April showers…

Bring May showers? Now that we are in to May, I was hoping for some nicer weather, but here in the northeast it is still pretty gray and gloomy. On the bright side, that makes for plenty of time for reading.

As I’ve mentioned before, I read a lot. My goal for the year is 155 books, and I’m currently at 48. I was kind of impressed with myself for that, until I looked at my Goodreads reading challenge and learned I’m 3 books behind schedule. Still, I read 10 1/2 books in April…here’s a recap of some of the highs and lows.

Highest rated: “Falling Leaves: The True Story of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter” by Adeline Yen Mah. I knew that girls were treated badly in China, but wow. I was appalled at some of the things her father and stepmother did. Even her siblings, who should have been allies, were awful. But, it was one of the best written books I’ve read recently.

Lowest rated: “One Day” by David Nicholls. This was a book club choice – our last topic was an epic love story, and three people suggested this one. Sadly, none of us liked it. Only a couple of us actually finished it. I had seen the movie, and I can truly say that this is one of the few times when the movie is better than the book. I thought both Dexter and Emma were terrible people and I had no interest in what happened to them.

World War II: I have a tendency to read a lot of books set in WWII. I don’t know if it’s because there are a lot of them out there, or if I am just drawn to them. Maybe I was there in a past life. I don’t know. Anyway, I read three books with a WWII connection in April. “Last Train to Istanbul” by Ayse Kulin was the best Kindle book I read this month – a story about Turkish officials trying to get their citizens out of France after the German occupation. Kate Morton’s “The Secret Keeper” bounces between modern day Laurel and her mother Dorothy during the war years, as Laurel digs into the secrets of her mother’s past to understand the horrific crime Laurel witnessed as a teenager. And “The Carlswick Affair” by S.L. Beaumont featured a modern day feud between two families, surrounding the sale of artwork stolen by the Germans during the war. Not my favorite, but it was a Kindle freebie, and I try not to judge those too harshly, as they are often put out by struggling self-published authors.

Series: I’m a sucker for a series, especially one set in a small town, and Robyn Carr’s Sullivan’s Crossing series fits the bill. I finished “The Family Gathering”, her third book set in Colorado, and have added “The Best of Us” (#4) to my TBR shelf for May. Side note, I’m very much looking forward to seeing her Virgin River series produced on Netflix. One of these days, I’m going to write one of my own…stay tuned for more on that another day.

Great Nana-ism: Elin Hilderbrand is another favorite – her Nantucket books generally appeal to me as a New Englander. I was pleasantly surprised, however, as I read “The Identicals” to come across one of my favorite Great Nana lines: “Who is she? The cat’s mother?” It was used a few times throughout the book and made me smile every time.

To be continued: As April ended, I was mid-way through our next book club read “The Last Good Heist: The Inside Story of the Biggest Single Payday in the Criminal History of the Northeast” by Tim White, Randall Richard, and Wayne Worcester. It’s the story of the Bonded Vault heist in Providence in 1975. This was the first I’d heard about the robbery, as I was quite young in ’75 and mostly preoccupied with how to take my crib back from my baby sister. It has so far been an interesting look at how things worked in Providence in the days of Raymond Patriarca and Buddy Cianci. More on this next month when I recap my May books.

In the meantime, I’m always looking for book suggestions. Read anything good lately?

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