To Read: August Edition

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This summer has FLOWN by. Like… Where did it go? I still have a hard time remembering the seasonal timeline in Chicago because where I come from, there is no fall. It’s just HOT and then a little less hot. But the word on the street is that fall is just around the corner (like a month away!) and I’m just not ready. Well… Actually I might be ready. After close to 30 years of HOT ALL THE TIME, I welcome cool air with open arms. We moved at the beginning of the month and I finally have a back porch and I’m so excited to spend time out there with my coffee (read: wine) and my books and my cozy blankets. Here are the books I’ll be diving into this month–is boxed wine still taboo? BRING ON THE FALL.

Since We Fell: This one is a Book of the Month club read that I’m super excited about diving in to. Dennis Lehane is the author of the lesser known titles (lolz) Mystic River and Shutter Island. While Lehane might not be a household name yet (lolz again), I’m about his twisted style and I can’t wait to see what his new book has in store.

I’m Thinking of Ending Things: A Booklist starred review called this book “dark and compelling … unputdownable.” Put a fork in me right now Captain, I’m done. This thriller promises to be weird and tense, with a little bit of WTF mixed in. Gimme.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: This one is another Book of the Month club find and I’m super excited about it because IT’S NOT A MURDER MYSTERY! My boyfriend is so happy I’m reading something other than a twisty, murdery thriller! Evelyn Hugo is the most famous actress on the planet. As she recovers from the death of her only daughter, she decides she wants to finally talk about what everyone wants to know — how she came to be married seven different times. It’s Hollywood and gossip and old school glamour and I love it already.

The River at Night: A freak accident leaves four women stranded in the wilderness with no guide, no map and no way home. All hope is lost until they stumble onto a camp that can provide them shelter and communication with the outside world. Or can it? Have the women stumbled into a place that can save them or a place that will end them once and for all? My spine is tingly already.

Happy reading (and wine-ing!)

To Read: July Edition

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The sun is (finally!) out, the birds are chirping and I’m slathering on the sunscreen. I do love the summer in Chicago… Much, MUCH less hellish than the sauna that is summer in New Orleans. This fabulously tolerable weather has put a bit of a damper in my summer reading game though, because instead of being cooped up inside every weekend because it’s just TOO DANG HOT, we’re actually venturing outdoors. And it’s lovely. But it’s sadly cutting into my reading game. Thank goodness for those twice daily–and often tedious–bus rides to get me through my To Read lists. And with that, let’s dive into July’s.

PS – You’ll be so proud! I’m branching out! Not all of them are murder mysteries! Small victories, man. Small victories.

Mischling: This story set in Nazi Germany during WWII is one that came recommended by the Chicago Public Library’s blog. Identical twins that end up in Auschwitz are selected to be part of Mengele’s Zoo, the “experimental population of twins” that serve as the guinea pigs for the awful Joseph Mengele. I’m a sucker for a heart-wrenching WWII novel (hello, The Nightingale), so I’m excited about this one.

Into the Water: By the author of The Girl on the Train, this story follows the happenings of a small English town after a woman is found dead in the “Drowning Pool,” a body of water made infamous after numerous deaths in its depths over the years. It looks twisty and turn-y and spine-tingly and you know I’m about that life.

The Next Accident: As the third installment of what Lisa Gardner has dubbed the “FBI Profiler Series,” this book follows Quincy and Rainie (from The Third Victim fame) as they try to track down what really happened to Quincy’s daughter Mandy. I love all of LG’s books (we’re on a nickname basis at this point), and I imagine this one will be no different.

The Rules Do Not Apply: I really strayed from my usual with this one, but sometimes you gotta reach out of your comfort zone every once in a while. That’s exactly what Ariel Levy does in this memoir about what happens when your life decides it has its own ideas about the future. It’s been a hot minute since I’ve read a memoir of any sort, and I think this one is going to be the perfect one to jump back in with.

Happy reading, y’all!

Review Time: All the Missing Girls

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All the Missing Girls was a book I was super excited about reading. I mean… What mystery lover isn’t going to be stoked to dive into a book touted as the next Girl on the Train?! Count me in.

