Book Reviews March 2019

The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben. Aha…a non-fiction, nearly textbook type read, but rather amazing. Sadly, I read this after the forest fires had devastated huge areas of California. And after a neighbor’s oak had broken and the other half was removed to safeguard the human lives underneath it. (Mine!) Yes, this author, a German scientist and former logger, anthropomorphizes trees, but what better way for humans to understand the nature of trees? A lovely read. Highly recommended for anyone who is planning on planting trees in their yard or anyone who lives on this planet. Rate: 4.5

Save Me by Lisa Scottoline. I think I might be over this author. I do think she is a good writer, but her books all have such a familiar feel that I can guess what the “surprise” is while reading the first chapter. That is not to say that I won’t keep reading her (my mother just passed along another book), but I can’t get excited. It might also be my new aversion to legal thrillers…this one is about a mother who is working in the school lunchroom during a disasterous explosion. Complicated issues of saving other children, her own child, bullying, birth defects…the list goes on. Then suddenly, this mother turns detective and the tone of the book changes. Hmmm…Rate: 2.5

Don’t Go by Lisa Scottoline. I had just finished the above and decided I wasn’t thrilled with this author any more, but I was visiting my mother and didn’t have a book to read and she liked this one, so I read it. Maybe a tiny bit better than Save Me, but (slight SPOILER ALERT), all I can say is there was too much foreshadowing that led no where and the resolution came out of left field. Rate: 2.6

A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny. Yep, back into the Inspector Gamache series. I liked this one a lot, probably because the Inspector is on vacation so the murder doesn’t take place in Three Pines! Although Clara and Peter do arrive so we have a link to some of the same characters. I’m still thrown at times because I read later parts of the series first so I know what is going to happen to some of these characters. We get more of the inspector’s early background in this one, as well as some nice interactions with his wife Rate: 4.0

The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny. Arghhh…really wished I had read all these in order. This one was good, but ruined for me because I know too much about what happens later. We are back in Three Pines and our favorite characters are now viewed in a very different light as Inspector Gamache figures out who the stranger in town (dead of course) is and how he came to be dead. I liked the reference and trips to Queen Charlotte Island, a place I long to visit. Rate: 3.8

Martin Dressler, The Tale of an American Dreamer by Steven Millhauser. In the beginning I enjoyed this story, different from what I usually read. Matin Dressler is a teen at the end of the twentieth century and we follow his life and career as good luck and hard work lead to success…but Martin doesn’t always make the right choice. The book grew sluggish and a bit repetitive for me, as Martin built one hotel after another. By the end of the book I was skipping the pages of lists and descriptions…although I have to say the author was clever in his use of content and sentence structure to deliver to the reader the emotions of the protagonist. Rate: 2.8

Key for my personal rating system:

5.0 – A book I will never forget, will quote, will tell everyone I know they MUST read it.

4.0 – An excellent book, but doesn’t quite make the best books of all time list.

3.0 – A recommendation, good read, decently written

2.0 – Some redeeming qualities, I finished it, but I’m not likely to seek out more by the author.

1.0 – Don’t wast your time.