What I Read: January 2016

Well, I read a lot of Phyrne Fisher novels, since I want to catch up with the TV show. I tried out a new series. And I picked up a few new authors, too!

what i read january



Some Luck

some luck

Verdict: A great look into the 1920’s to 1950’s. Must read for saga-lovers.

I loved this novel. I can see why it Jane Smiley is a Pulitzer Prize winner. Not only was the story highly entertaining, but the prose was beautiful. The story was amazing! It followed so many people, who went through so many changes. During the time of the novel, America went through a ton of changes. Since the family started on a farm, but slowly integrated technology.

The Book of Speculation

the book of speculation

Verdict: Not what I expected. Great for learning about circuses.

I thought that this novel would be more about books. It was about a librarian, but a former librarian. The novel is really more about how an old novel intertwines with a family of circus performers. While I liked how the novel was written, it wasn’t what I was expected. I was thinking something more along the lines of Charlie Lovett’s novels.

The Green Mill Murder (Phryne Fisher #5)

the green mill murder

Verdict: Another fun, quick, mystery.

The Green Mill Murder was interesting because it was based on Phryne’s attendance at a dance-a-ton. It reminded it me a little of that Gilmore Girl’s episode where Rory dances with her mom and that thing happens with Dean… but at least there wasn’t murder there!

Blood and Circuses (Phryne Fisher #6)

blood and circuses

Verdict: A fun Phryne Fisher novel where she leaves the life of luxury.

Phyrne leaves the life of luxury to help her friends in the circus to find out what keeps hurting the circus. Along the way, Phryne has to pick up a new name, learn a new trade, exchange her clothes for used and mended ones. It was nice to see how she acted with a different place, with a different personality, and not in a position of authority.

The Longest Night

the longest night

Verdict: Williams made a statement, but it lacked entertainment value.

I couldn’t fault the great statement that Williams made about morality standards imposed by society, but it lacked entertainment value. It was dry, boring, and I couldn’t quit cringing. The novel skipped around among narrators as it followed Nat, an Army wife, her husband, Paul, a young Army Specialist, and his boss and his boss’s wife. The most cringe-worthy moments were in the young husband’s mind. I am hope it was meant to be slightly cringe-inducing when he describes meeting his wife and thinks of her as loose, but then over the course of their marriage, never gets a chance to know the real her and why she acts the way he does. His temper flares whenever Nat does anything that embarrasses him, even having fun in front of strangers. The shame follows her wherever she goes, even when he is gone.

Overall, the setting, which is in the middle of nowhere, and involves nuclear energy, radiation, cover ups, affairs, Indian reservations, and apparently a lot of Mormons, who are all new and confusing to the Army people, was also bizarre and slightly off putting from a reader’s perspective. I ended up getting the audio-book from the library, so I heard a different voice for every narrator, so that could have influenced my perception.

Thanks to Netgalley for providing an ebook copy to review.

American Housewife

American Houswife

Verdict: Smart, biting, and funny. Must read for women with a sense of humor.

I couldn’t put this down! I thought that it was quick, funny, and insightful. My favorite story was about the reality show. The final story almost felt like a horror story. I had the audio version of this novel from my library, which was fantastic. There were several narrators who were familiar because they read books that I listen to a lot.

I let my husband listen to a few of the stories, which he loved, too.

Thanks to Netgalley for providing an ebook copy to review.

The Crossing

the crossing

Verdict: A must read for Harry Bosch or Lincoln Lawyer fans.

I look forward to Michael Connelly’s fall release every year. This year didn’t disappoint. Harry Bosh worked as an investigator for his brother, defense lawyer Mickey Haller. Bosh was torn about working for the defense, but like any good homicide detective, he didn’t want to just prove that the defendant was innocent, he wanted to find the guilty. It was made more interesting because the guilty party was very dangerous.

Since Bosch is now retired and Connelly combined Bosch and Haller in a single novel, I have to wonder if Connelly will move to just write about The Lincoln Lawyer.



Verdict: Great entertainment for Austen fans who are looking for light fun and romance.

