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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Dead Anyway by Chris Knopf

Dead Anyway is a riveting tale of a rather ordinary man (an overweight computer nerd and a compulsive researcher and problem-solver) who is transformed after his wife is murdered and he survives being shot in the head.  The changes Arthur Cathcart manifests when he finally emerges from a lengthy coma are a result of both his brain injury and his anger and grief over his wife's death.  Physically and emotionally, he is a different man.

He makes the decision to fake his death to prevent the assassin from making another attempt and to discover the who and why of his wife's murder and his own traumatic brain injury.  His sister is a physician, and the two of them manage to have Arthur Cathcart "die."

With a new name, a dramatically altered appearance, and plenty of money, Alex (formerly Arthur) begins a suspenseful investigation into his wife's murder. He is obsessed with finding the assassin and the person who  ordered the hit and uses his formidable computer skills and his research strengths coupled with an inventive twist of mind and brash persistence to follow the one lead he has--he saw the killer.

While there is a conclusion to one part of the story, it is obvious that there is another book in the making, and I look forward to it.

An intriguing plot with well-drawn characters, Dead Anyway has made it on to my favorites list.

From Net Galley/The Permanent Press.

Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
Kirkus, Starred Review
Booklist, Starred Review
Library Journal, Starred Review
Publishers Weekly Top Twelve Mystery/Thrillers of 2012
Kirkus Best Fiction of 2012 

Mystery/Suspense.  2012.  print version 248 pages.  
ISBN-10: 1579622836

Saturday, March 30, 2013

More Baths Less Talking by Nick Hornby

More Baths Less Talking:  Notes in the Reading Life of a Celebrated Author Locked in Combat with Football, Family, and Time Itself  is another winner for Hornby.

You, the reader, will pay by adding a multitude of books you have never heard of on subjects you probably never intended to read about.  But you will also be enriched and amused by the irreverent descriptions of the books Hornby includes in his columns for The Believer Magazine, the literary, arts, and culture magazine founded by Dave Eggers.  Yeah.  Dave Eggers.

At least that is what I did.  Add books to my list.

I was, actually, already interested in David Kynaston's Austerity Britain, and I still am, but perhaps with more intention than before reading Hornby's review.  I wasn't familiar with Francis Spufford's The Child That Books Built, which is mentioned as a bit of an aside to his review of Red Plenty, but I'm more interested in a book about "what we read when we're young and why" than in Khrushchev's planned economy.

Then there's Live From New York; An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live by Tom Shales and James Andrew Miller.  Since the show wasn't broadcast in Britain, Hornby had no idea who Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, and Bill Murray were.  Of course, the show is an American icon, and I think I'd get a kick out of it.

The Conversations:  Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film by Michael Ondaatje, I mentioned in a previous post and is definitely on the list.  And David Almond's My Name is Mina, a children's book-- but I've got to have it after reading what Hornby had to say.

Enough already.  You get the idea.  If you read this book of essays, you will extend your TBR list and chuckle while you do.

Nonfiction.  2012.  McSweeney's, Believer Books.  135 pages.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Montaro Caine by Sidney Poitier

Montaro Caine from Net Galley/Random House is due out May 7, 2013.  

Description from Amazon:  A baby is born with a coin in her hand. An orphan crafts a mysterious wooden object. The CEO of a large corporation finds himself under extraordinary pressure at work and at home. And on a remote hilltop on a Caribbean island, a medicine man seems to understand the meaning of all of these events and to hold the key to the future.

Sidney Poitier, the respected actor and director now in his eighties, has turned his hand to writing fiction, and because Poitier is an actor whose works I've always admired and appreciated, I had to try this book.  I liked it, and some of the philosophy behind the work seems in keeping with my image of Poitier--intelligence, integrity, wide-ranging interests, and a strong sense of belief in oneself and personal responsibility.

The book is, unsurprisingly, well-written and is an intriguing mix of philosophy and metaphysical science fiction with a decidedly optimistic faith in both science and humanity.   I'm not quite sure of how to describe it, but it held my interest.  I'm now determined to read his autobiographical works.

Fiction/Science Fiction.  May, 2013.  Print Version 320 pages.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Night Swarm by Robert V.S. Redick

The Night Swarm an ARC from Net Galley, Random House, Del Rey Spectra.

Maybe I read these four tomes (each one was 500-600 pages) too close together.  Reviews of The Night Swarm have been very positive, but while I still loved all of the characters, this final book in the series was generally unsatisfactory for me.

