Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Tuesday Book Review on Wednesday


Four-star review of The Peacekeeper (The Good Lands book 1) by B. L. Blanchard

 

Chibenashi is a Peacekeeper in the village of Baawitigong in the Great Lakes Ojibwa nation of a never colonized North America. Twenty years earlier, his mother was murdered during a Manoomin celebration and his father admitted to killing her, so Chibenashi has raised his sullen, withdrawn much younger sister. Now, a woman who has helped him and his sister has been murdered during the same ceremony. His father cannot be responsible since he’s incarcerated in a Shikaakwa prison. The world-building in this novel is commendable including all the cultural differences from life in the US as we know it. I can see why Chibenashi didn’t figure out who the murderer was until near the end of this story, but those around him should have been able to. It was obvious to me. And the true nature of the killer, though a sudden reveal, was predictable. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Tuesday Book Reviews


 Three-star review of Fires of Heaven by Robert Jordan

So far in the series, this fifth one was my least favorite. As usual too much unnecessary description, of course, but also, the focus on Rand and his internal struggles confirms he’s my least favorite character. I like all the women, but they’re all becoming too negative. The dream world was a good way to have the women meet up. Mat’s become a two- or at most three-note character, his gambling, womanizing and fighting his destiny are defining him. And where was Perrin? We spent more time with Siuan than Moiraine and almost none with Lan. It’ll be a while before I start book six, mainly because I don’t care about these characters as much as I did in the earlier books. After the interesting parts about the Aiel in the previous book, they just seem to be there. Yes, the maidens are guarding Rand but their part in the battles is minimal. All in all, a disappointment.

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Tuesday Book Reviews

 


Four-star review of Murder by the Book by Lauren Elliott

 

Overall good start to a cozy mystery series with a few characters that bear further development. Addie Greybourne has inherited her great aunt’s mansion in Greybourne Harbour, as well as her father’s and aunt’s book collection, so she opens a bookshop in the small New England town, that, like all those British small towns, has more murders, and murderers, than residents. And, of course, Addie gets involved. Even the deaths of her father and aunt come under suspicion. This was a quick read.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Tuesday Book Review on Wednesday

 


Four-star review of The Frequency by Amy Quick Parrish

 

This novella, or maybe a very long short story, has a good premise and characters you care about but after a big reveal just ends. There’s every indication that the story will continue, but it seems to be just getting started, that what we have here is a prelude to a more complete story. After her home and her hometown are wiped out by a monster storm and her parents are killed, Emily sets out to find her grandmother and uncovers a conspiracy. So, it’s intriguing and I enjoyed it, as long as it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Tuesday Book Reviews

 

Four-star review of Maybe by Morris Gleitzman

 

This sixth book in this family of books (the author doesn’t want to call it a series) follows Felix’s eventual journey to Australia at the age of 14. His voice is still enthralling, but the characters of Anya and Gosling aren’t as well developed as Zelda and Gabriek were in the earlier books. Some the situations the kids got into seemed overdone. I didn’t feel tension from the ongoing threat of Zliv until the very end. Still, I read this short book in just three days (between everything else I was doing.) Each time I picked it up, I had a hard time putting it down. It comes back to Felix’s voice, the way he tells the story. Maybe it should be four-and-a-half stars.


Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Tuesday Book Review


Four-star review of First Encounter by Jasper Scott

 

This first novel in a new series from one of my favorite Sci-Fi authors has its high points and parts that were uncomfortable for me. Scott created several likeable and dislikeable characters aboard a colony ship from Earth. Their first encounter with alien life leads to unexpected consequences for the officers and colonists, as well as for Earth. How will Clayton and the others get out of the situation they find themselves in at the end? And will they ever successfully set up an Earth colony? Guess I’ll have to read on to find out.


