Friday, April 30, 2021

Friday Memes: Wicked All Night by Jeaniene Frost

 Happy Friday everybody!

Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Rose City ReaderThe Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Beginning:
A week ago, a demon teleporting into my room would've sent me running for the nearest weapon.
Friday 56:
I felt my back hit the wall behind me, and I leaned against it because I suddenly needed the support. Now, I didn't feel like screaming. I felt like weeping.
The week I am spotlighting Wicked All Night by Jeaniene Frost which is a recent addition to TBR Mountain. Here is the description from Amazon:
Set in New York Times best-selling author Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress World, ancient deities are poised to wreak havoc, unless vampires Veritas and Ian can stop them…in this thrilling Night Rebel novel!

A gift from the gods...

Veritas and Ian have finally defeated their worst enemy, but the power it took to pierce through to the netherworld has unexpected consequences. Soon, Veritas is forced to rely on the last person she trusts - a golden deity named Phanes, who seeks far more than a temporary alliance with the beautiful vampire.

Can unleash hell....

But an escape from the netherworld soon pits Veritas and Ian against supernatural beings seeking to rule over mortals once again. Now, they must rally friends and foes alike - if the vampire council doesn’t execute Veritas first. Plus, a wedge between Veritas and Ian threatens to destroy their love. Can they stand together against the unearthly powers about to be unleashed? Or does their love - and humanity - not stand a chance?

Thursday, April 29, 2021

ARC Review: The Lady Has a Past by Amanda Quick

The Lady Has a Past

Author:
Amanda Quick
Series: Burning Cove (Book 5)
Publication: Berkley (May 4, 2021)

Description: Beauty and glamour meet deception and revenge in this electrifying novel by New York Times bestselling author Amanda Quick

Investigative apprentice Lyra Brazier, the newest resident of Burning Cove, is unsettled when her boss suddenly disappears. Lyra knows something has happened to Raina Kirk, and tracks down her last known appearance at an exclusive hotel and health spa. The health spa is known for its luxurious offerings and prestigious clientele, and the wealthy, socialite background Lyra desperately wanted to leave behind is perfect for this undercover job. What Lyra lacks in investigative experience she makes up for in gut instinct, and her gut isn’t happy that she’s saddled with a partner by Luther Pell, Raina’s dangerous lover, who wants to bring in someone with more experience to help.

Instead of the suave, pistol-packing private eye she expected, though, Simon Cage is a mild-mannered antiquarian book dealer with a quiet, academic air, and a cool, remote gaze. Lyra suspects that Simon is much more than what he seems, and her instincts are confirmed when they arrive at the spa and pose as a couple: Simon has a unique gift that allows him to detect secrets, a skill that is crucial in finding Raina.

The unlikely duo falls down a rabbit hole of twisted rumors and missing socialites, discovering that the health spa is a fa├žade for something far darker than they imagined. With a murderer in their midst, Raina isn't the only one in grave danger—Lyra is next.

My Thoughts: In this return to Burning Cove, Lyra Brazier is an apprentice private investigator on her first case. She was sent by Raina Kirk to interview a woman who was afraid of her husband. She walks into the back yard to see him trying to drown her. She stops him with a well-placed three iron but Mrs. Adlington wanted to be sure and clubbed him again while Lyra was going out front to get the police.

Lyra's first day wasn't what she was expecting and the rest of the week wasn't much better. On her second day of work, she learns that Raina has developed an urgent need to leave town to take care of some personal business and Lyra was suddenly in charge of Kirk Investigations.

Meanwhile, Simon Cage runs into trouble while authenticating a rare book using his paranormal talent. When he gets out of there, he decides he needs a vacation complete with a lounge chair, an ice cold martini, and maybe a fast woman looking for a no-strings affair. Since he sometimes works for Luther Pell, he decides Burning Cove is the right spot for his vacation.

Lyra and Simon soon get involved in he investigation to locate Raina and the clues lead them to Labyrinth Springs and Guppy's House of Beauty. Their cover is to be newlyweds on their honeymoon. With Lyra's talent for getting anyone to talk to her and Simon's ability to get impressions from objects, their investigation and problems quickly escalate.

Raina has been kidnapped but not as a usual part of the blackmail scheme centered on the resort. Now someone is cleaning up and leaving a trail of bodies behind. One of them is almost Lyra. 

