I know this has happened to you!
The end of the book comes too soon. And later in the day, you think about reading that book and then remember you finished it.
It’s awful, isn’t? Sometimes I just don’t want to get to the end.
This month I am sharing 5 of those books. Enjoy!
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Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
The Tranquillum health resort offers life-changing events. Clients may want to lose weight, kick a habit, just get a fresh start, or overcome grief. The promise of the 10-day program is that clients will leave as a transformed person. Sounds good, right?
Hmmm, maybe not so much. Frances arrives at Tranquillum to reset herself after a romance scam has caused her some extreme self-doubt. She’s a writer that is also alarmed at her latest negative book review. She quickly meets the other nine strangers.
There is Lars, an older gay man that travels a lot- just to visit health resorts. He and his partner cannot agree about having a child. Carmel was my favorite- a middle-aged woman that is dealing with her husband’s betrayal while trying to raise four daughters. A family of three, Heather, Napolean, and Zoe are at the resort to battle the depression and guilt of losing a loved one. Jessica and Ben are trying to kickstart their marriage that has undergone a dramatic change after winning a large lottery contest. Tony, a former athlete, is just struggling with aging and not being close to his children. How will this group fare together?
How can this go wrong? Well, you will also quickly meet Masha, the resort’s director. I pictured Cruella De Ville when I read about this woman!
This was definitely a page-turner and typical writing of this author. There will some twists and turns and maybe some unbelievable parts. I enjoyed it! 4.5 stars
Elevation by Stephen King
This is a classic Stephen King novel- but a very short one. This was not a problem for me since I do sometimes think his books are too wordy.
In this one, Scott Carey is a divorced man living alone with his cat, Bill. He discovers he is losing weight. Yet something is odd.
It’s about the clothes. It seems that he can step on the scale naked and weigh 240 then step back on the scale fully clothed with weights in his pockets and still weigh 240. Scott visits a local doctor that is just as perplexed as Scott. The doctor decides to monitor Scott and research the dilemma. In the meantime, Scott is still noticing the pounds drop away- but only on the scale. His actual physical size remains the same. He has calculated an estimated date when the scale will reach zero. What will happen then?
The back story is also quite a revelation and it’s all about how our prejudices allow us to treat people. Neighbors of Scott’s are Missy and DeeDee, a married lesbian couple. They own a local restaurant that is not doing well because the townspeople do not approve of their lifestyle. Scott’s efforts to befriend the two women and somehow make a difference in their lives is a vital part of this little book.
I love Stephen King and always have. If you have not read his early books (Cujo, Firestarter, Carrie, The Stand) you really should! His later books (11-22-63, Mr. Mercedes) are also excellent.
Elevation is a quick read and you will not be able to put it down! Five stars for this one!
The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
This true story will keep you mesmerized with the atrocities of concentration camps during World War II and the tale of Lale and his life as a prisoner. Lale, a young man from Slovakia, is imprisoned at Auschwitz, where he “luckily” becomes the tattooist. Since he also speaks several languages he is able to maintain relationships with the guards and commanders. This is how he survives when many around him are taken almost daily to be shot or gassed.
One day he sees a young girl and becomes quickly enamored with her. Her name is Gita and Lale manages to meet her and they become lovers. Lale is able to contract with local workers and those inside the prison camp to trade jewels for extra food or chocolate. It seems improbable, but his charm and resourcefulness keep him alive.
Everything about Lale’s life inside is not all good and you will discover this as you read. There are horror stories involving men and women he befriends and there is always the chance that Lale or Gita will become the next statistic.
You should read this book simply for its historic value and the eye-opening scenes of the conditions prisoners suffered during WWII. It is not exceptionally well written, but it was a page-turner for me nonetheless. 5 stars!
Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
Iread this in about a day and a half – in large chunks with my breath held. I was alternately angry and wanting to get to the end. I will also say that after about 50 pages I didn’t like the book. Weird, right?
This is the story of Grace who marries Jack after a very quick dating period.
They met at a park where Grace has taken her sister, Millie. Millie has Down’s Syndrome and spends her time in a care facility. at the park, Jack does something incredibly kind for Millie and then, of course, meets Grace.
They are married and everything is perfect. Or is it?
I cannot tell you more than this because it would ruin the story for you. But I can tell you why I liked the book and didn’t like the book.
Pros: It was definitely a page-turner and I did like most of the characters. Grace does have a weird relationship with her parents, but they are not involved in the book very much. I did love the sister and Grace’s interactions, especially their hidden understandings between one another.
Cons: There are scenes that are just a little unbelievable. I do suppose there are occasions like these scenes that do happen in real life, but I did reread parts that just struck me as, well…. fiction. I am all about being mesmerized by a story- as long as it is somewhat believable. (Think Harry Potter.)
Should you read it? I say, Yes! I give it 4.5 stars. I didn’t want it to end because I was hoping for there to be a good resolution- and maybe there was! It’s a quick read, but has some dark spots. Try it for sure!
Far From the Tree by Robin Benway
This young adult novel focuses on three teenagers as the main characters. I loved it! It’s a story about relationships between parents, boyfriends, girlfriends, siblings. It’s also a story about adoption.
Grace, age 16, was adopted at birth and now finds herself pregnant. On the evening she gives birth to Millie, the baby’s father is being crowned Homecoming Queen at school. Grace has chosen a couple to adopt the baby and she gives her away.
Maya, age 15, was also adopted at birth and has a sister named Lauren. Maya struggles with having a sister that is the biological child of her adoptive parents. Maya is also in a relationship with Claire.
Joaquin was also given up at birth but has spent his 17 years in foster care. At the start of the book, Joaquin is living under foster care with Mark and Linda and they want to adopt him.
Turns out these three are biological siblings. All had the same mother but different fathers.
All three of these teenagers are struggling with being adopted and the relationships they have with parents and eventually with each other. Add to the picture that Joaquin has a girlfriend, Birdie, and Grace meets a young man named Rafe. Grace is stricken with guilt in giving up her own baby. Maya is conflicted about her adopted sister and her girlfriend, Claire. Joaquin has never had a real home.
Each of these young people is trying to find an identity that does not include being abandoned. Would finding answers from their birth mother help?
The book is beautifully written and I enjoyed it- even the parts that made me cry. I highly recommend that you read it or listen to it. I purchased the book through Audible and it is magically read by Julia Whelan. Definitely 5 stars for this one!
Some fabulous choices for you this month and in case you have never tried Audible I am including a link below to get you started with two free books!
My rating system: 5 stars means perfection- the book was written well, held my attention, and I did not want it to end. 4 stars- the book was really good, but I had questions or concerns about parts of it. This might include the way it ended. 3 stars- the book was okay, but I just didn’t like it much. 2 stars- I skimmed most of it. 1 star- I could not finish it.