Archive | November, 2018

Counting Down to 2019

14 Nov

I have been cruising through my giant stack of library books, worried that my FAVORITE book of 2018 is hiding in there somewhere. I definitely loved two of these – Those Who Knew and Dear Mrs Bird.

Those Who Knew takes place on a fictional island that has only recently (in the past decade or so) overthrown the US-funded political regime that was in power. The uprising was led by the current hotshot senator Victor, who may or may not be what he seems. When a young woman who worked on his staff is killed in a hit and run, Victor’s college girlfriend and co-revolutionary finds herself wondering if Victor had any part in her death. So good, and told through a bunch of narrators with interesting roles in the regime and the rebellion. I really liked this one – kinda felt like Home Fire but with a softer ending (that was still so perfect). 4.5 stars rounded up to 5

The blurb on Dear Mrs Bird says something like “a wild romp through wartime London.” Not what you’d expect, really. But I definitely found myself looovving this wartime romp. It has all the makings of your favorite old-school black and white movie starring one of the Hepburns – I pictured Katherine because it is not totally fluffy, there are some serious war-type scenes that seem more like her, but Audrey might work too. Emmy Lake wants to do her bit for the war effort and decides journalism is the way to go. She responds to an ad in the paper and finds herself working, sort of mistakenly, for the ‘Dear Abby’ equivalent of the paper. Mrs. Bird (our Dear Abby) has a long list of issues she will NOT address (all the good ones) so Emmy decides to take things into her own hands. I loved that this made me laugh and felt light, but also had some serious moments, some scary moments, where you worried for her. Easy to read. 5 stars

These two really were the best I’ve read since my last post, the others in brief:

Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah is one of the 5 Under 35 this year for Friday Black, a collection of great and weird and powerful stories. So many are so good but the one that stuck with me the most is the title story about Black Friday and a young guy who works at a large department store. The shoppers have, over time, become so driven by getting the best deal and getting in on time (like those trampled shoppers in years past) that they’ve devolved into some sort of zombie-like beings. Super creepy. 4 stars

I’ve never read Rhys Bowen and The Tuscan Child didn’t win me over. Wouldn’t recommend because of slowness and length and just boring and predictable.

Every year has me reading a handful of WWII stories – the one above (Dear Mrs Bird) was so original and entertaining – these other two feel like bricks in comparison. Warlight takes place just after the war following a brother and sister as they try to piece together the ways the war took a toll on their family. Good, kind of wandering and a little deeper than I can do right now (i.e. I feel like I missed some things). My Real Name is Hanna is YA and really good about a young Ukrainian girl who survives the war, with her entire family, by taking some extreme measures. Based on a true story. Suitable for younger readers, interesting/important for all readers.