Friday, September 27, 2013

Among the Mad by Jacqueline Winspear

Synopsis From Back Cover:

Christmas Eve, 1931.  On the way to see a client, Maisie Dobbs witnesses a man commit suicide on a busy London street.  The following day, the Prime Minister's office receives a letter threatening a massive loss of life if certain demands are not met - and the writer mentions Maisie by name.  Tapped by Scotland Yard's elite Special Branch to be a special adviser on the case, Maisie is soon involved in a race against time to find a man who proves he has the knowledge and will to inflict destruction on thousands of innocent people. 

I have a habit.  Granted, it's a habit that ebbs and flows, and isn't one that plagues me at all times.  It doesn't rule my life, nor are their signs I can watch for, to make sure I'm prepared for the onset of it.  And I never know when it will leave me alone for a while.   I know you have no clue as to what I'm talking about, so I will fill you in.  I tend to latch onto an author for a while, reading their books in a gluttonous fashion.  I've done it my whole life.  Agatha Christie, Robert Jordan, Mary Roberts Rinehart, Terry Brooks, David Eddings, Erle Stanley Gardner, and now Jacqueline Winspear have all been targets of my stalking.  I fall in love, roll around in their worlds, and eventually run out of books, or start to get a hangover.  I think I'm somewhere in between on the Maisie Dobbs books.  I'm almost out of books to read, and I think I've reached a point where I have a full tummy.

It's not to say I didn't enjoy Among the Mad, because I more than enjoyed it, I loved it.  I'm just thinking that it's going to be a while before I pick up the remaining few books that I need to get to.  Maisie is one of those characters I want to know in real life.  I'm not sure she would find me interesting enough to be my friend, but I sure would like the chance.  And to be honest with you, I'm not even sure it's Jacqueline Winspear I'm getting mind weary of.  I think it has more to do with the genre, and the type of mystery she writes.

You all know that I'm a mystery fanatic, normally, I can't get enough of them.  I think I'm starting to reach a point where I really do need a break from them though.  I'm not giving up all mysteries, but I think I need to start reading a few more books, of various genres, in between them.  And when I do read a mystery, it will more than likely not be set in England between the two World Wars.  I think the setting, time period, and themes explored; are getting to be a bit much for me.  I'm starting to drown in war fatigue, both figurative and literal.

I know I haven't really given you a lot of reason to read this particular Maisie Dobbs book, but all you need to do is read my other reviews, for her other books, and you will understand why I loved this book as well.  Actually, this is probably one of my favorites, as I really enjoyed seeing Maisie change focus, and be brought into the government fold a bit more.  It's an interesting dynamic, and I wonder what the series would have been liked had it happened earlier.

Friday, September 20, 2013

TV Guide Picks The 60 Greatest Sci-Fi Shows Of All Time

I'll be the first one to admit that I'm a nerd when it comes to fantasy/horror shows on TV.  I've been in love with them from the time I started watching TV, and they still make up some of my favorite shows of all time.  When TV Guide set out to list the sixty greatest Sci-Fi shows of all time, they smartly expanded the definition to include fantasy and horror.  I've never been a huge fan of Sci-Fi, so I'm pretty sure this list wouldn't have been that interesting to me, had the three genres not been combined.  For the most part, I think the list makes sense, though, like normal, I think there were some great shows left off the list.  Funny enough, the shows that I think shouldn't have been left off, all tend to be Sci-Fi related.

As is the usual, the Top ten are the top choices, the rest are in alphabetical order.  If I included air dates, it's because two or more shows have the same name, normally a remake of it.