I really liked Lyra who is smart and savvy and just a little lost as she is changing her life goals. She knows she won't be picked by her father to run his shipping business and needs another career. Simon is also great. I liked his secrets and his growing need for Lyra. 

The story had a great 1930s setting, lots of great dialog, and a fast-paced and exciting plot.

Favorite Quote:
"Sooner or later you'll talk," Lyra growled in an exaggerated movie villain voice. "Everybody does."

"To you?"

"Yep. The hard part is making them stop."

He had the horrifying feeling she was right.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

ARC Review: Thief of Souls by Brian Klingborg

Thief of Souls

Author:
Brian Klingborg
Series: Inspector Lu Fei Mysteries (Book 1)
Publication: Minotaur Books (May 4, 2021)

Description: In Brian Klingborg's Thief of Souls, the brutal murder of a young woman in a rural village in Northern China sends shockwaves all the way to Beijing―but seemingly only Inspector Lu Fei, living in exile in the small town, is interested in justice for the victim.

Lu Fei is a graduate of China’s top police college but he’s been assigned to a sleepy backwater town in northern China, where almost nothing happens and the theft of a few chickens represents a major crime wave. That is until a young woman is found dead, her organs removed, and joss paper stuffed in her mouth. The CID in Beijing―headed by a rising political star―is on the case but in an increasingly authoritarian China, prosperity and political stability are far more important than solving the murder of an insignificant village girl. As such, the CID head is interested in pinning the crime on the first available suspect rather than wading into uncomfortable truths, leaving Lu Fei on his own.

As Lu digs deeper into the gruesome murder, he finds himself facing old enemies and creating new ones in the form of local Communist Party bosses and corrupt business interests. Despite these rising obstacles, Lu remains determined to find the real killer, especially after he links the murder to other unsolved homicides. But the closer he gets to the heart of the mystery, the more he puts himself and his loved ones in danger.

My Thoughts: This murder mystery is set in modern day China and stars Lu Fen who is a graduate of China's top police college but he's been exiled to a small town in northern China. Crimes are usually small in the town until the body of a young woman is found. She's been strangled, assaulted, and cut open to remove her lungs, liver and heart.

The easiest suspect would be a young man who want to school with her and who has been stalking her but Lu Fen isn't convinced that he's the murderer. As he looks into Yen Fenfang's life he finds other possibilities including the sugar daddy who's been paying for her apartment in Harbin.

Things get even more complicated when it is discovered that Yen Fenfang is not the first woman who was murdered in a similar fashion. Chinese record keeping isn't the most accurate record keeping since failure to solve crimes could lead to serious loss of face.

Lu Fen isn't alone in his investigation. Higher ups from Beijing come to help begin the investigation bringing big city expertise and profiling to the case. However, they head for the next crime and leave Lu Feng to continue his investigation. 

I enjoyed the story and the glimpse into modern China. I liked that Lu Fen was determined to do his job to the best of his ability despite efforts of those with more power to divert his actions. I enjoyed the mystery which had a number of twists and turns. 

Fans of international mysteries will enjoy Lu Fen's first adventure and be looking forward to more.

Favorite Quote:
Sadly, after a thousand-plus years of corruption, abuse, and incompetence, your average Chinese citizen regards the institution of law enforcement as equivalent to a pit of quicksand. A hazard that is largely avoidable--but if you are careless enough to step in it, you're probably screwed.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

ARC Review: Shadowed Steel by Chloe Neill

Shadowed Steel

Author:
Chloe Neill
Series: An Heirs of Chicagoland Novel (Book 3)
Publication: Berkley (May 4, 2021)

Description: In the third installment in the USA Today bestselling Heirs of Chicagoland series, the vampires in Elisa Sullivan's world are out for blood.

Elisa Sullivan is the only vampire ever born, and she bears a heavy legacy. After a sojourn with the North American Central Pack of shifters in the wilderness—where she turned a young woman into a vampire to save her life—Elisa returns to Chicago.

But no good deed goes unpunished. The ruling body of vampires, the Assembly of American Masters, is furious that Elisa turned someone without their permission, and they want her punished. When an AAM vampire is found dead, Elisa is the prime suspect. Someone else is stalking Chicago—and Elisa. She'll need to keep a clear head, and a sharp blade, to survive all the supernatural strife.

My Thoughts: In this third book in the Heirs of Chicagoland series, Elisa Sullivan finds herself in trouble with the Assembly of American Masters for making a human into a vampire in the previous book in this series. 

