Friday, October 8, 2021

Friday Fives - Mini Reviews For Books I've Read Recently

I'm taking a bit of a break from my usual Friday Linkups to try something a little different.  I'm in a list making kind of mood so I thought I'd start making random five lists.  Sometimes they'll be bookish other weeks not so much.  Today I'm sharing 5 short reviews for some random books I've read recently.

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
- This is the third book I've read by this author.  I read Dead Wake several years ago and absolutely loved it.  I loved how the two different sides of the Lusitania sinking came to collide.  I did not love Thunderstruck as I found the Crippen story fascinating and the Marconi story rather dull.  I found this book to be somewhere in the middle.  Both the story of the Holmes murders and the story of the building of the Chicago World's Fair were interesting but the connection felt at best tentative.  It kind of reads like two separate books put into one - and honestly I would have liked more of both but in separate books.  It was still an interesting read and I felt like I learned a lot - especially about the Fair - and I like Larson's writing style but I'm not sure this dual storytelling really works perfectly in all cases.  My Rating: Really Liked It

The Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes -
I'm going to be honest I think I've seen a total of 4 episodes of Shonda Rhimes' shows total but I've been wanting to read this book since it came out.  Even with zero connection to Shonda Rhimes and almost zero knowledge about Greys or Scandal I still really enjoyed this one.  This isn't so much saying yes but more one woman facing her demons and conquering them one by one.  There is a lot more self reflection and facing hard truths about herself then I expected and there was a somewhat more serious tone as well.  I listened to this one and thoroughly enjoyed it - especially listening to her speeches.  My Rating:  Loved It!

A Bad Day for Sunshine by Darynda Jones
- I grabbed the audio of this on a whim after reading some positive reviews of the 2nd book in the series and I really enjoyed it!  This is a quirky mystery with fun characters and some darker themes.   I liked Sunshine's relationship with her parents and daughter Aurie as well as her interactions with her deputies and those around her.  I did get a little eye rolly at Sunshine's hot and bothered act every time a particular character strolled into sight.  The primary mystery in the book was compelling and had a few hold your breath moments and Sunshine is a solid investigator.  I'm curious to see how the bigger background mystery gets resolved and am really looking forward to reading or listening to the 2nd book.  My Rating:  Really Liked It!

The Stalking by Heather Graham -
This is the 29th Krewe of Hunters book and the 3rd book in the 2019 trilogy (Graham tends to do 3 books a year).  Normally, I've found that the 3rd book is by far the weakest but I don't know if it was because the books were only very loosely related this time or that I had let a decent amount of time pass before picking this one up but this was definitely an exception.  I really enjoyed reading this and from start to finish was hooked.  I liked that both leads were FBI agents and competent ones as that did put them on more equal footing that frequently happens in this series.  It wasn't a case of one protecting the other.  I loved the ghost hook and how the story played out with lots of Louisiana atmosphere.  These books aren't particularly realistic or memorable but they are incredibly entertaining distractions for when you're in the mood for a light fast read with some suspense and a bit of spookiness.  My Rating: Really Liked It!

Hearse and Gardens by Kathleen Bridge
:  I'm so torn on this series.  I love that the Meg, main character, is a big fan of garage sales and estate sales and does interior design work for cottages in the Hamptons.  I like her friendship with Elle and watching as she explores some of the house of the rich and famous.  Unfortunately, there are times that Meg drives me absolutely crazy.  She's very impetuous, undercharges for her work which leaves her perpetually broke, and has never met an embarrassing situation she can't fall into face first.  As well,  there's a LOT going on.  There's real estate issues, her semi-obsession with her neighbor who is a secretive poet, pet stuff, work stuff, car drama, etc which means the mystery frequently gets lost in all the other stuff.  In both this book and the first book  in the series I almost DNF'd but finally got hooked about halfway in.  My Rating: Liked It


  1. Love the variety of your reading, thanks for sharing your thoughts on these.

  2. Nice variety; I haven't read any though but several seem good to me.

  3. I have a couple of these on my TBR.

  4. I love your list! The Devil in the White City was an amazing read. I found myself googling while reading it to authenticate the events Larson was writing about.

    I've got a library copy of A Bad Day for Sunshine and hope I find the time to read it soon.

  5. Glad to hear the Graham book was a surprising winner!

  6. Totally agree with you on A Bad Day for Sunshine and Year of Yes. I do believe I'd like those Heather Graham books, I wish I wasn't so book greedy!

  7. I went to Goodreads to check out The Year of Yes and forgot to come back, ha ha. Thanks for the heads up on that one. 📚