June Book Reviews

Rainy days, and a lack of inspiration in the quilting area has left me reading more this past month.  I’ve devoured several good books and thought you’d like to talk about reading today.  Don’t miss my giveaway note later in the post!  Here’s what I have finished within the past few weeks.  Click on the book title for Amazon links for the synopsis.   Thank you for using my affiliate links when you can.

Final Resort by Ian St James – Interesting and well paced novel of greed, ego and international finance. The protagonist makes a bad decision to borrow from a shady character, and the consequences could be dire. As the novel progresses, the entanglements get more complex and the race to get the loan paid makes this novel impossible to put down. I enjoyed it, a nice change of pace.

June Books at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Night of Rain and Stars by Maeve BinchyNicely written, character driven novel of four people from four different countries all running away from something in their own lives. Taking a trip, they all end up on a Greek island, where events cause them to re-examine their reasons for making the choices they have in their own lives. The book has a definite moral, that life is short and family is important. With the usual Binchy happy ending, it is a nice read for this time considering current events.

A Week in Winter by Maeve BinchyBeautifully written character study novel of a woman opening a remote hotel in an antique home on the Irish coast. Lovely stories of individual people coming to stay during the first week of opening comprise the second half of the book. This had such potential to be a whole series, and it is so sad that it was the author’s last book before she passed away. Very enjoyable book.

June Books at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

These next two books are cozy mysteries, the last two in the Southern Sewing Circle series by Elizabeth Lynn Casey.  Both are standard cozy fare and a bit formulaic murder mysteries, simply written and easy reads.  For those who haven’t heard that term before, a cozy mystery is one where the murder takes place ‘off stage’, there is no violence or gore, no foul language or explicit sexual encounters.  They are easy reads that often are easy to figure out, but occasionally have a twist at the end. These didn’t have as much sewing and quilting as previous ones.  These are fine books when you don’t want to think too hard.  I don’t review cozies on Goodreads anymore as they are all about the same.

June Books at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Lastly this month, a really extraordinary book, part non-fiction memoir and part cookbook is The Cook and the Gardener by Amanda Hesser.  Ms. Hesser spends a year working as a cook for an author, her family and guests in a 17th century French chateau with a walled garden.  Meeting the crusty  gardener Monsieur Milbert, she spends a year going from being a nuisance to him, to his student, and eventually forming a fragile friendship around vegetables and fruit.  It is divided into chapters, one for each month of the year, and each chapter has recipes to use what is fresh at that time.

June Books at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Throughout the book are lovely illustrations by Kate Gridley, not only of Monsieur Milbert, but also the vegetables from his garden.  I’ve had this book out for months, drawing inspiration for my own cooking from the seasonal recipes.  The essays on her life and the garden in each chapter are well written and engaging.  I really enjoyed reading her story, and will be trying a number of the recipes.

June Books at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

This past January, I reviewed Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen, and I found when looking at my bookshelf for the next thing to read that I have two copies.  So, leave a comment on this post with what you are reading and I’ll send one lucky reader my extra copy.  It is a sweet confection of a story, easy reading and simple in plot. There is the fun magical aspect that defines Allen’s writing style, not overwhelming but just enough. Who wouldn’t want to have wallpaper that changed with your mood? The story has a simple message, to accept differences and learn to appreciate others for who they are. Emily knows who her mother was, but finds a different message when she comes to live with her grandfather. When eventually she finds out that her image of her mother was right all along, it is up to the others in town to accept a truth they don’t want to know.

June Books at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Did you notice my little hobnail footed vase full of hydrangeas?  It is a dark purple glass with a clear glass frog that fits the top.  Made by Viking in the 1950s and 1960s, it is from their line called Yesteryear.  It reminds me of my grandmother, as it was in her home for many years before it came to me.

June Books at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

What are you reading now?

Update – Congratulations to Georgia Kirby and Sam VanSant who both won copies of the giveaway book from Sunday’s post, Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen.

