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jenn

Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

The Man on the Washing Machine (Theo Bogart Mystery, #1)

The Man on the Washing Machine - Susan Cox

Another Bouchercon find, although I think I might have had this title on my "Maybe" list for awhile a few years back.  If it was, it was because the title intrigued me, but I didn't get a strong enough vibe from the blurb to commit.  Susan Cox was one of the participants in Bouchercon's Author Speed Dating event, and my interest was renewed.

 

I liked it, and I'm interested in reading the next one, but my enjoyment wasn't without reservations.  Either Cox's writing style and I were not in sync, or it was poorly edited before going to print.  This is one of those situations where it could go either way: Cox's style is a bit loose and free form, so I often felt like the MC, Theo's, thoughts jumped around, or she made connections without a clear line of reasoning, or - and I'm blaming the editing for this one in particular - there would be an abrupt change of narrative topic or scene.

 

Otherwise, it had great bones.  Theo is hard to warm to, but she's in hiding, so maybe her need to stay detached extends to the reader too (the POV is first first past, or after-the-fact).  But the San Francisco neighborhood, and most of the characters involved in the mystery, come alive.  

 

The story starts with a man pushed out of a window and before it's all solved, there are smugglers, compost-obsessed-gardeners, machetes, a suspiciously-acting possible love interest, and yes, a man on a washing machine.  It all ties together in the end, sort of.  Mostly.

 

This is a first novel as well as a first in a series, and frankly, it shows.  The narrative could have flowed better, the plot could have been tighter, more cohesive.  But as I said, it has good bones, and there's a lot of potential in this odd but glorious neighbourhood Susan Cox has created.  I definitely want to see where she takes it.



Bingo Update #10 - Triple Bingos! Bingo #6, 7, & 8.

Today's call was the magic square;  I have 3 more bingos: 5th row down, the diagonal right-to-left, and the 4 squares/center square bingos.  Imma getting there....

 

Southern Gothic modern noir relics and curiosities
Free Square Grimm Tale
baker street irregular romantic suspense

 

Squares are greyed out until they're called.  

Called squares will be full-strength.

Read but not called squares will be greyed out below.

Called and read will have a marker on it and the marker will 'disappear' from the picture below.  

 

My markers this year are pieces of a full image, seen here:

   
         
         
   
       

 

As squares are called, pieces of the picture will disappear, as they reappear on the card; as one picture disintegrates, another will emerge.  :)

 

My loose plan for the squares is as follows.  I'm tracking my actual reads on a spreadsheet, so this list may or may not get updated. 

 

First Row:

Southern Gothic:Woman Without a Past - Phyllis A. Whitney  READ 19 SEPT review

Fear the Drowning Deep: The Dancing Floor - Barbara Michaels (Wild Card) READ 7 OCT review

Modern Noir: The Fourth Bear - Jasper Fforde  READ 2 OCT review

Relics & Curiosities: Vermilion - Phyllis A. Whitney  READ 23 SEPT review

Country House Mysteries: Pigeon Pie Mystery - Julia Stuart READ 10 OCT review

 

Second Row:

Amateur Sleuth: A Room with a Brew - Joyce Tremel READ  1 OCT review

Doomsday: Get Well Soon - Jennifer Wright READ 24 SEPT review

Spellbound: Magic Triumphs - Ilona Andrews READ 4 OCT review  

Cozy Mystery: The Grub-and-Stakers Quilt a Bee READ 1 OCT review

Terror in a Small Town: Murder at an Irish Wedding - Carlene O'Conner READ 8 OCT review

 

Third Row:

Murder Most Foul:  Marigolds for Malice - Bailey Cattrell READ SEPT 25 review

New Release: The World of All Souls READ 21 SEPT review

Free Square: The Colour of Magic READ 24 SEPT review

Classic Horror: The Prince of Darkness (Wild Card) READ SEPT 27 review

A Grimm Tale: Poison - Sarah Pinborough  READ 22 SEPT review

 

Fourth Row:

Darkest London: A Lady's Guide To Etiquette And Murder READ SEPT 11 review

Shifters: Wild Hunger - Chloe Neill  READ 27 AUG review  

Baker Street Irregulars: The Mystery of the Vanishing Treasure - Robert Arthur READ 2 OCT review

