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review 2020-08-10 02:57
Balthazar's Bane (Gaslamp Gothic #6)
Balthazar's Bane - Kat Ross

Balthazar, an ageless former necromancer is on a quest to rid the world of the evil necromancers that remain. His latest bounty brings him to Egypt where he quickly dispatches John Mortlake. However, the easy kill comes with strings attached. John Mortlake has debts with the djinn and a daughter who absolutely refuses to pay the debts for a father she equally despised. Balthazar gets waylaid after Mortlakes death by a beautiful woman and ends up on a Nile cruise. Balthazar's wiles get the best of him though, as the woman he is chasing steals the talisman that has kept him alive for over 2000 years. In trying to retrieve his talisman, Balthazar gets tied up in the woman's troubles and finds himself imprisoned by the djinn in a magical desert kingdom and now must retrieve a sword from a demon in order to escape with his life and his talisman.


Enchanting, fun and action packed, Balthazar's Bane continues the world of the Gaslamp Gothic series. I really enjoyed getting to know Bathazar and Lucas better. The writing dives into some of Balthazar's lengthy past and his history with Lucas without slowing things down. I was in a love/hate relationship with Zarifa's character based on her changing actions. She was strong, independent and free thinking, mostly one step ahead of the guys. Most of all, I loved being transported to the magical city of Al Miraj and exploring the many inhabitants of the city along with their dwellings and items. The trails that the demon led had me enthralled as Balthazar deftly fought his way through. Thoughtfully weaving in themes of growth, good vs. evil and respect for all living things, Balthazar's Bane entertained from beginning to end and I can't wait to see what these characters get into next. This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

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text 2020-07-09 18:13
Reading progress update: I've read 91 out of 261 pages.
Sleeping Beauty - Ross Macdonald

My reading has been more biography-heavy than usual, and after finishing the first volume of Bullock's life of Ernest Bevin I wanted something different. Fortunately I had a Ross Macdonald novel handy and it's proving the perfect alternative. It's one of his later ones, so all of the rhythms are there; though he's taking longer to move past the preliminaries, the first body (there's always a couple) has turned up and I'm sure the next one will be showing up in another hundred pages or so.

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review 2020-06-07 09:50
Audio Review: Pit Stop: Baby! (Crescent Cove, #4) by Taryn Quinn, Narrated by Kai Kennicott and Wen Ross
Pit Stop: Baby! (Crescent Cove #4) - Taryn Quinn ,Kai Kennicott ,Wen Ross





Pit Stop: Baby! by Taryn Quinn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Audio Review: Pit Stop: Baby! (Crescent Cove, #4) by Taryn Quinn, Narrated by Kai Kennicott and Wen Ross

The bigger they are the harder they fall. Crescent Cove grabbed me many books ago and has retained it's hold on me ever since. I love to watch how a baby changes the dynamic of two people who never saw it coming. Gage and Rylee pulled me into their hangups and ran away with my heart. Ross and Kennicott gave even more vibrancy to one of my favorite series. Refreshing, heartwarming and humorous are temptingly addictive fun.

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review 2020-05-24 21:21
Holy Hell, Batman, Holy Island is Terrible
Holy Island: A DCI Ryan Mystery (The DCI Ryan Mysteries Book 1) - LJ Ross

Wow and not in a good way. No stars. 

I picked this up because I was hoping for something along the lines of the Jackman and Evans series by Joy Ellis, or the Shetland series by Ann Cleeves. The plot summary looked promising, and the setting, an island off the coast of Northumberland, was right up my proverbial alley. I checked it out for free from the KU.

I can take a fair amount of unreality in my mystery fiction, but this book absolutely beggared belief. Without spoiling it too deeply, the notion that an island of two hundred people could harbor a large pagan cult led by a homicidal psychopath who is also one of the most prominent citizens of the community is just too much.



Add on top of that one of the shallowest and most unbelievable cases of instalove between the very handsome DCI Ryan and the very beautiful Anna and it was just ugh.



And don't even get me started on the end.


because the head of the police department, and Ryan's boss, is in on it and is part of the murder cult. Fuck me.
(spoiler show)

I mean, thank the homicidal pagan cult god that I didn't pay anything for this piece of nonsense. So, yeah, I won't be reading on with the series. 



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review 2020-04-22 03:56
These Plumbers have Seen and Smelled it All.
The Poop Diaries - Abby Ross
Plumbers are not always just plumbers. We are rescuers, concierges, and listeners. We go into people’s homes, treat them with respect, answer their questions, and fix their problems.

Back in February, I posted a Book Spotlight and Guest Post from Abby Ross about the origin of this project. I've now found the time to read it, and it's exactly what was promised. A collection of anecdotes about memorable jobs and the people they've helped from a wide variety of plumbers at various stages of their careers.


Most of the stories sound like the stories someone would share over beers—generally told to amuse/entertain, some feature some pretty gross things, some are heartwarming (a couple are particularly sweet). And wow—the things they've found? Mind-boggling.

Yes, occasionally, the stories get repetitive—there are only so many plumbing problems. It reminded me a little of Herriot's All Creatures... books, which also largely consisted of variations on a theme. But they're quick enough reads that it's easy to get past. And every time a tale starts to feel like one you've read before, within a page it moves to something else and that's over with.


I wouldn't have minded a little more detail about what some of the technical terms mean—I was able suss them out from context, and eventually, we're given better definitions, it just would've been nice to have it up front.


My biggest—really only—complaint was the lack of contractions in the dialogue. Sure, I knew that none of the dialogue was made of exact quotations, it was all paraphrases based on memory. But still, everyone speaking in a wooden, contraction-less manner just feels wrong.


A breezy book that makes you think about a segment of the population that most of us likely try not to think about, but really should. Ross helps us to do so by hearing their stories—with an emphasis on those that'll make you grin. This sentiment is repeated throughout the book, and it's a pretty good note to end on:

“If things get bad and your furnace breaks, you can always build a fire. If your electricity goes out, you can always light a candle. But you always need clean water to drink and a place to go poop.”


And that is why the world will always need plumbers.


Disclaimer: I received this novel from the author in exchange for this post and my honest opinion, I thank her for it.

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