1.  Star Trek/Star Trek: The Next Generation
2.  The Twilight Zone

3.  Battlestar Galactica (2004-2009)
4.  The X-Files
5.  Lost
6.  Doctor Who
7.  Buffy the Vampire Slayer

8.  The Walking Dead

9.  The Prisoner
10.  Game of Thrones
11.  Adventures of Superman
12.  Amazing Stories
13.  Angel

14.  The Avengers
15.  Babylon 5
16.  Batman 
17.  Batman: The Animated Series
18.  Beauty and the Beast (1987-1990)
19.  Being Human (BBC, 2008-2013)
20.  Charmed

21.  Dark Shadows (1966-1971)

22.  Dead Like Me
23.  Eureka
24.  Falling Skies

25.  Farscape

26.  Firefly
27.  Fringe
28.  Futurama
29.  Hercules: The Legendary Journey
30.  Heroes
31.  The Invaders
32.  Invasion
33.  The Jetsons
34.  Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974-1975)
35.  Life on Mars
36.  Lost in Space
37.  Max Headroom
38.  Night Gallery
39.  Once Upon a Time

40.  One Step Beyond
41.  The Outer Limits
42.  Pushing Daisies
43.  Quantum Leap
44.  Roswell
45.  The Six Million Dollar Man
46.  Smallville
47.  Space: Above and Beyond
48.  Stargate SG-1
49.  Star Wars: The Clone Wars
50.  Supernatural

51.  Tales From the Crypt
52.  Teen Wolf
53.  Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
54.  Torchwood

55.  True Blood
56.  V (NBC, 1984-1985; ABC, 2009-2011)

57.  The Vampire Diaries

58.  Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
59.  Wonder Woman

60.  Xena: Warrior Princess

So there is the list, and for what it's worth, I'm not sure they didn't do a decent job.  I'm curious to know why out of every cartoon ever made, because for the most part they all fall within this definition, why it's The Jetsons and Futurama that made the list.  Why not The Transformers, Galaxy High, Teen Wolf, Shirt Tales, or the million other cartoons?  I'm not complaining, just curious.

I know they left off shows like Arrow, Grimm, and a few other newer shows, and I agree that they are great shows.  And I even think in a few more years, they would have been on this list.  But I'm glad they aren't on the list as of yet, I think both of the named shows can still go either way.

I'm also a bit confused why there is only one sitcom on here.  Now I'm not a huge fan of sitcoms in general, but I can think of a few that could have made it.  I would guess that 3rd Rock from the Sun, Mork & Mindy, Small Wonder, Alf, The Charmings, Harry and the Hendersons, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, The Munsters, The Addams Family, and a couple dozen others are better than some on this list.

I know the Syfy channel is hit or miss with their TV shows, but I'm pretty sure Warehouse 13, Haven, or even Sanctuary should be on this list.

It was nice to see so many anthology shows on here, but what about Tales From the Darkside, which happens to be my favorite of those types of shows.  Even Freddy's Nightmares could have easily beat out a few of these to make the top of the list.

Superheroes were represented more than a few times, but I'm still thinking a few more should have been on here.  Zorro, The Lone Ranger, The Green Hornet, The Bionic Woman (1976-1978), Isis, or even The Greatest American Hero could have fought their way to the top.

And finally we get to the dramas that were left off, including some that have a more spiritual reach.  I get that not every show can make a list of this size, but I'm not sure how some of the ones on this list beat out some of the groundbreaking shows like Sliders, Earth 2, or even Knight Rider.  I'm just glad I'm not the one who decided to not include Highway to Heaven or Touched by an Angel to the list.  I wouldn't want any of those guys to be mad at me.

Now, I get why shows like Time Tunnel, Land of the Lost, Voyagers!, Kindred: The Embraced, Starman, Beyond Reality, Poltergeist the Legacy, War of the WorldsFriday the 13th: The Series, or The Powers of Matthew Star, were not on the list.  For the most part, the show were never taken seriously, and quiet a few didn't last all that long.  But for what it's worth, they also include some of the coolest storytelling and amazing adventures to ever be found on TV.  I was in love with them all at one point in time, and I'm saddened that not many seem to remember them.

There are also two shows from a few seasons ago, that did not make it very long, but I think were fantastic shows.  A Gifted Man and Awake, were two shows that had interesting concepts, and great actors.  Daybreak, which aired a few years before those two, never got the chance it deserved either.

