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review 2018-01-12 15:44
Prince of Darkness (Justin de Quincy #4)- Sharon Kay Penman
Prince of Darkness (Justin de Quincy ,#4) - Sharon Kay Penman

I really wanted to savor this novel. Knowing that when I finished, there were no more Justin de Quincy books, was kind of a bummer. I didn't want to rush through only to be sad at the end. You know what they say about the best laid plans.........


I couldn't take this book slowly. I was hooked from the beginning. The pairing of Justin and Durand was brilliant. I know they have worked "together" in previous novels but never really have they had to make it obvious they are on the same side. If that doesn't make sense, read the books. I promise you won't be disappointed. Anyway, I loved the Justin and Durand pairing. It was medieval good cop/bad cop. I would love to read more books featuring that dynamic.


It's unfortunate Penman has never had the opportunity to really wrap this series up. The end certainly left an opening for future books. However, Penman has said on several occasions that her publisher won't release any more de Quincy books. *Sigh* I guess I will just have to settle for the other Penman novels I have not yet read. 

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text 2017-07-24 20:03
Past Crimes: A Compendium of Historical Mysteries by Ashley Garner

Any fans of historical mysteries here? Ashley Gardner is a pseudonym for author Jennifer Ashley. Ashley is the author of the Captain Lacey Regency Mysteries series and the newly released the Leonidas Gladiator mystery series. She also writes the Kat Holloway Victorian (Below Stairs) Mysteries as Jennifer Ashley. And if you like historical and paranormal romances like me, you probably know she's also the author of the Mackenzies series and Unbound Shifters series.



Step into the past through three historical mysteries that reach from Imperial Rome to Victorian London.


A Soupçon of Poison
(Kat Holloway Victorian Mysteries)

Kat Holloway, a young cook who is highly sought after by the wealthy of Victorian London, becomes embroiled in murder and must clear her name. Only the mysterious Daniel McAdam, who is much more than he seems, can come to her aid.

Blood Debts
(Leonidas the Gladiator Mysteries)

Leonidas, freedman, once the most popular gladiator in Rome and champion of the games, now must fight for his life outside the arena. A man who owed him money was murdered, and Leonidas is a prime suspect. With the assistance of Cassia, daughter of a Greek scribe who has been bestowed upon him as his slave, Leonidas fights for justice in the back lanes of Imperial Rome.

The Necklace Affair
(Captain Lacey Regency Mysteries)

Captain Lacey agrees to help a society matron discover what has become of her cherished diamond necklace and to clear her maid, who has been arrested for its theft. Lacey quickly becomes enmeshed in scandal and past secrets, and finds himself competing with the underworld criminal, James Denis, for the necklace's retrieval.

This collection includes three previously released novellas of about 25,000-30,000 words each.


Buy Links: 


Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/ydfgjkue
Nook: http://tinyurl.com/yafj5ryz
iBooks: http://tinyurl.com/y8usdhp6
Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/ya7hy68e
Google: http://tinyurl.com/yavq3k8t
Paperback Amzn: http://tinyurl.com/y9syx5aa
Paperback B&N: http://tinyurl.com/yboukudv

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text 2015-07-25 13:00
Sense of Time -- Sense of Place

A novel's pronounced sense of time and place can determine, sometimes even singlehandedly, whether it sinks or swims for me: Lack of such a sense will almost certainly take away from my reading experience, whereas I'll often find a novel that makes its setting literally stand up and become a character in its own right the greater for that element alone.  In two of my favorite genres in particular -- historical fiction and mysteries / crime fiction --, as well as in their hybrid child (historical mysteries), "nailing" the setting is absolutely crucial to my appreciation of the story; similar to the importance of imaginative world building in fantasy.  But I'm also a particular fan of literary fiction and classic novels that draw substantially on the atmosphere, society and circumstances of their respective setting.




