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review 2017-02-19 15:14
Rusty Puppy by Joe Lansdale
Rusty Puppy - Joe R. Lansdale

Rusty Puppy is the latest entry in the Hap and Leonard series by Joe Lansdale.

 

The pair are hired by the lady across the street to help find her son's murderer. The local cops are not only unhelpful, they are suspected of being involved. As always, the pair are happy to help and find themselves involved with corrupt lawmen, scuzzy lawyers and a foul-mouthed, 400 year old midget vampire. (You'll see.)

 

I believe the main draw for these books is the back and forth between Hap and Leonard and this book is no exception. I found myself laughing out loud quite a bit and with everything going on in the world today, I welcomed the respite.

 

There's also a killer fight scene towards the end of the book that loyal readers won't want to miss.

 

Hap and Leonard lovers should enjoy this volume of the series just as much as the rest of them, if not just a smidge more. Highly recommended, especially to fans of the series!

 

Available on February 21, 2017, here: Rusty Puppy (Hap and Leonard)  

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*Thanks to Mulholland Books and NetGalley for the digital ARC of this book, in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

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text 2017-02-19 00:55
Reading progress update: I've read 148 out of 279 pages.
Bank of the Black Sheep - Robert Lewis

Llywelyn sure is running a lot of schemes--a lot of irons in the fire--for a guy with about two months to live.

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review 2017-02-18 18:37
Christmas in (Medieval) Paris
Of Witches, Whores and Alchemists (Mariana de la Mar Book 2) - Jim Hawkey

I was provided with a free copy of this book by the author

in return for an honest review.

 

Of Witches, Whores & Alchemists is Book 2 of the Mariana de la Mar series of novels set in the 1370s in Spain and France. It is preceded by two other books, The Rose of Sharon (Mariana de la Mar 1) and a prequel, Mariana la Loca, but it is the only one of the three that is a real Medieval Mystery, and is in my view the best one to start with. It is not only very much a stand-alone but the first two are both in a sense prequels to it. Mariana la Loca, the official prequel, tells of Mariana's childhood in the south of Spain, up to the point where, at the age of fourteen, and following the death of her father, she is abducted and sold into slavery. The Rose of Sharon (Mariana de la Mar 1) takes us from that point to her arrival in Paris.

 

Now she is in Paris and has fulfilled her dream of becoming a student at the university there. But her life is still beset with difficulties.

 

For a start, the university admits only boys and men to lectures, so she has to dress as a boy. On top of that, her self-appointed guardian, Ferchard (Sir Farquhar de Dyngvale), an old friend of her father's (who was a Scot living in exile in Spain) insists that she must now grow up and be the lady (Lady Marian MacElpin) she was born to be, and turn her back on the years spent as a prostitute in Spain and Avignon. But this, she finds, is not so easily done.

 

However, her experience of life and knowledge of the world is much greater than that of her peer-group of students and hangers-on, so it is to her they turn when one of their number is accused of murdering his uncle, a miserly alchemist reputed to have a horde of gold nuggets tucked away somewhere.

 

And no sooner has she agreed to do what she can to help discover who was really responsible for the death of the old man than she learns that another murder was committed that same night (Christmas night!), a murder closely connected with the first one.

 

As the title implies, the book is full of medieval witches and prostitutes – Mariana is more than a little of both herself –  but others Mariana meets and gets to know during the course of her investigations include the Holy Roman Emperor, an alchemist himself and in Paris for Christmas, his daughter Anna, soon to be the wife of Richard II and Queen of England, the one-armed Albanian King of the Paris underworld, the celebrated proto-feminist Christine de Pisan, then a girl of thirteen, and the legendary alchemist Nicolas Flamel.    

 

There are many so-called medieval mysteries about and feeling at home in the medieval period I have read most of them, but I want to say simply that there is more medieval magic and mystery in this one book than in any ten of the others. And more horror. Some scenes are more than gripping, they are mesmerising. Medieval Paris is unforgettably depicted and quite apart from that it is astonishing how this very male writer gets into the heart and soul of the all-female Mariana. (But then why not, when you think that Cadfael and Falco are both written by women?)

 

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text 2017-02-18 14:18
Reading progress update: I've read 94 out of 279 pages.
Bank of the Black Sheep - Robert Lewis

Llywelyn starts looking into murders he wonders if he committed before getting amnesia.

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review 2017-02-18 08:14
Review: Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil by Melina Marchetta
Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil - Melina Marchetta

Quick review for a progressive read. It's hard to describe my reactions to this novel, because, on one hand, this is quite apt to Melina Marchetta's style of writing - strong characterizations, compelling family-centered stories, and emotional revelations on the topics she touches upon (particularly with respect to race, violence, prejudice, etc.) I enjoyed the journey this novel took me on for the most part, even as it handed down its revelations progressively rather than in one felt swoop like the magnitude of the crime(s) this book centers upon.

It took me quite a while to get into this novel, and there's a large cast of characters within this narrative to keep track of. Hence why the pacing feels like it crawls in sections of the novel, but on the whole of things, this is a powerful novel with more of a focus on the people who are caught within these tragedies/mysteries.

Bish is a suspended inspector whose daughter is among the victims of a bus bombing. Although his daughter isn't hurt, Bish learns that a young woman whom he'd encountered many years before is at the center of suspects surrounding the bus bombing: Violette LeBrac. His journey to not only find Violette but determine who was behind the bombing takes him to many places and uncovers many difficult situations in Bish's own past. Other major characters include Bee, Bish's daughter, Violette, who struggles to maintain her own innocence despite the fact her mother and other members of her family were charged in a bombing that took several lives years before; Noor LeBrac, Violette's mother and a complex character in her own right - reluctant to help Bish, but it's clear she cares for her daughter and family greatly.

I wish the presentation of the novel had been more smooth for transition and consistency in narrative voices. The stories in this novel were powerful and impactful, ones that definitely stood out to me long after I finished the novel, but there were times when the narrative threw me out for the sheer length of time and amount of stories packed into the narrative itself.

Overall score: 3.5/5 stars.

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