Okay, let’s do this – time for a big, honkin’ fiction roundup!
13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad took my breath away. Searing and smart, heartbreaking and relatable, this is a novel told in separate stories at various periods of Lizzie’s life. She unapologetically tackles Lizzie’s struggles with feeling valued in a sexual relationship, her relationship with food, and even her husband’s thoughts when she finally loses weight – and wrenches tighter and tighter control over herself. My heart broke for Lizzie, in so many ways.
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch is just mind-f$&%ingly weird, but in a good way. 🙂 Jason Dessen is just living his life until he’s abducted and wakes up… elsewhere. A place where his wife isn’t his wife, his life isn’t his life… so how does he go about getting it back? Or does he even want it back? Warped and weird, this is filled with a great blend of physics and peril, emotion and adventure. I dug it!
Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare is a thumbs up, because, hello. TESSA DARE. I love her Regency romances, and this is another great one! WHO had a naughty tryst in the library? It wasn’t Charlotte, but the rumors are swirling, and just how is she going to extricate herself? Lord Granville has an idea… another great entry in the Castles Ever After series!
The Widowmaker by Paul Doiron is the latest entry in his Mike Bowditch series, featuring the Maine game warden. I really like the setting of this mystery series, and Mike is an approachable everyman character that still has a few demons and quirks to keep him interesting. Recommended if you dig the series already!
Faithful by Alice Hoffman filled my bucket, and I needed it after being in a reading rut. This felt very much like Kitchens of the Great Midwest to me… though we stuck with only one character, the tone and need for the reader to read between the lines, to follow the timeline and storyline felt familiar – in a great way. Shelby is a damaged, seemingly hateful character that ends up endearing and enduring. I eagerly turned every page, and was truly sad when it was over.
Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover was receptive. I’ve been pretty openly critical of Hoover’s writing and plots (the deaf songwriter one comes to mind…), but this one was actually pretty good! Steamy scenes and ratcheted emotions – I recommend it!
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly came with a lot of baggage for me… EVERYONE has been recommending it to me, pushing me to read it, so when I finally got to it, I had this hugely inflated sense of the book. Having said that, it was a fantastic novel, but not the bestest-ever, as I was braced for. In short, Holocaust, World War II, France, three women, three stories… well written and researched, compelling and emotional. I’m yet to hear of someone reading this who didn’t love it…
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult should have me jumping up and down – new Jodi Picoult! We always want new Jodi Picoult! But this one… this one didn’t ring my bell. Dealing with issues of race, hatred, babies, and of course, a court case, it was just hard to read, hard to relate to, but raised a lot of questions amongst though of us who had read it at the same time. Decidedly not my favorite Picoult, but as always… thought provoking.
Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman was tailor written for those of us of a “certain age”, who lived through the era of Kurt Cobain’s suicide and Doc Martens. In 1991, two girls and a boy go into the woods… but only two come out. This is a story of female friendship, manipulation, lust, love, and was it murder? Or suicide? Warped and weird, but I couldn’t put it down…
And of course, I have a few bonus titles I’ve read… Good as Gone by Amy Gentry was a odd, disjoined mystery (but good!)… Our Little Secret by Jenna Ellis I’m sure was supposed to be sexy and salacious but was just plain silly… The Decent Proposal by Kemper Donovan had surprising heart… A Gentleman Never Tells by Eloisa James was another winner (I love her!)… and The Obsession by Nora Roberts was good, too long to my mind, but good.
And there you have it! Whew! Let’s start 2017 fresh now, shall we?!