Vampires from the Compliance Bureau have come to Chicago to demand that Elisa join a House or face the consequences which include testing and/or facing a kind of imprisonment until she complies. Testing is not something she will agree to. She hasn't even told her parents about her monster half. Only her best friend Lulu and her boyfriend Connor know about it.

When Blake, one of the vampires from the Compliance Bureau, is found messily dead, Elisa is pulled in for questioning by the Ombud's Office where she has been working. She's put on administrative leave while the investigation goes on which makes her very determined to find out who killed Blake.

Elisa has also attracted a stalker who is sending her creepy notes which talk about their very close relationship. Elisa has no idea who's sending the messages but she's concerned that the stalker seems to be targeting her friends including Connor.

This was a very entertaining story filled with both action and vampire politics. I like the way Elisa's  relationship with Connor is progressing. I also like her determination to make her own choices and not let anything, including disappointing her parents, get in the way of making the right choices for her life. I enjoyed the worldbuilding and the near-future setting of the story. 

Favorite Quote:
"We follow the rules we can; we break them if it's necessary to save others. "Put that on a damn pennant, I thought, and fly it above the loft.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Monday, April 26, 2021

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (April 26, 2021)

 It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.


It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.  It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.

I will be combining my YA and adult reading and purchases on this one weekly roundup.

Other Than Reading...

This was rather strange weather week. I woke up this morning to snow covered ground and continuing snow until about 10:30 AM. It's 2:10 PM now and there is no snow anywhere. Just a couple of days ago I walked outside with the temperature in the lower 60s. The day before that I woke up to a dusting of snow on the ground. I guess this is really typical April weather here in northern Minnesota but I'll be glad when the temperatures are consistently in the 60s or higher.

I haven't gone anywhere but the grocery store all week. I've been spending my time reading and listening to books and watching baseball on TV. I did bake bread today for the first time in a few weeks. I really do like the scent of fresh bread filling the house. We had been subsisting on store-bought bread for a while since I wanted to have some varieties that I don't bake - like rye bread and fancy whole-grain breads - for a change. 

Next week looks to be more of the same. The books on my stack are all review books with June releases. My May blog calendar is all scheduled except for these It's Monday posts. I currently have 34 posts scheduled for later publication and also 34 in draft mode. 

Read Last Week

If you can't wait until the review shows up on my blog, reviews are posted to LibraryThing and Goodreads as soon as I write them (usually right after I finish reading a book.)
  • Legacy by Nora Roberts (Review; May 25) -- The latest in the authors standalone romantic suspense novels tells a great story with Roberts' trademarks: great friendships, great romance, and great dialog. This one even has cute kids and cuter dogs. My review will be posted on May 19.
  • Carousel Tides by Sharon Lee (Mine; Audiobook) -- This book begins a contemporary fantasy trilogy set at an amusement park in coastal Maine. It is filled with interesting magic and wonderful characters. My review will be posted on May 18.
  • Death in Daylesford by Kerry Greenwood (Review; June 1) -- This is the 21st in the Phryne Fisher mystery series and was a great addition. I love the 1920s time period and the Australian setting. My review will be posted on May 25.
  • Carousel Sun by Sharon Lee (Mine; Audiobook) -- Middle book of a contemporary fantasy series has the main character learning more about her powers and building her relationships with her land and her new boyfriend. My review will be posted on July 3.
  • The Gift of Magic by Sharon Lee (Mine) -- Two short stories set in the same world as the Carousel Tides trilogy.
  • Spell Bound by Sharon Lee (Mine) -- Two short stories set in the same world as the Carousel Tides trilogy.
  • Surfside by Sharon Lee (Mine) -- Two short stories set in the same world as the Carousel Tides trilogy.
  • Carousel Seas by Sharon Lee (Mine; Audiobook) -- The conclusion to the Carousel Tides trilogy was filled with action and magic. This is an engaging contemporary fantasy series set in a beach town in Maine. My review will be posted on July 13.
  • A Rogue's Company by Allison Montclair (Review; June 8) -- This historical mystery set in the aftermath of World War II has great characters and a nicely twisty mystery too. My review will be posted on May 27.
DNF
  • Undercover Wolf by Paige Tyler (Review; May 25) -- This is the second in a series and, apparently, it is really necessary to read the first one before this one because I was totally lost trying to follow the story and the characters.
Currently
Next Week
Reviews Posted
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?

