11 December 2017

Stacked-Up Book Thoughts: 3 Novels to Read Right Now

3 Books to Read in DecemberEvery year I tell myself I'm going to jump right on holiday shopping and decorating so I won't have any last-minute craziness. Ask me how I'm doing this year. Ummm . . . actually, don't ask.

We are totally behind as usual. And as usual we've bought ourselves several things we saw at the stores but have bought almost nothing for family and friends. Ooops.

I didn't seem to have much time to sit down and read last week. I managed to get through two audiobooks and one eBook and made progress on another by combining audio and print.

Last week, I also posted a short round-up of audiobooks linked by their fiery titles over on the AudioFile blog.

What I Read Last Week

Reveiw: A Hundred Small Lessons by Ashley HayI finally got around to listening to A Hundred Small Lessons by Ashley Hay (Simon & Schuster Audio; 8 hr, 49 min). The novel takes place in Brisbane and focuses on two women and one house. Elsie's children move her out of her house of 60 years to assisted living. While trying to adjust to her new surroundings, Elsie remembers the significant moments of her life in the house she shared with her late husband. Lucy and her husband have just moved into Elsie's old house, where Lucy is adjusting to motherhood, life without a job, and living in a new city. I enjoyed the juxtaposition of the two women's perspectives: They are on opposite ends of family life and each has a unique relationship to the house itself. Although narrator Fiona Hardingham's performance was expressive and engaging, both the story and the audiobook were only okay for me. I didn't relate very well to Lucy, though I've never been in her situation. Elsie made me think about my mother and grandmothers, so that was a positive point. (full audiobook review to be published by AudioFile)

Review: The Disappearance of Winter's Daughter by Michael J. SullivanI couldn't wait to listen to the new Michael J. Sullivan novel, The Disappearance of Winter's Daughter (Audible Studios; 13 hr, 41 min). I have gushed over and over about this adult fantasy series featuring professional thieves Royce and Hadrian. In this outing, they are hired by a wealthy merchant who becomes worried when his daughter, who has married a duke, is reported as missing after her coach is attacked and her companion is left for dead. This new story has all the components I've come to expect from Sullivan: humor, action, battles, intrigue, complex plot, and two of my favorite characters of all time. I truly can't say enough good things about Sullivan's stories and universe. If you like epic adult fantasy you will love these books. Although I think you could possibly start with this new novel, I suggest reading the books either in order of publication or in chronological order of Royce and Hadrian's partnership. Narrator Tim Gerard Reynolds was born to read these books. He perfectly nails the personalities of the characters and the pacing of the story. (full audiobook review to be published by AudioFile)

Review: The War Bride's Scrapbook by Caroline Preston I read The War Bride's Scrapbook by Caroline Preston (Ecco). I just love books that are put together with fun, clever graphics, and Preston is an expert in this format. This is the story of a young woman who meets a soldier in 1943 and marries him just days later, right before he ships out for Europe. The entire story is told through diary entries, letters, postcards, photos, vintage magazine ads, and more. Although many of the challenges faced by Lila and Perry--during the war and after the homecoming--are predictable, the novel sets the mood of the 1940s and tells a universal story lived out by so many thousands of couples across the country and around the globe during World War II. If you've never read a scrapbook novel before, you're in for a treat. There is so much to look at on every page of this book, and it's fun to read a story told through a variety of printed media. The photos and period magazine clippings are wonderful--look at the clothes, the hair, the cars! Plus we see examples of V-mail and newspaper articles, telegrams and movie tickets. Don't miss this one! (review copy provided by the publisher)


Laurel-Rain Snow 12/11/17, 9:08 AM  

I have A Hundred Small Lessons waiting on Pippa, and now I'm even more eager to pick it up, as seeing the blurb again reminded me of why I bought it.

I also love the look of The War Bride's Scrapbook. Thanks for sharing...and enjoy your week. Thanks for visiting my blog.

Susie | Novel Visits 12/11/17, 9:52 AM  

I'm pretty bad about buying things for myself when Christmas shopping, too. Buying online has cut down on that, but I did go to a small shop in town on Saturday and walked away with only two tops for me!

Have a great (productive) week.

bermudaonion 12/11/17, 10:57 AM  

I love books like The War Bride's Scrapbook too - I'll have to look for it.

Kathy Martin 12/11/17, 11:26 AM  

I'll have to check into Michael Sullivan. It sounds like he writes the kind of books I like to read. I am a champion procrastinator. The tree is out of storage but still sitting in the box in my dining room. I was going to put it up last Saturday. Most of my shopping is done but none of my wrapping. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

pussreboots 12/11/17, 8:11 PM  

Your books sound really interesting. Come see what I'm reading.

Katherine P 12/11/17, 9:37 PM  

Oh I need The War Bride's Scrapbook! I love mixed media type books and I'm fascinated by home front stories.

Eaves of Destruction - my giveaway win - got here a few days ago. So excited to get to reading it. Thanks so much for hosting!

Greg 12/11/17, 9:45 PM  

I'm usually behind too so I can relate. And December flies by so darn quick it's hard to fit everything in. Oh well...

The Disappearance of Winter's daughter sounds really good, that caught my eye. Will have to look into that series, I need a new epic fantasy fix.

Mystica 12/12/17, 1:56 AM  

New to me books. Thanks for updating me especially the War Brides book.

Lisbeth 12/12/17, 4:48 AM  

I am not really into fantasy, but Sullivan’s book sounds like something I would like. I might give it a try next year.

Yvonne 12/12/17, 7:09 AM  

The War Bride's Scrapbook look like a good book. I love those kinds of photos and graphics. Have a great week!

Susan Schleicher 12/12/17, 11:18 AM  

Great book selections! I am really intrigued by A Hundred Small Lessons. I am going to have to add that one to my TBR list. Happy reading!

Sue Jackson 12/12/17, 7:28 PM  

Ha! I say the same thing to myself every year, too :) And, yes, this year is just as rushed as ever. I am pretty much finished with shopping, though - I do it all online so i try to finish early to allow time t=for delivery (learned that lesson the hard way!)

A Hundred Small Lessons sounds intriguing - I think I'd like that.

And I am VERY interested in the Sullivan series for my son! One question - do those battles involve swords? He loves epic fantasy and this sounds right up his alley. I think I may have ordered him at least one book this Christmas based on your recommendations!


Book By Book

Daryl 12/13/17, 9:33 AM  

i am slowly getting gifting done .... but i am also beginning to resent having to push myself to get it done so it can ship on time .. grrrr

Tina 12/13/17, 10:19 AM  

Sign me up for all three books! I am looking forward to the 2018 challenges and these books will fit many of the categories.

(Diane) bookchickdi 12/15/17, 8:00 AM  

I just read A Hundred Small Lessons too and I agree with you; I enjoyed Elsie’s story more and especially her husband Clem.

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