I write these reviews as I finish each book so that at the end of the month it's easy to finish off the post. This month I discovered a bunch of new podcasts that I'm listening too. (I will not tell you what they are because several are political in nature.) I only mention it because I thought it was really cutting into my book time. Now that I look over the month I was apparently wrong. 12 books is actually pretty normal for me. Aside from The Weight of Night and When Christ and His Saints Slept, this was a good month. I was a little disappointed with Squeeze Me but I liked everything else.
What are your favorite books from October?
By Carl Hiaasen, Read By Scott Brick
It's been a long time since we have had a new book from Hiaasen so I was really excited to get my ear on this new one. The library hold for this one was months!
For those of you squeamish about snakes like me, I will warn you that the friendly python plays a prominent role in this tale. For those of you who are fatigued by novels blatantly portraying a Trumpian presidential character, you won't enjoy this. In my opinion writers have become incredibly lazy at presidential character development. It wasn't absolutely horrible in this particular book but it's there. I believe that books use that easy path will find that their books don't age well. I'm reminded of Vince Flynn/Kyle Mills who actually create characters so that they aren't too tied to current events. I prefer to escape from current events with my novels.
It's pretty typical Hiaasen but it's far from my favorite. But a bad Hiaasen is better than the best from some other authors! I don't love Scott Brick as the narrator. He's too serious of a reader to be given a humor book. George Wilson was a much better reader for Hiaasen's books.
The Lady of the Rivers
By Philippa Gregory, Read By Bianca Amato
This is a prequel to book I read a few months ago, The White Queen. This one ends exactly where that one starts but reading them out of order is no problem. Each is a full self-contained story. If you like historical fiction I think you will enjoy Gregory's novels.
The story is told by Jaquetta, a descendant of Melusina, the river goddess. As such, she can sometimes have visions of things to come. The story revolves around the court of King Henry VI. Jaquetta is a central figure in the court from her early marriage to the Duke of Bedford, English Regent of France.
The Weight of Night
By Christine Carbo, Read by RC Bray and Sarah Mollo-Christensen
Oh boy is this book horrible. I did finish it because I was in the middle of some projects and didn't want to stop to book shop and I wanted to see how it ended. I had read 2 other books in the Glacier series. I liked one and didn't like the other. Now I'm officially done with the series.
There's a huge forest fire and a fire crew unearths a shallow grave while clearing a fire break. Meanwhile another child has gone missing. Monty Harris is a park police officer and Gretchen Larsen is the lead CSI. Both of them have bad things in their pasts that we get to hear about each time there's a scene related to the missing child. There's a formula:
Gretchen in the present finding a clue
Gretchen in the past
Monty in the present following clues
Monty in the past
Rinse and repeat
Gretchen is from Sweden and, given her past, I'm pretty sure she would have never made it through immigration in the real world. So the initial set up bothers me. But the worst part about the book is the female narrator. Sometimes her accent sounds a little Swedish, sometimes Russian, sometimes Mexican and sometimes American. It's a hot mess. She's so bad that I had to look her up. She brags on her resume about her mastery of dialects. Hilarious.
I really like the premise of the main plot and I like how it played out but the forced insertion of each of their past lives made the story annoying. The narrator's voice made it all but intolerable.
Objects of My Affection
By Jill Smolinski, Read By Xe Sands
Lucy Bloom, thanks to her drug addict son's need for rehab, is broke and unemployed and she's determined to start over. She's written a book called Things are Not People, about decluttering. It doesn't sell well but it's enough of a credential to get her a job helping to de-clutter the home of an eccentric painter, Marva Meier Rios.
Marva seems to love ever object that she's acquired during her long life and Lucy has underestimated the challenge of getting her to let go of anything. Meanwhile an ex-boyfriend is back on the scene and her son's rehab isn't going well. It's a coming of age story for every character.
Lots of humor, secrets and tense relationships. I enjoyed it.
When Christ and his Saints Slept
By Sharon Kay Penman, Read By Anne Flosnim
I should love this book. It's historical fiction set around a King of England, two of my favorite things.
It's the first in the Plantagenet Series and tells the story of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine.
It might be good but the reader made it incredibly boring. I couldn't finish it.
