Title: Space Between Worlds
Author: Micaiah Johnson
Type: Science Fiction, Mystery
It is only one world in infinite universes where this impossible happiness exists, but that is what makes it so valuable.
Adam Bosch has figured out how to travel to parallel universes. The only catch is that you can’t travel to universes where you are still alive. Cara is hired to traverse, or travel to other parallel universes, because she is dead on 372 other worlds. Cara collects data for the Eldridge Institute on each Earth with Earth 0 being her home. Soon she discovers a secret that could cost her her life.
The story is complex and has a lot of action scenes. The science fiction piece of traveling between worlds is unique and the reader is pulled into the story right away. I would have liked to see more of the world jumping. I also felt at times, that the story was hard to follow for a number of reasons. Theres quite a few characters and then you add in that those same characters on earth 0 are named something different on other worlds and it gets confusing. The different locations… or cities could have been explained better too but maybe I missed something in the beginning. All that aside the story had some twists I didn’t see coming and once again had some pretty strong female characters which is always a huge plus.
Title: The Boy from the Woods
Author: Harlan Coben
“Extremists are relentless. They don’t see right or wrong. They see us and them”
In the story a girl named Naomi goes missing but nobody seems to care much except a boy named Matthew from her school. She comes back, saying it was all a joke. Then a week later it seems like she is missing for real this time but maybe she just ran away or maybe she’s just joking around again. Of course when a rich privileged dude named Crash goes missing it gets more attention. There’s a ransom note with his disappearance. They are demanding tapes be released from a political candidate that would show some damaging things in order for Crash to be released. The boy from the woods, named Wilde, seems to want to solve this big mystery. In the end he figures it all out pretty easily.
This story was just ok for me. I feel like the first 1/3 was really fast paced, the next 1/3 was slow and then the last 1/3 was fast. There were a lot of characters that were introduced and they were hard to keep track of. I feel like there was so much going on in this story too, lots of different subplots. The idea of this mystery boy appearing from the woods was neat but that storyline didn’t really go anywhere and honestly could have been left out. The author also obviously got some of his ideas from our current political climate which was a little amusing. At the end of the story I found myself saying ‘that’s it?’ Overall this was just meh.
Title: Survivor Song
Author: Paul Tremblay
Type: Horror, Thriller
“Do you become a rose tree, and I the rose upon it? When the terrible men arrived only a rose tree and one rose on it”
Massachusetts has been infested with a virus that is spread by bites and saliva. The infection is like rabies but has a shorter incubation period. Natalie and her husband Paul are expecting a baby when tragedy occurs. Paul is killed and Natalie bitten. Natalie races to Ramola, a doctor and friend, for help. They race to the hospital to get the vaccine, hopefully in time and then they attempt to make it to another hospital so Natalie can have her baby. Did the vaccine work? Will they be able to deliver the baby in time? What kind of trouble will they run into?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, books with strong female characters are a huge win in my book! I loved both Natalie and Ramola’s character. They are some strong ladies. The story takes place over one night and is full of action, heartache and drama. It explores a realistic view of a zombie-like apocalypse through a pandemic. Crazy the similarities between our current pandemic and this fictional on regards to crazy conspiracy theories, lack of PPE etc. This was my first novel by Paul Tremblay and I really enjoyed it. I look forward to checking out his other works.
Title: Note on a Silencing
Author: Lacy Crawford
“That’s why I didn’t scream, see? That’s why I didn’t claw their eyeballs out, or bite. I was trying to find my place in that moment, and I could not admit to myself that the moment was violent”
“There is a contemporary inquiry into shame that suggests that shame is not as deeply rooted in guilt as power. In my experience, shame is not the wholehearted burn that follows a realization of guilt, which we consider to be shame’s obvious antecedent, but rather a surplus of displeasure that adheres to one party– and always the less powerful one.”
**This is one of the hardest reviews I’ve written thus far. I feel this review does not do this author justice**
While the quotes above are from Lacy Crawford’s memoir, I am reminded of another quote by Brene Brown when she talks about vulnerability, “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.” Lacy Crawford is not weak. Lacy Crawford’s vulnerability in telling her story is truly breathtaking and brave.
I finished this book three days ago and it’s taken me this long to sit down and get my thoughts out. This is a story about a young girl, who was silenced, repeatedly, after experiencing assault by two of her classmates at a boarding school when she was 15. At first, I wasn’t sure how I felt about the writing style. It does jump around a bit as she shares her experiences and memories but once I got used to it, I loved it.
This story is raw, emotional and heartbreaking. Lacy becomes vulnerable and shares her experience with being assaulted and what she felt both physically and emotionally, as well as the challenges she faced as a survivor. You can see and feel the trauma she has as result of her experience.
Her story shows readers what lengths those in power will go to silence those impacted by this kind of assault. It shows how broken our system is. I feel fortunate to have read this story. I feel at a loss with words and I am not doing this review justice. I will say her story made me angry and it made me sad and when I finished I immediately wrote the author and thanked them for sharing her story. While this is a difficult read, I do think it’s a necessary one for many. When individuals are vulnerable and open up their hearts to us, we need to listen, even when it’s hard.
Title: With the Fire on High
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Type: Young Adult, Coming of Age, Contemporary
“Trust. Yourself, mainly, but the world too. There is magic working in your favor”
I was immediately drawn in by this gorgeous cover. It’s absolutely stunning! The story did not disappoint either. With the Fire on High is a coming of age story about Emoni Santiago who became pregnant as a freshman in high school. She always makes the best decisions for her daughter and her abuela who raised her. The one place she can break free and let loose is the kitchen where she makes elaborate meals for friends and family. When she is a senior in high school a new culinary arts elective because available and she feels like it’s a great opportunity. Emoni wants to work in a kitchen when she graduates high school but with a daughter she feels that dream might be impossible. It’s a story about growth, love and cooking!
