02 April 2018

Stacked-Up Book Thoughts: Reading for a Snowy Spring

2 Audiobook reviewsWhen T. S. Eliot wrote "April is the cruelest month," I don't think he was talking about the weather. But 6 inches of snow on April 2? Really? Sigh.

Actually, it makes no difference to me. I've got nine (count them!) nine more days of heavy work and then I can relax, take the weekends off, read a book in print, and do a little baking. Maybe the weather will break by then, and I'll even get a chance to resume my daily walks and get out in the garden.

Here's to packing up the sweaters and boots until next year!

What I Read Last Week

Review: Career of Evil by Robert GailbraithMy friend SuziQOregon over at Whimpulsive has been listening to the the Cormoran Strike books by Robert Gailbraith (aka J. K. Rowling). I loved the first two books but never got around to the third, Career of Evil. Seeing as the three novels were made into a mini-series (airing in the USA in June on Cinemax), I thought I'd follow suit and catch up. Cormoran Strike was rotated out of the Royal Military Police Special Investigation Branch after he lost half a leg in Afghanistan. He's now self-employed as a private investigator and is contemplating making his assistant, Robin Ellacott, a full partner. In this installment, the mystery takes a personal turn, when Cormoran and Robin seem to be targeted by a serial killer. Besides perusing the cases they're getting paid for, the pair is also consumed with trying to stop whoever is clearly out to get them. The investigation into the three main suspects kept me guessing, and I truly wasn't sure who was going to end up being the killer until the action-packed end. Besides the stake-outs and the internet searches, the case forces Cormoran and Robin to open up about their pasts and reveal things they would have rather kept private. Their complex working relationship and their not so sunny personal lives add depth to this contemporary mystery/thriller series, which is mostly set in London. Writing as Gailbraith, Rowling has convincingly left the fantasy world; this gritty series is well-plotted, and I'm looking forward to the next Cormoran Strike book. Now that I'm caught up with the books, I'm impatiently waiting for the television series. The unabridged audiobook (Hachette Audio; 17 hr, 58 min) was read by Robert Glenister, who performs the entire series. His characterizations are excellent and his sense of drama and pacing made it difficult to turn off the audiobook -- especially near the end. Career of Evil doesn't end on a cliff-hanger, but the Cormoran and Robin are looking down a new path. (personal copy)

Review: Stray City by Chelsey JohnsonTurning to a completely different world, I listened to Stray City by Chelsey Johnson. This is the story of Andrea Morales, who grew up Catholic on a Nebraska farm, hiding her true self. Once she leaves home for Reed College in Portland, Oregon, she is free to shed her mask and embrace her lesbian identity, though the cost is to be cut off from her parents. The novel explores the insular gay and indie music worlds of 1990s Portland in the waning years of the Riot Grrrl movement as well as the differences (and similarities) between chosen families and birth families. The Portland Lesbian Mafia is supportive of each other; however, the women can also be judgmental. After a bad breakup, Andy seeks solace with the only person who seems to be attracted to her--a male drummer in an indie band. She manages to keep the relationship secret, until she finds herself pregnant and must decide whether, at age 24 and with few resources, she wants to be a mother. One thing she does know: she's not bisexual and she's definitely gay, despite her brief affair with Ryan. Johnson's novel is told with humor but reveals painful truths of being gay in America. The end of the novel jumps 10 years ahead, letting us see the consequences of Andy's choices. I liked the book, though I thought the conclusion was a little too neat and not as fully realized as the rest of the story. If I gave star ratings, I'd say Stray City is a 3.3. The unabridged audiobook (HarperAudio; 10 hr, 22 min), was read by Natalie Moore, whose youthful voice was a good match for Andy. I liked her expressive delivery, though her characterizations could have been a little more distinct. I'll have more to say about this audiobook at AudioFile magazine. (freelance assignment)

Book Lists!

I'll leave you with four book lists. Enjoy!


rhapsodyinbooks 4/2/18, 7:28 AM  

I love the Galbraith series. I think there are supposed to be eight in all. I hope so!

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz 4/2/18, 7:55 AM  

Snow? In April? Six inches? Oh my!

It is surprisingly cool here in Texas. This has been the loveliest spring I remember. The world here is green and lush. I didn’t realize it was cool everywhere.

Nine more days!

Daryl 4/2/18, 8:24 AM  

i am eagerly awaiting the next Strike novel tho i am not anxious to see the TV version .. and we dont get Cinemax

Susie | Novel Visits 4/2/18, 8:41 AM  

I just finisher Tangerine so am going to need to check out that list of the Top 10 Books Based in Tangier. I've gone back and forth on whether to read Stray City or not...still undecided. I really dislike neat and tidy endings.

