Not a great month for quantity because of a busy vacation, August was an interesting month with a few outstanding reads, some that were very good or so-so, and one that was utterly gripping but absolutely not an author I'll read twice.
72. The River at Night by Erica Ferencik - A suspense about 4 women who get together for a yearly getaway, this time whitewater rafting in rural Maine, the book starts slowly and becomes more suspenseful. Though some of the challenges faced by the women were unexpected, I found some aspects of the story predictable and the concept of four women going to such a remote location with a single guide and no backup plan implausible.
73. The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso - The story of two women who are next-door neighbors in an upscale neighborhood in Cape Town, South Africa. Marion is white, Hortensia is black and they can't stand each other. Neither is aware of the racism and misogyny the other has experienced. But, when both have to deal with disasters that throw them into even closer proximity, they start to reveal pieces of their history and are surprised to find they have more in common than they could have imagined. Utterly delightful reading.
74. Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans - A former evangelical Christian (Southern Baptist) tells the story of how she went from an extremely conservative background to drifting away and even starting a new church with friends as she gradually became more liberal and realized the scriptures she spent so many years studying spoke to her in a different way than they do to evangelical friends. I'm a former Southern Baptist with similar frustrations so I found Searching for Sunday a bit of a comfort read.
75. The Salt Line by Holly Goddard Jones - A group of adventurers in a dystopian, near-future world travel into a tick-infested part of America where disease-carrying ticks burrow into the skin so quickly that people only have seconds to use a stamp that pulls out the tick and burns the area around it. I expected a survival story but a plot twist midway turned the story sideways. A unique read.
76. Amazing Animal Friendships: Odd Couples in Nature by P. Hanackova and Linh Dao - A children's book (for ages 5 - 9) about symbiotic and companion relationships between different types of animals. The illustrations are cheerful, the spreads are a bit busy. A book packed with fascinating information, a lot of which was new to me.
77. Cap'n Rex and His Clever Crew by Henry L. Herz and Benjamin Schipper - A group of dinosaur pirates are constantly faced with challenges and their captain refuses to let them say they can't find a solution. A picture book about problem solving that I liked for its theme, although sometimes I had difficulty figuring out what was happening in the illustrations.
78. Ally-saurus and the Very Bossy Monster by Richard Torrey - Ally-saurus (a girl who likes to pretend she's a dinosaur) and her classmates are frustrated when a bossy new girl arrives and wants to do everything her way. The second Ally-saurus book, every bit as charming as the first.
79. Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter - A terribly disturbing story about a man who tortures and kills women and the search for a missing sister who has been presumed dead for 20 years. The cruelty and gruesomeness of this book was just too much for me. I will not ever read another book by this author. I did find the writing sharp and the characterization exceptional. Some of the women were incredibly witty.
80. Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore - The story of a man who has been reincarnated nearly 10,000 times but not yet achieved perfection in any of his lives. Is he sabotaging himself to spend time with his true love, a grim reaper by the name of Suzie? Can they end up together, even though one is human and the other immortal? Both delightful and, at times, deeply sad, Reincarnation Blues takes the reader through some of the protagonist's experiences as he nears the limit of his lifetimes and attempts to find a way to spend eternity with Suzie. Loved this one.
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