May Books

It’s been a great month for books, some recently published and some older. I’ve been lucky with my choices, based on some recommendations, and one from NetGalley that I read pre-publication that just published. I’ve linked to the Amazon page for all so you can read more about them, or find an audio version. Thank you for using my links when you can.

The Echo of Old Books by Barbara Davis – Rare book dealer Ashlyn comes across a bound diary telling a story of love lost and regret. Days later, she finds a companion, bound the same way, with the other side of the story, also full of regret. So, we know from the start that the lovers story did not end well, but why? Who were the lovers, and are they still alive? As Ashlyn digs for answers, she is certain there is more to these stories as her special gift is reading emotions from books, left by their owners. The story is a refreshing change in the manner in which it is told, as the reader is shown the diaries, then the present day search. As Ashlyn finds answers, she also comes to grips with her own trauma. Ultimately, the book is about forgiveness, and how releasing anger and hurt benefits the person holding onto those emotions. Recommend. Available in Kindle, Audio, Hardbound and paperback.

No Two Persons by Erica Bauermeister – This novel once again showcases Bauermeister’s signature style of character studies told in short stories with a common thread. In this case, the people who read a particular novel, Theo, beginning with the author who writes it, to the agent that publicizes it, to the audio actor who records it, and then to various other people who read it. At each point in the lives of the people encountering the book, they take something different away from it. This is the essence of the title, that no two people will see the same story in the same way. The author has a gift for character development, fully fleshing out her characters in the space of a short story, yet the reader is drawn into their thoughts and feelings. As the book progresses, some of the characters cross paths, and Theo becomes a point of commonality. The plot of Theo is slowly revealed as different people identify with different aspects of that story. An interesting premise, and nicely written. Just published on May 2, available in hardbound, Kindle and Audio.

The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie by Rachel Linden – What if you could live just one day in an alternate version of your own life where you made a different choice? What might you learn from that life? This is the premise of this heartwarming story, in the magical realism genre. A woman who sacrificed her own life after the death of her mother to remain with her father and help raise her young sister gets the chance to see how her life would have turned out differently if she had followed a different path. A bit of an “It’s A Wonderful Life” kind of story, except that she cannot stay there, she only has one day, then it is back to reality. She learns that each choice made has consequences, both good and bad. There are some surprises in the book, and the outcome is not as predictable as you might think. Recommend.

I finished the next two installments in the Murderbot series. The story continues with Murderbot still trying to find out what happened when a number of humans were slain, and expose the evil corporation GreyCris part in murdering colonists in its quest for profit. There is a lot of fighting evil, with Murderbot’s sarcasm and sometimes hilarious observations.

How To Stop Time by Matt Haig – How would you spend your life if you only aged 1 year for every 15 that you live? This is the premise of this story about a man who lives through harrowing times. The narration is of his life in the present day, with chapters recalling earlier times in his life. He knows he cannot fall in love, but he does, and his daughter inherits his ‘condition’. When he must leave in order to protect those he loves, he then spends centuries trying to find his daughter again. The society formed to protect those with the same condition, providing new identities and support may not be working in his best interest. It is a wonderfully written story, easy reading, and although it starts a bit slow, it is hard to put down after about half of the book. This is a character study kind of fantasy novel, something different to read than your usual genre.

The Golden Spoon by Jessa Maxwell – Mystery and intrigue at a baking competition where the six contestants all have their own agendas. Add in a secret that proves a career based on lies, sabotage on the set, and a slimy co-host forced on the originator of the bake-off show and the stage is set for mayhem. The writing is easy reading, but the one thing I did not like was that there were too many narrators. Six points of view all in first person, and then a seventh in third person for the show host was a little difficult to follow. You really have to pay attention to the chapter titles to know who is speaking. But the premise was a fun read. This is a murder mystery of sorts, but the murder happens at the end of the book, and isn’t the main focus of the mystery. Overall an interesting read. Just published in March, available in hardback, Kindle and audio.

Just a reminder, Esme Cahill Fails Spectacularly by Marie Bostwick publishes on May 29, just a few days from now. Esme loses her marriage and her job, and returns to her North Carolina home too late to learn what her grandmother wanted to tell her. She has to come to terms with her estranged mother, and a grandfather sliding into dementia, all while trying to help save the family retreat from financial ruin. The story is of resilience and perseverance in the face of disappointment and tragedy, picking up the pieces again and again, refusing to let problems defeat her, learning from the past, forgiveness, and looking to the future. Heartbreakingly tender at times, and laugh out loud funny at others. Quilts are an integral part of the story, from Esme’s discovery of her grandmother Adele’s unconventional style, to the stories that are discovered about her past. I enjoyed the rich character development, and layered storylines. Highly recommend, five stars!

Do any of these books look good to you? What are you reading now?


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12 thoughts on “May Books

  1. I was thinking Marie Bostwick only wrote books with a quilting theme and I could never get into them they didn’t get my attention. I might have to look at that one and see if I like the writing on it any better.

  2. Cathy Walker

    No Two Persons sounds very interesting. I just added it to my read list. I just finished “Lessons in Chemistry” which I really enjoyed. Highly recommend it.

  3. You found lots of good books this month – several sound interesting to me! I’ll have to check out their availability at my library. I’ve been reading Aa nonfiction book this week for my book club in June, The Woman They Could Not Silence, by Kate Moore. It’s a fascinating story and I’m glad we chose it because it will be good for discussion, but I am really ready to get back to some fiction!

  4. Cheryl

    Thanks so much for the Murderbot recommendation! I’m completely hooked and loving them, I think I’m just waiting on the last one to be available from my library. And she’s apparently writing more, yay!
    Hmm, I’ve been re-reading some Nero Wolfe books. Very of-their-time, but Archie Goodwin (his noble assistant and narrator) is a stitch and reminds me that wise-cracking tough guys like Murderbot have been around for many, many decades. The whole series is great fun.

  5. Julie

    They all sound wonderful. You always write such a good synopsis & point out issues a publisher might not provide. I liked the warning about multiple voices, that’s definitely a book to read, not listen to. I find audiobooks harder to review if I’m having trouble following a plot.

  6. I found several of these at my library and on overdrive, so I have added them to my wishlists, and put a couple on hold. That is for the recommendations. I just finished When We Were Young and Brave by Hazel Gaynor and am listening to Once Upon a Wardrobe by Patti Callahan. I have loaded up on books for the weekend, as we are expecting rain. 🙂

  7. Sharon F

    Thanks for another set of great recommendations. I put several on my want to read list. I just finished Treasure State by C. J. Box, and really enjoyed it. I think he is good with both plots and characterizations, and I enjoyed the setting in western Montana where I have traveled enough to be familiar with the places he describes.

  8. Wow — you had a productive reading month. And many of these look good to me, but The Echo of Books is one that is definitely going on the list. I always look forward to summer and more reading time!

  9. Yes this looks like a very interesting list – “What if you could live just one day in an alternate version” from The Lemon Drop stopped me in my tracks. How many people would take that dare? Thanks for a very good list as always! Thanks

  10. Donna Flanery

    I have read all of the murderbot books except the last one based on your recommendation from last month. I enjoyed them so much and they were really hard to put down once I started each one. You are correct about some of his hilarious comments. I literally laughed out loud at times. I appreciate your summations and recommendations as it is sometimes hard to pick the next thing I want to read. Thanks for putting that out there for us.

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