November Round Up

Monthly Mini Review

Silhouette of couple holding hands, facing each other with their foreheads together against the background of a setting sunWinterfair Gifts by Lois McMaster Bujold, narrated by Grover Gardner B+  This novella length audiobook follows a few months after the events of A Civil Campaign. Miles and Ekaterin are just about to get married at Winterfair (a kind of Barrayaran Christmas). Gifts are arriving and so are wedding guests. Roic, one of Miles’ armsmen is feeling like a bit of a failure after the shamozzle with the butter bugs and the Escobaran bounty hunters. He thinks Armsman Pym hates him and Miles thinks him incompetent. Roic also serves as the narrator of the story. Dendarii mercenary and former lover of Miles, Taura, arrives for the wedding. Roic grew up in the back country and hasn’t seen anyone like Taura ever. Of course, as she is the only one of her kind left, no-one else has either, but Taura makes a big impact on Roic. When Ekaterin falls ill before the wedding, Roic and Taura combine forces to work out what has caused it and save the day.

Ready to Roll by Suzanne Brockmann

Silhouettes of five guys standing against a blue sky. (It's a really boring and ugly cover.)Why I read it:  This was a gift because I was too cheap to buy it myself (it’s expensive for a novella – really, $6 – $8 at Kobo – is just TOO MUCH).

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  The only easy day is yesterday. BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) training is known for being the toughest, meanest, most physically punishing program in the entire U.S. Navy, and a new crop of tadpoles have arrived in Coronado eager to prove their worth—to make it through Hell Week, and become U.S. Navy SEALs.

Although Izzy prefers assignments out in the “real world,” he’s glad to be an instructor for the current BUD/S class, because it allows him to spend time at home with his wife, Eden, and her lively and lovable extended family.

Eden’s sixteen-year-old brother, Ben, is dealing with a new crush and a homophobic bully in his high school, but it soon appears that things are not as they seem.

Meanwhile, Eden’s other brother (and Izzy’s SEAL teammate and former frenemy) Danny Gillman and his wife Jenn have just had a baby who has colic and cries constantly.

As Ben deals with the type of too-serious high school drama that could involve a body count, and Danny and Jenn juggle a new baby, lack of sleep, and postpartum blues, Izzy is intrigued by “Boat Squad John,” a misfit team of young SEAL candidates all named John, including the intriguing young Seagull, his swim buddy Timebomb, and Seagull’s nemesis Hans.

Does Seagull have what it takes keep Boat Squad John still standing when the dust of BUD/S Hell Week settles or will they ring out?

Set in Coronado during BUD/S training Hell Week, in Ready to Roll Brockmann introduces the SEAL officer and instructor nicknamed Grunge—Lt. Peter Greene—as she delivers what she does best: a story celebrating the U.S. Navy SEALs—and the women (and sometimes men) who wholeheartedly love and support them.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I’ve been a fan of Suzanne Brockmann’s novels and in particular her Troubleshooters series for years. They tend to hold up well for me on re-reads. I didn’t even get super cross about the whole Decker, Sophia, Dave and Tracy thing. So I say this in love. Please for the love of all that is good in a book, do not write stage directions in first person narratives. This is not Twitter.

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