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review 2019-12-01 13:27
24 Festive Tasks: Door 13 - Advent: Book
Still Life - Louise Penny


Turns out I already read my book for this square!


On a related note, color me somewhat less impressed than I expected to be -- this is yet another insanely popular series that, as it turns out, I won't be rushing to continue.  There's some really good and insightful writing in the later parts of the book, but the beginning is dominated by cliché and long too-cutesy-to-be-true passages strongly reminiscent of the worst of cozy mystery writing, and equally as importantly, with the exception of Gamache himself (and one or two of the villagers), I found few characters I really cared about ... or could even be bothered to like and root for.


(Task: Read a pastiche, a book authorized by a deceased author’s estate, the 4th book in a series, a book with the word “four” in the title, a book featuring four siblings, or a book with a wreath, pines or fir trees on the cover.)

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review 2019-11-25 20:05
24 Festive Tasks: Door 8 - International Children's Day: Book
An English Murder - Cyril Hare


OK, so I thought about this for a while, because it's admittedly a borderline case, but I've ultimately decided to use Cyril Hare's An English Murder, which I recently finished, as my book for International Children's Day: Although the kid concerned doesn't actually make a personal appearance, there is no question that a child "plays a significant role" in the plot within the meaning of the book task for this square.  To say anything more would constitute a huge spoiler (probably even so much as using the book for this square at all already constitutes one), and I'm definitely open to comment by those who've read this book as well ... but this kid's role is unquestionably among the most significant I can think of, behind the scenes or not.


(Task: Read a children’s or YA book or a book where children or teenagers play a significant role, or written by an author who was under the age of 18 at the time of publication.)

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review 2019-11-09 15:05
"At Death's Door", by John W. Mefford
AT Death's Door - John W. Mefford
Redemption Thriller #23

Alex Trout Thriller #11

Alex and Ozzie always have been the biggest magnets for danger even on a Hawaiian vacation they manage to find themselves in the middle of a deadly encounter with the Yakuza. The theme of this installment is kidnapping, corruption and murder. Who else but our two best protagonists could save the day.

Talk about a nail-biting and edge of your seat suspense. Most of the book holds the excitement as we follow these two discovering that not all who appeared friendly can be trusted….seems even the authority can be corrupted. This story has many twists and turns and trying to figure out who are the good guys and who are the bad guys has kept me guessing till the very end. This is a roller-coaster ride from start to finish.

What a master storyteller, Mr. Mefford knows how to draw you into his story line and never letting you go. He does an outstanding job of making you part of his protagonists’ world in a wild fast-paced way. So much going on: body parts washing up on shore, house blowing up, acquaintance being kidnapped, and fingers being chopped off…. Just a few macabre encounters….

To spice things up Brad Alex’s boyfriend shows up adding turmoil to a shaky relationship. More drama to absorb….and this is so well played out.

I love the story, I love the style, I love the characters but again I love a well thought out thrillers….Mr. Mefford delivers all of this. Well-done.

Mr. Mefford gives us hints that the Alex Trout series is coming to an end with the next installment. Although this will happen I am not worried. He has written sub-series in which characters from different book appear in other novels. Alex will still be active and there to captivate us….hopefully


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review 2019-09-30 19:59
The Mark on the Door, Hardy Boys #13
The Mark on the Door (Hardy Boys, #13) - Franklin W. Dixon



13 Square: This is the thirteenth book in the series.


Take a long look at that cover, because that's one of the least offensive things about the text of this book.


The Hardy Boys have taken their beloved power boat out for a cruise when a dusky foreigner comes speeding out of the fog, hits them, and keeps going. Some quick action on the boys' part saves their lives and limits the damage done to the boat, but such actions are hardly those of a gentleman.


Determined to get satisfaction, the boys inquire after the boat and discover that it was a rental and the man is unknown in town. Disappointed, the boys go where the action is in Bayport: the city courthouse, to see the ongoing trial of the company that had been selling fraudulent stock in Mexican oil. 


The place is packed, of course, and the boys arrive in time to hear the case being delayed because a star witness has gone missing. They also see the dark foreign man! In tracking him, the boys discover his link with the fake oil stocks, his gifting of sickly hairless dogs, and his penchant for carving his sigil on doors. As a reward for their sleuthing, their father takes them along on the search for the missing witness and they end up in Mexico.


This was a difficult one to read. The book relies on the trope that the only good foreigner (Mexicans in Mexico are foreigners, fyi) is a rich one and the only good Native Americans are full-blooded strong and silent types. A lot of disdain is given to the "half-breeds" that live in hovels and caves.


The only reason this gets a full star at all is that after the boys are captured by a gang and mistreated by those cads and Frank and Joe's bluster is met with laughter. They ask their Indian guide what will happen to them out in this desert (where nobody knows where they are).


Die, probably.


Which, yes. Finally. Thank you, realism.


There was very little else to redeem this book. I imagine the 1960s rewrite scrapped the lot.


Hardy Boys


Next: 'The Hidden Harbor Mystery'


Previous: 'Footprints Under the Window'

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review 2019-09-29 20:05
5 Star Death's Door
At Death's Door (Deadman's Cross #3) - Sherrilyn Kenyon


As a result of a spell gone wrong, Valynda Moore died and became trapped in the body of a voodoo doll. She expected nothing else from her messed up life, until Thorn, leader of the Hellchasers, offers her chance at redemption and a new life. She and crew of Deadmen have sworn to keep the beast locked away, but the Malachai has risen and this time he’s taking not prisoners. It’s a demon-eat-demon world where the stakes have never been higher and either redemption or the ultimate betrayal waits for her At Death’s Door.


The final Deadmen’s Quest is an exhilarating, entertaining and adventurous read with a smorgasbord of wonderful, strong, charismatic characters that not only enthrall you with their story, they make readers feel as if they are taking part. The story has a forbidden romance that been happening for quite some time between Nibo (Death) and Vala, the chemistry between them is undeniable electrical but this romance has some major obstacles and emotional distress that will have to be conquered before they can reach for an HEA.


The plot is fast paced and never has a dull moment as one exciting event takes place after another from learning about the beginning of Nibo and Vala’s love to a major battle with the Malachai. For the most the story takes place on a ship that has a delightful variety of crew members and lots of witty dialogue that really makes the story pop and readers can’t help but become caught up in this epic, energetic and sometimes deadly adventure.


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