Thursday, November 22, 2012

Long time, no see

I haven't posted a Book dog years. I got tired of keeping up with Net Galley...and writing book reviews is too much "work", for now. If i can't knock out a review in 5 minutes, it will be "overworked"..and useless I'm taking a break...and will read books from all the freaking "shelves" in my house Stay Tuned..or not.. Later

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Ill Will (Micky Knight, #7)Ill Will by J.M. Redmann
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

ILL WILL by J M Redmann

#7 in the “Micky Knight” series......

Micky Knight is a Lesbian PI...a “dyke dick”....and, this time around, she’s tackling the Health Care Hurricane the shambles of New Orleans

Besides dealing with shady Contractors...she’s dealing with shady Health Care Providers....Snake Oil salesmen of the first water, who have “science” as a back up..

The thing is, Micky’s lover is a Doctor....with a recent Cancer diagnosis....I think you see where this is going...Micky has to fight for what’s right...and, fight for the Love of her Life....Lesbianism ain’t easy...even in The Big Easy!!...especially in this case..with Evil Doctors and HIT MEN on the loose

My first Micky Knight was THE INTERSECTION OF LAW & DESIRE....from there i was hooked!

There is much emotionalism there would be, if your lover was ill....get over it...they’re women...Jeesh

Read the series....J M Redmann/Micky Knight Rock!!!

View all my reviews


Only One LifeOnly One Life by Sara Blædel
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The very idea of Honor Killings...that the recalcitrant actions of one person could lead another family member to commit murder......boggles the mind. Even though our society seems to have lost all concept of Shame and/or Honor...the thought of Murder for Honor makes me blench. Not to mention the fact that, according to this book, most Honor Killings are perpetrated my members of the Extended Family...those living outside the country where the Killing took place..

All of which is Nice & Good.......except , in the case of this book, Honor Killings are a matter of Police Procedural...and Journalistic Hubris

.....and so it goes

Louise Rick is caught up in another Honor Killing case, after being.sourced out to the town of Holbaek...where a Jordanian immigrant girl’s battered corpse is discovered...awash in a cold sea. Enter Dicta Moller....dead girl’s best friend (and aspiring Model....she’s got the Looks)..the Linchpin of this story.....

Be Warned: Teen Angst abides in this story (in a rather Wooden manner) does Rape-by-a Family-Member

After much back&forth.....with Samra’s family (the Jordanian girl)....and the whole Honor Killing thing....and Dicta (Teenage Slut).....I was left with a “let down” feeling...mainly because the whole tone of the Narrative is dry-as-dust (but, I’ll chalk that up to the translation)...or full of excess characters (Camilla-the-Journalist was remind the reader of the previous novel....CALL ME PRINCESS..????)....and the fact that Samra's murder had nothing to do with Honor Killing...just Family Hubris.....and teenage ambition

The denouement wasn’t unexpected..just Slow on Arrival..

My second read by Sara was better than CALL ME PRINCESS....but still too busy, in ways that didn’t keep the story moving.....

I like this woman’s stories...just wish they had more the translation

*****This was a Net Galley*****

View all my reviews

Friday, August 10, 2012


City of WomenCity of Women by David R. Gillham
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

1943 Berlin becomes the setting for a real tear jerker of a Soap Opera....Sex is everywhere, both the rough sort and the solo...but no one is happy. Sigrid is busy with her dead end job and Life with Mother-in-Law..while hubby is fighting on the Eastern Front. She makes the acquaintance of a little snippet, who works as a Mother's Helper in their Apartment Building...who subsequently involves Sigrid in the Savory business of hiding Jews from the Nazis...Sigrid drowns her sorrows in Sex....first with a nasty Jew (with a nasty history)...then with a suave, yet crippled, soldier man. No one is happy, or satisfied....

I would have enjoyed the story more if Sigrid had had more "character"...all of her whingeing became tedious...and her air of martyrdom rang false

However, as a Beach Read for the Depressive Set..this wasn't half bad

3 Stars

***this was a Net Galley***

Friday, August 3, 2012


QuarantineQuarantine by John Smolens
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What happens when a viral epidemic strikes a seaport in Massachusetts.....1796? the social, political, and economic aspects...

some characters are "Dickensian", in that they are caricatures...but the story doesn't suffer for their existence (perish the phony "French" though)

Very atmospheric....i could almost smell the salt-tinged sea air.....and the smudge pots from the Pest House

Sometimes too much "nobility" in these savages (I mean, the constables rip off the apothecaries, and then try to sell the much needed drugs back, to the doctors...through a Third party...Sounds downright Contemporary to me)

In no way an Earth Shaker..this is a good story, well told. The Authors' Note at the end gives the book's provenance...and that's a good story as well

*****this review could change/improve*****

**this was a Net Galley**

Sunday, May 20, 2012


The TechnologistsThe Technologists by Matthew Pearl
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One fine day, when the compasses on all the ships in Boston Harbor went haywire......and a while later, all the glass (on Bank Street) became obvious that “something was up”, and not just the sky

it’s 1868...shortly after the Civil War

The first class of THE MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY is about to graduate....and all Hell breaks loose!!

