Juliette’s Book Club: Fun Summer Books, Road Trip Audio Books, And An Unexpected NetFlix Find

Today’s Book Club is a Media Madness Mix! Books, Audio Books, and Netflix! It is a genre bending brain dump of good story telling and fun. Hey, if it isn’t fun you might as well just skip it.

Audio Books

Who knows what the next pandemic wave of restrictions will bring so I’m glad my husband Teddy and I have had a few opportunities to get out of town this summer. When we travel by car we always listen to audio books.

There seems to be a theme going on because was had a random streak of books that involved plane crashes and lies and people not being exactly what they seem.

The beauty if an audio book is that you can listen with a friend and talk through it just like you do at home with movies and TV shows. Seriously, I know you talk through movies you see at home. 

On the drive from Orangevale (near Sacramento) to Long Beach (near Los Angeles) we listened to “Back of Beyond” by C J Box. My husband said this was the lead up to “The Highway.” It was fun. There were some holes. We always ask, “WTF” when a character does something stupid or more often does not do something. But that is the beauty of fiction – the characters aren’t us. It was a fun ride for the ride. I’ve also been reading the Joe Pickett novels by Box. Fun stuff.  In “Back of Beyond” renegade lawman Cody finds out a killer is on a wilderness trip with his teenage son. He goes out to kick ass, rescue his son, and avenge the death of one of his closest friends, and discover a mysterious plane crash. Good fun. 

Last weekend we drove up to an art auction in Reno, NV. While driving through the Sierra Nevada Mountains in more traffic than we cared for, we listened to “East of Desolation” by Jack Higgins. I knew ahead of time that this story involved a plane crash, but I knew that because of the description on the box and photo of a plane. At first I was wondering why the book had sort of an old fashioned sound to it. The fact that the book was read by someone with an English accent helped. That said the descriptions were super fun, the characters were fun and total cliches, and the story was riveting. The women were called “girls” and all of the men were opening lusting after them, except the main character who did that in secret because he was more of a gentleman. Then they were talking about eating whale steaks and I checked the CD box. Yes, we still listen to books on CD. The book was written in 1968. Now it made sense. Anyway it was a wild ride with glamourous mysterious people, bush pilots, politically incorrect sexist and racist crap that I could have done without but was unfortunately acceptable in 1968, and really great descriptions of angst and bar fights. If it was written not there would have to be a lot of changes – I know Jack Higgins would agree. It wasn’t a great story but hey, I’m going to finish listening to it later this week. Our drive was shorter than the 5 or 6 hours of the audio book.

Books I’ve Read Over The Past Few Months

“Cannery Row” by John Steinbeck. If you haven’t read it yet you need to. It is short. It is entertaining. You will laugh out loud. It is brilliant. I’ve read it many times and still don’t get tired of it.

“Let Her Lie” a thriller by Bryan Reardon. OMG I loved this book. It will have you on the edge of your seat. It is brilliant. I love the point of view and all of the unexpected twists and turns. It is smart and interesting. It is the story of Theo Snyder a failed documentary film maker trying to make one last effort to get his career, and most of all his reputation back by investigating the Halo Killer, a sinister serial killer of the worst kind.  

“The Guest List” by Lucy Foley. I love books written from the views of multiple characters – that is when it works. This book works. It works like a wonderful Agatha Christie book – think Ten Little Indians or Murder on the Orient Express. There is a wedding on an isolated island. There is a murder. Who done it? This is a smart, cleaver, brilliant, and contemporary take on a murder mystery, with unexpected twists and turns you’ll appreciate at the end. 


I’ll be the first to admit that I dislike most Vampire movies and TV. Yes, I appreciate the old Hammer Films and 1930’s horror films. Who doesn’t love Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula, or Max Schreck as Count Orlok. That said most Vampire movies and TV leaves me colder and more bored than an empty crypt on a cold Halloween Night. There are many Vampire books I do like, but that is a different post. I love paranormal TV and movies. I’ll give you a list later this week of my favorites, but none of them involve Vampires. 

The exception is “What We Do In The Shadows.” That is one of my favorite movies. It is so sweet and funny and just brilliant.

So back to TV. I need to say I’m also not a huge fan of adult animation, or anime, or just a lot of stuff along those lines. I’m not a gamer (except for old fashioned board games.)

But recently I got hooked on something and, well, I was surprised. 


“Castlevania” is an adult animated series on Netflix produced by producer Kevin Kolde. It is based on the Japanese video game series of the same name.

I’m about half way through with the series. Each episode is only about a half hour so it is easy to find the time to watch. This is just for fun. 

The plot: Dracula falls in love with a smart female doctor who is burned as a witch by ignorant villagers. Dracula decides to get revenge and bring all Vampires together to kill out the human race. In the meantime Vampire Hunter Trevor Belmont, Dracula’s sensitive son Alucard, and lovely magician Sypha Belnades defend the land of Wallachia from Dracula and his evil minions. 

This isn’t life changing folks, just a fun story. It is definitely not my Vampire world, but hey, even Vampires need an escape sometimes.

Remember these reviews and recommendations are just my opinions written quickly over morning

Remember these reviews and recommendations are just my opinions written quickly over morning coffee. If you have any recommendations feel free to share them in the comments.  

Stay safe. Wear a mask if you have to. Get vaccinated. Check in on those who are elderly or might need extra help. Hug your dog. Talk to your kids. Listen to your kids. Don’t be a dream killer. Be kind. Don’t be a dick. And as always, kiss a Vampire (you’ll thank me for it later.)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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