Thursday, 9 April 2020

A Thursday Reading Update and The Science Fiction Novel - Andy Weir

Orion
It's a lovely bright Thursday. I did my weekly trip out this morning, got some bread and veggies and am now listening to Deadline White House, prior to going and doing a bit of yard work. The sprinkler guy is coming Monday to turn the sprinkler system on and on Wednesday the roofing guy is coming to clean out the gutters and maybe spray some anti-moss stuff on the roof. So I need to get the yard raked before this, at least a rough go at it. I do feel more aches and pains but the fresh air is nice. Last night when I took the dogs out, there were some childhood friends in the sky; Orion was shining brightly and so was the Big Dipper. I remember learning about them in Cubs, the part of one year that I was in Cubs anyway. They are two star systems that I can easily recognize, along with Cassiopeia's Throne.

I finished an excellent thriller this morning. I'll update that and also provide the synopsis of the book that I'm starting next. Finally I'll continue my look at the Sci-Fi novel.

Just Finished

1. Satan's Lambs by Lynn S. Hightower (Lena Padget #1).











"Lynn S. Hightower is one of those gems I discovered a few years back. I first read The Debt Collector, the last book in her Sonora Blair series and I've also enjoyed No Good Deed, the 3rd book in the series. She hasn't published a whole heck of a lot of books, 14 books since 1986. I've had considerable difficulty finding them. Anyway, I finally managed to get the first book in her Lena Padget mystery series, Satan's Lambs. All I can say is Wow!

Lena Padget is a PI who works in Kentucky. She became a PI when her sister and young nephew were murdered by her sister's husband Jeff Hayes. She takes on special cases, helping women escape from abusive marriages. These women return the favor by feeding Lena, helping her with information, etc.

Lena finds out from cop, Detective Mendez, that Jeff has been released from prison. At the same time, Jeff's partner-in-crime, Archie Valletta, has also been released. Archie has threatened his ex-wife Eloise and she hires Lena to protect her and her son, Charlie. Jeff starts intimidating Lena with phone calls, secret visits. Archie kidnaps Charlie and Lena now must try to find him before something worse happens. It turns out that both Jeff and Archie had been part of a group of Satan worshipers.

So that is the gist of the story, a tense, at times disturbing, thriller. Lena uses every resource possible to find Charlie and to stop Archie and Jeff. These include her ex-husband Rick and his wife, the various people who she's helped in the past and also Detective Mendez with whom she has conflicting feelings. It's a scary story that will keep you turning pages to find out what happens but it's also filled with such fascinating characters, bad ones but at the same time, wonderful characters and friends who you will find yourself becoming invested in. There is so much about this story that I loved. Hightower spins a wonderful yarn and will draw you in. I'm so glad that I discovered her and I will read her other stories if I can find them. (5 stars)"

Currently Reading

1. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (All Souls #1). Jo and I enjoyed the TV series based on this book, a very interesting Fantasy. I'm looking forward to trying the book.

"A world of witches, daemons and vampires. A manuscript which holds the secrets of their past and the key to their future. Diana and Matthew - the forbidden love at the heart of it.

When historian Diana Bishop opens an alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library, it's an unwelcome intrusion of magic into her carefully ordered life. Though Diana is a witch of impeccable lineage, the violent death of her parents while she was still a child convinced her that human fear is more potent than any witchcraft. Now Diana has unwittingly exposed herself to a world she's kept at bay for years; one of powerful witches, creative, destructive daemons and long-lived vampires. Sensing the significance of Diana's discovery, the creatures gather in Oxford, among them the enigmatic Matthew Clairmont, a vampire genticist. Diana is inexplicably drawn to Matthew and, in a shadowy world of half-truths and old enmities, ties herself to him without fully understanding the ancient line they are crossing. As they begin to unlock the secrets of the manuscript and their feelings for each other deepen, so the fragile balance of peace unravels..."


The Science Fiction Novel - Andy Weir

Andrew Weir
Andrew Taylor (Andy) Weir is an American novelist born in California in 1972.  His second novel became a highly successful movie with Matt Damon being nominated for Best Actor. I finally read the book in 2017 and loved it. This is true Science Fiction, a space adventure of the best kind. 

a. The Martian (2012).









