And it’s already 2023… and I’m once again tardy posting book reviews (par for the course!). Here are the last of my 2022 reads… my “best of the year” coming soon! Let’s do this!
The Red Prince by Helen Carr was sparked by a podcast listen, actually. I heard Helen give a summary of John of Gaunt’s life on one of my favorite podcasts, Noble Blood, and was hooked not only by her narration and ease of explanation, but by this figure about whom I knew virtually nothing. I really enjoyed this audiobook (I know, it sounds weird) and learned new things!
It All Comes Down to This by Therese Ann Fowler is a family story involving a mother recently dying, a Maine cabin property she has left to her three daughters, and the man who’d like to move into and renovate said cabin. This was an audiobook listen for me, and it was pleasant enough, but didn’t stick with me even days after I listened to it (as opposed to her fantastic A Good Neighborhood).
Wrong Time Wrong Place by Gillian McAllister was a super clever suspense novel, if at times frustrating on audio since I couldn’t flip back pages! This Reese Club Book Pick starts with a great hook (a witnessed murder by a mother of her son), and then travels further and further back in time, unpicking things along the way. Engrossing and clever, I really enjoyed this one!
The House Party by Rita Cameron is exactly what you picture when you hear the title… spoiled kids have a house party in a new construction home, things are broken and damaged, and sexual assault tops the list. I liked the way this novel wove together the townspeople side with the story of the couple building the home – it was a solid audiobook.
Anywhere You Run by Wanda Morris was a great audiobook listen. Taking place in 1964 Jim Crow’s South, this is the story of two sisters trying to escape their own kinds of trouble (a bad marriage, a failing career, an affair, a pregnancy, you name it!) in whatever way they can. This is part cat-and-mouse, part family drama, part history lesson, and I couldn’t stop listening and rooting for Violet and Marigold. I really loved this novel (and her previous title, All Her Little Secrets).
The White Darkness by David Grann was a re-read for me, since I picked it for our book discussion. Our club loved it as much as I did! 🙂 It’s super short (maybe an hour to read) but utterly fascinating.
I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy was just a fascinating and heartbreaking look at her “famous child star” early life and the suffocatingly strong hold her mother had over her and her career. Sad, but with hints of amusement and a lot of fascination. I didn’t know Jenette before this (I’m too old for her era!), but was riveted!
Dark Things I Adore by Katie Lattari kept my attention while I was listening to it, but now I remember very little except a professor and his female student, the woods, and long-kept secrets that have repercussions today. I thought it was solid, but the last page reveal DID stick in my mind!
The Villa by Rachel Hawkins was a solid vacation read – an Italian villa, two timelines (present day as two friends/frenemies? travel to work on their writing and a 1970s Daisy Jones and the Six kind of retreat), the unpicking of a mystery, and more importantly, the mystery of what we are capable of doing to those closest to us. I enjoyed the setting of this for sure, the two timelines and the resolution of all. As I said, solid.
You’re Invited by Amanda Jayatissa was a fun audiobook listen – a wedding in Sri Lanka, a disappearance, a lot of backstory… this felt very Crazy Rich Asians meets Agatha Christie, as Brad Thor said. This was fast, fun, and a solid suspense listen.
All the Beauty in the World by Patrick Bringley filled my bucket. Bringley, struggling after the untimely death of his brother, becomes a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He not only pulls back the curtain on the job, but also reviews and analyzes some of his favorite art, and his writing is so immersive and descriptive, I can picture every hallway and gallery, though I’ve never been. I super enjoyed this and was sorry when it was over.
Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson was a clever set-up for a book, but since I was sick during part of the time I was reading it, the salient details escape me! 😛
I also tried to listen to Point Last Seen by Christina Dodd, but it was so eye-rollingly stupid, I quit. I also read The Last Invitation by Darby Kane, but it did NOT ring my bell. Ms.Demeanor by Elinor Lippman was… fine, but nothing memorable.