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Friday, September 24, 2021

Uncharted Waters and Where Cowards Tread by Sabrina Flynn, Cemetery Lake by Paul Cleave, Tahoe ice Grave by Todd Borg

Catching up on reviews from this summer.


Uncharted Waters by Sabrina Flynn is an unusual and intriguing installment in the Ravenwood series, an interlude between the mysteries--a novella that gives the mysteries a rest as it catches the reader up on the various characters and their lives.

The series has a large cast of characters, but the novella takes the time to develop them in their ordinary lives, away from the mysteries that Bel Amstel and Atticus Riot keep getting involved in.  

Because so many characters are interesting in their own right, Uncharted Waters allows us to know them a bit better.  It also provides hints that might lead to future plots.  A fun intermission from an entertaining series!

Read in August.


Ink & Sea Publishing
2019.  Print length:  113 pages.

Where Cowards Tread was an immediate follow-up to Unchartered Waters.  Back into the Ravenwood Mysteries, because they are such a combination of danger, suspense, and great characters.  

Bel and Atticus Riot have married, adopted Sao Jin and Sarah who were part of previous books, and are addressing all of the complications involved with married life and the new location of the detective agency.

Jin is sneaking out at night and visiting China Town, searching for answers in the dangerous streets and alleys.  Grim has begun following her in hopes of keeping her safe.

Someone doesn't want the new Ravenwood detective agency to survive, there's a missing girl, and Jin is courting serious danger in China Town.  

The historical setting of San Francisco, China Town, and the Barbary Coast, the genuinely interesting cast of characters, and the suspenseful plots keep this series entertaining, exciting, and fun to read.  

Read in August.

Ink & Sea Publishing
2020.  Print length:  442 pages.

Paul Cleave's Cemetery Lake (Theodore Tate #1) is a pretty dark crime novel.  Theo Tate is a PI and former police officer.  After his wife and daughter were rundown in a drunken hit-and-run accident, his daughter died and his wife has remained in a catatonic state.  Theo is a broken man, not only from the loss, but because of his subsequent actions.

While Theo is overlooking an exhumation at a Christchurch cemetery, things go to hell.  The body in the coffin is not the one that belongs there and bodies begin to rise in the lake that borders the cemetery.

Reviews seem to indicate that people either loved or hated Cemetery Lake.  I'm somewhere in between.  Theo is a little hard to like, the first person narrative doesn't work well for me, and the twists were disconcerting.  

I may try another in the series in hopes that Theo becomes more likable and less broken, but overall the book was dark, and I wasn't particularly concerned about the characters.

Read in August.

Kindle Unlimited/Atria Books
Crime.  2016.  Print length:  416 pages.   

I really enjoyed the first two books in Todd Borg's Tahoe series, but Tahoe Ice Grave  wasn't quite as satisfying.  Owen McKenna is hired to investigate the death of Thos Kahale who was murdered in the frigid waters of Lake Tahoe.  The investigation takes him to Hawaii and back again.

The premise didn't work as well for me in this book, and I had a difficult time adjusting to that.   Still...likable characters and a beautiful setting, and I'll move on to the next book.

Read in August.

Kindle Unlimited/Thriller Press
Crime/Detective.  2002.  Print length:  288 pages.


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The news can be depressing, so I love to find articles that are hopeful (often in admittedly small ways) that creative and innovative individuals are doing for themselves and for their communities.  Positive things like finding solutions to plastic pollution, re-wilding areas, exhibiting kindness in small, but important ways, better farming techniques that look at preserving the land, seed savers (especially heritage plants), designs for more sustainable housing and community involvement in architecture and city planning--things that may be small and local, but that are encouraging.  Innovation, resilience, and creativity may not change the big picture, but still make me happy and act as a defense against the bad news.  

Also, things that counteract the violence, hate, and aggressive behavior that we are bombarded with daily.  Try this link for hopeful and uplifting things on Bored Panda.   

One example:  
"A little boy about 3 came up to me and asked if my head was cold.  I said yes a little (Melbourne Weather).  He took his beanie off and said that I could have it."


Yep, these make me feel better.

27 comments:

  1. I really like the cover on that novella, and the series sounds interesting. But I'm kind of reluctant to take on another new series right now...mentioned on my blog a few days ago that I'm reading in and out of 24 series now. Cathy responded that I'm still at amateur status with 24. Ha. I suspect that you must have reached "pro level" by now.

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    1. I'll head over to Sam's blog to tell him this. I just counted. 98 series that are currently being written, and that I'm either current or almost current in reading. Let's see... 24 is Amateur. Something tells me that 98 is a step or two beyond Pro, but I don't have a name for this particular brand of insanity! LOL

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    2. Oh, I am in no way at pro level, Sam! I guess maybe I'm around amateur status, but the longer I read Cathy's blog, the more series I pick up!

