Over halfway through October already!!! Time is running away so fast!! I’m still living in July!! :-D
Sometimes I don’t feel like writing a full review for whatever reason, either because life is busy and I don’t have time, or because a book didn’t stir me enough. Sometimes, it’s because a book was so good that I just don’t have anything to say beyond that I loved it! Frequently, I’m just wayyy behind on reviews and am trying to catch up. For whatever reason, these are books that only have a few paragraphs of thoughts from me.
And All Through the House by Ed McBain – 2.5*
As I continue my journey through the 87th Precinct, this short story (with pictures…) was next on the list, although it appears that it was actually published in 1984 rather than the mid-90s, so I’m not exactly sure why it’s listed as book #46. This was a bit of an odd one, just a short (less than 50 pages) story of a “typical” Christmas Eve at the precinct. There wasn’t really any kind of plot or story, so it felt a little weird.
Romance by Ed McBain – 3.5* – published 1995
This one is about an actress who gets stabbed… twice! And since the actress is the main character in a play that is about an actress who gets stabbed, there are a lot of rather ridiculous scenes that read a bit like an Abbott & Castello sketch, which is great fun. McBain is always mildly preachy in his books and it came through a little heavy-handed in this particular one, which brought down my overall rating of the book, but still a solid installment to the series.
Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling – 4* – published 2003
Definitely my least favorite of the series, I’m just not sure why we have to listen to Harry be a jerk for so long. Rowling makes a few plot decisions in this book that I also don’t like. However, overall still an enjoyable read.
Nocturne by Ed McBain – 4* – published 1997
This was another one where the main mystery, about an elderly, once-famous concert pianist being murdered, was really good, but the secondary plot, about a prostitute being slaughtered, was a bit much. For the most part these books aren’t that gruesome, but the murder of that poor girl will stay with me for a long time, and not in a good way. It just didn’t feel like we needed that much detail for that part of the story. Still, the rest of the book was a solid read.
The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis – 5* – published 1956
This is always a really hard book for me to read, and I’ve actually read it the fewest times out of the whole series. I can understand why Lewis decided to end the series the way he did, but it’s still tough. Although I will say that, reading this as a child, this was the first time I ever understood wanting to go to Heaven because of it being a beautiful and perfect place rather than just as a better option than hell!
The whole deal with Susan, which I believe has been completely misrepresented and poorly interpreted, always makes me somewhat hesitant to review this one, because how much do I really want to get into this controversy? Suffice to say that I think it’s clear that Lewis wasn’t trying to say that Susan no longer believed in Narnia because she decided to embrace “womanly” things like makeup and dating, but because she had embraced worldly things to the detriment of her priorities. Makeup and dating aren’t bad things objectively, but it’s clear from the context that those types of things have become Susan’s driving force. Susan wasn’t on the train with everyone else, so I personally believe that the deaths of her loved ones helped her to readjust her life.
I actually wrote a little piece on this on tumblr wayyy back in the day – https://manycurrentssmallpuddle.tumblr.com/post/105298215925/can-you-explain-the-susan-pevensie-post-the and when I was looking that one up, I found another post that I really liked – https://manycurrentssmallpuddle.tumblr.com/post/129939476895/just-to-clarify – that summarizes why Gaiman’s “The Problem With Susan” just absolutely misses the ENTIRE point.
Sons of Pemberley by Elizabeth Adams – 3.5* – published 2020
Basically, this AU of P&P explores what would have happened if Darcy’s mother hadn’t died when Georgianna was born. Adams gives us just bucketloads of extra characters, which while fun, also made this story extremely bulky and somewhat confusing, especially when she works both backward and forward in time AND decides multiple characters should have the same name from different generations – there are at LEAST two characters for almost every name, which really doubled-down on the confusion aspect. Adams also takes pretty much every unlikable “villain” character from the original and gives them a backstory that makes them understandable and a forward-story that makes them redeemable, which is nice but… also means the entire story is somewhat boring. I did enjoy this one, and recommend it to people who enjoy a good P&P variation, but it’s not one I see myself revisiting.
The Big Bad City by Ed McBain – 4* – published 1999
Overall, once McBain got through the rather dreadful 80s entries, the series really improved. Most of the 90s books were done really well without nearly as much gratuitous (and bizarre) sex. I also really appreciate when he would have a plot line for one of the detectives and then follow it through in the background of multiple books – here, we finally see the main conclusion of what happened when Carella’s dad was murdered a few books ago, although McBain makes sure to still show us how Carella continues to work through his grieving process over the next several books after this one as well.