Friday, July 13, 2018

Be Prepared

Vera Brosgol’s graphic novel Be Prepared is based on her experiences as a child at summer camp. Vera, a young Russian immigrant in New York, doesn’t quite fit in with the other girls at her school. Every summer, her friends go off to summer camp, so Vera jumps at the chance to attend a camp for Russian diaspora. She longs to have the camp experience and to fit in with other children. However, camp isn’t exactly what she was hoping for. Vera’s feelings of loneliness and isolation and her longing for acceptance is a universal human experience than any reader can relate to.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Bring Me Back

Finn’s girlfriend, Layla, disappears under puzzling circumstances at the beginning of B.A. Paris’s Bring Me Back. Several years later, Finn is engaged to Layla’s older sister, Ellen, and starts receiving mysterious messages from his past. Bring Me Back is an easy and fast read. I was happy to finally have an unreliable narrator that is male but surprised that Paris decided to resolve some of the mystery so early on in the novel. As such, I suspected the ending, but it was still a fun and painless ride.

Monday, July 2, 2018

The Death of Mrs. Westaway

Hal, a young, impoverished tarot card reader, is surprised when she learns of the passing of her grandmother, Mrs. Westaway—particularly since her grandmother had died before Hal was born. Hoping to alleviate some of her financial distress, Hal attends Mrs. Westaway’s funeral and discovers everything isn’t as she initially imagined.

The premise of Ruth Ware’s latest novel, The Death of Mrs. Westaway, is intriguing. However, it took me a long time, almost to the last 80 pages, to feel hooked on this book. The execution is slow and sometimes rather dull, but ultimately the story grabbed me and I had to know the ending.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Death of an Honest Man

Hamish Macbeth is back in another installment of MC Beaton’s series. This time, he is investigating the murder of a man known for offending everyone he meets with his “honesty.” Although nothing ever really seems to change in Hamish’s life, at first I was impressed that Beaton seemed to be embracing progressive ideas of equality in the book. Yet, as it progressed, some sort of “evil” possessed Hamish and filled him with alarmingly misogynistic ideas that may have tainted my love for him permanently. It seemed a strange move for a 2018 novel. Other than this glitch, the rest of the book maintained its cozy mystery standards and was an easy, relaxing read.

Friday, June 15, 2018

The Perfect Mother

Aimee Molloy’s The Perfect Mother is a fast, easy, and entertaining read. A mother’s group in Brooklyn is rocked when one of the babies is kidnapped. The kidnapping reveals that not all the members of the group are what they appear to be. As a mother, I could relate to many of the group members’ feelings, but more than anything I was engrossed by the story and finding out what actually happened to baby Midas. Molloy does a good job of concealing, yet revealing, the truth, leaving me feeling intrigued and only slightly manipulated. Definitely a fun summer read.