1. Executive Privilege by Phillip Margolin. Fiction. A story of how the President of the U.S. is caught up in a web of deception that includes adultery and murder. A free download, this book was okay. It kept my interest for the most part though it started to drag around the last 1/4 of the book or so. And…I was able to figure out “whodunit” which was a bit of a let down. All in all, if it becomes available as a free book again, I’d say jump on it. 3.5/5.
2. Big Mama Stories by Shay Youngblood. Fiction. I enjoyed this collection of short stories all of which revolve around a young girl who is being raised by a community of older black women. 4/5. *Oh, I read this electronically and the typos are HORRIBLE. Consider yourself warned.*
3. The Spirit Catches You and Then You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman. Nonfiction. This is the real life story of a young Hmong girl in Merced, California and how cultural differences affected her medical care and her life. A bit of a tedious read – it delves into far more history than I thought “necessary” for this story – it was still good, and I’m glad I read it. 4/5
4. The Racketeer by John Grisham. Fiction. Slowest moving law thriller I’ve ever read. Once the story got rolling, it was good, but it sure took a minute (or three) to really get into this story about a lawyer imprisoned on racketeering charges and his will to once again be free. 4/5
5. Where Serpents Lie by T. Jefferson Parker. Fiction. I really enjoyed this book, which is going to sound odd considering one of the sub-plots revolves around pedophilia. Anyhoo, it’s the story of a police detective trying to catch a bad guy and all the goings on involved. Definitely kept my attention and if it’s a free book again, I’d recommend you picking it up if crime dramas are your deal. 3.5/5
6. When Girlfriends Break Hearts by Savannah Page. Fiction. Eh. A chick-lit book that was a fast, okay read – deals with forgiveness and friendship. 2/5
7. A Wedding to Die For by Heather Haven. Fiction. Enjoyed this “murder-lite” book. About a 1/2 WASP, 1/2 Hispanic PI who works for her family business. Good little read – nothing gory or particularly thrilling, but I liked the characters and the story was well fleshed out and relatively believable. This book was a freebie, but I went ahead and purchased the first book in the series for $4 after I finished. 4/5
8. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. Fiction. Loved it. Jacob Jankowski narrates his life story in this tale. He alternates between the present day (in which he is 93. Or 90 – he can’t remember) and the days of his youth which were spent working for a second-rate circus. This story was really well written and came to life in a way I truly appreciated – I visualized each scene in my mind’s eye. I would’ve liked the story to go on a little longer – to learn more about Jacob once he left the circus, but that’s a minor quibble. This book was made into a movie which I now find myself wanting to see – not sure if I will yet or not. Highly recommend. 4.5/5
9. Walking on Broken Glass by Christa Allan. Fiction. No. This is a story about a well-to-do woman, her struggles with alcoholism and her stint in rehab. This book read like a “what to expect when you go to rehab” type deal. I wasn’t feeling this story at all – I’m okay with books having agendas, but if you’re going to write a story with an agenda (becoming a Christian) do it well. This one didn’t. I was interested in how the story would end so I read to the end. Eh. 1/5
10. Trouble in Mudbug by Jana DeLeon. Fiction. Cute little murder mystery where one of the main characters is a ghost. Yeah, yeah, I know how that sounds…anyhoo, this book read like a good Lifetime movie might play out. The characters were pretty entertaining, I enjoyed the small-town Louisiana setting and even though this was a freebie, I went ahead and paid for the next book in the series. 3.5/5
11. Three Girls and a Baby by Rachel Schurig. Fiction. This was a fun little read – the protagonist is a recent college grad rooming with her two best friends when she finds herself pregnant. Nothing deep or thought provoking here, and the ending is super predictable, but for what I paid (nothing) it was a nice way to spend an afternoon. 2.5/5
12. Village Books by Craig McLay. Fiction. This was a quirky story about a bunch of misfits working at a small, family owned bookstore. The ending was pretty improbable, but hey, it’s fiction, so I’ll let it slide. 2/5.
13. The Broken Road by Melissa Huie. Fiction.
14. A Dangerous Harbor by RP Dahlke. Fiction.
15. Gathering Storm by Barbara Warren. Fiction.
16. Last Name Banks by Lacy Camey. Fiction.
Books 13-16: None of these books were good – or bad – enough to bother with reviewing. They were all free and decent enough that I finished them. Moving on…
17. Where the Hell Am I? Trips I Have Survived by Ken Levine. Nonfiction. This was a television and movie writer’s account of various trips he took, both with his family and alone. I think it was supposed to be funny. I didn’t find it funny at all and since it wasn’t a travel book in the traditional sense (it didn’t make me want to visit any of the places covered) I’m going to count this book an utter waste of my time. 1/5.
18. The Beholder by David Bishop. Fiction. Twas alright. A “thriller” that kept my attention long enough to finish. Free on Kindle, it was an okay way to spend a few hours. 2/5.
19. Zemsta by Victoria Brown. Fiction. Written strangely – very juvenile in its tone for most of the book – I was still interested in completing this one. I wanted to know how it ended. It’s the story of lifelong friends and their growing into young adulthood in Depression-era Ohio. Somehow there’s a murder, a crooked lawyer, and a hoodlum wrapped up in this one. Again, it was free and okay. 2/5.
