June 2013 Reading List.

Antonia Lively Breaks the Silence by David Samuel Levinson
Levinson’s writing is a dream—lush, cunning, and full of finely crafted characters and carefully placed plot twists that go off like bombs. Whom to root for, who you think is crazy, and what really happened are elusive ideas that shift by the moment in this gripping thriller focused on the literary life. I picked this one up and didn’t read anything else until it was all gone.

Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole
Fans of epistolary novels will revel in these letters between mothers, daughters, friend, and lovers in the years spanning World Wars I and II. Passion, friendship, betrayal, loyalty, and heartache echo through the pages of Letters from Skye, and Jessica Brockmole’s tale of a daughter looking to understand her missing mother and her own origins.

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
The second in the Grisha Trilogy, Siege and Storm (read my review the first book in the trilogy, Shadow & Bone), continues the ascension of the orphaned Alina into her role as one of the most powerful sorcerers in her war-torn land. Replete with epic battles, mysticism, and folk tales plus rich world building and memorable characters, Bardugo’s latest novel masterfully surpasses its worthy predecessor.

The Kill Room by Jeffery Deaver
Fans and first-time readers alike will enjoy Deaver’s clever and cantankerous scientist and crime scene analyst Lincoln Rhyme. This tenth entry in the Rhyme series is full of tension, intrigue and complex moral issues as Rhyme and Sachs try to resolve the murder investigation of an anti-American U.S. ex-pat killed in the Bahamas.

The Wife, The Maid, and The Mistress by Ariel Lawhon
Fascinating paegturner speculating the real story behind the disappearance of Justice Joseph Crater in 1930 through the women who were closely involved in his life. A wonderfully imagined and brutal rendering of 1930’s New York, complete with gangsters, showgirls, corrupt politicians and the women forced to live in their shadows. Completely absorbing and tough to put down once begun.

The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood
Alex Marwood’s The Wicked Girls is less about serial murder in seaside England and more an astute rendering of a poor community in a depressed economy, the rehabilitation options of youthful offenders, and how perceptions and biases in the population and media can considerably alter the course of a life. Gripping from start to finish, the story makes readers consider how much you ever know anyone. Certainly, this is that book for when you want to think and read, and think and read, all day long.

Still Midnight by Denise Mina
Told through the frame of a home invasion gone wrong, Mina’s complex narrative is a less crime story than it is an intricate and thoughtful probing of family life, workplace politics, and the inescapable organizing structure of the past on identity and life choices.

On The Come Up by Hannah Weyer
Hannah Weyer goes the distance in creating a novel that is authentic, even as it delves in the dreamlike reality of a pregnant teenage girl’s journey from her home in the projects of Far Rockaway, Queens, to movie screenings at Sundance, where she makes her debut. Anne-Marie’s voice is raw, distinct, and courageous. Her pain and triumphs are the readers’, in this heartfelt and gritty narrative.

Absent by Katie Williams
Williams offers a quirky consideration of the afterlife and what ghosts can get up to in their attempts to right the wrongs of their pasts, and attempts to set the record straight. Paige has to confront others assumptions of her life, but also has to view her own criticisms of them, which she does from a radically different perspective. William’s plot is well-constructed and creative, especially when you consider the fact that the story never leaves the high school’s premises. Thoughtful and entertaining , Paige learns to come to terms with both the life she had and didn’t have in this examination of the impact of hidden relationships and social divisions. Absent is a solid effort that ensures readers will continue to seek out future projects from Williams. Recommended.

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