SIXTEEN BOOKS! Is that even possible? What on earth have I NOT been doing so that I could spend that time reading?

There was a time in my life where I routinely read a book every day or two. But that’s been a long time ago. Granted, January is always a great month for reading because of the holidays. And two of these books are children’s books and another is an art book that is light on words. But still it is an impressive tally for the month and how I have enjoyed it.

The Last Trial by Scott Turow

Black book cover with red accents. Author Scott Turow in red at top, title The Last Trial at the bottom

If you’ve read (or watched) Presumed Innocent, you’ll recognize the protagonist of this novel, defense attorney Sandy Stern, now an elderly man on the verge of reluctant retirement. This has the great courtroom scenes and twists you’d expect, but what really stands out in Turow’s novels are the characters.

The Lantern House by Erin Napier

Blue book cover with a few starts around the edges with a picture of a sweet two-story old-fashioned yellow house in the center, surrounded by tress. Title The Lantern House at the top in yellow handwriting.

This is a sweet picture book that reminds me of the classic The Little House. The house itself is the lead character of this story which is told from its point of view, and the illustrations are luminous.

One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline

Book Cover that is mostly blue sky and some clouds above a vista and silhouetted people. Author's name (Lisa Scottoline) at top in black; title (One Perfect Lie) below in red.

Lisa Scottoline’s books are always reliably entertaining page-turners. About half-way through this story takes a turn I did not see coming!

The Museum of Desire by Jonathan Kellerman

Book Cover for The Museum of Desire by Jonathan Kellerman. Authors name at top in white; title at bottom in yellow. Center is a blue circle surrounded by a blackish red background with what might be stars; the whole thing gives an effect of stained glass.

I love Kellerman’s Alex Delaware/Milo Sturgis crime novels. This was not one of his best in my opinion but it was still a diverting way to spend a day. His books are quite graphic, though, so beware.

Demelza by Winston Graham

Book cover for the second of Winston Graham's Poldark series, Demelza. Most of the cover is Demelza's face (the actress who portrayed her on the show), her red hair up, not smiling, eyes a little narrowed. Below is POLDARK in big read letters, with the title below smaller in black and the author's name even smaller below this.

My fascination with the world of Poldark continues! I liked the second novel in the series better than the first. It’s always interesting to see how the show differs from the book. In general, the show makes gives evil characters more depth and makes the main characters more likable. I plan to continue reading these slowly.

The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk

Book Cover for The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk. It's blue with title in black at top with subtitle below in red; author's name is in black at the bottom. In between is a picture of a stylized silhouetted in black surrounded by stars.

This is fascinating stuff–all about trauma and how it affects the body, and also newer therapies to help. While the beginning of the book focuses on people with PTSD who have endured horrific abuse or trauma most of us happily avoid, I thought the later chapters that touched on new and interesting therapies were relevant to a range of mental health diagnoses. Anyway, the whole book was interesting and accessible to a layperson.

The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly

Book cover for The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly. Author's name very large at top in yellow with greenish title below in smaller letters, and below that a figure of Justice; background is muted orange.

If you like crime novels/courtroom dramas, I recommend Michael Connelly, who does both very well. His characters are gritty with their own foibles–in short, relatable!

Sleep No More by Greg Iles

Book Cover for Sleep No More. The Title is on the bottom in red, the author's name (Greg Iles) is in white at the top. The image is a ghostly figure standing just inside the partly opened wrought iron gates of a graveyard.

As I’ve said before, Greg Iles writes across genres which I find fascinating. While this one does include a character from the series I have already written about, it’s mainly a paranormal thriller. I think it fell apart a little at the end, but I enjoyed it.

Day’s End by Brian Swain

Book Cover for Day's End with title large at top in black and author's name (Brian Swain) much smaller in white at the bottom. Color palette in the yellow orange of a sunset and the buldings are as though seen through a haze. It's the skyline of Jerusalem with the Dome of the Rock prominently displayed.

