Pretty Things by Janelle Brown

Two wildly different women—one a grifter, the other an heiress—are brought together by the scam of a lifetime.

Good book. Fascinating plot.

2020 technologies like Instagram, GPS and digital video cameras critical to the story.

Recommended — though it is too long. Rather than telling the same incident from two different perspectives, more skillful would have been to briefly REACT from the other person’s point of view.


Best ways to get Audio Books 2021

FREE from your public library is best for sure.

I use the IOS Libby app, though there are others that are similar.

I’m with Calgary Public Library quite happy with the selection. I can get almost any book I want — though sometimes I’m on the waiting list for a couple of months.

I gave my library a big donation in 2020 as I was using the service more than ever. by Amazon is the market leader.

I’ve bought hundreds of books over the years. They have a better selection than my library and there’s no waiting.

That said — I’m thinking of cancelling Audible next time round. Prices have never gone down and they’ve not innovated much in all the years I’ve been paying my subscription.

IF dying to get an audiobook right away in future, I’ll simply buy it.

I tried Scribd. Didn’t like it enough.

MIGHT try, another Audible competitor. But it’s the same price, same benefits, so I’ll probably cancel after my free trial. AND I hear unused credits expire in only three months. No go.

A beginner’s guide to listening to audiobooks


Butterfly Kills by Brenda Chapman

2nd in the series featuring Kala Stonechild, an intriguing First Nations woman and police detective.

One hot week in late September, university student Leah Sampson is murdered in her apartment. In another corner of the city, Della Munroe is raped by her husband.

At first the crimes appear unrelated, but as Sergeant Rouleau and his new team of officers dig into the women’s pasts, they discover unsettling coincidences. …

Quite good. An interesting plot.

I’ll continue with book #3.

books, movies

Michael Koryta – Never Far Away

Nina Morgan’s blood-stained car was found a decade ago on a lonely Florida road. Forensic evidence suggested she’d been murdered, although her body was never found.

Her disappearance left her infant children to the care of their father.

Once a pilot, mother, wife, and witness to a gruesome crime, Nina had to flee her old life to save her family.

She reinvented herself as Leah Trenton, a guide in the Allagash Wilderness in northern Maine.

She never expected to see her children again, but now tragedy has returned them to her—only they have no idea that she’s their mother—and delivered all of them back into danger. “Aunt Leah” will need some help, and an old ally has a suggestion: an enigmatic young hitman named Dax Blackwell.

Koryta is one of my favourite authors. This 2021 book is one of his best.

Most impressive are his villains. Dax Blackwell is fascinating.

Koryta’s “Those Who Wish Me Dead” should be released in film in 2021.

Rights to “Never Far Away” have also been acquired.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

books, TV

The White Lioness by Henning Mankell

The White Lioness is the 3rd book in the Inspector Wallander series.

Easily the best, so far.

An intricate and interesting plot.


… The plot follows two parallel patterns, one during late apartheid South Africa where incumbent president F.W. de Klerk, leader of the Afrikaner minority which is on the brink of losing power to the African majority under the leadership of the ANC, about to end 44 years of suppression by the Broederbond rule.

Simultaneously, Detective Chief Inspector Kurt Wallander is investigating a case of a missing female Methodist real-estate agent …

How could those two things possibly be linked?

books, movies, TV

The Dogs of Riga by Henning Mankell

The second book of the Kurt Wallander series.

Wallander continues as the most troubled and unlucky hero in any detective series.

For example, at the critical moment of the book — Wallander has to take a dump in a waste paper basket.

I actually liked the book. But the plot is totally unbelievable.

It was made into a Swedish film. And was adapted for season 3 of the of the British production of Wallander starring Kenneth Branagh.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.


The Pyramid by Henning Mankell

There are 8 books in the Inspector Kurt Wallander series, starting with Faceless Killers.

I enjoyed that one, so downloaded The Pyramid, a collection of short stories about Wallander EARLIER than Faceless. Something like a prequel.

The short stories are not as good as the novel for me, but I’m still happy I read them.

I MIGHT end up reading the entire series.

Spanning two decades between 1969 and 1989, the five stories chart Wallander’s “unknown” early years as he progresses from keen police academy graduate to disillusioned senior investigator …

Guardian review
books, TV

Dickinson – seasons 1 & 2

Dickinson is an American historical comedy-drama streaming television series about Emily Dickinson … produced for Apple TV+.

Starring Hailee Steinfeld as Dickinson, the first season was released on November 1, 2019, when Apple TV+ debuted.

Two more seasons are in the works.

Dickinson takes place “during Emily Dickinson‘s era with a modern sensibility and tone.

It takes viewers into the world of Emily, audaciously exploring the constraints of society, gender, and family from the perspective of a budding writer who doesn’t fit in to her own time …

It’s weird and somehow compelling. Modern dialogue. Modern music.

All the characters are great. My favourite is Darlene Hunt as Maggie, their hilarious maid.

74% on Rotten Tomatoes.

A bit gimmicky, I thought the novelty might wear off. BUT season 2 was even better. 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

I hadn’t known that Emily Dickinson’s legendary poetry was not acclaimed until after her death in 1886. Her sister discovered the cache of  1,800 poems and finally had them published. That’s not what’s happening in the TV series.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.


Cold Mourning by Brenda Chapman

A very good whodunnit set in Ottawa.

It would make an excellent Canadian TV series.

I’d watch.

Lead character is police investigator Kala Stonechild, who has left her northern Ontario detachment for the big city.

It’s a week before Christmas when wealthy businessman Tom Underwood disappears into thin air — with more than enough people wanting him dead. …

Old betrayals and complicated family relationships brutally collide when love turns to hate and murder stalks a family. …