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January 31, 2019

Best Reads of January 2019

We read a lot of books here at Girl Who Reads and many of them are wonderful. Sometimes though there is one that really stands out from the rest. Today, we each picked the best book from what we read this month.

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The Hunger by Alma Katsu

The Hunger
A retelling of the Donner Party on the long, slow wagon train trail to California, the narrative unfolds with horrifying slow burn via differing POV and letters. ~ Alison DeLuca

Evil is invisible, and it is everywhere. That is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the wagon train known as the Donner Party. Depleted rations, bitter quarrels, and the mysterious death of a little boy have driven the isolated travelers to the brink of madness. Though they dream of what awaits them in the West, long-buried secrets begin to emerge, and dissent among them escalates to the point of murder and chaos, unknowingly propelling them into one of the deadliest and most disastrous Western adventures in American history.

As members of the group begin to disappear, the survivors start to wonder if there really is something disturbing, and hungry, waiting for them in the mountains...and whether the evil that has unfolded around them may have in fact been growing within them all along. Effortlessly combining the supernatural and the historical, The Hunger is an eerie, thrilling look at the volatility of human nature, pushed to its breaking point.

Buy The Hunger at Amazon

A Pledge of Silence by Flora J. Solomon

A Pledge of Silence
I chose this book partly because it surprised me by being so good. I figured I would like it, but I didn't want to stop listening to the audiobook. ~ Donna Huber

January of 1941, Margie Bauer is called to active duty in the Army Nurse Corps of the United States Army Reserves. She delights in her assignment to Manila, the Pearl of the Orient. She falls in love with the beauty of the island and a carefree social whirl of bridge games, pool parties, and dancing under twinkle-light stars with handsome young doctors. Though rumors of war circulate, she feels safe—the island is fortified, the airbases are ample, and the Filipino troops are training intensively.

December 8, 1941, her dream world shatters. Japanese bombers roar into the Philippines, turning everything in their paths to smoldering piles of rubble. Racing to stay ahead of the enemy, the U.S. Army evacuates all personnel to the jungles of Bataan, where Margie tends to wounded, sick, and dying soldiers in open-air field hospitals. With the Nips at her heels, she withdraws to an underground tunnel-hospital on the heavily fortified island of Corregidor.

Ultimately captured, she is interned at Santo Tomas, a Japanese prison camp in Manila. For three years, she doubts her survival in the harsh environment, where she faces escalating danger, starvation and loss. When American planes appear in the sky, she excitedly waves and calls, “We’re here! We’re here!” The liberation forces, however, bring with them a threat more dangerous than the Japanese guards, ensuring she will never truly be free of this evil place and all that has happened.

Buy A Pledge of Silence at Amazon

We Hope for Better Things by Erin Bartels   

We Hope for Better Things
This fantastic new novel follows three generations of women in Michigan as they fight the social issues of their day. Even though it's told in three different voices, the story melds together perfectly as it looks at violence and racism in America from the underground railroad of the Civil War era to the riots in the city of Detroit. ~ Susan Roberts

When Detroit Free Press reporter Elizabeth Balsam meets James Rich, his strange request--that she look up a relative she didn't know she had in order to deliver an old camera and a box of photos--seems like it isn't worth her time. But when she loses her job after a botched investigation, she suddenly finds herself with nothing but time.

At her great-aunt's 150-year-old farmhouse, Elizabeth uncovers a series of mysterious items, locked doors, and hidden graves. As she searches for answers to the riddles around her, the remarkable stories of two women who lived in this very house emerge as testaments to love, resilience, and courage in the face of war, racism, and misunderstanding. And as Elizabeth soon discovers, the past is never as past as we might like to think.

Debut novelist Erin Bartels takes readers on an emotional journey through time--from the volatile streets of 1960s Detroit to the Underground Railroad during the Civil War--to uncover the past, confront the seeds of hatred, and discover where love goes to hide.

Buy We Hope for Better Things at Amazon

Evo by Diane May

I really enjoyed reading Evo this month. ~ MK French

Langley, Virginia, twenty years earlier:
John Blake, a CIA special agent, stumbles upon an illegal genetic experiment within the agency, conducted on unborn babies and officially presented as a fertility program designed to help couples get pregnant. When he realizes that his very own daughter is a product of this sinister plot and that she is in grave danger, he vows to do everything it takes to make sure Maya will be safe and the people behind the experiment will all pay. With their lives.

Verona, Italy, present time:
Livio Marchiori, a homicide detective with the highest rate of solved cases in Verona, is faced with The Hypnotist, a serial killer the likes of which he’s never seen before. He never touches his victims and he leaves no evidence behind, except for the detailed videos of his murders. And what Marchiori and his team see on those videos is more disturbing than all their other cases combined. Because this one is different. This one defies all rational thinking and borders the impossible.

Then The Hypnotist gets personal and threatens to kill Dr. Abby Jones, the chief medical examiner and the woman Marchiori is in love with. Caught in a cat-and-mouse game with the elusive killer, Marchiori knows he is quickly running out of time.

So when Captain Victor Miller from Interpol walks into town, Marchiori is more than happy to partner again with the man who two years ago helped him put an entire mafia clan behind bars. But Miller has his own agenda, and Marchiori soon discovers that there is more to these crimes than meets the eye, an entire thread of things way beyond his pay grade - illegal experiments, secret agencies, and the most terrifying threat humanity has to face.

Buy Evo at Amazon

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  1. These sound like amazing books - adding to my long tBR list

  2. They all look great but Evo has been flying around the blogosphere and I have had my eye on it. Thanks for adding to my reading list. lol
    sherry @ fundinmental

  3. I snagged The Hunger from my local library a few months ago and didn't have time to get to it! I NEED to snag it again!!

  4. The Hunger is on my TBR list, so I’m glad you liked it!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  5. I am SO happy to see The Hunger on here! It sounds awesome and is on my wishlist, but I haven't heard much about it. Glad you all found some awesome books last month!