May 2018 Review - Books Read & Other Things

May 2018 Review – Books Read & Other Things

Note the new title – May 2018 Review – Books Read & Other Things. Yes, I will continue to share the books I read the previous month (and ask for your lists, too), but I will also review other highlights. For example, one change will be to the newsletter going forward.


Subscriber growth with the email newsletter continues to be very strong. Most people have signed up for Instant Notification (i.e., an email the same day a post goes live).

Recognizing that not everyone wants that many emails, I have also offered a weekly summary newsletter. Only a small group of people have elected that choice which makes sense when I only post once or twice a week. Many people have suggested a monthly summary newsletter rather than weekly.

So be it. Starting this month, I will produce a summary newsletter monthly, coming out in coordination with this monthly post. If you have hesitated to sign up for the newsletter, perhaps the monthly summary option will be a great option.

Let me know in the comments if you have any thoughts.

Books Read May 2018

Full disclosure – the links in this post are all Amazon affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of those links, I receive a small commission from Amazon though it has no impact on your purchase price.

The longer days and various tasks cut into my reading time, so I fell a little below my normal pace reading only 8 books this month. At 47 books so far this year, I am still ahead of the pace needed to read 100 books this year.

Here are this month’s tomes:

J.T. Ellison – Nashville Metro PD Lieutenant Taylor Jackson struggles through some challenges to maintain her job leading a homicide squad while still solving murder mysteries. The Immortals follows a young band of murderers captivated with the occult. The book introduces a great new character – a good witch, for real – and centers on a high school that amuses me. My mother graduated from the same Hillsborough High School central to the story. In So Close The Hand of Death, a serial killer who has been taunting the detective ups his game – by running a contest among other serial killers. Creepy and fantastic.

Lisa Gardner – As I have said several times, Gardner creates the best (worst?) bad guys ever and this month’s selections do not disappoint. Boston Detective D.D. Warren is rarely nervous, but she is as she faces this crowd – thriller writers learning their craft at a conference. She has a fifty-minute session as a keynote speaker and tells them a story with 3 Truths And A Lie. Can they – or you – figure out the lie? If you have wanted to try Gardner’s books but haven’t committed to a full-length novel, this short story is a great way to get to know her style. In Find Her, the story is less about Detective Warren and more about Flora Dane. A sadistic man kidnapped college student Dane. He held her captive for over a year and did unspeakable things to her (as I said, Gardner creates creepy bad guys). Told in gruesome flashbacks that past explains why she killed a man who attacked her. Does anyone other than Dane really know what happened during her first abduction?

Michael Connelly – Connelly writes about my favorite fiction detective, Los Angeles based Harry Bosch, and his half-brother, Mickey Haller (known as The Lincoln Lawyer). But neither appears in this book as Connelly introduces a new LAPD detective, Renee Ballard who works the overnight shift (The Late Show) as a first-on-the-scene detective. I admit this is not my favorite Connelly book, but Ballard’s character grew on me during the book, particularly the way she handles a situation at the end of the novel. I look forward to reading more about Ballard.

Chris Bohjalian – I read my first Bohjalian book in April, which was his latest, so I went back to read a previous best-seller, Midwives. Like Connelly’s book I mentioned above, I struggled through the first part as the story’s foundation forms, but once “the crime” has occurred (a woman dies during childbirth at home) and the trial begins (is the midwife guilty of manslaughter?), I was hooked. The daughter tells the story, intermingled with journal entries by her mother. Guilt or innocence is never clear cut. The book leaves you wondering to the end what really happened (and I mean the last page).

Clive Cussler – The Rising Sea has an interesting premise (particularly in the current discussions of Climate Change), but I never got into the multiple characters and shifting locales. This is the curse of writers who use series – it is often hard to get into a novel without reading the series in order.

Stephen King / Owen King – King’s stories enamored me as a kid with The Stand ranking as one of my all-time favorite books. Sleeping Beauties does not disappoint. What if all the women on the planet went to sleep leaving men to make everything work? Given a choice, will the women come back to the men or form their own new world? As always, King gives us lots of great characters to love and hate – not all of whom make it to the final pages.

Website Activity

The most popular post of the month was the Charleston Harbor By Boat – photographs I had taken during a recent week there. I need to dedicate more time to photography, but other projects interfere.

April’s Brad And His Date was the second most popular post this month, receiving twice as many reads in May as it did in April – the month I posted it. It does an ego good to have a story “with legs.” Poor Brad may not realize his path to popularity was through a short story.

Two other short stories written in previous months continued to have strong readings – Modern Torture Devices (I hate to guess what people are Googling to get that one) and Puerto Rico and Hurricane Maria.

Essays aim toward website operators and don’t receive as much readership, but this month had one with very strong readership – The Privacy Policy I Wish I Had Written. Not a typical essay (more short story), readers appreciate the humor and frustration dealing with the legal side of operating a website. The other essay, Facebook Versus Small Websites, performed more the way most essays do – a small but passionate reader group.

Pestilence continues to be popular, much to my surprise. Who knew an appetite for a serial novel existed?

What Are You Reading?

As always, what are you reading? I love getting ideas of books I should have on my list.

And thank you for hanging out, enjoying my creations, and making this journey fun.

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