Tag Archives: Persona Non Grata

WWW Wednesday, 20-December-2017

20 Dec

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: I haven’t had much time to read The Color Purple by Alice Walker. I usually read my ebooks during lunch at work but with the holidays coming up, we’ve been having a lot of office lunches or lunches out so I haven’t read much.
I’m really enjoying The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester but, again, my reading has slowed down a bit. I’ve been so tired before bed that I spent four days on a single chapter. I’ll keep pushing on and I hope this is finished before the new year.
I have made some good progress on The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides. I’ve been baking a lot and wrapping presents and there’s nothing better than having a book in your ear to make those things feel like they’re flying by.

Recently finished: Little surprise, but nothing finished this week. After finishing three last week, I didn’t expect much from myself.
On the bright side, I got all three book reviews written! Last Thursday was This Beautiful Life by Helen Schulman. I really enjoyed this one and gave it Four out of Five Stars. Pick it up if you can, it’s short and poignant.
This week I wrote about Persona Non Grata by Ruth Downie on Monday. I really enjoy the series and I plan to continue on with the fourth one. I gave this one Four out of Five Stars
Yesterday I posted about Singing My Him Song by Malachy McCourt. It wasn’t my favorite, but I still liked it. Three out of Five Stars.

Reading Next: My plan is still to read Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin. I’ll be starting as soon as I finish Madman.
I also picked out a book for my road trip to Ohio with my husband Christmas morning. We’re going to listen to Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. I’ve seen really good things about this one and with a movie coming out soon, I want to read/listen to it before I see the film.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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Book Review: Persona Non Grata by Ruth Downie (4/5)

19 Dec

I knew after I read the second book in this series that I would continue with it. These books are too fun to pass up. I’d gotten a copy of this one from a library book sale and it looks like not many people borrowed it before it was withdrawn. I’m lucky there are copies of all books in this series on Goodreads so I can enjoy them so readily!

Cover image via Goodreads

Persona Non Grata (Medicus Investigation #3) by Ruth Downie

Other books by Ruth Downie reviewed on this blog:

Terra Incognita (Medicus Investigation #2)

Summary from Goodreads:

At long last, Gaius Petreius Ruso and his companion, Tilla, are headed home—to Gaul. Having received a note consisting only of the words “COME HOME!” Ruso has (reluctantly, of course) pulled up stakes and brought Tilla to meet his family.

But the reception there is not what Ruso has hoped for: no one will admit to sending for him, and his brother Lucius is hoping he’ll leave. With Tilla getting icy greetings from his relatives, Lucius’s brother-in-law mysteriously drowned at sea, and the whole Ruso family teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, it’s hard to imagine an unhappier reunion. That is, until Severus, the family’s chief creditor, winds up dead, and the real trouble begins…

The comedy in these books is what keeps bringing me back. I love the sarcasm and backhanded way Downie insults her characters. Ruso builds himself up and tears himself down all the time and it’s so amusing to watch. I’ve also enjoyed the evolution of Tilla and I look forward to seeing what comes next from the pair. I liked the change in setting for this one. Seeing Ruso in Gaul and how uncomfortable he is in his own home made me long for Britania like Tilla. The mystery was well done and I liked all the subplots that kept this story going.

Ruso’s step-mother, Arria, and his sisters seemed unrealistic to me. Well, to be more precise, I could see how Marcia turned out the way she is if she was raised by Arria. I don’t understand how Arria became the way she is. With the fighting described between Ruso and her when he was younger, I don’t see how that led her down a path to turn into such a self-absorbed woman reliant on her step-sons. She made for some funny scenes, but she had me scratching my head, too.

Tilla is an easy favorite character in this series. She’s very modern though she’s set in ancient Rome. Her ideas of independence and a woman’s ability to speak up and do things for herself make her relatable. She’s funny and smart and it’s easy to see why Ruso likes her. I wish she’d had a bigger role in this book, it wasn’t as much as she was involved in the last mystery.

Ruso’s narration is so relatable. He expresses exasperation and disgust at the same things I do as a reader so I’m always laughing or groaning or smirking along with him. I really want to meet Downie and see if she’s this funny in real life or if it comes out when she edits. I hope it’s genuine.

Ruth Downie
Image via the author’s website

I thought the gladiator section was really interesting. It shared a lot of different opinions on the sport and the role Ruso played in it was rather neutral so we could see all of those sides. The descriptions were, of course, gruesome but also showed the reasons some of those men volunteered to go into the arena.

There wasn’t a part I enjoyed less than the rest of the book, but I wish Tilla had a bigger role. This book had a major focus on Ruso because his family was so involved in the plot. I hope when they return to Britania that Tilla can take on a bigger role.

The audiobook was narrated by Simon Vance and I thought he was perfect. He did a good variety of voices for the characters and I never felt his female voice was at all offensive, grating, or annoying. He had a wide variety of voices, too, and his inflection for Ruso’s internal thoughts was great.

These books don’t have much in terms of themes or morals to take away. If anything, it would be that you can always go home, but you might not want to. Poor Ruso. I bet he can’t wait to get back to the army.

