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review 2017-07-18 02:52
This Rough Magic
This Rough Magic - Mary Stewart

It took awhile, but I've come to a book that my mom and I don't necessarily agree on.  She remembers this book fondly, while I have more ambivalent feelings about it.  


I was less than 8 pages in before I was ready to chuck it all and go to Corfu; Stewart's creation of the setting was downright seductive.  I loved the scenes with the dolphin too - even the midnight scene, which ratcheted up the suspense and had me muttering threats at the author under my breath until the end.  The way the caves figured into the plot was fun and no way did I see how the book was going to end - where Stewart was taking her readers - although she does foreshadow the culprit early enough that the who was not a shock, even if the what certainly was.


The entire title-referencing-Shakespeare, went right over my head (I was expecting, you know actual magic), but Shakespeare's The Tempest plays a big part throughout the book.  I have no idea if her characters' theories hold any water, but the parallels they drew were fun to read about. 


What I didn't like was, unfortunately, the entire "Romantic" part of the romantic suspense.  "Didn't like" might be too strong; it just failed to move me in any way at all.  The scene on the beach (at midnight - the one with the dolphin) felt like a realistic evolution of the moment, but when the characters go straight from that one moment to this weird assumption that their relationship is a fait accompli, I felt like entire chapters of character development were missing.  As a result I never bought into the romance part of their relationship.


Not a bad read at all, but not as strong as Touch Not the Cat, for example; which started off slow, but had me riveted by the end.






Page count: 285

$$:  $6.00

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text 2017-06-09 03:08
BookLikes-opoly book options for June 8th-14th EDITED to fix board mistakes
Platypus - Ann Moyal
Darjeeling: A History of the World's Greatest Tea - Jeff Koehler
My Beloved Brontosaurus: On the Road with Old Bones, New Science, and Our Favorite Dinosaurs - Brian Switek
Question Everything: Amazing Scientific Insights from Simple Everyday Questions - New Scientist
Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life - Helen Czerski
Lincoln as I Knew Him: Gossip, Tributes, and Revelations from His Best Friends and Worst Enemies - Harold Holzer
This Rough Magic - Mary Stewart

EDITED to reflect the books I plan on reading after correcting the error I made on the game board that Ani's Book Abyss thankfully pointed out to me.


I have options.  I get angsty if I don't have a wide choice of books when I travel, so I've chosen more than one for each category, allowing me to pick according to my mood.


For the first square, A book set in Africa or Asia, or a book with an exotic animal on the cover I have three options:


Platypus - Ann Moyal  Darjeeling: A History of the World's Greatest Tea - Jeff Koehler  My Beloved Brontosaurus: On the Road with Old Bones, New Science, and Our Favorite Dinosaurs - Brian Switek  


I'm not sure animals get more exotic than the Platypus and after getting to swim and play with one last year, I'm besotted with them.  This book might be the driest of the bunch though, so if it fails to hold my holiday brain's attention I also have Darjeeling: A History of the World's Greatest Tea which is set in India and fits for Asia.  But just in case I'm feeling the need for something else again, I have My Beloved Brontosaurus: On the Road with Old Bones, New Science, and Our Favorite Dinosaurs; dinosaurs certainly qualify as exotic animals don't you think?  And it's supposed to be a humorous as well as educational, read.


To offset the non-fiction spree I have going on above, for my free space I've chosen two chick-lit type reads

This is where I went wrong on the board - I should have rolled the dice to determine where I go from the Free Space: Water Works, Electric Company or Luxury Tax.  I rolled an even number so I'm on Electric company.  Finally!  And one of my book selections for the Space space (which no longer applies) fits here, so I'm keeping it, but I'm also adding Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life by Helen Czerski  in case the first doesn't hold my attention.


 Question Everything: Amazing Scientific Insights from Simple Everyday Questions - New Scientist  Storm in a Teacup - Helen Czerski 


Old stuff that no longer applies: Now.... the dreaded SPACE space - Read a book with an image of space on the cover, that takes place in space, or whose author's name contains all the letters in SPACE.  


If this is too loosy-goosy an interpretation of the rules, I do have a short story in my Vintage Mystery and Detective Stories Anthology, written by Hesketh Prichard called The Murder at the Duck Club.


Lastly but one I'm excited to get started on, for my home-away-from-home square, Space #8, Read a Mystery, or a book with a title that starts with the letters in CLUE.  

