Mystery, Love, Horror Book Reviews

In May I read a bit of everything, mystery, horror, love and , of course, my favorite dysfunctional families. So here, in brief, are my book reviews for fourteen of the books I read last month.

  • Twain & Stanley Enter Paradise by Oscar Hijuelos   – I’m a Twain fan so when I won this book at book event I was delighted.  And, I was not disappointed. This novel is based on carefully researched historical data and was written by one of the masters of this genre. In this, his last book, Hijuelos, does a marvelous job of showing us Samuel Clemons and Henry Stanley ( as in Stanley and Livingstone fame). It’s a great read about people, places and the times – late 1800s. *****
  • Last Bus to Woodstock by Colin Dexter – I read this for the Mystery Book Club I belong to at my local library and while I was very annoyed by the sexism in this book (it was written in 1996 and even then he should have known better) it is the first in the Detective Morse series. Yes, the same series you can watch on PBS. And, since I don’t think women act like this I’m only giving it two stars. **
  • Home by Marilynne Robinson – If you read and loved the Gilead books you enjoy this lovely read.  The characters are luminous and down to earth. Completely believable as they struggle and survive. ****
  • The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George – Simple and nice. ***
  • Mercy Among the Children by David Adams Richards – This book gets very mixed reviews but I’m on the loved it side.  I found it to be a compassionate, well written picture of a very sad/hard to understand life.  I think true pacifism is a difficult concept for most of us to understand but it made me think.  *****
  • Mystery at Crown Island by June MacLeod – Written by a local writer. A good beach read. ***
  • The Girl In the Red Coat by Kate Hamer – I found this debut thriller to be a good read, overall.  There were places where the story slugged along and, some of the time, the 8 year old girl was a bit unbelievable but what started out as a missing child, kidnap story quickly became a story about survival.  Give it a try. ****
  • Moon Daughter by Zoe Ghahremani – A story in Iran of a family and the value of human life.  ***
  • Carrots: A Shelby Nichols Adventure by Colleen Helme – A fun, easy read.  You’ll enjoy the main character but the editing leaves much to be desire.  **
  • Never Smile At Strangers by Jennifer Jaynes – Fans of mystery novels and tension-filled psychological thrillers will genuinely enjoy reading this book.  Nothing new but well written and has a very great moments. ****
  • Awakened by Sheri Darksbane – An urban fantasy about a nerd geek. lesbian.  If you’re in the right frame of mind you might like this one.  I wasn’t crazy about it and it never really fully engaged me. **
  • The  Secret Son by Jennifer Burke – After the death of his wealthy father in a car crash, Seán Murtagh flies home to Wicklow for the funeral. There he is stunned to discover that his father’s will disinherits his family and leaves everything – including the family home – to a secret son, Andrew Shaw. This premise alone was enough to get me reading and as the characters were developed I continued to read.  This is well researched, modern Irish novel. *****
  • The Plum Tree by Ellen Marie Wiseman – ***
  • Prisoner Moon by John VanRockel – *