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text 2018-07-14 22:34
Finally sat down to update my bookshelf
Werner's Nomenclature of Colours: Adapted to Zoology, Botany, Chemistry, Minerology, Anatomy and the Arts - Patrick Syme
Single Malt Murder: A Whisky Business Mystery - Melinda Mullet,Gemma Dawson
The Accidental President: Harry S. Truman and the Four Months That Changed the World - A.J. Baime,Tony Messano
Sacre Bleu: A Comedy d'Art - Euan Morton,Christopher Moore

 

It has been a while since I have updated my shelves or even downloaded my purchases to my computer (a process even slower these days than adding them to my bookshelf here). But today had been housekeeping day and at least here I am up-to-date. Now I can go spend the rest of my credits. Or, perhaps I should invest some effort into finishing the books I have already bought. In other words, it is time to attack Mount TBR. <dashing knight in armor, on horseback and a flourish of trumpets>

 

The truth of the matter is that Mt. TBR is just not as daunting when it doesn't take up much needed physical space thus lacking the imperative to "get these books read and put away already." Moreover, I just am not inclined to read anything new right now or to even finish any of the three or four titles that I have begun and abandoned but am not ready to declare DNF. I have been enjoying a prolonged and relaxing period of working my way through my re-read list and it seems that the only thing that will be getting me out of this groove is that I am quickly reaching the end of the alphabet and thus the end of the list. Yes, I read the list A-Z and then start over; it saves having to choose what to read next or answering that age old question, "what do I feel like reading."

 

All told, I added one reference book, five books and six selections from the Great Courses catalog. I hope I chose well.

 

 

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review 2018-07-11 18:45
THE MOORE HOUSE by Tony Tremblay
The Moore House - Tony Tremblay

 

When I read Tony Tremblay's THE SEEDS OF NIGHTMARES, I knew that I had discovered a very special author. THE MOORE HOUSE only serves to prove that I was right!

 

In Goffstown, New Hampshire there stands a house-a house with a history. After a particularly gruesome occurrence there, Father MacLeod and his team of 3 excommunicated nuns, (specialists in identifying demonic possessions), are called in to evaluate the home. They came, did their thing, and it looked like the house was fine. But after Father MacLeod left, the door of the Moore House opened on its own and soon? What the house really is becomes clear to them all. Will they escape the machinations of the house? Will they survive at all? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

This story has a distinct New England feel to it that I recognized instantly. I don't know how to explain it unless you live here. It's the perfect setting for stories like this and Mr. Tremblay takes full advantage of the location. (The fact that many character names used are actually those of New England dark fiction writers also contributed to that feel.)

 

The characters here are all very real. You might think because 3 of the main characters are nuns, (albeit excommunicated nuns), they would all be boring or perfect. That is not the case. Each and every character here, priest included, are altogether human-with all the faults and foibles that go along with that. This fact lent the story a credible feel, which made all of the demonic things even more easy to believe. Not every author can pull this off, but Mr. Tremblay does- and he does it with style.

 

The only problem I had with this tale, and it's a slight one, was the overuse of the phrase "pawnshop owner", or some variation thereof. That's it!

 

The story surprised me in the fact that it's not your typical haunted house tale. It's a story of demonic possession, more than one in fact, which I thought was unique. The level of tension fairly hummed throughout and I had a hard time putting it down. With short chapters and lots of action, this book flew by and I was sorry when it was over.

 

THE MOORE HOUSE is definitely worth your time. To recap: we have demons, we have layered characters that are realistic, we have a cool house with a history and we have the age old fight against evil. What more can you ask for from an excellent dark fiction writer? Nothing!

 

Highly recommended for fans of haunted house tales and/or demonic possession stories! Available for pre-order here: THE MOORE HOUSE

 

*I was sent an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it. Further, I consider Tony Tremblay to be a friend in real life, but this did not affect the honesty or content of my review.*

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review 2018-07-10 11:51
Strange Sight (Essex Witch Museum Mystery #2)
Strange Sight - Syd Moore

Even better story than the first one, though epically bad copyediting.  Rosie is still an odd character for me to sort out, but coincidentally, I was at the hair salon today and was able to ask my stylist, a UK native, about the whole Essex thing, which he tried to explain while desperately trying to be PC about the whole thing.  I got the gist though, and it helped.  It also helped that Rosie seemed more focused in the second half of this one.

