Friday, July 1, 2016

June Books

Whoa, June was a crazy month for reading.  I read 12 books!  I should add that none of those are non-fiction (which takes me twice as long to read) and several are "fluff" books (Murder, She Wrote, I'm looking at you).  But I really enjoyed some of these!

The Knockoff

Oh, this book was just delightful!  Anne Bogel suggested this on an episode of What Should I Read Next, and I thought I'd give it a try.

It is such a fun read.  I loved that it was fairly clean (some language).  Knockoff is about a woman who comes back to her job as editor-in-chief at a fashion magazine.  She took a 6 month leave because of breast cancer, and when she gets back to her old job, there is a new, young upstart who is trying to change EVERYthing.  It's interesting, funny, and a bit silly (but in the best way!).

If you want a deep book, this will not be it, but if you just want fun, grab this one!

The Cuckoo's Calling

It's no secret that I love Harry Potter (did you see my boys' Halloween outfits?), so I decided it was time to read Rowling's detective series.  

I am super intrigued about Rowling's use of a pseudonym with this series.  According to the internet, this book originally sold only 8,500 copies.  But then the story broke about who the author really was, and the book jumped an absurdly ridiculous amount (up to the #1 kindle book at the time).  But I haven't read anything implying that she unmasked herself intentionally, making me wonder if this book would have just floated along, unread and unpopular.  

But it shouldn't, because it was really quite good.  The Cuckoo's Calling is no Harry Potter, but it isn't meant to be.  It's grittier and meant for a much older audience.  I didn't find the characters quite as lovable.  But I thought that her use of dialogue is really strong.  And the actual plot itself (an assumed suicide being reinvestigated) was really  interesting.  By the end, I couldn't put it down.

There are two more books in this series, but I'm not sure yet if I will read them.  I definitely enjoyed this first book, but I have heard the others get a little rougher.

Tiny Little Thing

Ah, yet another book suggestion from What Should I Read Next.  This book is part of a set, but they don't have to be read in order.  They all deal with a set of sisters, the Schuyler sisters (not to be confused with Angelica, Eliza, and Peggy--bonus points if you get that reference) living in the wealthy, New York crowd of the 60's.

I could NOT put this book down!  Seriously, it's about 350 pages, and I finished it in less than two days.  And it's not a mystery or a thriller/suspense novel (although there are some aspects of those genres).  It's just a really interesting story.

This book isn't particularly beautifully written and is definitely on the lighter side.  But it is a fun summer read.  I am going to look into reading the rest of William's books.

Broken Harbor

I've been a Tana French fan since her first book, In the Woods.  She has a new book coming out this fall, and I realized, while looking at her books on Amazon, that I somehow missed one of her novels somewhere in there.  

Broken Harbor is her 4th book in this series.  I use the term "series" lightly because the books really can all be read as stand alone novels.

I am a big fan of French's books and this one did not disappoint. It's about the murder of a family in a suburb in Ireland.  One aspect of French's work (which isn't for everyone) is a sort of "magic."  There is always an aspect of her mysteries that isn't explainable.  Also, I would add that her books have a little more language and gore than I'm normally a fan of, but it's not too bad.

I couldn't put this book down (literally, I read it in one day while we were on vacation).  I can't wait for French's newest book!

Wednesday Wars

Amanda S., I owe you all sorts of apologies.  You have been telling me for a year to read this book and I kept putting it off.  But then when Anne Bogel mentioned it, I knew I needed to read it. 

This book is just perfection.  I can't tell you the last time I enjoyed reading a book so much!  Holling Hoodhood is a 7th grader in Long Island, NY, during the Vietnam War.  This book deals with school, friends, girls, the war, family, and Shakespeare.

I don't want to say much else.  You should read it.  I know it's a kids book, but you won't regret it.  It is just wonderful.

Everyone Brave Is Forgiven

I feel very "Eh" about this next book.

Let me say this first--It is a tough time to release a WWII novel.  A book has to be pretty incredible to compare to All the Light We Cannot See and The Nightingale.  And this book, nope, not incredible. 

The story was okay.  The characters were interesting.  But it was depressing and not very redeeming.  I wouldn't suggest this one.  Read All the Light instead.

All Dressed In White

And now for something complete different...

Listen, I love me some Mary Higgins Clark.  She's super predictable, but at least I know what I'm getting into.  She never disappoints.  

This is a book in a newish series.  If you like predictable and clean murder mysteries, this is a great read/listen (I checked out the audiobook).  I do, and I enjoyed it.

Maisie Dobbs

Several people have recommended this series to me, so I finally decided to give it a try.

I started out with the first book on CD, and I was not a fan.  It was slow and boring.  But, instead of giving up, I decided to read the actual book--much better!

I am still undecided about whether I will read any more of the Maisie Dobbs series.  It's pretty slow, even if I did get more interested as I kept reading.  And I don't love Maisie as a detective--she doesn't hold a candle to my beloved Armand Ganache or Jane Marple.

The Gilded Years

This was a really interesting book.  It is historical fiction, based on the life of Anita Hemmings.  Anita was the first African American student to graduate from Vassar College, but no one knew she wasn't caucasian.  

I couldn't put this book down.  There is a lot of historical fiction out there about the civil rights era and the time period after the Civil War.  But this book is set during the 1890's, and I haven't read a lot about the African American experience during that time.  

The writing isn't particularly incredible, but the story is.  I would suggest this one.

Majoring in Murder

And now, to completely embarrass myself, I am sharing my secret favorite series.  Yes, there is indeed a Murder, She Wrote series.  Yes, it is as cheesy as you might imagine.  And yes, I love it.

Look, we don't need to talk about the plot of this book.  It's enough for me to admit that I read it, but it should still count in my list of books for June.

The Coincidence of Coconut Cake

This book was another light and delightful read.  It's basically a You've Got Mail story but trade out the bookstore aspect for a chef and a food critic.  

It's sweet, fun, and not too heavy--a perfect summer read!

The Unimaginable

One last book to round out the list.  I read about this book on a blog, and I didn't really care for it.  I didn't dislike it, but I didn't like it either.  It was a story about a girl who moves to Thailand to teach, then joins a sailboat crew during her vacation.  The ship gets taken over by Somali pirates.  

So if you are into fast paced stories, go for it.  But don't expect super deep characters or dialogue.

Alright, there you go. 

July should be another full month, reading wise.  Here's what's on my list:  Giddy Up, Eunice (I'm almost done with it), Thousand Dollar Tan Line (Oh, VMars, you big marshmallow, I've missed you),  Jane Steele,  The Forgetting Time, The Madwoman Upstairs, and Before We Visit the Goddess.

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