June Reads

I hit the local library for my June reads . . . I love to buy books and I buy a lot of them. I would never say too many, but I do have a bin of books in my closet waiting for me. We will not talk about the size of this bin—that is irrelevant (at least to me, possibly not to my husband). Anyway, in June I decided to save a few shekels and request some books from the library and utilize the daily bargains from Bookbub. 

I have been intrigued by the success of the indie published book The Martian by Andy Weir. Yes, it is that book which went on to be published by Random House and was made into the epic movie starring Matt Damon. In fact, author Andy Weir scored the book and movie deal in the same week! (There’s a great article about his journey you should read . . . here’s the link.)

So I watched the movie and was talking about how much I loved it when my 18-year-old son said that I needed to read the book because it was so much better than the movie. I was surprised! Not because the movie was better than the book—that’s almost always the case, but I couldn’t believe that my freshman-college son had read a book for FUN amidst his rather long and tedious coursework reading list.

I thought I might be turned off by the technical science-y details that wind their way through most scenes. I wasn’t! The science behind the survivability on a planet as inhospitable as Mars was crucial to understand and incredibly fascinating. The other thing that made this so much fun to read was that in book form it was easy to be inside the stranded astronaut's head. You know his thoughts and experience the frustrations first hand. A pretty much solo actor movie has a handicap in this respect. It is difficult to bring those thoughts into the story without becoming cumbersome . . . the movie did this through narration, the daily computer logs, and eventually the communication back and forth with NASA. This worked fine, but I’m sure was a chore for the screenwriter to manage.

If you liked the movie (even a little bit), you will love this book!

I switched gears then and read Brooke Shields’ biography There Was a Little Girl. I am of the age that I grew up with Brooke Shields’ movies and seeing her splashed across magazine pages and billboards in her Calvins. (If you don’t know what I mean then you are waaaay younger than me and need to google “Brooke Shields Calvin Klein ads.”) She initially started this book to set the record straight about the relationship with her alcoholic manager mother. This was a fascinating (and sometimes troubling) behind-the-scenes look at the movie sets and ad campaigns Brooke became famous for and intertwined within were the difficulties of her mother’s alcoholism. This is well-written and filled in so many gaps, correcting the distortions that inevitably come with media accounts of famous people.

Following that I picked up two middle-grade novels by Wisconsin author Gayle Rosengren, “What the Moon Said” and “Cold War on Maplewood Street.” These were both a delight. Rosengren knows how to intrigue a modern reader with historical content, bringing it alive with her vivid characters and brilliant descriptions. The author has graciously agreed to be interviewed on this blog. I will write (gush) more about these titles in that blog article. These are a perfect read for a middle schooler who might be hitting that mid-summer boredom slump!

I also read Slim for Life by Jillian Michaels. She does have a unique approach in that there’s a self-assessment of positive and negative behaviors that limit or aid your ability to make life-style changes. She’s not into calorie counting but into overall health and habit changing goals. Yup! It made it did make its way back to the library before the due date. (LOL)

My last reads of the month were PURCHASES instigated by my daily deal email from Bookbub. What is Bookbub?? Well, let me tell you. You subscribe to this service (for free) and a daily email comes to you with your e-book bargains of the day in the writing genres that you pick. Bookbub only accepts advertising for deeply discounted or free books and there are a lot of top name authors on these lists. I thought it was time for a little light Scottish Highland Paranormal Romance (yes, that’s a thing!) when I saw the .$99 deal from Claire Delacroix. I picked up the sale novel and two more in the series for $4.99 each. (Proving that selling an entry book for a low price creates sales for the rest of the books in the series!) These are definitely formulaic historical romances sprinkled with the world of the fae, but Delacroix spends a good amount of time grounding the stories with the proper historical details. And – hey it’s Scotland!!

What are you reading these days? (And do you admit it when you read romance novels?)

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