Thursday, May 17, 2018

A Network of Feels

Okay, y'all, here are the latest reads. As you'll see, these ones ran the gamut emotionally. I'm realizing that I have a lot of books in my queue that have the potential to be bummer reads, so I'm working on better balancing with some happy endings. If you've got some happily ever after recommendations I can add in to diversity my list, HMU.

The Silent Sister is by Diane Chamberlain who has become one of my "go-to" authors when it comes to needing a good story with a twist or two. This one was (thankfully) no exception. One unintentionally funny thing about the timing of this read is that it's what I happened to take to silent book club as it was already on my nightstand. #easilyentertained Anyway. The premise of this one is that Riley has believed for her whole life that her older sister committed suicide. When she goes to sort through her father's things after his death, she learns that this might not be the case. This sets off her exploration of what really happened, including seeing if her sister is alive. Predictably (in a way that works for stories like this), there are some twists and turns as she goes to find out the truth that has been hidden all these years. I always like a book like this where the twist isn't totally obvious, and this one fit the bill in that regard.

Read this book if - You are someone who loves Lifetime movie marathons. You like a book with an interesting premise and some plot twists. You've read other Diane Chamberlain - This one was one of the more intriguing ones for me.

The Alice Network by Alice Quinn was this month's (in-person) book club read. This is actually a book I had recommended for the group, so I was hopeful it was as good as all the reviews indicated it was. Y'all, this one is emotional ride. It is a historical fiction piece that has two alternating narratives around a connected story. First, there is Eve who finds her way to a network of female spies (The Alice Network, obvs) who were active during World War I. Her part of the story focuses on the work she does within the network. The other narrative is Charlie's. It's 1947, and her cousin Rose has been missing. A pregnant Rose went to Nazi-occupied France and never returned home. A now pregnant Charlie has made it her mission to find out where she is. This involves connecting with Eve who has to go back to parts of her past she'd rather not. However, this also means she is able to explore what she believes to be true about her time in the network that may not be. This one gave me more feels than I anticipated. It was fantastic, but y'all, my heart. . . 

Read this book if - You're a fan of historical fiction. You like historical fiction that focuses on lesser known aspects of well-known historical happenings. You're ready to have all the feels (including some sadness) for just under 500 pages.

From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon was a book I chose because I'd had a stretch of highly emotional (aka sad) reads, and I needed to go down a different path for awhile. This an advanced reading copy I received. It's a YA love story, and it was just what I needed. When I read books like this, I like to reflect on if my angsty teenage self would have dug the book, and she definitely would have liked this. Present-Day Me liked this one for lots of reasons. The main character is Twinkle, an Indian American teen who aspires to be a female filmmaker. Her story is told primarily through the journal entries she writes to the female directors she admires. In making her film, she works with Sahil as producer. This would be fine except Sahil is the twin brother of her long-time crush, Neil. As she makes her film, she grows closer to Sahil. This would be awesome except she is also receiving emails from a secret admirer "N" who she is convinced is Neil. This one was great because it centered on a voice that isn't always spotlighted in YA/love stories. It was a good "palate cleanser" of a tale, and I really dug it. Also, a book that has the sentence "Mom gets a little bent out of shape about the patriarchy" is alright with me.

Read this book if - You like/love a YA love story. You want to read something that is told from a unique voice. You need a light read that will leave you with a smile.

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi is a book from my childhood. I have a list of throwback reads I'm slowly making my way through. When I saw this one at the used bookstore for less than a dollar, I decided to bring it home. Y'all? What is this book? And why were we reading this as children? I was really into historical fiction as a kiddo, so it would make sense that I read this at some point, but what? First off, Charlotte is sent on a ship solo to America. There are supposed to be some other families to watch over her, but for one reason or another, they don't come with, so it's just her and the crew. (By the way, there are spoilers ahead, but you've also had like twenty five years to read this, so I don't feel so bad.) While on the ship, so many things go down. Charlotte becomes an informant for the captain about any potential mutinies, a dude dies, the captain confronts the mutiny, there is a murder, Charlotte gets accused of murder, Charlotte is acquitted, and then Charlotte somehow becomes captain? I could totally see how historical loving grade school Andrea would have like this, but as an adult, I'm not so sure.

Read this book if - You were born in the eighties and want to revisit one of the reads of your youth. You like historical fiction that seems slightly unrealistic as an adult, but may have been neat to check out as a kid.