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It’s a new month, which means it’s time for another reading wrap-up! February was a pretty decent month, I added ten books to my total for the year, two of which I actually started months ago. That still counts, right? Here’s the rundown of what I read, from worst to best.
I hate classifying this one as the worst, I did give it three stars, so it wasn’t actually bad. Just not quite as good as the rest of the books I read this month. It features the character from a previous novel, Laurie Moran, who now produces a true crime television show dealing with unsolved murders. Fun fact about me: I love true crime television shows, and unsolved crimes, so I was really excited about the premise of this novel. Laurie and her production team set out to solve the murder of college student and aspiring actress Susan Dempsey with quite a long list of suspects. There’s also a creepy quasi-religious cult subplot that’s probably unnecessary but interesting anyway. Like all of Clarks’ novels, it feels a bit like reading a Lifetime movie, a guilty pleasure that requires little emotional investment.
Total honesty: I absolutely bought this book for the cover. I’m a sucker for anything vintage-looking, and it was only a dollar! Of course, I’ve read Fannie Flagg before and enjoy her work, so I was really looking forward to this one. I’m sorry to say, I was a little disappointed. I did enjoy the chapters that focused on the Polish family in the 1940’s who ran the all-girl filling station, but the parts with the main character, Sookie Poole, got a little tedious. She did a lot of bird-feeding and running errands, which I usually feel is information that can be skipped over in a plot. The ending felt a bit rushed, too. All-in-all, another three star read.
First off, Carrie Fisher was an icon and a legend and she will be greatly missed by millions of people. Having said that, this book was kind of tough for me to get through. It wasn’t the standard memoir that I’m used to, there was a lot of jumping around from subject to subject, half-finished story to half-finished story. I did love the addition of family photos, and the dedication is probably my favorite ever.
Apparently the book is based on her one-woman show, so I guess I can understand why it’s light on the detail and heavy on the jokes, but I still wound up giving it three stars, just because I wanted more.
Okay, I gotta level with you guys. I picked up this book solely because they were making a miniseries starring Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie. I wound up not finishing the miniseries, but that’s beside the point. This was another three star read, because although it was very well-written, it’s kind of light on the action for a spy thriller. And at times, I wasn’t sure if what was happening was past or present. But I’m not giving up on Mr le Carre, A Most Wanted Man is actually on my TBR for March.
Here’s another fun fact about me: I love British detective fiction. And in my humble opinion, P.D. James is one of the best. I’ve read several of her Adam Dalgliesh novels, but this was the first Cordelia Gray. I slightly prefer the other series, but like all of her books, I found this beautifully written. I also really liked Cordelia as a character, she was smart and sensitive and tough. And I just discovered that this has been adapted for television twice, so I’m definitely going to be checking those out! Four stars for this one.
Where do you stand on the subject of audio books? Some people love them, but I’ve always preferred to do my reading with a physical book in my hand. I’m trying to be more open to audio books, they certainly are convenient when you’ve got housework to get done. For instance, I listened to this one while I was washing dishes. It was only a little over an hour, so two sinks full and it was done. It was kind of strange to be listening to Doctor Who instead of watching it, but I loved that Catherine Tate narrated, I thought she did a great job. The storyline was simple, but I gave it four stars for Catherine and because it’s Doctor Who.
I have mixed feelings about this one. On the plus side, the writing was absolutely gorgeous. It was lush and descriptive, without being overly bogged down by details. The plot was also very well-crafted, full of tension and surprises. I think it would play well on the screen. The minus for me was the characters. For some reason, I couldn’t really connect with any of them, and so there was a lack of investment in how the story turned out. But that might just be me, first person narrators are hit-or-miss in my experience. If you haven’t heard of this one, basically it’s about four friends who go on a white water rafting trip in the remote Maine wilderness. I won’t give you any spoilers, but just let me say you won’t catch me going rafting in the middle of nowhere any time soon. Bottom line: four stars for this one.
This was the first of two five star reads for me this month. It’s part of the Agent Pendergast series, and involves a long-lost Sherlock Holmes story and a 150-year-old miner massacre. I’d never read any of this series before, so I didn’t know what to expect, but oh my gosh, it was so good! Agent Pendergast is such an intriguing character, and the plot was fast-moving, with twists and cliffhangers, and just the slightest hint of horror. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys thrillers with a side of Sherlock Holmes.
Last up is the only YA I read, and my favorite book of the month. I’d seen this one floating around on Instagram and when I read the blurb I wasn’t sure if I would like it. A future society where death only comes at the hands of appointed government representatives named Scythes? Sounds kind of gruesome. But it turned out to be one of those books you just want to keep reading, you just have to know what happens next. There was nothing about the book I didn’t enjoy, from the worldbuilding to the characters to the romantic subplot, it was all very nearly perfect in my opinion. I’m calling this one an early front-runner for favorite of the year and if you haven’t read it yet, do it.
You can find all of these books at Book Depository, I’ve linked them to make it easier, and they offer free worldwide shipping, how cool is that? Happy March guys, here’s to another great month of reading! What was your favorite February read?