I went into January thinking I would read all the things on my ‘To Be Read’ bookshelf and immediately proved myself wrong by picking not one but three books from the Book of the Month’s (BOTM) January selections! What is wrong with me, do I have no shame?? Actually, no I don’t, not really but I digress.
The BOTM options for January were:
I’m never really interested in memoirs or biographies. They generally do nothing for me except bore me, so I skipped Maid. I have heard good things about it though so maybe that’s up your alley. Golden Child piqued my interest a bit but ultimately I went with The Night Tiger, Golden State, and The Silent Patient. I have no will power.
Surprisingly, I read all THREE of my January Book of the Month picks in the month of January! Go me, go me! Normally I do a fairly in-depth review for my BOTM reads but this month since I’ve read all three already, I thought I’d do something a little differently. Instead of one in-depth review, I’m going to do 3 smaller reviews. Get excited!
Title: The Silent Patient
Published: February 5th 2019 by Celadon Books
Genre: Fiction, Thriller, Mystery
Goodreads Rating: 4.25 out of 5 Stars
“Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.
Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.
Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him….”
Did I read it in one night? Yes. Did I like it? Also yes. Would I say it’s a favorite? Nope.
The Silent Patient was good. It wasn’t terrible and it had some really great twists that I was honestly not expecting. I mean that ending, whoa! However, based on all the hype I heard around this book I thought for sure it would be completely captivating for me. And it was definitely captivating. I just felt that it didn’t warrant the amount of hype it received. I will say that I have read tons of psychologicalthrillers and they’re one of my favorite genres, so maybe my view of the book is tainted a little.
If you don’t read psychological thrillers as much you’ll really like this one. It has everything you might be looking for a thrilleresque novel. It was well written. It was engaging. It had a slow but not turtle slow buildup. And once again, that ending!
All in all though I give it 4 stars. It was no Women in the Window or Girl on a Train for me, but it did surprise me to a certain level. It is also Alex Michaelides’ debut novel, and if this is his first novel I cannot wait to see what else he comes up with. For my fellow thriller fans, get it HERE,I promise you won’t see the end coming!
Author: Ben H. winters
Published: January 22nd 2019 by Mulholland Books
Genre: Dystopia. Science Fictions
Goodreads Rating: 3.67 out of 5 Stars
Lazlo Ratesic is 54, a 19-year veteran of the Speculative Service, from a family of law enforcement and in a strange alternate society that values law and truth above all else. This is how Laz must, by law, introduce himself, lest he fail to disclose his true purpose or nature, and by doing so, be guilty of a lie.
Laz is a resident of The Golden State, a nation resembling California, where like-minded Americans retreated after the erosion of truth and the spread of lies made public life, and governance, increasingly impossible. There, surrounded by the high walls of compulsory truth-telling, knowingly contradicting the truth–the Objectively So–is the greatest possible crime. Stopping those crimes, punishing them, is Laz’s job. In its service, he is one of the few individuals permitted to harbor untruths–to “speculate” on what might have happened in the commission of a crime.
But the Golden State is far less a paradise than its name might suggest. To monitor, verify, and enforce the Objectively So requires a veritable panopticon of surveillance, recording, and record-keeping. And when those in control of the truth twist it for nefarious means, the Speculators may be the only ones with the power to fight back.
If you lived in a society where it was illegal to lie, what would you do? This is the main question that is explored throughout this dystopian novel.
Most reviews of this book talk about not knowing exactly what this book was about when they first picked it up and I would probably agree that I went in with zero expectations.
This is a dystopian type novel that narrows in on the concept of ‘Truth’. It’s thought provoking, because everyone tells small white lies everyday. People do it to avoid awkward situations, they do it to be ‘nice’, and some people do it to make themselves sound more impressive. I mean come on, read any resume and you’ll probably find a handful of white lies, right?
Lazlo Ratesic lives in one of these types of societies and has a talent for knowing when someone is lying. He lives in a place called ‘The Goldenstate’, which is basically California. Which is what’s left of the United States after a terrorist attack takes place, at least that’s what the residents of the Goldenstate are lead to believe. But when Lazlo stumbles upon a novel from ‘the before’, (novels are seen as lies, because they’re not truths) he begins to question his entire life’s work and ultimately aims to answer the question, “How do we tell a lie from the truth?”
The concept of story is great and honestly the only reason I wouldn’t give it more than 4 stars, is because the book just ends. There are no answers, I need more answers! I attempted to do a bit of research to see if this was suppose to be a series but have found no evidence to suggest it is. Come on Winters! I need answers! I definitely recommend this to anyone who wants to dip their toes into the science fiction realm. Get it HERE!
Title: The Night Tiger
Author: Yangsze Choo
Published: February 12, 2019 by Flatiron Books
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Goodreads Rating: 4.19 out of 5 Stars
“Quick-witted, ambitious Ji Lin is stuck as an apprentice dressmaker, moonlighting as a dancehall girl to help pay off her mother’s Mahjong debts. But when one of her dance partners accidentally leaves behind a gruesome souvenir, Ji Lin may finally get the adventure she has been longing for.
Eleven-year-old houseboy Ren is also on a mission, racing to fulfill his former master’s dying wish: that Ren find the man’s finger, lost years ago in an accident, and bury it with his body. Ren has 49 days to do so, or his master’s soul will wander the earth forever.
As the days tick relentlessly by, a series of unexplained deaths racks the district, along with whispers of men who turn into tigers. Ji Lin and Ren’s increasingly dangerous paths crisscross through lush plantations, hospital storage rooms, and ghostly dreamscapes.”
Honestly, this was my most anticipated read from the Book of the Month picks. Set in present day Malaysia, The Night Tiger is a beautiful tale of asian culture, beliefs, and myths. Choo paints a stunning image of colonial Asia in 1931. No joke, this book has something for everyone.
There is the mystery of the severed finger. This is a coming of age love story. It is a historical fiction that capitalizes on a culture rich in legends and myths. There are so many pieces that interlock to make this a truly magical read.
I am obsessed with the two main characters. Ren a houseboy who is barely 11 is smart, dedicated, and charming. Ji Ling is brilliant in school but is held back by societies standards and expectations of women. Even with this though she is quick witted and knows when to stand up for herself. My absolute favorite thing about Ji Ling is that even when tempted she stands by her morals. She doesn’t ‘give in’ the way most love stories paint 18 year old girls. I love her sheer diligence to making something of her.
I really enjoy anything to do with folklore and I think that Asian cultures, like Native American, cultures are filled with legends, myths, and superstitions. I’ve always wanted to throw myself into these legends and understand them more and I appreciate the emphasize this book places on them. Choo also gives a few pages at the end of the book to describe the myths/beliefs behind some of the superstitions we see throughout the story and it made me feel very ‘educated’.
Any book that can captivate me the way this one while also giving me actual knowledge (without me knowing) is a win for me. Go check it out HERE!
The Night Tiger was my favorite January Book of the Month pick. What did you pick for January and how did you like it??