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anniedeighnaugh

What are you reading? February 2022 Edition

Annie Deighnaugh
2 years ago

What are you reading?

As always, it helps to bold the titles, rate the books 1-5 stars, and let us know if you think it would be good for a book group.


Link to January 2021

Comments (141)

  • Bunny
    2 years ago

    Cindy, my library usually has multiple options for ebooks, and I always go with Kindle if available. I haven't been happy with the Hoopla format at all, particularly the squirrelly page numbering.

  • cindy-6b/7a VA
    2 years ago

    Bunny - I agree. I much prefer the Kindle versions of books.

    I am up to chapter 62 and at this point I am ready for this book to be over. Maybe tomorrow.

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  • Bunny
    2 years ago

    Cindy, I'm at chapter 50 and I'm ready for it to be over. I'm not saying I don't like it, but I'm not sure it has to be so long.

  • cindy-6b/7a VA
    2 years ago

    Bunny - I have started skipping certain parts in the narrative. Working so far.

  • Elmer J Fudd
    2 years ago

    "If I install a Hoopla app via the Kindle store on my iPad, does it make Hoopla content more closely resemble Overdrive's?"


    Good question, I don't know, Others in my family have and love their Kindles for purchased and Overdrive-supplied books but I read via audiobooks. I use Hoopla only on rare occasions when I really want something quickly and I find it easily available only from Hoopla as a source.


    It'll cost you nothing but 10 minutes of time to try the Hoopla app on your Kindle. Download it, then checkout any old book and see how you find it.

  • Bunny
    2 years ago

    I have the Hoopla app on my iPad. I downloaded a book and tried it out. Terrible imho. Every chapter the page numbers started over from 1, with no other sense of where you were in the overall picture. I'm spoiled by the Kindle and iBooks apps.

  • nutsaboutplants
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    I’m really excited about a delectable new detective series I just found, called IQ Series by Joe Ide. IQ for Isiah Quintabe, dubbed by NY Times, WaPo and other outlets a ”street-smart Sherlock.”

    Highly readable. Clever, slyly funny and fast-paced. The writing is very good — crisp, easy and nimble. The characters come alive in the writing.

    I couldn’t get the first one in the series (placed on hold). Reading the third one now. Will report back when finished.

  • chisue
    2 years ago

    Just finished Mary Lawson's Road Ends. Now all I have left to enjoy from her is The Other Side of the Bridge. Wah! I love this author. Road Ends illustrates how well she can write male characters. (Maybe I shouldn't say that, as a female. Maybe one of our KT guys would comment?) These are all 5 star novels in my *book*.


    Just starting Peace Like A River. Not sure about it yet, but it took me a while to adapt to Virgil Wander, so I'll persist. He does make the 1960's sound like *ages* ago. To me, of course, they were just my late teen years, so not that 'quaint'. ha-ha

  • Kathsgrdn
    2 years ago

    Finished A Gentleman in Moscow very early this morning. My dog, Chewie, refused to come back in the house for over 2 1/2 hours so I just kept reading. I finally finished and went to see if he would come in and he wouldn't so I locked the back door, turned out all the lights and five minutes later he scratched on the door. I could've killed him.


    Anyway, it was a good book, 5 stars!


    A couple weeks ago I took a small box of books to Halfpricebooks and bought a few more there. I don't know what I'm going to start next, but have two Ruth Ware books: The Woman in Cabin 10 and The Lying Game, and another by Phil Williams called What Happened at the Lake. They were all very near to each other on the shelf and looked interesting. Not so sure I haven't read the Ruth Ware books before. They vaguely sound familiar.

  • Elmer J Fudd
    2 years ago

    Bunny, sorry, I didn't notice your question was Hoopla on an iPad, not a Kindle. I'm sure you figured out my suggestion to go to the Kindle app store was, of course, wrong and that it was the Apple app store.

  • Bunny
    2 years ago

    Elmer, no problem. I knew what you meant.

