In the October 2019 Newsletter I asked our readers What was the last book you read and how was it?

Here were the responses:

Chris R: I just finished reading ‘The Great Alone” by Kristin Hannah. I liked the book, though some parts were upsetting–mainly due to the descriptions of family conflict. I knew next to nothing about Alaska, where the book is mostly set, and found it fascinating to read about the kinds of people who end up in the more rustic parts of that state. The story centers around a Vietnam veteran, his wife and daughter and their experiences living in a very tough, harsh environment. I especially enjoyed reading about one of the characters, Large Marge, who I swear is interesting enough to carry her own book series.

Ayesha: The last book I read (ie finished, as I have several in progress… ha) was Buckley’s Chance by Garry Linnell which was really interesting. I got an advance copy to preview for Better Reading, and just finished adding a review to Goodreads, so thought you may like a preview too (feel free to edit it if you decide to add it):
Buckley’s Chance is the story of an escaped convict living with Indigenous Australians in Victoria’s Wadawurrung Country, where I was born and raised. My interest in this book came from being a First Nations person descended from a First Fleet escapee. I was curious to see the writers take on the situation… Like my ancestor, William Buckley was presumed to have perished in the bush (till he initiated contact with Whites over thirty years later). Obviously he left out details eg the towns etc (like the one my forefather settled in) and told the Colonists what they wanted to hear, which I’d like to think was to try to protect his native family. As a member of the Kulin Nation to which the Wadawurrung belong (though my mob is from the Riverina region of NSW) with a personal connection to the land he lived on, I found it very informative and well done.
Not sure if it’d be of interest to your audience… I’ve been getting a lot of Aussie stuff lately, for some reason (ha). Not my usual type of book but really enjoyed it. Anyway, thought I’d add a quick preview with my email 🙂

Kenica: The book I just finished is Ten Years Gone by Jonathan Dunsky. It is a mystery that is set in Israel right after their war for independence in 1948. The main character, Adam Lapid, is a private investigator searching for a boy whose mother sent him to Israel from Germany in 1939. Ten years later, she arrives in Israel and wants to find him. It was very well written. There are more books in the series that I am looking forward to reading. The author is Jonathan Dunsky.

Tom: Hi Graeme. I just finished my first Louise Penny book, “Glass Houses”. While it was an interesting story, especially the role of the cobrador, it seemed like it would never end. I think it could have been condensed from 380 pages to about 280. I am not sure about the character of Gamache, the chief inspector, since he was not your typical action figure. I didn’t like how the story keep going from the present to the past to the present to a different past and so forth. At times, there seemed like there were a few too many people finding their way into the story. A small town, with a murder, revolving around illegal drugs and several parties with a sordid past, presented an interwoven story with a few twists and turns, but the pace was hardly breathtaking. I do believe the author was writing this book around the time of her husband’s death. I was a monumental effort, just a bit confusing at times. Wanting to know the fate of the cobrador kept me in the game, so to speak. I have another Penny book that I will read next…”Kingdom of the Blind”. Perhaps I should have started this series at the beginning as I believe there are now some 15 or so books. Sometimes it is difficult to find the books in order without having to buy them, which I do not want to do.
Ann: The last book I read was “Ghost Boy” by Martin Pistorius. It’s an autobiographical story of Martin’s teenage years when he suffered from ‘locked-in syndrome’. It took years for him to be able to let the people around know that he was aware and understood them. It’s very readable although the story itself is not so easy to read – Martin suffered all kinds of abuse until he found a way to communicate with others.

Mishawn: I just finished reading “No One’s Home” by D.M. Pulley. I actually liked the book but got confused at the end. So I am now starting another book by the same author to see if I like their writing. Hopefully I can follow along better with this one!

Mark: This was The Night Window by Dean Koontz. This is #5 in the Jane Hawk series. Jane Hawk is a great new character created by Koontz. She is a former FBI agent who has gone rogue for legit reasons. Koontz is very good at mixing a bit of fantasy/sci-fi with real life in a way that makes it very believable. I am curious to see what is next–the way this book ended, it could be the last in the series, but my guess is that Koontz will find a way to continue the series. I hope so.

Phoenix: I have immersed myself in the world of Mitford (by Jan Karon). I started with A Light in the Window and am currently on Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good. There’s just something about Mitford and its characters that draws me in, and makes me wish I lived there. Father Tim especially is so well-drawn, a man with doubts and foibles and true, honest faith. Nobody is perfect in Mitford, and I like that, and few are irredeemable. Whenever the world around me gets crazy (which is pretty much all the time, anymore), I can just dive into Mitford and start to believe that everything really will be all right, in the end.

Laurie: BEST BOOK I EVER READ: THE ART OF HEARING HEARTBEATS

In Jerusalem, at the Association of Canadians and Americans’ library, i was chatting with the librarian about books, and I said, “the best book I ever read is–“. AND WE BOTH SAID AT THE SAME TIME “THE ART OF HEARING HEARTBEATS” By Jan Michael Sendar. Please reccomend it to your readers.

