"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

January Books


A Circle of Wives by Alice LaPlante -- I started this last week when Zach and Sophie were visiting a few days after Christmas, but we were so busy that I didn't take much time for reading. Thus I finished it this first day of 2024. When Dr. John Taylor turns up dead in a hotel room, Samantha is assigned to the case involving John's legal wife plus two other wives who knew nothing about being part of this bigamous (or trigamous) case. Wild! Pretty good.

Tumbleweed: Six Months Living on Mir by Shannon Lucid -- One of the best books I read last year was about the first six women astronauts in the U.S.'s space program. In the back of the book the author mentioned some books she read to learn more about these women. This book was one of them, and I got it for Christmas. I enjoyed learning about the author's year living in Russia as she trained for her voyage with the two Yuris. It was interesting reading about the mission as well - how she talked to folks back home, the food they ate, their exercising, how they got along with each other. Neat book!

Sally Ride: America's First Woman in Space by Lynn Sherr -- Interesting biography written after Sally's death from cancer. The author was not only a journalist, but a friend. Still, a few things she learned only after Sally died. This covers some of her childhood, college years, her playing tennis, her lovers and brief marriage, her applying to NASA, some training and years later when she taught physics in California and wrote books with her partner Tam O'Shaughnessy whom she'd met years ago when they both played tennis. Pretty good.

The Engagement Party by Darby Kane -- A library book came in so I'm back to reading mystery/thrillers. This one is the reunion of college friends who really don't want to be together yet meet up for Will and Ruthie's engagement party at a hard-to-access beach house. When a body is discovered and other strange things happen, the couples wonder if this has more to do with their past, when a friend was killed on graduation day.

Mother-Daughter Murder Night by Nina Simon -- Three generations of females - Lana, Beth, and Jack - come together to help solve a mystery after Jack finds a dead person while on a kayaking tour (her job.)  Pretty cute story.

Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Lord by Celeste Connally -- A mystery featuring Lady Petra who is disbelieving when she finds a friend died and was buried without her knowledge. Then when a footman tells her that he saw her friend - after she was supposed to be dead and gone - Petra investigates to see what in the world is going on in her privileged world.

Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante -- Told from the point of view of Dr. Jennifer White as she struggles with early-onset Alzheimer's.  Well, she's 65 so that's not early-early since some folks get it in their forties, but it seemed young-ish to me.

The Golden Spoon by Jessa Maxwell -- Cute book about a baking competition that turns ugly. Six contestants meet at a manor in the woods of Vermont, but weird stuff happens and someone ends up dead.

The Frozen River by Ariel Lawhon -- Great story inspired by the life and diary of Martha Ballard, a midwife in Maine, 1789. Enjoyed this one!

Necessary People by Anna Pitoniak -- Stella and Violet meet in college. Stella who has had an easy life, and Violet who has not. When Violet finally starts making her way in the TV news world, Stella's jealousy leads her to get a job at the same station. Can these best friends handle this new complexity? They already share an apartment in New York City. 

Lie Beside Me by Glytha Lodge -- I'm continuing the series featuring London police officers, Jonah, Juliette, Ben, Domnall, and the gang. In this book Lousie wakes up after being so drunk that she can't remember the night before. The trouble is there is a dead man in her bed. She has no idea who he is and why he is there. What a mystery for the police to solve!

The Stranger Inside by Lisa Unger -- Rain Winter is a journalist currently staying at home with her young daughter. When a crime is committed, Rain is immediately wanting to investigate because it's a story she covered. This is told in the voices of Rain and her childhood friend Hank, both of whom were in a terrible situation that left them scarred for life. Decent story.

The Resemblance by Lauren Nossett -- Last year I read book two in this series featuring Marlitt Kaplan, a detective in Athens, Georgia, and I wanted to read this book to find out her backstory which was hinted at in book two. While visiting her mom on the UGA campus, Marlitt is one of the first upon a hit-and-run involving a student who is part of a Greek society. She and her partner Teddy investigate Kap-O, and find out more about this society. 

The Breakdown by B. A. Paris -- Cass is out for the summer holiday, and on her way home from a teachers' night out when she takes the shortcut through the woods and sees a lady sitting in her car. The next morning she hears about a woman being murdered and realizes that was the woman she saw!  Struggling with this situation and the fact she keeps forgetting - does she have early-onset dementia as her mom did? - Cass reaches out to her husband Matthew and her best friend Rachel for help. But her problems get worse.

Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman -- Erin and Mark are British newlyweds on a trip to Bora Bora when they discover something on a diving trip that could change their lives. Do they turn it in or keep it for themselves?

The Legacy of Longdale Manor by Carrie Turansky -- Catherine and her mom and sister are horrified when they lose their home after the untimely death of their father and husband. While Catherine's mom tries to mend fences with her father so they'll have a place to live, the family lives with her mom's childhood friend on a sheep farm. Meanwhile, in more current times, Gwen is tasked with pricing art and other pieces for an auction at Longdale Manor. Pretty good story.  

Little Sister by Gytha Lodge -- I started reading this series around book five so I decided to start at the beginning and I've finally read all of the Jonah Sheens and Company series. This one is Keely telling her story of abuse at the hands of foster care parents and workers. The team isn't quite sure what to believe, and they are trying to locate Keely's younger sister, Nina, whom they think Keely has harmed. 

Good Company by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney -- Flora and Julian are both actors as well as Flora's best friend Margot. One day while looking for a favorite photo, Flora happens upon the wedding ring her husband claimed to lose while swimming in a pond many years ago. What's up with that? As Flora learns more about the past, she has to come to terms with secrets and forgive - if she chooses to.

The Berry Pickers by Amanda Peters -- Great story about a Mi'kmaq family from Nova Scotia who traveled each summer to Maine in order to pick blueberries. One summer the littlest child went missing. This book is told from the perspectives of Joe, the next-oldest child who was the last to see his little sister, and Norma, the young woman who grew up in an overly-protective family. Really enjoyed this one more than I expected, and I think the cover is pretty.

On Moonberry Lake by Holly Varni -- After her mother's death, Cora returns to Moonberry Lake where she inherits her grandparents' lodge - a place she loved to live until she was seven years old when suddenly and inexplicably her mother took her away from her extended family. A stipulation to inheriting the property is that she has to live there a year so Cora sets about to restore the lodge to its former glory. With the help of longtime friend Sam, and Widgy, the repairwoman who never washes her coffee pot because each layer of old coffee "seasons" the pot, Cora follows her dream of restoring her grandparents' home.  A bit predictable, yes, but a cute story with interesting and lovable characters.