07 January 2023

Books Read in 2022

Audiobooks boosted my numbers as did a better library access portal. I read two in the series by Harlan Coben in one year. I drift through series but intend to pick up several series in 2023 that I've only hit one or two books. I abandoned two books this year. Both audio and both purchased. Bummer. Favorites hard to pick:  Whistling in the Dark was an unexpectedly great read and a different kind of story. Non Fiction: Prayer in the Night was also very different and a nice change. Happy Reading! 

  1. The Murder Stone, by Charles Todd, historical mystery fiction, WW I, ebook. Stand alone.  Great writing. Always enjoy Todd. (began in 2021 finished on Jan. 3) ebook
  2. The Body Keeper, by Anne Frasier, detective fiction set in Minneapolis in winter. Rich setting and characters. Good writing a bit heavier on themes. ebook
  3. The Haunts of Men, by Susan Hill, detective fiction UK Lepperton. Liked the characters and setting but a bit dark at the end. I will probably read more of the series Detective Simon Serrailer but he wasn't as big a player as someone else in the book so that gave him a lot of mystery. ebook
  4. Moonfleet, by J Meade Faulkner, fiction originally 1898, adventure story UK, original version of the idea of Bluebeard the pirate. Audiobook
  5. The Help, by Kathryn Stockett, fiction 1960s. Audiobook. A friend kept saying the book was so much better than the movie so I read it. The audio actors were terrific. A great book. 
  6. 1984, by George Orwell,  alternative history fiction, audiobook  library. I couldn’t remember if I’d read this in school so decided to give it a shot. I either saw a movie or read it as I remembered as I went. Thought provoking but dreary and at time haunting of things occurring. 
  7. Anxious People, by Fredrick Backman,  fiction Sweden but not Stockholm, billed as humor. It had very funny bits but a more emotional poignant drama than I’d imagined. He's a good writer with rich stories and characters. I'll wait awhile before I pick up another one. 
  8. Murder with Puffins, by Donna Andrews, mystery fiction island off coast of Maine. On a humorous books list.  Cute but corny at least for my present state of mind. It was also written in late 80s/early 90s so a bit outdated. Interesting how some books hold and others seem dated.
  9. Death of a poison pen, by M. C. Beaton, mystery  Fiction, set in Scotland. Heavy on the accents. Cozy. Enjoyable characters. 1980s but I respect that they updated them a bit for digital release.  I pick up a Hamish MacBeth mystery every now and then. Library ebook. 
  10. A Deadly Influence, by Mark Omer, Mystery Fiction, NY, modern  day. Main character is a hostage negotiator who had been in a cult as a child. Really liked the characters. Writing was good and I will read more of this author. Audiobook. 
  11. A Prayer in the Night, For those who Work or Watch or Weep, by Tish Harrison Warren. Nonfiction. One of the best personal spiritual growth pieces I've read. Or maybe the fact I read it with insomnia made it hit me more than usual. Often reading a chapter at 4 am. ebook. 
  12. Bootlegger’s Daughter, by Margaret Maron, mystery fiction, North Carolina 1992. Had good ratings. It was entertaining but I probably won’t be reading the series. Too sort of stereotypical with politics and the south and the 1990s. 
  13. Orphan X, by Gregg Hurwitz,  tecno thriller, LA area. Lots of hardware and fight description. Suspenseful. Not sure if I’ll do more of these. 
  14. Pretty Girls, by Karen Slaughter, mystery suspense fiction, set in Atlanta GA area. Audio library book. Very suspenseful. Good twists. Was a bit graphic on the crimes. 
  15. Tell me Who I am, by Alex and Marcus Lewis with Joanna Hodgkin. Nonfiction Memoir,  London, Sussex, UK. Recommended by friend who said read then watch the series on Netflix. What a story! Crazy what can happen in real life. Not a spoiler: I’m always strangely fascinated by head injury stories. Not sure if I’ll watch the series. Hard stuff happened and I may not need a second round of it. 
  16. Blood Money, by Thomas Perry, mystery fiction all over the USA, liked the characters and the mafia element. Perry is a classic. This was 1999 but the tech was so light it didn't distract. Library ebook.
  17. The Boy from the Woods, by Harlan Coben. mystery fiction, around New York, New Jersey. If this is the start of a series, I'll be back to read more.  I think Harlan has become a favorite for me, always rich characters and engaging plots without anything garish or vulgar.  I also like stand alone books  that I don't feel committed by order of books in a series and he does a lot of those so it's easy to pick one up and move on to others. 
  18. Rising Strong, by Brene Brown, recommended and read in both audio and paper. Self Help, brain work. 
  19. The Accident, by Chris Pavone, New York and various parts of the world. I liked Expats the previous book by Pavone. This was suspenseful but there was way to much included research on each neighborhood in New York City. If it had forwarded the plot every time, okay, but I felt bogged down. I know other people really like the scene setting. It was a good story line. I liked the ending and appreciated a lot of the plot twists. 
  20. Eye of the Needle, by Ken Follett, 1978, WWII UK. This was on some of those must read in a life time lists and I was in the mood for espionage. I did this as audiobook and it was so good. I had trouble stopping it toward the end. Interesting characters. 
  21. The Liar's Girl, by Catherine Ryan Howard, set in Dublin modern day and 10 years ago. Mystery suspense. Audiobook. I'm on the fence. I enjoyed the writing. The main character irritated me at times so I grew weary a bit but there were some good plot twists. Won't rush out for the next one. 
  22. The Whistling Season, by Ivan Doig, set in 1910 mostly as flashbacks in homesteading Montana focusing on a small one room school and one family. I don't remember where I read the recommendation but I had this one hanging out there and after that last book I needed something to clear my palate so to speak that had nothing to do with mysteries. This was well written and engaging - especially considering this is not a genre I pick up. Not quite western but settlers. Characters were rich and engaging and the main character had to make tough decisions as a very bright kid. 
  23. The  Midnight Library, by Matt Haig. Fiction, an alternative reality  life experience that brings to light the value of living right where you are, no matter what to the main character. UK present day. Library ebook. Interesting concept. Good sentiment. Heavier than 'feel good' despite the lists. 
  24. Whistling in the dark, by Lesley Kagen, mystery fiction, Milwaukee 1960s?, little girl is the protagonist. Suspenseful and well written. I’d seen it recommended  and it was discounted so I bought it.  Ebook. Highly recommend. 
  25. The Survivors, by Jane Harper, fiction, present day Australian small beach town. I enjoy her writing. Not traditional mystery in my view but suspenseful full of complicated character relationships. Audiobook library loan. 
  26. The Ghost Runner by Parker Bilal, mystery fiction. Main character Makana, an immigrant detective in Egypt 2002. Complicated rich culture and plot. A bit dark. Used Paperback. 
  27. Caught, by Harlan Coben, mystery fiction, modern New Jersey. It was a good complicated plot with a challenging though very subtle character development challenges for the book people and me too. 
  28. The Broken Girls, by Simone St James, mystery fiction,  set in Vermont 1950s, and present day parallel stories. This story had murder, cops, ghosts, everything. I bought it thinking it was an author I knew but it was a new one to me. It was an enjoyable audiobook. 
  29. Need to know, by Karen Cleveland, set in DC CIA but a family situation. It was good writing. A review in the front section sort of gave some of the idea away at least to my suspicion mind. It was tense and written well. I wasn’t always with the protagonist. I might try something else by this author in future. 
  30. The Soul of Shame, by Curt Thompson MD, nonfiction, brain work, research, challenges to tackle stuff. Written with a Christian world view. Many practical tips to apply to life, work, family. So much of society issues root in shame. Audiobook.
  31. The Poet, by Michael Connolly, murder mystery, 1996, Denver, FBI, LA settings. He tends to be on the darker side. Complicated plots. Older tech some dated aspects but it didn’t overwhelm the story. Ebook
  32. The Case of the Reincarnated Client, by Tarquín Hall, India, private detective. Always enjoy these characters and the audiobook reader is so good. Audiobook.
  33. Troubled Blood, by Robert Galbraith, UK mystery fiction, London. Library audiobook. 5th in the series. Compelling characters that I enjoy yet some what dark so I don't read the series quickly. 
  34. The Little Paris Bookshop, by Nina George, fiction. Modern day-ish Paris and Provence. I love French flavors and enjoyed the audio readers in this library audiobook and the atmosphere. Charming. I found this title on a list of feel good books in addition to The Midnight Library. I'm beginning to think "feel good" is code for overcoming something really dreadful. So not what I'd call light but it turns around. 
  35. Uprooting Ernie, by Pamela Buford, Mystery Fiction current day Long Island, NY. Light comedic story telling. Easy read. 
  36. Maisie Dobbs, by Jacqueline Winspear, mystery fiction WWI and next 10 years. Audio library book. Good easy read. I didn't totally buy all the special insight and meditation aspects but I liked the characters. 
  37. Invisible, by James Patterson and Dave Ellis,  mystery suspense. Library audiobook. Enjoyed the twists and turns here very much.  I imagine these themes wouldn’t be published today. It was written in 2014. Thought provoking. 
  38. Midnight in the Garden of good and Evil, by John Berendt. Documentary of a crime. I read this as I’d seen write ups about this book and the film that seemed to set it in a classic type. I unfortunately didn’t enjoy it though you felt you really knew the extraordinary characters in a extraordinary city. Library audiobook. Glad it was finished. 
  39. Tornado weather, by Deborah E. Kennedy. One of the award winners from Bouchercon mystery awards. I was quite disappointed by the themes and characters. I think the innovative writing style with a different character voice for each chapter perhaps made it award worthy. Ebook. 
  40. The Question of the Missing Head by EJ Copperman and Jeff Cohen, mystery. Light and enjoyable with an Asperger’s main character. Audiobook. 
  41. Lightning Strike, William Kent Krueger, mystery fiction small town Minnesota. Interesting twists. I thought I was picking up a stand alone book. It was number 19 in a series. Disappointing because it's really good but I know myself and I won't go back to the beginning but I will read more from here. This one was his childhood event so it could almost be a stand alone. Good read. Library ebook. 
  42. Open Season, by Linda Howard, small town Alabama billed as a cozy mystery, it was a romance with a side of mystery. Not bad writing, but I don't want to know who touched what in such detail - which romances seem intent on telling you. audiobook. 
  43. The Power of Regret, How Looking Backward Moves us Forward, by Daniel H. Pink, nonfiction research on regret. Recommended to me. Really incredible info and tempting to read again or go find the worksheets. Really useful thinking themes. Audiobook. 
  44. Crime on the Fens, by Joy Ellis, crime fiction UK, modern time. Really liked the characters and the angst but then adjustment between them. I will definitely read more of this series. Audiobook.
  45. Body Movers, by Stephanie Bond, mystery modern day New York suburban settings, first few chapters were hard going but I ended up really liking the characters. A bit zany and will definitely read more here. Audiobook.
  46. Why Me? Stories of Suffering and overcoming, by Roger Carswell. Non Fiction, Paperbook.
  47. The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D., by Nichole Bernier, fiction drama. Very compelling and complex characters. Definitely the kind of thing you want to discuss after. Painful but emotions rang true.  Related to characters. Ebook. 
  48. Slow Horses, by Mick Herron, British secret intelligence rejects fall into a complicated situation. A darker story. I have not seen the tv series but I will read more of these characters. Library ebook. 
  49. In Such Good Company, by Carol  Burnett, a memoir. Library audiobook.  Enjoyed it! 
  50. What Angels Fear, by C.S. Harris, historical murder mystery fiction. Audiobook. Good reader and written well. Lots of twists and turns in the plot. First of a series. I’ll likely do more. 
  51. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson, Kentucky 1930s. Audiobook library. Great reader, terrific plot based on blue people of Kentucky. I was engaged all the way through and intrigued by the time and place. Highly recommend. 
  52. Finlay Donovan is Killing it, by Elle Cosimano, library ebook. DC area modern day mystery. This book had the right mix of humor, plot, mystery and characters I was interested in. I will read more of this series. 
  53. The Match, by Harlan Coben, mystery fiction, Wilde series.  NYC and mountains-woods outside city. Liked this second book in series as much as the first. Library ebook. Love this author. 
  54. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Frye, by Rachel Joyce. UK across country. Drama. Very good writing. I liked the characters and the unexpected way the story played out. Had melancholy moments but a good story. 
  55. The Missing American, by Kwei Quartey, mystery fiction set in Ghana. Library Audiobook. Interesting corruption, characters and plot lines. I could definitely read more of the series. 
  56. The Bone Garden, by Tess Gerritsen, Boston mostly in history 1830s but also with a current day plot. Ebook.
  57. The Carmarthen Murders, by John Nicholl, UK Wales modern day detective mystery. Started engaging but turned the detective into a caricature rather than deepening as it went. Strange ending, not unjustified but focused on victim's action not the detectives. I don't think I'll read more of these though they were not poorly done, dark and then odd unjustified occurrences with the characters. 
  58. Billy Summers, by Stephen King, USA several places. Good writing again an ending that left me unsatisfied despite deep character involvement. 
Unfinished: Win the Day, by Mark Batterson (audio nonfiction) just felt like I had the idea and it was repeating so I decided I was done. Bitter is the New Black, by Jen Lancaster. Audiobook. Couldn't finish black is the new snobby I deserve better and apparently I had trouble getting into the humor. Maybe my frame of mind. Writing wasn't bad in either case and I got through more than half the books but just couldn't keep going. 

