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review 2019-02-23 00:45
Witch-hunt
Strange Magic - Syd Moore

I love the happy accident that was Strange Magic: An Essex Witch Museum Mystery by Syd Moore. A patron dropped this book (and the next one I'm reviewing) at the circulation desk and the covers (and her effusions of pleasure) led me to checking them out for myself. This is the first in a series about (you guessed it) mysteries at the Essex Witch Museum. Our protagonist, Rosie Strange, has just inherited the museum from her deceased grandfather and she has plans for its renovation and immediate selling. (Rosie is immediately characterized as a no nonsense take charge lady.) However, soon after meeting the somewhat pompous curator, Sam Stone, she finds herself embarking on a search for the lost remains of an accused witch from the 16th century. [A/N: The accused witch they seek named Ursula Cadence is based off of an actual woman from this time period and location in Essex named Ursula Kemp who was accused, tried, confessed, and hanged for the crime of witchcraft.] Why the urgency to find these bones? Well, a little boy possessed by the son of the dead woman is losing the fight against the spirit within and the bones hold the key to his exorcism. No biggie. It's obvious that Moore has done her research on the history of witches and witchcraft in Essex because a ton of facts are thrown at the reader in this little volume (and I'm sure that's why it's spawned a series). But this isn't high brow literature by any means so please don't be deterred from giving this a shot. If you liked the nonfiction book Witches then you'll probably dig this historical fiction/mystery as it's based on true events and discusses how occult practices still occur today. It had been a while since I delved into the supernatural and I enjoyed my time with these characters so I'm sure there'll be a future review of the sequel Strange Sight. 7/10 for Strange Magic.

 

What's Up Next: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

 

What I'm Currently Reading: I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2019-02-22 14:54
Not So Clever, After All
The Elusive Pimpernel - Emmuska Orczy,Joanna Ward

Ye gods! the irony of it all! Had she not been called the cleverest woman in Europe at one time? Chauvelin himself had thus acclaimed her, in those olden days, before she and he became such mortal enemies, and when he was one of the many satellites that revolved round brilliant Marguerite St. Just. And to-night, when a sergeant of the town guards brought him news of her capture, he smiled grimly to himself; the cleverest woman in Europe had failed to perceive the trap laid temptingly open for her."

Totally with you there, M. Chauvelin, I'm afraid -- Marguerite is behaving like the worst of literary history's headless TSTL chickens here.  This is one of the books that really should have captured me, because it is from this book (not from the first one) that the creators of virtually all screen adaptations of The Scarlet Pimpernel (and its sequels) have drawn a plethora of the screen "Pimpernel's" signature attributes and plot highlights, or almost all of the things, anyway, that go beyond the central features of his dual identity and his league's activities: The "demmed elusive Pimpernel" ditty, the attempt to draw Sir Percy into a duel by creating a scandalous scene at a social gathering involving Marguerite, the explicit entrapment of Marguerite (and / or her brother) in order to entice Percy to travel to France (where a trap will be laid for him in turn -- and where he will have to save one or both of the St. Justs in addition to completing the venture that is actually taking him there), the use of a treacherous French actress, and the suggestion of a fencing duel between Sir Percy and Chauvelin in a fortress on the Channel coast, with Blakeney's yacht Daydream waiting in the waters off shore, ready to take him and Marguerite back to England at the end.

 

Unfortunately, however, this book only worked for me up to about the halfway point (or actually, only a little before that even); i.e., as long as Marguerite was displaying at least a modicum of wit.  The moment she basically allowed her brain to shut down and decided to heedlessly run after her husband, with no idea (nor really any way) how to help him on his mission to France and every probability of making his life about a million times harder, the whole thing turned into a pretty consistent groan fest.  It also didn't exactly help that there is a whole lot of telling instead of showing going on in the second part of the book, as well as scenes and dialogue that don't exactly advance the plot -- this is not an exceptionally long book, but the final (or, well, next to final) part still dragged interminably.  All of which is a shame, as the book starts with a lot of wit and panache, and Sir Percy himself is, once again, in great form.  So, three stars for the beginning, for the Pimpernel himself, and for the odd scene here and there in the second part.  Others might give even a less favorable rating, but I just can't bring myself to go any lower than this for one of my all-time literary heroes (though I do seriously hope Marguerite will recover her wits in the next book).

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text 2019-02-21 17:04
Reading progress update: I've read 238 out of 630 pages.
Revelation - C.J. Sansom

At the moment I just want to tell Barack that he has to get a grip on himself. I can´t remember him being that irritating in the other books. Quiet the contrary, I remember liking him.

 

 

Well, maybe it´s the special circumstances that has turned him into a douche, but I sincerely hope that his character improves throughout the novel. 

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review 2019-02-21 16:34
5 Star Historical Fiction Novel – Songbirds Are Free by P M Terrell @pmterrell
Songbirds Are Free: Inspired by the True Story of the Abduction and Captivity of Mary Neely - P.M. Terrell

It has only been recently that I have begun to read outside my favorite genres, and it is because of authors like P M Terrell. I first fell in love with her writing when I was reading the Black Swamp Mystery series and I never looked back.

 

Songbirds Are Free: Inspired by the True Story of the Abduction and Captivity of Mary Neely

Amazon / Goodreads

 

MY REVIEW

 

Close your eyes, take a deep breath and let your mind go. Imagine you are a pioneer woman, captured by the Indians, bound hand and foot and taken far from home.

 

Imagine floating in a canoe, smelling the trees, feeling the wind on your face and listening to the boat knife through the water. Around the bend the prairie spreads out in its vastness and a herd of bison grow larger. There is a white buffalo. Have you heard of it?

 

Songbirds Are Free by P M Terrell is told from two points of view. One is Mary’s, the other is Jim’s. A relative who never gives up in his search for her.

 

Captured by Indians, Mary chose to live and wait patiently to escape, adopting the life instead of dying and her determination to survive and return to her family is amazing.

 

Songbirds Are Free is a piece of P M Terrell’s personal history, spiced up with her ability to write a story that will have you white knuckled, sometimes pissed off, sometimes sad, sometimes even spreading a smile or two across my face as I travel with P M Terrell in Mary’s fictional footsteps.

 

I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of Songbirds Are Free by P M Terrell.

 

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos5 Stars
 

READ MORE HERE

 

MY REVIEWS FOR P M TERRELL

 

 

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text 2019-02-21 14:36
Reading progress update: I've read 176 out of 630 pages.
Revelation - C.J. Sansom

I was pondering if I could use this book for the Snakes and Ladders game, but since I started it yesterday morning and the game started yesterday evening (my time zone), I decided it is okay to read it for the game. Plus, with 624 pages it´s three times worth the requiered amount of pages per book. It doesn´t fit the prompt of the square, though.

 

So far this book is amazing, although Shardlake being back with the people at the court of King Henry VIII. doesn´t bode well.

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