Kathy Martin 4/2/18, 8:46 AM  

I haven't started the Galbraith series yet but have at least the first two languishing on my Kindle. Come see my week here. Have a great week!

Jackie McGuinness 4/2/18, 9:05 AM  

I started reading Stray City but gave up after a while.

bermudaonion 4/2/18, 9:33 AM  

I like the idea of Stray City but wonder if the ending would bother me.

Laurel-Rain Snow 4/2/18, 10:06 AM  

I'm curious about the Galbraith books...and I've been wanting to start reading them. Maybe I will try my Libby app to see if they are available in the library.

Enjoy your week, and here are MY WEEKLY UPDATES

Tina 4/2/18, 10:22 AM  

I have read all the Cormoran Strike books out so far and am looking forward to the series. Hope my library gets it!

By the way, I saw your Instagram post with the snow on your deck and well....that's just wrong! Awful weather for Spring. Sending you sunshine :-)

Laurie C 4/2/18, 11:35 AM  

We're getting snow here in Mass., too. Enough is enough! I have been meaning for ages to listen to the Cormoran Strike books on audio but never have. I really need to move them up the TBL list. Your lightening load soon sounds good! Enjoy!

Harvee 4/2/18, 1:54 PM  

I haven't read Galbraith, but then again I didn't read the Potter books either, but enjoyed the movies!

Kay 4/2/18, 4:03 PM  

I have loved the Cormoran Strike books - all 3 of them. Cannot wait until she gets #4 ready to go. Have you heard anything about when? The narrator is indeed good and I really feel like Rowling knows how to tell a story and keep a reader interested, regardless of what type of book she is writing. I knew a TV adaptation had been created, but didn't know when we would be getting it here. We don't get Cinemax either, but I'll figure out something. LOL

Good luck with the weather! As Deb says above, Texas has had some cooler weather, but we've got a bumper crop of wildflowers - bluebonnets especially. They are gorgeous!

(Diane) bookchickdi 4/2/18, 4:35 PM  

They had to cancel the NY Yankees home opener because of the snow, which has really thrown a monkey wrench into a lot of people's plans today. I've heard a lot about Stray City, I was glad to read your thoughts.

Amanda 4/2/18, 5:10 PM  

Those Cormoran Strike audiobooks are phenomenal! I only listened to the third via audio originally, and it just made something click with the series that hadn't quite clicked with me yet. I liked it, but didn't love it, until then. I went back and reread the whole series via audio and I will definitely keep listening to them in the future!

Sue Jackson 4/2/18, 6:59 PM  

We lucked out down here and only got a slushy mix last night - nothing on the ground today, thank goodness!

Both books sound good - I'm impressed you can get through 2 audios in a week! I usually finish one about every 2 weeks.

I read the first Galbraith book last summer and enjoyed it, but I haven't read the others yet.

Good luck with all that work this week - and here's hoping for actual SPRING weather for both of us!!


Book By Book

Yvonne 4/2/18, 7:07 PM  

We had 6 inches of snow today, too. I'm so sick of it.

Anyway, I hope you have a great week and that spring really arrives soon.

pussreboots 4/2/18, 8:59 PM  

Our Sierra Nevadas are expecting snow this week too. Where we are it'll just be rain. Come see what I'm reading

Nise' 4/2/18, 9:34 PM  

I haven't started the Galbraith series, but it sounds like they are great on audio. We are getting that snow tomorrow.

Tina's Blog 4/2/18, 10:07 PM  

We are having a snowy spring, too. Tonight we are supposed to have freezing rain, 2-4 inches of snow and gusty winds. UGH! If we have a snow day tomorrow it might push me over the edge!

Ash 4/2/18, 11:02 PM  

Yikes! Snow now!? I mean I live in Texas and it snowed TWICE for us. So I guess I shouldn't be surprised.
Great books!

Mystica 4/2/18, 11:02 PM  

I hope your weather improves. Also that your break comes really fast!

Greg 4/2/18, 11:04 PM  

Oh no, sorry to hear about the snow! Hopefully it melts quickly! It's been cool here too- spring is very late in arriving.

Stray City sounds neat and thought provoking, in spite of the too neat ending.

Have a great week!

Hillary 4/3/18, 8:04 PM  

It snowed here in Cleveland also grrrrr...

Peaceful Reader 4/4/18, 10:27 PM  

I have a detective crush on Cormoran Strike and have enjoyed all the stories. I do hope there will be more! We didn't get hit with a huge amount of snow but it is freezing here also. My poor green shoots are so confused.

kay - Infinite Shelf 4/5/18, 1:42 AM  

Ha! We've been having similar weather here too, snow and wind and all. Surely it will be over soon!

I've only read the first Cormoran book but I really enjoyed it. Glad to know you enjoyed the following books too, I'm looking forward to them!

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