subject matter really well using the characters to give a nuanced view to many sides of the abortion debate. I thought it was a very well written book. I give it an 8 out of 10.
42. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
Monty is rogueish teenager just finished with his schooling and set to move into his father’s world, something he has no interest in doing. He has convinced his father to give him a year to go on a Grand European Tour with his best friend and secret crush Percy. He also has to take along his sister Felicity. Monty’s bad behavior leads them into a heap of trouble and sends them on the run across Europe hunting down the answers to a mystery while trying to avoid the people who are after them.
I enjoyed this book at the beginning, but for some reason the longer it went on the less I liked it. I just lost interest in the story and felt like the book was dragging on too long even though it’s not that long of a book. I give it a 5 out of 10.
41. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine. She’s had the same job for the past nine years. She doesn’t really have any friends, but she is happy with her routines and doesn’t feel like her life is lacking. But maybe Eleanor Oliphant is not as fine as she seems. A chance encounter with an co-worker and a stranger sparks something in Eleanor’s life that sets off a series of changes that make her realize her life is not as okay as she’s been telling herself and allows her to come to terms with some things from her past that she has been hiding from.
I thought this was an excellent book. It was sad and sweet and funny. There were some things Eleanor did that I didn’t think were particularly true to what I thought her character would have done based on what we know about her, but I suppose the author has the right to write her characters however she wants. Overall though, I definitely enjoyed reading this book. I give it an 8 out of 10.
40. Clock Dance by Anne Tyler
The first half of this book focuses on some key moments from Willa Drake’s life, her mother leaving her family when she was 11, her engagement, an experience on an airplane, and becoming a widow at a young age. The majority of the book focuses on the final key moment in her life when after a mix-up she spontaneously decides to jump on a plane and fly across the country to Baltimore to take care of the daughter of her son’s ex-girlfriend, who she doesn’t even really know, after the ex-girlfriend winds up in the hospital following a freak shooting accident. The characters in this book didn’t feel particularly real, but I enjoyed reading it nonetheless. I give it a 6 out of 10.
39. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: One Girl in All the World (Season 11, #2)
I don’t really have much to say about these comics other than I still enjoy reading them and will continue to until they stop writing them or I grow tired of them.