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book reviews in 200 words

An Echo of Murder – a book review

An Echo of Murder

by

Anne Perry

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I cannot believe I have never read a William Monk mystery before! There are over 50 Anne Perry books and An Echo of Murder is the 23rd book in the Monk series. A fact for which I am incredibly grateful now.

Anne Perry’s William Monk series is set in Victorian London and really, reminds me of the BBC show, Ripper Street. (Or more accurately, Ripper Street reminds me of Anne Perry.) The central character is the sensitive and tough Commander Monk who is aided by his street-smart second-in-command, Hooper, and his brave wife, Hester, who worked with Florence Nightingale in the Crimean War. Monk is also surrounded by an eclectic collection of supporting characters ranging from a reformed shyster to an unlicensed doctor and, of course, a beloved street urchin.

In this installment of the series, the Thames River Police, headed by Monk, must rely on the Hungarian community’s own people for access to and legitimacy in the immigrant neighborhood where a terrible murder has taken place. When it becomes obvious they are dealing with a serial killer, the Hungarians are equal parts suspects and victims.

“We’re not taking people’s jobs. You’ve got to make them see that. We’re just taking care of ourselves, like everybody. We’ve got a right to do that. Englishmen have gone all over the world, where they had no business. Can’t they make room for us here?”

Two themes emerge quickly after the discovery of the first victim: the plight of the immigrant and the home life of soldiers after wartime. Both of these topics are particularly relevant right now and it is both interesting and disheartening to realize how little we have learned throughout history when it comes to both subjects.

“There are things you can’t share, except with those others who were part of it. The people at home don’t want to know. They can’t take it away from, they can only feel useless. There are not words created to describe the horror of some things. and why would you want to burden them with it anyway? They cannot help, and they cannot carry it for you.”

I actually read a second book in the Monk series over the weekend and found it just as enjoyable. And, now I have a third Anne Perry book waiting for me on my shelf! If you are a fan of serial mysteries or just really good fiction, you should try this series.

Rating: 89/100

Buy this book at Barnes and Noble | Amazon | IndieBound

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I LOVE THIS BOOK! If Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams had a baby and then let Toni Morrison raise it, it would be this book. Terrible deaths, fantastic deaths, good lives, not-so-good lives, humor and heart. Fun and thought-provoking. And who doesn't love Death falling in love? – – (A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.) – @michaelpoore007 #terrypratchett #douglasadams #tonimorrison #reincarnation #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #booklover #bookworm #bookish #bookgram #bibliophile #booknerd #bookreview #bookaholic #bookquote #bookphotography #readthis #readersofinstagram #read #reading #readingtime #readinglist #reader #newbook #books #readingisfun #readingjunkie

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Magician’s Impossible – a book review in 200 words

Magicians Impossible.

by

Brad Abraham

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Jason, the loser bartender, is attending his estranged fathers funeral when the book opens. (He, of course, was raised by a lovable but strict aunt and uncle after the death of his mother.) Jason learns about magic on the same day and his whole life changes. It turns out that he is pivotal in the war raging between natural born mages and tattooed witches.

Is Magician’s Impossible predictable? Does it have a “chosen one”, and an orphan, a fight against good and evil and then a twist at the end? It is, and it does. Other’s criticisms of the book are warranted.

BUT it’s so much fun!

Although this is Abraham’s first novel, his background in screenwriting and graphic novels is evident, as the action is fast-paced and well executed. I was able to clearly “see” the magic fights and what was happening at all times. The descriptions of real places (Paris, London) were accurate, and the made up places (Cold Spring, Citadel) were well thought out and made to seem real.

This was a fun romp once it got moving. I am hoping that it is the start of a series (otherwise I will be angry at the ending!)

(A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.)

Rating: 75/100

Buy it at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

A Conspiracy in Belgravia – a book review in 200 words

A Conspiracy in Belgravia (Lady Sherlock, #2)

by Sherry Thomas

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Charlotte Holmes is Lady Sherlock in late 1800s London. She has been disgraced in the eyes of Society and run away from her family. She and Mrs. Watson use the name Sherlock Holmes as a ruse when meeting with clients. Sherlock is supposedly bedridden and using Charlotte as his willing minion.

In the course of the novel, three mysteries are solved. The first involves the wife of Lord Ingram, her first love and benefactor. The second revolves around a set of puzzles that Lord Ingram’s brother has given to her as an inducement to marriage. The third concerns a gold-digging house servant who may be poisoning those she serves.

I love the idea of a female Sherlock Holmes. But I am unsure if a lady Sherlock would really be so preoccupied with the number of chins she has or whether or not she should butter another muffin at tea.

I probably would have enjoyed this book more if I had read the first in the series before this one. There were references that I am sure I missed. I will be watching this series because although it is not great right now, it really has the potential to be so.

(A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.)

Rating: 75/100

Buy it now at Amazon / Barnes & Noble / IndieBound

 

 

Glass Houses by Louise Penny – a book review in 200 words

Glass Houses

By

Louise Penny

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What is a Cobrador? Why is one in Three Pines, standing in absolute stillness and silence for days? Why is Gamache on the witness stand?  And who exactly is on trial? These are the questions racing through your mind as you start this newest book in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series by Louise Penny.

I think this may be the best book in Penny’s series to date. As always,  she weaves together seamlessly: obscure history with fabulous fiction, the lives of her recurring characters with new people (be they friends or suspects), and the quiet life of Three Pines with the ongoing struggles against corruption within the Sûreté du Québec.

I sell a lot of Penny’s books to my customers for two reasons. One, her plots always contain great mysteries where the endings never disappoint. And, two, I want to live in Three Pines and be friends with everyone who lives there!

Penny’s characters come alive again in this 13th book as we learn about the roots of a Spanish tradition still in existance today, a plot meant to heap untold pain on too many humans, and a daring plan that could mean the end of many Sûreté careers. ENJOY!

(A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.)

Rating: 97/100

Buy it tomorrow at Barnes & Noble / Amazon / IndieBound

Lincoln in the Bardo – a book review in 200 words

Lincoln in the Bardo

by

George Saunders

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I stayed away from Lincoln in the Bardo for a long time, even after several recommendations from readers I respect. I did read the first few chapters (a couple of times) and was bothered by the way the book was setup. Why all these quotes? And conflicting quotes? What is happening?

Then I heard it was long-listed for the Man Booker prize, and gave it another go.

And I love it!

Lincoln’s son, Willie, has died and Lincoln comes to his son’s tomb for a last visit in the middle of the night. What Lincoln cannot see is the full and vibrant “afterlife” that is happening around him – the men and women who are stuck in a sort of purgatory (the Bardo) where thoughts can change everything and the spirits don’t know they are dead.

This book is a touching portrait of Lincoln, the mood of the United States in the Civil War’s early years, and the moments we most regret when we leave the living.

Be prepared for a difficult slog at the beginning but you quickly get used to it. Hang tough, because in the end, the ride is completely worth it.

Rating: 92/100

Buy it at Amazon / Barnes & Noble / IndieBound

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