It has been an odd kind of week, reading-wise. I finished two books and had an unusual reaction to a third. Hopefully, you will see what I mean.
My first book was Diana Gabaldon’s collection of novellas and short stories set in the Outlander world: Seven Stones to Stand or Fall. Here is the blurb:
A collection of seven short stories set in the Outlander universe, never before published together, including two original stories.
This riveting, romantic collection includes: “Besieged” (original novella), “A Fugitive Green” (original novella), “Virgins,” “The Space Between,” “Lord John and the Plague of Zombies,” “A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows” and “The Custom of the Army.”
I gave the book four stars on Goodreads and wrote this short review:
I really enjoyed this collection of short stories and novellas set in the world of the Outlander series. It was nice to meet some of the characters again and find out some of the sub plots to the main story arcs. The tales vary in quality, but the book is worth reading if you are a fan of Gabaldon’s books.
It has been quite a while since I last read a book in the main series and I had forgotten some of the more minor characters, but the collection is a worthwhile read for Outlander fans.
I then turned to a book that I had heard mentioned quite often. My librarian friends all seemed to rate it highly, so I reserved it on our library service’s ebook app. It took a while to become available to me, so I was really looking forward to reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. Here is the blurb:
No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.
Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.
But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.
Soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the smart, warm, and uplifting story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes. . .
The only way to survive is to open your heart.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? At the very least interesting and intriguing. Especially when your friends all appear to be huge fans. Well, this is my review:
I must be a maverick amongst my friends as they all seem to have loved this book and I, on the other hand, was simply irritated with it. Perhaps it is my mood today, but I did try to read it and I got quite a way along, but have now given up entirely. My verdict is “annoying”. Sorry!
And I only gave it one star (runs away and hides).
My third book of the week was much more successful. Perhaps I just prefer crime novels and thrillers these days? Anyway, Becky Masterman’s Rage Against the Dying, #01 in her Brigid Quinn series, was much more my cup of tea. This is the blurb:
In her hey-day, ex FBI agent Brigid Quinn not only worked serial killer cases but became their prize. Small and blond, from a distance she looked vulnerable and slight. . . the perfect bait to catch a killer. But as Quinn got older, she realised she needed to find a protegee, a younger field agent to take her place. So Quinn trains a twenty-two year old and lets her loose in the field. The plan works. Until the Route 66 killer not only takes the bait, but kills the bait too.
Years on, Quinn is trying to move past the fact that she has a young woman’s death on her conscience. She’s now the perfect Stepford Wife – until she gets a knock on her door. The girl’s body has finally been discovered. Quinn is pulled back into the case and the more she learns about the killer the more she comes to believe, despite the overwhelming forensic evidence to hand, that they have the wrong man.
I gave this one four stars and wrote the following:
I really loved this book! As I have already read the second in the series, and loved that too, I was hoping that I would enjoy this one and I really, really did. As an older woman myself, it is so refreshing to have a strong older heroine. She makes mistakes, she is amazingly fit for her age (I am so jealous) and has such great black humour. The writing of these books is excellent with gripping and exciting plots and a real sense of place. I am about to start part 3 and I hope it is as good as the first two!
As I said in the review, I am now going to pick up part three, as soon as I have finished writing this post: A Twist of the Knife. I hope that it is as good as the previous two books!
Happy Reading to you all!