"I've had The Martian by Andy Weir on my bookshelf for awhile now. I'm glad I finally read it. As a few of my friends have indicated, it's a bit technical at first, but it doesn't take away from the overall enjoyment of the story. 

Mark Watney is part of a scientific landing on Mars. He's part of a group of six astronauts / scientists. Because of a sudden disastrous sand storm, he is abandoned on Mars, assumed dead. Of course, he isn't or it would have been a very short story. Watney is injured but manages to survive and to eventually contact Earth.  A plan is put into effect to try and rescue him. Watney has to find a way to survive while the plan is put into effect; he uses his scientific skills and his ingenuity to grow food, to ensure he has sufficient water and so on.


There is an interesting mix of personalities; we move from Watney's journalising back to NASA where they monitor Watney and try to come up with solutions for his successful return, to his other crew members, who are returning to Earth. It's quite an interesting story and an nice, comfortable, entertaining read. Just don't get to lost in the technical portions. Enjoy the adventure. (4 stars)"


All of Weir's books can be found at this link.

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Your Mid-week Musical Interlude

Last night the moon was so big and shiny. Jo and I walked down to the end of the crescent so we could get a good view of it. It was so bright it almost hurt the eyes. Just beautiful to see.

I had my first 'pandemic' dream last night. Nothing scary really. I can't remember if I actually had Covid 19 in this dream but there seemed to be some sort of cure. (Ed note. Remember, this was just a dream and no that I don't have prophetic ones). The cure had something to do with gooseberries. Yup it did indeed. Doesn't mean you should go out and buy gooseberries now though. Remember.. just a dream. Anyway, that was my dream. I didn't say it would be exciting.. 😎

So now on to my Wednesday midweek musical interlude. Three songs for your enjoyment.

1. Adamski and Seal - Killer (1990). Reached #1 on the UK charts.


2. Izo Fitzroy - Blind Faith Great voice...


3. McAlmont and Butler - Yes (1995). The first single from this English rock duo, reached #8 on the UK charts.

Have a great Wednesday. Back with normal programming tomorrow.. Take care.

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

So It's Tuesday... Umm, The Day After Monday... Yeah, That's It. Oh, And The Science Fiction Novel

What have I done today? Not too much so far. I did catch up on some reading this morning for a couple of hours, accompanied by spurts of dozing off. Watched Perry Mason and Matlock. I'm watching The Waltons with Clyde at this very moment. Desperate times!

At the moment I'm enjoying the books I've got on the go.What books you ask? Oh well, let me tell you.

a. Satan's Lambs by Lyn S. Hightower (Lena Padget #1).
b. Open Secret by Deryn Collier (Bern Fortin #2).
c. The Anodyne Necklace by Martha Grimes (Inspector Jury #3).
d. Women's Barracks by Tereska Torres.
e. The Sculptress by Minette Walters.

So before I continue with my normal thread, the look at the Sci-Fi novel, I'm going to rant a bit. And it's nothing over which I have any control, but it'll make me feel good.

a. The Republican-led Supreme Court and Herr Trump refuse to let the Wisconsin primary be delayed or done strictly by ballot. Instead they are forcing thousands of Wisconsin citizens stand in lines all day to vote. Trump wants his Republican judge to be voted in. I've read that 1,000s of Republican Wisconsin folks are staying home rather than risk it. As Trump would say... What do you have to lose?

b. Bone Spurs Trump and his Acting Secretary of the Navy fired the Capt(N) in command of the USS Teddy Roosevelt because he dared to defend his sailors, trying to get help for them from the Coronavirus. Trump said he doesn't like weak military (He'd rather pardon war criminals) and the Acting Secretary called the Captain naive or maybe weak. Of course he's sucked back those comments.

c. Mr. Integrity Trump is pissed off that his Inspector General of Health and Human Services released a report highlighting weaknesses in the Government's response and problems at hospitals. She got this information from reports from 300+ hospitals. He's accusing her of being an Obama appointment, even though she has worked for the government since 1999.

d. Birther Trump has moved his Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham (who never had one press conference in 10 months) back to work for #BeBest Melania and replaced her with birther Kayleigh McEnany, who most recently predicted that the virus wouldn't reach US shores.

Any good news. Well, hopefully.

