December Book Reviews 2018

Wow…here we are at the end of 2018…amazing. I read a lot these past few months…some great books, some not so wonderful. Admittedly I read a lot in November because the fire danger was so outrageous in California I felt I needed to stay at home in case there was call fro quick evacuation.

Kingdom of Strangers by Zoë Ferraris. The third in the series that includes Finding Nouf and City of Veils, I loved this one too. Ferraris has a way of letting us see human faults in a new life. With subtle hints to the complexity of Inpsector Ibrahim Zahrani as he tries to solve a series of murders newly discovered. The reader can follow the growth of young forensic technician Katya Hijazi, a women working in a man’s world like none we can even fathom. Rate: 4.0

A Heart of Stone by Renate Dorrestein. Wow…this is a heart breaking story, well told (translated from Dutch). It is a short book, but ever so deep. Ellen is twelve at the start of the story, but returns home after twenty-five years. I don’t want to give any spoilers about what happens in between, but the look inside Ellen’s thoughts  is emotional and I had a hard time. putting this book down. Rate: 4.5

TheTwilight Wife by AJBanner. This one takes place up on a small island in the San Juans, so I was intrigued by the locale. I almost gave up on it about half way through, as it didn’t seem to be going anywhere. In fact, I felt like the author was repeating the same backstory over and over with just a slight twist each time. BUT I was traveling and didn’t have other books to read to I stuck it out. The last third of the book finally moved forward for a gripping conclusion. But I still can’t say it was any kind of fantastic story. It makes it to a 3.0, but just barely.

My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry by Federik Backman. This is by the author of AMan Called Ove, a book I really enjoyed. Swedish, but not translated. This book is not for everyone because it is very unusual. That said, I loved it. Not an easy or quick read, every thing in the book is more than it seems at first glance. Outwardly this is the story of a very brilliant seven year old girl who has just lost her grandmother to cancer. She was very close to her grandmother, who told her tales of the Land-of-Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas, where everybody is different and no one needs to be normal. When her grandmother dies, Elsa is left with a “treasure hunt” of letters she must deliver. Rate: 4.0

Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler. This book is described as “a witty and warm interpretation of The Taming of the Shrew.” Since I haven’t read (or watched the play) of this, I wondered how the story would read for me. I really liked the story, and now I have to read TTofTS to compare. There have been some Anne Tyler’s of late that I wasn’t so thrilled with, but I liked this one, the story of two sisters raised by their eccentric research scientist father. Rate: 3.8

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.