This is the 13th installment of the Rizzoli and Isles series by Tess Gerritsen. If you like this series you will not be disappointed in her latest book. This time, we get to know more of Jane’s mother, Angela.
The book starts off with a car accident and then moves into a brutal murder of a nurse. Somehow it is all connected to another murder. This twisty story is wrapped beautifully in the end and left me very satisfied. The scenes where Angela is involved are funny and she becomes a very likeable character. Although, some of her antics are a little over the top and exaggerated, I found that those parts made Angela a more charismatic character. All of these moving parts made the book a lot more entertaining.
I have read all of the Rizzoli & Isles books and have grown to love the differences in the characters. Most of Mrs. Gerritsen books in this series have vicious killers, and so does this one, but out of all her other books, Listen To Me was a little lighter. This was not a bad thing, but the book had more moments where I smiled a lot more. It was refreshing. Don’t get me wrong, there was still the all the drama that comes with medical and detective thrillers, but the book wasnt as “heavy” as other Rizzoli and Isles books.
If you love this series, you will love this book. I don’t recommend this book if you have not followed the series because I think the book may be found to be a bit silly to someone who isn’t familiar with the character Angela. Mrs. Gerritsen writes admirably, but this book would not be a good representation of her character development she’s nurtured in the people she writes about in her books.
I have given the book 4 out of 5 stars, and look forward to the next book by Mrs. Gerritsen!
This book is 307 pages Was released on July 2022 It has a 4.18 stars on Goodreads
If you are into true crime, you may have heard of Morbid. It is a podcast on true crime, creepy history and all things spooky. It is co-hosted by Alaina Urquhart who is the author of The Butcher and the Wren. Ms. Urquhart is not just a co-host of the podcast, but she is also an autopsy technician, which to me brought a whole new element into reading her book!
With such a huge following of the Morbid podcast, the moment this book was released, it easily became a bestseller! This book is set in the Louisiana bayou and introduces us to forensic pathologist Wren Muller who works for the medical examiner’s office. There is a brutal killer on the lose who is leaving a string of victims. Can the dead reveal who this monster is? Can Wren give the detectives evidence to help them track down who the serial killer is? With several twists and turns, the book is a fast paced, cat and mouse thriller.
I think the fact that the author has the experience of being an autopsy technician added validity to the scenes in the book where Wren is in the autopsy room. The author was very knowledgeable in this area, but then, the book fell short. Ms. Urquhart didn’t really develop her characters very well. I really didn’t get a good sense of who Wren was in the book. She lacked depth and personality. It wasn’t that I didn’t like her – I don’t mind hating a character in a book – it was that I didn’t know her well enough to form any opinion of her. The same thing went for the serial killer. He was brutal, but that was all. What made him the monster he was? Tell me the history of his home, tell me of his depraved thoughts and mind, or of his past. Tell me more so I can get this creep into my mind and then into my nightmares! There were gory parts, but that seemed all it was. The book felt bland where we are just given some substance, but not context. There was great potential for the book, but in the end, it fell flat for me. The constant use of short sentences with minimal adjectives, didn’t allow the reader to fall into the book or get lost in it. Even as I write, I struggle to remember the main characters in the book. The twist towards the end did redeem it slightly for me, but then the end left me a bit confused and then disappointed. It really didn’t make any sense.
I really wanted to like this book. The cover is amazing, and I liked the word play of the title, but in the end, it gets a 2.5 out of 5 star rating for me. I didn’t completely hate it, but I didn’t like it either. It will not go on my permanent bookshelf. Although, I do believe this book would be a good book for someone who is maybe just getting into reading. I would also recommend it to younger adults who are into slashers or thrillers and doesn’t care too much about character building or context.
You can buy this book at The Shire Bookstore or click here.
A Man Called Ove (pronounced OOvah) is a book about a curdmugeon who has just lost his wife. He battles with suicidal thoughts. He also is perpetually annoyed by his neighbors and all those around him. He is cranky and mean, but slowly he is awakened to a new version of himself and slowly begins to enjoy his life, sort of. The same people who annoy him, end up being the same people who smooth out his rough edges. Also, the cat who is just as cranky as him, is super hilarious. I found myself laughing out loud several times throughout this book and most of the time, the cat was in the scene.
