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.

January
1. Marriage Most Scandalous, by Johanna Lindsey

February
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)

March
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

April
8. The Body in the Library, by Agatha Christie

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

June
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)

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

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

November
19. Beautiful Tempest, by Johanna Lindsey

December
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

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Hearts Abroad, by Skye McNeil

I received this book as part of the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program. Overall, this was an enjoyable read, both predictable and unpredictable, but oftentimes, that is what I am looking for in a romance novel. I want the familiar formula and I want the unexpected and this book delivered both. I liked the characters and I believed the fairy tale.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Books Read in 2017

It looks like 2017 wasn't a great year for reading—I managed to read only 15 books this year—26 fewer than 2016, and the fewest I have read in the last decade.

These are the books I tackled in 2017. 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/iPhone; (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? The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood; Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett; and the three books that make up The Corfu Trilogy, by Gerald Durrell.

January
1. Maisie Dobbs, by Jacqueline Winspear

March
2. The Full Cupboard of Life, by Alexander McCall Smith (E)

April
3. Birds of a Feather, by Jacqueline Winspear (E) (L)

June
4. Everyone Brave Is Forgiven, by Chris Cleave (E) (L)

July
5. The Lioness of Morocco, by Julia Drosten (E)

August
6. The Gravity of Birds, by Tracy Guzeman
7. Death Comes As The End, by Agatha Christie
8. Fantastic Voyage, by Isaac Asimov
9. Funny Letters From Famous People, by Charles Osgood

September
10. My Family and Other Animals (The Corfu Trilogy), by Gerald Durrell (E)
11. Birds, Beasts and Relatives (The Corfu Trilogy), by Gerald Durrell (E)

October
12. The Garden of the Gods (The Corfu Trilogy), by Gerald Durrell (E)

November
13. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood

December
14. Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett
15. The Neil Gaiman Audio Collection, by Neil Gaiman (A) (L)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Full Cupboard of Life, by Alexander McCall Smith

From the Kindle Kache. I am glad that story lines are moving forward. With each new-to-me book in this series, I have to wonder if the people of Botswana are OK with how they are being portrayed. The tone seems somewhat condescending and I wonder if it's just me. It makes me feel a bit guilty because I turn to this series when I am looking for something soothing to read: I know everything will turn out OK and that there are happy endings.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Books Read in 2016

Like many others, I bid good riddance to 2016. It wasn't a great year for a number of reasons, one of which is that I managed to finish only 41 books this year—19 fewer than 2015—and several of them were Extremely Easy Reads.

These are the books I finished in 2016. 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/iPhone; (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? The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss; Going Solo, by Roald Dahl; and two audiobooks that should make the list twice because I loved both the books and the performers: The Art of Asking, by Amanda Palmer (read by Amanda Palmer), and Agent to the Stars, by John Scalzi (read by Wil Wheaton).

January
1. A Dance with Dragons, by George R.R. Martin (E)
2. French for Cats, by Henry Beard
3. Furiously Happy, by Jenny Lawson
4. Appointment with Death, by Agatha Christie
5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon

February
6. Lafayette in the Somewhat United States, by Sarah Vowell (E) (L)
7. Love Story, by Erich Segal
8. The Lady In The Lake, by Raymond Chandler

March
9. The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway
10. The Talbot Odyssey, by Nelson DeMille

April
11. Outlander, by Diana Galbadon
12. While You Were Mine, by Ann Howard Creel (E)
13. Georgiana Darcy's Diary: Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice continued, by Anna Elliott (E)

May
14. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, by Ian Fleming (A)
15. The Zookeeper's Wife, by Diane Ackerman (A) (L)
16. Ghost Gifts, by Laura Spinella (E)
17. Tricky Twenty-Two, by Janet Evanovich (E) (L)
18. Beethoven's Hair: An Extraordinary Historical Odyssey and a Scientific Mystery Solved, by Russell Martin
19. Happy! by Pharrell Williams

June
20. Murder at Longbourn, by Tracy Kiely
21. The Hiding Place, by Corrie ten Boom, with John and Elizabeth Sherrill (A)
22. Runemarks, by Joanne Harris
23. The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster
24. I've Got You Under My Skin, by Mary Higgins Clark

July
25. Murder on the Links, by Agatha Christie
26. Pasta Imperfect, by Maddy Hunter
27. Saturday, by Ian McEwan (A)
28. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne

August
29. Capricorn One, by Ron Goulart
30. The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss (E)

September
31. Ballet of the Elephants, by Leda Schubert
32. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
33. The Bridge to Nowhere, by Megan McDonald
34. Going Solo, by Roald Dahl
35. A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness

October
36. Audrey Rose, by Frank De Felitta
37. The Art of Asking, by Amanda Palmer (A) (R)
38. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow & Rip Van Winkle, by Washington Irving

November
39. I Will Never NOT EVER Eat a Tomato, by Lauren Child
40. Girl On A Wire, by Gwenda Bond (E)

December
41. Agent to the Stars, by John Scalzi (A)