Mini-reviews: The Poison Eaters: And Other Stories by Holly Black; An Irish Country Christmas by Patrick Taylor; Coventry by Helen Humphreys; and The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shreve

Title: The Poison Eaters: And Other Stories
Author: Holly Black
Genre: Short fiction, paranormal fiction, YA fiction
Publisher: Big Mouth House
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from my personal library
First line: Matilda was drunk, but then she was always drunk anymore.

This is an excellent collection of speculative short fiction. I believe it is considered YA fiction, but I would say some of the content is on the upper age limit of YA. The first story, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown was my favorite; the last, the title story, my least – but most of them are great. Most of them are also very short, so this is the perfect book for dipping into when you only have a little while to spend reading.

Title: An Irish Country Christmas
Author: Patrick Taylor
Genre: Contemporary fiction, Irish fiction
Publisher: Forge Books
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from my personal library
First line: Barry Laverty – Doctor Barry Laverty – slammed the door of Brunhilde, his elderly Volkswagen Beetle.

This is another delightful installment in Patrick Taylor’s series about rural doctors Laverty and O’Reilly. All of the things that make the series such fun are there: Kinky, O’Reilly’s fey housekeeper; the eccentric newlyweds, Maggie and Sonny; Arthur, O’Reilly’s dipsomaniac dog; redheaded schemer Donal Donnelly; and unusual – and, often, hysterical – medical cases. This story throws in some medical competition for the doctors, a potential love interest for O’Reilly, and possible trouble for Laverty’s budding romance with Patricia. I’ve enjoyed every hour I’ve spent in Ballybucklebo with the Irish doctors, and hope Taylor writes many more.

Title: Coventry
Author: Helen Humphreys
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy I won from Jennifer at Literate Housewife
First line: The swallow arcs and dives above the cathedral.

Excellent short historical fiction surrounding the bombing of Coventry, England, in World War II, resulting in the destruction of Coventry Cathedral. The story follows two very different women, with flashbacks revealing their history, and leads up to the devastating events that bring them together. Highly recommended for fellow lovers of World War II fiction.

Title: The Pilot’s Wife
Author: Anita Shreve
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from my personal library
First line: She heard a knocking, and then a dog barking.

This is the second book by Shreve that I’ve read, and she has a wonderful way of getting inside the heads of her characters and describing the mental turmoil they undergo in times of stress. The wife of the title loses her pilot husband in a crash, and the book follows the aftermath of the catastrophe, her grief, and the discovery of secrets her husband had kept hidden. It had me turning the pages long after I should have been sleeping.

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14 Responses to Mini-reviews: The Poison Eaters: And Other Stories by Holly Black; An Irish Country Christmas by Patrick Taylor; Coventry by Helen Humphreys; and The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shreve

  1. Marg
    Twitter: MargReads
    says:

    I have been meaning to read Coventry for the longest time!

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Marg – it’s a very quick read, but for a short book, it sure tells a powerful story.

  2. bermudaonion (Kathy)
    Twitter: bermudaonion
    says:

    It looks like you’ve gotten in a lot of good reading lately. I read The Pilot’s Wife years ago and it just blew me away.

  3. Elisabeth says:

    I have not “met” an Anita Shreve book I didn’t like and I have read them all! I hope you read some more of her!

  4. I read The Pilot’s Wife, and if I remember rightly, it was fantastic. I’ve liked everything I’ve read by Anita Shreve!

    Cindy at Cindy’s Book Club

  5. Anna says:

    Sounds like you loved Coventry as much as I did. I just wished it was longer since it was so good. I’ll link to your review on War Through the Generations.

  6. stacybuckeye says:

    Pilot’s Wife was my first book by Shreve and it turned me into a fan for life. I’ll read all of her books eventually!

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