Fear and Ignorance among the general populace......The Hardy Boys meet Harry Potter (meet The Technologists)....Harum scarum pyrotechnics.....corporate greed.....Creationists.....Richy rich Harvard Boys....and one lone female with the brains to attend MIT, albeit sub rosa (“in the basement”)

I loved this book......for the fact that, while it is Historical in content...and I’m sure the research is/was flawless.....but more so, because it was such a damned “fun” read

I haven’t read anything else by Mr Pearl...though The Dante Club has been lurking hereabouts for quite a while, and i do want to read it, now

Recommended for those who won’t be nitpickers or Grouchy Guses.....who want a good story that also makes one think a bit...about our own attitude toward technology/innovation...and Education/Intellectualism....the more things change, they really do stay the same

4 Stars

**This was a Net Galley**

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

#11....2012 Alif the UnseenAlif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars a tour de force of storytelling!!

Young computer hackers plying their trade in an unnamed Middle Eastern Police State...risking life, limb, and motherboards...all in the name of Freedom. Then....this book ancient tome that wasn't supposed to exist. The Thousand and One Days (as opposed to The Thousand and One Nights)....full of odd tales...or metaphors. Or, is the book really a complex computer program that recognizes individuals...without the aid of ISPs or code names? I'll never know what else to say about this one...except WOW! Go...get a copy when it's'll be sitting open-mouthed. like I was!! (

***this was a Net Galley***
#10....2012 Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1)Grave Mercy by R.L. LaFevers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

On the one hand...lords and ladies and "palace intrigue"...a beleagured Princess...skeevy schemes...all the stuff of good fairy tales. On the other hand...a "religious order" that trains female assassins..(Sisters of Death!). I know, it sounds Ho-Hum, but...this gal can write! The story (14th century Brittany and the constant war against France) is exceptionally well told and the characters...while "characters"..are all too human. Seek out this it! (I'll be buying a copy when it's published...that's how much I liked it)

***this was a Net Galley***

Friday, April 20, 2012

#7.....2012 The TradeThe Trade by Thomas Kirkwood
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Young, Eastern European women are promised jobs, and a chance for a better life, only to see those promises crushed when they are auctioned off and sold into sexual slavery...Welcome to the Natasha Trade...a multi-million dollar, world wide business....set up to satisfy the "esoteric" tastes of wealthy men...Asian, American, Arab, Russian.....mostly Westerners, who have the $$$

One Natasha escaped....and built a better life with a husband and child...until her former "master" found her....killed her husband and framed her for the, with her daughter's whereabouts is pretty much over for Kristyna

After a daring escape from the courthouse, during her sentencing hearing (an escape involving a body-double, no less)...and a series of evasive maneuvers by sea....our Kristyna ends up back in Europe, hell-bound for Slovenia...bent on revenge, and finding her daughter. Hot on her tail are two FBI agents, bent on capturing her and returning her to the USA....after that, the story gets complicated

Did I mention, one of the the Slovenian bad guys seemed to be an reincarnation of the Mad Monk, Rasputin...complete with a "church" and a "doctrine" of Redemption that would creep out anyone. A cold blooded but "smart as a whip" sociopath...

Car chases, role playing, "slave auctions" by the light of oil barrel fires....all the elements of a decent thriller are here..along with pointed social commentary. The story ain't pretty, there is plenty of violence...but the scared little girl is finally reunited with her mother and they live...

Except, the Natasha Trade is still thriving...young women are still desperate..throughout the world

I thought this was a good Thriller..a bit heavy-handed, at times. The FBI agents were a bit much in the "macho" Tough Guys...but, they spoke in complete sentences and had legitimate gripes about their lame assed Superiors...Ultimately they were brave and saved one woman and her daughter...I recommend this book, it was a pleasant surprise

***this was a Net Galley***

3 Stars

Saturday, February 25, 2012

#6 2012

The Pleasure DialThe Pleasure Dial by Jeremy Edwards

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh my lord, what a delight, is this book!

