Posts tagged ‘Book reviews’

What the Spring brings…books for every genre

Spring-books.jpgIt is finally sunny and a bit warmer today.  And again, I find myself behind on posting about my  reading.   But this leads to another round-up for good books I have really enjoyed. I have to say I have been expanding a bit in genre (kind of proud of me) so I thought I would share what I have liked in each genre best.

Historical Fiction pick for Spring: “News of the World” by Paulette Jiles

You really must read this book, it is nothing short of brilliant.  Set in post Civil War Texas, Captain Kidd, a veteran in his later years, travels town to town in Texas reading newspapers to crowds who pay a dime each for the entertainment.  He is stopped by a gentleman in one such town and is contracted for 50 gold pieces to return 10 year old Johanna to her aunt and uncle in San Antonio.  Johanna had been kidnapped by Kiowa raiders four years previously after they killed her family.  She no longer remembers anything about her family or about white culture but speaks the Kiowa language and misses her adopted parents from the tribe.   Captain Kidd and Joanna set out on this long journey across Texas together – a lonely old man with a wagon and a young girl whose life has drastically changed yet again.  Their connection with each other becomes so heart-warming and heart-breaking all at the same time.

I could call this book a western but it really isn’t that as much as it is a story of how sometimes the connections we make in life end up changing everything we understood about ourselves in the very best ways.  I was so very, very sad to leave these characters behind at the end of this book because I came to deeply love them.  That is a rare gift from a writer and I was so grateful for the experience.

Fantasy pick for Spring: “Vicious” by V.E. Schwab

I am not a Fantasy reader typically but I read this book because the author was coming to an event at my local library.  I am so glad I did. This book was just fun.

Victor and Eli met in college. Like most college students, they are arrogant and believe they have a great idea for a research project. The project involves near-death experiences and what you bring back from that experience – which for Eli and Victor are supernatural powers.  Yes it is similar to “Flatliners” in that way and so that made it interesting for my 90s self who was obsessed with Kieffer and Julia (remember when they almost got married?) and I watched that movie no less than 15 times. For Victor and Eli the experiments go wrong and they become life long enemies.  Their lives then become focused fully on destroying the other person. It is a revelry that is intriguing in and of itself but more so because of the characters they meet in their search for this destruction.

This book is an interesting twist on friendship and our societal understandings of good and evil.  You really can’t help having a girl crush on Victor either, so just let it happen.

Satirical Fiction (I decided this is a thing) pick for Spring: “Less” by Andrew Sean Greer

I loved this book. It was funny and goofy and nostalgic and beautiful all at the same time. The narration style threw me off for the first 10 pages but then I got into the rhythm and loved it.

Arthur Less is a middle-aged author who finds himself needing to avoid the wedding of his long-time lover.   So he says yes to all of the various speaking engagement invites he receives which will lead him on a world tour.  He wears his signature blue suit with the pink lining, he makes entire German audiences ill, he rides a camel, he mets an intriguing man in Paris, he loses his signature blue suit at a religious center, and eventually he returns home.

I laughed so frequently at poor Arthur’s adventures because they feel like things I have done or will do. And with all of his faults, Arthur is just so endearing.  This book spoke to those moments of panic and nostalgia that middle age brings but then the author brilliantly adds just enough of the ridiculous to keep the book light but not vapid.

Nonfiction Pick for Spring: “The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist” by Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington

This book should scare all of us. Our justice systems is so faulty in so many ways and clearly no one wants to be subject to the justice system in Mississippi specifically.  This story of how two hack medical professionals have caused the convictions of at least two innocent men (and I am scared to think of how many others) is just harrowing.  The crimes that were committed against the little girls who were killed in these cases are awful. But the fumblings, racism and blatant miscarriage of justice by the system makes the killings even more horrific.

This story is tragic on so many levels but it is an important story to tell because we can’t work for change without first having awareness.

Mystery/Thriller Picks for Spring: A few…

  • “A Study in Scarlet Women” by Sherry Thomas:  A pretty fun idea where Sherlock Holmes is really a woman.  It is a clever idea and was a great read.
  • “The Favorite Sister” by Jessica Knoll: This is a murder within a reality show so it was fascinating in a lot of ways.  This is not a groundbreaking book but it was fun to read.  It go lovely with all that sunshine that might be headed your way.
  • “The Broken Girls” by Simone St. James: This book was eerie and pretty spooky.  Both stories set in the 1950s and 2014 are around a boarding school for troubled girls in rural Vermont.  There is murder, disappearances, and creepy ghosts stories. You should read this while camping because if you are camping you are already braver than me.

And so ends another round-up.

Come on sunshine. We are ready to be surrounded by flowers, warmth and words. As always, Happy Reading Friends! spring-books.png





April 1, 2019 at 8:34 pm Leave a comment

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There is some great literature out there, but there is a lot of bad literature as well. We shouldn't all have to read it. These are my recommendations and thoughts about the books I read.


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