Impression Obsession has fabulous stamps for cardmaking and scrapbooking.  Sale until 6/23!!  25% off with promo code FLASH

56 thoughts on “June Book Reviews

  1. Hi Carole, I’ve just started the cozy mystery series Miss Fortune. I finished Louisiana Longshot last week and started Lethal Bayou Beauty this week. I’m intrigued by your review of Final Resort so I’m going to add that to my list. Not much sewing going on here either, although I did make my dog a soft cone so she would stop licking a bump on her back paw…my 3rd try worked!

    1. Debbie Myers

      Aren’t these a hoot? I find myself laughing out loud! I’m reading Bullets and Beads, book 17 in the series. Try her Mudbug series too.

  2. Linda B

    Hi Carole…I am mostly listening to audiobooks, and still working my way through the Ameilia Peabody Series and the Maisie Dobbs Series. An occasional Jayne Ann Krentz thrown in when another comes out. So glad there are audiobooks! I also follow a number of podcasts and youtube videos.

  3. I just read “As Bright as Heaven” by Susan Meissner. The setting is Philadelphia during the 1918 flu pandemic. I have not read much in recent years but looked back and realized I have read 20 books since the “lockdown”. I mostly listen to audio books while quilting.

    1. Georgia Kirby

      Hi, Carole, I have recently finished reading a series of mysteries by Louise Penny. The main character is Armand Gamache, an inspector with the Canadian Surete, who has a unique view of life in general. I hope she will be writing many more! I just started The Paris Orphan byNatasha Lester. Begins in WW II in Europe and then skips to 2004. So far it is quite interesting.

  4. Since your last book review reminded me that I had liked the books by David Baldacci, I read his Amos Decker series and liked them all. I love to find an author that I like and read several of his/her books to get in to the rhythm of their writing. I really like the China Bayles series of books by Susan Wittig Albert, about a lawyer-turned-herb shop-owner who solves mysteries with her intuitive friend, Ruby. Have learned some about Texas, herbs, and various other topics from reading them. I started reading Where the Crawdads Sing this week. I’m so excited that our town’s library will release the Town Read at the end of the month! Last year we read Lilac Girls, and the library sponsored all kinds of events in the fall to support and inform about the topics in the book.

  5. patsystitch@gvtc.com

    I am reading. The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan. The untold story of those who survived the great America dust bowl
    I always end up buying one or two of the books you review. Thank you.

  6. Chris Leick

    Your book reviews were enticing. The Cook and the Gardner is going on my To Read list with Goodreads. I just finished the audio The Dutch House written by Ann Patchett and I am ready to read Five Quarters of the Orange written by Joanne Harris.

  7. Oh goodness, wallpaper that changed with my mood – haha! That could be interesting. Currently I’m reading four books; I switch between them while I’m trying to decide if I really like them or not. Two involve cooking/food, one a history of thread, and one about two women who decide to go stay at a castle for a month. So far, they are okay, but it’s early in the reads, so we’ll see.

  8. Debbie Myers

    As I said, I’m reading Bullets and Beads by Jana DeLeon, set in Louisville. This is book 17, I think, in the series. They make me laugh out loud, which is so welcome during these anxious times.

  9. Deb S

    Thanks for giving me new books for my reading list – cozy mysteries are nice when you don’t want anything too taxing to read! Just finished The Dutch House, which I loved. Looking for another e-book to download from local library and have a lot on hold. Hoping with the libraries opening up around here those holds will soon be available.

  10. Laurie Reissler

    Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchey is on my phone right now. The way she weaves a story about diverse people that come together to care for a baby and ultimately, each other, is enjoyable and uplifting. I enjoy reading her books. Your recommendations are enticing and will be added to my TBR list.

  11. I am an “audio book” fan, listening while I sew. I love Clive Cussler (RIP) books and am half way through The Titanic Secret. I love seeing what others are reading and will remember to come back and look at the comments again when I am in need of another author to pursue. Since the lockdown I have enjoyed books by Stuart Woods, David Baldacci, Janet Evanovich, Elizabeth Peters (thank you for the introduction), Debbie MacComber, Charles Todd, Mary Kay Andrews, Susan Elia Macneal, and others to numerous to mention. I’ve given up on reviewing on goodreads. I love historical fiction,mysteries, and the occasional love story thrown in for fun.