Romantic Suspense: Be Buried in the Rain - Barbara Michaels READ SEPT 14 review 

13: The Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield READ 6 OCT  review

 

Fifth Row:

Cryptozoologist: Hunted - Kevin Hearne  READ 3 SEPT review 

Genre: Suspense: Locked Doors-Mary Roberts Rinehart READ 30 SEPT review

Diverse Voices: Hollywood Homicide - Kellye Garrett READ SEPT 23 review

Gothic: Houses of Stone - Barbara Michaels  READ 29 SEPT review

Ghost Stories: The Haunting of Fox Mill - Phyl Cooke READ 2 OCT review



Bingo Update #9: Staying alive with bingo number 5.

 Bingo number 5 (second row across) with the Spellbound call today.  And thank goodness too because I accidentally stuck my real marker for Spellbound on the card ages ago, when I was supposed to be marking a different square.  Now my real life card is accurate and I'm closer than ever to a true bingo blackout.

 

Southern Gothic modern noir relics and curiosities Country House Mystery
Free Square Grimm Tale
baker street irregular romantic suspense

 

Squares are greyed out until they're called.  

Called squares will be full-strength.

Read but not called squares will be greyed out below.

Called and read will have a marker on it and the marker will 'disappear' from the picture below.  

 

My markers this year are pieces of a full image, seen here:

   
         
         
   
       

 

As squares are called, pieces of the picture will disappear, as they reappear on the card; as one picture disintegrates, another will emerge.  :)

 

My loose plan for the squares is as follows.  I'm tracking my actual reads on a spreadsheet, so this list may or may not get updated. 

 

First Row:

Southern Gothic:Woman Without a Past - Phyllis A. Whitney  READ 19 SEPT review

Fear the Drowning Deep: The Dancing Floor - Barbara Michaels (Wild Card) READ 7 OCT review

Modern Noir: The Fourth Bear - Jasper Fforde  READ 2 OCT review

Relics & Curiosities: Vermilion - Phyllis A. Whitney  READ 23 SEPT review

Country House Mysteries: Pigeon Pie Mystery - Julia Stuart READ 10 OCT review

 

Second Row:

Amateur Sleuth: A Room with a Brew - Joyce Tremel READ  1 OCT review

Doomsday: Get Well Soon - Jennifer Wright READ 24 SEPT review

Spellbound: Magic Triumphs - Ilona Andrews READ 4 OCT review  

Cozy Mystery: The Grub-and-Stakers Quilt a Bee READ 1 OCT review

Terror in a Small Town: Murder at an Irish Wedding - Carlene O'Conner READ 8 OCT review

 

Third Row:

Murder Most Foul:  Marigolds for Malice - Bailey Cattrell READ SEPT 25 review

New Release: The World of All Souls READ 21 SEPT review

Free Square: The Colour of Magic READ 24 SEPT review

Classic Horror: The Prince of Darkness (Wild Card) READ SEPT 27 review

A Grimm Tale: Poison - Sarah Pinborough  READ 22 SEPT review

 

Fourth Row:

Darkest London: A Lady's Guide To Etiquette And Murder READ SEPT 11 review

Shifters: Wild Hunger - Chloe Neill  READ 27 AUG review  

Baker Street Irregulars: The Mystery of the Vanishing Treasure - Robert Arthur READ 2 OCT review

Romantic Suspense: Be Buried in the Rain - Barbara Michaels READ SEPT 14 review 

13: The Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield READ 6 OCT  review

 

Fifth Row:

Cryptozoologist: Hunted - Kevin Hearne  READ 3 SEPT review 

Genre: Suspense: Locked Doors-Mary Roberts Rinehart READ 30 SEPT review

Diverse Voices: Hollywood Homicide - Kellye Garrett READ SEPT 23 review

Gothic: Houses of Stone - Barbara Michaels  READ 29 SEPT review

Ghost Stories: The Haunting of Fox Mill - Phyl Cooke READ 2 OCT review



Treacherous is the Night (Verity Kent Mystery, #2)

Treacherous Is the Night - Anna Lee Huber

This series is driving me crazy; I love the author's writing, the characters, the settings, the mysteries.  But I hate one of the major plot points.  

