This is the current state of my To-Be-Read piles. Independent Bookstore day this past weekend and a book sale at my library all contributed. PLUS, two new books that I couldn’t wait to read came out on Tuesday and I NEEDED them too!
But, that’s not why you’re here. You want some juicy book recommendations. So, here are some of the books that I read in the past few weeks that you might like!
One of the hottest books of the year so far was part of my Book of the Month package this last go around.
Exit West: A Novel by Mohsin Hamid
The story follows a pair of lovers who use a series of secret doors to flee their war torn city. In the time of refugee panic and immigration bans, this book is highly relevant to today’s mess. While never explicitly said, I took the country they fled to be Syria. It was overtaken by militants that were vaguely ISIS reminiscent. When it becomes too much for the two people, they finally flee. Leaving behind their friends, their jobs, and their families, they spend money to traverse the secret doors to Greece, Sweden, London and finally America. The journey is both a physical one and an emotional one, that we find the two drifting together and drifting apart as their journey continues. We meet refugees from all over the world, and learn that we are all refugees in someway or another. Great book.
Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave
A WWII book. This was an impulse buy at BJ’s one day (one of my favorite places to buy books). I’m sort of on a WWII kick lately (followed closely by Victorian era detectives). The book follows Mary North, an aristocratic woman who desperately wants to be part of the war effort. Thinking she would be a spy or code breaker, she reports to her first job to bind out she’s a been assigned a teaching job. She throws herself into the task fully and finds she actually likes helping. Through teaching she meets Tom and his roommate Alistair. We follow the trials and tribulations of war torn London bombarded by the Blitz.
I haven’t read too much about the Blitz itself, but this book really puts it forward in vivid detail. There is one part that I actually had to put the book down for a few minutes because it was so affecting. Reading the author notes, I found out it was based on letters from the author’s grandparents. Knowing the love story in the book is based on mostly true events, it makes the story all the more real.
Called to Justice (A Quaker Midwife Mystery) by Edith Maxwell
Okay, don’t let the Quaker thing freak you out. I honestly didn’t know what to expect….all those “thou” and “thy” talk, the pacifist thing, I dunno….it didn’t seem like my jam. Well, I spoke to Edith at a Sisters in Crime Event so I decided to check out the first in the series. This is the second book and I’m addicted.
Set in Massachusetts, this series follows Quaker Rose Carroll and her career as a midwife. She lives in a town that has accepted the Quaker’s and also leaves her time to spend with her non-Quaker doctor boyfriend. In this story, a young woman confides in Rose that she is pregnant and conflicted. Shortly after, she is found dead and a fellow Quaker is accused of the murder. Not helping things is the fact the suspect is a free man in slave owning times. Granted, not that there were slaves in Massachusetts, but there was still heavy racism flowing through the town. The mystery deepens and Rose finds herself trying to help her fellow ‘Friend” and get justice for the young woman.
The historical stuff is great…it’s fun to see your state in a different light. The midwife stuff was a little graphic for me, so I tended to skim over that stuff. But still a super enjoyable mystery series!
In regards to my own writing. Finished some more edits, submitted a few more short stories, and have been querying like a crazy person. Two more conferences this coming summer and fall that will hopefully help move this baby along!