  • Funkyart
    2 years ago

    Interesting, nutsaboutplants. I didn't care for the first in the IQ Series and I didn't get the connection to Sherlock. I think i rated it 2 stars. Maybe I need to give it another try. I have seen many good reviews.

  • nutsaboutplants
    2 years ago

    Funky, I haven't read the first in the series, so I can’t soeak to that. I did finish the third one and liked it overall. I’d rate it somewhere in the 3 to 3.5 range. The last 1/4 of the book could have benn tighter, but I found it very enjoyable.


    Also, I listened to the book, read by one Sullivan Jones, who did a wonderful job bringing out the sly humor and characters. Not sure if it made a difference.

  • cindy-6b/7a VA
    2 years ago

    Bunny - I have finally finished The Physician. Found it strange that it took him over two years to get to Persia and only one paragraph to get back to London. Very glad to be done with that book.

    Decided to re-read Killing Floor by Lee Child next.

  • salonva
    2 years ago

    I finished The Warmth of Other Suns, and did learn a lot about the Great Migration of blacks within the US. I had never really known much about it and certainly was not aware of the extent of it., very good background. It did go on for longer than I wanted, so towards the end I did not read as carefully. Still overall, it was a worthwhile read. I would give it between 3 and 4 stars.


    I started Such a Fun Age, I mean I really just started it ( like at 5%). It gets great ratings on goodreads. That is keeping me reading it because at least at the very beginning, it seems to be trying my patience and being agreeable to go on that journey. I will give it some more time and really hope it changes for me.

  • Bunny
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    I finished The Physician by Noah Gordon 3+ stars.

    I agree with everything Cindy said. It was a long 650 pages that moved in a very linear fashion. It lingered long in places (how to juggle!) and skipped over others (the return trip from Persia to England). I think it was a couple hundred pages longer than it needed to be.

    I had great hopes for it as it has a 4+ ranking on Goodreads.

    The best the author could do was try to give glimpses into what life was like in 11th century Britain and Persia before 1066. That's really why I read the book. But the characters get treated very superficially and without much that touched me. I guess I remained untouched. I stuck it till the end because I wanted to see how it would be wrapped up. And now I'm done. I didn't dislike the book, but I'm glad it's over.

    ETA: There was little rumination, emotional response to situations, mood of a people and/or place.

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    I read the first Shardlake, Dissolution (was that Elmer who recommended it?) and I'd rate it 4 star. Historical fiction isn't my 'thing' but it was interesting and I only got it part right on the whodunnit. There were plenty of exciting scenes. Trying to solve a murder without finger prints, DNA, video cams and the like make it more challenging. The descriptions of the doings in the times of Henry VIII were at times pretty graphic. I think those into historical fiction and murder mysteries would probably enjoy it even more.

  • cindy-6b/7a VA
    2 years ago

    Annie - I plan to read Dissolution soon. Depends on the weather and other factors. Might be a couple of weeks before I get to it. Think my sister recommended the series to me.

  • Bunny
    2 years ago

    Having read and loved the Shardlake series, I think they get better after Dissolution.

  • nutsaboutplants
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Ok, reporting back with a less positive view of the IQ Series by Joe Ide. As I mentioned above, I found the third book in the series, Wrecked, very enjoyable. The characters, the humor, the plot, all of it. Not great literature by any stretch, but still very entertaining without veering toward disposable, fungible reading.

    I read the fourth in the series, Hi Five, and found it disappointing. The critical drawback is, it’s too much snd not enough. Too many characters and every one of them with a backstory, too many subplots, too many high octane crises, all clamoring for the same level of attention from the reader. (No spoilers, but one of the already too many characters — the main witness — has multiple personality disorder and has 6 ”alters” each of whom witnessed and/or experienced the crime but none of whom can tell the whole of what each saw. See what I mean? )

    All this without the delineation of relative importance and depth. The result is an overcrowded, stifling plot. It’s like a painting with numerous elements and without a foreground or background that ends up looking like an ”I Spy” graphic.