Some of the shows I listed above, I could do without seeing ever again.  That holds especially true for some of the sitcoms I brought up.  Some of them hold tight to their places in my heart and imagination, but I understand if others don't feel the same way.  Some of the shows I could watch over and over again, or have a huge marathon of.  Others, I would have to take in small doses.  Even if I don't understand how a few of them got left off the list, though I willing to accept it.  What I can not accept is how a few others got left off.  They are the shows that changed the way I view the genre, and blazed the trail for others after them.  So here are the shows that were criminally left off the list, and someone should have to explain why.

Battlestar Galactica (1978-1979)

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century

Alien Nation

seaQuest: DSV


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Aunty Lee's Delights by Ovidia Yu

Synopsis From Back Cover:

After losing her husband, Rosie Lee could easily have become one of Singapore's "tai tai," an idle rich lady devoted to mah-jongg, and luxury shopping.  Instead she threw herself into building a culinary empire from her restaurant, Aunty Lee's Delights, where spicy Singaporean home cooking is graciously served to locals and tourists alike.  But when a body is found in one of Singapore's beautiful tourist havens, and when one of her wealthy guests fails to show at a dinner party, Aunty Lee knows that the two are likely connected.

The murder and disappearance throws together Aunty Lee's henpecked stepson Mark, his social-climbing wife Selina, a gay couple whose love is still illegal in Singapore, and an elderly Australian tourist couple whose visit - billed at first as a pleasure cruise - may mask a deeper purpose.  Investigating the murder is rookie Police Commissioner Raja, who quickly discovers that the savvy and well-connected Aunty Lee can track down clues even better than local law enforcement.

As most of you know by know, I'm a huge mystery fan, though I tend to prefer older mysteries over the ones being written today.  With very few exceptions, I'm not a fan of "cozy" mysteries, and the vast majority of modern mysteries I have enjoyed, tend to be more along the lines of a police procedural.  With all that in mind, you may be surprised that I agreed to review Aunty Lee's Delights by Ovidia Yu.  As you can tell from the synopsis, this is what most would consider a "cozy" mystery.  It's a little old lady, who is a culinary enchantress, solving a murder or two, as she dispenses advice and feeds those around her.  But I have a fondness for little old ladies, how can you not love Jane Marple and Maud Silver.  Besides, it's set in Singapore.  How could I not want to review a mystery set in Singapore, a city/country I have always wanted to visit.

To be perfectly frank with you guys, through the first 1/3 of the book, I was kicking myself for my choice.  Singapore be damned, I just was not getting into this story at all.  The characters, even Aunty Lee, were getting on my nerves.  The story and dialogue felt choppy, and I was getting tired of googling every word I wasn't familiar with.  I can't say that any of those issues ever really changed for me, I think they remained issues for the entire length of the book.  But for some bizarre, inexplicable reason, they stopped mattering to me as much.

Aunty Lee will never be in the league of Miss Marple or Miss Silver, but her open heart and good nature, are cause enough to forgive her blunt form of being a busy body.  The rest of the characters, with few exceptions, I can take or leave them.  They tended to be overly whiny, full of themselves, or too concerned with appearances to really take them into my heart.  Even the killer was whiny, and that's one thing I can never forgive in a mystery.  I want the killer to be confident and strong, or at the last clear in their motives.  This time around, we are treated to a self absorbed whiner who doesn't stand a chance against a true villain.

I did like Senior Staff Sergeant Salim, who is the rookie investigating the case, not as the synopsis claims Commissioner Raja, who is Salim's boss, and not a rookie at all.  Now for some odd reason, the synopsis has this wrong, as do most of the reviews I've read of this book.  I'm not sure how so many are missing this, but it's not fair to Salim.

I liked the three secondary gay characters, one was the girlfriend of one of the dead women, the other two were the son of the Australian couple, and his Chinese boyfriend.  It's in the way the author treated these characters with dignity and respect, despite the way some of the other characters treated them, that truly won my heart.  But it was really in the way, that despite the limited page time these characters had, their stories forced the entire book to revolve around them.  This was a murder mystery that happens because one of the victims was gay, and everything she was trying to do in order to live her life.  Everything else that happens in the book, spins off of that one fact.

