Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May Book List

My favorite read this month was Laurie R. King's 14th in her Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series, The Murder of Mary Russell. Fans are not going to like that King has apparently killed off the delightful Mary Russell!
The best part of this book was learning Mrs. Hudson's (Holmes' landlady/housekeeper) back story.
Of the nine books read this month, this one was my only 4.5 rating.

After reading Jacquelyn Mitchard's Still Summer last month I knew I wanted to read more of her novels. First I read Second Nature which is about a young girl's struggle to live her life after she is severely burned in the fire that killed her firefighter father. After many surgeries her face is still horribly disfigured. Then she becomes one of the first successful face transplant recipients.

It was after reading this book and learning that many of the characters were years later versions introduced in Mitchard's first book that I decided to reread The Deep End of the Ocean which was the first book chosen by Oprah when she began her book club.
I'm sure I read it at that time but had forgotten about the little three year old boy who was kidnapped while his seven year old brother was supposed to be watching him and how it tore the family apart. It was his amazing return ten years later that added another dimension to what should have been a happy reunion. I gave both these books 4.0's.

My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout is a sparely written story of the relationship between a mother and daughter. I would like to have had the story be a little more informative instead of having to try to guess at what the author wanted me to understand. Still it was good; thought provoking; complex; subtle. Another 4.0.

As is Rhys Bowen's 9th Royal Spyness Mystery, Malice At The Palace. How I adore these fun little mysteries featuring Lady Georgina Rannoch, 35th in line for the British Throne.
What I especially liked about this one was learning about Prince George, Duke of Kent. I hadn't even realized that Edward and Albert had a younger brother*, most likely because he was killed in an airplane crash during WWII. One of the rumors about Prince George's many affairs was that he fathered a 'love child' who was adopted by Americans and later married Lee Bouvier. Reading novels = learning history in an effortless and entertaining way. (*They had three younger brothers and one sister.)

Sharyn McCrumb has long been one of my favorite authors. Prayers The Devil Answers is set in Depression era Appalachia. When the sheriff dies, his widow convinces the county commissioners to let her fill out her husband's unexpired term. One of her duties as sheriff is to carry out the execution of a convicted killer.
The idea for this novel is from a true story. I gave this book a 3.5 just because it did not quite seem up to McCrumb's usual fine story telling.

My final three May reads are all 3.0's. The Apprentice is Tess Gerritsen's follow up book to The Surgeon which I read last month and the 2nd book in her Rizzoli and Isles series. This time Rizzoli makes sure the Surgeon and his Apprentice won't be getting out of prison and terrorizing her or anyone else again.

Summer Secrets by Jane Green is touted as the 'perfect summer beach read'. I decided not to wait until summer - or the beach. This book was okay. It is mostly about a woman's struggle to overcome alcoholism using the 12-step program. She makes a lot of mistakes in her 20's and tries to make amends in her 40's. If one of the settings hadn't been Nantucket, I probably would not have read it.

When The Handmaid's Tale came out in 1985 and everyone was reading it, I resisted. I did not care for the premise of women being used as baby factories and I was not a fan of dystopian fiction. Then last year I started reading Margaret Atwood and discovered I really like her writing. It was time for me to finally read The Handmaid's Tale.

I like Atwood's writing. I still don't like to read about the subjugation of women. I still don't like dystopian fiction.

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