    The writing is shaky too. Similes and metaphors that don‘t work; all characters gravitating toward the same style and emotionality; inconsistent diction, all characters including victims and suspects thinking like detectives…

    2 to 2.5 stars. I had high hopes for this author and this series. Consider me disappointed.

  • Funkyart
    2 years ago

    Sorry to "like" a bad experience-- it's been a little too long for me to be sure what I liked/didn't like about IQ (I read it when it was first released) but much of what you shared sounds familiar. I remember thinking that someone would like it-- but that person wasn't me.


    I was really let down by the comparison to Sherlock Holmes too-- but it made a little more sense once I heard him talk about Holmes as his inspiration.


    Ironically, I listened to Joe Ide on a podcast last night. He had an interesting and upsetting youth. It broke my heart enough that I wanted to like his books. Apparently he has a new book coming out-- The Goodbye Coast which is a modern take on Phillip Marlowe.

  • just_terrilynn
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    I just started The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab. Goodreads gave it a 4.24. Apparently it was ten years in the making. When reading the reviews it seems many thought it either a masterpiece or simply just didn’t get it. For me so far, it started slow but is getting better with each page. I think I’m going to enjoy this very atmospheric book.

  • Bunny
    2 years ago

    JustTL, read the blurb on Goodreads and it sounds very promising. Keep us posted.

  • nutsaboutplants
    2 years ago

    That’s interesting, Funky. I hadn’t read the book that you mentioned, the first in the series. But thevthird one wasn’t bad at all.

  • faftris
    2 years ago

    I just finished an odd, but enjoyable book by Donna Tartt, called The Secret History. I hated The Goldfinch, but this one, although weird, was better. It's about misfit college kids covering up a murder. A low 4.

  • 4kids4us
    2 years ago

    Just finished two disappointing books.


    The first, Black Cake, by debut author Charmaine Wilkerson, begins with the death of Eleanor Bennett, a woman whose life has taken her from the Caribbean island of her birth, to London and eventually the U.S. Her estranged children are left with an audiotape upon her death, which reveals a hidden past. The beautiful writing drew me in quickly, with complex characters in a culturally rich setting. Unfortunately, about halfway through, I became less enamored as too many characters were introduced and the plot tried to cover too many social issues of the time. Though I don't regret reading it, I wish it had been better. 3 stars.


    Today I finished Count the Ways by Joyce Maynard, a new to me author who has been around awhile and written many books. Another family saga, this one follows another Eleanor(funny, I just realized both moms/main characters had the same name!), but instead an idyllic marriage like the one in Black Cake, Eleanor's story is of a woman who wants nothing more than to provide the type of loving family/home she never had. After tragedy strikes, the family is fractured. The story became so depressing and Eleanor's decisions mind-boggling at times. The ending was predictable and disappointing. 2 stars.


    Next up, Songbirds by Christy Lefteri, a novel inspired by the disappearance of migrant domestic workers in Cyprus. Songbirds is about the search for Nisha, a Sri Lankan woman working as a maid for a wealthy widow, Petra. After she disappears while running an errand, Petra begins searching for her, after police decline to get involved. I read one of Lefteri's previous novels, The Beekeeper of Aleppo and gave it four stars, so I hope this one is also satisfying.

  • nutsaboutplants
    2 years ago

    Faftris, glad to see another person who didn’t think much of The Goldfinch. I thought I was the only one. I felt lonely in my disdain!

  • salonva
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    JustTL and Bunny, I read it pretty recently. I went back and forth on liking it, but I think towards the end it was less thrilling for me. A very interesting concept and mostly very intriguing but I really tired of it. I just checked my goodreads rating on it and I gave The Invisible Life of Addie Larue 3 stars.

    Yes, it did get great ratings on goodreads. I will be curious to see your thoughts when you finish.

  • runninginplace
    2 years ago

    Faftris, The Secret History was the book that launched Donna Tartt's literary career and I'd argue it might have been more deserving of the Pulitzer than The Goldfinch. However re. The Goldfinch I have never in my life read a more completely accurate portrayal of what it feels like to lose one's mother at a young age. Having experienced it myself, I was absolutely gutted and simultaneously deeply moved by what she created with that story aspect.


