Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Tuesday book review on Wednesday

Four-star review of Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of the Hidden Jewels: Skylar Robbins Mysteries Book 2 by Carrie Cross

 Shades of Nancy Drew and some of the other mystery series I read as a kid, this one features thirteen-year-old Skylar Robbins. When her parents can afford a larger house, Skylar and her father convince her mother to purchase a one hundred year old four-story mansion on a hill near Santa Monica, California so Skylar can attend Pacific, the same middle school as her BFF dyslexic Alexa. Along with the house comes the mystery of the disappearance of former owner Xandra Collins and her box of valuable jewels. Skylar, who’s determined to start a detective agency as well as to attract the attention of classmate Dustin, sets out to solve the case of the missing jewels following clues Xandra left. Whoever can find the box can keep the jewels inside. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Tuesday Book Reviews

Four-star review of Hidden in Snow (The Åre Murders Book One) by Viveca Sten translated by Marlaine Delargy

This start to a Swedish murder mystery set in the northern skiing area of the country made me shiver for many reasons. A few of the flawed central characters were well-developed because it was told from multiple POVs. Hanna Ahlander is taking a break from her stressful job working with battered women for the Stockholm police but the young woman who comes to clean at the home where she’s staying, her sister’s place in the mountains, shows signs of being battered. Meanwhile, an eighteen-year-old woman from the area has gone missing after a party and the local police, led by Daniel Lindskog, set out to investigate. As others have noted, there is some strange formatting in a few of the early chapters at least in the Kindle version of the story, which distracted from the multiple plots. Otherwise, this is a solid Nordic noir story. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Tuesday Book Review

Five-star review of The Case of the Canterfell Codicil (Anty Boisjoly  Mysteries Book One) by PJ Fitzsimmons

This fun quick read features two locked room mysteries and, to solve them, as the POV main character, Anthony Boisjoly, a witty Englishman whose greatest accomplishment was being on the Oxford rowing team. Former teammate Evelyn Fairfax (‘Fiddles’) Canterfell invites Anty to join him at the families manor in Sussex when his uncle jumps from a window of a locked room and that’s just the start of the excitement. Like most amateur detectives, he notices much the police don’t. The setting is very British including the town where the manor is located. I enjoyed this novel enough to look forward to the next one in the series.    

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Tuesday Book Review on Wednesday


Three-star review of Over Her Dead Body by Susan Walter

 A convoluted story with several predictable twists and a couple that weren’t predictable. The characters were well-developed. Too bad none of them were particularly likeable with flaws and actions that would be hard to forgive. Would-be actress Ashley becomes entangled with former casting director Louisa’s dysfunctional family. Told from the POV of each of the characters, including Ashley’s housemate, the book repeats scenes from different viewpoints, often revealing secrets each character has. Still, this was a fast, sometimes suspenseful read. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Tuesday Book Review


Five-star review of Keeper of Enchanted Rooms (Whimbrel House Book 1) by Charlie N. Holmberg

 Another fun fantasy read from Charlie N. Holmberg. When author Merritt Fernsby suddenly inherits a house said to haunted on an otherwise uninhabited island in Narragansett Bay, Hulda Larkin, trained to tame enchanted houses, is assigned as his housekeeper by BIKER, the Boston Institute for the Keeping of Enchanted Rooms. Merritt’s previous estrangement from his family over a teenage indiscretion and Hulda’s prior encounter with British magician extraordinaire Silas Hogwood, who steals magical abilities from others eventual present obstacles to their life at Whimbrel House.

 The characters are well-developed, particularly Merritt and Hulda. Interesting steam punk-like kinetic energy-driven boats and trams add a touch of science fiction to a story set in the mid-1800s in New England. I always felt like I was there with the characters on their adventures. The touch of romance was just right. I want be Charlie Holmberg when I grow up or at least write like her, given she’s less than half my age.


Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Tuesday Book Review on Wednesday


Four-star (more like 4.5-star) review of A Train to Moscow by Elena Gorakhova

 This was an interesting book. I couldn't help comparing it to Annie Karenina, (spoiler alert) especially the ending. Then again, it’s Russia and a rather Russian story. I also thought of Casablanca at the end. A girl, Sasha, grows up in a tiny Russian hamlet and dreams of becoming an Actress. (The capital A is appropriate.) Acting and playing a fictional character, for her, is important as a way to show people reality, but she lives in post-WWII Russia, where art of any kind is restricted to that which shows the Soviet Union in a good light. Although she earns a place at a drama school in Moscow and goes on to a career at a theater in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), she also must deal with friends and family at home. Her grandmother waits for a son who never came home from the war but also supports Sasha emotionally. Her mother, a doctor, seems to struggle with what she believes. And her stern grandfather frowns at her choice of career and is a die-hard Communist. Her remaining childhood best friend and sometime lover rises through the ranks of the party. The plot is tightly woven and the characters well-written. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Tuesday Book Review


Five-star review of Vox by Christina Dalcher

 This is a book I’d recommend not only to women but also to men. It’s a cautionary story about a near-future United States where women and girls are limited to 100 words a day. A band on their wrists shocks them for each word over that and after a certain number of infractions they are brought before Reverend Carl Corbin, instigator for the Pure Movement, the quasi-religious and political push to limit women’s rights. Women can’t have a bank account, hold a job, even read a book. The first-person protagonist, Jean McClellan, a neurolinguist, wasn't allowed to finish her work on a serum to reverse aphasia. She’s now a stay-at-home mother to four children, the youngest a girl. Mounting motivations for Jean to do something include an adulterous affair with a former colleague, my least favorite part of the story. Her fears for her daughter’s future and her own mother’s illness in Italy are more acceptable reasons. There were a couple of holes in the plot but were supplanted by the message about not standing by and watching as these things creep up on us.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Tuesday book review


Three-star review of Credible Threat, Ali Reynolds series book 15 by J.A. Jance

 Surprisingly stilted dialog in the 15th book in the series. I’ve enjoyed Jance’s other series and always found the writing smooth, but this story of a woman would-be assassin after the priest at the head of the Phoenix, Arizona diocese was repetitious at times with way too many descriptions of people driving somewhere. It could have been a tighter write and thereby a more exciting read. The elements and characters for all kinds of tension were there, and some were realized, but I wish that more were. Telling the story from Ali’s viewpoint, the murderer’s and others required intricate plotting and timing but also contributed to the reader being told the same things more than once.


Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Tuesday Book Review

Four-star review for Can I Get There By Candlelight?

 A lovely time travel story for middle grade students and up, this tells the adventures of a young girl, Gail, who’s living in an old carriage house with her parents while their new house is being built. One day she rides out on her horse Candy, short for Candlelight, through the woods and eventually comes out on the lawn of a mansion of a house where she’s greeted by Hilary, the lonely resident of the house, whose parents and siblings are in Europe for the summer. Little by little, Gail suspects she’s gone back in time to when the area was covered with mansions and girls had tea parties in summerhouses. This book was published in 1980 and it shows in little and big things, including the absence of any electronics. Could it have happened today?Four-star review for Can I Get There By Candlelight?


Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Tuesday Book Review


Five-star review of Grand Ellipse by Paula Volsky

This book was surprisingly enjoyable to read. I thought it would be like Around the World in Eighty Days, but it was so much more. In a fantasy world, a self-styled adept has created a form of fire that is green and responds to his mental commands. The rulers other nations in the world all want this potential military weapon, but the king who sponsors the adept claims neutrality. The king is portrayed as a man who has whims and when he does he follows them whole-heartedly. His latest is to sponsor a contest, the Grand Ellipse, in which contestants from many nations follow a prescribed route through many countries. The government of Vonahr sends two entrants, a woman they hope will win and then get the ear of the King to offer a substantial sum for the so-called Sentient Fire, and a man to make sure she wins. The series of experiences are mostly followed through the eyes of this woman, Luzelle Devaire, and many are much more dangerous than anything Phineas Fogg ever encountered. Along the way she, the other contestants, and the reader learn about the atrocities the nation of Grewzia are willing to inflict on the peoples of the lands they’ve recently conquered or otherwise made part of their imperium. The political angle of the story brings to mind the land grabs by Germany during WWII, but also more recent events.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Tuesday book reviews on Wednesday

