Many of us have lost a lot of money (maybe only on paper so far) over the past month but we have gained a lot of time. Time is something that I am obsessed over. I constantly think about how I use my time. I'm absolutely obsessed with not wasting time. With no appointments, meetings or social engagements I have a lot more time and that means I'm doing a lot more reading while quilting, sewing and creating. I'm enjoying this time and trying to be positive about it and take full advantage of it.
To that end, I read 15 books in March. That's a record! My favorites were the first and last books that I read in March. The most important book that I read is Unaccountable.
I know you have been doing a lot of reading too. I'd love to hear you favorites of the month. Chris reads fantasy and SciFi so if you have any recommendations in that category that would be awesome.
The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell
By Robert Dugoni, Read By Robert Duboni
I've been seeing lots of recommendations to read this book and I finally decided to give it a try. I avoided it for a long time for 2 reasons. First, it's narrated by the author and second, he's a mystery writer so I wan't sure how he would be as a fiction writer. My worries on both fronts were unfounded.
This is a beautiful coming-of-age story about a boy born with ocular albinism which means that his eyes are red. His name is Sam Hill but the lighter side of the bullying he experiences is being called Sam Hell. If you do not like books with spiritual/religious undertones you will not like this book. But while faith is a big part of this book the story is so much more than that. It's about the struggles of life that everyone experiences and it's about the loss and recovery of faith, prejudice and racism. It's a special book.
By Candice Fox, Read By Euan Morton
I think I've found a new mystery series!
Sydney Police Detective Ted Conkaffey was in the wrong place at the wrong time and it ruined his life. He was accused of abducting a 13-year old girl. He wasn't convicted by the legal system but certainly by the public. He relocates to the remote area of Crimson Lake and is introduced to Private Investigator Amanda Pharrell, a convicted murderer.
She and Ted join forces to find missing author John Scully. As they investigate their own identities complicate the matter.
It was a good and unique story and there's nothing wrong with a book narrated with an Aussie accent.
By Ben Coes, Read by Ari Fliakos
Last month I talked about how tired the Walt Longmire series is getting. There's no real advancement of the characters as Walt ages out. Well, Ben Coes gets the importance of moving his characters along. It was clear in the last book (Bloody Sunday) that Dewey Andreas might be starting to wind down his career. One character that has shown up frequently in the books is Rob Tacoma, a former Navy SEAL and now an independent contractor.
This book is the first in the Tacoma series as he's hired by the CIA to avenge the deaths of two high-profile politicians who were assassinated by the Russian mafia. Like the Andreas books, it's action packed and we even get a visit from Dewey. Also, the narration is excellent.
It's not quite 10 hours (my minimum for buying a book) but it was available at my library. I'm glad I got it.
By Marty Makary, Read by Robertson Dean
I'm very fortunate to have found a GP who is very interested in a holistic approach to medicine. She researches and recommends treatments beyond traditional pharmaceuticals. She's also big on her patients learning and researching on their own and one of the things she recommended to me was the Podcast Peter Attia The Drive. Attia is an interesting and very smart person and he's hard to take in large doses. He is singularly obsessed with longevity and seems to rate longevity over living most days. I wouldn't have wanted him as my Dad or spouse. But some of his podcasts are really interesting and relevant to me so I pick and choose the ones that I want to follow.
One of his guests was Dr. Marty Makary and he was there to talk about this book. He's a surgeon who has worked in several of the best hospitals in the US. He set out to figure out why error rates and costs haven't down in the past 10 years and find the root cause to be the complete lack of transparency in the industry, especially with hospitals and surgeons.
One of the interesting things that they discussed in the podcast was free market medicine vs. socialized medicine. Makary believe that under socialized medicine that initially costs would go down considerably but that in the long run we would end up with something less than what we have today because cost containment would rule and thereby lead to massive rationing. His perspective was more thoughtful than my one sentence so I recommend listening to it. It made me think more deeply about my own opinion on the subject.
The book, however, deals solely with the lack of transparency in medical care and it's eye opening. This is one of those books that everyone should read but you should especially read it if you have a medical condition that might lead to surgery anytime in the near future. Some research beforehand would probably benefit you greatly.
