Tuesday, May 1, 2018

April 2018 in Books

A day late, but here's my April reading recap:

Everyone Brave is Forgiven - Chris Cleave - historical fiction - four stars - Another WWII based book. I enjoyed the overall story although it's quite bleak. The main characters are Mary and Alistair an art restorationist who ends up serving in Malta. I really liked Alistair, but Mary I found kind of annoying. Still it was a really good story overall and more true to life than a lot of the WWII stories out there definitely not all about happy endings a lot of difficult situations, much more real and dark than many of the other stories I'v read. 

Evil Spy School, Spy Ski School, and Spy School Secret Service - Stuart Gibbs - fiction - four stars - I"m combining a few books into one review here and another later on because they are the same series and same basic rating.  Last month Ellie and I read book two in this series and ended up borrowing the rest of the books in the series and speeding through them.  There was a bit of competition happening this month - people stealing/hiding books to try to finish first.  Basically we really like these books.  In each one Ben and his spy school friends discover that a plot is afoot and need to work together to uncover the plan and save the country/world.  It's a cute premise and there's a fair amount of humor in the books too.  There's another book coming out later this year that we are excited about reading.

The Things We Cherished - Pam Jenoff - fiction - four stars - I really loved her book The Orphan's Tale and made a note to read some more from her.  This one wasn't as good, but still very good.  A woman has to work with her ex-boyfriends' brother to clear a wealthy client accused of WWII war crimes.  The story is interspersed with flashbacks through time that tell the story of a clock which plays a key role in the story.  This was a bit predictable, but had a twist at the end that I didn't expect.  Will definitely read some more from Jenoff.

Flight of Dreams - Ariel Lawhon - historical fiction - five stars - My favorite book this month. I didn't really know that much about the Hindenburg disaster, I mean, I know it blew up and that it was recorded, and that guy said "Oh the horror!", but beyond that my knowledge was limited. If you would have asked me, I would have just assumed it exploded on it's maiden voyage, but in fact it had been been in service for over a year. This book was so readable, but was so well researched and contained so much information (for example the ship was supposed to use helium - much safer - but had to be converted to use hydrogen because the US refused to sell the Germans helium) about the ship and its occupants. While all the passengers are real, and the author stayed true to their reality, i.e. if a real passenger died the character in the book died and vice versa, the story of what occurred on board was her own. It was told from multiple viewpoints and there were numerous mysteries/subplots/storylines involved.  I couldn't put this one down. 

Little Beach Street Bakery - Jenny Colgan - fiction - three stars - This was a bit of a palate cleanser, kind of a fluff book.  About a girl whose life has kind of fallen in - break up with a long time boyfriend with whom she owned a business and a home, she is basically starting over with very little money and ends up finding a place to rent in remote town.  She befriends the locals and starts a baking business while there.  This is apparently the first in a series.  It was an OK book, quick read, cute story, but I'm not planning to read any of the sequels.

Girl in the Blue Coat - Monica Hesse - young adult historical fiction - five stars - This one has been on my to read list for a while.  It's about Hanneke a girl in the Netherlands who is her family's breadwinner.  Her parents think she works for an undertaker, and she does, but she is also part of the black market.  One of her customers asks her to find someone, a Jewish girl she was hiding, and Hanneke is drawn into the resistance.  A really good story with numerous plot twists that I didn't expect.

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer - Fredrik Backman - fiction - five stars - This is really more of a novelette/short story.  And it's so sad, but needed.  It's a depiction of what Alzheimers feels like both to the person suffering from it and to his/her loved ones.  So well done, I think this would be a great book for tweens and up to help them understand/visualize the changes that occur.  Highly recommend.

Growing Up Fisher: Musings, Memories, and Misadventures - Joely Fisher - memoir - three stars - I thought this one would be better than it was.  I did find a lot of the interactions with her mother, step-sister, and step-mother (Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds) interesting, but ultimately it seemed pretty self-indulgent.  I mean this is someone who basically has every opportunity in the world, but follows in her parents' footsteps indulging in over spending, substance abuse, etc.  Meh

The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine and Precious and Grace (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency) - Alexander McCall Smith - detective - four stars - Another combined book review. While I was browsing at the library I realized that I was several books behind in this series. I've read all of the books and enjoyed them all, so I picked up the first book listed quickly finished, and went and got the second one. I think there's one more and then I'm caught up. I will say the first book listed took me a while to get into. Mwa Ramotswe is taking a vacation and she's not very good about it, and that part dragged for me, once she got back into working on a case things picked up nicely. I will also say that Grace Makutsi is starting to really bother me. I'm hoping this will be rectified in future books, but she is starting to grate on my nerves a bit. Kudos to Mwa Ramotswe for putting up with her! Still, this is a very enjoyable series, I love how Mwa Ramotswe approaches situations and handles them with such grace.

How about you guys? Anything I need to add to my to read list? I'm currently in the middle of Ghost Fleet which is frankly a pretty scary read from a national security perspective. There is a ginormous stack of books on my nightstand too including Fox Hunt, Homegoing, and The Hypnotists's Love Story.

No comments:

Post a Comment