    I enjoyed The Invisible Life of Addie Larue very much although it slots for me with books like Daisy Jones and the Six and really all of Taylor Jenkins Reid's work: tasty but no lasting nutritional ie literary value.


    I started reading The Latinist but don't think I"m going to continue after the first few chapters. It's a story of male obsession and power set in academia but it's clearly written by a male, and the structure isn't holding up very well for me because of that.


    The heroine's actions and thoughts don't make a lot of sense and the male stalker 'protagonist' is being given a bit too much humanity and authorial insight. This isn't Nabakov and I'm not enthralled wandering through the mind of a creepy guy stalking his prey.

  • faftris
    2 years ago

    Runninginplace, I agree completely that the first half of The Goldfinch was very emotional. And I am with you, having lost my dad to a massive heart attack when I was in junior high. I just think that second half seemed like a completely different book.

    I have The Latinist on hold, but I think I am far down the list.

  • Bunny
    2 years ago

    I read The Goldfinch on the strong recommendation of a dear friend. At about the 1/4-1/3 point I found the storyline unsettling and wasn't sure I wanted to continue. Checked back with friend and she assured me it would move past that part. And it did. I thought it was a good book, but not one I'm thinking of rereading.

  • just_terrilynn
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Salonva, I think my problem with this book so far (The Invisible Life of Addie Larue) is that right about the time I’m sucked in to a magical mystic atmosphere (love books like that), it abruptly takes me to another time where I have to settle in all over again. Then, it happens again and again. I think I’m going to pass on this book for now as one has to be in the right mood for it. I would like to read something with better flow at this time, a book that will carpet ride me through those other dimensions and adventures.

    EDITED to add: Not my usual read but one I'm in the mood for... Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik. This book may fit what I'm seeking. I'll let you know. When reading the reviews many enjoyed this book for their book clubs.

  • nutsaboutplants
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Here are a few DNF for me:

    Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath by Heather Clark, the most definitive biography of Plath to date. At 1100+ pages, it’s a scholarly, intimate account of her life starting from her childhood.

    I couldn’t persist past ~500 pages. In my defense, I’ve read most of Plath’s work. I’m “into“ literature and literary criticism and don’t shy away from long, heavy reading. But I somehow couldn’t stay with the book.

    I wish I could identify or explain the reasons. One thing that came to mind was that Plath’s personality — at least as described by the author — reminded me of Tove Ditlevsen, whose memoir The Copenhagen Trilogy I read over a month ago. The early manifestation of talent, the burning passion for writing, the competitive edge that borders on desperation, the tendency to despair … Perhaps it was draining me mentally, though I generally gravitate toward the dark and heavy.

    As with Ditlevsen’s memoir, this biography too has little gems of poems written by the writer in her childhood and teen years. That was a treat.

    Anyway, I toiled for more than a month, in long stretches, but decided to return the book. I do plan to go back to it later.

  • nutsaboutplants
    last year

    I see my DNF list was, ironically, a DNF. Here are the other DNF books from the last dew weeks:

    Intimacies by Katie Kitamura

    The Guncle by Steven Rowley

    The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce

    Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan

    The Mothers by Brit Bennett

  • salonva
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Well I finished Such a Fun Age and although it had some thought provoking subject matter as well as some good twists, I thought it was too trying too hard to be "in the know". It was tiresome for me. It's not a big book, so I pushed myself to stick with it and it finally got a lot better, but not good enough in my view. I rated it 2 or 3 stars and am puzzled at the very good rating showing on goodreads.


    Nuts, I am about to start The Guncle, and I really enjoyed The Music Shop. I guess that's what makes the world go round. JT I agree about Addie and the switching from time period to time period. I finished it and see the merit but I did not love it.