  12. Interesting titles as always, Carole. Maybe I’ll find some of them when I do my next search. My current book is Mistress of the Ritz, about the hotel’s manager and his wife during World War 2. The author is writing from several view points, so you have to pay attention to the chapter titles. It’s been a pretty good read so far.

  13. Julie

    I do enjoy a cozy mystery. At the last meeting of my local quilt guild before the shutdown everyone shared their favorite authors/titles of books featuring quilts & the list was added to the minutes. If was nice to find new authors to explore. The last book I read was an autobiography, Testimony by Robbie Robertson. An interesting personal view of The Band. Now I need to read This Wheel’s on Fire for a counterpoint by Levon Helm.

  14. Debbie Miller Meyer

    Thank you, Carole, for all the reading suggestions. Most of them sound as if I’d enjoy them immensely. I especially like to read in the summer while lying in the hammock. Which reminds me, I need to erect it in the back deck this week. Hope I win your book, it would be my first read of the season out on the deck! Thanks again for all your inspiration !

    1. Judith Nielsen

      HI Carole,

      Greetings from Copenhagen, Denmark. Thank you for your book reviews. It guides me which books to invest my time in. I am reading Lisa Wingate’s “The Book of Lost Friends.Hope I win your book.

      Do take care. Be well and stay safe.

  15. Susan

    I just finished the Grace Kelly Dress. It was a but hard to follow as it went back and forth in time. One of my recent favorite reads was The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier. It was about a young woman who followed her heart in a time when women were basically property. Thanks for the recommendations.

    1. Gwen

      Thanks for the book recommendations. I’m currently reading “Range: why generalists triumph in a specialized world “ by Epstein. Next on my list is “The Girl With Seven Names” by Lee.

  16. Nikki Moshier

    I had The Dutch House and Pale RIder, the 1918 flu book to read and then the library closed. Since pandemic, I have figured out how to read e books from Southern VA Libraries. I have read Jet Setters and How to be Lost by Amanda Eyre Ward and Less by Andrew Sean Geer. I am trying to read the Life Changing Magic of Tidying up by M. Kondo and GIrl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis (being careful about her advice as her marriage just blew up) and listening to The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. I don’t seem to be able to listen to audio books and sew but I am caring for my 90 yo mom following her partial hip replacement so I can sit and listen while she does her word searches. She doesn’t like to be left alone. I have just checked your Maeve B. recommendation and will enjoy reading everyone’s comments. I love new author recommendations.

  17. Sherrill

    Currently reading Masked Prey by John Sandford, just finished This is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf (think I currently have over 300 titles in my ‘books to read’ list with my local library). HA

  18. Been so busy lately cleaning and down sizing that books have taken aback seat. We came across a book about an artist,Balzac by Stefan Zweig, that I have started. Not sure just yet. Sometime artist live a life I just don’t connect with .
    A Week in Winter and The Cook and the Gardener both sounds interesting.. Maybe this fall.

  19. Timmye Ross

    I have been very grateful for the e-library and internet archives during this time. I plan to look up the Cook and the Gardener it sounds fascinating!

  20. Susan T

    I’m working my way thru Sue Grafton’s murder mysteries. I’m on W. Imagine my disappointment when I just recently found out Sue died before writing Z is for… I will miss her characters when finished and really would have had liked a true closure on their lives. However, her last wish has been kept and no writer was hired to finish the series.

  21. Hi Carole, your books sound very interesting. I have recently read a series of books by J. F. Rirodan, the North of the Tension Line series. These books are set in Door County, Wisconsin, specifically Washington Island (at the tip of Door). The main character, Fiona, buys a house and moves there for the winter on a dare from friends, only to find that she loves it, stays after a cold and lonely winter and begins to acclimate to island life. She makes friends with the locals (save one), a talking goat named Robert and a pet weasel. These are great reads and the 4th installment in this series is due to be released on August 1st. I already have my copy on pre-order at Amazon!

