Thursday, May 31, 2018

Month in review and a few reviews - Sometimes I Lie; Alice Feeney and The Sinner; Petra Hammesfahr

The 5th month of 2018 bites the dust and once again in retirement I'm reading fewer books than when I worked.  So far in 2018 I've read (40) books (7 in May). 

Favorite Book for May

Books Read in 2018

  1. The Flight Attendant; Chris Bohjalian - 3/5 (eGalley) Jan/2018
  2. Small Great Things; Jodi Picoult (reread book group) - 4.5/5 (audio) Jan/2018
  3. My Absolute Darling; GabrielTallent - 4/5 (eGalley) Jan/2018
  4. Sisters; Lily Tuck - 5/5 (library) Jan/2018
  5. An American Marriage; Tayari Jones - 4/5 (eGalley) Jan/2018
  6. Why I Read: The Serious Pleasure of Books (NF); Wendy Lesser - 3.5/5 (library) Jan/2018
  7. Alternate Side; Anna Quindlen - 3.5/5 (eGalley) Jan/2018
  8. I Married You for Happiness; Lily Tuck - 4/5 (library) Jan/2018
  9. The Woman in the Window; A.J. Finn - 4/5 (eGalley) Feb/2018
  10. Nomadland; Jessica Bruder - 4.5/5 NF/library Feb/2018
  11. Saints for All Occasions; J. Courtney Sullivan - (my shelves) 4.5/5 - Feb/2018
  12. Girl on the Train; Paula Hawkins (reread/book group) - 4/5 - Feb/2018
  13. Census; Jesse Ball - (eGalley) 4/5 - Feb/2018 
  14. I'm a Duck; Eve Bunting - (my shelves) 4.5/5 - March/2018
  15. Windows; Julia Denos - (my shelves) 4.5/5 - March/2018
  16. The Tip Toeing Tiger; Philippa Leathers - (my shelves) 4.5/5 - March/2018
  17. The Perfect Neighbors; Sarah Pekkanen - (eGalley) 3.5/5 - March/2018
  18. White Houses; Amy Bloom - (eGalley) 3.5/5 - March/2018
  19. Best Day Ever; Kaira Rouda - (library) 4.5/5 - March/2018
  20. Lucky Us; Amy Bloom (library/ book group read) 4/5 - March/2018
  21. Mercury; Margot Livesey (eGalley) 3.5/5 - March/2018
  22. The Other Girl; Erica Spindler (audio) 3/5 - March/2018
  23. Trick; Domenico Starnone - (library) 4.5/5 - March/2018
  24. Sunburn; Laura Lippman - eGalley 5/5 - April/2018
  25. Everything Here is Beautiful; Miranda Lee - library - 4.5/5 - April/2018
  26. Tangerine; Christine Mangan - eGalley/eAudio - 4.5/5 - April/2018
  27. I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death; Maggie O'Farrell - library 4/5 - April/2018
  28. Girl in Snow; Danya Kukafka - eGalley - 3.5/5 - April/2018
  29. The Ninth Hour; Alice McDermott - library/audio - 4.5/5 - April/2018
  30. The Nest; Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney (reread/bookgroup-April) - 3.5/5 - April/2018
  31. Let Me Lie; Clare Mackintosh (audio) - 4/5 - April/2018
  32. Rainbirds; Clarissa Goenawan (library) - 5/5 - April/2018
  33. A Noise Downstairs; Linwood Barclay (eGalley) - 5/5 - April/2018
  34. Eight Hundred Grapes; Laura Dave (audio/library) - 4/5 May/2018
  35. The Death of Mrs Westaway; Ruth Ware - (eGalley) - 4.5/5  May/2018
  36. All the Beautiful Lies; Peter Swanson (eGalley/library audio) - 3.5/5 - May/2018
  37. The Cuban Affair; Nelson DeMille (library audio) - 2.5/5 - May/2018
  38. Sometimes I Lie; Alice Feeney (library) - 4/5 May/2018
  39. The Sinner; Petra Hammesfahr (audio & print) - 4/5 - May/2018
  40. The Female Persuasion; Meg Wolitzer (audio) - 4/5 - May/2018

Sometimes I Lie; Alice Feeney
Flatiron Books - 2018

"My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:

1. I'm in a coma
2. My husband doesn't love me
3. Sometimes I Lie

Amber Reynolds, a radio show presenter, wakes up in a London hospital. She's in a coma and can't move or speak but, she can hear every word that those around her speak in her hospital room.  She's not quite sure what happened to her but she's pretty sure that her husband Paul had something to do with her being in a coma.

