October 2013 wish list

>> Sunday, September 29, 2013

Right, let's get back into it. Here's what I'm looking at for next month:

Books I'm definitely planning to get

Unbound, by Cara McKenna (Oct 15)

I adored McKenna's previous, After Hours, so I have high hopes for her next. From the description, it doesn't sound quite as unique as AH, but if done well, a heroine who's lost a serious amount of weight could be really interesting.

Dark Witch, by Nora Roberts (Oct 29)

This sounds like Roberts is going back to the sort of trilogies she was writing in the early 2000s, such the Gallaghers, or Three Sisters Island. Not sure how that will work out... I like Roberts' paranormals, but not so much when she goes all Irish mystical.

In Love With a Wicked Man, by Liz Carlyle (Oct 29)

Carlyle's latest have been disappointing, but it sounds from the description of this one that she has moved away from all the paranormal secret society crap. It also sounds a little bit like one of my favourite of hers, her first, My False Heart... a 'wicked' man and a heroine who falls in love with him without knowing his identity. I'm looking forward to it.

Books that interest me and I'll keep an eye on

Possession, by JR Ward (Oct 1)

I'm behind with this series, but I'll probably catch up with it at some point. Actually, I'm also behind with the BDB. I really need to be in the right mood to read one of Ward's books.

David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell (Oct 1)

I enjoy Gladwell's books. I find them thought-provoking enough to cope with his sometimes annoying voice (it's fine at the beginning, but it gets old really fast). This one is about "how we think about obstacles and disadvantages".

Running Back, by Allison Parr (Oct 21)

I still need to review Parr's previous NA book, Rush Me, but I quite liked it, enough to be interested in this novella. It sounds like it's along the same lines: pro athlete hero, brainy heroine (in this case, an archeology grad student). I just hope she's not as dismissive and snobbish as the previous heroine.

Wild Child, by Molly O’ Keefe (Oct 29)

If anyone can make this plot palatable (hero trying to run the 'scandalous' heroine out of town because he's trying to attract this nausating-sounding 'wholesome' business to it), then it's Molly O'Keefe.

The Sum of All Kisses, by Julia Quinn (Oct 29)

I haven't read a Julia Quinn for a while, must try one soon. This one sounds interesting, with protagonists who don't like each other (for what sounds like very good reasons) and are forced to spend time together.


I'm back!

>> Friday, September 27, 2013

So, I'm back! I actually got back home late Monday, but I've been busy with all those pesky chores, such as unpacking and tidying up the house, which looked like a bomb site from when I packed. Turns out packing is especially messy if you're really not sure what to take. My instinctive response when it's hot it's to wear as little as possible (not quite the right approach when visiting a Muslim country, obviously), so I really had no idea how well my more 'modest' summer clothes would fare in the heat. Turns out, for most of them, not very well. I ended up wearing the same couple of very cool cotton tops several times, and buying some cotton trousers. Fortunately, one of the advantages of being in a really hot country is that if you wash something in the sink in the evening, it'll be dry by morning!

Thank you all for the good wishes in my last post. The trip was absolutely fantastic. My friend and I had a couple of days on our own in Amman (highlights included a visit to a local hammam, or Turkish baths, where we were pummelled and scraped on what looked like a marble slab, and some truly lovely food), and then we joined an organised tour with a company called Exodus.

It's not something I've done before, so I was a bit wary, but it turned out to be the best thing we could have done. It's nice to be an independent traveller, but it does take a lot of work to organise stuff (and it's usually me doing it, for some reason), so it was nice to just lie back and let something else take care of the details. We were able to do a lot more than we would have been able to easily arrange on our own (how on earth would we have been able to find out on our own that that Bedouin woman selling souvenirs in Petra had a little business cooking traditional dinners in a cave out in the desert?), and we didn't have to worry about sorting out annoying details like transport (taxi drivers trying to overcharge us was the only thing I didn't like about Jordan), or making a judgement about which boat captain would take us to good snorkeling spots off Aqaba. Also, the people we were travelling with were great, and I think 2 weeks of travelling with only 1 person might have been a little bit intense, much as I like my friend C.

I loved every single packed day of sight-seeing, exploring and culinary experimentation, but by far the best were the 3 and a half days which started with 2 full days in Petra, and then camping overnight in Wadi Rum. Beautiful, mind-boggling sights and we got to meet some great people. Fortunately we had been warned to pack walking boots, because it was all more active than I thought it would be. We spent pretty much all our time in Petra climbing and scrambling up and down rocks (our guide took us to some spots with truly amazing views, and pointed us towards good walks to do on our own), and there was a fair bit of sand dune-climbing as well.

