What I Read This Week: May 22 to 28

Despite massive migraines, it was a pretty good reading week, especially considering that I finished three of my Book of the Month backlist books!

Elsewhere by Alexis Schaitkin

I love dystopian fiction, but this book was a miss for me overall. In a world where girls grow up to be married and have children, these women know that they or some of their peers will one day disappear from the village with no grace left behind. One woman opts to escape, choosing to abandon her family rather than be taken from them. Alexis Schaitkin is a talented writer, but Elsewhere fell flat for me.

Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn

Listening to Killers of a Certain Age, I kept envisioning this book on a movie screen with actresses like Jane Fonda and Candice Bergen as two of the nearly retired assassins who are now being pursued by their own employer. This was a fun audiobook, and I loved how Deanna Raybourn incorporated getting older into the stories of these expert murderers-for-hire.

Georgie, All Along by Kate Clayborn

As a fan of Abby Ramirez’s books, I’ve found a new author to add to my list with this week’s reading of Georgie, All Along by Kate Clayborn. When Georgie Mulcahy finds herself back in her hometown unexpectedly, she decides to use this break as a chance to fulfill some of her teenage dreams with the hope that she’ll figure out what’s missing for her future. Loner Levi Fanning might be the one to help her most of all. I loved the story of Georgie and Levi! The setting of the book, on the banks of Virginia, and the small-town community got me right in the feels, and I adored Hank the Dog, who would be best friends with my Indy. I’ll be picking up more Kate Clayborn books soon!

The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

I started The Maidens by Alex Michaelides as an audiobook but switched to print this weekend and flew through 200 hundred pages in a day. This is a fast-paced thriller set at Cambridge, where Mariana is determined to stop an alluring professor from drawing more young female students into his cultish following, including her niece, before more of them end up dead. I loved this book, from the mentioned Greek tragedies to the characters you meet throughout The Maidens.

What I Read This Week: April 10 to April 16

This was a big week for reading, both physical and audiobooks. As I continue to clear my shelves, I checked five books off my to-be-read bookshelf! Here’s what I read from April 10 to 16, 2023.

Snobs by Julian Fellowes

Snobs has been on my shelf for at least four years, chosen because Julian Fellowes created Downton Abbey. Unfortunately, this book didn’t bring the drama or the delight that the show is famous for. This book, a character study on one man’s observations of his friend’s attempts to infiltrate high society in England, felt like a categorized list of the faults of the rich with a few eccentric characters thrown in. Maybe it was meant to be modernized, satirical take on the classics, like The Age of Innocence and The Great Gatsby, but all I was left with was a sense that Fellowes hates the wealthy.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Listening to The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion was a great experience. This book features characters who are implied to be autistic, and there is not enough representation of autism in literature. Don, the leading man in the story, is seeking a wife who will meet his specific requirements. This list of attributes leads him to meet Rosie, and intriguing graduate student at his university. The two are a perfect pairing, and their interactions are fun and endearing. I enjoyed Don’s journey through the novel, as he grew to realize what was most important to him and how Rosie could fit into his life without being who he originally thought would be his mate. This is a fast-paced read with a good message, and I’m glad I picked it off my my shelf.

Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead by Elle Cosimano

Oh, Finlay. You do get yourself into some situations, don’t you? But at least your bestie Vero is there to help out, even when it’s climbing through your ex-husband’s office at night or finding a cold place to store part of a corpse. Elle Cosimano’s second Finlay Donovan book is just as fun as the first! Yes, the plot requires a bit of suspended disbelief, but these are comedic mysteries, so it all works out. Finlay and Vero’s friendship is what keeps me coming back to the series, and Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead did not disappoint.

The Power by Naomi Alderman

Reading The Power by Naomi Alderman this week left me questioning why it’s been on my TBR shelf for so long. I love a dystopian novel, and this one comes highly recommended by the queen herself, Margaret Atwood. You can read my full review in another post, but here’s a quick summary:

In The Power, teenage girls suddenly develop the ability to shoot electricity from their hands, resulting in a mass shift in the world order, which is now under the power of women. With Mother Eve revising the traditional scriptures of world religions and queens and mob daughters taking control of populations by force and by charisma, the world is in an uproar. This book starts slow, but soon I couldn’t look away from the pages. With the mess of gender, power, religion, and humanity, this is a five-star book that I’ll be recommending to everyone!

The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis

Historical fiction is another favorite genre of mine, as I explained in my post about five reasons I love this genre, and Fiona Davis is a must-read author for me. I love how she blends multiple timelines, incorporates the arts, and adds mystery to her historical novels. Unfortunately, I didn’t love The Masterpiece, the story of Clara, a watercolor artist and illustrator poised to be the next leading artist right before the Great Depression begins, and Virginia, a divorcee recovering from breast cancer and learning to be on her own in the 1970s. When Virginia finds a painting of Clara’s, she’s determined to give the artist her due. I liked the premise and the historical aspects of the story, but the characters weren’t engaging enough to make me love this book.

Unwind: A Book Review

Unwind by Neil Shusterman

A 4⭐️ Book Review

The first book in the Unwind Dystology by Neil Shusterman is a quick, but disturbing read. I can’t say that I loved this book, but it was a good read, one that I’ll be thinking for quite awhile.

Unwinds are children. Some are marked for Unwinding from before their births, and some are designated as Unwind for various reasons as they grow older. Be a troublemaker like Connor? Unwind. Be a ward of the state without enough musical talent like Risa? Unwind. Be the 10th child in a religious family dedicated to tithing 10% like Lev? Unwind.

And what is an Unwind? Simply put, an Unwind will be harvest for parts. Eyes, hearts, lungs, appendages. All taken from Unwinds and grafted into people who are considered more deserving.

None of these teenagers know each other at the start of the book, but Connor’s actions set in motion a journey to run from the harvest camps and launch a course for each of them to discover who they are, Unwind or not.

This book is heavy. While weaving together the story of Connor, Risa, and Lev, Shusterman addresses abortion, the soul, and body autonomy, all topics that are relevant and worldly now in 2021. I’m impressed by Shusterman’s ability to build a dystopian world layered with foundations of our own realities and bring the hard questions to life.