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The Books I’ve Read This Year – June 2015

The Books I’ve Read This Year – June 2015

I averaged a book a week during June, which wasn’t too bad considering I went on vacation for a week and didn’t read at all while I was gone. I decided to revisit some old favorites and relied heavily on Amazon recommendations.

The Color of Secrets – Lindsay Ashford

The Color of Secrets - Lindsay Ashford

I am pretty sure this was an Amazon Prime download before I decided to sign up for Unlimited again. I am trying to diversify and not read so many WWII stories, but this one sounded a little different. Eva is a London housewife and young mother whose husband is missing and presumed dead. She falls madly in love with an African American serviceman stationed near her home, and she ends up having his child. The story follows the aftermath of her passion over the decades following the war.

I generally enjoyed this book, but I felt like Eva’s character could have been further developed as the novel went on. At a certain point, Eva drops out of the story, and we get very little insight into her thoughts and feelings. I don’t want to give away too much of the story by adding more, but I think this would be an easy beach read.

The Rocks – Peter Nichols

The Rocks - Peter Nichols

I decided to read The Rocks precisely because some of the reviewers on Amazon were so adamant on how they didn’t like the overall structure of the book. The story, which is set in Mallorca, begins at the end in the 1990s, and each chapter goes farther back in time until we learn the initial catalyst for all of the subsequent events. I both loved and hated this book. I stayed up all night because I really wanted to know what happened to cause the two primary characters to seemingly hate each with such passion. On the other hand, I would get really disappointed at the end of each chapter because I knew that I was never going to learn more about what happened next, only what happened before. It was kind of maddening.

Defending Jacob – William Landay

Defending Jacob - William Landay

Another one of my Amazon recommendations. I would categorize this novel as suspense. It’s told from the first person point-of-view of a middle-aged assistant District Attorney Andy whose son is accused of murdering one of his classmates. Although suspense and mysteries aren’t my usual genre, I quickly became immersed in the story. The first person viewpoint was limiting in that the reader isn’t aware of Jacob’s (the son) or Laurie’s (the wife and mother) thoughts or feelings – only how Andy perceives them. The reader is left to decide whose version of Jacob is most accurate – his father’s, his mother’s or neither. The book plays on themes that are relevant in our daily lives – like the sensationalism of the media and its effect on the justice system, bullying, and the internet.

Smartcuts – Shane Snow

Smartcuts - Shane Snow

I loved this book. Shane Snow uses date and anecdotes to break down how individuals and companies that emerge as top players from seemingly nowhere achieve what looks like overnight success. As a non-fiction book, it read more like a series of short stories and left me with quite a bit to think about. The book wraps up with a summary of the nine smarcuts overachievers use to break away from the pack.

The Bastard – John Jakes

I first read the Kent Family Chronicles by John Jakes the summer after 8th grade. Our library had a book sale, and I think I was able to purchase all eight books for under $5.00. I spent all summer curled up in a chair on our front porch reading each installment in succession. That was 22 years ago now, so when I saw that all of the books were on Kindle Unlimited and that I could use Whisper-Sync to listen to them in the car, I decided to re-read them all.

These books are entertaining and move pretty quickly. I like how the characters interact with notable historical characters and how Jakes weaves the story in and out of well-known events. The first book in the series begins prior to the Revolutionary War and ends just as the war is getting underway. I find some of the dialogue a little forced, and some aspects of the story drag on a little longer than I would like. For long books, they are a pretty quick read. The narrator of the audio version does a good job and is able to manage all of the character voices.

Total new books read so far in 2015: 25

In July, I plan to continue with the Kent Family Chronicles, broken up by my first JoJo Moyes novel, and dive into at least one new non-fiction book.

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