I got a lot of sewing, quilting and spirograph done this month. I know that because I finished 14 books! I can't really name favorites, I read so many good ones. I can say that three of them are pretty much duds for me. Those are:
The law of Innocence
The Guest List
Don't Look For Me
That's not a bad ratio for having made it through 14 books, many of which I dug out of the Audible free section.
What have you read this month that you would recommend?
By William Kent Krueger, Read By Buck Schirner
This is the 11th book in the Cork O'Connor series. I'm happy to see that there are at least 6 more left for me to read because I really enjoy this series.
The books are set in Northwest Minnesota. Cork O'Connor is now a private investigator. The book opens with the whole family on a vacation in the remote Northwest Angle, the northern most part of the contiguous US states. A devastating storm hits that separates the group. Cork's daughter is stranded on an island where she finds an abandoned baby. Other people seem to be looking for the baby too.
Krueger is an outstanding writer. Along with the plot there's a non-intrusive discussion of God (both the Christian and the Ojibwe versions of God) and the use of God for good and evil.
Lily of the Nile
By Stephanie Dray, Read By Kyla Garcia
This is the 1st book in the Cleopatra's Daughter trilogy. It starts with the death of Cleopatra and the caption of her children. They are taken to Rome where they are at the mercy of the new Caesar.
The store focuses on Selene and her years in Rome. It's an interesting book but it didn't quite capture me the way her books co-authored with Laura Kamoie do. It wasn't a bad book but I never really felt connected to Selene or any of the other characters. I'm not sure if I'll read the remaining 2 books.
No Stone Unturned
By Steve Jackson, Read By Kevin Pierce
A couple of months ago I read Monster by this same author. It was true crime book about the hunt for a serial killer. I like true crime and really enjoyed that book so I was happy to find another by the same author.
This book is an older book that was updated in 2015. It tells the story of NecroSearch, International. NSI is a premier forensic investigative team that helps with crimes all over the world. They started in Colorado in the 1980's as a group of people interested in improving crime scene investigation. They were known as "the pig people" because they did their original experiments using pigs. If you like true crime entertainment you will enjoy this book. It kind of reminds me of the new sleuths who use the internet to solve crimes that the police can't solve, as was the case with the Golden State Killer.
The Anatomist's Wife
By Anna Lee Huber, Read By Heather Wilds
This is the first in a series and is along the lines of Anne Perry's William Monk and Charlotte Pitt series. I'm guessing it's set during the Victorian Era but that's mostly because I call everything set in an olden time as Victorian. It's not relevant, it's just a time of Lords and Ladies and formal dress for dinner.
Lady Kiera Darby is a widow. Her late husband was notorious for his anatomy studies and he enlisted her to do his drawings. As a result she learned a lot. She's living with her sister's family now in Scotland to try to get away from the nasty rumors. During a house party one of the guests is murdered. Kiera's brother-in-law asks her to assist the handsome rake, Sebastian Gage, to investigate the crime. It's not long before she is a suspect.
I had a little difficulty getting into the book. I'm not sure if it's the book or the uptight narration. It was a good diversionary read. Now that I know the characters I will likely read more of the series. The narrator gets some really bad reviews. I didn't think she was all that bad. She's not the best, but not awful.
Tear It Down
By Nick Petrie, Read By Stephen Mendel
I think Peter Ash is my new favorite hero. He's an Iraq war veteran and has mostly settled down with June Cassidy on her property in Washington State. This is the 4th book in the series and it's probably best to read them in order to get the whole backstory on all the characters.
June knows that Peter is getting antsy so she send him to Memphis to help her friend, former war correspondent Wanda, work on her house. He arrives to find that a dump truck has been driven into the living room and no one knows why. Meanwhile a young, homeless musician has been roped into robbing a jewelry store and it didn't go well. He and Peter cross paths during his escape.
Just like the previous 3 books, it's action packed and the characters are vivid and interesting. I think there's one more book to catch up in the series and I'm going to try to hold off a month or two before I get it.
By Robert Dugoni, Read By Dan John Miller
This is the 3rd book in the David Sloan series. I like Dugoni a lot. I've read the Tracey Crosswhite series and Charles Jenkins too. Jenkins is probably my favorite series but this one is good too except that so many bad things happen to David!
Sloan is an attorney and has just finished a malpractice case against a doctor who may not have treated a child appropriately. The child later died of septicemia. Immediately after the trial someone approaches Sloan and says that he's responsible for the child's death because of a defective toy.
Sloan is then thrown into the cut throat world of toy manufacturers and it puts his family in grave danger. Very fast paced.
Feast of Sorrow
By Crystal King, Read By Simon Vance
I found this gem in the free section of Audible. It's historical fiction set in Ancient Rome. The most famous cookbook of all time is the first knows cookbook written by Apicius. This is the fictional story of the development of that cookbook but includes a lot of interesting facts from the period and weaves in all of the "known" facts about Apicius.
The story is told by the slave that he purchased to be his cook. He was told by the slave trader that this slave would make him famous. They both have a deep love of food and discovering new flavor combinations and recipes. Mix in all the palace intrigue surrounding all Roman rulers and you've got a really good story.
One of the fun facts of the time is the luxury and popularity of asbestos napkins!
Rider of the Purple Sage
By Zane Grey
This is another book that I came across in the free section of Audible. I'm trying to make full use of the free books. I've never read Zane Grey and I do enjoy a good Western. Apparently, this is the original version of the book. Originally it could not be published in his version because it addressed polygamy in the Mormon community. Audible has 8 versions of Riders of the Purple Sage but this is the free one.
