Read Beatdown in Bangkok by Justin Fike and Adam Fleming. I receoved a copy for review.
Stetson Jeff Stetson (think Bond James Bond) has left Texas for Thailand. He has two reasons to go: investigate a potential business investment and compete in a martial arts tournament (Muay Thai, to be specific).
This is the first book in a series and I need the other books, like, yesterday. This was laugh out loud funny while not skimping on the action.
This book is a delight and I bet you’ll agree with me. I do not envy Stetson Jeff Stetson but I’m glad to read his adventures.
Finished Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens. I received a copy for review.
Lindsey wants to leave her husband Andrew. He’s emotionally abusive (sometimes physically, when he drinks) and is definitely manipulative. Her young daughter Sophie still loves him (he’s a good dad) but still. This situation cannot last for much longer. She hatches a plan but things go wrong–so wrong, in fact that Andrew is sent to prison. Fast forward about a decade later, and he’s about to be released. And Lindsey knows he’ll be coming for her (and Sophie).
This book is insanely suspenseful. This is not at all surprising; this is what Chevy Stevens does best of all.
It’s also really creepy! I read it during a rain-and-windstorm, and the noises from outside sounded not unlike someone trying to break in–a little too atmospheric, thanks.
If you love thrillers, check this out. You will love it! Recommended.
Finished Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly. I received a copy for review.
This is a middlegrade novel about five people: Virgil (a bullied kid), Valencia (the girl Virgil likes), Kaori (Virgil’s friend and psychic consultant), Gen (Kaori’s sister) and Chet (kid who bullies Virgil). This is super simplified, but this is a book that should get to reveal its secrets in its own time.
I love Erin Entrada Kelly’s novels. They are realistic but they also have a sense of magic. Everything feels possible.
Her characters also feel fully realized. Even the characters I don’t like (that’s you, Chet) have a sense of sympathy to them. It doesn’t make it any easier to like them, but it’s easy to see why they are the way they are.
This is an excellent novel, one that should be read aloud. (So, basically, perfect for classrooms.) Recommended.
Finished The Fall of Lisa Bellow by Susan Perabo. I received a copy for review.
Meredith and her nemesis, Lisa Bellow, are both at a Wawa-style convenience store when it’s robbed. The armed robber takes Lisa with him, leaving Meredith behind.
This is such an interesting book but first a caveat: there is no resolution. We don’t know what happened to Lisa. And we don’t know for sure that Meredith will ever be OK again.
I loved this book. I think it’d be easy for other people to not love it (lack of resolution; weird aspects of the plot) but if you’re comfortable with ambiguity, this is totally the book for you.
Finished Who Killed Christopher Goodman? by Allan Wolf. I received a copy for review.
This is (based on) a true story. When the author was in high school, a classmate of his was murdered. This is his attempt to come to terms with it.
I’m not sure how much of the book is true; it probably doesn’t matter. Most people probably have a similar story about high school classmates–maybe they died in a car accident instead, but most of us know at least one person who died well before they should have. And most of us probably wonder whether we could’ve done something to prevent it.
I imagine it’s even worse in this case, where the death was so senseless and tragic, and where the reader can see so many points where the outcome would’ve been different if just one thing had been changed.
This story will sit with me for a while, as will its characters.
Finished Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse. I received a copy for review.
Sophia is moving back to New Jersey in a week. She’s not happy to be leaving Tokyo–she’s lived there for four years and all her friends are there. And then Jamie comes back. There is history there, and it’s complicated (as history tends to be). You can guess what happens.
I am so in love with this book. It’s compared to Anna and the French Kiss and Before Sunset and I love those things. Best of all, it’s accurate. It’s this sweet, smart story, and it makes me want to go to Tokyo. (I love stories where the location is just as much a character as the people are, and this is such a love letter to Tokyo).
This is a debut novel and I now have high hopes for Cecilia Vinesse’s writing career. Highly recommended.
Finished The Widow’s House by Carol Goodman. I received a copy for review.
Clare and Jess have become the caretakers to a house (with a sordid and creepy history); its owner is the writing professor who taught them both. The house and grounds may or may not be haunted; the story involves a woman who died after leaving her baby with its father–she fell through the ice into freezing water; the baby froze to death before being discovered. Now Clare–who has a record of mental health problems–is seeing a woman carrying a bundle in the middle of the night and hearing a naby cry. WHAT IS HAPPENING.
I am a huge fan of Carol Goodman’s and this book doesn’t disappoint. It’s completely unsettling and, in the best Gothic tradition, everyone is a suspect. It’s hard not to feel horrible for Clare–even while wondering how much, if any, is real and how much is her imagination.
This book will absolutely haunt you. Highly recommended.
Finished Exit West by Mohsin Hamid. I received a copy for review.
Nadia and Saaed meet in a college class and are drawn to each other. They start to date, super slowly. (You remember what it’s like.) Meanwhile, their city is on the brink of civil war. It’s minor at first, until it isn’t. Until people start dying. Until the phones and internet go down. Until neighborhoods are kept separate. Nadia and Saaed live in different neighborhoods but manage to reconnect and flee together (first to Greece, then England, then California).
This book. It’s beautiful and sad. Secondary characters die and relationships fracture. Nadia works to assimilate; Saaed clings to the familiar. They discuss the responsibility of the host country to be welcoming (Nadia understands the less-than-warm welcome they receive; Saaed does not).
As hard as it is to read, its greatest achievement is that it doesn’t feel like an issues book. Yes, hopefully the reader will feel sympathetic to refugees’ plight but it is about these two specific people.
Finished The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig. I received a copy from the publisher for review.
This is the sequel to The Girl From Everywhere. This is just as much about undoing fate as its predecessor was.
This is so hard to review! I thought the first was hard but now there is almost nothing to say. There are a lot of game-changers and a lot of sweet moments and a lot of sad ones.
Nix continues to be awesome.
Basically, just read it. You’ll enjoy yourself. Highly recommended.
Finished The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig. I received a copy for review.
Nix has grown up on board her dad’s ship—and her life is even more unorthodox than you think. She and her dad (and the crew) travel through time. It’s complicated but they’re trying to get back to when Nix’s mom died.
It’s hard to describe without spoilers but it’s got a real Six of Crows vibe but with time traveling.
I have to admit that I LOVE Nix. She’s such a kickass and brave character. This functions as a standalone but there’s a sequel and YES.
I love everything about this story. Highly recommended.