 

Verity Kent's husband died during WWI - except, he didn't.  He was wounded but allowed himself to be listed as killed in action, hiding while he hunted out the traitor in his unit.  Well over a year later, after Verity has started moving on, and falling for another man - a man designed by the author to make readers fall for him - her dead husband decided to let her know he's in rude health for a corpse and not understanding why she's not happier to see him.

(show spoiler)

 

I'm not sure how to reconcile this, really.  I want to read them, but they piss me off at the same time.

 

With that disclosure, it's a good book, although a bit rambling.  I notice tis with a lot of Kensington books, so I think it's more an editorial style than a failing on the author's part.  A tighter editing would have resulted in a faster paced mystery and less exposition about the devastation of WWI.  Don't get me wrong: the exposition was interesting, but it was a tad repetitive.  My biggest complaint, and again, something that could have been avoided by a stricter editor, was Verity's constant, constant, mention of Her Big Secret and how she should tell her husband; it's revelation is inevitable; they can't move on unless she does; really, it would be best to come clean... but not now.  Never now.  Then, finally, the revelation.  And all I could think was omg, who cares?.  I realise people were a lot touchier about things in 1918, but give me a break; without spoiling things, her husband didn't have a leg to stand on and she really ought to have just told him to suck it up and deal with it.

 

I don't know if I'll read the third one when it comes out or not.  If I do, I'm pretty sure I'm stuck with that plot point and, well, I just don't know that I care enough about Verity as things stand.



Bingo Update #8 - Bingo #4 (Slowly, but surely...)

 

Bingo #4 - 2nd row column down.  They just aren't going to come overly quick for me - but they ARE coming.  :D

 

Southern Gothic modern noir relics and curiosities Country House Mystery
Free Square Grimm Tale
baker street irregular romantic suspense

 

Squares are greyed out until they're called.  

Called squares will be full-strength.

Read but not called squares will be greyed out below.

Called and read will have a marker on it and the marker will 'disappear' from the picture below.  

 

My markers this year are pieces of a full image, seen here:

   
         
         
   
       

 

As squares are called, pieces of the picture will disappear, as they reappear on the card; as one picture disintegrates, another will emerge.  :)

 

My loose plan for the squares is as follows.  I'm tracking my actual reads on a spreadsheet, so this list may or may not get updated. 

 

First Row:

Southern Gothic:Woman Without a Past - Phyllis A. Whitney  READ 19 SEPT review

Fear the Drowning Deep: The Dancing Floor - Barbara Michaels (Wild Card) READ 7 OCT review

Modern Noir: The Fourth Bear - Jasper Fforde  READ 2 OCT review

Relics & Curiosities: Vermilion - Phyllis A. Whitney  READ 23 SEPT review

Country House Mysteries: Pigeon Pie Mystery - Julia Stuart READ 10 OCT review

 

Second Row:

Amateur Sleuth: A Room with a Brew - Joyce Tremel READ  1 OCT review

Doomsday: Get Well Soon - Jennifer Wright READ 24 SEPT review

Spellbound: Magic Triumphs - Ilona Andrews READ 4 OCT review  

Cozy Mystery: The Grub-and-Stakers Quilt a Bee READ 1 OCT review

Terror in a Small Town: Murder at an Irish Wedding - Carlene O'Conner READ 8 OCT review

 

Third Row:

Murder Most Foul:  Marigolds for Malice - Bailey Cattrell READ SEPT 25 review

New Release: The World of All Souls READ 21 SEPT review

Free Square: The Colour of Magic READ 24 SEPT review

Classic Horror: The Prince of Darkness (Wild Card) READ SEPT 27 review

A Grimm Tale: Poison - Sarah Pinborough  READ 22 SEPT review

 

Fourth Row:

Darkest London: A Lady's Guide To Etiquette And Murder READ SEPT 11 review

Shifters: Wild Hunger - Chloe Neill  READ 27 AUG review  

Baker Street Irregulars: The Mystery of the Vanishing Treasure - Robert Arthur READ 2 OCT review

Romantic Suspense: Be Buried in the Rain - Barbara Michaels READ SEPT 14 review 

13: The Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield READ 6 OCT  review

 

Fifth Row:

Cryptozoologist: Hunted - Kevin Hearne  READ 3 SEPT review 

Genre: Suspense: Locked Doors-Mary Roberts Rinehart READ 30 SEPT review

Diverse Voices: Hollywood Homicide - Kellye Garrett READ SEPT 23 review

Gothic: Houses of Stone - Barbara Michaels  READ 29 SEPT review

Ghost Stories: The Haunting of Fox Mill - Phyl Cooke READ 2 OCT review



A broody New Zealand lake for Moonlight Madness

Lake Te Anau, carved by glaciers.  Broody as.

