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review 2018-01-19 02:18
A change of pace for the series, but just as good as the rest
The Falls (Inspector Rebus, #12) - Ian Rankin

If anyone can do it, John, you can. I've always had confidence in your sheer pig-headedness and inability to listen to your senior officers.


After the last few novels which were characterized by several interlocking stories, The Falls centers on the disappearance of a young woman -- Philippa Balfour. Flip is the daughter of an important banker, a student of sorts, and frequently the girlfriend of one of the least appealing young men you've met lately. She never showed up for a night of drinking with friends and her father's influence got the police involved much more quickly than they would have otherwise. There are few that hold out much hope for a happy resolution to this case, but until a body shows up, that's how they have to proceed.

 

Now, just because I said there's only one case at the core of this book, that doesn't mean it's just one story. There's the typical investigation, undertaken by a large number of detectives and under media scrutiny. Then there's something that catches Rebus' eye, which leads him on one path. Siobhan Clarke finds another loose strand to pull at, and uses much of her off-the-clock time following that. The two are aware of what the other is doing, but neither is all that interested in it. Readers, of course, know that one or both of them are going to make more progress than the rest of the Force and can just enjoy watching them.

 

That's the strength of this book -- Rebus finds some evidence that might tie this crime to others throughout Scotland over the past few decades. He clearly specializes in historical investigations, and it's clearly a good idea for him to go down that path. Siobhan's got a more tech-savvy take on it (and she doesn't have all the skills necessary for that kind of work, but she's able to stumble along with some help. Watching both of these two mavericks at work was such a blast (Siobhan once again is confronted with her colleagues pointing out her methods and focus approximating Rebus'). The actual solution to the mystery of Flip's appearance was very satisfying and well-executed.

I spent a good deal of time missing Brian Holmes during the early pages -- the DS that Siobhan is partnered up with just stressed how much isn't Brian. And it goes downhill from there. Brian might not have been my favorite supporting character, but wow -- he's so much better than everyone else Siobhan has worked with (other than DI Rebus, of course). Maybe it helps that he was involved with that librarian, so he wasn't trying to start something with her (minor spoiler, sorry).

 

The book starts with Watson's retirement (not the last we see of him, which is nice), and newly-minted DCS Gill Templar has her work cut out for her. Not only does she need to lead the search for the missing daughter of an important Edinburgh banker, but she has to establish her authority. The way she goes about it rubs some the wrong way, and you have to wonder how long she can maintain things. Siobhan's take on her new boss shows a good amount of discernment. One thing's for sure, Rebus is going to miss Farmer Watson (but not his coffee).

 

Speaking of Gill, Rebus has a new romantic interest in The Falls, Jean Burchill. I liked Jean more than I ever liked Gill, Patience (low bar, there) or any of the others that have graced these pages. Her husband had been an alcoholic (of a different sort than Rebus), and sees Rebus' vices in a very different light than other have. She doesn't approve, but she can approach them more realistically than Patience ever did. I fear she won't be around long, but that's hopefully just cynicism on my part. (feel free to leave me in the dark on that front down in the comment box, folks).

 

Not just Farmer's retirement, but Rebus has to deal with loss and a greater sense of mortality at points here. He and his contemporaries can't help but sense their own retirement days approaching/looming. Also, Rebus may not add to his enemies list within the Police, but he's deepened the antagonism a few have toward him. At one point, he goes out of his way to cultivate that -- for a good reason, in his mind at least. But I'm not sure if he's ever come closer to losing his job. Who knows what'd happen to him if that day comes.

 

This is one of those covers that makes you wish cover designers had to read the book -- an inconsequential point, but when Rebus actually got to the titular location, I had to shake my head. (Other cover images I've seen for this aren't as misleading).

 

This might not be as powerfully told, or as sweeping as some of the recent books have been. But I'm not sure I've enjoyed reading a Rebus novel more than this one -- and could've easily read it in one sitting. This will be sure to please Rebus fans and could easily make some, too.

