Thank you for joining me here! I hope you enjoy this series and I’d love to hear from you about what you are reading these days.
Dear Bob and Sue Season 3 by Matt and Karen Smith (Length: 345 pages). This is the fourth book I’ve read by this couple, so I’m obviously a fan. Again, I listened to this one and it makes a fantastic road trip (or even daily commute) audiobook. In this book, Matt and Karen venture to several different national parks and monuments, including down to Tucson, AZ (which I loved!), Glacier National Park, Alaska a few times and Yellowstone. The audiobook features the same narrators as the second season, but they didn’t annoy me as much this time around for some reason. I loved the authors’ Bison Tour of 2018 especially, and their personal anecdotes and trip details are a delight to read/listen to. Please check them out!
The Husbands by Chandler Baker (Length: 349 pages). When I first heard the premise of this novel I thought, Stepford Wives but with husbands. That wasn’t too far off. Part psychological thriller, a teensy part horror/gore and part standard fictional novel. The plot is definitely propulsive because you “have” to find out how it ends, but the “how” of it is very easy to figure out as the author’s clues are way too obvious. The ending also struck me as a bit odd given what we learned about the characters in the book, but maybe that’s just me. You absolutely will need to suspend your disbelief to enjoy this novel. While I don’t think this quite lives up to its hype, I enjoyed it for what it is–an easy, fun summer read.
The Divorce Party by Laura Dave (Length: 268 pages). I enjoyed this author’s The Last Thing He Ever Told Me (which I reviewed here in September of 2021), so I was looking forward to this one. This primarily character-driven novel features the story of two parallel marriages (one ending and one just beginning). Gwyn and Thomas are separating after 35 years of marriage, and are throwing a Divorce Party on their anniversary; Nate, their son, is about to marry Maggie, and brings her to his parent’s famous house on the island of Montauk to meet his parents for the first time, at the party. The author slowly reveals the older couple’s real reason for divorcing while also revealing the secrets Nate has kept from Maggie, and parallels abound. I do enjoy a good family drama, and the writing is very strong here. But I ultimately finished this book feeling like the character development was too surface . . . perhaps because we are only hearing from Maggie and Gwyn, and not from Nate and his father? So you, as a reader, find out what happens but not really “why”. The ending is sad, which is predictable from the minute you start reading it, so if you’re going to read this, read it for the character development, not the plot.
The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn (Length: 447 pages). I’ve mentioned here before that I’m a bit burned out on historical fiction, especially fiction about World War 2. It’s difficult to find a new and different retelling. Well, this is one! This is my second Kate Quinn book, and I’m officially a fan (I’ve got her other 2 most popular books in the queue). My book club is reading this pick and I am very excited to discuss it with my group of smart women because it’s fantastic! Based on the true story of Mila, a female sniper in the Russian Red Army who had 309 confirmed kills of Hitlerites (and likely dozens more than the official total), this is a wild ride. The author based this novel on Mila’s own memoir, with the addition of a few more characters to flesh out the narrative. My only (small) complaint is that the ending (in Rock Creek Park in Washington DC) was very “Hollywood” and I’m not sure I feel better or worse knowing that the author just made that part up. The entire ride is fun, the plot is absolutely propulsive, I loved the friendship Mila enjoyed with Eleanor Roosevelt and the romance(s) were well-done and not cheesy. Read this!! You will NOT regret it.