This peek-a-boo into the world of 1930s radio...when Radio was King...has it all. Frazzled comedy writers, egotistical radio Stars, a nymphomaniacal daughter, pansexuality,and men who wear Fedoras!

Artie Plask leaves New York, after spending too much time looking up a mannequin's skirt, for a lucrative job writing for one Sid Huffy...Radio Star/King of Comedy...Once in the City of Angels, our boy Artie meets a bunch of characters that blow his mind..and other body parts..The lovely Elyse (daughter of Sid) who can't seem to keep her clothes on....Sid, himself...the Star-of-the-day...with a serious flair for comedy (too bad he yearns for Drama)....and Mariel, the true Star of this story...writer extraordinaire...the girl-with-the-feather...the wittiest of them all

And Sex....of which there is a plethora. Lubricious, lively, and louche...Fun sex, not Porn (sex-for-profit)..although these folks profit greatly by all their exertion/exercise. The dialogue improves, and this reader felt the temperature rise..a Good thing

There is a story here...and believable characters. Women who like sex, in all its permutations, but still have a job....and think with their brains (they leave their pussies for pleasure, and know the difference). Men who are more than their "tools"...who care about life, and their job, and women

Old time radio was no different than today's Media...Professional jealousy...Pompous asshole writers...Money issues..This story has all of that, with a touch of Innocence

Recommended to anyone who enjoys good fun with a touch of innocence...and a decent story, to boot

4 Stars

*** I received this from GoodReads***

#5 2012

The Lola QuartetThe Lola Quartet by Emily St. John Mandel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Four friends form a jazz band in High School, the eponymous Lola Quartet....add one more (the drummer's step sister/trumpet player's girlfriend) and you have the cast of characters playing in this story

You also have a pregnancy-kept-secret, a runaway, a theft of mucho $$$$ from a meth dealer, a ruined journalist, and a cold-blooded murder. Oh my!

Gavin and Anne were High School sweethearts, until Anne became pregnant, and decided to run away with Daniel (because he had a place to run to in Utah)....Anne spends a lot of time in turmoil, wondering if the baby will look half-Japanese, like Gavin, or Cocoa brown, like Daniel...Anna slept around a bit. Once the baby is born all pink and shiny, Daniel splits...and Anna steals over $100,000 from her crazy Meth dealer begins her Life on the Lam....Meanwhile, 10 years on, Gavin's successful career as a journalist tanks miserably once he's caught faking stories...he has to return home to Florida to work for his sister, foreclosing properties....Jack the erstwhile Boy Genius is a Vicodin addict who spends his days reading books about jazz arcana...Daniel is an embittered police detective with a trashed marriage, two kids, and no life...Sasha the drummer spends her days hiding from reality..her nights working at a roadside diner..her spare moments devising a plan to save Anna from that hellhound Meth dealer..

The death of High School dreams...the harsh bite of reality...the way people we once thought we knew, can change into monsters...the way we accept all of this as "just life" but still keep an eye peeled over one shoulder...that's what this book is about. It's no "mystery" any more than life itself

While not earth shattering, I thought this was a good story, well made me consider some of my youthful indiscretions...and what the fallout would have been, if i'd stayed in touch with people from college...and if anything would have survived from those friendships, besides regret


4 Stars

***This was a Net Galley***

Friday, February 17, 2012

#4 2012

The Whipping ClubThe Whipping Club by Deborah Henry

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Marian and Ben, young lovers in 1950s Ireland, are on the road to learning some of Life's more difficult lessons. Marian (Catholic) is pregnant, and about to tell Ben (Jewish)...but after a disastrous first meeting with his parents, she hies off to a Catholic "Mother & Baby" home to complete her pregnancy and "give up" the baby for adoption.

Fast forward ten years.....Marian and Ben are married with a daughter, Johanna, and life is good. Things start to unravel when the "other" child makes an appearance, though not directly at first. Seems Adrian was not adopted by a wealthy American couple, but has been languishing in a Catholic Orphanage, within spitting distance (okay, I exaggerate, here) of Marian's happy home. Thus begins the journey through Irish Adoption Law...the quest to "get Adrian back".

After a shaky period within the bosom of his family, Adrian is returned to the Orphanage while the wheels of Church and State grind slow, his fate in the balance, since he is legally the ward of one Sister Agnes....head "angel" of the Orphanage.. He befriends another orphan, a girl...and all hell breaks loose because they are kids and curious. The girl is shipped off to a madhouse and Adrian is consigned to an Industrial School for Boys, where the loving attention of the priests leaves many marks.

