May Book Reviews, Part 2

I’m excited that June is finally here, and pool season has arrived! I spend a lot of time during the summer pool season reading and plotting my WIPs, and am looking forward to my warm weather routine. But first, I’d like to share the books I read in May. You can find part one of my reviews HERE. And now for the books I read during the last half of the month. Click the Amazon Link below each review for blurbs and additional information. Perhaps something will strike your fancy!

Book cover for Global WeirdnessGlobal Weirdness
By Climate Central

If you’re interested in climate change, this is a good place to start. Greenhouse gases, severe weather, global warming, extinction events—it’s all here. The chapters are short and the material presented in such a way that it’s easy to understand and follow. A few chapters seem repetitive in places, but overall the flow from one to the next follows in smooth succession. The book addresses more than just greenhouse gases, also looking at ocean evaporation, sunlight reflection, cloud cover, threatened species and predictions for the future. This is an older book (I think was written in 2012) but I still found it informative and interesting. 3.5 stars.

Amazon Link
Genre: Weather > Environmental Science


Book cover for The HousemateThe Housemate
By C. L. Pattison

Chloe and Megan have been best friends for twelve years. When they find the perfect home for lease, they need a third roommate to swing the rent. They meet Sammi who seems a perfect fit, but after she moves in things start to go haywire. Sammi is secretive about her past and doesn’t appear to have friends or family. Items go missing, Chloe suffers a setback at her job that appears to be the result of sabotage, and a special dress belonging to Megan is irreparably damaged—just a few of the oddities that arise after Sammi enters their lives.

This book reads very quickly (I finished it in two nights), and it is definitely a page turner. Chloe and Megan alternate POVs, along with a third mystery narrator who isn’t revealed until the end. Although I guessed the identity of that narrator halfway through the book, there were plenty of twists that took me by surprise, and when the ending was said and done, I admired how the author let the story play out.

There are a few places where you need to go with the flow and not analyze too closely (i.e, nope, that wouldn’t happen in the real world) but if you’re looking for an entertaining read that would translate well into a cable channel movie, this book is gold. 4 Stars.

Amazon Link
Genre: Psychological Thrillers


Book cover for Fever DreamFever Dream
By Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

I recently hooked yet another friend on this series and decided to reread this book (for the third time) while she was reading it. Although I have devoured all of the Pendergast books, several stand out as my personal favorites and this is at the top of the list.

Aloysius X. L. Pendergast is a Special Agent with the FBI, a man who holds two doctorate degrees, and comes from a very rich and very old southern family. To say he is eccentric is equivalent to calling the ocean a lake. Pendergast does things his way, has little if no regard for authority, favors immaculate black suits, and drives a Rolls Royce Silver Wraith. He is a near-albino with extremely pale whitish hair, silver eyes and pale skin. He’s also damn good at solving crimes, even when they have a bizarre or potentially supernatural slant.

In Fever Dream, the crime becomes personal when he suddenly discovers the wife he lost twelve years earlier was likely murdered—and wasn’t exactly who he thought her to be. This book revealed a side of Pendergast readers hadn’t seen before which is one of the reasons I love it so much. That, and a scene involving boats, rednecks and a rundown bar that SCREAMS to be filmed. The audience would be on its feet cheering. 5 whopping big stars!

Amazon Link
Genre: Thriller > Suspense


Book cover for To Kill a MockingbirdTo Kill a Mockingbird
By Harper Lee

I can’t believe I never read this book before! It’s truly a classic in every sense of the word. I picked up a paperback copy a year ago to read on a flight but never got around to it. My loss. I recently came across my copy and devoured it in two days, riveted from the opening page. I’m almost intimidated to write a review. No wonder this book was voted Novel of the Century in a 1999 poll by Library Journal.

A beautiful coming of age story set in a small town at a time when racial prejudice was rampant, this book positively brims over with heart, wisdom, and wit. The characters are simply outstanding. I fell in love with Atticus Finch, Scout, Gem, Dill, Boo Radly, Calpurnia, and so many more. As for the meaning of the title and the way it ties into the story, I had goose bumps.

Brilliant ending, brilliant characters, brilliant story. Star ratings don’t do it justice. A masterpiece of literature!

Amazon Link
Genre:  Literature > Classic Literature and Fiction


Book cover for The Meg shows a behemoth shark under water, many small boats aboveThe Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror
By Steve Alten

I first read this book back in the late 90s when it was originally released. Given I’m a fan of creatures and monsters, I was eager to dive into the story all over again. Happily, I was not disappointed.

Discovered in the Mariana Trench, a “Jurassic shark” (a prehistoric megalodon) manages to reach surface waters, where it goes on a rampage in the modern world. The characters are great—people you can cheer for, others you boo with relish.

Dr. Jonas Taylor, ex-Navy deep sea submersible pilot is especially excellent in the lead role. There are good guys, bad guys, a cheating wife/pushy reporter, billionaire playboy (who happens to be Jonas’s best friend) and a brilliant, beautiful scientist. I recently discovered the author wrote a number of books that piggyback on this one, hence my desire to re-read The Meg. The story has also been made into a movie—which I’m sure (when I finally see it) will have me breaking out the popcorn. I can’t wait to follow up reading the other books in this series of shark adventures—maybe just not at the beach!  5 Stars.

