January 2019 Book Reviews

Murder in the Collective by Barbara Wilson. This seems like a fairly old book, but I bought it at a used book sale and the front pages are missing. I discovered that I’m the last person to read this copy, because as I read, more and more pages fell out. A strange murder mystery about a collective who operate a printing company. It has a weird mix of “let’s make lesbianism normal” and “we treat the people in the Phillipines poorly” aspects, that make me feel like it was written in the 90’s. Rate: 2.5 because it’s readable, just kind of weak.

Still Me by Jojo Moyes. The third in the trilogy. I listened to the audio version of this book. Louisa, our caretaking hero from Me Before You, has a new job in New York City. Moyes did such a great job writing a whole new story in the second of the triology—After You—that I had high hopes this book would carry as well. It almost did. There were some predictible things, but new characters and new challenges for Louisa kept this story moving. I’m going to check out more of her work, as she is a prolific writer. Rate: 3.5

A Fatal Grace AND The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny. As previously stated I am now reading the Inpector Gamache series in order. Kind of. The last time I reveiwed this series someone commented that they become repetitive. Yep, any series does. The same village, the same characters, and it’s like watching Star Trek…anyone who hasn’t appeared previously is assuredly going to die. But Penny has a trick for keeping me reading. Underlying the current mystery is the ongoing mystery, the Arnot dilemma. This particular theme travels through the series. Now, because I accidentally read a later book first do I know the answer? Nope. It wasn’t the last of the series, so I still have this particular who done it to figure out. As far as summarizing the two I read this month…yes, we are back in Three Pines, with Clara and Gamache proving to be complicated in their efforts to solve the latest murder. There is always a twist, with some hints for the reader to puzzle out. I have to say, I was a bit disappointed with the end to A Fatal Grace as it seemed to wrap up in a hurry, but no spoilers here. But the tension and interweaving was very good at the end of Cruelest Month. I  rate a Fatal Grace at 3.0 and The Cruelest Month at 4.0, although, as my blog reader said, I’m getting a little accommodated.

Lufsele Castle by Alex Beldon. This book was written by a wonderful man in the UK who gracefully did a very intense beta read on my book, The Blue Clay Pot. He then directed me to his two novels. Elena Berkeley, businesswoman, stays in the castle, which has been redone as a luxury hotel. Her stay, which is for rest and relaxation, is soon disrupted by extreme weather, complicated staff members, and strange dreams. The story is filled with twists and turns and Alex is an excellent story teller. Rate: 3.0

Snarkbait by Alex Beldon. This is the other book by Beldon, and my favorite. Daedalus Smith and Emilie Walton are not what they seem to be. Kind of a spy mystery, the story is very deep and complicated, PLUS I learned a lot about the UK. The underlying love story was fun as well. Rate: 3.8

Key for my personal rating system:

5.0 – A book I will never forget, will quote, will tell everyone I know they MUST read it.

4.0 – An excellent book, but doesn’t quite make the best books of all time list.

3.0 – A recommendation, good read, decently written

2.0 – Some redeeming qualities, I finished it, but I’m not likely to seek out more by the author.

1.0 – Don’t wast your time.