Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Book Reviews - Reading in the Future (aka A Quartet of ARCs)

Y'all have I told you lately how much I love reading advanced copies of books?!? It's such a blast to get sneak peeks at stuff that'll be on a shelf near y'all soon. I have quite a backlog right now (and this is such a good problem to have), so I took this round to get through some in the queue.

The Library of Lost Things by Laura Taylor Namey was a unique premise for a YA read. Darcy loves books. She has the library of the father she's never met in her room, and she works at a part-time bookstore. Beyond the books, Darcy is struggling with her mom's hoarding. She has to keep this secret from pretty much everyone, especially their new landlord, and it creates all the stress as she navigates. While working at the bookstore, Asher walks into Darcy's life - literally. He's a complex human with his own secrets, and he's also struggling that his dream of being a pilot is no more. He starts coming in to the bookstore each day, and he and Darcy start to form some kind of relationship although they each keep their secrets with them. While in the bookstore, Darcy finds an old copy of Peter Pan, and she starts to ponder what the previous owner's notes mean for her. For this, I do have to say that part of my evolution as a reader means I consume and feel differently about YA than I once did. However, if I take that time machine back into my twenties, this is the kind of book that would totally be my jam. This has family secrets and complicated romance, and even some cheese at times. It was a light read with some layers of drama at times. It's just a nice, little read that will be out in October, and I was able to check out thanks to NetGalley.

Read this book if - You like your YA romance with some twists and emotion and stuff.

Curveball: How I Discovered True Fulfillment After Chasing Fortune and Fame by Barry Zito was an enlightening book as prior to reading it, I only knew that Barry Zito was a really good pitcher. This was a reflection on how he made it big, then how he made it really big with a huge contract. From there, the pressure of his career got to me too much, and he talks about the crossroad(s) he found himself at, and the choices he then made to frame his life differently. This is a baseball book that is grounded in faith. I actually wish there was a bit more about his faith journey. However, this is still a great piece about what it's like to have the weight of a team/city/family/all the things on your shoulders, and how one guy navigated it all. I will also say the story of his family is particularly compelling, and it immediately drew me in. This was a good chance to hear a story about an athlete's career and life that isn't often told. Thanks to NetGalley for allowing me to see this September release.

Read this book if - You are a fan of Barry Zito. You want some baseball that weaves in faith, or some faith that weaves in baseball.

The Friendship Pact by Alison James was at its core about two childhood friends who have kept a secret. The story then focuses on them as adults. Lucy is married to a celebrated surgeon, but at home, he is abusive and controlling. Lucy knows she needs to get out, so she calls on her friend Adele. This call comes at a cost, and the story just goes from there. This was a thriller that I knew had twists, but it was written in a way that I couldn't figure them out. It was really smart in that the impact of what happened to Lucy and Adele kept having impacts on what was going down. Sometimes you just need a solid twisty thriller was that. I would offer one content warning that the dynamics of Lucy's abusive relationship were especially intense. Thanks to NetGalley for the look at this July release.

Read this book if - You want a thriller of how a childhood choice continues to have an impact. You like thrillers built on people not being who they say they are.

The World Ends in April by Stacy McAnulty was such an unconventional premise, but it worked really well. Eleanor is a middle schooler, but she learns the end of the world is coming. She is first familiar with "prepping" because her grandpa is all about that life. Doing her own research she realizes that a Harvard professor has predicted an asteroid is going to hit early, and it will have deadly consequences. Eleanor tells her friend Mack because she wants him to be okay. However, she makes the mistake of telling him at the lunch table, and others find out. Soon they've formed the Nature Club (as a cover for the End of the World Club) to start preparing for what's to come. While this sounds like the darkest of premises, it's really such a wonderful story of friendship and family and even how we consume information. I loved how it explored how Eleanor wasn't so much navigating the potential arrival of an asteroid, but instead the relationships and realities of middle school. It was a story that had such heart, and y'all, I just loved it.

Read this book if - You want a children's book that has heart around an unexpected storyline. You want a book that is grounded in relationships and science.