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31 October 2015

Happy .... Christmas?

I know, it's really Halloween ... but I'm rambling today about two Christmas titles that I received from NetGalley so deal with it.

The first is Anne Perry's A Christmas Escape, due to be released on November 10th.

I believe this is Perry's thirteenth "Christmas" book, though it's the first I have read. Receiving my copy from NetGalley was a good excuse to finally get off my duff and read something of Perry's -- which I've been meaning to do for years.

Overall it was an enjoyable short read. I'm only giving it three stars out of five, though, because of the lack of seasonality that I was anticipating.

Charles Latterly (the brother-in-law of Perry's Victorian detective William Monk) is vacationing before Christmas on the volcanic island of Stromboli. The property where he is staying already has a handful of other guests who all know eachother -- teenager Candace Finbar and her great- uncle, the married bickering Baileys, uppity Colonel Bretherton and novelist Quinn. Charles immediately bonds with the Finbars and the property owner, Stefano. He's also immediately aware of the tension surrounding his relaxing vacation -- not only from his fellow guests but also from the volcano.

Between the bickering, a murderer in their midst, and a volcano getting ready to blow any real Christmas-y feel was lost. I had almost even forgotten that it was supposed to be a "holiday mystery" when a "Merry Christmas" was offered up at the very end. Still a decent little story and the descriptions of the scenery and the volcano were wonderful, but as a "holiday" read it's not one I'll add to my list of seasonal re-reads.

More likely to be on my holiday re-read list is the anthology from Poisoned Pen Press, Silent Nights, being published on November 3rd.

I love Poisoned Pen Press and they're commitment to uncovering lost treasures from the Golden Age of detective fiction and this anthology definitely fits. There are fifteen stories in all with a mixture of familiar and unfamiliar tales. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey, Margery Allingham's Albert Campion, and G.K. Chesterton's Father Brown all make appearances. These stories alone will be worth the purchase price for many fans, but I was more excited about some of the stories by authors I hadn't read, with three standing out for me more than the rest:

Leo Bruce's "Beef For Christmas" had me chuckling from the get-go and wondering why the heck I was unfamiliar with the characters -- especially after doing a search on Goodreads and seeing that there are eight Beef books I now have to add to my TBR. Swell. Thanks a lot, Poisoned Pen Press.

Edmund Crispin's "The Name On The Window" has added another eleven titles to my TBR since I need to find out more about Fen ... and whether or not he's always as flippant as he was here. I'm hoping that he was because I do so love a good bit of flippancy. Not a Christmas-tale, really, but I'll let them slide.

Ethel Lina White. Who? Oh ... the woman who wrote the stories that The Lady Vanishes and The Spiral Staircase were based on? Two of my favorite classic thrillers? I hang my head in shame at my ignorance ... and then perk up in delight that I have, yes, even more to read. "Waxworks," according to the introduction in the book was in print before White's first novel was published. I see, now, that there is also a novel by White titled Wax and I hope that it's a blown-up version of this story ... but, of course, different enough that I won't know what will happen.

29 October 2015

A Christopher Moore Double-Feature Ramble

I finished Christopher Moore's A Dirty Job before finally closing my eyes for my pre-work nap tonight. I realized that I never gave the book before, Bloodsucking Fiends, a proper ramble ... so I'm doing a double feature.

Like a drive-in, but books.

And no concession stand.

And no mosquitoes flying in through the window (unless, of course, you live somewhere that has mosquitoes in October and you're reading this with the window open ... in which case, you're just silly).

Technically the books are part of two different series according to Moore's website and Goodreads and the like. Moore is tricky, though, and does a lot of crossovers with characters. I'm guessing a lot of people could quite happily read one without the other but I'm not a lot of people. I couldn't make it far into A Dirty Job without backtracking to Bloodsucking Fiends because, as it turns out, there are certain itty bitty bits that make oh-so-much-more sense having read them in order.

