Quarantine happened, and I slowed WAY down on reading. And then I got too busy with helping facilitate distance learning for my first grader, that I totally lost track and didn’t post what I’ve been reading! So, now, in probably not the order I read them, here are the books I read in the last three months!
The Hour of the Assassin
If you’re looking for a quick political thriller, Hour of the Assassin is the book for you! Fast paced from the very beginning, this book is impossible to put down. The characters are engaging, and I found myself reading the whole book in about two days.
The author made an interesting choice to spread out backstory through most of the book, choosing to reveal relationships between the characters much later than I would have expected. The book maintains suspense throughout, and has a really good payoff in the end.
Another thriller that is impossible to put down, The Holdout gives a detailed look into the role of being a juror, being placed on a high profile case, and the ramifications on your life once that trial is put forward.
This is another book I read in a couple days, and it was one where I absolutely did not see the ending coming. The book changed points of view every other chapter, and we got to see inside the mind of all twelve people on the jury. All while trying to solve a current day mystery.
The book is already optioned to become a movie for Hulu, and I’ll definitely be watching.
How to Speak Dragonese
The Third How to Train Your Dragon book is just as fun, and hilarious, as the previous two. I love these books, because I listen to them as audiobooks, and they’re narrated by David Tennant, and they’re only a 2-3 hour commitment.
Toothless is kidnapped by Pirates, and Hiccup needs to get him back. That is the simplified plot of this installment. However, for the first time, the author has chosen to end the book on a cliffhanger, where you can only learn what happens next through reading the next book. I’m currently on hold to get the next book to find out what happens next!
The Kissing Game
Out of all the books I’ve read this year, The Kissing Game is the only one that I’ve read that I wouldn’t recommend. While it wasn’t terrible, it definitely isn’t one of my favorites.
I think the main problem with the book is it’s not made clear it is part of a series. It’s the third book in a series, to be specific. Therefore, the author just assumes you know the characters and she doesn’t flesh them out at all. After all, you’re supposed to know them as background characters in the other two books.
And I know romance books are usually contrived and follow a format, but I found this book a little too contrived, and I didn’t find myself rooting for the characters at all.
The Two Lives of Lydia Bird
If you love tragic romance, The Two Lives of Lydia Bird is for you! Telling the story of a woman (Lydia) whose fiance dies tragically in a car accident. Soon after, she realizes when she takes a sleeping pill, she can live a life where Freddy never died. While in her waking life, she moves through her grief, and eventually the idea that she may be able to love again.
While it starts off really depressing (I cried through about the first quarter of the book), the book really does give off a feeling of hope. As Lydia begins to function more, and is ready to move on, you can see her growth and her healing through the tragedy.
The Box is Protection Not Prison
I fell into a bit of a reading rut this spring, and in order to jump start my reading again, I picked up this short story written by a friend. I don’t want to say too much about it, because I don’t want to give anything away, but this story is very timely. If you want to read a story that has a commentary on mass media and biases that feels like you’re reading about what is happening right now, you should definitely check this story out.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
My favorite book of 2019 was Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones and the Six. I was supposed to see Reid at the Des Moines Book Festival back in March, but because of Covid, that was canceled. I put myself on the list for this book, and it was delivered right before I went on vacation, and this has easily become one of my top books I’ve read for the year so far.
Where Daisy Jones seemed to be a fictional story that included many elements of bands like Fleetwood Mac, Evelyn Hugo definitely felt like it took its inspiration from stars like Elizabeth Taylor. The book follows Evelyn Hugo as she navigates stardom through Old Hollywood and the studio system, the transition into the “New Hollywood” and as an aging actress in the industry.
Along the way we learn her story as it is told around her many husbands. The story is at once heartwarming, tragic, and includes a twist that made me gasp out loud.