New Review:
Bought:
What was your week like?

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Book Review: Bootlegger's Daughter by Margaret Maron

Bootlegger's Daughter

Author:
Margaret Maron
Series: A Deborah Knott Mystery (Book 1)
Publication: Maron and Company (December 31, 2013)

Description: Deborah Knott was expected to be a conventional little girl and eventually a conventional woman, worshipped on a pedestal by a conventional husband.

Instead, she became an attorney, infiltrating the old boy network that still rules the tobacco country of Colleton County, North Carolina. Some say her success is a sign of the New South, but no one knows better than she the power of the past—her family’s long history in the area is a major asset in her campaign for district judge. Then again, as the strong-willed daughter of Kezzie Knott—notorious bootlegger, ex-con, and political string-puller—history is also one of her greatest problems.

But it’s an episode from the more recent past that threatens to derail her campaign. As a teen, Deborah used to babysit little Gayle Whitehead for her mother, Janie. One rainy spring day eighteen years ago, both mother and daughter disappeared. When they were found three days later Gayle was dehydrated, dirty, and hungry...and Janie was dead. The unsolved murder became a local legend and an enigma that continues to haunt Gayle, who now begs Deborah to investigate.

With no real faith in her investigative skills, Deborah asks a variety of questions on her campaign tour of the county’s rallies—and soon her attention is distracted from the hurly-burly of politics by troubling new evidence. Deborah now faces the realization that the disadvantages of being the single female candidate in a southern judgeship race, and even the disadvantages of being Kezzie Knott’s daughter, are nothing in comparison to posing a threat to a successful murderer...

My Thoughts: This first Deborah Knott mystery introduces lawyer Deborah Knott who has decided to run for district judge. She is outraged at what she sees as betrayal of justice from a bigoted, snobbish judge and believes that she can do better.

She is running in her home county where she's related to many and knows many more. She comes with a reputation of her own since her father was a well-known bootlegger who went to prison but then had his sentence expunged. Now he's a prominent businessman in the county with lots of political power. Deborah and her father are currently estranged because she isn't the picture of a usual Southern woman and he doesn't understand why she wanted to be a lawyer and now wants to be a judge.

She's busy with her campaign when Gayle Whitehead comes to see her. Eighteen years earlier, Gayle and her mother Janie went missing. Janie was found a few days later dead in an old abandoned mill. Gayle was found in a babyseat near her mother dehydrated and dirty. The murder was never solved but not Gayle wants Deborah to look into it one last time.

Deborah babysat for Gayle and more recently she's dated Gayle's dad Jed Whitehead who she had a crush on as a teenager. She tries to discourage Gayle but eventually agrees to look into it as she is campaigning.

As Deborah investigates, she apparently is too close to buried secrets and becomes a target herself. First someone tries to damage her campaign and then shots are fired. I really enjoyed getting to know the characters Deborah meets and interviews in this story set in the early 90s. Racial tensions are still high. Homosexuals are not well-accepted. Cell phones aren't yet in everybody's pocket. 

I loved the Southern setting with the strong sense of community. I loved Deborah who has a strong sense of justice and great tolerance for the old boy network while finding her own way to work around it. This is the first of a 20 book series and I look forward to reading many more.

Favorite Quote:
Every time we start thinking we're the center of the universe, the universe turns around and says with a slightly distracted air, "I'm sorry. What'd you say your name was again?"
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Friday Memes: Bootlegger's Daughter by Margaret Maron

 Happy Friday everybody!

Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Rose City ReaderThe Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Beginning:
Possum Creek trickles out of a swampy waste a little south of Raleigh. By the time it gets down to Cotton Grove, in the western part of Colleton County, it's a respectable stream, deep enough to float rafts and canoes for several miles at a stretch.
Friday 56:
"And that was the last time anyone was positive that they'd seen Janie Poole Whitehead alive," said Scotty.
This week I'm spotlighting the first book in a mystery series that is new to me. I heard about Bootlegger's Daughter by Margaret Maron after the author passed away and some other authors I admire talked about her influence on their work. 

Here is the description from Amazon:
Deborah Knott was expected to be a conventional little girl and eventually a conventional woman, worshipped on a pedestal by a conventional husband.
Instead, she became an attorney, infiltrating the old boy network that still rules the tobacco country of Colleton County, North Carolina. Some say her success is a sign of the New South, but no one knows better than she the power of the past—her family’s long history in the area is a major asset in her campaign for district judge. Then again, as the strong-willed daughter of Kezzie Knott—notorious bootlegger, ex-con, and political string-puller—history is also one of her greatest problems.

