A few quick reviews of some of the books I’ve read this summer. Hopefully these bite-sized reviews will be enough to feed your fiction addiction!
Published by Flatiron Books in 6/26/16
Genres: Adult, Contemporary
Six responsible adults. Three cute kids. One small dog. It’s just a normal weekend. What could possibly go wrong?
Sam and Clementine have a wonderful, albeit, busy life: they have two little girls, Sam has just started a new dream job, and Clementine, a cellist, is busy preparing for the audition of a lifetime. If there’s anything they can count on, it’s each other.
Clementine and Erika are each other’s oldest friends. A single look between them can convey an entire conversation. But theirs is a complicated relationship, so when Erika mentions a last minute invitation to a barbecue with her neighbors, Tiffany and Vid, Clementine and Sam don’t hesitate. Having Tiffany and Vid’s larger than life personalities there will be a welcome respite.
Two months later, it won’t stop raining, and Clementine and Sam can’t stop asking themselves the question: What if we hadn’t gone?
In Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty takes on the foundations of our lives: marriage, sex, parenthood, and friendship. She shows how guilt can expose the fault lines in the most seemingly strong relationships, how what we don’t say can be more powerful than what we do, and how sometimes it is the most innocent of moments that can do the greatest harm.
This book was incredibly engrossing. The mystery of what happened on that fateful day and how it affected each of the people present kept me turning the pages and wanting more! For some reason, I did guess pretty early on what had happened, but I was never sure – and honestly, I don’t even know where I got the idea from because there weren’t a lot of overt clues. (My mom read the book too and said she hadn’t guessed.) But, even though I had a feeling about what was going to happen, that didn’t stop me from wondering – or from enjoying the story. It’s not until more than halfway through the book (maybe even closer to three-quarters of the way through?) that you actually discover what happened and realize all of the repercussions. I loved how the book explored the ways in which each and every character felt guilt over that fateful day – it seemed so true to life. Don’t we all blame ourselves in painful circumstances for one reason or another? If only I’d … Why did I … How could I …
The only thing that I didn’t live about the book was that the present-day storylines (with the exception of Clementine’s decision about whether or not to help Erika with something major that she asks for) didn’t capture my attention nearly as much as what happened at the barbeque. I found myself not caring as much about those parts – especially the parts about Clementine’s audition and what school Vid and Tiffany’s daughter would attend. Overall, I give this one 4/5 Stars!
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher at BEA in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
Published by Viking Books for Young Readers on 3/8/16
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.
Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there’s nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can’t wait to escape from.
Destined to wind up “wed or dead,” Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she’d gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan’s army, with a fugitive who’s wanted for treason. And she’d never have predicted she’d fall in love with him… or that he’d help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is.
This book was incredible! It took me a little while to get used to the setting – which was a fantasy world that was something along the lines of a cross between the Wild West and the Arabian desert – but once I got over that small hump, I enjoyed every minute of this book!
First of all, Amani was a fantastic main character – a spitfire of a young girl who refuses to be defined by her sexist world. She’s brave and smart and full of sass, but she certainly isn’t perfect. Then there was the magic – yep, I loved every mention of the unique magical creatures (and people!) in this book. In the beginning of the book, the magic merely felt like a little spice to flavor the story, but by the end, the plot was bursting with intense magical battles! And the Persian setting was amazing (even if the combo of Persia with Wild West was a bit confusing at first). I loved that the end of the book left me wanting more, but didn’t feel like a major cliffhanger. I can’t wait for the next book! I give this one 4.5/5 stars.
Published by Random House in 8/2011
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian
In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.
This book had a little bit of something for everyone. First of all, anyone who grew up in the 80s (like I did) will love it for the copious 80s references – if you happened to be a computer or video game geek in the 80’s this book was pretty much written for you! But even if you don’t get all of the 80s pop culture references, I still think you’ll love this book if you’re a fan of video games, dystopian or sci fi. Okay, I’ll admit that this doesn’t cover everyone, but this book is sure to please a good portion of the population. (I loved it and so did my 13-year-old son).
This book looks into the possibly-not-so-distant future when people are living more virtually than they live in the real world. Who needs to have a living breathing job or life when you can live out a much more exciting virtual existence? Wade is one teenager living in this world – he barely exists outside of OASIS, and he’s just fine with that. He’s dedicated his life to searching for the “Easter egg” that will give whoever finds it untold fame and riches. So far, no one has been successful in even making a first step toward finding it, but when Wade gets the ball rolling, he’s suddenly thrust into a very deadly race toward the final prize.
Like I said, the book has a little bit of everything – sci fi, action, a virtual world where anything can happen, fleshed out characters that have you rooting for them, a bit of romance – even though I wouldn’t consider myself a video game or computer person, I was engaged every moment of the read! I highly recommend this one. It’s definitely an all-time favorite sci-fi – my favorite since the old days when I read Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy! 5/5 Stars!