It does make me a bit sad, though, that I suspect one of the reasons we enjoyed Petra so much was because there were so few visitors. Friends who've gone before have complained about the crowds, especially on narrow trails such as the way up to the Monastery, but it was nothing like that when we were there. Chatting with our guide and a few of the people who work there (including Salman, who learnt his Cockney-accented English from visitors staying with him and his family in one of the caves, back when the Bedouin were still allowed to live within Petra itself, and Rashid, the Jack Sparrow lookalike who owned the horse I rode out of the Siq on the last day), they reckon they're getting about a tenth of the visitors they got a few years ago. I know I didn't see a single American the whole time I was there (not unreasonable, since they'd probably be the first targetted if anything did kick off). So yeah, great for us to be able to enjoy the sights without the crowds, but not so good for the people who make their living from tourism. There was a definite whiff of desperation from some of the souvenir sellers, who weren't quite as laid back as those friends who went a few years ago had found.

When he said goodbye to us, our guide thanked us for coming during this scary time in the region, and asked us to tell people about our experiences in Jordan. Well, I hope this will do: on the last day, when C and I were having a last wander round Amman before catching our flight, we started climbing some steep, deserted stairs and a group of teenage boys appeared at the top. They started elbowing each other and whispering as they stared at us, C obviously being a Westerner. Normally I would have been a bit worried, but after a couple of weeks in Jordan, I wasn't. I knew what they were going to say as we went by, because that's what we'd got from pretty much everyone. And so they did: "Hello! Welcome, welcome to Jordan!"


On hiatus

>> Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I'm very pleased to announce that the blog will be going on a hiatus for the next couple of weeks. The reason I'm pleased, is that it's because I'll be taking my first proper, non-family-visit holidays since I moved to England.

I've had plenty of time off in the last few years, so I swear I'm  not moaning and I recognise how lucky I am. I do a long visit back to Uruguay over Christmas, and then whatever leave I've got left (usually not much) is used up when family come and visit throughout the year, to spend time with them.

What I haven't been able to do since I moved here is take holidays where the focus is on discovering and exploring new places. I've taken a Friday off here and there to do city breaks, and they've been fabulous, but it's not quite the same.

Well, this year, I'm finally doing it. My friend C and I are flying off to Amman, in Jordan, tomorrow, and after a couple of days exploring the city on our own, we're joining a group doing a tour round the country. We'll be visiting Crusaders' castles and ancient ruined cities, floating in the Dead Sea, spending a couple of days in Petra, camping in Wadi Rum and snorkeling in the Red Sea. I can't wait!


Dirty politics and clear stats

>> Monday, September 09, 2013

TITLE: Betrayed by Trust
AUTHOR: Ana Barrons

Catherine Morrissey is in Washington DC to see what the hell is going on in the investigation into the murder of her sister, a political aide. Right after the murder she thought she could trust Joe Rossi, a journalist looking into the murder, until he turned around and put some of her most hurtful, humiliating confidences in an article. She's angry with the man, but it turns out she might need his help.

This was a mess. Catherine is beyond stupid (I mean, seriously, Joe is a journalist, and she always knew it, and that he was investigating her sister's murder!), and their interactions felt faked and forced. Plus, I objected to all the slut shaming. There's a lot of contrasting of the purity and innocence of Catherine (She's a schoolteacher! She dresses modestly! She even looks pure!) against the sluttiness of Blair, culminating in a lovely spot of victim-blaming. On Blair: "From all accounts, it was here that her promiscuity had really taken off. And mostly likely killed her." Thanks, but no thanks.


TITLE: The Norm Chronicles
AUTHOR: Michael Blastland and David Spiegelhalter

Risk and how people understand it, process it and react to it is a big part of my job, and I've often had the occassion to hear David Spiegelhalter speak about the issue (he's Winton Professor for the Public Understanding of Risk at Cambridge). He talks good sense and is very clear and accessible, so I was glad to see he'd written a book with Michael Blastland, who makes some excellent programmes on Radio 4 (More or Less is a particular favourite, stats nerd that I am).