But it’s an episode from the more recent past that threatens to derail her campaign. As a teen, Deborah used to babysit little Gayle Whitehead for her mother, Janie. One rainy spring day eighteen years ago, both mother and daughter disappeared. When they were found three days later Gayle was dehydrated, dirty, and hungry...and Janie was dead. The unsolved murder became a local legend and an enigma that continues to haunt Gayle, who now begs Deborah to investigate.

With no real faith in her investigative skills, Deborah asks a variety of questions on her campaign tour of the county’s rallies—and soon her attention is distracted from the hurly-burly of politics by troubling new evidence. Deborah now faces the realization that the disadvantages of being the single female candidate in a southern judgeship race, and even the disadvantages of being Kezzie Knott’s daughter, are nothing in comparison to posing a threat to a successful murderer...

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Book and Audio Review: Ghost Hunter by Jayne Castle

Ghost Hunter

Author:
Jayne Castle
Narrator: Laural Merlington
Series: Harmony (Book 3)
Publication: Berkley (May 30, 2006); Brilliance Audio (October 17, 2008)
Length: 335 p.; 9 hours and 18 minutes

Description: Where deadly energy ghosts lurk in the ruins of an ancient alien civilization.

Where dust bunnies prove to be loyal pets.

And where a ghost hunter will discover that a woman’s heart is the most dangerous adversary of all.…

Local Guild boss and powerful ghost hunter Cooper Boone is everything botanist Elly St. Clair could ask for—the handsome, strong and silent type. Maybe too silent. For when Guild secrets threaten her career at the college, Elly has to call off their marriage—and leave small-town life behind...

But starting over in the thriving metropolis of Cadence City isn’t easy, especially when one of Elly’s new friends disappears in the eerie catacombs beneath the streets. Cooper turns up just in time to help Elly investigate. And as the mystery deepens and dangerous ghost myths and legends come to light, Cooper makes it clear he intends to stick around—and this time he’s holding nothing back…

My Thoughts: This third Harmony paranormal romance takes place in Cadence City. Elly St. Clair is from a Guild family but she doesn't have the usual ghost hunter or tangler paranormal powers. That makes her family think that she is somehow fragile and needs protecting. But Elly has a new unusual paranormal power and she is neither fragile or helpless. 

When her romance with new Aurora Springs Guild boss Cooper Boone disappoints her, she decides to start again in Cadence City. She had fallen in love with Cooper but doesn't think he loves her. She's afraid that he only wants her because of her Guild connections. She opens an herb shop, adopts a dust bunny named Rose, and makes friends with some of her neighborhood ruin rats.

But Cooper isn't willing to let her go. He has a plan to win her back but decides to give her some time in the hopes that she will miss him. After six months, he heads to Cadence City to win back his girl.

Cooper arrives at a bad time. One of Elly's friends has been attacked down in the catacombs. Elly is determined to find her and Cooper's reappearance in her life is fortuitous since she needs a ghost hunter to help her locate her friend. Finding her friend leads to all sorts of problems including a new drug sweeping the city and someone determined to frame Cooper for its presence. Also, Cooper himself has an unusual and secret paranormal talent.

Besides the usual romantic misunderstandings between the two characters, there are all sorts of secrets to uncover for both characters. Elly's ability to see the psi emanations of plants and Cooper's ability to work with blue light mean that psychic talents are increasing and diversifying among the settlers of Harmony. They are also dealing with a villain who wants what Elly can do for him since he is eager to use her and her Guild connections and doesn't care who dies along the way. 

I thought Elly was a little bit whiny but ultimately enjoyed this science fiction lite paranormal romance. I am especially fond of dust bunnies and Rose is a great one. I loved her fascination with wearing Elly's bracelets as necklaces. I also like the idea of hidden rainforests down in the catalcombs built by long-fone aliens.

This one would be great for people who want a little science fiction and lots of romance in their reading. The narrator did a nice job with the pacing of the story. 