  • faftris
    last year

    I just finished The Crowded Street, a novel by Winifred Holtby, who lived in the early part of the twentieth century. She was a feminist and a pacifist, and died at age 37. She didn't write many novels, but the characters are always women who dared to rise above the norms of society's expectations. I am a big fan. I really recommend this. Her masterpiece, published posthumously is South Riding, a wonderful read. Off the beaten track; maybe difficult to find.

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    last year

    Just finished The Rose Code. 5 stars and look forward to book group discussion. Most exciting and a nice historic look back at what was wrapped in utmost secrecy during WWII with the code breakers.


    Next up, Invisible Brain for my other book group.

  • stacey_mb
    last year

    I just finished Dark Fire, the second volume in the Shardlake series. It's excellent, even better than Dissolution. I'm handing these off to DH as I finish them and he's very much enjoying them too. Now I'm reading The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin and although it seems very tepid in comparison to the Shardlake novels, I'm going to continue and see what develops.

  • chisue
    last year

    Add me to The Goldfinch naysayers. It needed a strong red pencil. The movie did a little better with the content -- producers won't pay for all the forays into every cranny, much less allow repetition.


    I'm missing the characters I loved in Road Ends and Peace Like a River. Luckily I have one more Mary Lawson to go: The Other Side of the Bridge.


    Cities I've Never Lived In, Sara Majka is on the shelf. I'm starting a 'cozy', The Secret, Scone, and Book Society.

  • Olychick
    last year

    I recently finished Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr. Not sure what to say - I loved it in the beginning and his writing is superb, but then it started to drag for me. I felt like there were too many disparate stories being told, though I did see where he was trying to show historical context about the preservation of and importance of libraries and saving the written word. He also was making salient points about the destruction of the environment and it all just felt very depressing (which it is). I was glad to be done with it.

  • chisue
    last year

    Olychick -- Yup. Another one that badly needed the red pencil.

  • Funkyart
    last year

    Chi.. i read the Secret, Book and Scone Society books between my other reads the last 2 months. I enjoyed them-- I tend not to rate cozies more than 2 or 3 stars but as cozies, i thought they were good. (Not maligning cozies-- i read a lot of them. I just have lower expectations for them. Like doritos vs steak lol)


    I did not like her earlier Supper Club series for a variety of reasons-- fat shaming/very bad stereotypical fat rep and trite dialog made me stop after the first book (which I should have DNFd). I haven't tried the book retreat series yet.

  • lonestar123
    last year

    I just read the 21st birthday by James Patterson. Really enjoyed it.

  • Bunny
    last year

    After a slog through the 11th century, I wanted something fast-paced. I picked up Camino Island by John Grisham at the library. It started off with a heist and it had me. Then it turned into a romance, lots of booze and sex. Ominous moments never panned out. As the pages dwindled I figured there was going to be a big twist to salvage the book. Nope. And even worse, it was left with major loose ends. I felt cheated and robbed. I give it 1 star for the heist. The rest, bah.

  • nutsaboutplants
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Agree with Oly and chisue about CCL. And chisue, ditto on Goldfinch

  • runninginplace
    last year

    Add me to the Cloud Cuckoo Land "the editor was AWOL" team. If Mr Doerr didn't have All the Light We Cannot See in his portfolio, his publisher would have gently patted his hand and told him "Tony, props for a grand idea but let's settle down now and focus on creating a real book".


    Meanwhile I started The Maid and am loving it so far. Experiencing an unreliable narrator due him/her viewing life from somewhere on the spectrum is always interesting, often funny and uniformly touching.


    It definitely reminds me of other books including The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, and The Rosie Project. I've enjoyed them all!


    Though he was never given a diagnosis, my husband is a few steps along the spectrum himself. So I quite often feel as if I'm getting a bit of a glimpse into the ways his mind works too!

  • faftris
    last year

    Two klunkers this week. The Latinist and Joan is Okay. Headed to A Gentleman In Moscow.

  • Olychick
    last year

    faftris...you are headed the right direction!! It's a wonderful book.

  • Bunny
    last year

    faftris, you are in for a treat. I hope you like/love it as much as I did. I do love it. It's alive for me.

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    last year