Hey friends! If you are just popping in, I am a bit behind on posting my book reviews this year. I usually share what I’m reading each month, but most of my writing time was set aside to work on my book. So while I am in between drafts, I am trying to catch up on sharing what I’ve read so far this year.
Here are the books hanging out in my adult fiction book stack. Shiver and if i stay trend more towards a younger audience. But since I wouldn’t recommend either for teens, I am including them in this stack instead. My YA book reviews will be posted next. For now, here’s a few thoughts on my adult fiction book stack.
Atomic Love by Jennie Fields
I picked this book up when we were on vacation. Believe it or not, it was the least “romance-looking” title available! A combination of historical fiction, spy novel, and romance, Atomic Love introduces the readers to Rosalind Porter, the only female scientist who worked on the Manhatten Project, which birthed the atomic bomb.
The story picks up in Chicago in 1950, five years after the bomb dropped. The FBI suspects Rosalind’s former boyfriend and colleague, Thomas Weaver, of sharing nuclear secrets with the Soviets. Enter Charlie, a dashing (but slightly damaged) FBI agent who convinces Rosalind to spy on Weaver for the sake of her country. She is torn between loyalty to the man she once loved, guilt over their shared sins, and hope for a redeemed future… and the potential for new love.
Because I really love historical fiction and this was an untapped era for me, I enjoyed the novel. But it was definitely more of a romance than spy thriller, while I was kind of hoping for the opposite.
The Memoir Club by Laura Kalpakian
Okay, y’all, I really enjoyed this adult fiction book. I was looking for a fiction book about writers and stumbled across this one, and I’m so glad I did!
The Memoir Club, comprised of six very different women, forms when they happen to meet in an evening writing class at the local college. As they learn about their craft, they also learn about one another and themselves, creating a bond that proves unbreakable.
The diverse nature of the characters intrigued me, and I was captivated with how Kalpakian unravels their individual and combined stories. I also really appreciated how she basically teaches a class on memoir writing as the book progresses through each character’s discoveries.
The Lost Girls of Willowbrook by Ellen Marie Wiseman
The Lost Girls of Willowbrook is part historical fiction, part murder mystery, and an overall enjoyable book. Set in Staten Island, New York in the early 1970’s, the story centers around the disappearance of Rosemary, a teenage girl sent years earlier to a mental institution (known to most people as Willowbrook School).
When her twin sister, Sage, discovers Rosemary is missing, she hurries to Willowbrook to try to help find her. What follows is a terrifying tale of mistaken identity, revealing the horrors of life inside the overcrowded institution, and Sage’s desperate plight to uncover the truth of what happened to her sister.
The author includes a section at the end in which she outlines which parts of the book are historically accurate and what is purely fiction, which I appreciate. While the writing style of this novel suits teen readers better than adults, the storyline engaged me and held my interest. I found the ending somewhat predictable, but still enjoyable nonetheless.
if i stay by Gayle Forman
I have had this book on my list for a long time and finally got around to reading it after I picked it up at my local used bookstore this summer. A teenage girl, Mia, and her family are in a tragic car accident, leaving her in a coma. Written from her point of view as she narrates the events following the accident, this style creates a unique perspective for the readers.
Although this is in my adult fiction book stack, they are written for a teen audience. I usually love YA novels, but I had a difficult time connecting with the characters in this story. I thought the relationship she painted between Mia and her grandfather was really sweet; other than that, it was just sort of meh to me. Forman’s writing style sits squarely on the line between creative and cheesy. I found it a bit of a stretch in places, but a younger me may have enjoyed those passages considerably more, so I’m not casting judgement.
This is not a book that promotes positive values or healthy relationships, for sure. However, overall it is an intriguing concept and could easily prompt some fantastic discussions with teens on all sorts of topics, such as what happens when someone dies, whether they are for or against life support, and other questions centering around family dynamics and healthy friendships/dating relationships. This book won’t make it on my “read it again” list, but I enjoyed it.
The House on Tradd Street by Karen White
I also picked this book up at the used bookstore just for something fun to read. Part mystery, part romance, and part ghost-story, this book did not disappoint.
Set in historic Charleston, Karen White weaves the story of a workaholic realtor, Melanie, who unexpectedly inherits an old historic home, and Jack, the attractive mystery writer who shows up out of the blue hoping to help her unravel its many secrets. The old idea that opposites attract plays out like a Hallmark movie, along with a hippie best friend, a (bad) love triangle, and a few ghosts thrown in for good measure.
This was a great summer read. Not too deep, not too emotionally draining, and entertaining enough to keep me reading. If this is your genre, The House on Tradd Street is the first book in the Tradd Street series, so you will likely want to read the others, too.
Shiver by Allie Reynolds
If you are in the mood for a thrilling winter mystery, YA style, Shiver is the perfect book for you. A group of friends receive an invitation to spend a weekend together at a French ski resort; the same resort where they spent a summer in France training for a professional snowboard competition ten years earlier. However once they arrive, they find the resort deserted, and strange, unexplainable things start happening.
The story bounces back and forth between that summer long ago and the present, unraveling the mystery of a missing girl whose fate remains unknown. As their entangled relationships resurface, no one knows who to trust. But will they make it out alive if they can’t trust one another?
Just fyi (for parents), while this is written more towards a younger adult audience, the language and sex scenes in this book are not appropriate for teens IMO. Still, as an adult, I enjoyed it immensely. It kept me reading and guessing all the way through!
Well, that’s it so far for my Adult Fiction Book Stack. Next up will be my Young Adult Book Stack! And if you’re interested in Christian non-fiction, be sure to check out my reviews on those book stacks in PART ONE and PART TWO.
Have you read any of these books? What did you think?
And as always, I am open to suggestions on what to read next.
What’s on your nightstand?