July 2022–Part One

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.

Book #1:

Unmasked: My Life Solving America’s Cold Cases by Paul Holes (Length: 279 pages).  I first learned of Paul Holes when reading Michelle McNamara’s I’ll be Gone in the Dark, which I insist is the best true-crime book every written, period. Paul Hole discusses the Golden State Killer case covered by Michelle in her book in his book too, and how, after 24 years, he discovered the GSK’s true identity, just after Michelle passed away. Paul also discusses his professional evolution from lab tech to criminalist to detective, and how his obsessive focus and personality affected his personal life. This book is very well-written (his co-author won a Pulitzer Prize for news reporting) and contains lots of interesting details about his life’s work. Excellent book and I recommend to any mystery and true-crime book lover.

Book #2:

The Arc by Tory Henwood Hoen (Length: 344 pages).  People whose opinion I respect recommended this romance to me and I agree with their recommendation for sure. Ursula and Rafael are matched, courtesy of an uber-expensive ($40,000-50,000!) and high-tech dating service in New York City called “The Arc.” I adored the NYC setting here, the character development is very well-done, the characters’ snappy and witty dialogue sings on the pages and it’s very well-paced in terms of plot. A bit formulaic as most romances go, and for the love of GOD, just TALK to one another, but I guess that’s something that makes romance novels go round? This is something different though, and I absolutely recommend this to any discerning romance reader.

Book #3:

Welcome to the School by the Sea by Jenny Colgan (Length: 292 pages).  I adore Jenny Colgan’s books so when I saw she was re-releasing books she wrote over a decade ago under a pen name, I grabbed this one, the first in what will be a series of 6 books set in an elite girls’ boarding school by the sea in Cornwall, England. This series is geared toward adult women who are nostalgic for boarding school books but written from the point of view of adults. In this first book, the protagonist is a newer teacher from Scotland who accepts a job at this school coming from a more rough and tumble public school that she herself attended as a child. I do agree with reviewers here who wonder about Jenny Colgan’s obsession with the weight of her characters, but overall, I found this was an easy and fun read and a great way to spend an afternoon by the pool.

Book #4:

The Island by Adrian McKinty (Length: 385 pages).  This is a thriller (physical not psychological) set on a small island in Australia, where a family is stranded after things go awry during a quick drive around the island for the kids to see koala bears in the wild. There is minimal character development here, so you are reading this for the propulsive plot only (otherwise you will be eye-rolling the entire way through about WHY characters are acting the way that they are). This reads like a movie and sure enough, it’s already scheduled to be on Hulu as an original series. Think Deliverance plus Survivor on this one and enjoy this fun ride for summer! Perfect beach or travel read so long as your check your disbelief at the door.

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