The premise of the book was intriguing on it’s own — a small-town is reeling after the disappearance of a second young woman in the span of 10 years. Nicolette Farrell’s best friend Corinne went missing after a day out at the local fair and Nic left a devastated town behind in an attempt to move on from that tragic day. Ten years later, Nic is forced to return to her hometown to deal with with her ailing father and the past is drudged up when another young woman, Nic’s neighbor Annaleise, goes missing. The kicker of the story though? It’s told in reverse. From Day 15 to Day 1. Which took my excitement about it from a regular 7 to an overwhelming 12.

Telling the story backwards, though, turned out to be the reason I didn’t much care for the book as a whole. The story was interesting — family drama, shady characters, lies, deceit, secrets. But the format of the story made it hard to follow along with the dual mystery of Anneleise’s new disappearance and Corinne’s unsolved one. I didn’t hate it then, though. It took a little bit more back-and-forth than usual to remember where I was and what had just happened, but I was still intrigued. The end though, that Day 1 chapter, was where it lost me. As it turns out, Nicolette had known the answer to the mystery since her first day in town. And once you learn that, you can think back to everything else that happened in Cooley Ridge over the past two weeks and feel duped. Why was she questioning so much when she already knew what happened? What was the point of documenting the following two weeks if the mystery was already solved? What the heck?

I think the book had the potential to be stellar — an intriguing plot with an interesting style twist. But the lackluster plot development and the difficult arrangement just made All the Missing Girls fall a little flat for this mystery lover. Womp womp.

My favorite scene: At one point in the story, Nicolette is recounting her relationship with Corinne and tells the reader a story about something that happened on the last day anyone saw Corinne in Cooley Ridge. Nic and Corinne are on the Ferris wheel at the local fair and Corinne dares Nic to step outside of the cart’s safety harness. And she does. There are a few other factors at play that you understand later in the book, but I think this scene paints a good picture of the girls’ relationship, of who was the leader of the pack and how Corinne’s absence truly affected Nic in the years to come.

Grade: ★★☆☆☆

 

To Read: June Edition

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This month, this first month of “summer,” is really where the temptations and nostalgia lie. The skies are sunny. The wind is brutal. And we’re stuck inside all. day. long. It really is heartbreaking. These are the days when I reminisce about the days of old when I used to drag my blanket and pillow into the backyard, set up my own little reading corner and work on my suntan. But now, no more reading corner and definitely no more suntan. Though I’m not sure there ever was much tanning to begin with… I’m pretty sure I could give Snow White a run for her money these days. Though my hair is less perfectly coifed and wild animals don’t like me that much…

BUT. Back to the important things. Even if there are fewer hours to devote to diving into new reads, that doesn’t mean I won’t try my darnedest. So let’s get reading.

Daisy in Chains: A serial killer. A defense attorney turned writer. A claim of a wrongful conviction. A recipe for a page-turner.

Find Her: This one is yet another installment of the D.D. Warren series, the kick-ass Boston detective who don’t take no shit from nobody. This time, a kidnap victim goes missing again and it’s a race against the clock to find her before her demons do. You can do it, D.D.

All the Missing Girls: A decade after one girl’s heartbreaking disappearance, another has gone missing in a sleepy North Carolina town (can you sense a theme here?). And one person seems to be connected to them both. Dun, dun, dun.

Perfect Husband: Because I can’t get enough, I’m diving into yet another Lisa Gardner detective series. And it looks like it’s going to be awesome. In this first installment, a hardened killer has escaped from prison and is coming after the woman who helped put him there — his wife. And she’s going to be ready for him when he gets there.

Maybe next month I’ll pick something that isn’t a murder mystery. Maybe.

To Read: March Edition

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It’s March. Which means March Madness. Which means my boyfriend will be glued to the television for an insane amount of time watching college kids play with basketballs. Which means that I will have SO MUCH TIME for book reading this month. Which means I’m doing my happy dance over here.

