February Book Reviews, Part 1

Despite having two DNFs on my reading list this month, I still managed to discover some good books. The DNFs were authors I didn’t know and had not read before. Both titles sounded promising, but after six chapters each, neither could get off the ground. Needless to say I was disappointed, but I did enjoy some great books I want to share. Because I read six in February, and one of the later reviews is rather long, I’m splitting this post into two parts.  Look for part two on Wednesday.

Once again, because I don’t want to make the post too long, click on the Amazon link if you’d like to read the blurb and learn more details about the book selections.

book cover for Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia OwensWhere the Crawdads Sing
by Delia Owens
I expected this book to be great, given all the buzz it’s had. The story is engaging and holds the reader’s interest. I was especially taken with the vivid descriptions of the marsh and small-town life in the 1960s. I was halfway through the story thinking how good it was, but kept waiting for that extra something to make it “great.”

And then it happened…

The last third of this book is what elevates it beyond good story-telling to exceptional story-telling. Where the Crawdads Sing deserves all of the accolades it’s received and more. The characters are ones that will linger in my mind for a long time to come, especially the conclusion of their story. As for the marsh—it became a character in itself. This is a book I can easily see myself going back and reading again. A wonderful coming of age tale with added layers of mystery.

Genre:  Literature and Fiction > Coming of Age
Amazon Link

book cover for The Lost Man by Jane HarperThe Lost Man
by Jane Harper
This is the second book I’ve read by Jane Harper, and I have a third on my Kindle. She always spins a good murder mystery plot, along with a compelling Australian setting. This time around, the reader is treated to the remote solitude of the Outback, whose grit, dust and dry heat seem to permeate every scene.

Brothers Nathan and Bub Bright meet up at a legendary gravestone dividing their properties, only to find their third brother, Cameron—in charge of the family homestead—dead. Harper takes her time introducing the reader to an array of characters as well as family background issues that become key later on. I thought the beginning moved a bit slowly, but the mystery eventually took off. At that point, I couldn’t flip pages fast enough.

There was a continued reference to a particular item (no spoilers) that I thought much too heavy-handed (I get it, already!), but other than that this was a good read. I waffled back and forth on the identity of the killer and was proven right at the end, but not for the reasons I suspected. Jane Harper is on my auto buy list, and although I didn’t care for this book as much as The Dry, it delivered a solid tale with an awesome ending.

Genre:  Mystery and Crime
Amazon Link

book cover for Can't Let Go by Alison GreyCan’t Let Go
by Alison Grey
This is a quick easy read, built around old secrets, friendships, betrayals and lies.  The main character, Larkin, marries into one of the most privileged families of Charleston high society. Larkin comes from a poor background and doesn’t fit in–until she’s befriended by Caroline Beaufain, the queen bee of the social scene. Although the book doesn’t really take off until the middle, the beginning is far from draggy. The author has a way of introducing characters and setting scenes that kept me flipping pages, even as I  was waiting for the hammer to fall.

This is a psychological thriller, so don’t expect explosive action. It’s more about figuring out what each character has to gain and what they’re willing to do to achieve their goals. When the impact does hit, the fallout is quick and jaw-dropping. I won’t say I’ve never seen this plot done before, but the way Grey handles it is riveting and fresh. I will definitely be looking for more books by this author and have already pre-ordered her next release!

Genre:  Psychological Thriller > Suspense
Amazon Link

So what do you think? Do any of these appeal to you? Have you read any?  What’s next on your reading list?  Drop me a line below and let’s talk books!

66 thoughts on “February Book Reviews, Part 1

  1. Hm, might have to get my hands on ‘Crawdads’. Afraid I’m not into Australian novels much so I’ll give the Harper a miss, but I don’t mind a good psychological thriller. Speaking of vacillating back and forth on who the killer is… I’m devouring ‘Hode’s Hill’ to see if I’m right with my suspicions 😉
    Oh, and speaking of HH… Wrigley and Mo go the Park… did you make that up or is it a real kiddies book? Just coz it’s a great title!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kind of weird that you don’t like Australian novels. Or maybe it’s not. I’m scratching my head trying to decide, LOL.

      OOoo, so cool I have you guessing on the killer’s identity. I love hearing that. I’ll be interested to know if you’re proven right 🙂

      As for Wrigley and Mo go to the Park, I made that title up. I thought it sounded like a good title for a children’s book!

