Though summer is drawing ever closer, I’m trying not to neglect my reading duties (duties! ha!), though I’ve gotten bogged down in a few titles lately. Still and all, lots of good things to review, so let’s do it!
A Gathering of Secrets by Linda Castillo is the 10th in the Kate Burkholder series, and is another winner! I really love this series about a formerly Amish woman who is now the chief of police in her town. Picking up another Castillo is getting to spend time with old friends. 🙂 This is due for release on July 10th.
Your Second Life Begins When You Realize You Only Have One by Raphaelle Giordano was apparently an “international bestseller”, but in my opinion was just… wretched. Trite and silly, a lecture disguised as prose, this was just… ugh. NOT what I was expecting!
How to Walk Away by Katherine Center was another winner from a writer I’ve grown to really enjoy for her straightforward, easy-to-devour women’s fiction titles. In this one, after a freak accident Maggie is in the hospital, and wondering if anything will be the same. Judging from the absence of her fiance, she’s guessing not… this is just a good, solid, positive, refreshing story that I tore right through!
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang has been getting rave reviews pre-release (it comes out June 5th) and for good reason – it’s unique and refreshing! Stella, who has Asperger’s, find dating (and in particular, sex) challenging, so she solves this in the most straightforward way possible: my hiring a male escort to teach her how to be dateable. What follows is by turns sweet, sexy, tender and fun – I flew through it!
Tin Man by Sarah Winman has been lauded as being just the “bestest book ev-ER”, but when I looked closer, I saw reviews were either glowing… or not. I’m a not. I didn’t feel like I was “in” the story, but instead being held at a remove by the writing, the jumps in timeline, the massive gaps left, and the oddness of the storytelling. What could have been a beautiful love story, or a story about a life lived, or about friendship… just didn’t resonate with me AT ALL. Bummer.
Rust and Stardust by T. Greenwood (due out August 7th) is a fictionalized account of the kidnapping and exploitation of Sally Horner, who was the real-life inspiration for Nabokov’s Lolita. I loved all the different voices and points of view in the short chapters, and kept finally myself marveling that this really happened (albeit this is a fiction retelling). Difficult but fascinating…
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward is a 2017 fiction National Book Award winner – so of course I should read it. But to say I *enjoyed* this book would be completely false. This raw, difficult, stilted, in-your-face-with-icky-details novel is about a 13 year boy struggling to find male role models… about what prison does to a man… about a mother who can’t kick drugs for her family… about ghosts and stories that form a family. I’m not going to lie… I REALLY struggled to get through this one, even though I can appreciate it.
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara has been such a buzzy book, since it was published mere weeks before the featured subject was finally arrested (the Golden State Killer). Though McNamara died of cancer in 2016, she left behind a legacy of research, devotion and dedication to piecing together the story of scores and scores of rapes and murders in California, all finally linking to one man. This is a dual story: the story of the GSK, and the story of one woman’s dogged research. Recommended!
Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter (due out August 21) was a perfect palate cleanser after a couple of difficult reads, because I started reading and could NOT put it down! The first section of the book left me absolutely BREATHLESS and I had to get reading to find out WTF just happened! Andrea and her mother are eating lunch in a mall food court when “violence erupts”, and Mom reacts in a… very surprising way. No spoilers, but this is a twisty, fast-paced, “say WHAT?” kind of read, and I dug it! I definitely need to read more Karin Slaughter!