Monday, July 5, 2010

June 2010

June was a good month for suspense fiction but less memorable in terms of the children's books I read. I recommend Robert Goddard and Linwood Barclay, and I always suggest Patricia Wentworth as a comfort read for mystery fans. Here are my June reads, and a look below at the beautiful bookplate used by the Concord Public Library many years ago. I had been there a couple times before but it is always a pleasure to be in such a historic library. Concord is a delightful town even apart from the thrill one gets from being near the homes of Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Jane Langton. I drove by the Diamond in the Window House on my way home...
Adult Fiction
House Rules, Jodi Picoult - I nearly always enjoy Picoult and thought this was better than her last few books (having worked for many publishers, I am always suspicious that the pressure to make authors produce books on a regular basis and/or annually results in poor quality) although several of the plot elements were way too obvious.
Name to a Face, Robert Goddard - Perhaps not his best but still impossible to put down, with nonstop twists and turns. Many of the characters were very unlikeable, however, which definitely changes one's attitude when they are murdered!
Never Look Away, Linwood Barclay - This author is a great new talent in suspense fiction, edited until recently by my gifted friend Danielle Perez.
Touch and Go, Patricia Wentworth - Having recently participated in the Golden Age of Detection Fiction tour, and been disappointed by Margery Allingham, I picked up a Wentworth I had never read before at the Concord Library and it immediately made me want to do a complete reread of all her books.
Two for Joy, Patricia Scanlan - ordinary chick lit I picked up at the library for $.50 several months ago.
Savor the Moment, Nora Roberts (third in a series) - Pretty much anything by Roberts is entertaining and this series is pleasant but no new ground for her.
Nothing but Trouble, Rachel Gibson - I have enjoyed this author of contemporary romance since Avon first started publishing her, especially those books with a hockey theme. This was improbable and not one of her best but still a fun read.
Time of Wonder, Maisie Hampstead - This was a complete waste of time; a very poorly written regency with a dreary and predictable plot.

Nonfiction
My Life in France, Julia Child - I liked this very much, even the description of food I would never willingly eat! I wish I had made an effort to meet her while she was alive, as she was living nearby and apparently very friendly to fans she encountered while shopping, etc.

YA
Sunnycove, Amelia Elizabeth Walden - this was part of my loosely conceived plan to give Walden a little overdue attention. She was a trailblazer in YA fiction in the 50s and 60s but is mostly forgotten now.
Sisters Red, Jackson Pearce - A first novel from a talented new author, although I suffered from a little fantasy overload when reading it.
The View from the Top, Hillary Frank - this bored me and reminded me not to pick a book by its cover.

Children's
The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet, Erin Dionne - while pleasant enough, my sister and I both found it completely improbable. In addition, the target audience was hard to figure out. It seemed too unsophisticated for YA and perhaps is best suited to a 5th grade audience. I have lent my copy to the nieces.
Palace Beautiful, Sarah Williams - I probably would have liked this as a child but found it dull as an adult.

4 comments:

LaurieA-B said...

I am reading and enjoying My Life in France right now. The photographs are charming, and the little details about postwar Europe fascinating. When she talks about the young people in the diplomatic corps it reminds me of all the Career Romance heroines who dreamed of being stationed in Paris.

Niranjana (Brown Paper) said...

So glad to meet another Wentworth reader! I reviewed her for the Golden Age tour, but I've actually never read anything but the Miss Silver series, as it's been pretty difficult to locate her other work (they're mostly out-of-print, I think?) Also, I wasn't sure if her non-mystery writing would work for me, but Touch and Go sounds interesting.

CLM said...

Touch and Go is definitely a mystery as is most of Wentworth's work. I have been collecting her for many years and now (quickly counting) own about 50 of them. Some are more memorable than others, of course, but while she is out of print you can find some of the paperbacks fairly inexpensively. I agree - fun to encounter another fan!

JaneGS said...

My Life in France is a kick--definitely a feel good book. Nice to hear that JC was approachable, even though you didn't approach her :)