Saturday, August 31, 2019

My Dear Hamilton, by Laura Kaye and Stephanie Dray

Bought Kindle version from Amazon as a Christmas gift to myself before seeing the traveling Hamilton musical in January 2019, yet it took me eight months to get around to reading it. I'm sorry I waited so long: this book was very interesting historical fiction that contradicted some of the streamlined Hamilton, but also seemed to pay homage to some of its lyrics by including them as dialogue or descriptive prose. What an amazing world the Schuylers and Hamiltons (and Washingtons, Jeffersons, Madisons, Monroes, and Burrs, etc.) lived in. It was a world where you could make a difference, and a world where you could just as easily die of the common cold. There were a lot of parallels with today's politics—current administrations striving to undo previous administrations' work, divisive partisanship, obstruction, corruption, but also glimmers of hope. It makes you think of history differently than it is taught in school and changed my opinion about the man on the nickels in my pocket.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

The Overdue Life of Amy Byler, by Kelly Harms

Received free from the Amazon First Reads program. This was kind of a fantasy novel for a book nerd. Who doesn't dream of being a librarian and escaping small-town Pennsylvania to go live in New York City for the summer and have grand adventures? Really? That's not everyone's dream? Well I greatly enjoyed living vicariously through Amy Byler and her friends and family. I liked the characters, the setting, the storyline, the writing style; it was a quick, fun read that was well written and polished.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Pardonable Lies, by Jacqueline Winspear

Bought from Amazon, deeply discounted. It's been awhile since I spent time in Maisie Dobbs' world, and I'm not sure I'll go back. The writing seemed clunky and repetitive in sections. I found it particularly odd that she often referred to her love interest by his last name—I know that can be an English thing to do, but it just seemed out of place and inconsistent with her character. I don't think she did the same for her previous love interest. There were too many convenient coincidences whose pages would have been better spent on Maisie's return to the clearing hospital.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Look Alive Twenty-Five, by Janet Evanovich

Borrowed audio version from my local library. Nothing is ever straightforward when Stephanie Plum and Lula are on the case, and this one is no different. There were lots of different characters and settings and situations to be refreshing, yet enough Morelli and Ranger to be comfortable. I'm not so fond of the between-the-numbers crossover of Wolf—I prefer to think of those books as a separate, alternate timeline I don't have to buy into if I don't want to. The voice artist did a fine job, but her voice didn't match my voices for characters, so I think I'd rather read future books myself to get Ranger's "Babe" just right.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

La's Orchestra Saves The World, by Alexander McCall Smith

I started reading this book out loud to my mother, but she asked me to stop because it was too sad. I suppose sadness is a big part of any WWII story. This was a small one—a small book and a small story, the tale of one woman's war in Surrey, where it didn't seem to touch her all that much other than growing vegetables in her lawn and taking care of a neighbor's chickens. From the title of the book you would think the orchestra plays a bigger part than it did, but it all seemed superficial. Not much depth, and not much happiness for La or the reader.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Madame Koska & le Spectre de la Rose, by Ilil Arbel

Received through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program. Madame Koska & Le Spectre de la Rose had a classic Agatha Christie feel to it—the time period, the amateur sleuth, the details, the red herrings, the length. I liked the characters and the mystery, but I think there were a couple of plot points left unexplained that might have been tightened up with another round of editing. I would read another Madame Koska book with no hesitation.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Books Read in 2018

My reading is heading in the right direction—2018 was an improvement over 2017 as I managed to read 22 books this year, 7 more than in 2017.

These are the books I tackled in 2018. You can follow the links to their journal entries on BookCrossing; those books without a link were either borrowed, or are in my permanent collection for the moment. (E) indicates they were read on my Kindle/Nook; (A) means they were audiobooks; (L) means I borrowed them from my local library; (R) means I re-read some old friends.

My favorites this year? Always Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen; Call The Midwife, by Jennifer Worth; and Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson.

1. Marriage Most Scandalous, by Johanna Lindsey

2. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (A) (R)
3. Sleeping Giants, by Sylvain Neuval (A)
4. Breakfast at Tiffany's, by Truman Capote (A)

5. Call The Midwife, by Jennifer Worth (A)
6. Call The Midwife: Shadows of the Workhouse, by Jennifer Worth
7. Call The Midwife: Farewell to the East End, by Jennifer Worth

8. The Body in the Library, by Agatha Christie

9. Hardcore Twenty-Four, by Janet Evanovich (E) (L)
10. In The Company of Cheerful Ladies, by Alexander McCall Smith

11. Blue Shoes and Happiness, by Alexander McCall Smith
12. March, by Geraldine Brooks
13. Girl in Hyacinth Blue, by Susan Vreeland
14. Armada, by Ernest Cline (A)

15. Into the Water, by Paula Hawkins (E) (L)
16. Claire of the Sea Light, by Edwidge Danticat

17. The Casual Vacancy, by J.K. Rowling
18. Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson

19. Beautiful Tempest, by Johanna Lindsey

20. Hearts Abroad, by Skye McNeil (E)
21. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay, by J. K. Rowling (E)
22. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald: The Original Screenplay, by J. K. Rowling