Hum Little Bridie
By Jonathan Fredrick, Read By Ari Fliakos
This sis the second boon in the Cain City series. The series is set in a down and out town in West Virginia on the Ohio border. Cain City seems to be finally turning the corner and there's river development planned. Nick Malick is a private investigator working a case that is starting to involve two gangs and the power brokers of the city. At the center is Birdie, a young mother that Malick is trying to help leave her life of prostitution so that she can get her daughter back.
It's been 2 years since I read the first book in this series and I forgot how much I liked it. Fredrick puts you right in the middle of the seedy side of this town with well developed characters and environs. I hope there is a third int he series and that it doesn't take 2 more years to get it.
By Monica Hesse, Read By Tanya Ebe
This is a short book (only 7 hours) and I only picked it up because it was about events in Virginia. The Eastern Shore of Virginia is a very unique place that is still quite rural and has an agricultural economy. It's littered with abandoned houses, sheds and barns.
Between November 2012 and April 2013, Charlie Smith and Tonya Bundick went on an arson spree and burned nearly 80 structures.
This book chronicles the events and the people (including fire fighters and investigators) involved.It took some work to get it to extend to 7 hours. There's even a chapter on historical crime couples like Bonnie and Clyde that really isn't relevant to this story. If you are from Virginia or have vacationed in the Eastern Shore or like arson stories you might like this book. But you could just Google Charlie and Tonya and get all the information that you need.
City of the Lost
By Kelley Armstrong, Read By Therese Plummer
This is the 1st book in the Casey Duncan/Rockton Series. Casey murdered someone in her past and now she's told one too many therapists (why would you tell any of them is the logical question) and the victim's family is out to get her. Her best friend, Diana, is having trouble with an abusive boyfriend. They find out about a place where they can relocate and disappear forever.
Rockton is a place in the middle of nowhere Canada and it's where people go to escape forever and start over. Once there, Casey learns that her investigative services are needed to help resolve a recent murder. Yes, it's kind of a ridiculous plot. But it's not a horrible book. It's got action, killers, cops, romance and a few twists. It's not my favorite police procedural but I'm going to give the series a try and reserve the second one at the library.
Murder at Half Moon Gate
By Andrea Penrose, Read By James Cameron Stewart
I read the 1st book in this series last month and liked it enough to read another. These are fun murder mysteries set in Regency England. Wrexford is and Earl who is interested in science, not society and Sloane is a widow who took over her late husband's career of producing satire cartoons. She's "adopted" two street urchins, Raven and Hawk, who help her gather information and are instrumental in their crime investigations.
If you like the Anne Perry books you will like these. Good character development and witty dialogue. Raven and Hawk are great characters and add a lot of fun to the story. In this one a genius inventor is murdered. He's suspected of having invented a new steam-powered engine that will revolutionize transportation. Lots of other people would be interested in the patent for that.
A Cold Trail
By Robert Dugoni, Read By Emily Sutton-Smith
This is the 7th book in the Tracey Crosswhite series. If you aren't familiar with these books I recommend reading them in order. There are many references to previous books.
Tracey and her husband, Dan, are back in their home town of Cedar Grove while their Seattle home is being remodeled. Dan is an attorney and has agreed to help a local merchant sew the city for trying to take away his business. They are new parents and Tracey is struggling with balancing her identities of mother and detective. While in Cedar Grove she gets involved in a cold case murder. It turns out that both efforts might be related.
It's a good story but wasn't my favorite but I think the new mother angles will be interesting to most.
The Great Quake
By Henry Fountain, Rad By Robert Fass
The biggest earthquake in US history was the Alaska quake that happened March 27, 1964. It was a magnitude 9.2 and fortunately happened in a sparsely populated place. It killed 130 people and destroyed the lower half of the state.
But out of that came a lot of our knowledge of plate tectonics, tidal waves and the behavior of different soil during earthquakes. It's an interesting book but a lot of the content is about the people impacted by the earthquake and the scientists researching the aftermath. It especially gives a clear picture of how LITTLE we still know about the science.
