So many good books…..
Five Days Left by Julie Lawson Timmer is a book that made me cry. It is a heart-wrenching debut novel following the lives of two characters and their decisions over a five day period. It alternates between two, very different people, but they have connecting stories about life, love, sacrifice and death. It is an unforgettable story that I think would be great for book group discussions. If you love Kristen Hannah or Jodi Picoult, read this!
Two books that creeped me out a little were One Kick by Chelsea Cain and The Good Girl by Mary Kubica. One Kick is the first book that I’ve read by Chelsea Cain but I may go back and read more. She is freaky…. And One Kick is the beginning of another series for her. I thought that The Good Girl may be similar to Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn but it was totally different. I was NOT disappointed by this dark mystery and will be reading Mary Kubica’s next book for sure.
Ann Hood has done it again with another satisfying and engaging read. The Italian Wife begins at the turn of the 20th century in Italy with the arranged marriage of a young girl. It then spans 100 years as different family members tell their story. I do love her books!
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr has got to be my favorite book of 2014 thus far. What a beautiful, haunting novel. This is set in Europe during World War II but I found it more about the characters than the war. When you find yourself rereading passages because they bring tears to your eyes, you know it’s good. What an amazing writer.
A few other titles that I enjoyed:
The Map Thief by Michael Blanding
Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little
The Bone Orchard is the latest installment in Paul Doiron’s Mike Bowditch series. This fast-paced crime novel centers on the Maine Game Warden Service and is a quick and entertaining read. I really liked the sense of pace and the characters.
Loosely based on the life of anthropologist Margaret Mead, Euphoria by Lily King takes the reader to 1930s New Guinea. I liked this book because the writing totally transported me into a different world.
Rebecca Makkai’s The Hundred-Year House is a history of a house that is told from the present and works its way back. Each era builds the past and adds another layer to the mysteries pervading the book.
If you are looking for real-life scandal and crime with a bit of map history thrown in, then The Map Thief by Michael Blanding is for you! This is a fascinating narrative nonfiction work that tells the story of E. Forbes Smiley III, a rare-map dealer and past summer resident of Sebec, Maine.
Currently, I am enjoying A Hundred Pieces by Lucy Dillon. I am finding this novel to be a strong detail-oriented chronicle of the rebuilding of the main character’s life after a divorce. Flashbacks to the past are relevant and elegantly tied into the present narrative flow by objects that the narrator is weeding through.
For some modern history, Sheila recommends The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin. Although it is published for the teen reader, even older readers will get a glimpse into the pain and struggles that Americans who wanted to serve their country but were challenged due to their race. During World War II on the Navy base Port Chicago, Negro seamen were only allowed to load the explosives. Only white seamen became officers or received any training. There is an accident where a bomb explodes, sinking two ships and killing hundreds. The Navy sends the Port Chicago guys back into the fray. Those who are afraid to load bombs again are placed in a group of 50 and accused of mutiny. Sheinkin explains the various nuances of the trial, how the NAACP became involved and how, to this day, those individuals are still considered criminal, although the Navy conceded that the segregation of the men during that time was discriminatory.
Readers who enjoyed Rachel Simon’s Riding the bus with my sister (2002) will want to read the new young adult title Girls like us by Gail Giles. Biddy and Quincy have just graduated from high school and have become roommates. They each have their struggles because they are “Speddies”, in the special ed class and as they learn to understand each other and Miss Lizzie, the older woman requiring their help a new family is knitted together. Narrated through Biddy & Quincy’s voices, stark truths about stereotypical perceptions are challenged. Giles presents tension, unflinching realism through clear character voices that are sometimes humorous, sometimes painful. The characters will challenge your stereotypes and stay with you long after the slim book is finished.
My nonfiction pick this time is just in time for Halloween! I really enjoyed Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty. Caitlin witnessed a terrible accident at the young age of 8 and has suffered with the fear of death ever since. As a young adult she decides to look death in the eyes so to speak and finds work in a crematory. I found the book fascinating and witty, it answers all the questions you had no idea you even wanted to know about the death industry.
Red Rising written by Pierce Brown was the adult version of Divergent meets The Hunger Games. I stayed up late two nights in a row because I just could not get enough of this fast paced story. If you like sci-fi or dystopian reads then this one is for you!
As the niece of Plum series author Janet Evanovich , Stephanie has some big shoes to fill! Her second book titled The sweet spot was an absolute delight. If a nice romantic book is what you are after then you should give this one a try.
Chelsea Cain is one of my favorite authors. When asked for a good thriller she is always my first suggestion. While I was kind of bummed out about her newest arrival not being one of her Gretchen Lowell books, this new one called One Kick almost made me say “Gretchen who?” A high octane read about child abduction had me hooked before I even made it to the first chapter. This is a must read!
M. D. Waters is new to the literary scene and with her first book-Archetype she is making a very big impression. This novel takes place in a time where medical miracles are only for the elite, and there are underground groups that are trying to change it. It mixes romance and suspense in such a way you don’t know who you want to route for. And for those who decide to check this one out it ends in a real cliff hanger…..but breathe easy we have the sequel here already!
Missing Microbes by Martin J Blaser
Zealot by Reza Aslan
On Paper by Nicholas Basbanes