The book was good, I thought. The subtitle is "Stories and Numbers About Danger" and you pretty much get what it says on the tin. Starting with stories about prudent Prudence, average Norm and reckless Kelvin, they look at a number of different areas and explore both how people react to the risks involved and what the risks really are. The last point is the strongest element of the book. Risk is extremely hard to explain to people, but through the use of the startlingly clear concepts of MicroMorts and MicroLives, I think they've got it. The weak point was, in my opinion, the stories that opened each chapter about Prudence, Norm and Kelvin. They felt a bit off and like they obscured the issues rather than illuminated them. My reaction to them was more "WTF?" than "a-ha!".

Nothing new here for someone with a background in the issues, but as a primer, I think this would work really well.



The Bride Wore Scarlet, by Liz Carlyle

>> Saturday, September 07, 2013

TITLE: The Bride Wore Scarlet
AUTHOR: Liz Carlyle

PAGES: 384

SETTING: 19th century England and Belgium
TYPE: Romance / Paranormal romance?
SERIES: Fraternitas Aureae Crucis #2

Passion and secrets simmer behind the elegant façade of Victorian London in another deliciously intriguing novel featuring the mysterious men of the St. James Society.

Anaïs de Rohan has faced danger in her past, but never anything so great as posing as the new bride to one of the St. James Society's most magnetic—and ruthless—leaders. But Lord Bessett's bold challenge to prove herself worthy of joining his secret all-male society is impossible to resist. So she daringly agrees to travel with the enigmatic nobleman on a dangerous mission to save one of their own—a little girl with a frightening gift.

Soon intrigue swirls about them, drawing them ever closer. And Anaïs quickly realizes that the intimacy of sharing Lord Bessett's bedroom is proving a temptation impossible to resist. As for Bessett himself—well, he might be a soldier sworn to the Society, but he certainly isn't anyone's saint...
I was disappointed with the first book in this series, One Touch of Scandal, but this is Liz Carlyle we're talking about. Even though her latest haven't been great, she's written some of my favourite books, so I was willing to give the series another shot. As book 1, The Bride Wore Scarlet is centred around The St. James Society, the name of the recently reformed Fraternitas Aureae Crucis in England. The men who are part of it are Guardians, their mission being to protect the Vateis, mainly women and children who have got the Sight.

Geoff, Lord Bessett (son of the couple in Three Little Secrets) is a Guardian, and his latest mission is to go to Brussels to rescue one such child. Anaïs de Rohan (whose parents were in No True Gentleman) had a great-grandmother who had the Sight herself, and determined Anaïs would be a Guardian, in spite of being a female. She's devoted all her life to training for it, but the Fraternitas prove themselves stubborn about their arbitrary traditions. She is, however, offered the chance to help out Lord Bessett in his mission in Brussels, as a woman would be helpful in approaching the endangered child and her mother.

I read over a third of the book before I gave up. It just wasn't working for me at all. The whole deal with the fraternity felt off. It felt half-baked, but at the same time, ponderous and self-important, without really justifying to the reader just how it's so crucial to the whole world. I found it impossible to care about their missions and their traditions. It might be that the danger the little girl is in becomes more clear and present later in the book, but I was yawning.

Neither was I engaged with the characters. Geoff and Anaïs seem to be interesting enough, on description. He's taken on his responsibilities to the fraternity somewhat reluctantly, and there are intimations that he's got a bit of a Gift himself, and Anaïs is very non-traditional and kickass. They just never felt like real people, and I could feel no chemistry between them. Again, I wasn't interested in them.

Also, it made me uncomfortable that Carlyle chose to use as her main characters the children of couples from previous books that weren't paranormal (all right, there was a touch of it in No True Gentleman, but it was just that, the merest touch). It feels like rewriting history in a way, so when I now reread Three Little Secrets and No True Gentleman it will be in my mind that these people live in this world with secret societies and all sorts of paranormal powers, but they just don't know it.



Take What You Want, by Jeanette Grey

>> Thursday, September 05, 2013

TITLE: Take What You Want
AUTHOR: Jeanette Grey

PAGES: 113

SETTING: Contemporary
TYPE: New Adult

She needs an escape…and he’s exactly what she had in mind.

College senior Ellen Price spends every spare minute studying to get into medical school. Until spring break yawns before her, as empty as her wallet. With no money to hit the beach, she fills her empty to-do list with a plan: for just one week, she will become the kind of take-no-prisoners woman she secretly wishes to be, starting with the hot guy at the bar. It's a no-risk situation: at the end of break, he’ll head back to his campus, and she’ll go back to hers. No muss, no fuss.

