Thursday, March 28, 2013

What I've been reading: March 2013

I know we haven't quite reached the month's end, but I think this is the bulk of what will be finished by the time April 1 rolls around.  It was a fairly productive month, reading-wise, but let's see how this challenge is coming along, shall we?

The House Girl, by Tara Conklin.  I cannot tell a lie--this novel was a bit of a fight for me to get into.  The narrative alternates between present day with Lina Sparrow, young NYC attorney, and that of house slave Josephine Bell in the pre-Civil War South.  I found the narrative switches to be jarring and uneven--I wished that the segments had been longer with fewer switches, as I felt like the stories were somewhat disjointed.  I stuck with it, and it smoothed out (or I adjusted, maybe some of both) about halfway through.  The link between the two stories?  Lina is working to find an appropriate plaintiff in a lawsuit seeking compensation for families of slaves.  Josephine's owner, it turns out, took credit for artwork done by Josephine before her escape.  Not my favorite, but not bad.  370 pages

Burnt Mountain, by Anne Rivers Siddons.  I talked about Burnt Mountain a bit last month in this post.  All families have their secrets, but in the case of Thayer Wentworth, the secrets her family keeps from her change the course of her life, and not for the better.  When she finally begins to unravel what's been kept under wraps for so many years, the life she has so carefully constructed for herself in the wake of teenage heartbreak begins to fall apart.  Deeply moving and absolutely riveting. 325 pages.

Calculated in Death, by J.D. Robb.  As always, a little fluffy reading can't hurt.  I will say that maybe it was just me, but I missed a major plot point--that's what I get for reading in the doctor's office with lots of distractions.  I wound up having to go back and re-read a bit to pick up what I'd missed.  This series never fails to be fun and funny, though (odd to say for a futuristic suspense novel?), as with this installment--Lieutenant Eve Dallas of the NYPSD catches the case of an accountant who, it appears, was the victim of a mugging gone wrong.  All is not as it appears, however, and Dallas (along with trusty sidekick Detective Peabody) digs deeper into the world of high finance.  When in doubt, follow the money, which in this case leads to a trio of killers.  A must if you're in the market for something a little lighter.  386 pages

New Rules of Lifting for Women, by Lou Schuler, Cassandra Forsythe & Alwyn Cosgrove.  I borrowed this through Interlibrary Loan, and found it to be extremely enlightening.  Weights do NOT make women bulky, and are beneficial for all sorts of reasons, especially for women.  Great reading for those who are sick of the treadmill and looking to switch up their workouts.  272 pages

Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes.  You can read my review here.  369 pages

Six Years, by Harlan Coben.  My review is here.  351 pages

The Bedlam Detective, by Stephen Gallagher.  Sebastian Becker, former policeman and  Pinkerton agent turned investigator for London's notorious Bethlehem Hospital (also known as Bedlam), has been sent to interview Sir Owain Lancaster at his country estate.  After a failed scientific expedition which resulted in the loss of his family and colleagues, Sir Owain claims that not only were large mysterious beasts responsible for these deaths, but that they have followed him home and are now responsible for the deaths of two local girls.  Yet some monsters simply hide in plain sight, as Becker soon discovers.  Absolutely brilliant, I can't wait for the next in the series.  306 pages

Remarkable Creatures, by Tracy Chevalier.  On the reading list for April's book club meeting, I decided to read it a little on the earlier side.  Mary Anning, poor and uneducated, lives near the English coast and is in possession of a rare gift--she can spot fossils that others cannot see.  When she discovers an unusual fossilized skeleton near her home, it throws her community into chaos even as it sets the scientific world alight.  As cruel as the elements and her neighbors can be, Mary finds hope and friendship with two very unlikely people.  I love a historical novel that also teaches me something new, and this one fit the bill.  Chevalier is really quite a remarkable creature, herself.  312 pages

March totals:
8 titles
2,691 pages

Year-to-date totals:
19/75 titles = 25%
6,896/35,000 pages = 20%

Not bad!  I'm right on target for my titles goal, and if I pick up a few more that are 400+ pages in the coming months, I should be able to meet my pages goal, too.  Here's to hoping, and of course, happy reading. 

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