Monday, June 18, 2018

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell, 277 pages

Oh, this is a well written, but sad, story.  Esme Lennox is a high strung young woman from a good family.  She does not conform easily to her parents wishes.  It is sometime in the early 1930s in Scotland and "difficult" women could be locked away in a mental institution for really no reason at all, with no prospect of release.

The story involves three women: Esme, her older sister Kitty, and Iris, the granddaughter of Kitty.  Sixty-one years after Esme is locked away and forgotten by her family her grandniece Iris learns of her existence, when she is told to come pick her up.  The story of what really happened all those years ago unfolds slowly, and through the voices of Esme and Kitty, who now has Alzheimer's disease.  I haven't decided if this book had a happy ending, or not.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Real Michael Swann by Bryan Reardon, 352 Pages

This was a fast-paced thriller, and hit a nerve with me and what we're currently dealing with in society today. This story seemed like something that could really happen, which was terrifying to me. 

Michael and Julia Swann are loving parents, who would do anything for their two boys. Julia, a stay-at-home mom, is waiting for Michael to get home from a job interview and calls him to find out when he's due to arrive home. When their call suddenly drops, and Julia is unable to reach him again, she can't help but have a bad feeling in her stomach. Trying to distract herself, she sits down to watch a baseball game with her sons, but it ends up being interrupted by breaking news- a bomb has been detonated at the subway station Michael was last at. Julia frantically begins the search for Michael, but finds out that the situation has somehow gotten even worse, and Michael is now the prime suspect of the bombing. Determined to get to the bottom of things and trusting no one, Julia goes to great lengths to not only find Michael, but to prove his innocence. 

Alternate Side by Anna Quindlen, 304 pages

The novel is set in a tight-knit, upper class neighborhood in modern day New York City.  The neighborhood has beautiful old houses and coveted parking.  The people living in the houses are all white, while the people working in the houses are not. 

From the outside it is an idyllic neighborhood.  However, when a handyman is brutally attacked, cracks begin to appear.  So much so, that a seemingly perfectly happy middle-aged couple, Nora and Charlie Nolan, might end up losing their marriage. 

Not my favorite Anna Quindlen book, perhaps because it is very much a love story to New York City, a place I've only visited a few times.  However, any Anna Quindlen book is worth reading, in my opinion.

I Found You by Lisa Jewell, 342 page

Fabulous summer read that is set mostly on the coast of England, in the little coastal town of Ridinghouse Bay.

A man is seen sitting for a day on a rainy beach in Ridinghouse Bay and it turns out he has no idea who he is.  Meanwhile, in London, a young newlywed is frantic because her husband is missing . . .

Sound like a great set up to a fast paced mystery adventure?  Yep, it is.  Enjoy the ride.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris, 336 Pages

THIS. BOOK. WAS. SO. GOOD!!!!! This is definitely a contender for my favorite book of the year. I couldn't put it down and was honestly sad that I finished it so quickly!

The Angel's are seemingly the perfect couple. Jack, a successful lawyer, and Grace, the doting housewife, seem to have it all- a perfect house used for lavish dinner parties, lots of money, and true love. But digging deeper, there's something "off" about them. Grace is never anywhere without Jack, doesn't answer the phone, and is constantly cancelling plans at the last minute that don't involve Jack. In this case, Grace's fairy tale lifestyle really is too good to be true. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Bachelor Nation by Amy Kaufman, 320 Pages

While I found some of the information in this book interesting, I honestly found a lot of it appalling. I understand that the contestants sign up for the show, and "know what they're in for", I don't believe that they sign up with the intention of being publicly humiliated and manipulated by the producers and overall production company. Many interviews from past and current employees of both The Bachelor and Bachelorette franchise painted the production company in such a horrible light, and openly talked horribly about the "cast". Most of the book discusses how producers often manipulate cast members into drinking and then corner them for a one-on-one "in the moment" interview to get what they need for ratings. Like I said, I know that these are consenting adults, and maybe I'm naive for watching the show and thinking the behind-the-scenes wasn't that bad. I'm not a huge fan of The Bachelor or Bachelorette, and I'm especially not now. 

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Don't Trust Me by Joss Stirling, 400 Pages

I didn't love this book. It had the potential to be fantastic, but the author wrote such an unlikeable character (in my opinion) that I struggled to finish it. I will say, I didn't see the ending coming, which helped with my overall opinion of the book, but this is not one that I would recommend to patrons. The main character suffers from ADHD, and I don't feel like they painted her or her mental illness in a good light. 

Jessica and Michael return from an unfortunately bad vacation with their relationship on the verge of crumbling. Jessica returns to work only to no trace of the company, as if it never existed. This doesn't help her situation with Michael, who didn't believe her job was real in the first place, instead chalking it up to another one of her fantasies he swears she comes up with. To make matters worse, their apartment is ransacked, and the only thing's stolen are items that belong to Michael's late-wife, Emma. All signs point to Jessica, and he quickly places the blame on her. But, things quickly take a turn for the worse when Jessica finds a dead body, and things begin to unravel around her. 

Monday, June 4, 2018

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell, 356 Pages

This was another fast-paced thriller that I enjoyed. I did find it pretty predictable in some aspects, but it didn't ruin the book for me. 

Ten years ago, Laurel Mack's life was turning upside down when her 15 year old daughter, Ellie, went missing. Laurel's life has basically been at a standstill since, never giving up hope that Ellie will some day come home. Her marriage imploded due to the stress of losing their daughter, and Laurel has been alone ever since, until she meets Floyd in a cafe. They are soon inseparable and taking major steps in their relationship, which includes meeting Floyd's daughter Poppy, who is shockingly similar to Laurel's missing daughter at that age. Now Laurel is forced to face the past again, and unanswered questions she long ago buried are back at the surface. 

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Hardcore Twenty-four by Janet Evanovich, 320 page

I think I've read everything Janet Evanovich has published since the first Stephanie Plum book "One for the Money."

We're now on book 24 in the series and not much has changed in Stephanie's life.  Since about book eight, I typically read and then complain that it wasn't that good.  Guess what?  I liked this one.

The same formula and all the regular zany characters are here but I enjoyed this one more than most.  Thanks Janet.

Artemis by Andy Weir, 305 pages

I am a huge fan of Andy Weir's first book, "The Martian" and was excited to get the chance to listen to his second book, "Artemis."

Artemis is the name of a colony on the moon.  It's a great place to visit but can be an uncomfortable place to live if you are not a gazillionaire and main character Jazz Bashara is doing pretty much anything she can to make some serious cash.  And that gets her in serious trouble.

I enjoyed this sci-fi action romp adventure, but had to mostly ignore lots of technical information that literally went in one ear and out the other.  I ultimately liked this book, but had to make myself stick with it at first knowing I'd get to parts I could comprehend and enjoy.