Saturday Book Pile – Jan 28

Given my great love of books, I’ve decided to write a somewhat regular post to discuss 3 books I’ve read and preview the ones that are next on the list to read.

I’ve participated in the Goodreads Reading Challenge. every year since 2011. Last year, I read 97 books. In the past 6 years, I averaged about 87 books per year. This year, my goal again is to read (and hopefully exceed) 78 books (1.5 books per week).

The point of that is to say that I’ve lots of fodder for this quasi-regular series (quasi-regular because I make no promises as to when it will might pop up).

This first post will be about 3 books* I’ve read since January 1.

*The name of each book below links to that book’s product page on These are affiliate links, which means I receive 4.0% if you make a purchase using my link. Any money earned through the Amazon affiliate program is used to pay the costs of running this site (hosting, domain name, etc.). Please see my terms of use for additional information.

Also check out my new Book Love page dedicated to all things bookish!


  1. First up – Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris

Charlaine Harris is best known for her Southern Vampire series (otherwise known as the Sookie Stackhouse books), adapted by HBO as the “True Blood” series. I’ve been a big fan of Ms. Harris since the Aurora Teagarden books, her first series. And for those of you unfamiliar with her work, Ms. Harris started out writing mysteries then branched into paranormal and urban fantasy.

Midnight Crossroad is the first book in her new Midnight, Texas series. Midnight, Texas is a sparsely populated town with an interesting group of inhabitants, who each have a secret, or at least a fascinating story. And as the Goodreads blip says, “Stop at the one traffic light in town, and everything looks normal. Stay awhile, and learn the truth.”

This book definitely intrigued me. It still has some paranormal aspects, but the paranormal does not play a main role (as compared to the Sookie books). Rather Ms. Harris has returned to her mystery roots. The pacing and point-of-view (POV) came across as odd to me, but not necessarily odd in a bad, I-don’t-like-this-book, kind of way.

And I liked it enough, or really, I was intrigued enough with the characters, that I’ve already started book 2, Day Shift.

2. Apprentice in Death by J.D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts)

If you haven’t heard of Nora Roberts, then you have been living in a book-free world. Even if you don’t care for romance (her primary genre), you still can’t get through a book section without seeing at least one of her books. She estimates she writes one book in 45 days and then starts another. She’s written more than 215 books, and there are over 145 million copies of her books in print.

That’s a whole lot of books. But I digress. Back to this book.

Apprentice is book 54 in the In Death series that follows the life and career of NYPSD (New York City Police and Security Department) homocide Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her husband Roarke. The series begins in January 2058, and now its the early 2060s. And, of course, each book features a murder that Eve must solve.

I have greatly enjoyed this series.These are great books for a quick read. I like to pick these up after I’ve read something heavy or challenging, as they are simply an enjoyable read. I like the characters and the world that Ms. Robb has created. So if you enjoy murder mysteries, then I recommend this series to you—and you won’t run out of them for a while since this is #54 and she’s still writing them.

3. Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis is an autobiography by a now 34-year-old “hillbilly” turned lawyer. The story is about his growing up in what he describes as a poor, working-class white, non-college educated, Scots-Irish-decent culture in southern Appalachia, and his journey through childhood to move beyond his chaotic family history to graduate from Yale Law School.

My bookclub read this for our January read. I too grew up in southern Appalachia, so I had some mixed feelings about his portrayal of southerners. But I remind myself that this is his story and it is just one perspective. Needless to say, in a book club with members predominately from the north (mostly from the NYC metroplex), this book spurred some stimulating, and somewhat amusing, conversation.

If you’ve read one of these, what did you think? Leave your thoughts and questions in the comments below.

Up next in the book pipeline:

  1. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  2. Bossypants by Tina Fey (yes, I’m WAY behind in reading this one)
  3. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

What’s next on your to-read list?

Follow me on L.A.L.'s book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf) to see what else I’m reading.

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