February Book Reviews 2019

Ahh…the joys of reading never end. But my audio book will be out soon and I guess I have to build “listening” into my repertoire.

The Girl You Left Behind by JoJo Moyes. I enjoyed her other books so decided to read some of her earlier work. This one starts off sort of “expected”…characters in France, war, French girl, German Commander. I was just thinking that there wasn’t anything new here when, WHAM, the story changed. Suddenly the readers is in current times and the painting is now taking on a whole new mystery. For the rest of the book I was taken on a great journey between past and present. Liv Halston, the woman in the present, has to do some soul searching when she realizes that owning her favorite painting is not so simple as she thought. There were hints for a different ending (I won’t print any spoilers) but I am a sucker for the UNHAPPY or unresolved ending, unlike most readers. So when my suspicions didn’t pan out, it was okay. Rate: 3.8

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See.  See is a well known, excellent writer and she doesn’t disappoint here. This is the story of Li-han and her family, members of the Akha people who live in the rural mountains of China and have grown tea for generations. Theirs is a difficult life, and in the start of the story it is hard to fathom that this is 1988. The story takes us through the modern life and the old ways, all the while weaving in the emotions and personalities of the characters. Rate 4.0

A bit of a strange book…can’t decide if I like it or not…My Ismael, by Daniel Qinn…apparently he wrote a book called Ismael, which I haven’t read…this one is the same story from a different characters perspective. Ismael is a gorilla who communicates orally and telepathically to a young girl. He is the teacher, she the student. His goal is to make her understand how we can save the world…the book is interesting, but mostly lectures from the gorilla to the girl which is getting a bit tedious. I’ll keep reading, though. Later…well, I kept reading for a few more pages but I just couldn’t keep going…too much like non-fiction. Interesting, but just not for me. No rating because I didn’t finish the book.

Clock Dance by Anne Tyler. Well, I have liked many of Tyler’s novels, but the last few have been a bit disappointing. This one is off with the pacing…strange arc. More then half the book is setting up for the story, chapter every ten years or so from the girlhood of Willa, the main character. The story really takes place when she is quite old, and is called upon to fly to Baltimore to look after a nine year old girl, but is only the last third of the book. Personally I would have liked it better with flashbacks (which are out of fashion, I know. But when done well can keep with the arc and reveal things about the character at the right moment.) Anyway…I rate this one 2.8.

Dog On It by Spencer Quinn.  I found this book while looking for a book by Daniel Quinn. I was attracted to a WHOLE ROW of books by this author with such K-9-like titles as Scents and Sensibility and Paw and Order. I figured out which came first in the series and this was it! Chet, the dog, is our narrator (and hero, if you must) solving crimes with Private Detective Bernie Little. Yes, it’s genre and a bit silly, but I did like it. Rate: 3.0

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.