COVERT SPOILERS AHEAD!
I am the opposite of Mr. Ove. I see rules more like guidelines, and for Ove rules were obeyed always. I try different things all the time where Ove hated change. I struggle with routines, Ove thrived in them. I am fluid with what I wear or eat, Ove didn’t have much of a wardrobe. Silence with others is a treasured thing for me, but with strangers, the hardest thing for me to do is be quiet – you get the picture. I usually am not cranky and I definitely never send back my food at a restaurant, return items to a retail store or write emails or letters regarding my warranty. But as life would have it, I am drawn to people who are hyper routine oriented. People who see black and white, right and wrong, and who lean more towards stoicism. I can see the necessity for people who see the world like Ove – granted, I do believe Ove needed someone to slap him once in a while to snap out of it. There is a point where you are taking yourself or life a bit too seriously. Ove did have someone like that in his wife. She saw potential in his seriousness, but as luck would have it for Ove, she passed away. His wife, Sonja, died and Ove didn’t know what to do with himself. Us extroverts need the introverts to draw us into ourselves and contemplate about things. To not speak and listen. To see that this way is right or this way is wrong. The same goes with introverts, we draw them out into sponteneity, a little bit of chaos, and once in a while, side-splitting laughter!
This and more is what A Man Called Ove is about – our differences. How in the mundane and in the monotony is where deep relationships can flourish. Our lives intersect and touch each other unceasingly, and what we do in those moments either chips away at our humanity, or interlinks it. I loved A Man Called Ove because I have a lot of cranky people in my life that just need a hug, and even though I may run the risk of being rejected, I am confident in myself enough to keep loving them.
Something else I really didn’t expect from this book was the insight I would receive about people who are suicidal. I am continuously grateful that I have never struggled with suicidal thoughts. I know that there are many out there who suffer from these kinds of thoughts. I know many who have to fight depression and sadness every day. I am thankful that this is not my lot in life. Reading Ove’s thoughts really surprised me. In my mind, I thought that he would quit after his first failed attempt at hanging himself. What a shock I received when Ove attempted yet again to kill himself. He failed to kill himself several times, and still tried to do it. In my sunshine-rainbows-and-kittens-type-of-mind, he should be grateful he didn’t die, see the light, realize he has so much to live for and move on from his loneliness. I am so dense! All who I have spoken with who struggle with melancholia and depression, these thoughts seem to never leave. Yes, they have happy moments. Yes, they see that they are needed. Yes, life does go on, but in the background hangs this low dark cloud of sadness, loneliness or even suicide.
Learning things like this is why all of us should read fiction. C.S. Lewis writes that fiction “enlarges our perspective”. It allows us “to escape from ourselves into one another”. What a better way to get to know those around us who are not like us. Yes, could I read statistics on suicide among teens? Could I read about chemical imbalances or hormonal fluctuations in the brain? Of course. But something else happens to my soul when I read about a man’s bellowed sob that springs from his soul at the loss of his wife. At the frustrated wail of a mother when the doctor can do nothing more for her child. Of the silent cry of a woman holding the lifeless body of sister, who survived a Nazi camp only to die later of pneumonia. Fiction reaches us where statistics can’t.
I will eventually forget the stats I read, but I probably will never forget Ove.
This is officially my first 5 star rating of the year!! I recommend this book to anyone who likes heartwarming books! You can buy this book and other books by Mr. Fredrik Backman at the Shire Bookstore. If you liked As Good As It Gets the movie, you’ll definitely like this book. Obviously there are several attempts at suicide throughout the book, so if you struggle with those thoughts, please be careful as you read. Also, there is a movie based on this book starring Tom Hanks called “A Man Called Otto”. I recently read that it will eventually stream on Netflix.
At The Shire Bookstore, all kinds of books come in as donations and I am always so grateful for them! I saw this book and thought it would be a fun read, and it was! The book is titled “Kentucky Ghosts” and is written by William Lynwood Montell. It is composed of 6 short stories and each one mentions the county of where the ghost story originated.
