Title: It’s Not Summer Without You
Author: Jenny Han
Performer: Jessica Almasy
Length: 6 hr, 45 min
Series: Summer, Book 2
Publishing Date/Publisher: 2011 by Recorded Books
Review: I was not quite as enamored with this book as I was with the first one, but it was still a great read. Han captures the feelings of grief, angst, heartbreak, regret, and guilt so so well. As with many trilogies, the second book hits the peak of conflict, so there really is no resolution at the end. I imagine the feelings of resolution will come in the third and final book, and I am really hoping that Belly chooses the brother that I feel is better suited for her.
I certainly experienced some feelings of frustration while reading this book. The characters are so young and impulsive that sometimes I just wanted to shake the selfishness right out of them. I think though that Han’s depiction of how the characters react to tragedy is realistic. It is hard to know exactly how you will cope with something until it happens to you, and sometimes in our hurt we push away the people that matter most and make rash decisions.
That said, I am really looking forward to the final book!
Title: The Lightest Object in the Universe
Author: Kimi Eisele
Page Count: 336
Publishing Date/Publisher: July 9, 2019 by Algonquin Books
Review: For people who enjoy realistic dystopian fiction, this would be a great book recommendation. There is nothing unique about this book that sets it apart from other books I have read in this genre, but I did find the setting and backstory to be very plausible. I also thought it was very romantic to have one character trekking across the United States to be reunited with his faraway love.
There was nothing particularly surprising about this story (no plot twists); however, it kept a steady pace and was a pretty quick read. I had a little bit of trouble at times following the plot because the formatting was off in my ARC copy (it would switch POV without warning), but I assume this will be fixed when the book goes through its final edits.
Title: The Summer I Turned Pretty
Author: Jenny Han
Performer: Jessica Almasy
Length: 7 hr
Series: Summer, Book 1
Publishing Date/Publisher: 2011 by Prince Frederick, MD : Recorded Books
Review: There is a lot of hype right now surrounding Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series due to the delightful Netflix movie adaptation that was released last year (if you haven’t seen it already, go watch it immediately!). I will probably get to that book series eventually, but her Summer trilogy has been on my “To Read” list for years, so I finally decided to check it out.
Jenny Han’s writing has a way of transporting me back in time. I literally felt 15 years old again as I was listening. The angst and anguish of first love and the end of childhood innocence was conveyed so incredibly well. It made me wish desperately that I had had a summer home in my youth. Seriously who doesn’t long for carefree days filled with waves and sun and ice cream! As someone who had many unrequited crushes in my youth, I could also completely sympathize with Belly’s longing to be noticed by the object of her affection.
Although this book is part of a trilogy, I almost wish it was a standalone. The ending of the book was very sweet, but I could sense that there was going to be a lot of heartache in the next book (which I of course checked out immediately upon finishing this one). Just like Belly, I did not want the summer to end!
They selected a great reader for this series. Her voice sounds age appropriate, and she infuses the story with a lot of emotion with the inflection and tone of her voice.
Title: The Psychology of Time Travel
Author: Kate Mascarenhas
Page Count: 372
Publishing Date/Publisher: 12 February 2019 by Crooked Lane Books (originally published August 9th 2018 by Head of Zeus)
I don’t think I can accurately describe just how much I love this book, but I will try.
It had me hooked from the start, grabbing me instantly with the strong, smart, vulnerable women, and kept me hooked through the entire story. The relative lack of men was an added, welcome, and refreshing change of pace from most books I’ve read. I’ve also noticed that most books and movies/television shows involving time travel make the reader/viewer do some mental gymnastics in order to wrap their head around the whole concept, however Mascarenhas does all that for you, leaving your brain free to try to dissect the murder mystery.
I also loved how the story is woven together and how organized it is, despite it being about a very disorganized subject. This made it easy to read and impossible to put down.
I have already started telling all my friends about this book and will continue to bother them until each and everyone of them reads it. I was utterly blown away and loved every minute of it.
Review: This book thoroughly boggled my brain. The concept of time travel makes absolutely zero sense to me. This book is technically a murder mystery, but oddly it didn’t feel to me like a murder mystery at all. The mystery itself became more of a subplot as I struggled to wrap my head around the various concepts detailed in the book pertaining to time chronology, “genies”, and other time travel concepts. I liked the book, but I was honestly too confused by it to love it.
Title: Nine Perfect Strangers
Author: Liane Moriarty
Performer: Caroline Lee
Length: 16 hr, 18 min
Publishing Date/Publisher: 2018 by MacMillan Audio
Review: I wouldn’t say this was my favorite of Moriarty’s book, but in true Moriarty fashion, she didn’t disappoint. There is a lot of depth to each of the characters and even though the story takes place over the course of a few days, SO much happens. To be honest I myself felt a bit transformed by the end of the “week”.
I feel the ending of this book was particularly satisfying and it was illuminating on so many levels. I can’t say much more than that about this book without giving away any spoilers, but I assure you it is worth the read.
I waited months for this eAudiobook to become available at the library, and it was so worth the wait. Caroline Lee is a master of her craft, and she adds so much pizazz to the story with her excellent character voices.
Title: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill
Author: Abbi Waxman
Page Count: 352
Publishing Date/Publisher: July 9, 2019 by Berkley
Review: This was a smooth, enjoyable read. The author’s personality comes through very strongly, though I am not sure if this is intentional or unintentional. I found her wit to be charming for the most part, though I wish that the reader had received more insight into Nina’s thoughts. It was fun to see a lot of my own character traits in Nina: bookish, anxious, and obsessed with planners.
The plot felt very formulaic, and at one point a character made an off-handed joke about something that later actually happened. I wonder if this was meant to be a humorous jab at the formula.
In terms of the long lost family storyline, I was not too sold, but I was definitely sold on the characters, which is why this rating hovers between 3 and four stars for me.
Title: The Darkangel
Author: Meredith Ann Pierce
Page Count: 238
Series: Darkangel Trilogy, Book 1
Publishing Date/Publisher: April 1, 2007 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (originally published in the early 1980s)
Review: I checked out this book from the library because it came to me as a patron recommendation. I was helping her find a book for her son, and we began reminiscing about book series we read and loved in our youth. She was very nostalgic about this particular book series, and when I discovered that we had a couple copies left floating around in our system, I decided to read it.
This book is categorized as Young Adult Fiction (I assume because of the dark content), but it read to me more like Juvenile Fiction. There is very little world building, and the Darkangel gets surprisingly little page presence despite the fact he is constantly being mentioned by the other characters. He is more like a periphery character, yet he drives the plot. The heroine of the story, Aerial, reminds me of the character of Belle in Beauty and the Beast. She is selfless and kind, and for whatever reason sees good in the Darkangel. She is the only one who can save his soul from the clutches of his evil witchy “mother.”
This book was highly predictable and sometimes I became frustrated that the characters came upon their revelations so much later than I did as a reader. I didn’t have to be frustrated for long though because I was able to read this book in a matter of a few hours.
This book lacks broad appeal, but I can see how some people might really enjoy it. It’s gothic feel and dark brooding anti-hero would certainly titillate people who fetishize this sort of paranormal subgenre.