At first, Josh Markley isn’t sure what to think when the quiet, intense beauty from his pre-med classes approaches him for a night of casual sex. Even more mystifying, she doesn’t seem to return his recognition. But if she wants to play “strangers in a bar”, he’s game.

Their passionate night is a welcome respite from life’s stress, but afterward, Josh realizes he wants more—from himself, from life, from Ellen. Except she still thinks he’s a one-off she’ll never see again. Confessing the truth now—before she figures it out on her own—could shatter the fragile beginnings of just what the doctor ordered. A forever love.
Ellen Price is in her last year of college. She dreams of going to medical school after that, so she spends all her time and energy on study. And then comes spring break. Her friends are all going off on a holiday she can't afford, so she decides that, since she's staying home, what she'll do is take a holiday from her usual serious, responsible self.

Ellen's plan is simply to dress up in sexy clothes (her serious attitude extends to her clothing) and pick up a stranger in a bar. The thing is, the stranger she ends up going for isn't actually a stranger. Josh Markley is actually in her pre-med class, and he's had his eye on Ellen for a while. Ellen doesn't recognise him (in addition to her being really focused when she's in class, there's the Clark Kent device of Josh having just started to wear contact lenses), and Josh is confused when she tells him she's a waitress.

Josh assumes Ellen's just doing some sort of sexy role-playing, and doesn't correct her when she assumes he's a student somewhere else, home for spring break. But then, after an amazing night, Josh realises she really didn't recognise him. He definitely wants more than just the one night, but how does he convince her?

This was a cute story. Josh and Ellen are likeable characters, and I was rooting for them. Also, the trope of having the hero desperately feel that he must make the sex so, so good that the heroine will want more with him is one that (somewhat guiltily) really appeals to me. So I mostly enjoyed this, even while realising that it just wasn't particularly great.

Mainly, the thing was that the story was very low conflict. Josh and Ellen were angsting away, but basically, the whole thing boiled down to each thinking 'oh, I want more, but I don't if he/she does!'. There was no real reason why they wouldn't want to be together, since they got along fine, liked each other and found each other incredibly attractive, not to mention that career-wise, they were quite well suited. Of course you can never be certain, but the angst was beyond that. It felt a little contrived, to be honest, like a faux-conflict.

I thought the story had too many sex scenes for such a short book. After the first few, they felt gratuitous. I would have preferred it if some of them had been replaced by Josh and Ellen actually talking and getting to know each other out of the sack. There was a bit of that, and it did seem that they were a good fit, but not enough, definitely not enough to be exchanging 'I love you's at the end.

Also, Josh was lovely, but he felt a bit too good to be true and his character didn't make complete sense. He's handsome, nice, sensible, good career prospects, and even amazing in bed, although it's never really explained how he got that way. There's no reason given why he wouldn't have a regular, health self-esteem, and yet he's spent 3 years obsessing over Ellen, not approaching her even though there was absolutely no reason not to, even if just to say hello and pretend to ask her something about the class. It felt contrived.

I did like the conflict about Josh's career plans. His father is a doctor and his heart is set on Josh being one as well, but he has come to realise he doesn't want to do that. He's got other plans, and he's very nervous about broaching the subject, and about his father's reaction. The thing is, again, it felt like much angst about not much at all. He acts like he's about to drop out of college, but actually, what he wants to do is in no way controversial and only a completely unreasonable asshole (which his father clearly isn't) would have major issues with it.

I realise I've been moaning for the last few paragraphs, but all these things weren't major irritants, and certainly didn't ruin my enjoyment of the book completely, just dampened it.



Warm Bodies, by Isaac Marion

>> Tuesday, September 03, 2013

TITLE: Warm Bodies
AUTHOR: Isaac Marion

PAGES: 256

SETTING: Near future
TYPE: Speculative fiction

R is having a no-life crisis—he is a zombie. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he is a little different from his fellow Dead. He may occasionally eat people, but he’d rather be riding abandoned airport escalators, listening to Sinatra in the cozy 747 he calls home, or collecting souvenirs from the ruins of civilization.

And then he meets a girl.

