I am so glad that today is the last day of the month and I can do the book review post because I'd have nothing otherwise.
I had grand plans to get things done yesterday but that was all tossed aside when Chris had a severe attack of vertigo. After a couple of hours of all the things you can imagine, I gave him a plastic trash bin to hug and hauled him to the ER. A bag of fluid, some magical medications and 5 hours later we were finally home and both exhausted. All I've accomplished is addressing Christmas cards.
If I'd had a personal assistant I would have gotten him or her to bring my applique project to the hospital. Instead I had to rely on ER ward neighbors for entertainment. It seems that upon arrival we were put in a "special" room in a section of the ER that has police guards. They were busy and that was the only room available....I think. There was a guy across the hall being totally uncooperative and being "attended to" by the most patient and kind police officer I've ever seen. Thirty minutes in and I wanted to march across the hall and slap some sense into the guy. Later I heard the officer on the phone with his wife ranting about some school "crisis" with one of the kids. All I can say is that this guy should teach classes on how to calm down a spouse. I'm not like him at all but I did admire him.
Just before they were about to do an unpleasant procedure on our hall mate they mercifully moved Chris to a normal room and my entertainment became the TV. Today he's just a little hung over but otherwise just fine.
Anyway, today I'm staying home and doing things and meanwhile you can check out the books I read this month. It wasn't my best month of reading. My favorite book was probably In The Clearing and Stalin was the worst.
Have you read any good books this month? Let me know in the comments, I'm always looking for recommendations!
by Stephen Kotin
I can sum up this book in two words.
I love reading history and I especially love reading history through biographies. I know little about Russian history and I thought this would be a good start but it's way too long and tedious.There's lots of detail for Russian scholars but way too much detail for the casual history reader. I couldn't finish it and mostly used it as a sleep aid at night. 10 minutes of this and I was out.
The King of Lies
by John Hart
I picked this book to read after Stalin to give my brain a rest and I suppose that it did do that for me. Otherwise it was one of the worst intrigue books that I've read in a long time.
Work Pickens (a ridiculous name for a ridiculous character) is an attorney in North Carolina. He has a trophy wife and a completely messed up sister. His father has been missing for 18 months and now his body has been found. Work is the #1 suspect. He thinks his sister did it and proceeds to make endless stupid decisions (for a supposedly smart man) to try to protect her.
Three chapters in and you know who did it and that person is never a suspect in his mind or with the police. The story is told by Work in a purple prose that does not fit his personality or decision making.
It's actually a good plot that is completely destroyed by bad writing.
A Corruptible Crown
by Gillian Bradshaw
Oh finally a book that I enjoyed!
This one is a historical novel set in the second British Civil War. Jamie Hudson is drafted again to avoid prison. His new wife is a printer in London mostly printing unlicensed material.
What I like about this one is that it's a historical novel without being a historical romance novel. These characters aren't romantic. Their lives seem like want we might really expect from that time. There are complexities of family inheritance, personal rivalries and the daily struggle to survive while apart from each other. It was a very interesting story, beautifully written and wonderfully narrated.
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
by Erik Larson
This is the 3rd book by Eric Larson that I've read. He's is a master at telling history in a way that feels like fiction. His best one is The Devil in the White City about the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. This one is about the sinking of the Lusitania and the story is told from the perspective of all of the people involved: passengers, crew, British Intelligence, President Wilson and, of course, the German UBoat captain responsible for torpedoing the ship.
Scott Brick is the narrator and adds a bit too much melodrama to it but, all in all, if you like history you will enjoy this book.
The Last Refuge
by Ben Coes
This is the 3rd in the Dewey Andreas series. In this one Kohl Mier (who saved him in a previous book) has been kidnapped by the Iranians. Also, the Iranians are about to launch a nuclear bomb on Tel Aviv. If you like intrigue, spy novels, brutality and strong heroes you will love this series too.
