February 2022–Part Two

Thank you for joining me here!   I hope you enjoy this series and I’d love to hear from you about what you are reading these days.

Book #1:

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (Length: 363 pages).  I have had this mystery on my TBR for a while and it was worth the wait. This is the first in a series (of 3 so far) and from what I’m hearing in the book podcasts I listen to, the others are even better than this one, so I’m excited to check them out. This novel is set in a luxury retirement village in a small town in England. A group of retirees gets together (on Thursdays) to review and try to solve cold cases. This novel features 1 cold-case murder and 2 murders which occur in present day. The cases are interesting enough (albeit simple) but the characters are the draw here, including the police detectives. I laughed out loud in a few places and kept smiling throughout. There are some serious issues tackled here, but there’s a whole lot of heart, which, along with quality writing, will keep me reading further.

Book #2:

Truth or Beard by Penny Reid (Length: 392 pages).  This is the first in a series of 8 (!) rom-com books featuring the Winston Brothers, a family of six brothers who live in TN and are bikers, mechanics, outlaws, et al. This particular novel features Jessica, a high school calculus teacher and Duane Winston, an auto mechanic who has an identical twin. Having grown up together they have a love-hate relationship, so that’s the basis for their romantic chemistry. There is a TON of open-door romance, a little bit of relationship confusion (again, just TALK to one another) and there are some dark edges here. Scary biker bars, with bikers doing and dealing drugs while abusing and sharing their “biker babes”. This isn’t really what I look for in a rom-com at all, but this series has a lot of fans so I may not be the target audience here. I did really enjoy the brother Cletus (a nerd on the spectrum) as well as the relationship among the brothers. The writing is of decent quality and if you like an edgier rom-com this may be right up your alley. I, for one, won’t be continuing on with the series.

Book #3:

The Secret to Hummingbird Cake by Celest Fletcher McHale (Length: 299 pages). I have had this book on my Kindle forever, and picked it up because I thought it was a light-hearted romance. It is NOT. This is actually a tear-jerker story about a friendship among a trio of girls who grew up in a small town in Louisiana. The writing is very strong with well-developed characters. It is a teensy bit emotionally manipulative (I can’t tell you why because it would give too much away) but overall it’s a good read (if you don’t mind a few tears).

Book #4:

Dories Ho! by Matt and Karen Smith (Length: 265 pages). I’m obsessed with this travel series, and I will be sad when I read the last book. This book is the second book in this couple’s self-published series (with at least 3 editing errors). This travelogue is written solely by the acerbic-witted husband Matt, and is about the couple’s six-day raft journey down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, with several other couples. This is very detailed (which I love) and very funny, just like the first in the series. Lots of interesting factoids and historical details are sprinkled throughout. (In fact, all the couples on the trip read the non-fiction book The Emerald Mile, which prompted me to pick it up–look for my review of that book next month). I read this book in one day because I literally couldn’t put it down.

Book #5:

The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers (Length: 353 pages). I listened to this fantastic non-fiction book, as it was recommended to listen to. However, it appears it’s a great read as well, if that’s your preference. This is a riveting account of Mokhtar Alkhanshali, a young Yemeni immigrant to CA who single-handedly creates a thriving coffee export business from Yemen to the US. I really enjoyed hearing about how coffee is grown, and I enjoyed following along on Mokhtar’s heart-stopping journeys in Yemen, which was in the middle of a civil war. Mokhtar was kidnapped by the Houthi rebels at one point, and the audiobook was as exciting as a movie at that point. This book is well-written, propulsive as well as continually optimistic . . . Mokhtar refused to give up on his (ludicrous) dreams. I highly recommend this one!

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