 

2018 Library Love Challenge

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2018/01/18/the-falls-by-ian-rankin
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review 2018-01-11 18:52
Breaking the Ice (Juniper Falls #2) by Julie Cross
Breaking the Ice (Juniper Falls) - Julie Cross

Julie Cross lights the lamp with BREAKING THE ICE, the second book from the Juniper Falls series.  Juniper Falls princess/cheer captain, Haley Stevenson, needs help with her Civics class.  She decides scholarly hockey player, Fletcher Scott, is the perfect person to help her pass the class.  However, Fletcher likes to stay out of the lime light, which will be impossible if he’s hanging out with Haley.  This contemporary sports romance is suitable for new adult audiences.  It takes place in northern Minnesota.

 

BREAKING THE ICE is a fun story.  Haley and Fletcher are opposites.  She is popular and outgoing.  Whereas, Fletcher likes to go unnoticed and keep to himself.  Haley bulldozes herself into Fletcher’s life.  I like Haley and Fletcher together.  They both misjudge each other.  I like that they eventually open up to one another. 

 

My heart went out to Fletcher.  His allergies are extreme.  I know people with less server conditions and sympathize with what he goes through.  Between his family and health issues, it is understandable why he wants to stay under the radar.  

 

BREAKING THE ICE was skillfully written and flowed well.  There were unexpected twists and pertinent issues.  BREAKING THE ICE is a wonderful addition the Juniper Falls series.  I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.

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review 2018-01-01 02:11
Great Read
Getting It All: Sapphire Falls book four - Erin Nicholas

Getting It All by Erin Nicholas is a fabulous read.  Ms. Nicholas has given us a book that is well-written and will tug at your heartstrings.  Tucker and Delaney's story is loaded with drama, humor, and sizzle.  I enjoyed reading Getting It All and look forward to reading more from Erin Nicholas in the future.  Getting It All is book 4 of the Sapphire Falls Series but can be read as a standalone.  This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger. 

 

I voluntarily read a complimentary copy of this book that I received from Instafreebie.

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text 2017-12-14 12:45
Char's Horror Corner: Top Ten Audiobooks of 2017!
Blackwater: The Complete Saga - Michael McDowell,Matt Godfrey
The Lesser Dead - Christopher Buehlman
Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen
Between Two Fires - Christopher Buehlman
The Memory of Running - Recorded Books LLC,Ron McLarty,Ron McLarty
Nightmares and Geezenstacks - Matt Godfrey,Valancourt Books,Fredric Brown
You Will Know Me: A Novel - Megan Abbott,Lauren Fortgang
Behind Her Eyes: A Novel - Sarah Pinborough
The Silver Linings Playbook: A Novel - Matthew Quick,Inc. Blackstone Audio, Inc.,Darwin Porter
Empire Falls - Richard Russo

 

This has been the year of the audiobook for me. I believe I've listened to more of them this year than ever before. And boy, this year brought two of my favorite authors to life through the power of voice. Let's get on with it, shall we? (Oh, and click the cover to see my original review!)

 

 Blackwater by Michael McDowell, narrated by Matt Godfrey

1. My number one audio of the year, (and indeed, of ALL time) is Blackwater. Written by the fabulous Michael McDowell and performed by Matt Godfrey, this epic tale spans generations of the Caskey family and their matriarch, who may or may not be altogether human. The star of this show is McDowell's writing-he brings his sharp wit and his knowledge of family dynamics to the table and then Matt Godfrey brings it all home. Blackwater clocks out at just over 30 hours of listening, and I was never, ever bored. 

 

Blackwater: The Complete Saga - Michael McDowell,Matt Godfrey 

 

 The Lesser Dead written and performed by Christopher Buehlman

2. Christopher Buehlman was unknown to me at the beginning of 2017. Now, in December, I count him among my favorite authors. I've read or listened to ALL of his novels since April, starting with Those Across the River and ending with The Lesser Dead. Mr. Buehlman narrates The Lesser Dead himself and in most cases, I don't think that's wise. In this case, he knocked it out of the park. I later learned that he performs at Renaissance Fairs, sometimes as a storyteller and sometimes as a professional insultor. Perhaps his experiences with performing has honed his voicing skills because this book was KILLER. After I finished listening, I "rewound" it, so to speak, and listened to the last chapter again. Oh my goodness, oh so killer!

 

The Lesser Dead - Christopher Buehlman 

 

Born to Run written and narrated by The Boss

3. I'm not a big fan of Bruce Springsteen, but I'm a bigger fan since I listened to his memoir. I have always been a fan of his songwriting abilities and it seems that that skill transferred well to writing this book. I'm sure a true Springsteen fan would get even more out of this book than I did, but I sure did love listening to that husky voice relate how he got started, learned to dance, (to pick up women), and how he struggled to get and keep a band, not to mention a marriage, together.

