Book Reviews: “The Last House Guest” & “The Boys Who Woke Up Early”

last house guest
This book is available now for pre-order. The publication date is June 18.

I had two books on the counter. I had read a few pages of one, but the new one that came in the mail for my review promised to be a “thriller”. I went back to the first book to read the flyleaf and find out if the description matched the “thriller” word. The beautiful cover of that book had a flyleaf with yellow print on a dark green background. I couldn’t easily read it, so I went with the thriller.

The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda will actually go on sale June 18, but is available for advance purchase now online (Amazon, etc.) I recommend this book, and I do so as a reader who would typically prefer non-fiction to fiction. This novel for me was a “must get back to it” book. I cared about the major character, Avery Greer, as she attempts to find out what “really” happened to her friend, Sadie Loman, who was said to have committed suicide.

The characters in the story were not so numerous that the reader is frustrated. The setting, a resort area in Littleport, Maine, was easy to imagine. I followed the story logically and quickly. And yes, I’d call this a page-turner. The heroine here is a woman, so my guess is this is a book best enjoyed by women, but the story is so compelling, I think men would enjoy it, too. I rate The Last House Guest as a good and exciting summer read.

The Boys
This book is currently available for purchase in bookstores and online.

So once I finished with The Last House Guest, I went back to the book with the pretty dark green cover titled The Boys Who Woke Up Early.

(Full Disclosure: Diane Taylor writes for the company that owns Imbrifex Books which published The Boys Who Woke Up Early by A.D. Hopkins. More summertime reads can be found by looking at the Imbrifex Books website!)

What a lovely surprise! I liked the book! Flyleaf aside, I very much enjoyed this story by A.D. Hopkins. Its descriptions were so lovely that I more or less melted into the time (the 1950s) and places (in the Western Virginia hill country) he described. The story felt so true as to almost be autobiographical. Yes, the boys in the story, high school students Stony Shelor and Jack Newcomb, have a detective adventure, but it is low-key in terms of mayhem, is believable and methodical.

The author, A.D. Hopkins, is a long-time resident of Las Vegas. He has edited every newspaper ever published in the Las Vegas valley over the last three decades and is an award-winning investigative journalist. His next local book signing event will be at the Las Vegas Book Festival on October 19th and after that on November 9th at the inaugural Sun City Summerlin Literary Festival. He posts some interesting articles each week on his Facebook author page.

By the way, in no way did I feel too old to enjoy a story about high-school students and their insecurities, mistakes, energy and optimism. In contrast to the modern cable TV world of loud voices, this book, for me, was a lovely chance to read and relax.

Below is one of the descriptions, from the book, of the father of one of Stoney’s high school classmates. Can’t you just see him?

“Mr. Martin came out of the orchard then. He was nearly six feet tall, with a sunburned complexion and wide-awake brown eyes. He was pushing sixty, but he still had all his curly brown hair and he looked strong enough to hunt bears with a fly swatter. He wheezed a little, though, enough to tell me he probably had first-stage silicosis. He had worked in the mines of West Virginia for years, but finally recognized the good wages there were an illusion in the inflated economy of the company town, where the miners were actually poor and mostly sick. He came back to the tiny farm where he had grown up and revived his parents’ orchard.”

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