By CJ Box, Read By David Chandler
After that last disaster book I needed something reliable so I returned to Joe Pickett. This is #19 in the series. Joe has his job back and he's having some problems with some people new to the area that no one seems to know.
One of the interesting scenes in this book is between the FBI and a ranger in another district. They threaten her with a FD302 where they can allege pretty much anything they want and as long as the 2 agents agree to what's on the form she will have no recourse or defense. I perked up with that because we now know that's exactly what they did in real life to Michael Flynn. It's only been in the last few months that it was revealed that the 302 form was falsified. Interesting!
All that aside it's a fun story and I'm always happy to see Nate Romanowski and his falcons involved. I'll be reading the newest one soon because Audible had it on sale for $6 the day I finished this one.
The Last Agent
By Robert Dugoni, Read By Eduardo Ballerini
I have to say that Robert Dugoni is one of my favorite M&I authors right now and I'm loving this new series. He's most well knows for the Tracey Crosswhite series but this book is the second installment in the Charles Jenkins series.
Jenkins is a former CIA agent and his specialty area is Russia. In this installment he returns to Russia to try to save Paulina Ponomayova. She sacrificed her life in the last book to help him escape Russia. Now he's found out that she's not dead but she's about to undergo interrogation.
It's very fast paced and perfectly narrated by one of my favorite readers, Eduardo Ballerini. It's clear at the end of the book that he will be heading back to Russia soon.
By Mark Edwards, Read By Simon Mattacks
I was looking for another Mark Edwards book and discovered this one already in my library. I don't know when I bought it but I had not read it yet. I must have bought it on sale because it's a bit shy of my 10 hour minimum. I'm glad I got it because it was quite an adventure.
Lucas is a horror novelist and arrives at Julia's house for a writer's retreat. Julia's daughter disappeared 2 years ago and her husband drowned trying to find her. She's turned her historic home into a writer's retreat. Julia is convinced that her daughter is still alive. Everyone else thinks she was taken by an apparition that shows up to take children.
It's got an Agatha Christie feel to it. I couldn't put it down.
By Nina Willner
I've had a lot of trouble getting myself interested in non-fiction lately. I've returned 2 history books to the library because I'm just mentally exhausted with American politics and history. I love both so I know I'll be back to it in a few months. But this book came up and I thought it might be interesting and I was not disappointed!
The author's mother escaped East Germany just before the Communists blocked off that country. She left her family behind to start a new life in West Germany. She married a Holocaust survivor who was serving in the US military. This book was written by her daughter and tells the story of the 40 years that the families were separated. It's a very well told story about an extraordinary family. I was totally captivated by it.
North and South
By Elizabeth Gaskell, Read By Juliet Stevenson
I discovered Gaskell last month in Audible's new free section. She's a Victorian Jane Austen so what's not to love! Supposedly Charles Dickens asked her to write this book.
Our heroine is Margaret Hale. Her father is a minister in beautiful Hampshire but he has to leave his post and the family settles in the fictional northern industrial town of Milton. It's a drastic change for Margaret as she sees first hand the consequences of the industrial revolution. If you like Pride and Prejudice you'll like this and it's perfectly narrated by Juliet Stevenson.
Return to Robinswood
By Jean Grainger, Read By Caroline Lennon
This is the second in the Robinswood series and you really have to read these in order. As a standalone book this would be a bit if a disjointed mess but as a series it carries on the characters from the first book right where they left off. It's another good light-hearted feel-good book. The bad guys aren't so bad and everyone is happy and hopeful in the end.
The writing is good enough that you can imagine the post-war Irish countryside and the difficulties if living in England during a period of rations.
The Hunting Party
By Lucy Foley
This was the perfect book to finish on the eve of Halloween. A group of university friends are getting together at a remote Scottish hunting lodge to ring in the New Year. They are all in their 30's and there are undercurrents of tensions and personal angst. They remind me a little of the cast of 30 Something or Mad About You , both shows that I hated for the self-absorbed nature of the characters. I was rewarded this time because one of them ends up murdered. It seems like everyone is a possible suspect. It was a fun read with little clues and mis-directions dropped throughout.
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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.