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Familiar Diversions

I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.

Currently reading

The Caves of Steel
Isaac Asimov
Progress: 86/270 pages
The Blue Sword
Recorded Books LLC, Diane Warren, Robin McKinley
Progress: 73/735 minutes
Daughter of Mystery
Heather Rose Jones
Progress: 251/399 pages
50 Girls 50 and Other Stories
Al Williamson, Frank Frazetta, Gary Groth
Space Battle Lunchtime Volume 1: Lights, Camera, Snacktion!
Natalie Reiss
Progress: 20/120 pages
Fluency
Jennifer Foehner Wells
Progress: 58/367 pages
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet: A Novel
Becky Chambers
Progress: 148/441 pages
The Count of Monte Cristo
Alexandre Dumas, Bill Homewood, Naxos AudioBooks
Progress: 667/3165 minutes
A Matter of Oaths
Helen S. Wright
Progress: 101/277 pages
Report on the Selected Problems of the Technical Departments of the University of Illinois Library
Raynard C. Swank
Progress: 20/42 pages

If You Were Here: A Novel of Suspense

If You Were Here - Alafair Burke I had never read any of Burke's books prior to reading this and didn't even bother to check if it was part of a series (it's not) until after I was a few chapters in. The setup interested me: was the woman who simultaneously saved Nicky and took her phone back from him really McKenna's friend? If so, why did she disappear? Since such a big deal was made of the mysterious woman's physical strength, and since I've apparently read way too much urban fantasy, my first theory was that Susan disappeared after she became part of some kind of experiment that gave her super-strength. She escaped and went off the radar until the day Nicky stole her phone and McKenna spotted her in video footage of the incident. That, by the way, is totally not what happened.A lot of threads from the past mingled with ones in the present. McKenna was working on a book, telling her side of the events that led to the destruction of her career as a lawyer. Susan disappeared at around the same time those events occurred, and for a while I wondered if the mysterious woman only looked like Susan to McKenna because of the book she was working on. Whoever the woman really was, though, McKenna had clearly hit on a secret someone didn't want getting out – someone put a lot of effort into discrediting her.The story's pacing was pretty good, and I was interested enough in what was going on to keep reading, but this book never rose above “meh” for me. I knew several things about a lot of the book's characters, but, in the end, only McKenna and Scanlin ever felt like they had much depth, and I think that was mostly because they were POV characters. When McKenna began to doubt Patrick, her husband, it was easy enough to doubt him along with her, because I didn't feel like I knew him much, beyond a few personal details. It was harder to begin trusting him again, because I still didn't know him all that well – I was supposed to trust him because McKenna was saying he could be trusted.I had the same issues with Susan. I was constantly told that Susan was McKenna's best friend, that she knew her so well, etc., except it didn't really seem like she knew her well at all. She knew lots of bits and pieces about her life – that she had daddy issues, was good at making friends, slept around a lot – but all these things were presented in a way that felt shallow to me. And yet she supposedly cared so much about Susan and her sudden disappearance that, 10 years later, she was willing to go against what everyone was telling her and do whatever it took to find a woman who might or might not be Susan. I couldn't quite believe it, but I tried to go along with it.This book showed me that it's possible to have too many twists and turns. There were so many of them near the end of the book that I think I overloaded a bit. “Yet another twist? Whatever.” The number of characters and events Burke managed to connect stretched the bounds of believability. I suppose it was all possible, it just didn't seem very likely.All in all, this was an okay book, but not a great one. The setup and military aspects were interesting, but the characters didn't grab me.(Original review, with read-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)