Since my Saturday posts are reserved for Customer Gems I'm posting my book reviews a day early. That works fine because there's no way I'll finish the current book before Sunday.
This was kind of a weird book month. I have a lot of variety in my genre's (well, variety for me) and not a lot of stand outs. Of course John Adams was great because everything David McCullough writes is excellent. Beijing Red brings a new series to me so that's always good. A Man Called Ove was probably the biggest let down. Maybe it was just over-hyped and an unrealistic expectation was set.
I have started another novel called What is the What by Dave Eggars. It's the kind of book that I usually love but i'm struggling to stay interested in it. It's less a novel than a flat telling of events. I want to stick with it because I feel like I'll learn alot about Sudan and the "Lost Boys" but I might have to slog this one out to get there. You may or may not see a review of this one in the future.
What have you been reading? Any recommendations for me or other readers?
Waiter to the Rich and Shameless
by Paul Hartford, Narrated by Patrick Cronin
After reading Witness at the end of August I needed something light and airy to read and I got it in this book. Paul Hartford wasn't making it in the music industry and decided to give service a try. He applied and was hired as a bartender at The Cricket Room (it's easy to figure out that he's talking about the Polo Lounge at The Beverly Hills Hotel). This is his story of 10 years as a bartender and waiter at one of the most exclusive restaurants in the world.
Having spent many early years as a waitress I was interested in reading his story and I could identify a lot with many of the challenges, joys and issues of the service industry. It's peppered with lots of celebrity stories including Paris Hilton, Johnny Depp (accounting for his largest tip), Harrison Ford, Rod Stewart and lots of others.
If you are reading this for the celebrity gossip there might not be enough here to entice you. But if you've ever worked in the service industry you might find this interesting.
by David McCullough, narrated by Nelson Runger
I love early American history and especially the American Revolution. I also love anything written by David McCullough. His biographies are epic and John Adams is a wonderful subject because of the wealth of personal writings that are available from his life.
The book is 30 hours long but still seemed like a fast read. Being a Virginian we studied Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Patrick Henry pretty thoroughly. We learned about John Adams mostly through his rocky relationship with Jefferson and as Washington's Vice President. Now hearing the same from the perspective of Adams gives me a more well-rounded view of that time in history. There was also a wealth of information about he relationship with Abigail and their children.
It's a great read.
By Alex Ryan, Narrated by MacLeod Andrews
A new mystery series! This one features Nick Foley, a former Navy SEAL who now works for a NGO in China providing water sources for poor villages. One of his local co-workers suddenly dies at the site and everyone fears an Ebola-type outbreak.
Nick is first quarantined as a possible carrier and then accused of causing the deaths. Now suddenly he's back in SEAL mode investigating a bioterrorism threat.
This series (and there are 2 books so far) is set in China and I really enjoy the change of venue. It's not as well-written as a John Sandford or Kyle Mills book but it's still good. Alex Ryan is actually a pseudonym for the co-author team of Brian Andrews and Jeffrey Wilson. This is their second series. The other series is Tier One and is co-authored.
A Man Called Ove
by Fredrik Backman, Narrated by George Newbern.
My favorite thing about this book was the narrator.
This has been a highly reviewed and recommended book and when it was put on sale I decided to give it a try.
It's set in Sweden is is about an "old curmudgeon" called Ove (pronounced oo-va). He seems to hate all people. Then a cat and some new neighbors show up and things start to change.
The book is told in chapter that alternate between his early life and current life. That part is quite annoying but the biggest issue is that I just can't buy the character. He's supposed to be 59 but would only be believable if he was 79. Look at the image on the book cover. That's not a 59 year old man. It's also really a book about processing grief.
I didn't care for the character development and there's no way that a man with his experiences has so much internalized hatred. He might be quite, have a strict routine and avoid contact with people but he doesn't hate.
This book has gotten rave reviews everywhere but it didn't do a thing for me.
by CJ Box, Narrated by David Chandler
Free Fire is #7 of 17 in the Joe Pickett series. Joe has been fired from his job as a game warden and is working on his step-father-in-law's ranch when the Governor of Wyoming comes calling. He wants Joe to investigate a murder in Yellowstone. A lawyer has murdered 4 people and, through a legal loophole, has gotten away with it. The legal loophole is fascinating and I'd love to know if it's real.
I picked this one to read after Ove because I knew I could count on Joe Pickett to get the bad taste out of my mind. He did that and also reminded me of the places we visited on our Yellowstone vacation a few years ago. I left this book in a much better reading mood.
Her Daughter's Dream
by Francine Rivers, Narrated by Stina Nielson
This is the second, and last, book in a series. I read the first one and decided to complete the series. It's definitely a religious/inspirational book so if that bugs you then you will hate this one. If you like those kinds of books you will love this series. The series follows 4 generations of women and explores the emotional baggage that they put on each other and carry through their lives.
I thought the first book was better. This one is quite choppy but the thing that bugged me most was how the author handled contemporary times. Some scenes make you think they are happening in the 1960's instead of the 1990's. It's evident in the dialogue and in the technology used/ignored during certain events. The characters cling way too strongly to their baggage too. The amount of drama was totally unnecessary except for the sole purpose of filling pages. It wasn't "real" enough for me.
The narrator is outstanding and that's probably what kept me in it.
A Mercifull Death
by Kendra Elliot, Narrated by Teri Schnaubelt
Mercy Kilpatrick was raised in an off-the-grid prepper family in Eagles Nest, OR. She was forced to leave the family when she was 18. It's 15 years later and she's back as an FBI agent investigating murders and weapons thefts.
It's a good premise and story line but Mercy isn't much of an FBI agent. I think her character is more like a local police officer. Without her childhood knowledge and involvement in a previous she would have never solved this one.
I'd categorize this book as being something between a cozy mystery and a more serious crime mystery. It was a little to light for my taste but it wasn't a bad book.
The Old Man
by Thomas Perry, Narrated by Peter Berkrot
Have you ever finished a book and thought "I don't know what I just went through"?
That was this book.
The old man is Dan Chase, a 60 year old retiree living in Vermont. But Dan Chase isn't Dan Chase. He has numerous identities, money stockpiled in several banks and weapons. None of which he has needed for 35 years ever since a covert operation went awry. Now he's been found and is on the run again.
This is not your everyday spy novel. It's full of twists and twisted characters. Thomas Perry writes a very tight story with well-defined characters. Some people will feel that he left some business unattended at the end but it seemed to end just right for me.
Give this one a try if you are up for something different. I've read several of his book and really enjoyed the Butcher's Boys 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.