I am not a Kentucky native, but I have grown to love this beautiful state. In my home state of Texas, there is hot and hotter when it comes to weather, but here in Western Kentucky I get to enjoy the four seasons. I love the massive trees, the array of birds, the wildlife, and just how close to nature I can get to. The temperatures are not extreme and the people are friendly. It is my prayer that God will keep us here until I draw my last breath. My family has cultivated and grown roots here, and that is what I want to briefly talk about in this blog.
One way that we can grow roots and love for an area is to read about its local history. I know that after I read “Drowned Town” by Jayne Moore Waldrop, I did grow a reverence for the lakes that are minutes from my house. I met the people affected by the flooding of the rivers. I visited sites with my children and walked along the shores of the lakes looking into their vastness trying to imagine a town under there. Reading Kentucky Ghosts helped my roots here get just a little stronger. Two of the six stories spoke of counties I recognized (Trigg and Muhlenberg). The stories in the book weren’t scary per se and they spoke of haints and ghosts in a positive light. I may not believe in ghosts, but the stories told me more about the living than about the dead. It spoke of the connection to family and how love surpases all. One of the stories was a bit silly as it was meant to be. I believe the author of the book wanted this book to feel as if grandma or grandpa was telling you their story around a campfire or the house hearth. That is what the book felt like.
If you like local folk tales or history written in a very simple form, then I believe you would like this book. This book can be read in one sitting. It is only 64 pages long. I only have one copy of this book at The Shire and it is $5. You can also buy this book if you click here.
Is there a certain scent that just floods you with good memories? Is it the freshly cut grass of an early summer? The smell of apple pie in the fall? Is it freshly washed sheets or the scent of the soft hair of a newborn? This book is so descriptive that sometimes I felt I was there in the small Mexican town of Linares. I could smell the beautiful nature it described!
The book is set in the early 1900’s, but also goes back and forth in time. It tells of the story of a baby found underneath a bridge covered in bees that seem not to hurt him. I would say that the genre is magical realism. It also had a lot of history on Mexico right before their revolution. The book gives the perspectives of the baby’s caretakers, family, friends and enemies. There is also tragedy in the book, but also lots of places that made me smile and sigh with nostalgia. The characters are deep and developed very well. I loved Simonopio, who is one of the protagonist, and his innocence and loyalty. And like so many of my favorite movies and books, I was sad and happy in the end.
I deeply enjoyed the book and losing myself in the story Sofia Segovia, the author, wrote.
The book was originally written in Spanish. It was translated by Simon Bruni and I believe he did an excellent job. I can only imagine how beautiful the book would be to read it in its original language!
I highly recommend this book if you like magical realism like The Alchemist or Beloved. If you want to lounge around and have a long good read, this is a great book to escape to. The book is very clean and has no sex scenes. There are some times where the sadness and evil is very raw and real, but Ms. Segovia does it in a way that doesn’t assault the senses. I loved this book and 5-starred it on my Goodreads account.
The book is 471 pages long. As of right now it is free if you have Amazon unlimited. You can buy the book here.
I read this book out loud to my children and they loved it! This book is about 3 coming-of-age children – Alice, Zach and Poppy. They are in that awkward stage in their lives when they want to play children games, but feel pressure to stop acting that way. Most of the pressure is place on their own selves and a lack of communication among this trio places them at risk of ending their friendship.
With the encouragement of Poppy they set out on one last adventure to find the gravesite of an old ceramic china bone doll. The thing is super creepy and is said to contain the ashes of a murdered girl with the hollow of her body. The adventure is super fun and exciting and a bit scary. There was never a dull moment.
I truly enjoy reading these kinds of books to my kids. The book has real characters with real problems. They hurt each other feelings, they misunderstand their parents, they feel overwhelmed by the pressures of life. They cry, the yell, they hope and they lose hope. Talking about all these moments is why I love fiction. My kids and I had great talks about so many different things and it was great to hear their perspectives and walk them through better understandings of things.
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher is a book about a teenager who commits suicide. Her name is Hannah. Before her death, she makes these tapes outing all those whom she blames for causing her to commit suicide. She mails out the tapes to the first person she blames and kills herself soon afterwards by taking pills. The story is told between Hannah and Clay – one of the persons on the tapes.
