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Weekly Reads: Week 11

The past week was rather hectic after the time-change havoc, I still have yet to recover. I was also quite fortunate to win tickets to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo! While I wasn’t able to finish my book that day, the rodeo was a blast! We scored front row seats for the Mutton Busting and the performer of the night, Jake Owen, brought out all the stops. Thank goodness for audio books though, or my average would have been shot!

What have you been reading lately? 

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The Lure of the Moonflower (Pink Carnation #12)
by Lauren Willig

This is the last installment of Willig’s Pink Carnation series, and while I’ve only read two others from the series, I think it’s her best. The series is an excellent pick for a light read between serious works, and the narrator of the audio versions, Kate Reading, is amazing!

I did find the Lure of the Moonflower had more substance than its predecessors, but comparing it to the first installment, in which the spies find themselves botching a stake-out because they start making out, how could it not be? Willig manages to sneak in some social commentary as several passages are devoted to social hierarchy, both in the case of women and of racial differences. But fear not dear readers, all’s well that ends well, and the Pink Carnation lands happily at the feet of her knight in shining armor.

Rating: 4 Stars

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Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness
by Susannah Cahalan

In Brain on Fire, Susanna Cahalan goes through each terrifying detail of her maddening illness. At the age of 24, she’s landed her dream job as a reporter for a top New York City paper and has just met the man of her dreams, but soon she starts exhibiting bipolar behavior and it only gets worse from there. Her experience proves that diagnosis is the first step to recovery, but not all doctors are capable, or willing, to spend enough time or resources to catch such a rare neurological autoimmune disease as hers. You must always be your own advocate for the sake of your well-being and health.

I first found Brain on Fire while searching for audio books on Overdrive. The extent of the main character’s illness was intriguing, but upon finding the book is a memoir, that this actually happened to her, sealed the deal. The narrator of the audio version, Heather Henderson, is excellent. She perfectly conveys the madness that swept over Susannah as the disease controlled her body; however, some passages are very difficult to finish due to the extent of her illness and may not be suitable for all readers.

Rating:  5 Stars

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The Passenger: A Novel
by F. R. Tallis

The Passenger is a gripping tale of a German submarine haunted by the lingering spirit of a mysterious prisoner picked up during a top secret mission off the coast of Iceland. U-330, commanded by Siegfried Lorenz, a German officer doubtful of his cause in the war, is left battered and bruised, barely able to return to base, after numerous attacks and deep sea dives.  Fearing for their lives, the men find their situation overwhelmingly hopeless as they are plagued by mysterious attacks from within their own ship.

The novel presents a unique perspective on the war, as the men take their positions against unimaginable of forces. Between the isolation of being at sea and the helplessness the men experience facing freezing temperatures and constant attacks, the novel is already fearsome. Adding the mysterious strangers, a British officer and a Norwegian professor who is obsessed with Nordic runes, the scene is made positively eerie, a horror story for the lover of historical fiction.

Rating: 4 Stars

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The Weight of Blood
by Laura McHugh

The Weight of Blood is set in a small town in the Ozarks, where folks have nothing better to do than spread gossip and scorn outsiders. Lucy Dane’s mother had mysteriously disappeared when she was a child, but after a friend is gruesomely murdered Lucy finds herself haunted by the memory of both and an overwhelming stream of guilt for failing to protect them. The novel takes a dark turn as Lucy makes a discovery incriminating her own family, bringing her loyalties into question.

The novel takes place just as Lucy is about to finish her last year of high school, a time in life when ties to family are strengthened or released. And while the central story is set around Lucy and her family, a pity family drama this story is not. Though the ending is predictable, it is satisfying as Lucy proves one girl can make a difference in the world.

Rating: 4 Stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

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