This is my favorite cover of the recent past.
Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys A+
This is everything that YA historical fiction should be. I loved it. I can't believe more people aren't talking about it. There was a lot of buzz about Salt to the Sea by the same author in the last few book link-ups, but this book was so good and it was about history without (gasp) being about WWII. (Does such a thing exist? Yes, it does. Historical fiction does not always equal WWII.)
The first line will pull you in, and the first few pages had me reading for at least an hour when I hadn't planned to sit down and read.
Ashes by Laurie Halse Anderson B+
More YA. This is the third book in the Seeds of America trilogy. I really have been waiting for it since 2011, when I read Chains and Forge. I haven't re-read them though so I can't remember what was my favorite. I do know I devoured them. Ashes was good too. Not as good, but a satisfying ending that coincided with the end of the Revolution.
Really, I would just recommend anything written by Anderson. She's one of my very favorites.
Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo
This is a middle-grade book, so I won't rate it. I picked it up because DiCamillo has quite a few medals under her belt and I thought it might be a good read-aloud for school. I wasn't entirely impressed. I saw value in it, but I think I interpreted it as an adult would and got the nuances and hidden meanings and overall nonliteralness of it that way. A ten-year-old isn't going to get that, in my opinion...which is why kids generally don't pick up potential medal winners of their own accord. Kids pick up Captain Underpants.
Anyway, Raymie seemed to have a lot of out-of-body experiences to which I was thinking What is she on?. And there's an odd cast of characters. I'll put it on my shelf at school, but I won't push it.
Family Jewels: A Rose Gardner Mystery by Denise Grover Swank B
I'm going to start a drinking game and the rule will be that every time the text says "Fenton County criminal underworld", you take a shot.
If you haven't read these books, you won't get it. If you have read the books, you're probably thinking about how drunk you'll be soon. Also, you should read these books.
This wasn't the best of the books, but it was nice to read another installment.
The Mothers by Brit Bennett B+ for writing/ C- for story
This has come recommended from different sources. I grabbed the audio this month and I will say that the story is extremely well-crafted and put together. Like, I know Bennett is young, but she either has training as an editor or she has a fabulous one. The writing was visually and audibly pleasing. Go for it on that alone.
I will also say that I didn't like the story. It was oddly predictable and not that different than a typical love triangle or coming of age tale (for all the buzz it's gotten, I think I was expecting brilliance). It left a bad taste in my mouth. I didn't like the characters. With 56 minutes left, I almost quit and then thought it was only 56 minutes so I might as well. The whole thing was just tinged with regret and wholly depressing and maybe that's what she was going for. But I basically hated everyone and I don't think I was supposed to. You know how sometimes an author writes unlikeable characters on purpose? I don't think this was that.
What She Knew by Gilly McMacMillan B-
This was a good book. I wasn't overly impressed and I wasn't underwhelmed. It was a mystery and I didn't really find myself able to predict too much, so that was good. If you're looking for a comparison, it's like The Girl on the Train meets I Let You Go meets In the Woods.
I will say that my true concern, like with I Let You Go, was with the dog.
Linking up with Jana and Steph!