Amazon Link
Genre: Action Thriller > Suspense Action > Sea Adventure Fiction


Book cover for Unclear uses shows setting sun reflecting off lake, dark tree line in background, ghost outline of woman's head and shoulders in foregroundUnclear Purposes (Driscoll Lake 3)
By Joan Hall

I’ve followed the Driscoll Lake series from book one. Each novel is excellent, but the final is in a league of its own. The author clearly owns her small-town setting and the people who populate it.

When a woman is found murdered in Driscoll Lake, and two women die by similar means in a neighboring town, ex-FBI agent, Vince Green (now a private investigator) finds himself center stage trying to solve the murder. He and Christine Lawrence are the ones who found the victim in Driscoll Lake—a victim with a secretive past who has ties to multiple people in the town, including Christine’s ex mother-in-law. Toss in an old, unsolved crime, an arrogant police detective, art gallery clues, and the blossoming attraction between Christine and Vince, and you have book that will keep you entertained from page one.

Hall doles out her clues a little at a time, dropping them like breadcrumbs into a forest of divergent paths. Just when you think you’re starting to fit the pieces together, a new twist sends you down the wrong trail. The strong ensemble cast is handled with dexterity, each character awarded moments in the spotlight. Several of the secondary players are particularly notable. Equal parts mystery and romantic suspense, this intriguing novel presents a fabulous close to an excellent series. Each Driscoll Lake novel can be read as a standalone, including Unclear Purposes. Highly recommended! 5 Stars!

Amazon Link
Genre: Mystery > Romantic Suspense > Crime Suspense


Thanks for checking out this month’s reviews. I’ll be back in June with 1-2 more review posts (depending on how much I read). I hope you found something to add to your TBR and I wish you happy reading!

 

67 thoughts on “May Book Reviews, Part 2

  1. Great reviews Mae! I have Driscoll’s Lake books 2 & 3 on my TBR list. A couple others intrigued me from your reviews. I’m pretty sure I read The Meg. I loved To Kill A Mockingbird:)

    Liked by 3 people

    • The Driscoll Lake books are wonderful, Denise. I’m sure you’ll enjoy them. And I can’t believe I never read To Kill a Mockingbird before. It’s now on my absolute favorites list. As for The Meg, I’m about 25% through book 2 The Trench. Excellent already! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’d like to reread To Kill a Mockingbird, it was so amazing. I’m going have to check into The Meg and The Trench:)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: May Book Reviews, Part 2 | Welcome to Harmony Kent Online

  3. I miss the days when I could read two or three books in a week. Now, I never seem to have the time. I haven’t read To Kill a Mockingbird – only saw the movie. I’m sure the book is much better (they usually are).

    And thanks for including Unclear Purposes!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Joan, after I read To Kill a Mockingbird, I immediately looked the movie up and watched it. I thought it was exceptional but the book is soooooo much better! There’s just so much that never made it to the screen.

      And I was thrilled to include Unclear Purposes among my reviews. You wrote a fantastic close to a wonderful series!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m surprised I never had to read To Kill a Mockingbird in school. I remember reading other classics, but somehow this one never made it onto the list.

      Both The Meg and Unclear Purposes are excellent. You can’t go wrong with either, Priscilla!

      Like

  4. I didn’t know The Meg was based on a book, so I definitely didn’t know there were more to the series. I enjoyed the movie, bearing in mind I watched it for enjoyment and not literary merit. And now I want to read the book. (Books, I suppose.)

    A great selection here, Mae. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have yet to see The Meg, Staci. I’m waiting for it to hit rental DVD price, but then I plan to gobble it up. I can’t wait to see what they did with the translation from book to screen. I’m 25% into the second book The Trench and am enthralled 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. How incredibly cool that you read “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Mae! I read it years and years ago, but would love to read it again! This is a great collection of books and reviews!! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jan, it was one of those books I kept hearing about (well, the movie, too), and I was interested in reading a classic at the time. In the past I avoided it, because I thought the main focus was the trial. Boy, was I wrong, LOL. It’s a book I’m certain I’ll re-read again!

      Like

  6. Loved your reviews, as usual! Every book sounds interesting, but your description of Pendergast really intrigued me. He sounds as eccentric as Poirot, and I love Poirot. Wishing you many happy days of good reading by your pool and much great plotting:) Happy June!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jacquie, To Kill a Mockingbird is simply amazing. I was blown away when I read it. It you like small towns and coming of age stories along with an excpetional plot and message (that doesn’t hammer you over the head), you’ll love it. The characters are so unique!

      As for Pendergast, most of them you can read in any order, but there are two trilogies within the series that need to be read in order. Fever Dream is the start of those trilogies. I started with book 4, Still Life with Crows, but for some reason that title isn’t available on Kindle. All of the others are. The link below explains each book and shows you which ones have to be read in order. I actually think the very last release, Verses for the Dead, is a great place to start. In that one, Pendergast visits a new town and his forced to work with a partner, so the reader gets to see him through the partner’s eyes–and it’s all brand new. You don’t have to know any of the past.