I'm not sure if this book is, or will be, part of a series.  I'm not even sure I would read another if it was, but I will say that I'm glad I read this one.  I may not be in love with Aunty Lee the way I am with Miss Marple, but she was fun to meet and spend a few hours with.

I would like to thank Trish of TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to read/review this book.  Please visit the tour page to read other reviews.

Challenges: A-Z

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Cold Season by Alison Littlewood

Synopsis From Back Cover:

After the battlefront death of her husband, a soldier, in the sands of the Middle East, a distraught Cass moves to the bucolic, picture-perfect village of Darnshaw with her young son.  Since Cass's website design business can be run from anywhere with an internet connection and Ben could benefit from a change of scenery, a move to the highlands village seems like just the thing.

But the locals aren't as friendly as she had hoped and the internet connection isn't a reliable as her business requires.  And when Ben begins to display a hostility that is completely unlike his usual gentle nature, Cass begins to despair.  Finally, the blizzards thunder through and Darnshaw is marooned in a sea of snow.

When things look their blackest, she finds on sympathetic ear in the person of her son's substitute teacher.  But his attentions can't put to rest her growing anxiety about her son and her business.  And soon, she finds herself pitted against dark forces she can barely comprehend.  The cold season has begun.

So I'm really to the point where I'm getting bummed out from my review books.  I go into every review book with so much hope and and promise, assuming that I'm going to love the book. Then for whatever reason, it just doesn't work for me.  So I guess it's official, I'm in a reading slump.

I will admit that part of it's my fault.  I'm second guessing myself when it comes to review books, which means I'm saying yes to books that I'm just not sure about.  They aren't what I would normally say yes to, but something about it makes me want to say yes, and despite my hesitation, I do.  It could be the setting of the book, the synopsis, or even the cover that makes me want to say yes, despite my misgivings.  If I had a resolution for the rest of the year, it's to go with my initial response, and say no more often than I say yes.

When is comes to A Cold Season, I knew better.  I'm a huge horror fan, but horror novels rarely work for me.  The plots tend to be predictable, the characters one dimensional, and the plot twists cliche.  But since I'm always on the lookout for the few that don't fall into the same old patterns, I'm constantly sticking my neck out when I shouldn't be.

This time around is no different the others.  We have a small, isolated town where the people act oddly, and the atmosphere is just off.  When our main characters move to town, the child starts to act weird, the mother finds solace in a new man, and that man turns out to the be the devil.  I couldn't tell if that is supposed to be with a small d or a big D, but I'm not sure I cared enough to find out.  It's something out of a Lifetime movie of the week, and it's just as silly.

I'm not going to give up on horror novels, because I know someday I will find another book that compares to The Haunting of Hill House, Drawing Blood, The Sentinel, Burnt Offerings, Bedbugs, or even Dead Sea.  I'm just hoping I don't have to go through ten more books as predictable as A Cold Season.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Knife of Dreams by Robert Jordan

Synopsis From Dust Jacket:

The dead are walking, men die impossible deaths, and it seems as though reality itself has become unstable:  All are signs of the imminence of Tarmon Gai'don, the Last Battle, when Rand al'Thor, the Dragon Reborn, must confront the Dark One as humanity's only hope.  But Rand dares not fight until he possesses all the surviving seals on the Dark One's prison and has dealt with the Seanchan, who threaten to overrun all nations this side of the Aryth Ocean and increasingly seem too entrenched  to be fought off.  But his attempt to make a truce with the Seanchan is shadowed by treachery that may cost him everything.  Whatever the price, though, he must have that truce.  And he faces other dangers.  There are those among the Forsaken who will go to any length to see him dead - and the Black Ajah is at his side....

Unbeknownst to Rand, Perrin has made his own truce with the Seanchan.  It is a deal made with the Dark One, in his eyes, but he will do whatever is needed to rescue his wife, Faile, and destroy the Shaido who captured her.  Among the Shaido, Faile works to free herself while hiding a secret that might give her her freedom or cause her destruction.  And at a town called Malden, the Two Rivers longbow will be matched against Shaido spears....