I was beginning to find some of the adventures less compelling in The River of Shadows and faced the same problem with The Night Swarm.  The concluding episodes seemed to drag, and the finale did not appeal to me.
Perhaps if more time had passed between reading each one, my enthusiasm would not have begun to fail, but unless, Redick decides to add yet another volume, which doesn't seem likely, I was disappointed in the resolution.

Fantasy.  Feb. 2013.  Print version 720 pages.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Mother Shadow by Melody Johnson Howe

The Mother Shadow  (from Net Galley and Mysterious Press/Open Road Media) introduced two interesting characters:  Maggie Hill and Claire Conrad (well, and the butler)--so three interesting characters.  The Mother Shadow was nominated for an Edgar Award, but sadly, the series ended after the second book.

Here is the Net Galley blurb:  

After a suicide, two oddball female sleuths investigate a coin collection that is anything but small change

Maggie Hill’s life has become temporary. Her marriage was temporary, her jobs are temporary, and if work doesn’t pick up, her time in California might be temporary, too. Her latest employer is Ellis Kenilworth, an aging coin expert with a first-rate collection and a tenth-rate family. One morning, he has Maggie type up a codicil to his will, changing the document so that his million-dollar rare-coin collection goes not to his kin, but to a woman named Claire Conrad. By the end of the day, the codicil has vanished, and Kenilworth has killed himself with a shotgun.  

When the hyena-like family starts to circle Maggie, she reaches out to Conrad. The heiress is an eccentric private detective who wears only black and white—and whose sense of honesty is as clear-cut as her wardrobe. Together, they fight to protect an old man’s final wish, battling against a family so greedy that they would steal the coins right out of the dead man’s hand.

Although the book has flaws and is certainly dated (shoulder pads and panty hose), I loved the idea of these three sleuths (can't overlook the handsome, multi-talented English butler) and look forward to the second book, Beauty Dies, originally published in 1994, because I feel sure that the characters continued to develop.  I'm sorry the author decided to end the series before the characters had a chance to pursue more adventures, but I think I'll look for Beauty Dies anyway.

Mystery.  originally publ.  1989; republished Feb. 2013.  print version 263 pages.

The River of Shadows by Robert V.S. Redick

The River of Shadows (Chathrand Voyage) is the third is this series and is from Net Galley--Random House, Del Rey Spectra.

The Chathrand has finally reached the Bali Adro empire, but the situation has drastically changed from the diverse and welcoming society it was originally.

While I continued to follow with interest, there were parts that were too slow, as if Redick didn't want a conclusion and decided to spin things out.

The characters are still the high point, but the in some areas the plot begins to feel contrived to give the novel length.  

Fantasy.  2011.  print version 592 pages.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Murder Below Montparnasse by Cara Black

Murder Below Montparnasse, another ARC from Net Galley, Soho Crime.

This is the second book featuring Aimee Leduc by Cara Black that I've read (Thanks, Teresa, for the recommendation), and I was delighted to receive this as an ARC.  It is the 13th in the series, so if I choose to go back and pick up earlier books in the series, I'll have plenty to catch up on.

Aimee's best friend and partner Rene Friant, a computer specialist, has left the agency for a dream job in the states.  Feeling deserted, Aimee tries to be happy for Rene's good fortune, but his loss and a mysterious connection concerning her long-missing mother result in blunders in her investigation.

In the meantime, Rene, a dwarf, finds his new job begins with difficulties with accommodations for his size, but on discovering that his hiring had an ulterior motive, he both stunned and frightened.

Aimee's first case in Rene's absence has its own problems, and the search for a missing Modigliani painting of Lenin, her confusion about her mother's involvement, a Russian oligarch's desire for the painting, and Serbian gangsters keep Aimee busy.

Mystery.  March 5, 2013.  print version 319 pages.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Ruling Sea by Robert V.S. Redick

The Ruling Sea, from Net Galley and Random House-Del Rey Spectra, continues the saga Redick began in The Red Wolf Conspiracy.

Pazel, Thasha, Hercol, Neeps, Feldthrup and others continue their fight to stop the wicked mage Arunis from accomplishing his goal.  Arunis is not the groups only antagonist, however, and so the group must fight on several fronts and overcome obstacle after obstacle.