This story is a masterpiece and I highly recommend you read it. There was not a single character I didn’t like, they were all well developed. I loved the descriptions of the food, it made my mouth water. I also loved how when people ate Emoni’s meals they connected the flavors to a memory or emotion. I also feel like Emoni is a powerful role model for readers who are just like her, single young moms trying to navigate the world. This is probably one of my favorite reads this year and my review isn’t doing it any justice. Check it out!
Title: The Last Flight
Author: Julie Clark
“Are we who we say we are, or do we become the person others see? Do they define us by what we choose to show them, or what they see despite our best attempts to conceal it?”
Gripping read that a times, will keep you on the edge of your seat. The reader is pulled into the story right away. The story has complex and strong female characters which is always a huge huge huge plus for me. The Last Flight follows Eva and Claire both with secrets to hide and both desperate to escape the lives in which they live. They meet at an airport and decide to switch tickets. The storyline goes from past to present while also switching point of views. It was easy to follow and the story flowed nicely. At times it was a little slow but overall, I really enjoyed the story and look forward to reading Julie’s other novel as well as future novels.
Title: Behind the Red Door
Author: Megan Collons
**Thank you NetGalley and Atria for the advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Behind the Red Door is out August 4th!
What a great, gripping and fast read. I could not put it down! Fern suffers from an anxiety disorder and when she’s on the way to see her father she sees news of a missing woman named Astrid Sullivan. Fern swears she knows her but Fern’s husband believes its because the kidnapping was well known but Fern has no memory of the famous kidnapping. Astrid wrote a memoir about her experience being kidnapped then returned unharmed and it appears she has been kidnapped again. Fern purchases the memoir and as she begins to read she feels a disturbing connection to Astrid. Fern must confront these memories in order to survive and save Astrid.
Behind the Red Door was so well planned and detailed. It kept me guessing the entire time. The characters were complex and compelling too. Part of me wanted a different ending, which I wish I could share but it would spoil things. Overall this book was fantastic. It was dark, disturbing and everything you want a thriller to be.
Title: Ghost of Harvard
Author: Francesca Serritella
Type: Thriller/Mystery, Mental Health
“Just because it’s my choice to go doesn’t mean I’m not heartbroken to leave you.”
Let’s take a minute to acknowledge this cover. It’s stunning and appealing! I love it! I had first heard some buzz about this book a few months ago when people were thinking it could be a pick for Book of the Month. When it wasn’t a pick, I immediately reserved it at my library and was excited when it was my turn!
The story follows Cady as she ventures off to college at the prestigious Harvard, the school where her brother Eric, attended. Cady is searching for answers as to why her brother, who was paranoid schizophrenic, took his own life at the end of his junior year. All she has is one of his old notebooks and as she begins to try to decipher his scribbling and incoherent descriptions she begins to hear voice in her own head. Are these voices real or fake? Will they destroy her? Will she find out what really happened to Eric?
This book was pretty incredible for a lot of reasons. It did start a little slow for me but once it got going I couldn’t put it down. The thing that I loved most about this book is how accurate the portrayal of survivals guilt when a loved one has lost their battle to mental illness. I could feel all the emotions each member felt as they tried to come to terms with loss of their loved one. You could see each person on their own journey in how they dealt with the loss. Anyone who has lost a loved one in this way, can relate to these characters. I feel the author also did a fantastic job of showing how mental illness can effect a person and those closes to them. Not only that, but you have the mystery of the voices Cady is hearing and the investigation of Eric, her brother. I highly recommend this book! This might be the first time I cried during a thriller.
Title: Alex Six
Author: Vince Taplin
Type: Psychological Thriller, Thriller, Mystery
This debut novel by Vince Taplin was a page turner and difficult to put down. It was thrilling, suspenseful and quite creepy. Alex is grieving the loss of her husband when she meets Victor who appears to be an identical twin of her late husband. She approaches Victor with a proposition, to help her have a baby that would look like her dead husband. What we find as we read is that she’s obsessive and a little (ok a lot) crazy.
There was a lot I loved about this book. It was a fast read, the chapters were short, the way the author choose to distinguish between points of view was clever. Overall the plot was well thought out and kept the reader engaged. I did not see the ending coming either which is a huge plus. There were times I set the novel down and found myself thinking about the story and what I thought would happen next. I would have liked to see more character development in some of the characters. Certain parts of the story weren’t necessary in my opinion and the jump in the timeline throughout the book could be confusing at times. Overall, I really enjoyed the story and look forward to more books by this author in the future.
Title: The Storyteller
Author: Jodi Picoult
Type: Historical Fiction, Holocaust
“When she gardens, she never sees the seed. She is already picturing the plant it will become”
A beautiful story about love, forgiveness and the Holocaust. Sage, heartbroken after the loss of both her mother and father meets a man named Josef in her grief group. A meeting that will forever change the course of her life. He is looking for forgiveness for the terrible acts he committed during WWII. Though this heartbreaking story, Sage finds the meaning of her life and begins to find herself again.
This story is a masterpiece and beautifully written. It’s told from several points of view and Jodi Picoult does an amazing job connecting these characters together. The plot was well thought out and the story made you feel so many emotions at the same time. The final twist was pretty predictable but overall I still really loved the story. The characters felt like people I knew and had met in real life. If you enjoy historical books about the Holocaust then this story is for you.
QOTD: What was your last emotional read?