What an outstanding book! I figure most of you have probably read it at some point but this 100+ year old book is new to me. The story is set in Cottonwoods, UT. Jim Lassiter has come to town to avenge his sister's death. The peaceful Mormons of this community are ruled by the tyrant Deacon Tull. Tull is also trying to take land and cattle from a single woman in the community. Great characters and perfectly narrated.
The Law of Innocence
by Michael Connelly, Ready By Peter Giles
This is #6 in the Lincoln Lawyer series and, frankly, it was horrible. Mickey Haller is set up for murdering one of his previous clients. It was easy to think he was guilty since the body was found in the trunk of his own car. Most of the book is the trial and it's a tedious mess of objections and sidebars interspersed with Mickey getting beat up in jail, Harry Bosch making some cameo appearances but not adding anything to the story and the pandemic! Yes, it's the first book where the pandemic makes an appearance and it's not handled very well. Sometimes people wear masks, sometimes they don't. Days go by without any mention of it and then, suddenly, lockdown. I feel like the book was written before the pandemic started and he went back and added in some token storylines around it. Of course if you are going to have a pandemic storyline you must have an anti-Trump story line. In this case we must prevent any Trump supporters from being selected for the jury. There was no point to that except for getting Connelly his woke gold stars. Everything about this book was annoying, including the narrator who must have hurt his vocal cords trying to maintain a fake deep husky voice for Haller.
By Rose Tremain, Read By Paul Daneman
Another book from the free section of Audible! This one is set during the reign of Charles II (1660) amid the delights of plague and the Great Fire of London (and we think we have it bad).
Robert Merivel is our hero. His father was a glovemaker to the king and, through him, he is introduced to Charles. For lack of a better phrase, he become unromantically infatuated with the King and will do about anything to be in favor. He's the King's fool for a while and then he is asked to marry the King's mistress but not consummate the wedding. In appreciation he is given an estate in Norfolk.
What follows is a series of bad decisions that leads to the loss of his relationship with the King, finding service during the plague and again during the fire. Robert is emotionally weak and immature but has periods of self-sufficiency and earned respect.
The book is historical fiction in the way that it takes place during the English Restoration and is built around some historical events. But the story is all about one's man quest to restore himself to some semblance of respect and honor. He's not the most likable character but his path is interesting.
Some reviewers love the narrator and some hate him. I got used to him but if you are thinking about listening to this I'd recommend playing the sample first to see if you like the narrator.
The Guest List
By Lucy Foley, Read by a cast
Back in October I read The Hunting Party by this author and I really enjoyed it so I quickly put this on on hold at the library. I have to say that this one was a bit of a let down.
The story is about a power couple (she's a magazine publisher, he's a reality TV star) having a wedding at a remote resort in Ireland. Everyone in this story has problems and many of then seem to revolve around the groom. They are an unsympathetic lot. It's not a bad story but it's EXACTLY like the Hunting Party. She has a formula and she doesn't deviate from it. If you have read one then you have basically read both.
Don't Look For Me
By Wendy Walker, Read by Therese Plummer
Molly Clark, wife and mother of 2 walks away from her life one night. She leaves a note at a hotel to not look for her. But, of course, that's not what really happened. Molly and her family have some heavy baggage for an accident a few years earlier. It takes a while for that to surface. But what you do know early is that Molly has been abducted and is being held to care for a 10 year old girl.
I should have never started this book because it's a psychological thriller and I really don't like those. This one gets rave reviews but I just hated it. Molly is so frantically overwrought that it annoyed me no end. Her alcoholic daughter searching for her was equally annoying. Was that the story or the reader? I'm not sure.
I read about the first hour and then just a minute or two of each chapter until the last hour. I just wanted to see how it ended. If you like the psychological thriller genre you might like this a lot.
The Indigo Girl
By Natasha Boyd, Read By Saskia Maarleveld
I don't mind the two previous "let down" books now because they were followed by my favorite book of the month. That's saying something because I ready some wonderful books this month.
The Indigo Girl is historical fiction but much more history than fiction. It's the store of Eliza Lucas. In 1739, at the age of 16 her father left her in charge of their 3 plantations in South Carolina. She was determined to make the successful experimenting with different crops. She planted oaks as a long term investment for ship building and she was determined to produce indigo. She knew of indigo production from her time living in Antigua.
I can't imagine any 16 year old today being mature enough to take on the pressures that Eliza had. Her plantation managers were determined to undermine her at every turn, her father was rapidly bringing debt on the farms to support his political aspirations and she had trouble getting honest help and advisement with growing indigo.
In the end she remains one of the most influential business people in the history of South Carolina. The book is based on a trove of letters that she left behind so we are given her own stories and relationships. Yes, she had slaves, but reading the book you can tell that slavery was destined to end simply because of the way that people like her treated them. She was one of the first to teach her slaves to read and write. To have that kind of foresight and conviction before the age of 20 is amazing.
The Desert Crucible
By Zane Grey, Read By Jim Gough
I enjoyed Riders of the Purple Sage so much earlier this month that I decided to finish out the month with the sequel.
At the end of RPS, some of the characters escaped and some hid in a valley in Utah. A disgraced young minister had heard the stories of the people left behind in Surprise Valley 12 years ago and he sets out to find and rescue them.
I'm loathe to even pretend to leave a review for a classic book so I'll just say that January ended on a great note for me.
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I'm Vicki Welsh and I've been making things as long as I can remember. I used to be a garment maker but transitioned to quilts about 20 years ago. Currently I'm into fabric dyeing, quilting, Zentangle, fabric postcards, fused glass and mosaic. I document my adventures here.