More May Book Reviews 2020

So….the Pause is a time to read more books. AND without a lot going on in my life it’s harder to think of things to wax on about. Here are some more books.

The Old Success by Martha Grimes. I like her Richard Jury mysteries but this one wasn’t my favorite. The first few chapter introduced too many characters, too many places and too many crimes. As a result I needed notes to sort out who was who.  Basically the story hops around with three murders in different places being tied together by the myriad of policemen introduced. A bit bland in the end. Rate 2.8

Quantum by Patricia Cornwall. This was a new book that had a topic I’m interested in: NASA. The idea is that Captain Calli Chase, who is kind of gifted in just too many ways, solves a mystery involving conspiracy between the defense department and NASA….BUT I couldn’t get past page 65. I have read this author before, but never noticed the terrible repetition in her writing. I put the book down when for the umpteenth time I heard that Calli was wearing a leather coat. Jeez….I get it, she’s wearing a leather coat. Between this and the fact that she has too much freedom and too many jobs I just couldn’t continue. No rating because no finish.

Waking Lions by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen.  I read “The Liar” and loved it so looked for more by this author. This one was written first. Similar underlying theme: what happens when someone tells a lie. In this story we have a neurosurgeon who tells the lie, which keeps on building and complicating his life in so many ways. EVERY book club should read this book. And one of them should invite me to discuss it because I LOVED it, but also because there are so many things to talk about. This author raises so many issues with such subtle moves and it never, ever feels like she’s preaching or lecturing or not moving the story forward. Such a talented writer, that yes, yes, I am giving this book FIVE stars! Rate: 5.0

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. My mother recommended this one, particularly because she knows how much I loved Bel Canto and all of Patchett’s work. This new work is no exception. I tale told from the point-of-view of Danny, the son of a man with a canny gift for property investment, but poor social interactions with others, most specifically his family. The story moves through five decades, with some flash back material, but I basically binge read it in two days. The characters became my friends, my enemies, my classmates. So many subtle symbolic descriptions, including the Dutch House itself. Rate: 4.5

I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon. Okay, true confessions. I found this book in the pocket in front of my seat on a Southwest flight. Yep, in the middle of the whole virus scare. I wiped it off with alcohol. It looked good, so I started to read and it was good! The ONLY difficult part, but necessary, is the crazy back and forth and up and down and all around time line. I think it’s one of those things that if you try too hard to keep track you’ll make yourself miserable, but if you just trust the author to ground you into the story (and she is excellent at this) you’ll be fine. This is the story of a young woman bearing an uncanny resemblance to Anastasia Romanov, Russian Grand Dutchess. The reader flows through the swirl of questions, past and present, in an at times heartbreaking story. Rate: 4.0

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 waste your time.