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review 2017-06-18 23:00
Truth has no 'Best Before' date.....
The Wench Is Dead - Colin Dexter

8/13 of the series of mysteries involving Chief Inspector Morse and I was looking forward to this book, safe in the knowledge that it had secured for Colin Dexter the CWA Gold Dagger, for 'Best Crime Novel of the Year' (1989). Certainly the storyline was something of a departure, in that Morse deploys his formidable cerebral resources to solve a murder reportedly committed in 1859 and for which two men were hanged. Moreover, for the most part, Morse is hospitalised for treatment of a perforated ulcer and yet, this enables his faculties to be given full rein, albeit he also enlists the help of DS Lewis and a visitor who works at the Bodleian Library to undertake the leg work.

 

The John Radcliffe Hospital proves a fertile territory for Morse to fantasize about the nursing fraternity and flirt with several women ensnared by his blue eyes, though youthful nurses and faltering health do also bring the Chief Inspector uncomfortably before the realization that he is getting older, with a diminishing future.

 

The book is shorter than most in the series, but the pace of the story is well maintained and the crime took place on the Oxford Canal, when narrow-boats remained crucial to the lifeblood of commerce, giving the plot an additional curiosity value.The fact that two boatmen had also been found guilty of the murder of Joanna Franks, an attractive passenger on the Pickford & Co.'s express (or 'fly'), non-stop boat-ride to London and been sentenced to death, while a third was subject to transportation, simply added to a frisson of suspense. As Morse sought to critique the original investigation at a distance of more than 150 years, the reader bears witness to a consummate puzzle-solver, revelling in the mental challenge! This may be the most vulnerable that we have seen Morse so far and yet, in this tale, he is also at his most perceptive and most likable. 

 

 

 

 

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review 2017-06-16 14:45
A little dry but worth reading
Sunken Gold: A Story of World War I Espionage and the Greatest Treasure Salvage in History - Joseph A. Williams

Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley

 

                Joseph A Williams’ book isn’t so much a chronicle of a sinking, but a history of a salvage mission.  The best parts of the book are the ones that describe the development of diving technology.  It also illuminates a lesser known story about WWI.  The writing is a bit dry when moving beyond driving, but the use of background material does keep the reader interested.

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text 2017-06-01 23:25
May 2017 Wrap-up.
Crucible of Gold (Temeraire Series #7) - Naomi Novik
Scarlet - Marissa Meyer
Six of Crows - Leigh Bardugo
Under Witch Moon - Maria E. Schneider

I'm happy I have more to list than will feature in the 10 + we can link at top of post.

 

I only had one DNF (and one that I stopped so soon I don't even consider that starting).  

 

Unusually for me, I discovered quite a few new authors.  

 

I didn't read a lot of straight-up science fiction of the sort with spaceships, new worlds, aliens and robots (except for Scarlet which sort of counts by having cyborg and lunar colony if you can get past how the spaceship piloting resembled bad teenage clunker-automobile parallel parking the way they zigged it about in earth's atmosphere with immediate corrections ...).  I need to correct that next month, but I'm pretty caught up on my SF series.

 

I'm also discovering that — while I enjoy character growth and when the plot/story has twists or gets shaken up — I don't like it when author changes the underpinnings or basics of what I thought I knew about characters and worldbuilding logic from reading previous books.  Reveal surprises, sure, even relationship ones; toss out everything developed earlier in series, not so much.  Thankfully this month there were no books completely with  characters having amnesia plus time travel to relive a previous storyline ... those are just aaaaarrrggghhh... (first third of Blood of Tyrants Laurence had amnesia and that whole unnecessary part dropped rating for me).

 

Not a lot of reviews.  Partly a mood I'm in.  Mainly bcause so many were in series where likely however I reviewed previous books is how I'd review that book.  Happily in many  cases because it's just harder for me to express why I loved a book enough to rate it ★★★★☆ to ★★★★★ .

 

 Silver Shadows - Richelle Mead Premiere - Melody Carlson  My Soul to Take - Rachel Vincent  

 

Silver Shadows - Richelle Mead , I rated ★★★★☆ , paranormal, #5 in Bloodlines (Alchemists spinoff from Vampire Academy) series.

 

Premiere - Melody Carlson , I did not rate.  Characters are in college so guess it's New Adult but reads YA.  An interesting premise, lots happens, a quick read of first book in a series my library had complete set.  I had mixed feelings on main character I initially liked but between them seeming more YA, the situations too unrealistic, the MC so "perfect" and accepting of submissive role to more glamorous sister and constantly praying to God as if he was her own personal genie or life coach — I decided series wasn't for me.  Likely appeal to others, particularly teens.  #1 in On the Runway series.

 

My Soul to Take - Rachel Vincent , I rated ★★★½☆ , paranormal, #1 in Soul Screamers series (new series by familiar author with banshees and grim reapers).  Some YA moments.

 

The Ruby Circle - Richelle Mead  Victory of Eagles - Naomi Novik  Six of Crows - Leigh Bardugo  o

 

The Ruby Circle - Richelle Mead , I rated ★★★½☆ , paranormal, #6 in Bloodlines series.

