How do you shop for books? As with everything else in my life my book selections revolve around lists. I have an Excel spreadsheet of all the books I've listened to (or actually read) and that list goes back to January 1995 and by next month it will have 1600 entries. I believe books > TV. I reference the list a lot to see if I liked a particular author or narrator. The second list is the hold list at my library on Libby and the third list is the Wish List on Audible. When new books come out I peruse the Audible list and put ones that I think I might like on my Wish List. Then I wait a few months to see how the reviews come in if it's a new author. Sometimes I leave them on the Wish List until my library gets the book in and I can put it on hold. It seems like a lot to manage but it actually makes my book selections more streamlined. Because I find it pretty stressful to finish a book and not have another ready to start in Libby or Audible. When that happens I'll sit at the computer for an hour or so putting books on hold in Libby or purchasing in Audible to make sure that I have 5 to 10 books stacked and ready to read.
I know, it seems weird but it's not much different than having multiple projects to work on. Imagine the panic if you woke one morning and didn't have even one project to work on that day. The horrors! That's how I feel about an empty book list.
All of that to say that I spent a couple of laptop sessions this week to get some books lined up for the next few weeks and now I'm all calm and peaceful again.
What have you been reading? I had a great month of books. I liked all of them. If I have to pick a least favorite it would be A Good Marriage simply because of the unlikable characters. The best has to be the new Robert Galbraith, Troubled Blood.
By C.J. Box, Read by David Chandler
This is #20 in the Joe Pickett series. If they ever switch readers for this series I think I'd have to give them up. Chandler has become Pickett for me.
In this book, the wife of the the local judge is shot by sniper fire. It looks like the judge was the target but the shooter missed. Joe is brought in to help solve the crime. It becomes more urgent when Nate Romanowski becomes the main suspect.
Box is still keeping these books fresh and interesting.
By Kyle Mills (Vince Flynn), Read By George Guidall
This is book 19 in the Mitch Rapp series. One of the things I love about Kyle Mills is that he has a real talent for telling stories that could actually happen. This one is about an attack on the US power grid. It's scary how realistic it is. I couldn't put it down.
By Patrick Radden Keefe, Read By Matthew Blaney
I was a teenager in the 1970's and I remember heard about "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland at that time but it was certainly not anything that we studied in school or payed much attention to.
This book is the story of that time and the key players in the IRA. It's told specifically around the abduction and murder of Jean McConville in 1972. She was a mother of 10 and was accused of being an information for the British military.
It's a fascinating book if you enjoy history. I do think it might be better read in paper than in audio. I found the narrator a little flat.
A Good Marriage
By Kimberly McCreight, Read by a cast
Many years ago when I was still working an co-worker and I were talking about a relatively new neighborhood nearby and I probably said something abut it being a boring suburb. He then proceeded to enlighten me that this particular neighborhood had a very active swingers group. His wife knew someone who participated and apparently there was (as you would expect) some crime that happened. Probably assault by a jealous spouse who couldn't handle what seemed like "fun". The whole thing kind of grossed me out and I think about it every time I drive near that neighborhood.
Well, that's how this book starts out. The characters are parents of students at a private school in Brooklyn. One of the parents has an annual party while the kids are away at camp and it's a "sleepover party". One of the attendees is murdered at her own home on the evening of that party. The husband is a prime suspect.
Every singer character in this book has a stupidly complex life with hidden secrets so anyone could have killed this woman. The husband calls on an old law school flame to be his attorney and she has secrets too!
If this is what big city private school parents are like then I'm happy to be a country hick. All of these people are awful and are probably raising some really messed up kids. The book moves along at a good pace but the actual detective work is pretty small. Most of the book is about uncovering the secrets. I wanted a shower after I finished it and I'm really happy for my seemingly boring life.
By Fiona Davis, Read By Cassandra Campbell
I'm not sure how I found Fiona Davis but if it was one of you, thank you. I really enjoyed this book and I see that she had lots of others available for me to read.
The book centers around Grand Central Station. In the 1920's there was an art school in the station and Clara Darden is one of the instructors. She's not taken seriously because she's an illustrator and sells her work for commercial use. The school closes at the beginning of the Depression and Clara virtually disappears from the art scene.
In the 1970's Virginia Clay is newly divorced, still struggling with her identity after a mastectomy and, gratefully, finds employment in the information booth of GCS. Clara and Virginia's paths cross through Clara's art that Virginia finds in the abandoned art school.
Nice character development and a perfect light, escapist read when you want a diversion from reality.
