Friday, May 25, 2018

May Reading - Mini Book Reviews

Technically, May isn't over but today is the last day of school so I already know my time to read will be limited for the next few months. Here are some mini reviews of the books I've read or listened to this month. Thanks to Blue Rider Press, Putnam and Penguin for the review books.

Dead Pretty by David Mark is a police procedural following Detective Sergeant Aector McAvoy. He's determined to find out what happened to Hannah Kelly. The missing girl has gotten into his mind and he can't rest until she is found. In the meantime, McAvoy's boss Trish Pharaoh is getting too close to Reuben Hollow who has been released from prison after testimony against him is found to be tainted. Pharaoh's reputation is at risk.

Dead Pretty is part of a series following McAvoy and though it reads fine on its own, I'm sure people invested in the series will like it better than I did. I think I'm just really tired of police procedural detective stories right now. I'm not sure why I decided to read so many this spring but it might be awhile before I pick another one up.

The mystery moves along at a fairly steady pace and there are moments of real terror. I never got invested in it and finished only because I wanted to see if I had accurately solved the mystery, which I had. Fans of the series will probably continue to enjoy this next installment.

Dead Pretty by David Mark is published by Blue Rider Press and released May 8, 2018.

**I received a complimentary copy of the novel. This review reflects my honest opinions. No compensation was received.**

Tin Man by Sarah Winman is the beautiful and haunting story of a deep friendship between Ellis and Michael. Meeting as children during a turbulent time in both of their lives, they forged a bond that was profound but not immune to the hazards of life.

I picked up Tin Man late at night with the intention to read for a few minutes before my eyes insisted on finding sleep. However, I was literally compelled to continue turning the pages. The emotion and lovely writing was intoxicating and I too fell in love with Ellis and Michael and Annie. It's a short novel but packed with so much tender and sensitive emotion.

Tin Man is an empathetic novel filled with love and grief and hope. The language is lyrical and captivating. I loved it.

Tin Man by Sarah Winman is published by Putnam and released on May 15, 2018.

**I received a complimentary copy of Tin Man. This review reflects my honest opinions. No compensation was received.**

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed is about a young Pakistani girl who dreams of going to college and becoming a teacher. However, an incident at the market with a powerful man puts her family at risk and she must become a servant on his estate to pay the debt. Living and working in his house, Amal becomes aware that the village rumors about the Khan family being dangerous and vicious are more than true. She will have take action to protect her own future.

Written for a young middle grade audience, Amal Unbound is a moving story about a young girl's plight and her desire to continue her education. It is a quick read and Amal faces a variety of trials to overcome from her mother's depression after the birth of another baby to a jealous fellow servant who is constantly trying to get Amal in trouble.

Amal is an admirable character of bravery and hope. It's a valuable story for all young people to recognize the plight of other children around the world. I read it quickly and will hand it off to my children.

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed is published by Nancy Paulsen Books and released on May 8, 2018. 

**I received a complimentary copy of the book. This review reflects my honest opinions. No compensation was received.**

I also listened to Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell and Beartown by Fredrick Backman on audio this month. Enjoyed them all. I haven't read Gone With the Wind since I was a young teenager and it is definitely a different experience as an adult. Beartown was gripping and important. Station Eleven was fascinating and completely different than what I expected. I couldn't help comparing it to Stephen King's The Stand.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Love and Ruin - Book Review

Martha Gellhorn is young, ambitious and already a writer when she has a chance encounter with Ernest Hemingway in a bar near the home he shared with his wife and sons in Key West, Florida. That initial meeting would begin as a mentor that could help Martha pursue her career goals and soon became a passionate and dangerous love affair with the famous writer. Paula McLain, who wrote about Hemingway's first wife in her novel The Paris Wife, revisits that iconic legend in her newest novel Love and Ruin.

I first fell in love with Ernest Hemingway when I was a sophomore in high school and read A Farewell to Arms. It's one of the few books that I regularly reread. Later I would read more of Hemingway's works and would count For Whom the Bell Tolls as my favorite.  The first thing that intrigued me about Love and Ruin and it's focus on Martha Gellhorn, Hemingway's third wife is that they spent their early romance in the midst of the Spanish Civil War which is the setting For Whom the Bell Tolls. Love and Ruin by Paula McLain tells their love story from Martha's perspective. A successful writer and an award winning journalist covering many of the wars from the twentieth century, Martha is a fascinating character.

Love and Ruin is intriguing and so well written that I was captured up in the tales of Martha's aspirations and energy. She is an amazing woman and frankly deserves to be known for her own achievements and not only as the wife of Ernest Hemingway. McLain gives her voice and power to tell her own story. The novel is romantic and dangerous and passionate as Gellhorn and Hemingway have their adventures around the globe.

I very much enjoyed learning more of Martha Gellhorn in Love and Ruin. Martha and Hemingway's tempestuous and ardent love story makes an exciting and raw novel and McLain does Martha justice.

Love and Ruin by Paula McLain is published by Ballantine Books and released May 1, 2018.

**I received a complimentary copy. This review reflects my honest opinions. No compensation was received.**