A Few Book Reviews

I have been really busy lately, focused on My Sweet Babboo’s recovery while doing the last publicity chores for the quilt show this past week. I also organized our longarm booth and hurriedly finished off the quilts and cards I wanted to sell, so I’ve had precious little time to read. This week has been pretty busy too, so I thought I’d go ahead and share the books I’ve finished over the past month. Links to Amazon are provided if you’d like to read the synopses.

The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins – Magical realism genre novel where the books tell the librarian who needs to read them. The first one is a grumpy old book that insists the librarian, Sarah, read it. When a new woman moves to town and takes a job as the town clerk, Sarah realizes Grace is the answer to a prayer for someone to save the town from its financial woes. Grace, however, isn’t interested. Enchanting as it sounds, and a nice escape read.

The Bright Season by Melanie Lageschulte – Once more, a cozy visit to Prosper where Melanie is dealing with a brutal summer heat wave and the surprise found in the old farmhouse when the walls are torn up to replace old wiring. A near disaster has her making more hard choices, and coming to grips with the realities of farm living. Easy reading and just as charming as the previous five books.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – A depressed woman who drinks too much believes she has information about a missing woman whom she sees on her daily train ride to and from work. However, she has a history on that street, and she is an unreliable witness. Entanglements between her, the missing woman and her ex-husband’s wife get more complex as the novel goes on. There are surprises in the plot, and the three person viewpoint along with changing timelines keep the reader interested. The novel has similarities to Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn that I have reviewed before. I enjoyed this one too.

The Power of Scenery: Frederick Law Olmsted and the Origin of National Parks by Dennis Drabelle – Disappointing and boring. It was billed as a history of FLOs involvement, but fully half the book wasn’t about him at all, but other people involved in the creation of national parks. Overly detailed in some areas (like a guy who got separated from his exploring group and spent a winter alone) yet woefully inadequate in others (like the mess made of Niagra Falls and its clean up), it misses the mark on many levels. I was very interested in his part in the creation of Pisgah Forest and the work at the Biltmore estate, but this was only given two pages near the end of the book. The writing is a dry recitation of facts, boring and a chore to slog through. There must be better written histories of both the naturalist and our national treasures. Don’t waste your time with this one.

I started Kate Morton’s Clockmaker’s Daughter, and am enjoying it immensely. I’ll have a review of it on next month’s book post. Next week, after the holiday weekend, I’ll get to laying out some plans for the next few weeks with some reader participation projects. I’ve been thinking about doing one more year of Safelight Project spa bags, but I haven’t had a moment to plan this yet. Maybe we can get to it in June, what do you think?

What have you been reading lately?

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16 thoughts on “A Few Book Reviews

  1. pmteska

    I have read The Clockmaker’s Daughter, and a couple other Kate Morton books, her style is pretty neat. You should enjoy it.

  2. Jean

    Just finished Angels of the Pacific. It’s about nurses in the Second World War who were captured and held prisoner for two years. Based on true stories.

  3. Rheanna

    I will have to look for a copy of the Clockmaker’s Daughter. I also thought Girl on the Train and The Woman in the Window had similar themes and enjoyed both books.
    This month I have read Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese, Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee, The Way We Weren’t by Phoebe Fox and A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham. I loved Cutting for Stone and would highly recommend it. The Way We Weren’t is a great beach read. Flicker in the dark bugged me as I figured out the killer in the first 1/3 of the book and spent the rest of the book being annoyed at the main character who was jumping to ridiculous conclusions.

  4. Several started….What are the Odds? from Crack addict to CEO by Mike Lindell,,…You”ve come along way baby is an understatement for this patriot… 3:15 The Genesis of all Prophecy by Rabbi Eric E. Walker..very interesting .and The Second Coming of Saturn by Derek P. Gilbert. both of these are from Defender Publishing. Some people are blessed to “dig deeper”.

  5. Always good to see your recommendations, Carole! I enjoyed both The Girl on the Train and The Clockmaker’s Daughter. Lots of twists in the first, and, of course, I always enjoy historical fiction. I recently finished The Indigo Girl, about Eliza Lucas Pinckney, who developed indigo to become an important crop in S. Carolina in the 1700s. Now reading The Lincoln Highway and enjoying that one, too. Our son lives in Nebraska and Highway 30 goes right through there – we’ve traveled on it many times. Hope your DH is doing well these days!