 



Peachy Flippin' Keen

Peachy Flippin' Keen - Molly Harper

A short story about one of the cousins in the Southern Eclectic series, the coroner for Lake Sackett, Frankie McCready.  This story outlines the history behind the battle between her and an over privileged teen age boy who didn't get his way during a school trip.  This battle becomes a sub-plot in the longer novel Ain't She a Peach.

 

It's moderately amusing, but doesn't reach full Harper potential for laugh out loud gags, likely because of the short story format.  Still, it was an amusing way to spend a couple of hours in the car, and Amanda Ronconi does a fantastic job with the narration.



The Lost Carousel of Provence

The Lost Carousel of Provence - Juliet Blackwell

I've always enjoyed Juliet Blackwell's cozy mysteries, so once she started writing these stand-alone, general contemporary fiction stories, all set in France, I've made sure to pick them up.

 

I'm not sure this is going to be helpful to anyone but myself, but - and maybe because I don't read a lot of general fiction - I find these stories kind of weird.  Apparently, I'm a little genre-dependent because I'm never sure what the point of the story is.  I mean, I do; personal journeys, growth, blah, blah, blah, but I'm hard-wired to look for dead bodies, I guess.  Plus, the author uses multiple timelines and POVs in the France books, a device that generally drives me nuts.

 

That's not to say I didn't enjoy the story though; I did.  Blackwell captures France and I enjoyed the 'mystery' behind the carousel figure and the box inside.  I might have liked the secondary characters more than the main character, Cady, but chalk that up to personal tastes, as in, mine don't run towards broken characters.

 

As in the previous 2 stand-alones set in France, the romance is iffy, if non-existent.  This is a good thing; if Blackwell has a weakness, it's writing romance with any sexual spark (except the Witchcraft series, where the romance was very sparky).  There is a love interest here, and characters are getting lucky, but it's mostly an afterthought, with only an implied possibility of a HEA.

 

So, after all that rambling, I'll just say:  it's a good book.  It's a quiet, well-built, interesting story that I enjoyed escaping into for a few hours on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

 

(I feel weird not assigning this to a bingo square.)



Bingo Update #7: Bingo #3

Woot!  Both my skeletons have feet!   ::Happy dance::

 

Bingo across bottom row.

 

Southern Gothic Drowning Deep modern noir relics and curiosities Country House Mystery
Spellbound
Free Square Grimm Tale
baker street irregular romantic suspense

 

Squares are greyed out until they're called.  

Called squares will be full-strength.

Read but not called squares will be greyed out below.

Called and read will have a marker on it and the marker will 'disappear' from the picture below.  

 

My markers this year are pieces of a full image, seen here:

   
       
         
   
       

 

As squares are called, pieces of the picture will disappear, as they reappear on the card; as one picture disintegrates, another will emerge.  :)

 

My loose plan for the squares is as follows.  I'm tracking my actual reads on a spreadsheet, so this list may or may not get updated. 

 

First Row:

Southern Gothic:Woman Without a Past - Phyllis A. Whitney  READ 19 SEPT review

Fear the Drowning Deep: The Dancing Floor - Barbara Michaels (Wild Card) READ 7 OCT review

Modern Noir: The Fourth Bear - Jasper Fforde  READ 2 OCT review

Relics & Curiosities: Vermilion - Phyllis A. Whitney  READ 23 SEPT review

Country House Mysteries: Pigeon Pie Mystery - Julia Stuart READ 10 OCT review

 

Second Row:

Amateur Sleuth: A Room with a Brew - Joyce Tremel READ  1 OCT review

Doomsday: Get Well Soon - Jennifer Wright READ 24 SEPT review

Spellbound: Magic Triumphs - Ilona Andrews READ 4 OCT review  

Cozy Mystery: The Grub-and-Stakers Quilt a Bee READ 1 OCT review

Terror in a Small Town: Murder at an Irish Wedding - Carlene O'Conner READ 8 OCT review

