Good Reads vol. 3

I’m playing catch-up with some blog posts. Here are some more of the books that I read back in August.

Cuckoo’s Calling
I’m struggling as to how to talk about this one. I tried not to let the whole pseudonym thing color what I actually thought of the book, but to be perfectly honest, I was not looking forward to reading it. I have absolutely no problem with an author taking on a pseudonym, especially if they’re venturing into a new genre of writing. Authors do it all the time, that’s fine. The thing that has left a bad taste in my mouth from the beginning is the alternate persona she chose. Pretending to be a war veteran writing a story about a war veteran, and putting phrases in the book like “No civilian can begin to understand the sacrifice…”, it all just seems really tacky to me.
Having said that, I did enjoy the book. I think it’s really hilarious how so many people who wouldn’t ordinarily touch this genre with a ten foot pole are gobbling it up. I think it would be awesome if she continued to write mysteries! There are some problems with the story, especially the timeline. But the characters suck you in, and I found the book to be a nice solid mystery. I don’t want to go too much into the story, because I don’t want to get spoiler-y, but if anyone else has read it, I’d love to talk about it!
And the last thing I’ll say is this, if you’re new to the genre and liked this book, I highly recommend Elizabeth George. She writes in a similar style (British procedural mysteries with tons of family drama centered stories), but she does it better.
(Now I’m going to stand back and wait for people to start throwing tomatoes at me…)

The Collegia Magica Trilogy
I loved these books! I’m not always drawn to fantasy books, but these books were a really interesting mix of science, magic, and religion. At first, I didn’t like the multiple narrator points of view, but I quickly realized why it was necessary. The people were coming from such different places and had so many different motivations, it was like peeling an onion and finding layer upon layer of hidden insights into their characters. I will certainly be revisiting these again.

The City and Town Gardener: A Handbook for Planting in Small Spaces and Containers
Very informative. I loved her little anecdotes, and I learned more than I had expected to. Most notably, water in the morning. I’ve always been an evening waterer, especially since I moved to Florida. I’ve always heard that water would evaporate in the heat before it could do what it needed to for the plants. What I didn’t take into consideration was that water sitting in containers overnight can lead to mold growth and other unsavory things. Which might be why I keep killing every basil plant I’ve ever owned? Maybe.
I did skip around in this book a bit. Although I’m sure it was very interesting, I don’t really need to know how to pile snow around the base of ornamental trees to winterize them.
One slight disappointment in the book was the author’s dislike of growing from seed. I’m attempting to do that this fall, so I would have liked some info on that. I don’t agree that space limitations should limit you in that area, but I see why a lot of people don’t like growing from seed when they can get plants that have already been started.

Eat to Live: The Revolutionary Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss
This book has been known in my house as “that crazy ass diet book”. While a lot of what it says makes sense, like you should be eating a lot more vegetables, and the Standard American Diet is terrible, this diet is a bit extreme for my tastes. I don’t usually go for any diet that restricts you to just a couple of food groups. But if you’re already vegan, or wanting to explore that lifestyle, this book is definitely worth a read. There are a lot of really tasty vegan recipes that I’d like to try. I think it’s a great companion book if you’re trying to eat Clean.
The best thing that I took from this book is the idea of using different cooking methods. Did you know that you don’t need oil to make stir-fry? Or to roast veggies? I didn’t, but you totally can! I’ve “water sautéed” veggies a few times since reading this book, and it works great. I haven’t tried roasting yet, but whenever my broken oven gets fixed, that’s on my list.

So that’s what I’ve been reading lately. I have a huge pile of books that I want to plow through this month, so stay tuned for some non-fiction, and possibly a French detective or two 🙂

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