08 January 2022

Books I read in 2021


  1. The Kremlin Conspiracy, by Joel  C. Rosenberg,  espionage fiction Moscow and DC present day. Lots of set up of the character’s life but I liked him. It also had a mid action sort of ending clearly setting up the series. I don’t usually like not getting the full resolution but I really liked the book so expect I’ll pick up more of the series. 
  2. The Lost Man, by Jane Harper, mystery fiction Australian outback, present day ish. Library ebook. Enjoyed a haunted feeling reading this story and wondering where it was going. I will read more from her. 
  3. The Woman in Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware, UK and On a ship and Norway. I tired of drunk and panicky protagonist and skimmed. I will try another Ruth Ware book as the story line was interesting.  Library ebook. 
  4. These is My Words, by Nancy Sutton, western territories mostly Arizona. Library audiobook. Based some on real stories. Compelling character or I would have stopped listening. The reader was very polished sounding for the story. Plus the library audiobook was poorly executed the last word in each chapter was cut off and one time it said switch to the next Cd.  That said I will not read more of this character. It was emotionally exhausting subject matter. I can highly recommend it though. 
  5. The 5th Horseman, by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro, San Francisco modern day, Murder Club series. Library ebook. I like these characters and pick one up now and then.  
  6. Portuguese irregular verbs, by Alexander McCall Smith, German university with a visit to Ireland and India. Very silly bit of mocking of Academia. Quick read. Library ebook. 
  7. The Guardians, by John Grisham, Georgia and Florida, a bit of soapboxing re justice system but I really enjoyed the characters. I listened to library audiobook, the character voices were very nicely done. 
  8. The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexander Dumas, set mostly in France, published in 1844. Epic book. I chose audio library book. Tedious copy of CDs but well read. “And so wait and hope.” Also a recommendation I might never have gotten around to otherwise.  I’ll miss this book. 
  9. The Word is Murder, by Anthony Horowitz, turns out this was nonfiction which I didn’t realize. I’d seen it on a list and liked the sound of it. I got the library ebook and got into the second chapter realizing it was based on real events. Really enjoyed it. It’s written very well he wrote for Foyles War and Midsomer Murders Tv shows. 
  10. Magpie Murders, by Anthony Horowitz, mostly London. Fiction ebook. Liked the premise of the two books in one, an editor searching for the meaning in a novel after an unexpected death.  It was good but at times I couldn’t pick it up. I think I didn’t like some characters. But I can recommend his writing for sure. I eagerly got this after reading the previous book on my list but didn’t like it as much. 
  11. A Casualty of War, by Charles Todd, Mostly Britain during the final days of World War 1. This is the last one of this series. It is one of the few I’ve read every book. I loved these, this was the Bess Crawford series. I should check out one of the others. *heard later there may be more for this series. 
—— tried Montaigne in Barn Boots, by Michael Perry. Supposed to be humor and philosophy. Not my cup of tea. 
  1. Skyjack, by K. J. Howe, Thriller, ebook. Second in the series, I liked it. Four stars but a couple things that felt under researched distracted me (even though it is a well done book with lots of expert help). I like the strong protagonist. 
  2. The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen 83 1/2 Years Old, sort of fiction, author is secret and semi true. Entertaining. I did an audio book version with Derek Jacobi reading. Poignant and Delightful.  Recommended by a friend.  
  3. The Library of the Lost and Found,  by  Phaedra Patrick,  Fiction. Delightful book set in UK with books as a presence and impetus for changing later in life. Love this book. Library ebook. 
  4. Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, by Balli Kaye Jaswal. Fiction Set in Indian sub culture in London. Listed on humor lists so I thought erotic was tongue in cheek. Well, the main plot is not erotic, but interesting characters and intrigue I enjoyed. Interspersed are the widows exaggerated stories. Again an entertaining book though I skipped over the little sexy stories often to get to the main plot. Ebook. 
  5. Tears of the Giraffe, by Allister McCall Smith, fiction mystery set in Botswana. Delightful, light reading with characters you’d enjoy having tea with. Library ebook. 
  6. The 7 1/2 deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, by Stuart Turton, fiction. Recommended. Not a traditional mystery but I enjoyed the unusual plot and the varied perspectives of a murder. Interesting concept. Set in a 1920s rich weekend house party environment. Very clean and I definitely can recommend this book.  Library audiobook, good voices. 
  7. Walk the Wire, by David Baldacci, 6th book in Amos Decker series. Set in a murder in the Fracking area in North Dakota. Complicated plot. I enjoyed it. The synesthesia aspect of the character is mostly absent this far into the series but the detective aspect is good. library ebook. 
  8. Last Days of Night, by Graham Moore,  fictional historical NYC based on true stories from the Current Wars in late 1800s. Very interesting and well written. Library audiobook. I enjoyed this both for the gatsby-esque time period as well as the semi true story drama. 
  9. The Third Twin, by Ken Follett, Baltimore area, mystery fiction, stand alone, library ebook. It has a copyright of 1996 and I found the descriptions of technology too specific and distracting. I debated if it was even behind the times for when it was written. Some formatting issues in the ebook or editing that caused dialogue to appear without line breaks between the characters speaking at times. That said, I really enjoyed the premise/plot. 
  10. Sworn to Silence, by Linda Castillo, mystery fiction, set in Ohio, library ebook. Police procedural a bit more detailed than I like. Set in Amish area with a former Amish police chief which gives a good twist to the series. This one had some dark themes, good writing but I couldn’t read this series straight through, too rough. But pick one up now and then. 
  11. The Chemist, by Stephanie Meyer, espionage fiction, DC and Texas, modern day. Library ebook. Enjoyed this plot and the characters a lot! Shocked to discover this is the Twilight author. No vampires or sexy weird at all here! 
  12. In for a Penny, by Kelsey Browning and Nancy Naigle, ebook, mystery fiction  southern Amateur Sleuth, Texas.  Fun characters, light read, well written. 
  13. The Woods, by Harlan Corben, mystery fiction, New Jersey, modern day. Audiobook. I read a lot of him and it was a safe pick on sale. Good characters and some twists I didn’t see coming. Good writer. 
  14. Lovable, by Kelly Flanagan. Nonfiction.audiobook. Lots to think about. May need to read again. 
  15. The Secret History, by Donna Tartt, fiction, audiobook. I know this is a best seller but I find her books long and the characters so introspective and full of themselves that I weary of them. I listened on fast speed. Clearly my opinion is the minority. A bit too literary for me while the plot had an interesting idea. I don’t think the characters changed much perhaps that’s why I don’t like  these. 
  16. Undertaking Irene, by Pamela Burton, cozy mystery fiction. Silly and easy read. Enjoyed the characters, fast moving. I’ll probably read more of the series at doomed point. Ebook. 
  17. Turn of the Screw, by Henry James, fiction 1898, Gothic. Library audiobook. Spooky! Rich atmosphere. Enjoyed it.  Would enjoy a conversation group for this one. Several movies have used this as a base. 
  18. The Apocalypse Watch, by Robert Ludlum, espionage fiction 1995. I struggled with hokey dialogue out of character for his writing. The main character was a bit too noir for me. Old technology  described a lot. The plot line of political opponents being planted and groomed for decades to take over when a crisis is triggered  was interesting and so I hung in there. Suspenseful ending. I read at the end his appreciation to his doctors from a heart attack or something cardiac. Made me wonder if he had help on the dialogue so it didn’t ring quite right. It was very long. Library ebook. 
  19. Get out of Your Head, by Jennie Allen, spiritual self help for transformation of thinking. I liked her style. She read the audiobook which kept it very real. I may buy the ebook to be able to flip through. Library audiobook. 
  20. Unforeseen, by Nick Pirog, fiction noir, old school 80s. Free set by Audible. Beware free sets. I won’t be finishing the set. I finished the one book to see what happened but no more. Old technology, old tough guy attitude. Ick. Probably was fine or unremarkable when it was written. 
  21. After Paul left Corinth: the influence of secular ethics and social change. By Bruce W. Winter. Hard reading maybe a thesis project but interesting cultural implications particularly in comparison of contemporary documents and word usage. Nonfiction. 
  22. Kiss the Girls, by James Patterson, mystery suspense. Listed on some favorites lists so I picked it up. Not current but creepy and suspenseful. Library ebook. 
  23. A Nice Class of Corpse, by Simon Brett. Mystery fiction. I like his writing and it is old school British in the vein of Agatha Christie. I will read more of this series. Library ebook. 
  24. The Searcher, by Tana French. Mystery fiction set in Ireland contemporary. She’s a good writer. Brood-some and interesting characters. I didn’t like some people in er series but this stand alone worked for me. Library ebook. 
  25. The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane SetterfIeld, set in UK, contemporary but written in gothic style, mystery but vague on time period. Good writing, spooky. Ebook. 
  26. Mrs., Presumed Dead, by Simon Brett, UK 1980s, Mrs. Pargeter novel 2, delightful light mysteries. Library ebook. 
  27. Eight Perfect Murders, by Peter Swanson, Boston, New England. Mystery. Audiobook. Premise is: a book list and a bookstore owner. Interesting.
  28. I am C-3PO, by Anthony Daniels, delightful memoir of his experiences in costume, acting, and all the variety of directors and film sets. Nonfiction audiobook. You have got to do the audiobook because he reads it and he is so delightfully droll.
  29. Loveable, by Kelly Flanagan, nonfiction, self help, audiobook. Quick read. Lingering ideas to think on. Recommend. 
  30. The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra,  by Vaseem Khan, mystery set in India. Audiobook. Enjoyed this light and fun book. 
  31. The Bodies Left Behind, by Jeffery Deaver, mystery, cop book set in Wisconsin. A huge amount of the book is in the woods in one night. Good suspense. The amazing thing was thinking the book was over after that and so much more happened. Good read. 
  32. An Unexpected Grief, by C.S. Lewis, paperbook, nonfiction. Very personal and real.  A one day read. 
  33. Six Years, by Harlan Corben, mystery, audiobook, New York state I think, I don't recall since I forgot to write this one down immediately. I love the premise of losing a love and then someone denying they were who they were. The idyllic relationships seemed a bit of a stretch but hey, it's fiction. He's a good writer. 
  34. Paradise Lodge, by Nina Stibbe, UK Leichester, 1970s, fiction, very funny coming of age type story.  Laughed out loud several times. 
  35. The Risk Agent, By Ridley Pearson, espionage action fiction. Set in China. Enjoyed the complexity of the character  connections. He is a very suspenseful writer. I’d forgotten about him and I’m glad to find some new books. 
  36. I am half sick of shadows, by Alan Bradley, series set in 1950s UK, mystery Flavia de Luce child sleuth.  These are fun. Library audiobook. This one is Christmas themed so I waited until December.
  37. Singapore Sapphire, by AM Stuart, historical mystery. Sympathetic and interesting characters.audiobook. I’ll probably pick up more of the series. 
  38. Weight of Glory, CS Lewis, series of talks he gave at Oxford in 1940s. Audiobook.  Rich. You could re-read it to absorb more. 

14 February 2021

Books read in 2020

1.  The Betrayal, by Sabin Willett, mystery fiction, DC area and Wyoming, library ebook. Good writing. Took a bit to engage, politics distracting, but very suspenseful later. It kept me reading past bedtime.

2. House of Echoes, by Brendan Duffy, suspense horror, paper book. Gift to me. One of the most suspenseful, creepy books I’ve read ever or in years. Well written, good read. Kept me up past my bedtime. I bet this becomes a quiet horror movie. 

