The Violets of March by Sarah Jio


I don't read a lot of romance books. They irritate me. One example from this book... Attractive woman (although of course she doesn't believe that she is) flees end of marriage (and her perfectly remodeled NYC townhome) to handsome philandering husband (who of course, has realized his mistake and wants her back by the end) to beautiful idyllic location (of course to the fabulous beach side home where she spent her summers as a tween) only to catch the eye of the handsome single men on the island (not just one or two--but three). Irritation aside it was a quick read and I enjoyed the somewhat farfetched mystery attached.

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Snow In April by Rosamunde Pilcher


Way back in '80's I was a huge fan of Ms. Pilcher but many years of passed since I have read any of her books. I love the Englishness but lately "romance" has begun to irritate me...I may have to stop reading them altogether. I have these silly notions that sometimes being sensible is the way to go...and what's wrong with finding yourself before you worry about finding a man. But apparently here the heroine must be saved from herself by manly intervention. This was a bit hard to take, Ms. Pilcher, aside.

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November's Past by A. E. Howe


Stumbled across this series while scrolling GoodReads for November titles and I am ever so glad I did. I have become very fond of Larry Macklin and all the rest of the supporting characters, animal and human. I was equally pleased to know that I stumbled on this series late in the game. That while the author started with the month, November, he has already written a tale for each month. Lots of good reading ahead of me...although I just got to it Larry solving the crimes or do they seem to solve themselves....with Larry being at the right place, right time?

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Wintering by Katherine May


A book I wanted to like way more than I actually did, because I myself identify totally with the concept of wintering and in these past few years I think a lot of others feel the same. If I am judging this correctly...this book was written while the author was have a dark moment of the soul and I think it shows in the choppiness of the writing. She starts down many pathways and then diverts away never quite giving resolution or a finish to any of the storylines she starts...

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Spring Fever by Mary Kay Andrews


Another romance that I struggled reading but only because I am a woman who lives and loves a solo life--mistress of my own domain--for the most part anyway. It just distresses me to see women protrayed as "needing a man" to complete them and then always falling for the ''bad boy". All that aside I did enjoy reading this was an interesting look into the South.

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A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton

Kinsey Millhone is a very quirky independent single woman, who I don't always agree with but...these mysteries are quickly read. I found the early titles a bit thinly constructed and mostly glued together with overly descriptive paragraphs about scenery and what not--that do absolutely nothing to further or give depth to the storyline. However, I think the author is growing into her craft, and these books get better over time. At least that is my hope as each book in the series is longer than the one that precedes it. Wish me luck I hope I make it to the end of the alphabet, even if Ms. Grafton sadly did not.

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Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

I read this book at the request of my son. I had already watched the movie--so I knew the big reveal. The book is a very grim read and personally I am glad that my son stopped reading after a few chapters. I of course read to the bitter end.

A Fire In The Night by Christopher Swann

An enjoyable fast paced read. Likeable characters. I often find "heroes" to be too self righteous for my taste and don't get me started on the bad guys bullets always miss and yet even rusty old operative's bullets alway hit their mark. Must the good guys ALWAYS win???

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A Fire Sparkling by Julianne Maclean

I really enjoyed this book and will most likely try to read more by this author. At least try-- as she mostly writes historical romances and that just isn't my normal reading preference. But I must say this one had me hooked. I love books that switch back and forth in time, I love books about WWII and the London Blitz and books that have an intriquing mystery. The romance element in this instance was kept to a minimum so that worked well in keeping me reading.

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Brain On Fire by Susannah Cahalan

I've had this memoir on my TBR shelf for awhile now. I'm glad I finally read it. It is a book that is hard to put down and her story continues to resonate with me and my own brain story. No need to go into details but I know what it is like to walk around in my daily life managing an undiagnosable (maybe) condition. I am definitely reading her next book.

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A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins

I had previously read "The Girl on the Train" and really enjoyed it. I think I liked this one even better. I particularly enjoyed how she entangled her characters and wove many different elements into her plot. I will definitely read more from this author.

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Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

This is the first Celeste Ng book that I have read. I will read her other books and watch the Hulu miniseries based on this book. I particularly enjoyed the artistic element and the descriptions of how Mia developed her artwork for her photographs. I have a tendency to think other artists (I paint in watercolor) just slap paint down or take a random shot and these things turn out wonderously beautiful. It is nice to realize that it is not only me who struggles for their art.

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The Antidote by Oliver Burkeman

Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking. Sounds like the pessimists dream read. Long story very son had a very bad year...I could not read self help or non fiction or deep fiction. I could only tolerate reading murder mysteries and about serial killers. I powered through this one any way. I have the same problem with this book as I do with most self help books promoting happiness above all other states of mind. This mindset that the human right to happiness is a RIGHT--it says so in the constitution is causing a lot of problems. Happiness is a temporary fleeting moment and clinging to that moment means you might not enjoy the next one. I'm more about equanimity and eudaimonia--the condition that comes from flourishing and living well. Aristotle has a lot to say about this if you would like to read more as I am currently doing. (Yes my son is flourishing and starting a new chapter) So am I back to deeper reads of all sorts.

How To Live A Good Life edited by Massimo Pigliucci, et. al.

The tag line is: A guide to choosing your personal philosophy. Essays from fifteen leading philosphers in their respective philosophy that give the basic tenets as well as how they incorporate the philosophy into their modern lives. A very interesting introduction to a wide range of philosophies. Of course, it is still a little frustrating for me as I have yet to find one that it is a perfect fit. I always seem to like a little of this and little bit of that...

