Sunday, 13 June 2021

A Weekend Reading Update and Women Authors

It's been a mixed bag this weekend, rain, sun, wind, a little bit of everything. Sunny at the moment. The Blue Jays have had a pretty good weekend, clobbering the Red Sox Sat and Sun. They had Friday's game in the bag, it seemed, but the bullpen let them down. I hope they beat the Sox again in the 4th game tomorrow. A nice winning streak would be great. It's definitely an exciting team; 5 home runs from the kids yesterday and 8 more today. And that's without Stringer in the line-up. Imagine.. 

I've finished one book since my last update, 3 in June. For the most part I'm enjoying my books for June, except Flash for Freedom. The portrayal of the slave trade is graphic and distressing. I think I should finish it, but it'll be difficult. Anyway, I'll provide my book review for the book I've completed and also the synopsis of the next book in line. I'll also continue with my look at Women authors, whose books I'm enjoying.

Just Finished

1. Laughing Gas by P.G. Wodehouse (1936). I've enjoyed Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster series and I think I've also tried his PSmith series.

"Two words to describe Laughing Gas (1936) by English humorist P.G. Wodehouse; light fluff. Don't expect anything earth shattering or deep, it's an early version of Freaky Friday. 

The 3rd Earl of Havershot, one Reggie Havershot, is sent by his family to Hollywood to stop cousin Egremont, Eggy, from marrying an American lady. So off toodles good old Reggie. It turns out that Eggy's betrothed is none other than Reggie's previous love, Ann Bannister. Reggie had blown his proposal to Ann in Cannes. One other thing, Reggie meets actress April June while on the train across country to LA and falls for her. He is warned of April by many people (she's a pill) but can't accept their warnings.

While at a party at April's house, Reggie's tooth bothers him so he goes to the dentist where he meets child actor Joey Cooley. While they are both put under by laughing gas, something happens, their spirits cross paths and they wake up in each other's bodies. And that is the story and what follows are Reggie's trials and tribulations as the young star, while Joey, in Reggie's body, travels around LA exacting justice from those who have hurt him. No uproarious laughter, just predicaments that follow Reggie as he tries to get out of his situation.

Its light and entertaining and the final resolution is satisfying. As I said, not a world beater but a fun story by the creator of Jeeves and Wooster and PSmith. (3 stars)"

Currently Reading

1. Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm (1976). Wilhelm is a new author for me and this book is one of  Sci-Fi / Fantasy books I'm enjoying at the moment. It's been nice the past few years getting back into the genre more.

"Before becoming one of today's most intriguing and innovative mystery writers, Kate Wilhelm was a leading writer of science fiction, acclaimed for classics like The Infinity Box and The Clewiston Test.

Now one of her most famous novels returns to print, the spellbinding story of an isolated post-holocaust community determined to preserve itself, through a perilous experiment in cloning. Sweeping, dramatic, rich with humanity, and rigorous in its science, Where Later the Sweet Birds Sang is widely regarded as a high point of both humanistic and "hard" SF, and won SF's Hugo Award and Locus Award on its first publication. It is as compelling today as it was then."

Women Authors I'm Enjoying - Suzanne Collins

Suzanne Collins
Suzanne Collins (not the Republican politician 😋) was born in Hartford, Connecticut in 1962 and is author of the Underland Chronicles and the series I've read, The Hunger Games. I read the series after hearing of the movie (I think anyway) and have enjoyed all three of the books. They are of a type, young adult fantasy adventures, and I think they're great if they encourage young kids to read. I had similar book series when I was a kid, the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, etc. So let's take a look at the 3 books I've read.

a. The Hunger Games (#1 / 2008). I think I may have originally been attracted by the covers.

"Synopsis In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and once girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weight survival against humanity and life against love."

"My review I've had this series for awhile now and I've seen the first movie installment and enjoyed it very much. The movie was very respectful of the book and I'm glad to have finally read it. It's well-paced, interesting and peopled with excellent characters, from Katniss to Peeta and Haymitch, even down to Ceena. I'm glad I finally read it and look forward to seeing how the story continues. It left me wanting more. (4 stars)"

b. Catching Fire (#2 / 2009).

