Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Tuesday Book Review


Four-star review of Bad Blood (Kate Shugak, #20) by Dana Stabanow

This book refers to other characters and incidents in this series but is really about the feud between two villages, one prosperous and the other fallen on hard times, and the deaths of three people. Kate, her half-wolf, half-dog companion, Mutt and her significant other, Park Ranger Jim travel to various places in their part of Alaska to determine who killed each of them. There’s a Romeo and Juliet-style romance involved along with bootlegging and drug dealing. The cliffhanger ending leaves quite a few questions unresolved. Stabenow’s writing is always excellent with great descriptions and character development.



Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Tuesday Book Review


Five-star review of The Queen of Thieves (The Moonwind series Book 2) by Johan Rundberg

 In this second book of the series, Mika is curious about the extended absences of three other children from the Stockholm orphanage where she’s lived her entire. Her investigation shows they’re working for a woman who performs in the squares. Mika suspects she trained the kids to be pickpockets who operate while she has the audiences attention. But it’s more complicated than that. Mika is a wonderful spunky character. It was good to see some of the others from the first book in the series. The mystery behind her own background and that of an infant delivered to the orphanage is woven into the story and provides additional motivation for Mika.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Tuesday Book Review

Five-star review of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon

This book provides brilliant insight into how the mind of its first person narrator works. Christopher John Francis Boone is a fifteen-year-old autistic boy who needs a concrete understanding of what goes on around him. He can’t deal with abstracts or intangibles. The teacher at his special school asked him to write a book about the death of a neighbor’s dog, Wellington, since Christopher discovered the skewered body of the standard poodle late one night. He uses the book to detail his investigation of the murder the way his favorite detective, Sherlock Holmes might. When things get tough, rather than think about them, he does math puzzles in his head. He especially likes prime numbers and knows them up to 7057.

 Years before, Christopher’s father told him that his mother went into hospital and died from a heart attack. Since then, it was just Christopher and his father. And his pet rat. But as secrets are revealed, including who killed Wellington, Christopher must be brave enough to face some of his hardest tasks, including a solo trip on a crowded train and facing reality. His ability to cope with life increases throughout the story. A can’t-put-down book that left me feeling proud of him. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Tuesday Book Review

Four-star review of Boy of Chaotic Making (Whimbrel House Book 3) by Charlie N. Holmberg

In the third book of the series, Merritt, his now fiancĂ©e Hulda and Owein (in the body of a terrier) travel to London at the request of Queen Victoria who offers to put Owein and his magical abilities into the body of a boy who will one day marry Lady Cora, who is a relative to the Queen. As usual, many of the large cast are well-developed characters. Moral issues involved in the story, and that Merritt in particular wrestles with, forced me to downgrade this novel from a full five-star review, but the writing, as is usual for Holmberg, is excellent. I do enjoy reading about Merritt and Hulda and the development of their relationship, their magical abilities and uses. And I do love how Owein’s soul continues to grow no matter what form it’s in. I’ll look forward to more books in the series. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Tuesday Book Review


Five-star review of The Bad Weather Friend by Dean Koontz

This was a fun paranormal/horror story, or rather two stories intertwined. One is the story of super-nice guy Benny Catspaw’s childhood filled with psychopathic people including the wife of the headmaster of the boarding school he was sent to. The other is his present day where he’s just lost his job and was about to lose his girlfriend. In the second, the intervention of a seven-foot tall Craggle named Spike as well as a girl named Harper Harper help him through a series of confrontations with people who abhor his niceness. I always enjoy Koontz’s books, but this was one of, if not THE best ones.

