Summer Round Up

She lives!

I’m sorry, I’ve been neglectful, and I have new found respect for all the real book bloggers out there, because after a full day at work, it’s difficult for me to muster the energy to turn on my laptop, let alone write up a book review. You guys are amazing.

The new job is great. I’m learning a ton and feel more secure in my duties with every passing day. Everyone I work with has been incredibly welcoming and so helpful, and I’m lucky to be a part of such a smart team of publicists.

Thanks to my long commute, I’ve been able to get in a lot of pleasure reading and read nearly every book on my Summer 2012 list on Pinterest. Unsurprisingly, much of what I read was in the mystery/thriller genre, which I love all year round but which is particularly good in the summer. I did manage to get in some contemporary fiction, historical fiction, and romance in between murders, though!

I reviewed quite a few of my summer reads on the blog, but here are a few others that I really enjoyed, in capsule. I’m so excited for fall!

The Year of the Gadfly by Jennifer Miller

This book came out while I was an intern at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and I remember the day Jennifer Miller’s brilliant book trailer went around the office and thinking that I needed to get my hands on a copy right away. Between a protagonist who talks to the ghost of Edward R. Murrow, a secret society at a small-town New England boarding school, and an old mystery that threatens to rock aforementioned small-town, I became so involved that I nearly missed my subway stop, several times. The fact that these intricate plot points were handled with deftness and wit by Miller made reading Gadfly an absolute joy.

Gone by Mo Hayder

I’ve been watching a lot of Inspector Lewis on Masterpiece this summer, so I was ready to love Jack Caffrey, a gruff cop of the old school. When he’s called in to investigate a carjacking involving a child in the backseat, he’s sure everything will be routine and the child will be dropped somewhere within hours. When the child is still missing after nearly a day, it’s clear that something is wrong, and Jack finds himself partnered once again with police diver Flea Marley, as they race to outsmart a kidnapper who always seems to be one step ahead.

Gone is the fifth in a series, but I hadn’t read any of the previous books and I didn’t have any difficulty following—it helps that Hayder gives expository clues here and there, but not to the point where regular readers of the series will get annoyed. This was my favorite kind of mystery/thriller, and I am definitely going back to read the rest in the series.

Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon

I did not expect to love Wife 22 as much as I did. This wonderful story of Alice Buckle, a wife who goes through a crisis as she passes a milestone: she turns the age her mother was when she died. In a spur of the moment decision, she signs up for an online survey about marriage and, through answering the questions and chatting with the anonymous researcher, she realizes some truths about herself and her family. I loved the way Gideon captured the family dynamic, and I so enjoyed following Alice on her emotional rollercoaster of a journey. She had the potential of becoming whiny and annoying, but she never did, and her snappy wit put me in mind of Bridget Jones with a bit more edge. I can’t wait to read this one again.

A Lady Never Lies by Juliana Gray

With the way I gushed over Overseas, it shouldn’t be surprising that this is on my list, but even if I wasn’t a fan of the author, I would have loved this because it has so many of my favorite elements: it’s set in Italy in the 1890s, has a feisty heroine and a brainy hero, and is modeled after Love’s Labour’s Lost. I was also fascinated by the horseless carriage element, which I knew nothing about, and the car race was quite tense. as were the romantic scenes, which I may have read more than once.

As far as how close Juliana Gray is to Beatriz Williams, the writing is equally strong in both genres, and there are moments where, if you’re looking, you’ll recognize the author from Overseas, but generally, Juliana Gray’s voice is wittier and more pointed, and, yes, a bit more explicit. Beatriz herself describes Juliana best as a sassy younger sister. Either way, I love reading both of them.

City of Women by David R. Gillham

We all know how much I enjoy home front stories, and City of Women delivers in spades. Every chapter is infused with grit and darkness, a “we may die tomorrow” kind of feel, and Sigrid was an intriguing protagonist in that she was sort of forced out of her apathetic existence as one of those Germans who was content to look the other way into someone who becomes embroiled in an underworld that she finds she doesn’t want to escape. Gillham did an incredible job of conveying the deep feelings of mistrust among the population at a time where even your own mother-in-law could betray you to the authorities, as well as the horror and claustrophobia engendered by the relentless air raids.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Summer Round Up

  1. Yaaay, so glad to see this post (and v happy to hear you’re loving the new job!). Also, I am double glad you liked Year of the Gadfly — I soo enjoyed it!

    • Aw, thank you! Oh my god, I had a love affair with Year of the Gadfly. It was such a sad and twisted story, and you can’t beat one-liners like “Sauron eye.”

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