3. When We Left Cuba, by Chanel Cleeton, “mystery" audiobook. Another misrepresentation of a book as a mystery. This was a romance with a sprinkle of mystery on top. I was intrigued by the spy aspect but it was disappointing. Audiobook.
4. Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership. Seeking God in the Crucible of ministry. By Ruth Haley Barton. Nonfiction recommended to me by German friend and Blogger. I read this slowly over 2 years as it had many ideas that were good to sit with for a time.
5. The Cruelest Month, by Louise Penny, mystery fiction, set in a small town in Canada. Interesting characters in this series and Inspector Gamache I like. The theme of this had to do with seances while it wasn’t the main idea, I wearied of some themes here. I will take a break before I revisit the series. She’s a very good writer.
6. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot, nonfiction, audio library book. While medical themes are hard for me, this book was fascinating. History was changed because of this story. Recommended by a friend who loves biographies.
7. Adrennaline, by Jeff Abbott, espionage fiction, Amsterdam, London. Interesting complicated plot, the protagonist didn’t like killing but unrealistically kicked people unconscious rather simply and frequently, so I eventually became fixated on that in the fight scenes. Library ebook. Sets up for a series. Not sure if I’ll read more. Possibly.
8. Emotional Healthy Spirituality, by Peter Scazzarro, nonfiction ebook. Did this as a workshop with a workbook. Some really good points about getting stuck emotionally and how that stifles growth.
9. The Hush, by John Hart, fiction. ebook. Follow up to an earlier book which I loved, maybe a favorite of the last decade. I was shocked but saw how he was able to develop this into a supernatural horror type story. He’s a very good writer. I’d say just not my taste the way this turned out. I prefer the mystery suspense type story to this but it was very suspenseful! I will always read more of Hart.
10. Everything but the Squeal; Eating the Whole Hog in the North of Spain, John Barlow, nonfiction ebook library. I enjoyed this though I did not read straight thru, picking it up and putting it down. I have a friend from Galicia. We’ve visited the region and so I enjoyed this food travel tale.  I’m ready to visit again.
11. Final Girls, by Riley Sager, suspense fiction, New York and Pennsylvania, audiobook. My frustration with the protagonist a few times was off set by several surprising things I should have seen coming but didn’t. Good writing.
12. Death Row, by William Bernhardt, legal thriller, fiction. Set in Oklahoma. Library ebook. Good plot line. He’s a good writer. I’ve read some of this character but not in order. Random House should edit better. I find copy errors distracting.
13. Tell Me Lies, by J. P. Pomare, Australia, psychological thriller. Literally, a psychologist who has weird client things happen and has a twist ending. Audiobook, a free offer from Audible. meh. 
14. Break Shot: My First 21 years by James Taylor, yes the singer. I love him. Pretty rough early situations, depression and drug addiction. It’s a wonder we didn’t lose him. Audiobook, he read. A short book, free from Audible.
15. The Body Reader, by Anne Frasier. Mystery suspense, a city that didn’t leave a strong impression on me. A detective is held captive for years and escapes. She develops sharper observation skills and unravels a crazy conspiracy. Good suspense. Audiobook.
16. Bluebird, Bluebird, by Attica Locke, Texas Ranger gets caught up in a racial related case. Interesting characters, complicated story. Fortunately I read it before the US blew up with riots so I wasn't distracted by that while I read a good plot.Audiobook. It's a series start. I would possibly read more. 
17. Exit Strategy, by Kelley Armstrong, all over the USA hitmen, serial killers, library ebook. Some things were hard to suspend my disbelief but an interesting premise.
18. Missing You, by Harlan Corbin, Northwest USA, fiction suspense. I like him he’s a good writer. I got distracted by some politicking in this one, over all a good read. Audiobook.
19. Deep Storm, by Lincoln Child, a deep sea underwater research platform in North Atlantic. I like his writing so I just grabbed it on a whim, lots of stars. Not a typical mystery. No spoiler but not a murder investigation at all. Audiobook.
20. The Body Counter, by Anne Frasier, detective character, from the series I started earlier. Enjoyed the first one enough that picking this for another audio read seemed like a easy quick pick. Good read, the character was less about reading the people she dealt with than in the first book but I like her. Audiobook.
21. Persia and the Bible, Edwin Yamauchi, Historical Research very much a text book type thing. Research for a work project. A big used hardback, a hard go but useful.
?# Norm MacDonald, Based on a true Story. Another SNL memoir. I stopped. It wasn’t horrible but it wasn’t entertaining me either. Supposed to be a funny book. Library audio book. No harm no foul no funds lost. Stopped before the end.
22. The Reading Group, by Elizabeth Noble, UK. It was a light chick lit type book. I found it on a list of feel good books that the blogger likes to re-read. It had interesting characters but the most unrealistic male female arguments but maybe that’s what makes it a feel good. Happy ending and all. Good writer. Bought a used paperback. 
23. The Late Show, by Michael Connolly, LA Cop Detective, almost hard boiled but modern, engaging and yet minimalist writing. Audiobook.
24. The Hunt, by Allison Brennan, Montana, Mystery fiction, a bit romance for my taste but good suspense. Paperbook living in my house. I’m losing faith in the description of relationships in fiction but maybe a real fight would be hard to read?
25. The Red Road, By Denise Mina, Scotland, Mystery Fiction. Library audiobook. Good Scottish accents on the reading. I liked the police detective character, multiple points of view in the book. I'd read more.
26 Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, Lori Gottlieb, nonfiction , audiobook. A therapist gets therapy. Entertaining but encouraging as well, overcoming hard times theme.
27 The Code of the Wooster, by P.G. Wodehouse, 1931 aristocrat UK, humor, fiction, ebook. Poorly edited to the point I wondered if it was a pirated version, but it was from Amazon! Entertaining, slapstick at times. I had to look up some vocabulary that we no longer actively use! Enjoyed it for a light read.
28 The Drifter, by Nick Petrie, fiction, set in Milwaukee. Tough ex military suspense. I enjoyed the characters and some of the beat up the bad guy stuff. A lot of language if that turns you off be forewarned. Fight scenarios were quite satisfying. Audiobook.
29 The Tie that Binds, by Kent Haruf, Fiction set in Colorado farm country, Holt County. It’s a vintage contemporary collection, copyright 1984 but probably set in 50s. Moody, broodsome, tense. ebook. Very compelling read. Dark.
30 A Serial Killer’s Daughter, by Kerri Rawson, nonfiction library ebook. Her father is the Wichita BTK killer. It’s a good bit autobiography and I had anticipated more about her and her dad. Later in the book that happens some.
31 The Case of the Love Commandos, by Tarquín Hall, mystery fiction, library audiobook. The reader is so good. You feel like you‘ve been on a trip to India when you read this series. Fun stories. Good writer. Library book. 4th in the series.
32 Inside Jobs, by Ben H.Winters, fiction short stories of crime in quarantine. Free audiobook. Not very long. Cute.
33 Nut Jobs, by Marc Fennell, nonfiction about almond thefts in California. Audiobook, so a bit of a podcast feel really. Intriguing crime. A bit of a soap box about food production the last chapter or two which felt like a deviation from the actual crime story being told. Still interesting at times, dark humor.
34 Isabella, the Warrior Queen, by Kristin Downey. Nonfiction, audiobook. A big book about Queen Isabella of Spain. Fascinating. Inspiring. Troubling. Great writer/researcher.
35 Shamed, by Linda Castillo, fiction, mystery set In Ohio Amish country. Nice main character formerly Amish. Library ebook. Random read. It was book 11 of the series. Good, smooth writing and suspense
