October was another very good reading month. I finished 8 books and I liked each of them. I was most happy to have received the newest Mitch Rapp book form the library. It had been on hold for weeks. There was only one book that I couldn't finish.
My listening time for September was 95 hours and 42 minutes. Year to date that's 1141 hours and 32 minutes. That's 47+ days so far.
What great books did you read this month?
The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb. Flat, cliched characters and a slow narration. Main character is surprisingly naive and trusting after having been raised by a greedy, uncaring mother. Every white person is racist, everyone else is greedy and there's no real mystery about who stole the violin. The author's own biography would have been a much more interesting read.
The Midcoast (587)
By Adam White, Read By George Newbern
Ed and Andrew grew up together in a small Maine coastal town. Andrew was the "rich" kid and Ed was destined to be a lobsterman. Years later Andrew and his family move back to town where Andrew gets a job as a high school teacher. He's surprised to find that Ed and his college dropout wife are now the town's major benefactors.
When a line of police cars show up at Ed and Steph's house in the middle of a reception for the Amherst women's lacrosse team, Andres starts to wonder how it all came to be.
The book about Andrew exploring his and Ed's lives and what decisions led them to where each is on adulthood. In the end, I think it's an exploration of envy. It doesn't not get great reviews on Audible (3.9) and had I read the reviews first I would have never tried the book. I'm glad I didn't because I enjoyed it. The character development is good but I think that most people did not like the slower pace of the book.
The Lost Daughter (865)
By Gill Paul, Read By Helen Duff
There are tons of books about the murder of the Romanov family and many that imagine that Anastasia miraculously survived. There have even been women who purported to be Anastasia.
This book imagines that Grand Duchess Maria (the middle sister) survived. Who would have saved her and what might her life been like? Maria's story is intertwined with that of Val Doyle. Val lives in Australia. She had a rough upbringing with her unloving father and is now in a miserable marriage. When her father is dying he confesses "I didn't want to kill her". She starts to research the confession and some of the items that he left behind.
It was an interesting read. The parts leading up to the assassinations are quite accurate to their real life. Of course, the rest is the fiction. It did start off a little slow but I liked the character development and the story.
I read another of Paul's books in August, The Collector's Daughter, and I enjoyed it too.
The Hope Family Calendar (601)
By Mike Gayle, Read By David Morley Hale
This is my third book by Mike Gayle and I've loved all of them. He is a master of drawing you into a book and getting you attached to the characters.
In this story we are introduced to Tom Hope. He's a successful TV producer and has a perfect life with his wife and 2 daughters. Everything falls apart when his wife dies in a car accident. His mother-in-law, Linda, moves in to help care for the family and that's just the right amount of support to allow him to avoid dealing with his grief. Eventually Linda realizes that she must leave for Tom to straighten out his own life and re-engage with his daughters. Linda doesn't know it but she needs the time away as well.
Gayle's character development is about as good any writer out there. You really know these people and care about them. This is a wonderful story about dealing with grief. It wasn't sad. It was, as the title implies, hopeful.
Oath of Loyalty (563)
By Kyle Mills, Read By George Guidall
This is #21 in the Mitch Rapp series. This series was started by Vince Flynn but when he died the estate selected (wisely) to have Kyle Mills continue writing the series.
This book picks up exactly where Enemy At The Gates left off. The last scene of EATG is the exact first scene of OOL except that each is told from a different perspective. OOL begins with the scene from Rapp's point of view.
After that event President Cook is convinced that Rapp is a danger to him. He forces Irene Kennedy, Rapp's ally, out of her position as head of the CIA and she negotiates a truce of sorts with Rapp and Cook. Except that Cook doesn't hold up his end of the deal. From there it's a super fast paced race to try to avoid disaster.
A fun read from Kyle Mills, as always.
On a Night of a Thousand Stars (700)
By Andrea Yaryura Clark, Read By Pam Christensen
This is a reasonably common theme of two time periods coming together where revelations are revealed. The unique and interesting twist to this one is that it's set in Argentina.
In the 1970, a group of young people are caught in the middle of Argentina's Dirty War. Thousands of political dissidents "disappeared" during this time. Santiago Larrea and his wife, Lila were able to escape.
In 1998, Santiago is being appointed as UN ambassador for Argentina and the ceremonies around the appointment bring old friends around to celebrate with the Larrea's. But it also means that their daughter, Paloma, who was born during the war, hears some comments that send her on a mission to discover what actually happened during that time.
I didn't get lost in the book but it was an interesting story, I liked the characters and it educated me a very little bit on some unknown history. It's not going to win awards for exceptional writing but it's a worthy read.
The Night She Disappeared (716)
By Lisa Jewell, Read by Joanne Froggatt
Lisa Jewell has a unique story style with well developed characters and parallel timelines. As the mystery is being solved in preset time the crime unfolds in the past time.
In this novel a young woman and her partner disappear after attending a party at a large mansion. The left behind their 1 year old son, Noah. There's not a trace of them and the party-goers "saw nothing".
A year later a novelist and her boyfriend move into a cottage on the edge of the mansion property. When out for a walk she sees a sign that says "dig here". She does and finds an engagement ring that belonged to the couple.
Joanne Froggatt (Anna from Downton Abbey) did a great job narrating this one.
Carrying Albert Home
By Homer Hickam, Read by Adam Verner (639)
This was a fun, folksy romp through the South during the Depression. I think that the carrying Albert home part was true but the adventures, not so much. But who cares, Albert had a great time in this version of the story.
It's based loosely on his parents, Elsie and Homer Hickam. They were married during the Depression and lived in Coalwood , WV. As a wedding gift, Elsie received a baby alligator from Buddy Ebsen (the actor she knew in college in Florida). Unlike most people receiving such pets, she kept Albert and raised him until the day Homer decided that it was either him or Albert. What followed is the most adventurous drive to Florida ever taken.
The book is very folksy but also very funny and heart-warming. I feel like the portrayal of his parents is pretty on point and that there was a trip to take Albert to Friday. The rest is just a fun trip to meet some interesting and famous people and go on some exciting adventures.
By Attica Locke, Read By JD Jackson
Books like this is the reason that I love the Chirp daily deals so much. Chrirp sends an email every day with about 10 book offered for $6 or less. Many are older but are still really good books. Pleasantville was on that list one day.
Pleasantville is a neighborhood on the north side of Houston and is recognized as one for upwardly mobile black citizens. The story open on electing night in 1996 and a canvasser goes missing and is later found dead.
Jay Porter is a struggling environmental lawyer who won a major case against Cole Oil about a decade earlier. Jay is brought into the case to represent the man accused of abducting her.
This is a book about corruption at every level of politics and governance. I thought I'd not like it given the current politicization of everything but this was different. It's the way books used to be written and is probably more accurate. Everyone is corrupt, regardless of party affiliation. I really enjoyed it.
I had the opposite reaction to Violin Conspiracy, maybe this one suffered in audio version. I didn't find every white person racist in the book, but I did read the entire book. The first part was a bit rough, but for a black man, this is an experience a white woman like me would not really have a reference for. So, I found it very enlightening and a good story in the end. Sorry your read wasn't pleasurable.
11/1/2022 09:50:09 am
Just a quick note to say thank you for the book reviews!!!
11/2/2022 08:55:09 pm
I agree with your sentiments on The Violin Conspiracy. I wasn't very far in before I had it figured out. Since I had no other books on tap, I decided to finish it. I skim read most of it. Kind of a dull thud.
11/3/2022 06:39:29 pm
Adding Vince Flynn to my list of possibilities - thank you!
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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.