20. Vada Faith by Barbara Whittington. Fiction. Dumb book. The protagonist is Vada Faith a young woman in a southern town who agrees to be a surrogate for a couple she knows very little about. Vada doesn’t stop to consider how her surrogacy will affect her marriage, her twin daughters, her extended family or herself. I couldn’t believe she was as dumb as she was. So I finished the book just to see how everything would turn out in her life. Whomp, whomp. 1/5.
21. Stranger in Town by Cheryl Bradshaw. Fiction. Two girls in rural Utah/Wyoming go missing and the family of one hires a PI to recover their daughter. This read like a Lifetime movie – a little drama, a little romance, a wise-cracking, tough-talking heroine, pretty predictable…much like a Lifetime movie an okay way to spend a Sunday afternoon. 2/5.
22. Suburban Task Force by Addison Towne. Fiction. Eh. 1.5/5
23. Two Shots by Joe Albert. Fiction.
24. So Help Me God by Larry D Thompson. Fiction. This book was a trip! It’s about a court case, abortion and a televangelist. I don’t even know where to begin. Mostly because I read it a while ago 🙂 It was a little predictable, dragged in some spots, and wasn’t as much of a thriller as I think the author thought it was, but still a solid read – especially for a freebie! 3.5/5
25. The Secret Desires of a Soccer Mom by Robyn Harding. Fiction. No. 1.5/5
26. Realities by Marian D Schwartz. Fiction. I enjoyed this one. A wife recounts her life since her husband’s suicide in letters she writes to her dead husband…It read very “real” and wasn’t an overly emotional or romanticized story. I liked it. 3/5.
27. Primal Deception by Judith Price. Fiction. Murder mystery. It was okay. 2.5/5
28. Sleeping in the Middle by Kari Lee Harmon. Fiction. 2/5
29. Murder is a Family Business by Heather Haven. Fiction. 2.5/5
30. The Philanthropist’s Danse by Paul Wornham. Fiction. 2.5/5. This book had a really interesting premise – a wealthy man invites 12 people to his home to decide how his fortune will be shared between them. It got a
little lot detail heavy and there were times when I just couldn’t keep the cast of characters straight but I was pretty caught up in the characters’ back stories and who would vote which way. I enjoyed this.
31. Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim. Fiction. 4/5. Book club book. Quick read. Shall not discuss further here.
32. Organize or Die by Laura McClure. Fiction. 3/5. Yeah, so I thought this would be a cute little murder mystery about a suburban housewife who had a part time gig as a professional organizer. How wrong I was! It’s a murder mystery about a union organizer. My bad. Anyhoo, it was a good read. I don’t have a real good understanding of the way labor union works and I think that was a bit of a disadvantage as I read this book. Anyhoo, it was a good little story and I was interested enough to see how things turned out.
33. One Step Ahead by JJ Kapka. Fiction. 2.5/5. It was okay. About a couple who broke up on the first day of their trip around the world and the adventures that followed. A little bit chick lit, a little bit travel guide.
34. November Surprise by Laurel Oderkamp. Fiction. Um, I cannot remember what this book was about. Let’s just say it was good enough for me to finish.
35. No Game for a Dame by M Ruth Myers. Fiction. 2.5/5. A mystery set in the 20s (early 30s). A female PI sets out to solve a case involving mobsters and a security company all while dealing with the prejudices people had toward her. I really liked the main character, and the story line was good though the whole thing drug on a little to long for my taste.
36. The Next Ex by Linda Richardson. Fiction. 4/5. Loved it. A mystery involving a movie producer, a day trader and a gaggle of ex-wives. Nice character development – I pretty much read this one in one setting.
37. Irreparable Harm by Melissa F Miller. Fiction. 3.5/5. Good read. A murder mystery involving a law firm, an aviation company and greed. Always greed.
38. The Winner by David Baldacci. Fiction. 4/5. A lottery winner, the man behind her win and her life 10 years post-win. Enjoyed this one (a thriller, kinda) a lot – it was slow going toward the middle of the book, and I fully confess to skimming through parts of it, but all in all a solid offering. I’ll definitely be reading more by this author.
39. The Appeal by John Grisham. Fiction. 3.5/5. Eh. I believe I’ve decided I’m just not a big Grisham fan. I think this is the second book of his that I’ve read. Both underwhelmed me. Anyhoo, this one is about…an appealed case that makes it to the Supreme Court, politics, who’s pulling all the strings and why things aren’t always as they seem. The occurrences in this book? Probably happen on a regular basis around this country. And that’s a frightening thought!
August – December
Yeah, I fell way off. In both my reading and cataloging efforts. I think next year, my reviews will consist of yea, nay, and if you’re bored. For the rest of this year’s reads, I’m just going to list them out. Cool? Cool. It’s not like anyone reads this page anyhow, so really I’m just here talking to myself!
40. The Donzerly Light by Ryne Douglas Pearson. Fiction.
41. Must Love Dogs by Claire Cook. Fiction.
42. The Mortal Nuts by Pete Hautman. Fiction.
43. Sycamore Row by John Grisham. Fiction.
44. Southern Strife by Valerie Stocking. Fiction.
45. Sparkly Green Earrings by Melanie Shankle. Nonfiction.
46. The Midwife’s Here by Linda Fairley. Nonfiction.