30 December 2019

Stacked-Up Book Thoughts: My Week in Books

Audiobook reviews on Beth Fish ReadsWhy is it that we imagine we'll have so much free time during the holidays? I'm forever hopeful and forever wrong: between work, parties, cooking and baking, cleaning, shopping, wrapping, and more, there are really very few moments just to sit and relax.

Very little print reading was going on, but I finished two audiobooks, abandoned one, and started another, so that's not too bad. All the chores were so much better with a good story to keep me company.

We haven't watched too much on the screen this past week. We finally saw Green Book with Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali. If you haven't seen this movie, put it on your list. It was much more than I was expecting, and it's made all the stronger because it's based on a true story. On a lighter note, we're catching up with The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. I think we're almost done with season 2.

What I Read

Review of Crownbreaker by Sebastien de CastellI've written about Sebastien de Castell's delightful Spellslinger series and how much I absolutely love the audiobooks--all read by Joe Jameson (Hachette Audio). The fantasy series has a little bit of a Wild West feel and has characters you'll totally fall in love with (or totally hate--because they're evil). There are laugh-out-loud moments and plenty of danger and troubles as well. Crownbreaker (Orbit, Dec. 10) brings the series to a satisfying end, though the author left room for more adventures. The books star Kellen, a teen who leaves his powerful family for an outlaw's life. Kellen tries to right wrongs and to outsmart those would see him dead. The cast includes many strong women and a complex animal sidekick. In this final book, Kellen must find a way to defeat his father, one of the most powerful men on the continent. Will the confrontation end in a death, in a reconciliation, or in a stalemate? If you're looking for a fun series with great characters, give these books a try. If you're an audiobook fan, don't miss Jameson's brilliant performances. (audiobook copy provided by the publisher)

review of Karen M. McManus's One of Us Is LyingWhen I found out the follow up to Karen M. McManus's One of Us Is Lying (Delacorte, 2017) is coming out in just a few weeks, I decided it was high time I read this closed-room mystery. Here's the premise: five high schoolers are given detention for having cellphones in class. Before the hour is up, one of the students is dead. Who killed him and why? The story is told from the view point of the four survivors. Each one claims innocence both for the death and for having a cellphone, claiming it was all a set up. Of course, they all have secrets, and the dead boy knew those secrets and was threatening to reveal all. A nicely plotted mystery with well done red herrings and a few twists. I'm so glad I gave this a chance. The audiobook (Listening Library; 10 hr, 43 min) is performed by Kim Mai Guest, MacLeod Andrews, Shannon McManus, Robbie Daymond, who each take the part of one of the surviving students. There were no weak links, and their characterizations blended well. Now I have to put book 2 (One of Us Is Next) on my list; it's about the same school but focuses on different students. (print copy provided by the publisher; audiobook in my personal collection)

1 Ditched and 1 Loving

review of Maaza Mengiste's The Shadow King I started Maaza Mengiste's The Shadow King (Recorded Books; 16 hr, 9 min) with high hopes. Everyone seems to love this book about Ethiopia during World War II and the strength of a peasant girl turned woman who inspired her country to continue to fight for freedom, even when Haile Selassie himself seemed have given up. Sadly, even Robin Miles's brilliant performance couldn't save this book for me, and I abandoned it after six hours. Maybe it's the time of year and I needed something lighter, I don't know. Anyway, I said good-bye.

review of Burnout by Emily and Amelia NagoskiI'm currently reading Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski (Ballantine, March 2019). I'm not really a self-help kind of person, but when Swapna Krishna recommended it, I decided to give it a try. Although I put a hold on the book over the summer, it took until this month before my turn at the library copy became available. I was hooked almost immediately. I'll have more to say about this book when I finish it, but may talk about it on Instagram and/or Litsy. The book is geared especially to woman and will have you saying YES before you're even five pages in. I see why Swapna was raving about this, and why April from Good Books & Good Wine also recommends it.


shelleyrae @ book'd out 12/30/19, 8:31 AM  

I thought I’d have more time to read too!

My daughter loves the McManus series and it releases the day after her birthday, so her birthday present will be a little late.

Wishing you a great reading week and a happy New Year 🥳

Laurel-Rain Snow 12/30/19, 8:36 AM  

Interesting mix of books. I'm curious about One of Us Is Lying.

Enjoy the new week and the New Year!

Here are my Weekly Updates

rhapsodyinbooks 12/30/19, 9:01 AM  

I need to try the Spellslinger series because it sounds in a way like Highfire, and I didn't think I would like that but I loved it!

