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review 2018-12-13 16:29
The Girl in the Green Silk Gown / Seanan McGuire
The Girl in the Green Silk Gown - Seanan McGuire

For Rose Marshall, death has long since become the only life she really knows. She's been sweet sixteen for more than sixty years, hitchhiking her way along the highways and byways of America, sometimes seen as an avenging angel, sometimes seen as a killer in her own right, but always Rose, the Phantom Prom Date, the Girl in the Green Silk Gown.

The man who killed her is still out there, thanks to a crossroads bargain that won't let him die, and he's looking for the one who got away. When Bobby Cross comes back into the picture, there's going to be hell to pay--possibly literally.

Rose has worked for decades to make a place for herself in the twilight. Can she defend it, when Bobby Cross comes to take her down? Can she find a way to navigate the worlds of the living and the dead, and make it home before her hitchhiker's luck runs out?

 

A big step up from Sparrow Hill Road, the first book which was basically a series of short stories. Not that that’s a bad thing, just not what I had been expecting. This is a true novel, with one intense story line. I was “supposed” to read other books before picking this one up, but I couldn’t resist its siren song. And I read it in two evenings, desperately wanting to know if ghostly Rose Marshall could get where she wanted to be.

This was the confrontation Rose had been dreading, pitting her will against that of her murderer, Bobby Cross. She does it with style, smarts and bravery plus a generous dollop of help from her friends. Even her frenemies get involved. I was on the edge of my seat throughout, wondering how each twist and turn would pan out.

I was interested to see McGuire reference the Price family again (a connection with her InCryptid series) as a potential haven for Rose. Mary, the crossroads ghost, featured in Tricks for Free, #7 of InCryptid, so we now have no doubt that these two series take place in the same universe. McGuire also introduces a bean sidhe as one of Rose’s friends, perhaps a connection to McGuire’s October Daye series. Wouldn’t it be fun to see all three story lines intersect at some point in the future?

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review 2018-12-12 08:40
A Gift of Bones (Sarah Booth Delaney, #19)
A Gift of Bones - Carolyn Haines

My first Christmas mystery of the season, and it's from one of my favorite series.  It was pretty good.

 

My personal observation about long-lasting series is that authors have a tendency to go bigger and bigger with each book.  Usually it's the plots that try to outdo each other, but sometimes, as in this case, it's a certain theme, or themes.  The Sarah Booth Delaney series has a very strong underlying theme centered on the power of love, family and friendship, and these themes have become more ... urgent?  as the series has progressed.

 

I'm not complaining - I love this series - but while I enjoyed the book thoroughly as I was reading it, it felt a tiny bit saccharide afterwards.  

 

Oh, and in this one the plot was definitely out there.  And way too overly labyrinthine.  I'm not sure it really worked, to be honest.

 

But I love the characters whole heartedly, and Zinnia Mississippi comes alive.  It might have been a 3.5 star read, but I've been quietly stewing for years about the Coleman story line, and it's finally come good in this book - that bumped it 1/2 star.  Overall, a solid read, that went by fast.

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text 2018-12-11 12:24
Reading progress update: I've read 153 out of 288 pages.
Early Irish Myths and Sagas - Various Authors,Jeffrey Gantz

The Death of Aife's Only Son

 

Foolish pride can be the downfall of the greatest warrior...

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review 2018-12-11 09:35
The Ebony Swan
The Ebony Swan - Phyllis A. Whitney

If reviews came with musical accompaniment, you'd be hearing the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah as you read this.  I've finally finished this book.

 

There's a combination of factors involved in the blame for my incredibly slow progress: I'm in a slump, and therefore easily distracted by anything right now - it doesn't even have to be shiny; life has been busy and when I did sit down to read, interruptions abounded; this is not Whitney's best work.  By a long shot.

 

Susan's father took her away from her grandmother's home and cut off all contact, after the death of her mother under mysterious circumstances.  Susan was the only witness and at 5, suppressed the memories.  Now her father's dead, she's an adult, and she's returning to her grandmother's home in Virginia to get to know her and figure out why she can't remember her own mother.  But grandma has a trunk-load of secrets she's less than enthusiastic about sharing, and nobody else seems to want Susan to come back at all. 

 

This is one of Whitney's later books, written in the 80's, and she's still got her magic touch when it comes to atmosphere, setting, and characters.  But the story dragged... the pacing was continental drift slow, and there was so much time spent in the heads of the characters, it was a challenge to keep myself engaged.  And when everything came together with a solution/ending that was twisted in that way in which Whitney excelled (this is an author who really understood long-simmering anger and epic grudges), I was so ...exhausted by the slow pacing that I just couldn't feel the punch I should have. 

 

It's good, it's even a bit haunting, but you have to really be patient with it, and in the midst of a slump, patience is thin on the ground.

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text 2018-12-11 06:25
Reading progress update: I've read 148 out of 288 pages.
Early Irish Myths and Sagas - Various Authors,Jeffrey Gantz

The Boyhood Deeds of Cu Chulaind


Celtic heroes were mostly a precocious bunch and Cu Chulaind is a prime example, able to beat the other boys (all three fifties of them (at once)) at any feat of prowess and kill with his bare hands a dog that all the adult warriors are scared of. He goes on to single-handly defend Ulster from the assembled forces of most of the rest of Ireland for days.

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