reading 2018: january

READING

In late December I downloaded a whole bunch (maybe 20-25?) of sample chapters. I’ve changed my book selection approach a little and am just picking random books in the middle of a series rather than at the start – mostly because some can take a while to hit their stride, and really some of my favourites have been the ones not started at #1. We’ll see how that goes.

One thing that has definitely been reinforced is to not base purchases solely on 4.5-5 star amazon reviews! So much that is, well it’s probably an exaggeration to say unspeakably awful, but shall we say close to it?

On with the books:

Sara Rosett: Murder on Location Boxed Set Books 1-3
This is quite possibly the most niche themed murders I’ve ever read – Jane Austen movie/documentary location scout. This was the first of my samples and the sample was so long that it pretty much gave me the entire first book. This was a quite clever strategy as I bought it to see what happened (even though I wasn’t terribly invested).
Trust me when I say you don’t want to read these – they’re not horrible, but just kind of ham-fisted and “meh”.

xxx

Ann Cleeves: Harbour Street (Vera Stanhope #6)
Switched to the book because the audiobook narrator (see below) was just dreadful (reviews were correct on that score).
I adore Vera – but these are definitely books to be listened to.

xxx

Beau Donelly,‎ Nick Toscano: The Woman Who Fooled The World: Belle Gibson’s cancer con, and the darkness at the heart of the wellness industry
This is very good. You should read it. Really.

xxx

Rangan Chatterjee: The 4 Pillar Plan: How to Relax, Eat, Move and Sleep Your Way to a Longer, Healthier Life
I don’t know where I first saw this, but you know that I’m helpless in the face of self-improvement books.
I quite liked this and it is full of eminently sensible and achievable advice – like get your face out of devices 90 minutes before bed, spend 20 minutes outside, do daily glutes exercises, eat vegatables. Though I really can’t understand the need for soulful photos of Dr Chatterjee every couple of pages which don’t really add anything to anything.
Worth a look.

xxx

Faith Martin: The Work of a Narrow Mind
Dropped in at #6 in a series. Thought the characters played into pretty much every stereotype going and were quite poorly drawn.
This cost $1.39. I should know better. And I really need to stop paying any attention to 5 star reviews.

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LISTENING

After bewailing in December that I had way too many credits, I really ramped up the audiobook listening in January. Mostly because they’re excellent accompaniments to housework, embroidery and balcony painting (and walking to work, and sitting about). I find that listening to a book really makes me slow down and absorb – I have an unpleasant tendency to race through written books. I also took the approach I did with reading – and just jumped into the middle.

Ann Cleeves: Murder in Paradise (Palmer-Jones #3)
Didn’t care for this very much and so returned it for refund. I’m surprised that I went on to listen to more Ann Cleeves (below) – but the audible reviews (not so misleading as amazon ones!) persuaded me, as did an interview with the author who admitted her earlier work was not the best.

xxx

Ann Cleeves: Hidden Depths (Vera Stanhope #3)

Ann Cleeves: Silent Voices (Vera Stanhope #4)

Ann Cleeves: The Glass Room (Vera Stanhope #5)

I really, really adored these – Vera is curmudgeonly, bossy, irascible, heart-of-gold – you know the type. I loved these so much that I could get past #2 on my reading-hates list: inconsistencies between books in a series (but hang-on, you had X, did Y, said Z, in the last book – now it’s A,B,C?).

I moved onto #6 and couldn’t get beyond the 3rd Chapter and moved to the book because the narrator was SO TERRIBLE. Unfortunately the narrator is the same for #8 and #9, so I think I’m stuck here.

xxx

Frances Brody: Death of an Avid Reader

Frances Brody: Murder in the Afternoon

Set post-WW1, pleasant enough in that Maisie Dobbs way – but so choc-full of anachronisms that I could not continue any longer (but it wasn’t called that then, but that wasn’t invented yet, but you wouldn’t use that terminology). Infuriating – yes, I’m super-fun at parties.

xxx

Matthew Costello, Neil Richards: Cherringham #1-3

Matthew Costello, Neil Richards: Cherringham #4-6

Matthew Costello, Neil Richards: Cherringham #7-9

Matthew Costello, Neil Richards: Cherringham #10-12

Matthew Costello, Neil Richards: Cherringham #13-15

I don’t know how Cherringham passed me by! These were novellas released monthly – set in cutesy Cotswold village. Neil Dungeon’s American accent is hilariously appalling – but these are well, completely charming and totally cosy (and quite inexpensive).

And there’s enough here to keep me going for a good while longer!

About carolbaby

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