Books to Read After Running

Verity by Colleen Hoover

A real page-turner! Decided to read this one after seeing Colleen had two or three books on some of the latest NY Times bestseller lists. It didn't disappoint. Struggling writer Lowen Ashleigh literally runs into her future when she stumbles into a man who helps her after they see a pedestrian killed in a NYC cross walk. Turns out, they were both on the way to the same meeting where he offered her a chance to continue his famous wife's bestselling series as its ghostwriter! You see, Verity Crawford is recovering from a near fatal car accident and Jeremy hires her. Well, Lowen gets more than she bargains for when she discovers a hidden manuscript which reveals some deep secrets about Verity and Jeremy and the recent, separate deaths of their twin girls. Lowen has to decide what to tell Jeremy about the manuscript while they also tangle with their new-found feelings for each other.

State of Terror by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Louise Penny

I really wanted to like this book (written with Canadian Louise Penny) after having loved both of Bill Clinton's collaborations with James Patterson ("The President is Missing" and "The President's Daughter") but it seemed to spend too much time ranting about the trouble the United States was in after President Dunn's four years of mayhem (read President Trump) than actually producing a compelling thriller. The concept is good: a new Secretary of State (Hey, wasn't Hillary that under President Obama?) works with her President and foreign diplomats frantically trying to stop several terrorist bombings around the world. And her daughter and estranged son are even in on trying to stop the killings. But somehow the book doesn't come off as believable. Wouldn't mind another Hillary attempt with less anti-Trump and more reality. ***

The Paris Detective by James Patterson and Richard DiLallo

Actually three books in one. One of Patterson's new formats is the “book shot” - short novels with another author that you can pick up at the airport and read in a few hours. Here, three with Richard DiLallo combine to form one novel, all focused on French detective Luc Moncrief and NYPD partner Katherine Burke. Moncrief is on loan from Paris to NYC and is famous for his instinctual detective skills while Burke is more by-the-book. And Luc also happens to be a billionaire who is grieving the murder of his girlfriend in the first installment "French Kiss," so his relationship with the beautiful Burke is “somewhat” platonic. "The Christmas Mystery" involves art forgery and theft while "French Twist" combines solving mysterious deaths of young and healthy NYC women with a threat to a friend's horse on the path to the Triple Crown. Fast reads, but not a lot of meat. ***

Abandoned in Death (In Death, #54) by J.D. Robb

Just happened to pick this book up at a Starbucks "free" library exchange! I guess I need to read the first 53 in the series! Excellent story of Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her NYPD homicide unit at work in the future (2060) trying to solve a combination serial killing and kidnapping spree before more bodies start showing up. Lt Dallas races the clock to keep the latest kidnapped victim, Mary Kate Covino from being DB #3. It seems that something has triggered a madman into trying to rediscover his mother who abandoned him 56 years ago. All his victims look like his mother right up to their make up. As each body shows up, a child's handwriting says "Bad Mommy" alongside. I like the advances described in the book made by the 2060's. ****

Click here to read all of Mark’s reviews on Goodreads

The Impossible City: A Hong Kong Memoir by Karen Cheung

An interesting and illuminating memoir by a  young millennial living in Hong Kong, a city with a complicated past and uncertain future. Cheung’s coming of age as a writer, critic, and Hong Kong citizen is deeply affected by the protests, the lively cultural scene, and identity crises that characterize the city. She also struggles, like many young people in major urban centers around the world, with limited and expensive housing and navigating educational opportunities.  This memoir is as much about the place as the person–both fascinating and troubled.

The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka

A slim and poignant story about a group of regular swimmers at a municipal pool who confront change when a crack appears in the pool’s bottom surface. The characters are quirky and Otsuka perfectly captures the fellowship that is created among people who only see each other at their recreational centers. As the story develops, it focuses on one swimmer’s decline into dementia as told by her daughter, in moving and intimate prose.

Lessons in Chemistry  by Bonnie Garmus

An entertaining novel about a female chemist in the 1950s. Ahead of her time in profession and intellect, she confronts barriers to achieving her many serious goals. Eventually, she gains fame as the host of an irreverent cooking show that focuses on the chemistry of cooking and challenges the status quo, launching her own kind of feminist revolution.

Disorientation by Elaine Hsieh Chou

A hilarious and sharp campus satire about a Taiwanese American doctoral student who unearths a scandal about the poet who is the subject of her dissertation.  The discovery leads to a cascade of mishaps and adventures that makes Ingrid question everything about her school, her finance, her family, and herself. Wrapped in the story is provocative commentary about cultural identity, cancel culture, and mob mentality

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