It has been more of the same this week in hot, humid South Florida and instead of sharing what I’m doing, (eating less and moving more), I thought you might like to hear about what I’m reading.
I have taken this ‘down time’ (are we still allowed to call it that?) to branch out beyond my two favorite genres – historical fiction and psychological thrillers. While I did not like all of the books I reviewed below, I did find something of value in each of them. When a book is relatable, even in a small way, I consider the time spent reading worthwhile.
Conviction, Denise Mina ****
Anna, who is obsessed with listening to true-crime podcasts, is startled to learn that she knows the victim in the story she is currently listening to. Leon was a character in her previous life, and while she recognizes that solving his murder could reveal her true identity, or worse, get her killed, it is something she feels compelled to do. Things just don’t add up.
The case is closed, someone is in prison, but there are too many questions that don’t have answers. It all sounds vaguely familiar. Will she be strong enough for the confrontation that must come? This novel is filled with questions, clues, narrow escapes, deception, secret identities, adultery, cover-ups and murder. As much as I tried to savor it, I could not and read it through much too quickly. My advice – slow down, take in all the details, sort the characters carefully at the beginning and enjoy the ride.
The Scent Keeper, Erica Bauermeister *****
If you liked Where the Crawdads Sing, you will love The Scent Keeper, by Erica Bauermeister, just as much if not more. A brilliant scientist, renowned for an invention that captures and preserves scents, is disgraced when the public learns that the scent papers fade and precious memories are forever lost. Unable to face the brutal onslaught of law suits and criticism, he takes his infant daughter and escapes to a remote island off the coast of Canada, to live in isolation.
Emmeline’s childhood is filled with wonder and shaped by her senses as she learns lessons from her beautiful island. Her life is filled with mermaid parties, fantastical tales and little bottles of scent papers that line the walls of their hilltop cabin. Little does Emmeline know that her father’s tales and those little bottles will unlock the mystery of who she really is and lead her back to a life she may wish she had not found.
This book is simply beautiful. Enough said.
The Jetsetters, Amanda Eyre Ward**
The Jetsetters – Prim and proper seventy year old Charlotte from Savannah, dreams of reuniting her adult children on a ten day Mediterranean cruise that she won by submitting an erotic essay to a contest. That is just the first of many deceptions being played out in this family drama. Charlotte and her children board the ship with a lot of baggage; Charlotte just lost her best friend and is adrift, Lee is a washed up actress who just got dumped by her recently famous boyfriend, Cord has just proposed to the love of his life but can’t quite muster up the courage to tell mommy dear that he is gay, and Reagan has lost her true identity as an artist as she embodies the cliche character of a frazzled mother with a wayward husband. Lee and Reagan have been estranged for years, and Cord is desperately trying to hold onto sobriety as the future of his company hangs in balance. The story touches on alcoholism, depression, mental illness, family secrets, a mother’s love, and trying to keep a family together at all costs.
To say that communication is an issue would be an understatement and it becomes frustrating to follow a story that centers around a needy, sex-obsessed 70 year old woman with three seriously messed-up adult children who need to sit down and have an honest chat. There was so much substance that could have been explored in this book, but the author seemed conflicted with what she wanted to say.
It wasn’t awful, it just never fully developed. This was a pick from Reese Witherspoon’s book club and was a big miss for me.
That’s it for me this week, how about you. Have you read anything interesting lately? Please share your recommendations, summer isn’t over yet.