Books #53

Sorry it’s been awhile! Honestly, I’ve been struggling to read lately. With the pandemic and everything in the news, it’s hard to focus. I used to read 2 or 3 books a week but lately, I’m lucky if I finish one book a week now. But nonetheless, here are some suggestions for you:

#1 The Demon in the Freezer by Richard Preston

This book is a terrifying read. It’s about anthrax, smallpox and weaponizing viruses. I did not know a ton about smallpox or anthrax before reading this book. I had a basic knowledge of it but reading this book was really eye-opening and absolutely terrifying. Yes, they “eradicated” smallpox….but….apparently the US and Russia still have some on hand, JUST IN CASE, to make biological weapons.

Don’t read this book if you freak out easily! It’s so scary!

#2 The Janes (Alice Vega Book #2) by Louisa Luna

This was a strong follow up to the first book in the series. In this one, Alice and Cap are in San Diego working “under the table” with a task force (DEA and local PD) that found two bodies of young girls. The story is about human trafficking.

The book is good and the story kept me guessing. It felt a little long at times and I’m not sure if it needed some editing, or if it was just the flow of the story, but there were a few times where it felt exceptionally long. Other than that, I liked the story and the characters.

#3 Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

Edward is 12 years old when he loses his whole family. They are flying to LA from New York for his mom to start a new job. His mom is in first class, he’s sitting with his older brother and dad. When the plane crashes. Everyone on the plane but Edward dies. The book is about grief, healing, learning to rebuild your life after tragedy and to find your way after your life is so radically changed.

The book is about a tragedy and it’s sad, but it’s not a depressing read. It’s hopeful and sweet at times. It’s also a coming-of-age type of story as it follows Edward from age 12 to 18. I enjoyed the book and liked the unique way the story was written.

#4 The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland by Jim DeFede

This was a really good story and uplifting. It was a story I never knew about, too! In all of the 9-11 books and articles I’ve read, somehow I missed this gem.

“Thirty-eight planes landed there on September 11, depositing 6,595 passengers and crew members in a town whose population is barely 10,000… They placed their lives on hold for a group of strangers and asked for nothing in return. They affirmed the basic goodness of man at a time when it was easy to doubt such humanity still existed.”

Amidst the horrors of that day and the aftermath, here was a small Canadian village that dropped everything to take care of these stranded people.

“The volunteers at the fraternal organization had made a point of cooking something special for the passengers on their first night with them and had prepared a roast-beef banquet. Rather than serving the meal buffet style, the volunteers insisted on each of the 154 passengers taking their seats and being waited on as if they were in a restaurant.”

It was a really positive message.

#5 The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

I liked this book. My only complaint is that it was really long.

It takes place during WWI and then after WWII. Eve is a young spy during WWI for England. She’s in German-occupied France, working in a restaurant as a waitress. But no one knows she speaks German, too, so she eavesdrops and passes on important messages to the resistance as part of the “Alice Network” for England.

Then fast forward years later, Eve is an old woman, and she meets Charlie, an American girl in London looking for her missing cousin. They band together. The story is well written and the characters are multi-dimensional. I felt like Charlie’s cousin’s story line was the weak link and the rest of the story was more interesting, but overall I enjoyed the book and was fascinated that it was based on some true history.

#6 A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight

I thought this book was really excellent! It definitely had a “Big Little Lies” vibe to it. Rich, private school, a murder, a trial, secrets coming out… It was well written and kept me guessing and kept me reading. It was a page turner for sure! And I liked the ending.

Happy Reading!

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9 Responses

  1. When we. An see shows again you should catch Come From Away. It’s a musical about the 9/11 Newfoundland experience. I caught it at the Keller about two years ago.
    PS long time reader, first time commenter!

  2. I was going to comment the same as Robbie above – you didn’t mention it so I wasn’t sure if you knew that the hit musical Come From Away is about Gander on 9/11.

    Also – I just finished The Alice Network and I didn’t care for it at all – I gave it a 2 on Goodreads which is very rare for me to do. I did finish it – painfully – because so many people recommended it. I thought the character of Charlie was beyond annoying. I just really didn’t care about any of them. I could not wait to be done with it

  3. I guess it takes a pandemic and social unrest to cut your read rate down to that of mere mortals like me! LOL But I agree, I’m behind in my book count for the year as well, and pretty much relegated to re-reading books I own or ordering new ones. Sounds like our library is going to start with some curbside service soon – thank goodness! Some good picks on your list, as usual – thanks for the suggestions. I did like The Janes as well, mostly because I love the main characters, but I didn’t feel it was as strong as Two Girls Down. I hope she continues writing about Alice & Cap – I would be all over a third book with them! I just finished re-re-re-reading The Stand – a little plague fiction for COVID times, and have moved on to re-re-read Beach Music by Pat Conroy. I love his writing and am enjoying the book just as much the third time around 🙂

    1. Haha!
      That’s good that your library will open soon. I agree, I liked the previous Alice book better. The Stand is on my list to read. I haven’t read Stephen King in like 20 years…

  4. Just read Ann Patchett’s novels. Enjoyed all (but Taft). I can’t remember if you have read any of hers.

    I had read State of Wonder for a book group long ago. Then read Dutch House because a podcast was going to discuss it. Really liked both of those. When I realized it was the same author, I went back and listened/read the rest of her fiction. Very good distraction.

    I am just getting ready to give Elizabeth Strout a try.

    How did a July go for you?

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