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review 2018-09-23 05:59
Keeper of the Castle ★★☆☆☆
Keeper of the Castle - Juliet Blackwell

First an explanation: This would have been another comfortable 3 star entry into the Haunted Renovation series, but I had to knock off a star because it made me mad. The one fictional trope that really chaps me is the mean-spirited nurse who inserts herself as a pointless barrier between patients and families, ruthlessly enforcing visiting hours and providing little to no actual care to the patient. And in this one, the author has “Nurse Ratched” not only kicking visitors out for no reason, she spends time reading fiction when she’s supposed to be caring for her critically ill ICU patients. And this is actually what supposedly makes her a more sympathetic, approachable human?!? Nope, nope nope.

 

I really enjoy this series, and I was really happy that this one was available to me on audio, because Xe Sands is a perfect fit for the MC, reading with a wry humor and seemingly genuine affection for the characters and story. The mystery itself was promising, with the setting moving outside of San Francisco for the first time. Since the ghosts were tied to the stones of a medieval monastery, the historical timeframe was new, as well. I appreciate that the author is keeping the series from settling into a rut of sameness. But the Nurse Ratched caricature cost it this time.

 

Audiobook, borrowed from my public library. I read this for the 2018 Halloween Bingo square Murder Most Foul: Any murder mystery. In this story, a city building inspector is murdered by someone dropping a 60lb bag of mortar on his head. Ouch.

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review 2018-09-22 23:05
The Colour of Magic ★★★★☆
The First Discworld Novels: The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic - Terry Pratchett

When I read this eight years ago, it was my first taste of Discworld. I was amazed and delighted, and I immediately set out to collect and read every single one. Of course, there are so many books, and the series seems to follow a construction and logic all its own, so after flailing about for a couple of books, I decided to read them one subseries at a time, starting with Witches. With one Witches book to go, I’m now starting over, re-reading the entire Discworld universe in chronological order of published dates, together with the Booklikes Discworld group.

 

In this second reading of The Colour of Magic, I felt just as delighted with Rincewind and Twoflower and especially the Luggage as when it was new. But with the perspective of having read some of the later books in the series, I was a little impatient with the construction of the story as a whole. It felt jumpy, disconnected, less of a coherent story and more of a series of vignettes. And the abrupt ending was maddening, with an awful temptation to jump straight into Light Fantastic to continue the story. But it’s a fun look back at the early rough construction of the Discworld universe, its odd peoples and laws and rules and funny asides. I needed this lighthearted romp – it was a nice break from a world that sometimes seems to have had its good humor sucked dry – and am looking forward to the next respite with The Light Fantastic, this coming December.

 

Previous Updates:

9/21/18:  26/175pg

9/21/18: 121/175pg

 

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text 2018-09-22 17:20
The Colour of Magic - 121/175 pg
The First Discworld Novels: The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic - Terry Pratchett

"Rincewind tried to force the memory out of his mind, but it was rather enjoying itself there, terrorising the other occupants and kicking over the furniture."

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text 2018-09-21 16:05
The Colour of Magic - 26/175 pg
The First Discworld Novels: The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic - Terry Pratchett

"No, what he didn't like about heroes was that they were usually suicidally gloomy when sober and homicidally insane when drunk. There were too many of them, too. Some of the most notable questing grounds near the city were a veritable hubub in the season. There was talk of organizing a rota."

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review 2018-09-21 03:14
Home for the Haunting ★★★★☆
Home For the Haunting - Juliet Blackwell

This is the first book that I've read in this cozy mystery series that wasn't on audio. I miss Xe Sands, because she always provides a terrific performance. But I'm happy to report that I enjoyed this 4th book in the Haunted Home Renovation series just as much even without the audio.

 

The MC's "why would anyone find ugly old me attractive" shtick is still annoying, and I'm still unimpressed with the romance, but there is enough fun stuff for this book to rise above those irritants. We get to meet Mel's super-annoying, super-girly sister, we get some new friends and the return of some old friends, and I especially liked getting to know Mel's frenemy Inspector Crawford a little better. We get a couple of new homes from different styles and periods with plenty of loving description.

 

The mystery is well developed and I was teased with lots of clues and red herrings to sift through. Whodunnit was one of my suspects, but not my favorite, so the reveal worked for me. Oddly, this is the first book where we spend very little time with the dead. The ghosts give little more than a cameo appearance in this book, and I missed them a little.

 


eBook version, borrowed from my public library.

 

I read this for the 2018 Halloween Bingo square Amateur Sleuth: this mystery will have a main character who is not a member of law enforcement. The MC, Mel Turner, owns a construction company but somehow finds herself in the midst of a murder mystery, recent or ancient, at every job site. Naturally, she usually manages to solve it before the cops do.

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