Jacinda Ardern, PM New Zealand
a. My favorite Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is gaining lots more respect for her handling of the Coronavirus pandemic. See this Washington Post article.

b. Canada to be producing N95 masks locally. I hope this is true. Also it seems that 3-M, which the Trump administration had restricted from shipping masks to Canada and Latin American, will now be able to do so. Nice when we can rely on our allies.

Anyway, enough of that. Now to the Science Fiction novel.

The Science Fiction Novel - Hugh Howey

Hugh Howey
Hugh Howey is an American author of Science Fiction, born in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1975. He has written a number of series but is maybe best known for his Silo series. I discovered it one day when I was checking out the Sci-Fi shelves at the Laughing Oyster book store downtown. Wool, the first book in the series, was excellent, a unique look at a dystopic future. I've since read the 2nd book in the series and have the third on my bookshelf.

a. Wool (Silo #1 / 2012).











"Wow! What a great story, courage, bad guys, good guys, interesting concept and characters that you can enjoy. The story of the people of Silo 18 (you'll have to read it to find out what it is) whose daily lives move along, a relationship from floor to floor, all contributing in their own way; Mechanical, Medical, IT, Farming, Law, but at the same time there are secrets and plots.

The story starts off with Sheriff Holston who is dealing with the death of his wife three years before, who chose to go on a 'cleaning' (more for you to read about) and decides to join her. The Mayor and deputy go down to Mechanical in search of the new Sheriff (Juliette.. a lovely, brave, wonderful character), much to the dissatisfaction of Bernard, Head of IT, who has ideas of his own for running Silo. The implications of this conflict form the basis of the story, which, in this Omnibus edition, run for 5 Chapters (Books).

Silo will be turned upside down, new heros discovered; Juliette will go on her own journey and there will be discoveries that will shock many of the residents of Silo. I can't say enough about this story. I want to get the next books, but am also kind of hesitant as Hugh Howey indicates in a Q&A at the end of the book, "There is always a story to tell, just maybe not the one that the readers expect." Great story, hard to put down and enjoyed every minute of it, even if some were with trepidation. (5 stars)"

b. Shift (2013 / Silo #2).

"Shift by American author, Hugh Howey is the 2nd volume in the Silo trilogy. It contains 3 parts; Part 1 - First Shift / Legacy, Part 2 - Second Shift / Order and Part 3 - Third Shift / Pact.

Like the first book in the series, Wool, Shift is a deeply intricate, involved story. We learn many things in this volume, the origins of the Silos and we move, in the deep dark future, between Silo 1 and Silo 18 and also 17. It's a bit confusing at first but as you get into the flow of the stories and the time and location shifts, you find yourself drawn into the world Howey has created.

The stories can be quite depressing. We get more inklings about what might have happened to the world and who might have caused the 'disaster' that caused the creation of the Silos in Georgia. At the same time, there still remain many questions about what actually happened and what the plan is for the future of those inhabiting the 40 silos. My impression is that it doesn't bode well for many of those living in the majority of the Silos.

We have nano-technology which seems to have been used to preserve the lives of those creators who live in Silo 1; long periods of hibernation, with periods of activity (Shifts). They monitor and direct the other silos, passing on the Legacies, controlling the Mayors and who else run those silos and also seemingly shutting down those silos where problems occur (riots, war, etc). Maybe they are looking for the best run and organized silos? Hopefully, the final book in the series, Dust will provide those final answers (Yes, there is still one more book!!)

Besides Donald and those main characters in Silo 1, we also meet Mission in Silo 18, a porter caught up in a revolt and Jimmy (Solo) in Silo 17, struggling to live as the Silo degenerates into chaos. And who is the Cleaner???? (Is she the Juliette???) Questions, questions!!!

Not a happy view of the future but a fascinating story once again. Hoping I don't wait quite so long to read the 3rd book (4 stars)"

c. Dust (Silo #3 / 2013).











"In a time when secrets and lies were the foundations of life, someone has discovered the truth. And they are going to tell.

Jules knows what her predecessors created. She knows they are the reason life has to be lived in this way.

And she won't stand for it.

But Jules no longer has supporters. And there is far more to fear than the toxic world beyond her walls.

A poison is growing from within Silo 18.

One that cannot be stopped.

Unless Silo 1 step in."