 


Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Tuesday Book Review on Wednesday

 


Five-star review of Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

 Time travel as it's never been done before. I enjoyed Station Eleven, in fact it’s one of my favorite books, and this one from the same author is just as good. On the surface, this is a time travel story, speculative fiction at its best, but through the different narrators, time periods, and obvious links among them, Mandel tells a story of the meaning of time and existence. It stimulates the brain and the heart. Some characters stand out more than others, and one or two get lost in the shuffle but all the threads come together at the end. Still, I would have liked more. Despite the complexity of the text, it’s an easy, quick read. After my recommendation, my book club is reading the book for this month. Will it resonate as much with the diverse people in that group? We’ll see. Meanwhile, like Station Eleven, I plan to read it again and again.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Tuesday Book Reviews

 

4-star review of Cleopatra’s Dagger by Carole Lawrence

Elizabeth is a newspaperwoman in late 19th Century New York City, although she comes from a wealthy family. She goes from covering society stories to being a crime reporter after witnessing a murder and then finding a body where ground is being prepared for installation of the title monument behind the Museum of Natural History, but that’s really the last we read about Cleopatra’s Dagger. The author did her research on conditions during the time of the story, and it shows. There are interesting characters that could be filled out even more. The writing is smooth making for a quick read. Most of the tension is left to the imagination of the reader, but I understand how hard it is to write dangerous situations for a protagonist.

 

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Tuesday Book Reviews


Five-star review of My Evil Mother by Margaret Atwood

 

Actually a long short story, The Evil Mother is about a child’s belief and interpretation of what her mother has told her. Do we consider our mothers’ warnings as coming from a concerned parent or a witch? Do our mothers try to scare us into complying with their demands? If your answer to these questions was ever yes, you’ll be able to relate to the narrator. And when do we become our mothers?

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Tuesday Book Review on Wednesday

 

Four-star review of Murder at the Mortuary by Lee Strauss

 This is the fifth in the Ginger Gold series about an heiress in 1920’s London. Intrepid Lady Gold is on her first official case with help from her pathology student friend Haley, who discovered the first body in the mortuary without an identification tag. With Chief Inspector Basil Reed trying to make a go again with his estranged wife, she can’t rely on him. There are enough suspects who could have removed the tags from the first and succeeding bodies. Throw in a connection to the Mafia and a horse-breeding farm, as well as several interesting characters, and there’s enough of a plot and plot twists for this not-so-cozy historical murder mystery. And through it all we see instances of Ginger’s generosity and also examples of the attitudes, fashion and ambience of the time period.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Tuesday Book Review on Thursday

 

Four-star review of City of Whispers by Marcia Muller

Years ago, I read all the Marcia Muller books I could get my hands on, but I’ve been reading so many other novels lately that I fell behind on the Sharon McCone series. In this one, the twenty-eighth, Sharon is looking for her unstable half-brother Darcy Blackhawk with help from nephew Mick and eventually from her husband. Many of the familiar characters, including other members of her staff are mentioned but don’t appear. With Darcy missing and possibly a murderer, it falls to Shar to search for him. The story revolves around two dead women and their long-ago group of friends. Sharon needs to unravel what happened to the two women in order to find Darcy, whose emotional unbalance is shown in occasional short characters from his POV. The backdrop of a changing San Francisco helps create the atmosphere of the book—especially the slowly clearing fog. My only quibble was the amount of repetition.  

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Tuesday Book Review


 Five-star review of The Bone Thief by Claire Buss

 In this third book in the Roshaven fantasy series, the Spice Ghosts’ bones have been stolen. A series of people are found to have had them at one time, but even though the Spice Ghosts accuse Jenni of stealing them, they ask chief thief catcher Ned and sprite Jenni to find them. A series of adventures, with their fathers, Ned’s new wife and others, eventually leads them to a final confrontation. Jenni, my favorite character in the series, has to make decisions mostly concerning magic. The danger in this one is heightened, increasing the tension from start to finish.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Tuesday Book Review


 

Four-star review of Tall Boots by Linda Wilson

 This lovely book tells the story of a young girl, Ashley, who wants to win a blue ribbon at the 4H horse show. Wonderful pictures accompany the story. She’s trained her horse for a race for girls at her experience level but is mistaken for a more experienced girl because her helmet hides her face. Her horse runs the race, jumping over obstacles and winning the race. Her mother rewards her with a pair of tall black riding boots to replace her red rubber ones. Information on joining 4H is at the end of the book.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Tuesday Book Review on Wednesday

  

Five-star review of The Mapmaker’s Apprentice by C.J. Archer 

As with the first book in this series, I was in the middle of two other books when I started this one and I ignored them until I’d finished this one. It was even better than the first. A young mapmaker’s apprentice has gone missing, and Glass and Steel are asked to find him. India’s hand warms when she touches one of the exquisite maps the apprentice drew, telling her it’s magical, and so is he. Meanwhile, Matt’s Aunt Letitia is trying to arrange a marriage between him and every eligible young woman with at least a little noble blood. Matt’s pals, Cyclops and Duke and his cousin, Willie, join in the fun through the main parts of London in Victorian times. This story involves another guild, this one for mapmakers, as well as the desire to keep their magical abilities secret due to the antipathy of non-magical people.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Tuesday Book Reviews