 

Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen 

 

Between Two Fires by Christopher Buehlman, narrated by Steve West

4. Between Two Fires by Christopher Buehlman, narrated by Steve West was totally and completely INSANE! Some truly scary scenes were depicted in this story and thanks to the vivid writing and expressive voicing, I can still picture them clearly in my head. 

 

Between Two Fires - Christopher Buehlman

 

 The Memory of Running, written and performed by Ron McClarty

5. The Memory of Running, written and narrated by Ron McClarty. I got turned on to Ron McClarty because he narrated Empire Falls by Richard Russo. Then, when I looked for additional performances by him I discovered The Memory of Running. From what I gather, it was originally available only as an audio book which Stephen King highly recommended. Eventually it became available in paper form as well. Anyway, Mr. McClarty used to play a recurring judge on Law & Order, but writing and narrating is most definitely his forte. I loved this weird tale of memories, acceptance and bicycling across the United States.

 

 The Memory of Running - Recorded Books LLC,Ron McLarty,Ron McLarty

 

 Nightmares and Geezenstacks by Fredric Brown, narrated by Matt Godfrey

6. A thoroughly entertaining collection of short stories, some of them super short, but all of them a lot of fun. For the most part, I prefer reading short stories rather than listening to them, but Matt Godfrey's talent made me change my mind about that. 

 

Nightmares and Geezenstacks - Matt Godfrey,Valancourt Books,Fredric Brown

 

 

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott, narrated by Lauren Fortgang

7. Competitive teenage girls are just about the scariest monsters out there, and I know scary!

 

You Will Know Me: A Novel - Megan Abbott,Lauren Fortgang

 

 

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough, narrated by cast

8. The book everyone was talking about at the beginning of the year! Usually, I avoid those like the plague. However, the audio was available at the library, so I decided to give it a go. I vividly remember listening to this while I was cleaning and then, for the last half hour or so, I just sat on the sofa, stunned. 

 

Behind Her Eyes: A Novel - Sarah Pinborough

 

 

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick, narrated by Ray Porter

9. Audible was giving this one away for free, so what did I have to lose? I loved the movie, but as usual, the book was a little different. That said, I loved the book too! 

 

The Silver Linings Playbook: A Novel - Matthew Quick,Inc. Blackstone Audio, Inc.,Darwin Porter

 

 

Empire Falls by Richard Russo, performed by Ron McClarty

10. This book came to me highly recommended by a fellow reader. Even though a book about small town life with no evil children or haunted houses is really not my thing, Empire Falls MADE IT my thing. I've since listened to two more audiobooks of Richard Russo's work, (Everybody's Fool and Nobody's Fool), and I tracked down McClarty's Memory of Running, (see above.) Now, I just need to track down the HBO series of this FANTASTIC novel. 

 

Empire Falls - Richard Russo 

 

This year I've learned the following:

 

Ron McClarty and Matt Godfrey can both narrate the hell out of any story, and I will happily listen to them perform their grocery lists.

Authors sometimes CAN perform their own stories and do it better than anyone else.

 

I've finally accepted that audiobooks are an acceptable form of reading and I look forward to finding new narrators and discovering new worlds to listen to in 2018.

 

Thanks for reading if you've stayed this far! I hope you'll join me in enjoying audiobooks in 2018! 

 

 

 

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review 2017-12-04 23:57
Fabulous!
Somebody To Love - Wendy Vella

Somebody To Love by Wendy Vella is a phenomenal story.  Ms. Vella has delivered a well-written book and populated it with amazing, lovable characters.  Bailey is a world famous pianist.  After an accident, she gives it up and travels until she ends up in Ryker Falls, the town of her childhood.  Joe was Bailey's best friend but when she left town he acted out and has spent years cleaning up his reputation.  Their story is full of drama, action, suspense and sizzle.  This book hooked me at page one and held me captive till the end.  I loved reading Somebody To Love and look forward to reading more from Wendy Vella in the future.  Somebody To Love is book 1 of the Ryker Falls Series but can be read as a standalone.  This is a complete story, not a cliff-hanger.  

 

I voluntarily read an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

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