Friday, May 31, 2013

May 2013 Reading List

Ten books read during the month of May and the only one garnering a 4.5 rating is Jacqueline Winspear's Leaving Everything Most Loved. This is #10 in the Maisie Dobbs series. It may be I rated it so high just because I love, love, love the Maisie Dobbs character, or it could be because I appreciate Winspear's fine writing and development of characters. Most likely the high rating is for those two reason plus my interest in the era(s) during which the Dobbs stories take place - WWI, Post WWI, and pre WWII.
Maisie has solved the murder of a young Indian woman brought to England as a governess and then left to fend for herself when her charges are old enough to go to boarding school and she is dismissed. By the end of the book, Maisie has closed her investigation business, left her fiance behind and is answering a Siren's call to go to India. I can't wait for book #11.

If I could choose anywhere to live, it would be on a beach. I would walk it everyday and pick up sea shells, so it isn't surprising Karen White's On Folly Beach caught me eye. She is a first-time author for me. I gave her novel of love and loss during war time a 4.0. I liked the dual story lines between WWII and present day.
I wanted to search the library online to see if they had more of White's books and just keyed in 'Folly Beach' as the title instead of 'On Folly Beach'.  Surprise.....

This book came up. I thought I had read all of Dorothea Benton Frank's books in our library, but somehow missed reading this one. So, of course, I had to check it out to compare the two stories. Frank's book is about a woman whose husband commits suicide. It is then she discovers that not only had he cheated on her, he had also managed to lose everything they owned. She returns to Folly Beach and the aunt who raised her. She moves into the beach house where Dorothy and DuBose Heyward lived during the time they collaborated with George Gershwin on the music for Porgy and Bess.
I gave this book 3.5. I really like Frank's Lowcountry Tales books, but liked White's Folly Beach story line better.

Other reads and ratings: 3.0 for M. C. Beaton's Death of Yesterday - her 29th Hamish Macbeth mystery. I think these are getting a little old. Hamish is still solving mysterious deaths, but he isn't any closer to figuring out his own love life.

Two more Ruth Rendell thrillers - a 4.0 for Simisola - the 16th Inspector Wexford mystery. This one about prejudice among white community members when a young black girl goes missing. And 3.5 for Going Wrong. This is one of her stand alone books about a young man obsessed with his first girl friend. She has grown up, gone to college and out grown him. He can't let her go.

I haven't read any Nora Roberts for a long time even though she is a very entertaining story teller. Blue Smoke is about a young girl who watches her family's restaurant destroyed by fire and grows up determined to become an arson investigator. 3.0 for an easy, informative, engrossing read.

Emily Winslow's The Start Of Everything is a psychological thriller about a missing Cambridge student and an unidentified body. Besides all the red herrings, missed clues and connections, it also explores the relationship between a male and a female police partners. 3.5 for this one. I would definitely read more books by her.

I shy away from Christian books and authors but this month I've read two Lisa Wingate books and really liked them both. In addition to writing, she is also an inspirational speaker and inspirational is how I would describe both these books. The first one I read, The Summer Kitchen, is about a woman with a controlling husband and two almost grown sons. When she goes to a poor part of town to clean out her deceased uncle's house, she discovers people who do need her and with the help of others starts a soup kitchen.
I picked this book up because of its colorful cover. I gave it a 3.0.
But I gave Wingate's Dandelion Summer a 3.5. Again, an inspirational read about the differences one person can make in the lives of others. In this one a sassy young bi-racial girl is hired to help a cantankerous rich old white man who doesn't want her help. You just know they are going to end up forming a bond and being friends. When she starts helping him solve the mystery of his adoption and find his long lost siblings, the adventure goes haywire.
The moral of this review is that I need to be more open to different authors and give them a chance even if they are labeled Christian.


  1. I don't care for Christian books either, and I am a Christian. They always end up being preachy, and the main characters seem to be too pure-white innocent for my taste.
    You seem to enjoy a lot of books by British authors, while I shy away from them. I did enjoy The Secret Keeper, though, after seeing your recommendation.

    1. Donna - This is what I liked about Wingate's books - they aren't preachy at all. They are good stories that leave you feeling positive about the human race.
      I'm glad you enjoyed The Secret Keeper. Did the ending surprise you? I do enjoy the British authors.

  2. Yes indeed, the ending took me by surprise!