Monday, September 27, 2021

Audio Book Review: People We Meet on Vacation, by Emily Henry

People We Meet on Vacation book cover and review
I don't read many romcoms, but I decided I needed to shake things up a bit and found People We Meet on Vacation on I enjoyed listening.

Poppy and Alex have been friends since college. Even though she lives in New York City and he lives in Ohio, they always take a trip together each summer. That is until their last trip two years ago. Since then, they haven't spoken.

Poppy has her dream job reporting for a travel magazine, but she isn't happy. She decides to make contact with Alex and plan a trip. The story flashes back year by year and describes how they met and all the trips they have taken together until we finally discover what happened two years ago. It's not much of a surprise.

I enjoyed the "this summer" parts much more than the past. After a few trips, they all just seemed like more of the same, and I wanted to get on with the present story. I also would describe the banter and situations as "cute" rather than funny. I think I only chuckled one time. 

You know going in how this is going to turn out, but there were some interesting twists and turns before you actually get there. There is a nice build-up of tension. I liked the characters and was rooting for the eventual "happily ever after." 

The narrator, Julia Whelan, does a great job. I've listened to her before, and I think she's excellent. You don't think about the voices, you just listen to the story.

If the premise sounds good to you, I would recommend People We Meet on Vacation. It was a nice, quick, satisfying story.

Published by Berkley, May 11, 2021, Penguin Audio
Audiobook obtained from
382 pages

Rating: 3.5/5

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Thursday, September 16, 2021

Book Review: Pony by R. J. Palacio

Pony, by R. J. Palacio, book cover and review
I don't read much middle-grade fiction anymore, but when I saw Pony (and its author Palacio), I couldn't pass it up. I wasn't disappointed. Pony's appeal reaches much farther than the middle school population.

The book is magical and no specific time period is given that I could find, but it seems like it must be the mid-1800s, given the photography element. Silas and his father live an isolated life. His father, though uneducated, is very scientific and is working on a photographic process using chemicals beyond the common daguerreotype. Some mysterious men visit and want to take Silas and his father away so his father can help with some nefarious scheme requiring chemicals. His father negotiates with them to leave Silas, and he will come with them willingly. Silas is to stay put. 

But the next day, the pony that Silas was supposed to ride reappears, and Silas vows to find his father, even though it requires entering the deep, scary woods that aren't far from their home. Fortunately, he is always accompanied by his invisible friend, Mittenwool. Mittenwool has been with Silas for as long as he can remember, and he doesn't know why, but he provides a lot of comfort. 

Silas meets a U. S. Marshal in the woods who is hunting for some counterfeiters. Silas is convinced these are the men who took his father and convinces the Marshal to let him come along. So begins a big adventure, and Silas must be very brave. 

The best part for me is that once the part about Silas' father is over, there is still much more to the story. We learn about Silas in the future--and about his past. Somewhere I read that the crime you think happened isn't really the crime. Well, that's not entirely true, but there is much more to the story than just counterfeiting.

So I think that is all I'll say. The story is rich with details that I haven't mentioned, but given the author, I'm sure you can be confident in this selection. I recommend Pony to pretty much everyone. 

Published by Knopf BFYR, September 28, 2019
eARC obtained from NetGalley
304 pages

Rating: 5/5

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Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Book Review: The Girls in the Stilt House by Kelly Mustain

The Girls in the Stilt House by Kelly Mustain book cover and review
The Girls in the Stilt House has been compared to Where the Crawdads Sing, and I agree. It's the reason I chose to read this.

In the 1920s, deep in the swamps of Mississippi, Ada returns home to the Trace, where she lives in a stilt house with her drunken, abusive father after a misguided adventure with a boy in Baton Rouge. Her father, as is common, is away for weeks before coming home and relegating Ada to live in the shed.

Matilda lives on the other side of the Trace, with her family who sharecrops. Both she and her father are working hard to raise money to get out of Mississippi and build a better life.

These two girls cross paths in a most violent way and end up living in the stilt house together. But Matilda has many secrets that she is unwilling to share, and Ada cannot seem to get the security she so desires.

I don't want to give too many details of the story, but they are doled out slowly, as we realize what a seemingly hopeless situation these girls are trying to muddle through. There are surprises and many secrets to discover. Any feelings of hopefulness seem to disappear on a whim.

I found The Girls in the Stilt House more exciting and fast-paced than Where the Crawdads Sing. I also would compare this to The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek.  So, if you enjoyed either of those books, I would definitely recommend The Girls in the Stilt House.

Published by Sourcebooks Landmark, April 6, 2021
eBook purchased 
384 pages

Rating: 4.5/5

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