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July was the month of audiobooks! There’s not a single book in this roundup (or part two, coming eventually…) I didn’t listen to at least partially on audiobook. I did pack my kindle (which you can find a great deal for on Wikibuy) and I hope to read plenty on it on my upcoming beach vacation, but the crazy schedule I have in California means I’m happy to squeeze in reading wherever I can!
My summer reading has been all about thrillers so I started off July by picking up The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy which is a suspense-filled novel about a group of woman who are brought together by an online group dedicated to the month their children were born, making them the “May Mothers”. The mothers take a break from their children for a night out, but it all goes awry the infant son of Winnie, a single mom, goes missing.
The Perfect Mother is quick-paced and easy to read, and although it switches between a lot of perspectives it wasn’t confusing and really gave you a little taste of everyones’ lives. It reminded me a lot of Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, by showing what lurks beneath somebody who appears from the outside to be “the perfect mother”. I liked the relationships between the women, but there were so many of them I sometimes didn’t care too much about them, and especially about some of the twists. It also suffered from one of those scenes where the villain explains their exact motivation in detail, and while I was occasionally surprised, the ending as a whole was not as satisfying as the rest of the book. That said, after reading The Perfect Mother, I would definitely pick up another book by Molloy in the future.
I actually hadn’t even heard about People Like Us by Dana Mele until a YouTuber I follow (BooksandLala) recommended it and when I saw the library had the audiobook I decided to pick it up. People Like Us is a young adult mystery novel about a girl, Kay, attending an elite private school who is left a scavenger hunt by a dead girl or risk having her biggest secret revealed.
People Like Us had great pacing and was just such a fun revenge story to read. I loved the scavenger hunt element, and the book kept me staying up way too late listening to it because I had to finish the story in one day. That said, I didn’t care too much about most of secondary characters, I really just cared about Kay and the plot. Unfortunately the final twist was very obvious to me and prevented People Like Us from being a five star book, but it was certainly an entertaining, thrilling read and I’m excited to read more from Dana Mele in the future.
I haven’t read a Peter Swanson novel since his debut back in 2014, The Girl With a Clock for a Heart (which I reviewed back when my monthly roundups were a manageable length). However, although I apparently enjoyed that novel it wasn’t especially memorable, but I have heard good things about his work more recently and decided to pick up his latest book, All The Beautiful Lies. This book tells the story of Harry, whose father dies right before his college graduation, and what the police originally identify as suicide turns out to be a murder. The narrative switches between Harry and his stepmother, Alice, who he finds beautiful but who has a secret past.
There’s definitely quite a lot of uncomfortable sexual relationships in All The Beautiful Lies, but despite this, there’s not a lot of tension and while I enjoyed the writing, the story is quite slow-paced. I listened to the audiobook, which probably didn’t help, but I couldn’t believe that the book was under 300 pages! This is definitely a character-driven novel, although most of the characters are not particularly likeable, and it did keep me questioning. I read a lot of books with a past and present timeline and in this instance it was well-done, although it seemed pretty obvious to me how the two connected. Alice’s perspective was pretty intriguing, but overall the fact that All The Beautiful Lies had a slow pace and predictable ending left me disappointed by this latest offering from Swanson.
Last year everyone was raving about When Dimple Met Rishi and although I never picked it up because I don’t often find myself reaching for cute contemporary romances, I decided it was finally time to give the author a try with the recent release of From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon. In retrospect, I probably waited for the wrong book because the reviews of her debut seem to be universally better than this followup, but this is still a cute story about a teenage girl, Twinkle, who is making a film with Sahil, the twin brother of her crush, Neil. When Twinkle starts to receive emails from a mysterious “N”, she’s convinced it’s Neil and all her dreams are about to come true. The only problem is, she’s already falling for Sahil.
The weirdest thing about From Twinkle, With Love is that it’s actually written as letters to Twinkle’s favourite female directors. I didn’t even realize this at first because I was listening to the audiobook, but apparently Twinkle has a photographic memory for details. There’s also some text conversations in there, and while I love mixed media formats, they were completely unnecessary. I wish that Menon had just told the story using a straightforward, first person perspective. Still, the writing was very charming with some funny moments. The pacing is great, and I also really loved the way that Menon explored friendships and what it was like for Twinkle wanting to be popular at school. Even though From Twinkle, With Love wasn’t perfect, I’m glad I read something outside of my comfort zone because I loved Twinkle’s honest voice and I can definitely see myself picking up another book by Menon in the future.
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Have you picked up any of the books I listened to in July? Do you listen to audiobooks? Let me know if you have any recommendations, since apparently that’s the only way I read books these days…