36 Cop Town, by Karen Slaughter, mystery cop fiction, set in Atlanta during race tensions in 1970s, good writer, mostly believable. A bit of soapboxing but maybe it’s the times we live in now too.
37 King of Sting: Australian Conman Peter Foster. True podcast turned “audiobook." 
definitely a true con, over and over. I wasn’t clear at the end what the resolution was but intriguing. Lowers your trust in people.
38 The Lies I Told, by Heather Gudenkauf, mystery fiction Ebook. Done with different character points of view. This was good writing and had a good twist at the end that brought a lot together. I realized there’s a phenomenon, a subgenre of thriller of unreliable protagonist. It is suspenseful. The first book I read like that in the 90s left me shaken as the character himself was when he realized what he was. Gone girl is the more famous version perhaps. I recognized I like to be clear about my character even though this is a very popular genre inside mystery currently.
40 The Unlikely Spy, By Daniel Silva, WW II UK espionage, oh the tangled webs! Lots of characters, good writing. Audiobook. This is the book I discovered I’m embarrassed when the sex scenes are read out loud, just a couple but still. I’m apparently a prude and skim that stuff in writing but on audio I got stuck where I couldn’t fast forward one day! ack!  Great writing.
41 Dark clouds, Deep mercy, Discovering the grace of lament, by Mark Vroegop, nonfiction ebook. Good points to ponder. I was encouraged to explore this theme by a trusted connection. I disagreed with some ways of looking at or defining terms of grief but took away a lot from the thinking here. 
42 Career of Evil, by Robert Galbraith, Comoran Strike detective series, book 3, mystery fiction set mostly in London. Library ebook. Enjoyed this. Lots of tension but in different parts of the story. These are a bit darker than some things I read but I continue to pick up the series.
43 Lethal White, by Robert Galbraith, book 4 of series. Mystery fiction set in London. A situation not related to the main plot was left unresolved at the end of the previous book and in a rare move for me,  I picked up this one immediately. I don’t like to feel I didn’t get the ending and feel blackmailed to buy the next book. I know that’s a technique of writing cliffhanger style but I like each one resolved where I just want to see those characters again. This was more subtle but drove me to want more. Round of applause for the author’s technique. Library ebook. Liked the complex characters here.
44 Secrets of Wishtide, by Kate Saunders, Victorian England, A Letitia Rod mystery fiction. A light audio read that was engaging. I liked the characters and setting. I would read more. Historical is not my go to but I enjoy it when I do. This was on sale and had high ratings.
45 Cold Cold Heart, by Tami Hoag, mystery fiction audiobook, set mostly in Indiana town. Good suspense and even though I had pretty strong suspicions about the bad guy watching it unfold was a good story. Protagonist’s injuries helped make some of her actions more feasible as well as her fear. Two thumbs up.
46 The Kill Artist, by Daniel Silva, espionage fiction set in Europe, audiobook. As he usually does a large cast of characters that eventually come together with great suspense... this was the beginning of a series. While everything resolved, one of the characters disappointed me, so I’ll give it some space before I read another. Bought on sale, a good hook for me: cheap book 1 of a series!
48 The Girl Beneath the Sea, by Andrew Mayne, mystery thriller set in Florida with diving as a theme. Again an on sale book one of a series. Good suspense and interesting characters. I will likely read more.
49 Deliver us from Evil, by David Baldacci, espionage fiction, France and UK contemporary. Follow up, loosely to The Whole Truth. Good plot, a bit more description of the hardware than he usually has, maybe a touch of Tom Clancy. I think it set up for another in series. This was a paperbook I think I found cleaning out my grandparents house or on a book swap table. Nice to read in paper but trade paperback is just too big to take around with you.
50 Don’t Let Go, by Harlan Coben, mystery suspense set in New Jersey, on sale audiobook. Engaging I read it in a couple days. I should have seen that ending coming but didn’t. I liked the characters.
52 Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, audiobook. Great audio read going into the autumn, morose and spooky. Much more of an emotional drama than I realized. First time to read it after being challenged by a friend who was reading it.
53 Espionage and Covert Operations: A Global History, by Veja Gabriel Liulevius, a 12 hour lecture/audiobook. A bit like a history class but he is good at presenting the information. I learned a ton. Does it count as a book? It is longer than some novels I’ve done on audible.
54 Nine Women One Dress, by Jane L. Rosen, fiction chic lit, New York City, mostly. It was fun. A light read that I found on a humor list and as an audiobook in my library.
55 Iron Lake, by Willem Kent Krueger, fiction very cold small town Minnesota. Great emotion and character development in an intense mystery plot. Didn’t know it was the beginning of a series. I would not hesitate to read more. Library ebook. He's a very good writer.
56 Therapy, by Jonathan Kellerman, mystery in LA, older series, hard boiled style. Not sure if it was the age of the tech or the characters. Didn’t like this. It is part of a big popular series so my opinion clearly doesn’t hold. I like Kellerman’s writing and other books, just not an Alex Delaware series fan. Library ebook
57 The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion, fiction, a bit of romantic comedy. I listened as an audiobook and the Australian accent was fun. The character’s ocd was delightful. I find rom com a bit light and unrealistic but it was an enjoyable book.
58 Boundaries, by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend, when to say yes and how to say no to take control of your life. A best seller nonfiction. Got it on audio library book. Very good in that includes examples, how to-s, as well as things to help you identify your own tendencies. I will probably buy for my own collection.
59 The Silent Patient, by Alex Michaelides, UK modern day Mystery Fiction, library ebook. It was well written and I saw it coming a bit before the twist hit toward the end. Not my favorite type of book but it was a best seller and I think it is slated for a film as well.
60 Someone Knows, by Lisa Scottoline, suburbs of Philadelphia (or was it Baltimore?). Mystery fiction, multiple points of view audiobook. The downward spiral of the first third or half was a bit hard. I ended up playing it on a higher speed to get it over, the last third is full of suspense and the pay off on some character strengths made me like the book much more by the end.
61 The Talented Mr. Ripley, By Patricia Highsmith. On a classic recommendations list. Mostly set in Italy. Good writing but I tired of the characters. Audiobook listened at high speed which is a sign I just want to be done.
62 Everything you told me, by Lucy Dawson, mostly near London. Intrigued by the premise but found the main character passive for a good amount of the book anda bit deus ex machina at the end. Audiobook listened at high speed. It is popular though.
63 The Cornish Coast Murder, by John Bude, fiction written in the 1930s, Cornwall. Library ebook. Very light reading exactly what you’d expect. A bit of the little lady tone regarding female characters. Contemporary authors ie Parker or Christie certainly didn’t take that tone.
64 Zeal without Burnout, by Christopher Ash, nonfiction ebook. I probably was not the intended audience since I’m thinking in terms of an organization not a church. Some good points but not so much as I’d hoped.
65 A man called Ove, by Federik Backman, modern fiction Sweden. On a lot of book club lists and humor book lists. It is funny in many places but it is also poignant and sometimes sad. I can highly recommend it for the writing and characters. Ebook library. Full disclosure: finished on New Year’s Day 2021

