Books I Should Have Read: The Fiction Edition

I was looking at my NetGalley account the other day and realized that I have a few books on my shelf that I never got around to reading. Let me state for the record that I have gotten much better about not biting off more than I can chew, but somehow these fell through the cracks. I may still pick them up at some point, but I’m feeling guilty now as I see their pub dates moving farther and farther into the distance. So I’ve created a new feature (feel free to play along): Books I Should Have Read!

These three all came out over the past year and are all works of fiction.

book-of-lost-fragrances1. The Book of Lost Fragrances by M. J. Rose


Jac L’Etoile has always been haunted by the past, her memories infused with the exotic scents that she grew up surrounded by as the heir to a storied French perfume company. In order to flee the pain of those remembrances–and of her mother’s suicide–she moved to America.

Now, fourteen years later she and her brother have inherited the company along with its financial problems. But when Robbie hints at an earth-shattering discovery in the family archives and then suddenly goes missing–leaving a dead body in his wake–Jac is plunged into a world she thought she’d left behind.

Back in Paris to investigate her brother’s disappearance, Jac becomes haunted by the legend the House of L’Etoile has been espousing since 1799. Is there a scent that can unlock the mystery of reincarnation – or is it just another dream infused perfume?

The Book of Lost Fragrances fuses history, passion, and suspense, moving from Cleopatra’s Egypt and the terrors of revolutionary France to Tibet’s battle with China and the glamour of modern-day Paris. Jac’s quest for the ancient perfume someone is willing to kill for becomes the key to understanding her own troubled past.

My 2 cents: 

This book has a four-star average rating on both Amazon and Goodreads, and I’ve heard good things about this series. The problem for me is that I found out it was a series book after requesting it, and I have a really hard time jumping into a series in the middle even if the book works as a standalone. That’s probably what put me off about starting the book and somehow it just got away from me. But there’s Paris! And perfume! And I really love the colors in that cover.


2. The First Rule of Swimming by Courtney Angela Brkic


A woman must leave her island home to search for her missing sister-and confront the haunted history of her family. 

Magdalena does not panic when she learns that her younger sister has disappeared. A free-spirit, Jadranka has always been prone to mysterious absences. But when weeks pass with no word, Magdalena leaves the isolated Croatian island where their family has always lived and sets off to New York to find her sister. Her search begins to unspool the dark history of their family, reaching back three generations to a country torn by war.

A haunting and sure-footed debut by an award-winning writer, The First Rule of Swimming explores the legacy of betrayal and loss in a place where beauty is fused inextricably with hardship, and where individuals are forced to make wrenching choices as they are swept up in the tides of history.

My 2 cents:

To be fair, I didn’t actually request this one but ended up getting it through some kind of glitch in the NetGalley system. So I don’t feel quite as guilty about not having read it, but I still thought I should take the time to feature it. I like the cover of this one, too, and the setting of Croatia sounds exotic and interesting.


3. In the Land of the Living by Austin Ratner


Isidore is a brilliant young man, driven in equal measure by grief at his young mother’s death, rage at his distant, abusive father, and his own fierce ambitions. When Isidore becomes a doctor, and a father himself, the cycle of grief continues, and soon it is his son Leo who is left behind too young, also grown to be a doctor. The story becomes Leo’s, an alternately heartbreaking and hilarious account of his cross-country road trip with his younger brother as they try to understand their family, their relationship, and their own futures. An appealingly oddball character, angry at the world but angrier at himself, Leo yearns for love and simple satisfaction. Through his eyes we see the power of family to both destroy and create, and the price and rewards of independence.

My 2 cents:
This is another one that I ended up with through that same glitch. Which doesn’t mean I wouldn’t want to read it, but it just didn’t fit into my schedule. This looks like a family novel which centers on fathers and sons. It has a slightly higher Goodreads rating than the previous two books.

For two reviews of In the Land of the Living from book bloggers I know and trust, check out Jen’s review at The Relentless Reader and Heather’s review at Between the Covers.

Hopefully this will not become a regular feature, but I can guarantee that there will be a non-fiction edition coming up in the next few weeks. Bad book blogger.


12 thoughts on “Books I Should Have Read: The Fiction Edition

  1. Heather

    I really enjoyed In the Land of the Living. I wouldn’t say it’s a book that ZOMG YOU SHOULD READ IT RIGHT NOW, but if you ever get the chance, I think you’d like it.

  2. Lindsey

    I can completely understand how that happens! I signed up for NetGalley a few weeks ago. I only requested four books and I’ve read two of them. I think I’m doing ok…so far! 🙂

    1. Too Fond Post author

      That stinks–maybe you’ll get a chance to read it in the future? I would pass you my copy if I could, but it’s just an e-book galley.

  3. Claire 'Word by Word'

    I read The Book of Lost Fragrances because of the setting and the essences which I love and I found it ok as a standalone, it’s quite an easy read and a mystery which I enjoed even though that isn’t a genre I’m particularly attracted to. I have The First Rule of Swimming on my kindle too, must get to reading it soon.

    Good idea to use The Books I Should Have Read!


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