Both stories take place in San Francisco and deal heavily in matters of death -- one of the main characters of BF being a vampire, and the main character of ADJ being a "Death Merchant" who collects souls and helps relocate them to new vessels. The two even cross paths, though you wouldn't necessarily know it unless you had read BF first .... or this ramble. There are actually three other characters from BF who appear in ADJ to some degree (well, 5 if you include the dogs) ... and one character mentioned in ADJ that will come in to serious play in the sequel to BF. Heck, one of the characters from both of these books made his first appearance all the way back in Moore's first novel, Practical Demonkeeping, waaaaaay back in 1992. Another character from ADJ debuted in a bit role in 1994's Coyote Blue.

I know, that last paragraph was kind of spoilery and I typically hate spoilery stuff (unless it's for a show I only kind of sort of care about ... and then I only read the spoilery stuff, I don't shove it in the face of others) .... but it's minor and no real spoilery specifics were give and it all only really matters anyway in that it helps to highlight the overlappiness.

(It's a word. Don't look it up. Just trust me.)

You know, screw the ramble.

Just read the books. All of them. In order of publication. Don't pay attention to what anyone (including Moore) claims to be a "standalone" or a "series" or any of that nonsense ... because Moore's world is just one big jumbled ball of delightfully heinous fuc......


That reminds me.

Do NOT read these books (or, probably, anything written by Christopher Moore) if you:
* get offended easily
* have no sense of humor
* don't understand sarcasm
* abhor profanity

Now I have to figure out what to read next. I was going to do more Moore ... but then NetGalley ... and the guilt from all of the other books I swore I would get to this year .... and ..... and ..... and ......

23 October 2015

#BookBeginnings and #Friday56 - Christopher Moore's Bloodsucking Fiends

I'm still working on Bloodsucking Fiends. Not getting as much reading done at work since I'm marathoning Sleepy Hollow on Hulu in order to be caught up for the big crossover with Bones ... but I'll get it done sooner or later!

In the meantime, though, I get to tease more of it thanks to Book Beginnings & Friday56! As always, Friday56 (share a blurb from the 56th page or 56% mark) is hosted at Freda's Voice & Book Beginnings (share the first few sentences & your thoughts) is at Rose City Reader.

BB Thoughts: Hooray for the Emperor!!! This was the first time he was mentioned and he'll keep popping up in more Moore books. I mentioned on Tuesday that I had stopped reading another book because of a mention of a character from this particular series ... and that I first read Bloodsucking Fiends 20 years ago so felt the overwhelming need to backtrack, re-read & refresh. The Emperor wasn't the character in question that I remembered the overlap for, but I love that he's here so very much! Moore has such an amazing talent for characters that may not seem like much but are.

Friday56: Snapping turtles do not belong in the bathtub. They just don't.

22 October 2015

Reading With John (with a ramble from mom): Andrew Chilton's The Goblin's Puzzle

Tuesday afternoon John and I finished reading Andrew Chilton's The Goblin's Puzzle thanks to Random House, Knopf & NetGalley. It's set for release here in the US on January 19th. You can pre-order it from Amazon by clicking HERE or on the cover (and, as always, it's an affiliate link so if you do buy it we'll get a little smidgen of money in our account which will likely go towards more books. Or laundry detergent. Whatever.)

What a wonderful book this was! It was funny and exciting and oh-so-thoughtful. We haven't read very many middle-grade books together that I would consider "deep" but there were definitely some pretty deep and profound messages in this one. I wasn't really sure that John would pick up on them as he's only nine, but after he gave me his "Top Five Things" about the book I was pleasantly surprised that he seemed to get it.

Without further ado, the John part of today's Reading With John:

Now it's my turn to do my mom-ramble.

The third thing on John's list was the one that really struck me. Without giving too much away, a great deal of this story is about just that -- overcoming pre-conceived notions about who you are. Sometimes those notions are held by others. Sometimes those notions are held by yourself. You know that when you're told enough that you're this or that you start to believe it. When the things that you're told aren't necessarily positive they can really put a damper on, well, everything.

I don't know if I've ever mentioned this here, but John is a "special needs kid." He's been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder and is on the Autism Spectrum. He gets therapy in school to help with expressing himself in social situations. He sometimes breaks down or freaks out or acts up over things that normal kids probably wouldn't. He'll opt out of certain field trips or school assemblies that normal kids get excited about.

(I despise the word "normal," by the way.)

