Books & Blog: October 25, 2015

Books of the Week:

  • The Haunted Season, G.M. Malliet
  • The Beautiful Ashes, Jeaniene Frost
  • Carry On, Rainbow Rowell

I’ve always enjoyed G.M. Malliet’s Father Max Tudor books, even when some of her choices surprised me. And I’m surprised all over again The Haunted Season. Max has his hands full, as usual, with a female parishioner who is overly fond of him, the image on the wall of his church that will not disappear, and the bizarre death of Lord Baaden-Boomethistle. He is happy in his home life, with the healer Awena and their baby Owen. And he has a new curate. But events run headlong to a complicated denouement, and Max is facing a choice that will scare the reader.

I actually have probably already given a listing to The Beautiful Ashes, but I always enjoy Jeaniene Frost’s books, even when they’re not her Cat and Bones series.

Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On is very much like the Harry Potter books, and yet quite different. It is certainly no knock-off: Rowell is a great writer, and handles point of view changes with ease. And all her characters are distinct and interesting. But these books have a definite edge and are for a different audience. Set at a school for those with magical ability, Simon Snow has been paired as a roommate with Basil Grimm-Pitch, who may be a vampire.  They are bitter enemies, since Simon seems to be the heir to The Mage, and the Grimm-Pitches feel The Mage’s reign should come to an end. And there are patches all over England where magic is dying, caused by The Humdrum. Carry On is just about as good a read as any Harry Potter, but the themes are more adult. I enjoyed reading this; In fact, I delighted in it.

Blog

 My daughter is convinced that October sucks, since a friend of hers died three weeks ago, and we lost our dog Rocky, plus other mishaps, ranging from very important to irritating. I was still hoping the month would turn out okay until I got back from my wonderful trip to North Carolina, where I had the treat of staying with writer Margaret Maron at her home and doing three events with her. I was feeling better when I got back, but when I got off the plane my husband told me that when he had taken our terrier, Scrunch, in because she seemed suddenly lethargic, the vet found a very large tumor. It was attached to her kidney, and he was fairly sure it was attached to other organs. In a matter of days it grew so much that it was pressing against her lungs and heart, and she could not raise her head. We had to bid her goodbye.

This was especially cruel since our Rocky died three weeks ago. From four dogs we are down to one, and Colt is wandering around the house in a lonely way. Maybe he thinks he’s next.

I am not too happy with October – formerly my favorite month — either. In fact, I am sad. I know in a day or two I’ll pick up and carry on. But the interim is just dreary.

I am sure better times are coming, and I know in the next week or two I’ll have an interesting announcement to make. I’ll get back to work, and I’ll feel better. I’m giving a baby shower in November, and that will be fun, too. And I truly did have a great time with Margaret. So I’m trying to accentuate the positive, and I know happier times are just around the corner. And it won’t be October any more.

Charlaine Harris