Book Reviews Over 50s Lifestyle

What’s On Your Bookshelf? November Edition

November 18, 2022
What's On your Bookshelf?

I’m in a couple of book groups on Facebook and I came across this post which I totally agree with, do you? I know that I find great comfort when I’m feeling anxious, taking time out to read and getting lost in the story and characters. I enjoy a range of emotions when reading and of course, books be they fiction or non-fiction teach us life lessons.

A Book is not just a Book…..

And…..

Would this be your dream world?

What’s On My Bookshelf? November Edition

Reading for me in late October/November was a mixed bag really and I felt that I didn’t really read too much as we were starting our home renovations, first up it was new floors. I was on Nan duty more than usual which I loved but not much spare time with lively boys. However, looking back I’m surprised at how many books I did read and most of them I’ve given 4 or 5 stars and a couple of 3 stars.

Local Woman Missing- Mary Kubicz – My rating: ★★★

11 years ago a new Mum goes for a run late at night and doesn’t come home. A mother and daughter go missing not long after. 11 years later a teenage girl returns. Are these incidents related?

It took me several attempts to get past the first couple of chapters in Local Woman Missing. I tried again whilst on holidays and yes, I managed to finish the book and was pleasantly surprised that I actually enjoyed it. On the negative side I felt there was too much time in the basement in the opening chapters. At times the writing was too wordy in descriptions and the character drifted off on a tangent which I found irrelevant to the story.

However, the twists and turns held my interest and I did not see the end scenario (although a little unbelievable) coming.

I’ve rated this book 3 stars because I did get into the story and it held my interest once I was past the first couple of chapters. A good read for those who enjoy a mystery.

The Bullet that Missed – Richard Osman – My rating: ★ ★★★

The Thursday Murder Club is hot on the case of not one but two murders ten year apart in Richard Osman’s The Bullet that Missed. I’ve read all of the The Thursday Murder Club series and enjoy them immensly. The characters are fun and prove that you are never too old to investigate a murder or two. In this book, the usual gang are helped by unlikely sources – an ex-KGB colonial (and an ex-lover interest of Elizabeth in her glory days working as a spy), TV stars and money launderers. It is an easy read but kept me entertained. I look forward to the next in the series.

The Murder Rule – Dervla McTiernan – My rating: ★★★★

Hannah Rokeby is on a mission after reading her mother’s diary and nothing will stop her. She uses any means to be accepted to work with Professor Rob Parekh at his Innocence Project at the University of Virginia. A project that works to bring justice to those wrongly accused. Is Hannah there to work with or against the case of Michael Dandridge?

I did not like Hannah and this made it difficult to get into the book, however, once the story unfolded I was intrigued. I felt several emotions annoyance at Hannah, disgust and anger at Sheriff Pierce and also at Hannah’s Mother. Why?

I’ve read all of the Cormac Reilly series by Derval MacTiernan and enjoyed them immensely. This book did not quite live up to my expectations however it did make me think about the subject of the innocent being wrongfully convicted of a crime and who would be their ‘voice’.

If you enjoy crime thrillers this book is one that you should add to your list.

The Marriage Portrait – Maggie O’Farrell – My rating ★★★★

“In 1560, fifteen-year-old Lucrezia di Cosimo de’ Medici left Florence to begin her married life with Alfonso II d’Este Duke of Ferrara”.
“Less then a year later, she would be dead”.
“The official cause of death was given as ‘putrid fever’, but it was rummoured that she had been murdered by her husband”

I have read a couple of Maggie O’Farrell books with mixed feelings. My first introduction to this author was reading Hamnet which I absolutely loved and she had me enthralled from page one. I gave it a 5-star rating. I eagerly looked forward to reading My Lover’s Lover but was disappointed as I found it difficult to follow the story and the characters weren’t engaging. However, I decided to try again and was not disappointed with The Marriage Portrait.
Set in Florence in the 1550s Lucrecia di Medici, third daughter of the Grand duke, she is happily living in her siblings shadow and enjoys her artistic pursuits, observing life and those around her. Her life changes at 13 when her older sister who was engaged to the Duke of Ferrara dies and it is decided Lucrecia will take her sister’s place and become the Duchess. She marries at age 15 and begins life in a new home away from her family.

Life is not what it seems treachery and deceit surround her and it appears that her inability to produce an heir may bring dire consequences.

The writing is beautiful however, I found the story not quite as engaging as Hamnet therefore I have given the rating of 4 stars.

Book Club

Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen – My Rating ★★★★★




“”From fifteen to seventeen she was in training for a heroine.””

