books and a little escapism...

The Murderbot Diaries (Series of 7)

Winner: The Murderbot Diaries, Hugo Award for Best Series 2021

Winner: 2018 Hugo Award for Best Novella

Winner: 2018 Nebula Award for Best Novella

Winner: 2018 Alex Award

Winner: 2018 Locus Award

One of the Verge's Best Books of 2017

A New York Times and USA Today Bestseller 

What if you were told that you senselessly murdered 57 lunar miners you were supposed to protect, and you can't remember it because your memory was erased? This AI/robotic/human powered, futuristic security unit for rent (a hired gun), thinks of itself as Murderbot, is introverted, and is an independent thinker. Murderbot is driven to discover the truth about the mass murder and to determine its own path. It's the best science fiction I've come across in years. A friend told me about the series a few years ago, and I wish I had started it sooner.

I have only read two of the seven books, and I am hooked. In fact, I'm listening to the audiobooks, and the narrator, Kevin Free, keeps me on the edge of my seat.

The first in the series is All Systems Red. This series includes both novellas and full-length novels. If you'd like to learn more about Martha Wells and read reviews, go to her website.

If you read eBooks, the first six of the seven books in the series are free right now with Kindle Unlimited subscription. Better yet, Kindle Unlimited is offering a free 3 month trial that you can cancel at any time. 

Killers of A Certain Age by Deanna Rayborn

If you're of a certain age, as I am, this book shows just how competent we are, aches and pains and all.  Four professional assassins, four very different college-aged women are recruited in 1978 to work for a secret spy organization, called the Museum. After 40 years of loyal and outstanding service to a cause they believed in, the women are given a retirement sendoff to remember.  

Deanna Rayburn is bitingly funny, and she exposes truths we all learn along the way in our different lives and careers. The book is action packed, has a few twists, and is just long enough to tell the story well. It's a page turner. At the height of her powers, this new book is a departure for the author into mainstream, contemporary fiction. 

I was a Deanna Raybourn reader before she released this novel, and recently completed her Veronica Speedwell series of historical detective novels with a touch of romance and some steamy interludes with her lover. Veronica is an unusually well-educated, independent, and strong-willed woman, ahead of her time, and maybe ours. 

Deanna Raybourn has written across other genres including fantasy. 

The Murmur of Bees by Sofía Segovia (Author), Simon Bruni (Translator) is free on Kindle Unlimited

The first thing that captured me was the lyrical, descriptive storytelling. This story follows a mysterious foundling adopted by a wealthy landowner who grows up during the Mexican Revolution, determined to protect his family and friends. He has premonitions of both good and tragic future events and is followed by a protective swarm of bees. 

The Murmur of the rare novel in historical fiction, realistically framed within historical events—the Mexican Revolution, the Spanish flu—and, at the same time, filled with preternatural circumstances and fantastic characters that have earned Segovia comparisons with magical realism writers such as Gabriel García Márquez and Isabel Allende. It is universal at heart but also deeply imbedded in its setting.” Historical Novel Society 

The Giver of Stars, by Jojo Moyes

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes is based on the true story of five women in Kentucky during the Depression era who delivered books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s WPA traveling Pack Horse Library (this link is for a short video that explains the program with historical pictures). These women, called the Pack Horse Librarians, or locally called Book Women, risked their lives in dangerous conditions to bring people who had never had access to books or the outside world knowledge needed to improve their lives. 

This epic story is about friendship, love, and fighting for the greater good. The main character, Alice, is a young English woman who ends up in a bad marriage to a rich man who brings her to Kentucky to live with his oppressive family in a small town. The Packhorse Librarian job is her escape. 

One of the subplots in the book is that Alice and her friends used medical textbooks to educate themselves about a woman's body and the birth control methods that were available at the time. There is some non-explicit sex in the interest of storytelling. 

 I was immersed in the Great Depression-era that my grandmothers lived through as young women and told us about as children. Their lives were different from each other and from this story, although our father's mother taught school in a one-room schoolhouse before she married. That era and the WPA are fascinating, and we can see some of the roots of our current lives as we learn about the societal divide between rich and poor at that time.

The themes of women’s friendship, finding your own power, selflessness, love, and the importance of education resonated with me. It was one of those books I couldn’t put down because the author makes you care about the women and their families in the story. The book was both dramatic and humorous and, in my opinion, the best of Moyes' books. 

Christy by Catherine Marshall

The Giver of Stars did bring to mind my grandmother’s favorite book, Christy by Catherine Marshall. It was written in 1967 and has stood the test of time. It’s the story of a nineteen year old woman who travels from Asheville, North Carolina to start a mission school in the mountains. The book is set in 1912 and is based on the life of the author’s mother. My grandmother read it many times and recommended it to everyone. These two books are great companion reads. If you, or you loved one, wants a sweet clean story this book is for you. 

If you enjoyed this book you might enjoy Marshall's other best seller Julie.

If you read either of these books, or have already read either, I hope they bring you joy. 

We were raised in libraries. Our mother went back to school and earned a masters degree in library science.  Libraries are still a great place to take your children and yourself for books. You might want to join a book club. Audiobooks and electronic books are available from libraries using apps like Libby by Overdrive. iPads, and even your smartphones, are great for for using the electronic library book and audiobook apps like Audible. We prefer using a tablet because it is easier to see than a phone screen.

Some of us still want to hold a book. If you love a book enough to want to own it, you may want to buy it. We provide links to the recommended books for easy ordering. As always we recommend you use google to find the best deal, and consider buying used. 

Our Book Selection Criteria

Most of the books we read are commonly read and discussed in book clubs and may be readily available at your local library.

For your convenience we provide a link to the book on the Amazon or other bookseller.