"Catching Fire was an entertaining, well-paced sequel in the Hunger Games trilogy. It has that problem of being the 2nd book in a trilogy, continuing the thread from Book 1 and setting up the grand finale. It was a bit of more of the same from the first book, Katniss and Peeta once again, surprisingly though, sent to another Hunger Games competition, the 75th anniversary; because they were previous winners, they were supposed to be exempt. This competition involves previous winners from each district and is an attempt by President Snow to end the popularity of Katniss and to quell outbreaks in the various districts. New challenges, new friends and enemies. It was interesting and exciting. I've now got to find out how the whole thing ends so I guess it achieved its aim. (3 stars)"

c. Mockingjay (#3 / 2010).

"Mockingjay is the third and final book in The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. It was definitely an excellent ending to the story. I thought of giving it a rating of 5 but it wasn't quite perfect. It took a bit to get going but once it did, it held my attention, almost breathless, until the end. There were nice twists and turns as well; the effect of imprisonment on Peeta, the surprising ending.

I still found Katniss a bit irritating but then again, she was a young woman still with tremendous pressure placed on her shoulders. I liked so many of the characters, especially her support cast; Gale, Haymitch. Prim, Finnick, etc.

The story developed slowly but once the revolution gets going, it's a constant flow of intense action. But the final ending left me feeling hope for the future of the world of Panem. (4 stars)"

The complete listing of Collins' books can be found at this link. Some reading ideas to start off your new week. Enjoy. Stay safe. 😷

Thursday, 10 June 2021

New Books and Women Authors

The Hippy Dippy Mail Carrier
We've had a coolish rainy few days, some outright downpours at times. Today is much nicer, still cool but brighter. I had a good walk / run this morning. I've graduated from strictly walking to running about half of the route. I think I'll keep it that way as my knees and ankles feel much better when I don't run the complete way. Oh, there was a neat postal truck delivering the mail today. The pups and I saw it when we were going for our lunchtime walk.

I have only finished two books so far this month but I'm making relatively steady progress on the others I'm reading. I received a few books in the mail the past couple of days, bought a couple and found one of a series I'm enjoying in my Little Free Library this morning. I'll provide the synopses of these books and also continue with look at women authors I'm enjoying.

New Books

1. Terminal Café by Ian McDonald (1994). I saw this listed in the back of another book I enjoyed. It definitely sounded interesting.

"It is a few decades after a revolutionary technology has given humans the ability to resurrect the dead. The ever-increasing population of the risen dead is segregated into areas called necrovilles. Here they have created a wild culture, untouched by the restrictions of the law - except that the dead cannot stray into the realm of the living, nor the living into the teeming necrovilles, after nightfall. It is November 1, the Day of the Dead. Virtual artist Santiago Columbar, creator of drugs and 'ware that melt and reconfigure reality for his many disciples, has grown bored with the realities at his command. There is one reality he has yet to try, the culmination of his life as an artist: He will venture into the forbidden streets of the Saint John dead town, and there walk willingly into the open arms of death. At Santiago's invitation, four of his friends will meet in Saint John to record his death and resurrection. On their way to witness Santiago's transformation, as the necroville erupts into the first volley of a revolution against the living, each will face danger and adventure in the wild streets of the dead...and find that life has changed forever."

2. Later by Stephen King (2021). I kind of got out of the habit of reading King's books but over the past couple of years have enjoyed two or three more.

"The son of a struggling single mother, Jamie Conklin just wants an ordinary childhood. But Jamie is no ordinary child. Born with an unnatural ability his mom urges him to keep secret, Jamie can see what no one else can see and learn what no one else can learn. But the cost of using this ability is higher than Jamie can imagine - as he discovers when an NYPD detective draws him into the pursuit of a killer who has threatened to strike from beyond the grave."

3. Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder (2017). Haven't seen the movie yet but the book sounds interesting.

"From the beet fields of North Dakota to the campgrounds of California to Amazon’s Camper Force program in Texas, employers have discovered a new, low-cost labor pool, made up largely of transient older adults. These invisible casualties of the Great Recession have taken to the road by the tens of thousands in RVs and modified vans, forming a growing community of nomads."

4. Dark Benediction by Walter J. Miller Jr (1951). Many years ago I enjoyed his Canticle for Leibowitz (I've read it twice). It's time I tried something else.






"Distinguished short story collection produced by one of the best writers in the science fiction world, previously published as The Best of Walter M. Miller Jr in 1980. This essential collection contains fourteen short stories from the 1950's: 'You Triflin' Skunk!', 'The Will', 'Anybody Else Like Me?', 'Crucifixus Ethiam', 'I, Dreamer', 'Dumb Waiter', 'Blood Bank', 'Big Joe and the Nth Generation', 'The Big Hunger', 'Conditionally Human', 'The Darfsteller', 'Dark Benediction', 'The Lineman' and 'Vengeance For Nikolai'."

