I guess it has to do with the fact that summer is so close I can almost touch it (i.e. extra time) and TONS of my favorite bloggers have been posting “beach read” recommendations etc., but I am on a serious reading kick right now… I plan to share my own Summer Reading List with you next week; but, for now, here are two books I’ve read recently:
Hidden by Catherine McKenzie
(Image & book description from Amazon)
While walking home from work one evening, Jeff Manning is struck by a car and killed. Two women fall to pieces at the news: his wife, Claire, and his co-worker Tish. Reeling from her loss, Claire must comfort her grieving son as well as contend with funeral arrangements, well-meaning family members, and the arrival of Jeff’s estranged brother, who was her ex-boyfriend. Tish volunteers to attend the funeral on her company’s behalf, but only she knows the true risk of inserting herself into the wreckage of Jeff’s life.
Told through the three voices of Jeff, Tish, and Claire, Hidden explores the complexity of relationships, the repercussions of our personal choices, and the responsibilities we have to the ones we love.
To be honest, I didn’t put a lot of thought into choosing this book – it was a “free rental” on Kindle, and it was brand new by a well-known author (although I’d never read anything by McKenzie before), so I started reading it almost immediately after I finished Panic. In hindsight, I don’t think I would have chosen this book if I had realized that it is 98% about a cheating husband (named Jeff, no less) with very little other plot development or twists – the “teaser” is deceiving in that sense. It kept my attention and was a quick read, but now – about a month after I finished it – it could be any one of the handful of other “cheating” books I’ve read. (I don’t particularly like that storyline, but I feel like I’ve read a few with it in the last year or so… Maybe I’m just over it in general.) I didn’t feel like any of the three characters/storylines were particularly well-developed, and the book ended without any real answers or resolution. Overall, I would give it about a 5 on a scale of 1 – 10. I’m not mad that I read it, but I’m definitely glad I didn’t pay for it. 😉
Defending Jacob by William Landay
(Image & book description from Amazon)
Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney for two decades. He is respected. Admired in the courtroom. Happy at home with the loves of his life, his wife, Laurie, and teenage son, Jacob.
Then Andy’s quiet suburb is stunned by a shocking crime: a young boy stabbed to death in a leafy park. And an even greater shock: The accused is Andy’s own son – shy, awkward, mysterious Jacob.
Andy believes in Jacob’s innocence. Any parent would. But the pressure mounts. Damning evidence. Doubt. A faltering marriage. The neighbors’ contempt. A murder trial that threatens to obliterate Andy’s family.
It is the ultimate test for any parent: How far would you go to protect your child? It is a test of devotion. A test of how well a parent can know a child. For Andy Barber, a man with an iron will and a dark secret, it is a test of guilt and innocence in the deepest sense.
How far would you go?
Ok, this was MUCH more up my alley! I found it after reading The Blue-Eyed Bride’s “Books I Read” post last month, and I think I should really stick to reading novels that come recommended from “reliable sources” for a while. 🙂 I liked this one a lot. There was just enough suspense and originality to keep my turning pages and anxious to read it every chance I got. I pretty much flew through all 431 pages.
The basic story line wasn’t entirely unfamiliar to me (I remember seeing a movie with a similar plot about a father defending his son who was accused of murder when I was much younger and being totally shaken by it), but Landay incorporated lots of twists to keep me engaged. It was obviously very well researched – in fact, I think some of the courtroom/legal drama could hit a little too close to home for someone who has been through anything like it in real life – and the main character, especially, was relatable and well-developed. I also really liked the main character’s relationship with his wife – it seemed like a (mostly) healthy, but realistic – given the circumstances – marriage, which you honestly don’t see much of in pop literature. I could relate a lot to her as a mother as well! Like Erin said, this book made me think about how far I would go to defend my own family and definitely made me think. The ending completely shocked me and made me appreciate the rest of the book that much more. My only complaint is that it could have been a tiny bit shorter – towards the middle/end, I thought it got a bit repetitive. But, I would definitely recommend it. Plus, it’s only $2.99 on Kindle, so there really isn’t much to lose. 🙂 Overall, I’d rate this one an 8 out of 10 (I’m a tough scorer y’all, so this is high), and would read something else from Landay in a heartbeat.
I’m about halfway through Maxed Out: American Moms on the Brink by Katrina Alcorn and Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. I have to say I’m having trouble getting into Bernadette, which is surprising because it has received so much hype from bloggers/friends/etc. But, I LOVE Maxed Out so far. *Funny story about that one, I ordered it one afternoon last week, but when it showed up on our credit card statement from Amazon it said it was purchased at 4:30AM. Jeff texted me and said, “Did you order a book called “American Moms on the Brink” at 4:30AM? Are you OK?” Haha! I’m definitely not on the brink (right now), but I do appreciate well-told stories and research from fellow working moms. That’s all. 🙂
So, have you read any of these? What’s next on your list?
Have a great weekend friends!
Madeline @ Create Bake Celebrate says
I couldn’t get into Bernadette either! And I never ended up liking it very much. Glad someone else agrees!
I read Defending Jacob with my book club a while ago and remember liking it. I also read Where’d You Go, Bernadette last month for book club. I totally couldn’t get into it, either- I even skipped ahead and read the ending. I did go back and finish it, and I’m really glad I did. I ended up really liking it! Give it some time!
I just want to say I love these “What I’m Reading” and book list posts you’ve been doing lately. I’m always looking for a good book to read, although I have little time to actually sit down and read usually. I’ve been utilizing my local library and trying to avoid my previous book hoarding habit of my younger years, haha. Please continue to share the books you’ve read- good, bad, and thought-provoking. These posts are much appreciated! 🙂
I just finished the Divergent series. I didn’t really care what happened by the time I got to the end of Allegiant but I figured I had read so much already I had to finish it. Before that it was Cutting for Stone. Not something I would normally pick up but I loved it! Next is some Maya Angelou.
I really didn’t like Bernadette either! I thought it was completely unrealistic and I couldn’t connect with the characters at all. I thought maybe it was because of the voice, or lack thereof, that the story was told in. I wasn’t a fan of gleaning info from the letters, emails, etc.
Hi E, I’m curious to know if you’ve read “The Fault in Our Stars” and if so, what your thoughts on it are!