Writer’s Takeaway: Downie has a strong understanding of her time period and she weaves it into the story so well that it barely sticks out. It’s a pleasure to read. Her humor is what always brings me back. She keeps me laughing along with Ruso and Tilla and rolling my eyes at Arria and moaning when Marcia rushes in. I just love it!

This is a great book and I really recommend this series. Four out of Five stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Persona Non Grata | S.J.A Turney’s Books & More
Persona Non Grata by Ruth Downie | searchingmysoulon2wheels
Persona Non Grata a Review | A View from Sari’s World

WWW Wednesday, 13-December-2017

13 Dec

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: What a week! I started three new books this week! The first was The Color Purple by Alice Walker. This book was recommended to me a while back and I was excited to grab a copy as an ebook and start reading it. This is a short one and those seem to make better ebooks for me because I read them so slowly. We’ll see how long this one takes.
The second was The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester. I’m really enjoying this one so far! It’s been a while since I read some non-fiction that read like fiction. This one is keeping me up at night already and I think I’ll finish it quickly.
My next audiobook is The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides. I really enjoyed Middlesex and I hope this one is equally engaging. It will help if it’s also set in Michigan! So far, that’s not looking likely, but I’ll press on.

Recently finished: Three new reads and three books finished! The first was This Beautiful Life by Helen Schulman which I finished while waiting at the chiropractor’s office. I enjoyed this one a lot and I thought it was a really great angle on a big problem. Plus, the ending wasn’t predictable which was a huge plus! Look for my review tomorrow.
The second was Singing My Him Song by Malachy McCourt. I didn’t enjoy this quite as much as Schulman’s book but it was still a good read. I had some problems with the pacing and change in topics. My review will be up next week so take a look then at my reasoning.
I also finished Persona Non Grata by Ruth Downie! That’s right, I finished all my books from last week. This is my mini celebration of finishing my class and it feels wonderful. I really liked this historical fiction book and I plan to continue with the series.

Reading Next: The next physical book will be Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin. I wish I could start it sooner but I can’t find an ebook or audiobook of this one so it will have to wait.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 6-December-2017

6 Dec

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


CurrentlyreadingI made slower progress in This Beautiful Life by Helen Schulman this week. I got to read some during lunch at work but nothing like the great progress I made the last week. I think this will be two weeks or so for me to finish it. It’s really good now so it’s hard to think it could be that long.
I’m so close to finishing Singing My Him Song by Malachy McCourt! I won’t be surprised if I finish this one today. I’m still enjoying it, but I’m also looking forward to reading something new. I think my review will explain that a bit better than this rambling.
I’ve gotten into the mystery of Persona Non Grata by Ruth Downie. I like these characters a lot so I’m enjoying the back-and-forth and seeing Russo struggle to figure out what’s going on. I think I’ve got a week or two left on this one, too.

Recently finished: Nothing this week. After two last week, I’m not sad about this at all, it’s how things work. I was able to write a review, though. My review for Our Souls at Night by Ken Haruf was posted yesterday. Please go check it out. I have two more posts coming about this book next week, a movie review and a book club reflection.

Reading Next: I nabbed my copy of The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester from the library over the weekend. It looks like a shorter read than I was anticipating so I’m hopeful of getting it started and finished before the new year. My book club meets in early January and I’m excited to see that group again, I’ve missed the meetings in six months of this year!
I’ll start Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin as soon as I finish Madman. Unfortunately, neither of these were available as audiobooks through my library so I’ll be reading both in print and it will probably take me right up until the meeting to finish them!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 29-November-2017

29 Nov

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently readingI read a lot of This Beautiful Life by Helen Schulman while I was on vacation. My in-laws watch a lot of football and I did a lot of reading on my phone while they yelled at the TV. I’m over halfway through this now and really enjoying it.
I’m over halfway through Singing My Him Song by Malachy McCourt as well. This one is OK, not my favorite but for sure entertaining. I’m hoping to have it finished next week.
I finished my audiobook on Thanksgiving so I started a new one right away. I’m listening to Persona Non Grata by Ruth Downie. This is the third book in her Medicus series and I’m loving it as much as the last.

Recently finishedTwo finished! Here’s the progress I’ve been waiting for. The first was Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf which I finished Wednesday night right before my flight. This book was really good and I have a lot to post about it. Look for a review, a movie review, and a book club reflection in the next two weeks! I gave the book Three out of Five Stars.
I also finished The Book of Fate by Brad Meltzer on Thanksgiving. My husband and I went on a run so we’d have room for all the yummy food and I finished this as we turned back on my sister-in-law’s street. Perfect timing! I also gave it Three out of Five Stars.

Reading Next: I’ve got two book club selections to read by January so I’ll likely tackle one of those next. The first is The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester. I haven’t read a non-fiction book in a while so I’m a bit excited about this one.
The second is Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin. I have a feeling this one is going to pull at my heartstrings so I’ll be sure to keep a box of tissues nearby!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!