Four-star review of Exiles by Ashley Saunders and Leslie Saunders

 In a earthquake-ravaged future Los Angeles, twins Crystal and Jade were plucked as orphans to become students at a special school on a mountain top by billionaire Damon Yates. This story takes place years later when Crys has been adopted by Yates, and Jade left the confines of the academy to lead a group of exiles, others who once attended the school and left for various reasons. Crys has panic attacks whenever she sees her sister—or looks in a mirror. Then a fellow ‘academy’ sibling of Crys’ and one of the exiles turn up dead. A fast-moving, page turner with lots of good characters. It took a while to get used to the reference of a disgraced researcher as they and their, but Hema was an intriguing character as was Poppy, a former wife of Damon’s and mother of his third son.  This is the first in at least a duology written by twins about twins. It’s an interesting post-apocalyptic story, interesting enough that I want to read the sequel when it is published in 2023.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Tuesday review on Wednesday

Four-star review of The Night Searchers by Marcia Muller

Sharon’s P.I. firm’s client and Hy’s security company’s case intertwine early on. With Hy off on another international assignment, it’s up to Sharon to steer both teams to find out what the Night Searchers, a bunch of folks seeking thrills as a relief from boring lives, have to do with her client’s wife seeing unbelievable and grisly events. Despite a number of inconsistencies, which could have been avoided by more careful editing, this is a fast, engaging and often exciting read. Many of the regulars of the series are here in one capacity or another. Others are mentioned but don’t appear. I’ve been reading the last ten or so books in this series out of order, but that hasn’t dulled my enjoyment of this 30th book in the series.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Tuesday Book Reviews

Four-star review of The King’s Highway by Caryl McAdoo

I was not prepared for such a faith-based post-apocalyptic story but it was well-enough written for me to enjoy this quick middle-grade read. I only gave it four stars more because of the section near the end extolling the superiority of Red River Texas rednecks. They couldn’t be the only ones to continue a peaceful way of life after an EMP (and possibly Russian aggression) knocked out all electric and electronic parts of life as we know it in the 21st Century. The young characters are wonderful and their journey across the state was often exciting. I’d read more about them if I knew the author wouldn’t harp on the idea that this was the only town or community starting to rebuild. This is the first of a series, so there are more adventures ahead for fifteen-year-old Jackson and his band of kids.

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Tuesday Book Reviews


Five-star review of The Brighter the Light by Mary Ellen Taylor

We follow a family’s history in two time periods. In the present part of the story, Ivy Neale returns from New York City to the beachfront cottage in North Carolina’s Outer Banks where she grew up with her Grandmother Ruth. Ruth has died and the family’s seaside resort was destroyed by a storm that also uncovered the shipwreck of the Liberty T. Mitchell. The wreck is subject of all sorts of ghostly stories, but none as gripping as the story of what happened at the resort in 1950 when Ruth was twelve years old and working with her adoptive parents to keep the resort going. As we go back and forth between Ruth’s childhood story and Ivy’s current one, secret after secret is revealed. Although some seem contrived, the cast of characters are interesting enough to keep my interest. Ruth is intrigued by the singer, Carlotta, whose showboat is in dry dock for repairs while she’s chosen to sing at the resort. Ivy must face Dani, her former best friend, and Matthew, her ex-boyfriend, that she left behind twelve years ago to become a chef in New York. As Ivy sifts through her grandmother’s hoard of items from the resort, she finds photographs from the summer of 1950. She also leans more about her grandmother and herself, including what she wants to do with the rest of her life. This book is not my usual read, but I liked the mysteries and the characters.  

