Summer time … and the reading is Ab Fab for August!
I did a little virtual traveling to Italy, Switzerland, France and England, plus some time-hopping to ancient Roman and Celtic lands. A nice way to vacation at home. :)
THE BOOK OF LIFE by Deborah Harkness
THE BOOK OF LIFE, third in the All Souls Trilogy, carries on the story of Diana, a scholar and a witch with extra-special powers, and her beloved Matthew Clairmont, a vampire who, with his family, have been rulers and movers and shakers in Europe for nine hundred years.
Diana and Matthew must use their expertise from their “regular” jobs to save the day this time. Matthew's genetic lab joins forces with another leading scientist to crack the code of a bad inherited disease, one that both Matthew and his villainous son Benjamin have.
Meanwhile, Diana must find the magically elusive book, known as Ashmole 792, somewhere in the dark depths of the Bodleian Library.
That may all sound a bit far-fetched. :)
But Harkness gives much depth to each character and setting, this time without going back and forth in time. The problems encountered are big ones that require serious attention. The settings are well-described and enjoyable.
THE BOOK OF LIFE is billed as the last in the series. It will be interesting to see if her next books are spin-offs, maybe with the future generations of the Clairmont clan. One can hope!
THE HEIST by Daniel Silva
Silva's Gabriel Allon books are SO GOOD. It's a happy happy day when a new one comes out.
In THE HEIST, Allon is in the middle of an important art restoration project in Italy. The police head of Italy's stolen art division has received a tip that the country's number one most-wanted stolen art treasure, a Caravaggio missing for many years, has re-surfaced. He asks Allon to use his connections and his knowledge of art and forgeries to follow the leads they have.
Allon's personal story continues – his wife Chiara is pregnant and, after struggling back and forth over possibly taking the job as chief of Israeli spy headquarters, he moves closer to doing so, for now at least.
Great writing from a master.
VERTIGO 42 by Martha Grimes
Richard Jury is back!
This is another favorite series that I've enjoyed for years. I love the characters, the great UK settings, the classic writing style and that little bit of humor sprinkled throughout.
Superintendent Jury of Scotland Yard agrees to meet a millionaire, Tom Williamson, at the upscale London bar/restaurant, Vertigo 42. Williamson's wife, Tess, died in a fall on their Devon estate several years earlier.
She had vertigo, and there was no evidence at the scene to suggest it was anything but an accident. But Tom believes she was murdered, and he convinces Jury to look into the case again.
Good light reading.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CELTS by Peter Beresford Ellis
This title is for the abridged audiobook version of THE CELTS by Ellis. It's a fascinating and very enjoyable read as an introduction to Celtic history.
While listening, I took so many frantic notes that I finally gave up and ordered the original “book” book to have on hand for study. If you have any interest in ancient Rome and its conquests across Europe and into Britain, this is a must-have.
What I liked best was the way the author presented similarities in Celtic and Hindu languages and cultures.
Warning: reading this book will make you want to find and hoard everything on Celtic history!
BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott
Ahhhh. Anne Lamott. I just love her and this wonderful book.
This was another audiobook listen for me, read by the author. It doesn't get any better than this, folks.
If you're looking for a step by step writing manual on how to construct a plot or ways to make characters and settings realistic, there are tons of those out there to choose from.
BIRD BY BIRD is a different kind of how-to. It explores the human side of writing, how it affects you as a person, how to go easy on yourself and others, in Lamott's wonderful down-to-earth person-to-person voice. A must-have for all writers.
Tell us what you've enjoyed reading lately!