      Happy Reading!

      http://www.howtoread.me/pendergast-books-in-order/

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What a great selection of reviews! Prendergast is ticking all my boxes, sounds like my kinda read. As for ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ it remains my all time favorite novel. Atticus Finch was beautifully portrayed on the screen by Gregory Peck. The book still lingers in my memory.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Soooz, how good to see you! I fell in love with Mockingbird. It’s now on my list of all time favorites, and I loved Gregory Peck’s portrayal of Atticus (I had to watch the movie as soon as I read the book). Both were so exceptional.

      And Pendergast is a book boyfriend for modern times. I LOVE that man! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I have read To kill a mockingbird a few times, Mae. A great book. I need to get book 1 of Joan’s series as I prefer to read books in order. The book about climate change sounds fascinating. I am researching climate change for my new book. It adds to the prewar economic woes and social turmoil.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can see myself rereading To Kill a Mockingbird over again, Robbie. Like you said, it’s a great book.

      I’m sure you’ll enjoy the entire Driscoll Lake Series. Joan did a good job with all three book.

      The climate change book was really easy to read. Nothing technical, but not overly simplistic. I checked that one out from my local library. It could make a handy reference for research,

      Like

  9. I really like the idea of a mystery narrator in The Housemate. That’s a twist I haven’t come across. I also read The Meg years ago when it came out, and loved it. One of my sons, who really isn’t much of a reader, devoured it. And I thought I was the only person who’d never read To Kill a Mockingbird. But since you read it, maybe now I am. I have no excuse. There’s a copy on my bookshelf.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Teri. I had To Kill a Mockingbird on my bookshelf for over a year before I finally read it. I’m sorry I didn’t do it sooner. It’s truly exceptional. And I’m now 60 pages away from finishing book 2 in The Meg series, The Trench. I have a feeling I’ll be reading all of them. Just watched the movie last night and was disappointed. The book is always better, but in this case, there were too many changes and additions. I should have just stuck with the book, LOL!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Love your reviews, Mae! Still trying to figure out how you find time to read these, write reviews, AND work on your WIP. AND work at your day job. I’ve been struggling just to read 1-2 books a month, and that isn’t counting writing reviews (which I am behind on as well). The Driscoll Lake series is on my TBR for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I read about three hours a night, Julie, so I can go through books pretty quickly. And in the summer, when it’s pool season I probably read an additional 3 hours during the day. Working on the WIP though, does put a dent in my reading time when I’m on a deadline!

      And you’re sure to enjoy the Driscoll Lake series. Joan did a wonderful job with all three books.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Late to the party, I know, but SOMEONE hooked me on this series about a near-Albino FBI agent named Pendergast, and I have something like 24 books to read!!!! You’ll be happy to know that I’m on Blue Labyrinth, so far my personal favorite, though I have loved every one of them, each in its own weirdly terrifying way. What a series! And A. X. L. Pendergast will always remain of of my very favorite characters all all time! Holy, Moly. Great review of Fever Dream, Mae, and oh yeah, those other books, too. 😀 😀 😀 Now, I still have another 20 pages to finish reading before I can start my NEXT Pendergast book. I. Am. Outta here. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha! I love having someone else go all fan girl on that guy. I am SOOO glad you are hooked on Pendergast. The authors can’t write the releases quickly enough for me. Blue Labyrinth was excellent, but like you said–they’re all wonderful in their own “weirdly terrifying way.” Love that description!
      Happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s a good thing I CAN go “all fan girl on that guy” with you, or I’d probably lose my teensy little mind. OH, these books!! So bizarre! So engrossing. So full of, well, Pendergast, not to put too fine a point on it! LOVE how his mind works, his very strange wardrobe and dinner choices, and his total commitment to solving whatever new and likely gruesome murder comes his way–as so many of them do! 😀 And judging from all the reviews/readers out there, you and I sure aren’t the only ones hooked on this whole, peculiar world. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • And by now you’ve probably read several more of those crazy, bizarre stories. I know you must have blitzed through Crimson Shore. Not too many more to go before you’re waiting for the next release to be published! Oh, the pain of waiting! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m actually not quite done with Crimson Shore. Been so busy trying to get ready for my daughter’s (BRIEF) visit to drop off their cats while they are on the road to their new digs in Colorado, I haven’t even been reading at lunch time! And at night, I’ve fallen asleep before getting very far. But this one is a real puzzler. I had at least one of the “bad” guys figured out, but I’m waiting to read his explanation on who the monster is. It had better be good, because this is truly creepy stuff. (I won’t miss the Chief of Police, though. Love how these two dispense with those authority figures who aren’t doing their jobs properly. 😀 ) And I am trying to pace myself, so I’ll make it until the next book release in August. (I’m going to have to try some of their other books, too, no doubt.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww, more cats. I think it’s great you’re taking them in for a spell until your daughter and hubby get settled in their new digs.

      I have to look up the August release and see if it has any Pendergast in it.

      I LOVE when he puts authority snobs in their place!

      Like

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