Let’s roll out these mini-reviews! I can do this!
The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley
This is the second book I’ve read by Kearsley and the first of her “time-slip” novels. I adored it for its classic, page-turning storytelling that had just the right levels of romance, suspense, and historical detail. I also just really appreciate Kearsley’s characterization. As with the main character in The Shadowy Horses, The Rose Garden‘s heroine Eva is likable and smart, and it was easy to become invested in what happened to her and her friends. It was one of my favorite novels that I read last year.
The Martian by Andy Weir
My cousin, who gave me this book, told me it was a fast, entertaining read. It was definitely entertaining, but some of the scientific and technical passages ensured that it wasn’t a fast read for my humanities-and-arts trained self. If you’ve read reviews of the book or movie, you know that Weir did extensive research and that most of the technology and science in his story is real or on the trajectory of the real (e.g. more reliable versions of current inventions.) So I understood why it got so in-depth and I did appreciate it for the verisimilitude it lent the story. Eventually, I stopped trying to understand everything, and settled for getting the gist and moving on.
For me, the story really got going once the people back on Earth became aware that astronaut Mark Watney was alive and stranded on Mars. I always looked forward to switching from Mark’s perspective to their perspective to see how they were interpreting and reacting to Mark’s movements and decisions. Not that I didn’t enjoy Mark’s sections, but it was sort of like when you show someone a show like Veronica Mars for the first time and you’re super excited to see how they react to the plot twists.
In any case, all the focus on the problem-solving ensured that any victories felt well-earned. I may have become a little teary toward the end of the book. I think I prefer the book to the movie, but I did like the movie as well.
Cocaine Blues (Phryne Fisher #1) by Kerry Greenwood
I’ve seen all three seasons of the TV show, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, so I figured I should give the source material a go. Cocaine Blues was a pleasant quick read, especially as there was the additional joy of comparing and contrasting it to the show. The meeting of Phryne and Dot goes very differently than in the show, for example. In the book, a desperate Dot is about to try and stab someone when Phryne intervenes. Phryne is also younger in the book, but in temperament and proclivities she is just about the same. I’m not sure if I’ll continue reading the series, as I’m generally terrible with keeping up with mystery series even when I enjoy their first installments.
Once Upon A Marquess (The Worth Saga #1) by Courtney Milan
I’m all caught up with Milan’s Brothers Sinister series, and was excited to try this first novel in her new series, but ultimately I was disappointed in it. I felt that the fun banter that appeared in her other novels was escalated to a too-precious, grating degree in this book. I read the excerpt for the next book in the series, and am hopeful that I’ll enjoy that one better.