The Third Victim
By Phillip Margolin, Read By Therese Plummer
Phillip Margolin is my favorite legal/procedural mystery writer and has been for a long time. He is probably the author that got me into the genre with his masterpiece, Gone But Not Forgotten. I didn't know who did it in that book until that last page. He is a master at writing a mystery puzzle.
I haven't read him in a while because is books are generally shorter than my 10 hour minimum for purchasing on Audible but I noticed that my library carries them and I was excited to start this new series.
Our heroine, Robin Lockwood, is a young lawyer who's just gotten her dream job with the best defense attorney in Oregon. She is immediately assigned second chair in the defense of Alex Mason. Mason is accused of murdering 2 women and attempted murder of a third. It's the third victim who has identified him. Adding to the complexity is the fact that Robin's boss is acting a little strange and seems to be forgetting things.
There's a bonus at the end of the audio version with an interview with Margolin. I've already got the second book on hold but I probably should read Gone But Not Forgotten again just for fun.
By Dervla McTiernan, Read By Aoife McMahon
This is a debut novel set in Galway, Ireland. Twenty years ago Cormac Reilly was a new detective and was sent on a call where he discovered the dead body of Hilaria Blake in her dilapidated house. He took her 2 orphan children to the hospital where Maude disappeared and young Jack was put in foster care. Nothing else happened with the case.
Twenty years later Jack is found dead and it's ruled a suicide. His sister, Maude, who has just returned to Ireland from Australia, doesn't believe that it's suicide. Neither does Jack's girlfriend, surgeon Aisling Conroy.
I have mixed feelings about this book. It's a good story but there are so many subplots, twists and side stories that at times it's hard to track. It takes a little work to get through it. There's a great deal of suffering and pain all through the book. Everyone has skeletons trying to escape closets and it's a lot of work to keep the closet doors shut.
The narration was great. I do love a good Irish accent. I'll give the second one a try.
The Echo Killing
By Christi Daugherty
This is the 1st book is a series featuring crime reporter Harper McClain. It's set in Savannah GA and Harper works the night desk at the local paper covering the local crime beat. One day there's a murder of a mother that echos the murder of her own mother 15 years ago. Harper feels that she needs to investigate it herself because the lead detective seems to be purposely stalling. What follows is a series of stupid/illegal actions on her part to find the real killer.
I did not love this book. I didn't feel like most of the characters were well developed, especially the lead detective. Harper makes a lot of immature decisions so she's annoying. But the worst part is that I knew from early in the book who did it and if it's that easy it simply isn't a good mystery. I'm usually terrible at figuring out the culprit so if I knew then it wasn't much of a mystery.
The narration is really slow but speeding up the app fixed that. I don't think I'll continue with this series.
A Darkness Absolute
By Kelley Armstrong
This is the second in the Rockton series that I started earlier this month. I usually don't like to read sequels so soon. When I put this one on hold at the library is said I would get it in about 4 weeks. I think we readers are going through a lot of books during the quarantine so this one was available in about a week.
Rockton is the town where people can escape to if they need to get away from their "real" lives. In this one Casey and the sheriff's deputy, Will, get lost in the forest and stumble on a woman trapped in a cave. It's a Rockton resident that's been missing over a year.
In this area there are town people and 2 groups of people that live in the forest so that leaves a lot of room for distrust and mystery antagonists. Every person in the book seems to have an agenda and, therefore, they can always act out of character. The romance between the sheriff and Casey is a lot like a teen love story to me.
I said after the last one that I was unsure about this series. The books have GREAT reviews on Audible but they just don't speak to me.
When Time Stopped
By Ariana Beumann, Read By Rebecca Lowman
What a great book to end the month with. I wasn't sure that I was ready to read this book because it's a memoir of her father's experiences as a Jew in Nazi Germany. Her father eventually emigrated to Venezuela where she was raised never knowing her Jewish heritage.Later in her father's life she was able to start putting the story together and when he died he left her a box of letters and memorabilia that helped her research.
It's a really beautiful and lovingly told story and is was good to remind me that the times we are in aren't the worst.
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.
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