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books and reading

Mind of Winter

Title: Mind of Winter

Author: Laura Kasischke

Genre: Psychological Fiction

PopSugar Reading Challenge: a book that has fewer than 1000 Amazon or Goodreads reviews

I love a good plot twist. Some are done so poorly that it ruins the entire book. If a book is headed one way and the twist makes sense, sure go right ahead. The author should be leading us down that path to begin with. But the ones that irritate me the most are the ones that exist simply to shock the reader. The ones that undo the entire plot and make no sense whatsoever. The author severely underestimates the reader, and it infuriates me. So, when I hear a book has a good plot twist, as this one does, I’m both curious and skeptical. I can report that this book was wholly satisfying from page one to the very end.

From Goodreads: On a snowy Christmas morning, Holly Judge awakens with the fragments of a nightmare floating on the edge of her consciousness. Something followed them from Russia. Thirteen years ago, she and her husband Eric adopted baby Tatty, their pretty, black-haired Rapunzel, from the Pokrovka Orphanage #2. Now, at fifteen, Tatiana is more beautiful than ever—and disturbingly erratic. As a blizzard rages outside, Holly and Tatiana are alone. With each passing hour, Tatiana’s mood darkens, and her behavior becomes increasingly frightening, until Holly finds she no longer recognizes her daughter.

The story takes place on just one day. And as the book unfolds, the creep factor ramps up. This book isn’t in the horror genre, but it’s definitely spooky, and you wonder just what is going on. Just like Kasischke’s other book I read In a Perfect World, the story is told present day, but you learn a lot about the character’s past at the same time. A lot of this is critical to understanding what happened in Russia, how Tatiana grew up, and what changes she’s going through right now. Some of it is just pointless back story, though. At one point Holly picks up her iPhone and then the story uses several paragraphs to explain how her husband hates iPhones. I just didn’t find this information all that relevant because the words could have been used to further the main plot. That said, the book was fantastic, and I highly recommend it.

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books and reading

In a Perfect World

Title: In a Perfect World

Author: Laura Kasischke

Genre: family, plague

My goal since the 2020 Popsugar challenge ended is to read as many books as I could that I own but have never read. There are hundreds. I am a book collector. I love Half-Price Books and Friends of the Library sales. I’ve recently decided to stop buying Kindle books, even if they are cheap, if my library owns them. Side note: if you have Chrome, Firefox, or Edge check out the library extension. This brilliant tech lets you connect to your library and when you browse a book on Amazon, you can see if your library owns it and how many copies are available for checkout. Back to the book: I’ve had this on my shelf for ages, and I’m sure I bought it because it was dystopian of sorts. I’m using a lottery system to pick my books (seriously, I have so many that I can’t decide) and this book won this round.

From Goodreads: In a Perfect World is critically acclaimed writer Laura Kasischke’s novel of marriage, motherhood, and the choices we make when we have no choices left. Kasischke, the author of The Life Before Her Eyes, tells the story of Jiselle, a young flight attendant who’s just settled into a fairy tale life with her new husband and stepchildren. But as a mysterious new illness spreads rapidly throughout the country, she begins to realize that her marriage, her stepchildren, and their perfect world are all in terrible danger . . .

This book is more family drama than plague. And now that we are *not to jinx it* on the other side of Covid with vaccines out, I can safely say that the societal breakdown that happens in this book won’t happen in our world. Food stops being delivered, animals go bonkers, people die in mysterious ways, the plague is never really explained, and borders are closed. Reading a book like this before our own pandemic would have sent my anxiety over the edge. But it’s not nearly as bad now that I know we are finally headed in the right direction.