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writerlibrarian

What I'm reading

Librarian, book lover, avid reader

Currently reading

Roman Blood
Steven Saylor
Progress: 171/401 pages
Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child
Bob Spitz
Progress: 208/557 pages
Avant-gardes du XXe siècle: arts & littérature, 1905-1930
Serge Fauchereau
Caesar's Commentaries: On the Gallic War and On the Civil War
Julius Caesar
Les bûchers de Bocanegra
Arturo Pérez-Reverte
The Songs of the Kings
Barry Unsworth
Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories: Volumes I and II
Arthur Conan Doyle
The Hobbit
J.R.R. Tolkien, Alan Lee
100 Years of Hockey - Al Strachan

Decent introduction to the first 100 years of Canada's national sport. Being a die hard Habs' fan since I was a child this introduction does present a somewhat balanced view of the teams from the origins, through the golden era of the 6 teams and the two expansions. There is a lack of depths but as an introduction of the first 100 years (1900-1999), it's quite decent with lots of wonderful full length pictures.

Until We Meet Once More - Josh Lanyon

Very short story. It has lots going for it. The action, the rescue, the bond between the two characters. But it's so short I had to accept a lot on, well, faith, that both characters were still in synch with one another. Still the rescue, the action was interesting, it was a really quick read. I was done while waiting in for an appointment. It reads like a good H/C fanfic of about 5000 words in Generation Kill fandom.

Rivers of London  - Ben Aaronovitch

Almost read by everyone on my flist or on their to read list. I got it last year and I was finally in the mood for it.

Same amazing awe discovering the universe Aaronovitch created as when I first read Liz Williams' Chen series. He has created an alternate London very close to the real thing, the reader can almost walk besides Peter and follow him pursuing leads, meetings deities and doing magic things.

It's entertaining, it has action, magic and a little pinch of wow that makes this a special reading treat.

Not grand literature but good, solid and entertaining literature that built a whole alternative world just below the surface of ours.

I have the second book waiting to be read later this summer.

Boystown 2: Three Nick Nowak Mysteries - Marshall Thornton

A good follow up the initial series of novella. A little darker in tone, the foreshadow of AIDS is present, the 80's vibe is strong and well done. Some actions from the first series of novella come back to haunt Nowak and there is a strong sense of coherence with all three novellas. Definitely will continue to follow up the adventures of Nick Nowak, Chicago private dick.

Second Hand - Heidi Cullinan, Marie Sexton

Book two in the fictional series set in fictional Tucker Springs. This one is also the romantic, cuddly kinda of novella with the twist of the alleged bad boy falling for the clueless innocent. I liked El and his family. I liked how he knows his flaws and his family's. Poor Paul, he is the perfect innocent and clueless lead with a mom and boss that are straight from fairy tale land.

Still for El's family and his inner struggle it's worth a read.

Where Nerves End  - L.A. Witt

Romantic and kinda cuddly. This is not a great m/m romance but a good one none the less. The two lead characters have depths. More Jason then Michael who's main drive is to admit he is gay after all. Michael does waver all through the novella and Jason has more patience than a saint. Jason's chronic shoulder pain is well done and real. You suffer along with him. This is a romantic tale of man meets man who is not ready to admit he loves man but none the less fall in love. The secondary characters are a bit too ideal best friend, incredible kid and lovely ex but overall it does deliver a nice couple of hours of reading.

The Girl of His Dreams (Commissario Guido Brunetti #17) - Donna Leon

Another dark shades of grey Brunetti where the intrigue is weaved into a larger story. Leon tackles intolerance, integration, immigration, guilt, the inegality of the law if you are a Rom child or a high society child.

There are some, very few, ray of light in this (Alvise being the head of a task force, I suspect this will come back in the next books) but it's mostly very dark grey, opening on a burial and ending on another.

Leon is very good at putting the reader inside the story and the emotional impact is very strong. Good but dark.

Roman Amphitheaters - Don Nardo

Clear and concise information. Well presented and even if it's for children the information is not dumb down. The vocabulary is spot on, so are sections of the book. I was able to get two full pages of notes for my on going writing research and I learned a few things I didn't know at all. The section devoted to the building of stone amphitheaters was complete and well done.

Something About You (FBI, #1) - Julie James

Solid and entertaining. None of the characters are paper thin but they are close to cliché. Especially the secondary characters, the female lead BFF (the gay male best friend and bestie girlfriend who is getting married), the lead male character FBI partner who walk very close to the 'this is almost a classic walking cliché character' but the author saves them with her use of humor and wit. All of the secondary characters have the best lines of the book. Really. Especially the FBI partner.