Kris: Good morning Graeme! I just finished “The Testaments” by Margaret Atwood. I’m still trying to decide how it ultimately made me feel. (I am really going to try and avoid spoilers here!) I was getting a little angry with the direction I saw it going with The Aunts, and I was hoping beyond hope that she had a very solid reason for going that route. I was really surprised, though, at how much I got into it to the point that I absolutely did not want to stop reading it. I am a fan of “The Handmaid’s Tale” book and I enjoyed the adaptation as well, and I also was a little afraid that she was going to “mainstream” the sequel. The one thing I have a hard time forgiving an author for is when they seem to write a book with the movie in mind. I think it’s a lazy way to reconcile the characters. After all was said and done, I really did enjoy the book, but not for the reasons I thought I would starting out. I’m still trying to process it!
AJ: Just finished Vince Flynn/Kyle Mills latest Mitch Rapp novel. It was very good, but also a scary commentary on where we are heading as a nation in America. Of course, Mitch is a hero and things are much better toward the end, but it still was some scary things to think about. I love how Mitch has evolved, esp with Claudia in his life. I feel Kyle Mills has been so true to Vince Flynn’s incredible character, while still having him grow and change and not remain static.

Barb: I recently finished ‘The Night Agent’ by Matthew Quirk. A could not put down book.
There is a mole in the White House and their discovery is paramount. Lots of action and the mole identity is not revealed until late in the story.
Love your site – get lots of suggestions. Thank you.

Janet: I am currently reading James Patterson’s and Nancy Allen’s book “Juror #3”. If I wasn’t so busing sewing custom Halloween costumes I would be done by now. I am currently doing a costume for a couple who are 6’1” and 6’8”. The costumes are sort of Game of Thrones costumes and they are from a standard costume pattern that is a 16 in women’s and a 42 in men’s. She is a 22 and he is a 50 . This means resizing all the pattern pieces for both height and width. I am about half way through the book and the plot is riveting. I am weighing the time I need to complete these complicated costumes where the material alone is almost $300 and other costumes with the time needed to finish the book. The sewing take precedent since it makes money for me. I never understood the reason anyone would spend $600 to $700 for a costume just for bragging rights for a year..

I was thrilled with the Andrew Gross and Patterson books as well as the Maxine Paetro books in Women’s murder series. There have been a few I read that Patterson co-wrote with others and figured out the ending but they are few. Nancy Allen, who I presume is the main writer in ”Juror #3” is wonderful. I hope she writes a book on her own.

Andrew Gross had a few wonderful books, not sure if it was before or after his stint with Patterson.

I recommend “Juror #3” to all who like legal thrillers.

Dawn: The last book I read was The Whisper Man, by Alex North. I was waiting for my child to get out of gymnastics…reading in the car… and I was afraid to get out in broad daylight!!! Loved it.

Diana: Just finished it at 2:00 am this morning…”Thirteen” by Steve Cavanagh. The hook is that the serial killer is on the jury (not giving anything away here; that info is on the jacket cover) of a trial involving a popular film actor who allegedly murdered his wife. The plot and character development are exceptionally clever, and several unexpected twists keep things hopping. “Thirteen” is part of a series with ex-con-man-turned-lawyer Eddie Flynn as the main character, but can easily be read on its own. It’s a real can’t-put-downer that I thoroughly enjoyed and would recommend. I’m already looking at the rest of Cavanagh’s books to see which one I’ll read next!

Donald: The last book I read was Plan B by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. It is one of the Liaden Universe books and I am addicted already. I love series books and I have already ordered an additional 15 books by the authors (if I really enjoy a author I have to have my own copy). I like the concept of different worlds and species having to work together to combat common enemies that help to show we often have many things in common, but that evil can hide itself to cause discourse and distrust among friends.

Kelly: The last book I read was Knife by Jo Nesbo, he is one of my absolute favorite authors.
Here is the book description from Amazon, as I could never do it justice.

—-Harry Hole is not in a good place. Rakel–the only woman he’s ever loved–has ended it with him, permanently. He’s been given a chance for a new start with the Oslo Police but it’s in the cold case office, when what he really wants is to be investigating cases he suspects have ties to Svein Finne, the serial rapist and murderer who Harry helped put behind bars. And now, Finne is free after a decade-plus in prison–free, and Harry is certain, unreformed and ready to take up where he left off. But things will get worse. When Harry wakes up the morning after a blackout, drunken night with blood that’s clearly not his own on his hands, it’s only the very beginning of what will be a waking nightmare the likes of which even he could never have imagined.———–

In the beginning of the book I was thinking”why, Jo(Nesbo), why?”, and then in the middle it was “why are you doing this to Harry?”and then the end came and I was thinking “why, Jo, why?”. It was an awesome book, can’t wait for the next one.

Patti: Graeme, unless I’m behind in my newsletters, which is actually quite possible, it seems like you asked the question what was the best book we have read this month. I didn’t reply straightaway, because I was actually in the middle of the book, and I wanted to make sure that I still felt as good about it when it was over with. The book in question is The Lilac Girls. You have probably already read it, as it came out about three years ago. But I’m just now getting around to reading it, and it was absolutely one of the most compelling books I have ever read. I think that some small part of me blocked out a lot of the atrocities that took place in Nazi Germany, because I simply couldn’t bear to know about them. But this book tackles them head on. I shall not say more for fear of ruining it for someone else, but I would encourage everyone to read the book. It is beautifully written, and it is clear that the author did a ton of research. The fact that it is written about events that actually transpired makes it all the more compelling.

In other news, I am about eight books in to the William Kent Krueger series of Cork O’Connor, and I’m just enjoying the heck out of them. Every single one of them is a great read, and I am really really enjoying them. Just moving from one to the other as quickly as I can check them out. Also reading the first book in the Robert Gaiilbraith series about Cormoran Strike. As you know, this series is written by the lady who wrote Harry Potter. Actually, I haven’t read any of Harry Potter, ha, but I’m loving this particular series.

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