Summer Reading: Books to Read While Traveling

Are you doing some traveling this summer? Hostage by Clare Mackintosh and Falling by T.J. Newman make for great books to read while traveling. 

What makes Hostage by Clare Mackintosh and Falling by T.J. Newman a great summer read?

The claustrophobic feel of the setting and the lock room element will add to your reading experience while traveling and are great to read when you mostly need to remain seated. The entertaining, fast-paced action will have you on the edge of your seat, not wanting to leave till you finish the book.

Easy to read, allowing you to keep one eye on the book and the other on the scenery or on some of the distractions around you.

Where to read them?

On an airplane or in a car. I read Hostage while traveling in a vehicle, and the time flew by. I liked that I could read and pause a bit to look at the scenery and not lose focus on what I was reading.

What to drink while reading them? If you are flying and reading Hostage you might want to join in on the story’s celebration party that is happening in business class by having something bubbly to drink. If you are in a vehicle ginger ale works. However once you get to your destination you might want something else in it.

The hook, pace, and tropes: Was the story a page-turner?

Yes!! The hook here is the trope, “Would you choose to save hundreds of lives or the lives of those who matter the most to you.” In both books, Mina, a flight attendant in Hostage, and Bill, the pilot in Falling, are given an ultimatum that creates tension and suspense in the story, and I was hooked. There is plenty of tension, suspense, and action to keep me wanting to turn the pages.

I wasn’t feeling Nina’s dilemma and her actions felt predictable, but Newman takes a different approach here, and we know from the start that Bill will not make a choice. The story is about heroes and what they will do to save the lives of hundreds of people, and I loved that spin on the trope.

“I am not going to crash this plane, and you’re not going to kill my family” ~ Bill from Falling.

The characters: Are the character, their actions and motivations realistic?

There is more focus on the characters and their lives in Hostage, and we see a more in-depth look into the complex lives of Mina, her husband Adam, and their daughter Sophia. We also get little snippets from passengers on the plane that add to the tension. Adam and Sophia are held hostage as the clock ticks, and I enjoyed their dynamics. Getting to know Sophia, the loved one in danger, added to that moral and ethical dilemma and tugged at my heartstrings, making Mina and Adam’s motivations feel realistic. Their actions at times felt more predictable then realistic.

Newman focuses more on the flight attendants, Jo, Big Daddy, Kellie, and their dynamics in Falling. She reminds us they are there for the safety of the passengers, and that is what their jobs are. Through their actions, a story of heroes is developed and I loved what that brought to the story. Jo, Big Daddy, Kellie are the flight attendants you will want to have on a flights as they love their jobs and passengers. Mina and her co-workers didn’t give me that feeling.

The hijackers from Falling and their motivations feel anticlimax and fall into racial stereotypes. While I liked the reasons for the hijackers in Hostage, however it was hard to buy into their actions.

Central Conflict: What elements drive the story forward?

Ticking clock and race against time elements drive the story forward. I was on the edge of my seat as the danger increased for the souls on both flights and the loved ones in danger. Mina (Hostage), Bill, Jo, Big Daddy, and Kelly (Falling) are tested with each story’s turn.

Believability element: Did it blur the lines between fiction and reality with a believability element that made me think it could happen?

Newman was a flight attendant, so in Falling, the focus is on the details of in-flight procedures, giving the story a realistic and thrilling feeling. However, the action here is all about the entertainment value, with a climactic feel, making it not believable. Hostage is all about the entertainment value and the thrill of the ride. There isn’t much here that feels believable or to think it could happen.

Payoff: Are the twists and turns exciting and shocking with a rewarding payoff in the end?

Yes!! Both are well-paced as the flight-time ticks down, with twists and turns coming at the perfect time to add thrills. In Hostage, just when we think we’ve figured it out, a rewarding shocking twist is thrown in the end.

Which one did I enjoy more?

Even though the premise and trope are similar, both are different in how the story is delivered, and I liked different things about them. The twists are more exciting in Hostage, but I enjoyed the story of heroes in Falling.