02 August 2020

Reading and Cereal

I was reading Linda Castillo's book, Shamed. A murder occurs in an Amish community and the sheriff who was raised Amish and left the community is racing the clock to solve a kidnapping and murder. Good suspense and it kept me engaged. It was book 11 because it was one I randomly grabbed in my library app not wanting to study on what to read. I won't go back in the series but I would read more.

Do you know the term "brought out of the story"? I am pretty easy going about playing along with plots and twists-turns. Grammatical errors and typos always make me pause and think about if the book was published by a big New York firm and that sort of thing. Sometimes something in a story doesn't sound quite true and it will make you stop and think. This is being pulled out of the story instead of staying in the flow. 

While I can highly recommend this book there was one moment that brought me out of the story. The sheriff is talking to the 5 or 6 children under 11 years old. It is late almost bedtime and they are eating cereal. 

I did not grow up Amish but my parents went through some hippie phases. If you want a play on words, they can be a bit granola. In fact, most of my life they have made granola from scratch. We would buy it at times as well as a healthier alternative to processed cereal. I did get to eat cereal from boxes too. It had to be something with some nutrition in my mother's estimation Wheaties or Life Cereal if I begged. I've never had Captain Crunch, still. It was considered sugar and no substance.

I know about home made granola intimately. And we call it granola we don't call it cereal. So this begs the question from me: do Amish communities, or does a conservative Amish family buy cereal? The family in the book is designated as a strict family. Or is there a recipe for cereal that I haven't encountered with my everything made from scratch up bringing?? I find this very interesting. If you happen to know, I'd love to hear. 

It was a silly detail that made me pause in my reading.  I know some Mennonites but they can be very modern so I don't think I'll get my answer there either.

At my house today, I buy my cereal, happily. I mix three varieties including one here in Spain called Chocolic, it is the store brand of the pictured product here which is name brand. Chocolic would not meet my mother's cereal standards, please don't tell her. 

28 January 2020

A plethora of nonfiction reading +

I don't always read paper books, in fact, it has become rare as I travel more for my day job. Living in Spain doesn't give me a wide selection  of paper in English. I love paper but the practicality has driven me into the arms of digital devices. I still have a library/office in my home and enjoy "real" books immensely to look at, read and touch.

 So how on earth am I reading all of these paper at one time? 

I'm in a travel lull. Also in the last year,  I have given myself permission on nonfiction to read on and off. In the past, I pushed myself to finish and often lost enthusiasm and therefore attention span on nonfiction just dragging myself to completion rather than absorbing the information.  In addition I have four more digital nonfiction books underway as well. That brings the total on nonfiction to eight!

I don't think I've ever read so many books at once in my life. It has left me with some anxiousness and I see I need to wrap up a few of them so I don't feel so lost when it's time to read. 
Followers of my blog will know I don't really love reading nonfiction and my relaxing and enjoying comes from fiction which takes my mind away from reality. 
Here's the total: three for research, two were gifts,  one a travelogue - these I love but I stalled out on finishing for some reason; two for work or you could dub them self-improvement.  AND I have a fiction audio book going at the moment. Just finished a paper fiction book on Thursday night as well. 

So what should I pick up now?! 