5. Kraken by China Mieville (2010). I read his Perdido Street Station and am enjoying The Scar. Mieville is one of the more unique SciFi authors I've tried of late.






"In the Darwin Centre at London’s Natural History Museum, Billy Harrow, a cephalopod specialist, is conducting a tour whose climax is meant to be the Centre's prize specimen of a rare Architeuthis dux—better known as the Giant Squid. But Billy’s tour takes an unexpected turn when the squid suddenly and impossibly vanishes into thin air.

As Billy soon discovers, this is the precipitating act in a struggle to the death between mysterious but powerful forces in a London whose existence he has been blissfully ignorant of until now, a city whose denizens—human and otherwise—are adept in magic and murder.

There is the Congregation of God Kraken, a sect of squid worshipers whose roots go back to the dawn of humanity—and beyond. There is the criminal mastermind known as the Tattoo, a merciless maniac inked onto the flesh of a hapless victim. There is the FSRC—the Fundamentalist and Sect-Related Crime Unit—a branch of London’s finest that fights sorcery with sorcery. There is Wati, a spirit from ancient Egypt who leads a ragtag union of magical familiars. There are the Londonmancers, who read the future in the city’s entrails. There is Grisamentum, London’s greatest wizard, whose shadow lingers long after his death. And then there is Goss and Subby, an ageless old man and a cretinous boy who, together, constitute a terrifying—yet darkly charismatic—demonic duo.

All of them—and others—are in pursuit of Billy, who inadvertently holds the key to the missing squid, an embryonic god whose powers, properly harnessed, can destroy all that is, was, and ever shall be."

6. Sea Fever by Ann Cleeves (George & Molly #  5). I've enjoyed Cleeves' Vera and Shetland series so far. I look forward to trying this one as well.

"Even if there had been no murder, the last trip of a small band of dedicated bird-watchers aboard the Jessie Ellen would still have been news. For George Palmer-Jones and the other avid crew members achieve every bird-watcher's dream when they sight a sea bird which has never before been recorded. In the subsequent excitement, however, no one notices the sudden absence of the most fanatical birder of them all . . . 

Later, Greg Franks' corpse, the head bludgeoned, is found floating in the sea.
Had it not been for Greg Franks, amateur detective George Palmer-Jones would not have been on the bird watching trip in Cornwall in the first place. He had been hired by Greg Franks' anxious parents to try and persuade their errant son to return home. George would have turned the case down flat but the offer of a free weekend's bird watching was too tempting to resist. Now, he must unhappily shoulder the burden of finding why the young man had been murdered. Who hated Franks enough to kill him? Almost everyone, it seems . . ."

Women Authors I'm Enjoying - Deryn Collier

Deryn Collier
Canadian author Deryn Collier has written two books in an interesting mystery series, featuring ex-Canadian military officer, Bern Fortin, who has settled in the interior of BC and becomes the local pathologist. I hope she continues the series but it has been 4 or 5 years since the 2nd one.

1. Confined Space (Bern Fortin #1).

"Confined Space is the first book in the Bern Fortin series. At the moment there are two books written by Canadian writer, Deryn Collier. Bern Fortin is an ex-Canadian Lieutenant - Colonel, with a past that haunts him, who has retired and become the Coroner of a small British Columbia town in the Kootenays. This first mystery involves a death (murder?) at the local brewery. At the same time the body of a young woman is found in a field next to the brewery. Fortin, along with the Safety officer at the brewery, Evie Chappelle, work to determine the cause of the deaths, all the while dealing with personal issues, a possible relationship. Intermingled with the investigation, are correspondence and some flashbacks of Fortin's past; his time both in Rwanda and in Afghanistan. It's an interesting introduction to a new series with potential to develop into an excellent series. I'm looking forward to trying book two, Open Secret. (3 stars)"

2. Open Secret (Bern Fortin #2).


"Open Secret is the 2nd and final book in Deryn Collier's  Bern Fortin mystery series set in Kootenay Landing, British Columbia. Fortin is an ex-soldier who now works as the Coroner in Kootenay Landing.

In this story while Fortin is off on a morning hike in the mountains he hears a gun shot. Running to investigate he comes across the local doctor trying to revive a man who has been shot. The man still dies and the RCMP are called in to investigate. At the same time Gary Dowd a resident of Kootenay heads to the US border with a shipment of drugs. When he arrives at the border he has second thoughts, takes the drugs and abandoning his car, heads into the mountains. Are these two incidents related? That is the crux of the investigation.

