I love a good mystery. I especially love a good mystery with an unreliable narrator who keeps me guessing through the whole book. Sure, it can be fun to uncover clues alongside the likes of Hercule Poirot and read about how his mind works and connects the dots of a case. But there is also something so fun about reading two different first-person versions of events and trying to figure out which to believe, if either of them. That was the case with Michele Campbell’s newest psychological thriller, A Stranger on the Beach, which releases this summer.
Well August turned out to be a very busy month for me, as I suspected it would be. But I’m not complaining. Quite the opposite actually. I’m very thankful for all of the writing and editing opportunities that have come my way recently, though I’m also looking forward to stepping back a bit and having time to read and relax again. I wrote three posts in August (four if you count my July wrap-up!) and here’s the recap in case you missed any of them.
Since I didn’t get to read many books in June, this post will serve as both a book review post and my June wrap-up. I did thoroughly enjoy All the Stars in the Heavens, and I did get to my book bucket list pick for June, The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. I can’t wait to write my review of that book, though nothing I write will ever do it justice. If you missed All the Stars in the Heavens, you can go back and read my review here. My review of Diary of a Young Girl will be my next post so watch for that in the coming days.
Moving on to today’s reviews, I’m excited to talk about the first two novels in Disney’s Tangled series. Anyone who knows me knows about my love of all things Disney. Disney’s Tangled was a big hit with me. It was the first animated movie in a long time that had created such a buzz amongst both the kids and adults in my life. The movie was entertaining and funny, even earning a chuckle or two from my hubby who’s not exactly a Disney fan but watched it to humor me. 🙂
I’ve been a fan of Leila Howland’s work since Disney kindly gave me an advanced reader copy of her young adult book Hello Sunshine last year. I loved that book about an eighteen year old heading to Hollywood in pursuit of her dream, and I’ve been watching for Ms. Howland’s writing ever since. So you can imagine how excited I was when an author I love started a book series for Disney!
I don’t know about you, but we had quite a cold, snowy April in the northeast. Winter just didn’t seem to understand that it was time to move over for Spring. We had an ice storm, freezing temps, and snow on the ground. And here I had pictured myself sitting on the porch with a cup of coffee and a good book! I still enjoyed my cup of coffee and book, but I did it in front of the fireplace yet again. The good thing about the wintry weather was that it gave me a chance to stay inside and dive into some good books.
I have been hooked on Emily Giffin’s books since I read her debut novel Something Borrowed. For me, that novel established Giffin as one of the most real and relevant writers out there. Her characters and the situations they find themselves in are contemporary and relatable. The questions Giffin’s characters must ask themselves create journeys that are just so real. Giffins characters are people I know – friends, family, and even myself. Her books always make me stop and reflect. So of course I had high hopes for All We Ever Wanted, and of course, Giffin didn’t disappoint.
“People looked to him like one of those Tibetan children picked out as a reincarnated lama. They think he knows the secret to life. They get mad when he doesn’t offer it up. What happens, anyway, when the village chooses the wrong kid as their prophet?” – White Fur
So this is going to be a different kind of review for me. White Fur is a book I’m not quite sure how to categorize or review. At this point, I’ve only read half of the book. It’s definitely not a DNF (did not finish) as I do want to finish this book. It’s more of a finish later kind of a book. This is for a couple of reasons.
One of my bucket list items was to visit New York City, which I got to do a couple of years ago, at Christmastime no less! The city was magical, just as I’d imagined it would be. I, like all NYC lovers, have found myself thinking from time to time about what it would be like to live in the city. That is the premise of Ms. Poeppel’s sophomore novel, Limelight. In Limelight, we meet Allison, who has dreamed of living in Manhattan for years. When her husband, Michael, gets an incredible promotion at work, the couple decides to leave their lives in Dallas, Texas behind and move to Manhattan with their three kids and their cat. But things don’t go exactly as planned, resulting in a tangled mess of job hunting, school hunting, apartment adjustments, hormonal teenagers, celebrity sightings, and one spoiled young pop star.
“I could not believe that I had said the name at last. I waited, wondering what would happen. I had said the name. I had said the word Rebecca aloud. It was a tremendous relief. It was as though I had taken a purge and rid myself of an intolerable pain. Rebecca. I had said it aloud.”
Rebecca has been on my book bucket list for years. I have heard it referenced countless times and decided to find out what it was all about. In case you’re unfamiliar with the story, it is about a young woman who works as an aide/ companion for an older, wealthy woman. On one of their vacations, the young woman meets a middle-aged widower named Maxim and he ends up proposing. It all seems a big magical, even though he is rumored to have lost his wife less than a year before in a tragic accident. But when the newlyweds return to Manderley, Maxim’s estate, the story takes on an eerie tone as the new bride feels haunted by Maxim’s dead wife.
February was a very productive month for me. I was fortunate to spend a lot of the month in sunny Arizona visiting family. The sunshine must have given me a burst of energy because I got a ton of writing done. While writing was great, it didn’t leave me as much room for reading as I would have liked. But I did manage to sneak in a few new reads, including my book bucket list pick for February. Today I’d like to recap my February hits and misses and share my reading plans for March.
“’Well, then, someone just tell me how we got here!’ Calvin’s voice was still angry and his freckles seemed to stand out on his face. ‘Even traveling at the speed of light, it would take us years and years to get here.’
‘Oh, we don’t travel at the speed of anything,’ Mrs. Whatsit explained earnestly. ‘We tesser. Or you might say, we wrinkle.’” – A Wrinkle in Time
I chose A Wrinkle in Time as my book bucket list pick for February for a couple of reasons. One, I’ve wanted to re-read this book for years. When I picked it up this month, it had been at least twenty years since I’d read it. I remember it having a science fiction and fantasy feel to it, but I was fuzzy on the details. Two, I wanted to brush up on the book before the new Disney film version releases in March.