The Blue Jays are still performing pretty well. I'm trying not to get too excited as it's very early days, but it's still been enjoyable watching their games. We'll see how things turn out as the season moves along. The new guys are filling in admirably and both Morales and Donaldson have been out with injuries and they are key performers. OK, OK... enough. I don't want to jinx them.
I bought couple of books at Nearly New Books yesterday. I've completed two books this week, one biggie which I've been working on for the past month and one other. So I'll start with those items and finish with my continuing Author's A - Z. Then maybe go out and get a Sub for lunch for the missus and I.
"Richard Beaumont hoped to see the elusive crow on the Dover cliffs. Instead he sees a young woman falling to her death. No one recognizes her, and no one has reported her missing. Richard returns, shaken, to his wife, but instead of seeking comfort in Lilian's presence, he locks himself away and obsessively paints the scene of the woman's broken body on the rocks.
Unable to forget what he has witnessed, Richard finds solace in Sarah Fortune's seductive company. As they are drawn into a search for the dead girl's identity, they stumble upon a trade that is both breathtakingly lucrative and chillingly cruel."
2. The Anatomist's Apprentice by Tessa Harris (Dr. Silkstone #1). Harris is a new author for me. The cover and synopsis grabbed my interest.
"In the first in a stunning new mystery series set in eighteenth-century England, Tessa Harris introduces Dr. Thomas Silkstone, anatomist and pioneering forensic detective. . .
The death of Sir Edward Crick has unleashed a torrent of gossip through the seedy taverns and elegant ballrooms of Oxfordshire. Few mourn the dissolute young man--except his sister, the beautiful Lady Lydia Farrell. When her husband comes under suspicion of murder, she seeks expert help from Dr. Thomas Silkstone, a young anatomist from Philadelphia.
Thomas arrived in England to study under its foremost surgeon, where his unconventional methods only add to his outsider status. Against his better judgment he agrees to examine Sir Edward's corpse. But it is not only the dead, but also the living, to whom he must apply the keen blade of his intellect. And the deeper the doctor's investigations go, the greater the risk that he will be consigned to the ranks of the corpses he studies. . ."
3. A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson (Todd Family #2). The first book, Life after Life was a favorite of mine.
"In Life After Life Ursula Todd lived through the turbulent events of the last century again and again. In A God in Ruins, Atkinson turns her focus on Ursula’s beloved younger brother Teddy – would-be poet, RAF bomber pilot, husband and father – as he navigates the perils and progress of the 20th century. For all Teddy endures in battle, his greatest challenge will be to face living in a future he never expected to have."
"Kingdom Of The Cats his is the third and final book in the Starcats series by Canadian science fiction writer, Phyllis Gotlieb. I've enjoyed the series and other books by Gotlieb very much. She has a unique take on the Science fiction novel.
I had issues with Kingdom of the Cats even as I ultimately enjoyed the whole of the story. It was very complex, which in itself is not a bad thing. What I mean is that it was often difficult to ascertain where in the universe we were at a particular time and who was speaking or performing actions or who even the heck they were.
As I mention, complexity is not necessarily a bad thing, in fact, it can make you pay more attention to the story, which was the case for me.
So there, now what was the story about? A group of Starcats, including Emerald and Etrem and 'the twins' come to the Earth and are placed in what I presume is the Grand Canyon. A catastrophe occurs, in which the majority are killed by a secret band and they are skinned as well. The rest of the story focuses on the investigation; by the Cats, Earth police and GalThree investigators. As well, we have a situation on a separate planet, where smugglers are killing and stealing special pearls. Into the mix as well is the Quemedon being who was responsible for locating the Cats on their planet and who has influenced their lives in both of the initial stories' A Judgment of Dragons and Emperor, Swords, Pentacles.
Once you wrap your mind around the complexity, if you are able to, you find a rich, interesting story, with more history of the Cats, fascinating, sympathetic character and lots of action. Well worth trying, but if you want to, you should read the stories in order to gain a familiarity with the Cats and their lives and friends. (3.5 stars)"
2. Heartstone by C.J. Sansom (Matthew Shardlake #5).
"Heartstone is the 5th book in C.J. Sansom historical mystery series featuring lawyer, Matthew Shardlake. There are many branches to this story and it keeps Matthew and his capable assistant Jack Barak very busy. It makes for a long, wandering story but there was no time when it didn't hold my interest and wondering what would happen next.
