When I read Ready Player One it reminded me of a cross between the last Harry Potter book and Hunger Games with the same premise of a lone teen battling evil. The book is set in the United States in the year 2044 when things have gone bad due to climate change and poverty. Wade Watts is an impoverished 18-year-old orphan living in a vertical trailer park called the “stacks”. He has rigged up a junked van as his sanctuary where he can log into his virtual school and spend all of his free time in the virtual world of OASIS.
I am a huge Lisa Scottoline fan. Her suspense novels are fabulous and keep me guessing to the very last page. Who knew she could also write humor? Scottoline and her daughter, Francesca Serritella, teamed up to put together one of the funniest books I have read in a long time. Titled Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim, the book caught my eye on the new nonfiction shelves the other day and I read it last night from cover to cover. It is hilarious!
St. Patrick’s Day is coming, so here is a fun book to celebrate Irish storytelling. The Pig Did It by Joseph Caldwell is the first book in a humorous trilogy set in present day Ireland. The main character, Aaron McCloud, goes to Ireland from New York to see his Aunt Kitty and brood about his bad luck in love. Aunt Kitty is close to Aaron’s age and writes “corrected’ versions of classic novels. On the bus to Kitty’s house, some loose pigs are blocking the road, and Aaron helps round them up only to find himself stranded with a pig no one claims.
Touch and Go, the new thriller by Lisa Gardner, can only be described as an edge-of-your seat thrill ride. The story features the kidnapping of a high-flying CEO Justin Denbe, along with his wife, Libby, and their teenage daughter Ashlyn. The Denbe's have the kind of life you read about in the pages of a glossy magazine; a gorgeous brownstone on a tree-lined street in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood, a great marriage, a perfect life.
Susan Wiggs is my go-to author when I need a lift. I'd been feeling a bit under the weather for the past week so I scooped up Return to Willow Lake, her latest in the Lakeshore Chronicles series. You can tell from the majority of my blog posts that romance is my favorite genre, but Return to Willow Lake is so much more than just a romance novel. This is a book about family and what's really important in life. Sonnet Romano has always been an overachiever. She works in New York at a worldwide agency that helps underprivileged children.
With Valentine's Day just a few days away, I thought it would be a perfect time to highlight what I consider one of the best romantic trilogies I have read in a long time, The Rosewood Trilogy by Laura Moore. I read the first of the trilogy, Remember Me, last summer. The first book introduces you to the Radcliffe sisters, Margot, Jordan, and Jade, with the focus on Margot. At 18 years of age, Margot leaves home to become a model after her father refuses to let her help manage Rosewood, the family horse-breeding farm in Virginia -- and the man she loves has cast her aside.
I like reading historical fiction because it puts a human face on historical events. Different books that cover the same historical period have different points of view and add to understanding that period. I recently read 2 novels on the Civil War set in Washington, DC and 2 novels on Mormon life in the 19th century. All four novels feature strong female characters.
Close Is Fine is a collection of 8 short stories featuring people who live and work on farms, at blue-collar jobs, and in the forests and taverns of Wisconsin, especially the area around Antigo and Shawano, and is a good choice for people who appreciate reflective, character-driven stories with a Wisconsin connection. These are not stories of dramatic redemption or tearful endings. The appeal of the stories is in the description of one particular event that happens to an ordinary individual at one point in time.
Vince Flynn is an author I turn to when I am in the mood for action and suspense. Last Man, the author's latest installment in the Mitch Rapp series, was just what I was looking for. It is a fast paced thriller set in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and as in other books in this series, it highlights numerous challenges faced by Mitch Rapp as a CIA operative. And, I do mean numerous. First, the head of CIA operations in Afghanistan is kidnapped and his bodyguards executed. Next, Mitch uncovers a global plot to discredit the United States and expose many of the CIA's hidden secrets.
Need a little holiday spirit? Is the hustle and bustle of this time of year getting you down? Try reading a good book with a holiday theme to make your spirit bright. Two of my favorites this year are A Winter Dream by Richard Paul Evans, and Angels at the Table by Debbie Macomber. Newly released, and just in time for the holidays, both of these quick reads touch on the true meaning of caring, sharing, family and forgiveness.