The Big Finish, by Brooke Fossey
This was a nice read, not as fun as I had hoped, but definitely a good book with which to start the year. Duffy is nearing 90 and lives in a nursing home, sharing a room with his best friend, Carl. Havoc is unleashed when Carl’s unknown granddaughter, Josie, climbs through their window one morning. Josie is in trouble and only Duffy, a lifelong alcoholic himself, recognizes what her trouble is. Filled with nice people and the grumbling, gruff, but caring Duffy, this is a small story that is a great escape from worldly problems.
Snow, by John Banville
I listened to this book and could have finished it before December 31st. However, I didn’t want it to be the last thing I read in 2020 or the first thing I finished in 2021. I generally try to say supportive things about the books I read, even if I really didn’t care for them. This book though. I hated it. Ostensibly a mystery, I knew who did it by chapter three. The detective was milquetoast and never asked the right questions, or any questions really. There were egregiously unneeded sex scenes that were quite gross. I know Banville is a celebrated literary author, but after the smugness of this book, I don’t think I want to try any more of his work.
Persephone Station, by Stina Leicht
A palate cleanser. A fun space action story with a team of kick-ass female fighters, led by ex-military Angel. Something is not right on Persephone as the corporate overlords have secrets about the planet that they will commit murder to protect. Angel, her team, and the mysterious crime leader, Rosie, come together to protect the sentient species living on the planet. I enjoyed this book, a quick potato-chip read, and I’d definitely read more in this series.
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, by Grady Hendrix
Good heavens this book was fun. Southern charm and gothic horror combine for a highly entertaining story of what mothers will do to protect their families. 40-ish Patricia enlists her true crime book club to help stop a new neighbor when she realizes that the handsome, charming stranger is preying on the children in town. This book has some straight up horror scenes, but the true horror for me was the absolute gaslighting the husbands of the book club do to their wives. They treat the wives like children even though they are behaving like self-righteous 17-year-olds. The wives come out ahead, mostly, in the end, but the middle part had me in tears of frustration. And I’m still thinking about it. Very good book.
Ten Rules for Faking It, by Sophie Sullivan
Second audio book of the month. A rom-com. It was alright. The concept was a lot of fun, but the main characters didn’t really do it for me. Everly is an introvert with severe anxiety problems who works as a producer on a radio show hosted by her best friend. After accidentally announcing on live radio that she found her boyfriend cheating on her on her birthday, fan support comes rolling in. To capitalize on the fanfare, the handsome director of the station creates a “The Bachelor”-type segment for the show to find Everly a new beau. There is a list of ten rules, but they are for “making it” not “faking it.” I feel like the title was trying to be too clever.
Brightly Burning, by Alexa Donne
Jane Eyre in space! When Stella lands a premium job as a teacher on a wealthy family’s space cruiser, she is only too happy to leave behind the declining generation ship she’s been stuck on. The ship is full of luxuries and food she’d only dreamed about. While secretive, the people on the ship are friendly and her new boss an immediate love interest, but there is something not right about the ship. Stella wants to know the truth, but the truth may cost her life, and the lives of the people she left behind. An interesting way to retell Jane’s story and, of course, I love space operas, so this was right up my alley. Maybe not my favorite read and not one I’ll revisit, but still a good time.
Thief of Time, by Terry Pratchett
A reread. This one is the last book where Death is a main protagonist and also the last of the Susan Sto Helit, Death’s granddaughter, books. The most precise clock in the world is about to be completed and when it begins to tell time, time will come to an end. This is fine for the Auditors, who hate the messiness of humans, but the time monks, Death, and Susan have a different opinion. One of Pratchett’s best. Especially as one of the main characters is Lu Tze—who is the subject of Rule Number One. Here is a quote that sums up a lot of how Discworld books develop: “And if you want the story, then remember that a story does not unwind. It weaves. Events that start in different places and different times all bear down on that one tiny point in space-time, which is the perfect moment.”
The Friendship List, by Susan Mallery
A third audio book last month! This is a rom com, sort of, that it about two 34-year-old best friends that are stuck. Single mom Ellen’s son is prepping for college and widow Verity still sleeps in her husband’s childhood bed three years after his death. They each create a list of things to do to get themselves out of their ruts. Romance being a feature of both. And it works, but not without a lot of challenges and heartbreak. This was a lovely read and the two women’s friendship was strong and well-done. The one thing I didn’t like was the epilogue, five years on. I’d much prefer it if the epilogue was a few months later with ladies reposing at the luxury spa that was supposed to be the reward after accomplishing their list.