We missed January’s book edit with my extra time off. So here are 4 books to make up for lost time and get us back on track with some fun reads, including one from Dirty Jobs’ Mike Rowe…
The Way I Heard it by Mike Rowe
Remember Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs? Ever wonder how the show came about? I mean, who thinks about all those careers and gigs of the “underworld?” In Mike Rowe’s collection of short stories you’ll be laughing, learning an insane amount of cocktail party banter and trivia, and finding out just how Mike Rowe came to be the creator and host of that dirty, good clean family-friendly show we all loved! At least that’s The Way I Heard It!
The book is based around anecdotes of famous people in our history, but told from the perspective of their friend, their foe, or some other nameless person from their story. You think you’re reading about a story of George Underwood who punched his saxophonist/best friend for playing a game to ‘get his girl.’ By the end you find out that the terrible repercussions of that punch are what gave David Bowie two different colored eyes and helped him become….the David Bowie!
Interspersed with these fun stories of people we all know are stories about Mike Rowe. Well mostly the people around Mike Rowe. His parents and growing up in Maryland. His baritone voice and singing background. His stint at QVC, his relationship with Joan Rivers, the haunted house he lived in, and…eventually…how Dirty Jobs came to be.
You’ll laugh til it hurts but somehow won’t be able to explain it to anyone short of saying, you have to read the book!
The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix Harrow
A magnificent debut from Alix Harrow, a former historian turned fiction writer. (I note this because you can see her training peering out from the corners in this book) The writing in The Ten Thousand Doors of January is lyrical, the universe expansive, and the characters thoroughly engaging.
January Scaller is a young woman who knows she doesn’t quite fit in with the rigid Gilded Age society. Her mentor (and her father’s employer), Mr. Locke, is grooming her, but she isn’t sure exactly where she belongs. When her father goes missing and what she believes are the truths of her world are upended, we begin to realise that perhaps the reason she does not fit in is because she is not from this world at all.
The discovery that her father has been finding and opening Doors to other worlds for Mr. Locke and bringing back obscure artifacts leads January on her own journey through the Doors, and to understanding the truth of her parentage.
Recommended for every person who ever read the Chronicles of Narnia and immediately set about trying to find Doors to other places…
The Beast of Beswick by Amalie Howard
if you like the idea of The Taming of the Shrew meets Beauty and the Beast, in the Regency, The Beast of Beswick deserves a place on your reading list in 2020.
Lord Nathaniel Harte has returned from the Napoleonic Wars badly injured, grumpy, and frankly, suffering from PTSD and a lingering belief that he must be unloveable because of his scarring. Lady Astrid Everleigh is an exceedingly well-educated lady with a scandal in her past that has left her firmly on the shelf. She’s counting down the days until her birthday releases her inheritance, giving her the power to protect her sister from the very man who ruined her.
She is sharp-tongued, strong-willed, and not one to back down. Harte is just as stubborn and secretly enthralled by her intelligence and strength. When Astrid flees to his home for protection, she knows she must tame the beast in order to marry to protect her sister…
As with all romances, this one has a happily ever after, but the twists and turns to get there are endlessly entertaining, and both characters are truly memorable.
Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
After nearly being run over, Chloe Brown sees her life flash before her eyes. She realizes that, somewhere in the last few years, in the midst of learning to live with fibromyalgia, she stopped doing anything that wasn’t coping or working. And so, like good Type A people everywhere, she makes a list – a list designed to help her get her life back. And so begins, Get a Life, Chloe Brown.
Step one is moving out of the (admittedly rather large) family home. The other steps seem a little more difficult to achieve. That is until she manages to overcome her immediate dislike of her new building’s superintendent, one Redford (Red) Morgan. Morgan is an artist who had once found success in London, but after a difficult relationship and break up that led him to question his own art, fled home to Nottingham.
With the help of one cat in dire need of rescue, Chloe and Red finally start talking to each other. They realise they’d misjudged one another. From there, a relationship starts to kindle – one that Talia Hibbert draws out masterfully, treating us to an often hilarious, always real book. Red and Chloe need each other, it would seem, and watching them realize this is a delight.