Thursday, June 15, 2017

In My Library Tote: Book Picks for June

Somehow the month of May came and went, and I forgot to do a blog post about what I read. Better late than never though I guess, so here are a few recent books from my library tote.

{What I Read}




{The Trespasser by Tana French} I have Anne to thank for introducing me to Tana French, and she is an author I turn to for a reliably good, well-written mystery. In this 6th novel in her Dublin Murder Squad series, Detective Antoinette Conway and her partner investigate the murder of Aislinn Murray, and it looks like a pretty straightforward case. However, like most of French's novels, there is a lot at play to make the case anything but simple, from the squad's less than welcoming attitude towards Detective Conway, to her advising detective's suspiciously strong encouragement to quickly arrest the victim's boyfriend. As with all of the other novels by Tana French that I've read, the writing is excellent and the story kept me guessing. I'd say my favorite of hers (of those I've read) is still The Secret Place, but I enjoyed this one as well. Rating: 3.5/5 stars.

{Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work by Chip and Dan Heath} My husband often teases me about my terrible decision making skills, and he got a good laugh out of me reading a book to try to become a better decision-maker. He should know by now that if I want to learn about something, or get better at something, I'm going to read a book about it. (Whether or not it actually helps or not is still up for debate... reading about French kids eating everything still left me with a stubbornly picky toddler.) Anyway, Decisive gave some helpful, practical strategies for improving your decision-making process in any part of your life. I did find it interesting and insightful, but I don't think it's one that I'll go back to or spend a lot of time thinking about. (Or maybe I will, I can't decide. Ha!) My rating: 3/5 stars. 

{Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen} This was the lighthearted book I needed after a twisty mystery and a practical non-fiction pick. I'd heard Allen recommended by a few readers I trust and finally got around to picking this one up. Garden Spells is the first in a series about the Waverley family, which is known for its apple tree that bears magical fruit, and for its similarly magical women. This had just enough magic in it to make it interesting and fun, yet it wasn't over the top either. It's a little bit of a departure from what I typically enjoy, but I do think it was a fun summery read. My rating: 3/5 stars.

{Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple} I'll keep my review fairly short--I enjoyed the mix of over-the-top and totally relatable #momlife moments in this popular read. I have this thing though about needing likable characters, and there were times that Eleanor annoyed the heck out of me, which took it from a 4 star to a 3.5 star rating in my book. I often screenshot quotes I like, and there was one that made me laugh and also gave a pretty good representation for the tone of this book. It also talks about something I've definitely experienced since becoming a mom. 

"You know how your brain turns to mush? How it starts when you're pregnant? You laugh, full of wonder and conspiracy, and you chide yourself, Me and my pregnancy brain! Then you give birth and your brain doesn't return? But you're breast-feeding, so you laugh, as if you're a member of an exclusive club? Me and my nursing brain! But then you stop nursing and the terrible truth descends: Your good brain is never coming back. You've traded vocabulary, lucidity, and memory for motherhood. You know how you're in the middle of a sentence and you realize at the end you're going to need to call up a certain word and you're worried you won't be able to, but you're already committed so you hurtle along and then pause because you've arrived at the end but the word hasn't? And it's not even a ten-dollar word you're after, like polemic or shibboleth, but a two-dollar word, like distinctive, so you just end up saying amazing? Which is how you join the gang of nitwits who describe everything as amazing." #storyofmylife 

{I See You by Clare Mackintosh} Mackintosh is also known for her novel I Let You Go, which is one I've been meaning to read, but haven't yet. I've heard mixed reviews on whether or not this one was as good. Thrillers are, paradoxically, a genre that I enjoy reading but have a hard time liking, if that makes sense. The premise of so many thrillers sounds so appealing to me, but then I read them and... meh. I See You is about a woman who sees a picture of herself in the classified section of the paper on her commute home, which she finds, understandably, very unsettling. She soon notices other women's pictures appearing in the same ad, and then shortly afterwards, those same women are on the news as victims of various crimes, from theft to murder. This storyline had a lot of promise, but I just couldn't get on board with the ending. It was fun to read though, especially for summer. My rating: 3/5 stars. 

Have you read anything good lately? 

Linking with Modern Mrs. Darcy. 

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