Jane Austen – Northanger Abbey

We are drawing to a close with our Jane Austen books. This year we have read Persuasian, Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, our last book was Mansfield Park which I thoroughly enjoyed and have now moved to Northanger Abbey. Jane Austen completed Northanger Abbey, her first book in 1803 however it wasn’t published until after her death in 1817. It was thought to be originally called Susan but was renamed Northanger Abbey when posthumously published in 1817.

We are yet to have our discussion of Northanger Abbey and I will be interested to hear my fellow book club members’ thoughts. Personally, I enjoyed this book more than some of the others. It is a satirical parody of Gothic novels which were popular in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Our ‘heroine’ is Catherine 17 years old who has led a sheltered and fairly unassuming life until friends of her parents invite her to take a visit to Bath for the season. Catherine, is absorbed in novels especially Gothic themes of horror, mystery, adventure and sometimes finds it difficult distinguishing fiction from fact.

A coming-of-age book in which the narrator takes the young Catherine and the reader on a journey of discovery of truth, deception, wealth, status, society and Gothic literature and the heroine. We have characters who try to influence Catherine’s adventures: Isabella and John Thorpe, brother and sister with the goal of both marrying into money and set their sights on Catherine and her brother, James Moreland. Henry and Eleanor, brother and sister of the wealthy Tilney family who represent a more steadying influence and in particular Henry who shows Catherine how to separate Gothic novels and everyday life.

Jane Austen provides a light-hearted, satirical look at Gothic romances and novels.

Why did I rate Northanger Abbey 5 stars? Simply because I enjoyed it!

I also watched the movie and sharing the link below.

What have you been reading lately? Why not join us at What’s On Your Bookshelf and share it with us? You can link up your post below.

What’s On Your Bookshelf is a monthly link-up co-hosted by Debbie (Deb’s World), Jo (And Anyways), Sue (Women Living Well After 50) and Donna (Retirement Reflections). #whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge

What's on your bookshelf?

Donna, Jo, Debbie and I are delighted to co-host What’s On Your Bookshelf? Link Up. To join us and share what you have been reading, you can share in the comments, pingback with your own post, or use the handy InLInkz bar below. Please be sure to tag #whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge. We look forward to hearing your thoughts as well as your book suggestions!

Pop over and check out what my co-hosts have been reading by clicking on the links below

Donna – Retirement Reflections

Debbie – Deb’s World

Jo – And Anyways

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter
Sue Loncaric

Women Living Well After 50

Living Life Your Way

29 Comments

  • Reply Retirement Reflections November 18, 2022 at 09:04

    Hi, Sue – Despite having a very busy month, including a new home, renovations and travel, you’ve read an impressive amount! I too enjoyed Northanger Abbey and found that it had many laugh out loud moments. And wait, chocolate is not healthy and reading books does not make you fit?! I’ve been deceived! 😀

    • Reply Sue Loncaric November 18, 2022 at 11:49

      Reading is my escape, Donna and especially if I’m busy. Dark chocolate is very healthy and you can go for a run with an audio book so I suppose books are healthy too! Especially if you read a Healthy Recipe book! LOL 🙂

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee November 18, 2022 at 12:59

    I’ve not read Northanger Abbey – it just makes me think of those women being such jerks to the guy in Jane Austen Book group movie. Ha! I keep seeing the whole world is reading the Osman books. i really must read one!!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric November 19, 2022 at 10:32

      Hi Lydia, I hadn’t read many Jane Austen books until my Book Club and I haven’t seen the Jane Austen Book Group movie. I’m enjoying her work and yes the Osman books seem to be everywhere. They are fun and a light read which I enjoy. Let me know your thoughts if you read one.

  • Reply Gail Is This Mutton November 18, 2022 at 17:21

    I like the sound of The Murder Rule, one to add to my list. I’ve found Maggie O’Farrell a bit inconsistent so I don’t always try her books now, but I’ll give this one a go. As for Jane Austen, I have an embarrassing admission. I’ve never liked her books!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric November 19, 2022 at 10:33

      I agree, Gail, Maggie O’Farell is a bit hit and miss but I’ve enjoyed 2 out of 3 of her books that I have read. I think it is great that we all have our likes and dislikes it makes the world an interesting place.

