Book Jar Recs is a weekly feature where I recommend three books based on an idea, theme, or random word. Each theme has been randomly pulled out of a jar (inspired by a TBR jar). If you have any ideas you’d like me to put in the jar, feel free to share them in the comments below. You can also read my introduction post on this feature here.
This week’s theme is ‘only standalone’. I took that to mean books that are written as standalones with characters you’d love to hear about again, but deep down inside know their story is over and wouldn’t work beyond that one book.
Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen has been one of my favourite reads of 2015. The way it discussed feeling invisible spoke to me on so many levels and for that I’m glad it was my first Dessen novel. Sydney has always felt invisible, living in the shadow of her older brother, Peyton. At the beginning, Peyton is sentenced to jail for a drunk driving accident, and when her parents continue to hold Peyton in that golden light, Sydney feels she has to shoulder the guilt of what happened to the victim of the accident.
Dessen has created characters who can appeal to different kinds of readers. They all have different stories about feeling invisible as well as being visible in the ways we don’t want to be. This is a book that speaks to you, whether you’re a contemporary reader or a fantasy reader; whether you’ve had that feeling of invisibility or not. I saw experiences of several characters not only in myself, but also in people I know. That’s the sort of thing I value in a book.
After reading My Sister’s Keeper, Jodi Picoult became an instant fave of mine and I just had to read more of her books. I mainly picked up Songs of the Humpback Whale because I saw the title and thought oh! something about humpback whales (I was going through this humpback-obsessed phase at the time). Even though it was not directly about humpback whales (one of the main character’s studies them so it’s a central aspect of the plot), I still loved it!
Jane and Oliver Jones have had a rocky marriage and when Oliver chooses career over family yet again, Jane decides enough is enough and leaves with her daughter, Rebecca for her brother’s apple farm. Character development is huge and Picoult lays out all this emotion in the same way that had me falling in love with My Sister’s Keeper. The one thing I strongly disliked – maybe even hated – about the novel was the ending. I personally didn’t agree with Jane’s choice at the end; I felt like that choice made all the growth gained throughout the novel all for nothing. All in all, it’s interesting to think about what I’d do differently because in that way I’m somewhat in Picoult’s head. If you’ve read this book, I’d love to know if you agreed with the ending.
*Side Note: The cover above is the edition I own and even though there’s a lot of covers around, this one doesn’t seem to be in print anymore (or readily available in the above retailers).
Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick was a somewhat surprisingly, enjoyable read for me. I was familiar with her popular Hush, Hush series (still on my TBR) but having never read her, I didn’t have any expectations. I was actually a bit nervous of how that shift from urban fantasy to contemporary went for her. Fitzpatrick understands the contemporary genre really well. I’m not a big contemporary reader, so becoming a new fan of Fitzpatrick through Black Ice was a big thing for me. I don’t know when I’ll get to her Hush, Hush series, but I will be making time for her recent release, Dangerous Lies (especially since I won an arc!).
In Black Ice, the main character is Britt Pheiffer and I took an instant liking to her. She’s been training for a hiking trip to the Teton Range with her best friend for the past year. Things take a turn for the worst when the two of them get lost in a major snowstorm and are forced to shelter in a cabin with two dangerous strangers. Britt also needs to watch out for the serial killer, who may or may not be involved with these strangers. The mystery surrounding the serial killer was well-played; I didn’t figure it out until very close to the end – and I’m great at figuring out those things! The entire survival aspect, and Britt needing to rely on what she’s learned in the past year was well-researched. I’d without a doubt recommend this thrilling novel!
Disclaimer: I won a finished copy from a Simon and Schuster CA giveaway. This has in no way altered my honest opinion of the book.