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review 2017-10-30 01:11
The Bishop's Pawn by Don Gutteridge
The Bishop's Pawn (A Marc Edwards Mystery Book 7) - Don Gutteridge

This is set primarily in Toronto in 1839, although some of the characters take a brief trip to New York City later on. At the start of the book we meet Dick Dougherty, a massively overweight man who was once a lawyer in New York City but who, after some vague and mysterious trouble, was able to relocate to Toronto. Since then, he’s been taking care of his two wards, Brodie and Celia, and slowly taking control of his life again. A recent courtroom success has inspired him to apply for admission to the Bar (he wasn’t disbarred back in New York), and with Brodie and Celia’s help and encouragement he’s slowly regaining his mobility. He now takes daily walks that are so regular and predictable people can practically set their watches by him.

Unfortunately, although the common folk of Toronto love Dougherty, the same can’t be said for some of the area’s political leaders. There are rumors that Dougherty’s relationship with Celia isn’t entirely proper, and Dougherty’s refusal to give any details on the events that got him run out of New York City inspires even more whispers. Things come to a head when Archdeacon John Strachan delivers a fiery sermon that accuses Dougherty of “vile and abominable” behavior. Not long after the sermon, Dougherty is discovered dead, with one of his eyes removed and a note with “Sodomite” written on it pinned to his chest.

Marc Edwards and others suspect that one of Strachan’s parishioners was influenced by his sermon and killed the man. They even find a likely suspect, drunk and covered in blood. However, some of the details don’t add up. Marc suspects there’s something else going on, but the tense political situation makes it difficult to discover the truth.

I’ll start off by saying that this is book 7 in Gutteridge’s Marc Edwards series, and I haven’t read the previous six. The only reason I had this one, and five other ones after it, is because they were all free during some past Smashwords sale and their descriptions made me think of the Murdoch Mysteries TV series. I had noticed the series numbering but thought it might be a mistake, because no books with earlier series numbering were even listed. The earlier books appear to have been put out by a different publisher, one that doesn't sell through Smashwords (not a deal breaker for me, as long as it's available through Kobo) and that has chosen to add DRM to all their e-books (still one of my deal breakers when it comes to e-book purchasing).

I had hoped that jumping into the series at such a late point wouldn’t be too difficult. The story itself was fairly self-contained. Unfortunately, character relationships weren’t, and I could tell there were references to at least three previous books: one in which I’m guessing Dougherty was first introduced, one in which Marc’s wife’s first husband was killed, and one in which Marc was reunited with his mother. I had difficulty connecting to and caring about most of the characters, and I wasn’t sure whether that was due to the writing or my own lack of familiarity with them.

My other hurdle was my lack of familiarity with Canadian history. I basically know nothing. I probably should have sat down and read a few Wikipedia pages on historical figures and events mentioned in the book’s first 50 or so pages, but instead I powered through my confusion. Thankfully, the situation became a lot easier for me to follow once Dougherty was murdered. The basics: politicians afraid of a scandal, and a power struggle brewing over the position Strachan would vacate once he was elevated to bishop as everyone expected he would be.

Marc was given a pretty tight deadline, and I wasn’t sure I could buy the extension he was given in order to go to New York City and ask a few more questions. Still, the results of his investigation were interesting and more shocking and horrible than I expected. I was glad that Marc

didn’t see pedophilia and homosexuality as being essentially the same thing, even though other characters seemed to.

(spoiler show)


This was a decent book, but it didn’t work nearly as well for me as I had hoped it would. Marc and his wife both seemed like okay characters but didn’t really grab me, whereas Cobb and his habit of mispronouncing words actively annoyed me. I’m still debating what I’m going to do with my freebie books 8 through 12. Eh, they’re free and not taking up any physical space, so I’ll probably keep them around for now. I just checked, and it looks like I should be able to read at least a few of the previous books via interlibrary loan, if I wanted to give one of the earlier books a shot before moving on to book 8.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2017-10-24 16:39
Late Bite / John Matsui
Late Bite (Toronto Chronicles, #1) - John Matsui

What would happen if a real vampire were captured in Toronto. In Canada he wouldn't be decapitated or have a stake driven through his heart. He would receive benefit of the law. And that's what happens to Dragul Mangorian who appears to be the sole-surviving member of a sub-species of homo sapiens that through evolution is forced to feed on human blood. His trial creates a world-wide sensation and after an unusual defence, is acquitted. As a vampire, Mangorian is the ultimate 'bad boy.' He becomes television's #1 Late Night talk show host and with his lawyer/partner Al Hamblyn enjoy fortune and world-wide fame . . . until the murders start up.