  22. Brenda Furlong

    I have been discombobulated this whole time of the Corona virus pandemic. I haven’t been able to concentrate on much of anything. I made a few masks and then totally lost my sewing joy. I have tried to read some things but can’t focus. I can’t go to the library, something I really looked forward to. Than I got very sick with fever and body aches. Everyone thought I would have the virus, even though I had strictly kept to myself. After days of suffering and two trips to the ER and finally hospital, it turns out I had bacterial pneumonia and am recovering. I love Sarah Addison Allen books. The little touches of magic in her gardens, etc. really make her books for me. I have not read this one and would love to have it. Thanks for all you do. I so look forward to reading your blog!

  23. I always enjoy your book posts, and always find a book to put on my list, too! I love Maeve Binchy, but I’m not sure I ever read Night of Rain and Stars, so that one will go on it. The Cook and the Gardener sounds enjoyable, too! I love Sarah Addison Allen – thanks for the giveaway! I’m reading The President is Missing by James Patterson and Bill Clinton – lots of action!

  24. June Neigum

    Just just finished Networks by Katie Cross a great fantasy and then got hooked on listening to Ricky Tims read the beginning of Lizzy Albright and the Attic window. I got hooked and just ordered the book and checking out the patten for the quilt in the book. I really enjoy fantasy books. It takes us away from the world of today for awhile.

  25. Sam V

    Thanks for the book reviews! There is something there for every mood….and I think a lot of people are needing suggestions these days.

  26. Helen Glover

    i have been reading my bible more than ever and actually studying it more. Love doing that. I am also reading Agents of Babylon by David Jeremiah. It is based on Daniel and is really interesting and informative. My daughter sent me a spy book based on real happenings called A Woman of No Importance. I am really excited to start it soon. Thanks always for your recommendations. I do write the on my list and am sure I’ve read a few of them. I an anxious for our library to open again. Have really missed it! Thanks, Carole, and have a blessed day!

  27. Catherine

    I like many of the books others have mentioned. The Miss Fortune series and Mudbug series by Jana Deleon. For those who like the Miss Fortune series I recommend “Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman” by JB Lynn. Read these in order, it’s a cozy mystery despite the series name. I also like Gemma Halliday’s series “High Heeled Mysteries”. Also the Lexi Graves mystery series by Camilla Chafer. Not so cozy, but really good is the Tracy Crosswhite series by Robert Dugoni. I highly recommend The Outlander series by Diana Gabladon. They are loooong books, and thoroughly researched to depict areas and events accurately. There is a bit of fantasy since the main character time travels, but other than that, it’s a good historical fiction series. I’ve read them all, most of them two times, and the books are far better than the show. Right now I am reading the newest High Heeled Mystery book. Mostly reading fluff. Sewing charity quilts. Gardening.

  28. Jennifer Rauch

    Just finishing The Lost Letter, by Jillian Cantor. A little antique-ing, genealogy, mystery, sweet romance & a very satisfying ending! Your The Girl Who Chased the Moon sounds delightful! Before Lost Letter, I’d read a few stinkers, wondered if I’d lost my touch – then I was redeemed. Maybe you’d like Lost too. . .

    1. Dianne L Rein

      Hello Carole, I’d like to mention two books I’ve read recently. I was cleaning out books from a shelf in an effort to downsize and donate.
      Found, ” A Painted House” by John Grisham. I really liked this book, surprising suspense from the voice of the main character, a 7 year old boy.
      The other book was the first time I’ve read author Kristen Hannah. I almost put The Nightengale aside not wanting to read yet another World War II story. Decided to give it one more chapter and it caught me.
      Once I’ve decided to read a book, I stick with it and read for hours.
      When I first retired, my son would stop by to visit, see me sitting at the kitchen table reading day after day. He asked me if I was depressed. Absolutely not I said, I’m reading!!!

  29. My latest favourite author is Charles Martin … Just finished reading “chasing fireflies.”

    I’ve already read the Girl Who Chased the Moon … so don’t put me down to win it! Thanks!