John's also an amazing artist. He builds amazing structures and models out of Legos or clay or whatever else he can get his hands on. He's absolutely brilliant with math (he says he has a calculator brain thanks to his "wiring" being different). He loves to read and make up stories and songs. BUT, because his wiring is different and because of the sometimes abnormal reactions to things he's sometimes conceived to be "odd" or "strange" or "goofy." Because he DOES have ADD and Autism he's sometimes conceived to be "less than" that dreaded "normal." We try incredibly hard to make sure that those conceptions don't sink in.

When I requested The Goblin's Puzzle from NetGalley, I admit I had a pre-conceived notion about what I was going to get. I imagined a "normal" fantasy tale to be enjoyed by young (and, maybe, not-so-young) readers. We certainly got the "normal" fantasy tale aspects with kings and queens and sorcerers and ogres and so on and so on. We also got puzzles to help solve and adventures to get excited about and, most of all, life lessons about fate and conceptions and confidence.

The ditz can be a brilliant leader.
The loser can be a champion.
The monster can be a good friend.

and the unwritten but still felt:

The "special needs kid" can be absolutely anything.

20 October 2015

#TeaserTuesday # 33 -- Bloodsucking Fiends by Christopher Moore

I was about 20% in to another book of Moore's when a character was mentioned in passing that I know was from Moore's vampire series .... so opted to set that one aside, re-visit Bloodsucking Fiends (as it's been since 1995 when I read it). I may just read nothing but Moore until I start thee ol' holiday readathon. There are worse ways to spend my time.

The Book & The Tease
Christopher Moore - Bloodsucking Fiends

The Meme

19 October 2015

In Which I Beg John Connolly For More

My dear dear Mr. Connolly:

I have just completed the third book in the Samuel Johnson trilogy, The Creeps.

I beg of you, please please puh-leeeeeeeze turn this into a trilogy along the lines of Star Wars or Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

I'm not ready for them to be done.

I don't even care that I'll get to re-read them at least once with my son (they are, after all, "middle grade" and he's at that point).

I don't even care that you probably have other ways in which you would rather be spending your time.




Come on ... pretty please with a cherry on top?

What am I supposed to do while riding the bus in to work without breaking into hysterical fits and snorts of laughter?

How am I supposed to carry on without the greatest footnotes ever to interrupt a page?

Where is the humanity, man? WHERE?!? You can't leave me hanging like this.


See? Now you've made me cry.

I hope you're pleased with yourself.

I know I have been.


16 October 2015

#BookBeginnings & #Friday56 -- John Connolly's The Creeps

Ahhh ... the last of the Samuel Johnson books.
I'm more than a little crushed because I've been more than a little in love with them.
Ah well. At least I'm able to get one more Book Beginnings & Friday56.
As always, Friday56 (share a blurb from the 56th page or 56% mark) is hosted at Freda's Voice & Book Beginnings (share the first few sentences & your thoughts) is at Rose City Reader.

I love how the humor starts off from the get-go and never lets up. 
Gosh I'm going to miss my visits to Biddlecombe!

15 October 2015

A Well-Read Mini-Ramble -- Gail Carriger's Waistcoats & Weaponry

I always worry about spoilers and such when rambling about a book in a series -- particularly if it's significantly into said series and the books aren't stand-alones but really must be read in order. SO, I'm experimenting with A Well-Read Mini-Ramble which may (or may not) become a regular thing here. Right now I'm leaning more towards the "may" than the "may not." I think that it would also be good for some of the Reading With John entries particularly when he doesn't feel like writing much ... I could probably at least convince him to make a list.

I finished Gail Carriger's Waistcoats & Weaponry on the bus in to work tonight and omigosh it was a fabulous installment in the series. The next (and last) book is due out in just a few weeks and I'm already considering lifting my self-imposed "No Book Buying" ban in order to read it ASAP.