      Cathy, I do wonder why I can't remember what I wore two days ago, but have no trouble fitting right into all of the circumstances accumulated throughout reading a series. I'm flabbergasted by 98 series!

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  2. I've only read Cleave's third Theo Tate mystery, The Laughterhouse, but I liked it. Theo's still a bit messed up and flawed, but more likable. But I'm thinking I really need to try the Sabrina Flynn series, because those books sound like a lot of fun. :)

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    1. I wondered if Theo would get more likable; I felt sorry for him, but didn't warm up to him. I will read the next book and see if I like him better.

      The Ravenwood Mysteries are fun. I was hooked after the first book (From the Ashes) and can't get enough of Bel and Riot and all of the great characters. :)

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  3. That's a nice mash-up of reviews and a clever way to begin catching up. Maybe I should consider it!

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    1. I'm a great procrastinator. Putting off reviews is a developed skill which involves displacement activities like "time to do the chores I put off while reading."

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  4. That's one thing about a long-running series like Todd Borg's. Not all the books are going to be barnburners, but as long as the quality remains high as well as the characterization, I'm sticking with them.

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    1. The premise in Ice Grave was a little far out, and I don't think it worked as well as the first two books. I run into the occasional "less satisfying" book in most series, but it doesn't deter me. The characters are the most appealing part of a series for me, and Owen, Street, Diamond, and Spot will keep me reading!

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  5. I'm very intrigued by the Ravenwood series. I'll have to look into those books. Also, I really liked the uplifting and hopeful things you posted. They made me smile. There are some days I get so disheartened after looking at the news, so I love finding hopeful and inspiring tidbits to lift my mood. :)

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    1. Almost everyone suffers from news overdose, especially right now. I often need an injection of the positive things people are doing, the creative approaches communities sometimes use in problem solving and making life better, and funny animal photos to lift my spirits. :) I'm so glad you enjoyed them, Ashley!

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  6. At first I might've been interested in Cemetery Lake. But reading about the wife in a vegetative state, plus first person narrative (dislike this) I will give it a wide pass. I do like how you find books that aren't the most-hyped shiny titles. Have a good weekend!

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    1. Most reviews of Cemetery Lake were positive, but it was a dark book in many ways. I suspect that my own mood when reading it was something of a culprit, and I'll probably give the next book a chance at some point. :)

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  7. I'm interested in Cemetery Lake and Where Cowards Tread for sure. I'm so glad you still put up your reviews of these even if you read them in August. I still need to review some books from June! And, love the happy stories. We all need a dose of those these days don't we? How cool is Neil Gaiman.

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    1. Neil Gaiman is special, as an author and a person! Yes, everyone needs those happy stories, they help keep us balanced. :)

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  8. I enjoyed your positive snippets at the end very much.

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    1. There is something both touching and amusing about a little boy worried about the woman's cold, bald head and offering his own beanie to make her more comfortable. And I love that a student asked Neil Gaiman to "confirm their friendship" so he could use his first name in his book report. That kid will go far!

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  9. Yes we could use some uplifting kind of news these days so thanks for the link. I like the cover to Unchartered Waters .... now which waters is the setting for this? Lake Tahoe too? thanks. stories with boats I'm usually game for.

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    1. Unchartered Waters is set in San Francisco. :) The first in the Ravenwood has a lot of boat adventures, but in Unchartered Waters, Bel's boat is being repaired.

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  10. That's a great variety of book reviews you've there! And I definitely need more hopeful and uplifting news here. There's been a spike of cases lately and also seeing what those keyboard warriors write can be depressing. Luckily I still have my books and k-dramas to distract me, ha.

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    1. We have been dealing with increasing cases since the latter part of July, but maybe things are cooling down here a little. :) Exactly, books, K-drama, humor, kindness--all of those things help keep our spirits up. Doesn't mean we are ignoring the situations that arise, but that we need some relief! Distractions are good. :)

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  11. Both of your uplifting stories made me smile. There's still kindness in the world, even in the midst of our disagreements.

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    1. I'm glad they made you smile! A little kindness goes a long way to help brighten our lives.

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  12. Thank you for the reviews. The upbeat news is much appreciated, too!

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    1. :) I love the little boy who wanted to share his beanie! His mother must be very proud of her son.

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  13. I love a historical San Francisco setting. Cemetery Lake and Where Cowards Tread both sound good. Aw! Love the uplifting stories you shared. Thank you.

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    1. I've enjoyed the Ravenwood series and the historic San Francisco setting! Glad you enjoyed the uplifting stories, Wendy!

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