January Reading – Highlight Chris Pavone

My favorite this month was The Travelers, by Chris Pavone. While I don’t think it was as good as the two other novels, The Expats and The Accident, I did enjoy this suspenseful and unpredictable spy novel. The main character, Will Rhodes, is a naive and idealistic travel writer that’s at a crossroads with his wife and life. He finds he has been unknowingly part of a spy ring and his life unravels as he discovers the people around him have conflicting identities, along with the growing danger and implications of his decisions. At times it felt like there were too many characters and a bit confusing, but the novel was fast-paced and had good bones. It ended a bit suddenly for me and perhaps anti-climatically compared to his other books. Was he setting up a 4th book? Or was it just too long and instead of editing to one, the editor decided to squeeze one book into two? I couldn’t remember the Charlie Wolfe link and the bigger story that ties this novel to the other two, so this would be best read back to back with the other two novels. I can’t say more without spoiling the ending, but it left me hanging.

Other notable-

The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows – This is excellent storytelling of a family shaped by small-town attitudes and a quest to unearth long kept secrets, set in the summer of 1938. Barrows tells the story from several different perspectives, but I especially enjoyed the view from the eyes of 12-year old Willa. The audio version for this book is especially nice because the accents of the ensemble audio helped to round out the characters.

Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Lawson – This 2007 Newberry Honor book is a delightful read about the struggle and courage of a young woman homesteader in Montana. Fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder will admire Hattie’s pluck; I know I certainly did.

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad – It was excellent and entertaining, but also so heartbreaking and felt voyeuristic at times. Awad is beating, wringing out, and hanging on the line to dry those feelings that all women bury, deny and deceive ourselves into thinking are better left unsaid.

Fallen, Torment, Passion, and Rapture by Lauren Kate – Very entertaining, and I know in my heart of hearts that my teen self would have been enchanted by this series. The stories follow a doomed romance and a band of fallen angels, with poetically beautiful settings and characterization. Kate perfectly capturing the egotistic need and dramatics that teen romance encompasses. Along with Unforgiven, that I finished this month, it would be an excellent group of books to download for a beach vacation.

Have you read anything great lately? Tell me about it!

(I have included amazon links to the books I read, but I highly encourage you to track down library copies, as I did.)

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