And now for something completely different

So far this summer I’ve read a couple books that are out of my comfort zone–and I’ve not been disappointed. I guess it’s a good lesson in being open to new experiences. Read on and maybe you’ll be tempted to try something completely different yourself (cue the music!)  …

Glass Shatters (NetGalley)
Michelle Meyers
She Writes Press

glass shatterShe Writes Press is a kind of incubator publisher dedicated to publishing women based solely on the quality of their writing. I wasn’t disappointed with the first book I read from She Writes Press (you can read my review here) and I wasn’t with another title they’ve published, Glass Shatters. Michelle Meyers’s story is part Frankenstein and part Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde–throw in a little amnesia and you’ll see right away that this is out-of-the-box reading for me.

We meet Charles waking up on the couch, confused. A young neighbor rings the doorbell with an invitation from her mother for dinner that night. Except that Charles doesn’t remember the little girl’s name (Ava), nor does he realize he’s been gone for six months until she tells him so. Then there is the business of his gauze-wrapped head and several obvious incisions. There’s an old man scuffling wordlessly around the house, skulking in the shadows. And the fact that all of the picture frames in his house are empty.

Gradually, Charles pieces together his story. He learns he is a renowned biologist who was on the brink of a possible breakthrough–and might have discovered the secret of immortality. That his wife and daughter had disappeared several months earlier. When the head of the lab where he worked welcomes him back without a single question, Charles returns to his work in cell transdifferentiation. We learn what has happened to Charles right along with him in a series of dreams that slowly unravel his memory.

Glass Shatters is a chilling story asks us to consider whether or not, when it comes to controlling the origins of life, we need to ask how far is too far. This is one you won’t soon forget.


Before the Fall (NetGalley)
Noah Hawley
Grand Central Publishing

One minute Scott Burroughs is on the tarmac, sitting in a private jet with two very wealthy–and powerful–families and their entourage. The before the fallnext, he’s in the ocean surrounded by the flotsam of a plane wreck. Willing himself to swim to safety, Scott begins heading for what he thinks might be shore. And then he hears a little boy crying.

David Bateman is head of a twenty-four hour news network; his wife Maggie is stay-at-home mom to their two children, Rachel, nine, and JJ, four. Ben and Sarah Kipling move in the same circles–Ben works on Wall Street and word on the street is that he’s about to be indicted for (illegally) investing in North Korea and Iran. And that Scott Burroughs? He just barely made the flight in time for take-off. A struggling artist, Scott is only on board because Maggie, an acquaintance, kindly offered him a seat on the plane.

Through sheer force of will, Scott makes it to shore with the child, four-year-old JJ Bateman. They are driven to the hospital by a surprised fisherman who discovers them on shore, and here’s where the real story begins. David Bateman has enemies: his family has had a security detail since his daughter was kidnapped several years earlier. And Ben Kipling has been trading with the enemy. Literally. Then there’s the possible conflict between crew members. And Scott Burroughs–what is he really doing on board? The press is hot on the trail of each man’s story and Scott tries desperately to stay secluded.

Before the Fall reads a bit like a Grisham novel, but writer Noah Hawley offers his main character, Scott Burroughs, more time to reflect: about his mistakes, his marriage, his art, and, perhaps most importantly, what type of man he wants to be now that he has a second lease on life. The book is a well-written page turner–perfect for vacation reading.

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