Fleeing Ebou Dar through Seanchan controlled Altara with the kidnapped Daughter of the Nine Moons while traveling with Valan Luca's Grand Traveling Show and Magnificent Display of Marvels and Wonders, Mat attempts to court the woman to whom he is half-married, knowing that she will complete that ceremony eventually, but Tuon coolly leads him on a merry chase as he learns that even a gift can have deep significance among the Seanchan Blood and what he thinks he knows of women is not enough to save him.  For reasons of her own, which she will not reveal until a time of her choosing, she has pledged not to escape, but Mat still sweats whenever there are Seanchan soldiers near.  Then he learns that Tuon herself is in deadly danger from those very soldiers.  To get her to safety, he must do what he hates worse than work....

In Caemlyn, Elayne fight to gain the Lion Throne while trying to avert what seems a certain civil war should she win the crown....

Int he White Tower, Egwene struggles to undermine the sisters loyal to Elaida from within....

The winds of time have become a storm, and things that everyone believes are fixed in place forever are changing before their eyes.  Even the White Tower itself is no longer a place of safety.  Now Rand, Perrin and Mat, Egwene and Elayne, Nynaeve and Lan, and even Loial must ride those storm winds, or the Dark One will triumph.

As you can see from the synopsis, things are starting to come to a head in this book.  By the way, this was the last book Robert Jordan wrote before he died.  The remainder of the series was finished by someone else, but more on that in the next review.  As usual this is more of a collection of thoughts, than an actual review.  I'm not sure it's even possible to write 14 different, full fledged reviews for this series, without going a bit mad.  And believe it or not, this is the first book in the series that wasn't a reread for me this go around.  I've owned it for forever, and thought I had read it, but once I got going, I realized I hadn't.

Rand continues to be in such a dark place, all egotistical and delusional.  Not willing to really listen to anyone but himself, and still assuming that he is going crazy.  He is a little drunk on power after cleansing Saidin, even if nobody really believes it.  He concocts a plan to do away with a few of the Forsaken, and loses a hand and part of his sanity along with it.  I know he eventually gets out of this funk, but it sure is annoying.

Perrin and his quest to rescue his wife, finally comes to a close.  The body count is ridiculously high though, and it involves an alliance with the Seanchan.  The slavers are represented by General Tylee Khirgan, the only Seanchan I ever like.  But that may have more to do with the fact she really doesn't go off on the wild tangents her race is so disliked for.  Long story short, the Shaido Aiel are destroyed, Galina Casban is taken away, and poor Aram is killed.  I never really liked Aram, but to have him turn on Perrin and force Perrin to kill him almost broke my heart.  Faile shows her lust for blood at the end, but I'm not sure taking out the Prophet wasn't the smartest thing she ever did.

Poor Mat.  The guy is stuck to Tuon, the Daughter of the Nine Moons and the new Empress of Seanchan due to a bloody civil war, orchestrated by a Forsaken, which left the entire imperial family dead.  I'm just wishing the same thing had happened to the Seanchan on these shores.  For whatever reason, other than stupid plotting, Tuon cements the marriage between them and Mat becomes Prince of the Ravens.  What's even worse, Mat has fallen for the twit.  The one thing he does that I support fully is pledge Thom Merrilin to rescue Moraine, who isn't dead after all.

Elayne avoids some plots, secures the throne, and continues to bore me still.  I just wish Birgitte would go away.  And can I also say, the love quadrangle between Rand, Elayne, Aviendha, and Min is starting to annoy me at this point in time.  It was the one plot device that I just never got the point of.

Egwene starts to rock for me again, and she continues on that streak for the rest of the series.  Now that she is inside the White Tower, even if it's as a prisoner, she starts to sow doubt about Elaida do Avriny a'Roihan.  She uses her spine and backbone and proves to many in the tower, that she is the true Amyrlin.

