Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

The NestThe Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The central story of the nest is fairly solid; a trust fund matures when the youngest child turns 40. Four grown children, living separate lives, are counting on the large payout. However, complications arise when the oldest, the golden boy (not golden for being good but golden like Midas) makes a series of choices that wreak havoc and threaten the nest. Nestled in their dysfunctional roles, some of the siblings have already spent the expected windfall. So what if it doesn't come?

What I enjoyed was reading about each sibling and the way they viewed themselves within the family dynamic and each other. I enjoyed the shifting opinions as the characters grew.

What I didn't enjoy were the side stories that dangled on the side of tangential and indulgent. I liked the story surrounding the inheritance and did not need the justification of sexuality, infidelity, or non conventional family. By the end I felt like I was reading the highlights of a college course in women's studies along with the sociological history of New York City. Okay, the sociological history of NYC was interesting. The other? Not so much. More self indulgence and justification that distracted from the storyline, IMO.

The writing is solid. The general story and conclusion is interesting. The Twins' story was irrelevant. Stephanie and her decisions were largely irrelevant. Tommy's story seemed irrelevant, as did his character. These were more like public service announcements. Beyond the one in the car, the sex details were extraneous. I was mildly disappointed with the author's choices for page space.

Lost Among the Living by Simone St. James

Lost Among the LivingLost Among the Living by Simone St. James
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nearly 4 star book for me. I enjoyed the paranormal element and the overall almost gothic, historical theme. The story was intriguing as it includes a little Great War and the difficult economy after yet before the Depression. There was a mystery regarding the death of a 15 year old girl. Jo is certain it was a murder yet she struggles with the idea that either she is being haunted or she is mad like her mother. There were some good plot twists that I guessed might come. That didn't make it any less enjoyable. My only complaint is that I wish one of the characters was better developed and had a more ending in the story. I really wished to know the mad 15 year old cousin better.

It's still an enjoyable book, though.

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

Before the FallBefore the Fall by Noah Hawley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a unique story that examines the way media has changed from reporting news to spinning and providing commentary to sway the public. The real story is about the protagonist and how his childhood shaped him to face the challenge of surviving the plane crash while hanging onto a 4 year old boy and how he handles the aftermath. Told from multiple points of view, the reader doesn't really know how the plane crashed until near the end. The clues must be dug up from the ocean floor and from an occasionally flash of memory.

I really liked the book. I enjoyed the writing style and the story. It was unique and had me at hello.