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