No One's Home
By D. M. Pulley, Read By Emily Sutton-Smith
When I'm stumped for a new book I like to go back through my Excel spreadsheet of books and look for authors that I loved and see if they have anything new. Pulley's The Dead Key is still one of my favorite books and I was excited to see a new offering.
Pulley is a master at moving back and forth in time intertwining stories. This book is set in a foreclosed mansion in Cleveland called Rawlingswood. It's in total disrepair when Margot and Myron Spielman decide that fixing up an old mansion won't be any stress on their already fragile marriage. Everyone in town thinks that the mansion is haunted and the Spielman family starts to believe it.
The story of the house is told through the three families who have lived challenging lives within the walls of the once grand mansion.
By Steve Jackson, Read by Kevin Pierce
If you are into true crime and you haven't read this book yet, put it on your list. It's the story of serial killer Thomas Luther.
I really wasn't sure about this book but I was hooked from the first chapter. It's a very methodical and detailed account of the life and crimes of Thomas Luther. The author must have done a lot of research and got a lot of people to share personal details and information because when you finish this book you know the detective, the victims, the victim's families, Luther's girlfriend, Luther's friends and everyone else remotely involved in this case. I know that sounds tedious but it isn't at all.
The book was originally written in the 90's but was updated in 2013. Jackson is an amazing storyteller and I can't wait to read another of his books.
Love and Other Consolation Prizes
By Jamie Ford, Read By Emily Woo Zeller
Jamie Ford tells wonderfully deep and poignant historical stories. His characters suffer immense hardships and they do it through actual historical places and events. He tells a great story.
In this one, 12 year old Ernest Young is a student at a charity boarding school and has the opportunity to attend the Seattle 1909 World's Fair. What he doesn't know is that he's going to be auctioned off with a raffle.
The winning ticket belongs to a madam at one of Seattle's most famous brothels where he will now live and work. There he befriends Maise (the madam's daughter) and Fahn (a maid). Learn about Seattle's history as their stories are told.
The narration is fantastic. I couldn't put it down.
The River of Souls
By Robert McCammon, Read By Edoardo Ballerini
According to my Excel spreadsheet, I started reading the Matthew Corbett series in 2017 - 2018. I stopped because this book is less than 10 hours long. But as I was going through my latest round of bookshelf crisis I remembered the series and decided that I wanted to continue with it. This is the 5th book in the series and the only one less than 10 hours. After reading it, I realize that it's somewhat of a prequel to book 6 so it was very much worth the read.
These books are set at the turn of the 18th century and Matthew Corbett is a private investigator and has accepted a commission in Charles Town in Carolina colony. He is to escort a beautiful young woman to a fancy dress ball. Easy. Not so fast. Carolina in 1703 is rugged.
I'm so glad I read this one and I look forward to the next 2 in the series. Edoardo Ballerini is probably my favorite narrator at the moment.
By Robert Galbraith, Read By Robert Glenister
I have been waiting for this book for weeks and was so excited when it became available at the library. This is the 5th book in the Cormoran Strike series. It's long, just as I like it, coming in at about 30 hours. The reason that I love long books is that there so much more character development and several subplots.
Cormoran Strike is a private detective visiting family in Cornwall when he is asked to help solve the disappearance of Margot Bamborough in 1974. By this point Strike is almost a celebrity for the previous high visibility crimes that he has solved. His business partner is Robin Ellacott and both had some pretty deep relationship baggage that gets carried through the book. There are other investigations going on as well as things in their personal lives but the characters aren't stuck in cliché relationships with each other. They developthroughout the book. I couldn't put it down.
If you are a fan of Harry Potter and love mystery books than you will love this series. JK Rowling, as we all know, is an amazing writer and can create scenes that we feel we can inhabit. Robert Glenister is the perfect narrator because you completely forget that one person is reading all of the dialogue. The books in the series are intertwined, like with Harry Potter, so I highly recommend reading them in order. The first one is The Cockoo's Calling. With all of the books be prepared for some pretty gruesome scenes.
By Fiona Davis, Read By Tavia Gilbert
Earlier this month I read The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis and I enjoyed it. She seems to specialize in historical fiction set in New Your City landmarks. This one is centered on the Barbizon Hotel. Look it up on Wikipedia, it has a very interesting history and after 2006 there were still 14 women living there under rent control even though the hotel had converted to condos.
The core of the story is set in 1952 when the hotel was home to single women, mostly either aspiring models or business school students. One of those students is still living at the hotel and that is the basis for the story.
It's interesting but I didn't feel it was as good as The Masterpiece. The plot was kind of weak and the romance element was a little heavy handed for me. I think this was one of her earlier books so I might try one of her newer ones.
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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.