 

This story revolves around a good old fashioned murder mystery albeit with ghosts and a haunted restaurant.  Nothing to scare the reader too badly, but the historical context of the plot, (which is based on historical events, sadly) is wickedly dark and honestly, even if this wan't a cozy(ish), would be hard reading in a few places.  While this book is excellent on almost all fronts, it is also full of trigger warnings for epic violence against women.

 

I liked the ending - I liked that it didn't involve the MC doing something stupid or ending up in a woman-in-peril situation.  The very last page was also creepy as hell.

 

Can't wait for book 3!

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review 2018-07-09 09:30
Strange Magic (Essex Witch Museum Mystery, #1)
Strange Magic - Syd Moore

Both the titles and the covers of these books grabbed me, and as they were part of a 40% off sale, and I've been looking for new mystery series, I couldn't resist grabbing #'s 1 and 2.

 

I'm glad I did, although book 1 and I got off to a rocky start, when cracking it open the other night in bed, I read the prologue, featuring a comatose little boy suddenly 'waking up' speaking in Early English and rising up out of bed, floating in the crucifix position.  NOT what I want to read about right before turning out the lights and going to bed, thanks.

 

Fortunately, none of the rest of the book is nearly as scary as the prologue.  Spooky fun, yes, a tad creepy at times, but mostly fun.  Rosie has inherited her estranged grandfather's Essex Witch Museum, which she plans on selling as soon as possible.  Except while she's there a plea for help comes along that she can't refuse, and she and the curator, Sam (cue romantic tension) find themselves on a race to locate the remains of the original Essex Witch.

 

It's a good story - an excellent story.  My only beefs with it were the slightly forced tone of the will-they-won't-they romantic tension, and Rosie's character, to a certain degree.  The former is just personal taste, but the latter is, I think, a lack of micro-cultural understanding. Rosie is a strong, very intelligent and independent woman, but has a chip on her shoulder about being an Essex girl - and I don't know what that means.  As the book progressed I got the feeling it's sort of like an American redneck, but my lack of confidence meant Rosie came across paranoid, or at least carrying an aggressive inferiority complex.  

 

Possibly related, her internal dialogue's habit of noting every time a man looked at her breasts/body got super tedious, super fast.  Yes, men look at women's bits; sometimes they are so distracted by them they lose sight of the fact women have faces.  Yes, it's tiresome, Yes, it's deplorable. Don't care. Don't want to hear about it in my murder mystery, it's beyond irrelevant and lent a rather shallow tone to an MC that wasn't.

 

Note though that these were minor annoyances; if I understood the Essex thing better, I'm guessing they would have lent authenticity to her character, and her accounting of leers received didn't happen more than 2 or 3 times, and it's a personal tic.  The majority of the story was, as I said, excellent: fast-paced, well plotted, and my favorite literary device: based on the history of a real woman tried and hung for witchcraft, Ursula Kemp.  In the acknowledgements, the author outlines at what point the fiction diverges from the reality, and both make for compelling storytelling. Also, people throughout history have been appalling.  Truly appalling. 

 

I'm so glad I already have book 2 in hand, and I believe book 3 is scheduled for publication any day now, which means if I like Strange Sight as much as I enjoyed Strange Magic, I'll only have to wait as long as the postal service to find out what happens next.

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review 2018-07-07 20:42
A Lady's Guide to Passion and Property
The Lady's Guide to Passion and Property - Kate Moore
Lucy inherited her father's inn after his death. She is content to live, work, and care for Adam, a blind elderly man. But, her friends, believe she should sell the inn and get married. Enter Harry, ex-military, now spy. He is tasked with finding out Adam's story (after 20 years).
This one was okay. There were moments where I felt I was missing something (some of the relationships were already established- Nate and Miranda, the club are examples). I really didn't see the romance between Lucy and Harry. They didn't have much dialogue IMO. 
I did like and I also thought the romance between Nate and Miranda was better. It felt like they talked more than Harry and Lucy. I could see them together. Harry and Lucy? Nope. 
I liked the mystery of who Adam was (and one of the main characters as well), but I felt let down by that too. It was never really explained what happened to Penelope (I know what happened- but the why was left hanging). Penelope's offspring just found out they have family still living. Nothing happens with that. It was just wrapped up too quickly and too many loose ends. 
While I know this was the 2nd in a series (I haven't read the first one), because this had a new couple getting their HEA, I expected things to be wrapped up more than they were. Oh, and Harry found a glove in the woods that had been there 20 years (moved a pile of leaves and there it was!). And the hidden compartments in the coach I expected to have a place in the mystery/story. 

eARC courtesy of NetGalley and Kensington Books
Published July 3, 2018
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