Here are my latest book reviews, friends. What have you been reading?
“The Bromance Book Club” by Lyssa Kay Adams took me by surprise, in such a good way! I feel like I’ve gotten a little burnt out on romance novels, but this one was recommended by a colleague, and it was exactly what I needed to get out of the romance rut! I mean… professional athletes, a secret romance book club (for the guys), a damaged marriage, smexy flirting, swoony sex, emotion… this had it all, and I was here for it! I’ve already almost finished “Undercover Bromance” also – such fun!
“Braver Than You Think” by Maggie Downs completely pulled me in and didn’t let me go. This is a travel memoir of the year (a year!) Downs took traveling from South America to Africa to Asia, visiting all the places her mother dreamed of going – before her agonizing Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Even as Maggie’s mother fades away, Maggie is determined to see the world solo, despite her mother’s dying and her new marriage to her husband. At times fascinating, harrowing, and heartbreaking, I had to keep searching for images of all the amazing places Maggie saw. This was just a fantastic memoir – highly recommended!
“Sanctuary” by V. V. James wasn’t quite what I expected, but I tore through it! Star quarterback Daniel has just died tragically during a school party, and then rumors start that his ex-girlfriend had something to do with it – and as the daughter of a witch, was witchcraft involved? The element of magic and witches is so cleverly woven into this novel – it’s firmly *not* fantasy or sci-fi, but posits that witches are real and have been part of American society since its founding. I don’t want to say any more about the plot to keep spoiler-free, but this has trigger warnings throughout for those who like a softer, gentler read. The best tag I’ve seen for this one is “Big Little Lies” meets “Practical Magic” – and how!
“The Mist” by Ragnar Jonasson is the first-chronologically-but-last-published title in the Hidden Iceland series featuring Police Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir, and it was a serious page turner! Jonasson does such a great job of evoking the Icelandic countryside, harsh winter weather, and sense of dread that is ratcheted up in this Christmastime-set suspense novel featuring a snowstorm, a desolate farmhouse… and an unbidden knock on the door. I could NOT put this one down – fast and suspenseful! I need to read the second novel, having already read “The Darkness” (which also knocked by socks off).
“The Sight of You” by Holly Miller just… I don’t… I have no words for how wonderfully, beautifully, achingly lovely and heartbreaking this novel was. Joel keeps to himself and refuses to fall in love, ever since he began dreaming of those he loves and that the dreams always come true. Callie is trying to find herself after a loss, and when these two meet, it’s just so lovely and funny and warm and wonderful… until Joel has a dream about Callie. What will happen next? I can’t articulate how much I loved these two characters, how much I ached for the story, how quiet and wonderful it was. Read this… please.
“Monogamy” by Sue Miller is one of those literary fiction titles where everything and nothing happens, so quiet is the story. Graham and Annie have a mostly happy marriage, but when Graham – a larger than life presence in the world – dies suddenly, Annie must come to grips with her future and their past. Quiet and character-driven is the best way to describe this one…
“The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes” by Elissa R. Sloan was a case of me wanting to like it more than I did, since it was such my wheelhouse… the “inside look” at an early 2000s girl group and what life was like “behind the curtain” (man, I miss the days of *Nsync…). This novel goes back and forth, from the peak of their stardom to 15 years later, when Cassidy is dead by suicide. What happened in between? While I liked the premise of the story (I love a good “Behind the Music” moment!), it was a super slow burn that took way to long to get going, and I didn’t feel connected to any of the characters, good or bad, and the villain was just… c’mon. I wanted more of a “Daisy Jones” vibe, but this just wasn’t it for me, I’m afraid.