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Books #54

I know, it’s been awhile. Life kinda got busy. I wasn’t reading as much, then when I was I didn’t feel like writing. But I finally do, so here are a few of my favorites from this summer:

1 – Malorie by Josh Malerman

I read Bird Box when it first came out and it was chilling and terrifying in a way I wasn’t expecting. It gave me crazy dreams, it made me think about it for a very long time. The movie done for Netflix was pretty good, and I loved Sandra Bullock as Malorie.

The sequel was great. Time has passed, Malorie, Tom and Olympia have survived on their own for 17 years. But something finally makes Malorie want to leave their safe place and go out into the world.

It was really well written, had some creepy parts like the first book. It was a satisfying sequel/conclusion and I absolutely loved the ending.

2 – Some Choose Darkness by Charlie Donlea

I was a little on the fence at first. It felt like the author was trying to make the main character “weird” to just be weird, instead of developing her character fully. I hate when authors just make their characters one-dimensional, but “quirky”. However, the book got better and I didn’t mind Rory. She grew on me. The story itself was VERY good. I liked it, did not expect the twists and turns and enjoyed how it was wrapped up. I highly recommend it!

3 – The Suicide House by Charlie Donlea

It’s about an elite private prep school, in the woods of Indiana. Mysterious murders, followed by questionable suicides, and while the killer has been caught, many people don’t think he did it.

Very good. I liked the story a lot. It kept me guessing, well written, great characters, great mystery, unfolded well. Only pet peeve is the author’s writing style of repeating things. It gets redundant and annoying. He needs an editor. But if you can get beyond that, it’s a great book.

4 – Well Behaved Indian Women by Saumya Dave

Very good book. I liked the story and the writing and the characters. I liked that it tackled some big topics–arranged marriage, the woman’s “place”, free will, women making their own destinies. I enjoyed the intertwining stories of the mother and daughter, showing some parallels. The double standards bothered me a lot, which was probably the point, and maybe it’s cultural–as an American feminist I kept getting angry at the Simran’s fiance having a hissy fit about things she did, when he did the same things….(no spoilers). But alas, I liked the way the book went and how it ended. Would definitely recommend!

5 – Once You Go This Far (Roxane Weary #4) by Kristen Lepionka

I didn’t love the previous book and felt like it went on a little too long, but this book caught my attention right away and kept me guessing the whole time. It was a really fascinating tale about cults and how people try and get others out of them. And in this book, Roxane was in the wrong place at the wrong time, a brief encounter with another hiker who ended up falling to her death, that lead her to her new case.

Roxane is a great character, flawed but not annoyingly so, and the storytelling is almost always well done. I like that she is not the cliched private eye, that her family and love dramas don’t overtake the whole story. Book was fast paced and satisfying.

6 – The River by Peter Heller

I didn’t even read the blurb of this book when I got it at my library, just started reading it. And thought, “This reminds me of The River Wild movie” and then of course, the review says it’s a cross between Call of the Wild and The River Wild. 

Jack and Wynn are young and have been friends for years. They love the wilderness, camping, the water, fishing and literature. They are unattached and decide to canoe a river in Northern Canada. Despite the serene start to their adventure, they reach terrible life and death challenges pretty quick. A forest fire, surviving on the wild river, saving a woman who’s husband tried to kill her, they are racing against the forest fire and quickly losing control of the situation–and running out of supplies and food.

It’s a book about friendship, survival and the wild. It was a fascinating read! The author has a very unique writing style, which is not for everyone and takes a little getting used to, but I enjoyed. (I also recommend his other book “The Dog Stars”–about a flu pandemic that kills most everyone!)

HAPPY READING!

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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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