I’ve been reading a lot lately. Spring Break definitely helped with carving out more time to read. Insomnia also helps with that. One of the benefits of not sleeping is you get to read more!! Here’s what I’ve been reading. I’d love to hear what you’ve been reading too!
I’ve been on a Kristin Hannah kick lately. I don’t know why, but I’ve always loved to find an author I like and read their entire collection. I get a sense of accomplishment and I love finding new authors. Hannah’s pretty new to me and she has a ton of books. Many of her books are fluffy, predictable, syrupy-sweet love stories set in the Seattle area that are easy to read. These are just OK to me. But then she’ll surprise you with a real page-turner; I think that’s what keeps me coming back for more.
Magic Hour is the story of a feral child that shows up in town one day during “the magic hour”. The town is fascinated by this filthy, non-verbal girl up in a tree, carrying a wolf pup and scared to death. The local female sheriff and her sister, a famous but notorious child psychiatrist, have to work together to bring this little girl back to reality. Hannah did a wonderful job with this story. It wasn’t cheesy but fascinating. There is, of course, two love stories wound through the book which are very predictable. But you won’t predict what will happen with this little girl they call Alice. I loved this one.
In Home Again, a local cardiologist is faced with an important person from her past that she thought she’d never see again—her now uber-famous first love and father of her teenage daughter. He shows up on her patient list needing a heart transplant. Her daughter, Lina, doesn’t know that he’s her father and he doesn’t know that Lina exists. It started off promising but went downhill from there. It was SO predictable! I knew what was going to happen by chapter 3. I still finished it because I wanted to see if I was right, but I ended up skimming through much of this lovey-dovey book. Skip it.
Between Sisters was predictable but good. Hannah does a very good job of developing her characters and you truly end up caring for them. Meghann, a high-powered divorce attorney, is forced to take time off and goes to spend time with her semi-estranged sister, Clare. Clare owns a campground and just wants to fall in love. There are twists in the story that make it entertaining but it is very predictable. Or maybe I’ve just read too many books? So many that I can get in the author’s mind and know what they’re going to write? I don’t know.
Distant Shores was interesting in that I’m always intrigued by books that depict how easy it is for a marriage to fall apart. Are you? I’ve said here before that I think people give up too easy, that they don’t put enough effort into their marriage. These types of books continue to prove my point. Elizabeth and Jack Shore have been married for 20+ years and raised two daughters. And neither is happy. It’s the story of how they fall apart and how they find their way back to each other. I really liked this one. It was cheesy, of course, and when Jack cheats on her for the millionth time I didn’t believe that she would just simply forgive him, but other than that it was good. Elizabeth’s stepmother really warmed my heart. That’s what is so great about Hannah’s books—you end up really rooting for at least one of the characters.
Summer Island was hands-down my recent favorite. I was so moved by this story of a mother and daughter repairing their relationship. Nora, the mother, is a famous talk-show host who abandoned her family when her girls were teenagers. The girls never knew why she left and just assumed it was because she wanted fame. Ruby is her youngest daughter, living in L.A. trying to make it as a stand-up comedienne. Nora falls from grace, gets injured and needs help. Ruby is the only one available to take care of her. They both go back to their home on Summer Island to get back on their feet. It was a really touching story of mother-daughter love. There is also a sideline story of Eric, who is dying of cancer, and his brother, Dean, who was Ruby’s first love. All of them entwine gracefully and the story is believable and touching. I found myself reading with tears streaming down my face. Definitely worth reading.
If you can get past how unrealistic Comfort and Joy is, then you will enjoy it. I had a hard time with the ending. I can’t really tell you what happens without ruining it, but it’s pretty out there! Joy has just discovered that her husband is having an affair with her husband. They get a divorce and he ends up getting her sister pregnant and asking her to marry him. Yikes. Joy can’t take another day in her messed-up life so she hops on a plane to Hope, Canada. The plane crashes and Joy escapes the wreckage and finds a place to stay, inhabited by a widow and his son. Everyone thinks Joy is dead. She and Bobby, the little boy who has just lost his mother, bond quickly and deeply. Joy must then return to her normal life because her sister finds out she’s still alive. What will happen? Like I said, I really liked the story but it’s pretty crazy what happens in the end.
I also finished Linda Castillo’s set of Amish murder mysteries. Yes, you read that right! These books are set in Ohio in the heart of Amish country. I love the setting because I’ve been to all of the places where these books take place. Plus, I find the Amish life really interesting. Take all of that and add in some murders? You’ve got yourself a great book! In all of Castillo’s books, the main character is Kate Burkholder. She is the town sheriff and was raised Amish. She went under the “bann” after deciding the plain life was not for her. In Pray for Silence, an Amish family of seven is found murdered on their farm. Kate has to work against the clock to find the monster who committed this horrific crime. I had an inkling of who it was but I was still surprised by the outcome. If you like murder mysteries, you’ll love these. In Sworn to Silence, it appears that a serial killer, who plagued their small, Amish town years ago, is back. Kate has to face a connection she has to the serial killer and her past. The killer is escalating so she has to work fast. It’s intense, gruesome in parts and thrilling. Read this one first!
Right now I’m three chapters into 50 Shades of Grey by E L James. It’s supposedly “mommy-porn”. Have you read it? I am just getting into it but so far, so good. I’ll let you know.