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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid - While I was engrossed in this story and found it a page turner, I felt some of the themes played into Hollywood stereotypes. After working for years in the TV/movie industry, it all seems a little contrived even though the central theme of the story, Love, is timeless. A good beach read but didn't hit home for me after several amazing books I read before it.

Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing (on Audiobook) - We are all familiar with the basic story of Shackleton - consummate explorer, big adventure goes wrong, leadership and persistence saves lives. However, this story brings to life in incredible detail (thanks to recovered journals of many expedition participants) the daily, prolonged struggle against the elements (for 497 DAYS!) of this team including the unbelievable final rescue. Listened to the abridged version with my teen and tween. The time flew by and we were all amazed and inspired!

The A.B.C. Murders - I have been wanting to read Eight Perfect Murders but heard it may have spoiler alerts to classic mysteries referenced in that book; this being one. I listened to it on Audio and it was a nice production with a full cast and sound effects. Maybe since I listened to it, or maybe due to the fact it is an older mystery, this one didn't really pull me in. It was fine, but not my favorite Agatha Christie.

This is How You Loose the Time War: This was a unique and weird book. At times I thought it was way to smart for me. Did I get all the historical and literary references? Two otherworldly agents, Blue of the organic world and Red of the tech world, are pitted against each other and so impressed by their skills to save or destroy all the time strands of different worlds, they become, of all things, pen pals. The taunting and exploration becomes much more. A love develops but how do enemies outsmart those that control you and read your very thoughts in order to be together? Or is one just simply playing the other for the ultimate con? You will either love, hate or not finish this book. It can hardly stand for middle ground.

El alchimista by Paulo Coehlo.

The Guest List - This was a quick summer thriller. Not the best, not the worst. A wedding occurs on an island off the coast of Ireland and is narrated alternatively between the wedding planner, bride, best man, maid of honor and plus one guest. Something bad has happened after the wedding and chapters move between the present and past to start to build a story around who was killed the night of the wedding and why. There were a few surprises I didn’t guess but I need some redemption in my books. These characters really didn’t gain any.

Against Medical Advice by James Patterson. It is a fascinating book that describes the struggle of a child growing with what seems to be a severe Tourette. Sd and OCD behavior, anxiety . It gives an insight of the struggles that people with certain medical conditions have .

The splendid and the vile

The Grace Year: I kept hearing buzz about this book and it finally came up on my library hold. I finished it in about a day so guess that is high praise. I would rate it 4.5 stars. If you have wanted to go back and experience Hunger Games over again, here is your chance in a different way. It is a mix of The Hunger Games and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. If you liked both of those, you should like this one. Lots of discussions could abound after reading this. You could take it at face value YA dystopian novel, or read a little deeper and see how some of this may be playing out in the small ways women can tear each other down in today’s society. But there is hope! The same way we feel when we have found a really great group of supportive women!

Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell - I waited for a road trip to tackle this audiobook. The format is more podcast style which made it more immersive, fast paced, and perfect for the long drive across Texas. I do like Gladwell's books and his podcast, Revisionist History. However, I wasn't prepared for how relevant this book is to the precise point in time in which we find ourselves in America. Transparency, truth default (or the loss of it), police training, fundamental inability to read "strangers"... The topics tackled in each chapter are often difficult to hear about (Sandra Bland, Sandusky, Nasser) so buckle up and be prepared to think. Looking forward to revisiting some chapters in the book as this settles with me over the next few days.

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