So, what are your favorite novels that gain for having a strong sense of time and / or place?  Here are some of mine:



* Hilary Mantel: The Cromwell trilogy (Tudor England) and A Place of Greater Safety (Revolutionary Paris / France from the POV of Danton, Robespierre & Desmoulins)

* Sharon Kay Penman: The Plantagenet and Welsh Princes series (medieval England and Wales)

* Robert Graves: I, Claudius and Claudius the God (imperial Rome)

* Iain Pears: An Instance of the Fingerpost (17th century Oxford), and The Dream of Scipio (Provence in the late 4th century, in the Middle Ages, and in the Vichy Era)

* Barry Unsworth: Morality Play (14th century England)

* Louis de Bernières: Birds Without Wings (early 20th century / WWI Turkey)

* Victor Hugo: The Hunchback of Notre Dame (15th century Paris) and Les Misérables (early 19th century France)

* Alexandre Dumas (16th - 18th century France)

* Emmuska Orczy: The Scarlet Pimpernel (France under the Terror)

* Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose (14th century Italy) and Baudolino (3d and 4th Crusade)

* Walter Scott (Scotland -- various historic periods)

* Robert Louis Stevenson: Kidnapped (18th century Scotland, just after the Jacobite Uprising)

* Margaret Mitchell: Gone With the Wind (Civil War Atlanta)

* Colleen McCullough: The Thorn Birds (early 20th century Australia)

* Mary Novik: Conceit (17th century London / John Donne)

* Nathaniel Hawthorne: The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables (17th and 19th century Massachusetts)

* Boris Pasternak: Doctor Zhivago (Russia before, during and after the 1917 Revolution)

* Giuseppe Tomasi die Lampedusa: The Leopard (late 19th century Sicily)

* Lion Feuchtwanger: Raquel, the Jewess of Toledo (late 12th century Spain), Jew Süss (18th century Germany), and Goya (18th century Spain)

* Frank Baer: Die Brücke von Alcántara (11th century Spain; not translated into English)

* Michael Chabon: Gentlemen of the Road (Caucasus, 10th century)

* Shūsaku Endō: Silence (17th century Japan)

* Amy Tan: The Joy Luck Club and The Kitchen God's Wife (early 20th century China / contemporary San Francisco)







* Ian Rankin: The Inspector Rebus series (contemporary Edinburgh)

* Michael Connelly: The Harry Bosch and Lincoln Lawyer series (contemporary Los Angeles)

* Raymond Chandler: The Philip Marlowe series (1940s Los Angeles)

* George Pelecanos: various series and stand-alones set in Washington, D.C. (from the 1960s until now)

* Dennis Lehane: various series and stand-alones set in Boston (from the 1930s until now)

* Tony Hillerman: Navajo Country (from the 1970s until now)

* Colin Dexter: The Inspector Morse series (1970s - 1990s Oxford)

* Arthur Conan Doyle: Sherlock Holmes canon (Victorian and Edwardian London)

* Dorothy L. Sayers: The Lord Peter Wimsey series (1920s and '30s London)


Historical Mysteries

* C.J. Sansom: The Shardlake series (Tudor England)

* Ellis Peters: The Brother Cadfael series (Medieval England)

* Walter Mosley: The Easy Rawlins series (Los Angeles, from 1948 onwards)

* Robert van Gulik: The Judge Dee series (Tang Dynasty China)






* Jane Austen (Regency England)

* The Brontë Sisters (Victorian Yorkshire)

* Elizabeth Gaskell (industrial Victorian England)

* Charles Dickens (Victorian London, and England generally)

* Thomas Hardy (19th century "Wessex")

* E.M. Forster (England and Englishmen/ -women in the Edwardian Age)

* Thomas Mann: Buddenbrooks (19th century Lübeck) and The Magic Mountain (pre-WWI Europe -- the Swiss setting is largely symbolic)

* Heinrich Mann: Der Untertan (The Loyal Subject) and Professor Unrat (The Blue Angel) (pre-WWI Germany)

* Klaus Mann: Mephisto (Nazi Germany)

* Theodor Storm: Der Schimmelreiter (The Dykemaster) (Northern Frisia)

* Günter Grass: Die Blechtrommel (The Tin Drum) (Danzig before and during WWII)

* Mark Twain: Late 19th / early 20th century Mississippi

* Henry James: Washington Square, The Europeans (late 19th century New York and Boston)

* Edith Wharton (late 19th / early 20th century New York)

* F. Scott Fitzgerald (Jazz Age New York)

* The "Holy Trinity" of 20th century Southern writers: William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, and Flannery O'Connor

* John Steinbeck (mid-20th century California)

* Wallace Stegner (19th and 20th century Western U.S.)

* Émile Zola (19th century France)

* Honoré de Balzac (19th century France)

* Fyodor Dostoevsky (19th century Russia)

* Naguib Mahfouz (Egypt, from the pharaohs to the 20th century)

* Salman Rushdie (India and Pakistan, chiefly in the 20th century)

* Khaled Hosseini: The Kite Runner (Afghanistan pre-, during and post-Taliban rule)

* Sharon Maas (20th century / contemporary India and Guyana)

* Roddy Doyle (20th century / contemporary Ireland)

* Dermot Bolger (20th century / contemporary Ireland)

* Edna O'Brien (20th century / contemporary Ireland)



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text 2014-09-07 23:24
Yet ANOTHER Haul! Flea Market Books and Goodies!