I truly wanted this book to help me delve into the minds of teens. I have 3 teenagers myself and was hoping for some insight. The whole time I was reading this I was thinking that Hannah was everything I hope my daughters never become. She is shallow, a bully, and a hypocrite. And in the end, I saw her death more as a tantrum than a virtuous cause. The summation of all the reasons she gave to justify her suicide didn’t add up for me.
Reason 1: Hannah and Clay place the blame on a rational counselor. All the adults in Hannah’s life were in the backdrop and those that were actually good to her, she deems as unimportant. If she would have focused on building those relationships instead of seeing just how awful the other ones are, this would be a different story.
Reason 2: Hannah acts as if all her problems started with her first kiss. Hannah, you had problems before that, we all do.
Reason 3: Hannah has low self-esteem when she knows she’s pretty! UGH! False low self-esteem is so unbecoming of a young lady. You know those girls who put selfies up and then bait people by saying something like: “I know no thinks I’m pretty but that’s okay”.
Reason 4: Hannah goes SEVERAL TIMES to sleazy parties where people are getting drunk, high and having teen sex AND she expects to be treated like a lady by horny teenage boys. Her contempt is laughable.
Reason 5: She knows the guy could be bad news, but hopes for the best. Her judgement is lacking, and that’s fine an all, but goodness me blame yourself a little for being such an idiot!
Reason 6: The virtue signaling is strong with this one!
Reason 7: Hannah makes fun of people’s looks and judges their outer appearance throughout the whole book. I honestly don’t mind it except for the fact that one of the flipping reasons she kills herself is because people make fun of her!
Reason 8: You throw fits when someone doesn’t notice your haircut or when you are not complimented. Did I tell you she’s shallow?
Reason 9: She constantly places herself in situations where there is so much potential for emotional pain. True other people can be stupid, but you can’t totally blame others when you participate in the stupidity itself! For example, for Valentine’s day a survey is done for a potential Valentine. It’s a fundraiser. The survey then matches you to other people. It’s like a dating game. You get 5 names and their phone numbers. In my mind I was hoping she wouldn’t participate because Hannah is so sensitive, but of course she does and ends up being stood up by her date. He later shows up though an inflicts more emotional pain to her. Again, you know it’s stupid. And boys are stupid! And you’re stupid.
Reason 10: Teenage dating is so annoying. This is why I forbid my children to date in high school. I rather have me be the reason why they are pissed and crying, than have it be a teenaged idiot! They’re going to end up pissed and crying anyways, might as well be me. I come with a lot less baggage.
Reason 11: She hates those who didn’t protect her from the advances of others. I get that, but she herself failed to protect a girl that was getting raped! Can you be anymore of a hypocrite Hannah! A guy tries to kiss you and you feel trapped. He doesn’t get to kiss you because you push him off and he leaves angry. Another guy who saw this happen doesn’t come to your aid. And you add BOTH these boys to your list. BUT THEN, a girl is left on a bed drunk asleep at one of those sleazy parties you like going to, and as you hide in the closet and see her get raped, YOU DO NOTHING. There was no potential danger to you at all. And I would understand if you were too scared to stop it. But my understanding goes out the window when you blame others for being too scared to have stopped what happens to you.
Reason 12: You actually had a nice guy and nice friends. You say this towards the end of the book. Why didn’t you hang out with them more. Why didn’t you build on those relationships. Instead you knowingly cultivate relationships with toxic people, hoping for the best. Don’t blame others for your decisions. You actively sought out the scum of that school, and now are upset because you feel dirty.
Reason 13: You passive-aggresively tell the drunk-passed-out girl she was raped! Not in person, not the day after! But on the tapes when you are dead! This girl didnt know what had happened to her because of her state of mind, so you decide to tell her this way, and for others to know about it! What a jerk! Now she has no way of preserving any physical evidence of what happened to her!
There were so many more reasons, but I chose to do 13 for poetic effect.
I hope my daughters never act like Hannah, and if they do, I hope they are woman enough to face the consequences of their decisions. Hannah played the victim in her life and blamed others for how she felt. This book is awful and it saddens me that there are so many teens reading this mess. There is a NETFLIX series based on this book and I am afraid of watching it because if it is anything like this book, these girls we love are doomed. From what I hear these kids are eating this stuff up like candy!
