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review 2018-06-22 09:46
Bodies in a Bookshop (Professor John Stubbs Mystery)
Bodies in a Bookshop - Cassandra Campbell,Peter Main

A re-issue of a 1940's mystery written by Ruthven Todd; I have to say that in general, I did not like this book.  It probably deserves 2.5 stars but the bookshop setting and plot surrounding books keeps me from doing it.  This is an instance when I know I'm being too kind though, because the writing had me skimming from just about the mid-way point.

 

The book (and series) is hyped to be witty and humorous and in the forward Peter Main mentions that Ruthven Todd wrote these only in order to make money; he felt that they were vastly inferior to his poetry.  I put these two disparate ideas together because I can only think that what is considered funny to others is what I felt was a complete lack of respect for the genre.  Of the three main characters, one is a constantly fatigued Scotland Yard detective, another is a corpulent Scotsman, and the third, our narrator, a botanist and assistant to said corpulent Scotsman, who does not hide his complete disdain for both from the reader.  It's a disdain attached to grudging affection and respect, and I suspect it is supposed to be read as acerbic wit, but it just sounded petulant to me.

 

Never thought I'd say this but: there's such a thing as too much Scottish vernacular.

 

The plot was ok, but too strung out and would have benefited from an editor with fascist work habits.  Dover says upfront that the text is from the original published manuscript as it was printed, so fair enough to them, but that just means the original had many flaws, including a niece that becomes a sister and is then demoted back to niece in the span of 2 pages.

 

Dover have reissued a few others of his work, but I won't be searching them out.

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text 2018-06-22 05:01
Reading progress update: I've read 33%.
Deceptive - Sara Rosett
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review 2018-06-22 03:55
Death from a Top Hat by Clayton Rawson
Death from a Top Hat - Clayton Rawson

Series: The Great Merlini #1

 

When an occultist is murdered in an impossible locked room mystery, a magician is called in to consult on the case. I was interested in how the murder was done, but I found the writing to be pretty sloppy. For example, Rawson has his Merlini character enumerate theories or possibilities several times and in one case dispenses with any approximation of dialogue and just writes numbers on the page with the corresponding item. And Merlini could get pretty tedious even when Rawson gave a nod towards actual dialogue.

 

Between Merlini and the POV character Harte's meta-ness, I don't think I'll be reading any more of these mysteries.

 

Previous update:

17 %

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-06-21 20:27
Book Review: The Necromancer's Reckoning by S.J. Himes
The Necromancer's Reckoning (The Beacon Hill Sorcerer, #3)The Necromancer's Reckoning by S.J. Himes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Newton's Third Law states: "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction". Lord Acton, the British historian, was the first to say: “All power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

What do these two famous quotes have in common? Angelus Salvatore, sorcerer, teacher, leanan of First Elder Simeon of the Boston Bloodclan, and perhaps the most powerful Necromancer to have ever lived. Add to that, Angel's unquestionable ability to attract trouble of all forms, his smart mouth and his ability to hold a grudge... well some days it just doesn't pay to wake up early.

For as long as he can remember, Angel has been the only necromancer in all the Northeast. He is unarguably one of the most powerful, battle-hardened sorcerers in generations. He and his brother, Isaac, are the last remaining Salvatores in North America, the last two Salvatores standing in the aftermath of the the Blood Wars; and it was Angel's death magic that had ended it. So to say he was powerful and fearsome would be an understatement. And then he went and fell in love with, and became mate to, Simeon, first Elder of Boston's only bloodclan, second only to Constantine Batiste, Master of the city. Ancient and powerful - and an unending ocean of death magic for Angel to access.

And now the High Council of Sorcery has taken notice, and returned to Boston. And they want Angel. The High magister arrives with (not so) trumped up charges of violating practioner laws and using proscribed magics. She is willing to use everything within her power to get her hands on Angel, setting her sights on his apprentice, Daniel, as the weakest chink in Angel's armor. Isaac is fighting his own demons of guilt and addiction and is vulnerable but is protected so long as he stays in the magical rehab facility. Simeon is vowing death to anyone who tries to take Angel from him and Bridgerton is being an ass.

But the bloodclan towers, while sovereign soil and the only place where Daniel isn't vulnerable to the magister's ire, isn't a safe haven for the young apprentice. The events that led him to becoming Angel's apprentice have left him traumatized and not even Constantine, the vampire master can keep the horrors of Daniel's past from reemerging... although a certain wee beastie has a few tricks up his wing to keep the last free Macavoy safe, as well as a few unexpected allies.

And if that isn't enough on Angel and Simeon's plate, there's the matter of a missing ghost, a group of graverobbers, and creatures of unimaginable horror to deal with. Oh, and another necromancer decides to crash to the party. Angel and Simeon have their hands full, fighting for their freedom, future and their very existence in this amazing wrap-up to their story. Everyone has a part, no mystery is left unmentioned, and, best of all, there's another Salvatore waiting in the wings with a story of his own.

This book was so well worth the wait. It was smart, sassy, full of action, adventure and romance. And S.J. Himes threw in a couple life lessons that everyone needs to remember. Be polite, ask for pronouns when you're unsure, treat everyone with respect - unless they've proven they don't deserve it. And never assume a wee beastie is, well, wee!

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-06-21 18:49
Blaze by Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott - Book Review
Blaze (Unbreakable Bonds, #5)Blaze by Jocelynn Drake
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I never knew how much I needed this book until I turned the last page. This was... perfection. This book lifts the veil to the past and lets you really see, know, and understand where Lucas Vallois and Ashton Frost (aka Snow) came from as well as the events that shaped their earliest lives and drove them to be the men they are today. And it wouldn't be a Jocelynn and Rinda book without mystery, attempted murder, high speed chases, and MASSIVE explosions. So yeah, perfection.

The book opens with Lucas Vallois and Andrei Hadeon mere days from walking down the aisle. The love story that started in Shiver has finally reached it's happily ever after. The two men burn hotter and brighter for each other than ever before. But the course of true love never runs smooth, everyone who reads romance novels knows this. And with these particular men... enter Hurricane Taylor. Lucas's niece. A teenaged girl, daughter of Lucas's sister Nicole, independent, smart as hell, and with a penchant for finding the worst sort of trouble - the kind that involves murder. Sound familiar?

Lucas and his lifelong best friend, Snow, had both left Collinsville, Oklahoma, in their past decades ago. But both men were still haunted by their childhood in very different ways. Had it been any other family member than the niece he'd never known about, Lucas would have told them to go bleep themselves and never look back. But his niece was innocent of the events that shaped his and Snow's past and she was in a world of trouble.

So, with just days before the wedding, Lucas and Snow return to the place where their brotherhood started; to confront their demons and save a young woman's life. But will _they_ survive the small town that had made their growing years a living nightmare? Will Snow get Lucas to the church on time? And who told Rowe and Noah what they were up to?

I adore the writing partnership of Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott. Their style is so perfectly in tune with one another that I can't tell where one left off writing and the other picked up. They flow seamlessly together to create a series that has become one of my go-to's whenever I want the comfort of an old literary friend. I have read their series... a fair few times... from start to finish and this book was the absolutely _the best_ way to close the circle on Lucas and Andrei. It had all the elements of a classic Drake & Elliott story - mystery, murder, HUGE explosions, fast cars, and smoking hot love scenes.

Now ladies... about Snow. Can we talk?

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