Jinjer-The Intrepid Angeleno 12/30/19, 9:48 AM  

Add Green Book to your list, you said.

Ok!!! I just learned about and signed up for Letterbox last night so I was excited to have something to add to it! Trouble is, there are two movies with that same name and premise! Did you know that? One is 2018 directed by Peter Farrelly and the other is 2019 directed by Yoruba Richen. I guess I'll add both!

I'm 2 episodes in to the current season of Mrs. Maisel. Love that show so much!

Jinjer-The Intrepid Angeleno 12/30/19, 9:53 AM  

P.S. Ohhhh! The 2019 film is a 1-hour documentary that aired on The Smithsonian channel! The commenters on Letterboxd said it's really, really good. I definitely want to see it.

Susie | Novel Visits 12/30/19, 10:01 AM  

The Holidays are NEVER as relaxing as we think they'll be, but still we love them!

I think I have a print copy of One of Us is Lying somewhere and you've made me think I ought to dig it out and give it a chance.

Have a Happy New Year!

bermudaonion 12/30/19, 10:37 AM  

I'm going to do some cooking and baking today so we'll have some goodies to take to a New Year's Eve party tomorrow. One of Us is Lying sounds terrific to me. Happy New Year!

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz 12/30/19, 11:45 AM  

I think we long to have some nice big spaces for reading. It generally does not happen during the holiday season, though.

Kathy Martin 12/30/19, 12:32 PM  

I'll have to add One of Us Is Lying to my wishlist. I kept getting distracted with TV and computer games instead of reading. Hopefully, I'll find a book that really grabs me in the new year. Come see my week here. Happy reading and happy new year!

Girl Who Reads 12/30/19, 4:26 PM  

Christmas was quiet here so I got a good deal of reading done and I've already scheduled some posts for January. But now I have eye strain so I'm planning a movie marathon to see the old year out and new year in. See what I've been reading at GIrl Who Reads

Kathryn T 12/30/19, 4:42 PM  

The book Burnout sounds like it has caught your fancy and has some good points to make. Yes Christmas and holiday time can be very busy but audiobooks are so good!

Yvonne 12/30/19, 5:01 PM  

I always think I'll have more reading time during the holidays and it never works out that way. I saw Green Book and thought it was excellent. I didn't realize how good it would be. We finished watching Mrs. Maisel and enjoyed it. Hope you have a great week and Happy New Year!

Laurie C 12/30/19, 6:16 PM  

I always have a stack of books to read over the holidays, and usually barely manage to get through one book! Like you, I do listen to a lot of audiobooks while doing holiday prep. I blame my distraction on my audiobook when I added a tablespoon of butter instead of a teaspoon to the Maple Roasted Pecans. They were still delicious but didn't crisp up quite as well as they would have, I think!
Love the sound of the Spellslingers series, but can't find the downloadable audio through the library. :(

Greg 12/30/19, 7:10 PM  

The holidays are super busy, aren't they? Sometimes I feel like I need a holiday from the holidays! :)

I'm looking forward to the next McManus book.

Happy New Years!!


Sue Jackson 12/30/19, 7:19 PM  

Ah, we have so much in common! I, too, love to fill out a new calendar on Jan. 1 and also thought I'd have SO much "free" time this week to catch up - ha ha ha! No such luck.

I still need to read One of Us is lying, too, but I see it's not among my audio backlog - will have to get it from the library. I didn;t realize there was a sequel!

Burnout definitely sounds intriguing.

Happy New Year! Enjoy filling out that calendar on Wed!


Book By Book

Carol 12/30/19, 8:27 PM  

I'm torn on One of Us Is Lying. It sounds really good, but I'm not sure since it's about high schoolers.
I never have as much time to read over the holidays as I'd like either.

Tina 12/31/19, 7:53 AM  

We liked The Green Book, I checked the History vs Hollywood website and it seemed pretty spot on for accuracy. Powerful,

JoAnn 12/31/19, 10:32 AM  

If I can carve out just one day between Christmas and New Year for reading, then I'm happy! There's always SO much to do, but thus year I did manage to finish a couple of books during that period. Happy New Year!

Harvee 1/3/20, 3:24 AM  

We all have our hits and misses, loving some books and not enjoying others. Hope we find good ones all year!

Amanda 1/4/20, 1:40 PM  

Burnout was a little cutesy for me in places but overall I enjoyed it. Probably would have liked it better in print, and I rarely say that about nonfiction!

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