September Books

I only have five books to share this month, as four are epic length. The great thing is most of them were very good with one being an outstanding highly recommended read. Links are provided if you’d like to read the story synopsis on Amazon.

The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain – I was originally drawn to the North Carolina setting, looking for local writers and found an extraordinary book with a storyline of mystery and secrets within a family. The story is so compelling, it pulls the reader along to where it becomes impossible to put down. I finished its 343 pages in just two days, foregoing all other distractions. The story begins with a woman cleaning out her father’s home after his death. His home isn’t hoarded, but close, with stacks of papers, collections, and other things to go through. A small box reveals the first bombshell, which I won’t spoil for you, and that leads to the truth that her sister didn’t really commit suicide. As Riley learns that all she has known has not been all the truth, her world is turned upside down. I had to keep reading to see how it was going to turn out. Riveting and engrossing, put this one on your must read list. Highly Recommend.

Turn A Blind Eye by Jeffrey Archer – This book was the third in a series, and unfortunately I hadn’t read the first two. I realized this about a quarter of the way in, when references were made to previous investigations. I just went with it anyway. The book reads much like his Clifton Chronicles series with the story continuing over many books. I picked up this mystery as it dealt with corruption, not murder. It is a decent book, but probably would have enjoyed it more had I read the first two.

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee – This was a difficult book to read, the story follows four generations of a Korean family living in Japan beginning in 1910, and going through the 1980s. The people are subject to hardship, poverty and prejudice, scratching a living as best they can, doing what is necessary to survive. Bullying, discrimination and intolerance from the Japanese people toward Koreans was constant through the years as they were forced to live in slums, were not hired for jobs, and stereotyped as criminals and filthy. The book was one of the top 10 fiction books of 2017 on the New York Times list and a finalist for the National Book Award. It was praised as an accurate historical account of the lives of a downtrodden people, forced from their homeland and exiled as Korea and Japan were torn apart by war. There is much heartbreak in the story, but also a determination to make it one more day, and then another day. There were some time jumps in the book, where years would go by between chapters, but this was made clear as the book progressed. It is very long, 485 pages, and at times felt too long. Overall a bit depressing as there was more misery than gaiety. But, it is historically accurate and a thoughtful read.

A Taste for Nightshade by Martine Bailey – The synopsis for this story bills itself as historical thriller, but my overriding impression was of gothic suspense / horror in the tradition of Alfred Hitchcock. The story begins slowly, and certain details that are glossed over in the beginning take a sinister turn later in the book. I was reminded of Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier as our heroine is married to a man she barely knows and is taken to live in a run down mansion on a crumbling estate. There are plots and schemes taking place, with revenge as a motivator, and a manipulative woman who maneuvers herself into the household. Although the story bogs down a bit about 2/3 of the way through, it picks up again with startling revelations that will leave the hairs on the back of your neck standing up. The book is long, 453 pages with an old timey recipe at the beginning of the chapters. Most are nice little receipts of how everyday cooking put meals on a table in the late 1700s, but some are far more sinister. The reader knows who is behind the deceptions, but even then things are not quite as they seem. Recommended for those who enjoy dark novels, with a few scenes of gore as is usual with horror, but mainly slow building suspense and a thrilling denouement. Perfect read for October.

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir – There aren’t enough superlatives to describe this imaginative and original story, five stars!! Set in space, with an unlikely hero, it begins with the protagonist awakening to a confusing situation and memory loss. As he pieces things together, one startling revelation at a time, the reader is taken through twists and turns, with the story becoming more compelling as it goes on. It is a long book, 476 pages, and I couldn’t put it down. There is a lot of science in the story. Even though physics and math are not my strong suits, the concepts are explained in such a way that it is interesting, and doesn’t bog down the flow. The science is essential to the story and the main character’s choices. It will grip your emotions as it goes, taking you on the journey with the hero, and his agonizing decision after a surprise revelation near the end. The writing is easy reading, and suitable for most audiences. The guys will love this one, would be a great gift for a reader husband, father, brother, son, or other guy in your life. I loved this one, and highly recommend to anyone looking for something different to read.

A friend has the Elin Hinderbrand book, Golden Girl, and she is going to loan to me when she finishes it. Several readers have recommended it, so I am looking forward to reading that one. What is on your reading list?

24 thoughts on “September Books

  1. Connie White

    The Golden Girl is a good read. I enjoyed it, however The Nightingale by Elin Hildebrand is superb. It is an older book but everyone I know agrees after reading both. You will enjoy but please read The Nightingale.

  2. Julie

    I confess, not planning a read – too many quilts to make! I recently finished Dissolution by CJ Sansom, a story set in Tudor England. I’d like to read more in the series- eventually. I should get audiobooks to hear the story while I sew, but it’s not the same as reading (& neither is Kindle or Nook).

  3. Connie

    I just finished Golden Girl and loved it. I borrowed it from our library and now am considering buying it . Yes, I loved it that much!
    A must read for sure.

