All posts filed under: October

A Perfect October Read

There’s something about fall that makes you want to read a book that gives you a bit of a chill, isn’t there? A good thriller or crime drama, something with a bit of suspense. Of course, that’s why our October theme is what it is, and why we chose The Night Bird. I absolutely FLEW through this book – finished it almost as soon as we announced it as our October read. It was engaging, entertaining, and I was completely engrossed in the story. I know others have mentioned that the character development was perhaps a bit lacking, but I didn’t need it in this case (unusual, because that is usually the number one thing that makes or breaks a book for me). I enjoyed the story, and I enjoyed the way it unfolded. I loved that it kept me guessing, and that all these little clues sprinkled throughout the book gave you a chance to make some educated guesses. On that note, I have something that is maybe a bit embarrassing to admit: I didn’t guess …

Detective Easton vs. Memory

The Night Bird grabbed me from the first scene. A girl who’s perfectly fine one second, and then crawling out of her skin the next, and discovering she’s not the only one this is happening to? I was hooked. Psychological thrillers — heck, thrillers of any kind — can be hard for me to definitively rate. While they’re one of my favorite genres when I’m looking for a quick read, they either have me flying through the pages looking for answers, or they don’t. (Stephen King might be the exception, because man, he can WRITE. But I digress.) The two things this book has going for it are the plot and characterization. I immediately liked Frost Easton. His character seemed warm, kind, sympathetic, and just quirky enough. (Shack might have been my favorite character of them all!) He made me feel that if anyone could solve this case, it was him. Through numerous plot twists and some gruesome scenes (reader beware), I was never bored. In fact, I barely put it down, finishing it in …

October Book

Happy Fall, everyone! As I write this the Midwest is sweating under 90 degree heat, even though leaves are starting to fall. Let’s hope while you’re reading this it’s more fall-like out there, and hopefully a more perfect setting for our spooky October book: The Night Bird by Brian Freeman. A Chicago native, Brian Freeman worked in Marketing and Public Relations before becoming an author. He made his debut with the crime thriller Immoral in 2005. Since then he’s written over a dozen thrillers following the stories of different investigators; Jonathan Stride, Cab Bolton, and Frost Easton. And the first (so far only) of the Frost Easton series is The Night Bird. As Freeman describes it: “Frost Easton is a Homicide Inspector in the dramatic locale of San Francisco. He’s young, with a sexy shock of swept-back brown hair, a neat beard, and laser-like blue eyes.  He’s unattached, except for his cat, Shack, who patrols the city with him. Think Justin Timberlake with a gun, and you’ve got Frost.” It seems like a bit of a stretch. …

Pleasantly Surprised

Hi all! Sorry I’m a little behind the curve this month. Non-stop coughs and stuffy noses have kept me preoccupied. But I’ll get to the point. I really enjoyed our October book! I didn’t have many expectations. Until voting on this as our October selection I hadn’t even heard of this book. But it was a pleasant surprise. I thought it was a great story, and it was very well written. It was hard to read at times, considering it was about the abduction of a daughter, and the subsequent but inevitable decline of a formerly nuclear family. But I was on the edge of my seat the entire 375 pages. I loved how the author referred to certain characters as just “he” or “the boy.” It gave the characters just enough anonymity to build relatability. But at the same time, he managed to write the characters with such depth and realism. I love when a writer can tell you so much in just a few words. And that’s what it was like reading Descent. Johnston …

A [Thrilling] Ride Through the Rockies

Most of the time when I pick up a suspense novel I expect writing that’s okay, but nothing too notable–which never bothers me, as long as I’m entertained. So I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked Tim Johnston’s way with words. He does a phenomenal job of depicting each personality, describing the environment, drawing out the tensions–allowing you to really absorb yourself in the story , despite the fact that it’s not your typical edge-of-your-seat thriller. While the story starts in a dramatic fashion, the majority of the novel is a very slow burn, setting up the characters–and I consider the Rocky Mountains to be one of them–in a way that makes you in no hurry to get to the end. In fact, the way in which Johnston incorporates the book’s setting is something at which he’s particularly skilled. There are still some things I’m working through–Caitlin’s mother, recurring themes that I don’t know what to make of, Sean and his role in the family–all signs that this is a book I won’t …