Nynaeve sends Lan on a suicide mission, though, not without messing up his plans.  She forces him into a position where he is forced to accept the throne of a kingdom that no longer exists.  I really enjoy the two of them, and find myself rooting for them.

Galad, how I hate you.  You are an insufferable prig, who can never admit to be wrong.  But what you do in this book is just awesome.  By taking out the head of the Whitecloaks, he becomes their new leader and changes the destiny of that organization for all of eternity.

Loial gets married, and proves once again why he is the man.

Mazrim Taim's true colors are starting to shine through.  He's such a sexy bad ass, that I'm still able to forgive him at this point in time.  I know I'll hate him by the end, so I have to enjoy it while it lasts.

And last, but not least, I want the Seanchan wiped off the face of the planet.  I know I'll never get my way, but I keep praying for it.

Other Books In The Series:

The Eye of the World
The Great Hunt
The Dragon Reborn
The Shadow Rising
The Fires of Heaven 
Lord of  Chaos
A Crown of Swords
The Path of Daggers
Winter's Heart
Crossroads of Twilight

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Butterfly Sister by Amy Gail Hansen

Synopsis From Back Cover:

Twenty-two-year-old Ruby Rousseau is haunted by memories of Tarble, the women's college she fled from ten months earlier, and the painful love affair that pushed her to the brink of tragedy.

When a suitcase belonging to a former classmate named Beth arrives on her doorstep, Ruby is plunged into a dark mystery.  Beth has gone missing, and the suitcase is the only tangible evidence of her whereabouts.

Inside the bag, Ruby discovers a tattered copy of Virginia Woolf's A Room of Ones' Own, the book she believes was a harbinger of her madness.  Is someone trying to send her a message - and what does it mean?

The search for answers leads to Tarble.  As Ruby digs into Beth's past, she has no choice but to confront her own - an odyssey that will force her to reexamine her final days at school, including the married professor who broke her heart and the ghosts of illustrious writers, dead by their own hand, who beckoned her to join their tragic circle.

But will finding the truth finally set Ruby free... or send her over the edge of sanity?

I'm always a little leery of suspense novels that have a theme to them.  Miss Me When I'm Gone by Emily Arsenault used the country music of women who died too young and lived too hard to explore the life of one of it's characters.  With The Butterfly Sister by Amy Gail Hansen, we have a novel that uses the writings and lives of female authors who committed suicide to explore the main character's life.  Miss Me When I'm Gone, despite a promising plot, had issues with trying to weave the plot around the theme.  I'm afraid I had some of the same issues with this one as well.  Trying to tie in the various authors and their works, never felt organic to me.  It was a lot like Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children in that regard.  It was more like the author chose which writers she wanted to use, and tried to tie the story around them and certain works.  I wish she had allowed the the plot and character needs, to dictate the way in which the suicidal authors and their writings appeared in the book.

The story is there, I wanted to like it.  Actually, I wanted to love it.  Instead I'm left feeling a bit let down, because instead of having a young woman deal with the very real issues of suicide, depression, and delusions; we are left with an inconceivable plot device used to explain it all away.  The ending felt like a stab in my heart, and took all enjoyment I had had for Ruby and her struggles, or for the missing Beth and the fear I felt for her, and dashed it upon the rocks.  It turned a side character I really liked into someone I'm just baffled by and wishing it could have been different.  The entire thing left me shaking my head, closing the last page, and promptly forgetting the entire thing.

I would like to thank Trish of TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this book.  Please visit the tour page to read other reviews.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Heirs and Graces by Rhys Bowen

Synopsis From Dust Jacket:

As thirty-fifth in line for the throne, Lady Georgiana Rannock may not be the most sophisticated young woman, but she knows her table manners.  It's forks on the left, knives on the right - not in His Grace, the duke's back...

Here I am thinking the education I received at my posh Swiss finishing school would never come in handy.  And while it hasn't landed me a job, or a husband, it has convinced Her Majesty the Queen and the dowager duchess to enlist my help.  I have been entrusted with grooming Jack Altringham - the duke's newly discovered heir fresh from the Outback of Australia - for high society.