11 January 2020

Books read in 2019

1. I Must Say, By Martin Short, a memoir, audiobook, he reads it, enjoyable.  He does use swear words a little. 
2. The Camel Club, by David Baldacci , fiction political thriller DC area, felt like a good amount of political soapbox mixed in with the action. Good characters but won't go back for more.
3. The Dead in their Vaulted Arches, by Alan Bradley, fiction mystery, UK 1950s. **** library ebook 
4. The Napoleon of Notting hill, G.K. Chestertoon, fiction audiobook, satire was deep probably a good deal of pop culture commentary over my head but some pithy observations in story form as well. Written in 1904 set in 1984. 
5. A Confederacy of Dunces, by John. Kennedy O’Toole,  humor fiction, Pulitzer prize winner,  dreadful, in my quest for humor, striking out. Perhaps a Strange look into the 1960s. Odd so much that was said would be blackballed as inappropriate today. 
5.5. The empty house, mystery fiction, Abigail Augsburger, Short story audiobook almost like a kids book. Too light.  Too short.
5.6. Infinite Jest. Tried to read It’s won prizes and is lauded as a humor book. I was not enjoying it at all after 3 audio hours and I quit. 
6. The Freedom broker, a Thea Paris novel, by K. J. Howe, Greece, Africa, techno thriller, ****, audiobook, enjoyed the action and the protagonist 
7. Take Out, By Margaret Maron, mystery detective novel NYC, ****
8. The Monkey’s raincoat, by Robert Crais, 1987 mystery novel voted one of the best by independent book sellers. Set in LA, very Hard boiled and definitely a look into the past. Times have really changed a lot. Quick read. Paperback
9. The Spy wore Silk, by Aline Countess of Romanones, nonfiction 1970s, American who spied while being married to a Spanish Count. Book 3 of a series. Set in Morocco mostly during a coup attempt. I find these interesting seeing into the world of the rich and powerful and she has a very nice way of presenting without going political. I like seeing the Spain of that time. 
10. By Reason of Insanity, by Randy Singer, legal thriller, Virginia and Las Vegas, hardback, ***.5
11. Love you more, by Lisa Gardner, Massachusetts, ebook, ****
12.The Queen  Aretha Franklin, by Mikail, Gilmore, nonfiction,  audiobook
13. The child next door, by Shalini Bolander, fiction UK, billed as a thriller but the whiny protagonist wearied me. 
14 .The Innocent Man, by John Grisham, nonfiction, didn’t quite finish. I thought it was fiction it got really long. I’m not great with crime nonfiction. I understand the TV series is good.
15. Chasing a Croatian Girl:a survivor’s tale by Cody Brown, nonfiction, ebook. Humorous, Delightful. Much applies to Spain as well for learning to live somewhere else. 
16. What the Dead know, by Laura Lippman, fiction mystery, Baltimore and Mexico. Good plot twist. Audiobook. 
17. The Gospel as tragedy, comedy and fairytale, by Frederick Buckner, nonfiction 1977.  Poignant and thought provoking. Quick read. Hardback book
18. Crazy Rich Asians, by Kevin Kwan, all over in Asia and a few other places. The places are viewed the way rich people see them. Fiction. Billed as super funny and it is humorous. I think the idiosyncrasies of the rich may be beyond my humor. 
19. Eva Trout, by Elizabeth Bowen, fiction 1960s Ireland. Paperback purchased at the Dublin Writers Museum. Again some of the humor escaped me plus the end was a shock. 
20. The African Svelte, ingenious misspellings that make surprising sense, by Daniel Menaker with illustrations. Quick nonfiction read. Humorous word play. 
21. Cover her in darkness, by Eileen Rendahl fiction library ebook, Chicago.  Good mystery fiction. ****
22. Stone Cold, by CJ Foxx, Wyoming park service ranger mystery, library ebook. Well written, interesting plot. Park service was an outlier for me. Library ebook. 
23. Never Die Alone, by Lisa Jackson. Mystery suspense, New Orleans, library ebook. Good read. Three or four typos in a mainstream publishers book! 
24. Reconstructing Amelia,  by Kimberly McCreight , fiction  Brooklyn, writing was fine, I didn’t like it. Downward spiral. One of several mysteries I’ve encountered recently that don’t really fit the genre. They are categorizing too loosely or incorrectly. 
25. Don’t Make Me Pullover, by Richard Ratay, nonfiction history and memoir of  family road trip vacations, audio library book. Entertaining. light. 
26. Code Name Lise, by Larry Loftis, nonfiction WWII most decorated female spy. Very Interesting. Exciting. Poignant. Audiobook. 
27. An Innocent Client, a Joe Dillard mystery by Scott Pratt, courtroom drama, set in the south,  audiobook.  Good book. Twist in plot. 
28. 4th of July, Murder Club series, California, by James Patterson with Maxine Paetro, library ebook. Cop detective series. Easy read.I like the friends together in this.  
29. Does this Beach make me look fat? By Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella, humorous life memoir, library audiobook read by authors mother and daughter. Funny bits. But I was done before the book was. 
30. The Fear Index, by Robert Harris, thriller fiction, Geneva Switzerland. Twist ending! Very good. 
31. Woman of God, by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro, library audiobook. Sudan, Europe, Massachusetts. Very Interesting themes. Enjoyed this one a lot. 
 32. The Melody Lingers On, by Mary Higgins Clark, mystery New York City, library ebook. Quick read.
 33. Fierce Optimism, Leeza Gibbons, memoir, audiobook, library. I liked the theme of optimism but lost interest toward the end. 
34.  Double Blind, Iris Johansson, mystery, California, library ebook. Good read. Main character was blind and had surgery to correct it so she observes better than most people. 
35. The story of my life by Helen Keller. Audiobook. Overcoming adversity is a great theme! Short book 
36. The Game Changer, by Louise Phillips, mystery set in Ireland. Ebook. I must have read something very similar. It felt familiar but the end was different than I thought so not a reread. It was distracting to me to keep thinking that plus I predicted much of it. 
37. Trust Me, by Hank Phillips Ryan, mystery, Massachusetts, library ebook. I enjoyed this book 
38. Dark Horse, by Tami Hoag, mystery, Florida, audio library book.  Older technology references but a good plot. 
39. Redemption, by David Baldacci, Amos Decker detective novel, Ohio, library ebook. I like this series. Though the hook that brought me to it (his brain injury) has faded as the series has gone on.
40. Under the Beetle’s Cellar, by. Mary Willis Walker mystery  mystery fiction set in Texas, writer protagonist, audiobook. Suspenseful!
41. Agatha Raisin and the haunted house, M C Beaton, Sleuth mystery, UK. I think I read this one years ago but didn’t realize until the middle. This was an audiobook from the library. Reader was very good. 
42. Dare to lead, by Brene Brown, I had resisted her books as pop culture but it was a library ebook. Extremely good. Audiobook read by her. I went to the website and printed things afterward. 
43. No good deed goes unpunished or unrewarded, by Paul Cowell.  Nonfiction.  A gift.  this Book had some great take aways. It made me feel less alone. Paperback 
44. The Convent, by Paños Karnezis, fiction, drama, set in Spain turn of the century. Well written, melancholy. Paperback hanging around in my house. Maybe a re-read. Sigh.
45. My Lost Family, by Daniel Ben-Moshe, Amazon original, turns out this “audio book”was a repurposed podcast, it was very good and was offered free on audible. I felt gipped by it being offered as a “free book.” Nonfiction his mother had children before him that were taken by their father and he didn’t know them. 
46. Burnout Generation, by Anne Helen. Peterson, again a freebie on amazon audible that was  a podcast, it’s probably going to be a book on how millennials are so burned out and have so little chance of getting out of debt. My take away is that I’m flirting with burnout and while they feel it is unique to their generation it is not. Sure some things in every era are unique but challenges  and fulfillment are not so unusual as stressors but they didn’t ask me.
47. A Window Opens, By Elisabeth Egan, chic lit, library ebook. Just a reminder why I don’t read this genre, I wanted an audiobook quickly and grabbed it from the library. This is the most unrealistic couple conflict ever. Ending was easy to see. It wasn’t poorly written just not my thing I guess. 
48. On Borrowed time, by David Rosenfelt. Mystery with odd twist. Again pretty sure I read this before but can’t find it on my lists. I wonder too if the same themes appeal to me and I read similar books by accident. It was well written. 
49 Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeman, fiction audiobook. Good Scottish accents. Feel good story overcoming adversity.  If this is chic lit, I stand corrected. Well done. 
50. All the Dead Lie Down, by Mary Willis Walker, mystery fiction, Texas. Must be set about 1995 technology wise. I enjoyed the plot. Protagonist forgets she has a gun though.... really? The characters were interesting. Suspenseful. 
51. Mr. Mercedes, by Stephen King, mystery Pittsburgh. Audio library book. I’d never read one of his regular mysteries. I liked the plot description before I realized it was him. Engaged my suspense immediately. He’s a very good writer. Being him though, there were some very icky scenes in there but compelling. 
52. Time travel to the Old Testament. By Chris Sinkinson, nonfiction, very readable and great context for some things that aren’t obvious to our world today. Paperback book I bought from the author at an event.
53.  A Thousand Naked Strangers, a paramedics wild ride to the edge and back, by Kevin Hazzard, nonfiction, audio library book. Rough language but very interesting peak into another world. I hope to never need to go there. 
54. Chosen People, by Robert Whitlow,  Atlanta, and Israel, Christian Fiction, ebook. It was well written. I don’t read this genre much because it always gets obvious. The plot kept me interested.
55.As I lay dying, by William Faulkner, south country family, audiobook. Wish I had these 6 hours back. Depressing!! But the personalities and voices come through strong and clear in the writing. I guess he’s not my taste either. I picked it up from one of those: books you should read if you didn’t in school type lists.

55.5 Gravity, Seven Essential Truths about Influence, Leadership and your Soul by Ronald Kuest and Michael Forney. Nonfiction. Paper book, a gift. Some good points, clearly written, but didn’t feel unique to others I’ve read. I didn’t quite finish, but have kept it around to pick up if it strikes me to do so. 

30 December 2018

My books of 2018

In 2018, I read more books than for several years due to some short books and audiobooks. I used to read a book a week in my 20s. This is the first time I’ve gotten this number since I started tracking the last few years. I don’t feel it’s quite the same with some of these short ones but the number surprised me since that wasn’t what I necessarily set out to do. 