Descent – It’s Decent

Honest to God, I thought this book was called Decent. I actually told someone I was going to start a book called Decent. And he said, “are you sure that is what it is called?” Aptly, this is what I ended up thinking of the book. Descent is decent. First of all, I must admit to something. I did not actually read this book.  I decided to take advantage of the free Audible book and try it as a “book on tape.”  This allowed me to listen to the book as I walked my dog, traveled to work, or took the subway. I have listened to books on tape on road trips before but never on my phone. I found this a great way to enjoy a book when my schedule isn’t really allowing for it.  Admittedly, it did take a little bit out of the enjoyment of the book.  Listening to a man’s voice speak as a woman – yea not so much. Let’s start with what I enjoyed about the book. The beautiful writing …

October Book

Image from Katherine C’s Instagram Fall is here! Welcome changing leaves, cool air, delicious smells, and all things pumpkin (like it or not)! Oh, and welcome scary stories. Now’s the perfect time to curl up with a spooky read fit for fall. So, that brings us to our October book choice, Descent by Tim Johnston. You may or may not have heard of this one, but if you’re looking for a thriller, THIS should be next on your list. Published just last year, this thriller of a novel, put simply, is about a small family who travels to the Rocky Mountain for vacation when tragedy finds them. The son and daughter take and early morning trek through the local trails, but only the son returns. It sounds fairly basic, right? However, having already read a few dozen pages into it, this story has so many layers that it reads like a classic, page-turning, beautifully complicated, mystery favorite. But NPR put is more eloquently: “A good genre writer might have turned this into a conventional suspense …

What You Say Can Never Be Exact

I am right on board with Katherine C. – I think this is one of my, possibly my absolute, favorite of the books we’ve read so far. I think my favorite part of the book was the way the narrative unfolded. It was like reading the way we actually think – the story opening up a little at a time, swaying from past to present to fact to feeling. Once I read the Historical Notes, I understood the perspective of the story more clearly, and I thought back to something I read earlier in the book. It’s impossible to say a thing exactly the way it was, because what you say can never be exact, you always have to leave something out, there are too many parts, sides, crosscurrents, nuances; too many gestures, which could mean this or that, too many shapes which can never be fully described, too many flavors, in the air or on the tongue, half-colors, too many. It’s interesting to then think back on the story and think of all the …

{The Handmaid’s Tale} Cover Redesign

    The Handmaid’s Tale has a rather recognizable cover… and that’s probably because the old version has been around for such a long time. So, to freshen it up, I wanted to bring it into a new era. The timeline in the book is fairly ambiguous, but if you make it all the way to the end, 1980’s cassette tapes play a significant, and rather mysterious, role. Their appearance in the story is till making me think and wonder. This inspired me to use the 80’s as inspiration for a new cover. I wanted something to show off the cassette tape, have an 80’s feel to the style, and still feel a little eerie (in keeping with the tone of the book). So without further a due, here’s a look at my redesign…    

A Peaceful End

Of all the books we’ve read so far, I think this one is by far my favorite. I loved the premiss, the storyline, the writing style, and the ending. I’d never read anything by Margaret Atwood before, but The Handmaid’s Tale definitely makes me want to pick up a few more of her books. One thing I love is Atwood’s insistence that the story is not science fiction. Yes, it’s fiction, but she says everything that happens in her novels is possible and/or may even have already happened. This perspective really added to the experience of this story. As I was reading, every time I would think how crazy the lives were that these characters were leading, I’d think back to real-world scenarios where mass-brainwashing has caused similar or more significant atrocities (the holocaust, public stoning of women, child labor, etc). It makes the themes and events in Offred’s story that much more powerful and relevant. It read to me like a lot more than just a women’s story. “Maybe none of this is about control. Maybe it isn’t really …