Hello Readers! If you’re in America, I hope you had a wonderful Fourth of July weekend. I was able to read a lot this week, and have some great books to share with you!
This is the first book in a new series about Detective Renee Ballard. She’s an LAPD detective working “the late show”, or the overnight shift, where she starts a lot of cases, but never gets to see them through. In the beginning of the book, two crimes are committed that Renee doesn’t want to give up to the daytime police force. She starts working on the cases herself, despite warnings from her superiors to leave them alone.
I liked the character of Renee a lot. She has an interesting backstory as a character, and also in the police department. I’m glad there will be more books about her, because I think there’s a lot that the author can do with her character. There is a pretty brutal crime in the beginning of the book, as well as some violence near the end, so if that bothers you, consider yourself warned. I really like crime novels like this one, and was happy that the author didn’t give away too much too early. The ending of the book was great and it made me wish there was already a sequel that I could read.
This book comes out July 18th, but can be pre-ordered now.
This is the story of a young girl coming to grips with her mother’s death. Elvis is eleven when her mother sleepwalks into a nearby river and drowns. Her sister, who starts sleepwalking herself, deals with her mother’s death by taking up baking (rabbit shaped cakes) and firing off sarcastic comments to Elvis and her father. Their father walks around the house in their mother’s bathrobe, wearing her lipstick. Meanwhile Elvis tracks her own grieving process on an 18 month calendar, courtesy of her guidance counselor, all the while questioning the manner of her mother’s death.
I read this book after hearing it mentioned on several podcasts that I listen to regularly. I think the author dealt with a serious and complicated issue realistically and with humor. The father’s character got under my skin because I felt that he left both his daughters alone at a time when they really needed him (He didn’t physically leave them, but he wasn’t taking care of them well). I also felt a little let down at the end of the story. The entire time I was reading, I was waiting for the plot to lead up to something greater than it did. Elvis’s character was the best thing about this book –
I loved her smart, quirky personality, and all of the random animal facts she spouted to everyone she met. Overall, this was a fun, quick read about a family dealing with grief and pulling through the process.
Hello Sunshine by Laura Dave
Sunshine Mackenzie is a celebrity chef living in New York City, with her own YouTube channel and a new show on the Food Network coming out soon. She’s originally from Georgia and grew up a farmers daughter, creating recipes with farm to table ingredients and down home charm. After her husband starting taping her as she cooked and posting the videos on YouTube, her star took off and she’s been charming viewers ever since.
Some of the above is true – but most of it is not. Sunshine has been living a lie and in the first chapter of this book, her picture perfect life comes crashing down around her. She’s left with no job, no money, and no husband, and forced to turn to her estranged sister on Long Island. As she tries to pick up the pieces, she has to figure out what is true and what she wants out of life.
To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to like this book as much as I did. The descriptions and reviews I read made Sunshine’s character seem vapid and ditsy. But that wasn’t the case at all. She was actually really easy to relate to, particularly in the way she dealt with social media and her image. Laura Dave does a great job of discussing how we represent ourselves online, and how that perfect Facebook or Instagram post is most often not an example of what is really going on in our lives. The book was fun and funny, but not fluff. The plot moved quickly and you could easily finish the book in a day at the beach. I plan on checking out Dave’s other books and adding them to my TBR.
This book comes out today – happy pub day!
I loved this book. Think The Nightingale, The Book Thief, Everyone Brave is Forgiven, and add this one to the mix of amazing, heartbreaking WWI and WWII historical fiction. Two stories intertwine here – Eve’s and Charlotte’s. Eve was a spy for the British during WWI, working in France. Charlotte is an American who, two years after the end of WWII, is searching for her beloved cousin Rose, who went missing during the war. Charlotte turns to Eve to help her and the chapters alternate between their search for Rose, and Eve’s WWI story.
Most of the historical fiction I’ve read is from WWII, and I found the chapters telling Eve’s story during WWI to be so fascinating. I’d love to read more about that time period. The author did such a great job with the characters in the story; I loved the heroines and their friends and hated their enemies! The author makes a point of mentioning several times how difficult it was for women to live independent lives, even in 1947; for example, a bank teller will not allow Charlotte to withdraw money from her own bank account without her father’s permission.
I was rooting for the characters throughout the entire book, and the fast paced plot kept me turning page after page, long after I should have gone to bed. If you are a fan of historical fiction, do not miss this one.
The Impossible Fortress is a video game created by the main character in the book, Will Marvin. He wants to enter the game in a contest to win a new IBM computer, but he needs to fix some errors in it first. He gets some help from Mary, whose gruff father owns the local office supply store. Meanwhile, his two best friends involve him in a plan to get a copy of the new issue of Playboy (featuring Vanna White), and sell copies of it to all the boys at school.
I enjoyed this book. However:
1. I grew up in the 80’s and enjoyed the pop culture references.
2. I like computers and computer programming.
3. I am not bothered by a somewhat unrealistic plot, as long as the story is entertaining.
This was a fun, quick read, which I sometimes like, in between the heavier books.
That’s all for this week. Let me know what you’re reading in the comments!