Favorite Quote:
"Figures," he said, sounding resigned. "Other Guild bosses have loyal minions to guard their backs. I get a dust bunny who's into glitz."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Book Review: The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn

The Viscount Who Loved Me

Author:
Julia Quinn
Series: Bridgertons (Book 2)
Publication: Avon; Reprint edition (April 28, 2015)

Description: ANTHONY’S STORY

This time the gossip columnists have it wrong. London’s most elusive bachelor Anthony Bridgerton hasn’t just decided to marry—he’s even chosen a wife! The only obstacle is his intended’s older sister, Kate Sheffield—the most meddlesome woman ever to grace a London ballroom. The spirited schemer is driving Anthony mad with her determination to stop the betrothal, but when he closes his eyes at night, Kate’s the woman haunting his increasingly erotic dreams...

Contrary to popular belief, Kate is quite sure that reformed rakes do not make the best husbands—and Anthony Bridgerton is the most wicked rogue of them all. Kate’s determined to protect her sister—but she fears her own heart is vulnerable. And when Anthony’s lips touch hers, she’s suddenly afraid she might not be able to resist the reprehensible rake herself...

My Thoughts: Anthony Bridgerton has a plan. He has decided that it is time for him to marry and, after looking over the year's crop of debutantes, has chosen Miss Edwina Sheffield who is the season's Incomparable.

Edwina's older sister Kate is also making her debut since family finances couldn't cover two separate trips to London and two separate seasons. She has taken a strong dislike to Viscount Anthony Bridgerton because she does not believe that reformed Rakes make good husbands. She loves her half-sister Edwina and wants her to find a proper love match. 

As head of the Bridgerton family since his father's untimely death when Anthony was eighteen, Anthony is not used to not getting what he wants. Edwina fills all the categories he wants in a wife and, most of all, he doesn't love her. He believes that he will die young as his father did and doesn't want to have any more emotional entanglements in his remaining few years.

He and Kate are constantly butting heads but he is getting more and more intrigued with her. When the two are found in a compromising position, they are forced to marry which doesn't really suit either of their plans. It was entertaining watching them fall in love and come to admit it. 

I liked the Bridgerton's competitive games of Pall Mall where they see who can be the best schemer and cheater. Kate fits right in and holds her own quite well with the Bridgertons. I liked the way Anthony dealt with Kate's terror of thunderstorms and Kate dealt with Anthony's fear of dying young. 

This is an excellent romance packed with humor and heart. 

Favorite Quote:
"Of course!" Colin said. "I suspect you'll fit right in with the rest of us schemers and cheaters."

"Coming from you," Kate said with a laugh, "I know that was a compliment."

"Oh, for certain. Honor and honesty has its time and place, but not in a game of Pall Mall."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Audiobook Review: The Deep Blue Good-by by John D. MacDonald

The Deep Blue Good-by

Author:
John D. MacDonald
Series: Travis McGee (Book 1)
Narrator: Robert Petkoff
Publication: Audible Studios (March 13, 2012)
Length: 6 hours

Description: From a beloved master of crime fiction, The Deep Blue Good-by is one of many classic novels featuring Travis McGee, the hard-boiled detective who lives on a houseboat.

Travis McGee is a self-described beach bum who won his houseboat in a card game. He’s also a knight-errant who’s wary of credit cards, retirement benefits, political parties, mortgages, and television. He only works when his cash runs out, and his rule is simple: He’ll help you find whatever was taken from you, as long as he can keep half.

“John D. MacDonald was the great entertainer of our age, and a mesmerizing storyteller.”—Stephen King

McGee isn’t particularly strapped for cash, but how can anyone say no to Cathy, a sweet backwoods girl who’s been tortured repeatedly by her manipulative ex-boyfriend Junior Allen? What Travis isn’t anticipating is just how many women Junior has torn apart and left in his wake. Enter Junior’s latest victim, Lois Atkinson.

Frail and broken, Lois can barely get out of bed when Travis finds her, let alone keep herself alive. But Travis turns into Mother McGee, giving Lois new life as he looks for the ruthless man who steals women’s spirits and livelihoods. But he can’t guess how violent his quest is soon to become. He’ll learn the hard way that there must be casualties in this game of cat and mouse

My Thoughts: THE DEEP BLUE GOOD-BY is the first Travis McGee mystery. It was written in 1964 and introduces Travis McGee who is a knight errant with really rusty armor. He lives on a houseboat he won in a poker game and is taking his retirement when he has the money. He'll help those in trouble when the law won't -- but he works for half of what he recovers.

