The Cure for Dreaming
by Cat Winters
Cool cover art.
It's the dawn of the 20th century in Oregon and sixteen year old Olivia Mead is about to get a lesson in human nature. Olivia is juiced about the suffrage movement. In fact she even attended a rally (and has the stains from the eggs tossed at the crowd to show for it). After Olivia volunteers to be hypnotized at a mesmerist entertainment, her dad decides that further hypnosis is just the thing to dissuade Olivia from her foolish notions of equality for women and be the docile, decorative object she should be.
The hypnotist is called to the Mead household for a private session. He hypnotizes her to reply with "All is well" to any situation that she finds vexing and he also enables her to see people as they truly are. So now she sees some people with a nice, warm glow, while others have the appearance of vampires and monsters. Eeeek! Unfortunately, she can't alert those around her to the dangers because all she can say is "All is well."
The writing is simple and straightforward. I'd put it at early middle school level at best. But for the right audience, there's a good message here. That being that ALL people deserve a voice, deserve to be heard. Plus a bit of history about attitudes regarding votes for women at the turn of the century. If you have a kid who is just getting in to full length novels, this might be a good pick. For grownups, not so much.
or, the star-gazer
by Sena Jeter Naslund
1 star - nope
In theory, this is a "magnificent, vast, enthralling saga" about the wife of Captain Ahab. The dust cover indicates that lots of stuff happens. Great. Sadly, I will never know, because the writing style was not my cup of tea.
I'm not opposed to writing that drifts about, but this was so ethereal that it barely touched down for plot points. Consciousness, but not in even a stream. Just too floaty, languid, and slow. I was out within 50 pages.
An Expert in Murder
by Nicola Upson
1 star - a stylistic mismatch
P.D. James is very popular, but I've never been a fan. So when the top recommendation on the dust cover was penned by that author, well, I should have known.
The book has all the trappings of a good mystery. It's a period piece, set in England, female lead, parlor murder that is a bit gruesome, but only after it has happened.
Didn't work for me. I was bored. Really bored. On page 17, the detective shows up to investigate the murder (usually where things get interested) and I just didn't care. Possibly a record for me. Not even 20 pages. Oh well.