The complete list of Howey's works can be found at this link

A mid-week medley tomorrow.. 🙉

Monday, 6 April 2020

It's Monday... Yup... A Reading Update and the Science Fiction Novel

Nothing too exciting to say today... not that I'm assuming that I've said anything particularly exciting in my previous 9 1/2 years of posting on this BLog. Well, I guess that, in its own right, is kind of exciting. Have I ever said anything of importance? Only the few people that read this BLog might know. 👀

So.. Well, this morning I went on my bi-weekly walk. It was nice and frosty and cool out. I saw a total of 6 people, two from a distance, also out walking or running. I saw a few cars and one deer which was happily ignoring me and eating in someone's garden. There was a beautiful big old full moon just about to drop below the horizon as I started out. So that was nice. And it was also nice and clear and I had an excellent look at the mountains, all very pretty.

Since then I've snooze, made Jo and I lunch, watched Deadline: White House and did a little bit of yard work. All very exciting when you think about it.

I finished my second book of April just before I fell asleep last night. I'll update that and also let you know what book is next in line. Both are for an LGBT reading challenge taking place in April in one of my book groups. I'll also continue with my look at the Sci-Fi novel. So there you go.

Just Finished

1. Return to Lesbos by Valerie Taylor. This is the 3rd book I've read by Taylor in the past couple of years.

"Return to Lesbos is Valerie Taylor's sequel to her Stranger on Lesbos. Stranger left protagonist Frances Ollenfield, who had left her husband Bill, for a lesbian relationship, back with her husband. She had received a beating from a woman she'd picked up. In Return, Frances has been living with Bill for a year since her previous experiences and Bill is moving them to a small town outside Chicago due a promotion.

Frances goes with him but lives a loveless life with Bill. She knows she is a lesbian but had promised herself to give her marriage one more try. In this town she discovers a book store run by homosexual, Vince, who immediately takes to Frances. She also briefly meets Erika Frohmann, a young woman who Vince has taken under his wing. Erika had been involved with Kate but that relationship ended tragically.

So there is your story. Will Frances make the difficult decision either to stay with her husband or will she pursue Erika, who has immediately attracted her? I guess in some ways it's a simple story but Taylor tells it caringly and gently. The tension between Bill and Frances is palpable. Frances is more independent now than in the first story but even with her strong feelings towards Erika, she still has to make a difficult decision; stay or go.

Vince was a highlight for me, a wonderful, sensitive character, looking after Erika but wanting her and Frances to be happy. The priest that Frances meets was also a pleasant surprise. It's a very short story, but told delicately and lovingly. (4 stars)"

Currently Reading

1. Women's Barracks by Tereska Torres.











"Originally published in 1950, this account of life among female Free French soldiers in a London barracks during World War II sold four million copies in the United States alone and many more millions worldwide.

The novel is based on the real-life experiences of the author, Tereska Torres, who escaped from occupied France. She arrived as a refugee in London and joined other exiles enlisting in Charles de Gaulle’s army, then stationed in Britain awaiting an invasion of their homeland by Allied forces. But Women’s Barracks is no ordinary war story.


As the Blitz rains down over London, taboos are broken, affairs start and stop and hearts are won and lost. Women’s Barracks was banned for obscenity in several states. It was also denounced by the House Select Committee on Current Pornographic Materials in 1952 as an example of how the paperback industry was “promoting moral degeneracy.” But in spite of such efforts—or perhaps, in part, because of them—the novel became a record-breaking bestseller and inspired a whole new genre: lesbian pulp."


The Science Fiction Novel - Daniel O'Malley


Daniel O'Malley
Daniel O'Malley is an Australian Sci-Fi writer. He is a relatively new author, his first book being published in 2012. He has since written one more novel. I first heard of him when Jo and I discovered a new Sci-Fi TV series last year, The Rook. It turns out it is based on his first novel, of course, called The Rook. He has since published the sequel, Stiletto (2016). I have the first book on my shelf and am looking forward to comparing it to the TV series as that was excellent.


1. The Rook (2016).











"'The body you are wearing used to be mine.' So begins the letter Myfanwy Thomas is holding when she awakes in a London park surrounded by bodies all wearing latex gloves. With no recollection of who she is, Myfanwy must follow the instructions her former self left behind to discover her identity and track down the agents who want to destroy her.

