Weekly Update – September 11, 2022

What a week! The kids are back in school–Chris went back on Tuesday and Lillie on Wednesday–and so far all is going well. Lillie is having some frustration with her math class. She tested ahead in math so, last year, she took algebra–which she would have normally taken in 8th grade. This year is geometry, but they don’t teach geometry in Middle School. So she’s taking that through the district’s Online Academy and it’s completely different from any kind of online learning she’s done in the past. I think once she gets used to the new platform, things will be smooth sailing.

That was Tuesday and Wednesday–from Thursday on, I’ve been watching YouTube videos of the Royal Family. I am a royal watcher, but not the kind that follows the tabloid-ish antics. Instead, I’m all about the traditions. My degree is in British Medieval History, so this is one of the few times all that money my parents spent on my education can be put to use. So, it’s been solemn, but fascinating–and I’ll probably be stuck to the Royal Family YouTube channel for the next week or so.

Now, onto the books!

As usual, I’m linking up with Kathryn at Book Date and her It’s Monday…What Are You Reading? blog hop.

Last week, I finished reading:

Bluebird, Bluebird (Highway 59 #1) by Attica Locke
Date finished: September 6, 2022
Rating: 3 stars/B

Okay, everyone who has been on my case to read this book can step back. I’ve done it!

So, was it worth it? I would say yes…eventually. This is a pretty standard mystery and thriller. I can’t say that I figured it out, but the mystery does make sense. Darren and the supporting characters are well-drawn and mostly believable. Locke does slip into cliches a few times, but usually for the more minor characters. The shining star of this book is the setting. The landscape of East Texas jumps off the pages.

My biggest issue with this book is that it took nearly half the book to suck me in. Too much real estate was given to Darren’s personal woes and plot line about a family friend early in the book. I couldn’t figure out where all this was going, and I never felt it served a purpose in the books. Once the main mystery gained speed, I had a much easier time with this book. However, that happened later than it should have.

While this book wasn’t a complete success for me, it was strong enough for me to want to read the next book in the series.

Witches by Brenda Lozano (Translated by Heather Cleary, Narrated by Kyla Garcia)
Date finished: September 10, 2022
Rating: 2 stars/C

This book was not what I expected. I don’t know why, but I expected something fantastical. Honestly, there is very little in this book that is fantastical.

What there is in this book is a detailed description of folk medicine. The setup is a journalist interviewing a traditional healer, only to find parallels in their lives. I learned quite a bit in this and found all that interesting. I also found Lozano’s writing to be accessible and entertaining.

Ultimately, however, I’m not sure what the point of this book was about. It’s just the lives of two women, and it didn’t gel together in any sort of meaningful way. This entire book felt like an exposition to a story that never materialized.

There was also the annoyance with the narration of the audiobook. The narrator, Kyla Garcia, is fine, and I have no complaints about her performance. My beef is that this book needed two different narrators to do the story justice. This is told through alternating characters; there should have been narrators to match.

Lozano’s writing style impressed me enough that I would be open to reading her other works, but this book was not a winner for me.

Manitou Canyon (Cork O’Connor #15) by William Kent Krueger
Date finished: September 10, 2022
Rating: 4 stars/A

I’ve learned something about the Cork O’Connor series. Once I start one of the books, I don’t want to read anything else. This is another heart-pounding thriller in the series, and I could not put it down. Everything you expect from a Cork O’Connor book was there–the fast plotting, the twists, and the atmospheric feel.

There were a few things that set this one apart from other books. Cork’s family (his children and his found family) have their chance to shine in this one as they try to solve the mystery of Cork’s disappearance. This is also a love story between Cork and Rainy, but one that is uniquely told as the two are rarely together in the book.

My only quibbles here are minor. A few secondary characters are a bit flat for my taste. Jenny is just sort of “there” for much of this, which has become her lot in most of the books. But none of these made any kind of real impact on my enjoyment.

Yet another hit from William Kent Krueger. Please, do yourself a favor and give this series a try!

I’m currently reading:

  • The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie
  • The Janus Stone (Ruth Galloway #2) by Elly Griffiths
  • Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
  • Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • I Guess I Haven’t Learned that Yet by Shauna Niequiest
  • Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories by Agatha Christie
  • The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  • Alone in Wonderland by Christine Reed

7 thoughts on “Weekly Update – September 11, 2022

  1. I’ve been wanting to watch the royal traditions as well but haven’t had a lot of time to tune in. I think I’m going to check in tonight- it’s fascinating. And you may have sold me on Manitou Canyon- that sounds like something I’d like. will check it out.

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  2. You’d have found the King’s accession ratification interesting then. I certainly did. I am a royalist for sure. I have been watching the royal You Tube channel as well although we have a fair bit on our tv screens. I am not all about the gossip either. They all just speculate.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the Royal traditions, too, and am glued to whatever appears for viewing. Yesterday I started watching the new 20/20 about the Queen and new King. I am also a fan of The Crown.

    Royal weddings grab me whenever they take place. I think my disappointment with our politics in the US contributes to my turning toward other ways of doing things.

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  4. I have Kent Krueger’s This Tender Land on my list, but you have convinced me that I should give his Cork O’Connor series a go. I’ll be looking forward to reading what you think about Cutting for Stone.

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About Melinda