We are halfway through the year! I know, we over halfway through the year but I always consider the 4th of July as the halfway point.
So, how was everyone’s holiday? As I said last week, I wasn’t exactly feeling it this year (for obvious reasons). That being said, we did end up having a nice holiday. We did make it to the parade, which was quite fun. The kids were ambivalent about it until they realized that candy would be thrown at them. Once the sugar started flying, they were all in!
Other than that, we had a quiet week. Chris enjoyed his Wings of Fire Dungeons and Dragons game, so he’s going to continue joining that weekly. Lillie was able to spend a day with a friend of hers from Florida. They were in kindergarten together up here, but after that school year her friend moved away. Fortunately for Lillie, her friend still has family in the area and comes to town every summer so they can see each other (although they missed the past couple of years thanks to Covid).
I’m typing this up on Saturday because we are off to see Thor: Love and Thunder on Sunday afternoon. I know it hasn’t gotten the greatest reviews, but it has Chris Hemsworth (who is not only the best Hollywood Chris but also the best Hollywood Hemsworth) and I have sat through worse to watch him. I am going to point this out:
Thor – Mediocre, has Natalie Portman
Thor: The Dark World – Garbage, has Natalie Portman
Thor: Ragnarok – freaking awesome, Natalie Portman-free
Thor: Love and Thunder – Supposedly not great, Natalie Portman is back.
Anyway, I’ll give you all my non-spoilery verdict next week!
And now, onto the books!
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:
When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill
Date read: July 4, 2022
Star rating: 5 Stars!!!!
This was the perfect book at the perfect time!
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one doing some rage reading right now and this is the perfect book for it. Yes, it has rage–but the rage is tempered with compassion. This allowed me to indulge my rage while simultaneously relieving some of it.
Fantasy is not my preferred genre and, if I’m to read fantasy, this is the sort I like. It’s set in the “real world” but with a fantastic element. At first, women turning into dragons was definitely strange but it becomes oddly normal as the book proceeds.
Alex is a great character–she is both strong and vulnerable. She is given a burden no child should have to bear, but still finds a way to persevere through it all. The voice Barnhill gives her is incredibly relatable and you can feel the pain she has to go through as her life changes so drastically.
I hugged this book to my chest when I was done with it and it has a place on my keeper shelf. I highly, highly recommend this one…especially now.
Northwest Angle (Cork O’Connor #11) by William Kent Krueger
Date finished: July 6, 2022
Star rating: 4 stars
While William Kent Krueger never disappoints, I was a little worried about this one at first. It seemed that 11 books in, Krueger was switching from a crime novel to a natural disaster thriller. It’s not that I have anything against natural disaster thrillers, but I do get peeved when authors switch lanes in the middle of a series.
Fortunately, this book does end up being a crime thriller and, once we got to the crime, I was able to retroactively appreciate how well the natural disaster was written…and then move on to the crime. This is a strong mystery–it kept me guessing throughout. Krueger also skillfully wrote this to include all of Cork’s family (many of whom were not prominently present in the previous book), a few new characters, and–of course–Henry Meloux, who is the most intriguing character of this series.
This book was very hard to put down. Once I felt like there might be a little lull in the action, it picked right up again. The bulk of this book takes place outside of Cork’s home base, but the world is just as expertly drawn.
My only nitpick with this book is that I had trouble keeping two of the characters specific to this book straight. For the most part, this wasn’t that much of an issue but it was a niggling little irritation, which may be due more to my own inabilities than Krueger’s writing.
This is such a strong series and it is one that I recommend very widely. If you haven’t tried it, please do!
The Murder at the Vicarage (Miss Marple #1) by Agatha Christie
Date finished: July 9, 2022
Star rating: 4 stars
Well, well, well! I have now made the acquaintance of Miss Jane Marple!
I’ve been dwelling mostly in Poirot’s world, so I wasn’t sure what to expect here. What I found was absolutely delightful and more cutting than I had expected. Miss Marple is a kindly older woman who watches everything, of course. But she’s also not afraid of setting traps when needed.
I was a little surprised by the narration here. I guess I assumed that Miss Marple would be the narrator, so having the Vicar serve that role was unexpected. In fact, Miss Marple almost seemed like a secondary character–but pivotal–character in this story.
I had a few quibbles. One was that I had hoped that Miss Marple would be more prominent, but that may come in later novels. Secondly, I felt the journey from revelation to apprehension to be rushed and I was hoping for more there.
My daughter has been wanting to start with Agatha Christie and I’ve been trying to figure out what would be a good entry point for her. Folks, I think this is it. It’s a very readable story, for sure. However, the real hook for my daughter is that this almost feels like an episode of Father Brown, which is a show that she loves.
I’m not yet sure if I’m a Poirot or Marple person–I think I need to read more of both. But this was definitely a fun one.
Last week, I started reading:
- The Hummingbird by Sandro Veronesi, translated by Elena Pala
- This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger