BOOK REVIEW ROUND UP – VOLUME 3 ISSUE 18

The Missing Years
Author
: Lexie Elliott
Publication Date: April 2019
Genre: mystery, thriller
Method: audiobook via TPL

I saw the words inheritance and London and I got excited. I picked this up based off of Kayla’s recommendation and she didn’t let me down. Pros: intelligent main character, well crafted pacing, character backstory and intrigue, Scottish Highlands setting, creepy atmospheric house, and a missing father. My absolute favorite feature of this book is the journey Lexie Elliott takes us on at the end of each chapter as she imagines what might have happened to the missing father figure or what alternate life he’s living since abruptly leaving decades earlier. The only thing missing for me was a jaw drop moment, and if there was one, I’ve forgotten it at this point. I saw another reader compares this to The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware and that never crossed my mind while reading, but yes!
Buzzword Readathon: November selection

Let Me Tell You What I Mean
Author: Joan Didion
Publication Date: 2021
Genre: nonfiction, essays
Method: audiobook via TPL

Pleasantly surprised to report I enjoyed this collection from Joan Didion! Earlier this year I DNF’d The White Album because I just felt like I didn’t have enough context and understanding of the 1960s to really appreciate the work. My fear was I was going to have to scan Wikipedia page after Wikipedia page every chapter to have an understanding of the cultural significance

These lines from Telling Stories left my mind racing: “At Vogue one learned fast, or one did not stay, how to play games with words, how to put a couple of unwieldy dependent clauses through the typewriter and roll them out transformed into one simple sentence composed of precisely thirty-nine characters. We were connoisseurs of synonyms. We were collectors of verbs.” The idea that every minute Vogue column Didion wrote is just a fraction of the whole story, of what she really wished and wanted to say. Yes, she was given thirty-nine characters, but what could she was shared given double? Triple? What a fun and exciting concept! I guess that’s why she went on to write so many essays, so much more freedom for creativity and story telling

Favorites passages: Why I Write, Telling Stories, and Last Words

Damnation Spring
Author: Ash Davidson
Publication Date: August 2021
Genre: fiction
Method: audiobook via TPL

I unashamedly admit this book caught my eye because of the stunning cover but I’m so incredibly happy to report this is one of the best books I read this year and likely to be a life long favorite! The absolute grip this story had on me was insane. Every spare minute I had was spent listening to the audiobook – which was excellent with 3 perfect narrators for each POV

This story was nothing but masterfully crafted and perfectly woven. The book progresses in a very logical manner and even though I should have been anticipating what would happen next, I was left shocked chapter after chapter. There’s a scene where the town is debating the benefits and risks of cutting down the old growth Redwoods and I swear to God, every time another local shared their opinion and experience, I was flipping sides, back and forth, each argument. The writing, it’s incredible!

The intense, emotional rollercoaster Ash Davidson takes us on is both cruel and captivating. I’m really not one to cry while reading but when you combine hauling ass on the stair master at level 10 at the exact moment the final climax happens, you get an almost out of body experience of near sobbing – yes, I cried on the stairmaster, without shame. Definitely a top 5 favorite from the year, I feel so honored to have this book on my bookshelf
Buzzword Readathon: November selection

Passing
Author: Nella Larsen
Publication Date: 1929
Genre: classic, historical fiction
Method: audiobook via TPL

Did I barrel through this a little too quickly to absorb the powerful story about race and identity, yes I most certainly did. But, I was fascinated nonetheless. I had never heard of this classic until an edition with an introduction by Brit Bennett was released, then I knew I had to pick it up. I sped through the audiobook and maybe an alarming rate, if I ever picked it up again, I’d definitely choose the physical copy
Buzzword Readathon: November selection

The Westing Game
Author: Ellen Raskin
Publication Date: 1978
Genre: middle grade mystery
Method: paperback via TPL

I’m like 90% sure this was required reading in 7th grade and there are two things I remember, 1. how much I enjoyed the book and 2. a character screaming “BOMB.” So needless to say, when I finally remembered the title of the story 16 some years later, I knew I had to give it a re-read. And over all, I was pleased! This middle grade mystery has some of my most favorite elements in the genre as an adult who loves mystery, thriller, crime, and suspense writing: multiple characters, inheritance/will readings, and an atmospheric Midwestern setting. If you were curious, Denton Deere is my favorite character, what an idiot of a doctor, I just loved him. I do think it’s worth mentioning I remembered literally, almost nothing about this story, so I was pleasantly surprised by the ending and found it quite clever, also surprised I didn’t pick up on it sooner!
Buzzword Readathon: November selection

What’s up next on my TBR

Until next time, Meryn


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