This year has already had it’s ups and downs with life and with reading, so I thought I’d share my “first reads” reading experiences – the good … and the not so good.
First Book Read this Year
The Pure in Heart (Simon Serrailler #2), Susan Hill, is the first book I finished this year. I gave it a 3-star rating on Goodreads and thought it was just OK … so my reading year started off with more of a whimper than a bang. This was a solid book though, which was mostly about the character development of Simon than it was about the mystery – and yes – I needed both to feel complete. So while Simon’s character is fascinating, The Pure in Heart just wasn’t as good as the first book in the series, The Various Haunts of Men.
A boy disappears waiting for a lift to school. A child miles away in the North of England, is abducted while walking to swimming baths near home. A girl and her harassed single mother become close to their next door neighbor Ed. Simon Serailler has very distressing cases, while still raw after a close shocking bereavement.
[Buy The Pure in Heart @ Amazon]
First Favorite & First Audiobook Hangover
Spinning Silver, Naomi Novik just completely did me in … in all the right ways. This was my second book of the year and my first audiobook. It’s narrated by Lisa Flanagan and she was amazing from the start. The story is lush, deep, imaginative, emotional – so, so good. The narration will just suck you right into the novel and hold you into the World and lives of the characters – Myriem, the Ice King, Irina and Wanda. There’s so much going on in this book, and many characters, yet the narrator was able to make each distinct and unique enough so that it was easy to distinguish between them. And yes, I had such a bad reading hangover when Spinning Silver was over!
Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father isn’t a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has loaned out most of his wife’s dowry and left the family on the edge of poverty, until Miryem steps in. Hardening her heart against her fellow villagers’ pleas, she sets out to collect what is owed and finds herself more than up to the task. When her grandfather loans her a pouch of silver pennies, she brings it back full of gold. But having the reputation of being able to change silver to gold can be more trouble than it’s worth–especially when her fate becomes tangled with the cold creatures that haunt the wood, and whose king has learned of her reputation and wants to exploit it for reasons Miryem cannot understand.
First Reading Slump and Book That Pulled Me Out
I’ve already been through my first reading slump of the year in February. I just wasn’t into reading or listening to audiobooks. It lasted 2-3 weeks … but as much as I loved doing other things, I really wanted to get back into it. So I reached for a new book in a series I loved that had been on my reading list for a while. And after just a few minutes with the audiobook of Lethal White (Cormoran Strike #4), Robert Galbraith – I was back baby! It’s narrated by Robert Glenister (who also did the other books in the series) – and HE IS Cormoran Strike. He completely becomes the character, and he’s probably one of the reasons why Cormoran is one of my favorite fictional detectives. And this also turned out to be my favorite book of the series.
When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike’s office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. Trying to get to the bottom of Billy’s story, Strike and Robin Ellacott – once his assistant, now a partner in the agency – set off on a twisting trail that leads them through the backstreets of London, into a secretive inner sanctum within Parliament, and to a beautiful but sinister manor house deep in the countryside.
[Buy Lethal White @ Amazon]
First “Did Not Finish”
I really don’t like starting a book and not finishing it. Oh I can discard after 5 minutes, but if I’ve read a few chapters, then I’m usually all in until the end – even if I have to skim some parts. But with that said, there have been times when I just CANNOT! And that just happened to me with Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James. This is probably the kind of book that will go on to win literary awards .. because the writing is lush with prose – so much heavy handed wordiness to describe …. nothing. Just writing to show off words and not really to tell a story of interest. Sure, there’s a loose plot, but it’s very vague.
I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Dion Graham, and I must say he did a phenomenal job. His accented voice immediately placed us in the setting of the story. His voice is filled with expression, exceitement and enthusiam. He really was the perfect choice to read this story of nothing … but even he couldn’t make me continue. After listening to Black Leopard Red Wolf for the last 2 hours of a road trip – I couldn’t imagine being stuck with it for another 5 hours on my return trip back. I pulled the plug (so to speak) and asked for a refund from Audible … because one should not waste an Audible credit on this book.
Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter: “He has a nose,” people say. Engaged to track down a mysterious boy who disappeared three years earlier, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group that comes together to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as Leopard.
Have you experienced all those reading firsts yet? Any others? Was the first book you read this year amazing – or just OK like mine?