Yay, another month, more book suggestions! At least half of the books I read this month came from other bloggers participating in Show Us Your Books. I’m keeping up with tagging quotes, though admittedly I got a bit carried away on some books. I love quotes.
The descriptions are pulled from Goodreads to make it a little easier to relate to my reviews, and to give you an idea of what the book is about. The top title is linked to Amazon and the book cover is linked to Goodreads.
The Farm by Tom Rob Smith
Until the moment he received a frantic call from his father, Daniel believed his parents were headed into a peaceful, well-deserved retirement. They had sold their home and business in London, and said “farewell to England” with a cheerful party where all their friends had gathered to wish them well on their great adventure: setting off to begin life anew on a remote, bucolic farm in rural Sweden.
But with that phone call, everything changes. Your mother’s not well, his father tells him. She’s been imagining things–terrible, terrible things. She’s had a psychotic breakdown, and has been committed to a mental hospital.
Daniel prepares to rush to Sweden, on the first available flight the next day. Before he can board the plane, his father contacts him again with even more frightening news: his mother has been released from the hospital, and he doesn’t know where she is.
Then, he hears from his mother:
I’m sure your father has spoken to you. Everything that man has told you is a lie. I’m not mad. I don’t need a doctor. I need the police. I’m about to board a flight to London. Meet me at Heathrow.
Caught between his parents, and unsure of who to believe or trust, Daniel becomes his mother’s unwilling judge and jury as she tells him an urgent tale of secrets, of lies, of a horrible crime and a conspiracy that implicates his own father. -Goodreads
I read this book in a day, it was definitely a pull you in and keep you interested kind of story. It was a fast read and I felt drawn-in immediately. I enjoyed it, but felt like the ending was disappointing. It was all this build-up and then poof. It also didn’t address some lingering questions. I don’t want to give away too much, it didn’t address the hand-written page or the second locked room. I was very annoyed at the ending. I stole this book recommendation from Nicole over at Treasure Tromp when she mentioned reading it 🙂
“Everyone’s owed a slice of happiness, that’s sentimental, happiness isn’t a human right, but it should be.”
“…we’d always shared in each other’s happiness, believing it would make the moment burn brighter and longer, but sadness can be shared too, perhaps sharing makes it burn briefer and less bright.”
The Remains by Vincent Zandri
The Remains is a thrilling story of twin girls and a terrible attack. Vowing to keep it a secret the two grow up struggling with their past and their belief in God. Thirty years later their attacker is released from prision. One of the twins is dead from cancer, the remaining twin must face her biggest fear and face a killer who wants her dead. The Remains will test your faith and will bring you through the question of why bad things happen to good people. -Goodreads
A quick read, that pulls you into the plot, but fails to really deliver on an emotional level. It’s hard to describe this one, but I didn’t feel like the author showed emotion in the characters. The plot felt like the entirety of the book, not the characters. Maybe it was just me, I didn’t get any buy-in to the characters. It was almost overly concluded it felt almost clinical. I like a nicely concluded book, but this one was like let’s check off character 1,2,3 in the storyline. The sidestory on Robyn, had VERY little tie to the rest of the story. A quick read with little depth.
“Concentrate on the present. Not the past. Not the future. Not on ghosts”
Younger by Suzanne Munshower
When PR pro Anna Wallingham gets dumped by her last client, she finds herself running out of options in LA, where looks trump experience. Desperate to prove she is still relevant, the fiftysomething accepts a shady job offer from Pierre Barton, secretive billionaire owner of Barton Pharmaceuticals. Isolated in a facility outside London, she agrees to test a new top-secret product guaranteed to make her look thirty years younger. Anna is starting to look on the outside the way she feels on the inside: ageless. But she soon discovers that her predecessor died under mysterious circumstances, leading her to research just who stands to gain—and lose—with this miraculous product. When Pierre drops dead in front of her, she takes off on a dangerous journey across Europe hoping to stay alive long enough to uncover the truth.-Goodreads
This was a Kindle First book. I like this book, but felt like it was WAY drawn out. It lost steam mid-way through, and built painfully towards the conclusion. It did have a nice epilogue that tied it up nicely, which I appreciate. I give this a rating of good, but nothing great.
“This time it was her own life, and the shock of how little she’d examined it in the past years, that held her attention”
Trail of Broken Wings by Sejal Badani
When her father falls into a coma, Indian American photographer Sonya reluctantly returns to the family she’d fled years before. Since she left home, Sonya has lived on the run, free of any ties, while her soft-spoken sister, Trisha, has created a perfect suburban life, and her ambitious sister, Marin, has built her own successful career. But as these women come together, their various methods of coping with a terrifying history can no longer hold their memories at bay.