Matthew is recovering from his depression of the death of his long-time house keeper, Joan. He is dealing with a number of cases and also with a young woman he'd met in a previous story, Ellen, who resides in Bedlam, an insane institution. He is struggling to help her and at the same time to find a way of dissuading her from her love for him.
Matthew is asked by King Henry VIII's wife, Lady Catherine Parr to help her with a situation. This means Matthew will have to go to Portsmouth to check on a young man, Hugh Curteys, who may be being misused by his Ward, Mr. Hobbey. Matthew feels this might help him find out more about Ellen's past as she lived in a nearby town.
What else?? Well, Matthew is suspicious of his new steward, an old soldier Mr. Coldiron, and the young lady he calls his daughter, Josephine. And, of course, there is the threat of an invasion from France while Matthew is in Portsmouth. Troops are being drafted and sent to Portsmouth. Jack Barak is threatened with being drafted as well while his wife, Tamasin, is near giving birth. There are many old and new enemies for Matthew to deal with, Sir Richard Rich and Lawyer Dyrick. Whew! Is that enough for you?
Well, the story is involved, with many, many twists and turns and threats to both Matthew and Jack. It's a fascinating and interesting follow-on to the other books in the series. Don't be intimidated by the size, there are no wasted pages and the story is rich, historical and detailed. It's one of the more entertaining series I've read and enjoyed. (4 stars)"
I've started the following 2 books to replace those I just finished.
1. Autumn, All the Cats Return by Philippe Georget (Inspector Sebag #2). This is part of my New Series Challenge.
"Inspector Sebag is a policeman in the South of France with an unparalleled sixth sense, who excels at slipping into the skin of killers and hunting them down. However, when a retired French Algerian cop is discovered in his apartment with the symbol OAS left near his body and few indications who killed him or why, Sebag's skills are put to the test. Days later, when a controversial monument is destroyed and another French Algerian is shot down, Sebag begins to put the pieces together. Bringing to light the horrors, hopes, and treasons committed during the war in Algeria fifteen years ago, in this sequel to Georget's Summertime, All the Cats Are Bored, Lieutenant Gilles Sebag discovers more than just a killer, but an entire secret history that not everyone wants revealed."
2. Collusion by Stuart Neville (Jack Lennon #2). No this is not a book about the Russian collusion investigation. Remember, not that you could ever forget as the current resident of the White House says it over and over and over... 'there was no collusion!!!'
"A merciless assassin stalks Belfast and Detective Inspector Jack Lennon has been assigned to the case. As Lennon unravels a far-reaching conspiracy involving collusion among Loyalists, IRA members, and law enforcement, he discovers that his estranged former lover and their daughter are in the killer's cross-hairs. To catch the assassin and save the only family he has, Lennon blurs the line between friend and enemy by teaming up with an enigmatic killer named Fegan."
Bill's Ongoing Author's A - Z
a. Endangered (Joe Pickett #15).
"Joe Pickett had good reason to dislike Dallas Cates, and now he has even more - Joe’s eighteen-year-old daughter, April, has run off with him. And then comes even worse news: She has been found in a ditch along the highway - alive, but just barely, the victim of blunt force trauma. Cates denies having anything to do with it, but Joe knows in his gut who’s responsible. What he doesn’t know is the kind of danger he’s about to encounter. Cates is bad enough, but Cates’s family is like none Joe has ever met."
a. The Master of Rain (2002).
"Shanghai, 1926: a sultry city lousy with opium, warlords, and corruption at the highest levels. Into this steamy morass walks Richard Field, an idealistic Brit haunted by his past and recently appointed to the international police. He's not there long before called to the flat of a Russian prostitute, former daughter of privilege found sadistically murdered, handcuffed to her bed. When he discovers among her possessions a cryptic shipping log, he senses that this murder is more than a random crime of perverse passion. What unfolds is a searing story that propels Field into a confrontation with the city's most ruthless and powerful gangster, and a dangerous attraction to another salacious Russian whose sordid connections seem destined to make her the next victim."
b. The White Russian (2003).
