Okay guys, I think I can actually handle these quarterly mini-reviews! Definitely more doable than monthly ones 🙂 Here are the three books I received for the first quarter of this year from Book of the Month!
JAN: As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner
This isn’t usually the genre of book I’d normally get (which would be chick thrillers I guess) but this was set in Philadelphia so I was intrigued! It also had really great reviews. The cover of the book is of the Logan Square fountain which is pretty cool. The story is set in the early 20th century (1918) and follows a family of 3 sisters and their parents as they move from Quakertown to Philadelphia to take over their Uncle’s funeral home business. The narration of each chapter varies between the mother and each of the daughters. World War I and the Spanish Flu epidemic play large roles in shaping the story of the family and it was interesting to read about this time period. I wouldn’t say this is a page turner, but it definitely kept me intrigued and was not boring to read. There is a time jump before the last section of the book which I think wrapped things up nicely. Overall, while this wasn’t the most amazing book I’ve read, I would definitely recommend it (especially if you like these types of novels or want to read something based in Philly!)
FEB: The Philosopher’s Flight by Tom Miller
Its been quite awhile since I’ve read anything within the “fantasy” genre, so the description (and good reviews…and colorful cover!) of this book caught my eye. It actually takes place almost in the exact year as my previous book (1919) but is set it an alternate reality where magical powers exist. Those with these powers are called “philosophers” and are almost exclusively female as very few men possess these abilities. The story follows Robert Weekes, a male philosopher specializing in hovering (flying) who attends a philosophical university with dreams of being accepted to assist as a hoverer with war efforts, which no male has ever done before. The story goes on to detail Robert’s struggles to fit in and prove himself to the almost all-female university, as well as the political friction between the philosophers and the “Trenchers” (the equivalent of today’s alt-right groups) who oppose the practice of philosophy. This book has a very Harry Potter feel to it, down to the existence of Olympic-style “Games” which reminded me a lot of the Triwizard Tournament. All in all I really loved this book and I think the author did an excellent job of setting up this fantasy world (the back pages of the book actually contain full descriptions of the different glyphs they learn), and I don’t doubt that this will turn into a full series, or maybe even a movie.
MAR: Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser
After a couple off-genre books, I’m back to my old favorite…female-centered mysteries (“chick thrillers”)! I ended up reading this in about 3 days since I had a snow day with a lot of time to kill. Its also a pretty quick and easy read. It follows the case of a missing woman in a close-knit neighborhood and is narrated by 2 main characters, Izzy and Clara (as well as a few chapters by the missing woman herself, Kristen). It gives off a very “Big Little Lies” vibe…but…not as good. I found the character of Izzy very cliche and annoying, so I tended to like Clara’s chapters much more. I wouldn’t say that I didn’t enjoy the book because it definitely kept my interest and was a page turner for sure, but the ending just wasn’t very surprising or suspenseful. I’m used to being thrown for a loop when reading this genre. However, the very ending (cause you know these books always have a very ending) was pretty good and made up for it a bit. Overall, this isn’t a bad book for a quick beach read but wasn’t my favorite either.