"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Sunday, July 31, 2022

July Books


The Lost Letter by Jillian Cantor -- When her dad is put in a memory care home, Katie decides to have his stamp collection appraised and meets Benjamin. Benjamin finds one stamp of interest and the two follow the story to Wales and later Germany soon after the wall is removed. This book alternates between 1989 Katie and Benjamin, and Austria in 1939 when Kristoff is commissioned by the Nazis to make stamps. Good story! 

The House Across the Lake by Riley Sager -- A new book from the library that I had on my Holds list for awhile because it was On Order. A fast read, good suspense novel. I liked it although I liked it slightly less when it took a bizarre twist. Still, I enjoy this book about the mid-thirties, widowed actress Casey Fletcher, who is hiding out at her family's lake house in Vermont after her drinking gets out of control. Casey drinks and drinks and drinks, but also watches the family across the lake because their house is all glass on one side. Oh, also she rescues a lady Katherine from drowning. I enjoyed this one!

The Second Husband by Kate White -- After Emma's husband is murdered, she remarries a kind, thoughtful man who is unlike her first huband. Truth be told, Emma wasn't that sad that her first husband died, but she never would have killed him - or paid someone else to do it. But when the case is reopened, Emma and her second husband, Tom, are looked at - how did they meet? how soon after the first husband was killed? Is there anything strange about this? Pretty good story if you like these types of books.

Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson -- I've had this book in my garage for a couple of years now. Seems I got it from a little free library, but it smelled musty and smoky so I left it out there. I don't like reading books with strong smells, especially must and smoke. Thankfully when I noticed it a couple of weeks ago, it smelled fine so airing it out in my garage for two years worked!  Back in the 1990s, Bill Bryson went on a tour of several areas in England, Wales, and Scotland. He walked quite a bit of the time, though he took public transportation to various places that were too far to walk to. I think he has an updated book from a more recent trip back to Great Britain. I should get it to compare the two tales especially since this one is fresh on my mind. 

The Good Left Undone by Adriana Trigiani -- My mom liked this book so I decided to read it. It's about a Toscan family "Now," but also about certain family members a generation or two before, in the time during World War II.  Matelda has grown old, and is telling her story. The story really of her mom Domenica, and her Scottish father whom she never knew. Pretty good book.

Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner -- Vivien, Grace, and the new worker Evie work at a bookshop in England with a handful of men who dominate the positions of power in the workplace. Shocking, I know. This was an OK book. I liked parts of it quite a bit (some subtle humor especially with the rules starting each chapter) while other parts were rather wordy and not that interesting. 

The Lost Night by Andrea Bartz -- The mystery was pretty good, but I really didn't enjoy much of this book due to the language, partying lifestyle. I'm so glad I missed out on all that by my sheltered upbringing. Lindsay can't remember the details surrounding her friend Edie's death. It was ruled a suicide, but some of the gang think it was a homicide. Lindsay realizes she was so drunk that she can't recall her whereabouts that night ten years ago. Thus, she tries to figure out what happened.

When We Fell Apart by Soon Wiley -- Min is an American with Korean ancestry on his mother's side. After living in both California and New York City, he decides to travel to Seoul where he meets Yu-jin eager to escape her small town for a school in Seoul. The book alternates between Min in the "now" vs. what led up to Yu-jin's death, reading her side of the story. Pretty good.

Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout -- This is a book about Lucy Barton, a writer introduced to readers in a previous book which I have not read yet. I remembered liking this author pretty well so when I saw this book on the New Books shelf, I decided to read it. Lucy tries to help her former husband, the father of her two daughters, as he goes through a rough couple of years. Cute in a folksy kind of way.

The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen -- Avery is no longer a therapist as she lost her license due to her unconventional ways, however, as a consultant, she gets results and earns a hefty fee. When Marissa and Matthew come to her, she finds that they came under false pretenses, and she has a bit of a struggle figuring these two out. Are they being forthright or still telling lies and keeping secrets? Fast-paced, pretty good story.

