Tuesday, January 18, 2022


Good Tuesday to you, friends!

Today I'm sharing four books I've been able to squeeze in a midst two weddings, lots of wedding parties, work, and Covid. They were four extremely different novels. As I started each of them, I knew almost nothing of their story lines. I tend to pick and read books that repeatedly show up on other peoples' list. I'm also in a group on Facebook called Tuscaloosa Page Turners. I've gotten lots of suggestions from it. Ordinary Grace came from that group. I'll start there.

Ordinary Grace - William Kent Krueger - This one is first because it was my favorite of the four. It pushed all the right buttons for me. The coming-of-age story set in the summer of 1961, introduces us to a family living the small-town life in New Bremen, Minnesota. Everyone knows everyone, and everyone is tied together by past experiences or relationships. The town suffers several earth-shaking losses over the course of the summer. It's the summer of multiple murders. These deaths disrupt the lives of all the main characters, but especially Frank. We see the impact this summer has on Frank even some forty years later as he is the narrator. Frank's family, unfortunately, will not be spared from tragedy. Frank's father is a Methodist pastor, his mom and sister are both musical talents, and he has a younger brother who surprised me in the end. The power of family, forgiveness, second chances, and the gift of ordinary grace made this one of the best things I've read lately. 

Between Two Kingdoms - Suleika Jaouad - This one was like nothing I had read before. "A Memoir of a Life Interrupted." Suleika Jaouad is a twenty-two year old writer who has her entire life in front of her. The only thing holding her back is an intense itch that she nor the doctors can figure out. She's met a great guy, has a plan, moves to Paris to put it into action, and then she gets the diagnosis of leukemia. The novel is her cancer journey and her life journey, filled with ups and downs, and love and loss. While in treatment for the cancer, she begins chronicling her story for the the New York Times. "Life, Interrupted." She meets so many unique and special people along the way. Because of her article, people from all over write to her. When her condition improves, and she is able, she treks across the country to meet some of the people her story has impacted. While the book was not full of rainbows and sunshine, I still enjoyed it immensely. So much in fact, that it made me stop and really think about what makes a book "good" to me. I've decided when I feel, not just relate to, but when I can actually feel some of what the character feels and what the character is going through, when I'm slightly changed thanks to a main character, to me, that's it. These first two books did just that. 

The Bone Jar - S W Kane - Okay, to be fair, I was reading this book at the end of the summer when I was in the throws of the final stages of planning my daughter's wedding. I can't give this one high ratings. It wasn't bad, and I probably would have liked it better if I wasn't reading it at night, half asleep. The setting is a run down asylum. The body of an older women turns up in one of the rooms of the abandoned asylum, and the main character Detective Lew Kirby goes to work. I actually liked him. The character who kept me engaged is a former, somewhat odd employee who lives on the grounds of the asylum. He knows much more than he lets on during the investigation. The book has many twists and many characters and wraps up nicely. I should probably read it again and give it another chance. It has good reviews! But for me it was just a three out of five stars. 

Verity - Colleen Hoover - This one caught me a little off guard. Tons of people were talking about it and everyone seems to love Colleen Hoover books. So without checking into it much, I downloaded it. The book has one of the best "hooks" I can remember. It starts with the main character, a writer, witnessing a horrible accident on her way to a meeting. After accepting an unusual, unconventional writing job, Lowen Ashleigh discovers the family she's working for is living in a disturbing situation. Lowen becomes involved in all aspects of the family's life, and eventually uncovers truths that are hard for her to make sense of. I can't say that I loved the book, but it was hard to put down. The story line was fabulous, just not what I usually reach for when picking my next book. If you enjoy a thriller, this one should probably be on your list. But FYI, if it were a movie, it would probably be between a high PG-13 and low R rating. 

Right now I'm in the middle of The Midnight Library. So far I love it. 

Your turn! What are you all reading? Leave me a list below in the "comment" section. :-)

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