1.The Poet, Michael Connelly, early 1990s detective mystery fiction, audiobook, found the detailed description of old technology distracting but a good plot. ***.5
2.In the name of Jesus: Reflections on Leadership, Henri Nouwen,nonfiction 
3.She’s not there, Joy Fielding, California , Mexico modern, fiction mystery,***
4. Where She was, modern mystery suburbs out of NYC, audiobook, ****
5.  Ordinary grace, by William Kent Krueger, 1961 Minnesota fiction, ****, the title is intriguing and exactly right for a complicated dramatic plot. 
6. 1st to Die, James Patterson, with Andrew Gross, detective fiction , A Woman’s Murder Club, San Francisco, library ebook. ****
7. Adulthood is a myth, cartoon book, Sarah Anderson, library, very funny. 
8.  Struck by Genius, how a Brain  injury made me a mathematical genius, Jason Padgett and Maureen Seaburg, nonfiction aquired savant. I’m fascinated! Library, ebook
9. Memory Man, David Baldacci, modern mystery, aquired savant, *****, library audiobook
10. Little Girl Lost, by Brian McGillaway, Northen Ireland, modern police procedural, ebook, ****fiction 
11. Say you’re sorry, By Melinda Leigh, modern US mystery, Morgan Dane book 1. Good plot more romance than I like.  Audiobook.
12.  Bonhoeffer, by Eric Metaxas, , audio library book. Very long but very interesting. 
13. The Last Mile,  by David Baldacci, book 2 detective savant, not as engaging for me as the first maybe because it was centered on football. Still good writing.
14. The kiiller next store, alex marwood, UK fiction present day, audiobook, interesting but way too much gore, vulgar detail for my taste. 
15. Crucial Conversations,nonfiction, Paterson, gray, McPherson, switzer, *****
16. tea and bee’s milk, our year in a Turkish village, Karen and Ray Gilden  Travelogue Turkey 1996, ebook, ****
17. 2nd Chance,  women’s detective club book 2, fiction, San Francisco,  James Patterson, ***.5
18. Proof, Dick Francis, UK wine and horses industry fiction from 1980s, ****, audiobook
19. The Paris Librarian, Mark Pryor, Paris, fiction mystery, ***library ebook
20. Extra Virginity: the sublime and scandalous world of olive oil, by Tom Mueller, nonfiction, aundiobook.***.5 enjoyed it. 
21. Creativity Inc, by Ed Camall, and Amy Wallace, nonfiction *****, both bought ebook and library ebook.
22. The Breakdown, B.A. Paris, fiction, audiobook, UK modern mystery, I grew very tired of the weakness of the protagonist. This gets very high ratings so not sure why I saw through story line so quickly.
23. Death Rites, Alicia Gimenez-Bartlett, police procedural 1994 Barcelona.****
24.  Away with words, Joe Berkowitz, nonfiction pun contests in  Texas and New York
25. Kill the next one, Federico Axat, fiction mystery, audiobook, surprising g premise. ****
26. 3rd degree , by James Patterson and Andrew Gross, mystery series in san  Francisco, ***
27. The case of the deadly butter chicken, Tarquín Hall, mystery fiction, modern day indai. ****, library audiobook
28. The devil’s bed, William Kent Krueger, fiction Mystery, Minnesota, ****, ebook
29.  A monster calls, by Patrick Ness. Fiction modern u k. Coming of age. Good, sad, library ebook
30. Before the fall, Noah Hawley, suspense fiction east coast, plane wreck, ***, audiobook, entertaining, interesting premise
31. Educated, Tara Westover, nonfiction memoir, Idaho, audiobook. She never went to school. Fascinating. 
32. As chimney sweeps come to dust, Alan Bradley,mystery fiction,  Uk, Canada, library ebook.  ****
33. The fix, DC, David Baldacci, mystery fiction, ***.5
34. The Bullet, mary Louise Kelly, DC, Atlanta. Mystery fiction, audiobook****
35. Best served cold:a Martha Garrett mystery, by Cyn Mackley, Texas mystery fiction, fun story, a few typos which I found distracting. Ebook. 
36. Schadenfreude, A Love Story: Me, the Germans, and 20 Years of Attempted Transformations, Unfortunate Miscommunications, and Humiliating Situations That Only They Have Words For, by Rebecca Shuman, nonfiction travel. CanNot recommend.
37. The Diamond Caper, Peter Mayle, Southern France/Provence, fiction, easy read, delightful. Library ebook. ****
38. Underneath a Scarlet Sky, a novelized story based on real events in WW II in Italy, Mark Sullivan **** audiobook
39. I see you, by Clare Mackintosh, fiction mystery UK London, audiobook, good book. I tire of weak protagonists from the UK lately but the overall book was enjoyable and she was strong at the end. ***
40. The Straw Men, Michael Marshall, fiction mystery ebook, too many plot lines a deeper edit would have helped. A very interesting premise just not coherent, Montana and California. Ebook.*
41. Artifacts, by Mary Anna Evans, fiction mystery archeology in Florida, very enjoyable. Ebook, ****
42. Iron house, by John Hart, mystery fiction, south USA mostly. *****
43. Anything you can imagine, Peter Jackson and the making of middle earth, by Andy Serkis. Audiobook. Very enjoyable especially for my geeky film making side. 
44. The Shattered Tree , Charles Todd, WWI historical mystery fiction. I really enjoy this series . Ebook library . 
45. Hi, Bob. By Bob Newhart, audiobook, interviewing comedians.  Fun, quick. 
46. The Fallen, by David Baldacci, mystery fiction, Pennsylvania run. Audiobook. 
47. A fatal grace, Louise Penny, Three Pines and Montreal, Canada, mystery fiction, ****
48. The stupidest angel, a Christmas tale of Terror, fiction, Pine cove   CA Christopher Moore, I did notmean to read a zombie book. Surprise. 
49. Letters from Santa, J. R.R. Tolkien, audiobook. Kids book. 
50. The Life we Bury, Allen Eskens, Mystery Fiction, Minnesota, audiobook
51. Adrenaline and stress, Archibald Hart, nonfiction. 
52. Triptych, by Karen Slaughter , fiction mystery, Atlanta. Libraryebook ***

53. Crucial Accountability, Patterson, Gray, McPherson, and Switzer. Nonfiction. Very good tools. 

27 January 2018

Books of 2017

  1. Goldfinch, Donna Tartt, fiction drama, audiobook, Las Vegas and New York City ***
  2. No mark upon her, Deborah Crombie, mystery, ebook uk. ****
  3. The advantage, business, short book, Patrick Lencioni ***
  4. Sidney Chambers and the shadow of death, the granchester mysteries, james runcie, UK post WW II, ***.5
  5. Strangers on a train, Patricia Highsmith, New York and Texas, 1950, mystery fiction, ***.5 ebook
  6. The Keeper of Lost Causes, Jussi Adler-Olsen, Denmark, Mystery, audiobook, **** (book 1 of series, Realized I’d read a later one and kept thinking I’d read this book, or maybe I had. Hate re-reading unintentionally, especially when I bought it!) good read, but dark. 
  7. The Devil in the White City, Chicago’s world fair, Eric Laarsen?, 1893. Nonfiction, audio book. What a strange and interesting time. ***.5
  8. Leading out of who you are. Simon P Walker, nonfiction leadership. ****
  9. Whoever fights monsters, by Robert Ressler, nonfiction FBI developing profiling for serial murders, grissly but interesting in short doses, audiobook. ***
  10. In the woods, Dublin murder squad, modern fiction, very good, writing great but one character's bad choices will probably keep me from reading more in the series. ****
  11. Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus. Nabeel quereshi, nonfiction, ebook excellent
  12. The Last Child, John hart, fiction modern day south USA, exceptional writing. Ebook. *****
  13. A tapping at my door, by David Jackson, U.K. Modern day, detectives, ****ebook
  14. Snare of the hunter, by Helen Macinnes, ebook, 1960s, ***.5 Cold War escape Czechoslovakia to Austria. Sort of a spy Agatha Christie type book.
  15. May we be forgiven, a novel, A.M. Holmes, modern fiction NY City suburbs mostly. *** minus the vulgar scenes, I would have said 4 stars. Ebook
  16. Walking on Water: Faith and Art, Madeline L'Engle, nonfiction ***** ebook
  17. Mr. Churchill's secretary, Susan Elia MacNeal, U.K. WW II. *** audio 
  18. The girl who was supposed to die, by April Henry, Boston mystery fiction, audio, ****
  19. Live to tell, by Lisa Gardener, detective fiction, audio. ***
  20. The Girl you Lost, by Katheryn Kroft, **** mystery fiction, audio
  21. The laws of teamwork , by John Macwell, Nonfiction , ***, gift, paperbook!
  22. The Rabbi Slept Late, by Harry Kemelman, written 1960s, New England fiction, ebook. ****
  23. Get well soon, Jennifer Wright, nonfiction plagues. Very interesting. Audiobook . ****
  24. Today will be Different , Marie Semple, fiction Seattle, audiobook, ****
  25. The Crossing Places, Ely Griffiths, Norfolk U.K., modern mystery, ***.5, more but one area seemed strangely presented or not researched clearly. 
  26. The House of Spies, Daniel Silva, modern spy novel, France, Israel, london, morocco.****
  27. Movie Storyboards: the art of visualizing screenplays, by Fionnuala Halligan , library ebook, nonfiction. 
  28. Single White Female, John Stutz, 1980s NYC. *** fiction ebook
  29. The Mushroom Hunters, on the trail of an underground America, Langdon Cook, Nonfiction, strange and interesting. audiobook. ****
  30. An Army Arising, why artists are on the front line of the next move of God, Crist John Otto nonfiction, paper book, a gift I enjoyed **** nonfiction 
  31. The life of the beloved, spiritual living in a secular world, Henry Nouwen, nonfiction, ebook ****
  32. Redemption Road, John Hart, North Carolina, fiction, audiobook, ****
  33. Are you Sleeping, contemporary mystery, Chicago, Kathleen Barber, ebook ***
  34. Dorothy L. sayers, A Careless Rage for Life, biography, audiobook. ***** 
  35. So Happiness to meet you, Karin Esterhammer, nonfiction, travelogue, library ebook, ***.5
  36. My Italian bulldozer, Alexander McCall Smith, Scotland and Italy, fiction audiobook. **** light and entertaining 
  37. Stay the course, choco de Jesus, paperback gift, skeptical start but I loved his attitude to sharing faith. ****
  38. The way of the thorn, David Trementozzi, spiritual allegory, paperbook, gift. 
  39. The Happiness Effect, How social media is driving a generation to appear perfect at any cost, Donna Freitas, nonfiction; report of a study/survey, paperback, gift. Very Interesting perspective on our times.
  40. The Silkworm, Robert Galbraith, , London, mystery audiobook, library, ***.5
  41. Death and the Lit Chick, G M Malliet, Edinburgh, present day, fiction ebook, ****
For me 3.5 stars is a book that was fine. I likely won't rave about it or chat about it but it was a good read. A lot of nonfiction gifts and I read more nonfiction than normal. I have trouble rating those books. Either they were useful or interesting or they weren't.