I enjoyed this book as well, but must mention a couple of points:

- the transition from Book 1 to Book 2 is rough.  I had just finished The Red Wolf Conspiracy and still found the opening of The Ruling Sea a bit difficult to follow.  It wasn't that I'd forgotten any characters or plot elements, I simply didn't follow the transition very well.

-the Hercol and Dri subplot did not appeal at all

I have no problem with the length of the books or with the number of characters, and I continue to follow their adventures with interest.  I'm currently reading River of Shadows, the third in the series.  I found the same problem with transition from book to book, but once past that was engaged again.

As I mentioned in the review of The Red Wolf Conspiracy, the characters are engaging and the plot chock full of adventure.

I finished this book about two weeks ago, and since then have finished the last two in the series and will review them soon.

Fantasy.  2010.  print version 672 pages.

A Great Day for the Deadly by Jane Haddam

A Great Day for the Deadly originally published in 1992 and republished as an e-book by Open Road Media.

I've read one other book featuring Gregor Demarkian, a rather unusual protagonist.  In this novel, he has retired from the FBI, but still engages in certain cases that either catch his interest or which he is asked to pursue by someone he knows and respects.

When a young postulant is murdered, the Archbishop of Colchester, John Cardinal O'Bannion requests Demarkian's aid in solving the murder.  Of course, one murder then turns into two, and Demarkian must figure out who would want to kill both a young nun and a banker.  What connection could there be?  And will there be another murder?

Mystery.  originally publ.  1992, republ. March 5, 2013.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

No Child of Mine by Susan Lewis

No Child of Mine is from Net Galley, Random House-Ballantine.  Release date for this republication is May 13, 2013, but you can also get the original 2012 publication.

Alex Wade is a social worker and dedicated to her job.  When she first sees little Ottilie Wade, she immediately register both concern for the child and a strange attraction.

While you definitely want to know the story behind Ottilie, there are sections that are difficult to read as any kind of child abuse always is.  The attraction of Alex for the child is kind of weird and pounded in as if we might miss it, and I found this a distraction.  Kind of "Whoa, let it go!  We get it, already!"  The many subplots, some of which didn't seem necessary, at least in the detail/pages they took up are not always resolved.  The book would have been better if it had been severely edited and pulled together more tightly.  The conclusion...unlikely.

While I really wanted to find out what happened, there were plenty of  things that bothered me.  The book is being republished because there is a sequel due out, but I read an excerpt that was included with the ebook and won't be reading that one.

ISBN-10: 0345547756

Original publ. 2012.  Repub. 2013.  print version 576 pages.

Friday, March 08, 2013

A Little Nonfiction

I have a couple of nonfiction books in process that I neglect and then return to after gulping down a novel or two.  One is More Baths Less Talking by Nicholas Hornby.  Hornby is always entertaining, but this monthly review of his reading life makes you jot down more books that you want to read.  I'm going to mention one that I want to recommend to my daughter, a film enthusiast, and this will remind me to do so.

Hornby discusses his reading of The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film by Michael Ondaatje, a series of interviews with Walter Murch.  If you are a film buff, you may already know the name, but unsurprisingly, I did not.  Murch edited Apocalypse Now, American Graffiti, The English Patient, The Talented Mr. Ripley,  and The Godfather, and Hornby remarks that the book is
"a dream not just for cineasts, but for anyone interested in the tiny but crucial creative decisions that go into the making of anything at all." 
 Hornby mentions details from the book such as the sound of a door closing and why it is important in The Godfather and how the change of a character's name gave Francis Ford Coppola the idea of a semitransparent raincoat for Harry Caul in the 1974 film The Conversation (not to be confused with the title of Ondaatje's book).  So yes,  Ondaatje's conversations with Murch is on my list of want to reads, and one that my daughter would surely enjoy.

The other nonfiction that I'm reading in between novels is: The Queen's Agent:  Sir Francis Walsingham and the Rise of Espionage in Elizbethan England by John Cooper about the first great English spymaster.  I like this period and Walsingham comes up so often in fiction (as well, of course, as in any nonfiction about Elizabeth I) that it is interesting to take a closer look at his life and exploits.

Of course, the gardening continues, and I'm reading and rereading favorite gardening books.

The Red Wolf Conspiracy

The Red Wolf Conspiracy a Net Galley e-book from Random House - Del Ray Spectra.

