The Year of the Girl

I love books on my iPhone – Audibles.  I know there are probably 10 reasons why I should be reading instead of listening, but they are so convenient.  I listen while I’m out gardening, ironing, or doing chores.  I listen while I run and when I walk the dogs.  They are great for long plane trips or ferry trips.

I didn’t realize this, but 2015 has been the year of the girl.  It started with Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Continued with The Girl in the Box” series by Robert J. Crane, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, The Girl with All the Gifts, by M.R. Carey and finally The Good Girl, by Mary Kubica.

So while I can’t get a hiking post off all that often, I thought I’d download you on some of the better books I’ve been reading.  I rate books in 2 ways: using a 5 star best of the best, I will rate the books for overall likability  and then good for running.  Complicated books are not good for running, because you have to rewind too often to catch parts you missed (when you are paying attention to something else, like traffic).  So easy summer reads often get high running stars.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – 4 of 5 overall, 2 running stars

I am a sucker for a book that is about to become a movie.  And, with only one exception, I always like the book better.  This was not the exception.   The plot starts out sounding familiar;  the husband reports the wife missing.  The clues found during and investigation and the behavior of the husband lead the police to believe he is the guilty party.  Did he kill his wife?  He has motive and opportunity.  And even his twin sister starts to doubt his innocence.  Unlike most twisted mystery plots, the twist is revealed about half way into the book; putting a whole new spin on what this story is actually about.  And still comes up with a couple of more twists.

The book lends to the suspense much better than the movie where the unspoken suspicions of the characters didn’t come across the screen very well.  I like the plot development in the book.  The characters were interesting, especially the maliciousness of one of the main characters.  The only problem with the book is that it is missing a likable person.  Nope, not one person in this book makes you root for them.  This is a good read, a little slow in places, but overall one of those mysteries where you need to be paying attention.  The downside of listening to this book – the time frames jump from chapter to chapter.  Past and present leap around nilly willy and that is hard to keep track of the actual time line when you are listening to this book.  And, I am finding that it is now a very popular trend among writers to throw a timeline out the window.

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica – 3 out of 5 overall, 3 running stars

This book is in the same genre as Gone Girl as a mystery abduction with a twist.  The daughter of a prominent judge, Mia, was stood up by her boyfriend again.  Mia, always the good girl, decides just this once to go home with the handsome stranger at the bar who she has been flirting with all night.  That was a bad decision…as it leads to her abduction.  This is the story of her abduction, and the aftermath.

Yet another book where the time frame is not linear.  The chapters are a bit easier to keep the timeline straight because they are either before or after Mia was found.  Again, you end up wondering if you are rooting for anyone at all.  The characters are not very compelling or likable, especially the mother.  She finally redeems herself a little bit near the end of the story.  You begin to guess the ending around the middle of the book, but it is still a good listen.  I like to hear a story from different points of view and in this one you get 4 characters telling the story.  While it will not make my favorites list, it was a good book and an easy listen.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – 4 of 5 overall, 2 running stars

Rachel is a broken woman, divorced, depressed, dismissed from work and a borderline alcoholic. She not only drinks too much, but does so even though she cannot remember the events of any evening during which she has had too much to drink.  Because she cannot admit to her job loss, she continues to take the train into town every day, and every day she watches one particular house at one of the train crossings and starts to create a fantasy world around the beautiful couple who live there.   When she learns that the woman she has been watching has gone missing, she inserts herself into the investigation, believing she has vital information.

I had a hard time relating to Rachel at times, she is an alcoholic who will not get help and she is self destructive with no self control.  So when she also inserts herself into an investigation under false pretenses, and the lies start to tumble out of control, I was uncomfortable listening to the tale unfold.  So considering I had a hard time relating to the main character, you would think that I wouldn’t like this book.  But Paula Hawkins did a great job of making Rachel likable despite her flaws, and gave the characters around her more than just two dimensional personalities.  This is another mystery with a twist, but effectively leads you in several directions so you are not really sure where the plot is going.  I was guessing at possible conclusions during the entire read.  I would recommend this book.

Happy Reading until the next hike!

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