Both leads are fun and aware of their flaws and forces, which makes them a force to reckon with against, well... the weak part of the book in my mind, the villain who we know almost from the beginning and who gets his own point of view chapters. The whole suspense part of the romantic suspense combo is average to be honest but both lead character Cameron and Jack are worth giving Julie James' book a try.

Little Boy Dead: A Boystown Prequel - Marshall Thornton

Prequel to the series. Written after the first novels were written. We meet Nick Nowak as he begins his life as a private investigator and takes a side job as driver and security person for a film festival. This short novella establishes Nick's fears, what drives him, how he does things. Nowak is right from the start a get his man kinda of private dick.

The pacing of the story holds up, the twist at the end also. It does deal with subjects reminiscent of a certain American/Polish film director. So it might be triggery for some.

Overall, good prequel.

Les cloches de whitechapel - Martha Grimes

This was an average, somewhat confused and kinda outmatched Jury in this tale of stolen identities (more than one, like three). The dual crime scenes one in Plant's village and one in London adds to the sense that Jury is definitely not in control at all in this one. Poor Jury, he goes on vacations and ends up investigating anyway.

Light but in a confused plot and maybe Grimes tried too hard to be clever in this one.

Boystown: Three Nick Nowak Mysteries - Marshall Thornton

Three short stories that introduce the reader to Nick Nowak, private eye, dismissed police officer of the Chicago PD and exiled from his family for being gay. This is Chicago in 1980. These are noirish stories where we learn about Nick's life, how he deals with the job, his isolation from his fairly large Polish family who are all connected to the Chicago PD one way or another.

The casual hook ups, the gay community as it were, the pre-AIDS times (but right at the beginning of the awareness of AIDS) are well portrayed. This is a bit rough around the edges as far as writing goes but it fits with the characters, the times and the place.
I will be reading more of this series.

More Than One Night - Sarah Mayberry

Two very strong lead characters. Few secondary characters except for Gina, Charlie's best friend. Both Rhys and Charlie move in some kinda of universe all of their own and it works because it kinda mimics the situation they find themselves in. What to do with an unexpected pregnancy after one night of passion when you took every precaution and were a responsible adult.

This is more Charlie's journey from alone only counting on herself to walking side by side with someone and trusting him to be there. Both Charlie and Rhys have issues with family, with how to dealt with The Bean as Charlie has nicknamed the baby growing inside her.

It's a bit claustophobic in a way because the story entire focus is on both of them 90% of the time. The other 10% is focused on either one or the other.

Sarah Mayberry writes good contemporary love stories, that usually do not fit the usual mold and she tackles issues, sometimes hard issues in her 'romance' novel. This one is no exception. What do you do when you are faced with a huge change in your life? Especially if you made sure you were responsible and adult. How does your own upbringing influences how you deal with it?

Not my favourite of hers but well worth reading and it does turn the surprise baby cliché for an unexpected spin.

Family Man - Heidi Cullinan, Marie Sexton

This is a sweet and longish novella. Both leads are interesting in their own right. Vincent with the huge Italian family who after a third short lived marriage is rethinking his whole life. Trey is having it hard, taking care of his grand mother and alcoholic mother works two jobs and trying very hard to finish his degree.

The way the relationship evolves has a fairy tale feel to it. So is the ending. But it's sweet, tender, the family relationships of both Vincent and Trey are well done. This is a short but sweet read.

Overture to Death - Ngaio Marsh

Barely a three stars. It's slow and a bit all over the place with redundant plot points. The spinsters, the young lovers, the scarlet woman and the two middle-age men easily manipulated.

The whole religious hysteria, mania and the pastor being the focal point of the spinsters whole lives didn't reach me at all. It's an historical social thing that I can't put my head around.

But it's well written, Alleyn and his cohort of DS, DI and journalist do their job but it's a weak plot and even the lovely writing of Marsh couldn't really save it for me.

C is for Corpse (Kinsey Millhone #3) - Sue Grafton

Plot A was believable and moving. Kinsey's dedication to find and give herself and Glen closure, to give sense to Bobby's murder is compelling and very readable. It aged with grace and can be read for what it is a mystery set in the mid to late eighties.

Plot B was predictable and is the part I remembered of the novel. I read Kinsey's Alphabet mysteries in the mid 1990's. I did figure out who the culprit was eventually. Still the twists and turns of plot A, the secondary characters, especially Glen, Bobby and the return of Jonah for a cameo made this a worth while reread.