June was a light reading month, to say the least. With summer classes basically taking over my life plus a crazy almost two-year-old dominating my waking hours, I didn't have much time to dedicate to reading. June was the month of DNF (for now). There were other books that I got close to finishing, but didn't quite get there so I don't count them as read. As for the books I did finish... well there's only three of them and here they are!
Hour of the Assassin by Matthew Quirk
This political thriller follows Nick Averose, a former Secret Service member who now runs his own security firm. After going to a job and ending up being framed for the murder of the former head of the CIA, Nick is on a mission to find out who set him up and clear his name.
This novel definitely had me on the edge of my seat. I couldn’t put it down once I started and the short chapters had me saying “just one more and I’ll stop” over and over again. Quirk does such a good job of accurately building the political world of D.C. and the life of a former Secret Service man. Don’t judge this book by its cover. It’s worth the read if you’re a thriller fan. I loved it. I definitely judged this book by its cover when I saw it on Book of the Month and decided to skip on it. Then I had regrets and checked it out from my library to see what this was all about. So happy that I did. A huge win for me for June.
The Taster by V.S. Alexander
This novel takes us back to WWII but from the perspective of Magda, a young women working for the Third Reich... more specifically, for Hitler as one of his personal tasters. As things begin to get worse in Berlin due to Allied bombings, Magda is sent by her parents to live with her aunt and uncle, staunch supporters of Hitler. There, she ends up with the job as Hitler's taster, traveling with him from fortress to fortress as the situation becomes more and more dire for Nazi Germany toward the end of the war. While working for Hitler, Magda meets an SS captain who is secretly conspiring against the Reich. Their blooming love has undercurrents of fear and anxiety as they try to figure out how to rid the world of Hitler and his higher-ups.
I honestly thought I would enjoy this novel because I do really love historical fiction. I'd have to say that it's probably my favorite genre... and I love a good love story in historical fiction. But I actually had a really hard time with this one because of the picture it painted of Hitler. Based on a few accounts of what it was like to work so directly with Hitler, this book actually portrays Hitler as someone who wasn't really that bad as a person. Obviously knowing all we know now, it's hard to read from that perspective, but I think it's also one of the ways in which the novel succeeds. The author had to write from this perspective to build an accurate (albeit fictional) account of working so closely to the man who slaughtered millions.
The writing I felt was a little too easy. I didn't have to think while reading. It's a double edge sword where I didn't have to think about the novel and didn't have to think about the novel. It was an easy read when I really needed one but it didn't stir me in any way. The love story, though I love one, was a little bit cliché as well.
Overall, okay, but definitely not a favorite or one I would probably recommend.
Writers & Lovers by Lily King
Casey is your standard down-on-her-luck writer. She's swimming in debt and waiting tables and living in a literal shed, all while writing her first novel that she's been working on for six years. On top of this, she's trying to come to terms with her mother's sudden death as well as a huge heartbreak that followed. It really seems like things can't get any worse for her... but then she loses her job and starts receiving rejections on her book.
I had been wanting to move this book from my TBR to my read pile and I finally did it, and I'll say out of the gate that I liked the book but didn't love it. I think the story took you through very real struggles someone can experience in their life, namely grief, and how to navigate through all of that to get to what you want. Though it may take a long time, things will eventually get better as is seen in Casey's story. My biggest rub with the book was that I felt the plot really wasn't going anywhere. I didn't feel some push to keep reading and find out what happens next, and in the end I just felt like "okay, that was it." This could actually be a good thing for some people because you are actually able to set the book down and go do something else and not feel that anxiety to get back to reading (maybe it's just me that feels that). The second reason is that this novel feels closer to real life. It doesn't have a solid beginning or endpoint and no big, huge climax in between. It's just life.
Maybe this is the fault of me looking at too many reviews on #bookstagram of this book when it first came out and everyone was reading it, but I couldn't find a lot of meaning in the geese. I know this is supposed to be a big part of the book in a way, but I just saw it as she can feel her mother there with her when she sees the geese but they don't necessarily do much to help her confront her grief until she sprinkles her mother's ashes on them in the end. I just felt that part was kind of weird and really had a hard time seeing the meaning in the geese.
Overall, I did like this novel, especially the last twenty pages when things were finally turning around for Casey and the plot seemed to have some forward momentum.
Some quotes I highlighted while reading (but not really because this was a library book):
I don't write because I think I have something to say. I write because if I don't, everything feels even worse.
It's a particular kind of pleasure of intimacy, loving a book with someone.
Though this was short and sweet, I hope you enjoyed reading a little bit about the books I actually finished this month. I would say that I hope July is better but I just started anatomy on Monday so I'll be lucky to surpass three.
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