January Book Reviews

I read five books in January with mixed results. Here are my thoughts:

Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps
by Kelly Williams Brown

Lots of good advice here on everything from cleaning to careers to catastrophes. Worth a read or at least a skim for adults of any age. If you’ve ever looked for a single source that covered investment strategies, hookup etiquette and condolences letters, this is the book for you.

When the Music’s Over
(Inspector Banks #23)
by Peter Robinson

Can’t say that I loved this one. Love a good mystery, but this one dragged in places. Also, it just seemed there were no good guys. Pervasive racism from all corners. Multigenerational poverty with the implication that those afflicted simply couldn’t be bothered to do anything about it.

Year of Yes
by Shonda Rhimes

My first book of the year and I really enjoyed it. I didn’t expect to. I thought I needed to say no more, but can see upon reading that I was wrong. My advice to readers is to not get hung up on how different your life is from hers. She may be saying yes to speaking at an Ivy League commencement or appearing on Jimmy Kimmel. But at its core, saying yes to the meat raffle at the VFW or joining some coworkers for lunch might have the same effect.

Trust the Wolf
(Shift #1)
by Zoe Ashwood

Trust the Wolf is romance featuring shifters and a heroine capable of taking care of herself in some pretty challenging situations. As the title implies, she is called upon to trust a wolf shifter — Jason, but she’s not certain that she can or should.

The book is well-paced and the characters developed. I enjoyed the strong female role model and the struggle between two competing factions which extended from New York City to Montreal and beyond. The shifters took on the unique characteristics of the animals they shifted into, so it was interesting to watch that unfold. There was a lot of sex — handled in a non-corny or cringey manner. I was already hoping for a sequel halfway through the book because I wanted to see where the characters could go and I was pleasantly surprised to see a teaser for the next book included at the end.

Trust the Wolf was given to me as a advanced review copy by the author in exchange for an honest review this book.

In the Woods
(Dublin Murder Squad #1)
by Tana French

** spoiler alert ** Kind of up in the air on this one. Love the Dublin Murder Squad series but I’ve read them out of order and didn’t realize that this was the first. French has improved dramatically since.

1. When the author thinks she’s dropping breadcrumbs, she’s actually tossing chunks of baguette. Examples. *Of course* Rosalind was involved, that was clear from the beginning, and yes the Ryan/Cassie relationship was doomed.

2. So much unresolved — maybe it will be wrapped up in other books. Examples. They didn’t search the crime scene and thoroughly question the people there — particularly the one who found the body? And the 20 year old murder never resolved. Hints that it was a person, animal, something supernatural or Ryan himself. That should have been handled. Who dunnit? What was that noise in the woods? I really thought the road construction would dig up the bodies. And there were no journalists sniffing around to find out where Ryan/Adam was when the missing children came up again?


The Final Countdown

Tonight’s prompt is the top 5 songs you would want played at your funeral. I haven’t looked at anyone else’s post  because I wanted to see how similar or different our selections were.

Number One is easy: If I Ever Leave this World Alive by Flogging Molly:

Number Two is from Barrage an awesome string ensemble I have seen more that once with my daughter. This one is called Mountain Spring:

Number Three is Bring Him Home from Les Miserables by Colm Wilkinson. I saw him perform it in Toronto and Buffalo and I just sob every time:

Number Four is one of my favorite hymns from when I was little. It’s called The Prayer of St Francis, sometimes called Let There Be Peace on Earth:

Number Five is a more modern hymn, more the praise song genre. I have only learned it the last few years, but it’s a beautiful song. It’s called Open the Eyes of My Heart and this is the Mercy Me version:

Honorable Mentions go to:

Here I am to Worship

How Great is Our God

Siya Hamba

Readers, Are You Reading?

I’ve been an avid reader for decades but lately I find that I get sidetracked all the time with a million other things.

Most notably in recent years, the Internet.

I read, I read all day. I read websites, I read blogs, I read twitter, I read shared items on Facebook. I read news sites, I read RSS feeds, I read newsletters.

But I don’t read books as much as I did.

I’m committing myself to a daily page count because I have a serious backlog.

How are you carving out some reading time?

5 Must-Read Books About (and by) Ernest Hemingway

This is from the Barnes and Noble Book Club and could not come at a better time:

5 Must-Read Books About (and by) Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway’s Boat by Paul Hendrickson

Hemingway: The 1930s through the Final Years by Michael Reynolds

Paris Without End: The True Story of Hemingway’s First Wife by Gioia Dilberto

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

Chango’s Beads and Two-Tone Shoes   by William Kennedy

The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway  by Ernest Hemingway


These cover a range of times in Hemingway’s life. His life may be even more interesting than his writing. I do wonder though if I am the only one who noticed that there are six books.