Good Reads – February 2013

To kick off February, I continued with my Audiobook series – Second Grave on the Left (Charley Davidson #2) by Darynda Jones.  Again, the story is well narrated by Lorelei King.  The series is urban fantasy, paranormal romance, murder mystery, and chick-lit all thrown together.  Charley is a grim reaper. Or rather, THE grim reaper.  She is the portal that allows the deceased to pass through to the other side.  Charley is also a private investigator, and in addition to helping the deceased pass through to the other side she also helps them tie up loose ends, whether it be passing on a final message to a loved one or solving the mystery of who murdered them.  The best part of the book – Charley is hilarious!  She’s full of snarky sarcasm and delivers so many fabulously funny one-liners.  (4/5 Stars)

I then moved on to the selected book for our local girls book club – Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise by Ruth Reichl.  The first lines, “You gonna eat that?  The woman is eyeing the tray the flight attendant has just set before me.  I can’t tell if she wants reassurance that I find it as repellent as she does or if she is simply hungry and hopeful that I will hand my food over.”   Hard to put down, this story of Reich’s stint as the New York Times restaurant critic, as well as a bit about her personal life, and what it’s like to work for the world’s greatest paper, is peppered with great recipes and, of course, restaurant tips.  From the beginning, Reichl makes her philosophy clear.  She wants to write about the experience that her readers can expect when they visit a restaurant.  Not the experience the all-powerful restaurant editor of the Times has, but that of someone who saves up for a special-occasion night out.  To that end, she dines with different friends and family, and uses assumed names and disguises.  Reichl’s own looks are very distinctive, and even before she moves to New York, every restaurant is on the lookout for her, so she resorts to her friend Claudia’s expertise in theater costuming and makeup to turn herself into someone else.  The evolution from one disguise to another is so fun to read, and we get to see not only how differently an unknown person is treated, but how differently a vivacious attractive person is treated from one who is drab and shabby.  The money may be the same, but the treatment is radically different. (5/5 Stars)

I then finished Reached (Matched #3) by Ally Condie. The first lines: Every morning, the sun comes up and turns the earth red, and I think: This could be the day when everything changes. Maybe today the Society will fall. Then night comes again and we’re all still waiting. But I know the Pilot’s real.  To me, it’s always nice to have a good trilogy wrapped up.  There’s always a degree of apprehension when  beginning the last book in a series.  I have huge expectations  given it’s where everything must come together: answers finally revealed, enemies defeated, beloved characters carving out their future for better or worse.  I absolutely loved the beginning of the trilogy, Matched, though felt a little letdown in the sequel. Was I happy with Reached? For the most part, Yes.  I will admit that I was hoping for a touch….more.  Despite the life-or-death situation in Reached, I never quite felt the suspense.  I was never on edge or left worrying what would happen.  The main enemy is the plague – and there was a lot of searching for a cure, filled with trial and error.  But the pace is pretty dreary at times…and although there’s nothing more eye-rolling than when the solution magically appears 10 pages later… Yet in saying this, we see whispers of evolution in each character, the exploration of change is not always in-your-face, but powerful in its own quiet way. (4/5 Stars)

I also listened to Third Grave Dead Ahead by (Charley Davidson #3) by Darynda Jones. (4/5 Stars)

Another great read of the month was Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio.  This was the February Book Club selection from Julie at Peanut Butter Fingers.  The first lines: “VERA RAY.  Seattle, May 1, 1933.  An icy wind seeped through the floorboards and I shivered, pulling my gray wool sweater tighter around myself.  Just one button remained.  At five cents apiece, it seemed frivolous to think of replacing the ones that had gone missing.  Besides, spring had come.  Or had it?  I glanced outside the second-story window, and listened as the wind whistled and howled.  And angry wind.”  Blackberry Winter follows two women, Vera Ray, a single mother in 1933 trying to make end’s meet, and Claire Aldridge, a journalist in the middle of marital strife in 2010. When Claire is assigned to cover an unusual snowstorm that mirrors a storm that took place back in 1933, she uncovers a story about a missing boy, a story that links her life to Vera’s in many ways.  Overall, I enjoyed this book, and recommend if you like a lil’ suspense of tying together two lives.  (4/5 Stars)

My final book of February was a quick and fun read I started while traveling – Stiletto Safari by Kate Metz.  I randomly found this book by browsing Amazon’s Top 100 Free Downloads one day.  The first lines: “Today was the worse day of my life.  Of course, it didn’t start out that way, but by 11:30 a.m. my almost perfect world had ended.  How do you know when your world is going to come crashing down?  Well, in my case, there were no signs.”   The title makes you think – How does chick-lit apply to a safari in Africa?  Short answer….there is style, fashion, a Vogue photo shoot, a complicated relationship, some wild animals – and herein lies Stiletto Safari.  (4/5 Stars)


What has been your favorite read of 2013 so far?  Any recommendations for me?


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