I finished 10 books this month. It's not my most productive reading month but given that I took 2 trips and had company for 3 weeks, I think I still accomplished a lot. I loved all but 3 of the books this month. I would not recommend Flat Lake in Winter. Truly, Madly Guilty was not one I loved but I think a lot of people would like it. It's well written, just not my genre.
It's impossible to pick a favorite from the others. It all depends on what types of books that you like. Read the reviews and decide for yourself. Don't forget to leave me your recommendations in the comments!
Follow the River
by James Alexander Thom, Narrated by David Drummond
I have no idea how I found this book but I'm so glad I did. The book was originally published in the 1980's but, being historical fiction, it's just as fresh 30 years later. This is an exquisitely researched fictional telling of the exceptional ordeal of Mary Draper Ingles.
When I was in school in Blacksburg I remember that there was a "Draper's Meadow" apartments and, in fact, I lived in the Shawnee Apartments, but as a college student I wasn't the least interested in local history. Radford College students even stay in buildings named Ingles and Draper but they probably don't know why either.
She was born in Philadelphia in 1732 and settled in western Virginia near modern day Blacksburg and Radford. The story begins with a Shawnee Indian raid on her farm, Draper's Meadow, during the French and Indian War. Four were killed and 6 taken captive. Mary, her 2 sons and her sister in law were among the captives.
Mary and another woman escaped from the Shawnee while on a salt-making mission at Big Bone Lick near today's Boone, Kentucky. This is the tale of their harrowing journey, barefoot, from Big Bone Lick back to Draper's Meadow, Virginia. They traveled hundreds of miles along the Ohip and New Rivers.
The author did an amazing job of putting you right there with her, knowing her thoughts, seeing what she saw and feeling the cold icy river. If you are interested in Virginia, Colonial or Women's history you will enjoy this book. If you like strong heroines you will love this book. Do you want your teenage daughter to understand what a woman can accomplish? Get her to read this book.
The Queen of Bedlam
by Robert McCammon, narrated by Edoardo Ballerini
This is the second book in the Matthew Corbett series. I reviewed the first a couple of months ago. This one is set in New York City around 1702. There's a serial killer, The Masker, on the loose and Matthew is on the trail.
The story is actually a lot more complex than that. There are a whole series of events that might be related to The Masker. McCammon created a great story with lots of interesting characters. I'm hooked on this series.
Ballerini is now one of my favorite narrators too.
by Anne Rivers Siddons, Narrated by CJ Critt
I haven't read a Siddons novel in years and this one came up in an Audible Deal of the Day and I was about to go to the Outer Banks so it seemed a good fit. People who love this type of book will love this one. It's the story of Kate and her 3 closest college friends. About half of the book covers their college years. The it covers Kate's life after college and then 25 years after college when they have reunion on the Outer Banks.
It's typical chick lit stuff which, frankly, I don't identify with very much. Honestly, I couldn't tell you much about what I did in college and certainly didn't carry any grudges or hurt feelings with me as I moved on to new adventures and opportunities. I don't identify well with characters who haul around so much baggage. They lead unnecessarily complex and angst-ridden lives. Maybe it's because I was raised with brothers and, therefore, raised more like a boy than a girl so I have trouble identifying with books that have so much emotion in every encounter.
This is an older book (1991) so if you like Siddons you have probably already read it.
Backlands and The Last Ranch are the second and third installments in the Kearney Family Trilogy. I read the first book in March. I took Backlands in paperback with me on our trip to New Mexico. I though it was appropriate to read a book about New Mexico while IN New Mexico. I finished it quickly and bought The Last Ranch while I was there and finished it in two evenings. The three books follow 4 generations of the Kearney family as they found and work their Toularosa ranch. I really enjoyed all three books and felt that the writing got better with each book.
Independence Day by Ben Coes
Narrated by Peter Hermann
This is the 5th in the Dewey Andreas series. Dewey is still grief-stricken after the death of his fiance in the last book. But there's no time to mourn because a Russian hacker has planned an attack on the US.
The Dewey Andreas books will meet your need for CIA/spy action with lots of action and dead bodies.
Truly Madly Guilty
by Liane Moriarty, Narrated by Caroline Lee
I picked this book because my husband got addicted to the TV series Big Little Lies and I'm always looking for something new to read. This is about 3 seemingly normal families and how one event can change things. I think if you like books about human relationships you will enjoy this one. It's not really my favorite genre but I did like the characters and I think the author created realistic events and responses that we can identify with. But it's really just about every day life and I need a little more drama in my books.
Caroline Lee is a very popular narrator and is generally good but often her characters have babyish voices and it started to grate on me. It's interesting that in this book there's a section at the very end where Caroline Lee interviews the author and she sounds much more normal in the interview so clearly her character voices are quite affected.