Tuesday Book Review on Wednesday

[I'm having a problem with copying and pasting the cover for this book]

Five-star review of The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle Book 1) by Patrick Rothfuss


This first in a two-book series is a prime example of a story within a story. We spend the first five or six chapters firmly in the current time for innkeeper Kote, his student Bast and Chronicler before we begin to get into the main history of Kvothe. Some would say it’s not the main story, but I read it as such. We only get his boyhood and early teens in this book, but so much happens. His early days with a band of Ruh, his efforts to stay alive in Tarbean, and his time in Imre and at the University with his first love Denna weaving through. But the last chapters show how important the framing of the story is. The writing is excellent, the way it plays out the story kept me reading when I should have been doing other things. Every time I picked the book up, it transported me to the world that Rothfuss created, a world filled with magic and magic users, myths and legends. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Tuesday Book Review

 Four-star review of Last Night by Luann Rice


Really, this should be three and a half. It was a good enough story about the search for who killed artist Maddie, known as MC and abducted her little daughter CeCe. Detective Conor Reid and his girlfriend Kate arrive at the legendary Ocean House on the Rhode Island shore for a romantic getaway but instead follow Maddie’s sister Hadley so they’re witnesses to her discovery of the body in the snow not far from the hotel. I most enjoyed the parts from the little girl’s point of view. Some of the dialogue is stilted or at least pedestrian. I was routing for the good guys, but I didn’t care a whole lot about any of them.

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Tuesday Book Reviews

Four-star review of Night Owl by Andrew Mayne

Retired spy Brad Trasker is hired to protect Kylie Conner, CEO, designer and pilot of a next-generation aircraft. But when the plane blows up before Kylie can board,  all threats against her become real. Most of the action is fast paced, the main characters (Brad and Kylie) are developed if not entirely likeable and there is some sense of satisfaction at the end, but the big baddy pulling the strings gets away, forcing readers who care enough to read the next book in the series. I’m not sure I do. Trasker’s use of a memory palace to discover who’s behind the events is intriguing.

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Tuesday Book Review

Five-star review of Six Memos for the Next Millenium by Italo  Calvino

 There are only five memos or rather lectures that Calvino wrote in 1985 but never was able to deliver due to his untimely death. They cover what he calls literary values of lightness, quickness, exactitude, visibility and multiplicity in a far-ranging references to literature, myth and folklore. A sixth was added in the class I attended by the writer running the course. The titles of each section could have been something broader because the content covered so many aspects of each word. Perhaps better titles would have been weight, pacing, precision, imagination or vision, and proliferation. There’s so much to unpack in this little book. I’ll have to reread it to get the bits I didn’t the first time around.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Tuesday Book Review on Wednesday

 Four-star review of Earth Lost (Earth Rise Book 2) by Daniel Arenson


I don’t often read space operas for the same reason I gave this four rather than five stars: how grotesque the aliens usually are and how many humans are killed in battles with them. On the other hand, Marco Emery, the reluctant soldier, is called Poet by his comrades in arms and there is a poetic element to the writing. The philosophical thoughts Marco has after each battle, after each death are unusual. This is only the second novel in a long series. I can only imagine where it goes from here. How much can the survivors take in their fight against the scum? I’ll need a while to recover before I read book three.

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Tuesday Book Review

Four-star review of Aeon Burn Book 2 of 3: Aeon by Matthew Mather and Dale M. Nelson

This second book in the series was published after Matthew Mather’s untimely and tragic death. That’s somewhat obvious in the switch towards the end from showing this postapocalyptic story to telling what happened over several months to the characters and the world. I hope the third book in the series develops more slowly, showing the emotions of each of the characters we’ve come to love or hate. In this story, we follow Max’s efforts in the Amazon to learn what his childhood friend Ben Belloc is doing at the Colony, his pregnant wife Tali’s search for a safe place to have their baby, and physicist Xin Rhou’s trek across the melting Antarctic from one destroyed research station to another. They’re all dealing with the rising temperatures due to supernova Aeon’s detonation in the atmosphere. Most of the book was exciting and I will read the third book.

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Tuesday Review on Wednesday


Four-star review of Live Wire by Harlan Coben

 Myron Bolitar’s search for his kid brother and his attempts to help his clients, former tennis star Suzze T and her husband Lex, is a twisty but solid story. However, there were just too many instances where we got to witness his decision-making process in detail, and then he did something that wasn’t, or at least not exactly, one of the options. OTOH, I know one of the themes of the story had to do with making wrong decisions and taking the wrong path, so that aspect plays into it. Each of the characters is well developed, the story is well-written and the descriptions were top notch. This is the last of the Myron section of a very long series and somewhat of a turning point before the beginning of the YA series featuring his nephew Mickey.