Summer has been W-A-A-A-Y too
down here this year. Whew. I am about done in. June, July, August and most of September have left me feeling totally drained and about as dried out as a cat on a hot rock.
Yah, whisker- and fur-dropping hot! :)
But thanks to the miracle of air-conditioning, I thoroughly enjoyed my reading month.
Daniel Silva. What's not to love? Is it even possible for him to write a book I don't like? No way. The components of his novels are like a checklist of all the things I love in a story. Strong, capable, intelligent, driven, artistically soulful, flawed but wonderful main character. Great supporting cast that I look forward to seeing again and again. Diverse international settings for armchair travelling. Evil bad guys. A well-told tale in which a wrong is righted. And the big plus for this series is the informed view of what's happening politically out in the world today.
In THE ENGLISH GIRL, Gabriel Allon is the go-to man for a sensitive political situation involving a missing young woman. A strong new character comes on the scene to aide Allon, one I hope will re-appear in future installments. That, along with some other probable shifts in the series' future, were handled very nicely. Can't wait for the next one.
Okay, where have I been that I've only just heard about CROAK by Gina Damico? I happened on a rave review and bought the audio on a whim. So glad I did!
Lex, a teenage girl, can't understand why she has become more and more rebellious and antagonistic the last few years. Her parents, who've tried everything else, send her to live with her uncle for the summer in upstate New York, thinking that might snap Lex out of herself and back to real life.
Lex thinks her "punishment" will be a dead bore, that she'll be doing farmhand work for her sins. Until she finds out that her uncle isn't a farmer. He's a Grim Reaper, and the little town of Croak is where he and others like him do their reaping. No blood and guts, just helping souls cross on over.
That's the bones of it. Yet none of that comes close to describing the experience of the actual book. Damico's writing is so fresh, so surprising and fun. Sometimes cute funny, sometimes funny Ha-Ha, and more LMAO ROFLs than usually allowed in a single book by a major publisher. That said, there are dark parts, too. Not for everybody.
The teen sarcasm might be off-putting for some readers. Lex is full of it. I really enjoyed the contrast between that heavy snarkiness and the "normal" teens in Croak. The scenes with these kids are so good at times, so well-written, they made me feel I was watching a movie.
Great stuff. I'm really looking forward to catching up on this series.
Question: How many people here are too busy? Do you feel overwhelmed most of the time? Are there far too many things you want/need to do? Writers, I KNOW you know what I'm talking about.
Well, as the late great bassist Jaco Pastorius might say, Fret No More.
THE NOW HABIT by Dr. Neil Fiore is a must for every home bookshelf. It is the very best guidebook for bringing yourself back to yourself when the world is spinning too fast, when you feel lost in all the busy work you must do, or feel there's never enough time anymore to do those things that bring you the most joy. That's what we all want, right? We live for the joy hours - the grandkids' visit, the concert by a favorite musician, walks on the beach, fishing trips. We work hard so we can enjoy "down time" but often get too caught up in that work part.
I got the hardback years ago and recently downloaded the audiobook. I highly recommend the audio which Dr. Fiore narrates himself. I recommend this version because you can hear his goodness, his intelligence, and so it's almost as if you're in a one-on-one consultation. If you've ever had trouble fitting all you want to do into a workable schedule, The Now Habit is the answer to your prayers.
ACCIDENTAL GENIUS by Mark Levy is another must-have book for writers and other creative types, with emphasis on how to use creativity in the business world. This guy is full of ideas. Many of them have to do with fast writing, that process of keeping your hand in motion and letting thoughts flow, however random, onto the paper. He shows how this can help you make better decisions, whether you're working on a business project at work or on a character sketch for your novel or almost anything else you need help with.
Any other fave help books you'd like to recommend?