Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Book Reviews – the July Edition

I looked the other day to see how many books I read in July (6!) & the idea of writing this post exhausted me. So, I will probably write it in chunks and then try to get it posted by the end of the month. OR I’ll finish it right now. We’ll see!
 

Busted (Will Trent #6.5) ★★★★by Karin Slaughter. Will Trent is on his way to an undercover assignment when he makes an ill-fated decision to get an Icee at a convenience store. While he’s waiting on the machine to work someone comes in to rob the store, and all heck breaks loose & basically doesn’t stop until the (very surprising) end. A nice little short story romp into Will’s world that I listened to while waiting on another book to become available from the library.
 

The Maid ★★★★, by Nita Prose.  Molly Gray is on the autism spectrum (I think – the word autism is never mentioned) and her way of looking at the world is a bit different. She’s a maid at a swanky hotel and LOVES her job. Her main goal in life is to return each room to a “state of perfection.” One day she enters the room of a frequent guest and finds him dead. Due to a series of unfortunate events she ends up being charged with the crime. It took me a while to get into the book, but I reached a point where I was VERY HOOKED. I was invested in making sure that Molly didn’t pay for a crime she didn’t commit. Even though I wasn’t 100% sure she didn’t commit it. Lots of twists & turns – I recommend you check this one out.


Good Enough: 40ish Devotionals for a Life of Imperfection ★★★★, by Kate Bowler and Jessica Richie. Kate Bowler knows a lot about imperfection – she was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer a few years ago. She has a whimsical way of writing, and her Instagram blessings are fabulous. This book has chapters like, Mourning a Future Self (about a future that will now not happen because circumstances have changed), and The Tragedy Olympics. At the end of each chapter is a blessing, and a “good enough step” with a practical thing to do. Here’s one of the blessings: A Prayer for When You Don’t Know What to Say Blessed are you when you realize you are way out of your depth and you have no idea what to say. Blessed are you, confronted with suffering you can’t imagine, but you don’t say it. You do not say you can’t imagine their pain, because you do want to imagine. You want to be there with them, in your heart and mind, imagining what they are feeling and what they might need. Blessed are you there, silently, longing to bring comfort and ease. Your presence itself is prayer, and may the words that come be simple: I am so sorry. I love you. You are not alone. Blessed are you who refuse to join the throng of the un-suffering. But choose instead to hurt beside those suffering. And love them right there without fixing or teaching or rescuing or bright-siding. Blessed are you, there. In the love that waits for the dawn. Amen.
 

Yellow Wife ★★★★★, by Sadeqa Johnson. This book is about a slave girl who is sent to jail to be sold as a fancy girl. However, the master of the jail decides to make her his “wife.” The story is about all that she does to survive and keep her children safe. I was going to say that I had some “white woman’s tears” as I read this, and yes I did cry. But my over-arching feeling was RAGE. How in literal God’s name did people think chattel slavery was ok? Such a tough read, but such a good story, well told, about a time in our history that I don’t want swept under the rug.
 
 

This Here Flesh: Spirituality, Liberation, and the Stories That Make Us ★★★★★, by Cole Arthur Riley. Here is part of the book description from Goodreads: “[The author] boldly explores some of the most urgent questions of life and faith: How can spirituality not silence the body, but instead allow it to come alive? How do we honor, lament, and heal from the stories we inherit? In this indelible work of contemplative storytelling, Arthur Riley invites us to ponder the site of soul by examining our capacity to rest, wonder, joy, rage, and repair, and finding that our humanity is not an enemy to faith but evidence of it.” This is a GORGEOUS book. I highlighted the heck out of it, but here is just one excerpt: “I want a faith that loves the whole of me. And if I make it to the table of God, I hope it has cornbread stuffing and comfortable chairs. I mean no offense to the desert mothers and fathers eating locusts and honey and itching with camel hair, but I hope God knows how my cousin’s baked mac and cheese tastes. I hope he puts ham hocks in his greens and feels no shame.” Whew. READ IT.
 

Caraval (Caraval #1) ★★★, by Stephanie Garber. Scarlett Dragna lives on the Conquered Isle of Treesda (sp? Not sure – I listened to it) with her sister Donatella. They are oppressed by their father and dream of attending Caraval – an annual performance where audience members participate. On the eve of Scarlett’s arranged marriage they finally receive their coveted invitations, but immediately upon arrival Tella is kidnapped as part of this year’s performance. Scarlett has to find her sister to win this year’s prize – one wish. Scarlett worries too much and takes too long to find her own voice, Tella seems like a spoiled brat, and the “clues” for the mystery seem to not actually lead anywhere. But it was an interesting enough story that I might read the second book. We shall see!
 
Well, as I expected I would, I wrote this all at the same time and will go ahead & post. Tell me something good that you’re reading!

8 comments:

  1. I have a long list of book I've tried to check out but my library doesn't have many of them. I'll have to check out Karen Slaughter again. Currently reading a Kate Atkinson book.

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  2. I've read some of the Will Trent books and have put 'Busted' on the next-to-read list.

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    1. I'm starting a new series my brother recommended - the Joe Gunther series by Archer Mayor. So far so good.

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  3. I'm only familiar with "Caraval" but the mystery involving the autistic maid sounds intriguing. Kind of "Dog-in-the-Nighttime."

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    1. You know I didn't really like the Dog book, and maybe for the same reasons it took me a minute to get into this one. I find that I have to work harder to "get" neurodivergent voices - I'm sure the stretch is good for me!

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  4. I'm re-reading "Pentimento" by Lillian Hellman. Finding it kind of "meh" this time around. Before that I struggled through "To the Lighthouse" by Virginia Woolf, which I'd never read before and would only recommend to someone I don't like! :^D

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    1. Maybe you should try reading something fluffier - ha! Perhaps you'd like something by Amor Towles - I love his books!

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