Cathy Kerr comes to him with an interesting case. She knows her daddy brought something back from the War and hid it but then was sentenced to life in prison for killing an officer. After her daddy dies, Junior Allen comes around and moves in on her and her sister. He wants what her daddy hid. Along the way he wants to rape and brutalize Cathy and other women too.

Travis takes the job and begins to backtrack Cathy's daddy to figure out what he had hidden. He also discovers another of Allen's victims in divorcee Lois Atkinson who is near to death from Junior's attentions. Travis becomes Nurse McGee to take care of her and try to build back what Junior Allen destroyed.

This was a fascinating series beginning. McGee is a great character who has dropped out of the society of his day and has a keen eye for people. He doesn't trust much. Not politics, not credit cards, not the daily grind that occupies so many. He is tough on the bad guys and tender with the helpless victims and a proponent of tough love. He's trustworthy but not someone to build long-term plans with. He keeps his distance and tries to remain emotionally detached. 

I first read this book somewhere around 1972. My paperback copy has a $.60 cover price but a notation inside the cover says I paid $.40 for it. I bought the Audible version when it was on sale for $5.00 the other day. Listening to this one brought back the time when I read it and the time when it was written. It hasn't lost anything in excitement and action and intriguing characters. 

I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Monday, April 19, 2021

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (April 19, 2021)

 It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.


It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.  It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.

I will be combining my YA and adult reading and purchases on this one weekly roundup.

Other Than Reading...

This was generally a quiet week. I woke up to snow on the ground one day but the weather warmed up enough for me to go on a half hour outdoor walk later in the week. The weather was great on Friday but I didn't get outside for a walk because of an afternoon baseball game and because I was quite tired after getting up for the 7 AM arrival of the guys who installed our new garage door.

I'm writing this Saturday afternoon after another early wake-up so that I could watch Prince Philip's funeral. Now I'm waiting for another afternoon baseball game. If it ends early, I may take an outdoor walk today.

My brother is in charge of dinner today and is making spaghetti using an old Weight Watchers recipe for the sauce that my mother got in the long ago days when she joined that program. Though she's been gone for almost 14 years now, seeing the recipe in her handwriting brings back good memories. 

Also as of Friday afternoon, both of us are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. He does have the two week waiting period for full effectiveness. Cases are still increasing here in our county. There have been outbreaks at one of our high schools and the nearest elementary school to our house. I noted that the self-serve nuts and dried fruits at my grocery store are gone again when I shopped on Friday. I haven't heard of any additional closings of businesses. I'm still content to stay close to home myself.

Read Last Week

If you can't wait until the review shows up on my blog, reviews are posted to LibraryThing and Goodreads as soon as I write them (usually right after I finish reading a book.)
  • A Peculiar Combination by Ashley Weaver (Review; May 25) -- This World War II mystery begins a new series and stars a young woman who is, among other things, a safecracker. My review will be posted on May 8.
  • Bridal Jitters by Jayne Castle (mine) -- This novella takes place on Harmony and is a science fiction romance. 
  • The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King (Audiobook) -- This was the first time I've listened to the audiobook but I've read the print book a few times. My review will be posted June 23.
  • A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie R. King (Audiobook) -- This is the second in the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series. I've read the book but this was the first time I listened to it. 
  • Trader's Leap by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller (Audiobook) - This was a reread of the newest in the Liaden Universe. 
  • Trust Me by Jayne Ann Krentz (Audiobook) -- This was a reread of a book I first read in 1995. While the technology was a little out of date, the banter, action and emotions were right on. My review will be posted on May 13.
Currently
Next Week

These are the next review books on my stack. Since I'm quite a bit ahead, I will likely choose an audiobook or two and maybe something off TBR mountain to read too. 
Reviews Posted
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?

New Review:
New Kindle:
New Audiobooks:
What was your week like?

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Book and Audio Review: The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London

Author:
Garth Nix
Narrator: Marisa Calin
Publication: Katherine Tegen Books (September 22, 2020); Listening Library (September 22, 2020)
Length: 408 p.; 11 hours and 15 minutes

Description: A girl’s quest to find her father leads her to an extended family of magical fighting booksellers who police the mythical Old World of England when it intrudes on the modern world. From the bestselling master of teen fantasy, Garth Nix.

In a slightly alternate London in 1983, Susan Arkshaw is looking for her father, a man she has never met. Crime boss Frank Thringley might be able to help her, but Susan doesn’t get time to ask Frank any questions before he is turned to dust by the prick of a silver hatpin in the hands of the outrageously attractive Merlin.

