Surznick Reads: July 2014 - The Surznick Common Room

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Surznick Reads: July 2014

Hey there! We're fresh off the plane from San Francisco (boooo), but here's what we read this month!

Sarah's Reads!

Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris
From "With her knack for being in trouble's way, Sookie witnesses the firebombing of Merlotte's, the bar where she works. Since Sam Merlotte is now known to be two-natured, suspicion falls immediately on the anti-shifters in the area. Sookie suspects otherwise, but her attention is divided when she realizes that her lover, Eric Northman, and his "child" Pam are plotting to kill the vampire who is now their master. Gradually, Sookie is drawn into the plot-which is much more complicated than she knows..."

With the 7th and final season of True Blood starting up last month, I decided it was time to dive back into The Sookie Stackhouse Novels (aka The Southern Vampire Mysteries). I flew through the first ten books of this series last year but decided to take a break to read other books on my list. Dead Reckoning is the 11th book and I still have 2.5 more books to go! I've been a huge fan of True Blood since the very beginning (Nick and I were even Bill and Sookie for Halloween in 2009!) and reading the books has just furthered my love for the folks of Bon Temps. The books are a little ridiculous compared to the show (i.e. Elvis is a vampire and makes an apperance in almost each book...), but they're still enjoyable and super easy to read. If you're a fan of True Blood, or if you're just looking for a series about vampires, shape-shifters, werewolves, witches, fairies, etc. then this series has everything you're looking for.

My Rating: 4 Stars

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
From "On a winter night in 1964, Dr. David Henry is forced by a blizzard to deliver his own twins. His son, born first, is perfectly healthy. Yet when his daughter is born, he sees immediately that she has Down's syndrome. Rationalizing it as a need to protect Norah, his wife, he makes a split second decision that will alter all of their lives forever. He asks his nurse to take the baby away to an institution and never to reveal the secret. But Caroline, the nurse, cannot leave the infant. Instead, she disappears into another city to raise the child herself. So begins this beautifully told story that unfolds over a quarter of a century in which these two families, ignorant of each other, are yet bound by David Henry's fateful decision that long-ago winter night."

I really enjoyed this book. Not only did I find the plot interesting, but Caroline's portion of the story takes place in Pittsburgh and I LOVED reading about things and places that I know and can picture in my head. There's even a chapter where she's at the museum where I work (cool, right?!) There were a few parts of the story that dragged on and were a bit boring, but overall I was really interested in finding out how it was all going to end. Are the two families ever going to know of one another, or will they remain a secret forever? Guess you'll have to read it to find out!

My Rating: 5 Stars

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
From "Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive... Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all—she’s an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret."

This was my book club selection for the month and I loved it! The story is told from the perspectives of three different women: Cecilia, Tess, and Rachel. At first, their lives seem completely different, but as the story unfolds you see how everyone is connected. I enjoyed getting a glimpse into the life of each woman and I think it really adds to a story to get many different perspectives, as you can find different ways to relate with each character. This book was also really easy to read and the end of each chapter left you wanting to know what was going to happen next. I'm definitely interested in reading more from Moriarty!

My Rating: 5 Stars

Nick's Reads!

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
From "This second novel begins in 1940, immediately after the first book ended. Having escaped Miss Peregrine’s island by the skin of their teeth, Jacob and his new friends must journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. Along the way, they encounter new allies, a menagerie of peculiar animals, and other unexpected surprises. Complete with dozens of newly discovered (and thoroughly mesmerizing) vintage photographs, this new adventure will delight readers of all ages."

(Here's my review of book 1 and Sarah's review of books 1 and 2!)

Equally as fantastic as the first book, this was a joy to read. There is just something about the combination of his writing style, the photos, and an exciting plot that make these books so easy and fun to get into. Without giving anything away, I will say that this has a really great and refreshing plot twist at the end that beautifully sets us up for a third book. I'm very excited to read it!

My Rating: 5 Stars

Magical Thinking: True Stories by Augusten Burroughs
From "From the #1 bestselling author of Running with Scissors and Dry--a contagiously funny, heartwarming, shocking, twisted, and absolutely magical collection. True stories that give voice to the thoughts we all have but dare not mention. It begins with a Tang Instant Breakfast Drink television commercial when Augusten was seven. Then there is the contest of wills with the deranged cleaning lady. The execution of a rodent carried out with military precision and utter horror. Telemarketing revenge. Dating an undertaker and much more. A collection of true stories that are universal in their appeal yet unabashedly intimate and very funny."

I feel like I've been saying this a lot lately, but this was seriously one of the funniest books I've ever read. I laughed out loud CONSTANTLY. The title of the book didn't at all give me any indication as to what it would be like, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that they are just short stories from various periods in the author's life. I've been hearing about Augusten Burroughs for a very long time, and this is the first thing I've read by him. I cannot wait to read everything else he's written. If any of it is half as good as this book, it'll be a fantastic read.

My Rating: 5 Stars

Sarah & Nick


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