Hello Book Lovers of Bloglandia!

Boy oh boy was July a mixed bag of reading. There were some true standouts (below), some that were “almost” terrific, and a couple that had me wanting to rip my hair out.

Those two would be How to Solve A Murder (which should have been titled, How to Blather on About My Poor Clothing Choices and Oh-So-Wacky Life Choices, but I guess that didn’t fit on the cover); and Devil in the White City, which should have been two separate books because neither story line EVER came together.

Ever. And I kept waiting for them to. Argghhhh!

But let’s not focus on the bad/frustrating. Here’s my top three recommendations for the month, if you happen to be looking for something fabulous to read…

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

This is a wonderfully readable, almost impossible to put down story that blends family rivalry, Caribbean myth, and modern fairy tale in a tasty package.

Fat Charlie is an everyday man, someone you might barely notice. When his father dies, he heads to the funeral where he learns he has a brother. Charlie wants to meet this brother (named Spider)…and that’s where the trouble begins.

Spider, who is part god, ends up taking over Charlie’s life. Not as in he controls Charlie (although that happens too), but in that Spider literally “becomes” Charlie and ruins things with his boss, the police, his fiancee, and more.

I loved the weaving of the various storyline threads that, at first, seem to have nothing to do with one another. As they start to come together, it was hard not to marvel at Gaiman’s pitch perfect storytelling. The characters are a delight, especially the old busybody Caribbean ladies.

While this book has its moments of cheeky grins (especially the penguin candles as a substitute for black candles during a ritual), it’s not a laugh out loud novel. Also, it’s billed as American Gods #2, but I enjoyed it without having (yet) read American Gods.

If you can, get the audiobook. The narration really adds to the story!

 

Next by Michael Crichton


If this doesn’t leave you cringing at the ethics of genetic work, I don’t know what will.

This book jumps back and forth between various story lines, all centered on genetic experiments. You have Mr Burnett who has a natural ability to fight cancer, and a biotech company has gotten “ownership” of his (and his family’s) tissues. There’s the story of Gerard the parrot who has been given human genes and is whipsmart (and is a delightful story line that lightens the mood of the book). There’s a wild orangutan who’s also been given human genes and can speak. And then there’s Dave, a human-chimp hybrid trying to make his way in a human family. And then there’s a little biotech industrial espionage going on.

Honestly, while I give it five stars, I think at least one story line could have been cut (the orangutan story was pointless), and I’d have loved to see Crichton spend a tad more time on others. Still, the story, especially the one about the Burnetts, felt very real and very much like it could happen any day now.

As with Jurassic Park, this is Crichton warning us in a compelling and fascinating way about what could happen (and may already be happening) if we don’t get a handle on the ethics of genetics.

 

The Murder Rule by Dervla McTiernon

OMG! The twist in this book would put Chubby Checker to shame. And yes, I realize about 90% of people won’t get that reference, but THE TWIST!

The story centers on Hannah who weasels her way onto a legal defense team to free a convicted murderer. Mixed in with this story are pieces of her mother’s (Laura’s) diary from when Laura was young, and we learn how Laura is connected with the case and why she wants her daughter to get on and work with the team, nom mater what it takes.

While this book isn’t perfect (there are some inane bits of DULL prose that could have been edited out), it is a riveting story that had me grabbing the headphones (audiobook, you see) every chance I got. Hannah is not a likable character. She’s underhanded, manipulative, and downright mean, but rather than taking away from how compelling this story is, it only draws you in more.

And then you learn she’s not the worst of the bunch and that ramps up the interest levels.

Overall, a good, quick read if you like legal-based mysteries.

 

~~ If none of those float your bookish boat… ~~

…perhaps you’re looking for something else…something mysterious, something intriguing, something mythological?

Then consider browsing these indie book bundles.

The first two collections below each feature a nice choice of intrigue, adventure, and good ol’ whodunnit suspense, while the third one is full of those pesky gods and goddesses of mythology who just love having stories written about them.

The books featured in the bundles above are all by indie authors like myself. It’s a huge support even if you do nothing more than pop in and browse around to see what we’re up to. Thanks : )

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Your Turn…

Have you read any of these books? Have a favorite non-fiction book that you couldn’t put down? Any books you read in June that want to recommend (or warn me away from)? 

Go ahead and leave a comment to share your bookish thoughts!

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