Chris' Fish Place

Thoughts on things, mostly books.




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Audible Freebies

These are not part of the originals offered each month.  I think the zero price is only if you are a member.


Authorized: Love and Romance (about writing romance)

Real Crime (British Crime)

Elizabeth II LIfe of a Monorach

Sue Perkins (of British Bake Off) - Earpedia


Mortal City 

Making of a Massacre

McSweeney's Internet

West Cork Aftershow (it's listed as West Cork 2)

Bedtime Stories for Cynics

2018 Year of Reading Review



Number of books read: 639.  This numbers includes short eBooks and single-issue comic books. 


Best Debut: The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton


Best Cat Book: Fuddles series of children books


Best Poetry: Emergencies of the Heart


Best Memoir: Widower’s Notebook.  Michelle Obama’s Becoming is a close second.  But I didn’t think I would like Widower’s Notebook and it made me buy a book, so it just gets the win.


Best Star Trek: Starfleet Academy Graphic Novel


Best Travel: Tale from the Haunted South


Best Comic Series: Sensation Wonder Women


Best Current Events: Suspect Citizens tied with Crashed


Thought it was going to suck but it didn’t: Ella


OMG Finally a Sequel: Once Upon a time Machine Greek Myths


Best Biography:  David Blight’s biography of Frederick Douglass. 


Will I Ever Stop Loving This Book:  Watership Down tied with Possession


Looks like a Lifetime movie but is so much better: What Happened that Night


Best Book of the Year: Niirlit


Children’s Book: Suite for Human Nature


Red Riding Hood Story: Little Red Riding Sheep


Well, if you are going to end it, at least it’s good: I Hate Fairyland  Vol 4


Started Good but WTF happened to that: The Darkest Thread


So that’s why everyone talks about this book: Tales of the City


Sherlock Holmes rift: Warlock Holmes


True Crime: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark


Best Book about Reading: A Dreadful Fairy Book


Best Parody:  Besides the Cocky parody books, The Wordsmiths of Grosmere simply because of Tim Curry as Lord Byron.


Best Star Wars: From A Certain Point of View


Ghost Story: The Family Plot


WTF Did I just Read; it is great: Dinosaur Dump


Werewolf Book: Werewolf Haiku


Best Troy Retelling: Age of Bronze Vol 1




For this year: I want to knock out the books I have but have not read in various series I have started.

Good start to 2019 reading

Sweetpea - C.J. Skuse
There's a sequel. Why isn't it out in the U.S. yet?

Books like this are the reason why I keep the MyBookBox subscription. It's true I don't always like them. However, the chances are better that I will, and in most classes, the book is one I would have passed by in a bookstore.

Sweetpea is a first person pov novel, where the heroine isn't likable. But she isn't trying to be. If anything, C.J. Skuse has given voice to the demon child that lives inside all of us. You know, that one that wishes the person who gets your name wrong with fall into a rotating fan blade. The difference is that Rhiannon actually does it. Though, like Dexter, she tries to keep to killing people that kinda deserve it.

You know like rapists.

She also really likes Sylvanian Families. She loves her dog Tink.

Though Tink really is a rat. Sorry, but that's how I feel.

She also kills people.

The voice in this novel is great - unrefined, funny, blunt, and in your face. To say that you end up rooting for Rhiannon is a bit much, but you do feel a fondness for he - in part because she is at least honest to you.

It was a fun read.

US Montly Kindle Sales

The first six books in the Sandhamm series are on sale.  Several Sayers as well.  Also A Study in Honor, a Jane Watson mystery - two black women on the cover and is set in DC.


Several Phil Rickman books.  And some Varg Veum.


My Girls - about Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds


Kevin Kwan A Novel Crazy Rich Asians (Paperback) - Common - by Kevin Kwan

I read this for two reasons - (1) I like Constance Wu and she is in the movie version and (2) the whole trilogy was part of a buy two get one free promotion, so what the hell.


The book is part parody, part romance.  Supposedly it is about Rachel attending a wedding with her boyfriend Nick and meeting his very, very rich family -  most of whom seem to love her.  There are expectations - mostly all women who either want to marry Nick or as is the case of Nick's mother, think  Rachel is not good enough for Nick.  


