Recent reads roundup - part 2

This is the second half of my book review extravaganza to help you find your next great read. If you missed Recent Reads Roundup Part 1, never fear! A link is here. Now, on to the reviews. Remember, click the image of a book you'd like to read to buy it on Amazon.

 511k0CDb9BL._SL250_

511k0CDb9BL._SL250_

Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig

I read Chuck's blog regularly as he provides a lot of funny insights about being a writer. So I decided to read his first (I think) novel, a dark urban fantasy featuring Miriam Black, who sees how you will die the first time she touches you. It's an intriguing idea, and of course it gets her in trouble when she meets truck driver Louis one day and finds out he says her name just before he's horribly murdered in a week's time. I have two main complaints about this book: One, it's filthy -- one of the dirtiest books I've ever read in terms of dialogue and graphic violence. That's not really my thing, but I won't be overly critical of it. The other is that I just didn't believe Miriam was a woman. I think men can write female voices and women can write male voices, but I just had a hard time buying Miriam as a chick. It didn't stop me from finishing the book, but I can't say it's my favorite read of the year.

 ifIstay

ifIstay

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

This book rocked the YA world a few years ago and I now know why. I actually had no idea what it was about when I picked it up, so I was as shocked by the inciting incident as the first readers would have been. I feel very fortunate for that. Rather than tell you what it's about, if you don't already know, I'll just say this -- if you're looking to have your heart busted open a little in a really good way, pick this book up. It's pretty short, but lovely and interesting all the same. Particularly if you like young adult fiction, make haste now to Amazon and buy it.

 51khjRG1UXL._SL250_

51khjRG1UXL._SL250_

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

How do I give a 30-second review of a book I loved so much by one of my favorite authors currently writing? Moriarty has a way of capturing so many different characters and unique voices, and then weaving them all together in a novel that just sweeps you away with humor and heart. This book is no different, and it's no surprise to me that it's the novel that made her an international bestseller. All I can really say is that I fell in love with the characters, laughed out loud several times, was shocked by the secret, and amazed at the ending. Highly, highly recommended.

 fault

fault

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

This book will break your bloody heart. Growing up is hard enough, but growing up with cancer? Unimaginable. For 16-year-old Hazel, jokes and sarcasm are the most useful coping mechanisms. Luckily, when Augustus Waters walks into her life, he shares her black sense of humor and inspires her to become more passionate about being alive. I was surprised by how much I laughed at this book, but not at all surprised when it had me in tears. It's really unlike any other YA novel I've ever read, and for that reason alone, I would say you should definitely pick it up.

 The Chamber

The Chamber

The Chamber by John Grisham

I read this book way back in college when I was studying ethics, and since I'm writing about the death penalty for Novel #2, I thought it was a good time to pick it up again. Grisham goes into an extraordinary amount of detail about the capital punishment system that would probably stun a lot of Americans who don't know too much about it. I know it did for me. His choice to use an extremely unlikable character for the man on death row is also a twist that I didn't remember from before. Somehow, by the end of the book, I hated the death row inmate, hated the government who put him there, and yet still liked the book. Who'd have thought?

 The Light Between Oceans

The Light Between Oceans

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

This was recommended to me by someone at work and I'm so glad it was. It's one of the most beautiful books I've read in a long time -- beautiful in the writing, the story, and the theme. Isabel and Tom live on a secluded island, managing a lighthouse hundreds of miles from Australia's main shore. When a dead man and a living baby wash up in a boat, they make a decision that shifts the course of dozens of lives and changes the shape of all of their futures. I love stories where a split-second choice leads to a lifetime of consequences, and this is one of those. If you can get your hands on this book today, DO SO.

So there you go! Those are my recent reads from the past few months. I hope you found something that interests you. Now, tell me in the comments: what books have you read lately?