Wednesday, July 5, 2017

What I Read in June


It looks like I read a lot of books this month, but as you'll see, four of them were quick, easy reads - two trashy crime novels & two YA throwbacks. It's summer, & while I don't have any big beach vacations planned, I do like the keep my reading a little bit lighter (though, yes, I also ended up reading a Holocaust book, so...)

July 1st was also Book of the Month Club's book reveal day, & I chose not one but three books, which will be delivered soon: The Child by Fiona Barton, Hunger by Roxane Gay, & Final Girls by Riley Sager. Bring on the books! (If you're interested, use this referral link to get your first three months for just $9.99 each, plus a book tote.)

Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enriquez

This book of very, very macabre short stories came free from Blogging for Books, which I was really excited about because I'd been dying to read it. Enriquez weaves tales of the underbelly of life in modern-day Argentina, with a twist of the grotesque & borderline magical. In one story, a disabled girl goes into an abandoned house & never returns; in another, a drug-addled teen mother sacrifices her children to dark magic. It was a compelling read, but it also freaked me the hell out. ★★★☆☆

Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death, and Redemption in an American Prison by Shaka Senghor

This book was a recommendation from my coworker Evan's blog, & I tore through it in two sittings (or should-be-sleepings). Senghor, who became a crack dealer at age 14, committed murder at age 19 just months after being shot himself (& likely suffering from some serious PTSD). He spent nearly two decades in prison, at first violent, angry, & withdrawn but later relying on faith & writing to help him find the strength to evolve into a peace-loving, justice-minded activist, husband, & father. Now, he works to better the Detroit community where he grew up. ★★★★★

Before He Takes by Blake Pierce

This series is like a bad crime show I can't stop watching - so cheesy, yet so readable. In this book, the fourth in the series, young FBI agent Mackenzie White investigates the case of missing women in an Iowa farming town. As usual, it ended with a stressful, unrealistic, heroine-of-the-day scenario... that I totally dug. What can I say? Some people love trashy romance novels; I love trashy crime novels. ★★★☆☆

Before He Needs by Blake Pierce

Yep, I kept going. Once I finished Before He Takes, I realized the next book in the series was already available - damn, this dude writes fast! In this one, Mackenzie investigates the violent murders of four Miami couples who all turn out to be swingers. This one didn't seem to move quite as quickly as the books before it, but (spoiler alerttt) the two main characters did finally hook up! ★★★☆☆

An Abbreviated Life by Ariel Leve

This memoir tells of the childhood of the daughter of an eccentric, mentally ill Manhattan poet who was active in the early feminist movement. Though not abusive in the traditionally thought-of manner, Leve's mother left behind mental & emotional scarring that her daughter, now an award-winning journalist living in Bali, carried & struggled with well into adulthood. Her mother's extreme neediness, gaslighting, irresponsibility, & neglect left Leve floundering to learn trust, love, & normalcy. ★★★★☆

The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney

Last month, I read a book from my childhood, & doing so felt really wonderfully nostalgic - so I did it again this month. I was inspired by a recent episode of the podcast Criminal about the short-lived campaign to advertise the faces of missing kids on milk cartons; this book was one of my favorites in the early '90s, though I never got to its sequels. ★★★★☆

Whatever Happened to Janie? by Caroline B. Cooney

When the details of her kidnapping are revealed, Janie Johnson, is sent to live with her biological parents & four siblings, whose life is a far cry from the one she's always known. They insist on calling her by her birth name, & they disparage the only parents she's ever known (who actually didn't kidnap her - long story?!); the whole family struggles to find peace. ★★★★☆

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Anne Frank's birthday was June 12, & after reading through a bunch of quotes from & about her for a work-related project, I decided I needed to pick this up & (re?)read it. This unabridged version, published within the last few years, is a powerful testament to life during WWII, to a life spent in hiding, & to a brilliant young mind taken far before her time. May her legacy outlive us all. ★★★★★

Comment to tell me what you're reading, then add me on Goodreads to keep in touch & see what I've read in months past.

My "What I Read in..." posts include Amazon affiliate links to the titles I discuss. If you buy a book using one of these links, I will receive a small percentage of commission. Please don't feel any obligation to use these links, but if you do, it will help me buy more books.
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