Hello Book Fiends of Bloglandia!

Wow, November was an absolute roller coaster of reading.

I’d read an amazing book, then a horrible book. An interesting book, then a brain-numbingly dull book. Two fabulous books in a row, then two books that were truly horrible.

And when I say horrible, I mean HORRIBLE. Knowing the work it takes to create a novel, I don’t normally give one- or two-star reviews, but these were so bad, I snatched away stars like an overly aggressive black hole.

But enough of the bad. Because the three books that were tops in November really were tops… so much so that they’re all strong candidates for my top reads of 2022.

So, without further ado or poopoo…..

** November’s Top Three Reads **

Fairy Tale by Stephen King (Audiobook)

What a terrific tale! Supposedly Stephen King had a blast writing this one, and it really shows through.

The basic story is that teenage Charlie helps out an old man and his dog, Radar. They become friends, and then the old man reveals to Charlie a secret world. Charlie enters this world to help Radar, and ends up in a brutal battle between good and evil.

I have to admit, while I was intrigued when I saw the release of this, I was hesitant. I’ve found King’s past several books to be overly long with blah characters, pointless tangents, and uninteresting plots that simply ramble on and on and on.

Fairy Tale is long (I mean, it’s Stephen “doorstopper” King), but very little of the story seemed pointless. There is a slow build before Charlie enters the new world, but all of that build up truly shows you Charlie’s character, his loyalty, his cleverness, and his flaws, and it completely cements his bond with the old man and Radar. When Charlie does enter the new world, it was a bit jarring because things slow down for a while and I was beginning to wonder where King was going with all this, but then the story picks up again and it’s quite the ride.

Overall, this was an amazing book about friendship and heroism, the good guys were all people I wanted to cheer for, and if you don’t end up falling in love with Radar, you’ve got a heart made of moldy cheese!

I listened to the audiobook of this and highly recommend it. The narrator did an excellent job!

Small Gods by Terry Pratchett

small gods Pratchett

A snarky, goofy, hilarious look at religion!

Terry Pratchett just seems like one of those authors I “should” like. Humor, silly dialogue, odd situations and plots. All that should have bene right up my alley. But I’ve picked up three Discworld books so far and just didn’t “get it.” Could have been my mood, could have been the books, who knows but I found them rambling and not funny at all. However, given how much I enjoyed Good Omens, I wasn’t about to give up. And I’m so glad I didn’t.

Simple-minded Brutha is the only believer in a god, Om, who happens to find himself stuck inside a turtle’s body. Meanwhile, the higher ups who supposedly worship Om are making a mess of things – killing people in the name of religion, starting wars with non-believers, and generally being power-hungry jerks. And it’s up to Brutha to save his god and stop all the madness.

This book was spot-on with its wry observations of how people twist religion to their own purposes, but does so in a absolutely silly way. The jokes are funny without being distracting and the plot actually moves on at an even clip (something I haven’t found in my other Pratchett attempts). Brutha and Om were a terrific pair, and every time poor Om (a turtle who can’t speak out loud, mind you) is mentally cursing people who won’t do what he wants was a delight.

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this, and I’m even eager to try another Pratchett tale very soon!


Written in Dead Wax (The Vinyl Detective #1) by Andrew Cartmel

Vinyl detective #1

Absolute fun with hipster trendiness, a very “noir” feel, and an okay mystery!

I knew Andrew’s name from seeing his work with Ben Aaronovitch on the Rivers of London graphic novels, so I was eager to try out his fiction. And I’m so glad I did!

The basic story of this book is the Vinyl Detective (his name is never revealed) gets a job locating a rare record for a mystery client whose representative is an attractive woman who seems to be hiding something. On the way, they start to unravel a hidden history about the album and get chased by bad guys.

At over 400 pages, this book is pretty long for a mystery, but Cartmel’s writing is so smooth, I’d sit down to read a few pages, then realize I’d gotten through fifty pages… and was still eager for more. The main character is likable – wryly funny, self-deprecating without being whiny, and a dedicated cat dad – and the supporting characters are (mostly) a delight. While I found the mystery a bit “thin” I couldn’t resist reading just to see what the characters would do next.

This book, in true hipster-ness, does dive into the weeds of vinyl and sound systems and recording on vinyl and vinyl collecting, which risks getting tedious at times, but Cartmel mostly manages to get out of explaining mode and back to the story before my brain started going numb. My biggest problem with the book was the mystery of what was written in the dead wax on the albums he’s finding. It’s a fill-in-the-missing-letters type of puzzle that didn’t take much to figure it out, but yet the main character never bothers to even give it much thought until he’s got all but a couple letters? Really? This guy seems so clever throughout the book, but this lapse of smarts grated on me (as did the love interest in the second part of the book… she just didn’t seem to have much “depth” as a character).

Still, the book had far more pros than cons, the writing was superb, the humor hit just the right notes, and I’m more than ready to continue on with the Vinyl Detective series.What about you?


What did you read in November? Anything surprisingly good? Anything horrible? Any starts to irresistible series? Reply and let me know!

Thanks for popping by and have a great month of reading, everyone!!!



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4 thoughts on “November’s Top Three Reads: Hilarious Gods, Magic Kingdoms, and Hipster Noir

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