A slow reading month, for sure. I still have quite a few In Death books to get through before the end of the year and my mind was firmly set on our mission trip to Austria so I stuck with mostly re-reads of J.D. Robb's In Death series. I read Thankless in Death on the plane and in country in my 'free' time when I wasn't serving or sleeping because of exhaustion from serving. The In Death series re-reads are quick reads, not because I've read them before but because I love them.
I finally put together a 2-page 6 x 8 layout for my All About Me album, documenting what I read in October. I'm already considering how I'm going to document what I've been reading in 2019. I'm considering, heavily, a traveler's notebook-sized (4 x 8) or a 3 x 8 album which has become quite popular in my scrapbooking world.
My goal this year: read 100 books.
Celebrity in Death by J.D. Robb. Probably one of my least favorite of the In Death series. A high-profile case but low-profile story that dragged for me. Although, it did somewhat pick up in pace once Eve identified the murderer and began unraveling the threads only to find more skeins, enough so, I actually enjoyed the last third of the book way more than the lagging first two-thirds. I would never say skip this one because it's Lieutenant Eve Dallas and Detective Delia Peabody, and Roarke, of course, but there is such limited interaction with all the other characters that it seemed like the book missed a step. 77/100
Beartown by Fredrick Backman. a riveting character-driven story fleshed out entirely in short vignettes or scenes zoomed in closely on the people, each with their inter-turmoil's, thoughts, flaws, and secrets. These are played out on the pages of a hockey town and a hockey team and hockey players, and yet - it's not so much about hockey, the game played out on the ice, but, hockey as another character played out in the lives of everyone in Beartown. When an ugly tragedy occurs even this is viewed through the lens of hockey. As I said - riveting. Did I like the book - no. Did I love the writing - absolutely! When I say I didn't like the book I mean it was so emotionally connecting, and frustrating, and personal I felt I was being driven crazy. Sprinkled with, even brimming, is the profound. 'A great deal is expected of anyone who's been given a lot.' 'People 'round here don't always know the difference between right and wrong. But we know the difference between good and evil.' 'If you are honest, people may deceive you. Be honest anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfishness. Be kind anyway. All the good you do today will be forgotten by others tomorrow. Do good anyway.' 'Difficult questions, simple answers. What is a community? It is the sum total of our choices.' Are those pearls of profound, and the many, many others for the story - or more specifically - for the reader. Just wondering. 79/100
A Simplified Life by Emily Ley. Surprisingly quick read. I didn't do any of the 'assignments' mostly because of timing. I enjoyed Emily's writing style. She doesn't sound condescending but almost comes from a stand-point of this is how I did it and not necessarily how you should do simplifying. There were some really helpful tips and not-so helpful - to me. I'm already of the mindset to simplify life (actually, home) but there are stumbling blocks to navigate and I haven't figured those out yet. But, the book: worth it if you have no idea where to begin to simplify your life. 80/100
Calculated in Death by J.D. Robb. The goal is to finish all 47 In Death books this year as part of my Read 100 Books in 2018 goal. With Calculated in Death I'm getting closer and closer and don't see any reason I can't finish on - or even ahead of time. Calculated was okay. The book was totally about the murders rather than the characters which is okay - occasionally. Because it means Eve has grown in 'this' area and reached a plateau, or comfortable spot, before the author sends another growth spurt her way. Because I like reading how murders are solved as much as the play by play of character development and interactions this was a good book. Could it have been better? Sure. But, there were enough 'wowzers' weaved throughout that it was an okay, satisfying read. 81/100.
Thankless in Death by J.D. Robb. "Lieutenant Eve Dallas has plenty to be grateful for, especially Roarke’s big Irish family, which is a joyful improvement on her own dark childhood. Other couples aren’t as lucky. The Reinholds, for example, are lying in their home stabbed and bludgeoned almost beyond recognition. Those who knew them are stunned—and heartbroken by the evidence that they were killed by their own son. Turns out that twenty-six-year-old Jerry is not only capable of brutality but has taking a liking to it. With the money he’s stolen from his parents and a long list of grievances, he intends to finally make his mark on the world. Eve and her team already know the who, how, and why of this murder. What they need to pinpoint is where Jerry’s going to strike next." - Amazon. A brutal telling, for sure - yet, intriguing. A seemingly hapless murderer who keeps, dare I say - lucking out - in the murder department. Great read. 82/100
Prince of Fire by Daniel Silva. I finished this exceptional read on the plane home from Austria. I haven't read a Gabriel Allon, Israeli spy and master art restorer, series book in almost two years but recently I re-organized my bookshelves and, rather than by color, I sorted books by genre, fiction vs. non-fiction, and I arranged series' books together. Which made me realize I'm not anywhere near completing the Gabriel Allon series. Like Silva's other Allon books, Prince of Fire did not disappoint and I slid into the story, well-versed in the history of the characters and the feel for Allon's next challenge. The book didn't waste anytime grabbing the reader and the pace held on steady that I was completely satisfied. I still have a couple books in the series on my bookshelf but I will have to pick up the remaining. 83/100
Concealed in Death by J.D. Robb. "Leading the demolition of a long-empty New York building that once housed a makeshift shelter for troubled teenagers, Lieutenant Eve Dallas’s husband uncovers two skeletons wrapped in plastic. And by the time Eve’s done with the crime scene, there are twelve murders to be solved. The victims are all young girls. A tattooed tough girl who dealt in illegal drugs. The runaway daughter of a pair of well-to-do doctors. They all had their stories. And they all lost their chance for a better life. Then Eve discovers a connection between the victims and someone she knows. And she grows even more determined to reveal the secrets of the place that was called The Sanctuary—and the evil concealed in one human heart." - Amazon. One of my favorite characters in the book is Dr. Mira's husband, Dennis. I adore him and he is present in several scenes and does my heart good...just saying. Interesting read but a bit slow going and not the wow factor in many of the other In Death series books. Definitely wouldn't call it a favorite. 84/100