Freud's Mistress by Karen Mack and Jennifer Kaufman -- A story mostly from the perspective of Minna Bernays, the sister of Anna Freud. When Minna loses yet another job, she comes to live with her sister, her sister's husband (the scientist/doctor Sigmund Freud) and their six children. Although she resists for a while, she and Sigmund have a growing attraction and he's not the least bit bothered by such things as guilt. An OK book.

A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham -- The twenty-year anniversary of her father's conviction in the disappearances and murders of teenage girls is coming up, and Chloe Davis experiences some terrible flashbacks when it starts happening again. A pretty good mystery/thriller-type book.

My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout -- This book is the intro book to the one I read a few days ago about Lucy Barton. She referred to some of this stuff in her second book so it was good to read the fuller picture though her story isn't that exciting to me. Still, I did put book 3 on hold as it was listed as one the library has On Order. These books are easy to read quickly.

The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain by Bill Bryson -- Since I recently read his first book about his travels in Britain, I decided to read this updated version from his trip through Britain about twenty years later. He revisits some places as well as going to new places. I enjoyed some of the commentary and learned some things. I may try to read more of his books in the coming months. I looked Bill Bryson up online and Wikipedia said that he retired from writing books in October 2020.

The Club by Ellery Lloyd -- This book was just ok. I finished it because I wanted to see what happened at the end, but it felt a bit too much like other books I've read. Celebrity guests at an exclusive, invitation-only island and not-very-nice, entitled personalities. It's like an island full of Trumps! Told in alternating voices of Jess who was just made Head of Housekeeping; Nikki, the long-time personal assistant to the boss, Ned Grooms; Annie, the fixer and schmoozer; among others.

Katheryn Howard: The Scandalous Queen by Alison Weir -- Finally finished this series about the wives of Henry VIII! I didn't know much about this queen and her story was pretty interesting.

A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley -- A few weeks ago, Andrew came home with a couple of library books, but this one was put second or third to a couple of others. But when Andrew finally read it, he read it quickly and stated that I'd like this book so I decided to read it before returning it to the library. Saroo tells the story of living his first few years in India, and how he got left at a train station, fell asleep, and terrifyingly ended up in the bustling city of Calcutta. He was five years old, in a dangerous city, and couldn't figure out how to get home!  Eventually Saroo was adopted by Australian parents and grew up in Tasmania. When he was a young adult, he discovered Google Earth, and it became a goal for him to figure out where he came from. Could he find his home village? Could he find the mother and siblings he lost that day?

Margot by Jillian Cantor -- Margie Franklin works as a secretary at a law firm owned by Jews. She, however, is not living "out loud" as a Jew due to her past. Unbeknownst to, well, everyone else, Margie is actually the older sister of Anne Frank. Yes, this is a tale imagining Margot somehow escaping and making her way to the United States during the era when her sister's diary was published by her father and made into a movie! 

I'll Be Seeing You by Robin Lee Hatcher -- A story alternating between Brianna of modern times who is getting information about her great-grandmother's life during World War II. Parts of the story are Daisy (the great-grandmother) sharing her story, and parts are Brianna going out with friends. Pretty good.

The Shadow House by Anna Downes -- This book was OK-decent, but I didn't like that the mother and teenaged son cursed at each other. I mean, I guess that's reality for many perhaps most, but still. Single mom Alex flees her second baby's father to live in an ecovillage in Australia. There she meets a mostly-welcoming community, but then weird stuff starts happening and there's talk of a witch in the woods.

Someone Is Watching by Joy Fielding --  Bailey is a young, confident private investigator when one night changed everything. Soon Bailey is housebound, showering often, and walking around her house looking for someone hiding. Also, she's peeking out her apartment window watching the man across the way as he does bizarre things. Luckily, her half sister Claire comes around to help out, bringing her sixteen year old daughter, Jade.  Pretty good story.