With the end of a month comes another reading recap, and June had some pretty good reads — 8 books in total, 2 of them on audio. Instead of coming up with a stack of books I wanted to read, I just picked what my mood told me to. And apparently I was in the mood for engaging and compelling reads. 1 nonfiction, 3 thrillers, 3 contemporary fiction, 1 YA.
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman — This was my second Backman book (my first was Beartown and you KNOW how I felt about that one). It was also my first real foray into listening to fiction — most of the time I find I’m too easily distracted to follow a story, so I’ve been sticking to nonfiction. But something about the narrator and Ove as a character held my attention, and I ended up loving this story. It’s no Beartown, but Ove is an endearing character with a lot of flaws and a lot of heart. I both laughed and cried many times while learning about Ove’s both tragic and average life.
Providence by Caroline Kepnes — I read Caroline Kepnes’ You a couple of years ago and found it fascinating and terrifying, so I was excited to get my hands on her latest. Providence definitely wasn’t what I expected but I still really enjoyed it. It’s the perfect mix of suspense, romance, and science fiction, as well as being a quick + engaging read. While the ending wrapped up a little too quickly and didn’t have quite the big reveal I was hoping for, I enjoyed each of the main characters and was eager to find out what happened. This might not be my favorite of hers, but I’ll still be looking forward to the next book Kepnes writes. [Thank you to Randomhouse for gifting me this copy in exchange for an honest review.]
The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir — This book hooked me from the very beginning, and I gobbled it up in just a few sittings. As someone who is fascinated by families like the Duggars, this was a compelling read. Essie and Roarke were by far my favorite, and I rooted for them until the very end. I was captivated by both the inner workings of Essie’s family and Libby’s childhood — which had threads that wove them together in interesting ways. However, I was disappointed by the ending, which felt rushed and oversimplified. After spending 80% of the story building up to the final moment, I felt a little cheated. Regardless, I’d still highly recommend The Book of Essie to anyone who is intrigued by religious extremists and who likes a fast-paced, engaging plot. [Thank you to Alfred A. Knopf for gifting me this copy in exchange for an honest review.]
Scythe by Neal Schusterman — I fully intended not to like this book. YA fantasy is a little out of my wheelhouse, however, it hooked me more than I expected. The whole concept of the book — a future that has eradicated death and therefore tasks certain humans with the job of killing people in the name of population control — was fascinating to me. The first third of the book flew by as Schusterman built this world and introduced us to the main characters. And as much as I was entertained, it was too easy to put down. For some reason that I still can’t put my finger on I wasn’t eager to gobble it up. Full review on The Bookly Club.
Shrill by Lindy West — I listened to this on audio, which is narrated by Lindy herself (the author as narrator almost always guarantees a good listen). It was exactly what I hoped for: funny, brash, heavy, and relatable. West has a voice and a story that I’m glad is out in the world, and I highly recommend this for people who enjoy Cheryl Strayed, Roxane Gay, and Samantha Irby.
Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell — Any thriller that keeps me guessing and has me hooked immediately gets four stars from me, purely for entertainment value. I read this in one sitting because I could. not. put. it. down. I DID end up guessing a few of the main twists, but I still found the story compelling and engaging. I also really enjoyed the characters and the family dynamic. A fun, fast-paced thriller that’s perfect for summer.
Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben — I’ve read a handful of Harlan Coben’s books before and have always found them entertaining and quick reads. Which honestly? Sometimes that’s exactly what I need. This one dragged a little for me, but it kept me guessing and eager to find out how it would end. If you want something mindless to distract you from reality, this is definitely worth a read.
November 9 by Colleen Hoover — I want to preface this by saying that I know Colleen Hoover’s books can be problematic. Some aspects of the story don’t always sit well with me, but I’m comfortable with moving forward as long as I’m aware of that. For me, her books are the perfect palate cleanser, and they almost always get me out of a reading slump. Which is exactly why I picked this one up. I’d been paralyzed with indecision, faced with picking my next read from a giant stack of popular, buzzed about books. Instead, I went with a book that I knew would hook me and that I would read quickly — sometimes being able to finish a book is exactly what I need to build my reading momentum. I instantly wanted to know what happened with Ben and Fallon, so I stayed up way past my usual bedtime to finish it. #noregrets If you’re able to suspend belief, or overlook minor flaws, and you’re a fan of contemporary romance novels, give this one a try.
Come tell me what you’ve been reading! And, as always, you can follow along with my reading life at @kathareads.
(All reviews can also be seen on my Goodreads account.)