I’ve been a little MIA from the book blog world for the past month, but not for lack of reading! In fact, I’ve been on a major book binge and enjoying every second of it! For the past few months, I’ve spent a majority of my reading time focusing on advanced reader copies, but I was amassing quite a list of new releases and decided to focus most of October on these. Wow…and these NEW RELEASES were great! 2018 has certainly been a great year for books, so for this post, I’d like to give y’all a potpourri of mini-reviews!
The President is Missing by James Patterson and Bill Clinton- All politics aside, I REALLY enjoyed this #1 New York Times Bestseller! For me, James Patterson is hit or miss, and his most recent books over the past couple of years have been disappointing, but this one was a real winner! Politics, international crime, a conspiracy to topple the U.S., Russian meddling (did they? did they not?), a foreign hacker, a female assassin…I’m telling ya, this book had it all- suspense, thriller, patriotism, and a President who puts his country before himself. *Sigh* At just over 520 pages, this book is a long one but a quick read. I loved the short chapter format and the different looks at the jobs we often overlook- Chief of Staff, FBI director, as well as the international politicians whose positive alliances are critical to the well-being of everyone. The ending was very satisfying, and I couldn’t help but appreciate all of the honest details and depictions of what it’s like to be the President when something catastrophic is about to hit the fan. 5 out of 5 stars.
All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin- I’ve been a fan of Emily Giffin’s for several years and even got the wonderful opportunity of meeting her once at a book signing event for one of her previous books. She is delightful! I really, really wanted to love this book, but I just really didn’t, which makes me disappointed. The book follows two families, the Brownings, a wealthy family whose son Finch is a popular high school athlete with his sights set on Princeton, as well as the Volpe family, which includes Lyla and her single father Tom who works hard to support his daughter. Lyla and Finch attend the same prestigious prep school, which Lyla attends on a scholarship and wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. Anyway, after a party one night, Finch texts a compromising photo of Lyla along with a racist caption to his friends, which ends up making the rounds at school. This extremely devastating and stupid act threatens to ruin not only Finch’s life, but affects Lyla and her father tremendously, along with many others. I really liked the premise of this book because this is such an issue in our society today, but I didn’t love the execution. I felt like Giffin tried too hard to make Nina Browning, the rich wife and mother of Finch, the heroine and biggest victim. I just couldn’t feel sorry for her. There was also too much focusing on “poor” Finch, whose character I just detested and not enough depth to Lyla or her father. This book was a really quick read, but I just didn’t think it was nearly as substantive as it could’ve been. 3 out of 5 stars.
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan- Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve definitely heard a ton of buzz about this book, especially after the movie was released this summer and became a MASSIVE hit! I had this book placed on hold for my Kindle at the library for months, so when it became available, I read it right away. This was such a fun, fast read and I was surprised I loved it so much! The characters, all filthy rich Chinese expats living in Singapore, were interesting, full of depth, and the story line was extremely entertaining from beginning to end. The gist of this one is that Rachel Chu, a normal Economics professor (and American) gets invited to a wedding in Singapore by her handsome boyfriend, Nicholas Young. Rachel has NO IDEA that Nick is one of those crazy rich Asians, so when she accompanies him to Singapore, things get absolutely wild and crazy! This is a super juicy, soap opera type book, but I loved it! I’m also so happy to see the success of this book and movie, as representation is SO important in literature and film! If you’re looking for a light, fun, totally not serious read, this one is definitely for you. 4 out of 5 stars.
The Fix by David Baldacci- This is the #3 book in the Amos Decker series by Mr. Baldacci, and it did not disappoint. In this one, Amos Decker, who’s working with his same FBI group in Washington D.C., witnesses a seemingly random murder one day just outside FBI headquarters. Even with Decker’s amazing abilities, this killing is baffling to everyone. The killer seemed like a normal, successful family man and businessperson, and the victim is a woman with no record and no details other than being a substitute teacher and hospice volunteer. Decker teams up with Harper Brown, a tough veteran who works with the Defense Intelligence Agency to try and crack this case. As they investigate, Decker and his team are in more danger than ever before, and the case weaves into a story crazier and more complex than anyone could’ve ever guessed. I read this one in just a couple of days, staying up WAY past my bedtime, because as Baldacci is such a master of this, I didn’t know WHAT THE HECK WAS GOING ON until the very end. Definitely thrilling, suspenseful, and full of crime elements like spying, the CIA, defense contracting, and international criminals. For fans of the Amos Decker series, there are also appearances from Melvin Mars, a popular character from the previous book. Loved this one! 4 out of 5 stars.
The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan- This has to be one of the most wonderfully charming books I’ve read this year. Taken from the book jacket, this is the description of this one:
“Anthony Peardew is the keeper of lost things. Forty years ago, he carelessly lost a keepsake from his beloved fiancée, Therese. That very same day, she died unexpectedly. Brokenhearted, Anthony sought consolation in rescuing lost objects—the things others have dropped, misplaced, or accidently left behind—and writing stories about them. Now, in the twilight of his life, Anthony worries that he has not fully discharged his duty to reconcile all the lost things with their owners. As the end nears, he bequeaths his secret life’s mission to his unsuspecting assistant, Laura, leaving her his house and and all its lost treasures, including an irritable ghost.”
This was such a fantastic book about tragedy, heartbreak, losing yourself, and then finding purpose and the ability to put yourself back together and become whole again. The characters were wonderful, the writing was beautiful and descriptive, and the mini stories of the lost things were equally heartbreaking and lovely. This book felt like a warm quilt of love and attachment, and I recommend it to EVERYONE! 5 out of 5 stars.