Red Clocks by Leni Zumas

In the wake of the unrelenting movements spanning across the globe on gender equality, an achingly honest account on the female experience rises from contemporary beginnings. Leni Zumas masterfully crafts together a mosaic of triumph and misery through the lives of five women:

  • A desperate list-making biographer whose anguish feeds her fire
  • A student brighter than the sun, knee-deep in an undesirable predicament
  • An exhausted wife/mother, carrying in her hands her breaking marriage
  • An arrested mystic guided by her own lunacy
  • And finally, an unacknowledged polar explorer of the nineteenth century.

In brash, burning, and heartrending prose, Zumas teaches us the interconnectedness of one life to another and the vibrancy of hope in tumultuous times. Set in a United States where abortion is banned and IVF illegal, Red Clocks is a novel of forward thinking and revolution. It’s witty and full of relatable quips – a reflection of life’s pitfalls and mountains and written with the hand of a skilled writer.

Zumas writes inside the heads of her characters – each sentence a gunshot ringing clear in the minds of the protagonists. Each woman wielding her own flaws, dreams, and faulty beauty, the reader gains a true and sometimes alarming insight into their lives. The novel is incandescent with the fire of the strange, sparking with the light of life.

Ultimately, through pain and reward, the women of Red Clocks learn their own lessons in the novel’s revelation. While its mature themes are not for everyone, there are countless aspects to love in Zumas’ political, hilarious, and gorgeous testimony to the horrors and beauty of a woman’s life.

-Esther H.

Red Clocks by Leni Zumas is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck

Image result for sweet thursdaySweet Thursday is basically a continuation of the book Cannery Row. In this book, Mack and his friends are trying to save their dear friend Doc from his unknown depression.

Fauna, the new owner of the brothel was introduced. She is pretty, kind and most important, smart. Even though she doesn’t know how nice and helpful she is. Fauna really detests it when people say “I love you” to her. It was very shocking to me that such an amazing woman isn’t married.

If you ask me who is my favorite character in this book, I will certainly point my finger at Suzy. Again, she is another new character in this book. Suzy is a very wild girl. She is frank, uneducated but also can be very girly when it comes to the man that she loves who is Doc. This whole entire book really touched me because I didn’t know that Suzy can be respectful to Doc. But thanks to God that Doc realized he loves Suzy and brought her back to him. I am really excited to see another gold star on the wall of the brothel which has the name “Suzy” on it representing that she is married.

-April L.

Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck is available for checkout from the Misson Viejo Library.

Forever With You by J. Lynn

foreverwithyou_jlynnAll of J. Lynn’s books are amazing, but this may be her best yet! The book begins with Stephanie, a girl who just moved into town. She has trouble moving boxes into her apartment, and Nick is the one who helps her out. Stephanie later goes to Mona’s, the local bar, and finds Nick working. They have a one night stand, and they are supposed to be well on their way out of their lives; however, something happens so they have to get together again.

Stephanie has never been in love, but that does not mean she does not believe in it. Her past comes up, again and again, that makes her scared of love. Even when Nick falls straight into her lap, she does not recognize that this is true love. Nick as well has a past that permits him from staying in a relationship; he is known to have flings, and nothing more, and just like Stephanie, he is scared to be in a relationship. But, for the first time, he sees something in Stephanie that he has not noticed in a girl before. “As long as I’ve known him, he’s never been serious about anyone. He’s probably going to need a substantial learning curve when it comes to not saying things that are going to pi** you off.”

Sure enough, Nick and Stephanie get back together after their one-night stand. Stephanie falls for him but is scared that he does not feel the same way about her. Nick, too, is scared to love Stephanie, because he felt the connection from the first time they met, but is he able to convince her that he loves her? “Nick seemed to sense just when I needed him. Even if he was asleep, his arms would tighten around me, sometimes, when my recklessness woke him, he would talk to me until I fell back asleep, distracting me with some of the crazy things he’d seen while working at Mona’s. He was simply there for me, and I let him in completely. And there was no denying how much I loved this man.”

This book has so many plot twists (in a good way), and even though there are MANY sad moments, there are also funny, laugh out loud ones. If someone is looking for a heartwarming, sad, laughable romance, this is the one for you!

-Hailey N.