 

Third Row:

Murder Most Foul:  Marigolds for Malice - Bailey Cattrell READ SEPT 25 review

New Release: The World of All Souls READ 21 SEPT review

Free Square: The Colour of Magic READ 24 SEPT review

Classic Horror: The Prince of Darkness (Wild Card) READ SEPT 27 review

A Grimm Tale: Poison - Sarah Pinborough  READ 22 SEPT review

 

Fourth Row:

Darkest London: A Lady's Guide To Etiquette And Murder READ SEPT 11 review

Shifters: Wild Hunger - Chloe Neill  READ 27 AUG review  

Baker Street Irregulars: The Mystery of the Vanishing Treasure - Robert Arthur READ 2 OCT review

Romantic Suspense: Be Buried in the Rain - Barbara Michaels READ SEPT 14 review 

13: The Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield READ 6 OCT  review

 

Fifth Row:

Cryptozoologist: Hunted - Kevin Hearne  READ 3 SEPT review 

Genre: Suspense: Locked Doors-Mary Roberts Rinehart READ 30 SEPT review

Diverse Voices: Hollywood Homicide - Kellye Garrett READ SEPT 23 review

Gothic: Houses of Stone - Barbara Michaels  READ 29 SEPT review

Ghost Stories: The Haunting of Fox Mill - Phyl Cooke READ 2 OCT review



Bingo Update #6 - Finally have my second bingo!

The bingo gods have been playing coy since my first bingo, but today's call gets me my second one.  (First column.)

 

Southern Gothic Drowning Deep modern noir relics and curiosities Country House Mystery
Spellbound
Free Square Grimm Tale
baker street irregular romantic suspense
gothic

 

Squares are greyed out until they're called.  

Called squares will be full-strength.

Read but not called squares will be greyed out below.

Called and read will have a marker on it and the marker will 'disappear' from the picture below.  

 

My markers this year are pieces of a full image, seen here:

   
       
         
   
      Gothic  

 

As squares are called, pieces of the picture will disappear, as they reappear on the card; as one picture disintegrates, another will emerge.  :)

 

My loose plan for the squares is as follows.  I'm tracking my actual reads on a spreadsheet, so this list may or may not get updated. 

 

First Row:

Southern Gothic:Woman Without a Past - Phyllis A. Whitney  READ 19 SEPT review

Fear the Drowning Deep: The Dancing Floor - Barbara Michaels (Wild Card) READ 7 OCT review

Modern Noir: The Fourth Bear - Jasper Fforde  READ 2 OCT review

Relics & Curiosities: Vermilion - Phyllis A. Whitney  READ 23 SEPT review

Country House Mysteries: Pigeon Pie Mystery - Julia Stuart READ 10 OCT review

 

Second Row:

Amateur Sleuth: A Room with a Brew - Joyce Tremel READ  1 OCT review

Doomsday: Get Well Soon - Jennifer Wright READ 24 SEPT review

Spellbound: Magic Triumphs - Ilona Andrews READ 4 OCT review  

Cozy Mystery: The Grub-and-Stakers Quilt a Bee READ 1 OCT review

Terror in a Small Town: Murder at an Irish Wedding - Carlene O'Conner READ 8 OCT review

 

Third Row:

Murder Most Foul:  Marigolds for Malice - Bailey Cattrell READ SEPT 25 review

New Release: The World of All Souls READ 21 SEPT review

Free Square: The Colour of Magic READ 24 SEPT review

Classic Horror: The Prince of Darkness (Wild Card) READ SEPT 27 review

A Grimm Tale: Poison - Sarah Pinborough  READ 22 SEPT review

 

Fourth Row:

Darkest London: A Lady's Guide To Etiquette And Murder READ SEPT 11 review

Shifters: Wild Hunger - Chloe Neill  READ 27 AUG review  

Baker Street Irregulars: The Mystery of the Vanishing Treasure - Robert Arthur READ 2 OCT review

Romantic Suspense: Be Buried in the Rain - Barbara Michaels READ SEPT 14 review 

13: The Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield READ 6 OCT  review

 

Fifth Row:

Cryptozoologist: Hunted - Kevin Hearne  READ 3 SEPT review 

Genre: Suspense: Locked Doors-Mary Roberts Rinehart READ 30 SEPT review

Diverse Voices: Hollywood Homicide - Kellye Garrett READ SEPT 23 review

Gothic: Houses of Stone - Barbara Michaels  READ 29 SEPT review

Ghost Stories: The Haunting of Fox Mill - Phyl Cooke READ 2 OCT review



A Lady's Guide To Etiquette And Murder (Countess of Harleigh Mystery, #1)

A Lady's Guide To Etiquette And Murder - Dianne Freeman

I bought this book at Barnes and Noble, just before going to Bouchercon, where Kensington was giving away free, signed copies, and the author was speaking on several panels.  Doh.  As luck would have it, I enjoyed the story enough that I don't begrudge the royalties the author earned from my lack of foresight in the least.

 

Lady Harleigh is just coming out of her one year's mourning following the death of her husband, the Earl who exchanged his title for her American fortune.  Throwing off the widow's weeds and fleeing from the in-laws who intend to bleed her dry of her private fortune, she settles in London with her daughter.  But someone has sent an anonymous letter to the police claiming she killed her husband, and a string of small jewel thefts from the ton put her on a different suspect list after she finds one of the stolen pieces in her purse after a party.

 

First things first - those who enjoy historical accuracy should avoid this book.  Not that the author didn't do her research; I don't know if she did or didn't as I'm not well versed enough in 1899 England to spot inaccuracies, but the narrative has a distinctly contemporary voice.  I also remember that Freeman was on an historical fiction panel I attended and she was not one of the sticklers for historical accuracy (I remember her sort of falling in the middle of the spectrum).  

 

But my historical ignorance was bliss in this case.  I just enjoyed the story for what it was: a fun mystery with strong female characters, a likeable romantic interest, and few, if any, TSTL moments.  it was also a very, very clever plot.

 

For those that like Rhys Bowen's Her Royal Spyness, this series has a similar feel, though a slightly more mature MC and less charming narrative.  It's a great start to what could be a very fun series.

 

I read this for my last square in Halloween Bingo: Darkest London.  Blackout!  



In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox

In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox - Carol Burnett

After listening to Carol Burnett's other memoir This Time Together, I was interested in checking this one out.

 

If this is the first of her books you listen to that cover the years during The Carol Burnett Show, you'll likely like this even more than I did.  She narrates the audio herself and does a fantastic job, and the anecdotes she shares are funny or interesting and often both.  It was a bonus that the excerpts from interviews with Tim Conway, Vicki Lawrence and Harvey Korman were actual audio excepts from the interviews conducted by the Television Academy.  

 

If you've listened to, or read, This Time Together, you'll find some stories (the best ones) overlap; there's enough fresh material in each book to make reading them worthwhile though.



The Pigeon Pie Mystery

The Pigeon Pie Mystery - Julia Stuart

I bought this book purely on a whim while on holiday, based on the cover and the title, while trapped in a small used book store.  I say 'trapped' because a terrific thunderstorm was raging outside, keeping me and the owner in the shop until well after her normal closing hours.  Had I not needed to linger until the threat of leaving this earth as a human lightning rod had passed, I'd have probably not bought this book (I'd passed it over on my initial perusals). 

 

Points to the thunderstorm; this was a charmingly eccentric Victorian age mystery with an Indian princess MC, who is forced to accept a Grace and Favour abode in Hampton Court Palace, after her deposed-Maharaja father passes away in less than illustrious circumstances.  Soon after settling in, her lady's maid falls under suspicion of murder, after another Grace and Favor resident drops dead after eating her pigeon pie.

 

What follows is a colourful, wryly humorous, if a little over-long, mystery.  The characters are all odd, eccentric and chock full of secrets; some of them rather shocking.  There's a lot of situational humor, and levity based on misunderstandings.  Not a single character is dull, but the story never quite goes over the top.  My only complaint is that, even though I enjoyed the whole story, it was longer than it needed to be.  The fluff was clever and interesting, but it was still fluff.  The ending though, was clever as hell and delightfully unexpected.

 

I read this for Halloween Book Bingo's Country House Mystery.  I was worried at the outset whether it would qualify, but the entire mystery and investigation takes place within palace grounds and involves only the residents and the servants.  