There were several instances where Hannah could have corrected what was done to her, but she chose not to. She was sanctimoniously so brave on those tapes though! But when actual wrongs were done to her, no one owned up the consequences because she refused to do anything about it. And I get confrontation is difficult, but people – especially teenagers – cannot read your mind. And blaming them posthumously is not fair at all.
I can’t help but wonder if this is what post-feminism has cultivated into our girls. You can act and be however you want, and in the end, its everyone else’s fault how they treat you. May it not be so for the young women God has placed in my life. Our actions and desires have consequences. We must renew our mind and remember that our worth does not come from what the world says about us or what we say about ourselves, but what God says about us. That we are NOTHING if we don’t have Him. How’s that for self-esteem? That is what I teach my girls. So when Satan tempts them to despair about their looks, or their intelligence or their worth. So when Satan manipulates their minds. So when their negative feelings are so strong that they become real to them. THEY DO NOT LOOK TO THEMSELVES, but to CHRIST who has made them worthy, not because of what they do or think, but because of what He did for them.
I know that suicide in young people is a real thing. Most people who do commit suicide though have struggled with mental disorders for years. Others have faced such trauma that they see no other way out of their pain. This is why Hannah’s 13 reasons seem just so shallow to me. Hannah was not healthy or a typical teenager if these are the reasons she killed herself. And that’s my fear when these kids read this mess. Not one time was there a hint of a mental disorder she was battling, and that’s the danger of this false narrative. Hannah was not normal. She was not typical and I fear a lot of girls will identify some of themselves in her or make her out to be some heroine. If Hannah did not have a mental disorder, she is NOT a heroine or a champion for the oppressed. If she did, the author should have inserted a snippet of that part of her life, but I think the author intentionally made Hannah to be a normal kid. What an awful thing to do Mr. Asher since over 90% of people who do kill themselves have been diagnosed with a mental disorder and the others were due to major emotional trauma – like a sudden death in the family, an exposed dark secret or financial ruin.
I do not recommend this book unless you want to use it for kindling.
After the disappointment that was The Boy, it was nice to read this detective/thriller novel.
Nine Elms is a book about the disgraced Kate Marshall. As a young police officer, Kate has the drive and ambition to climb the professional ladder at her workplace, but soon that changes after a life altering affair. Now, 15 years later, she must face the demons of her past again.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The first couple of chapters gripped me and then never let go. The characters are very well developed. The story is a bit dark and gritty, but if you are a fan of Karin Slaughter, you will love this book. The book does have cuss words and gory scenes. The villains in the book are sick and depraved and Mr. Bryndza does a superb job in capturing their twisted nature. The book’s darkness also encompasses sex and this adds another layer of just how degenerate the villains are. There is also cannibalism involved. Did I mention the book is dark?
As a Christian, I am not oblivious to the depravity of the human heart and mind. Verse after verse speaks about how quickly and naturally we resort to evil behavior. Without God, there is no hope for us. This is what I get from reading books like this. It provides a window into the world that, if I am not careful, can become invisible in my sweet little Christian life. I was depraved, but God saved me. I heard the call and I became a child of God. There is no hope besides Him. The world, in all its darkness, needs the light. I appreciate authors that lead us into these black hearts and minds. It gives Christians more to be Christians with. Here is a great article that makes the case for the need for Christians to read works of fiction.
I am looking forward to the second book featuring Kate Marshall in “Shadow Sands.” This book is set to hit shelves in the U.S. in November.
Look, I get that not all Christians are perfect and that all of us struggle with hypocrisy, but so do atheists, so do agnostics and so do the “cool” protagonists in books.
