Books & Blog: November 14, 2016

Blog

 

Whether you’re happy about the outcome of the presidential election or not, here’s the great thing: it’s over. No more ranting and rebuttal, no more hashing over the same arguments (ad nauseum). No more preaching to the choir.

 

It’s time to look forward, to resume life as usual, to hope for the best. If you can’t feel capable of that, it’s at least time to brace for the worst. Either way, we’re in a different phase of being. The decision is now out of our hands.

 

In my own life, my grandchildren continue to be adorable and incredibly smart. My house, though the water damage is not repaired yet, is at least peaceful. I’ve lost two friends this year through severe illnesses. I miss them, but have to accept this as part of life.

 

I’ve just signed a new book contract with a new publisher, and I’m very excited about my professional future. In the spring, “Midnight, Texas” will be on the air on NBC. The next Aurora Teagarden movie (for Hallmark) will be filming soon. I have other irons in the fire.

 

And I have a book to finish before Christmas, another Aurora Teagarden. Hers is a pleasant world to visit, and I’m having a good time during the process of working out the intricacies of the mystery.

 

This may be the calm before the storm, but I’m enjoying it.

 

Charlaine Harris

 

Books

 

  • Killer Diamonds, Rebecca Chance
  • Explosive Forces, D.D. Ayres
  • The Shadowy Horses, Susanna Kearsley
  • Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d, Alan Bradley
  • Feedback, Mira Grant

 

 

If I had thrown a handful of books up in the air and seized the ones that landed first, I might have a more diverse reading list, but I don’t think so. Killer Diamonds is a frothy and very well written romantic novel, and the protagonist is Christine Smith, a gemologist. Christine is ambitious, but not ferocious, and she meets legendary actress Vivienne Winter both by pluck and with help. Vivienne is selling off her fabulous jewelry collection for charity, and Christine lands the job of evaluating Vivienne’s gems and pricing them for auction. Somehow, this position comes to include a relationship with Angel, Vivienne’s grandson, who is a great actor in real life . . . like many other amoral people. There’s a nice guy in the wings, thank goodness! There’s plenty of sex, ruthless people, and the extravagant life of Vivienne to digest, and Christine to root for. This is a fun and compelling book.

 

D.D. Ayres is a friend of mine, but I’d have enjoyed Explosive Forces even if I didn’t know her. Carly Reese, former model and now an entrepreneur, is looking forward to running her own store; but the night before the opening, there’s a fire in the adjacent business. Carly rescues an unconscious man and his German Shepherd, which puts her in danger in multiple ways: she just beats the fire rescuing Noah Glover, she’s now in the crosshairs of the arsonist who put Glover in the building and left him to die, and her heart is hijacked by Noah, a divorced father who’s an arson investigator. Someone clearly wants Noah dead, and Carly may be collateral damage.

 

Susanna Kearsley has been recommended to me time and time again, so I picked up The Shadowy Horses just to say I’d done it. I really enjoyed the book, and I shouldn’t have been resistant! Verity Gray, an archaeologist, is summoned to the Scottish Highlands by an eccentric man who thinks he’s found the location of the lost Roman Ninth Legion. Susanna is interested in the idea, and shows up to have an exploratory look. The people already working there are an interesting mix, but to Verity’s disgruntlement, one of them is an ex-boyfriend. The unexpected part of the digging team is a psychic boy named Robbie . . . who has actually seen a Roman soldier guarding the site.  The characters are complicated and interesting, I didn’t expect the ending, and the realistic depiction of the day to day business of an excavation – all these combine to form a really good book.

 

Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d is Alan Bradley’s latest Flavia de Luce novel. If you’re a follower, you won’t want to miss this one. Flavia’s father is in the hospital with pneumonia, and she doesn’t get to see him when she arrives back in England after her stay in Canada. Looking around for something to occupy her mind, Flavia is glad to take on an errand for the vicar’s wife. Flavia is almost delighted to find a dead man in the woodcarver’s cottage. I have to say, I am ready for something really nice to happen to Flavia. She deserves it.

 

Mira Grant is a huge favorite of mine, under any name. Feedback is a continuation of her Newsflesh series, set in the same world but with other characters. Aislinn North, an “Irwin,” has a complicated legal position and a happy home situation. She’s part of a newsteam, which in the future will be a blogging team with each person taking a role. In this world where zombies can turn up everywhere, and measures against infection are rigid and frequent, Aislinn’s team is hired to record the campaign of the one of the presidential candidates. They are all ecstatic. But travelling with the candidate puts a big target on their backs, and it’s doubtful they can escape the situation, at least unscathed.