Book Description:  Six hundred years old, the Imperial Merchant Ship Chathrand is a massive floating outpost of the Empire of Arqual. And it is on its most vital mission yet: to deliver a young woman whose marriage will seal the peace between Arqual and its mortal enemy, the Mzithrin Empire. But Thasha, the young noblewoman in question, may be bringing her swords to the altar. 

For the ship’s true mission is not peace but war—a war that threatens to rekindle an ancient power long thought lost. As the Chathrand navigates treacherous waters, Thasha must seek unlikely allies—including a magic-cursed deckhand, a stowaway tribe of foot-high warriors, and a singularly heroic rat—and enter a treacherous web of intrigue to uncover the secret of the legendary Red Wolf.

I really enjoyed this fantasy, the first in the Chathrand Voyage quartet.  Full of adventure, great characters, and magic, the first volume kept me reading late at night.

Pazel, Thasha, Neeps, Feldthrup (the woken rat) are some of my favorite characters, but there are many other characters, both good and bad, that are well-developed and interesting--for their courage or their villainy.

I can't say that it is a fast read, but it kept my interest the entire time, and I found it difficult to put down.  I couldn't wait to get right on to the next volume:  The Ruling Sea, and I'll review that one soon.

Fantasy.  2010.  print version 544 pages.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa

The Eternity Cure is the second novel in the Blood Eden series and is due for release April 30, 2013.

As you may remember, I loved the first in this trilogy, The Immortal Rules, reviewed here.

Allie continues her courageous struggle to maintain her humanity in her vampire form.  I mentioned in my review of The Immortal Rules my regrets that Kanin didn't have a larger role.  Kagawa reintroduces him in The Eternity Cure when Allie begins to have nightmares concerning Kanin.  In her dreams, he is suffering greatly, and Allie begins trying to track him down.  She receives two "calls" (a sensing of blood kin), she finds something she didn't expect and must continue following the fainter call to reach Kanin.

It is difficult to review this book without giving spoilers, but Allie discovers that regardless of what she has been through, there may be worse to come.   Love this series.

Fantasy/Dystopian.  April 2013.  print version 448 pages.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Tyringham Park by Rosemary McLaughlin

Tyringham Park, an ARC from Penguin, begins in 1917 when the youngest daughter of the manor disappears.

Despite a thorough search for the child, and theories from abduction to the toddler falling into the river and being swept out to sea are considered.

Charlotte, the older sister is only eight, and certainly not the favored child.  It is Charlotte's story that unfolds in the novel.

I'll be quick--don't think the cover suggests similarities to Downton Abbey.  Few of the characters are likable, and although it took a while to realize that things were not going to improve, I stayed with it to an unsatisfactory conclusion.

Historical Mystery.  2013.  514 pages.

Reading, Reading, Reading

I've been in the grip of a ferocious reading cycle lately.  I no sooner finish one book (or e-book) than I turn to another.  While I've been trying to keep up with reviews, I'm still not quite successful.

Recently finished but not yet reviewed:

The Red Wolf Conspiracy (Chathrand Voyage) by Robert V.S. Redick
A Great Day for the Deadly by Jane Haddam
Tyringham Park by Rosemary McLoughlin
The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa
No  Child of Mine by Susan Lewis
The Ruling Sea (Chathrand Voyage) by  Robert V.S. Redick

I need to stop reading for a few days and catch up with reviews, but my tbr pile keeps beckoning.  Where is my will power?  Oh, yeah, don't have any.  When a cycle hits, whether it is crafting and creating or gardening or reading, I submit and indulge.

Gardening is going on, but most of it is down in the country, so I only go once or twice a week--although sometimes for two days at a time.

I really got tired of carrying all the rocks for the path!

We continue working and have made more progress, but still can't plant anything except for cold weather things:  broccoli, brussel sprouts, lettuce, onions, potatoes, etc.  And trees:  dogwood, peach, plum, apple, weeping willow, fig.  We will have a real orchard some day, and then I'll be able to sit on the back deck (in progress) and read and enjoy the garden at the same time.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

The Immortal Rules is the first in Julie Kagawa's Blood of Eden series. This is another dystopian/vampire series, but an excellent addition to a genre that, while wildly popular, varies considerably in quality.

Allison Sekemoto lives in the Fringe, right outside of New Covington, a city ruled by vampires.  Allie and her gang are unregistered, and daily face a hand to mouth existence of hunger and cold.  The registered humans in the Fringe are the property of the city vampires who regularly harvest their blood.  While Allie and her gang are free from this process, they don't receive the benefits of the registered and are always scavenging for food.  The registered are like cattle, fed so that the vampires have  a continuing food supply.

