Middle grade novels are one of my favorite things. I love the optimism, the wholesomeness, the knowledge that (more often than not) everything is going to work out in the end. There’s a purity to books written for children that will always resonate with me, no matter how old I get. When I can find an adult novel that delivers those same vibes, I’m beyond excited. And that is exactly what The Wishing Game is, in my opinion: it’s a middle grade novel written for grown-ups. …
Revival Season is not the kind of story I can read completely objectively. My faith is a huge part of my identity. I’m a Christian, and I’ve attended Baptist churches my entire life. When something is so integral to who you are, it’s difficult to remove yourself from a story that centers so profoundly around that trait or belief. And that was one of my biggest problems with this book. There were so many religious red flags that I wanted to take the whole fictional family to counseling. This was a twisted, maimed version of my faith staring back at me from the page, a funhouse reflection of what I believe. I just wanted to look away. I didn’t. I finished the book. But it was a struggle for me. …
When will I learn? I’ve read over 200 Nora Roberts novels, and yet every once in a while I will still read a synopsis for an upcoming novel of hers and decide that I’m not sure I’m going to love that one. So instead of preordering, like I generally do for her new releases, I place a hold with my library. That’s what I did with Legacy. And now I have to buy it anyway, because I loved it. …
I was very much on the fence about picking up this book. I loved A Man Called Ove and Beartown, but I wasn’t sure I cared to read about a hostage drama. I’m so glad I took the plunge, because Anxious People was incredible. Brilliantly written. It doesn’t quite have the charm of A Man Called Ove or the emotional weight of Beartown, but it’s a pretty great marriage of both. The prose managed to be both amusing and deeply philosophical in the same sentence, which I found incredibly impressive.
“They say that a person’s personality is the sum of their experiences. But that isn’t true, at least not entirely, because if our past was all that defined us, we’d never be able to put up with ourselves. We need to be allowed to convince ourselves that we’re more than the mistakes we made yesterday. That we are all of our next choices, too, all of our tomorrows.”
I’m not sure I can even express how wildly Beyond the Point surpassed my expectations, but I’m sure going to try. I’ve always had a lot of respect for our military, and for the people who sacrifice their time, dreams, bodies, and lives in its service. I also have a lot of empathy for the family of those who serve, as I can’t even begin to imagine how terrifying it must be to watch someone you love with your entire being fly into a war zone, and how insanely stressful it must be to wait and hope for their return. But this book has increased all of those feelings for me. Witnessing military life from the inside, from the perspectives of three girls as they graduate high school, attend West Point, and embark on their careers thereafter, made for a moving and eye-opening experience.
“Some wounds are invisible. It doesn’t mean they’re not real.”
“Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices… Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?”
This is the premise of The Midnight Library, Matt Haig’s newest novel. I’ve never read anything by Haig before this book, but I can guarantee that this oversight will be addressed. Because The Midnight Library was wonderful. There’s incredible philosophical depth packed into relatively few pages. And for a book that begins with a suicide attempt, it ended up being surprisingly positive and uplifting. Not only is it a thoughtful novel, it inspired deep contemplation within the reader, but in a way that is comfortingly gentle for the times in which we’re living.
“Where does a mistake begin?”
This is the opening line of Amity Gaige’s newest novel, Sea Wife. We know from the very beginning that something terrible has happened. We just don’t know the specifics of what or how. The story is told largely from two perspectives: Juliet in the present and her husband, Michael, in the past through the captain’s log he kept during their sailing year. There are a few different mysteries woven through the plot, but I felt that the story largely centers around what makes a marriage, and what ends one. Sea Wife is a deep, beautifully written novel with enough pace to the plot to maintain investment while also discussing timeless topics in fresh ways.
“Tears or sweat—so many stories end in salt water.”
“The weight of what has been lost is always heavier than what remains.”
The Mothers is a powerful, moving picture of a how a secret can wreak havoc on a person, a family, a church, a community. An action that seems to only effect one person never does. Instead, even the smallest decisions can have far-reaching consequences, small ripples that grow into tidal waves.
“After a secret’s been told, everyone becomes a prophet.”
Beach Read is basically a Hallmark movie but better. Way better. If I were asked to describe the book in one word, that word would be: AWWW. It was sweet and heartfelt and incredibly funny, with enough drama and depth to keep itself from becoming overly saccharine. The romance was made even better by the fact that it was between two writers.
“And that was the moment I realized: when the world felt dark and scary, love could whisk you off to go dancing; laughter could take some of the pain away; beauty could punch holes in your fear. I decided then that my life would be full of all three.”
Bel Canto is a beautiful novel. I’ve never read Ann Patchett before, but I quickly became infatuated with her storytelling over the course of this novel. To be completely honest, this was a 5 star read until the last ten pages. I shouldn’t have been so blindsided by the climactic events. The story does, after all, revolve around opera. But I was indeed blindsided. I feel slightly scarred. It was still a great book, and one that I might even read again someday, but the list of people to whom I would recommend it shrunk significantly in those last pages.