The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman – This was the third in the Magicians series, and the whole thing was just so much fun to read, and each book was better than the last. Supremely satisfying conclusion. (5 stars)
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – This one has had so much buzz and has been recommended highly, but I’d been avoiding it because everyone talked about how much they cried during it. Even though I believe in the idea of being present for suffering, I tend to avoid it in my personal reading because it can affect me strongly. Finally I read this for my postal book club, and although it definitely addressed a heavy topic and had an emotional ending the characters were just lovely to spend time with and it didn’t devastate me like I expected. I enjoyed the whole experience thoroughly. (4 stars)
The Hundred Year House by Rebecca Makkai – I listened to this on audio, but I actually wish I had read it and I’d probably enjoy a re-read. There was a lot to untangle and with a story that has so many layers of truth and myth it was hard to keep straight in my mind without being able to look back. Maybe because of that, the more I think about the story the more I like it.
At the center is Laurelfield, a stately mansion built in 1900 which began as a family house and morphed into an art colony, to a house and back again. The story is told backward, beginning with the contemporary inhabitants in 1999 and ending with the plot of land and the reason for its building.
It made me curious and drew me in deeper and deeper. I was mildly interested in the characters during the first half, a little more when some details of the past were revealed, and when the shift in time happened I was all in. I wasn’t deeply emotionally affected by it, but I think it’s very well done and I recommend it for almost all readers. (4 stars, audio)
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter – I really liked this. There is a lot going on, and it jumps around a lot (in time and between characters), but even though some characters don’t appear all that often I still felt like I really knew them and cared what happened to them. I’m glad I waited until summertime to read this, as it is pretty light in tone for the most part, but does have emotional depth. My favorite scenes were those from the 1960’s in Italy, and I loved the two main characters, Pasquale and Dee. Overall it gave me a hazy, warm, nostalgic feeling that was quite pleasant. (4 stars)