It’s not a genius piece of writing, but it’s incredibly entertaining. If you like Jane Austen (like you can recall the plots to all of her novels), plus quirky main characters and romances, this is for you. You can easily read it in a day or two. I had a lot of fun finding the parallels, which were sometimes laid out by the author for less well-versed readers, but the entertainment value is certainly high. I think I need to read the sequel!

Murphy’s Law

Murphy's Law

Verdict: Great for people who like mysteries who keep you on edge!

I fell in love with Rhys Bowen’s mysteries when I read the Her Royal Spyness series. So, I picked up this series about Molly Murphy, who is on the run from Irish authorities and found a way to America. Unfortunately, there was a murder that complicated her entry, but it introduced her to a handsome detective. I loved Molly’s determination to find the actual person who committed the murder and make her way in New York City.

Death of Riley

death of riley

Verdict: Great follow up!

If you like Murphy’s Law, Death of Riley is a great follow up! Molly finds herself learning from a real private investigator and living with the artsy crowd. I loved it! I can’t wait to keep reading the series. I had to make myself read other novels, or I would have finished the entire series within a week or so!

Eight Hundred Grapes

eight hundred grapes

Verdict: A great light read!

I read a lot of reviews that were 50/50 on this. Some people hated it, but others loved it. I liked it. I thought it was a touching story about family, figuring out what matters, and making the life you want.

Ruddy Gore (Phryne Fisher #7)

Ruddy Gore

Verdict: A big change for Phryne

I have been reading as many Phryne Fisher novels as possible, so I can watch the television show, since the shows are not in the same order of the books. I can’t wait to finish watching the show, since it is so well done.

This novel was a big change because Phryne actually finds a man that she seems like she wants to keep!

The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York

The Poisoner's Handbook

Verdict: A must read!

I have wanted to read this novel for a long time. I love the Jazz Age, but this novel gives an amazing look at the underbelly of society. It also talks more about how life really was for most people, not just the glamorous people, of the Jazz Age.

On Netflix, I watched a documentary based on the novel. The documentary puts pictures and videos to a lot of what went on in the novel, However, the novel was redundant, since the documentary focused more of a few of the cases touched on in the novel, while the novel expanded greatly on the fight against prohibition, since the bootleg liquor was killing so many people, as well as gave insight into other parts of how hard Dr. Norris and others fought to legitimize forensic sciences.

Thornwood House

Thornwood House

Verdict: An haunting search into the past

I couldn’t put this novel down. I would dare to put this novel into the Gothic category. Since it was Australian, I thought that made it more interesting. The main character, Audrey, inherits an old house on an enormous amount of land in a small, quiet city from the father of her child and the only man she ever loved, after he commits suicide. However, she didn’t even know that he had the property or any living family. She moves there with her 11 year old daughter. There, Audrey becomes obsessed with the house and the surrounding property. She becomes enthralled with the home’s former resident, who appears to her in dreams, as she tries to find out if he really killed his wife.

Normally, I wouldn’t have touched a book like this. And as I read this novel, I kept asking myself why I was so enchanted with it. Finally, I realized it was Gothic and Southern Gothic literature is my favorite. If I could have my dream job, it would be as an English professor, specializing in that. So, that’s why I think I found Thornwood House so enthralling.


The Warden (Chronicles of Barsetshire #1)

The Warden Anthony Trollope

Verdict: The shortest Trollope novel that I’ve ever read!

This isn’t my favorite Trollope novel, I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.


read these

American Housewife


Eight Hundred Grapes

Some Luck

if you have time

The Poisoner’s Handbook

Murphy’s Law (Or the entire series!)

don't bother smaller

The Longest Night

The Book of Speculation

What I Read: Round Up of Monthly Reads

You can read my past monthly round ups:

December 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

Also, you can find other individual book reviews, tips on saving money on Audible books, book recommendations based on genres and all things related to literature here!

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Did you read anything good last month? Are you participating in any challenges? What should I be reading?


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Categories: Book Review, What I Read Last Month | Tags: , |