Book Reviews: Reading Roundup, Quick Thoughts

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I’ve been on a reading binge lately! I’ve been reading and reading, and now I have many reviews to write! But, for the following four, I’ll chat about them all in one post. These were books read from my own shelves (#readfromyourowndmanshelves!) and for our in-person book club. Two are audio (The Woman on the Orient Express and The Red Car) and two books – one e-book and one hardcover from the library (The Sparrows of Edward Street and Sleeping Giants).


The Woman on the Orient Express: This was my Audible – well actually, a Kindle purchase. I saw the Kindle book advertised for only $2.99 and then you could buy the audiobook for $1.99…or something like that. I couldn’t resist that deal, that cover or this fictional story blended with factual about Agatha Christie! I waffled on the rating, after finishing – it was between 3.5 stars and 4 stars, but decided to round up to 4 stars. It is based on Agatha Christie’s life after all, all about the time when she did indeed board the Orient Express, travelling to Baghdad following the collapse of her first marriage to Archie Christie. The story is about 3 women meeting on the train, each running away from something, each holding their own secrets and sorrows, and over their journey become close friends. While travelling through Baghdad, Ur and Mesopotamia, a series of events happen bringing them even closer together. A lovely audiobook…Justine Eyre does not disappoint with her lovely British lilt. It was a wonderful story about female friendships and gathering the strength to move forward with your life following tragedy and betrayal.

The Sparrows of Edward Street: Oh my gosh, not since The Trouble with Goats and Sheep have I fell so madly in love with the clever, delightful and utterly charming writing as found in The Sparrows of Edward Street. The protagonist, Aria Sparrow, has incredible pluck. I had bookmarked so, so many sentences and paragraphs throughout, I would probably be transcribing the entire book here. (There is a section where Aria talks about boobs having ears that had me laughing out loud, shoulders shaking.) Her mother, Hanora and her younger sister, Rosy are forced to move into an Australian housing commission camp following very tough times. Throughout the year they lived in that tin shack, Aria works hard to brighten the mood, meet the people living there, bringing about a sense of community – anything to brighten their time living in such a miserable place. An absolute pleasure to have spent time reading this book. I had it on my Kobo e-reader for years! It was something I picked out of the blue to read – desperate for something to lighten this heavy mood that has gripped me tight. It most certainly did not disappoint in lifting my mood – if you can get your hands on a copy, I highly, highly recommend. (4 Stars)

Sleeping Giants: So this was okay. This is a “science fiction” read, and you may know of my general dislike for this genre. It usually doesn’t work out for me at all. However, there has been so much love for it, so many suggesting to put aside your feelings about sci-fi to give it a try. It was also chosen to read by our in-person book club. Sort of something different to shake it up a bit, break out of our normal reading choices. The entire book is written in interview format with an unknown interviewer. Having it all written in this same style, with never any difference in its format, did not sustain my interest. It might have worked better for me if there were different elements introduced, and perhaps if they gave some small idea as to the identity of the interviewer, as shady as they wanted to keep it, but just give us something. It wasn’t super-duper sci-fi so I was pleased with that, but overall, it was a just okay for me. (3 stars)

The Red Car:  DNF This was painful. A shame, because the audiobook narrator was very good, had a very pleasant voice, so it’s a shame she had to narrate such drivel. I ended it when I heard her narrate this gem of a sentence, “Oh, I decided I really liked plants.” The main character was a complete flake, sex-crazed and shallow. You couldn’t scratch too hard beneath a very light surface layer, because there wasn’t much depth to the character or the story. This was the second pick for our in-person book club. Here’s to hoping our choices for next month are far superior to this one. After writing my brief thoughts on this, I wondered if I read the same book as everyone else? Because, so many rated this far higher than my rating (or lack thereof). Sorry, not sorry, but I found this to be a very shallow read.

There’s a quick look at the four books I’ve read recently. I have many more to write about too!

All.The.Books! Must read all the books!

Happy Reading!