I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
May 5, 2019
What a month it was for reading! I didn’t read a ton of books in April (The Stranger Beside Me seriously bogged me down, as you will see), but I did read some very memorable ones! Whether you’re looking for a light romance that’s actually readable or an AMAZING dystopian novel I’d put right up there with The Hunger Games (seriously) OR a middle grade book that reads very much like the first Harry Potter did for me way back when, you’ll want to check this list out!
The Stranger Beside Me, Ann Rule (3/5 stars)
These last few weeks, I’ve been living in fear, y’all. I’ve been triple-checking the locks, carrying pepper spray with me everywhere I go (including the bathroom), and jumping at every creak and bump in the night. I What’s got me so freaked out, you ask?
I know, I know. Ted Bundy is dead. He’s been dead since 1989. His death in Florida’s electric chair is well-documented and verifiable. I know this and yet, I’m still completely beside myself. And I blame Ann Rule. She wrote a book about Ted Bundy called The Stranger Beside Me, which I’ve been hearing about for years. In an incredible twist of fate, this true crime writer began covering the ‘Ted’ murders of young women back in the 1970s, only to discover when the killer was caught that IT WAS HER GOOD FRIEND TED BUNDY. Seriously. She totally knew the guy — and that makes her book about him incredibly disturbing on two levels, because it’s like two Ann Rules are writing the book, about two different Teds.
True crime writer Ann Rule covers the murders, Ted’s capture and imprisonment, and his subsequent trials in excruciating detail. But when she writes about the Ted she knew, she seems to be describing a totally different person, and she can never quite connect the two sides of Ted, either in her writing or in real life. True crime writer Ann writes that she believes Ted deserved to die for his crimes. Then friend-of-Ted Ann spends a good deal of time arguing that he should have spent life in prison. WHICH IS IT, ANN? Gah.
It’s also very clear to the reader that Ann plays up her friendship with Ted as being deeper than it actually was. She briefly worked with him, then only saw him in person a handful of times over the next few decades. They exchanged a number of letters while he was in prison, but by the end of the book, it becomes clear that he wrote tons of letters to tons of people, she nearly always initiated contact with him, and she was sending him money each time she wrote, so DUH, who wouldn’t want to keep that correspondence going? It’s not like he had a lot going on sitting in jail.
I couldn’t help feeling a certain kind of way about Ann as I read the book, and I think as a result, I was drawn in more than I should have been. Because as soon as she started getting into the details of the murders, I found myself beginning to worry in the back of my mind that Ted was going to murder me. It mattered not that I didn’t fit the profile his victims, or that Ted didn’t kill anyone in Tennessee, or that TED BUNDY IS DEAD. I have been inexplicably terrorized by dead Ted. And it is so annoying.
I’m being haunTed. I’m not even kidding.
Don’t read this book.
(But if you do, it’s free on Kindle Unlimited.)
The Shoemaker’s Wife, Adriana Trigiani (4/5 stars)
This is the WWI-era story of Enza and Ciro, two teenagers from a small village in the Italian Alps with the cards stacked against them. We follow them on their separate paths from Italy to America, through the unexpected twists and turns of their lives both together and apart and into old age.
This lush, sweeping saga was entirely satisfying. I listened to and loved it on audiobook, and the narrator was fantastic — but the writing was so beautiful that I think I would have gotten even more out of it as an actual read. Have tissues ready for the end — By the time it comes, you’ll be so invested in the characters that you’ll definitely need them!
The Disappearances, Emily Bain Murphy (3/5 stars)
When Aila Quinn’s mother dies and her father leaves to fight in World War II, she and her younger brother are sent to live with her mother’s best friend from childhood in the small town of Sterling, where both girls grew up. Aila soon discovers Sterling holds many secrets — All of its residents are plagued by disappearances. Every seven years, something they love — their senses of taste and smell, for example — mysteriously disappears, and no has been able to figure out why. It’s up to Aila and her new friends to solve the mystery.
While I probably would have LOVED this book at 12, it’s understandably lightweight by adult standards. I listened to it on audiobook and it was compelling enough to get through, but it was a little too heavy on the teen-friendly plot points for my taste. Your tween daughter who loves to read will definitely enjoy it and unlike many YA novels I’ve read lately, it’s completely clean — No sex scenes or cursing!
My Favorite Half-Night Stand, Christina Lauren (4/5 stars)
I’m not much of a romance reader, but this book makes me want to become one!
My Favorite Half-Night Stand is a smart, funny, modern novel about a young college professor who thinks she might be falling for her best guy friend — and it’s delightful from start to finish. Although there’s definitely an intense physical attraction between the two, the biggest connection between Millie and Reid is intellectual/emotional and I love that this novel highlights the importance of this part of the romantic equation in a dating relationship, and the headiness that comes with finding a person who gets you in this crucial and intimate way.
Snappy pacing makes this book a light, satisfying, feel-good kind of read. I listened to the audiobook of the novel and loved it (although I might have chosen a different female narrator) and I’m really looking forward to reading more books by Christina Lauren when I need a pick-me-up. If you liked One Day in December, I think it’s safe to say you’ll enjoy this book as well.
Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow, Jessica Townsend (4/5 stars)
Add this to your middle grader’s summer reading list, PRONTO! Better yet, get them the audiobook- The narrator is sublime and does an almost supernaturally good job at all the characters’ voices. I loved this book — It reminded me very much of the first Harry Potter, and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
Morrigan Crow is a cursed child, believed to be responsible for all the misfortunes that occur around her. She is doomed to die on her eleventh birthday like all cursed children, but at the last minute, a mysterious stranger named Jupiter North saves her life by spiriting her away to Nevermoor. In order to stay, Morrigan must pass a series of tests and become a member of the Wundrous Society. As she attempts to remain in Nevermoor and pass the trials, she meets lots of strange and interesting people and has plenty of adventures. This book is fast-paced, well-written, and thoroughly enjoyable. I loved it.
Scythe, Neal Shusterman (5/5 stars)
WOW. I absolutely loved this book and would recommend it to anyone. I’m going to make sure everyone in my family reads it — I’d compare it to The Hunger Games, and I think it’s every bit as good, IF NOT BETTER.
We are introduced to a time in the future where disease and natural death have been all but eradicated — In order to keep the population under control, a group of people called scythes meet a quarterly random killing quota, which means that everyone lives indefinitely unless they are unlucky enough to be targeted and killed (‘gleaned’ is the term they prefer) by one of the scythes. We meet two teenagers, Citra and Rowan who have been apprenticed to a scythe — Neither wants the job, but since scythes’ family members are immune from gleaning, they really can’t say no to the job opportunity. But while scythes are trained to live by the highest moral standards, some have slipped through the cracks — and Rowan and Citra are about to be caught in the crossfire.
Scythe moves at breakneck speed and has so many unexpected twists and turns, all of which are completely believable in this world Neal Shusterman has created. Reading the book is like watching an excellent movie, and the end leaves you anxious to read more, as soon as possible. I am so excited about this series and its potential and really hope it’s made into a movie soon! It will definitely be one of my favorite books of 2019.
READ THIS BOOK.
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