Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Test of Wills: A Mystery by Charles Todd

A Test of Wills: A Mystery by Charles Todd --- 282 pages

This is the first book in the critically acclaimed Inspector Ian Rutledge mystery series set in post World War I Britain, written by the American mother-and-son team of Caroline and Charles Todd, who publish under the pseudonym Charles Todd.

In many ways it's an old-fashioned mystery story eschewing explicit violence, sex and language.  In other ways it's a subtle psychological portrait --- not of the murderer as one might expect --- but of the Inspector, a survivor of four years in the trenches, suffering from what was then called "shell shock" (we know it today as post-traumatic stress disorder).

It s 1919, and the war has been won. Or at least people tell themselves that it's been won. But there is no happy homecoming for Inspector Ian Rutledge, who has spent months in hospital, shell-shocked and locked in a mortal embrace with the pitiless voice of Corporal Hamish McLeod, one of his men whom he had to execute for refusing an order during battle, under the pitiless military code of the time.

When his fiancee deserts him, Rutledge decides that the only way to save his sanity is to escape into his work. He conceals his fragile mental condition, and manages to get his old job and rank back at Scotland Yard. But Superintendent Bowles, his previous superior, is still jealous of Rutledge's brilliant pre-war reputation, still determined to destroy his career.  

Bowles sends Rutledge to investigates the murder of a popular colonel in Warwickshire but neglects to mention that the chief suspect in the case is a decorated war hero who has been received at Court and lauded by the Royal family.

The case is a political minefield. Charging a popular war hero with murder will create a storm of notoriety around the Inspector. Regardless of whether the trial results in a judgment of guilt or innocence, the political consequences will demand a scapegoat --- and who better than a war-damaged investigator who has lost his nerve?

Even worse, the crucial witness who can make or break his case is a another veteran suffering from severe shell shock that has never been recognized or treated. And as Hamish's voice eagerly points out, that grim fate could easily become Rutledge's own.

Click HERE for a review from Kirkus.

Click HERE for a review from the Paradise Mysteries blog.

Click HERE for a review from

Monday, November 23, 2015

A Mad Zombie Party by Gena Showalter

A Mad Zombie Party by Gena Showalter  440 pages

The battle rages on. Ali Bell and Cole Holland's crew of zombie slayers thought they'd won the war against Anima Industries, the evil company responsible for capturing and experimenting on zombies in an effort to discover the secret to immortality. In the last epic clash, the slayers lost many of their crew and closest friends. But Frosty, the ice man himself, has not recovered from one casualty in particular--the love of his life, Kat Parker. On the path to self-annihilation, Frosty receives a message from beyond--Kat's spirit returns, insisting he partner with rogue slayer Camilla Marks. Frosty will do anything for Kat. Except that. Camilla is the one who betrayed them all, leading to Kat's death. But when Anima rises from the grave to become a force the slayers may not have the strength to overcome, Frosty, Camilla and all the slayers will have to work together to survive. And one broken slayer will learn that sometimes, the line between hate and attraction is blurred...and the road to redemption isn't through revenge, but in letting go of the past and grabbing hold of the future.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula by Andi Watson

Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula by Andi Watson - 170 pages

Princess Decomposia is loaded with the work of running her father's kingdom while he is unwell in bed.  Then she has to hire a new cook and chooses the best possible candidate for the job -- Count Spatula.  He's a vampire who loves to bake and feels it is his mission to feed those he cares for.  And that is the start of a wonderful relationship that will change everything.

This was a cute graphic novel.  It's filled with monsters for those who look the creepy.  It deals with family issues.  And it has a sweet romance.  While this book is geared towards teens, I also think older children would like also.

The Demon Prince of Momochi House by Aya Shouoto

The Demon Prince of Momochi House, v.1 by Aya Shouoto - 172 pages

On her 16th birthday Himari Momochi inherits a house in the middle of nowhere.  She's shocked to discover three squatters living there.  Turns out that Momochi House is a barrier between the human and the spirit realms.  Aoi is the guardian that keeps the barrier in place and the other two are spirits that assist him in his duties.

I'm not sure that I cared for this manga.  The entire volume was episode after episode of Aoi having to save Himari.  She was very much the damsel in distress the entire volume.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell - 328 pages

Eleanor and Park are two misfits that connect on the school bus.  They spend ride to and from school talking about music and comics.  It's a friendship that eventually leads to something more.

I started out listening to this on audio.  While I enjoyed the narration, it seemed to move incredibly slow to me.  About halfway through I switched to the print book.  That seemed to flow better for me.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas -- 464 pages

17332556Iolanthe Seabourne didn't realize that calling forth a bolt of lightning would mark her as the greatest elemental mage of her time and set the Atlantians on her trail. Suddenly she finds that her life and destiny have been planned, not only by a prophecy, but by a Prince, who has been waiting his whole life for a mage--but not a girl. He is not only unprepared, but determined to have his plans realized, and that includes Iolanthe confronting and defeating the greatest mage ever known. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine  355 pages

Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden. Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library s service. When he inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life and soon both heretics and books will burn.