The upside is I am to live in luxury at one of England's most gorgeous stately homes.  But upon arrival at Kingsdowne Place, my dearest Darcy has been sent to fetch Jack, leaving me stuck in a manor full of miscreants... none of whom is too pleased with the discovery of my new ward.

No sooner has the lad been retrieved than the duke announces he wants to choose his own heir.  With the house in a hubbub over the news, Jack's hunting knife somehow finds its way into the duke's back.  Eyes fall, backs turn, and fingers point to the young heir.  As if the rascal weren't enough of a handful, now he's suspected of murder.  Jack may be wild, but I'd bet the crown jewels it wasn't he who killed the duke...

There are very few series that I'm addicted to, and even fewer cozy mystery series that I can handle reading one after another.  There is just something about Rhys Bowen's writing and her creation of Lady Georgiana Rannock, that I find to be like cotton candy crack.  It's light, fluffy and more addicting than the real thing.  I can't stand the smell of cotton candy, so I'll take Georgie and her capers any day of the week.

When we last saw her in The Twelve Clues of Christmas, Georgie finally seemed to be on the right track.  Her relationship with Darcy was getting to be a little more real for both of them, and her mother acted as if Georgie's needs mattered to her.  Her mother's interest is quickly dispelled in the opening pages of this installment, not that anyone should be surprised by that.  Georgie's mother doesn't really have a natural maternal instinct.  Luckily for Georgie, she is quickly swept off to a country manor, at the insistence of the Queen of course, to help a young heir adjust to his new surrounding.

This book, as all the rest in the series, is filled with murder and humor in equal doses.  Georgie is becoming one of those characters that I would never want to spend to much time with, despite how much I love her.  It just isn't safe to be around her.  Much like Jessica Fletcher, somebody always dies when she is around.  It's not her fault, but I would rather not take any chances.

My only quibble, and I just thought of it as I was typing, is how gay men are treated throughout the books.  Whenever there is a gay character, he is treated as either a joke or a jackass.  The only exception is Cole Porter who turns up every once in a while, but even he isn't portrayed as a well rounded character, more as a caricature.  I'm not sure it's really something the author has thought a lot about, though I hope this trend isn't on purpose.  And while it's not enough to make me stop reading the books, because I do love Georgie that much, I do hope at some point in time we get a gay character that feels a little more real to me.

Monday, September 9, 2013

100 Ghosts: A Gallery of Harmless Haunts by Doogie Horner

I never thought a book about ghosts would be described as cute, adorable, sweet, or childlike.  I really never thought I would read a book that would entertain and thrill a five year old and make a thirty-six year old laugh out loud.

And when I say read, I'm not truly being honest.  This is a picture book after all, so other than an introduction written by the author, the rest of the words are simply the names of the one hundred ghosts represented on the pages.

Marilyn Monroe makes an appearance, picture the typical sheet ghost above a street grate,   Charlie Brown and R2D2 are both represented.  As are more whimsical ghosts; Russian Nesting Ghost, Cyclops (Mythical), Topiary, and Grumpy Cat to name a few.

Now I just need to figure out how to turn a few of these ides into real Halloween costumes.  How cute would it be to see a Holy Ghost sheet costume walking down the street.  Imagine this Halloween and a young girl comes up to your door looking like an Outhouse sheet ghost, how could you do anything but smile.  If this book wasn't $9.95 each, I know exactly what I would be giving out to trick-or-treaters this year.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Wordsmithonia Radio Goes Country

So I was catching up on my blog reading this weekend, and I happened to stumble upon a country music post by my good friend Jamie of Jamie Loves Stuff.  She had a lot of songs on there that I really do enjoy, but I was looking for some of my favorites that weren't on there.  So I decided to do my own country music post.  I could share the songs that started running through my mind when I stumbled upon her post.

Some of them are older than I am, others are from my school days, and a few may be a bit newer than that.  But they all bring a smile to my face, and recall a person or a memory to my mind.  Now this won't be a full list of all the country songs I like, but it will give you an idea of the type of country that gets my foot tapping and heart skipping.