10 February 2020

Stacked-Up Book Thoughts: A Major Reset

Book thoughts from Beth Fish ReadsHello, friends. Now that I'm attempting to engage in real life again, I'm ready to start talking books. I've missed you, and I've missed reading.

January was the slowest reading month I've had in a very long time. I managed to finish only two audiobooks and start another (I'm almost done with it). I have a stack of print books and a list of ebooks from late December through to the end of January that I never got to.

I still have to sort through the book mail from the last few weeks (see below) and to organize the digital ARCs I have for this month's releases. I'll get to both during this coming week. I'm sure February will be another slow reading month, because I still have a lot of odds and ends to take care of and several long weekends of travel ahead.

What I Listened To

Here's what I listened to in January. The theme of "retellings" was totally unplanned and coincidental. All books were provided by the publisher.

Audiobook reviews from Beth Fish Reads
  • Meg & Jo by Virginia Kantra (Penguin Audio; 13 hr, 46 min) is read by Shannon McManus and Karissa Vacker. I really enjoyed this retelling of the classic Little Women from the perspectives of the two older March sisters. Set in modern times and given a light tone, the story captures the essence of the original while adding new elements. McManus and Vacker did a great job conveying Meg and Jo's personalities and kept me engaged throughout. You don't have to have read Alcott's book to enjoy this one, but I think a lot of fun was seeing how Kantra worked familiar scenes into her retelling.
  • The Clergyman's Wife by Molly Greeley (HarperAudio; 6 hr, 17 min) is read by Susie Riddell. This audiobook is a spin off of Pride & Prejudice, following the fate of Elizabeth's friend Charlotte Lucas after she marries Mr. Collins and gains Lady Catherine de Bourgh as her patroness. Again, you don't have to be familiar with Austen's original to enjoy the story, but knowing the circumstances of Charlotte's marriage and her relationship with the Bennets will likely help you connect more strongly to the story. Riddell's expressive delivery brings the story alive.
  • Wife after Wife by Olivia Hayfield (Penguin Audio; 14 hr, 57 min) is read by Steve West. This audiobook takes the story of Henry VIII and brings it into the 20th and 21 centuries. Henry Rose is a rich, handsome businessman who can't seem to hold onto his wives. Hayfield updated the names of the wives (for example, Kate and Anna are the first two) and nicely captured the scope of their lives and personalities. She even worked in details such as Henry's bad leg and his daughter Elizabeth's strong will. West's good pacing and distinct characterizations add to the enjoyment.
Book Mail

New recommended reading from Beth Fish ReadsHere's the first stack. The Light in Hidden Places is a World War II story based on true events. Unreconciled is the fourth book in the Donovan series, set on a harsh planet (I love these books!). Ravenmaster is the paperback edition of a memoir of the man in charge of tending the ravens of the Tower of London. One Minute Out is a CIA thriller that's been getting a lot of buzz. The Love Story of Missy Carmichael is a contemporary story about friendship, self-acceptance, and community. Mazes of Power is the first in a new "sociological science fiction" series. The Infernal Battalion is the newest entry in the Shadow Campaigns series, epic fantasy with great characters and fast action. Dressed for a Dance in the Snow is one of my most anticipated books: true stories of women who had been imprisoned in the Russian gulag. The Sweet Indifference of the World is by one of my favorite authors in translation; this one is about memory, identity, and relationships. The Decent Inn of Death is the newest entry in the John Madden mystery series, set in England after World War II.

New recommended reading from Beth Fish ReadsHere's the second stack: The Deadly Omens is the final entry in the Uncommoners trilogy, a middle grade fantasy / alternate history story that's won lots of praise. Fairy Unicorn Wishes is book 3 in Sophie Kinsella's Fairy Mom and Me series geared to young middle grade readers. Survival Instincts is a thriller set in a remote cabin in New Hampshire. The Unspoken Name is a debut epic fantasy that has garnered multiple starred reviews for its world building and tight plotting. Tombstone is the true story of how the Earp brothers and their friends found themselves at the famous shootout at the O.K. Corral. The Mother-in-Law is the paperback edition of a deadly kind of family story. Pretty as a Picture is crime fiction / mystery set in the world of the film industry. The Light after the War is based on the true story of what happened to two Jewish women in the decades after they together survived the Holocaust. A Silent Death is a new thriller from Peter May; this one is set in Spain but features a Glaswegian investigator. No True Believer is an #ownvoices story about a Muslim American teen who is framed for a crime she didn't commit. Beside Myself is a family saga spanning several generations and set in multiple countries, including the Soviet Union, Turkey, and Germany.


Susie | Novel Visits 2/10/20, 8:35 AM  

Happy you're back! I wouldn't worry much about not getting much reading done recently. There have been a lot of sort of blah books released in the last month or so. You have a huge stack of books there to go through. I hope you find some wonderful stories among them.

Greg 2/10/20, 9:37 AM  

January was a slow reading month for me too. Not sure what it was. Hopefully February rebounds! Hope yours has started well.

Ravenmaster sounds like it could be interesting, and The Unspoken Name as well. Kinda curious about Tombstone.

Daryl 2/10/20, 9:43 AM  

lots of interesting books ... glad you're back .. hope things are settling down

Aj @ Read All The Things! 2/10/20, 10:05 AM  

Welcome back, and good luck sorting the book mail! I’m reviewing No True Believers on my blog today. I really liked it. Have a great week!

Aj @ Read All The Things!

rhapsodyinbooks 2/10/20, 11:11 AM  

Didn't know Django Wexler had a new book out - I enjoy that series even though it's so not what I usually read!

Laurel-Rain Snow 2/10/20, 11:21 AM  

Welcome back! You have some great looking books on your stack. I loved Meg and Jo.

Enjoy your week, and thanks for visiting my blog.

Kathy Martin 2/10/20, 12:23 PM  

What a daunting stack of new books! I get overwhelmed if I get more than two or three at a time. I hope you enjoy them all though. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

sherry fundin 2/10/20, 1:09 PM  

january is always an iffy month for me, after making it through the holidays. now....that's a lot of books. :-)
sherry @ fundinmental

Vicki 2/10/20, 1:58 PM  

Ravenmaster and One Minute Out might be going on my list. The Love Story of Missy Carmichael is already on my list. All the books in the second group sound good so a few of them may be going on my list too.

bermudaonion 2/10/20, 6:52 PM  

I've thought about you a lot and hope you're doing okay. I know you have a new normal to get used to.

The books will be there when you're ready for them.

pussreboots 2/10/20, 9:38 PM  

Mazes of Power has caught my attention. My weekly update

Tina 2/11/20, 7:37 AM  

I’d be over the moon with this book mail! Raven master has my attention today.

Glad to see you back with bookish news.

marlenefoust 2/13/20, 1:42 AM  

Wife after Wife for me is the best book to read if you have a problems regarding to your relationship.

Daughters of Twilight

Bryan G. Robinson 2/14/20, 11:31 AM  

Recently a friend of mine recommended the Rennie Airth series, but to be honest, I couldn't get into it (the first) with Airth revealing the murderer halfway through the book. But I might have to give it another chance...some day

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