A couple of summers ago, I participated in the 20 Books of Summer Challenge and really enjoyed it. So, when I heard the challenge had continued and was renewed again for this summer, I decided to jump in. And since technically it’s only been a few days since meteorological summer began, I’m only slightly behind, right?
So, here’s what I hope to read this summer (and this could totally change, of course)
- Star Wars: Brotherhood by Michael Chen
- Phasers on Stun by Ryan Britt
- Sparring Partners by John Grisham
- Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins
- Normal People by Sally Rooney
- Sparring Partners by John Grisham
- Doctor Who and the Power of Kroll by Terrance Dicks
- Today, Tonight, Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon
- Book Worms by Emily Henry (audiobook)
- The Pallbearers Club by Paul Tremblay
- Boom Town by Garrison Keillor
- Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon
- This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub
- When She Was Good by Michael Robotham
- The Club by Ellery Lloyd
- Doctor Who and the Face of Evil by Terrance Dicks (audiobook)
- Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins
- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
- Birds of California by Katie Cotugno
- The Friends Zone by Abby Jimenez (audiobook)
And I’m going to leave myself some wiggle room with a couple of “wild cards” because you never quite know what will catch my eye on the library shelf or the Galley of Nets.
It’s time again for the Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl).
Summer is one of my favorite times for reading. There are few things I enjoy more than swimming some laps and then relaxing by the pool with a book. And don’t get me started on the fun of the summer reading program (you read and get cool stuff?!? Win, win to this reader!).
Here are a few selections I’d like to read this summer.
- Star Wars: Brotherhood by Michael Chien
- Ordinary Monsters by J.T. Miro
- The House Across the Lake by Riley Sager
- Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey
- Something to Hide by Elizabeth George
- Alone Out Here by Riley Redgate
- Doctor Who: The Eaters of Light by Rona Murno (audiobook)
- Doctor Who: The Fires of Pompeii by James Horan (audiobook)
- Doctor Who: The Reign of Terror by Ian Marter (audiobook)
- Boom Town by Garrison Keillor (audiobook)
Like Stephen King, John Grisham has earned a spot on the best-seller list for just about anything he chooses to publish. And similar to King, it appears that Grisham isn’t content to crank out the same book year after year to his adoring fans (I’m looking at you as the biggest culprit James Patterson)
This time around, Grisham offers up three novellas he says were written during the lock-down instead of a full-length novel.
Here are my thoughts on each of them.
Grisham returns to his world of Ford County and Jake Brigance. As a big fan of Jake’s, it’s nice to get to spend a hundred or so pages with him and the cast of characters Grisham has created. “Homecoming” centers on Mack Stafford, a former lawyer who got tired of his life in Clanton and disappeared three years before, leaving his family behind. He also took a large chunk of several settlements as well. Mack wants to come home three years later and see his family again. He reaches out to Jake and Harry Rex about coming home and the wheels start turning. Continue reading
Reckless Girls is a case of the marketing team/dust-jacket writers completely misselling a novel and, thus, creating some expectations that the novel can’t and doesn’t fulfill. That’s not to say it’s necessarily a bad book, mind you. But I will admit I came away from this one a bit disappointed.
If The Wife Upstairs is an homage to Jane Eyre, this one is a homage to Agatha Christie mysteries. And since I’ve been immersed in a couple of Christie’s novels early this year, Rachel Hawkin’s Reckless Girls shows just how deceptive Christie makes constructing a locked-room mystery appear.
Lux McAllister left behind her life to sail around the world with her new boyfriend, Nico. However, the two have been stuck in Hawaii for a few months (worse places to be stuck, I guess). When a pair of college friends contract Nico to sail them to a deserted island, it appears that Lux and Nico’s dreams of sailing around the world are finally getting started.
That is until we get to the island and find another couple there and then a third boat shows up, disrupting the quiet paradise that everyone was hoping to find.
Reckless Girls spends a lot of its run time setting up the characters and the situation, including flashbacks of just about every major character who steps on stage, before the novel pivots a complete 180 in the last third and goes ape-poop crazy. And your enjoyment of this story is going to depend on a lot on just how much you buy into the pivoting the story does. This reader wasn’t necessarily sold by it and I kept finding myself rolling my eyes in the last pages as Hawkins piles on twist after twist, each one seemingly more outrageous than the last.
And yet, I see a lot of people on my timeline who love this book. So, maybe it’s just me finding it disappointing. Again, I think the marketing for this one really misrepresented it and ended up setting expectations that this one didn’t live up to.
Multiple episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation involve Data or Worf going rogue, seemingly abandoning their lives in Starfleet only to see the light by the end of the episode and be assimilated back into day-to-day life on the ship with little or no mention of the incident or any consequences.
The Orville has been an homage to TNG since its beginning so the fact that no one on board has said much about Issac’s betrayal and then reinstatement in season two just feels like it’s the nature of the series. Until the third season premiere, which finally looks at the consequences of Issac’s decision not only on him but the various characters around him. In the end, “Electric Sheep” ends up feeling a bit like what “Family” was to TNG – the opportunity to examine the consequences of what could and should be a fundamental shift in a character’s life.
And yet, I can’t help but think “Electric Sheep” isn’t as strong an entry as “Family” was, though it was probably just as necessary to The Orville.
Issac’s ostracizing by the crew, especially the new character of Charly Burke (who has a legitimate bone to pick with Issac), works well enough and sets up some interesting questions and moral concerns. Seeing the crew struggle with their relationship with the artificial lifeform worked well as does the dichotomy of knowing how to feel when Issac decides his continued existence is harming crew efficiency and he takes his own life. I have to admit I didn’t necessarily see that coming, though I did like the choice. Also, allowing the episode to not be constrained by a running time because it’s streaming now allowed us to live in the grief for a bit longer. Seeing the crew’s reaction to Issac’s decision and the various points of view worked well and walked a fine line.
I do wish that same restraint extended to other areas of the show. Because Seth McFarlane is one of those creators who does better when he’s not allowed to roam free. As much as I liked seeing everyone live in the grief, I felt like there were some other “look, we’ve got new toys to play with” moments in other spots. One particular sequence is the introduction of the shiny new shuttlecraft and the games played to break it in. It also feels like McFarlane and company put in a lot of new exterior shots of the ship simply to show off the exterior of the ship and not to add to the overall story as a whole. (And this comes from a fan who loves and defends the Enterprise fly-by in The Motion Picture).
As with most things The Orville, it’s hit or miss for this fan. The parts that work, really work. The parts that don’t connect really take me out of it.
However, it’s fun to have this show back and I am looking forward to seeing where this season may take up.
This week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) looks at books with units of time in the title. Here are a few that came to mind.
- Age of Ash by Daniel Abraham
- The Years of Salt and Rice by Kim Stanley Robinson
- A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
- Doctor Who and the Day of the Daleks by Terrance Dicks
- The Days Are Just Packed by Bill Waterson
- The Boat of a Million Years by Poul Anderson
- One Day by David Nicholls
- The Dark Hours by Michael Connelly
- The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
- Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child