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Familiar Diversions

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

Currently reading

The Dark Victorian: Risen Volume One
Elizabeth Watasin
Progress: 35/97 pages
Welcome to Night Vale: A Novel
Dylan Marron, Jeffrey Cranor, Cecil Baldwin, Retta Andresen, Joseph Fink, Harper Audio, Dan Bittner, Therese Plummer
Progress: 154/722 minutes
Death Note: Another Note
NisiOisiN
Progress: 54/176 pages
Jane Jensen: Gabriel Knight, Adventure Games, Hidden Objects (Influential Video Game Designers)
Jennifer deWinter, Carly A. Kocurek, Anastasia Salter
The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't
Robert I. Sutton
Progress: 140/210 pages
The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality
Julie Sondra Decker
The Mystic Marriage
Heather Rose Jones
Progress: 302/426 pages
Ichi-F: A Worker's Graphic Memoir of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant
Kazuto Tatsuta
Progress: 448/553 pages
The Naked Sun
Isaac Asimov
Progress: 20/187 pages
Fluency
Jennifer Foehner Wells
Progress: 58/367 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.)