Recent Reads // vol. 5

Recent Reads vol 2 graphic

Recent Reads is a series for me to feature the last five books I’ve read (or experienced) along with my verdicts.

This year, I’ve based my reading goals on Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 2018 Reading Challenge (listed here). I like that I was strategic about my book choices on the front end, and so far, so good. I’ve enjoyed almost every book on my list thus far (I’ve only abandoned one book — more on that in another post), and I’ve left enough room for the spontaneous reads that are starting to crowd my Kindle e-shelf.

Here’s my 2018 Reading Challenge list if you’d like to take a look.

Here we go…


Station Eleven
by Emily St. John Mandel

Reading Challenge Category:
Other books I planned to read

Station Eleven is a genre-bending novel about a society-ending pandemic and its aftermath. I started reading Station Eleven right as I was coming down with a double-ear & sinus infection, so I had to press pause on it since it got A LITTLE TOO REAL for a moment. After I recovered, however, I was able to finish. My favorite aspect of Station Eleven was the characters and their arcs — we see each major character before, during, and after the pandemic. I’d never read Emily St. John Mandel, but I was impressed with the lush world she created.


Magpie Murders
by Anthony Horowitz

Reading Challenge Categories:
A book that’s more than 500 pages

I loved this murder-mystery-within-a-murder-mystery. The story begins with Susan, editor of notable author Alan Conway, giving us a warning that the book we’re about to read changed her life. Magpie Murders is the final novel from Conway, an author of throwback mystery novels featuring a detective reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s famous detective Hercule Poirot. Just before the murderer within Conway’s novel is revealed, we are transported back to Susan’s story of finding its missing last chapters, realizing that the novel and real life may be intrinsically linked.

It also has a great first line (which I featured on my @lovefirstline Insta account):

Horowitz_Magpie Murders.png


Veronica Mars: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line
by Rob Thomas

I consider myself a marshmallow (a Veronica Mars superfan). I’ve watched every episode and the movie at least three times, and I was pumped to learn that the book series picks up two months after the film. I experienced the book on audio: Kristen Bell narrates and it was part of a two-for-one credit sale on Audible. It was great.

Even in novel form, Thomas recreated the voice of each character, as well as the tone and atmosphere of Neptune (Veronica’s hometown), which is so important to the show. It’s best to experience the series in its intended order, but if you don’t mind filling in your gaps of understanding you could enjoy it as a standalone.


Brooklyn
by Colm Tóibín

Reading Challenge Category:
Other books I planned to read

Now one of my all-time faves.

Brooklyn is the sweetest story set in the early 1950s between Ireland and Brooklyn. Eilis Lacey must leave her tiny Irish hometown for a job opportunity in Brooklyn. She is homesick at first, but she eventually finds her place with her new job, community, and night classes at Brooklyn College. At a Friday-night dance, Eilis meets and falls in love with Tony, a young, kindhearted Italian man. A crisis brings Eilis back to Ireland, and she must ultimately decide where her true home is after all she has experienced.

Eilis is a sympathetic and realistic character, and the writing is simply gorgeous. I loved the film version, which is also gorgeous and perfect. It’s so rare for a novel and its film to be equals.


Stella by Starlight
by Sharon M. Draper

Reading Challenge Category:
A book by an author of a different race, ethnicity, or religion than your own

This middle-grade novel caught my eye when it was an Audible deal of the day. Stella is a girl growing up in Depression-era North Carolina. In the opening scene, Stella and her younger brother witness a KKK meeting in the middle of the night and they quickly realize the danger that is present in their hometown of Bumblebee.

I was impressed with Draper’s ability to write about such difficult topics for younger children. Also, since music is a significant part of the plot, I especially enjoyed the audiobook narrated by Heather Alicia Simms.


Looking for more great book recommendations? Here’s volume 1volume 2volume 3, and volume 4.

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