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Tuesday Book Reviews


Five-star review of Killer by Jonathan Kellerman

 I was reminded of why I enjoy Kellerman’s books so much. The characters are clearly drawn, the plots are complex and intriguing and the endings are satisfying. The story starts with the court fight between Ree, the mother of Rambla, and her richer sister over custody of the little girl. On the surface, Connie, a rich doctor, would appear to be poised to give the toddler a good life, but when Alex Delaware is called in to evaluate the two sisters, he finds her cold and aloof, while Ree, a free spirit, is motherly and compassionate. Then, the first twist occurs when Connie is murdered and Ree and Rambla disappear. Along with detective Milo Sturgis, Alex delves into the sisters’ backgrounds for clues. If you haven’t tried Mr. Kellerman’s books, this is a good one to start with.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Tuesday Book Reviews


Four-star review of Perseid Collapse: A Post-Apocalyptic Survival Thriller (Alex Fletcher Book 2) by Steven Konkoly

 The second book in this series finds something streaking across the stratosphere, possibly an asteroid, breaking up, and striking the Atlantic Ocean in at least four places not far off the eastern US coast. The novel focuses on how Alex Fletcher and his family and neighbors cope with the ensuing flooding and tsunami and attempt to retrieve Alex’s son and a neighbor’s daughter in Boston. The tsunami is combined with an EMP, arguing against an asteroid, but there’s no explanation beyond that. Also, no one seems to know how far the devastation has spread. Prepared for any eventuality, Alex and neighbors Ed and Charley, set out south and west to avoid military and police barricades, but the story quickly dissolves into excessive violence.  This is a quick, engrossing read.  

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Tuesday Book Review


Five-star review of  Deep Sleep by Steven Konkoly


This is the first in a conspiracy series in which Devin Gray, a counterespionage agent, is tasked by his mother after her death with following up on her work to unearth a huge Soviet sleeper cell in the US. He doesn’t work on it alone. The characters are mostly fleshed out and some progress is made in this first book on finding second and third generation members of the cell, a few in positions of power, but there is obviously a huge amount for Devin and his crew to do in the sequels. Great action sequences but the quieter ones are also well-written. I look forward to spending more time with Devin and his friends. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2022


Five-star review of From the Corner of His Eye by Dean Koontz

 Suspense, horror, murder mystery, paranormal thriller, romance, literary family saga and more. This book has it all. It’s filled with wonderful characters from the psychotic, delusional murderer to the disfigured but spiritual cop with a strange ability, from the generous pie lady to three miraculous children, from the preacher’s wife and daughter to the doctor, and many more. This is the first Koontz book I’ve read, but it won’t be the last. Although at first I thought he spent more time from the warped viewpoint of the psychopath with too much horror elements for my taste, I realized this character indirectly became the reason all the others met and became a large found family. Novels as long as this one usually take me months to read, but I read this one in less than four weeks when I was busy with so much else. Koontz’s command of craft is apparent in every word, carefully chosen.


Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Tuesday Book Reviews on Wednesday


Five-star review of The Last Lie Told by Debra Webb

 Very good first book in a new series about lawyer Finley O’Sullivan who currently works for the family friend, Jack Finnegan, for whom she is named. We get smatterings about her past, her family, her husband’s murder and other issues I’m sure will be addressed in future novels in the series. This one focuses on a case Finley and Jack, her boss, are investigating, where the man serving a sentence for murdering a Nashville music mogul, and actually confessed to the crime, is now accusing the mogul’s daughter of killing her father. The mogul’s widow hires them to clear the name of her daughter, one of a set of twins. I figured out one of the final twists, and there is more than one, but that didn’t stop my enjoyment of the book.

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Tuesday Book Reviews on Wednesday


Four-star review of Aeon Rising: The Apocalypse Rises by Matthew Mather


Watching the effects of Aeon (a supernova or maybe hypernova) on the Brazilian rainforest with Max Carver, on the western US with his very pregnant wife Talisha, at an Antarctic research station with Dr. Xin Rou and on D.C. with Senator Copeland and Colonel Buchannan was interesting enough. Then throw in the conspiracies, the experiments at the Colony Max was sent to, and assorted other complications to deepen the plot and raise the tension throughout the novel. Although there were some positives at the end, there were also still so many unanswered questions and possibilities of what would happen next, that I’ll definitely read the second in the series. That lack of a clear-cut ending led to me giving it four stars instead of five.

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.