She soon learns that she is a Rook, a high-ranking member of a secret organization called the Chequy that battles the many supernatural forces at work in Britain. She also discovers that she possesses a rare, potentially deadly supernatural ability of her own.

In her quest to uncover which member of the Chequy betrayed her and why, Myfanwy encounters a person with four bodies, an aristocratic woman who can enter her dreams, a secret training facility where children are transformed into deadly fighters, and a conspiracy more vast than she ever could have imagined."


As I say, the TV series was excellent. So far O'Malley has written two books in the Chequy Files, the second being Stiletto. 


So there you go folks, some reading ideas to start your week. Have a great one!

Sunday, 5 April 2020

A Quick Look at the Science Fiction Novel Then Maybe a Bit of Yard Work

This will probably be a quick post. Not a whole heck of a lot to say since yesterday's. Jo and I watched a fun farce on YouTube, a play put on by the National Theater. It's a play by and starring James Corden, called One Man, Two Guvnors. It's their way of keeping things going during the pandemic. Next week's entry will be Jane Eyre. You can donate to the site to help out the actors and others involved. This was lots of fun once we got into it.

It looked something like this
Last night when I took out the dogs for their last walk of the night, it was clear and frosty. When I looked up I had an astounding view of a halo around the moon. It was stunning, a circle of clouds around the moon. I got Jo to come out and see it, it was that stunning. I took the picture above from a google search; it's from a site called spaceweather.com. Check it out. Anyway, it was beautiful..

I went out briefly this morning to pick up a few things, my first trip out since Wednesday. Jo and I are trying to stick to social distancing as much as possible. When I got up, she already had the patio doors open. It's sunny and fresh today.

So, no books finished last night although I may finish one tonight. I'm enjoying all of them so far. Now on to my look at the Science Fiction novel (Ed. Note. It does seem that more and more I'm focusing on Fantasy than pure Sci-Fi, but that's just an indication of where my taste is leaning when it comes to that genre, I suppose).

The Science Fiction Novel - Ransom Riggs

Ransom Riggs
Ransom Riggs - Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children. Ransom Riggs is an American film maker and author, best known for his series of books featuring Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children. As of 2020, there are 5 books in the series. A film, based on the first book was released in 2016. I've read the first book so far, one of those series I avoided for awhile, but I'm so glad that I finally decided to try it. Riggs has created a fascinating world. I have the next two books on my shelf to read.

1. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (2011).

"What a technically perfect a story and concept Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs is! It's a book I'd thought about reading for awhile but once I finally bought it, it sat somewhat neglected on my bookshelf. It was selected as a challenge book for me and I'm glad it was.

We meet sixteen year old Jacob, a bit of a loner, who lives with his parents in Florida. Jacob is greatly influenced by his grandfather who tells him stories of his childhood at a school in Wales. He shows Jacob pictures of strange children; one floating, one holding a large boulder, etc. Jacob can't believe his grandfather's stories are real but then when his grandfather is tragically murdered, he finds other clues.

Jacob and his father head off to the island off the coast of Wales; Jacob's father to try to get ideas for a book, Jacob to try and find Miss Peregrine's school and see if her grandfather was telling the truth. Thus begins a fascinating adventure for Jacob which involves time travel, 'peculiar' children, and ultimately a battle against others who would destroy Miss Peregrine and her children.

It's a fascinating concept and there are many unique features to the story that offer unique aspects such as the photos of the children who people the story. The photos play an important role in telling this story and are part of the reason the story was thought of. The characters themselves are also interesting and the concept of the time loop is well described and makes an added interesting part of this story. It took me awhile to get totally engrossed in the story and the people, but all in all, I enjoyed very much and look forward to reading the next book, Hollow City, to discover the children's further adventures as they try to battle the wights and Hollowgasts. Try it. (4.5 stars)"

2. Hollow City (2014).











"September 3, 1940. Ten peculiar children flee an army of deadly monsters. And only one person can help them — but she’s trapped in the body of a bird.

The extraordinary journey that began in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children continues as Jacob Portman and his newfound friends journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. There, they hope to find a cure for their beloved headmistress, Miss Peregrine. But in this war-torn city, hideous surprises lurk around every corner. And before Jacob can deliver the peculiar children to safety, he must make an important decision about his love for Emma Bloom.

