Finished The Lost Woman by Sara Blaedel. I received a copy for review.
This mystery has a ton going on but the non-spoiler version is that people are turning up dead and one of the victims was already sort of presumed dead (she was reported as a missing person years before). There isn’t a connection (until, of course, there is) and that connection is shocking and also perfectly feasible.
Most mysteries may not be good for book club choices (what can you discuss, really? Motives? And I am not slamming mysteries; I think they’re wonderful) but this one would be. There are a lot of things to talk about with this one, though.
Of course though, any long-term series hinges on its leads. That is probably the real secret to Sara Blaedel’s success. I’m not sure there are many better leads than Louise Rick.
Finished the MARCH Trilogy by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell. I read this on Inauguration Day for #READOUT.
MARCH #1 tells the beginning of John Lewis’ story, from preaching to his chickens as a boy to his love for education to developing a social conscience and participating in sit-ins. This story would be inspiring at any time, but it’s great to read it today (on what I think will prove to be a very dark day in our country’s history). There is always evil and sometimes it’s popular. But there are also always people committed to fighting that evil. We are so lucky to have John Lewis. I wish I had a tenth of his courage.
MARCH Book Two starts with the Freedom Riders and ends with the bombing of the church in Birmingham that left the little girls dead. Powerfully (like the first book), it also flashes forward to President Obama’s inauguration.
The sit-ins discussed in the first book were scary to see but the violence directed at the Freedom Riders is horrifying. It’s awful to see all the hate directed at people just for wanting equality. At the same time, it’s wonderful to see how committed people were to fighting for what was right. And it was great to see how people’s minds were slowly changed, even though they were changed only because of horrific events like children arrested, injured by firehoses or attacked by dogs.
I don’t know if I could face what they went through without fighting back. This trilogy makes it so clear that these people are heroes. I hope we have similar heroes now.
MARCH Book Three centers on securing the right to vote and ends with the march in Selma. The attempted march is the one where John Lewis was nearly fatally beaten. This also deals with the deaths of the three civil rights workers–it shows the very real stakes and the way that things escalated.
This trilogy is perfect for people who want to read graphic novels but are worried about it. The narrative is easy to follow and the illustrations make everything all too real. We like to think that this country has always been heroic but it’s not true. And this is not the distant past, either–we all have relatives who remember this.
Finished Nowhere Near You by Leah Thomas. This is the sequel to Because You’ll Never Meet Me. I received a copy for review.
This continues the story of the unlikely friendship between Ollie and Moritz–and this time, we meet more like them.
I thought that Because You’ll Never Meet Me was excellent and heartbreaking. I had no idea. This book is both of those and also lovely and devastating.
Read this duology. You won’t regret spending time with Ollie and Moritz–and you won’t soon forget them, either.
Finished Silver Stars by Michael Grant. I received a copy for review.
This is the sequel to Front Lines, a sort of alternate history of World War II with women fighting on the front lines. We’re still following Rio (small town girl trying to avenge her older sister’s death and who turns out to be an excellent soldier), Frangie (African-American medic) and Rainy (Jewish woman who obviously has an excellent reason to fight).
This was an incredibly hard book to read. Reading about war isn’t exactly fun (nor should it be) and this felt incredibly accurate. Granted, I don’t have firsthand knowledge but the idea that you’d be doing your job and kind of bored and then all of a sudden you’re under attack feels realistic. I’ve heard that the life of a soldier tends to be either boring or highly stressful and there is very little in between and probably also very little of a segue between the two states.
I love this series and cannot wait for the next book. Recommended.
Finished Caraval by Stephanie Garber. I received a copy for review.
Scarlett and her sister Tella live in fear of their father. He’s a powerful man and he wields that power ruthlessly. When they get a chance to escape and participate in Caraval, they jump at the chance. If you win, you get a wish. Losers tend to go insane or die.
This book is INSANE. It’s hard to know what’s real and what isn’t so readers should be prepared to just go with it. (The prize? 403 pages of absolute magic, a unique novel that is absolutely captivating and worth all its hype.)
Finished A Night in with Grace Kelly by Lucy Holliday. I received a copy for review.
This is the third and probably final book in the Libby Lomax series. I’m really going to miss Libby (and the sofa, with its tendency to produce Hollywood stars) but have loved all three books.
If you are a fan of romantic comedies or old Hollywood, check them out.
Finished A Night in with Marilyn Monroe by Lucy Holliday. I received a copy for review.
Libby still has her magical sofa, the one that brought Audrey Hepburn into her apartment. This time, it brings Marilyn Monroe to her. Also back: her best friend Ollie, her occasional boyfriend Dillon, Bogdan (we can’t even describe him) and her completely insane family.
I love this trilogy and can’t wait to get to the third book (my next read). Libby is basically Bridget Jones for the modern era, and this book only cements that.
It’s definitely setting up Libby and Ollie to be endgame but seeing them get there is a great time.
Finished Frostblood by Elly Blake. I received a copy for review.
There are three types of people: firebloods, frostbloods and everyone else. Firebloods hate frostbloods and vice versa. Depending on where they live, the regular people hate one of the two groups, too. (Generally speaking, though, most people hate the firebloods.)
Ruby is a fireblood, though, and rebels have rescued her from a frostblood-ruled prison. They want her to kill the king. Since he’s responsible for basically everything that’s gone wrong in her life, she’s on board for that.
This is a really fun read. I loved Ruby and cheered her on the whole time. Even better, this is the first book in a series, so I’m very excited to see what comes next.
Kendare Blake was kind enough to stop by and discuss One Dark Throne (out next year)!
1) What is the Twitter pitch? ONE DARK THRONE: The Quickening is over, and after betrayals, misunderstandings, and revelations, the queens are out for blood.
2) What gift would you like to have? After much thought, I would like to be a naturalist, because I’m pretty casual, manners-wise, and I’m big on animals, and sometimes I get so PISSED waiting for my avocados to be ripe enough to use.
3) Would you be the last queen standing? Maybe. I certainly wouldn’t back off just because my opponent was my sister. Her or me, she’s going down! Unless she was like, going to be such a great queen. Then I might be noble about it.
And the questions I ask everyone:
4) What 2017 releases are you excited for? This is a total cheat because it doesn’t come out until 2018, but she’s my pal and I will probably get to read it early in 2017, so I’m excited for THE BONELESS MERCIES by April Genevieve Tucholke. Gender-flipped Beowulf. Beo-she-wulf, we called it for awhile. Norse girl mercenaries. Badass.
5) What are you reading now? I’m reading HEARTLESS by the wonderful and amazing Marissa Meyer. Also, Madam Bovary, by the wonderful and amazing(?) Gustave Flaubert
6) If you could make one book mandatory, what would it be? Just one? JUST ONE? Reading for pleasure should just be mandatory. It just should. But I guess…no. I can’t pick one
7) What are your five favorite books? You can pick authors, if that’s easier. I have too many favorites, but here are a few I haven’t mentioned in awhile: WE DON’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE by Andre Dubus, NOT A DROP TO DRINK by Mindy McGinnis, IT by Stephen King, VAMPIRES IN THE LEMON GROVE by Karen Russell, and MIDWINTERBLOOD by Marcus Sedgwick.
One Dark Throne is the sequel to Three Dark Crowns (by Kendare Blake) and will be out next year.
Why I’m excited: if you read Three Dark Crowns, you’re excited, too. It was one of my favorite books of this year, and replaced Anna Dressed in Blood as my favorite of hers. The book is actual perfection and I cannot wait to see the resolution of this duology. Soon, please, God!