I never set goals around the number of books read because I read a lot. A lot. A lot. A lot. On average, I power through 10 books per month but not in May. Last month I fell off the wagon with zero new books opened the first couple of weeks of May. Nothing appealed to me and I hate forced reading because I read for enjoyment and entertainment. But I also felt guilty. Like I should read, which is kind of silly. But then again, I am silly. 😀
The Books I Loved, Liked and Loathed in May
Fortunately, once I buckled down and started reading, I devoured some darn good books. No book earned the dreaded loathe title, which makes me very happy!
The Book I Loved
The book that made angels sing and the clouds part. In other words, I loved it. A lot.
The 7 Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Book Description: Hollywood icon Evelyn Hugo chooses an unknown magazine reporter to spill the salacious details about her seven marriages.
Book Review: I am officially now a member of the Taylor Jenkins Reid fan club and completely understand the well-deserved hype that surrounds her books. This book immediately sucks you in and never lets you go. Evelyn is cunning, capable, gorgeous, smart and passionate. She is flawed and real. I’m not 100% sure that I like her, but I respect the hell out of her. My only teeny, tiny quibble is that a certain revelation didn’t hit as hard as intended because my connection to Monique was fairly passive. I actually shrugged a bit at the “twist” and then I felt bad about it. 😀
To Read or Not To Read: Heck ya! It’s a great read — perfect for summer.
Note: I received an arc from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is available now. Go read it.
The Books I Liked
These books I enjoyed overall, from most liked to liked.
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
Book Description: Ruth, an African American nurse, faces criminal charages after a baby of white supremacists dies under her watch.
Book Review: I read this book with a bit of trepidation, knowing that it would be a difficult read. It was also well worth it. In fact, everyone should read it simply for the TJ Maxx scene, which I have lived multiple variations of in my life. The parts with Turk and Britt broke my heart but also rang a sad truth because some are taught to hate from birth. My only real quibble (and what keeps this from a love) is that Picoult wrote herself into a bit of a pickle with those two (in my opinion) and while her resolution worked fine, it also left me deflated. I wanted something more powerful than a quirk because a quirk is just that — a quirk. And yes, life is made-up of quirks but I wanted something more. Kennedy’s journey, however, was done exceptionally well.
To Read or Not To Read: I encourage everyone to read this. And if you start to feel defensive, lean into it and be honest with yourself. Picoult throws some good, solid (and deserved) punches at white privilege that left some of my book club uncomfortable and yet ultimately more self-aware.
And a Must Read Article
I also strongly recommend this Washington Post article on Derek Black, someone like Britt who grew up being told everyone non-white was bad. He is, in fact, the actual godson of the infamous David Duke, the one-time leader of the KKK. And Derek changed his way of thinking and beliefs with no quirks involved. It is a long, but worthy read and honestly, if you have to chose between the two, read the article (but try to read both!). It left me feeling hopeful that a racist, even someone taught to hate from birth, can change his or her stripes.
The Silent Corner by Dean Koontz
Book Description: After the suicide of her husband, FBI Agent Jane Hawk uncovers a massive conspiracy with ties to the government and technology do-gooders.
Book Review: It took me awhile to get fully engaged as Koontz kept details close to his vest as to what was really happening and Jane interacted with few people (mostly bad guys), which made it hard to get a good read on her. I can see influences from Captain America: The Winter Soldier to Transcendence to Terminator, making it more sci-fi than horror (at least at this point), which tends to be Koontz’ genre. You do eventually go down the rabbit hole and get sucked into a big conspiracy theory that left me a bit paranoid because Utopia is always eye of the beholder. And everyone has different eyes. At the end of the book, Koontz previewed book 2, which left me anxious to get my little mitts on it.
To Read or Not To Read: Absolutely. This is a good book for people who love conspiracy theories. Note: multiple suicides do factor heavily into this story, so please be aware of this if that is a trigger for you.
Note: I received an arc from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. The Silent Corner is available on June 20, 2017.
Unsub by Meg Gardiner
Book Description: The Prophet destroyed her father’s promising career, and now 20 years later, she has a chance to restore her family name.
Book Review: A fast, engaging read. I liked Caitlyn. She had fire and smarts, which is just how I like my heroines. The murders were memorable (and inspired by the real Zodiac Killer) and even occasionally frightening. Some nail biting tension kept me on the edge, but the killers didn’t quite reach the highs of some of my favorite bad hombres. While their kills were horrifying, they were more standard-fare, in other words, Hannibal Lecter remains the King. It appears to be the start of a series, which I am interested in continuing.
To Read or Not To Read: Yes. It’s a good pick for mystery/thriller lovers who can handle some graphic violence and like cat-and-mouse games.
Note: I received an arc from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. Unsub is available on June 27, 2017.
TL;DR – My Recommendations for You
So let’s break it down: I recommend EVERYTHING! Woot! Woot! Seriously though, everyone needs to read Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. It’s a great book club selection because you will want to (need to) discuss it afterwards. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a perfect beach read for those who love intriguing and strong women. Mystery lovers will enjoy Unsub by Meg Gardiner and Sci-Fi fans will find themselves going down the rabbit hole with Dean Koontz in The Silent Corner.
To More Great Reads
Overall, I read fewer books than normal but enjoyed every book so I cannot complain! Several new books currently reside on my dresser (including the latest Paula Hawkins) and I am eager to dive into them as well. Plus, I cannot seem to quit NetGalley. Seriously, people: I have a problem. 😀 As usual, I’m joining Jana and Steph for my favorite link-up: Show Us Your Books! Be sure to check it out and see what everyone is reading.
What was your favorite book from May?