(spoiler show)



After adjusting my rolls to compensate for the Electric Company space, I ended up needing a book about Lincoln and a book set on an island or with the ocean on the cover.  My Lincoln read was easy as I've been waiting to land on this space so I could start Lincoln as I Knew Him: Gossip, Tributes, and Revelations from His Best Friends and Worst Enemies.  The book set on an island stumped me momentarily until I spied This Rough Magic, which takes place on the island of Corfu (and has an ocean or sea on the cover).


Lincoln as I Knew Him: Gossip, Tributes, and Revelations from His Best Friends and Worst Enemies - Harold Holzer  This Rough Magic - Mary Stewart  


I'm doing the buddy read with Moonlight Reader that starts on the Wednesday (June 14th) but I'll do it outside of BookLikes-opoly.  If anyone would like to join us in a read of The Circular Staircase by Mary Roberts Rinehart, I hope will; it's a classic mystery with a surprising amount of humour.  I'm really looking forward to it.


I'm not, however, looking forward to the weight of my carry on luggage.  Luckily for MT, it has wheels.  :)

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text 2017-05-30 17:42
Memorial Day Reading Update!
Faithful Place - Tana French
A Pocket Full of Rye - Agatha Christie
Wildfire at Midnight - Mary Stewart
The Yard - Alex Grecian

Faithful Place by Tana French


For roll 18.1, I landed on the "Start" square, which gave me a free read! I decided to read the third in Tana French's rather brilliant Dublin Murder Squad series. Each of these books focuses on a different main character. This one centers around Frank Mackey, whom we met in the last book, The Likeness. While these books are nominally crime fiction, they are really more Irish ethnography. Frank Mackey grew up in the now rapidly-gentrifying Liberties, Dublin, child of an extremely abusive father and member of one of the most dysfunctional literary Irish families in recent memory. 


In 1985, when Frank was 19, he and his girlfriend Rose Daly, had planned to run away together, to England. On the night they were to leave, she never arrived at their meeting place. Assuming that she had gone without him, Frank left home. Twenty-two years later, the neighborhood is gentrifying, and Rose's suitcase is found in a derelict building, and Frank finally returns home to find out what really happened all of those years ago.


Frank Mackey and I are the same age - I was also 19 in 1985, so one of the most enjoyable parts of this book, for me, were the flashback scenes where Frank and Rose would talk about music. French nailed 1985. At 400 pages, this misses the $5.00 value by one measley page, and is worth $3.00!


A Pocketful of Rye by Agatha Christie


Roll 18.2 landed me on a #8, which called for a mystery. I had planned to read the newest Louise Penney, but, as it turned out, I needed a quick read for a challenge, so I grabbed A Pocket Full of Rye by Agatha Christie. 


I know that I've previously read this book, because I remembered much of the story. One of the things that I had never noticed before, though, is that this is basically the same story as Hercule Poirot's Christmas. The victim in both mysteries is a rather horrible, wealthy man who has been involved in some sort of a swindle out in India/Africa (in the Poirot version, the victim, Simeon Lee, made his fortune in diamonds, in the Marple version, Rex Fortescue was involved in some sort of nefarious dealing related to a Blackbird mine. While the solutions are different, the similarities are striking. I first noticed that Christie uses the same quote in both books, which put me onto the parallels:


"The mills of God grind slowly, but they grind exceeding small."


Anyway, even when she's recycling characters and plot points, Agatha manages to make each mystery intricate, engaging and unique. A Pocketful of Rye is 256 pages long, and is worth $3.00


Pocket Apocalypse by Seanan McGuire


Roll 18.3: I am still reading Pocket Apocalypse, and expect to be done today. This one features Alex, who isn't my favorite Price, but I'm enjoying it!


Wildfire at Midnight by Mary Stewart


For Roll 19, I needed to read something tagged gothic for Haunted Mansion #19. I decided to pick up an older Mary Stewart that's been on my shelves for a long while - Wildfire at Midnight. Set in the Hebrides, on the Isle of Skye, this was an enjoyable old fashioned gothic romance full of murder and mountaineering. Mary Stewart knew how to tell a story, and while this wasn't as good as Nine Coaches Waiting, it was a fast, fun read. Only 224 pages long, this one was worth $3.00.