      Liked by 2 people

      • I guess it’s because most Australian novels are set in the ‘outback’ and are all dust, hard-talking farmers, and sheep crutching. Or, bronzed, blonde haired, surfer Gods. While that’s all true, it only accounts for about 1% of Australian life. We’re mostly fat, technology obsessed, city dwellers. Boring. Suburban. But that doesn’t make for interesting reading, so we fall back to the outback. 😳

        Right, now you’ve GOT to write a kids book! Wrigley is definitely a snake and Mo has to be an elephant. 🤔

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yep, The Lost Man was set in the outback so I guess you’re right. Although you had me cracking up over the descriptions of city dwellers 😀

        Wrigley and Mo….I think I made them a giraffe and an rabbit. I can’t remember, LOL. I just needed a book for Ivy to be holding. It’s weird how things pop into my head when I write, but I’m sure you’re the same!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Great! I really enjoyed the book and can’t wait for her next release. It’s a very quick read–not because of length but because of her writing style. I finished it in two days!


  2. That’s an eclectic list. The middle one interests me, as I love it when a setting becomes a character. But I’m all about the psychological thriller. And something about that iron door speaks to me.

    Looking forward to the next installment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve been reading so many psychological thrillers lately that sometimes they get muddled in my head, but Can’t Let Go really made an impression on me. Her next release looks every bit as good, too.

      And glad to hear you’re looking forward to the next installment. I was afraid bundling the two parts together would make the post way too long!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jane Harper’s novels are about as close as I’ll ever come, too, Jacquie. LOL. Boy, can she make you feel the environment!

      Where the Crawdads Sing is a book I will probably read again down the road. It really is special 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds like you found some good reads, Mae. I was especially intrigued by Where the Crawdads Sing. Thanks for not giving anything away! I have a bunch of indie books in my kindle to read before I pick up another book, but I’ll keep this one on the radar. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Rhani! So great to have you drop by and visit. Thanks for reading, and I’m delighted you’re looking forward to part 2. I don’t know why I never posted reviews to my blog before *palmforehead* but am looking forward to doing this each month!


    • The outback setting in The Lost Man really added to the tension of the novel, Soooz. When it surfaces on your TBR, I’ll be interested in hearing your thoughts.
      Glad you enjoyed my reviews and that you’re looking forward to part 2. I hope to keep this up every month! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m looking forward to reading The Lost Man. I’ve spent quite a bit of time exploring our amazing outback, so I’m certain I’ll find much to enjoy. I love seeing reviews posted on sites that I follow. It’s a great way to find new book and authors to explore.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I would love to see the Outback. I’m sure my mouth would drop. I remember visiting the American west and feeling so small/insignificant in the face of all that vast country and desert. The Outback would be that on steroids 🙂

        And I agree with you about reviews. I’ve picked up several books based on reviews I’ve seen on other blogs!


  4. Great reviews Mae 🙂 Last week I had 3 DNFs in a row… But I’m not sure what’s worse, a DNF or actually finishing a book that was bad and then reflecting on the few hours you’ve lost from your life that you can never get back, lol!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow! Three DNFs in a row! And I thought two was bad, LOL.

      But you’re absolutely right about reading a bad book to the conclusion and then being frustrated because of the time you’ve invested. I rarely go past several chapters anymore because of my TBR being too huge.

      BTW, I looked for a copy of True Places at my local bookstore. They were out. I think I’m going to give it a go and purchase the Kindle copy, though it may be a while until it surfaces on my list. After reading your review about it, I can’t get it out of my head. See what you did, LOL?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Fantastic reviews, Mae!!! Wow! I will definitely check out the other two! You are right about the characters in “Where the Crawdads Sing.” I think we can expect to see a movie based on that book within the next year or so. I will most definitely go see it!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve read Jane Harper’s “The Dry” and enjoyed it. Haven’t purchase another of her books but sounds like this is a good one. Oh to read six books in a month. Those days are long gone for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! Admittedly, reading is the way I pass most evenings, especially when I go to bed. Six books was a lot for me. I normally average one a week.

      I still have to read “Force of Nature” Harper’s book that follows The Dry. That’s been on my Kindle for a while!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I read the “Where the Crawdads Sing” and enjoyed it. I wrote down who was the murderer when the murder was revealed. Put it away and waited for it to be revealed. I wasn’t even close. 🤓 It was an enjoyable read. I put “Can’t Let Go” on my TBR list. Great reviews Mae. HUGS

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Chuck. So wonderful to have you visit! I’m with you on Crawdads…the revelation of the murderer took me completely by surprise and I read a lot of mysteries, so I often figure it out before the end. But not this time.
      I think you’ll enjoy Can’t Let Go. It reads quickly and I really liked the way it ended. HUGS!!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. That’s good to hear about “Crawdads.” I almost picked it up in the bookstore the other day but got put off by all the accolades..could it possibly live up to expectations? I’ll definitely read it now. Thanks. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi! Thanks for checking out the review. I’m glad I could be of some help. The book was good from the start, but I read a lot of good books so I kept waiting for that extra “something.” The ending delivered it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

      Liked by 1 person

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