 

Victory of Eagles - Naomi Novik , I rated a resounding squeezing fanpoodle ★★★★★, fantasy (alternate history of Napoleonic War with dragons), #5 in Temeraire series.

 

Six of Crows - Leigh Bardugo , I rated ★★★★★, fantasy, review is here , #1 in Dregs series from a new to me author (despite the glowing ★★★★★ rating, I suspect I should have read author's Grishna series first).

 

Empire of Storms - Sarah J. Maas  Daughter of Smoke & Bone - Laini Taylor  Under Witch Moon - Maria E. Schneider  

 

Empire of Storms - Sarah J. Maas , I rated ★★★★½ , fantasy, #5 in Throne of Glass series.

 

Daughter of Smoke & Bone - Laini Taylor , I rated ★★★★☆ , urban fantasy (paranormal romance? fantasy because of Otherworld characters?), review is here , #1 in same named series, new to me author -- what a voice and an atmosphere this author creates.

 

Under Witch Moon - Maria E. Schneider , I rated ★★★½☆ , paranormal mystery, review is here , #1 in Moon Shadows series, new to me author discovered via Leafmarks, likely someone more into mysteries would rate higher, one of few indie works I read this year although could not tell it was self-published from writing/editing.

 

 

Death Before Decaf: A Java Jive Mystery - Caroline Fardig Mug Shot: A Java Jive Mystery - Caroline Fardig  A Whole Latte Murder - Caroline Fardig  

 

Death Before DecafMug Shot, and A Whole Latte Murder - Caroline Fardig .  Binge read first three books of cozy mystery series Java Jive Mystery because really enjoyed first two books.  Discovered first book from a friend's review in goodreads ( read first two via library overdrive borrow then bought third).  Main character engaged me, wacky stories, not necessarily the greatest mystery in the books.  Possibly a side effect of binge reading, but I did not like the third book (murked everything up throwing too much into it, too many clues, too many characters, too many too easily dismissed injuries/assaults and the whodunnit depended way too much on twisting what we thought we knew of characters).  May give it another chance if book #4 hits library; may not.

 

Closer to the Chest - Mercedes Lackey  Scarlet - Marissa Meyer  My Soul to Save - Rachel Vincent  

 

Closer to the Chest - Mercedes Lackey , I rated ★★★½☆ (wavered between that and ★★★★☆), review is here, fantasy, #3 in Herald Spy series (Valdemar Universe).  If you like Mags, you'll like reading more of his story.

 

Scarlet - Marissa Meyer , I rated ★★★★½ , fantasy, #2 in Lunar Chronicle series which I so regret taking so long to read -- it was just so overhyped and YA sounding I wrongly put off thinking could not live up to rep.  Series will quickly suck you in.

 

My Soul to Save - Rachel Vincent , ★★★★☆ , paranormal, #2 in Soul Screamers, less YA with character growth but still rushing in because too compassionate.

 

 

Tongues of Serpents (Temeraire Series #6) - Naomi Novik  Crucible of Gold (Temeraire Series #7) - Naomi Novik  Blood of Tyrants - Naomi Novik 

 

 

Tongues of Serpents  - Naomi Novik , ★★★★★ , fantasy , #6 in Temeraire series.

 Crucible of Gold , ★★★★☆, fantasy, #7 in Temeraire series.

 Blood of Tyrants , ★★★½☆ (although parts 2 and 3 I'd rate higher), fantasy, #8 and penultimate in Temeraire series .

 

 

Stakes & Stilettos - Michelle Rowen Blackveil - Kristen Britain  

 

Stakes & Stilettos - Michelle Rowen , ★★★☆☆ , paranormal romance, review is here , #4 in Immortality Bites, author almost lost me with the twists and character changes introduced plus leaving main character's curse to be resolved in next book.

 

Blackveil - Kristen Britain , ★★★½☆ , epic fantasy, review is here ,  #4 in Green Rider.  I cannot believe I'm saying this after how much I loved the first three books, but this one was too long.  I may be dropping the series because everyone says next book is even more "way too long" plus twists the series from traditional fantasy into steampunk (why on earth couldn't Ms. Britain just start a new steampunk series if wanting to foray into steampunk?).

 

Ratings scale used in absence of a booklikes suggested rating scale:

★★★★★ = All Time Favorite 
★★★★½ = Extraordinary Book. Really Loved It.
★★★★☆ = Loved It.
★★★½☆ = Really Liked.
★★★☆☆ = Liked.
★★½☆☆ = Liked parts; parts only okay. Would read more by author.
★★☆☆☆ = Average.   Okay. 
★½☆☆☆ = Disliked or meh? but kept me reading in hopes would get better.
★☆☆☆☆ = Loathed It. Possibly DNF and a torturous read.
½☆☆☆☆ = So vile was a DNF or should have been. Cannot imagine anyone liking.  (Might also be just an "uploaded" word spew or collection that should not be dignified by calling itself a "published book." If author is going batshit crazy in the blogosphere over reviews -- I now know why they are getting bad reviews.  Or maybe author should take remedial classes for language written in until basic concepts like using sentences sink in. Is author even old enough to sign a publishing contract or do they need a legal guardian to sign for them?)

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