At the time Fortin is being forced to reckon with his past life in the military, an affair with his general's wife, activities in Rwanda where he was deployed, etc. An ex-military man, now reporter, is in Kootenay trying to get a story from Fortin in order to help one of Fortin's military colleagues who is currently in military prison. Oh yes, one other thing, the story delves into the past of Cindy Forsberg, an abused native girl, who was adopted by a white family and disappeared 10 - 15 years ago.

So how are all these events related? That's what the story tries to find out. In its way it was very interesting. There is also a Hell's Angels and drug element to the whole darn thing. So lots of loose ends to try to tie together and sort out. All in all I enjoyed the story but it wasn't perfect. I found it difficult to invest myself in most of the characters, maybe they were a bit too 'quirky'? Maybe there was a bit too much going on, too many secrets, too many disparate events. In the end everything was tied up reasonably satisfyingly. The story was ok, not great but still acceptable. (3 stars)"

Some reading ideas for you.  Almost the weekend. Enjoy your Friday and weekend. Stay safe. 😷

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Midweek Music Medley - 09 June 2021

Off to the dentist in a short while to get a filling. If the barber next door isn't busy after my appointment I may indulge in a hair cut as well. 💇 In the meantime here is your midweek music medley to help get you through the rest of the week.

Midweek Music Medley - Wed 09 Jun 2021

1. English new wave band Johnny Hates Jazz - Turn Back the Clock (1987).

2. English new wave band Tears for Fears - Advice for the Young at Heart (1990).

3. American alternative rock band Fun Lovin' Criminals - Loco (2001).

Enjoy the rest of your week. Stay safe. 😷

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

My First June Reading Update and Women Authors

I've finished two books in June thus far. I'll provide my reviews of both. I've only started one since then so I'll provide my synopsis of that particular book. Then I'll continue with my ongoing look at women authors I've been enjoying reading.

Just Finished

1. Tank Girl: Apocalypse by Alan Grant. This was a quickie, enjoyable read. To help get June started off on the right foot.

"So back from my morning walk and I needed something fun and light to read. There you have Tank Girl: Apocalypse by Alan Grant. Tank Girl is feeling despondent so boyfriend Booga, the mutant kangaroo calls the doc in. Turns out TG is pregnant. Is Booga the dad? Will their home in the outback soon be filled with bouncing mutant kangaroo kids?

Outside the world is about to explode. Religious nuts are awaiting the re-awakening of Baal. Some think TG's newborn is the Messiah. Rich people are building bunkers to hide in to await the collapse of the rest of the earth. TG and friends, Booga, Sub Girl, Jet Girl (my fav, she's hot) and the rest attempt to save the world. Can they? Is it worth it?

Great art work as always, unashamedly funny. My fall back graphic novel series. (3.5 stars)"

2. The Blunderer by Patricia Highsmith (1954). I've read a few of Highsmith's books and enjoyed them all. She is a unique story teller.


"I read Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith back in 2011, and I've enjoyed another 4 of her unique mysteries since then. The Blunderer, first published in 1954 was her 3rd novel and also excellent.

Almost a reverse take on Strangers on a Train, this story follows lawyer Walter Stackhouse who is married to real estate agent Clara, and deeply dissatisfied in their marriage. He has tried to divorce her previously but her subsequent actions (attempted suicide) kept them together. However their relationship has continued to deteriorate especially with Carol's actions regarding Walter's friendships, making him increasingly persona non grata with many friends. Walter reads about the death / murder of Helen Kimmel in the newspaper. Helen Kimmel was killed while taking a bus to visit her mother. The main suspect was her husband, bookstore owner, Melchior Kimmel, suspected of following the bus and murdering her at a rest stop.

Stackhouse keeps the article and for some reason wants to visit Melchior, as he suspects him of the murder. Later Stackhouse follows his wife's bus as she goes to visit her dying mother. Clara is found dead; suicide is suspected except by cop Lt Cordy, who begins to investigate both ladies' deaths and becomes a constant irritant to the two men.

It's a fascinating journey as we watch the unraveling of both men's lives, relationships under the intense inspection of Cordy, whose reasons for this are only suspected - promotion enhancement? a bullying complex? Considering the current examination of police misconduct all across the US, it makes Cordy's actions even more interesting and topical. His treatment of Kimmel is especially current.

