Sunday, December 9, 2018

Books That Are All "WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?!?!?"

As I do, I'm back with another quartet of reads. This round was books that were good enough, but they weren't that overwhelming "YOU HAVE TO READ THIS RIGHT NOW" feel. That said, you might find something that wasn't totally my jam could be yours. 

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley was a book that ultimately was a little flat for me. All the ingredients for a great thriller were there, and I just felt like there was so much potential unrealized. That said, this book focuses on a plane crash. A rich and prominent family, the flight crew, and a "down on his luck" painter (that's from the description of the book, not me) are on a small plane that crashes. The only survivors are the painter and one of the family's young children. Then, the questions begin. Why was the painter there? What happened? Is there more to this story? The book explores the story of each of the people of the plane focusing on before and up to the last moments of the plane. It also follows the investigation as evidence is discovered. It was interesting at times, but ultimately, this just didn't have enough twists and turns of drama (especially in the ending) for me.

Read this book if - You want a book that explores the mystery of a plane crash and the stories of its passengers.

If, Then by Kate Hope Day was an intriguing premise. In an Oregon town, four residents have visions of an alternate reality. There's the visions of someone else in a bed, a deceased relative back to life, a baby that doesn't exist, and tragedy. From there, each of these residents reacts differently to that vision. The visions are too real to ignore, and they continue, so residents must do something with what has been presented to them. This book was well-written and interesting enough. I'll own that once they got more and more into the parallel reality stuff, it wasn't totally my jam. That's more my personal struggles with understanding physics-y stuff than the content of the book, so keep that in mind. Thanks to NetGalley for letting me get a sneak peek of this March 2019 release. I think it'll be one that will get people talking as they consider what you would do with a vision of what isn't, but could be?

Read this book if - You want a drama that explores the idea of "What if?" through the lens of a parallel reality concept.

Pretending To Dance by Diane Chamberlain was just what I needed it to be. Diane (we're on a first name basis at this point) is my that author who provides my comfort reads. When I need that book that provides just the right mix of drama, character development, and a twist, Diane is who I turn to. This book was about Molly who is trying to adopt a baby with her husband in San Diego. As they go through the process, it is revealed that Molly hasn't shared the full truth of where she came from. In chapters alternating between the present process and the past, the truth of Molly's past is revealed. This includes a very complicated relationship with her birth mother, as well as unresolved emotions around her father's death. I appreciated that it was clear there was some kind of secret, but I couldn't quite figure out what that secret was. The storytelling kept me reading and wondering as a great Diane Chamberlain always does. Also, this one gets bonus points for the mentions of New Kids on the Block and Judy Blume. 

Read this book if - You are a big fan of Diane Chamberlain - as I am. You like a fiction read that uses the past and present to tell its story. You like a story with some secrets that are revealed as it goes.

Little Lovely Things by Maureen Joyce Connolly was one emotional read. When Claire has an allergic reaction while driving with her two girls, she's forced to stop at a gas station bathroom. She leaves her two young girls unattended. The reaction is so severe she passes out in the bathroom. Upon waking up, the girls are gone, and she has no idea what has happened. The book then focuses on figuring out where her girls have gone and/or if they're even alive. This is explored through a variety of characters, including Claire, her girls, and those with other connections to the disappearance. This book explores an incredible tragedy for a family, and it does it so well which means this is a mostly sad book. The unique part of this story is the character connections, and that is what kept me reading. The emotions were so raw as they should be, but there was also the push throughout of hope in getting answers around Lily and Andrea's disappearance. This was another NetGalley sneak peek for a release, and I anticipate when this one comes out in April 2019 that this is one that will get people up in their feels and needing to talk.

Read this book if - You have the emotional capacity to take on a sad book. You want an emotional read that explores the progression of a tragedy through interconnected characters.