January 2018 books

Rupture (audiobook)

By Ragnar Jonasson
Read by Leighton Pugh

Started 29 December
Finished 1 January

Book three (chronologically) in the Dark Iceland series and even better than the first two. This book weaves several different story threads together in an interesting way. It's difficult to decide which is the main story, but it doesn't matter. I like spending time with the main characters in these stories and I enjoy the depiction of life in Northern Iceland. On to the next book now…

Whiteout (audiobook)

By Ragnar Jonasson
Read by Leighton Pugh

Started 1 January
Finished 3 January

Another good book, though I think Rupture was slightly better. This had plenty of interest, though; Ari Thor reuniting with his previous boss, the progress of his relationship with his girlfriend. The plot was fine, but didn't seem all that gripping. Still, overall an entertaining listen.

Nightblind (audiobook)

By Ragnar Jonasson
Read by Leighton Pugh

Started 4 January
Finished 5 January

There was a lot more intrigue in this novel than in the previous one and I enjoyed it more as a result. The story centres around the murder of the local police inspector and I didn't guess whodunit until it was revealed, which makes a change!
I found the main character's girlfriend rather annoyingly unsympathetic in this book, whereas I had started to warm to her in the previous one. I have enjoyed these books and hope there are more to come.

How to be Champion (audiobook)

By Sarah Millican
Read by Sarah Millican

Started 6 January
Finished 8 January

Thoroughly enjoyable book, although probably not if you don't like Sarah Millican's humour. I do, obviously, as I bought the book. I haven't bought any Russell Brand books…

This book is a humorous look at Millican's life and career to date, but it is set out in the form of a self-help book, with tips on "how to be champion" at the ends of chapters. It's not all hilarious, some of it is quite sad, and parts are quite shocking. Not surprising, given the state of society today, when people seem to think that anyone in the entertainment business is fair game. The tales she tells of abusive comments on Twitter is pretty grim. Overall, I found the book entertaining, uplifting and quite inspiring.

Harlequin/The Archer's Tale (audiobook)

By Bernard Cornwell
Read by Andrew Cullum.

Started 9 January
Finished 14 January

I picked this book because it was the first of the Grail trilogy and I'm a sucker for a Grail story. In this first novel it gets mentioned, but that is all. It centres around a young archer, Thomas of Hookton, following his progress as, after the French raid and destroy his town, he joins the English army and fights in France, at the start of the 100 years war. Not my usual book, although I read the early novels in the Saxon series by Cornwell. I enjoyed it though. The main character is quite compelling; far from perfect, very human, but I found myself rooting for him and sympathising with his situation. The novel ends with the battle of Crécy, which is described in some detail, but, fortunately, not to the point of boredom. I look forward to listening to the remaining books in the series.

The Shack (audiobook)

By William P Young
Read by Roger Mueller

Started 15 January
Finished 19 January

I read this book some years ago, along with a lot of other people, I expect. I fancied listening to it, so picked up the audiobook. On balance, I think it is better to read than to listen to, but I enjoyed this. Occasionally the narrator seemed to overdo things a bit, which almost detracted from the story. I preferred it when I read the book and occasionally went "ooh". I felt with the audiobook things were rather unsubtly signposted at times. Good to wind down with, though.

Vagabond (audiobook)

By Bernard Cornwell
Read by Andrew Cullum

Started 23 January
Finished 31 January

The second instalment of the grail trilogy (although there is a linked fourth book). This book develops the story a little - somewhat scarily at one point involving the torture of the main character, Thomas, by a Catholic priest. The character was thoroughly scary; and very well portrayed by the narrator, who made him seem really creepy.

As with most Cornwell novels, there is a lot of detailed description of a number of battles. It did occasionally feel as though the story was just a vague thread holding together tales of battles in the 100-years war. I'll see what the third book brings to the main plot. Not that I didn't enjoy the book - I did and I know what to expect from Cornwell, having read a number of his books over the years.