Weekly Reads – April 10, 2022

I thought this week would be calm, but I seem to have been busy all week. Or else I was just easily distracted and didn’t get nearly as much done as I had hoped. Busier sounds better, but procrastination is the safer bet.

Before I go any farther, I need to vent. It’s Spring. It’s April. Easter is next week. AND SNOW IS IN THE FORECAST FOR TOMORROW! What is going on? The likelihood that we’ll see snow is small since we aren’t too far above sea level, but the fact that there is a possibility is mind-blowing. Even my kids, who live for (the now probably non-existent–thanks to lessons learned during distance learning) snow days were sucker punched by this news. Spring! Where are you????

So, I have to share with you my brush with greatness this week. For the season finale of Hillary Clinton’s podcast, she invited listeners to ask her questions. On a lark, I sent in an email…and she answered it! Not only did she answer it, but Kate McKinnon read my email! I squealed when I heard this and immediately texted everyone I knew. The gist of my question was what books she would recommend and she gave three author recommendations: Donna Leon, Charles Todd, and Sharon Kay Penman. I actually had Donna Leon’s first book on my hold list (it came in today) after Louise Erdrich mentioned it as a read-alike for Louise Penny in The Sentence. I’ve never read anything by Charles Todd, but I immediately put the first book in his series on hold. I read Sharon Kay Penman waaaaaay back when and, honestly, I remember enjoying her books but I don’t actually remember them…but they are now on my Kobo as well.

Speaking of books, let’s get to it! As usual, I’m linking with Kathryn at Book Date and her It’s Monday…What Are You Reading? blog hop.

Last week, I finished reading:

A Curious Beginning (Veronica Speedwell #1) by Deanna Raybourn, narrated by Angele Masters
Date finished: April 7, 2022
Star Rating: 4 stars

“Brain candy” is a term that is thrown a lot, but it actually quite subjective. For me, this book was brain candy. It has an interesting main character who, let’s face it, isn’t realistic. She goes on adventures that are a little too outlandish to believe, but whatever. The setup of the book is a little over the top, but I can live with that.

In other words, it’s fun if you don’t think about it too much.

There are some interesting things about this book–namely, the fact that you think the mystery is one thing but it ends up being something else. I also quite liked the details Raybourn used to create a very colorful world. But I don’t want to say much more because, well, I would rather not think too hard about this one, or else my enjoyment of it might crumble.

I listened to this on audio and the narrator was excellent. I’m not sure I would have enjoyed this book (or even finished it) if I had tried to read it in print. I may continue on with the series–on audio, when my brain needs a bit of a break.

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Date Finished: April 8, 2022
Star rating: 4 stars

Wow, this book is pretty much the definition of gut-wrenching. It’s a sprawling family novel that will suck you in and rip you to pieces.

While this book covers a long time period (about 70-ish years), during which some rather historic events took place, I appreciate that Lee was able to acknowledge that history, use it when needed, but not dwell in it. This is a story of a time, but it is also timeless.

This is also a surprisingly readable book. Yes, it is a bit of a chunkster, but the language is accessible and Lee keeps the story moving at a good clip. I never felt like Lee was treading water and I was always ready to pick this book back up.

My one complaint about this book is that there are times when Lee dives a little too deeply into some side characters, especially in the second half of the book. It is not that these sections were badly written, but they just didn’t serve the greater narrative. Plus, in a book as long as this, my patience for narratives that don’t really go anywhere is short.

I’m glad I finally read this book, which has been on my TBR forever. It may not have been perfect, but it was still a strong, worthwhile read.

Last week, I started reading:

  • Heaven’s Keep (Cork O’Connor #9) by William Kent Krueger
  • Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? by Agatha Christie
  • Lamb by Christopher Moore, narrated by Fisher Stevens (audiobook re-read for a book club)

13 thoughts on “Weekly Reads – April 10, 2022

  1. I understand your frustrating with the weather. After a nice week in So Cal, we are getting cooler weather again over the next couple of days. But at least it isn’t going to snow, so I won’t complain too loudly.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s fun that you got to ask Hillary a question and she recommended 3 authors. Donna Leon is one I’ve been skirting around with should I, will I? Maybe now I’ll take the plunge and try her books out.
    One of my adult children got to hear Hillary during a small, informal chat she did in the 9/11 museum this week. I told them if she is selling a signed book to get one for me, but nope. This chat was mostly about world news, including the Ukraine.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It is snowing here as I’m writing this. We’ve had 8 inches so far in April. I’m really, really tired of winter. I agree about the Veronica Speedwell books. But they are sort of addictive. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was looking at my Goodreads account and I’ve read the first books in most of her series (and gave them high ratings), but I honestly can’t remember a single thing about them! I think I may have been in high school when I read them!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, congrats on your email from Hillary! Notice how I just used her first name, as if we are real friends, LOL. I have read some of her books, so once we do that and we are familiar with the “voice” of these authors/politicians, they do feel like friends.

    So sorry about your weather, though. Ours is definitely spring-like here, although the very hot summers are not my favorite part of living here.

    Enjoy your week and your books, and thanks for visiting my blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ooh congrats on getting your email answered! That’s wild! And I’ve even heard of all those authors lol. I hear you on the weather though. Spring seems AWOL.

    I’ve wondered about the Speedwell book since I’ve thought about trying that author. That’s good to know

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I do not blame you with your annoyance at snow (possibly) falling despite the appearance of spring. It actually snowed twice while we have been here in Paris, and that is supposed to be a rare thing.

    How wonderful that your email was read and answered! I would be thrilled.

    And it’s great that you have finished Pachinko. I enjoyed that one.

    Liked by 1 person

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About Melinda