★★★★☆ (4/5) – You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman is an insane story that is beyond a brief description.
Grab a bushel of oranges, put on a white sheet, and enjoy the ride ’cause you ain’t getting those Kandy Kakes until you join the cult of Conjoined Eaters.
A very original and disturbing read.
From Amazon: An intelligent and madly entertaining debut novel reminiscent of The Crying of Lot 49, White Noise, and City of Glass that is at once a missing-person mystery, an exorcism of modern culture, and a wholly singular vision of contemporary womanhood from a terrifying and often funny voice of a new generation.
A woman known only by the letter A lives in an unnamed American city with her roommate, B, and boyfriend, C, who wants her to join him on a reality show called That’s My Partner! A eats (or doesn’t) the right things, watches endless amounts of television, often just for the commercials—particularly the recurring cartoon escapades of Kandy Kat, the mascot for an entirely chemical dessert—and models herself on a standard of beauty that only exists in such advertising. She fixates on the fifteen minutes of fame a news-celebrity named Michael has earned after buying up his local Wally Supermarket’s entire, and increasingly ample, supply of veal.
Meanwhile B is attempting to make herself a twin of A, who hungers for something to give meaning to her life, something aside from C’s pornography addiction, and becomes indoctrinated by a new religion spread throughout a web of corporate franchises, which moves her closer to the decoys that populate her television world, but no closer to her true nature.
★★★☆☆ (3/5) – The Storyteller (The Riverman Trilogy #3) by Aaron Starmer is not a bad book, but it’s not great either. I definitely expected more answers in this final novel in the series. Looking back at the full story, I feel like this trilogy could have been a single book that was extended by the publisher to make more of a profit. There were some good moments (I liked parts of Luna’s story), but overall it just felt like the author didn’t know where he wanted the story to end up. There were more than a few unanswered questions.
Keri Cleary is worried about her brother, Alistair. Everyone is worried about Alistair. As the one witness to a shooting, he has been shocked into silence. But everyone needs to know three things: Who shot Kyle Dwyer? Where is Charlie Dwyer? What does this all have to do with the disappearance of Fiona Loomis?
Perhaps the answers lie in stories. As Alistair makes strange confessions to his sister, Keri becomes inspired. She tells stories, tales that may reveal hidden truths, fiction that may cause real things to happen. In the concluding volume of the Riverman Trilogy, readers are asked to consider the source of inspiration, the borders of reality and the power of storytelling. They are asked to forgive monsters, to imagine alternate dimensions, and to believe in a phosphorescent wombat who assures us that gone for now is not necessarily gone for good.
★★★★★ (5/5) – The Riverman by Aaron Starmar is a very creative and interesting young adult novel! The ending was abrupt. It’s a good thing that this is the start of a trilogy!
From Amazon: Alistair Cleary is the kid who everyone trusts. Fiona Loomis is not the typical girl next door. Alistair hasn’t really thought of her since they were little kids until she shows up at his doorstep with a proposition: she wants him to write her biography. What begins as an odd vanity project gradually turns into a frightening glimpse into the mind of a potentially troubled girl. Fiona says that in her basement, there’s a portal that leads to a magical world where a creature called the Riverman is stealing the souls of children. And Fiona’s soul could be next. If Fiona really believes what she’s saying, Alistair fears she may be crazy. But if it’s true, her life could be at risk. In this novel from Aaron Starmer, it’s up to Alistair to separate fact from fiction, fantasy from reality.
★★★☆☆ (3/5) – Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld is a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. The author does a decent job of trying to take Austen’s original characters and recreate them in modern Cincinnati. The story is amusing, but it lacks the romance, suspense, and heart of the original tale.
From Amazon: This version of the Bennet family—and Mr. Darcy—is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help—and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray.
Youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts and Paleo diets to get jobs. Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master’s degree and barely leaves her room, except for those mysterious Tuesday-night outings she won’t discuss. And Mrs. Bennet has one thing on her mind: how to marry off her daughters, especially as Jane’s fortieth birthday fast approaches.
Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible. At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip’s friend neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming. . . .
And yet, first impressions can be deceiving.
★★★ 1/2 (3.5/5) – Mystic Summer by Hannah McKinnon is a fun, fast summer read with a predictable ending. I really enjoyed the descriptions of various familiar locations in Mystic, CT. However, the characters spend too much time eating at Mystic Pizza! There are so many great restaurants in and around Mystic (The Engine Room, The Captain Daniel Packer Inn, The Pita Spot, Kitchen Little, Somewhere in Time, etc.). Why would locals constantly be eating at the most touristy spot in town?!?!
From Amazon: A chance run-in with a college boyfriend puts a young woman’s picture-perfect life in perspective in this warm-hearted and lyrical novel—from the author of The Lake Season.
Since finishing graduate school, Maggie Griffin has worked hard to build an enviable life in Boston. She’s an elementary school teacher in a tony Boston suburb, a devoted sister, and a loving aunt. With her childhood best friend’s wedding quickly approaching and her own relationship blossoming, this is the summer she has been waiting for.
But when Maggie’s career is suddenly in jeopardy, her life begins to unravel. Stricken, Maggie returns home to seaside Mystic, Connecticut, where she expects to find comfort in family and familiarity. Instead, she runs into Cameron Wilder, a young man from her past who has also returned home, and whose life has taken a turn that puts Maggie’s city struggles in harsh perspective. When tragedy strikes for Cameron, Maggie is faced with big decisions as she weighs what matters most and strives to stay true to the person she’s become.
Set against the gorgeous backdrop of a New England summer when past and present collide, Mystic Summer is a gorgeous novel about looking back, moving forward, and the beauty that blooms when fate intervenes.
★★★★☆ (4/5) – The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel is a great story for pre-teens and up! Fast-paced and interesting throughout. I thought Maren’s character was very interesting. However, the ending was a little weak. The author seems to be leaving room for a sequel.
From Amazon: The Boundless, the greatest train ever built, is on its maiden voyage across the country, and first-class passenger Will Everett is about to embark on the adventure of his life!
When Will ends up in possession of the key to a train car containing priceless treasures, he becomes the target of sinister figures from his past.
In order to survive, Will must join a traveling circus, enlisting the aid of Mr. Dorian, the ringmaster and leader of the troupe, and Maren, a girl his age who is an expert escape artist. With villains fast on their heels, can Will and Maren reach Will’s father and save The Boundless before someone winds up dead?
★★★★☆ (4/5) – The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin is a really lovely, sad story. This tale will tug at your heartstrings and likely make you cry. Not perfect, but close….
From Amazon: A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. He lives alone, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. But when a mysterious package appears at the bookstore, its unexpected arrival gives Fikry the chance to make his life over–and see everything anew.
“This novel has humor, romance, a touch of suspense, but most of all love–love of books and bookish people and, really, all of humanity in its imperfect glory.” —Eowyn Ivey, author of The Snow Child
“Marvelously optimistic about the future of books and bookstores and the people who love both.” —The Washington Post