As I mentioned at the beginning, the story is almost a reverse Strangers on the Train with two related murders and two suspects, who aren't really working together but whose lives are closely entwined. One thing I find about Highsmith's writing is her almost emotional distance from her characters. For all of the displaying of their lives and interactions, there is still a coldness and distance in their characterizations. It's difficult to become emotionally involved with them. But this distant observation of them, the activities and lives are still fascinating and the story is engaging and interesting. I've enjoyed exploring Highsmith's world and stories. There are a few more I'll try to find and enjoy. (4 stars)"

Currently Reading

1. Laughing Gas by P.G. Wodehouse (1936). I've enjoyed Wodehouse's short stories and his Jeeves & Wooster books. This one sounds like an early Freaky Friday story.


"When a bratty Hollywood child star and an English aristocrat exchange souls at the dentist in Laughing Gas, the result is transatlantic mayhem at its funniest."

Women Authors I'm Enjoying - Barbara Cleverly

Barbara Cleverly

English author Barbara Cleverly, born in Yorkshire in 1940 and is author of a historical mystery I've enjoyed, the Inspector Joe Sandilands series. I've enjoyed the first 5 books in this series already. There are another 8 books in the series. I've #6 on my shelf. I've also decided to explore her archaeological mystery series featuring archaeologist Laetitia Talbot (3 books written so far). I've the 1st book in that series to try. Let's look at the 2 books I've yet to try and the most recent of the others that I've completed.

1. The Bee's Kiss (Joe Sandilands #5).

"The Bee's Kiss by Barbara Cleverly is the 5th book in her historical mystery series featuring Scotland Yard Inspector Joe Sandilands. The series is set after WWI. The first four books found Sandiland assigned as a special investigator in India. In this fifth novel, Joe is back in London, now back with Scotland Yard and called to investigate the murder of Dame Beatrice Jagow-Joliffe who was found murdered in her room at the Ritz hotel. Two police officers, Det Sgt Bill Armitage and a female Constable, Tilly Westthorpe, were both on site when the crime was committed, Tilly as a guest at party and Armitage on security detail, keeping an eye open for a cat burglar who had been making the rounds. Both are assigned to Sandilands team.

The investigation kind of wanders hither and thither. The team travels up to the Dame's home outside of London and finds a place with lots of friction. There is one very lovely character that we meet there, Dorcas, daughter of the Dame's brother, Orlando. There are a number of suspects, including the brother, a boyfriend of Beatrice, her lady's companion as well. It turns out that Beatrice was a leading light in the WREN's during WWI and an excellent cryptographer. She continued to be involved with this organization.

The mystery includes the impending miner's strike, Bolshevists, maybe German spies and other possible intrigues. Sandilands is told to wrap up the investigation from the top but continues on his own, with help from his team and others in Scotland Yard. It took me awhile to get into this story, but I warmed to it. There were many good characters and the little twists and turns in the investigation added to the intrigue. Sandilands is a light-hearted character, a bit of a ladies man and intelligent. I enjoyed the ending and the overall story. Number 6 sits on my bookshelf, awaiting my attention (3.5 stars)"

2. Tug of War (Joe Sandilands #6).

"1926. The war-ravaged vineyards of France. In this masterpiece of suspense from CWA Historical Dagger Award-winner Barbara Cleverly, a nameless soldier plunges Scotland Yard inspector Joe Sandilands into a shifting world of deception, rage, and murder....

A well-earned vacation takes a sharp detour when Sandilands is called to France, where a shell-shocked patient--a tragic casualty of war--is in the throes of a violent nightmare. Trying to determine the mystery man's identity proves a difficult, internationally delicate task: several families are claiming the unknown soldier as their own.

But it is at a famed chateau, where the wine flows and disturbing secrets abound, that Sandilands meets a woman who takes his investigation in a chillingly different direction. Strong-willed and alluring Aline Houdart's husband has been missing and presumed dead for nearly ten years. Her true motives are as elusive as the truth about a long-ago night...when a horrific crime was committed and lives changed forever. Now Sandilands, an ex-soldier himself, a man who has seen his share of bloodshed and sorrow, is waging his own battle for justice. It is a fight for his fallen comrades that will unmask a killer. Or bury the truth forever..."

