I finished 13 books this month! That's the best indication of all as to how much time I spent actually doing things other than computer work this month. This is a real mixed bag of book but there is one theme. An excessive number of these books involve jumping time to tell the story and, frankly, only one did it well.
Most of these were purchased through the Audible Daily Deal and that's always a crap shoot. Some are big winners and some, not so much.
These reviews are my opinion so take them with a grain of salt. If you've read any of them I'd love to see your opinions in the comments. Also tell me any good books that you have read lately!
A Sunless Sea
By Anne Perry
This is the 18th book in the William Monk series. The books are set in Victorian England and WIlliam Monk (by this book) is commander of the River Police. This one opens with a mutilated body of a woman on Limehouse Pier.
Clearly I enjoy this series. If you like mysteries and stories set in Victorian England I think you will like it too.
TBlack Eyed Susans
by Julia Heaberlin
The best thing about this book is that is was relatively short.
Tessa was one of the "black-eyed Susans" left for dead in a field when she was 16. She survived and it's 20 years later when a group of people are trying to get the convicted person off death row.
Tessa is completely unbelievable. She's psychologically messed up but also an incredible designer who supports herself and her daughter custom sewing dance costumes and designing staircases from vintage auto parts. You know, because those things are related. Ridiculous!
The story is weak, the characters not particularly interesting, the political overtones are completely one-sided and the ending is interesting but unbelievable. The most annoying part is the constant flipping back and forty in time.....seemingly every 3 paragraphs. The narrators are really good though!
The Sound of Glass
by Karen White
Karen White knows how to tell a Southern story! I love her character development and the Southern culture in her stories. This is the publisher's summary:
It has been two years since the death of Merritt Heyward's husband, Cal, when she receives unexpected news - Cal's family home in Beaufort, South Carolina, bequeathed by Cal's reclusive grandmother, now belongs to Merritt. Charting the course of an uncertain life - and feeling guilt from her husband's tragic death - Merritt travels from her home in Maine to Beaufort, where the secrets of Cal's unspoken-of past reside among the pluff mud and jasmine of the ancestral Heyward home on the Bluff. This unknown legacy, now Merritt's, will change and define her as she navigates her new life - a new life complicated by the arrival of her too-young stepmother and 10-year-old half brother.
Merritt's step-mother is the best character in this book and I dare you not to love her and want her to be in your family too.
The Wild Inside
by Christime Carbo
With this book we moved the mystery to Glacier National Park.
When Ted Systead was young a grizzly attacked and killed his father when they were on a camping trip together. Now he works for the Department of the Interior as an investigator and is sent to Glacier to investigate another grizzly attack.
Nice book, good characters that I'd like to read about again, good story and the great outdoors. But if gruesome scenes disturb you don't read this one.
by Brian Panowich
Bull Mountain in Georgia has been the home of the Burroughs family for generations and they have survived mostly through illegal activities from moonshine to marijuana to gun running. One of the brothers has gone "good" by becoming the local sheriff. Now a federal agent has come into town with a plan to shut down the mountain business.
This was a surprisingly good story with a very interesting twist as we learn who the federal agent really is.
Julia Heaberlin (see Black-Eyed Susans above) should read this book to see how transitions between times are done well. The flashbacks in this book are appropriately timed, perfectly relevant and contribute to the storyline at just the right times.
The Ghost War
by Alex Berenson
I started this series last month and was happy to be on another John Wells adventure. He's like Mitch Rapp 2.0 and George Guidall is one of my favorite narrators.
Why We Make Things and Why It Matters
by Peter Korn
I got this book as one of the Audible Daily Deals so the 2 best things about it are that it was inexpensive and it was short. It's an autobiography and not really about "why we make things".
But if you are interested in how one person has turned his "craft/art" into a career you might enjoy this.
You are Not so Smart
by David McRaney
If you are looking for a fun non-fiction book this is it. The publisher's summary says it all:
An entertaining illumination of the stupid beliefs that make us feel wise. You believe you are a rational, logical being who sees the world as it really is, but journalist David McRaney is here to tell you that you're as deluded as the rest of us. But that's OK - delusions keep us sane. You Are Not So Smart is a celebration of self-delusion. It's like a psychology class, with all the boring parts taken out, and with no homework. Based on the popular blog of the same name, You Are Not So Smart collects more than 46 of the lies we tell ourselves everyday.
by CJ Box
Joe Pickett is a Wyoming game warden and this is the 15th book in the Pickett series. If you like Craig Johnson's Longmire series I think you will like these books. Somehow I jumped for the 1st to the 15th so now I need to go back and catch up.
A God In Ruins
by Kate Atkinson
Oh, where to begin. Here's another example of a book that has rave reviews and, personally, I just don't see it.
The story is about the life Teddy Todd. He was a bomber pilot in WWII, married his childhood sweetheart and had an obnoxiously self-centered daughter and 2 grandchildren. Aside for the war years, that's a pretty dull story line and it took over 2 hours to get into it.
Once again this month I get to jump back and forth in time with no pause or warning. I can't tell you how many times I had to stop the recording and rewind to figure out what happened. That's part of the reason it was hard to like in the beginning. But I stuck with it, eventually understood what was going on and enjoyed the flashbacks into Teddy's WWII career.
In between we had Teddy's plodding and docile life. It was fine but it was not great literature.
It all fell apart with the Dallas-esque (TV show) ending. Do you remember that show? I'm not talking about "Who killed JR", I'm talking about the big opening scene one season. At the ending this became a cheap, cliché book in ruins.
Great literature? I don't think so. I think she just has some great PR people to post reviews all over the internet. There are many better books about people's lives during WWII so I wouldn't recommend wasting time on this one.
PS After writing this review I had drinks with friends and we started talking about books. One of my friends read this one and totally agreed with me. I feel validated.
It's A Long Story
by Willie Nelson
What a breath of fresh air this book was after the last one. You know Willie Nelson can tell a good story just by listening to the hundreds of songs he's written. Did you know that he wrote Crazy, the song made famous by Patsy Cline? I learned that and a whole lot more about his singly focused life. He's one of those people who has music just flowing out of him every minute of every day. Oh, and pot. He is totally obsessed with legalizing weed.
I loved this book!
Cold Cold Heart
by Tami Hoag
My last book of May is about Dana Nolan, a TV reporter who survived being abducted by a serial killer. The book opens with her escape from "Doc Holloway" and the start of her recovery from traumatic brain injury. She is take home to recover with her mother and step-father. While there she becomes interested in investigating the disappearance of her high school best friend 7 years before.
I've ready one other Tami Hoag book and I think the comments that I made in my book spreadsheet also applies to this book: very predictable. I knew who did it as soon as the character was introduced and I'm not usually very good at that.
It's a fine story but it's not exceptional. There are characters (her new therapist, the retired detective, the dog) that could play an interesting role int he story but they are really just left hanging and it makes you wonder why the author bothered to introduce them at all. There are a couple of other story lines that are introduced (her father's death, the weird relationship with her step-father) that could have added more interest and story line twists but they never really go anywhere meaningful. Additionally her brain injury isn't consistent. Sometimes she's confused but when dealing with the case she's as alert as anyone.
According to Audible this is the 5th in the Kovac and Liska series but neither character appears in this one so I'm not sure what that's all about. I think I'd only read another if it, like this one, was an Audible Daily Deal and cost less than $4.
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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.