The month of June started off promising, but I struggled to finish four books. To be completely honest, the last one I actually finished either on the first or second of July, but I’ll count it towards this month. They were actually all great reads, with The Overnight Guest just okay.
Let me get to them.
The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James
This was a well-plotted story of a blogger who met and interviewed an acquitted woman of two murders. My first book by Simone St. James, I will definitely pick up her other book at some point.
Oregon, 2017, receptionist by day and true crime blogger by night Shea Collins gets more than she bargained for when she meets Beth Greer. Beth was accused of murdering two men back in 1977 but was acquitted on all counts. They meet while Beth comes in for a check-up at the doctor’s office where Shea works. The two women form some sort of understanding, and Beth agrees to allow Shea to tell her version of what actually happened back then.
I didn’t find the story as scary as many people described it. While reading other bloggers’ reviews, I expected to be frightened, but I didn’t get that feeling.
Maybe because I don’t believe in ghosts, but didn’t feel the chilly vibes many experienced.
I did really like the second part of the book that explained the back story and the shocking revelations Beth made.
An entertaining read nonetheless, I gave it four stars on Goodreads.
Hello, Transcriber, by Hannah Morissette
My favorite of the month, and not only because the writer is also very cool and approachable. The book is actually really good.
Hazel Greenlee, the new police transcriber at the Black Harbor police department gets tangled up in solving a severe case. The detective in charge of the case, Nikolai Kole, makes her feel things she hasn’t felt in a long time. She gets so involved in the Candy Man case that she risks her marriage and her career. As an aspiring writer, she hopes to get out of this place that is a temporary home for her. But is getting her story at all costs worth losing everything for?
I enjoyed the way Hannah inserted some transcribing style into the storyline, without taking over the plot. Her use of some unusual, clever words was placed at the right time in the paragraphs, without seeming bashful. Just enough to impress and show the reader other possibilities.
I fell in love with Hazel and the way her mind worked, even though she’s pretty young. She has a zest for life and an ambitious streak that I admired.
At times I couldn’t help but think that her character is based on the author herself.
Well-written and atmospheric, I highly recommend it for readers who want to discover a new thriller. Not quite a five-star for me, I rounded it off to four stars on Goodreads. Looking forward to Hanna’s new book that is coming out later this year.
The Overnight Guest, by Heather Gudenkauf
With writing that seems jerky at times, it is a very atmospheric, slow-burn novel. I found it took a while for it to make sense, but it did so in the end. I do recommend it if you like a slower-paced book that takes its time to introduce the background story.
Told from different timelines, writer Wylie Lark gets snowed in at the farmhouse she retreated to in order to finish her book. While she’s out trying to get some wood from the shed, she discovers a small child in the snow right outside her house. But the house itself has some secrets of its own, and when Wylie tries to uncover them, the truth is almost unbearable. A shocking ending that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat.
I liked the book well enough, although it was a little too slow-paced for me in the first part. The book really started coming together towards the middle, then I flew through the ending. I only gave it three stars on Goodreads because I prefer a bit more action in my thrillers.
The Spectacular by Zoe Whittall
From the author that wrote The Best Kind of People comes this provocative novel. Three generations of women are dazzling with dysfunctional and unconventional lines that explore sexuality, motherhood, and what it means to be a woman.
As Whittall expands on those topics, she transports us between 1997 and the present day. The three women, Missy, Carola, and Ruth, are all related, and they come from a world that doesn’t allow women to be truly free. They all strive for freedom and like to do things their own way.
Unconventional and rebellious, Missy, a 22-year-old cellist, is on the road with her band. She is promiscuous and parties hard.
Carola, her mother, left the family when Missy was only 14, causing her a great deal of pain.
Ruth, born in Turkey, immigrated to Canada when her son, Bryce, and Missy’s father was only a few years old.
The novel transports the reader through years of each of these women’s struggles of living an authentic life.
I loved this book by Zoe Whittal, but not as much as her first one, The Best Kind of People. The way she delves into the minds of her characters and defines their personalities is unique to her. She has a sharp eye for nuanced sexuality and feminism.
A must-read if you enjoy a character-driven plot and multiple points of view. Although it was one of my favorite books of the year so far, I rounded it off to four stars on Goodreads.
This sums up my reading for the month of June. Can’t believe we’re already halfway through the year! That means that I have to start thinking about my favorites of the year so far. Stay tuned, it will follow soon(-ish)!
Until then, keep reading my fellow bookworms, and don’t be shy to share what books you’ve loved lately!