3. The Tomb of Zeus (Laetitia Talbot #1).

"Born into a background of British privilege, Laetitia Talbot has been raised to believe there is no field in which she may not excel. She has chosen a career in the male-dominated world of archaeology, but she approaches her first assignment in Crete the only way she knows how–with dash and enthusiasm. Until she enters the Villa Europa, where something is clearly utterly amiss…

Her host, a charismatic archaeologist, is racing to dig up the fabled island’s next great treasure–even, perhaps, the tomb of the King of the Gods, himself. But then a beautiful young woman is found hanged and a golden youth drives his Bugatti over a cliff. From out of the shadows come whispers of past loves, past jealousies, and ancient myths that sound an eerie discord with present events. Letty will need all her determination and knowledge to unravel the secrets beneath the Villa Europa’s roof–and they will lead her into the darkest, most terrifying place of all…."

Worth checking out. The complete list of Cleverly's novels can be found at this link. Enjoy the rest of your week.

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Some New Books and Women Authors

Well, let's see. It's a sunny, mild day in the Valley, 23℃, with a nice cool breeze. I was going to go for a walk this morning but decided to have a lie down and read a bit. I do like my morning reads. It's sometimes like I'm reading two books at once; the book I'm actually reading and then the different story line that seems to pop into my head when I doze off. 😏

Just before lunch, Jo told me to watch a movie I'd taped. One of those classic B-movies from the late '50s and early '60s. What a profound movie. (J/K) Covering such deep themes as the emotional woman, how many people from the movie also showed up on Perry Mason, how hiding under a desk isn't the safest way to avoid a falling roof, and many other concepts. It was a fun way to pass the morning.

Since my last reading update, I haven't completed any books but I'm making good progress and enjoying the books I've started June with. I have got a few new books in the past few days so I'll provide the synopses of them and also continue with my look at Women Authors I'm enjoying it.

New Books

1. The Venetian Affair by Helen MacInnes (1963). I've enjoyed a few of MacInnes's spy novels in the past couple of years. Like Margaret Millar is to the mystery novel, so MacInnes is to the spy novel. She gets into the genre deeper than just a thriller.

"A hair-raising chiller about a young American newspaperman caught up in a vicious maze of Cold War espionage and international intrigue."

2. Golden in Death by J.D. Robb (In Death #50). This is a new series for me. I'll have to try and find the 1st book.

"In the latest thriller in the #1 New York Times bestselling series, homicide detective Eve Dallas investigates a murder with a mysterious motive and a terrifying weapon.

Pediatrician Kent Abner received the package on a beautiful April morning. Inside was a cheap trinket, a golden egg that could be opened into two halves. When he pried it apart, highly toxic airborne fumes entered his body and killed him.

After Eve Dallas calls the hazmat team and undergoes testing to reassure both her and her husband that she hasn't been exposed it's time to look into Dr. Abner's past and relationships. Not every victim Eve encounters is an angel, but it seems that Abner came pretty close though he did ruffle some feathers over the years by taking stands for the weak and defenseless. While the lab tries to identify the deadly toxin, Eve hunts for the sender. But when someone else dies in the same grisly manner, it becomes clear that she's dealing with either a madman or someone who has a hidden and elusive connection to both victims."

3. Tank Girl: Apocalypse by Alan Grant. This is such a fun series.


"Tank Girl's pregnant! How will our manic heroine cope with motherhood? Is it Booga's? What will it look like? And what do the sinister members of the cult of the Blood God Baal have to do with it?"

4. Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (Oxford Time Travel #1). This is a new series for me. I think I first saw the title in the back of another Sci-Fi book I had enjoyed. It sure sounds interesting. It'll be interesting to see how similar it is to Jodi Taylor's Time Travel series, which I am enjoying very much.

5. Dead Man's Song by Jonathan Maberry (Pine Deep #2). I enjoyed Ghost Road Blues, an excellent horror story and I am also enjoying Maberry's Joe Ledger horror thriller series.







Once an idyllic Pennsylvania village, Pine Deep awoke one morning to find itself bathed in a massive bloodletting. Twice in thirty years the townsfolk have endured the savage hungers of a murderous madman...but if the residents think the death of serial killer Karl Ruger put an end to the carnage, they're dead wrong.


Bodies mutilated beyond description, innocents driven to acts of vicious madness. A monstrous evil is preying on the living - and the dead - and turning the quiet little town into hell on earth. Their only hope is to find the source. But the secrets that lurk in the heart of Pine Deep are twisted into its very roots. This time the townspeople aren't just fighting for their lives, but for their very souls..."

Women Authors I'm Enjoying - Ann Cleeves

Ann Cleeves
Ann Cleeves is an English crime writer who I've discussed a few times in other themes. I first became aware of her work when Jo and I began to watch and enjoy the Vera mystery series on TV and later on the Shetland series, both based on her work. She has written other series as well that I've yet to try. Since about 2013, I've enjoyed two Vera books and two Shetland books. I have another six of her books on my shelves. Let's check them out.