And this month I’ve got some books that I’ve been really looking forward to cracking open. Another from my new favorite Mary Kubica. Another from my other new favorite Lisa Gardner. And another World War II saga. Because I can’t get enough of any of those. And also because the library finally decided they would loan each of them to me after a stupid long time. Po-tate-oh, po-taht-oh. Let’s get to it.

Pretty Baby: Heidi Wood spots a seemingly homeless girl and her infant daughter on Chicago’s “El” and can’t shake them from her mind. She works to befriend the girl, but what she learns as their relationship grows could put her and her family in danger. Mystery and intrigue, FTW.

Lilac Girls: This story follows three girls from three very different walks of life as they navigate through Hitler’s tumultuous Germany. The ad copy for the book likens it to The Nightengale, another WWII-era novel that I think I’ve decided is my favorite book of all time. So, I’m a little excited about this one, to say the very least.

Fear Nothing: It’s taken me almost 11 weeks to get this 8th installment of the D.D. Warren series and I’m beyond excited to break into it. A new serial killer is roaming around Boston and it’s up to D.D. to make sense of everything. But, as per usual, the obstacles are stacked against her and it isn’t going to be easy. I can’t wait to see you soon, D.D.!

Happy reading!

To Read: February Edition

 

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We’re in the throes of winter up here in Chicago. The days are getting longer, but they’re not long yet. You can still see a sliver of sunshine when you leave the office, but night will have fallen before your bus completes the 20-minute journey home. The sun manages to peek through the clouds some days, but the snow still has a mind of its own. (I love the snow though, so I won’t complain about that one.) You’ve worn out your entire collection of sweaters, but you can’t fathom walking outside with any sliver of skin exposed. Despite all of the less than glamorous aspects of the late-January (almost-February) Chicago winter, there’s nothing better than hanging around the house in your not-for-public-viewing (aka kind of grungy) grandma sweats with a book in hand and the snow making a scene outside the window. And maybe some hot chocolate with the tiny marshmallows. Because the tiny marshmallows are the best.

For February, I’ve got a few more books from my long-term Holds lists in my queue and I’m excited to finally get to dive into these beauties. So grab your own book and mug of hot chocolate and let’s get to this. Happy reading, folks!

The Dollhouse: This is one of the “days of yore” novels that I love to dive into–getting lost in the golden days when life was a little slower and fashion was a little fancier. This is a two-part story about a young girl’s life in an NYC hotel in 1952 and a current-day reporter trying to uncover just what happened inside those walls so many years ago. Mystery, intrigue and a little bit of glamour? I’m sold!

Don’t You Cry: I placed a hold on this thriller the minute I finished Mary Kubica’s second novel, The Good Girl. This is a story of a young woman vanished, a young man crushing and a best friend left wondering. If it’s anything like The Good Girl, I know I’m in for quite a treat.

You Are a Badass: Because sometimes you just need to be reminded that you are, indeed, a badass. This one was recommended to me by a friend who just finished it (and subsequently landed quite the dream job). I ponied up and bought it (shocking, I know!) so I can notate the heck out of it and be the best badass I can be.

That’s all for this month, folks. Until next time!

To Read: January Edition

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Hey guys! Finally back on the bandwagon! After a shamingly long time (and one forgotten password later), we are back to rocking and rolling! This month (or really these last two weeks of the month), I’m finally hoping to tackle two books that I’ve had on my library Holds list since before Christmas. And the weather is looking promisingly awful this weekend, so I’m hoping for lots of cozy couch time. And lots of reading snacks. Because those are sometimes definitely the best part. Happy reading, folks!

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica: I’ve been on a massive mystery kick lately, so I’m excited to dive into this thriller about a girl who goes missing and the family secrets that begin to emerge in her absence. It looks dark and twisted and right up my alley.

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett: In a stark contrast to the grisly murder mysteries I’ve been enthralled with over the past few months, this crazy convoluted story of two families forced to merge and mingle after a fateful christening party promises to be both hilarious and heartbreaking.

Until next time!