I know I say this an outrageous number of times, but I love every book on this month's list. They're just all so good! My rankings were really hard to make this month but I have finally figured it out. Let's dive in!
#1: Still Life by Louise Penny
I can't not include murder mysteries, guys. We know how it is at this point in the game. Still Life had so many great moments outside of the main murder plot which is why it earned the top spot. Normally with books that fall into this genre, you only get to see the aftermath as it relates to trying to figure out who the killer was. This novel not only shows that but it also takes a look at grief and how grief impacts the lives of each individual person as well as their relationships. Every character is involved in trying to help the police solve it and they're each able to offer help in their own way. The way that they actually solve it is spectacular and unexpected but totally fits the story as a whole. Everything sort of comes full circle at the end. Plus, if you love the characters, this is only the first book in the series.
#2: Shelter Mountain by Robyn Carr
Romance novels are nice escapes from the normal world. However, they can become repetitive especially if the plot remains almost identical to others. Shelter Mountain has a romance plot that runs parallel with a very high-stakes situation involving fake identities, drug mules, crazy ex-husbands, and a very well put together team of Marines ready to take down the bad guys. The second book in the Virgin River series could not be anymore different from the show and it blows my mind how well the story is written. All our favorites from the first book make an appearance but we're still introduced to new characters that soon become ones we root for. Read this book!!
#3: Good Girl, Bad Blood by Holly Jackson
Months ago, I blogged about a book called A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder and I loved it! The sequel did not disappoint. The plot is different from the first but everything else is still the same. When a book series lives within the same world, it can be hard for writers to change up the story rather than a continuation (i.e. Caraval). Similarly, readers can struggle with interest if the story veers too far from the things they loved about the first. This series didn’t have that issue. The conflict within the first book stands on its own and the conflict within this one does as well. Each book flows nicely but you don’t necessarily have to read them in order because plenty of background is given. I love it when I’m annoyed to go to bed because a book is so good! A+ to Holly Jackson!
#4: Everything We Didn't Say by Nicole Baart
I’ve read two books in my life that were set in Iowa. Everything We Didn’t Say was the first. The interesting thing about this novel is that it is categorized as a “whodunit” but the mystery isn’t the primary focus. More like, every plot line relates back to it. As we explore different characters and situations, we learn a little bit more about the overarching question. Throughout the story, the author jumps between two different timelines: present time and the summer after the narrator graduated high school. I always find split timelines fun and personally think this one was executed really well. Sometimes, you don’t get lucky! Overall, I appreciated all the different characters and was satisfied with the final reveal.
#5: The Dead Girl in 2A by Carter Wilson
Online, this is classified as a psychological thriller but I’m also going to add on sci-if as well. The Dead Girl in 2A in no way goes as its title suggests. In fact, it all relates back to these experiments being done on children. This book gives few clues as to what’s really going on for the two main characters. You know virtually nothing until the very last chapters when all the random puzzle pieces given start finally making sense. I can definitely say that this one stumped me until the very end. Jam-packed with action and surprises, you’ll stay up all night until the final page is flipped.
Until next time, my friends!
It's snowing today. Actual snow, not just random flurries. Will winter ever end?? But we can't always get what we want, which is so unfortunate. Anyway, now that we've got the unpleasantness taken care of, let's move onto things that are actually fun and happy. Yesterday, the senate confirmed Ketanji Brown Jackson to replace Justice Breyer when he retires this summer. President Biden's first nomination to the Supreme Court is monumental. Jackson is the first African-American woman to be confirmed to the court in its 233-year history. The final vote came to 53-47. All fifty senate democrats voted yes along with just three senate republicans: Susan Collins, Mitt Romney, and Lisa Murkowski. Every other senate republican voted no. In a move that I can only classify as petty, Mitch McConnell left the chamber as the new Judge Jackson received a standing ovation. Other republicans followed suit which left the senate half empty. Photos captured by journalists underscore the divide between parties that only seems to be widening.
To the press, the senate minority leader had this to say, "When it came to one of the most consequential decisions a president can make, a lifetime appointment to our highest court, the Biden administration let the radicals run the show. The far left got the reckless inflationary spending they wanted. The far left has gotten the insecure border they wanted. And today, the far left will get the Supreme Court justice they wanted." Like, what?? Make it make sense! How do these people continue to get re-elected? Also, Mitch has no place to talk about "consequential decisions". Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed in thirty-five days from President Trump's initial nomination after RGB's death in September 2020. The final vote came a week before election day. Remember when the Senate wouldn't let President Obama nominate Merrick Garland in 2016 because it was too close to the election?
The republicans are all riled up and Mitch and his favorite whipping boy, Lindsey, are on every major press outlet vowing "payback" when the republicans take back control of the House and Senate. What payback? The president nominated a highly qualified, highly intelligent candidate (as is his right as President, per Article II, Section II of the US Constitution). She went through all of the senate hearings which were honestly a circus because they were led by a bunch of clowns who argue like second graders on the playground instead of elected representatives of the richest, most powerful country in the world. But girl did it and she did it without breaking a sweat. She then got the number of votes needed to approve her appointment, end of story. There was nothing nefarious, no underhand tactics. Every step was done in accordance with established laws and precedences. Maybe that's what they don't understand? That something could be be done fairly, legally, and professionally. Whatever's actually going on in their heads, we'll probably never know but here's hoping that mid-term elections solve some issues.
Senator Brian Schatz is a democrat from Hawaii. Senator Brian Schatz is what Olivia Pope would call a gladiator in a suit because he just took a verbal flamethrower to Josh Hawley and it was a beautiful thing to watch. He really said, "Try me". I want more of this. Call these people out for their hypocrisy and their insanity. The one thing that will forever incence me about democrats is they don't fight. I'll give it to the republicans. They can go against anyone, no matter the range of reasonability and they will fight until they are on the floor bloody. The democrats can get something going or they can join in on a fight but they'll never follow through to the bitter end. There are a few here and there (see our fierce senator from Hawaii) but not enough. I think it also comes down to the leadership. Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell may be a few cards short of a full deck but they can pull their together and get things done. Meanwhile, you've got Chuck Schumer and and Steny Hoyer and they talk big talk but you never see the follow through. The slaying of the dragon if you will. For some reason, they just can't garner the same momentum from their people as McConnell and McCarthy can. The old guard is changing and they've lost a lot of the party's legendary power. I found this article from Teen Vogue and it's really eye-opening in regards to the need for fresh politicians in a Congress that's barely changed in four decades.
It's an election year! Mid-terms take place in November and it'll come faster than you think. Make sure that you're registered to vote if you'll be eligible by election day and stay up-to-date on canidates!
The Blog in a Nutshell
Hi! Welcome to Fashion Fun and Extra, a blog run by Caroline Hill. A wheelchair user, podcaster, little sister, writer, and more, Caroline's unique view on life allows readers to take a glance into something they don't experience everyday. Told with humor, realness, remarkable wit, and a special kind bluntness, no blog will fail to entertain!