Title: The Good Girl
Author: Mary Kubica
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from the public library
Number of pages: 350
First line: I’m sitting at the breakfast nook sipping from a mug of cocoa when the phone rings.
Goodreads blurb: Born to a prominent Chicago judge and his stifled socialite wife, Mia Dennett moves against the grain as a young inner-city art teacher. One night, Mia enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn’t show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. With his smooth moves and modest wit, at first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia’s life.
Colin’s job was to abduct Mia as part of a wild extortion plot and deliver her to his employers. But the plan takes an unexpected turn when Colin suddenly decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota, evading the police and his deadly superiors. Mia’s mother, Eve, and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop at nothing to find them, but no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family’s world to shatter.
This book is being billed as this summer’s Gone Girl, and while it is a great and twisty thriller, it’s not quite as twisty and shocking as Flynn’s novel. It is, however, a fantastic summer read, and one that kept me turning the pages at night long after I should have been asleep.
Title: Above the Dreamless Dead: World War I in Poetry and Comics
Author: Edited by Chris Duffy
Genre: Poetry, graphic novel
Publisher: First Second
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Number of pages: 132
Goodreads blurb: As the Great War dragged on and its catastrophic death toll mounted, a new artistic movement found its feet in the United Kingdom. The Trench Poets, as they came to be called, were soldier-poets dispatching their verse from the front lines. Known for its rejection of war as a romantic or noble enterprise, and its plainspoken condemnation of the senseless bloodshed of war, Trench Poetry soon became one of the most significant literary moments of its decade.
The marriage of poetry and comics is a deeply fruitful combination, as evidenced by this collection. In stark black and white, the words of the Trench Poets find dramatic expression and reinterpretation through the minds and pens of some of the greatest cartoonists working today.
I have been fascinated by the Trench Poets ever since I read Anne Perry’s World War I series. She started each book section with a passage of poetry of the time, and I was intrigued enough to buy a collection and read it in its entirety. When I received First Second’s offerings for review, I was so excited to see Trench Poetry paired with the art of some very talented graphic novelists. The two genres complement each other, and the stark, black-and-white images give the verse an immediacy I didn’t experience when reading the poetry alone. This is truly a must-have for anyone interested in World War I, and especially for those who are interested in a fresh presentation of an era of poetry that should never be forgotten.
Title: House & Home
Author: Kathleen McCleary
Genre: Contemporary fiction, women’s fiction
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from my personal library
Number of pages: 259
First line: The house was yellow, a clapboard Cape Cod with a white picket fence and a big bay window on one side, and Ellen loved it with all her heart.
Goodreads blurb: Ellen Flanagan has two precious girls to raise, a cozy neighborhood coffee shop to run, terrific friends, and a sexy husband. She adores her house, a yellow Cape Cod filled with quirky antiques, beloved nooks and dents, and a million memories. But now, at forty-four, she’s about to lose it all. After eighteen roller-coaster years of marriage, Ellen’s husband, Sam–who’s charismatic, spontaneous, and utterly irresponsible–has disappointed her in more ways than she can live with, and they’re getting divorced. Her daughters are miserable about losing their daddy. Worst of all, the house that Ellen loves with all her heart must now be sold. Ellen’s life is further complicated by a lovely and unexpected relationship with the husband of the shrewish, social-climbing woman who has purchased the house.
I’ve had House and Home on my shelf for what seems like forever, and I finally got around to reading it. It seemed like a good choice for summer – and it was a pleasant enough read. But when I compare it to some of my favorite women’s fiction, like that of Marisa de los Santos, it seems innocuous and shallow. I was interested in how things worked out, but not emotionally invested in the characters. I don’t regret reading it, but it isn’t a book that will stick with me very long.