I have never read Tami Hoag before and reading this book I can tell that she is a great writer. I love it when books draw the reader in and an hour can pass by without you even knowing it! Mrs. Hoag is this type of writer, but the way she portrayed any Believer in her book was like a punch to the kidneys. The sleazy adulterer is a beloved Christian leader, the snobby sheriff’s fiance is a gossipy Christian woman who is a push-over. The devout Christian parents abandon their daughter in her hour of need. Not one of the faithful helped, loved or was kind to any person in the book. Not one! I know I shouldn’t expect much from the world, but goodness me. At least in some books there is a tiny smidgen of kindness from a Christian. Some books don’t mention Christians at all and that’s fine by me also. To top it all off though, all the protagonists that Mrs. Hoag develops in a glowing light are atheist who shake their tiny fist at God. They constantly point out the hypocrisy in Christians – never seeing their own, and blame God for everything.
All this said, the book is very well written, but I will not be reading her again. She is obviously biased in her writing and I was offended at how Christians were personified. I know we are not perfect, knowing our imperfection is what helps us rely on Christ’s work not ours, but the jabs towards Christians was more than I wanted to take. I also am not an easily offended reader, but unfortunately for me Mrs. Hoag took her level of prejudice for Christians to a height I didn’t want to experience. It seemed forced on some of the characters and jolted the believeability of those specific characters. The obvious contrast between the villains and the heroes was plain to see that if the character was a villain, he had Christian roots or sayings and if character was a hero, they mocked God.
No thanks Mrs. Hoag. But if you like dark murder mysteries,and don’t mind stereotypical prejudice against Christians, then you will like this book. Personally, I didn’t.
What can I learn from this? I realize that there is artistic license in all works of fiction, but I don’t have to like it. I also realize that authors put a little of themselves into their work, but I don’t have to buy those works. That’s the beauty of a free opinion, and this is mine. We as Christians, do need to work on our testimony. We fail all the time to portray the grace to others that was so freely given to us by Jesus. I don’t know one Christian who doesn’t struggle with their sin and who has a tendency to hide those struggles leading many to think of us as hypocrites. Let us live godly lives, constantly being aware of our testimony because the world is watching us.
I encourage you with these verses found in Titus 2:8-9 – In everything, show yourself to be an example by doing good works. In your teaching show integrity, dignity and wholesome speech that is above reproach, so that anyone who opposes us will be ashamed to have nothing bad to say about us.
History dramatized in historical fiction is so entertaining. So many times it is better than fiction!
I love the era of the Tudors and the War of the Roses, it is full of intrigue, beauty and so much drama. The lives of these kings and queens is unbelievable sometimes. Some authors do so well in bringing us back to those times and immersing us into the lives of these extraordinary people. Two of my most favorite authors are Phillipa Gregory and Bernard Cornwell, but I have another favorite, Maurice Druon.
I have really enjoyed the first 2 books of the series of the Accursed Kings, and highly recommend the books to any lover of historical fiction. This series follows the reign of Phillip the Fair, King of France. The king is ridding himself of the Knights Templar by way of torture and gruesome deaths through burning at the stake. Then a prophecy is proclaimed from the burnt mouth of the Grand Master of the Templar before he dies and everything changes for the worse for the Iron King of France. Soon, the kingdom is shaken by the treasonous lives of the King’s son’s wives and chaos presumes.
The second book speaks about the daughter of the Iron King and the adulterous wife of his son. If you remember the beautiful French queen in Braveheart, well that’s the daughter of Phillip the Fair. This book continues the line of the Iron King and is full of so much betrayal, death and torture!
Happy endings are nice and all, but in real life sometimes there are no happy endings. Main characters die, beautiful princesses and queens don’t find true love, powerful kings fail and innocents are wrongly executed. This is probably why I enjoy historical fiction because I get an incredible story and I may not know how the story ends, or I may not like how it ends. That’s totally okay with me.
To the Christian, this series gives us a glimpse of the history of the church. In the 1300’s the Catholic Church wielded a lot of political power. There was a lot of corruption and most of Europe was Christian. It was a dark time in Europe. Only a select few could read His Word and whatever a bishop or priest said became what the people believed. It is a very sad time in our history. There were voices, though, in that time, crying out in the wilderness. Very few voices, but God’s Church prevailed. These were the dark ages and soon the black plague would wipe out almost half of them.
I highly recommend these two books if you enjoy historical fiction. I am looking forward in reading the whole series and have them on my summer reading list. If you would like to buy the books, click here.