12 February 2017

Ghost apartments

About two blocks from where I live in Spain are these apartments. In my head, I call them ghost apartments. Our entire neighborhood "urbanización" in Spain was built in 2006-2008 brand new from empty ground.

Many of you may recall that the economy got a bit dicey in the late 2000s. This hit Spain a bit earlier due to some overbuilding with some EU funds and well, some other government policies forcing certain standards. Time stood still for a lot of places here including these apartments.

Out my kitchen window I can see an entire square block that the electric boxes, streets, curbs, were all put in, but no houses. Right next to these apartments is a full kids play area and park walkways.

I would love to get a look inside these. From the exterior, they look fully finished but not a single soul has lived in them ever. Probably not a good scenario for any paranormal occurrences. For me it's the ghost of a building. A place completely constructed but never used. I'd love to see if it is 100% finished, appliances and everything or just a shell.

Our entire neighborhood infrastructure was put in place all those years ago and is barely utilized. When we moved into our house a year ago, it was about 7 years old. It had never been lived in, ever. Brand new but with peeling paint because there'd never been heating or cooling. Also a clogged plumbing system on one half of the house from construction debris! No one knew that either.

So now, the economy is beginning to turn up again, quite a bit slower than the USA, but instead of those apartments being advertised, rented, or sold, new ones are being built a few streets in the other direction. I can only imagine there's a bankruptcy thing going on somewhere or the empty buildings in our neighborhood (town homes and apartment blocks) are in a no man's land between owners and banks.

I suppose I have a nosy streak (like my book character Blanche?). I like to know what's inside and behind closed windows and doors. My folks used to drive us around at night for the pleasure of peeking into the lit windows of a mansioned neighborhood near where we lived. It started very young for me, I guess!

Is there somewhere you want to get a look at?

Here's a link to another earlier blog about trespassing in a place that my curiosity couldn't resist!

05 February 2017

My reads of 2016

I'm a bit late posting these this year. I've never binged one series before like I did the Charles Todd books in WW I - that was fun and it was hard not to keep talking about the era since I was reading so much. Continued the audio book mix and made room for some books outside my normal mystery genre too. What were favorite reads last year?

1. The professor, Charlotte Bronte, ***, ebook
2. Look Twice, Lisa Scottaline, PA, Philly, ebook, ***.5
3. An impartial witness, Charles Todd, WWI mystery, ebook library, ****
4. A bitter truth, Charles Todd, WWI, mystery uk, ebok library, ****
5. An Unmarked grave, Charles Todd, WWI  mystery UK, ebook library, ****
6. A Question of Honor, Charles Todd, WWI, mystery UK, France, ebook library, ****
7. The 100 year old man who climbed out the window and disappeared, Jonas Jonasson, Sweden and many others, audio, ***.5, if not for political side trips 4 stars. caper.
8. An unwilling accomplice, Charles Todd, wwI mostly inside UK this time, **** library
9. The maharani's pearls, Charles Todd, bess crawford,  short story , library. 
10. Blood work, Michael Connelly, LA region current day, ***.5, audiobook 
11.  The Icarus Deception: how high will you fly?, nonfiction, library audio. ****
12. A Pattern of Lies, Charles Todd, Bess Crawford WW I, library ebook. ***p
13. Essentialism,  the disciplined pursuit of less, Greg  McKeown,  Library ebook, nonfiction 
14. In a cold dark place, Greg Olsen, Emily Canon series, Washington  state, audiobook. ****
15. Go set a watchman, Harper Lee, Macomb, Georgia, 1960s, audiobook, library
16.  Todo esta tranquilo, Mary Higgins Clark, Carol Higgins Clark, modern NH, ebook in Spanish, won't try English translated to Spanish anymore. ***
17. Dog Tags, David Rosenfelt, fiction NJ, audio ***
18. Furiously Happy, Jenny Lawson, nonfiction depression and anxiety issues, audio, ***
19. The Daughter, Jane Shemilt, uk modern day, not exactly mystery but sort of, 3.5* well written but didn't feel the ending and that pulled back my rating. 
20. The Tourist, Olen Steinhauer, *** espionage so lots of places in the world modern day. Audiobook 
21. The wild inside, Christine Carbo, glacier national park, mystery, audio, ***
22. And then there were none, Agatha Christie, soldier island uk, 1930s ebook, *****
23. Seated with Christ, living freely in a culture of comparison, heather holleman, nonfiction. Very simple and well written. *****
24.  Four seasons in Rome, twins, insomnia, and the biggest funeral in the history of the world, Anthony Doerr, travelogue, library****
25. The Tiger in the Smoke, Margery Allingham,  London mostly post WWIi, published 1952, paperbook, ****
26. Best Kept Secrets, Jeffrey Archer, UK post WW II, series, I accidentally picked up the middle of a series, audiobook, library. ***
27. Cold sassy tree, Olive Ann Burns, Georgia 1906, fiction, ****
28. The Whole Truth, David Baldacci, Europe modern day, fiction, paperbook, ****
29. Death du Jour, Kathy Reichs, Montreal and North Carolina, mystery fiction modern, paper book. ***
30. Vanish, Tess Gerritson, Boston modern day, mystery, paper book, ****
31. The Shining, Stephen King, 70s, Colorado, audio library book. *** because of my taste. Very good writing of course, but hurry up and do the killing feeling. Maybe I knew too much of the story.
32. A Sun burned Country, Bill Bryson, Australia travelogue, audio read by the author, library. **** I did laugh out loud at times
33 The Case of the Man who Died Laughing, the files of Vish Puri, detective, by Tarquin Hall, modern India, fiction mystery. Ebook mystery fiction, *****
34. The Careful Use of Compliments, Isabel Dalhoise book, by Alexander McCall Smith, Scotland  fiction  ebook library ***, well written 3 stars is just due to my taste.
35.The Good Earth, by Pearl Buck, China pre-revolution, drama, audiobooks ****
36.Rage, by Zygmunt Miloszewski, Poland Warmia area, contemporary fiction, ebook, ****
37.   Amnesia, g. H. Ephron ****, Boston, recent
38. The Butterfly Garden, Dot Hutchinson, *****, current day, fbi investigation, maybe one of the creepiest things I've read in a long time.
 39. The Expats, Chris Pavone, Luxembourg, Paris, audiobook library. **** espionage. I really enjoyed the expat aspects of this book.
40. The Emperor of Ocean Park, by Stephen L. Carter, modern day New England and D.C. Literary mystery. Ebook. ***.5 very well written but more of a literary feel than compelling mystery, we chased something the whole book only to let it go.
41. The Princess Diarist, Carrie Fisher, autobiographical, audiobook. ***.5 She read it herself. Quick easy read. She died a couple weeks after I listened to her voice for six hours so it was like I knew her. 42. The last witness, Joel Goldman, Kansas City, ebook. ***
43. One day after, by William Forstchen, today/post apocalyptic North Carolina. audiobook, *** not amazing writing, too much info dumping but a fascinating and haunting premise.
44. As you wish, by Cary Elwes, audiobook, reflections from actors and crew on princess bride movie****
45. The Bee keepers apprentice, Laurie b. King, a derivative of Sherlock Holmes, audiobook, *****
46. The Whistler by John Grisham, Florida fiction, audiobook, finished on Jan 1, 2017 ***