  6. Patty Brenner

    I’ve made no time for reading lately. I’ve been spending most of my after-work hours outside working on my place. I’m putting in a new garden area. I’m on 7.5 acres in central Texas, but need fenced areas for any gardening, or it will be a deer smorgasbord 🙂 I used corral panels to fence off an area just behind my small yard around my house, but need to add cattle panels so the dogs can’t duck under to get out, and to keep armadillos from coming in. I love ‘my’ armadillos, but when they get into the yard, the dogs kill them 😦 I read The Girl on the Train a while back and enjoyed it; it definitely had some twists and turns in it. I saw the movie after reading the book and enjoyed it as well. The Clockmaker’s Daughter sounds very interesting, I want to look for a copy of that one.

  7. Helene m Cline

    Hi Carole, I have been waiting to hear if you would be doing the Safelight Project this year. After moving 1200 miles from NY to TX,and, setting up my sewing room I was anxious to sew. The first thing I thought of was Safelight. So I busided myself with bags, sunglass cases and tissue holders. It really helped me get some of my sewing mojo back. and I love making them for your project. When you are ready for all us sewers to barrage you let us know.
    Meanwhile, best wishes for a speedy recovery for your sweet husband

  8. Reading…. hmmmm
    I am not much into fiction but historical fiction i like very much.
    I cannot remember the last book I read… but then I am on drugs (just gabapentin, I do not like or take opioids at all) right now hahahah
    I just had robotic hysterectomy. Piece of cake but I am suffering from the CO2 gas irritation on my diaphragm and phrenic nerve. I have never had surgery before
    So, I thought I read a book recently, but cannot recall it. 😛

  9. Joan Sheppard

    I don’t even remember the names of the books, I go in pick up 4 books, try to read them and find myself reading the same page several times to figure out who’s who. Looking forward to picking up The Book Charmer, the library put it on hold for me. Thanks, I always find such good choices from your lists.

  10. Julie C

    I really enjoyed The Girl on the Train. One of our campus Barnes & Noble stores is closing. Students will order text books & class materials online from a new vendor who’ll ship right to the dorm. The Institute had a huge art department & it was the best place to get quality art supplies. They slashed prices 75%! Hard to believe they couldn’t box up the hardcover novels and drive them a few miles to another retail location. That said, I got quite a deal on the latest Elizabeth George Inspector Linley novel.

  11. Always enjoy your book recommendations. I have some Safelight items made and will send them when you are ready. Hoping the hubby is recovering and life is getting back to normal.

  12. jseccurrtwcnyrrcom


    Wishing your loved one a speedy recovery and wishing you sustained energy given all you are doing.

    I vote yes for Safelight whenever you feel the time is right.

    I’ve been going through many books lately. I am giving an A+ to The Third Mrs. Galway by Dierdre Sinnott and have declared it my favorite book of 2022. The book is historical fiction and I just could not tear myself away from this story.

    Enjoyed your reviews and will put the Book Charmer on my reading list.

    Thank you for your insights Carole!

    Jo Anne S.

  13. Cathie J

    I loved the Book Charmer, but didn’t like The Girl on the Train at all. I have to look into reading The Brigh Season. I am currently thoroughly enjoying The Alice Network by Kate Quinn. I recently “read” The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. I ended up skimming the last third of it as I wanted to know the ending, but I just wasn’t enjoying reading the book. I liked The Clockmaker’s Daughter immensely.

  14. I don’t know how you’ve had time to read so many books with everything else on your plate. Pity about the Olmstead book. I liked Girl on the Train, too. Thanks for the reviews on the others as well, which look interesting. I just finished a Donna Leon and Tina Brown’s “The Palace Papers.” Now I’m into a novel called “The Offing.” I should have the reviews early June!

  15. Marion

    Hi Carole;
    I am currently reading “kilmeny Of The Orchard” L.M Montgomery, Just finished “Gooseberry Bay Series Book 5 “Charmed Summer” by Kathi Daley and The Tales Of Ivy Hill Series by Julie Klassen. The fourth book is A Christmas one which I will read later in the season.
    Happy Week-End

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