Mini-reviews: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell; The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith; and Parasite by Mira Grant

fangirlTitle: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: YA contemporary fiction
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: Rebecca Lowman, Maxwell Caulfield
Audiobook length: 12 hours and 48 minutes
First line: There was a boy in her room.

Goodreads blurb: Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

I loved everything about this book. I loved Cath. I loved her love for Simon. I loved the passages from the fictional Simon Snow novels. I loved the passages from Cath’s fan fiction. I loved her complicated relationship with Levi, her attempts to discover who she is without Wren, her anger at her mother, her worry for her father, her ambivalence about writing other fiction. I loved Rebecca Lowman’s narration. I have nothing else to say, except that I’d be willing to pay Rainbow Rowell to write a sequel, because I miss these characters.

cuckooscallingTitle: The Cuckoo’s Calling
Author: Robert Galbraith
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: Robert Glenister
Audiobook length: 15 hours and 54 minutes
First line: Though Robin Ellacott’s twenty-five years of life had seen their moments of drama and incident, she had never before woken up in the certain knowledge that she would remember the coming day for as long as she lived.

Goodreads blurb: After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.

Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, thelegendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

You may think you know detectives, but you’ve never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you’ve never seen them under an investigation like this.

Okay, I know there is a whole bunch of hoopla surrounding this book, because – gasp! – Roberth Galbraith is really J.K. Rowling. But you know what? Whether she is writing about a young wizard or a tough, down-on-his-luck private eye, the woman knows how to write. This isn’t a fast-paced thriller, but more of a slow burn of a mystery, designed to introduce the readers to Cormoran and his new assistant, Robin. Even though it isn’t quick moving, I never found myself bored, because I wanted to know who Cormoran was and what had brought him to this point in his life. Plus, the narration by Robert Glenister is absolutely fabulous. I hope he reads the next book in the series.

parasiteTitle: Parasite
Author: Mira Grant
Genre: Science fiction
Publisher: Orbit
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from my personal library
Number of pages: 504
First line: August 17, 2015: Time stamp 15:06. [The recording is crisp enough to look like a Hollywood film, too polished to be real…]

Goodreads blurb: A decade in the future, humanity thrives in the absence of sickness and disease.

We owe our good health to a humble parasite – a genetically engineered tapeworm developed by the pioneering SymboGen Corporation. When implanted, the tapeworm protects us from illness, boosts our immune system – even secretes designer drugs. It’s been successful beyond the scientists’ wildest dreams. Now, years on, almost every human being has a SymboGen tapeworm living within them.

But these parasites are getting restless. They want their own lives…and will do anything to get them.

I adored Mira Grant’s zombie series, which started with Feed, and was excited at the prospect of another series written by her. The premise is fascinating, and I liked the characters, but this one didn’t grab me quite as much as her previous books. I think part of the reason is that Sal, the main character, is a bit harder to figure out. The science and world-building in her books is always terrific, though, and that doesn’t change with this new world. I do find myself getting tired of the idea of series, though, especially ones where the books don’t really stand on their own. This one ends with a big reveal that wasn’t much of a surprise, and leaves the readers hanging, waiting for the next book.

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17 Responses to Mini-reviews: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell; The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith; and Parasite by Mira Grant

  1. Isn’t Rainbow Rowell the best? What fun to find new wonderful authors!

  2. bermudaonion (Kathy)
    Twitter: bermudaonion
    says:

    I loved Fangirl too! I read Mira Grant’s first zombie book and really want to finish that series before I start her new one.

  3. Tobi says:

    Hooray for Fangirl! I guess the wonderful thing about books is you can read them over and over again or at least until the sequel!

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Tobi – that’s true. :) And I have no idea if she will write a sequel – it’s just my wish.

  4. Sheila (Book JOurney)
    Twitter: bookjourney
    says:

    That’s it, Fangirl just hit my audio list :)

  5. Kailana says:

    I am really happy you liked the audio of Fangirl because I plan to listen to it myself! I also want to read the other two books… One day!

  6. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread
    says:

    I loved Attachments from Rowell too, but OMG Eleanor and Park? Probably one of the best books I’ve read all year. And I’m loving Fangirl on audio. Also really enjoyed Cuckoo too. We must be drinking the same water these days.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Sandy – I can’t wait to read Eleanor and Park! I’m hoping sometime this month…. And yes, I think we are drinking the same water – and what great water it is!

  7. You really liked all three of these! I have The Cuckoo’s Calling to read and have been curious about Parasite, since the good reviews started rolling in.

  8. Pingback: The Sunday Salon – December 8, 2013 | BOOKS AND MOVIES

  9. I’m going to try reading Parasite next year. I need to start on a new series and I think it would be nice to start with the Parasitology series :)

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Five-Eyed Bookworm – just know that you’ll have to wait a while for book two!