Saturday, March 30, 2019

What I've Been Reading - March 2019

You may have noticed that I don’t do standard book reviews. That’s too much like a school assignment, I guess. If you want to know more about the books I recommend here, read the blurbs online.

Anyway, here are my brief comments on a few books I enjoyed recently.

Murder in Just Cause by Anne Cleeland. 

This is the 9th installment in one of my favorite mystery series, and it’s also one of the best (although nothing can beat book one, Murder in Thrall, which I read 4.5 times before I could move on to something else). 

Usually I get tired of a series by about the 5th or 6thbook, but Doyle and Acton are such a great duo, so unusual, so complex, and so perfect for one another, that I dive into these present-day London police procedurals again and again.

(BTW, Ms. Cleeland also writes some fab historical suspense.)

 A Gentlewoman’s Guide to Murder by Victoria Hamilton

This mystery takes place in 1810 and centers around the sexual abuse of young girls. It also deals with the subjugation of women (which I suspect will continue to be a central topic if the heroine, Emmeline St. Germaine, blazes her way through more stories in the series). 

She’s incredibly fiery and brave and determined, and she keeps on fighting abuse and injustice through the many twists and turns of the story, as more and more ghastly stuff is revealed. Not an easy read but definitely a worthwhile one. 

 The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells

I heard about these books (I guess I would call them long novellas) on Argh Ink, Jennifer Crusie’s blog, where every Thursday we get to talk about our current reads. After seeing them recommended over and over, I caved and read the first two (All Systems Red and Artificial Condition), and I’m so glad I did. 

The narrator is a construct, part organic and part inorganic, a robot but not really. He can hack into almost anything and has control of his own governor module. He’s an entertaining combination of human and non-human characteristics, and the books are written in first person, so we get everything from his unique point of view. They’re a bit pricey for the length but such enthralling reads that I’ll gladly shell out for the others in the series. Highly recommended.

That's it for now,


Sunday, March 3, 2019

What I've Been Reading - February 2019

Bound by Love by Toni V. Sweeney

I loved this story! I don’t usually read contemporary romance, but I enjoy Ms. Sweeney’s writing, and when I read the description of this one, I couldn’t resist. 

There’s romance, an old unsolved mystery, great chemistry and genuine love between the hero and heroine, and a paranormal aspect which gradually becomes evident… It's all very well done, and to top it off, there's a realistic Georgia setting re everything from weeds to food to construction and renovation. 

There were even Cherokee roses in the garden! Oh, and some heart-stopping suspense near the end. Highly recommended.

 Lord of Misrule by Gale Eastwood
Yes, it’s a bit late for a Christmas story, but I might forget to recommend this one if I wait until later in the year. This is a full-length Christmas romance, and it’s one of the best holiday stories I have ever read. 

There's lots and lots of detail relating to historical Christmas customs, particularly the one where a Lord of Misrule presides over the festivities. Just look at the cover – what a perfect maker-of-mischief our hero is! Not only that, he’s courageous and caring, and the heroine is hard-working and adorable. 

This heartwarming story will bring holiday cheer to any season of the year.

In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen

This is an excellent World War II mystery, with quite a bit of romance as well. There are spies, traitors, and code-breakers, along with lots of historical detail and some gripping suspense. 

As usual, Ms. Bowen delivers an excellent read. I am looking forward to reading her recent novel of World War I, The Victory Garden.

I'm having a hard time remembering what I've reviewed and where. I could have sworn I'd written something here about To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis, but I can't find it... Maybe I commented about it on Jennifer Crusie's blog, Argh Ink. Every Thursday, the subject of discussion is books we've read. It's a fab place to go to find great reads.

So anyway, this is a sort of sequel to Doomsday Book, which I did review here. It took me a while to get into this sequel -- it's quite a different sort of story -- but once in, I was firmly hooked and in love with the two main characters, as well as some of the secondary ones. It's funny, full of literary allusions (most of which I didn't recognize, but I think they'd be easy to follow up), and in the end a long, satisfying read.