Because when so many are audiobooks these days, “reading” doesn’t seem like quite the right word, you know?
August book covers | snagged from Goodreads
Even I’m a bit impressed: that’s an average of a book every 2 days. Of course, that’s not how I generally read, but some, like Storm Clouds Rolling In, were an all-day read, so that certainly helps. But mostly it was me being spoiled by the audiobook options and even taking to listening to them while I cook dinner some nights, that helped quite a bit.
The Series-es (or however you pluralize that)
The first book in the Witching SavannahÂ series, The Line, I read a while back, probably free via Kindle First or Kindle Select, and either the next book wasn’t available yet or I wasn’t compelled enough to buy it, but when I saw the rest of the trilogy when I was looking for new car “reads”, I remembered the first one fondly enough to give them a whirl.
It’s tough to talk about a series like this because it’s almost impossible to talk about events in books 2 or 3 that would ultimately be spoilers for the previous works. I will say that it deals with a family of supernatural witches in Savannah (my second favorite story locale) and the theory that said magic has it’s source or tether in something called the Line. Ley lines and key lines are common enough concepts, and this one starts off along the same vein (hah!) before turning it on its ear a bit. Book 1, from a year ago or more, was good–typical southern dysfunctional family with the added kapow of magic–and Book 2 (Source) was my favorite of the trilogy. Book 3? Well, again, without giving too much away, the author does something I disagree with quite a bit in tying up the main characters’ loose ends. Then he undoes it, sorta, in a semi-clever but nonetheless clunky manner.
- Time’s Echo
- Time’s Edge*
- Time’s Mirror
I really hate when I start a series that hooks me in and then isn’t finished yet. Noooooooo! Seriously, I was horrified to find that the 3rd (Edge and Mirror are supplemetnal novellas, but still worth reading) book in the series won’t be out until mid-October. But that aside…
This is, as you might have guessed, a time-travel series with the protagonist as a 16 year old girl. Again, being that it’s a series it’s tough to talk about specifics, but I found the story captivating and the main character just snarky enough to be believable as a teenager, just obtuse enough to be human, and just stubborn enough to be relatable. If books that deal with multimple timelines or realities make your head hurt (like Crichton’s Timeline or the Matrix movies), this might not be the series for you, but otherwise I recommend it heartily.
And while very much dependent on future technology, a lot of it takes place in the recognizable past. Had I read something like this in middle school, for instance, it would have spurred so many independent study sessions I can’t even tell you. And history is totally not my thing.
Oh, and if you’re a fan of AHS and looking forward to the upcoming Hotel season, Timebound has some verrrry interesting plot points (based in fact) that I was reminded of as the Hotel trailers have started to air.
A series with just one book read, what mischief is this?! Well, next to the rest of the series not being available, I dislike the bait and switch of the first book being available on Kindle Unlimited but the rest of the series (of which there are 7, so far, I think) I’d have to buy. And I’m still debating but, yeah, I’ll be picking them up, too. Once some of my backlog is read through.
At any rate! If you liked Gone With the Wind but, like me, really wanted more of the pre-war part, the Bregdan Chronicles might be worth looking into. Instead of the Deep South where many an antebellum story is set, this book revolves around Virginia, both on a remote tobacco plantation as well as in Richmond. The daughter of the family is certainly no Scarlett, though she does have a certain willful streak and is not interested in becoming the sort of lady her mother has in mind. No, our heroine actually turns out to be a budding abolitionist (not giving away much, the story leads you there from pretty early on), but it’s not as simple as freeing the plantations slaves and moving north, not when her father becomes important to the governor and is trying to reason peace over war.
Apparently this book is based on actual events and people in the area, though is still firmly planted (hah!) in fiction.
Speaking of HistoryÂ
- Yellow Crocus*
- Daughters of the Witching Hill*
- Melissa Explains it All
- Paris Time Capsule*
Upon a reader’s recommendation I picked up Yellow Crocus, which starts off in the first person by stating it is a true story before switching to third person not-exactly-omniscient for the main narration. This was a bit disconcerting at first, but we rolled with it, only to have it handle the epilogue back in first person and, of course, it’s not true at all but a complete work of fiction. That’s a sort of mechanical review of the book, I realize, but I didn’t like the misdirection.
The story itself, though, was quite good, despite the early confusion, and also deals with a daughter of a plantation, her relationship and dependence on her nurse, and how the two women’s lives paralleled each other as time went on. I pretty much saw where the story was going to end up, and the main character took an awfully long time to come into her own, but I don’t think that’s actually wrong for the era the story is set in, just a character annoyance I’ve mentioned before.