1. A Bird in the Hand (George & Molly Palmer - Jones #1). 

"Young Tom French was found dead, lying in a marsh on the Norfolk coast, with his head bashed in and his binoculars still around his neck. One of the best birders in England, Tom had put the village of Rushy on the bird-watching map. Everyone liked him. Or did they? George Palmer-Jones, an elderly birdwatcher who decided quietly to look into the brutal crime, discovered mixed feelings aplenty. Still, he remained baffled by a deed that could have been motivated by thwarted love, pure envy, or something else altogether. But as he and his fellow "twitchers" flocked from Norfolk to Scotland to the Scilly Isles, in response to rumors of rare sightings, George—with help from his lovely wife, Molly—gradually discerned the true markings of a killer. All he had to do was prove it . . . before the murderer strikes again."

2. A Prey to Murder (George & Molly #4).







"It was Eleanor Masefield 's idea to sponsor an Open Day at her beautiful Grose Hill Hotel--a celebration designed to raise funds for the protection of the local peregrine falcons that had been her late husband's obsession. But who knew she'd be dead by teatime? Amateur detective George Palmer-Jones, who's always been a little in love with Eleanor, doesn't think it was the tea--and he's determined to find out which human did its preying."

3. Red Bones (Shetland #3).







"An island shrouded in mist and a community with secrets buried in the past . . .

When a young archaeologist studying on a site at Whalsay discovers a set of human remains, the island settlers are intrigued. Is it an ancient find - or a more contemporary mystery?

Then an elderly woman is shot in a tragic accident in the middle of the night. Shetland detective Jimmy Perez is called in by her grandson - his own colleague, Sandy Wilson.

The sparse landscape and the emptiness of the sea have bred a fierce and secretive people. Mima Wilson was a recluse. She had her land, her pride and her family. As Jimmy looks to the islanders for answers, he finds instead two feuding families whose envy, greed and bitterness have lasted generations.

Surrounded by people he doesn't know and in unfamiliar territory, Jimmy finds himself out of his depth. Then there's another death and, as the spring weather shrouds the island in claustrophobic mists, Jimmy must dig up old secrets to stop a new killer from striking again . . .

4. Silent Voices (Vera Stanhope #4).

"When DI Vera Stanhope finds the body of a woman in the sauna room of her local gym, she wonders briefly if, for once in her life, she's uncovered a simple death from natural causes. But a closer inspection reveals ligature marks around the victim's throat - death is never that simple. "


5. Harbour Street (Vera #6).





"As the snow falls thickly on Newcastle, the shouts and laughter of Christmas revelers break the muffled silence. Detective Joe Ashworth and his daughter Jessie are swept along in the jostling crowd onto the Metro.

But when the train is stopped due to the bad weather, and the other passengers fade into the swirling snow, Jessie notices that an old lady hasn't left the train: Margaret Krukowski has been fatally stabbed as she sat on the crowded train. Nobody, including the policeman himself, sees the stabbing take place. Margaret's murderer is seemingly invisible; her killing motiveless. Why would anyone want to harm this reserved, elegant lady?

Arriving at the scene, DI Vera Stanhope is relieved to have an excuse to escape the holiday festivities. As she's standing on the silent, snow-covered station platform, Vera feels a familiar buzz of anticipation, sensing that this will be a complex and unusual case. Soon Vera and Joe are on their way to the south Northumberland town of Mardle, where Margaret lived, to begin their inquiry.

Then, just days later, a second woman is murdered. Vera knows that to find the key to this new killing she needs to understand what had been troubling Margaret so deeply before she died - before another life is lost. She can feel in her bones that there's a link. Retracing Margaret's final steps, Vera finds herself searching deep into the hidden past of this seemingly innocent neighborhood, led by clues that keep revolving around one street... Why are the residents of Harbour Street so reluctant to speak?"

6. The Seagull (Vera #8).







"A visit to her local prison brings DI Vera Stanhope face to face with an old enemy: former detective superintendent, and now inmate, John Brace. Brace was convicted of corruption and involvement in the death of a gamekeeper – and Vera played a part in his downfall.

Brace promises Vera information about the disappearance of Robbie Marshall, a notorious wheeler-dealer, if she will look out for his daughter and grandchildren. He tells her that Marshall is dead, his body buried close to St Mary’s Island in Whitley Bay. However, when a search team investigates, officers find not one skeleton, but two.

