May was a busy month on the blog. Luckily all the reading I did during Bout of Books balanced out with not doing any reading at all during Armchair BEA, and it ended up being a slightly-better-than-average month in terms of quantity… and with only one 2-star book, quality was pretty good too. Here’s what I read last month:
Invasion of the Body Snatchers, by Jack Finney
This is a simple, straightforward story, but it does a fantastic job of creating a quiet sense of unease that just builds throughout the book. Finney takes the familiar and twists it, uses it against you… and the idea of an enemy walking among us without our knowledge is one of those fears that easily crosses over from science fiction into real life. It’s no wonder this has become a classic.
(read my ITW review here: Invasion of the Body Snatchers)
The Stars Shine Down, by Sidney Sheldon
As much as I enjoyed this book, it was nothing like what I expected. I thought it was a thriller, but it’s not even remotely suspenseful until the last quarter or so of the book. The way it was structured was also rather strange, with flashback after flashback before finally we start the story. But… I just couldn’t stop reading. Sheldon takes a story I would have guessed would be terribly dull and makes it compulsively readable.
(read my full review here: The Stars Shine Down)
A Canticle for Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller, Jr.
This started out as a great book. I really enjoyed the first third, and the idea that in a post-apocalyptic world, we would revert to a medieval-esque society. Unfortunately, the second and third parts of the story (each marked by a time jump of a few hundred years) weren’t as interesting to me. Though I’m not sure where I would have preferred the story to go instead.
The Innocent, by David Baldacci
(originally read April 2012)
I flew through this the first time I read it, and this time around it was just as good as I remembered. As with many thrillers, the scenario is a bit contrived if you think too much about it, but it’s a quick-moving story with a conflicted protagonist and enough supporting cast to keep things interesting.
(read my full review here: The Innocent)
The Hit, by David Baldacci
(originally read May 2013)
This isn’t quite as good as The Innocent, although I liked it more as a re-read, and having recently read the first book. I really liked the premise of this one, the “killer vs killer” dynamic. It took a while to get into in the beginning, and I felt like the ending tried to do too much, but the majority of the book had me hooked.
(read my full review here: The Hit)
The Target, by David Baldacci
Saving the world is great, but when a story gets personal is when it really gets interesting. This starts on the slow side action-wise, but I was never impatiently waiting for things to start happening. I really liked getting inside Robie’s and Reel’s heads, and the way that Baldacci highlights their similarities and differences. And once the action picks up, it doesn’t let up. This book had a lot going on, maybe even too much, but it was definitely entertaining.
The River of No Return, by Bee Ridgway
I was hooked by this book right away. It was so enchanting, and I loved all of the ideas about time and time travel. I loved it right up until I realized that this book wasn’t really coming to a conclusion. This feels very much like the first book in a series, and I would be thrilled to continue this journey… only there is no series (not yet, anyway). Which makes this book, as much as I enjoyed it, ultimately disappointing.
A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness
When I started it, I was sure I wasn’t going to like this. With the simple language and the illustrations, it was too much like a kids’ book, and kids’ books that I don’t already have a nostalgic attachment to tend not to do much for me. But this one won me over. It’s such an honest story, it’s hard not to love it. I won’t be evangelizing the book the way so many others have done, but it’s definitely one that will stick with me.
Heart-Shaped Box, by Joe Hill
There are some horrific things in these pages, and the worst of them are, predictably, the real things rather than the supernatural. If you don’t like reading things that make you uncomfortable, this is probably not the book for you. Because it is uncomfortable, in many different ways. But it’s compulsively readable. My second Joe Hill book, and certainly not my last.
Sight Reading, by Daphne Kalotay
I loved the musical descriptions, but unfortunately this just isn’t the type of story that interests me. The author basically takes snapshots, years apart from each other, to tell the story of these people, and it just didn’t work for me. The first problem I had was that I never really believed that Nicholas had fallen in love with Remy, this event that affects the rest of the lives of all characters involved, and it just snowballed from there. I need to stop picking up books solely because they involve music.
Wit’ch Storm, by James Clemens
(originally read May 2009)
This book jumps around a lot more than the first one, introducing more characters and balancing more subplots than before. In a way it almost feels like a series of novellas, as even the main party’s adventures are split into distinct episodes that could almost stand on their own. But I do enjoy how much more of the world is introduced, now that the basics have been established.
What was your favorite book last month?