  4. Rheanna

    I also enjoyed Project Hail Mary. Just the right amount of science to make it interesting and believable but not overwhelming. I also enjoyed his book The Martian, but I don’t recommend Artemis (story line wasn’t as good and felt like the main character swore way too much).
    I read Forest of Vainishing Stars this month and really recommend it. A woman who is raised in the woods helps Jewish families trying to escape the Nazis to survive. Through out the story she is learning her family history and trying to determine where she fits in. Very good message that the family we are born into does not define who we will become.

  5. I read The Silent Sister, and liked it very much! Will have to put the Andy Weir book on my list – I’ve never read anything by him. I love Elin Hilderbrand, though. I’m currently reading The 20th Victim, in the Women’s Murder Club series by James Patterson and Maxine Paettro. These are always entertaining, and good for when you don’t want to think too hard!

  6. I am currently reading “To Sleep in a Sea of Stars” by Christopher Paolini – a sci fi story, which is not my usual genre, and it is long – 865 pages! I’m not even half way through yet, but so far the story is holding my interest. I’ve been exploring some other genres than mysteries lately, but not had much success. I’m noting a few of these books, so thanks for sharing!

  7. Sue Hoover

    I might have already mentioned how much I enjoyed “If It Bleeds” by Stephen King. It’s 4 short stories and each was a good read. On my list is “Fallen” by Linda Castillo and I want to start the series of Harry Hole (character) in “The Bat” by Jo Nesbo. Another book on my list would be
    “The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle” by Stuart Turton. My daughter recommended it saying it was very Agatha Christie-like. Thanks for all the recommendations from you & other readers! I love this sharing!

  8. Dian

    Would anyone recommend project hail mary to a middle school girl who has interests in science and math? or for mature adult? any sex or foul language?

    1. Rheanna

      Actually, of all of Andy Weir’s books, this is probably the most appropriate. I don’t think there are any swear words (maybe 1?) and I don’t remember any mentions of sex. His other 2 books The Martian and Artemis were a bit off putting to me because of all the swearing so I was prepared for a swear wordapalooza with Hail Mary but was so happy not to see any.

  9. Patricia Evans

    I’m currently reading my favorite author, Louise Penny’s new book, The Madness of Crowds. Also listening to The Little Shop of Found Things by Paula Brackston which involves time travel back a few centuries.

  10. KJ

    I now have the Silent Sister on my Amazon wish list. Holding off starting any new reads until my stitching book club is ready for the Great Gatsby, which should be soon. I appreciate your recommendations as, on my own, I lean towards one genre – fantasy.

  11. Joan Sheppard

    Thought I’d start with this one – I’m twelfth in line for Project Hail Mary from the library! Also ordered the first of the Detective William Warwick Series – looks like a continuing saga. Cooler weather, better reading. Always appreciate your time and effort of “prereading” these for us. 🙂

  12. Susan

    These are the books I have been reading:

    First Nations Version: An Indigenous Translation of the New Testament, by Terry Wildman.

    The Very Good Gospel: How Everything Wrong Can Be Made Right, by Lisa Sharon Harper

    Sula, by Toni Morrison

    How to Fight Racism: Courageous Christianity and the Journey toward Racial Justice, by Jemar Tisby

  13. Sharon F

    I read Pachinko a couple of years ago and thought it was very good, a well written compelling story, but as you say not a light, pleasant subject. I’ve put The Silent Sister on my list; sounds like I’d like it. Thanks for the recommendation.

  14. I put The Silent Sister on my wish list.

    I just finished Resistance Women by Jennifer Chiaverini. It was a painful read as the book was based on a true story about women who tried to stop the nazis. It was depressing.

    Stay Sharp by Sanjay Gupta turned out to be an excellent book. The author uses anecdotes and a conversational tone to get across concepts that can help our brains stay sharp as we age.

    Thanks for the insightful reviews!

  15. Carol in Texas

    Carole, I always enjoy your book articles. I forward them to several friends who love to read as well. This is an interesting group you list today. I will put a couple on my ‘to read’ list.

  16. I liked Pachinko very much but you have to get into the rhythm of it. The Silent Sister sounds fascinating and so does the Archer. I just finished “Chocolat” (you may have seen the movie; the book is lovely) and more mysteries. I might be picking up one about restoring a Tuscan villa next.

  17. Marie Sharp

    If you want a humourous read, lots of chuckles… read “The Thursday Murder Club”, a debut, Author. Richard Osman. A group of four seniors in an exclusive retirement residence, play havoc and plenty of manipulation with local police in solving a murder in countryside, county of Kent, England.
    Am presently in hospital and it is playing havoc with my stitches!!! Chuckle after chuckle, can hardly wait for its followup……..

  18. Barb

    I recently found the author Anthony Horowitz. Ran back and forth to the library until I had read everything they had by him. Good mysteries. One or two actually made my say “WHAT???” at the last chapter….results so surprising ! I love that. (It helps if you don’t peek ahead!) currently reading “Apples Never Fall” by Liane Moriarty, another good author. Thanks for the good tips for next weeks library trip!

  19. Chris is reading Hail Mary right now. It’s not my genre but he’s loving it. I laughed when I saw Pachinko on the list. One of my friends ready it and didn’t love it either but it shows up regularly on my Audible list…..along with a bunch of other books that I’d likely not ever read.

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