I had a monster-sized reading week this week and finished five books. Among them was the most recent Louise Penny book, a couple of professional reads, and a couple of romances. I feel kind of accomplished finishing the Louise Penny book. There’s just sometimes about finishing a whole series that is exciting!
In A Better Man, Inspector Gamache’s suspension is finally over and he takes a demotion back to being head of homicide at Surete du Quebec. He will share this role with a co-worker who is leaving the force for two weeks, and there is a question of how they will handle this and how it will affect their relationship. Meanwhile, Clara is having difficulty and drama as her latest exhibition is panned by both the critics and Twitter.
The first case Armand takes as he’s back in the job is the disappearance of a battered wife. It’s a case that’s open and shut, or is it? And Armand feels especially connected to this missing woman, who is about the age of his own adult daughter, and to her her father as he shares a deep well of sympathy for what the father must be going through.
This is a very good addition into the Inspector Gamache storyline. I enjoyed the mystery very much and I also really enjoyed Gamache’s personal continuing storyline. There are some real changes coming in his life, so it will be interesting to see what Penny does with his character going forward (though in the plot synopsis I read of the next book, she may not have handled it yet). I really didn’t enjoy Clara’s storyline and thought it was a distraction. Three Pines is kind of a background of this story and the local characters did not have much to, and I felt like Clara’s storyline was just filler.
Leading Cross-Culturally is a book about forming relationships and leading in a way that empowers other people to become effective leaders. When working with people, different personalities and values come into play and these differences create opportunities for misunderstanding each other and for growth in both the leader and those who are being led. Lingenfelter discusses how to build trust and empower other people as well as the pitfalls and temptations of leadership with a special emphasis on leading across multiple cultures.
I had to read this one for a class I’m taking in intercultural communications, and it was not one I would I probably would have picked out for myself. However, I found myself truly convicted on several levels by portions of this book, and I feel that it is helpful for any Christian in a leadership position, whether that position is across the world or in their own hometown. Many of these leadership issues are fairly universal.
Bears Behaving Badly is the first book in a new series by the Queen Betsy series author MaryJanice Davidson. This book is not about literal bears, but instead is the first book in the BeWere My Heart series, a paranormal romance series focused on shape-shifters.
Annette is a caseworker for the Interspecies Protective Agency (IPA), managing the placement of specific young were creatures into foster homes. When she begins case management for a young, mute werewolf, the young werewolf’s attack of another werewolf brings private investigator David Auberon onto the scene. Both Annette and David are bear shifters, and as they case becomes stranger and more dangerous, Annette and David are brought into a close contact that creates sparks between them.
This was really fun read for me. I picked it up because I knew I liked the author, and I was pleasantly surprised by both the mystery and the romance. The romantic scenes do get a little spicy at times and are completely open-door. Still a really fun read if you’re into either paranormal romances or urban fantasy.
In Not Like the Movies, Chloe is dealing with a spat of publicity. Her best friend Annie has published a screenplay that is about to hit the movie theaters. The screenplay is loosely based on Chloe’s life and imagines a relationship between Chloe and her boss Nick. As Chloe had never seen Nick in a romantic light before, the screenplay has awakened tensions in Chloe that she was previously unaware of. Add in preparations for Annie’s wedding, caring for an elderly father, struggling through business school and putting up with an unreliable brother and Chloe’s life feels as if it’s spiraling out of control. Is her life like the rom-com of Annie’s dreams or is it a nightmare?
I really enjoyed this romance (and it does have plenty of rom-com moments). I think this one is more enjoyable if you’ve read Annie’s story in Waiting for Tom Hanks. The storylines are intertwined and dependent on each other. I actually liked Chloe’s character more than Annie’s and felt like she was a little more relatable than Annie, so it was a great follow-up.
Scandalous Witness lays out fifteen propositions for how a Christian should approach politics. Camp discovers that Christians should be “neither left nor right nor religious” as their beliefs are based on the historical fact of the resurrection rather than the vague spiritual promised. This means that a Christian is bound to Christ before any political affiliation.
Both the left and the right will find themselves equally offended by the propositions Camp sets forth. They will also find themselves convicted of how often they have put their political convictions ahead of the cause of Christ. This book is not large, but it is weighty.