Thursday, July 9, 2020

Book Reviews | Fiction Genres

It looks like many of us around the world will continue to spend a good bit of time at home in the coming weeks as we see spikes in the number of new coronavirus cases. During the past several months, I've been reading through the books on my to-read bookshelf as well as re-reading books from our personal library here at home. So, this week I'll be catching up and sharing reviews of the books I've read this year with the hope that you'll find one or two of interest to keep you inspired or entertained in the days ahead. Today's offering includes an eclectic mix of fiction.

Fiction stories are ones that come from a writer's imagination, as opposed to being based on fact. These books can be divided into several different sub-genres or categories like romance, science fiction, crime, fantasy, historical fiction, etc. I've read books in several of these genres in recent months.


Romance: I discovered the Netflix series Virgin River earlier this year and enjoyed all of Season One before learning that it was based on a book, which Robbie promptly ordered for me. This story follows a young nurse practitioner as she moves to a small town after the death of her husband. The town, Virgin River, is filled with great characters, including Jack Sheridan, an ex-marine and the town's leading bachelor. There's lots of chemistry and intrigue. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I like the series better and recommend it over the book. (Note: I only read book one of the series.) Evvie Drake Starts Over is about another recent widow who ends up renting the apartment at the rear of her house to a former Major League Baseball pitcher who needs a break from big city life. I picked up an advanced reader copy of this book at our library last summer. This is an easy and entertaining read with a happy ending.

Historical FictionDaisy Jones & The Six is classified as historical fiction because it is set in the past; however, the story centers around a fictional band. I'm saying this right up front because you'll be tempted to look up the band and try to find their songs - the book is so well-written, it's hard to believe it's fiction. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which I ordered after Ruth highly recommended it on her blog last year. The story is written as an oral history of one of the biggest rock 'n' roll bands of the seventies. The book is being turned into an Amazon mini-series that (I'm assuming) is delayed due to the current pandemic.

Crime Thriller: John Grishman is the king of the criminal thriller novel, and The Whistler does not disappoint. Lacy Stoltz is an investigator for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct and works on cases involving judicial misconduct. Here's a look at a portion of the book's blurb: A previously disbarred lawyer is back in business, and he claims to know of a Florida judge who has stolen more money than all other crooked judges combined. And not just crooked judges in Florida. All judges, from all states, and throughout United States history. And now he wants to put a stop to it. His only client is a person who knows the truth and wants to blow the whistle and collect millions under Florida law. When the case is assigned to Lacy, she immediately suspects that this one could be dangerous. Dangerous is one thing. Deadly is something else. Robbie and I both enjoyed this book.

Domestic FictionThe Farm follows the life of Jane, an immigrant from the Philippines, who is recruited to be a "host" (surrogate mother) for a wealthy client of The Farm, a luxury retreat with all the amenities designed to help produce a healthy baby. The caveat is that the host cannot leave the grounds of The Farm for the entire nine months of the pregnancy. When Jane begins to worry about the daughter she entrusted to a cousin for the nine months, she is faced with a choice of leaving the campus to check on her own child and forfeiting the final fee she'll receive upon delivery of the client's child or staying put and trusting that her cousin is taking care of things outside The Farm. An interesting read that sheds perspective on how far individuals will go to earn money and secure their future. The book I read was an advanced reader copy that I picked up at our library last summer.

Science Fiction: Robbie and I heard about Recursion on the What Should I Read Next podcast. This story focuses on time travel and begins with a woman killing herself by jumping off a building because she is having memories of a past life that seems so real she can't forget them. After this dramatic opening, this page-turner focuses on a New York City detective, Barry Sutton, and a neuroscientist, Helena Smith, who hold the key to the mystery of what's actually happening. Despite jumping back and forth in time, the story is easy to follow and has a nice conclusion (after bogging down some in the final chapters).

Apocalyptic: If you've been around my  blog a while, you may have seen a previous review of Pat Frank's Alas, Babylon. This is one of Robbie's all-time favorite books, and we've both read it numerous times. I read it again hoping my twin nieces and my sister would join me for a "book club discussion" about it, but with all the changes and uncertainty with the pandemic this spring, they did not complete it. I found it refreshing to read a book about a group of people who survive in an isolated area after a nuclear holocaust. Despite the hardships, they came together and worked to keep everyone healthy and feed without the many commodities and amenities that we take for granted. I highly recommend this classic novel!

Have you read any of these books? Please share your thoughts in the comments, along with your favorite genre of fiction books.


  1. I so, so happy you loved Daisy! I'm also keeping an eye on the amazon production ...
    I've downloaded your two romance-genre suggestions on to my Kindle - Romance is my go-to right now. :)

  2. Daisy Jones & The Six is on my TBR list, but you can add Grisham to my list of authors that are overrated.


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