Hollow City draws readers into a richly imagined world of telepathy and time loops, of sideshows and shapeshifters. Like its predecessor, this second novel in the Peculiar Children series blends thrilling fantasy with never-before-published vintage photography to create a one-of-a-kind reading experience."


3. Library of Souls (2015).













"As the story opens, sixteen-year-old Jacob discovers a powerful new ability, and soon he’s diving through history to rescue his peculiar companions from a heavily guarded fortress. Accompanying Jacob on his journey are Emma Bloom, a girl with fire at her fingertips, and Addison MacHenry, a dog with a nose for sniffing out lost children.

They’ll travel from modern-day London to the labyrinthine alleys of Devil’s Acre, the most wretched slum in all of Victorian England. It’s a place where the fate of peculiar children everywhere will be decided once and for all."


The complete listing of Riggs' work can be found at this link.


Enjoy your week!

Saturday, 4 April 2020

Saturday, a Day to Catch Up...

Omigod! It's been 3 days since I last posted here. Did you miss me? 

My sideburns in a few more days
Let's start with some initial comments / observations. Yesterday and this morning we had snow. Now nothing that lasted, but it was sort of weird to see it. Today it was snowing when I came downstairs at around 0900, then switched to a misty drizzle and now it's sort of sunny. I've had a few conversations with friends at Goodreads and most of seem to be having difficulty keeping track of the day of the week. I don't follow a schedule at the best of times, now that I'm retired but it does seem to have become more difficult now that we're going out only once or twice a week. I'm relying on garbage day and the TV schedule to keep track but what in the world will I do when the recent season finishes!!! Oh yes, the longer we remain indoors, my hair is getting shaggier (not on top of course) but I expect that in another couple of weeks I'll have Isaac Asimov sideburns and a ponytail. 😜

So let's see, how about a book update and another look at the Science Fiction novel. I've finished my first book of April, most enjoyable too. Two books arrived in the mail on Friday, relieved proof that the mail is still coming. I'll update those books for you.

New Books

1. The Xibalba Murders by Lyn Hamilton (Lara McClintoch Archeological mystery #1). I've read a few of this series already but I've finally managed to get a copy of the 1st book in this series by Canadian author, Lyn Hamilton.

"Lara McClintoch, her marriage ended and her antiques business sold, eagerly embarks on a trip to Mexico to help an old friend solve a mystery. On arrival, her friend puts off their meeting and then disappears. After Lara witnesses a brazen robbery of a valuable statue of the ancient Mayan civilization and stumbles on a corpse in a museum of antiquities, she becomes a police suspect. Afraid of the police and unsure whom to trust, Lara follows clues pointing to black marketeers and zealous revolutionaries. This dangerous trail takes her to remote archaeological ruins, lush jungles, and bustling streets filled with revelers. Lara engages in a thrilling battle of wits and courage to unmask a killer and stop a tomb-robber in the shadowy world of Xibalba, the Lords of Death."

2. Flashpoint by Lynn S. Hightower (Sonora Blair #1). Hightower is another whose books I've read before and enjoyed very much. Like Hamilton, I've had some difficulty finding the first books in both her Sonora Blair and Lena Padget series, until recently that is.








"A single mother of two children and a police specialist with the Cincinnati Homicide Division, Sonora Blair is still awake in the middle of the night when the call comes in. Mark Daniels has been found in Mount Airy Forest handcuffed to the steering wheel of his car, doused with accelerant, and set on fire. As the hideously burned college student lies dying in the ER, he describes his killer: blond, female, and a total stranger. But Mark may not have been the intended victim.

Evidence points to a sexual fixation on his older brother, Keaton, a teacher currently separated from his wife. Then the murderer—who has been dubbed "Flash" by the media—calls Sonora one night, taunting and mocking her. As the investigation heats up, the harassment continues. The female psychopath knows intimate details about Sonora's family and her past. As the criminal's monstrous plan becomes chillingly apparent, Sonora must risk everything to corner a cunning killer."


Just Finished

1. The Devil You Know by Mike Carey (Felix Castor #1). I enjoyed this book very much.










"The Devil You Know is the first book in the fantasy / mystery series featuring exorcist, Felix Castor, by English author, Mike Carey. Think of Jim Butcher's Dresden books if you want an idea of the style of this story.