Slow Horses by Mick Herron

This is the second Slough House book that I have read, previously I read and really enjoyed Dead Lions. This one does not disappoint. I heard it is being made into TV series by one of the streaming services. I really want to watch that as well.

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The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

I loved this book. The author portrayed the character of Yale so convincingly that he became almost a real person (especially in my heart). Of course it is about the AIDS epidemic so... 

I wish the book had been just about Yale and his story but it was not and I didn't care as much for the storyline about the caregiving sister of Yale's best friend. 

The Serialist by David Gordon

I treally liked this book, it had me hooked from beginning to end. I will definitely read more by this author.

I also loved it for providing this paragraph about why "I" read.

"Why do we read? In the beginning, as children, why do we love the books we love? For most, it's travel, a flight into adventure, into a dream that feels like our own. But for a few it is also escape, flight from boredom, unhappiness, loneliness, from where or who we can no longer bear to be. When I read, the words on the page replace the voice in my head and I cease, for a little while, to be me, or at least to be so painfully aware of being me. These are the real readers, the maniacs, the ones who dose themselves with fiction the way junkies get high..." David Gordon, The Serialist pg. 138.

I may not consider myself a junkie but I am a serial reader, soon as I finish one I pick up another...not to mention the fact that currently I am actually reading four.

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

At the end June (2022) I went to Florida to serve as a 24/7 caregiver to my husband, we have been married since 1985 but have lived separately for the last twelve years. He had developed a rare form of blood cancer and needed a stem cell transplant. Part of the treatment protocol is agreeing to a caregiver that is a family member for 90 days after release from hospital, and I was more than happy to step into this role--we might be separated but we are family and he makes it possible for me to live life as I like it. So what does this all have to do with this book you wonder...

I thought it was the perfect tongue in cheek choice to read as I started "living" with my husband again after all these years--we were both a little apprehensive but in the end we worked well as a team.

Okay, the book. I remember reading it...I remember liking it...but I am very vague on the details, see above, a lot going on in my life. i'm including this with the category Introducing Mr. & Mrs. because it is about marriage even though it doesn't quite meet the category parameters.

East of the Sun by Julia Gregson

I will admit to being a bit behind in entering the books I have read this year (2022) into the website, but in my defense it has been quite the year. This book is about young English women known as the "Fishing Fleet" who sailed to India during the colonial times in search of husbands. This was a very good read, way more complex of a story than the romantic blurb on the back described. I would read more of this author.

Goodnight June by Sarah Jio


This is the second of Ms. Jio's books that I have read and I am likely to read more as her titles seem easy to worm into my existing categories. For the record, I figured out the big secret on page 186. Goodnight Moon a favorite of my child and the children to who I have been a Nanny. Will likely have to do a little more digging into the actual history of MWB and the writing of GM. It was a quick tear jerking read but.. A little too much name dropping, plus it was a like reading a Hallmark movie. Continues the theme--I need a man to fix me. Gag me.

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Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid


The title I picked for my May read as "May" books are difficult to find.

In quantum physics there is a theory that goes like this: Each decision you make springs off into a different dimension resulting in gazillions of different timelines/universes, whatever. In this instance the plot hinges on alternate decisions made by Hannah--does she leave the bar with her old flame, Ethan? OR, does she go home with her best friend Gabby? The chapters ping between the two in concurrent storylines. It was okay, I'm not much on romantic reading. Does one ALWAYS need a man to fix you? No you do not. 

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The Widow by Fiona Barton

Reading time well spent, as this is a very engrossing read, and an interesting take on a well-trod reading path. I will definitely read more from this author and the character, journalist, Kate Waters she is developing in further novels.

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A Better Man by Louise Penny

A police/mystery series with at least 15 titles set in Quebec that I have randomly read books out of order and while it makes me wish I had read all of them--there is enough backstory in each book to get by without confusion. I enjoyed the writing and the mystery and I will definitely read more of Ms. Penny. 

The Man From Beijing by Henning ManKell

Talk about a book not being about what you expected it be about...well this one definitely was not what I expected. I was a little disappointed about that and that there seemed to be a few discrepancies in the writing but as it is a translation from Swedish to English maybe some threads got jumbled. Minor (incredibly nit-picky) and do not ruin the tale in the slightest and if anything I'm annoyed with myself for noticing. Not the crime procedural that I was expecting but instead something way more layered.

A Most Wanted Man by John Le Carre

This is the first book by Mr. Le Carre that I have read--I seen a couple movies and TV adaptations. It was an interesting book and an interesting time to have it fall into my reading lap as Russia had just invaded the UKraine and the rest of the world speculates on WW3. You like to think that a lot of fiction is just that---but some like this book are just fictionilized versions of true things. As GOT fans are wont to say "The night is dark and full of terrors." And a sad truth is that the war on terror is often fought with the weapons of terror--no good men or bad men just gray men.

The Beige Man by Helene Tursten

I believe this is the 3rd "Irene Huss Investigation" novel that I have read.  I am reading this series out of order but there always seems enough backstory to keep up to speed. This I believe is book 7 and involves sex trafficking. It was a good quick read---although I did wonder until the very end why it was entitled The Beige Man. I am glad I have a few more in other stacks of books lying around on my TBR shelves.

Hi! I'm Debbie. Here at Categorically Well-Read I give an extra layer to the reading life. Learn more about me, check out my current category of books, submit your own suggestion, or check out my latest post.