Robin’s July Book Reviews

The Stuff That Never Happened by Maddie Dawson. This is the story of a woman questioning her life once her kids have left the nest. We get flashbacks to how the relationship between her and her husband formed and changed and how it impacted them. Dawson has a fluid writing style, as if the character is telling you the story directly, with flecks of humor and nice pace. An easy read. Rate: 4.0

The Survivor’s Guide to Family Happiness by Maddie Dawson. Same author as above. I think I read about her on a web post and reserved a few of her books. This one was written later and I do like that her style isn’t stuck in a rut…same smooth tone, but very good at developing the characters. This is the story of adults who were adopted seeking out their families of origin. Specifically Nina Popkin, thirty something, unmarried. Dawson weaves a tale of anxiety, hope and love into a delightful read. Rate: 4.0

There’s Something in a Sunday by Marcia Muller. A friend gave me this one because we were talking about how we like novels which take place in our own stomping grounds. This is a San Francisco—with forays down to Hollister—female detective story. What’s not to like? It was humorous to read a book published in 1989…pre-cell phone era. She has to stop off to make phone calls, and takes her cordless phone out to the back porch to talk. Too funny. Straight genre, with good descriptions, entertaining characters, subtle foreshadow and a surprise or two. Rate: 3.0

The Girls by Lisa Jewell. I have read other novels by this prolific author and plan on ready more. She doesn’t fail to please. Easy reads, great characters and always a surprising twist. This is the story of two sisters and their mother who have recently been forced to move to a new neighborhood. It is the story of tangled relationships, the need for a parent, a friend, a sister. I found it particularly interesting that this author decided to let you know the crisis right up front and then jump back in time and tell the story of all that led up to this crisis. Of course, this kept me reading because I wanted to know how these characters got from to Point B right from the start. Rate: 3.5

The Djinn Falls in Love and other stories. This is the greatest collection I have read in ages. What a topic and what a collection of authors. Clever, clever, clever. So much innovation I had to keep interrupting my husband to tell him about the latest story I was reading. The spin is on the modern djinn and the stories come from an international collection of writers. The editors Mahvesh Murad and Jared Shurin knew who to get stories from and there isn’t a bad story in the whole collection. Rate: 5.0

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.


(Thank you Tony B. for the photo!)