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Review: The Summer Guest by Justin Cronin

372117Title: The Summer Guest

Author: Justin Cronin

Rating: 2 stars

I’m finally being forced to own up to why so many books from my 2015 TBR Pile Challenge list have been lingering on my shelves for so long. It’s because they’re boring. So, so, so very boring.

I powered through The Summer Guest because I love Justin Cronin’s post apocalyptic vampire nightmare The Passage. I wish I hadn’t. Cronin has the bona fides and is an artist with prose, but I just spent two weeks (two weeks!) on a book about white dudes waxing poetic about war, manhood, mortality, and fish. A book this size should have taken me four days, max. But it felt like it took me an hour to get through a single page, sometimes.

The Summer Guest is told in a number of different perspectives circling around a fishing camp in Maine. Harry Wrainwright, dying of cancer, is there to catch one last big one before he dies. He’s also bought the camp to bequeath to Jordan. Jordan’s in love with Kate, the daughter of the current owners, Joe-a draft dodger-Lucy. Except- and here is the big secret that the novel takes three hundred pages to tell but is obvious from the first page- Kate’s father is not actually Joe, it’s Harry.

That’s it. That’s the book. A lot of long, lingering, awful deaths (Harry’s, his first wife’s, his infant son’s, and Joe’s dad’s), a secret that’s not a secret, some really tepid romances, and fishing. Excuse me while I go inject myself with caffeine.

Look, Cronin’s a great writer. The man can craft a sentence. If philosophical novels set in the countryside in Maine are your bag, you’ll dig it. But it’s just the kind of literary MFA class bullshit that I am so tired of. There’s exactly one black person in this novel. I think he was an bellboy. He was mentioned in a single line. Everyone else is white and, despite vague differentiations of class and gender, they all sound exactly the same.

The Summer Guest might have been better served by a short story format, or by a third-person point of view, or by not having so many fucking fish (How. How did I ever think I would enjoy a book featuring fishing? This is the real question I can’t get over). I don’t know. All I do know is that I kind of want my two weeks back, please. And that I really need to go through my tbr pile to really be sure that everything on there is something I actually want to read.




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Top Ten Tuesday: Sequel, Now!


This Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is all about sequels. These are the sequels I can’t wait to get my hands on.

Good books take time, and readerly patience is a virtue. Most of the time. But sometimes, the wait between books makes me feel like Veruca Salt.


180064561. Lynn Flewelling- Shards of Time (Nightrunner #7)

It’s the last Nightrunner book. And a locked room mystery! And the cover is really really gorgeous. I’m sad to say goodbye to this series, but I’m looking forward to it all the same.

2. Marissa Meyer- Cress (Lunar Chronicles #3)

I am in love with this imaginative YA series. Meyer has written a series of great
heroines, and I have every expectation Cress will be just as awesome. Plus, look at that cover! 13206828

3. Justin Cronin- The City of Mirrors (The Passage Book 3)

I’m not sure that title is correct, but I’m going with what Goodreads says. I HAVE to know how this series ends.

4.Mary Robinette Kowal- Glamourist Histories Book 4

Again, there’s no title or release date for this. But I heard Kowal read an excerpt of it, and it seemed really fun.

134899255. Courtney Milan- The Countess Conspiracy (Brothers Sinister #3)

Every time I get my hands on a Courtney Milan book I just devour it. Absolute favorite romance writer (okay, probably the only romance writer I read, at least regularly.)

6. George R. R. Martin- The Winds of Winter

I’m starting to kind of hate this series but at the same time I have to know how it ends. Write, George, write like the wind!

7. Jo Nesbo- Police (Harry Hole #10) 18142329

I’m currently trying to go through this series in order, so it will probably be a few months before I can get to this one, but I’m really enjoying the whole series

8.  Meg Cabot- Mediator #7

Earlier this year, Cabot said that she’s writing a continuation to her Mediator series. While the series wrapped up really well years ago, I need this book to be real, and I need it yesterday. I love the Mediator books beyond all reason, and also: NON-GHOST JESSE. Gimme gimme gimme.


So that’s only 8, but I really couldn’t make it to 10 on this one. It’s enough stress waiting for 8.

What’s on your list?


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