Friday, August 21, 2020

Book Reviews - Reads Reimagined!

Y'all, what a round of reads! What I loved most about this quartet is that each of these reads was a topic, genre and/or a perspective that was a bit of a re-imagining. Each of these was so compelling, and I loved them. This is yet another one of those quartets where I absolutely loved and recommend each of the selections!

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman was phenomenal. There is no one who writes characters like Backman does. This one was such a unique premise, and it worked in such an incredible way. The book focuses on a botched bank robbery that intersects with a real estate showing. Fleeing the scene of the crime, the bank robber ends up at the showing and takes those who are at the showing hostage. This sounds like a total thriller, right? Plot Twist - It's not that at all! Instead this is a character-driven story that has both emotional and comedic spins. Part of what is shown during the hostage situation and investigation following is how the characters are connected. It is a truly fascinating web as their stories are literally woven together. Again, this was brilliantly done. While being the story of these strangers, there is also some great commentary on what it means to navigate life as an adult. I absolutely loved the journey that this one took me on. It was so, so, so very well done. Thanks to NetGalley for the early look at this September 2020 release. If you're a fan of Backman (or even if you're looking to see what the deserved hype is about), this is one you absolutely want to check out.

Beach Read by Emily Henry was an absolute delight of a read. I occasionally pick up a beach read, so this was actually not one of my "regular" genres, and I loved it. The story focuses on January and Augustus. After her father's death, January retreats to his beach house. While there, she realizes her neighbor is her former college rival. They are both now writers with January writing romance and Augustus writing literary fiction. As a continuation of their ongoing competition, they decide to swap genres for their latest projects, and things go from there! Throughout, secrets are revealed, obstacles are encountered, and Augustus and January explore their feelings towards each other and overall relationship. This is one that kept me reading as I wanted to know what was going to happen with the characters, but also with their projects. This was such a captivating story with compelling characters that had me drawn in throughout! 

Under the Black Hat: My Life in WWE and Beyond by Jim Ross was the continuation of J.R.'s recounting of where he's been in the wrestling industry focusing on 2000ish and beyond. What I appreciated about this one (which is not surprising given what I know of J.R.) was his candor and honesty throughout. He writes not just about what happened, but how he felt in those moments as well as what it feels like to reflect back on those days. There is a lot of this one that focuses on his dynamics with Vince McMahon and how he had to shift roles in the company. He did things because he knows and loves the wrestling business, but y'all, some of this stuff was an especially emotional read given the toxicity and actual harm involved. This is one I loved because J.R. is someone who has literally always had a connection to pro wrestling for me. I only wish there was more about what he's doing with AEW now! I'm hoping he continues his story because he writes and tells stories in such a captivating way just as he does when he calls matches!

Cinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron was a phenomenal retelling of Cinderella. Y'all it was so well done that I'm ready to adopt this story as the real deal. The story focuses on Sophia. As part of the ongoing legacy of Cinderella, all teenage girls are required to attend events to find suitors. Sophia is not interested in this arrangement, and she would much rather be with her best friend Erin. Sophia decides to take a risk and flee the event. During her escape, she runs into Constance. Constance is the last known descendant of Cinderella and her step-sisters. Constance reveals to Sophia that the true story is not the one that everyone has been told. With this reveal, Constance and Sophia join forces to reveal the truth and dismantle the oppressive power that's ruled the kingdom for over 200 years. Again, this was such brilliance. It's no small feat to re-imagine a fairy tale, and the way this one is done is just so, so darn good. 

Onto the next ones!