In the search for food, Allie braves the ruins outside of the safe area and makes a lucky find in a basement.  The lucky find turns sour, however, when Allie and her gang go back to gather the canned items.  Attacked by rabids, two of the gang are killed immediately, and Allie, trying to draw the rabids away from the weakest member is attacked.  As she is dying, a strange vampire defeats the rabids and offers her the opportunity to live...but as vampire.  Although Allie despises vampires, her desire to live is strong, and she accepts the offer.

I liked Allie a great deal, but there were times when she was exasperating (especially--anything to do with Stick).  I would have liked Kanin to play a bigger role; he was an interesting character that disappeared too soon.

Despite the above criticisms, I loved the novel.  Kagawa kept me enthralled with the world she created and populated.  A thrilling adventure, and I can't wait for the next one, which I've already downloaded from Net Galley.

Net Galley and Harlequin Teen.  ISBN-10: 0373210515

YA/Dystopian/Vampire.  2012.  print version 504 pages.

screen rights - Palomar Pictures

Monday, March 04, 2013

Two YA Novels

Peregrine Harker and the Black Death by Luke Hollands follows the adventures of young Peregrine Harker as he becomes involved in a conspiracy that he doesn't quite understand.  Lots of action, less character development.

I think young readers would enjoy it, but unlike some books that appeal to both young and mature readers, this one depends too much on jumping from one action-packed adventure to the next.

It would make a good serial with all of the different adventures allowing for great cliffhangers.  Characters are definitely one-dimensional, and Peregrine something like a young superhero in the making, cartoonish.  If the author had taken advantage of opportunities to create more life-like characters and not skimmed so quickly over each adventure, I might have liked it better.  Peregrine Harker has great potential as a series for middle schoolers, and I hope Luke Holland will give the characters a chance to become more rounded, complex personalities.

Oh, you do have to get past the awful daydream that opens the book.

Net Galley and Sparkling Books.  ISBN-10: 1907230440

YA/Adventure.  release date June 3, 2013.  print version 192 pages.

Emilie and the Hollow World by Martha Wells is a Steampunk YA novel and while sheer fantasy, a lot of fun.  Every bit as unrealistic as Peregrine Harker (see above), but this one worked better.

Emilie is escaping from her aunt and uncle, planning to catch a ship to take her to her cousin's boarding school.  But naturally, things go wrong, and Emilie ends up on a ship specially designed to take them to the center of the earth.  Now, here we have all that aether stuff that tends to annoy me in steampunk novels, but if you can "suspend disbelief" then you will enjoy the journey that Emily and her fellow passengers make into a strange world at the center of the earth, the hollow world.  Echoes of Jules Vern.

Characters are well-drawn and the relationships between characters develop throughout the novel. A fast, easy read that allows you to relate to the characters and enjoy this fantastic voyage to  a world both strange and fascinating.  Young readers should enjoy this one; I did.

Net Galley and Strange Chemistry, an imprint of Angry Robot.  
ISBN-10: 1908844493

Steampunk/YA/MG.  Release date April 2, 2013.  print version 304 pages.

In the Mail: The Start of Everything by Emily Winslow

The Start of Everything, an ARC from Delacorte Press Hardcover, is set in Cambridge.  When the body of a teenage girl is discovered during a flood, DI Chloe Frohman and partner Morris Keene are on the case.

Told from multiple points of view, from each detective to a young woman with Asperger's , from victims to those who have committed the crimes--the novel is full of complications, connections, and coincidences.

None of the characters are terribly likable, and I found the novel a bit slow.  For some reason, the novel (plots, subplots, and characters) didn't really resonate with me.  The relationship between Chloe Frohman and Morris Keene bothered me, and the twin characters and their mother didn't ring true.  Oh, well, it just wasn't a novel that appealed to me, although I read some very positive reviews.

Mystery/Detective.  2013.  254 pages.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

The White Cottage Mystery by Margery Allingham

The White Cottage Mystery is the first detective novel (really, more of a novella) by Allingham who became best known for the well-loved Albert Campion, the mysterious gentleman detective who has connections in all levels of society, from highest to lowest.

Campion, however, didn't come along until later, The White Cottage Mystery features Chief Detective W.T. Challenor and his son, Jerry, and was originally serialized for a newspaper.