First as his captive, then his reluctant house guest, Julie is a blast of living color in R’s gray landscape, and something inside him begins to bloom. He doesn’t want to eat this girl—although she looks delicious—he wants to protect her. But their unlikely bond will cause ripples they can’t imagine, and their hopeless world won’t change without a fight.
Warm Bodies is the story of R, a zombie living with a big group of others of his kind in an abandoned airport. We get an inkling from the start that R and, to a lesser extent, his friend, M (that's all they can remember of their previous lives, the beginning of their names) might be somewhat special amongst their fellow mindless, lumbering companions, who seem driven purely by their instincts (braaaaains!).

We get proof of that during a raid. A group of young humans are cornered in a ruined building outside of their stronghold, and the zombies soon overcome their resistance. As usual, they go straight for the brains, which allow zombies to vicariously experience the memories and emotions of non-zombie lives. Some of those memories involve the man's girlfriend, and suddenly, R notices she's in the room. And in a complete break with usual zombie MO, he decides to take her back to the airport with him, unbitten. It's rare enough for a zombie to have enough self-control to just bite a human and make them into a zombie (usually they just devour). To keep themselves from biting them at all, not to mention keep them close without attacking them, is unprecedented.

And the more time R spends with the girl, Julie, the more human he becomes. Gradually, the fog in his mind begins to clear, and he begins to feel. But if they want to change the way their world works, they'll face resistance both from humans and zombies.

Yep, this is Romeo and Juliet with zombies (I felt ridiculously proud of myself when I realised R's friend, M's name is meant to be for Mercutio), but the point is not so much the romance, but what it means to be alive and to be human. I found that quite interesting and well done, although at some points the author goes a bit overboard. Some of the sections in which R thinks deep thoughts and ruminates on state of the world came across as him being a bit up his own arse, rather than insightful. For the most part, however, it was interesting.

I also liked the humour here. There's a lot of grimness (and, to be honest, ickyness) here, but R's viewpoint makes it bearable. He's not a wisecracking comedian, it's all in the way his observations are wry and a bit off-beat. His descriptions of his fellow zombies, especially, made me giggle.


AUDIOBOOK NOTES: The narrator was Kevin Kenerly, and he was good. It must have been a challenge to do R's speech and show how it gradually got better, but he succeeded. I also thought the delivery helped emphasise the sly humour in the narration.


August 2013 reads

>> Sunday, September 01, 2013

Lots of books on the list, but quite a few that I'm still in the middle of, so not that many, really. Not surprising, given that a lot of my evening reading time was spent with The Monster aka The Kills, by Richard House. I did listen to a lot of audiobooks though. They were a full half of my reads, mainly because while I was doing stuff pretty much every evening (which is my regular reading time) I had several long train journeys and spent loads of time in the gym (wedding last Friday + Bridesmaid + Strapless dress = Really defined upper body required!).

1 - Shards of Honor, by Lois McMaster Bujold: A
review here

Audiobook. I read this ages ago, meaning to read the entire Vorkosigan series (I love everything else I've read by Bujold). I loved this (it was an A-), but strangely enough, never did continue. I'm determined to do it now, so I started back at the beginning again. I loved this even more than the first time. I appreciated the politics and intrigue more, and loved Aral and Cordelia just as much. The audiobook probably helped. It was the version by The Reader's Chair, performed by Carol Cowan and Michael Hanson, as a full-cast dramatisation. It was brilliantly performed. Carol Cowan was particularly good as Cordelia. She sounded a bit older than Cordelia's actual age (in her 40s, rather than her early 30s), but that probably worked even better. She got the sensible, no -nonsense, self-deprecating and profoundly honourable Cordelia perfectly, and I got why this woman is exactly what the equally honourable but less idealistic Aral Vorkosigan needs in his life. I should also note that the audiobook included the short story Aftermaths as a sort of epilogue, which surprised me and left me a bit nonplussed (I kept wondering what on Earth it had to do with the story I'd just listened to). Alas, it did say so in the packaging, now that I check, but I never looked.

2 - The Reluctant Fundamentalist, by Mohsin Hamid: A-
review coming soon

Audiobook. Read for my book club in September, earlier than usual. In a cafe in Lahore, a young Pakistani insists on telling his story to a clearly nervous American. We hear about his life in New York, as a successful financial analyst, and what's brought him to his life today. Brilliant and thought-provoking, and I thought the ending was particularly excellent.