By Erik Vance, Narrated by Paul Michael Garcia
A couple of months ago I reviewed a book called Cure that was one of the most interesting medical books that I've ever read. It was all about current research in various aspects of the placebo effect. This book, I believe, builds on that one.
In the book the author explores the way our expectations influence how our bodies respond to pain, depression, disease and other events. He focuses on placebo, nocebo, hypnosis. He shows how we can use our body and mind to build an internal pharmacy for legitimate chemical reactions. This is not a crackpot book about using alternative treatments for diseases like cancer. Instead he specifically addresses those conditions where alternative approaches have shown scientifically tested results. These include pain management, depression and stomach issues. It was a worthwhile read.
Flat Lake in Winter
by Joseph Klempner, Narrated by George Newbern
There were 4 of us going to the beach together from my house but we had so much stuff to take that we had to take 2 cars. Mom and I rode together in one and I picked a couple of audiobooks for us to listen too. We couldn't even tolerate 45 minutes of the first one so we moved on to this one.
There's a reason that this book only costs $8 every day. It's awful. The premise is great but the telling (not the narration, but the writing) that's bad.
Here's the publisher's summary:
Deep in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains sits a mansion, its image reflected perfectly on the still water of Flat Lake. Inside that estate are the savagely murdered bodies of a wealthy elderly couple.
All evidence points to Jonathan - their mentally handicapped twenty-eight-year-old grandson - but Matt Fielder, his appointed defense lawyer, isn't convinced. While Fielder is pretty sure Jonathan committed the killings, Jonathan's childlike understanding of the world renders it nearly impossible for him to have done it out of greed or malice. Now Fielder must fight the prosecution's campaign for the death penalty, but as he scours Jonathan's past for anything that will help their case, he uncovers a cache of dark family secrets that turn the case in a shocking and unexpected new direction.
Sounds pretty good, huh? Here's how I would rewrite it:
Deep in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains sits a mansion, its image reflected perfectly on the still water of Flat Lake. Inside that estate are the savagely murdered bodies of a wealthy elderly couple. That's the end of the good part.
All evidence points to Jonathan - their mentally handicapped twenty-eight-year-old grandson - but Matt Fielder, his appointed defense lawyer who is too lazy to be hired for any real work, isn't convinced. While Fielder is pretty sure Jonathan committed the killings, Jonathan's childlike understanding of the world renders it nearly impossible for him to have done it out of greed or malice. Now Fielder must fight the prosecution's campaign for the death penalty, but as he scours Jonathan's past for anything that will help their case, he trips over some other information while desperately trying to hook up with every single woman that he meets thinking that each is in love with him. The he eventually trips over the right answer.
by Siddhartha Mukherjee
When Mom and I were in Mew Mexico and on our way home I needed a book to read on the plane. I have no idea what prompted me to pick up a 500 page book but I thought it might be interesting.
It took that trip and breaks between puzzle working on vacation to finish it and it is excellent!
This book is pretty much the entire history of gene research but told very clearly in laymans terms. Everything was understandable.
It's a truly interesting topic but the biggest benefit to me is that I will have a much better understanding of how to interpret gene research headlines. If you have any interest in the subject at all you will really like this book. His first book is on cancer and I think I may read that one too.
5/31/2017 04:26:19 pm
I read that first book last year and loved it.
6/1/2017 07:17:47 am
I live in Cincinnati near the Bonelick state park. I was inthralled with Follow the River. I've not read the others. I started last month reading Nanchez Burning and then read Bone Tree, and Missisippi Blood a series by Greg Iles. Then I started borrowing anything form the library by him!
6/1/2017 08:18:45 am
Ah, I will watch for The Gene-an Intimate history, as I am very interested in genetic research. I wrote a term paper on The Human Genome Project when I was in high school. (The project was ongoing at that time.)
6/1/2017 09:34:11 am
Well, you read/listen to 10 more books than I did in May! LOL!!
6/1/2017 10:14:27 am
Great reviews, all sound good, thanks.
6/1/2017 11:13:42 am
It is incredible how many books you get through in a month by listening to them. Someday I'll have to try it. I'm still reading the old fashioned way, and I'm not fast. Thanks again for your reviews - I always enjoy reading them. I like your 'rewrite' of the review for the book you didn't like.
6/1/2017 11:20:17 am
p.s. I wasn't interested in history much either when I was younger - am more interested now. The first book sounds fascinating. All the medical books sound good too. Have wanted to read Emperor of all Maladies but haven't gotten to it yet. His new one looks good. Sam Kean wrote The Violinist's Thumb, which is about genetics. After having read his Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons, which was very good, I needed a break from heavy reading.
6/1/2017 11:43:39 am
I am going to check out the Gene and the Michael McGarrity books.
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I'm Vicki Welsh and I've been making things as long as I can remember. I used to be a garment maker but transitioned to quilts about 20 years ago. Currently I'm into fabric dyeing, quilting, Zentangle, fabric postcards, fused glass and mosaic. I document my adventures here.