Weekly Reads – February 12, 2023

Happy Super Bowl Sunday, y’all! Of course, if you don’t watch (American) football, then Happy Sunday! The Super Bowl is big business in our house, although this year is kind of ho-hum. I have no strong feelings about either team, but I’m kind of done hearing negative things about them.

I did commit a boo-boo and scheduled my book club for this evening–during the Super Bowl. Normally, we meet on Saturdays, but I asked to switch this month’s meeting to Sunday because Monday is Lillie’s birthday and I wanted to keep Saturday free in case she wanted to do something with her friends to celebrate. Ultimately, she decided not to do anything so it wasn’t necessary, but I don’t want to mess up everyone’s calendars on my whims, so we’re keeping it tonight. We meet on Zoom, so I can just step out and talk books for an hour and then come back to the game. I’m actually look forward more to my book club (we’re discussion Take My Hand, my initial thoughts are below) than the Super Bowl, which is saying something.

So, yes, my little girl is going to 14 tomorrow! I can’t believe it! She starts high school next year! How can that be? As I said, she opted not to do anything big with her friends, but she did want to go out to a local diner for dinner and then have an ice creak cake from DQ, both of which are doable things! It will be kind of a shock that she has school on her birthday, though. Just because of when her birthday is, more often than not she has it off from school. Either her birthday is on a weekend or it falls over President’s Day weekend, but not this year.

And 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:

Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
Date finished: February 8, 2023
Grade: A ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Oh boy, this one will make you furious. And it should.

This is a fictional story, yes. But, it is based on an actual lawsuit and the things that happened in this book did happen, but to children who were not fictional. Keep that in mind as you read it because you must not excuse the ire that boils up while you read this book.

The United States does not have a good record on the grounds of bodily autonomy and this novel dives into one of the darker chapters of this struggle. In 1973, Civil is a nurse assigned, recently hired in a public health clinic, who is charged to visit an impoverished family to give two young girls (aged 11 and 13) birth control injections. Yes, that is not great. It gets worse. Civil realizes that none of this makes sense and starts to try to figure out what is going on. As I said, it gets worse.

Perkins-Valdez touches on many important issues with this book. Besides the central issue, there are also questions about racism, poverty, and feminism. Perkins-Valdez addresses all these with respect and sensitivity. She also does an exemplary job of developing the characters. Civil makes some decisions that seemed inappropriate to me, but I could also see how she came to that place where she felt it was the only decision she could make.

My only complaint about this book is that there is a vague romantic subplot that I felt was unnecessary for the story. It wasn’t a large part of the narrative, but it was present enough that I was irritated by its presence and I felt that it could have been removed without impacting the larger story.

I feel that this is an important novel. Even though it takes place 50 years ago, it is very timely for our current day. Yes, it will make your blood boil–and that is a good thing.

Death Comes to Marlow (The Marlow Murder Club #2) by Robert Thorogood
Date finished: February 10, 2023
Rating: B+ ⭐⭐⭐½

I have realized that the Marlow Murder Club series is going to be the one that convinces me that I actually do (sometimes) like cozy mysteries.

I ended up ordering a copy of this book from the UK because I am not a patient person and I had no idea when it would be released in the United States, and I’m glad I did. This was exactly the fun little romp I needed to keep my reading life going. The characters in this series are just so darn lovable and the book is infused with the kind of humor that I look for in my lighter mysteries. This one has a great setup. The de facto head of the Marlow Murder Club is inexplicably invited to a wedding party for a couple she does not know. She brings the second member of the group and they meet the third member there and, of course, there is a murder!

This is an impossible mystery, a trope that I suspect is difficult to write and, in my experience, doesn’t always work as well as it should. This one, however, works. I experienced a delicious level of frustration in this book as each suspect came up with an airtight alibi. Moreover, I could believe the frustration of the ladies of the Marlow Murder Club who were given an under-the-table charge to investigate the murder.

I will admit that I guessed the culprit very early on. However, I can’t say that this was because anything in the book was obvious and I just had a hunch. Also, I felt as though the explanation of how the murder was carried out was overly complicated and was almost unfair to the reader. In this area, I found the first book in the series to be superior.

I wouldn’t call this a sophomore slump by any stretch of the imagination and I did truly enjoy my experience reading it. Even if it wasn’t as good as the original, it’s still one of the best cozies (yes, I’ll admit it…it’s cozy!) I’ve read.

I’m currently reading:

I’m going through a great patch of reading, as I talk about here. I have a book that I was afraid to read, but is working better than I thought. Another one is just what I needed as an escape and yet another is a complete surprise for me.

14 thoughts on “Weekly Reads – February 12, 2023

  1. I watched the game and did nothing book related today, so good for you to stepping out for your book club. Glad you are coming around to (sometimes) liking cozy mysteries since it’s the genre I read the most.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it did turn out to be a great game, didn’t it? It seems like Super Bowls are usually one sided blow outs, so it was nice to have such an exciting game for a change!


  2. I’m not a football fan (baseball is my sport), but we had the game on. I admit, I did other things while it was on.

    Take My Hand sounds like an intense and important read. I haven’t read the first book in the Marlow Murder Club series but it’s on my list.

    Happy Birthday to your daughter!

    Hope you have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the well wishes for my daughter. She seemed to have a great birthday–I think she was most excited about her DQ Blizzard Cake, which lasted us 3 days!


  3. The Super Bowl was a really exciting game this year. I’ll admit that I watched the last half with the sound off so that I could listen to an audiobook at the same time. It worked out for me mostly because the audiobooks was an old favorite. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, hey! I never thought about muting the game so I could listen to an audiobook! I may try that sometime, although I don’t know how the rest of my family would feel about it!


    1. Yes, I once again have too many books going, but I’ve been able to juggle them fairly well. I think when we go on vacation next month, I’m only going to take one print book (which I plan to leave at my Dad’s anyway) and my kindle, so that will limit my number of in-progress books for at least a week.

      Liked by 1 person

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About Melinda