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Big Summer

by Jennifer Weiner. Don’t judge. Full-size young woman influencer & model. Okay. Yeah. But. Actually pretty entertaining.  Two books in one. The story of Daphne the bullied teen who takes a stand in a video that goes viral. And a murder mystery in Truro on Cape Cod.

The Guest List

by Lucy Foley. A fun who-done-it. Set in a folly on an island off the west coast of Connemara in Ireland. Graveyards, peat, bogs, cliffs, caves and a lavish wedding with lots of crazy family and friends. Told from the different points of view of the bridesmaid-sister, the bride, the best man, the plus-one and the wedding planner. Red herrings galore.

Woman Booker Redux

This year’s Booker longlist is dominated by women. Broken record alert. There is obviously no need for a separate prize for women. Also. The idea that Mantel’s weighty tome The Mirror & the Light is on the same list as Tyler’s shortish story Redhead by the Side of the Road is ludicrous. Makes me want to re-read Edward St. Auban’s ludic satirical masterpiece Lost for Words. Where a cookbook wins the literary prize. The 2020 full longlist is: Diane Cook, “The New Wilderness” Tsitsi Dangarembga, “This Mournable Body” Avni Doshi,… Read more Woman Booker Redux

The Summer House

by James Patterson & Brendan DuBois. Yes. Same title as the Hannah McKinnon book. This one is about an historic site in Georgia known as The Summer House where past Presidents purportedly stayed. And the scene of a mass murder which includes a 2-year old girl. Gruesome. Lots of guns. Military, police, CIA, FBI. You name it. They’re all here. It keeps you going for some beach days. A bit of a throwback in terms of racist and sexist tropes. In an homage to Southern & macho culture I guess.… Read more The Summer House

Death on the Beach

by Anna Johannsen. Translated from the German by Jozef van der Voort. The second of Johannsen’s Island Mystery series set in her homeland of the Frisian Islands. Hadn’t read the first, but this is a stand-alone except for any personal backstory about Lena Lorenzen, the main character and detective. A fairly standard murder mystery formula. A cultive Christian sect is at the center of the story. Its community is ostracized by locals and they are seen as suspect even under normal circumstances. When one of its teen girls is found… Read more Death on the Beach

The Turn of the Key

by Ruth Ware. An intriguing way to tell a mystery. From an innocent prisoner’s letter to an advocate before she goes to trial for murder. She begs him to believe her story. That she did not kill the little girl in her care. Every detail of the young woman’s time as a nanny at an isolated mansion in Scotland is included in the letter to Mr. Wrexham. She’s desperate for him to read it and to take her case. The mansion is a ‘smart home’ with annoyingly intricate technology that… Read more The Turn of the Key

All Adults Here

by Emma Straub. A contrivance of topical LGBTQ themes with overarching misandry. Set in an Upstate New York town where everyone knows everyone for generations. Widowed matriarch Astrid owns the town’s Big House. A stately relic. Her three children come with a myriad of issues, none particularly interesting. Astrid stuns them when she finds love with her hairdresser who eventually becomes her wife. Never got any sense of their chemistry. Astrid’s son Nicky & French wife live in Brooklyn. Their daughter Cecelia gets caught up in rescuing her middle school… Read more All Adults Here

Redhead by the Side of the Road

by Anne Tyler. Michah Mortimer. Socially clueless techie, self-proclaimed hermit. With OCD. A cliché. From a messy, funny, chaotic family, he tries to arrange his life in a neater way. Seeking perfection? It takes an unexpected guest to break him from his humdrum. Haven’t read other Tyler works. In this one, she makes everyday people come to life. A short sweet slice.