My intention to write a blog every time I finish a book has been completely abandoned to the reality that I can hardly pause the read/listen train long enough to write the Goodreads/Netgalley reviews before getting antsy to start a new title.
I really thought I was on track to post every 3 books. But it turns out I let myself get 8 behind this time. I've already posted my 3 recent nonfiction reviews, so here you will find a quick blurb on five relatively new or brand new Fiction releases that I've read in the past few weeks. I really think there is something for everybody in this batch! Though none were enough to garner an elusive 5-star rating, they were all 3-4 stars on Goodreads. If you want to know more, do click on the images to see my full Goodreads reviews. I'll do something different. here and present them by genre. First up: two thrillers!
The Guest List by Lucy Foley was a Reese's Book Club recommendation but somehow I missed it when it was chosen. I had seen the title and read a few reviews and knew that I'd snatch it up when I was craving a thriller. This is a really great Audible listen-it is narrated by a cast of four voice actors: Chloe Massey, Aoife McMahon, Jot Davies, and Nick Podehl. All of them deliver. It was almost like listening to a radio mystery show and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
It is set on a creepy abandoned Irish island, where a handsome reality TV star is set to wed his gorgeous lifestyle brand manager fiancee. The cast of characters is all a bit wacky and troubled but it all adds up to a solid piece of suspense. I gave this one 4.25 stars rounded down to 4 on Goodreads.
Another Irish-set Reese's Book Club pick, Northern Spy by Flynn Berry is the story of Tessa, a young BBC radio writer balancing her life as a single mum to her infant son Finn with her career and her role inside her relationship with her mother & sister. I opted to listen to this one as well, and have decided that I will exclusively listen to stories with Irish narrators. It's just a lovely treat, even when the story is harrowing. Tessa's world is upended when her sister appears on a newsreel committing armed robbery with 2 IRA soldiers.
Unwilling to accept that her sister is a terrorist, Tessa fights the evidence and insists there has to be a misunderstanding. Until her sister re-appears and confesses to her. Suddenly she is embroiled in the "troubles" herself. Knowing almost nothing about the current troubles in Northern Ireland, this book was educational for me and I really enjoyed how Flynn Berry made both sides of the conflict human. I gave this one 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4. Recommended for fans of contemporary fiction, historical fiction and fans of English/Irish history in general.
The next book I would have to categorize as simply contemporary fiction, or perhaps modern American fiction. I had heard about this book from at least 3 varied sources recommending it for its fresh voice and unique perspective.
Crooked Hallelujah by Kelli Jo Ford takes place in 1974 in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. 15-year-old Justine has grown up in a Matriarchal family presided over by her tough-as-nails Granny, and her mother Lula. They are members of the Holiness Church, a sect of fundamentalist protestants that I had never heard of before picking up this book. The church plays a role in their story, but it is truly a story of their relationships and their resilience. I found the story a bit disjointed but for something truly different, I'd recommend this book. I gave it 3 stars on Goodreads and NetGalley.
Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano is a book I would have chosen at the airport book store on any vacation in the past 30 years on the cover alone. Of course, the cover was reminiscent of Maria Semple's Where'd You Go, Bernadette? which got me all excited. I don't want to oversell this one because it is not WYGB. But it is a good time. Something about the writing, or the character, or the tone...or just the overall mood of the story reminds me of all of the reasons I loved early Janet Evanovich's delicious Stephanie Plum books. I would not be AT ALL sad if this became a series.
Finlay Donovan is a newly divorced writer, who decidedly does NOT have it all together. Through a series of misunderstandings and comic mis-steps, she winds up being mistaken as a contract killer. Fun, and difficult to put down, if you enjoy Stephanie Plum get this one on your Summer TBD. I gave it 3.4 stars, rounded down to 3.
For a summer beach read, A Star is Bored by Byron Lane will be hard to beat. For me, it ticks all of the boxes. It's a faux memoir of the hilariously insecure gay personal assistant to Hollywood legend Kathi Kannon. He becomes embroiled fully in her life and that of her even-more-legendary Hollywood Legend mother Miss Gracie. What I didn't know until I read other reviews is that Byron Lane was the personal assistant to Carrie Fisher. So all parallels to Carrie Fisher and her Hollywood Legend mother Debbie Reynolds are likely intentional. It's voyeurism without being real. And it's funny. It got 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4.
I wish I could promise I'd be back with more reviews sooner, but I probably won't. But five at a time is fun, right? Happy Reading my loves!