The Good House, a great book

The Good House

The Good House by Ann Leary
narrated by Mary Beth Hurt

Method of consumption: Audiobook

Book Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Audio Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

At the heart of this beautiful tale is the heartbreaking story of Hildy Good’s struggle with the alcoholism she doesn’t believe she has, and how it affects those closest to her.  And yet, this small-town story is about so much more.

I hesitate to recap this one and risk giving away the elements you will enjoy discovering on your own, so I’ll say no more about the story itself.  But if you’re wondering whether to read this one, or listen to it on audio, do yourself a favor and download the audiobook.  Mary Beth Hurt’s performance is so perfect, she encapsulates the characters better than I possibly could have done with the voices in my head.

If you enjoyed Richard Russo’s Empire Falls or Nobody’s Fool, then I highly recommend this novel.  If you love books about small towns with flawed characters, this is the book for you.  And if you’re into unreliable narrators you can still root for, read this!

I will certainly be checking out a few of Ann Leary’s other works from the library soon!

Memorable quotes:

“Drunkalogue”: referring to the story one tells about one’s alcoholism in an Alcoholics Anonymous Meeting

A Lady Sherlock

A Study in Scarlet WomenA Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas
narrated by Kate Reading (what an apt last name!)

Method of Consumption: Audiobook

Book Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Audio Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I was understandably skeptical about this one, as I am with most re-tellings. This wasn’t a true re-telling though as it changes a MAJOR aspect of the novel: namely, the existence of Sherlock Holmes.

This is a story about a woman in Victorian London named Charlotte Holmes with an aptitude for deduction. Unfortunately, as a woman in her day, she could not outwardly practice her detective skills, so with the help of a few friends, she assumes a secret identity called – you guessed it! – Sherlock Holmes.

There were two main storylines in this novel, which (I believe) eventually converged. (Admittedly, while listening to this book, I tuned it out from time to time.) The main murder case in this book was much more interesting to me than Charlotte’s escapades.

In summary, I think I would have enjoyed this book much more if it were just a murder mystery, without the Sherlock/Charlotte plot line.

Memorable quotes: none

Cozy mysteries are my guilty pleasure.

Dead and BreakfastDead and Breakfast by Kate Kingbury
A Merry Ghost Inn Mystery
narrated by Tavia Gilbert

Method of Consumption: Audiobook

Book Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Audio Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

With all the serious and heavy books that I read, I always like to have a cozy mystery series in my back pocket to lighten things up when I need to.

My first cozy mystery series was the Magical Bakery Mysteries by Bailey Cates, which I came across in a friend’s Goodreads feed. I decided to give it a chance and realized that cozy mysteries are really fun and adorable!

Dead and Breakfast was no exception. The ghost didn’t feature as prominently into the story as I hoped and expected (I love a good ghost story!), but the murder mysteries – yes there were 2 in this novel! – didn’t disappoint.

Be sure to keep your expectations low with this one, but if you know what you’re getting yourself into, you’ll definitely enjoy. My only complaint is that there are only 2 installments to this series so far!

Luckily, I discovered through Goodreads that Kate Kingsbury has a twenty-one book Pennyfoot Hotel series, which I will begin promptly.

Memorable quotes: none

Notorious RBG

Notorious RBGNotorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik
narrated by Andi Arndt

Method of Consumption: Audiobook

Book Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Audio Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I want to start by saying that this book is probably better consumed through physical copy or e-book. Periodically throughout the audiobook I’d hear, “For additional commentary, please see the enhanced portion of this audiobook.” But I have no idea where to find the “enhanced portion,” so I feel like I missed out on a lot.

This non-fiction work was a general overview of the life and work of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice and all-around badass! If you’re a fan of RBG, you’ll enjoy this book. If you’re looking for an in depth, detailed story and explanation of RBG’s life and work, this is not the book for you.

After reading this, I have a newfound appreciation and admiration for Justice Ginsburg. I admit that I didn’t know much about her before, except that she can do more pushups than I can! So I enjoyed learning about her family, her previous law work, and her fights on the Supreme Court.

Memorable quotes: none*

*Note: RBG herself has some fantastic quotes, but as they were not germane to this book, I did not include them here.

 

The Great Book Heist

Camino IslandCamino Island by John Grisham
narrated by January Lavoy

Method of Consumption: Audiobook

Book Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Audio Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

This fun little heist novel reads more like tame Dan Brown than John Grisham. I’ve grown fond of Grisham’s latest thriller stories, which feel different to me than his original works. I recently finished The Rooster Bar as well and gave that one 4 stars.

This book about books starts right in the middle of the action – with the heist – and then takes you on a journey to Camino Island, FL to discover what happened to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s stolen manuscripts. The plot was clever and, though somewhat predictable, I was still guessing until the end.

If you’re doing POPSUGAR’S 2018 Reading Challenge, this one will cross off “A book involving a heist” and will give you plenty of books to choose from for the “book mentioned in another book” category. (Be sure to make a list as you go along, and if you do, please send it my way! I failed to do so.)

Memorable quotes: none

Fun Holiday Read

IMG_4091 2

Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher
narrated by Lisa Burgett

Method of Consumption: Audiobook

Book Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Audio Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I placed this on hold at the library just before Christmas, thinking that it would be a fun little holiday read. It didn’t become available to me until New Year’s Eve, but I decided listen anyway, even though it was past Christmastime!

It was definitely the fun little holiday read I was hoping for, and it was ever so British! I love to read about lives that are drastically different from mine, and to me, life in the English and Scottish countrysides seem so much different than my life in the southern United States. I enjoyed hearing about fairy lights (Christmas lights), Boxing Day (the day after Christmas), Hogmanay (Scottish New Year’s Eve), Christmas pudding, and all the fun British terms that surround the season.

The book starts by introducing each of the characters separately with their own chapters, and eventually you learn how their lives intertwine. It was situationally a bit farfetched and predictable, but very fun nonetheless. And I so enjoyed the characters and their sweet little story, that I was willing to forgive the contrivances.

Memorable quotes: none