This was a slower reading month for me, but below you will find detailed reviews of all of the book I read in June. Spoiler alert, they were all really good and I highly recommend them. What did you read this month? What's your favorite book? I would love to hear about it in the comments.
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Book Review of The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
“The Great Alone” by Kristin Hannah 5/5 ⭐️
“A thing can be true, and not the truth”
This was a heartbreaking read. It shattered my heart a million times over. The way Kristin Hannah is able to transport the reader into the worlds of the characters she writes is unparalleled. I felt like I was going through every emotion right along with them. Her writing is truly in a league of its own.
One of the most remarkable things about Kristin Hannah is her talent for eliciting a wide range of emotions. From moments of gut-wrenching sorry that will leave you with tears streaming down your face as you turn the pages, to feelings of immense joy and happiness that will have you smiling for the characters victories.
This book features themes of romantic love, familial love, strife, hardship, sacrifice, strength and resilience. Trigger warning: it also depicts some intense domestic violence.
Synopsis of The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
"The Great Alone" serves as a testament to the transformative power of storytelling. Through its beautifully expressive writing and intricately developed characters, it delves into the depths of human emotions, exposing vulnerabilities while also celebrating the indomitable spirit of humanity. This is a book that will linger in my thoughts long after I've turned the final page, leaving an indelible imprint on my heart.
Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.
Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown.
At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.
But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves.
In this unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience, Kristin Hannah reveals the indomitable character of the modern American pioneer and the spirit of a vanishing Alaska―a place of incomparable beauty and danger. The Great Alone is a daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night story about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature.
Book Review of Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah
“Magic Hour” by Kristin Hannah 4 / 5 ⭐️
“She didn't know that some hurts were like a once-broken bone. In the right weather, they could ache for a lifetime.”
For those unaware, “Wild” and “Magic Hour” are both the same book. After reading it, I believe that “Wild” is the more fitting title.
I've read three other Kristin Hannah books: “The Nightingale”, "The Four Wings" and “The Great Alone” which were all excellent. So to say that I had high expectations for this book would be an understatement.
The first half was very slow and felt like it was lacking direction. But the second half picks up the pace and pulls you right into the world of the story. I am glad I stuck with it.
While I liked this book, if I didn’t already know, I would have never guessed that it was written by the same author than penned two of my favorite stories of all-time. That being said, “Magic Hour was written a decade before “The Nightingale” and “The Great Alone”. If anything it serves as proof of how much a writer can continue to grow and fine-tune their craft throughout their career. I truly feel like Kristin Hannah is in a league of her own.
I very much value an author that takes the time to thoroughly research the subject matter of their writing, in order to create a deep, nuanced storyline that takes the reader far below the surface.
Fact based, historical research makes all the difference between good and GREAT writing and storytelling. While there likely wasn’t as much research required for this book, I would guess that when it comes to some of her other titles, it took her longer to do the research then it did to write the book. I respect this so much. It’s the same reason that I love Jodi Picoults writing.
Synopsis of Magic Hour By Kristin Hannah
Dr. Julia Cates, one of the country's leading child psychiatrists, is facing career-ending media scrutiny after a shocking tragedy occurs with one of her patients. Meanwhile, back in her small hometown, her sister Ellie, the chief of police, is dealing with the biggest thing to ever happen in that town. A 6-year-old girl shows up out of nowhere from the depths of the forest and appears to be completely feral. She does not speak and is covered in scars, suggesting that she has suffered immense abuse. But who does this little girl belong to? And where did she come from? Julia returns home to pick up the pieces of her shattered career and help her sister uncover what happened to this innocent little child.
Book Review of Behind Closed Doors
“Behind Closed Doors” by B.A. Paris 4 / 5 ⭐️
“When I look at him I feel dismayed as I always do at how normal he looks, because surely there should be something--pointed ears or a pair of horns--to warn people of his evilness.”
Grace and Jack Angel are the picture perfect couple… or are they? On the surface, they have it all: wealth, beauty, a stunning home, and a seemingly flawless marriage. However, as the title suggests, the horrifying secrets about their lives lie hidden behind closed doors.
“Behind Closed Doors” is dark and twisty psychological thriller that dives deep into themes of psychological manipulation, domestic abuse, fear, control, and survival.
The story is written predominantly from Graces point of view, with a jumping timeline that alternates between the present and the past, gradually revealing the shocking truths about their lives together.
B.A. Paris has a real gift for creating an atmosphere of unease and suspense, page after page. I couldn’t put it down. Not even when my book got drenched a third of the way through. Yes, I read over 200 pages of a soaking wet book. This book will make you question how well you really know the people around you.
My only complaint would be that after all the buildup, it wrapped up so quickly that I almost had whiplash. It almost felt like it was being left open for the possibility of a sequel.
Synopsis of "Behind Closed Doors" by B.A. Paris
Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace. He has looks and wealth; she has charm and elegance. He’s a dedicated attorney who has never lost a case; she is a flawless homemaker, a masterful gardener and cook, and dotes on her disabled younger sister. Though they are still newlyweds, they seem to have it all. You might not want to like them, but you do. You’re hopelessly charmed by the ease and comfort of their home, by the graciousness of the dinner parties they throw. You’d like to get to know Grace better.
But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are inseparable.
Some might call this true love. Others might wonder why Grace never answers the phone. Or why she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. Or why she never seems to take anything with her when she leaves the house, not even a pen. Or why there are such high-security metal shutters on all the downstairs windows.
Some might wonder what’s really going on once the dinner party is over, and the front door has closed.