Time for another monthly roundup! I have to say, my Kindle and my audiobook obsession is really helping me read more this month. Do you count audiobooks as "read"? I do, since I've consumed the story in a similar way as I would have when reading.
Gabrielle Union is a talented, empowering woman who can tell a great story. This was so much more than your typical bubblegum celebrity memoir- she gets personal. She talks about about fertility, race, class, gangs, self esteem, her relationship with Dwayne Wade ... this was very raw and very well done. It had all of my favorite elements- it made me laugh, made me cry, and made me think. This will have you texting your best girl friend to tell her to read your favorite sections. If you can, get it on audio. She reads it and is a great narrator! 5/5
This was a very timely book that aligns with the #metoo movement. James is a successful and charming member of Parliament who is being accused of a terrible crime. He knows he's not perfect but doesn't see himself as the monster the media makes him out to be. Kate is the prosecutor of the case with a speciality and personal tie to sexual assault cases. James's wife Sophie has been with him since university and will do anything to protect the image and reputation of her family. She has known her husband for so long and sees him as such a good father- he couldn't be guilty of the crimes he's being accused of.
This was not the thriller I expected. It started out strong but really fell flat in the middle. You did get a payoff near the end, but it wasn't enough to make the rest of the book worth it. I'd borrow this if you are interested in legal dramas and stories that flash back from present day to college. There was a lot of British legal and education details that i could have done without. Full review here. 2.75/5
This may have been the biggest surprise of the month! I read In a Dark, Dark Wood because it was my #unreadshelfproject pick for January. (In an effort to read more of the books that I own, I am choosing one a month to read. If I don't read it, I'll donate it. Probably.) I've read all of Ruth Ware's other books and liked this one the best. We have a bachelorette party that goes really bad and a story that flashes between the aftermath and the build up. The seriously disturbing characters don't hurt either. 4/5
This was a quirky little book. A young woman in San Francisco trades her life of working for a Google-like company for the life of a bread baker. She inherits a very special sourdough started from a mysterious set of brothers who have to leave the area in a hurry. All she's told is that she cannot let the starter die, and to continue to play it a very specific soundtrack. This book was breezy but did raise some good points about living to work and the future of automation. I really like Robin Sloan as an author. 3.5/5.
I'm so happy I read this. I am a new release junkie but I do want to work on reading more widely- more books by women, by diverse authors, from outside of my comfort zone, etc. Kindred checked a lot of these boxes- it's science fiction and time travel written in the 1970s by a woman of color. Dana is a writer in 1970s Maryland who inexplicably gets sucked into the Antebellum South. She meets her ancestors and, as it's the 1800s, they think she is a slave. I found it fascinating and heartbreaking to read about how people were treated in that time. Her husband is white and gets brought through on one of her trips took which added a whole extra layer. Don't be intimidated by this book like I was- I read it as fast as I do my contemporary thrillers! 5/5
I just wrote a whole post about this book so I won't stay here too long, but if you don't have Matt Haig on your radar then you need to add him. I must have been in the mood for time travel this month, because this was another book that took place in different centuries. Except this time, Tom Hazard isn' t so much time traveling as aging really really slowly. He has a condition that causes him to age at 1/19th of the speed of a 'regular' human, so even though he looks 35 he's actually in his 400s. He's a part of a secret underground society of people with the same condition who take care of one another and only require 2 things- that they not fall in love and that they move every eight years. I liked Haig's other book The Humans a bit more, but this was still an captivating tale that kept me interested. His running into historical figures like Shakespeare and Fitzgerald was a bonus. 4.25/5
A nice surprise! This is a story within a story- Liza is an author who is struggling to write her next best seller. Her husband's best friend goes missing and she uses her surroundings to help construct her narrative. Unfortunately, the fertility drugs that she's on are making it hard for her to remember what's real and what's fake, leading her into a quickly devolving downward spiral. It took a bit for me to get into this, but once I did I had to race to the end to figure out what happened. All of this said... I read it last week and honestly couldn't remember the characters names and I'm foggy on the ending. This could be a result of reading too many books this month, or it could be the mark of an unremarkable story. 3.25/5
Another wonderful surprise! The published was nice enough to send The French Girl to me in exchange for an honest review so I knew very little going in. #prhpartner I love this cover and opened it to read a couple of pages to see what it was all about and was drawn in quickly. This is of the "group of friends might have done something bad in college and it's coming back to haunt them" troupe- one of my faves. This will not be for everyone because it wasn't action packed at every turn, but I appreciated the singular viewpoint and the writing. A great debut!
I am a big John Grisham fan. I used to read his writing a lot but I haven’t picked him up in awhile. I saw The Rooster Bar was read by my favorite audiobook narrator, Ari Filakos, so I grabbed it. Four law students are heading toward their last semester in a bottom of the barrel for-profit law school. They’re faced with no job prospects and little chance of passing the bar, not to mention their crippling student loan debt. Their more eccentric friend who has happened to have recently gone off of his medication uncovers a massive scandal that has the potential to help solve their problems. The thing is... this book is a caper. It was not the traditional legal drama I was expecting and Grisham himself admits that he took a few liberties. The story is wild and bordering on stupid, but somehow by the end I found myself rooting for these fools. Borrow but don't buy- the writing is classic Grisham but the misogynist characters grated on me after awhile. 3/5
That was an intense reading month, but I am excited that I'm so far ahead for my reading goal of 65 for the year! Do you set goals? How are you doing?
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