Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Summer Reads 2018

This length of this list feels pretty pathetic for an English Teacher... I adore reading, but sometimes it just falls to the wayside. Especially as a new mom. Wowza.

So here we go! Click on any photo to be taken to more info on the book and to order/preorder!

The Waiting Room,
by Emily Bleeker:

I was sent this novel by the publishers to read before its publishing date of August 21st. Bear with me on this one while I try to explain. This is a novel that I don't want to give too much away plot wise. At the very beginning I was drawn in. The writing style is descriptive and fast paced, and very relatable- especially as a new mom. I knew that the premise was a missing child and that kind of freaked me out a little when I think about my own 6 month disappearing. Yikes. As the story went on, I found myself getting frustrated with the main character. She seemed like a very unreliable narrator and I could not at all understand how any mother would not be able to pick up their own child or take care of them, regardless of what tragedy befell them. As the story went on and became more bizarre and characters arrived on the scene that I was beginning to trust less and less, I found myself pushing to the finish line of the novel, desperate to find out what was going on. The end had an explosive twist that answered as many questions as it created. Pieces slowly begin to fall into place and then another twist shakes you again. The end made me feel sad, even though it had a bit of a hopeful vibe to it. Maybe that's just my mama heart.

I would recommend it for people who enjoy a bit of suspense and intrigue and don't want to be able to guess the end. If you're someone who thinks they can "always guess the ending" I recommend this one to you and tell you good luck.

NetGalley Titles

Then I recently requested to read a few titles on NetGalley, a website where you can read books before they appear in stores for the purpose of reviewing them and spreading the word.

The Art of Hiding, by Amanda Prowse

The premise of this story sounds pretty cliche: Incredibly rich husband dies and wife finds out his big secret.
You already think its a mistress or another family huh? It's not. It's millions of dollars of crushing debt for his wife to deal with while trying to keep everything together for her 2 sons. As dire as that sounds, the book is surprisingly touching and uplifting and has some great lessons on inner strength. Now I'm going to sound cliche, but it's a bit of love story, where the main character learns to love life, friendship, and motherhood in new ways.

I'd especially recommend it to boy mamas, as her relationship with her sons grows and it's super touching.

One Day in December, by Josie Silver

 I read this entire book in a day. I really kind of loved it. The premise is totally up my alley: the book version of a chick flick. Boy sees girl, girl sees boy. They lock eyes and chemistry sizzles between them. All the stands between them is the window glass of the bus. Boy stands up suddenly to get on the bus when suddenly the doors close and the bus drives away. Girl looks frantically everywhere for "bus boy" as she calls him. She doesn't give up hope for a year, and her very best friend in the world tells her that she's described him so many times that even she would recognize him if she saw him. The only thing is, she doesn't. Instead she brings him to a party as the man she has been proclaiming might be "the one." OUCH. The book spans a lot longer timeframe than I anticipated and has so many more twists and turns than you'd think would be possible with this type of plot.

I found it overall enjoyable and would recommend it for a great beach or vacation read.

The Royal Runaway, by Lindsay Emory

I am such a deep fan of anyone living out their writing dreams, and give Lindsay mad props for accomplishing my dream of being a published author and I love the cover design. However, this review is pretty lukewarm. I'll try to be nice, because that's my personality, but it wasn't my favorite. This book follows a modern day princess of the fictional country Drieden who is left at the alter on her wedding day. As a character she is meant to be "spunky" and "modern" while still displaying all the decorum fit for a princess. However, I thought she fell a little flat. I thought it was strange that she didn't seem too upset that her fiance left her. It made more sense as she explains her reasons for marrying the man, but at the same time those reasons didn't seem to fit with her purposed personality. As she discovers strange plots surrounding the disappearance of her fiance and the strange apperance of her fiance's reportedly dead brother, things start to get mysterious. I didn't buy her chemistry with the brother for a second, which was disappointing to me because I love a good love story. I found it forced and strange how she always changed in front of him just to be flippant. There was just nothing "there" for them to become a couple.

I honestly wouldn't recommend this book. I hate writing those words. But it just fell flat to me.

Books from my Book Club

The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls

I loved this book. There's really no explaining this memoir. As an educator, it really opened my eyes to the cycle of poverty, the importance (and non-importance!) of education, the impact of mental illness, the meaning of strength, etc. I could go on forever. You will fly though this book- my whole book club loved it. Read it!

I loved the idea behind this book. A woman gets pregnant with the man of her dreams, just to find out that he doesn't want children. She keeps the baby regardless (I'm a huge pro-lifer, so I loved that) and then he comes back into her life after she has their child and they make their way through parenthood. However, their daughter comes up with a life threatening disease, so it's fraught with difficulties. When I read this, I didn't realize it was based on a true story, so that made me feel pretty dumb at the end reading the afterword.

It isn't a book that I would feel compelled to recommend, but it isn't a bad read either.

For Fun Read

The Couple Next Door, by Shari Lapena
This is the second book that revolves around the kidnapping of a child. I do not know why I do these things to myself as a new mother. SO SCARY! But there are so many secrets that unravel as you travel through the novel. I liked that some of the secrets were revealed through the rising action instead of just all at the climax. It was better paced for me in that way. I tend to get impatient with mysteries!
I'd recommend it, but it's not my favorite thriller I've ever read.

If you like my review style, I have more book reviews from last year linked below:
Summer 2017 reads:
Read Lately
xoxo, Love.Haight

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