It was a pretty good reading week for me, and I’m kind of surprised to see the results. These are the books I read this week:
Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy: Cousins Liv and Nora take their respective families on a cruise over the winter holidays, expecting to have a relaxing, luxurious time. When both families go ashore in Central America for a day of adventure, a series of poor choices and unfortunate coincidences lead to a disaster of international proportions. The children are missing, and the adults are left to wait to see if they will return at all–all while passing blame to each other.
Told from multiple perspectives in a very deft, very distinctive way, Meloy’s book hooks readers from the very first page and does not let them go until the very end. I finished this book in a day, and it was wholly satisfying.
What Pet to Get? by Emma Dodd: It was an Emma Dodd themed storytime this week, so I read a bunch of Dodd’s titles in preparation. This was one of my favorites of the bunch.
A kid asks his mom what kind of pet he should get, and his suggestions tend to err on the exotic side. He weighs the pros and cons of many an animal, including a polar bear and an alligator, before finally settling on a dog–but there’s a visual joke at the end guaranteed to delight young readers.
Take Me Back by Meghan March: Dane and Kat fell in love on a beach and got married on one, too. But they’re two years into their marriage, and they might as well be strangers. Kat is obsessed with work, and Dane is drowning in his own secrets he’s kept hidden from his wife. The two decide to take a vacation to Belize in an attempt to save their marriage, but they face more challenges than they realize.
I suppose this counts as romantic suspense and will count toward my goal of reading more diverse genres, but this was not for me. I listened to this on audio, and the dual narrators helped keep the two stories separate in my head, because the writing here is not great. Flat, underdeveloped characters and a completely over-the-top premise made this one hard to stomach.
Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris: The fifth book in the Sookie Stackhouse series finds Sookie investigating a series of shootings that appear to be targeting shifters. The two-natured community is suspicious of Sookie’s brother, a newly-bitten panther, but she’s sure it’s not Jason to blame. With less than a month until the next full moon, Sookie has to work quickly to find the real culprit.
This is a reread for me that feels perfect for summer for some reason. I’ve never finished the entire series, so I’m hoping to do that this time around, but I can already feel the decline in the quality of books, which is disappointing. I love Harris as a writer, but I’m already starting to wonder if she should have quit this series while she was ahead.
Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig: Flynn’s girlfriend January is missing. When the police come to question him, he tells them that they actually broke up over a week ago. But there are other things about January that aren’t adding up. How can Flynn investigate January’s disappearance–and her many secrets–without revealing his own?
This earned a starred review from Kirkus, and it’s easy to see why: Roehrig’s debut is skillfully written and full of lots of mystery and a fair bit of suspense. But it also felt overly long to me, and the mystery itself isn’t anything new, so savvy mystery readers will have it figured out long before the thrilling climax and reveal. But the novel’s other aspects–Flynn’s struggle with his sexuality and budding romance with a guy named Kaz–are very strong and very compelling.
What did you read this week?