Sunday, March 17, 2019

Book Reviews - Sourdough in Outer Space!

For this round, I had two ARCs that I made my way through as I do. However, the great stuff was in a book about baking, and then an ah-ma-zing YA read that took place in outer space!

The Friendship Lie by Rebecca Donnelly was a middle grade read all about what happens when conflict hits a friendship. Cora and Sybella used to be best friends, but now they're not. The story treks through the days before and the day after of their friendship. In addition, part of this involves an old journal they find that involves the chronicle of a fight amongst friends. I looked at this one through the lens of me as a kid as I read and reviewed. It made me think about the first time I fought with a friend. I didn't know what was going on, or how to handle it well. Sorry about those rude notes, Becky, but don't worry, Mrs. Ramsey totally called my parents to talk about the situation. ANYWAY. I liked that this book took the topic on in a way I think kids would understand. I do have to also there was a subplot around garbage and sustainability that was well intentioned and informative, but kind of got lost given this was so much more about friendship. That piece almost felt like it would have been better served in its own book. As always, I was able to read this one early (out in August) thanks to NetGalley.

Read this book if - You're looking for a middle grade read focused on friendship and the conflict that inevitably happens.

Sourdough by Robin Sloan was just a unique read. This is my second book by this author (the first being Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore), and he just writes books that are experiences to read unlike any other. This one is about Lois. Lois is an engineer who discovers a local sandwich shop that gets her heart and stomach. Perhaps my favorite part of the book is that the owners refer to her as Number One Eater. I mean y'all, is there a better title than that? When the owners have to leave the country, they leave Lois with a sourdough starter. The thing Lois hasn't really baked ever. What follows is Lois learning how to learn to work with the starter and figure out where her passions lie along the way. The story really focuses on Lois' journey throughout, and it does this through some quirky situations. There's an underground farmer's market, and some odd happenings with the food, and a mysterious cast of characters who Lois has to navigate. This was my book club's read this month, and it was a book that we were all intrigued by, but also struggled to fully explain and describe. Overall, I enjoyed it though. It was a good "palate cleanser" after all the thrillers I've read as of late. I also am always a fan of great writing, and this is so much of that.

Read this if - You liked Robin Sloan's first book. You want something quirky. You like books that are just well-written.

Alumni Association by Michael Rudolph was a legal thriller that wasn't really my jam. When I read a thriller, I like a story driven by twists and drama and suspense. This one was more driven by logistics and legal "stuff" that just wasn't enough to captivate me. This one was about a lawyer working with an alumni association who doesn't want their historic military campus to be sold to be re-developed. What I hoped with a premise like this was that I was getting into something like The Skulls with all the secret society mess. Again, that wasn't what this was. It was more about different characters using different legal strategies and financial schemes to get the upper hand. There were also some secret tunnels involved, but I needed them to have so many more secrets than they did to be really captivated with the thrills. Overall, this sounded exciting, but the brand of thriller just wasn't my thing, but maybe it's yours? I owe a thanks to NetGalley for allowing me to check out this read.

Read this book if - You like legal thrillers and stuff.

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James was a book that was just such a intriguing premise, and I was absolutely captivated. The story focuses on Romy. Romy is the daughter of two astronauts. She is on a spaceship speeding away from Earth to start life on Earth II. Romy's parents have been tragically killed on the ship, so Romy is now alone. Her primary contact with Earth is a therapist named <NAME> who she emails back and forth with to share her thoughts, and even some fan fiction that is inspired by her experience. Then, Romy finds out another spaceship is headed her way. She could finally have human contact again. J, the captain of the other ship, reaches out. Through this, a friendship starts to form. However, Romy also has some suspicions about J that won't go away, but she can't quite identify what's going on. Y'all, this was such a different kind of thriller, and I just loved it. I loved the backdrop of space, as something so different, and I loved the mystery of what was going on with the other spaceship. This one was one I literally read in one sitting because I was so swept up in Romy's story, and I had to know what was going on with everything. I also really appreciated how Romy's story was explored, particularly the impact of losing her parents and being alone. There was a realness to explaining how this had impacted her life which was also relatable to loneliness and anxiety and pain on earth. I did not expect this one to be such a wonderful and incredible ride, y'all!

Read this book if - You want something that's out of this world - Sorry, y'all, I had to. You want a thriller type read with some romance and mystery and space-y stuff happening.