  • Reply Jennifer Jones November 18, 2022 at 18:42

    Hi Sue, I loved the murder rule. I read Northanger many years ago but have always planned to read it again. 2022 was going to be the year, but once again, I didn’t get to it. It’s now on the 2023 list. There are just too many books and too little time.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric November 19, 2022 at 10:33

      I agree Jen, too many books, so little time. I might retire and just read! x

  • Reply Debbie November 18, 2022 at 20:18

    This was great to read Sue and I really enjoyed your thoughts on the various books you managed to get through in between house renovations and travel! I have read a few of the books you listed and really enjoyed Richard Osman’s The Bullet that Missed. Dervla’s book left me a bit cold compared to her previous ones. I also really enjoyed Northanger Abbey and look forward to our discussion. I’ve just bought Maggie O’Farrell’s The Marriage Portrait as I remember you saying you enjoyed it, so I’m sure I’ll love it – we have a mutual admiration of Hamnet! Thanks for being a great co-host for this monthly linkup, I always enjoy reading what everyone has written about. I love the discussions we have through comments and engagement too. x

    • Reply Sue Loncaric November 19, 2022 at 10:36

      Hi Deb I hope you enjoy the Marriage Portrait. I had mixed feelings. It wasn’t as good as Hamnet but I still enjoyed it. I love our WOYBS link up – so many books to choose from. I just need to find the time. Perhaps I should just retire and read. x xx

  • Reply Alison November 18, 2022 at 22:22

    Hi Sue
    Nice read and loved the quotes at the beginning. I read The Murder Rule too, I actually quite enjoyed it and thought Hannah was quite clever. Her mother though was a strange woman!
    Have you read Jane Harper’s books, I’ve enjoyed them all. I haven’t been able to get into The Thursday Murder club books maybe will have to try again

    • Reply Sue Loncaric November 19, 2022 at 10:51

      Hi Alison, thanks for visiting! Yes the quotes are fun aren’t they. I enjoy Jane Harpers books and have recently downloaded Exiles to read. x

      • Reply Alison November 19, 2022 at 11:35

        That was a good read

  • Reply rawsonjl November 19, 2022 at 05:36

    I have Local Woman Missing on my Kindle and I keep meaning to dig into it. I do love books and definitely use them to help calm me when I’m anxious and teach me when I want to learn something new.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric November 19, 2022 at 10:51

      I can’t imagine my life without books, Joanne. x

  • Reply Carol @ Reading Ladies November 19, 2022 at 08:18

    Reading is the best escape! How do people cope who don’t read?!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric November 19, 2022 at 10:52

      Exactly, Carol! I love relaxing and getting lost in a book it really does help our mental health. Enjoy your weekend. x

    • Reply Jo November 20, 2022 at 12:22

      I SO agree!

  • Reply Janine November 20, 2022 at 11:06

    Hi Sue, I was literally thinking this morning that reading is like mediation for me – it just completely stops all the chatter and noise in my brain as I lose myself in another world of storyline and characters. It’s a shame that modern society has forgotten/lost the value of reading. In society’s view we all have to be busy, busy. Doing an activity that is still and (supposedly) unproductive is frowned upon. Anyhow, enough ranting – I love the Richard Osmand series, plus Jane Austen. I shall be adding a couple of your other book reviews to my book wish list. Thanks for sharing

    • Reply Sue Loncaric November 23, 2022 at 05:31

      Hi Janine, I have been extra busy on Nan duty for the last week or so and really missing my afternoon ‘reading time’. I totally agree that reading is a form of meditation and hadn’t thought of it that way. Bring on quiet time each day for me and I’m happy xx

  • Reply Jo November 20, 2022 at 12:23

    I loved the Richard Osman and like you The Marriage Portrait was an almost there for me, but beautifully written. I really didn’t enjoy Northanger Abbey the first time I read it, but this time it’s different.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric November 23, 2022 at 05:33

      Hi Jo, I’ve come to the conclusion that with the Classics I need to read them a couple of times and also watch a movie of the book (if there is one). I agree with you re The Marriage Portrait, the writing was so good just the story was not quite up to Hamnet. x

  • Reply Janet Alcorn November 21, 2022 at 02:24

    I keep hearing about Local Woman Missing but reviews are definitely mixed. I should probably read it for myself. I’ll have to check out the Thursday Murder Club.

    And if chocolate were healthy and reading made me thin, I’d look like a supermodel (well, from the neck down) and live forever.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric November 23, 2022 at 05:34

      The meme was funny wasn’t it Janet and I think we would all like it to be true Local Woman Missing, well I’m still not sure how I feel about the book but would be interested in your thoughts if you read it. The Thursday Murder Club books and light and fun reads. x

  • Reply Reads for November 2022 – Eat, Play, Live November 21, 2022 at 03:40

    […] On Your Bookshelf is a monthly link-up co-hosted by Debbie (Deb’s World), Jo (And Anyways), Sue (Women Living Well After 50) and Donna (Retirement Reflections). […]

    • Reply Sue Loncaric November 23, 2022 at 05:35

      Thanks Julie for your ping back for WOYBS. x

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