Do you ever start a book and know by the end of the first page that you are not going to like it? Do you stick with it anyway?
I give myself 50 pages and if I am not enjoying the book by then I give up. Too many books, not enough time.
My reading friends, I have some treats for you this month. This post has five fabulous books that I enjoyed from page 1 until the end. Mysterious events, suspenseful moments, and characters I loved. I did not want any of these to end!
Sunburn by Laura Lippman
The Gunners by Rebecca Kauffman
This book opens with Mikey relating some of his story about his problems with eyesight. It is revealed that he has early onset macular degeneration. He also has a dad that seems to be way too gruff and distant and no mom. This all seems perplexing and you know there is a story there- and it will be revealed.
Also, into this scene comes a friend named Sally whose funeral is drawing together a whole group of friends that grew up with one another and used an abandoned house as their youthful hangout. The house had once belonged to a family named Gunner. The kids became “The Gunners”.
As the whole group returns to town to attend Sally’s funeral their secrets are slowly revealed. Each of the friends feels something he or she did might be the reason Sally had pulled away from the group and eventually committed suicide.
Their stories are interesting, albeit a little slow moving. The book has a lot of conversation, but the author does a good job of keeping you moving along with the story. There are some scenes that will catch you by surprise! I give this one 4.5 stars- only because I did want it to move a little faster in the middle. I did enjoy reading it!
Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney
Amber wakes up and cannot figure out where she is. It turns out she is hospitalized and in a coma. She can hear things around her and knows who is visiting, but can’t remember how she got there.
The chapters of this book alternate between THEN, NOW, and BEFORE. The Now chapters tell the story of what is happening in the hospital when Amber is visited by her husband, Paul, and her sister, Claire. The Then chapters tell about the week leading up to Amber’s accident and give you glimpses into what has happened to her. The Before chapters are diary entries written when Amber was 10.
This quote will sum up this book for you:
“I tread carefully over a carpet of lies, trying not to disturb them.”
This book will draw you into the story and you will want to root for Amber and hope she recovers. You will believe the worst of her husband and sister and then change your mind. You will meet her mom and dad and ex-boyfriend and think badly of them one minute and change your mind again.
In the end, you will wonder just how many lies there were. Very compelling! 4.5 stars.
The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
To be honest, the genre is not one of my favorites. The dystopian, futuristic Hunger Games type books are just not ones I seek out. But…. this book is fantastic!
Each morning Melanie is awakened, loaded into a wheelchair of sorts and chained to the chair. She and other kids just like her are wheeled into a room where Miss Justineau teaches them. She reads to them and quizzes them on all subjects. And the whole time they are engaged in these lessons each child is strapped into a wheelchair and unable to move his or her head.
The children are a different sort of “hungry” (zombie). Although each is capable of devouring humans they do not for a few reasons. First of all, they are kept chained or in cells and guards approach them with guns pointing at them for each interaction. Miss Justineau is one of the few that works with the children without a weapon. All the humans wear an E-blocker lotion to mask their personal body odor and this inhibits the children’s hunger.
Soon after the opening you also meet Dr. Caldwell, who is studying the infectious disease that has created the hungries. She has no aversion to experimenting or even dissecting the children. It is all part of her work to find a cure for the disease.
And then the hungries attack the fortress that houses the children and staff. This is where I will leave the story for you to enjoy. And, believe it or not, it is a well-written book and kept me in suspense. Definitely 5 stars!
Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos
There is that moment when you start a new book that you know it was written by a real author, a real writer that is her characters, and writes with such heartfelt meaning that you cannot help but love the book. This was one of those books.
I loved the characters. I loved the story. It was funny and poignant and full of passages I reread because I loved them. It’s a story about a love between two people and then between parents and their children that we can all understand.
Cornelia and Teo move to the suburbs where she finds her prickly neighbors, including Piper. Piper is an enigma, along with her suburbanite friends, and Cornelia is struggling to fit in. Then Lake and her son, Dev, move into the neighborhood. Lake quickly becomes Cornelia’s friend and all seems to be going well.
Ah, but you know better than this, right? All is not as serene as it seems. The true secrets will be revealed eventually and you will probably raise an eyebrow just like I did. By that point you will love all these characters so much it won’t matter. You will still turn every page and be sad at the end when it is over.
Five stars for this one!
Side note: I read a lot of books. A Lot. And when I mention a book being written by a real author I hope you get it. I love books that make me see what is happening. I love details and figurative language and descriptive passages. The best example I can give you is Hunger Games. I loved that book, but I wish it had been written by a different author. I needed more details!
This month was a great one for my book selections! It’s a unique group to share with you. Which ones are you going to try?