If this story seems to be following a is. It did. It is a fierce indictment of the Catholic Orphanage/Industrial School system....of the "homes" for unwed mothers....of the abuse of defencless children by priests and nuns....but it is told more from the side of one family caught up in the system's net. The toll taken on a marriage through guilt, frustration, and anger..Marian spends a lot of time blaming herself for Adrian's situation...and suspecting her husband of countless infidelities....and envying his ties to Judaism and "faith"....Ben goes through life trying to succeed at his job as a Journalist, being thwarted at every turn for his "radical" ideas....trying to understand his wife's mood swings...Johanna goes through life as a kid in a shaky home situation...The Church people go through life with "God's blessings"

I liked this book for its restraint..and respect the author for not turning it into a screed...for developing believable characters caught in a heartbreaking situation, without reverting to a "4 hankie" fest...I came away from this book still angry as hell at the blindness of the Catholic Church and the cruelty meted out in the name of God....but I am glad I saw the human side of this one story..

Recommended to anyone who wants to be pleasantly surprised at the handling of one Hot Button Issue

4 Stars

***this was a Net Galley***

Saturday, February 4, 2012

#3 (?) 2012

The Sausage Maker's DaughtersThe Sausage Maker's Daughters by A.G.S. Johnson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I thought this book would be another take on KING LEAR....likeA Thousand Acres..a literate, "moving" take.....Not so...Shakespearian this is tone or telling

Kip Czermanski was the eternal Black Sheep in her family of Breck Blonde sisters...and the strict Catholicism...Needless to say Kip was short and dark haired...Kip was the trouble maker..the wild child...the Counter Culture rabble rouser who loved to terrorize her family by indulging in such "nonsense" as anti-war activities..Feminist terrorism...never mind that she was blamed for the death of her mother...the "sainted mother" who died from complications of Kip's birth

A fact that older sister Sibely never let's Kip forget

This story starts where Kip is languishing in jail...charged with the murder of her brother-in-law...Sybel's husband...Kip's lover from her college days. The final straw for JJ Czwermanski..The Sausage King's...youngest daughter (herself a bother and,now, an Adulteress to boot)

Talk about family dysfunction.....this book is a Big Ass soap opera

Sisters pointing fingers and pulling their own hair

There is also a whiff of the AFTER SCHOOL far as the Counterculture aspect.....a "preachy teachy" tone (which leads me to think the Author didn't live through this era)

I tend to avoid books that deal with the 1960s-early 1970s...because I lived that era...the Anti-War/Feminist Movements...because my issues, within those Movements, were "class" related....I saw that most of the Movement Radicals were Trust Fund babies...dressed as Lumberjacks..driving snazzy sports cars.....kinda made me sour

That BS being said....I thought this book was a "guilty pleasure"....oddly compelling..if only for the fact that the "least" of the Czermanski sisters....ended up a murderess

Recommended to those who enjoy their Family Dramas as "soap opera"....and never really lived through the Counterculture of the 60s-70s

3 Stars

**this was a Net Galley**

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Monday, January 30, 2012

#2 (2012)

PropertyProperty by Valerie Martin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The year is 1828

.....a sugar plantation in Louisiana, where Slavery is in flower for both the slaves and slave owners

The Slave Owners see “slave rebellions” around every they should, since their entire way of life is dependent on the labor of their “lowly blacks”.....and, our “heroine” Manon Gaudet, is no exception...though she is but the wife of a boorish “Massa”, Manon is not stupid...just crippled by her social status (she is “chattel” to her husband, as much as his slaves) and her relationship to Sarah (her personal slave..and her husband’s mistress..mother to his bastard children)

This is not a pretty story....and Manon’s situation isn’t new (how many women do you know who resent their husband’s cheating...but, merely, seethe...rather than kick the bastard out??)...but I admire Ms Martin’s delivery here..

The story is told in Manon’s “cold” voice...full of anger and frustration... I actually felt sorry for her

Sarah?......had a taste of Freedom....was captured and returned

I find the last pages painfully ironic...where Manon is “dumbfounded” by certain aspects of Sarah’s oh-so-short Freedom


4 Stars

View all my reviews

Sunday, January 22, 2012

#1 (2012)

The Quiet TwinThe Quiet Twin by Dan Vyleta

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

...captures the paranoia endemic to society in Vienna..October 1939

What begins as an investigation into the killing of a neighbor's dog.....leads one Doctor Beer into the darker aspects of the lives of his neighbors. The diversity of social classes living in one apartment complex...surrounding a courtyard..