Dirty Rowdy Thing by Christina Lauren

Yet again another perfect book by the duo Christina Lauren (Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings). I will admit that when I first started this series I was sad. I was worried that this would not be like the series before it. But that is not the case in the slightest.

This book follows Harlow and Finn. Harlow is one of Mia’s friends that we meet in the first book in this series (Sweet Filthy Boy). Harlow and Finn ended up getting married just like Mia and Ansel, except they annulled it the next day.

Harlow connects with Finn again, this time in her home town. They both are going through a difficult time, and they use each other as a distraction. After each encounter they have with each other, they tell themselves that it means nothing to them and that they are just friends. But as time goes on, they both realize that it means more to both of them than just a distraction.

As always with Christina Lauren’s books, we get such a nice sweet ending! Do not skip this one!

-Skylar N.

A Dog’s Purpose

Are you a dog lover who believes in destiny? If so, this should a fantastic book for you. Bailey was an ordinary pup that had so many lives that he(she) doesn’t even remember anymore.

But the most remarkable life that imprinted itself on Bailey’s heart was probably when he was a golden retriever that the color gold of his fur enlightened his owner Ethan. The profundity of their friendship is not there to be described by words. But when Bailey passed away after Ethan went to college, the subtle bond still remains unbreakable and the immortality of it freshens Ethan’s entire life from that on.

But Bailey’s reincarnation is never-ending, he continues to walk on his abysmal lives. There are horrible owners that exhibited their insanity throughout the story that you might want to screw them up. And there are also owners that their effusive magnanimity melted your heart in an instant. Though we all know that the final home that Bailey should belong is the genial room of Ethan. The answer whether Bailey will be hugged by Ethan again and play his favorite baseball is waiting for the readers to find out with tears in their limpid eyes maybe.

-April L.

A Dog’s Purpose by Bruce Cameron is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Good Omens is a novel co-written by Neil Gaiman and the late, great Terry Pratchett. The combination of their unique styles creates an incredible story that is extremely difficult to follow. This is one of those books that can only get better with each reading, because the first time you pick it up, you have no idea what’s going on.

It follows about six distinct storylines, all of which interact throughout the story. The best of these is the tale of Crowley and Aziraphale, a demon and angel (respectively) who have been on earth together since the Beginning. Literally, biblically, the Beginning.

Other characters include Adam, the antichrist; Dog, the aptly named Hellhound; a 1921 Bentley in perfect condition, a witch-hunter with a fondness for condensed milk, and a group of intelligent ducks.

Despite the fact that the book is nearly twenty years old, it has a really awesome cult following. There have been innumerable attempts to create movies, TV shows, mini-series, etc. about Good Omens, none of which have taken off. Aside from a podcast adaptation currently running on the BBC, the novel remains the only canon content in its universe.

There is something very special about this book. It’s funny and thought-provoking and a tongue-twister at times. It is definitely a Must Read, if only for the sake of enjoying a book that was written by two authors on different continents snail-mailing floppy discs across the Atlantic ocean because e-mail wasn’t fast enough yet.

-Zoe K., 11th grade

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available for download from Overdrive and Hoopla.

Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips

Sometimes judging a book by its cover is an incredible thing. For instance, take a look at Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips: an orange background adorned by a marble Adonis in purple boxers.

I mean, how can you not want to read that book?

While it’s definitely R-rated in some scenes, this novel is a more crass Percy Jackson. I remember desperately trying to throw myself back into Riordan’s series in middle school, only to be entirely bored. I’m pretty sure my heart fully stopped during The Battle of the Labyrinth.

But it was no fault of the books! They had stayed the same, and I had merely grown out of them. I needed my fix of mythology from somewhere else.

Marie Phillips manages to recapture the magic of Greek gods and goddesses living in the modern world. London, England, Modern World, as a matter of fact. Crammed in a tiny house, a handful of minor deities work in satirical jobs amongst mortals, have startling amounts of sex, and are generally terrible to one another.

They rally against the loss of their power, feeling lost as the world slowly forgets about them.

This book is very British, in addition to being extremely funny. It is one which can jump-start a fading love for reading. I would recommend it to anyone who doesn’t have too delicate of sensibilities, and is looking for a quick romp through the lives of Olympians.

-Zoe K., Grade 11

Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.