Monday, August 2, 2021

July 2021 Reads

July was full of a variety of books and yet I have barely made a dent in my library books or other TBR piles. How is your summer reading going?

The Outsider (Kate Burkholder #12) by Linda Castillo (audio) – I really like this series about a small-town police chief in an Amish town in Ohio. In this book, Kate receives an unexpected visitor from her past during a blizzard that shuts down Painters Mill.

Guilty Minds (Nick Heller #3) by Joseph Finder (audio) – Nick, a smug but skillful private investigator, is summoned to DC to uncover a plot against a Supreme Court Justice.

The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz – a writer longing for acclaim acquires someone else’s plot and uses it to write a bestseller. But what if someone finds out? If you have read this, did you feel sorry for the protagonist?  My review.

The Norths Meet Murder (Mr. and Mrs. North #1) by Frances and Richard Lockridge – I was curious about this classic mystery series but did not like it enough to read the next 25 in the series.

The Hostage by Clare Mackintosh – a flight attendant is blackmailed into abetting hijackers when they threaten to kill her daughter.

The Ruin (Cormac Reilly #1) by Dervla McTiernan – a dark and intriguing police procedural recommended by Nancy Pearl in which Detective Reilly, newly transferred to Galway, is reunited with a cold case from his first year as a garda.  I anticipate reading more of this series.

She Lies in Wait (Jonah Sheens #1) by Gytha Lodge – Back in 1983, a camping trip ended in tragedy. Now a second member of the group is dead, and Sheens has to investigate. My review.

The Vanishing Point by Val McDermid # - Stephanie’s child is kidnapped while they are going through security at O’Hare.  I know I will be thinking about this if I ever fly with one of my nephews or nieces again! My review.


Love Always by Harriet Evans # - a multigenerational story set in Cornwall and London - my review.

The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult – loved this story about a Yale graduate student/Egyptologist turned death doula, trying to figure out if she made the right choices in her life. Although the audio version was well narrated, it was hard to discern the timing of the flashbacks so I recommend reading a physical book.
The Wonder Test by Michelle Richmond – FBI agent Lina and her teenage son move to California after her husband dies and while on leave she is pulled into a dangerous local mystery.  I guess I never got around to reviewing it but I loved The Year of Fog.

Anna and Her Daughters by D.E. Stevenson – when Anna’s husband dies, she copes with comparative poverty by moving to a small village in Scotland to start a new life. The story is told by Jane, the youngest daughter.  HEA but it takes a while.

Historical Fiction

Forbidden Promise by Lorna Cook – a young woman rescues a pilot who crashes outside her parents’ home during WWII - my review.
Fast Girls: A Novel of the 1936 Women's Olympic by Elise Hooper #.  I am a big Olympics fan but found the writing somewhat wooden - my review.

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes # - historical fiction set in Depression-era 20th century Kentucky about a transplanted Englishwoman, unhappily married, who makes new friends as a rural librarian. My review.

Sunshine Girl
by Juliana Margulies – I do like Juliana Margulies, who starred in two of my favorite TV shows, ER and The Good Wife, but apart from being appalled by her parents’ parenting I did not find her memoir very interesting.

Juvenile Historical Fiction

A Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus – orphaned siblings during WWII are evacuated to the English countryside in this delightful story. My review.
Emeralds for the King by Constance Savery – historical fiction set during the English Civil War about brothers on different sides who seek the hidden family fortune.  My review.

The Midshipman and the Rajah by Marjorie Phillips # - Tim, an orphaned midshipman in Her Majesty's Navy, is plunged into adventure when his father turns out to be a Rajah.  My review.

Children’s Fiction
Upstaged by Diana Harmon Asher – a cute middle-grade novel with a shy heroine who tries out for a part in The Music Man and winds up with quirky new friends.  I lent this to my 8th grade niece and I hope she reads/likes it.

Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood by Varsha Bajaj – Abby learns her father is a movie star in India and goes to meet him for the first time. My review.

The Children on the Top Floor by Noel Streatfeild – four babies are left on the doorstep of a famous TV personality by their mothers. My review.

20 Books of Summer update
I’ve read 11 of my chosen books (indicated with a hashtag) and reviewed nine.  Stay tuned!


Lark said...

I need more summer in order to fit all of my summer TBR books in! ;D

TracyK said...

I am always amazed by the number of books you can read in a month. And I am retired and you are working (and going to school?). Oh well.

I have problems with the Mr. and Mrs. North series, but I keep reading them. Pam irritates me because she puts herself in dangerous situations. But I really did enjoy Voyage into Violence. Maybe it is nostalgia for a series I loved when I was younger.

I have only been reading books from my 20 Books of Summer list, except for a classic, Their Eyes Were Watching God. I have been trying to keep up with reviewing them all, but it is challenging. I admire that you keep up with reviewing so many of your books read.

Ruthiella said...

I read She Lies In Wait because of your review! So thanks for that. :) I liked it, though I had some quibbles about the suspects and their portrayal (I just didn't see their friendships realistically lasting 30 years) but the detective team was really well presented and bodes well for future books in the series, for sure.

Cath said...

A very good reading month for you. I started my 20 Books of Summer quite well but have tailed off a bit. Think I might manage fifteen. You make me want to return to the Linda Castillo series, haven't read any of those in ages.

Gretchen said...

Looks like a great reading month! I am not participating in the 20 books of summer, but enjoy seeing what others are reading. Sometimes putting books on a list makes me not want to read them (sigh). Have a great August!

CLM said...

Tracy, I don't cook and have been ignoring the garden (overgrown and full of weeds, alas) and luckily my summer school class was not as time consuming as I had feared. I even have a month off between semesters, although southern schools start early so I have to pay my tuition this weekend and start school on August 25. Traditionally, school does not begin until after Labor Day in Boston, although I think even that is changing, despite the fact that many schools here do not have air conditioning.

Mrs. North is portrayed as very ditzy (albeit charmingly so) in the first book, which did not really appeal to me. However, the book I am listening to in the car going to work by Kelley Armstrong has a heroine who is as tough as nails; an interesting contrast.

Ruthiella, I agree that the people in She Lies in Wait were so self-absorbed it was unlikely a friendship would survive. It was the detective who was the interesting character. I will probably read more in the series unless my sister warns me off!

Cath and Gretchen, I am getting a little tired of my 20 Books of Summer as have now read most of the more interesting ones. We'll see how well I persevere! I am up to 12 or 13. Lark is right that we need more summer to fit in our summer reading!

Katrina said...

I had been doing well with my 20 Books of Summer list but then came the Classics Club spin and I got a chunkster at over 700 pages which isn't on my Summer list! I suppose I could swap it for one on my list, I'm not sure if that's allowed.

TracyK said...

Ditsy is a good description of Pam North, at times. I have one of those on my 21 in '21 challenge for this year.

Katrina, swapping out is definitely allowed in the 20 Books of Summer Challenge. Most people do that. I was considering swapping one of my books for a short story book, but I only have 6 on the list left to read and I want to read them all. Oh well.

CLM said...

Tracy, you are making good progress with your 20 Books of Summer! I have read 12 but I have so much to do in the next month, I don't think I will finish by September. However, I will finish eventually, I think.