Books Bought: Mini Reviews

Okay, once in a while I read something I [gasp!] buy or borrow!
Usually it’s because I have built up  Audible credits and they throw a 2 for 1 sale up, or I forgot to request a review copy. Sometimes I review these, but often I use them as an opportunity to catch up on a backlog of posts for books I feel obligated to review.  The books I buy I usually read for either pleasure or for bookclub.

In the past year and a half, after discovering that my husband is not a contractor who can do everything on our house we want to have done,  I decided that audiobooks would help me keep up with my blog and work on house projects.

I find manual labor and oil painting can be done while listening to a book; but it is a different experience from reading. 

I have an Audible account; and that is where I bought these. I think it can really pay, especially if you enjoy Diana Gabaldon’s books which can be as long as 45 – 50 hours. One $15 credit for one of those is a good buy!

Here are some of the books I have bought and read this year but for which I did not feel a need to post a review.

White Trash Zombie Gone Wild

WHITE TRASH ZOMBIE Audible coverWritten by: Diana Rowland
Narrated by: Allison McLemore
Length: 11 hrs and 18 mins
Series: White Trash Zombie, Book 5
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:10-06-15
Publisher: Audible Studios

Audie Award, Paranormal, 2016. Angel finds herself in redneck hell when hordes of people descend on her hometown for the Deep South Zombie Fest – complete with zombie 5K runs, shamble-a-thons, costume contests, zombie paintball hayrides, and mock-zombie hunts. She intends to avoid the whole mess and focus on her upcoming college midterms – with the help of her stash of illicit zombie drugs – but that all changes when a decapitated body turns up at the edge of town.

My Take

I like the WHITE TRASH ZOMBIE series and I adore the narrator’s reading thereof. She gives Angel perfect twang and pathos.

There are a few things that really work for me:

  1. Angel struggles with addiction even after being zombiefied.
  2. The challenge she faces lead to growth.
  3. She maintains relationships, and even tries when people are toxic.  But when the toxic people don;t respond to her charm, she basically quits the attempt at relationship and she doesn’t allow their feelings and prejudices to get her down.
  4. It’s like Zombie True Blood with less sex. And a little less intrigue, although there is a bad corporation trying to eff things up for them.



Interpreter of Maladies

interpreter of maladies._SL300_Written by: Jhumpa Lahiri
Narrated by: Matilda Novak
Length: 6 hrs and 15 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:01-29-07
Publisher: HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

Pulitzer Prize, Fiction, 2000

With accomplished precision and gentle eloquence, Jhumpa Lahiri traces the crosscurrents set in motion when immigrants, expatriates, and their children arrive, quite literally, at a cultural divide. The nine stories in this stunning debut collection unerringly chart the emotional journeys of characters seeking love beyond the barriers of nations and generations.

A blackout forces a young Indian American couple to make confessions that unravel their tattered domestic peace. An Indian-American girl recognizes her cultural identity during a Halloween celebration while the Pakastani civil war rages on television in the background. A latchkey kid with a single working mother finds affinity with a woman from Calcutta. In the title story, an interpreter guides an American family through the India of their ancestors and hears an astonishing confession.

Imbued with the sensual details of Indian culture, these stories speak with passion and wisdom to everyone who has ever felt like a foreigner. Like the interpreter of the title story, Lahiri translates between the strict traditions of her ancestors and a baffling new world.

©2000 Jhumpa Lahiri; (P)2000 HighBridge Company


This is an amazing collection of short stories. Each story features people from India, mostly in the USA, but with exceptions.

We get a glimpse of a completely different culture from the pretty homogeneous life I lead as a child and which changed for me in grad school.  When I was a student and through my husband’s career, and our personal forays into Buddhism,  I have had the privilege of learning a little bit about the culture.  What we learn in this books is that while cultures may be different, humans are still driven by the same motivators.

Lahiri is probably a modern day Jane Austen in her ability to derive the essentials of her characters to make them utterly relatable.

The production of the audiobook is not great.  Considering how well received this book was, and the awards it has garnered, one would have thought it deserved better.  I was confused by interludes of guitar music between stories and once or twice between chapters.




UNDEAD IN MY BEDWritten by: Jessica Sims, Molly Harper, Katie MacAlister
Narrated by: Leah Mallach, Abby Craden, Sophie Eastlake
Length: 10 hrs and 26 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:09-25-12
Publisher: Tantor Audio


In “Shades of Gray” by Katie MacAlister, Noelle is a Guardian: a demon-wrangler, imp-banisher, and all-round secret protector of humans from the Otherworld. While working on the set of a ghost-busting reality show in a haunted castle, she meets a sexy vampire, and together they prevent a Master Demon from killing everyone in the castle.

In “Undead Sublet” by Molly Harper, executive chef Tess Maitland is banned from her five-star kitchen in Chicago to recover from “exhaustion”. Choosing a random rental house in Half-Moon Hollow to spend time in, she’s unaware that the house comes with a strange man. Even though Sam Masden’s ex-wife has rented the house out from under him, the divorce settlement allows him access to it for another ninety days. With Tess unable to go anywhere else, and Sam unwilling, a war of epic proportions is declared – and romantic sparks and heavy pots fly.

Jessica Sims’s “Out With a Fang” features Ruby Sommers, a lonely were-jaguar who signs up for a blind date through the paranormal dating agency Midnight Liaisons. When she arrives, she finds out that her date, a vampire, was the human she’d been in love with four years ago but was forced to dump.

©2012 Katie MacAlister, Molly Harper, and Jessica Sims (P)2012 Tantor


I enjoyed all three of these stories, but I bought the book for Molly Harper’s “Undead Sublet.” And, as always she delivers a story that goes beyond vampire nookie and funny situations.  In this one a type A chef learns about what she can and cannot control.

The Katie MacAlister story is one I enjoyed although I find her world building is a rickety structure. Her work is usually a somewhat mad cap affair and it is the humor that makes it fun whether read or listened to.

I remember the details of the Jessica Sims story more than the others, and I liked the sacrificial aspect of the story.  I thought some of the world building was unique.

I don’t recall much about the narration.




  Venetia._SL300_Written by: Georgette Heyer
Narrated by: Phyllida Nash
Length: 12 hrs and 36 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:05-06-14
Publisher: Naxos AudioBooks

Venetia Lanyon, beautiful, intelligent and independent, lives in comfortable seclusion in rural Yorkshire with her precocious brother Aubrey. Her future seems safe and predictable: Either marriage to the respectable but dull Edward Yardley, or a life of peaceful spinsterhood. But when she meets the dashing, dangerous rake Lord Damerel, her well-ordered life is turned upside down, and she embarks upon a relationship with him that scandalizes and horrifies the whole community. Has she found her soul mate, or is she playing with fire?



If Lahiri is a modern day Austen, it  is likely that Heyer was her reincarnation. With a great story, well-developed characters and some slightly predictable twists this one delighted me from beginning to end.  Even though there is no sex in the book, VENETIA is the very essence of what a romance novel should be.

Venetia is no shrinking violet, nor is she poor.  She is fairly modern in her thinking having helped raise her brilliant but weak brother and is pretty much unpolluted by the Ton etiquette and gossip.  But, as her place in her home becomes tenuous, she is limited by social strictures.  How terrible to be smart enough to know how you are being limited by a xenophobic, patriarchal class system run by people who are not smart enough to see how they are being used.

This was originally published in 1958 but the story of an intelligent couple, and a woman who is more smarter and more honest than she was expected to be, stands the test of time. Awesome!