In this time and place...everyone had secrets..and would kill to keep them

Doctor Beer treats a young woman with sexual issues...a neighbor across the courtyard is caring for a "mentally defective" sister....the little girl, around the way...the humpbacked with an alcoholic father (and keeps a groundhog as a "pet")....and Doctor Beer has homosexual issues of his own....and the official, Nazi-endorsed "spy" is always On Duty

This is where I stop....if you're out this is a Wonder

4 1/2 Stars

***this was a Net Galley***

Sunday, January 15, 2012

#25 (2011)

Pure (Pure #1)Pure by Julianna Baggott

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After the Apocalypse (here, quaintly termed THE DETONATIONS) society was divided into those inside THE DOME (the "Pures", the perfect ones, the "hope" for the future) and those outside (the wretches, the ailing, the magnificently disfigured)

Pressia and Partridge are two young people trying to escape their Fate...Partridge from inside THE DOME..where everything isn't as "perfect" as it seems..and Pressia from outside...where life is Hell no matter how hard one squints

Given that they both face the same Fate...conscription into the Military, where they will, literally, be turned into Super Soldiers or, failing that, be killed....Flight is the only option

When these two meet (and compare notes) an Apocalypse of another sort ensues..which makes for a great read

No spoilers here...just say that these young people have lived under a dark cloud of lies..regarding Family

This would be a great book for Book Club reads...if only to discuss the whole issue of "purity" as it concerns race and class....and Governmental control of the people...and lies, again

I think this is so much more than a YA title...and recommend it to anyone who favors Dystopian fiction...and doesn't mind being smacked in the face by fine writing...Ms Baggott did a grand job here..and i love her for it

4 Stars...well deserved

**This was a Net Galley**

View all my reviews

Saturday, January 14, 2012

#22 (2011)

Ashes to Dust (Þóra Guðmundsdóttir, #3)Ashes to Dust by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thirty years after the volcanic eruption on Heimaey (the only populated island of Iceland's Westman Archipelago) the archeologists excavating the homes that had been buried in ash.....discovered three corpses and a discrete head, in the basement of a house belonging to one Markus Magnusson. Mr Magnusson enlists the help of his attorney, Thora Gudmundsdottir, whose lot in life seems to be the defense of eccentric clients. Markus, already a suspect in the death of a childhood friend, is also a master of the Tall Tale...and the one he spins is full of family secrets and/or outright lies..

Needless to say this story is complex..full of the aforementioned secrets and lies...fear of social stigma...sexual perversion and inadequacy...the whole boiling stew that makes for a good murder story. And it is that...with just enough of Thora's personal life thrown in to make the reader aware her life outside murder, mayhem and the Law...

However, I found the comparison to Steig Larsson's MILLENIUM TRILOGY a little off putting. I saw more of P D James' Adam Dalgliesh, and that series of police procedurals, visible here...Liz Salander is nowhere to be found in this book (though Thora's PA is a bit of a Goth Girl)....and the thrills are kept to a dull roar. Our Thora may no be glamourous, but she's a decent detective/lawyer

Recommended for mystery buffs and those who enjoy their ScandiCrime with more brains than brawn.

I haven't read any other of Ms Sigurdardottir's work, so I don't know how this book compares to her other titles

4 Stars

**This was a Net Galley**

Saturday, January 7, 2012

#24 (2011)

Unraveling IsobelUnraveling Isobel by Eileen Cook

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Isobel's life starts to unravel after her Mom marries a man she met Online....and continues after "the family" moves to Step Dad's "estate" on some godforskaen island off the coast of Washington state. Add a hunky, but Untouchable step brother..and you have the makings for some serious Teen Angst (with a side of Paranormal, after the dead step sister begins visiting, and raising questions about the deaths of her and her mother)

All of which would be unbearable, and probably unreadable...except for Isobel's edgy sarcasm and native Good Sense...and an honest fear of Mental Illness/Instability. Her natural father , the schizophrenic artist, is both a source of fear and regret...a heavy burden for any seventeen year old to bear..

That being said, I see this as a story, not so much of Isobel unraveling, as the fabric of her life being shredded by forces, and people, beyond her control..That she survives with her sense of humor intact can be chalked up to moxie...and her keen eye for people...who to trust..who to ignore.

The best Coming-of-Age stories don't preach...they let the character live their lives and work things out for themselves...mistakes and all. This is one of the best I've read in quite a while....I hope there are many Isobels out there.

3 Stars

****This was from Simon & Schuster Galley Grab****