Sunday, August 21, 2016

What Angels Fear

by C. S.  Harris

Sebastian St. Cyr is a nobleman who's been accused of murder. All the evidence points to him, but he swears he is innocent. His father wants to send him away so he won't have to face prosecution, but Sebastian is determined to find the true killer and clear his name. As he is dodging arrest, he is blamed for killing an officer as well and now the police are on an all out manhunt.

Sebastian is assisted by some stereotypical cohorts, an ex fiancee turned lady of the night and an Oliver-esque kid on the streets. And as is the case with many of these period English stories, it can be confusing keeping up with all the characters due to the many names and titles by which they are called. There are some pretty gross crime scene descriptions and ahead of the times police work, but even so, What Angels Fear incorporates some Regency history and is a good start to a who done it series.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Paper Magician

by Charlie Holmberg

Somehow I missed the tidbit about The Paper Magician being a YA novel (because it wasn't mentioned), but even that doesn't excuse this POOR writing, characterization and plot- or lack thereof. Not even sure I should continue this review except for you Twilight fans out there, who may like this book too.

After Ceony receives high marks on her final exam, she is apprenticed to a paper magician to learn the craft of magical paper folding, about which she is less than excited. Her tutee is sort of a recluse, who she dislikes and falls in love with, in all of 10 pages. His ex-fiancee, Lira, also a paper magician, is angry with him and on a mission to destroy him. Once under her spell, it is up to Ceony to save him.

I generally give bonus points to author's with unique storylines, but this was so poorly executed I have a hard time extending awards to it.

Shockingly there are three books in this series, so some people liked it, just not me.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Hard Magic

by Larry Correia

There's a lot going on in this first installment of the Grimnoir series! For starters, it is a semi-historical alternate universe of the 1930's; a place where various types of magic runs through a special segment of the population, some who use it for good and others for evil. Jake Sullivan, an ex-war hero and ex-con, joins forces with Hoover and the FBI to hunt down some of these bad guys in order to get an early release. He teams up with several other "specials," in particular a teen from Oklahoma who seems to have more than one kind of magic, something almost unheard of. There are multiple fighting, shoot 'em up scenes, and an ending that doesn't quite leave you satisfied... because of course there are another two books (and perhaps more)?

Correia has done a good job of making a believable world with interesting characters and a unique story. There are a lot of pages, but it's a relatively fast read. Hard Magic is kind of fantasy, noir, historical and action/adventure wrapped up in one tale. I think this book would appeal to a variety of readers, it's pretty fun.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A Head Full of Ghosts

by Paul Tremblay

Merry was 8 years old when her older sister Marjorie started seeing things and acting weird and causing trouble in the family. They quickly come to the conclusion that Marjorie is possessed by a demon and the whole family goes into turmoil as they determine how to deal with her Head Full of Ghosts.  First they agree to become a reality tv show and fill the house with cameras that record all the unusual incidents. Then they send Marjorie to a psychiatrist for counseling and medication, which doesn't work. Ultimately, they bring in a priest to perform an exorcism.

The book is ok, but could be better. The story is told by Merry as she is recounting it to a writer who wants to publish a book about these events. And there are some strange "interruptions" in the story by a blogger, which was out of place and annoying. It was kind of a combination of The Exorcist, Poltergeist and The Omen.... only not scary. However, if you liked those books, you'd probably like this too. 

Friday, July 8, 2016

The Ex

by Alafair Burke

The Ex is a crime courtroom drama about a middle-of-the-road attorney who gets talked into defending her ex-fiance after he is accused of murder. Because Olivia has some long held guilt over their breakup, when Jack's 16 yo daughter calls in a panic, Olivia comes to the rescue, despite this being a case she should never take, she is confident Jack is incapable of the crime. Despite there being a few plot twists, this wasn't my favorite read. I didn't like any of the characters, so didn't care what happened to them and I couldn't buy the premise. I found the story forgettable.
However, if you like stories with some courtroom action you may enjoy this book. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

A Confederacy of Dunces

by John Kennedy Toole

Ignatius Reilly is a fat, lazy, 30-something who lives with his mother, can't keep a job, is paranoid and is writing his life work on Big Chief notepads that he stores under his bed. Other than attending school in Baton Rouge, Reilly hasn't left the New Orleans French quarter, where he has some spectacular encounters with a stripper, a "flamer," a nightclub owner, an elderly secretary and a policeman who is trying to arrest him. A Confederacy of Dunces is a comedy of errors!  The story is fun and funny and a tiny bit irritating. Ignatius is a Louisiana cross between Kramer and George Costanza, sarcastic and obtuse.

I can't think of any book like it, but if you're a fan of Seinfeld you should give it a read. 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

City of Liars and Thieves

by Eve Karlin

Interesting subject matter; a story of the first recorded murder trial in New York City. Elma Sand's body is found at the bottom of a well and the leading suspect is the brother of the town's bigwig who is starting a public water system company. In efforts to gain popularity, Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr team up as defense council.

Unfortunately the book is poorly written. If you're interested in finding out about that murder, I'd suggest Google.