Wrap Up: July 2021 Book Reviews

Dear Readers, July was a crazy month, I moved into my first house, it is out in the country where only one internet provider reigns supreme, so it took me and my family a month to get internet.  All other services were decently fast so if you missed me and my reviews that’s what I was doing.  I read 6 books this month. I read 2 horror, 2 graphic novels, and 2 new releases thanks to netgalley . I started 1 new series and read 2 from a book series. I read one 5 star book, three 4 star books, and two 3 star book.

Five Star Reviews:

The Four Winds by Kristen Hannah is a tearjerker about two of America’s harshest times The Dust Bowl and The Great Depression.  Really blown away by this book. This Historical novel uses real events and puts here character’s through tragedy and triumph.  This novel can easily get compared to John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, but teaks it giving it a new perspective what if Tom Joad  was a single mother with kids.  The perspective changes everything the character of Elsa want to breakdown but is strong for her and her kids.  This is a novel that you will want to thank your mother after for all that she has sacrificed for her children’s happiness.

Four Star Reviews:

Surviving the Night by Riley Sager is a twisty thriller that takes you on a ride with a serial killer.  The twist keep coming and coming, some I could foresee but others will change the way you read this novel, making you go, What! Just happened!?!.  Every character in this book has a major change of how the reader perceives them.  He ending is non-stop the last 150 pages are on the edge of your seat as the twists keep coming.  The climax is very satisfying, I saw the final twist coming for a while but the actions after that were very satisfying.  The flaw of this novel is the beginning was hard to get into, it takes a little time for this book to get into rhythm, but when it does it is really hard to put down.  A big thanks to Netgalley and Dutton publishing for giving me an Advanced Reader’s Copy of Surviving the Night.  Surviving the Night is published on 7-29-21.

Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian is a period piece in the mid 1600 America. It was you typical divorce stories husband beats on wife, she tries to divorce him and gets called a witch and has to defend against being a witch; so not typical at all.  This novel will have you scream at characters, that I’m sure are accurately portrayed but so one sided and biased.  The novel is set when the husband was king and they referred to the wife as the helpmate, it was not a partnership.  This novel can be seen a feminist, it’s a fight for equal rights and to have a woman with strong ideas is not a bad thing.  The trials are the best part of the book.  The story is at it’s core simple but the way the story is told is what makes it so interesting.

Marvel Masterworks The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 6 by Stan Lee is getting Spiderman in the larger story arcs.  Spiderman has had minor stories arc like turning in his costume then having to use a spare, injuring his shoulder and being in a cast, or poor Aunt May being sick and weak for a couple issues. The villains have lasted only two issues until now. Spidey fights Doc Oct. and Kingpin for 3 – 4 issues.  The main villains are Kingpin, who was just introduced in Amazing Spider-Man issue 50 and is in 5 issues in this volume, Doc Oct, Mysterio, and Allister Smythe and his Spider Slayer.  Peter Parker’s love life takes a turn where he has to choose Gwen Stacey and Mary Jane Watson.  This volume sees a death of a minor but important character, and introduces Gwen’s father Captain Stacey and Robbie Robertson who are all important to Peter Parker / Spiderman’s legacy.

Three Star Reviews:

Falling by T. J. Newman is an okay thriller on an airplane. The novel does feel authentic like you the reader are getting insider information on how the flight crew works. The author was a former flight attendant and Falling is her debut. This book has moments of thrills but it felt pretty formulaic too me. I would say this book is Airframe by Michael Crichton meets a decent James Patterson thriller. I think if you read this novel it should be on a plane, because that will amp the fear, and you couldn’t help wonder what goes on behind the door of the flight deck. You will come out respecting your fight attendants and the job they have to do. I think this book is getting over hyped, it is good but not great. Thanks to Netgalley and Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster for giving me access to Falling early. Falling by T. J. Newman is published on July 6 2021.

Fight Club 2 By Chuck Palahniuk Is a very meta tale told in graphic novel form. The first book was written as a novel, but the follow up was written as a graphic novel. This follows the film Fight Club over the actual novel. I prefer the film but this novel fall in too much fan service and too meta. Palahniuk brings everyone back, Angel Face, Robert Paulson, and even Chloe. Each character is brought back with a surprising twist. I liked some of the ideas brought on but others fall flat. The ending is way too out there and meta it is a bit of a cop out. The art and how the story uses the visual to tell that story is one of the best but the story just was just okay.

Book Review: The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah is a tearjerker about two of America’s harshest times The Dust Bowl and The Great Depression. This Historical novel uses real events and puts here character’s through tragedy and triumph. This novel can easily get compared to John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, but teaks it giving it a new perspective what if Tom Joad was a single mother with kids. The perspective changes everything the character of Elsa want to breakdown but is strong for her and her kids. This is a novel that you will want to thank your mother after for all that she has sacrificed for her children’s happiness. This book will make you teary eyed as you go on a journey looking for a living wage. This book will also make you mad at how our fellow men and women are treated and some still treated this badly. The Four Winds drew me in right at the building as I connected with young naïve Elsa and her fairy tale visions of love. The story is grand character development taking a character so naïve and at the end making her so worldly that she almost can’t trust her fellow humans even when they’re trying to help. The novel is a bumpy road with so much heart that you fell every slight and every helpful gesture. Hannah will get in to the soul of her characters and take you with them. This novel does have a little controversy, because it does feature communist, and person raring to go, but this novel is not a secret convert to communism. It has a communist character and another that becomes convinced to rally. You might find yourself going that communist had a point 80 years ago. If anything this book is slightly pro-union, but then again under the circumstances and working conditions that was the smartest choice, and the only real option. But still this book didn’t change my view on unions some are good and some are bad.

The Plot: Elsa is 25, gawky, pale, and tall and lives in 1920’s Texas her family has all but given up on her finding a husband. They call her ugly in not so many words and show her no love. Elsa’s family is well off and spends most her time reading and dreaming of love. She reads is influenced to put herself out there and sneaks out to a bar. She meets a man in Rafe who calls her beautiful and makes her feel it. Rafe is Italian and her family would instantly disapprove. She goes to bed with him not knowing this can cause pregnancy and finds herself pregnant. When her family finds out; they find the man and his family responsible, drop her off, and disown her. Elsa who has lived high society has to become a farmer’s wife and fast. She finds out Rafe didn’t really love her but was more infatuated with her but will marry her. The novel skips a head 12 years in the middle of the great depression and the start of what is known as the dust bowl. It has hit the family hard with no work and no way to farm, Rafe thinks their sanctuary lies in California where they hear the rumor of all these jobs. Elsa wants to tough it out, but Rafe can’t, she’s losing him and her daughter Loreda everyday it doesn’t rain. Will Elsa leave land that is bought and paid for, for the promise of work?

What I Liked: How well these characters are developed. Hannah does not shy away from the difficult conversations. I liked how real this novel felt, how raw the emotions are. I came away learning a lot , I knew about the dust bowl and how hard it was to get work but I didn’t know the discrimination the would be workers felt. I did not know the ties of Communism to the labor movement and unionization. I liked how this story would evoke emotions out of me, and to the credit of the author she did not milk scenes for emotional impact, but would sometimes be blunt and the death explained later.

What I Disliked: The time jumped a little too far in the future the first time, I would have wanted to see the true beginning on the dust bowl and how the character’s reacted to it.

Recommendations: This book is a fantastic read that hits you hard and brings the emotion. The history may not be one hundred percent right, but you feel the history of the era and the hard times. This novels feels very authentic. I rated The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah 5 out of 5 stars. This is the first book I have read from Kristin Hannah and it will not be the last.