This cold case takes Vera back in time, and very close to home, as Brace and Marshall, along with a mysterious stranger known only as ‘the Prof’, were close friends of Hector, her father. Together, they were ‘the Gang of Four’, and Hector had been one of the last people to see Marshall alive. Vera must confront her prejudices and unwanted memories to dig out the truth, as the past begins to collide dangerously with the present . . ."

I highly recommend her books. Almost another weekend. Enjoy and stay safe.😷 

Wednesday, 2 June 2021

My Midweek Music Medley - 02 June 2021


A late start today because I was at the dentist early. It went well. Now here is my midweek music medley to help get you through the rest of the week.

Midweek Music Medley - 02 June 2021

1. Canadian singer / songwriter William Prince - The Spark (2019).

2. American singer / songwriter Gregory Porter - Mr. Holland (2020).

3. American singer / songwriter Maxwell - Ascension (1996).

Enjoy the rest of your week. Stay safe. 😷

Monday, 31 May 2021

My May 2021 Reading Summary

General Info                 Apr                  Total (Including my current read)
Books Read -                   11                      58
Pages Read -                 3400                  15400 (Avg per book - 265)

Pages Breakdown
    < 250                              4                     34        
250 - 350                            3                     13
351 - 450                            3                       4
   > 450                               1                       7

5 - star                                                         3            
4 - star                                9                     37
3 - star                                2                     17
2 - star                               
No Rating (NR)                                          1                                   

Female                               4                     30
Male                                  7                     28
Not Stated                           

Fiction                                2                       8
Mystery                              8                     39
SciFi                                   1                       5
Non-Fic                                                       1    
Classics                                                       1                    
Young Adult                                               3            
Short Stories                                               1    

Top 3 Books

1. Shadow's End by Sheri S. Tepper (4.5 stars)
2. Three Days of the Condor by James Grady (4.5 stars)
3. One Fearful Yellow Eye by John D. MacDonald (4.5 stars)

12 + 4 (Finish off Some Series) (completed 11)
1. The Kindness of Strangers by Julie Smith (Skip Langdon #6) (3.5 stars)
2. Rumpole on the Primrose Path by John Mortimer (Rumpole #12) (4 stars)

Individual Challenge - First Book in Series (completed 9)
1. Every Dead Thing by John Connolly (Charlie Parker #1) (4 stars)
2. Blackout by John Lawton (Inspector Troy #1) (3.5 stars)
3. The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths (Ruth Galloway #1) (4 stars)

Individual Challenge - Next Book in Series (completed 6)
1. Madam President by Nicolle Wallace (18 Acres #3) (4 stars)

Individual Challenge - Non Series (completed 9)
1. Shadow's End by Sheri S. Tepper (4.5 stars)
2. Three Days of the Condor by James Grady (4.5 stars)

Monthly Challenge - January Focus Author - Simon Brett (completed 4)
Monthly Challenge - February Focus Author - M.C. Beaton (completed 5)
Monthly Challenge - March Focus Author - Agatha Christie (completed 5)
Monthly Challenge - April Focus Author - George Simenon (completed 5)
Monthly Challenge - May Focus Author - John D. MacDonald (completed 3)
1. One Fearful Yellow Eye (Travis McGee #8) (4.5 stars)
2. Pale Gray for the Guilt (#9) (4 stars)
3. The Girl in the Plain Brown Wrapper (#10) (4 stars)

Currently Reading

1. 12 + 4 Challenge - Doors Open by Ian Rankin
2. Individual Challenge (1st Book in Series) - Shadow and Claw by Gene Wolfe (Book of New Sun #1 & 2)
3. Individual Challenge (Next Book in Series) - The Scar by China Mieville (Bas Lag #2)
4. Individual Challenge (Non- Series) - The Blunderer by Patricia Highsmith
5. Monthly Challenge - June Focus Author (George MacDonald Fraser) - Flash for Freedom (Flashman #3)  

Next Challenge Books in Line

1. 12 + 4 Challenge - False Scent by Ngaio Marsh (Roderick Alleyn #21)
2. Individual Challenge (1st Book in Series) - Jade Dragon Mountain by Elsa Hart (Li Du #1)
3. Individual Challenge (Next Book in Series) - Night Rounds by Helene Tursten (Inspector Huss #2)
4. Individual Challenge (Non-Series) - Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm
5. Monthly Challenge - May Focus Author (George MacDonald Fraser) - Flashman at the Charge (Flashman #4)

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