There is absolutely no common thread in any of the books I’m talking about this week. I mean, it is the mishiest mashiest roundup. Some weeks are like that, though. And other weeks you binge read a bunch of romance novels featuring blue aliens… Oh wait. I’m telling you about those NEXT week. Despite being disparate, this week’s selection of recent reads were all pretty great for different reasons, so let’s talk about them, shall we?
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by VE Schwab- This book was popping up everywhere for a while and I finally got around to reading it. Well, listening to it. Funnily enough I’d been thinking “sheesh, I haven’t heard a Julia Whelan narration in a while” and then I listened to two back to back. In early 18th Century France, young Addie LaRue strikes a bargain. In an attempt to escape a loveless marriage and a provincial life (insert Belle singing here), Addie signs away her soul… As one does when there is no enchanted palace with a Beast hanging about the countryside. Anyway. The terms of Addie’s bargain are very Monkey’s Paw– you know, you ask for one thing and you get that specific thing, but everything surrounding it is a giant twisted suckfest? It’s like that. Because Addie, for all her newfound freedom, is completely forgotten. By everyone. The minute they leave her presence. That is, until 300 years later, when a young man in a quiet book store finally remembers her. I really enjoyed this book. It’s a bit on the brooding side, but what “deal with the devil” book isn’t? It’s thought provoking and lovely.
People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry- I looooooved Beach Read (review) so it was only a matter of time before I checked out Emily Henry’s latest, People We Meet on Vacation. Poppy and Alex are best friends. While in college together, the two started a tradition of taking a summer trip together each year, and it’s a tradition they’ve continued for years. Until they didn’t. Poppy is feeling unmoored in her life despite seemingly having reached all her goals, and she’s come to the conclusion that the missing component is her summer trip with Alex. She’s determined to win back her best friend and travel companion, so she approaches him with the idea of taking one more trip together… Despite not having spoken for 2 years. But once they’re together again it seems like old times. The banter! The fun! The adventure! The intense unrequited romantic feelings! Wait… what? Watching Poppy figure herself out is a punch in the feels, and Julia Whelan’s narration was so phenomenal. She’s just so good at putting all the emotion into her readings. Sigh. Anyway. This book is wonderful. It’s not as lighthearted as most of the rom-coms I read, but it’s definitely funny and sexy and swoony. Big thumbs up.
Clay’s Ark by Octavia Butler- This is the third installment in The Patternist Series, and it took me quite a while to figure out exactly how this book was connected to the previous two. Eventually a throwaway line made it clear to me how they fit together, but it was a complete departure from the original storyline. No people with special telepathic or healing or shape shifting abilities here. Just people harboring an alien parasite attempting to contain it before it runs roughshod over what’s left of the Earth. Creepily, this book is set right about now. Thankfully, the backdrop of Earth right now isn’t quite as apocalyptic as in Butler’s vision, but let’s not let it get that bad, OK? A family is abducted off the highway and taken to a ranch with a bunch of clearly unusual people. They’re not sure if the group is a cult or what, but it’s scary and they want OUT. Only the cult won’t let them leave because they’re already infected with alien germs. It’s a problem. This is sort of a plague book plus kidnapper thriller plus bleak dystopian nightmare. Not exactly light reading. But it is compelling.
That’s all I’ve got for you this week, so I’m going to get back to my binge listen of the blue alien hunks, K? Sorry not sorry.
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I loved Addie LaRue!!