Since I like steampunk, carnivals and mysteries, I decided to read Steampunk Carnival which is a mystery that takes place in an alternate steampunk t Since I like steampunk, carnivals and mysteries, I decided to read Steampunk Carnival which is a mystery that takes place in an alternate steampunk timeline. I did receive my copy from the author in return for this honest review.
I ended up liking Katya, the protagonist. At first I agreed with a review that called her shallow. She did seem very concerned with her costumes and her appearance. Yet I don't believe that every woman who enjoys dressing up should be condemned as superficial. Katya was loyal to her friends and cared about justice. So I concluded that Katya was really a decent human being. There were other likable characters in the novel which balanced the despicable ones such as the carnival's owner and the murdered man.
The resolution of the mystery was not entirely unexpected. I couldn't have known the identity of the killer, but I did suspect that something had happened along the lines of what turned out to be the actual chain of events. I still found it an entertaining read, and I would be willing to read another book by Cassandra Leuthold.
It was a Goodreads recommendation that caused me to finally start Point of Honour, the first in the Sarah Tolerance mysteries. It was an obvious choicIt was a Goodreads recommendation that caused me to finally start Point of Honour, the first in the Sarah Tolerance mysteries. It was an obvious choice for me since it was about a woman who knew how to use a sword. I can't resist books about swordswomen. I began reading it on Thanksgiving as a holiday treat that I knew I would enjoy.
The case that Sarah is hired to investigate in this first novel doesn't sound very interesting. She is expected to find a fancy jeweled fan that an Earl had in the past given to his mistress. The case turns out to be far more complicated and dangerous than Sarah had ever imagined. There are a number of swordfighting scenes for readers who are swordplay fans.
Sarah Tolerance is a wonderful character. Her skills, her loyalties and her principles are all tested in this book, but she is spirited, resilient and always a woman of integrity.
Even though there are only two more books to read in the Sarah Tolerance series, I think that this protagonist is going to be a new favorite of mine. Perhaps in the later installments, she will become more respected and recognized.
The Darkness Rolling is actually a crime thriller rather than a mystery. The perpetrator is revealed to readers early in the book. The suspense arisesThe Darkness Rolling is actually a crime thriller rather than a mystery. The perpetrator is revealed to readers early in the book. The suspense arises from how he is caught and captured.
Yet the main reason why I really liked this book was the portrayal of real Hollywood star Linda Darnell. After reading about her in this book, I wanted to know a great deal more about her.
I thought that the really strong female protagonist was the historical one, Laura Balbini. As Gerritsen says in her historical notes, "Even in the darI thought that the really strong female protagonist was the historical one, Laura Balbini. As Gerritsen says in her historical notes, "Even in the darkest of times, there will always be a Laura to light the way." Laura was an inspiration for Lorenzo, and an inspiration for me.
The last book that Aimee Thurlo worked on re-affirmed the values that have always been central to her throughout her career and her abiding love for bThe last book that Aimee Thurlo worked on re-affirmed the values that have always been central to her throughout her career and her abiding love for both the Southwest and the Navajo.
This book also brought into a prominence a very memorable character, the blind sculptor Melvin Littlewater. He evolved as an artist so that he was able to express profound insights through his work. By the end of the novel he reminded me of the legendary blind seer Tiresias. Melvin Littlewater is one of the many reasons why I will never forget Aimee Thurlo....more
This is the first book I've read by J. A. Jance. Queen of the Night is actually #4 in a series, but reading out of order never dismays me. I believe tThis is the first book I've read by J. A. Jance. Queen of the Night is actually #4 in a series, but reading out of order never dismays me. I believe that books ought to stand on their own. If they don't, it's not my responsibility to remedy the situation by reading other books. I will only read more books by the author if I am hooked by the first one I tried. That's why I'm so careful about my choice of first read by an author. The Queen of the Night has a story line that deals with the legends and customs of the Tohono O'odham of Arizona. I tend to like mysteries and thrillers that involve Native American background. I definitely knew that I'd come to the right place when I saw that Jance had dedicated the book to Tony Hillerman.
