A slight obsession with books

Reading and Fibrecrafts

Books read in January

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Stitch me deadly – Amanda Lee
First book of the year was the second instalment in this cosy mystery series about Marcy, an embroidery shop owner, who lives in a small town in Oregon. I thought that the identity of the murderer was telegraphed quite early on but there were several surprises and the book was very entertaining. I’m continuing to enjoy this series.

The devil’s star – Jo Nesbo
After a few lighter books, I fancied something a bit meatier but none of the more literary books on my shelves were calling to me. I finally settled on this one. A crime/thriller but a nice chunky book and well written. This was a really satisfying read. Lots of twists and turns, lots going on outside of the murder-mystery, and a great conspiracy/moral dilemma too. I’ve just sat and read for far too long as I couldn’t put the book down until I’d finished it. The ending was superb. I’ve got two more of Nesbo’s books on my shelves so I may be tempted to read them sooner rather than later now that I’ve reminded myself how good they can be.

The lust lizard of Melancholy Cove – Christopher Moore
I rather like Moore’s books and I really couldn’t resist one with a title as offbeat as this one. It was a terrific read, full of humour just like the others by Moore that I’ve read. The town psychiatrist has taken everyone off their anti-depressants without telling them and a dragon has come to town. There are lots more wacky things going on and there are some fabulous characters. A highly amusing book.

Cross and burn – Val McDermid
This is one of my favourite authors and usually I wait until her books come out in paperback and then buy them so I can keep them on the shelves after reading them. During my most recent book purge, she was one of the authors that I persuaded myself to part with so I took advantage of that to get this in hardback from the library soon after it came out. There are advantages to not hoarding so many books, and let’s face it, it’s not as if I’m going to read most of the mysteries ever again. Not with so many new books waiting to be read.
So, this book. Did I like it? Oh yes indeed. The previous one in the Tony Hill series finished on a sad note with Tony and Carol parting company. You were left not knowing what form the next book might take without the partnership of those two solving crimes. This book brought them together briefly but it was Paula who took centre stage. I liked her character in the other books but thought she was excellent in this one. I absolutely loved it and can’t wait for the next one now that things look like getting back to some normality, or as near to it as it gets.

Amaryllis – Carrie Vaughn
I spent ten minutes browsing my Kindle this morning, completely undecided about what to read. Apparently there’s a downside to having a lot of choice. I couldn’t make up my mind between about two dozen different books. In the end I picked one of the collections of short stories and read this from it in the hopes that I’d be able to come to a decision once I’d finished it.
It’s in a collection of dystopian fiction, which is a genre that I rather like. This was a good story by an author that I’ve heard of but haven’t tried before. It focused on a couple of characters and their situation without explaining too much about why their world was like it was. It worked really well and I enjoyed it a lot. I’d be tempted to try more by the author now which is one reason I like these short story collections. They’re such a good way to sample.
Also, my tactic worked as I was able to make a decision after finishing this and I’m now reading something quite a bit longer.

Game of thrones – George R. R. Martin
Despite liking genre novels, I never really fancied The Song of Ice and Fire books before. Then the series came on tv and I was hooked. Completely smitten. Of course, then I was still undecided about the books, just in case they weren’t like the tv series. Eventually my curiosity won and I’ve just finished the first massive book. Wow. It was better than the tv, of course, but the series was a very good adaptation so it felt familiar, just with a lot more detail. It was a bit odd having the characters’ faces so clear in my head, as usually I make up my own mind how they appear. I think I quite liked that. The book was written in short chapters, going from one character’s point of view and then on to another and each chapter ending with something that made you need to know what was going to happen to that person next, even as you eagerly went on to the next character. It was a brilliant reading experience and I’ll be reading the next one very soon.

The stupidest angel – Christpher Moore
I didn’t realise when I picked this one of his books to read next that it was another one set in Pine Cove. A happy coincidence, I think, as it was the follow up to Lust Lizard continuing the story five years on. It was just as funny and had my favourite characters in it from the previous book. I really enjoyed it. An angel comes to town to perform a Christmas miracle but it all goes wrong and it ends up with zombies running amok. Only in a Christopher Moore book…

Frozen heat – Richard Castle
I’ve been waiting to read this for ages. I’ve had to wait for the paperback as the library didn’t have the hardback but finally it was my turn to read the one and only copy this week and it was worth the wait. It was weird at first as the characters are supposedly those written about by the fictional writer on the TV show and they are based on the other characters on the show. Having said that, they’re not the same so it feels similar but different at the same time. Confusing? Oh yes. But, once I’d got a couple of chapters in, I was so interested by the story that I forgot about the TV show and started really enjoying the book. The plot was excellent, although I will say that the writing wasn’t up there with my favourite crime writers. (I’d love to know who really writes these). Annoyingly, the book ended on a massive cliff-hanger that had me crying out in frustration. The only good thing is that the next book is available in hardback from the library and as they have three copies, I may get one of them to read soon.

