Year One by Nora Roberts
This was my first read with a new local book club, Readers in the Creek. This group has the genres planned out for the year but does the title voting monthly. The genre for June was Dystopian and I missed out on the vote but I'm not disappointed with the outcome. For Year One, I would also add the sub-genre of Magical Realism. This is a post-apocalyptic read centered around a worldwide pandemic and the chaos it creates. It starts with a wide cast of characters, some with magical abilities and some without, and finishes with a focus on just a few survivors. I'll admit that I got a bit confused at times with who was who along the way and had to flip back a few times to figure some of it out. I needed a character chart.
It definitely feels like a hero’s journey story but you’re not exactly sure who the hero might end up being. This gets cleared up in the last few chapters of the book when basically all but one character is dropped from the story in a dramatic scene. I probably would not have finished it if it didn’t have the magical elements to it. A story of people getting through a pandemic wouldn’t be something I needed right now but there was just enough fantasy to help me disassociate it with current events.
This is the first in a trilogy and I thought the author did a great job of buttoning up this first installment and giving you just enough info to be interested in what might happen next. Though for me right now, I wouldn't continue with the series. It was good enough at the time, but I don't need more of it in my life. Recommend-ish.
Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson
I saw this on display at the library and remember hearing someone talk about it somewhere. I know, it doesn't get vaguer than that, but it was all I needed to grab it along with whatever I had on hold. I was not disappointed because this story is soo good. Wonderful writing and a captivating story of generations of a family that fall apart and come back together. The characters push and pull with who they are and the idea of what they should be. It’s a story of personal identity struggle and we get to hear that from the perspective of each character; the identity they have, the identities they grow into, and the ones they come to learn about. 5 stars, recommend.
Tell Me More: Stories about the 12 Hardest Things I'm Learning to Say by Kelly Corrigan
Personal essays from the author that are also hilariously transparent. She examines 12 phrases that teach important life lessons but does it in a really relatable way. I laughed, I cried. Hard recommend.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
My classic read for this month was recommended by my son, Nick and it did not disappoint. I expected it to be more of a horror read but it really was a very emotional account from the perspective of a young Victor Frankenstein whose obsession turn into a personal nightmare. Mary Shelley wrote this book when she was 18 and basically invented Science Fiction with it. Pretty badass. Recommend.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
There was a lot of excitement at book club for the movie adaptation of this novel coming out in July. Later I saw it at the book store and decided to pick it up for one of my buy one get one half off picks at Barnes & Nobel. I enjoyed it and finished it pretty quickly. There was a lot of emotional and physical abuse in this one, including sexual assault, so I wouldn't say it's for everyone. The story is split into two time periods which eventually meet in the last chapters. Again, I hate this time-shift crap story device. But it was done well enough that it wasn't super distracting. It reminded me a lot of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. 4 stars, not excited to see the movie.