I made an exciting adventure to a flea market in New Castle DE today and while there were not many book tables, they had really good deals, so I did get some random stuff just for the heck of it. Cuz...books. Also found some other neat things. Altogether I think I only spent 70-80 dollars on the whole lot. There was another table of books, but the lady wanted like...30 dollars a hardback and 10 dollars and paperback--they were good looking books too....but I was like...nu-uh.

The first book I picked up is a beat up hardback about horse racing, as I wanted to be a female jockey when I was little, before moving to English riding. Then I picked up the second because of the lovely cover, a book about a mans adventures in the south of France.

Now I have yet another Pilcher in my collection, being the third, and from what i can gather, it's set in the 30s and 40s, during WWII. I like the cover. The second is a little vintage childrens book that caught my eye, a hardback with black and white illustrations.

These two books are definitely me, the first being a little book of glossy photographs of The Longwood Gardens, and then a small guidebook to the birds of Eastern North America, a hardback.

Then I found a vintage collection of short stories by Hemingway and a very large maritime saga set in 1896. Should be interesting. {I also saw someone with a pug near the table where I got these books. So ugly, yet so cute.}

Two mysteries, one by an author who I'm a pretty big fan of. I'm mad I couldn't procure the first William Monk novel, so I'm not sure if I'll be able to read "Slaves Of Obsession" until I do. I have read a few of Perry's Thomas and Pitt novels {1, 2, 3, and 4, I think}, but not any of her William monk. "Dying For Mercy" sounded interesting from the inner flap. We'll see how it goes.
These last books came from a place in a store on the inside building part of the flea market, which is lined with stores--it's the only book place in the whole building and called Between The Pages--it should really be called Between The Sheets, as it consists of nothing but romance novels--mostly smut and books with half naked guys dipping silk clothed damsels, but I was surprised this time to find it well stocked with historical romances, my favourite and my dessert as far as books go..my girlish indulgence. I was in a hurry as my mom was sweating to death, so I snatched up "The Fountain" without even looking at it, but I'll give it a shot. The others besides "End Me A Tenor" I found through scouring the book laden shelves for authors names that were familiar or were mentioned in the Historical Romances Goodreads group. Both are Regency, I believe, though I maybe wrong. "End Me a Tenor" just looked like a light fun read.

Now onto the non-book stuff... :)
I bought these two DVDs out of nostalgia and love.

Then I found a lovely blouse with purple feathers and blue...what I'm assuming is waves, and a floral dress that looks just about my size. Also, a little pair of strawberry earrings! :P

Lastly, and what I love most of all besides the books, is this darling figurine which is also a spinning music box.  The poor gentleman lost part of an arm, but my fathers trusty glue-gun will turn him alright again, I'm sure. I shall have to think of names for them..

I think this may be the last of my hauls for a while, unless temptation sneaks up and points me in the direction of an nearby secondhand bookshop---the older stuff always lures me and I'm still waiting till I find a Virago Modern Classic at any thrift store/flea market/etc-this doesn't seem to happen in America, but I heard the UK peoples are lucky. For now, I will read what I have unread on my shelves. I had a really great day and also got a delicious strawberry banana smoothie and got to be outside in the sun, though I appreciated it much more than my mom did...On a side note, I convinced my mom to get some Danielle Steel books for herself, as she's her favourite. I may just turn my mom back to reading yet...

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text 2014-08-01 20:53
July Roundup
Someone Knows My Name: A Novel - Lawrence Hill
The Marathon Conspiracy - Gary Corby
July Crisis: The World's Descent into War, Summer 1914 - Thomas Otte
The Cruelest Month (Three Pines Mysteries, No. 3) - Louise Penny
A Rule Against Murder - Louise Penny
The Brutal Telling - Louise Penny
A Murder Is Announced - Agatha Christie

Best read: Someone Knows My Name, by Lawrence Hill.


Biggest history wonk book: July Crisis: The World's Descent into War, Summer 1914.


The rest were mysteries: a historical by Gary Corby (great fun), three by Louise Penny (what a discovery!), and a classic by Agatha Christie.


No fives this month, but also nothing under a three.  The average was four stars, and I'll take that!

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