December books, part 1

Prospect Park West by Amy Sohn
This book was not at all what I was expecting. For starters, it was way dirtier than I expected from chick lit. Not that everyone was having sex (though they did), but it was all they could think about. Also, no one liked themselves or anyone else and whatever they had, it wasn’t enough.  Basically the whole book can be summed up as sex and unhappiness, with a side of craaaaaazy. I did read all 400 pages in a few days, though, so it was definitely addicting. Having learned Amy Sohn’s newest book follows some of the same characters, I really want to know what happened to them.

Talking with My Mouth Full by Gail Simmons
This was blah. It didn’t read as a novel, but like she was interviewed about her life and the transcript was typed with minimal editing. “So, Gail, how do you feel about weight issues relating to women in the public eye?” “Funny you should ask! I have lots of rambling thoughts on that issue.”

I suppose you could say that’s a good thing, that the book felt conversational and I could hear her voice. But it wasn’t compelling reading. I think whomever gave her a book deal had a great idea. Her career trajectory and each job she has had seem really interesting. It just didn’t come out right. It kind of made me sad to see all of the super-interesting stuff turned into such a boring book.

I don’t necessarily not recommend you read it or regret that I did. As I said, there is interesting stuff underneath the stilted writing. You just have to kind of work for it and slog through at times.

I used to read everything Carolyn Hart wrote. There were two things that should have led me to skip this one, but I ignored them. 1. It was published by Berkley Prime Crime, not her usual William Morrow (Step down? Right? I don’t really know publishing) and 2. “She understands the thoughts of cats when she looks into their eyes.”

It was awful. Really awful. Besides the whole cat thing, it was just a bad book all around. The mystery was boring and the love story was ridiculous.
“If you were smart” – her voice caught in her throat – “you’d stay away from me.”

“Not,” he said quietly, “in this lifetime.”
COME ON.

Interestingly enough, the cover quote on that one – “What the Cat Saw will surprise and engage any mystery reader.” – was by Charlaine Harris. I realize most of those are quid pro quo kind of things and/or required of authors with the same publisher, but still. Interesting.

I can’t really say much about the Sookie series that I haven’t already, but I liked this one. I wasn’t feeling up to a heavier book and deliberately went for the brain candy.

A Touch of Dead (Sookie Stackhouse: The Complete Stories) by Charlaine Harris

This book explained so much. When I started book six, I checked several times to make sure I hadn’t skipped a book, because there was a fairly major plot point I seemed to have completely missed. I was sure I’d forgotten to read the last chapter of the previous book (nope, checked) or misremembered what book I was on (nope) or was just plain going crazy. Turns out all the answers were in a SHORT STORY. Now how was I supposed to have known that?

I had noticed there was a book of short stories, but I had no idea they were required reading. Pretty much every area I was fuzzy or confused about from the series originated in one of these stories. I’m kind of mad actually.

Some of the stories stand alone, but it’s helpful to read them all, at the appropriate point in the series. Even if that’s not feasible (and why would it be? Unless you BOUGHT the short stories book?), you definitely should read “One Word Answer” before book six. Or ask me for a synopsis.