Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Revenant by Kat Richardson

The Revenant by Kat Richardson - 464 pages
Greywalker Series (Book 9)

This final book in the series would be pretty incomprehensible as a standalone since there is little explanation of character relationships and Harper's greywalker status.  The plot goes forward at a breakneck speed and helps bring closure to Harper and Quin's fight with his father's evil dark project.  It is disappointing that this final book isn't on the level of the previous.  Parts of this book just read like a travelogue of Portugal.  There is  a lot of description of the country's back story and architectural details of locations that the characters don't really have a realistic way of knowing at that point in the story.  Plus most of the detail given isn't really relative at all to the action of the plot so it just throws the reader out of the story.    

The Witch With No Name by Kim Harrison

The Witch With No Name by Kim Harrison - 480 pages
Final book in the Hollows series

It's the rare author that steps away from a highly popular series at the height of their game.  Harrison doesn't disappoint at all in this finale to the Hollows series.  Major plot points are revealed and there is actual resolution for most of the ongoing storylines so the reader walks away satisfied.  The Hollows series got more serious as the books progressed so there are some heavy issues and social commentary that gets a tad overt but the character interactions continue to serve as the narrative's heart and soul.    

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Deadline by John Sandford

Deadline: A Virgil Flowers Novel by John Sandford --- 388 pages

John Sandford latest Virgil Flowers police thriller is a really great fun read. There's plenty of action, lots of earthy Midwestern humor, and Sandford juggles three different plot lines and makes it look easy.

Asked to describe the book, Sandford said: "Sort of a dog-napping, meth-chasing, mutiple murder investigation in which most of the bad guys belong to the school board." He confesses that when he worked as a newspaper reporter himself, the assignment he dreaded the most was covering a school board meeting. Having worked briefly as a reporter myself, I can entirely sympathize with him on that.

Click HERE to read an interview with John Sandford.

Click HERE to read a review of Deadline from the New York Times.

Click HERE to read a review by a reporter who also covers school board meetings.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak -- 552 pages

In The Book Thief, narrated by Death, Liesel Meminger is sent to a foster home after her father is taken away for being a Communist. Her younger brother dies on the way. Her new home, in Germany during World War II, becomes a special place with special people, and it is there that she learns the power of words.

Death in his own unique perspective is telling us the story of one who refused to die and had an irresistible urge to live. His perspective is intriguing and moving, and the descriptions are poetic and alive.

I listened to this on Audio and greatly enjoyed it. The people, place, and story all came alive to me and I felt like I knew each one in depth. The ending was fulfilling. Not sure how, but it was.

Otherwise Engaged by Amanda Quick

Otherwise Engaged by Amanda Quick - 342 pages

Amity Doncaster is targeted by the serial killer The Bridgegroom due to her association with Benedict Stanbridge.  Together they try to figure out who The Bridegroom is before he strikes again.

I listened to this on audio after first reading the book.  I preferred it in the book format.  While the narrator was fairly good at distinguishing between the accents of all the different characters, there was one main character whose accent drifted.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Diary of a Mad Diva by Joan Rivers

Diary of a Mad Diva by Joan Rivers - 289 pages

This is a mock-diary of a year in the life of Joan Rivers.  It is definitely a book for those who are fans of her comedy.  Every page is filled with her jokes and comments that are sure to offend many.  I thought the whole book was worth it just for her comments on much she hates "Flo" from the Progressive insurance commercials.  She summed up my hatred of those commercials perfectly.  The oddest part of the book was reading her thoughts on how she wanted her funeral and how she expected to ring in 2015 with her daughter.  It was very strange reading those parts knowing that she had recently passed away.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Persona Non Grata by Ruth Downie

Persona Non Grata: ANovel of the Roman Empire by Ruth Downie --- 348 pages

Third novel in Ruth Downie's entertaining series of historical mysteries set on the frontier of the declining Roman Empire during the reign of the Emperor Hadrian.

Gaius Ruso works as a contract medicus or doctor for the Twentieth Legion in the wilds of Britannia, so he can send money home to his family in southern Gaul to pay off the mountain of debts left behind by his late father. One day he receives a terse message from his brother Lucius, demanding his immediate return home. So Ruso wrangles several months of emergency leave and sets off for Nemausus, accompanied by his British housekeeper (and lover) Tilla (Darlughdacha of the Corionotatae of the Brigantes).

But when he arrives home Ruso is greeted not with relief but with consternation --- it seems that Lucius not only did not summon him but in actuality Ruso's presence is likely to make a bad situation worse. There is an arcane Roman law that says a Roman citizen engaged on public service in a foreign country cannot be sued for debts at home. Furthermore, despite his best intentions, Ruso has never quite gotten around to breaking the news to his family that he has acquired a British (barbarian) companion. And his stepmother is convinced that the best way to solve the family's financial problems is for Ruso to immediately marry the wealthy widow next door.

But that's only the beginning of Ruso's woes. It turns out that the family's chief creditor and instigator of the suit that is threatening them with ruin, a weasel-faced fellow called Serverus, is also the less than desirable second husband of Ruso's ex-wife Claudia.  Serverus arrives on Ruso's doorstep to discuss a settlement, only to collapse, declaring that he has been poisoned. In order to protect himself and his family from ruin, Ruso needs to figure out who murdered Severus and more importantly, why.

Meanwhile Tilla is feeling lonely and a little lost, far from her own people and country, and not very welcomed by Ruso's relations, who look down their noses at the barbarian. When one of the household slaves is kind to her, Tilla goes off at Galla's invitation to meet her "family," and has her first encounter with the followers of Christos.

The plot also includes a lovelorn gladiator and the hot pursuit of a couple of villains through the catacombs of the local amphitheater in the middle of gladiatorial games. Downie gets better with every book.

Click HERE and HERE for two reviews of Persona Non Grata.