Now you see me – S. J. Bolton
Wow, compulsive reading. This was excellent. I’d read a couple of her books before but this was the first one in her Lacey Flint series so I was looking forward to it. I could not put it down. There was an underlying mystery running through the book that had me completely gripped and a brilliant twist at the end. Lacey Flint is a detective constable, but has a very different backstory which was what made for such a compelling story. I’m heading for the library website in a moment to see if I can get the next in the series as I want to know what happens to her next.

Buttons and Bones – Monica Ferris
This morning I felt like a quick easy read so grabbed this from the TBR shelves. It was an interesting enough mystery but seemed to lack the usual amount of characters. I enjoyed it, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not my favourite of the series. Odd ending too.

Dirty secrets – Karen Rose
This is a Kindle novella that I pre-ordered as I rather like this author. It was a very good read and at about 200 pages was substantial enough for a decent story. I’m tempted to get her latest book from the library now that my appetite has been whetted. (’cause obviously I don’t have enough books in the house to keep me going).

Delectable mountains – Earlene Fowler
Thanks to Tree, I now have a wee stash of the Benni books on my shelf and am trying to make them last by rationing them. I felt the need to read one this morning though and really enjoyed my little dose of quilting and murder. I like these books. They’re a bit deeper than a lot of the cosy mysteries.

The deep blue goodbye – John D. MacDonald
A long time ago, maybe thirty years, I read a book that has stuck in my mind ever since due to the interesting and horrifying murder in it. I’ve never been able to recall what the book was or who it was by, which is annoying when you’d quite like to read some more like it. A couple of weeks ago, I was chatting to my brother and he mentioned he’d been reading a series of books that I might like. As soon as he began to tell me about them, something sounded vaguely familiar. I liked the sound of the books so I bought book one from the Kindle store and started reading – and realised that that book from long ago must be part of the same series. Hooray! Finally I’ve found it.
This book was excellent. It was set in Florida in the sixties and is the first Travis McGee book. He’s available for hire to recover things for people, in his own rough and ready way. I may get the next book and work my way through the series gradually.

If snow hadn’t fallen – S. J. Bolton
This was a Kindle download and is a short story that falls between the first and second Lacey Flint books. As I’ve just read the first book, I thought I’d read this next before ordering the second one from the library. This was about 100 pages long and was an excellent story. It shows you again how unconventional Flint is and whets your appetite for the next full length book. It starts off with a horrifying murder, which Flint is a witness to and has an ending that doesn’t tie everything up into a nice bow. I liked it a lot.

Apple Tree Yard – Louise Doughty
I could quite easily have missed this one but for an email from the publisher that mentioned it as one of the books of the year. When I investigated it, I found that it had had some excellent reviews and it sounded intriguing so I ordered it from the library. I am so glad that I did. What a cracking read! I started it this morning and reluctantly left it about two-thirds in. An hour later, after realising that I couldn’t concentrate on anything else while the plot of the book was running round my head, I fetched the book and sat down to finish it. It starts with a trial, but you have to get a good way through the book before you find out why the two people are on trial as the book goes back to their first meeting and takes you through the events that leads up to their arrest. You get the details of the trial, and finally a killer ending. Definitely recommended.

A deeper sleep – Dana Stabenow
Book fifteen of this brilliant series set in Alaska. In this one Kate and Jim have to face a moral dilemma over a case. It was excellently written, as all these books have been so far and made me wonder if there will be any fall out from the events of this book in later ones.

A stitch in time – Amanda James
This was a cheap download that I got in a recent Kindle sale. It sounded interesting with the main character having to go back to repair tears in time and save people that shouldn’t die. It was an ok read but didn’t really grab me. I liked the idea of it more than the way it was written and I didn’t take to the characters that much. It was a fun way to spend a few hours but I wouldn’t go searching for more by the author.

Books read – 17
Books bought/borrowed/downloaded – 13

TBR pile reduced by 4 – not brilliant, but at least it didn’t grow any more.

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Author: Carole

The books I read, the things I make, the places I go.

4 thoughts on “Books read in January

  1. Great list of books this month – I have the first one of Pine Cove to read, I might read that one next – sounds like a good choice for in between the Mary/Sherlock books!

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  2. Wow! You are FAST! Do you read more than one at a time? I can’t do that. I thoroughly enjoyed Game of Thrones too… Not my usual choice either and I haven’t seen any of the tv series yet.

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    • Sometimes I have a non-fiction book that I read a couple of chapters of in-between other books, but usually it’s just one at at time. I just spend a lot of time reading and once I get into a good one, I find it hard to put it down.

      It’s nice to find something to read that’s out of your usual pattern, isn’t it. I got in a bit of a rut a few years ago and set myself a challenge to read all the books from the BBC’s Big Read to try to find some new authors and genres. I found some fabulous books and read much more widely now.

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