I feel as though summer is already over, I know that the traditional end of summer is Labor Day but it is July 4th for me. We are officially on the down swing now, headed towards fall and a new year. From tuna salad to hot dish, in a blink of an eye. Actually, I loathe hot dish and refuse to eat it – I think it is one of those things that you have to grow up with to appreciate. When I was a kid and didn’t have responsibilities and a job, I read all summer long and I still do – on my lunch break, if I get to work early, late into the night. For some reason this is something that has always stuck with me – my Summer Fling Reading. I have done fairly well so far this summer even though it started a little slow with The Girl on The Train – I did not enjoy this book and it took me way too long to finish. Here is what I have read so far this summer:
Lake Wobegon Summer 1956 – Have I ever talked about how much I love Garrison Keillor? If there is one thing that is truly Minnesotan of me, it is Garrison Keillor. I love listening to old Prairie Home Companion and have enjoyed most of his books too. This one is about a young boy named Gary and while it was pretty hysterical at points, there was a lot of dirty, awkward boy humor. His family is Sanctified Brethren and his recollection of growing up in that community is hilarious. I did enjoy it, at the heart it was a quaint coming of age story that made me a little sad. I don’t think that you need to be familiar with other Wobegon tales prior to reading this but read those too 😛
All The Missing Girls – Megan Miranda is a teen fiction writer and I thought that this book was another teen fiction book but picked it up to read the jacket and this was her debut adult thriller. I was really impressed, I think that the non-lineal sequence of events writing is becoming all too popular but the pace of this book made it more bearable and it wasn’t terribly scattered. This book centers around the disappearance of a teen girl that was never solved and the main character Nic who moved away from the town where the events took place finds herself returning home to care for her ailing father. I love stories about small towns and all of the drama and seediness that comes along with them. I think because it reminds me of where I grew up and let me tell you, that it just how they are. I was totally shocked with the end, even though it has all of the classic makings of a who dunnit I was surprised when who actually did it was revealed. I loved the you can go home again but it will cost you theme to the story. It has romance, carnies, teenage debauchery, a ransom – you name it. I was bummed at how quickly I blasted through this, I really enjoyed it!
The Perfect Stranger – Did I mention that I just enjoy books that are set in the boonies or small towns in North Carolina? I like the atmosphere for some reason, something spooky will usually happen in the wilderness. This is about a girl who is on the run from her past and meets up with an old college friend whom she doesn’t know as well as she thought she did. It starts with a grisly murder and you think that the case is open and shut with a perpetrator arrested but then another girl goes missing. This definitely keeps you guessing until the end. Again, this book had the underlying theme of small town folks closing ranks in the face of needing to protect their own. My take away from this was; definitely make sure that you know who your friends are and ask for two forms of ID if you have have to 😀 I so far have really enjoyed the first adult fiction novels from Miranda and hope to see more!
The Girl on the Train – Ugh. This book – I generally enjoy first-person narrative books that utilize different points of view but I struggled to get into this book. How did all of the main characters end up knowing one another on some level? It was just all tied up a little too neatly, in a way that was pretty predictable but it got there in such a convoluted, unnecessarily confusing way. I read it and then also listened to the audio-book thinking that would change my mind but nope – I just didn’t like it. I should have liked it, a missing person, affairs, an unreliable narrator but it just fell short. Skipping the movie, that would probably just confuse me more. I then tried to slog through Into the Water – nope. There is just something about this author’s writing style that just doesn’t do it for me.
Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death and Jazz Chickens – Eddie Izzard is a stand up comedian and an executive transvestite who is simply hysterical. I remember seeing him for the first time when I was 18 and he was just so witty and charismatic. His stand up is based on real life, politics, major events – it isn’t just a bit. You also get a history lesson, the way his narrative seamlessly strings together is incredible. His memoir is a lot like his stand up, stream of consciousness monologue and his life story is fascinating. I would probably recommend checking out some of his material to get a feel for the pace and delivery before jumping into this one but it is so good! I enjoy how candid he was about growing up and recollecting on his boyhood and where he got to be where he is and doing what it is that he does. If you aren’t familiar with him, I think that you will fall in love!
The Dry – Oddly, another one of those bitter homecoming, we all covered each other’s asses and don’t you forget it kinda’ books. I am either just drawn to this plot line or it is becoming really popular…? It started out dry (har, har) but I never knew that a book about forensic accounting could be such a page turner. A murder, a suicide, a drought making everyone crazy and desperate – it is the best kind of thriller. The atmosphere is so well-developed that I was stressed out about drought by the end of this one, fascinating, well worth the read. The character development was so intricate too that I really felt the desperation of the little town and its inhabitants being left behind by the rest of the world. Not for the faint of heart, there is a lot of death and death imagery throughout the book.
Missing Presumed – We all know how that sentence ends and it does not bode well for the posh, Cambridge graduate who disappears without a trace from her home. She didn’t take her coat, her keys and there is blood spatter. I love a good series and this is the first of the DI Manon cases, I almost didn’t get through the first chapter though as it started out with Manon on a shitty internet hook-up and I am just not ready for another pathetic DI. Also, you come to find out that this is a habit of hers as a single, middle-aged, matron *eye-roll* It got better though and I ended up really liking DI Manon, I just picked up the second book in the series and am excited to crack into it!
Girls in White Dresses – This was a random pick up for me, I found that I was reading a lot of dark books and thought I’d shake it up a bit and read something that was supposed to be wickedly funny which this was not, it was mostly kinda’ tragic. You know how you sometimes are feeling kinda’ crappy about yourself and somehow you are scrolling through Facebook or the Insta’ and everyone seems to be getting married or having kids? Yea, it’s a lot of that and I just wasn’t really into it. I understand the narrative and how at a certain age lots of your friends seem to be hitting the same milestones but this was a tad trite and elementary to me. How did they get a whole plot out of that anyway – no idea. It was light, time killing read – I think I was just expecting more.
Baltimore Blues – Another first in a series, this is the first book in the PI Tess Monaghan books. Tess is a failed reporter (another recurring theme…hmmm) who stumbles into a PI career following her friend’s fiance who he expects is having an affair. She isn’t! Tess unravels a tale of blackmail and murder and totally not what I was expecting. The story line is fairly straightforward, there are some major plot twists and plenty of excitement. I also love that so many attributes and landmarks of Baltimore are worked throughout the story. That is really the reason that I wanted to pick this one up, I love Baltimore. Tess is sassy and independent, I accidentally already read Charm City before I figured out this was a series but I already enjoy this character thoroughly.
That’s it so far! My first Book of the Month Club will be here this week and it is a new release that I am super excited to get into. I hope to squeeze in a few more yet this summer, I’d love any recommendations that you might have!
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