Crooked, Laura and Tom McNeal.
A good book of the adolescents' realism variety, well-written enough to make up for the depressing realism (why is it that "realistic" books are usually so depressing? Life isn't always depressing, unless you're the kind of person that should be on Prozac anyway) and "literary" (unresolved) ending. Humor's tucked into everything, but it's a quiet kind of humor that does not gain Victory Over All.
Faked to Death by Dean James.
The writing in this murder-mystery-farce is bad, but I think it's purposfully bad. The main character is a gay vampire (and bestselling pennamed romace/mystery/adventure writers) who's been invited to a posh writer's conference (in his guise as a writer of historical fiction), only to confront an insufferable woman who's posing as...one of his pseudonyms. His secretary has the hots for him, but he can't tell the charming chap the real reason their relationship must be strictly business (if you count catty remarks as such). His editor is unethical. His peers are being blackmailed. His hostess is a tyrant. He has the hots...erm, the colds...for the investigator on the case...
The Coffee Trader, by David Liss.
Oh, God. I just don't care. This isn't a bad book, but after all the trivialities, I can't bring myself to care how it comes out. Does the hero get his brother's wife? Does the brother's wife's maid betray her? Has the Dutchwoman betrayed our hero? Has our hero knocked up the brother's wife's maid? Or has the brother done it? Can the brother even get it up? Is the brother's wife addicted to eating roasted coffee beans whole? What a little tart! Will the Jewish community kick out our hero, as it has our hero's confidante, for unjust reasons? I don't know how this all works out, and I could care less. Blah, blah, blah. Sure, there are many individual sentences that can be read with pleasure, but when you start stacking them up against each other, you have a story that only an All My Children addict could love. This is a historical work crossed with enough backstabbing to make it "readable." Not my cup of tea.
Howl's Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones
Ah. The reason I read books is for books like this. I hadn't read any Diana Wynne Jones before. Why this woman isn't famous is beyond me--well, that's a lie. She isn't famous because she's too good. You can't make easy movies out of her stuff, like you can Harry Potter. Too many twists, none of which could be left out. All of it's surreal, like a dream, only better. The ending can't be predicted by the beginning, except it can. It's not catchy, except it is. It's not realistic, it's a fairytale--but not a fairytale for adults.