Friday, January 17, 2020

The Good Neighbor, by Maxwell King

Borrowed audiobook from my local library. It's very strange to hear LeVar Burton talking about people and places I have known my whole life—Latrobe, Pa., Saint Vincent Archabbey and College, Ligonier, Pa., Pittsburgh, Pa. I quit this book about halfway through. I'm not sure if it was LeVar Burton's performance or the tremendous number of superlatives and repeated information that I couldn't stomach. Yes, I get that Fred Rogers was a unique, smart, kind, and rich man whose life seemed to be charmed. This book was just over the top. I did learn some interesting facts about him that I didn't know before, but I think I'll look elsewhere for the rest of the story behind the man.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

The Third Bullet, by Stephen Hunter

Borrowed from Amazon during my 90-day Kindle Unlimited trial. Book #8 in the Bob Lee Swagger series, but book #1 for me. I am by no means a JFK assassination conspiracy junkie; I know the basics, but not the in-depth details. This book was great at the details, and completely plausible to me. 

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Books Read in 2019

My reading habits continue to improve. I managed to read 34 books this year, 12 more than in 2018.

These are the books I tackled in 2019. 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? My Dear Hamilton, by Laura Kaye and Stephanie Dray; Artemis, by Andy Weir; Americanah, by Chimimandah Ngozi Adichie; and The Wise Man's Fear, by Patrick Rothfuss.

1. A God In Ruins, by Kate Atkinson

2. Jane Austen in Boca, by Paula Marantz Cohen

3. Madame Koska & le Spectre de la Rose, by Ilil Arbel (E)
4. La's Orchestra Saves The World, by Alexander McCall Smith
5. Look Alive Twenty-Five, by Janet Evanovich (A) (L)
6. Lady Susan, by Jane Austen (E)

7. Artemis, by Andy Weir (E) (L)
8. A Caribbean Mystery, by Agatha Christie

9. Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland's History-Making Race Around the World, by Matthew Goodman (E) (L)
10. Pardonable Lies, by Jacqueline Winspear (E)
11. People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks

12. Sometimes I Lie, by Alice Feeney
13. The Overdue Life of Amy Byler, by Kelly Harms (E)
14. P.S. From Paris, by Marc Levy (E)

15. The Story of the Trapp Family Singers, by Maria Augusta Trapp (E)
16. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (E) (R)
17. Private Lies, by Cynthia St. Aubin (E)

18. Lying Low, by Cynthia St. Aubin (E)
19. My Dear Hamilton, by Laura Kaye and Stephanie Dray (E)

20. A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman (E) (L)
21. Americanah, by Chimimandah Ngozi Adichie
22. The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander Newfoundland, by Jim DeFede (E)
23. Crooked House, by Agatha Christie

24. The Good Husband of Zebra Drive, by Alexander McCall Smith
25. Amsterdam, by Ian McEwan
26. Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story, by Christopher Moore
27. You Suck: A Love Story, by Christopher Moore
28. I Know Who You Are, by Alice Feeney (E) (L)

29. The Wise Man's Fear, by Patrick Rothfuss (E)
30. The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas (E) (L)
31. Becoming, by Michelle Obama (A) (L)

32. The Moving Finger, by Agatha Christie
33. The Android's Dream, by John Scalzi
34. The Slow Regard of Silent Things, by Patrick Rothfuss

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.