Monday, July 19, 2021

Book Review: The Gilded Hour, by Sara Donati

The Gilded Hour by Sara Donati book cover and review
I read Where the Light Enters and really enjoyed it. Only at the end of the book did I realize that it was the second book in a series. So The Gilded Hour went on my list, and I saw it on so I decided to purchase it. I ended up a bit disappointed. I'll not give much of a summary, you can click on the link to see the publisher's description.

The first problem is that The Gilded Hour is very bloated. At 742 pages it is very (very) descriptive and somewhat repetitious. I listened to this one in chunks, breaking it up with other books in between. I listen to audiobooks while exercising, and this one just couldn't get me through a workout.

Secondly, nothing is resolved after all that time. You have to wait for the second book to get closure about the orphans, the murdering of women, and the fate of Sophie and her husband. I feel like you can read the second book and get everything you need. The first book is just a very long introduction to several plots, and as I said in my review of Where the Light Enters, it isn't clear what the central plot of the story is.

I did enjoy the romance of Anna and Jack. It was nice to see how they ended up together. And you find out how the orphans came into their lives. But I can't honestly say this is worth over 700 pages of information.

I'm sure I wouldn't have finished The Gilded Hour if I were reading it. I tend to be very patient with audiobooks, especially those that I have paid for! So I was determined to finish it eventually. I'll let you decide whether you need the complete story, or whether the conclusion (Where the Light Enters) is good enough.

Published by Berkley, 2015
Audiobook obtained from
742 pages

Rating: 3/5

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Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Book Review: The Great Santini, by Pat Conroy

The Great Santini by Pat Conroy book cover and review
My sister-in-law has read a couple of Conroy's books and recommended him, so I found The Great Santini at the library and decided to give it a go. Loved the writing, not so much the story.

Basically, it's a story of the life of Colonel Bull Meecham, or The Great Santini, a name he has given himself. He's a Marine pilot with a wife and three kids. This takes place in the '60s, and the family is once again moving to a new place because Bull has been reassigned. He's a jerk. And the book goes through example after example of his physical and mental abuse. He's not nice to his family or his Marines. 

We see his son's struggles on the basketball team, and myriad other problems his kids have. There isn't really an overall story arc, something I found lacking. The story just meanders through Bull's life. There is a life-threatening event towards the end of the story. And then the dramatic ending. But that all happens very quickly.

The redeeming quality of The Great Santini is the writing. Conroy uses sophisticated vocabulary. I found myself having to look up a few words, which given my vocabulary, doesn't happen very often when I'm reading fiction.

The Great Santini has been made into a movie, which I haven't seen but may check out. Conroy has written many other bestsellers, and I may eventually give another one of his a go.

Published by Random House, 1976
eBook obtained from the library
512 pages

Rating: 3.5/5

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Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Book Review: The Bone Code by Kathy Reichs

The Bone Code by Kathy Reichs book cover and review
As is usually the case with any Temperance Brennan novel, I really enjoyed The Bone Code.

This time it is a case of some bodies in a barrel that washed up on the beach. The weird thing is that Tempe worked on a similar case many years ago in Canada.

The investigation is interesting and I really liked that fiance Ryan was around for a lot of the book and helped with the investigation. The South Carolina setting was different and added some interest.

It seems like there is a lot going on at the beginning with some additional issues being introduced, but eventually, it all becomes clear. I love the brisk pace of these investigations and am always surprised by the twists.

If you are a fan, you shouldn't miss this one. And if you aren't, you can jump in anywhere--each book is its own story. However, some characters have quite a history that can be enjoyed if you start at the beginning.

Published by Scribner, July 6, 2021
eARC obtained from NetGalley
368 pages

Rating: 4/5

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Friday, July 2, 2021

Book Review: The Perfect Guests by Emma Roux

The Perfect Guests by Emma Rous book cover and review
The Perfect Guests kept my interest but didn't blow me away.

Our first point of view is Beth in 1988, who can't believe her good fortune when her aunt takes her from the children's home where she resides since the death of her parents to live with the Averells at Raven Hall. The Averells have a daughter, Nina, and she and Beth become fast friends. But Beth wonders why she is there, and if this situation will end at any minute if she does something wrong. Is it all just too good to be true? Well, perhaps it is...

The second point of view is Sadie in 2019. She is a struggling actress and when she gets hired, without even an audition, to participate in a murder mystery game at the abandoned Raven Hall, she is thrilled. They send her clothes and a script and a driver to take her. Raven Hall is fascinating and Sadie enjoys the role -- at first. But things start turning weird as the night goes on, and then things turn deadly.

There is a third point of view, but we don't know who it is. It is in italics; no year given. The reader eventually figures it out, but I thought these sections were superfluous and didn't add much.

The end is very twisty, almost unbelievably so. I was very invested to see how all these people were related and it turns out is it somewhat complex. I enjoyed my time with The Perfect Guests, but given the plethora of dramatic thrillers, it didn't stand out. Recommended if you are intrigued by the premise.

Published by Berkley, January 12, 2021
eBook obtained from the library
304 pages

Rating: 4/5

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