Ah, June. You were a weird reading month. Every book drew me in with their great premise and potential and too many wasted their intriguing set-up. In fact, the book I expected to place in my vaulted love section ended up in the dreaded loathe category. Thankfully, there were still some really good books that lived up to their book flap AND I finally caught up with all my on hold books at the library. YAY! This month I’m picking books based on my mood and what’s available, which will hopefully alleviate my book funk.
This, as always, is a long post so there is a TL;DR at the end.
Books I Loved
To be technical, the book I loved.
The Obsession by Nora Roberts
Book Description: As a child, Naomi Bowes exposed her father’s hideous crimes, but the sins of her father still haunt her.
Book Review: As I’ve shared before I am a diehard fan of the In Death series by JD Robb, aka Nora Roberts. While I’ve read a few Nora Roberts books, they are not must-reads for me. However, this one caught my eye and I really loved it, particularly the fact that Naomi stood up and took care of her mother and younger brother. I also appreciated the fact that Nora didn’t do an immediate time jump after Naomi exposed her father as I expected. We spent some time with Naomi and her family to see how they coped and didn’t. This is just a good, solid book with characters that you really grow to like. It’s less suspenseful than I anticipated but I didn’t mind because the characters and story kept me interested. Plus, the killer wasn’t super interesting so Roberts smartly didn’t overly dwell on him.
To Read or Not To Read: Read it, if you like mysteries and fun characters, especially if you love a good dog and a man who loves books and has read Pride and Prejudice. 🙂
Books I Liked
Books I enjoyed overall and recommend.
I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
Book Description: Jenna Gray moves to a remote village to escape memories of her lost child and a terrible car accident.
Book Review: I honestly cannot say a lot about this book without giving important details away, which makes it hard to review! Overall, I enjoyed this book. It’s very atmospheric and dream-like. One twist was excellent and caught me by surprise, which I liked. Too often “twists” are so obvious that they can actually take-away from the book, especially now that every author feels they need some sort of Gone Girl twist. The second twist did feel a little unnecessary.
To Read or Not To Read: Read it. It’s a good, overall thriller. It’s not action-packed but more emotional and tense.
The Purity of Vengeance by Jussi Adler-Olsen
Book Description: Detective Carl Morck investigates a seemingly unconnected group of people who all went missing at the same time.
Book Review This felt like a weirdly timely book. The villain believes in sterilizing women he feels are unfit to be mothers. People who are poor, addicts or not like him. And his fledging political party, Purity Party, has just garnered enough votes to become legitimate. Ahem. A good, solid read and we also get some more movement on the incident that led to Morck’s placement in Department Q. This book takes place in the 50’s, 80’s and now and it kind of broke my heart in the end.
To Read or Not To Read: Read it. It’s another stellar outing by Adler-Olsen.
The Okay But Have Some Problem Books
Lots of thing to like and few things that made me twitchy. These are the books that make me indecisive. To recommend or not to recommend — I just don’t know.
City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong
Book Description: After an attack, Casey Duncan and her best friend, Diana, relocate to Rockton, a hidden city for people who need to disappear.
Book Review: A great premise that fell a bit flat. I loved the idea of this mysterious town for people who need to disappear. All the residents have a secret, although violent criminals are supposedly screened out. Yet someone is killing people. The town is strange; the people are strange; the so-called benevolent benefactors may not be so benevolent. And yet the murderer and motive ends up being pretty run-of-the-mill, which was disappointing given all the possibilities. And I really hated every single thing about Diana. Every. Thing.
To Read or Not to Read: The premise is great, although the story ends up being fairly standard. I am intrigued enough by the set-up to check out book 2.
Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas
Book Description: Celaena Sardothien can win her freedom if she defeats 23 killers, thieves and warriors to become the King’s Champion.
Book Review: I expected to LOVE this book but didn’t. Honestly, I don’t know where it falls on the love spectrum. There was a lot of set-up, too much in my opinion. There were long stretches where it felt like nothing happened. Calaena would wear a pretty dress and flirt with Prince Dorian. Fine. Whatever. There just seemed to be a lack of urgency to me, which wasn’t helped by how obvious it was Calaena would win the competition. Heck, even the characters pretty much admitted that as well. This is true in many YA books, which is fine, but even though I knew Katniss would win The Hunger Games, I don’t recall being bored or wondering if anything was ever going to happen.
To Read or Not to Read: Read it, if you like YA, fantasy and romance. I’m discovering that I prefer romance to not be front and center in my YA books; it’s too twee and I’m too much of an old coot. It is unlikely I will continue with this series.
The Girls by Emma Cline
I was provided an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher for an honest review.
Book Description: A teenage girl is drawn to a soon-to-be infamous cult in the late 1960s.
Book Review: I have a lot of mixed feelings about this one. It started out so strong and I was really drawn in by Cline’s vivid descriptions. It’s really a coming of age story, which I didn’t expect but enjoyed as Cline had some great insight about how girls seek validation and give-up bits of themselves to get it. “All that time I spent readying myself, the articles that taught me life was really just a waiting room until someone noticed you – the boys had spent that time becoming themselves.” However, what started so strong rang out steam. Frankly, the ending was weird. Everything wrapped up quickly with Evie was scared of some random guy on the beach, which felt like an entirely different book.
To Read or Not To Read: Dealer’s choice. I don’t regret reading the book but it also had so much more potential.
The Book I Loathed
Beware: I’m about to turn into a ranting lunatic.
The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
Book Review: I had such high hopes for this book. The idea of a time-traveling serial killer was unique and intriguing but ultimately became a never-ending episode of Criminal Minds. You’d meet a girl and she would die horribly. Repeat and rinse. Time-travel was simply a way for the killer to get from one place to another and had no real purpose beyond that. There is no clear reason why the “house” chose these women to die. Some reviews indicated the women were pioneers (okay, I guess) and this was about how men oppress women, but if that was true, shouldn’t the future have started to be different? Plus, the protagonist was a white woman headed to college in 1989 when the killer attacked her, nothing too revolutionary there. I can take graphic violence, but there has to be an interesting story and captivating characters backing it. Otherwise, it is just torture porn with a blank-faced killer (that Hannibal Lecter would eat for being a dull villain) who brutally kills women because the house told him to do it. Writing that made me feel embarrassed.
To Read or Not To Read: Nope. Unless Saw and Hostel are your favorite movies (no judgment if they are), then you might enjoy it. Otherwise, I’d like to time travel to get back the hours I lost reading this book.
TL;DR – My Recommendations for You
Okay, here’s the short and sweet of it: I recommend The Obsession by Nora Roberts, I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh and The Purity of Vengeance by Jussi Adler-Olsen. Avoid at all costs The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes.
To More Great Books
As always, I’ll be participating in the Show Us Your Books Link-Up hosted by Jana Says and Life According to Steph. Be sure to check out the link-up as there are always so many great book recommendations.
July is my birthday month, so I am being even fussier about what books I read. I want to have a great reading month! I also participated in Erin’s challenge to read books you already own, which I’ll be sharing the results of this Thursday. And …. ummmmmm … please don’t judge me by the books I have collecting dust in my home. Or the amount of ranting I might (will) do.
What books are you adding to your TBR? What good books did you read in June?