 

Read to fill the “Vampires” square of my 2017 Halloween Bingo card.

I love a good vampire yarn and I was pleasantly surprised to find one written by a fellow Canadian. My library didn’t have it, it didn’t appear to be available for interlibrary loan, so I took the unusual step of buying it. I won’t say that I’m disappointed, but I will say that I won’t be purchasing the next two volumes of the series.

Dragul Mangorian isn’t your garden variety vampire—in Matsui’s world, vampires are a parallel branch of human evolution, just like Neanderthals and Homo floresiensis (the “hobbits” found in Indonesia). A large, large part of the book deals with courtroom drama, establishing the legal status of vampires, whether harm has been committed or not, etc. The voice of the book is that of Mangorian’s lawyer, Al Hamblyn, who has worked his way up from poverty to being a celebrity thanks to his client.

As a concept, many of the ideas are interesting ones. The problems are in the execution, with wooden characters behaving in stereotypical ways. I really wasn’t too interested in either Hamblyn or Mangorian. Despite the new ideas, the story ended up being very cliché.

I would encourage other readers to try it for themselves. This isn’t a bad novel, but not as good as I was expecting. Those with different expectations may experience it differently.

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text 2017-10-17 18:24
I'm late, I'm late, I'm late!
Wise Children - Angela Carter
At the Mountains of Madness and Other Tales of Terror - H.P. Lovecraft
Bitten - Kelley Armstrong
Late Bite (Toronto Chronicles, #1) - John Matsui
The Green Man - Kingsley Amis
Doctor Sleep - Stephen King
The Severed Streets - Paul Cornell
What the #@&% Is That?: The Saga Anthology of the Monstrous and the Macabre - John Joseph Adams,Douglas Cohen

Yup, I feel like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland!  I'm way behind on my Halloween Bingo reading.

 

I'm about half way through Wise Children (my magical realism choice).  Lovecraft, Bitten, and Late Bite should all go pretty quickly. I'm a bit concerned about The Green Man and Doctor Sleep--if they're too scary to read after dark, then Houston, I may have a problem!

 

Wish me luck as I push to the finish!!

 

 

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review 2017-08-04 10:27
Duty, Honor, Love (Toronto's Elite #1) by Angela S. Stone
Duty, Honor, Love (Toronto's Elite) (Volume 1) - Angela S. Stone

Cameron and his partner, Jaden, are working on a case with missing children and it quickly moves on to something a lot worse and it's been going on for longer than anyone had realised. Cameron has tried to hide his attraction to Jaden for a long time but as she is a powerful telepathic, he hasn't always been successful. Paul is Jaden's friend who has supported her throughout her life. Cameron meets him in a dreamworld and the book takes on a whole new twist. This is incredibly rich in detail and thoroughly thought out. The pacing is superb and you will be kept guessing to the end who the 'bad guy' is. If you want a mix of Thriller, Suspense, Ménage, Romance, M/M, then this is definitely the book for you. I loved this book and hope to read more about Toronto's Elite very soon.

 

Merissa Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!

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review 2017-06-15 06:06
Trust
Faking It (Ringside Romance Book 2) - Christine d'Abo

This story is book #2, in the Ringside Romance series.  This book can be read as a standalone novel.  To avoid spoilers, and to better understand the series, I recommend reading this in order.

 

Grady has reasons for being far from home.  He is helped by a stranger one night, a night he barely remembers.  What does impress him, is how little the stranger cares about his celebrity status, money, or h is family.

 

Max has his focus on his club, his friends, and keeping Ringside open.  When he meets Grady, some of that focus is off.  He cannot help but be attracted and quickly smitten with someone who needs him so badly.

 

This couple is obviously meant to be.  It is a joy to read about men who can be both strong and sensitive.  This book is packed full of lots to enjoy.  There is heat, heart, and some hot sexy times.  I give this story a 3/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This copy was given in exchange for an honest review by Netgalley and its publisher.

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