It is an entertaining read.  In part because neither Rachel nor Nick is completely feel from societal prejudices either (Rachel, for instance, presumes a woman in the medical field is  a nurse and not a doctor).  


The thing is -  at no point did I ever feel that Rachel and Nick were ever in danger of being split up.  In fact, the most "dangerous threat" to their relationship results in an action that feels not only out of character but also totally forced and which is then followed by an info dump.  


Part of this is because Rachel and, to a lesser degree Nick, are not fully formed characters. They simply seem to be together because they are both hot.  Nick becomes more developed toward the end of the book but even then  Rachel and Nick are, in fact, the two blandest characters in the novel, which succeeds simply because the supporting cast is simply endowed with all the life of the book.


There is Astrid, who pretty much steals the book.  She is Nick's cousin who married a non-rich man, who may be having a second family.  Peik Lin, Rachel's friend from college, and a true friend in all the word, and her family are also really fun to read about.  Even Cousin Eddie is a bit more interesting than Rachel and Nick.  This seems to be because they are more fully realized, and far less perfect than Rachel and Nick are shown to be.  In many ways, Astrid's relationship feels more real than Rachel and NIck's. 


However, the book does make it clear that every woman isn't out to get Rachel.  She has supporters on the distaff side as it were - Astrid among them.  While the women come across by and large, as worse than the men, Kwan gives hints about what it costs a woman to marry into a rich family, not only with Rachel but with Nick's mother and one other woman.  One somewhat wishes to get the fully skinny as it were on Nick's mother.


There are times, usually with dialogue tags, that the writing is jarring, but overall the book is a quick, engrossing, fun quasi parody.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Freebies Kindle US at least

These travel guides are pretty good, at least in terms of history and are currently on offer for free.



Also several Bravo Your City for free.

Stephen Fry's Victorian Secrets - John Woolf, Nick Baker, Stephen Fry

This was so good.

Perhaps the weakest

The Inexplicables - Cherie Priest

This is perhaps the weakest book in the Clockwork Century series.  It is basically a young man's adventure story.  The best parts are the comments on drugs and the use of Bigfoot.

The Scarlet Lion - Elizabeth Chadwick

This book chronicles the last years of William Marshal.  It is a good conclusion if not a mind gripping book.

The Widower's Notebook: A Memoir - Jonathan Santlofer

I can say that I will never be a widower.  And, most likely, I will never be a widow.  Therefore, I was somewhat wary of reading this book that arrived as part of My Book Box subscription.


It is a powerful book about grief and loss.  But it is also, importantly, about how society views people who grieve and lose as well as the double standard that exists.  It is very moving and well worth the read.

Perhaps a male version of Wide Sagasso Sea

Charles Bovary, Médecin De Campagne: Portrait D'un Homme Simple: Roman Essai - Jean Améry

Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea details the life of Rochester's first wife, the one that is looked in the attic.  This book is about Charles Bovary, Emma's clueless husband,  Except will, perhaps he isn't as clueless.  It is also a critique about the unreal quality of Flauberts real book.  It is actually pretty biting.

Good historical fiction

Shadows and Strongholds - Elizabeth Chadwick

This Chadwick novel tells of the early days of Fulke Fitzwarin - his training and marriage.  But it is really a novel about different types of relationships between men and women.  It is what makes the story compelling.  You do not particularly care what happens to the contested lands, but the relationships between the characters and whether or not those relationships will stand the test.

Hey Grim

This looks like it has a raptor on the cover and it is free for kindle right now.

Re-Read for Book Club

Women Without Men: A Novel of Modern Iran - Shahrnush Parsipur, Shirin Neshat, Faridoun Farrokh

I'm behind on my reviews here because I need to add the books to the catalog.  But I re-read this one because my RL Book Club is doing it for Dec.  


I first read this after seeing the Shiran Neshat show at the Hirshhorn in DC.  Honesty, go check out her work.  Neshat did a film of this novel. 


This is magic realism and is about women in the world of Iran.  Even the one good man is actually more woman in a literary sense (he is a gardener).  


It is a short novella, but it is about the feminine and knowledge.  It is lyrical.

Hey Peeps

How come not a one of you told me that Chris Noth was in episode 4 of this season's Dr. Who?


P.S - Those Hersey Kisses candy cane flavor things are totally addictive.


P.S.S. - Loch Ness on Acorn TV is good.