Weekly Reads – May 29, 2022 and #BigBooksOfSummer

Hello all! First off, an apology to all the bloggers I didn’t get a chance to visit last week. I don’t know what it was, but the week was just overly busy…and I was dealing with May exhaustion, which is now the least of my worries.

So, Chris has COVID. I’m a little miffed about this because yesterday the school district posted a picture taken of his class when his (awesome) teacher received a surprise grant and there he was…without a mask on. We received 3 COVID letters last week–we receive a letter each time someone in his class tests positive–so I was very firm about how he had to wear a mask in his classroom. Then, this morning (Saturday), he tests positive. He’s not feeling very sick. In fact, he’s living his best life right now. He’s isolated up in our bonus room where he can play all the video games he wants. We even bring his food up to him on a tray! Sheesh! It’s almost like he planned this!

The bad news is that while both Pat and I tested negative today, we’re pretty sure that we’ll have positive tests tomorrow. I’m not feeling great, which I admit might be psychosomatic. But there you go. That’s the reason why I’m typing up the post on Saturday–I’m not sure how I will be feeling tomorrow! Lillie also tested negative this morning and she’s been hiding in her room all day. However, even if she does stay negative, she still needs to stay home from school until Chris is no longer positive. We ALMOST made it through the school year…grrr!

Before I get into the normal book business, I have a couple of special bits of book news.

First off, I’ve started something new on my Instagram feed. I’ve been posting 50% reviews in my stories–once I get to about 50% of a book, I do a quick video on what I think of it so far and what I think my final star rating will be. If you are on IG, come check it out. I do save the videos in my highlights, so you can find any not-current videos there.

Secondly, I am doing Sue’s Big Book Summer again! I did this last year, with middling results. However, that was more because I hadn’t really thought about how I was going to do the challenge. This year, I know what I’m doing. I chose 3 books off my TBR shelf, one for each summer month. My goal is to read those three, but I’ll also track any other 400+ page books I read. Those three books are:

The Fountains of Silence by Ruth Sepetys
I had actually planned to do this for last year’s challenge but, as I said, I kind of messed up that whole thing. Anyway, I’ve heard great things about Sepetys and while YA isn’t my preferred genre, I do love historical fiction. While this is my June book, I may start it before the month stars, depending on when I finish the print book I currently have going.

This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger
If you’ve been following this blog, you know I LOVE William Kent Krueger. I have no idea why this one has been sitting on my bookshelf for so long, but I recently decided to read this while we are on our road trip (crossing fingers) to the Midwest this July. It may be the only print book I bring with me as I will probably do all my other reading on one of my e-readers or through audiobooks.

The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams
There were a few books on my shelf I could have chosen for August, but this one had a cover that sort of screamed “late summer” to me, so there you go. I’ve read one or two Beatriz Williams books in the past, although some of my trusted book sources have said that she becomes a bit repetitive. I’m hoping that since I haven’t read many of her books, that won’t be an issue for me.

If you’d like to join in on the Big Book Summer Challenge, you can visit Sue’s Blog and/or the Big Book Summer Reading Challenge 2022 Goodreads group. This is a fun one, and a great motivator to free up some space on your bookshelf!

Now onto the weekly update!

As usual, I’m linking up with Kathryn at Book Date and her It’s Monday…What Are You Reading? blog hop.

Last week, I finished reading:

The Secret of Chimneys (Superintendent Battle #1) by Agatha Christie
Date finished: May 25, 2022
Star rating: 2 stars

Sometimes I DNF a book. Sometimes I push through because I have some reason to finish it. The latter was the case here. I’m on a quest to read all of Agatha Christie’s work and I wouldn’t truly accomplish that if I DNF’d this one and, folks, that’s what kept me going.

This is an early-ish Agatha Christie book, and it shows. While it does have some of her humor, it also has too much of everything else. Too many characters, too many intrigues, too many deceptions. I honestly can’t tell you who half of the characters of this book are. I think that the central mystery here could be a good one if it were streamlined. As it was, I was confused by all the twists and turns, most of which I found unnecessary.

There was also that “stuck in its time” element of less than desirable comments about certain populations. I’m always a little at odds with how to deal with this because while these things do definitely rub me the wrong way, I also recognize that these comments are very much in line with the thinking at the time the book was written.

So, not my favorite Agatha Christie novel. I’m still early on in my Christie journey, so I won’t say it is my least favorite…yet.

One Was a Soldier (The Rev. Clare Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne #7) by Julia Spencer-Fleming
Date finished: May 27, 2022
Star rating: 4 stars

This book is proof that you shouldn’t give up on a book. While I was never tempted to DNF this one, thanks to the characters, I spent the first 40% of the book wondering where the mystery was. This is not to say that there isn’t a mystery, but the incident that begins the investigation doesn’t happen until the 40% mark. Once that happens, the reader can see how the groundwork was laid before that.

I did end up really liking the mystery here. It was intricate and interesting and one that I couldn’t quite completely figure out before the reveal. That being said, I do think the “incident” should have happened earlier in the book and I felt that the resolution was a bit rushed.

The real heart of this book is the PTSD suffered by so many veterans. I felt that Spencer-Fleming did a fairly good job dealing with it. There were a few times when I feel like she was just about to really go there and then backed off. This doesn’t happen often, but it is frustrating when it does happen. There is also a therapist character–she isn’t a major character and this isn’t a big deal–but she was one of the dumbest therapists I’ve read. She was a major eye-roll.

Despite my initial frustration with the seeming lack of a mystery, I ended up really enjoying this one more than I thought it would. This series is a success for me and I hope that Spencer-Fleming keeps it going past the 9 books that have already been published.

Last week, I started reading:

  • The Summer Place by Jennifer Weiner
  • The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World by Eric Weiner (I’m assuming Jennifer and Eric are not related!)
  • Life as a Unicorn: A Journey from Shame to Pride and Everything In Between by Amrou Al-Kadhi

8 thoughts on “Weekly Reads – May 29, 2022 and #BigBooksOfSummer

  1. Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that. It’s so frustrating when you almost make it through the year and then this happens. I hope the rest of you stay negative and your son has a quick and mild case.

    I’m interested in your Christie journey because even though she wrote so many, I’ve always thought it would be neat to read all her boks (or at least sample a great many of them). I mean, Queen of Mystery right? It is tough though when you come across that “of it’s time” thing. Bothers me too.

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  2. Oh hope you will escape Covid, schools are the place of transmission I do believe. Hope your big book summer goes well. Your IG videos sound interesting. I have kind of given up on IG, I hate how it is presenting itself on my ipad these days.

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  3. I’m sorry to hear about Chris having Covid. I hope everyone else will stay negative.

    I’ve never read Beatriz Williams, but she’s on my list to try. Her books look really good.

    I hope you have a good week!

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  4. Sorry to hear that Covid has found your house. I hope everyone that ends up with it has a light case. Nice looking books too. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

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  5. I am sending good thoughts your way! After all the efforts, COVID still strikes! Light case sounds good.

    I hope you stay negative.

    Enjoy those books, and thanks for visiting my blog!

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  6. Oh gosh, I’m so sorry to hear about Chris having Covid. I do hope his case is light and that the rest of your family is spared or have light cases.

    I plan to do the Big Book Challenge this summer, too, and one of the books I’m planning to read is This Tender Land! I’m not sure why I haven’t read it yet either.

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  7. You have been busy. Hope the summer challenge goes well.

    Sorry to hear about Chris. I will keep him up in prayer and prayer no one else gets it. My kids have had it more than once despite being vaccinated. I’m so tired of it.

    Thanks for visiting my blog.

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About Melinda