3 - Street of the Five Moons, by Elizabeth Peters: B+
original review here

Audiobook. After her introduction in Borrower of the Night, this is the book where Vicky Bliss first comes across John, and the romance which develps into such an amazingly wonderful, romantic one throughout the series gets started. It's a really fun caper, as well, and you get the vicarious enjoyment of travelling to 1970s Rome with Vicky. It's a book that has aged quite well, actually.

4 - The Thief, by Meagan Whalen Turner: B+
review coming soon

Audiobook. A scruffy thief is brought out of jail by the King's advisor for a mission: stealing an object that will change the fate of kingdoms. I loved Gen, the main character, and there are some great twists and turns I never saw coming. I will definitely be reading the rest of the series.

5 - Persuasion, by Jane Austen: B+
review coming soon

Audiobook. This is one I hadn't reread in years. Anne Elliott let herself be persuaded to reject Frederick Wentworth 8 years earlier, and has never stopped loving him. Now he's back. I enjoyed it. The satire is fantastic. The romance is not my favorite of Austen's, but there are some really nice moments.

6 - Harvest, by Jim Crace: B+
review here

Part of my project to read the Man Booker Prize shortlist, and as much of the longlist as possible. Historical fiction, about an isolated village coming into unwanted contact with the outside world. The first half was amazing, but the second half felt less original, and it all got a bit too vague and dreamy.

7 - The Reluctant Nude, by Meg Maguire: B
review coming soon

Romance between a sculptor and a woman posing for a statue for mysterious reasons. I liked it, it felt fresh, but at the same time, the premise felt a bit unnecessarily strange.

8 - Gossip From The Forest, by Sara Maitland: B
review here

Non fiction. The author explores the relationship between Northern European forests and fairytales such as those collected by the Brothers Grimm. Her thesis is that one could only have come from the other, and I found her arguments convincing. I particularly liked her fresh retelling of several fairytales.

9 - The Mystery Woman, by Amanda Quick: C+
review coming soon

Audiobook. Second in trilogy about 3 women investigators in Victorian England. The paranormal aspect of JAK's books has been getting better (no Arcane society, yay!), but this was a bit boring.

10 - The Rapture, by Liz Jensen: C+
review here

Audiobook. Psychologist is assigned the case of a very disturbed teenager, who is convinced that electroshocks allow her to predict future disasters -in an eerily accurate way. I was turning the pages like crazy, really engaged by the plot, but there was a long stretch where the main character made me want to tear my hair out with her self-absorption.

11 - The Suitor, by Mary Balogh: D
review here

Annoying. This is proof that this trend of having novellas or short stories associated to every single title, whether there's a story that needs to be told or not, must die. The story is about the young woman with whom the family of Balogh's next hero try to match him. She doesn't want to marry him, either, as she's in love with someone else. We never see anything of that romance, and the story we do see is boring and pointless.

12 - The Bride Wore Scarlet, by Liz Carlyle: DNF
review coming soon

Disappointing. This series has got this secret society/fraternity in it, and it's all terribly serious and overwrought, and I wasn't feeling it. I also couldn't get interested in the romance. I just wasn't in the mood.

13 - The Kills, by Richard House: still reading
review coming soon

Also part of my Man Booker project. This is a 1000-page beast, made up of 4 separate linked books. So far I've read the first and most of the second. I'm not enjoying it much, to be honest, but I feel like I should get to book 3, which sounds like the most intriguing.

14 - Omens, by Kelley Armstrong: still reading
review coming soon

Start of a new trilogy. The heroine discovers she's adopted and her birth parents are notorious serial killers. In the midst of a huge scandal, she finds herself in a very mysterious small town. I'm liking it so far. I'm still not sure what to expect or what on earth is going on, but that's a good thing.

15 - Sierra Falls, by Veronica Wolff: still reading
review coming soon

Contemporary romance set in an isolated town in the mountains. The heroine works at her parents' inn and dreams of being a sophisticated chef, the hero is the town sheriff. It has a bit of a Virgin River vibe to it, but with possibly a little more edge (but not much). So far my reaction has been somewhat meh, but I'll keep going and see.

16 - World War Z, by Max Brooks: still listening
review coming soon

Audiobook. The subtitle is An Oral History of the Zombie Wars and through vignettes covering all sorts of areas, both thematic and geographic, that's exactly what you get. I thought not having one main character or group of characters to root for might be an issue, but it really hasn't been. I'm loving it so far, and keep trying to draw it out so it doesn't finish.


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