reading, books

Weekly Reading Fix: June 5th- 11th

Happy Tuesday everyone! Last week was a great week for reading – I got through 5 books! I also went on an amazing bookstore tour of NYC, which I’ll be posting about soon. I went to five bookstores and needless to say, I came home with a lot of new reading material. Here’s a look at what I read this week.

 

 

 

The Long Drop by Denise MinaThe Long Drop, Denise Mina

This story is based on the life and crimes of Peter Manuel, a serial killer in 1950’s Scotland. Told in dual storylines; one follows Manuel’s trials for seven murders, while the other details a night spent with William Watt, whose family Manuel is accused of killing.
This is the first book by Denise Mina I have read; she is the author of several other novels, including the Alex Morrow series of crime fiction. I found this to be a very dark book, which makes sense given the topic. Mina’s writing is very descriptive and I felt like I could picture 1950’s Glasgow as well as if I’d been there myself. When I first read the description of the book, I thought it might be told as a mystery, but it wasn’t. You know pretty quickly the major events of the crimes, it’s the cover up that is explained throughout the story. The author takes us inside the minds of both Manuel and Watt and gives us a glimpse at what they may have been thinking and the possible causes behind their actions.
If you like true crime, and reading about Scotland in this time period, then you would enjoy this book.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and am happy to give my honest review.

Rating:

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Startup by Doree Shafrir Startup, Doree Shafrir

Startup tells the story of a group of millennials working in the tech industry. There’s Mark,  the twenty-something CEO of a hugely successful tech startup, and Isabel, his former assistant, with whom he has been having a relationship. It’s also the story of Sabrina, an exhausted mother of two who is working at Mark’s company and trying to pay off mountains of credit card debt. Sabrina’s husband Dan works as a journalist at a tech publication, with Katya, the child of Russian immigrants, who is desperate to get a big story in order to secure and further her career. When Katya, Sabrina, and Isabel meet, details about Mark and Isabel’s relationship come out and threaten to jeopardize Mark’s business.

This was a really fun, quick, easy read. There is nothing serious here; it’s the perfect book to throw in your beach bag. There are a lot of interesting, if self-absorbed characters, and you can’t help but laugh at all the trouble they get themselves into.  My one complaint is that I wish the ending had told me more about what the characters would do next. I guess the sign of a good book is that I’m still thinking about it and imagining my own ending.

*Note to sensitive readers – there’s a fair amount of language and sex in this one; definitely not appropriate for young kids.

Rating:

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The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan FallonCOnfusion of Languages, Siobhan Fallon

Margaret and Cassie are two Army wives, living in Jordan while their husbands work at the American Embassy there. One day they are in a minor car accident and Margaret goes to the police station to settle the matter and pay the “guilt tax”. She leaves her infant son with Cassie, promising to be back soon.

As the hours pass, and Cassie becomes worried about Margaret, she finds a journal in her friend’s bedroom and starts reading it. She soon realizes that she doesn’t know Margaret as well as she thinks she does.

Margaret and Cassie have completely opposite personalities and the book explores their differences as it chronicles their friendship through Margaret’s diary entries and Cassie’s narration. The author has a way of portraying each character’s flaws in a way that makes you empathize with them, even if you are shaking your head in disbelief at their actions.

This book has been on my radar for a while, but for some reason I was hesitant to read it. I’m usually not into books that explore relationships; I like more of an action driven plot. However, I was really glad I read this, as it was a fast paced, really interesting read. Another good one to pack in your beach bag this summer!

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and am happy to give my honest review. This book comes out June 27th; you can pre-order it by clicking the links below.

Rating:

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Goodbye Vitamin by Rachel KhongGoodbye Vitamin, Rachel Khong

Things aren’t going according to plan for Ruth Young.  Her fiancé has left her for another woman and her mother has asked her to return home to help take care of her father, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

This book is quirky, funny, and at the same time, deeply touching. Ruth learns to take care of her dad while reminiscing about all the ways he took care of her when she was a child. Throughout her life, Ruth has put her father up on a pedestal and she has to deal with the realization that he is not a perfect man, and that is okay. As the book goes on and Ruth’s father becomes more forgetful, Ruth has to learn to stop living in the past and enjoy what is right in front of her, today.

This story was so easy to relate to, as we all have to grow up and see our parents as individuals, not just as parents, with both good points and bad, just like us. The transition from child to caretaker of your parents is explored with humor and in a way that really makes you feel for these characters.

I really enjoyed this debut novel and look forward to reading more by the author in the future. Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book; it is a pleasure to give my honest review.

This book comes out July 11th. You can pre-order it by clicking on the links below.

Rating:

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Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichieamericanah

Americanah is the story of two Nigerians, Ifemula and Obinze, who grow up together and fall in love, but then separate as each one leaves Nigeria in search of opportunity in another country. Ifemula goes to America, and most of the book chronicles her life there, with chapters in between showing what Obinze is doing at the same time.

This is, first and foremost, a love story about these two people. But it is also a look at race and what it means to be black, in America and in Nigeria. Both Ifemula and Obinze have to figure out their identities as Africans, as individuals, and as a couple.

This is the first book I have read by Adichie and I loved her writing. The book is fairly long, at 588 pages, but I never felt that the story slowed or lagged at all. Her descriptions of Nigeria were fascinating, as I’ve never been there, but it was her narrative about being black in America that really interested me. Ifemula has a blog about race in the story, and draws distinctions between being an American Black and a Non-American Black, something to which I had honestly never given any thought. One of the things that reading does so well is to show us what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes, and this book is a great example of that.

Rating:

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A Note about Social Media

Are you following me on social media? You can connect with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest, by clicking on the links on the left. I’m also on Litsy, @kimlayman7.  What’s Litsy? Check out last week’s post about this social media platform for book lovers.  I’d love to connect with you and hear about what you’ve been reading lately!

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