February Fables

We finally got a few snowy days (ah, bliss to snuggle down at home with nowhere to be!), but otherwise, it’s the gray, long days of February. Reading has been hit and miss with me lately – no novel knocking my socks off, nothing making me stay up late to turn the pages, but perhaps that’s just the February doldrums. Nonetheless, here’s what I’ve been reading…

–Marissa

Find Me by Alafair Burke was a solid audio listen. Fifteen years ago, a woman was found in a wrecked vehicle with no idea of who she was. Now, she’s leaving behind her best friend and only home she can remember to relocate to the Hamptons, but things are not always as their appear when an unrelated murder surfaces. This is tangentially connected to the Ellie Hatcher series, and I enjoyed it!

The Collective by Alison Gaylin is just bananapants when it comes to plot: an angry mother who’s daughter died five years ago still seeks revenge on the boy responsible, which leads her to a shadowy group of other mothers, the dark web, rage, and avenging the deaths of those taken too soon. I don’t want to give too much away, but this was a fast-paced, suspense-y ride, akin to Hairpin Bridge for sheer “no way in hell, but man, I’m hooked!” vibes.

The Arc by Tory Henwood Hoen was a great read (and is being compared to Taylor Jenkins Reid or Sally Rooney) featuring Ursula, who decides to try The Arc, a secretive matchmaking agency that relies on a ton of assessments to find the perfect partner – guaranteed. Ursula is paired with Rafael, and he’s… perfect. But can their optimized relationship last? I really loved the premise of this, the romance and lighthearted teasing of Ursula and Rafael, and the will-they-or-won’t-they of it all. A different kind of romance!

Vladimir by Julia May Jonas has gotten lots of pre-press buzz and I was excited to read it, but it totally fell flat for me. Pages and pages of solid descriptive text (not much dialogue), not terribly likeable characters, a weird third act… nope. Bummer.

The Replacement Wife by Darby Kane was a solid suspense audiobook told from the perspective of Elisa, devoted wife and mother who, until recently, adored her brother-in-law Josh. But when Josh’s fiancée goes missing, he already has one dead wife and then he starts dating someone new… Elisa’s fears and concerns for his new girlfriend ratchet all the way up. This was a great cat and mouse game of gaslighting, PTSD, domestic suspense, misdirects and red herrings. Recommended!

Wintering by Katherine May is an annual read for me, and I still love this memoir on this re-reading as much as the first time. A must read for me during the long, dark days of winter.

Taurus: A Love Letter by Heidi Rose Robbins is a slim, lovely little book by astrologer Robbins, highlighting the good (and the not so good) traits of the stubborn Taurus – me!

Our Country Friends by Gary Shteyngart was an audiobook listen for me, a meandering (at time boring) tale of eight friends waiting out the COVID lockdown in upstate New York. This was just a tangled mess of changing relationships, and ending that went on and on and (on), characters I didn’t really care about, and but for the occasional chuckle, this fell totally flat for me. I don’t think I’m “deep” enough for this book (nor enough of a devotee of Russian literature)!

Mouth to Mouth by Antoine Wilson was a speedy audiobook (clocking in at less than 5 hours), but a kinda weird one. This tale is told to an unnamed narrator in an airport language of the time Jeff rescued a man from drowning, then slowly inserted himself into the man’s art gallery world and his family. Lots about art and art galleries, and wondering how much is true and false all the way up until the very last sentence. I didn’t dislike this… but I didn’t like it either. An ambivalent review at best!

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