I'm going to take a break from sharing about our Asheville trip and tell you guys what I've been reading lately. Also, I'll share what the four book groups I try to attend are planning to discuss for the month of July. I think I've mentioned that my goal is to attend as many meetings of these groups as I can. I'm not 'making' myself read all the books. I don't want them to seem like 'homework'. I do very much enjoy chatting books with others and getting to know booklovers in my 'new-ish' town.
First, what I've recently read and enjoyed:
by Lauren Belfer
- This book was very good, in my opinion, though it headed in different directions than I had first thought. The cover suggests a 'Gothic' theme to me and there was definitely a bit of that in the story. Hannah Larson and her son, Nicky, go to Cambridge, England for the summer to visit with a relative that is quite ill. Ashton Hall is a historic manor house and it has lots of secrets. While there, Nicky, who is extremely curious, finds the skeletal remains of a woman in a hidden room. Who was this person and how and when did she die? As I said, lots of secrets. Hannah and Nicky are both involved in helping the local authorities find answers. Plus, Hannah learns more about herself, her son, her marriage, and what she wants for the future. This was not a typical 'Gothic' mystery but more of a woman's journey to discover how she wants to live and also how other women lived in the past.
by Adrian McKinty
- This book was a definite thriller in every way. Non-stop action. Breathless pace. Characters to like and characters to hate. I felt like I flew through this in about 5 minutes and forgot to breathe. That being said - when I got finished, I had mixed feelings about how the story played out and also about several of the characters. Tom and Heather are married. Tom, a widower, has two children, age 12 and 14. Heather is quite a bit younger than Tom and his kids have not warmed to her at all. The family goes on a trip to Australia where they hope to sightsee and have fun, while also keeping in mind that Tom will be speaking at a work conference. As I said, the kids were not very enthusiastic about a bunch of things. In order to smooth rough waters, the family talks their way onto a ferry going to a small island off the coast. They hope to see koalas and other wildlife. Hmmm...bad decision. An accident occurs, the family is taken captive by the people who 'rule' the island. Crazy, crazy people. Heather finds herself having to remember some of the things that her father, a military sniper, taught her about survival. She has to protect the kids. I'll be curious if anyone else has read this book and what they think about it. I suspect it will be made into a TV series or something. It has that quality.
Local Gone Missing
by Fiona Barton
- I have read a couple of earlier books by Fiona Barton and decided this would be a good one to read after my previous 'mega-adventure' book. I did like this book a lot and also listened to a great author event with the Poisoned Pen Bookstore Podcast. In previous books, the author, a former investigative reporter, used a journalist as a recurring protagonist. In Local Gone Missing, she goes in a different direction and has a Detective Inspector Elise King as her main focus. Elise is actually on medical leave from the police after having breast cancer and treatment. She is doing well, but is torn about how her life will go from here on out. She lives in a small seaside town of Ebbing. A music festival weekend occurs, with much resistance from some of the locals who like their town small and quiet. However, many weekenders are starting to come to Ebbing and the festival has enthusiasts as well. Unfortunately, two teenagers overdose and a local man disappears during that weekend. Elise becomes involved in the investigation, unofficially at first. There are secrets and connections that were not apparent in the beginning. Eventually, Elise is asked by her boss to come back to work and lead this investigation. I had a good time trying to see if I could solve the case before the end of the book. The author said that Elise will make an appearance in her next book and I'll be looking forward to that.
I'm now reading the first of Sarah Stewart Taylor's books, The Mountains Wild, with Maggie D'Arcy as the main character. Loving it so far. And there are two more books out in this series. Yay!
As to my book groups and what's on for July - here we go. I'll see how I do with these and if I choose to read them all. Let me know if you've read any of them and what you thought or the same about the books mentioned above.
July 7 - 'As Time Goes By - Historical Fiction Book Club' - Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
July 14 - 'Brown Bag Book Club' - The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
July 21 - 'Shrouded In Mystery Book Club' - The Blackhouse by Peter May - (I've read this one more than once and love it. Looking forward to discussing it with a book group again.)
July 28 - 'Talking Texas Book Club' - It Happened In Texas by James A. Cruchfield
I'll have more Asheville posts later this week. Take care and hope you are all well and having a cool (or hot if you like that) summer!