In The Clearing
by Robert Dugoni
This is the third in the Tracy Crosswhite series. She is a detective in Seattle and in this book is investigating 2 murders. One is recent and the other is a 40 year old cold case that she is investigating as a favor to a friend.
I am enjoying this series even though they just barely meet my minimum 10 hour duration. This one is the most current one in the series but I'm hoping that we will get more soon!
The Traitor's Story
by Kevin Wignall
Not bad! I had low expectations for this one but was pleasantly surprised. The story starts off with a missing teenager in an apartment building in Switzerland. The parents ask a neighbor to help find her because there are rumors that he was a spy. He's now a history writer and doesn't admit to any sort of past but he helps. He soon discovers that the missing girl is tied to his own past.....whatever that was.
It kept me interested, there's good character development and the narrator is one of my favorites.
by Kate Atkinson
What provoked me to purchase another Kate Atkinson book, I'll never know, but is was a mistake. It's hard to believe but this book is much worse than A God In Ruins.
It is the first in a "detective" series with the character Jackson Brodie. Three random people come into his fledgling PI practice asking him to investigate cold cases. The third one shows up roughly 2/3 into the book. What follows is the most random bit of literature I've ever read. We wander around in various time periods and he doesn't seem to actually do any "detecting". Instead we are treated to various characters descriptions of losing their virginity, nonsensical fights with his ex-wife and a bizarre inheritance and none of these things are relevant to the story. The cases are solved almost miraculously after a singe phone call or in a flashback or in some other way that doesn't actually involve working.
It has gotten some great reviews but I think it's one of the worst books I've read in a long time.
11/30/2016 12:57:09 pm
Thank you for your book reviews! I love the way you describe them. Someone else recommended the Larson book and I will have to read it. Loved Devil in the White City.
11/30/2016 02:09:07 pm
I have loved every book by Dugoni
11/30/2016 03:56:34 pm
first off hope you all found what happened to Chris to cause the vertigo and got it "fixed" I always look forward to the book review I read so many and some are barely read if it doesn't grab me in the first 2 or 3 chapters I usually dump it. Some I well read through as a sleeping aid like you and do not remember what I read the next day!! I will check out a few of these and see what they are. I have read a bit of Russian History as I aced my college Russian History class and have always found it interesting for some reason but it can not be dry text book reading any more - now it must be a novel - I think the only reason I loved my Russian History class was the professor that took it over 2 weeks into the class (the first one had to leave due to an illness and never came back) this professor was actually in the military and took covert travels into the country back in the 80's like a cousin of mine who had been in the CIA -- without giving away any military secrets he was able to keep the class interesting to the point that I had a 4.0 in the class :)
11/30/2016 07:32:14 pm
Glad your husband is feeling better. Vertigo is a bear to deal with. The first time my husband got vertigo, we were on vacation and it was snowing. I drove for the first time in snow taking him to the hospital. not fun. Now, if he has the first signs of a vertigo attack coming on, he takes meclizine right off and stays in bed until it starts working. I don't know if you like 'cozy' mysteries, if you do, check out http://www.cozy-mystery.com/ I'm anal because I like to read a series in order, so this site helps me do that as well as finding the next series I want to read.
12/1/2016 06:56:37 am
I'm sorry you don't like Case Histories. I love all of her books - having said that, you may not trust my book suggestions again!
That's why we are lucky to have so many books to choose from. There's something for everyone! I know her books are popular because I only buy books that have at least a 4 star rating and hers are usually around 4.3. They just don't speak to me. But I like everyone's recommendations. Just because we don't agree on this one doesn't mean that I couldn't find another great author from your favorites list.
12/1/2016 10:12:50 am
I'm currently listening to "The Hamilton Affair" and using it as a sleep aid. The narrator reads at high speed and I don't get a chance to 'picture' the scene, or keep up with what she is talking about.
Hopefully the vertigo was a one-off and not something ever to be repeated. That's scary - and certainly not comfortable for him! Thanks, as always, for the book reviews. I'm always happy when I see the book post because I know I'm likely to discover at least one new author.
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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.