11 October 2015

Spell of the Ball (8 Magical Halloween Reads)

Spell of the Ball was NOT originally on my TBR for the month ... but then I was gifted a copy by one of the authors ahead of tomorrow's publication date and it ended up being perfect for SO many reasons. Well, three in particular:
  1. I had it readily available when I decided to stop trying to force myself to like something that was on my TBR
  2. Several of the authors/series included I've been interested in checking out and this gives me a lots of little tastes ... even though I've had a bit of hyperventilation over the whole "not reading in order" deal
  3. Today has been declared "Boys Day Out" for my son, his dad and HIS dad so after a quick trip to the grocery store I've stayed curled up reading without a care in the world

Spirits, Hurricanes, and the Krewe of Ghoul by Deanna Chase
Pyper Rayne (spin-off series of Jade Calhoun series)
Thoughts: I already know and love Pyper from the Jade Calhoun series but haven't read the first book of her spin-off yet. It's now moving way up on my TBR list because, well, I still adore Pyper and I really have to know more about her ghost sidekick/nuisance Ida May.

The Witch’s Halloween Hero by Kristen Painter
Series: Nocturne Falls
Thoughts: Kristen Painter isn't an author I was familiar with but I hadn't made it more than a third of the way through "The Witch's Halloween Hero" and I was scouring Amazon for books in the Nocturne Falls series. If the books are as delightful as this short then I'll gladly make regular visits to the little supernatural community. 

Bad Moon Rising by Michele Bardsley
Series: Angelica Mortis
Thoughts: As you probably know (unless you're new here), I skim the steamy stuff almost all the time. There was a LOT of skimming here. Angelica is a demon hunter with a drag queen bestie and a new wizard guardian which would normally make for a must-read series for me ... but the steamy stuff? Not my thing. After some looking I've discovered the author writes a bit of erotica so I should have known ... but ... at least I'm good at skimming!

A Charming Death by Tonya Kappes
Series: Magical Cures
Thoughts: I know that reading this without reading any of the others in the series (7 books plus two other novellas so far) has subjected me to big ol' plot-line spoilers, but sometimes it just has to be done. A cute little tale but I'm not really sure if I'll be diving in to the whole series. The first one is free on Amazon for Kindle, though, so there's really no reason not to at least give a full-length installment a shot!

Mission Impawsible by Melanie James
Series: Karma Inc.
Thoughts: Humor, werebears, and a whole lot of snark. I love snark. The series is apparently new and a spin-off from James' Literal Leigh series. Great. Now I have TWO more series to add to my list.

One Charmed Evening by Rose Pressey
Series: Halloween LaVeau
Thoughts: I've read a couple of Pressey's books from before but not from this series and not in several years. With how much I loved this short I'm now kicking myself for not keeping up with her books more because I have a whole lot to get my grubby little hands on. I'm beginning to think that this collection of short stories wasn't the best idea for me to read ....

Catatonic by Liz Schulte
Series: Sekhmet Bounty (forthcoming spin-off series of Guardian & Jinn trilogies)
Thoughts: Dangnabbit. Of the 8 short stories in this book I've read seven so far ... and have six new series added to my TBR ... BUT I don't ... I have MORE than that since this one if a spin-off of two others and then there's the James book above that was a spin-off of another series ... and good ol' Pressey has multiple series that all look good ... and ... and ... and ... there's a HOLIDAY anthology coming out in November with many of these same authors and some more new-to-me ones, to boot!

Desperate Housewives of Olympus by Saranna DeWylde
Series: Ambrosia Lane
Thoughts: I'm a bit of a mythology junkie but this just didn't do it for me. Fictional twists on gods and goddesses typically fall flat for me (except for when they're written by Rick Riordan ... most days I would pick a trip to Camp Half-Blood over a trip to Hogwarts). Not a bad story, just not one that has me clamoring to get the series for. I will, however, read any future anthology installments I come across. Maybe it'll grow on me over time.

09 October 2015

#BookBeginnings, #Friday56 & A Little Ramble -- Heather Graham's The Evil Inside

Friday again & time for Friday 56 & Book Beginnings! As always, Friday56 (share a blurb from the 56th page or 56% mark) is hosted at Freda's Voice & Book Beginnings (share the first few sentences & your thoughts) is at Rose City Reader.

I just finished the fourth book in Heather Graham's Krewe of Hunters series -- The Evil Inside. I loved it from the very beginning just for the simple fact that I love Graham, I love the Krewe, and I knew that this one was set in Salem, Massachusetts right before Halloween. I also knew, however, basically what to expect:

Of course, knowing the general formula still doesn't leave me fully prepared for the details and nitty-gritty involved with each story. Who's the boy in the road covered in blood? Whose blood is it? And, since I picked my 56% blurb before I started to really read the book I also had to wonder what was going on with the house!