I do feel that Jance reached deep for the full humanity of all the prominent characters including the serial killer. I don't mean that they were all sympathetic, but I understood where they were coming from. We saw the heart of some of the relationships depicted in this novel. The relationship between Diana Ladd and Brandon Walker was particularly moving.
This was a strong book that also taught me a bit about the Tohono O'odham. I will definitely want to read another book in this series soon.
There were a number of characters in this book who were alienated by the lack of freedom among the hasidim who call themselves haredi. The most indeliThere were a number of characters in this book who were alienated by the lack of freedom among the hasidim who call themselves haredi. The most indelible are Rivka Mendelssohn and Aviva Kagan who never actually appear, but are nevertheless vividly portrayed through the memories of the people who knew them.
Saul Katz is another of these disaffected characters, and he is very prominent within the storyline because his community contacts were invaluable for Rebekah Roberts. In fact, without Saul Katz Rebekah wouldn't have gotten anywhere with her efforts to find out the truth about Rivka Mendelsson's death. Saul is a compelling character, but Rebekah's unquestioning trust in Saul shows her naivete.
Frankly, I didn't think much of Rebekah. I'll grant that she's young and new to journalism. Yet I wondered how it was even possible for her to become a stringer for a newspaper in a major market like New York City which would be highly competitive. She should have needed to start her career in a smaller market like Oshkosh or Juneau.
Still it was a good mystery. I kept reading because I identified with Rivka Mendelssohn, and wanted to see justice done in her case.
I received a free copy from the publisher in return for this review.
The summary indicated that the protagonist, Constable Harry Woodyard, went on an eI received a free copy from the publisher in return for this review.
The summary indicated that the protagonist, Constable Harry Woodyard, went on an extensive foray through North America in order to discover the truth about the murder of a family in North Carolina. Knowing that The Constable's Tale is a first novel, I thought that the narrative might possibly become bogged down in travel details. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Smith wielded his power of description with admirable restraint. Some popular bestselling authors should learn from his example. Suspenseful incidents that were relevant to the plot, or scenes involving character development happened at every stage of Woodyard's journey.
I admit that I found the resolution of the case anti-climactic, but I did gain a much better grasp of certain aspects of colonial life. Donald Smith made an impressive effort to maintain authenticity. If this author continues to follow the career of Constable Woodyard, I would be inclined to join him on his next adventure.
In The Castlemaine Murders Lin Chung comes into his own. He has carried out important missions for his family before, but in this book he's shown as eIn The Castlemaine Murders Lin Chung comes into his own. He has carried out important missions for his family before, but in this book he's shown as establishing diplomatic links with other Chinese families and taking a philanthropic role in giving assistance to elderly impoverished Chinese.
The significance of this novel goes beyond Lin Chung's metamorphosis into a family and community leader. It also deals with race hatred directed at the Chinese in the Australian Gold Rush during the 19th century. This history needs to be remembered. Racism is a worldwide problem, but it's possible to make a stand against it. It is the presence of Lin Chung in the book series that allowed Kerry Greenwood to address this theme.
The blog version of this review deals with the absence of this novel from the Australian TV adaptation Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries and the possible implications of this choice. You can find it at http://shomeretmasked.blogspot.com/20...
This book is full of tragedy, but you could almost call the murder that Rebekah is investigating a poignant footnote to the heart-rending story of RebThis book is full of tragedy, but you could almost call the murder that Rebekah is investigating a poignant footnote to the heart-rending story of Rebekah's uncle, Samuel Kagan. Sam is the dramatic center of the book. I was very sorry for Sam. I understood that he was largely shaped by PTSD, and that his trauma motivated his behavior. At the same time, it was hard to view him as a sympathetic character because some of his actions were so shockingly unthinkable.
Rebekah's mother Aviva was an important character, but largely secondary within the plot. Her self-punishing guilt kept her away from the people she cared about most. Yet Aviva was really a victim of her upbringing. As much as she tried to combat it, being a member of the haredi community was too much a part of her.
Run You Down is a powerful piece of fiction. It also completes the Rebekah and Aviva character arc. So if Julia Dahl continues with the series, she will need to find a new direction for Rebekah. Perhaps additional professional training would be advisable for this character.