Buried secrets rise to the surface as their father—the victim of humiliating racism and perpetrator of horrible violence—remains unconscious. As his condition worsens, the daughters and their mother wrestle with private hopes for his survival or death, as well as their own demons and buried secrets.
Told with forceful honesty, Trail of Broken Wings reveals the burden of shame and secrets, the toxicity of cruelty and aggression, and the exquisite, liberating power of speaking and owning truth. -Goodreads
I think this book was very well written. It’s pretty heavy read, not a light one. The characters were well developed and the storyline kept me hooked. I liked the presentation of the story from the different viewpoints of the family. It was a very real story, that addressed so many feelings and real psychological damage of abuse. This is the best Kindle First book I’ve downloaded.
“…the only thing between us will be the knowledge that today is not defined by yesterday and tomorrow is truly another day”
“It is a funny thing when you have believed the worst about yourself your entire life. No matter what anyone says, you are the strongest voice of opposition, insisting to anyone who will listen that they are wrong, that you really are worthless.”
The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman
Quentin Coldwater has been cast out of Fillory, the secret magical land of his childhood dreams. With nothing left to lose, he returns to where his story began, the Brakebills Preparatory College of Magic, but he can’t hide from his past, and it’s not long before it comes looking for him.
Along with Plum, a brilliant young undergraduate with a dark secret of her own, Quentin sets out on a crooked path through a magical demimonde of gray magic and desperate characters. But all roads lead back to Fillory, and his new life takes him to old haunts, like Antarctica, and to buried secrets and old friends he thought were lost forever. He uncovers the key to a sorcery masterwork, a spell that could create magical utopia, and a new Fillory–but casting it will set in motion a chain of events that will bring Earth and Fillory crashing together. To save them he will have to risk sacrificing everything.-Goodreads
The final book in the Magician’s series, you can read my review on the first two here. Much better than the second book, but overall not completely wowed. I like the idea of the story, but the execution felt off to me. The character development was off, they stayed teenagers in character even though they weren’t. The description of Fillory was much better than the character development. I just never could buy into the story fully. I wanted to like it, but it fell short.
“Drinks were a lot like books, really: it didn’t matter where you were, the contents of a vodka tonic were always more or less the same, and you could count on them to take you away to somewhere better or at least make your present arrangements seem more manageable.”
“If there was any magic in this world that was not magic, it was wine.”
The Fever by Megan Abbott
The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie’s best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community.
As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town’s fragile idea of security.-Goodreads
It may be that I read this right after finishing The Alchemist, but meh. I felt like the story was super dragged out, mid-way through I was hoping for the ending. The story did not exactly pull me in, and I didn’t feel hooked like with The Bird Cage or other similar books. Overall, it was a painful read for me. I think the other part of my dislike was I don’t like to be reminded how crazy girls were in high school/middle school.
“It was weird with moms, how you could see the faces of their daughters trapped in their own faces.”
“How could you even tell, the way things kept happening to you, maybe leaving their marks in ways you couldn’t even see”
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Paulo Coelho’s enchanting novel has inspired a devoted following around the world. This story, dazzling in its powerful simplicity and inspiring wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles along the way. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure found within. Lush, evocative, and deeply humane, the story of Santiago is an eternal testament to the transforming power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts.-Goodreads
I totally understand the buzz for this book. I had the ten-year anniversary edition, and I really like the introduction by the author. It’s pretty amazing and had so many awesome quotes/lines. It felt so uplifting to read this and the idea of the “Personal Legend” is very deep. I did feel put-off after closing the book about the presentation of Fatima. This book is male oriented, females aren’t presented with a personal legend, just men. Of course I understand that this is influenced by when and who (cultural, background, generation) the book was written by, but it still bothered me. The books still spoke to me never the less, and had the best quotes!! I went crazy and listed way too many quotes below, but I could not narrow it down 🙂
“We look around at all those who have failed to get what they want and feel that we do not deserve to get what we want either. We forget about all the obstacles we overcame, all the suffering we endured, all the things we had to give up in order to get this far.” (this is from the author introduction)
“….when each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises.”
“Yet the boy felt that there was another way to regard his situation: he was actually two hours closer to his treasure…the fact that the two hours had stretched into an entire year didn’t matter.”
“And if you improve on the present, what comes later will also be better.”
“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself.”
“It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream”
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure”
Have you read any of these books? What’s on your summer must read list?