Castor is an exorcist who lives in a dystopic London, where ghosts abound and other supernatural creatures. It's not quite the same as Dresden's Chicago but there are intimations and similarities. Castor has kind of retired from the exorcism business after his last case resulted in his best friend being possessed by a demon. Rafi is now in an insane asylum, possessed by Asmodeus. Castor lives with the third member of their friendship, witch Pen. We don't find out a great deal about Pen, except she is a loyal, good friend and I hope plays a bigger role in the next stories. (mind you, she does play a significant part in one portion of this story)

Castor is brought out of retirement to exorcise a ghost making appearances at the Bonnington, a London museum. He finds himself delving more into the ghost's reason for being, why she is haunting this particular place, how she died, etc. His investigation will bring him up against many foes, a local pimp / owner of strip clubs, Loup garous, another exorcist and even fighting for his life against a succubus called up from Hell.

It's an excellent story, tense, action-filled and with interesting exploration of the supernatural. Castor is a gritty, intelligent, imaginative character. The story isn't perfect. Characters appeared with little back story and sometimes left me wondering if I'd missed something. But that was a minor complaint as overall I enjoyed the story and characters very much. I found it difficult to put the book down and at the end which was very satisfying, there were sufficient teasers to make me look forward to the 2nd book. I'm glad to have discovered this series. (4.5 stars)"

Currently Reading

1. Satan's Lambs by Lynn S. Hightower (Lena Padget #1). This is the first book in Hightower's other mystery series.

"After her brother-in-law kills her sister and her nephew, Lena becomes a PI and advocate for abused women and children whom the police and the legal system neglect. Hired to find a missing child who has been kidnapped by a brutal cult, Lena races against time to save the child's life."

The Science Fiction Novel - Newbies Pt 3 / Young Adult Pt 3
I'll look at two authors in this segment, both newbies to me.

Veronica Roth
1. Veronica Roth (Divergent). Roth is an American author, born in New York City in 1988. (Ed Note. Now some of these authors are younger than my daughter.. lol) She is best known for her Divergent trilogy, written from 2011 - 2013. She has also written other series, but I'm focusing on this one. The first two books in the series made it to the big screen. The last one was scrapped as a movie and was supposed to be turned into a TV series. This hasn't happened yet. I currently have the first book on my shelf and will read this year, I hope.

a. Divergent (2011).











"In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her."


Veronica Roth's complete catalogue can be found at this link.

Melissa de la Cruz
2. Melissa de la Cruz (Witches of East End). Melissa de la Cruz was born in Manila, Philippines in 1971. She immigrated to the US at the age of 13 with her family. Her first novel, Cat's Meow, was published in 2004. Since then she has been a prolific writer. I am focused her on her series featuring a family of witches, the Beauchamp Family. My wife and I quite enjoyed the TV series based on the books. I've since found the first book in this series, the Witches of East End (2011).

a. Witches of East End (2011).











"The three Beauchamp women--Joanna and her daughters Freya and Ingrid--live in North Hampton, out on the tip of Long Island. Their beautiful, mist-shrouded town seems almost stuck in time, and all three women lead seemingly quiet, uneventful existences. But they are harboring a mighty secret--they are powerful witches banned from using their magic. Joanna can resurrect people from the dead and heal the most serious of injuries. Ingrid, her bookish daughter, has the ability to predict the future and weave knots that can solve anything from infertility to infidelity. And finally, there's Freya, the wild child, who has a charm or a potion that can cure most any heartache.

For centuries, all three women have been forced to suppress their abilities. But then Freya, who is about to get married to the wealthy and mysterious Bran Gardiner, finds that her increasingly complicated romantic life makes it more difficult than ever to hide her secret. Soon Ingrid and Joanna confront similar dilemmas, and the Beauchamp women realize they can no longer conceal their true selves. They unearth their wands from the attic, dust off their broomsticks, and begin casting spells on the townspeople. It all seems like a bit of good-natured, innocent magic, but then mysterious, violent attacks begin to plague the town. When a young girl disappears over the Fourth of July weekend, they realize it's time to uncover who and what dark forces are working against them."


You can check out all of Melissa de la Cruz's work at this link.

There you go folks. I hope you are having a great weekend.

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