This certainly was an impressive, twisty, psychological thriller debut novel. The story is told from three timelines: the present from the hospital bed, the week before the accident and from 25 year old childhood diaries.  There are a number of twists along the way, especially towards the end, some felt a bit unrealistic and oftentimes I wasn't sure what was true and what was a lie.  Even though this was at times a bit confusing, I quickly turned the pages and was happy I tried this one. I would definitely read another book by this promising new author.

Rating - 4.5/5

The Sinner; Petra Hammesfahr
Bitter Lemon Books - 2008

On a sunny afternoon at the lake with her husband and young child, Cora Bender stabs a stranger to death on the beach while the man's girlfriend and onlookers watch in shock.

So right off the reader knows who committed murder but, the mystery to unravel is why she did it.
As the investigator digs deep into Cora's childhood and family situation, the truth is slowly revealed but, before that happens one must sort out what is the truth and what is a lie.

This story pulled me in right away and I loved watching Cora's character develop. She's complicated and her dysfunctional childhood and marriage on the rocks were fascinating to delve into.  The Sinner is a very dark story with a good amount of shock value. The character development was well done and the story kept me guessing. Unfortunately, the translation, from the German, was a bit challenging at times, especially the names.  For whatever reason the story flowed better on audio than it did in print for me.

Rating - 4/5


  1. Good to hear that Sometimes I Lie worked for you as well. It was definitely a twisty ride. Not sure if I'll try The Sinner, but I'll keep in mind that audio might work better.

    1. The Sinner is definitely not for everyone Kay but, I was happy I listened to it.

  2. The first year after I retired I read more books than I ever had before in a year. It was all downhill from there as I got involved in many things. But finally, nine years later I am back in the groove. Have I really been retired for nine years!?! No wonder I feel old. Both of those books sound like good pageturners for sure.

    1. Judy, as my mother always said, "time flies so much faster after 60" - so true.

  3. Great reviews and quite the list of books you've read, impressive!

  4. It's funny that you are reading less in retirement, but that means you are out there enjoying yourself, so that's good!

    1. Yes, Helen, I never expected to be reading less. When I worked I had a solid hour 5/days a week of reading at lunch uninterrupted and then managed to listen to audios while commuting as well plus weekend reading.

  5. Those two books sound great! And, sounds like retirement is keeping you busy :)

  6. I always feel like we read the same books but of your list, I've only read 8. Hmm.
    I've had a good time reading this year. I've read more for pleasure than anything else. Many happen to be review copies but I've only agreed to ones I really wanted to read anyway. My numbers are super low but who cares? Absolutely no one.

    1. Ti, We are supposed to be reading for pleasure and, yes, who really cares how many books we read. I've always been guilty of self imposed pressure.

  7. I've read several of these books...and recently purchased The Death of Mrs. Westaway. I also enjoyed Sometimes I Lie, The Female Persuasion, and several others you marked as 4-5 stars.

    Enjoy June!

  8. Hi Diane,
    Wowee--I've just caught up with your "Books Read" list for this year. I'm glad to see how much you've read and very interested by your ratings. I read The Woman in The Window in early January--I agree with your rating. I loved The Nest more than you, I think. It was one of my favorites in 2017. I really appreciated Small Great Things and am contemplating her novel set in Alaska. But there is so much to read this year.
    On a pertinent note to the North Shore of Boston, Ken and I are traveling to South Hamilton for a Golden Retriever Specialty Show on Saturday. Should be hot (oh, no!) and fun. Our cameras will be in full use. We're searching Golden breeders for the future. We have an empty nest, but will take the time and space to be ready for a new Golden.


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