  30. Joan Sheppard

    Love all the above recommendations, I’m reading “I Stand Corrected” and a collection of articles Grogan wrote for the Phillie Newspaper. Has no one picked up the challenge of Maeve Binchy? Loved all her books, wish I had time to re-read some but there are so many new ones to read. Thanks for all the great suggestions. Our library reopened after a fashion, you order, they bring the book out to you. But it takes about a week and I like to peruse the book before taking it – unless it’s a quilt book or a rec from you. Thanks, ordering these right now.

  31. Melanie

    I have grown tired of cozy mysteries, but still love mysteries, psychological thrillers, etc. My current book is The Midnight Wife. It’s a real page turner. Yikes! LOL

  32. Nancy Bailey

    I recently discovered NC author Diane Chamberlain. The most recent in my reading is “The Stolen Marriage” set in Hickory, NC. As a newcomer to NC, the history of the area that Ms. Chamberlain weaves throughout was fascinating and informative plus the story-line is riveting. Thank you for your suggestions!

  33. Riva Snell

    I have been on a roll with “The Dutch House”, “This Tender Land” then “Where the Crawdads Sing” and it doesn’t seem to end because I am reading “American Dirt”!

  34. Thank you for all of those book reviews. I have put several of them on my “want to read” list. I am currently waiting for “The Lake House” by Kate Morton to become available for my Kindle. I had to waive my turn last week. I recently finished “Times Convert” by Deborah Harkness. Your giveaway book sounds like it has a similar witchy theme.

  35. Patricia Cline

    I always look forward to your book suggestions and reviews. And I’m enjoying your reader comments. I immediately downloaded A Week in Winter. Loving it. I’m a fan of anything written about the low country – favorite authors: Mary Alice Monroe and Dorthea Benton Frank (RIP). Thanks so much!

  36. I love to read friends book reviews Carole! Cozy mysteries are my current favorites, they take me away! I have been able to read a lot for free using the Kindle unlimited app {I’m doing a free trial this summer} Working Stiffs mystery series by Wendy Delaney, Sukey Reynolds mystery series by Betty Rowlands are free, and I’m also enjoying the Lighthouse Library series by Eva Gates, and Farm to Fork mysteries by Lynn Cahoon but these I have to buy. I will check out your recommendations, thank you!
    Jenna

  37. Melody A

    Love to read reviews from regular readers about books., so now I want to read some of the ones you enjoyed. take care, Be SAFE and Happy Sewing from Iowa

  38. Nancy Ratan

    I love your reviews as it gives me a lot of help in choosing my next read. I am currently reading Circling The Sun by Paula McLain who wrote The Paris Wife. This takes place in Kenya and make you feel like you are there.

  39. Eileen brockwell

    Hi Carole just finished The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht. Terrific book. Also am starting Delia Owen’s book Where the Crawdads Sing which has gotten great reviews!

  40. Betty Nelson

    Thank you so much for your ideas and comments. I have written them quickly down so that I can look for them when i can get to a store or the library. I was down to zero relaxing reading and my neighbour loaned me a book last week ~ her daughter apparently picked it up for her at the dollar store ~ it is pretty good “The High Tide Club” by Mary Kay Andrews. Looking forward to ro reading some of your suggestions.

    1. My current book is ” Braiding Sweet grass” about the ingenious culture of gratitude and gifting presented via simple lessons in Botany. It is a peaceful, informative kind of memoir that calms the turbulent waters of our time.
      It can be read all at one time ( not 1 sitting AS it’s 600+pages) or single chapters at a time when needed or reader is inspired.

  41. Susan Otis

    I am reading Sabrina and Corina, by Kali Fajardo-Anstine, and recently finished Save Me the Plums, by Ruth Reichl, and also Writers and Lovers, by Lily King. Thank you for your recommendations! Readers need never feel bored!

  42. Love your hobnail vase and the hydrangeas I’m an avid reader – usually have an audio & a hardback plus one on my Kindle going at the same time. I listen to audio books while I’m in my sewing room. I take a reading break each afternoon (HB), and I read on my Kindle before I fall asleep. Last year I read 125 books – of various genres, though historical fiction is my favorite. My current HB is “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr. My current audio is “The Worst Season” by Louise Penny. I enjoy cozy mysteries for my audio choices. Thanks for an opportunity to win a book which happens to be on my “to read” this year.

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