When Eric Crowther is murdered at White Cottage, there is no lack of suspects.  Every one of the suspects has good reason to wish him dead, and none of them are reticent about announcing their hatred of him.

Challenor is both a kindly detective and a sharp one, but his attitude toward women is definitely from an earlier time period.  He is protective of women, but generally considers them silly and unable to distinguish what is important in the matter of a murder.  Determined to discover the murderer,  he and Jerry follow the clues to Paris and the south of France.

Definitely a cozy, the novella suffers from its original serialized form, but is still a fun and quick read.  I'm glad that Allingham went on to create Albert Campion.

From Net Galley.  ISBN-10: 088184666X

Mystery/Detective Fiction.  Originally publ. 1927.  Republ. by Bloomsbury as an ebook in 2011.  Print version 130 pages.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Death on a Pale Horse by Donald Thomas

Death on a Pale Horse:  Sherlock Holmes on Her Majesty's Secret Service  will be released on March 6.  Another Sherlock Holmes pastiche, the novel kept me glued to the pages (so to speak, it was an ebook), and I enjoyed it as much as the earlier pastiche by John Gardner featuring Moriarty.

I wasn't aware of Thomas' previous novels about Holmes, but he has also written The Execution of Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes and the King's Evil, and Sherlock Holmes and the Ghosts of Bly, and more.

Thomas is a prolific writer in both fiction and nonfiction: "His biography of Robert Browning was short-listed for the Whitbread Award and he received The Gregory Award from T. S. Eliot personally for his poetry collection Points of Contact."  from the Amazon page

Holmes and Watson, with Mycroft's aid, are determined to keep the evil
Colonel Moran from creating chaos and war across Europe.  Intent on revenge, Moran has staged a massacre of a British force by Zulu tribesmen,  the murder of the heir to the French throne, forged dispatches to heads of state, and other events geared to cause death and destruction.  Initially, no one knows that one man has engineered these disasters, but Holmes, Watson, and Mycroft set their sights on Moran and pursue him with a vengeance.

From Net Galley and Open Road Media, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and am glad to have discovered another "new to me" author.

Mystery.  2012.   print version 400 pages.  ISBN-10: 1605983942

Friday, March 01, 2013

Two Graves, Unhallowed Ground, City of Dark Magic

Two Graves from Net Galley and Grand Central Publishing, is the latest Pendergast novel by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.  ISBN-13: 978-0446554992

Twelve years ago, Pendergast's wife died while on a safari, a terrible accident.  Later, he learns she was murdered.  Now, however, it turns out that Helen was alive and in hiding, but just as the two are about to be reunited, she is abducted.

Typical Pendergast novel, and regardless of how fantastic, outlandish, and unbelievable each one is, I eagerly devour each new installment about the redoubtable FBI Agent Pendergast.

I'm along for the ride each time, and on each finish, I wonder at myself having been seduced one more by this silliness.  Nevertheless, I'm sure I'll continue reading these fast-paced fantasies; they are guilty pleasures.

Suspense/Thriller.  Dec. 2012.  print version 480 pages.

Unhallowed Ground by Gillian White is an ebook from Net Galley, originally published in 1999; Open Road Integrated Media. ISBN-13: 978-0684855424

This mystery has a few good parts, scenes of intense suspense, and bad parts, revisiting an earlier event in Georgina Jefferson's career, repeatedly, and a complete lack of resolution.  It is as if the author couldn't be bothered to give the novel a conclusion or actually connect several threads that had been woven throughout the novel.  I wasn't sure if I'd been sent the entire manuscript!

Mystery/Suspense.  republ.  Feb. 11, 2013.  print version 288 pages.

City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte.  ISBN9780143122685

Magnus Flyte is the pseudonym of Meg Howrey and Christina Lynch, and although the pseudonym and title might make you think it is a YA novel, it definitely is not.

OK -- an interesting premise that could have developed into a fun and entertaining novel; interesting information about Beethoven, his Immortal Beloved, and about Prague; a couple of secondary characters who were actually interesting.

But -- no real character development for the majority of the characters--including the protagonist, no sense of chemistry between characters, a lack of flow, some egregious sex scenes that seemed thrown in at intervals and would have been more appropriate for an erotic novel, a disjointed feeling in the narrative, and at the conclusion, a feeling of the authors having missed the boat on what could have a good novel....

An easy and quick read, but not worth the time even at that.

  2012.  print version 464 pages.