 



Murder at an Irish Wedding (Irish Village Mystery, #2)

Murder at an Irish Wedding - Carlene O'Connor

I received this for fee at Bouchercon, and I'm pretty sure I met and liked the author.  Unfortunately, I can't say the same about the book.

 

It's the second in the series, and I've not read the first, so maybe there's some second book syndrome at play here, but mostly, it was the MC I just didn't click with. At all.  She's pushy, nosey and for someone who claims to not being a liar, lies an awful lot, be in a lie of omission, misrepresentation, or blatant untruth.  Some writers can take a character like this and make them likeable, or grudgingly admirable, but that failed to happen with Siobhán.  She just appeared incredibly immature.  How she maintains any relationship with her love interest, a member of the local garda, when she's so blatantly disrespectful of him and his responsibilities is a wonder.

 

What I did like was the setting: a small Irish village, one of the few remaining that are walled.  Some of the secondary characters were charming, and the mystery plot had a lot of potential.  Actually, the mystery plot was pretty good; I didn't guess the murderer at all, so the author completely fooled me.  I also appreciate that the author does the 'right thing' at the end of the book:  Siobhán signs up for the garda (or, presumably, enrols in the proper training course).  Maturity seems to be arriving in book three, though I'll just have to take the ending of this one at face value.  My TBR is too high to take chances on reading another.

 

I read this for the Murder in a Small Town square in Halloween Book Bingo.



The Flat Book Society: Open for January nominations!

The list has been cleared and I've seeded it with three random selections.  

 

Please add any titles you'd like the group to vote on as the January group read.

 

PLEASE DO NOT BE SHY!  If you want a title there, please add it - even if it's been added and voted on before.  

 

Huggins says: vote early! vote often!



The Flat Book Society: November Read announced (Really, really late)

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World - Stephen Brusatte

Extended holidays, book bingo, absolutely the worst cold I've had in memory, the advent of spring.  What's the common thread?  My dropping the ball with The Flat Book Society.  I am a terrible moderator.  Huggins has already beaten me about the head with 6 of his eight arms.

 

So the winner by popular vote this month (I didn't even vote, that's how much a slacker I've been) is The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World - Stephen Brusatte :

 

The dinosaurs. Sixty-six million years ago, the Earth’s most fearsome creatures vanished. Today they remain one of our planet’s great mysteries. Now The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs reveals their extraordinary, 200-million-year-long story as never before.

 

In this captivating narrative (enlivened with more than seventy original illustrations and photographs), Steve Brusatte, a young American paleontologist who has emerged as one of the foremost stars of the field—naming fifteen new species and leading groundbreaking scientific studies and fieldwork—masterfully tells the complete, surprising, and new history of the dinosaurs, drawing on cutting-edge science to dramatically bring to life their lost world and illuminate their enigmatic origins, spectacular flourishing, astonishing diversity, cataclysmic extinction, and startling living legacy.

 

Captivating and revelatory, The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs is a book for the ages.

Brusatte traces the evolution of dinosaurs from their inauspicious start as small shadow dwellers—themselves the beneficiaries of a mass extinction caused by volcanic eruptions at the beginning of the Triassic period—into the dominant array of species every wide-eyed child memorizes today, T. rex, Triceratops, Brontosaurus, and more. This gifted scientist and writer re-creates the dinosaurs’ peak during the Jurassic and Cretaceous, when thousands of species thrived, and winged and feathered dinosaurs, the prehistoric ancestors of modern birds, emerged. The story continues to the end of the Cretaceous period, when a giant asteroid or comet struck the planet and nearly every dinosaur species (but not all) died out, in the most extraordinary extinction event in earth’s history, one full of lessons for today as we confront a “sixth extinction.”

 

Brusatte also recalls compelling stories from his globe-trotting expeditions during one of the most exciting eras in dinosaur research—which he calls “a new golden age of discovery”—and offers thrilling accounts of some of the remarkable findings he and his colleagues have made, including primitive human-sized tyrannosaurs; monstrous carnivores even larger than T. rex; and paradigm-shifting feathered raptors from China.

An electrifying scientific history that unearths the dinosaurs’ epic saga, The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs will be a definitive and treasured account for decades to come.

 

So, who is up for some cutting-edge dinosaur reading?  We start November 1st and anyone and everyone is welcome.