On the other hand, Daughters of the Witching Hill is, we find, based closely on actual trial reports from the pre-Inquisition Witch Trials of Pendel Forest, though you’d swear from the story itself that everything was made up from whole cloth. It wasn’t a highly active story, but it spread over 3 generations and included the sort of little touches that really made these women very real to the reader. That it was read by someone (audiobook, again) with a very good handle of the vernacular made it all the more pleasant to listen to.
In more recent history, and far lighter, I switched to Melissa Joan Hart’s autobiography and, while a lot of reviews I saw were negative, I really enjoyed reading about her early years in television and thought the anecdotes about her Sabrina years were more than adequate: I didn’t need some sleazy tell-all. Some criticize her insistence that she’s normal as can be considering to be a false front and took offense at her name dropping, but what else can you do when you work with other stars?! I found it refreshing, honest, and down to earth.
And then–do you remember several years ago (2010ish) when the apartment was discovered in Paris that hadn’t been touched since WWII??? I vaguely did, so when I stumbled upon Paris Time Capsule I was curious how the writer would spin the story. According to the notes, the book is based upon that same discovery, the owner was, in fact, a French courtesan of the era, and the painting that was found in the real apartment and in the book was painted by Bouldini, a painter of the era known for painting the fringes of society.
Seeing as this was a bit of a romance, it has a predictable ending in that respect, though it does take quite a while for the main character, Kat, to find her ever-lovin’ spine! Sheesh! As to the bigger question of the story–why was Kat left the Paris apartment and not the family that was, apparently, the woman’s descendant? That one I figured out pretty early on, though not all the details, of course. It didn’t take away from the reading since it was more a passing thought towards the beginning and not something more in-your-face. Hearing about the French countryside and the path a refugee from Paris, escaping on the eve of the Nazi invasion, was quite interesting was very entertaining as they uncovered eachÂ piece of the puzzle.
And the Rest…
- The Mermaid’s Sister*
- Dead Secret
- We Were Liars
- The Rose Girls*
These last four books were just sort of all over the place, thematically.
The Mermaid’s Sister is set in turn-of-the-century America with it’s peddlers and traveling medicine shows, and a woman on a hill who adopts two girls–one left for her in a sea shell, the other brought by the stork. The shell child starts to transform into a mermaid at age 16 and a plan is formed to bring her to the sea before she wastes away to nothing. While first her sister and then their family friend are, in turn, committed to breaking this “curse” the continue on and I began to wonder how we were only halfway through the book when we were so close to the obvious ending?
And then something happens to completely change the story and then I knew how we were only halfway through. I was also suddenly more interested in the story at this point, as the first half was sweet, but not exactly gripping. The second half was far more entertaining and satisfactory as far as character growth went. The ending was exactly as I suspected, but there were some nice twists in there that made it that much better.
Fast forward a few centuries to modern-day England and you’ve got the setting of a typical whodunnit that was a bit sluggish throughout, really. I set it down several times in favor of other books throughout the first half of the month.
We Were Liars was the book club pick. Not too far in there’s a starling passage that turns out to be nothing more than a teenage melodramatic metaphor, something that is a bit of a hallmark of the book. With a definite poor-little-rich-girl vibe (I mean, really, broken home notwithstanding, her family owns a private island near Martha’s Vineyard where they all summer, the whole clan, and the kids run rampant and unsupervised), the teenage narrator dines out on metaphors like they’re candy. Seriously, it was a bit much. Despite all of this I was actually enjoying the book after it got going and as the main character struggles to regain her memory after an accident 2 years prior, and then…
I swear I’ve seen a someecard or similar that says something to the effect of you can kill any character you want, just don’t kill the dog? I can’t find it, but I wanted to use that as a virtual bookmark for We Were Liars. Yeah. Forewarned and all that.
Still, the ending was not exactly what I expected it to be, but I got to the correct conclusion several pages before the “protagonist” and at least she then has the decency to cut out all the melodrama in the face of true tragedy.
Ending the month was something decidedly lighter, with The Rose Girls telling the story of three girls recovering after the death of their mother, secrets revealed, lives set right, and a big old manor house (complete with moat!) saved from ruin. I was just a sweet story, overall, with some laugh-out-loud moments here and there and an ultimately satisfying ending. It was exactly what I needed as I packed kits and dealt with website stuff at the end of the month.
At the beginning of the year I set my reading goal at 75 books, figuring that if I was mainlyÂ reading at night before bed, two books a week (for 100 books/year) might be pushing it. Obviously that was before several things changed and before I joined Kindle Unlimited. Now I’m at 66 books for the year, so will likely reach my goal in September. Maybe I’ll make 100 my stretch goal or, maybe, I’ll switch things up and not read as much? Yeah, okay, I don’t see that really happening, but even I have to admit my book consumption tops even my summer reading mania during my school years.
Read anything good lately? I’m obviously open to suggestions!
(*denotes an audiobook)