It’s all about the books

Welcome to 2018! The start of a new year is a good time to set goals for the year and to evaluate past accomplishments. My goal for this year is an obvious one – to post monthly on the Mysteristas Blog. I have commented frequently as 3 no 7,  but this year I will be posting once per month. I am a reader, not a writer, so my posts will reflect that slightly different point of view. (There are 3 no 7 reasons why I post as 3 no 7 rather than as Barbara.)

Many authors encourage readers to post reviews, so that was my goal for last year. I set up my blog, “Looks at Books” with Katie and Barbara ( ). I post there as well as with on-line book sellers. I have enjoyed my book journey. I read and reviewed my favorite authors, discovered many new authors, and selected books other than my favorite “police procedure” works. Here are some of the new and old favorite books I read in 2017.

Book by favorite author with a new character.

The Late ShowI have to start with Michael Connelly; his Bosch books were always my “go to” books, so I was intrigued  when “The Late Show”  with Renee Ballard arrived on bookshelves.  I found Ballard to be every bit as formidable as Bosch and her story was every bit as compelling. Ballard gave me a different, but insightful look at Los Angeles and the LAPD. I am anxiously waiting for the next episode.
Book set outside the United States

police-at-the-stationI ventured back in time and across the pond to read Adrian McKinty’s “Police at the Station and They Don’t look Friendly.” The title alone made me want to see what Sean Duffy  was up to in Ulster in 1980. I learned Duffy is not one to give up, and he quotes Martin Luther “If the Apocalypse was coming tomorrow, today I would plant a tree.” this, even as Duffy’s own world collapses.

Book Set outside the Earth

artemis1“Artemis” by Andy Weir is set in Artemis, the only city on Earth’s moon. Alas, this new civilization has an ugly side with covert smuggling, a black-market economy, industrial espionage, commercial sabotage, and corporate takeovers, but who would expect a murder on the moon? It was incredibly funny, even though any tiny misstep while living in a vacuum could result in catastrophic collapse of the entire life-support system.  It gave a new meaning to the description “a compelling page-turner.”

Book that was not a mystery – or was it?

young-jane-youngI ventured into the nasty world of politics with “Young Jane Young” by Gabrielle Zevin. It was not about the “dramatic event,” and there was a little hidden mystery, but was really about the people, all the people, who were  touched by this event and how they changed and coped. Jane describes it precisely, “The past is never past. Only idiots think that.” This is especially relevant now with the “Me Too” movement.

Book by an author that everyone has read except me.

traceThere are many  in this category, but I picked Archer Mayor’s  “Trace.” How could I have missed the other twenty-seven books in the Joe Gunther series? Well, somehow I did, but found it at last. Mayor superbly  entwined  people in and out of  three separate  yet interconnected criminal cases.  I have never visited Vermont, yet his descriptions were so detailed that he placed me right in the scene.  I opened Google Maps and found the river, the railroad tracks, the abandoned buildings, everything.  I read Archer’s “Tag Man” after that, so now I only have twenty-six to go.

Book with a different ending

watch-me2“Watch Me Disappear” by Janelle Brown is not about the death of wife and mother Billy Flanagan who disappeared almost one year previously while backpacking along the Pacific Crest Trail in Desolation Wilderness. It is about the consequences of that event, a family in crisis.  It is about her husband Jonathan and daughter Olive who are left behind, haunted by “missing and presumed dead,” a phrase with no conclusion. And yet there is a conclusion, but not one that I expected.

Books by guest authors

I cannot forget all the books I found simply because the authors visited Mysteristas. I will not list them all because there are twelve, yes twelve books that I would never have read, never would have heard of, if the authors had not visited Mysteristas and shared.

Thank you,  all of you, regular contributors and guests, for helping me expand my reading list.

Now it is your turn.What one (or two) books (good or bad) did you read last year that were outside your regular reading list?


Author: 3 no 7

"3 no 7" presents Katie and Barbara who write about the books they love and the books they don't.

