Sunday, May 6, 2018

April Book Review

So many books, so little time.

I read six books last month across a range of genres.  Check it out . . .


If you've been reading my book reviews, you know I have a love/hate relationship with Kristin Hannah.  I loved The Nightingale and recommend it all the time.  Because that book was so wonderful, I easily decided to read one of her earlier books, Firefly Lane.  But, unfortunately, I was quick to give it two thumbs down.  It read like a Danielle Steele book, in my opinion, and not that there's anything wrong with Danielle Steele (I can't tell you how many of her books I read in high school) but after The Nightingale, it was not what I was expecting at all.  I decided to give her another chance with Winter Garden.  The historical portions of that novel were excellent but the present day chapters were meh.  Please, Kristin.  Stick with historical fiction!

It's entirely possible I like to torture myself so I picked up The Great Alone.  Alaska was calling my name and I have to say that her writing of life in the Alaskan wilderness was intriguing.  But again, I had issues with other parts of the book.  Instead of turmoil coming out through her writing, she makes it obvious by repeating the problem over and over until it's so obvious, it's all you see.  She did the same thing in Winter Garden.  In this book, the repetition was surrounding the main character's father and his abuse.  As with Winter Garden, it reached the point where I was silently screaming, I get it!

So while I enjoyed most of this book, some of it was annoying and I felt like the ending was a little soap opera-ish.

True Crime


Perhaps because I've always lived on the East Coast, I'd never heard of the Golden State Killer or his reign of terror prior to reading this book.  This was such a fascinating read.  The author, who unfortunately passed away while writing this book, was truly a talented writer.  Not only does she describe the crimes but she discusses in great detail the search for the killer and her obsession with this cold case.  She has a way of writing that makes you fall completely into the book.

This book creeped me out in a way I've never been creeped out.  I found a door unlocked in the house one day and I told Rich all the doors needed to be locked at all times.  He was like, "What's the big deal?" and I was like, "Read this book and you will never ever leave a door unlocked ever again."

A week after I finished reading this, The Golden State Killer was identified through DNA and arrested.  If you read true crime or have an interest in cold cases, this is definitely a book to read.  Easily 5 stars.


So while the author here tells a good tale and keeps the reader interested, I found her to be completely insufferable.  She and her husband lose their home in a foreclosure and move to a primitive cabin owned by a relative.  McGaha blames her financial situation on everyone and everything but herself.  There's the house that they obviously didn't have inspected prior to purchasing and the odd financial arrangement with friends which leads one to believe that they couldn't obtain a traditional mortgage.  They knowingly lived above their means and in my opinion continued to do so after disaster struck.

Even the title of her book showcases yet another irresponsible financial decision.  If you're flat broke, why are you buying goats???


I picked this up out of curiosity. This book supposedly describes behind the scenes detail of Trump's first nine months in the White House.  Some of it was eye-opening and while I did learn something, I was finished 50% of the way through the book.  At that point, it became extremely repetitive to me and if I was one to quit books, I would have quit.  Unfortunately, I've never stopped reading a book halfway through and I refuse to start now, so I finished it.  I find politics in large doses to be boring and this was a heavy book.  I expected it to be one of those "quick reads" but it was quite the opposite.


Out of all the apocalyptic books I've read, this one did seem like it could really happen.  What if an enemy detonates a nuclear bomb high in the atmosphere above the US?  You wouldn't see, hear or feel anything, but everything electronic would no longer function.  

This was an easy read. There's no real depth to the writing, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.  I wasn't a fan of the main character.  Circumstances will cause you to pity him but he came across as a know-it-all.  Parts of the book were heavily military-based, which isn't my thing.  Overall, a decent read if you're into this genre.  This is the first book in a trilogy and I'm not sure if I'll read the other two books or not.


This one met many of my expectations for a good thriller.  It was fast-paced, well-written, kept my interest and I could sort of figure out part of the ending.  Yes, some of the plot was a little out there but I've grown to expect that from these types of books.  I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys this genre.

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Nina Mansir said...

I totally agree about Flat Broke with Two Goats! I found McGaha super annoying. She didn’t learn anything at all from the experience! I read it as part of a “Big Library Read” on the Libby app, and because the Overdrive team selected it, I had high hopes for the book. I have no idea why they picked it though, I complained about her life choices to my sister throughout the entire book.

Erika said...

I totally agree about Kristin Hannah's writing!! She really needs to stick with historical fiction- she is a master of that! I did enjoy Magic Hour, though, which isn't historical fiction. I liked The Great Alone, but agree that it was super repetitive for much of the lonnnng story, and then the end was super rushed and tied up with a bow, like WHAT?? I read This is How It Always Is (Laurie Frankel) last week- if you haven't read that yet, I recommend checking it out. As long as you don't mind your heart breaking. ;)

JEN said...

I actually liked One Second After but found it really disturbing. I still think about some things from that book. But I had no idea there were sequels. On my list!

Christi said...

I'm in a slump lately and quit more books than I read in April.

I agree with the Kristin Hannah comments. I started The Nightingale and just
couldn't get past the two annoying sisters at the beginning so I put it down despite so many people saying they loved it. I listened to The Winter Garden as an audiobook and if not for the parts set in Russia, I would have quit that one too. Those parts were wonderful. The present day? Meh.