I read this for my local book club. My next door neighbor actually edited it, and we were able to have a Facetime discussion with the author. It’s a mix of religion and politics focusing on three families: one Jewish, one Muslim, one Christian, who come together at the center of a terrorist plot. It is terrifically detailed and an exciting read.

Livid by Patricia Cornwell

Book Cover for Livid by Patricia Cornwell. Title is in large red letters at the bottom, author's name a little smaller in white at the top. Cover is mostly black with a blue arm of a drowning victim in the middle.

Here’s Cornwell’s latest, and while it’s better than some of her recent stories, she continues to retcon annoyingly (one of the main characters in this book is supposed to be an important long-time friend of Scarpetta’s and yet we’ve never heard of her and the account of their friendship seems to contradict other accounts of Scarpetta’s past). Strangely, it also takes about 100 pages to even get to the first crime scene. I’m not saying I did not enjoy it or that it was not interesting in parts, but if I did not already love Scarpetta and Co. I doubt I would still be reading these.

Alexander by Harold Littledale

book cover of Alexander by Harold Littledale. This is a children's picture book with the title and author at the top in white. Below is the image of a red-headed little boy in striped pajamas scolding a horse with red and green stripes, whose head is hanging in same. For some reason there is a wagon wheel and a chicken in the background.

It’s another picture book! This one is from my childhood and I wanted to get it back. It’s a delightful story about a little boy and his naughty striped horse and the bad day they both had. I noticed something surprising about this edition, though–in my childhood copy the dad (who is a great dad) was smoking a pipe in every scene. Now his pipe has been disappeared which I think is so stupid. As if kids are not capable of understanding that times have changed since this book was written.

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

Book Cover for Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult. Author's name at the top in teal, title much smaller right below in black, superimposed over a photo of a boy and girl's hands intertwined.

This book does a creditable job of making a school shooter into a sympathetic character. it’s a surprising and courageous choice. This book is painful to read in the extreme, though.

The Ivy Tree by Mary Stewart

Book Cover of the Ivy Tree by Mary Stewart. It's an old cover from the 1950s and has a gothic romance look to it, with the title down the side in pale blue over a dark blue background. The aithor's name is fairly large at the top. There are blurbs about the book in white and pick, and a picture of a frightened looking blonde woman at the bottom.

The funny thing about this book, which I picked up at the used book store, is that after I read it I found that I had another copy in my TBR pile from the used book sale last year! Anyway, it was a fun read–a Gothic-style romance involving romance and wills and murder with a heck of a twist near the end.

Pictures by JRR Tolkien ed. by Christopher Tolkien

A book half out of its illustrated case. It's Pcitures by JRR Tolkien and shows fanciful illustrations with a large star and mountain and a colorful dragon.

Such a lovely book this is, with many pictures by Tolkien, specially selected by his son and with notes of explanation, that I had never seen before. All Tolkien lovers should have this in their collection.

The Wicked Day by Mary Stewart

Book Cover for the Wicked Day by Mary Stewart with the author's name and then the title in large letters of gold taking up almost of whole cover, which is dark except for some symbloic looking decorations at the bottom including the outline of a red dragon

This is nothing like the Mary Stewart novels I have read before. It is part of a series of re-interpretations of Aurthurian legend that I was unaware she had written. This one attempts largely successfully to rehabilitate Mordred.

Never Lie by Freida McFadden

Book cover for Never Lie by Freida McFadden. Title large in red at top, author's name smaller at the bottom in white. Photo of a brick walled room, white, with three lights shining down on a leather couch.

This was a quick, fun read of the can’t-put-it-down sort, the story of a young newlywed couple who find themselves snowed in alone in the abandoned (or is it?) home of a famous psychologist who had disappeared several years prior. It’s also the psychologist story (told in her POV via flashback) and the story of some of her patients (via her taped sessions with them that the wife discovers and decides to listen to.

If you made it all the way to the end, check out other reads at An Open Book, where I am linking this post as usual. Thanks for reading!

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