A slower reading month due to all the upheaval at our house. Which, by the way, is—and has been!—at a standstill. Continuing to wait on insurance . . .
Anyway, I still managed some reading time in between waiting for engineers and plumbers and the insurance adjuster and moving clothes and other things to our temporary abode. And most of them were great! There were a couple I didn’t care for but finished anyway. I’ll note those and my reasons.
So here we go for May!
Fairest of Heart by Karen Witemeyer
It was so fun to get to read an advance copy of this book! This is the first in the Texas Ever After series—Karen’s usual Texas historical romance but each story inspired by a fairy tale. This one—which releases on Tuesday, June 6!—is based on Snow White. I loved, loved, loved her imaginative use of the fairytale in birthing her historical Texas characters. It was delightful in every way.
Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
I had been waffling about reading this because I loved All the Light We Cannot See and was afraid this one wouldn’t live up to that one. And it didn’t. Still, it had its own merits. First off, I listened to this one. I’m glad I did, for I don’t know if I would have kept reading. It’s a complex set of stories—one set in the past, one in the present, and one in the future. I knew at some point they had to connect somehow but I couldn’t figure out how. The overarching connection was a fictionalized ancient Greek text about an adventurer who travels to Cloud Cuckoo Land. I have to say, when the connections between each story line were finally revealed near the end, I was struck by the sheer genius of the work. For me, it didn’t eclipse All the Light We Cannot See, but it is a book that will stick long in my memory anyway. (And the narrator was great!)
A Hobbit, A Wardrobe, and a Great War by Joseph Leconte
I did a whole post on this book, which you can read here. Such a fascinating discussion of Lewis and Tolkien and how their experiences in World War I shaped their writing. Highly recommended.
The Last Carolina Girl by Meagan Church
I want to like this book. I really did. It was our book club selection for April. Set in 1930s North Carolina the back cover copy said it was a novel about Eugenics. And it was. Kind of. I didn’t feel like there was much of a story arc. And the motivations of the “villain” of the story were, in my opinion, a bit weak. In fact, most of the characters came across to me as very one dimensional. I finished it hoping for something wonderful. You might enjoy it. Plenty of others did. I did not.
Joy in the Morning by P. G. Wodehouse
When we need a laugh around our house, Jeeves and Wooster will do it. Jeff and I listened to this book together and did, indeed, laugh out loud several times. It’s so hard to write humor, but he did it so well. (And a lovely narrator, too!)
Ned by Susan May Warren
Every time I finish one of Susie’s books I think the next one can’t be wilder than this one! But somehow she always ups the ante! And makes me salivate of the next installment. I’ve already pre-ordered Iris since by the time Ned ended I was happy for Ned but worried about Iris!
In This Moment by Gabrielle Meyer
The 2nd in the Timeless series, this has been a highly anticipated book for me. And wow! This time the main characters travels between three time periods, with the necessity of choosing one. And there are so many reasons to stay in each. Though I have to say, she ended up with the hero that I picked we’d met each one in each time period. So that made me happy. But I especially loved the way her time periods were similar to one another even though they were decades apart. It shows that things never really change in the world, but that even then, God is still near.
The Bride of Blackfriars Lane by Michelle Griep
This is the sequel to The Thief of Blackfriars Lane. I have to say that I enjoyed the first one better, mostly because what made Kit charming in the first book kind of annoyed me in this one. Still, it was a good enough story to keep me reading. And I did like the ending.
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
So. I’m very conflicted about this book. First, what I liked. I liked learning the history of the Korean people who went to Japan during the occupation period in the 1930s and 1940s and their struggles even though the 1980s as third and fourth generations born in Japan were still classified as foreigners not citizens. So much history that I had no knowledge of.
However, this book is depressing! I kept reading thinking something good would happen. But even when it did, something bad came along right behind. There was a tiny bit of redemption in the end, but not enough to completely satisfy me. There was also the issue of the f-word (in abundance) and a few fairly explicit sexual encounters. It’s a generational story, but I still felt like the main characters’s story arc was lacking and that other characters were important then just disappeared.
All in all, I can’t say I recommend it unless you go in with your eyes wide open. The history was both fascinating and heartbreaking. But I would have loved to have seen a more hopeful storyline somewhere in there and less of the f-language and sex.
There you go. Nine books, not all of which I recommend, but there were definitely some gems.