"January 1917 - With St. Petersburg on the brink of revolution, Sandro Ruzsky, the city’s chief police investigator, returns from exile in Siberia only to be assigned a grisly case: the bodies of a young couple found on the ice of the frozen River Neva, just outside the Tsar’s Winter Palace. Ruzsky’s investigation leads him dangerously close to the royal family and to the woman he loves, and he finds himself confronting both a ruthless killer and the ghosts of his past as he fights desperately to save all that he cares for.
a. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (#1).
"I had mixed emotions as I read this book; at times I quite liked it, at times Flavia kind of irritated me. But ultimately, the success of a book is that it keeps you reading to find out how it will all wrap up. And Alan Bradley has produced an interesting, well-paced book. Flavia and her sisters are fun to read about, the games the play against each other, or more likely how the two older play against Flavia and vice versa. Dogger is an interesting friend to Flavia and I liked the Police Inspector. Overall, I did enjoy and I think I'll try to read more about Flavia and see how she and her family grow and develop."
"The summer of 1950 hasn’t offered up anything out of the ordinary for eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce: bicycle explorations around the village, keeping tabs on her neighbors, relentless battles with her older sisters, Ophelia and Daphne, and brewing up poisonous concoctions while plotting revenge in their home’s abandoned Victorian chemistry lab, which Flavia has claimed for her own.
But then a series of mysterious events gets Flavia’s attention: A dead bird is found on the doormat, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. A mysterious late-night visitor argues with her aloof father, Colonel de Luce, behind closed doors. And in the early morning Flavia finds a red-headed stranger lying in the cucumber patch and watches him take his dying breath. For Flavia, the summer begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw: “I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.”
Did the stranger die of poisoning? There was a piece missing from Mrs. Mullet’s custard pie, and none of the de Luces would have dared to eat the awful thing. Or could he have been killed by the family’s loyal handyman, Dogger… or by the Colonel himself! At that moment, Flavia commits herself to solving the crime — even if it means keeping information from the village police, in order to protect her family. But then her father confesses to the crime, for the same reason, and it’s up to Flavia to free him of suspicion. Only she has the ingenuity to follow the clues that reveal the victim’s identity, and a conspiracy that reaches back into the de Luces’ murky past."
b. The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag (#2).
"Flavia de Luce, a dangerously smart eleven-year-old with a passion for chemistry and a genius for solving murders, thinks that her days of crime-solving in the bucolic English hamlet of Bishop’s Lacey are over - until beloved puppeteer Rupert Porson has his own strings sizzled in an unfortunate rendezvous with electricity. But who’d do such a thing, and why? Does the madwoman who lives in Gibbet Wood know more than she’s letting on? What about Porson’s charming but erratic assistant? All clues point toward a suspicious death years earlier and a case the local constables can’t solve - without Flavia’s help. But in getting so close to who’s secretly pulling the strings of this dance of death, has our precocious heroine finally gotten in way over her head?"
c. A Red Herring without Mustard (#3).
"Award-winning author Alan Bradley returns with another beguiling novel starring the insidiously clever and unflappable eleven-year-old sleuth Flavia de Luce. The precocious chemist with a passion for poisons uncovers a fresh slew of misdeeds in the hamlet of Bishop's Lacey - mysteries involving a missing tot, a fortune-teller, and a corpse in Flavia's own backyard.
Flavia had asked the old Gypsy woman to tell her fortune, but never expected to stumble across the poor soul, bludgeoned in the wee hours in her own caravan. Was this an act of retribution by those convinced that the soothsayer had abducted a local child years ago? Certainly Flavia understands the bliss of settling scores; revenge is a delightful pastime when one has two odious older sisters. But how could this crime be connected to the missing baby? Had it something to do with the weird sect who met at the river to practice their secret rites? While still pondering the possibilities, Flavia stumbles upon another corpse - that of a notorious layabout who had been caught prowling about the de Luce's drawing room.
Pedaling Gladys, her faithful bicycle, across the countryside in search of clues to both crimes, Flavia uncovers some odd new twists. Most intriguing is her introduction to an elegant artist with a very special object in her possession - a portrait that sheds light on the biggest mystery of all: Who is Flavia?
As the red herrings pile up, Flavia must sort through clues fishy and foul to untangle dark deeds and dangerous secrets."
There you go, folks. I'll continue this with upcoming entries. Now to go get some groceries before the evenings TV watching starts... Have a great Thursday and weekend!!