The Yard by Alex Grecian


Roll 20 put me on Paradise Pier #28, which called for a book set during the Victorian period. The first book I started wasn't doing anything for me, so I abandoned it, and decided to read The Yard by Alex Grecian, which is set in 1889 London, right on the heels of the Jack the Ripper murders. This one was full of anachronisms, but it was reasonably entertaining, although not as good as I had hoped, and one of the subplots annoyed the hell out of me. I already own the second book in the series, so I'll read on at some point. This one is 422 pages long, so the reward is $5.00.


My bank is: $100.00!

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text 2017-05-26 19:40
Updated BL-opoly: Rolls 18.1, 18.2 & 18.3 + extra rolls!
Faithful Place - Tana French
A Great Reckoning - Louise Penny
Pocket Apocalypse - Seanan McGuire
Wildfire at Midnight - Mary Stewart
By Gaslight: A Novel - Steven D. Price

Just in time for the long holiday weekend, I finished Partner in Crime for Roll 17, and then rolled doubles twice!


Roll 18.1: I rolled a doubles 3, which sent me to the Start square, which is a free square! I will be reading The Faithful Place by Tana French for this task!


Roll 18.2: I rolled a doubles 4, which sent me to square 8: read a book tagged mystery, or that begins with one of the letters in CLUE! I will be reading A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny for this square. It's tagged mystery on GR by 668 users!


Roll 18.3: I rolled a 5 for this one, which puts me on the BL square. I rolled a 1, which tells me to let my BL friends choose a book for me! My list of four books is:


1.  The Love Interest - Cale Dietrich


Plot summary: There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets.

Caden is a Nice: The boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: The brooding, dark-souled guy, and dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose a Nice or the Bad?

Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be – whoever the girl doesn’t choose will die.

What the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both.


2. The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas:


Plot summary:


Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.


Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil's name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.


But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.


3. Pocket Apocalypse: InCryptid, Book Four - Seanan McGuire:


Plot Summary:


Endangered, adjective: Threatened with extinction or immediate harm.
Australia, noun: A good place to become endangered.

Alexander Price has survived gorgons, basilisks, and his own family—no small feat, considering that his family includes two telepaths, a reanimated corpse, and a colony of talking, pantheistic mice. Still, he’s starting to feel like he’s got the hang of things…at least until his girlfriend, Shelby Tanner, shows up asking pointed questions about werewolves and the state of his passport. From there, it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump to Australia, a continent filled with new challenges, new dangers, and yes, rival cryptozoologists who don’t like their “visiting expert” very much.

Australia is a cryptozoologist’s dream, filled with unique species and unique challenges. Unfortunately, it’s also filled with Shelby’s family, who aren’t delighted by the length of her stay in America. And then there are the werewolves to consider: infected killing machines who would like nothing more than to claim the continent as their own. The continent which currently includes Alex.

Survival is hard enough when you’re on familiar ground. Alex Price is very far from home, but there’s one thing he knows for sure: he’s not going down without a fight.


4. Field of Blood - Denise Mina:


Plot Summary:


A sensational murder provides the young journalist Paddy Meehan with her big professional break when she realizes that she has a personal connection to one of the suspects.Launching her own investigation, Paddy uncovers lines of deception that go deep into the past - and that could spell even more horrible crimes in the future if she doesn't get the story right.


What say you? Which one should I read? First to comment chooses!


I will be reading Pocket Apocalypse!


I decided to go ahead & add my extra Memorial Day rolls to this post as well:



This one puts me on Haunted Mansion #19: Read a book tagged gothic or horror, or that is a ghost story. For this one, I will be reading Wildfire at Midnight by Mary Stewart.


And, the next roll is: 



Which sends me back to Paradise Pier, where I started today, on space #28: reach a book set during the Victorian era, or that is tagged steampunk. For this one, I've decided to read By Gaslight by Steven Price, which is set in 1885.

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review 2017-04-07 10:19
Thunder on the Right
Thunder on the Right - Mary Stewart

Meh.  Not her best work.  Touch Not the Cat was better.


The writing was flowery, which is common for the period it was written, but it's really flowery.  And heavy on the exposition.


The plot itself felt half done; everything moves fast and I don't think the timeline was more than 48 hours (so much exposition!), but it is extremely linear.  No red herrings, so suspect pool, do not pass Go, do not collect 200 dollars.  But what was there was interesting enough to keep me reading, and there wasn't anything I hated (except the tedious exposition).  I just didn't much care about it one way or the other by the end.


The romance... eh, not worth mentioning.


They can't all be winners, and at least this wasn't a total loser.

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