18 thoughts on “It’s all about the books”

  1. First, welcome to Mysteristas, 3 no 7!

    The biggest reading change for me last year was listening to audiobooks. One I listened to and enjoyed immensely was a book I had not been able to get into in print. Louise Penny found a new fan when I listened to STILL LIFE.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I just this morning returned a book to the library. I could hear the narrator breathing and licking his lips. So NOT like Jesse Stone!


        1. I just HATE that. Even I could fix that mistake in a recording. It makes you wonder why the publisher didn’t pay more attention to the finished product. I try to send feedback when the narrator “ruins” the book for me. Authors and publishers need to know the “issues” so that the same mistakes are not made again.


  2. Welcome, 3 no 7! So glad you’re here with us!

    Love your list. The first 3 were already on my TBR mountain, and now the last 3 are, too. The books I really enjoyed last year that I found by chance were Heart of the Hunter, by Deon Meyer (I was headed to S. Africa and wanted to read a mystery set there) and Under Cover of Daylight, by James W. Hall, chosen by my mystery book club, who always introduces new-to-me mysteries. How could I have missed them before?? Wish I could read faster!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the additions to my list. I have not read either of those books. I need to read faster as well, or quit cleaning so much and get someone else to do it. (Like I haven’t asked, 3 no 7 times for them to clean stuff up!)


  3. Hi 3 no 7 welcome to Mysteristas. It’s great to have you here and I’m looking forward to your posts. I too have put off reading the new Connolly. Now I’m going to have to add it to the pile! The McKinty title is irresistible. Can’t wait to meet the characters.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have heard Connelly speak several times, and he plans to develop Renee Ballard as Bosch moves more into retirement. I have read a few of the other in McKinty’s Duffy series, and the great thing is that the characters grow in each book. The “troubles” remain the same, and Duffy still looks under his car for bombs, but as a person, Duffy grows as time passes just as real people do. This is not a “formula” book with new names thrown in on the same old plot.


  4. Welcome to Mysteristas!

    I got ARTEMIS as a gift in a holiday book exchange. I haven’t read pure sci-fi in years and I *devoured* this book. True I was at jury duty and I didn’t have much else to do, but I suspect I would have read it in one or two sittings even without that being the case.

    What a great list!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Welcome 3 no 7! And thank you for your first post! I’m a big fan of Adrian McKinty’s and have read everything he’s written. The Sean Duffy series is my favorite. I had been wondering about Artemis. I’m going to put in on the TBR based upon your nutshell.


    1. I hope you like “Artemis;” it was definitely different because of the setting, but Weir did a fantastic job developing a “sense of place” in a murder mystery set on the moon.


  6. Thanks for sharing your recommendations, 3 no 7! Artemis and Young Jane Young are on my TBR list…definitely checking them out now. I read A Gentleman in Moscow and Rules of Civility by Amor Towles; he’s a fantastic writer and both books were exceptional. I also loved Turtles All the Way Down by John Green, One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus, and Chemistry by Weike Wang 🙂


    1. I heard Gabrielle Zevin speak at The Book Carnival in Orange, and she was incredibly interesting. She didn’t talk much about the actual book but more about her writing, philosophy, and outlook on books and life. I understand that she does not make many public appearances, so if she is in your area, you should DEFINITELY go to hear her.
      I am on the “waiting list” at the library for “Turtles All The Way Down.”


  7. Thumbs up for ‘A Gentleman in Moscow’ and ‘Turtles All The Way Down.’ I’ll add one I’m halfway through with … WHAT ALICE FORGOT by Liane Moriarty, who also wrote Big Little Lies. It’s about a woman who hits her head and forgets the last 10 years of her life. And because I forgot the author’s name and had to look it up, I see that it’s going to be a movie with Jennifer Aniston.

    Welcome to Mysteristas, 3 no 7!


    1. Thanks. Last year I really tried to “up my game” both with reading and especially with reviewing. I PLAN to continue this year with new-to-me authors and posting reviews of almost every book I read.
      And of course, now my game plan includes posting on Mysteristas on the second Tuesday. Not sure how I will mix in posts about reading with the other posts that are by writers, but at least I have a whole month to plan my posts. Wish me luck.


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