Some people stop reading a series that they read regularly after the original author has died. I'm one of those people who continues to read a seriesSome people stop reading a series that they read regularly after the original author has died. I'm one of those people who continues to read a series that's been taken over by another writer after the death of the original author if I liked the series. I sometimes think that the new writer is an improvement.
Anne Hillerman, the daughter of Tony Hillerman, is an improvement when she writes the perspective of Jim Chee's wife, Bernadette Manuelito. Bernie, as everyone calls her, is a Navajo Tribal Police officer like her husband. As a feminist, I'm always hoping to see a woman officer being portrayed as the equal of male officers in police procedurals. Most police procedurals have male protagonists. That's why I've been pleased by Anne Hillerman's primary focus on Bernie's perspective.
One of the problems that I had with this book is that it seemed to me that Chief Largo was deliberately giving Bernie minor cases while Jim Chee got the high profile action. I think that the Chief was trying to protect Bernie, but she ended up in a dangerous situation anyway and acquitted herself well. So Anne Hillerman was really showing that Bernie could handle danger, but I was impatient with all the minor cases that got piled on Bernie.
I also disliked the fact that Anne Hillerman felt the need to pander to the popularity of zombies. The case that Jim Chee was investigating involved all sorts of illegalities surrounding the making of a zombie movie in Monument Valley.
Rock With Wings contains some moments of wonderful characterization and deals with one of my favorite American landscapes, but I'd rather not read about zombie movies.
I haven't read many of Anne Perry's Victorian mysteries. In fact, I've only read two since I joined Goodreads in 2008. The Victorian period isn't my fI haven't read many of Anne Perry's Victorian mysteries. In fact, I've only read two since I joined Goodreads in 2008. The Victorian period isn't my favorite. Victorian ideas about respectability and class snobbery tend to annoy me. Yet the first wave of modern feminism began during this period. So I keep my eye out for Victorian titles that involve women speaking up for themselves.
The Angel Court Affair attracted my attention because it deals with the disappearance of a woman preacher who was considered blasphemous. Since religion interests me, I wanted to find out what she believed and why people thought it was blasphemy.
Yet what about the mystery? The mystery case itself seemed rather familiar and even predictable. This is part of the Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series, and I hoped that Charlotte would play a more active role. Charlotte and the Pitts' teenage daughter, Jemima, did express their views about the preacher Sofia Delacruz. There is also a mention of Charlotte's secret participation in the women's suffrage movement which I appreciated, but most of the investigation was performed by men.
I hesitated about reading this book even though I love the series. Archaeologist Faye Longchamp is one of my favorite amateur detectives. UnfortunatelI hesitated about reading this book even though I love the series. Archaeologist Faye Longchamp is one of my favorite amateur detectives. Unfortunately, this one is set in a town in New York founded by spiritualists. Mysteries dealing with fraudulent mediums are formulaic and predictable. I definitely didn't want to read another one. Yet Faye and Mary Anna Evans have a record of being open minded about the supernatural, so I eventually decided to read it.
As expected, there are frauds of various kinds being perpetrated in this town. Yet Sister Mama, the Hoodoo Woman, is definitely for real. Her herbal tinctures provide real relief. I was delighted to see this character.
Why is Faye in this town? She has taken on a curation project at the town's museum. It turns out that there are archival materials there relating to the 19th century women's suffrage movement. This is an abiding historical interest of mine, so I was just as excited about this development as Faye had been in the book.
I always enjoy Faye, but Sister Mama and the role of the history of women's suffrage caused me to award this book an extra star.
It turned out that what I liked best about Jade Dragon Mountain was Hamza the storyteller. I thought he was the most intriguing character. I want to kIt turned out that what I liked best about Jade Dragon Mountain was Hamza the storyteller. I thought he was the most intriguing character. I want to know more about him.
I also loved the role of libraries in this book. I was fascinated by the organization of the library that was most central to this book.
The resolution of the case wasn't completely unexpected, but the ending of the book was a total surprise. I am looking forward to Elsa Hart's next novel.