Merlin is a young left-handed bookseller (one of the fighting ones), who with the right-handed booksellers (the intellectual ones), are an extended family of magical beings who police the mythic and legendary Old World when it intrudes on the modern world, in addition to running several bookshops.

Susan’s search for her father begins with her mother’s possibly misremembered or misspelt surnames, a reading room ticket, and a silver cigarette case engraved with something that might be a coat of arms.

Merlin has a quest of his own, to find the Old World entity who used ordinary criminals to kill his mother. As he and his sister, the right-handed bookseller Vivien, tread in the path of a botched or covered-up police investigation from years past, they find this quest strangely overlaps with Susan’s. Who or what was her father? Susan, Merlin, and Vivien must find out, as the Old World erupts dangerously into the New.

My Thoughts: It is 1983 in an alternate London when Susan Arkshaw comes to try to discover who her father is before she begins an arts course at school. She has stopped to see Frank Thringly who had sent Christmas presents and written to her and her mother for years. She isn't expecting him to be turned to dust via a silver hatpin wielded by Merlin St. Jacques. Nor is she expecting to be forced to flee with Merlin which drops her into a magical world she knew nothing about.

Merlin is one of a line of left-handed booksellers who do more than sell books. Their tasks are to keep legendary creatures under control. Merlin's family includes the left-handed ones who are the fighters and right-handed ones who are the scholars and even-handed ones too. 

Merlin decides to help Susan track down her father because he learns that there is something special and unusual about her and also because she is suddenly in danger from creatures from the other world. Susan doesn't have many clues beyond a reading room ticket with an illegible name and a silver cigarette case with an unknown engraving. 

Merlin is on a quest of his own to find out who murdered his mother. The two investigations look to be linking up. Marisa Calin did a great job narrating this story. The pacing was well done and the characters easily distinguishable. 

The story is filled with intriguing characters, lots of literary references, lots of action and even a romance as Merlin and Susan get to know each other. Fans of contemporary fantasy and coming of age stories will enjoy this well told tale. 

Favorite Quote:
"Children's writers," said Merlin. "Dangerous bunch. They cause us a lot of trouble."

"How?" asked Susan.

'They don't do it on purpose," said Merlin. He opened the door. "But quite often they discover the key to raise some ancient myth, or release something that should have stayed imprisoned, and they share that knowledge via their writing. Stories aren't merely stories, you know. Come on."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Friday Memes: The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix

 Happy Friday everybody!

Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Rose City ReaderThe Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Beginning:
A slight young man with long fair hair, wearing a pre-owned mustard-colored three-piece suit with widely flared trousers and faux alligator-hide boots with two-inch Cuban heels, stood over the much older man on the leather couch.
Friday 56: 
"Thorn House is one of our places in the country," said Merlin. "Dorset, They grow a lot of vegetables there. You'd probably be at home. Whereas I wouldn't be, making it a suitable place to send me for a punishment."

"Growing up in the country doesn't make me a farmer," said Susan. "What were you trying to find out?"
This week I'm spotlighting The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix. This was a recent Kindle Deal. Here is the description from Amazon:
A girl’s quest to find her father leads her to an extended family of magical fighting booksellers who police the mythical Old World of England when it intrudes on the modern world. From the bestselling master of teen fantasy, Garth Nix.

In a slightly alternate London in 1983, Susan Arkshaw is looking for her father, a man she has never met. Crime boss Frank Thringley might be able to help her, but Susan doesn’t get time to ask Frank any questions before he is turned to dust by the prick of a silver hatpin in the hands of the outrageously attractive Merlin.

Merlin is a young left-handed bookseller (one of the fighting ones), who with the right-handed booksellers (the intellectual ones), are an extended family of magical beings who police the mythic and legendary Old World when it intrudes on the modern world, in addition to running several bookshops.

Susan’s search for her father begins with her mother’s possibly misremembered or misspelt surnames, a reading room ticket, and a silver cigarette case engraved with something that might be a coat of arms.

Merlin has a quest of his own, to find the Old World entity who used ordinary criminals to kill his mother. As he and his sister, the right-handed bookseller Vivien, tread in the path of a botched or covered-up police investigation from years past, they find this quest strangely overlaps with Susan’s. Who or what was her father? Susan, Merlin, and Vivien must find out, as the Old World erupts dangerously into the New.