 Five-star review of A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

 I’d heard of this book but didn’t get it to read until a friend invited me to join her and her book club for a discussion about it. The style is unlike any other book I’ve read but fits in a story about Russia from the 1920’s to the 1950’s. I recognized places in Moscow mentioned in the book, although I didn’t visit the Metropole hotel when I was there almost fifty years after the story ended. Alexander transforms from a Count to just an ordinary bloke, but one with a full life is thanks to his childhood training and adaptability. It’s his relationships with the hotel staff and with the two girls in his life that make the read most enjoyable. I don’t know how accurate the historical parts of the story are, but they don’t seem too far off from what I know.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Tuesday Book Review


 Four-star review of Sideris Gate: Paradisi Chronicles by Cheri Lasota

 This is a great start to a space opera. After the ten ships built to carry the Founders, read riches families who paid for the construction, left the dying Earth, the eleventh ship, reserved by contract for the workers of the Reach Corporation readied to leave. But when Solomon Reach the engineer who owned the company learned that Command Control planned to replace 3,000 of the Reachers with their own family and friends, he sets out to ensure his people are the ones to go. There’s a lot of intrigue but more scrambling through passages between the decks. I’ve enjoyed other books about the Paradisi Project, but this tells the story from a different angle.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Tuesday Book Review


 Four-star review of Devil’s Corner by Lisa Scottoline

 At first, I couldn’t get into this book by one of my favorite writers, but it built and built. I especially enjoyed the development of the friendship between Vicki and Reheema, certainly more than the relationship with Dan. The idea that someone trained as a lawyer would take the chances she did was a bit surprising, but there wouldn’t be a story without that. She wouldn’t have been able to connect dots. I liked her parents at the end, and I guess she did too, but rather than Vicki telling us about them early on, I would have liked to see more of their interactions with her. The mix of murder, drugs and guns leads to a complicated plot.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

 

 Five-star review of Maids of Misfortune by M. Louisa Locke

I thoroughly enjoyed Locke’s foray into science fiction with her Ddaera trilogy and was glad to see her sense of humor again in this historical mystery. Billed as a Victorian San Francisco Mystery doesn’t do it enough justice. Annie Fuller, a young widow whose husband lost any money they had and then committed suicide, finds herself the proprietress of a mansion that has been turned into a boarding house. There, as clairvoyant Sybil to earn extra money, she advises gentlemen about how to invest their funds based on a study of business conditions. When a client, Matthew Voss, is murdered, one of Voss’s lawyers comes looking for Sybil because Voss left her stocks. Annie becomes involved in the case and with the lawyer, disguising herself even more to act as a maid in Voss’s home. This is the first book in a long series. I look forward to reading more about Annie, her boarders and staff, and the lawyer, Nate.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

 


Four-star review of Hidden Prey by John Sandford

 Very interesting and action-packed entry in Sandford’s Prey series about Lucas Davenport. The plausibility that a Russian group, living in northern Minnesota may still be loyal to their Communist beginnings made it more than interesting. I liked the fact that the story wasn’t neatly tied up in a bow, not because this isn’t the end of the series, but because it made it true to life. Bureaucracy and politics prevent easy solutions. I also liked that the woman who was homeless at the beginning evaded being caught up in the drama. Finally, I like that Lucas is not a know-it-all. He makes mistakes in his thinking. He gets sidetracked. And he doesn’t always get cooperation of those he works with.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022


Five-star review of Through Ddaera’s Touch by M. Louisa Locke 

Although a few thread are left dangling after the end of this third book of the Caelestis Trilogy of the Paradisi Chronicles, it still is a satisfying ending. The development of the relationship of Mei Lin and Jaxon, the wonderful sentient Daeran animals and hybrids, and the cooperation among the Daerans, the Challenger passengers and at least some of the original settlers all contribute to the enjoyment. Although there are a few other Paradisi Chronicle books, I hope there’s another series coming where Mei Lin’s brother Albert gets his due and she shows everyone why her great grandmother made Mei Lin her heir. I also want to know what caused the psychic abilities of a few of the characters, perhaps from Dr. Eleanor’s viewpoint.