Without giving too much away I can tell you that the house from the 56 is where the boy from the BookBeginnings had lived with his family ... until they were all killed in much the same manner as two other families had been killed in the house's past.

Freaky, eh?

Of course, being set in Salem the tale ties in a bit of the historical bits about the witch trials and Puritans and general tolerance/intolerance. I have ancestors who were around at the time of the trials (my tenth-great grandmother was the half-sister of one of the trial magistrates) so anything about that time has always interested me.

Add a ghost story and murder mystery? Even better!

All in all I was right about loving the book. Possibly even moreso than I had expected.

07 October 2015

Jennifer Harlow's Mind Over Monsters

To see the teaser & introductory ramble about Mind Over Monsters just backtrack to this week's Teaser Tuesday post.

I'll wait right here for you ....


*checking time*

*grabbing a snack*

Ready? Awesome.

When I started reading this I sort of lumped it right into the "mind-candy" genre. You know -- the books that aren't really great but aren't necessarily bad? The ones that you pick up to read when you just want to kind of coast through something? It really started out feeling that way to me... and then I ended up cutting my post-work AND pre-work naps short (and almost missed a bus stop) because I just didn't want to stop reading. My heart was racing, I was getting fidgety, and I just had to know what was going to happen next!

General Thoughts:
* humor -- I love Harlow's sarcasm and snark. It helps keep the general "mind-candy" feel going even when things were getting stressful

* Bette -- she's a machete and I love her

* the other F.R.E.A.K.S -- there's a good mixture of personalities here and I look forward to hopefully learning more about them as the series goes on

* the love/lust/flirtation triangle -- of course there has to be one, right? The "normal" girl (comparatively speaking, of course), the hot werewolf, the hot vampire. *YAWN* I sort of feel like the world has been-here-done-this about a million times over. Luckily it doesn't overthrow the rest of the story

Pretty much, a fun read with some nice "holy *&^*" moments (well, as "nice" as surprise zombie hordes can be) and enough promise as a series that I'm really glad I already have the next two waiting for me!

06 October 2015

#TeaserTuesday # 31 - Jennifer Harlow's Mind Over Monsters

The Book & The Tease

Jennifer Harlow - Mind Over Monsters

This is the first book in Harlow's F.R.E.A.K.S Squad series. I was gifted it a few years back and it's been sitting in my Cloud ever since. I'm not sure why I hadn't gotten around to reading it before now. I guess something else just always bumped it further down the line. I'm finally getting around to it -- much like the recently finished A Pint of Murder -- because one of the next books in the series (# 3, I think) has a Christmasy theme. Right now I'm just past the half-way point and I'm really enjoying it.

4th grade teacher Beatrice Alexander hasn't had an easy life. Stuff moves around when she gets upset. Sometimes the result is humourous (like flying stuffed animals at a sleepover when she was young). Sometimes the result is impressive (like lifting a Hummer SUV and saving one of her students from being roadkill). Sometimes the result is dangerous (like almost killing her own brother). She's approached by Dr George Black about joining the F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad (Federal Response to Extra-sensory And Kindred Supernaturals) -- a secret branch of the FBI.  Being a part of the Squad would help her to hone and utilize her psychokinesis while solving unusual and supernatural crimes -- along with others with varying "gifts." The teaser quote comes from their early conversation (about 4% in) before she agrees ...

The Meme

05 October 2015

Charlotte MacLeod's A Pint of Murder

A Pint of Murder is the first in the Madoc and Janet Rhys Series written by Charlotte MacLeod under the pen name Alisa Craig (a name she also used for the Grub-And-Stakers series ... which I'll get to some day!). I already fell in love with MacLeod's Peter Shandy so I figured I would give another series a shot (especially since the second one takes place at Christmastime and will fit in nicely with my holiday read-a-thon).

While I can't say that this enthralled me as much as the Peter Shandy series has so far, it was a quick and enjoyable read with some laugh out loud bits right from the start (which you can see on my latest BookBeginnings/Friday 56 post HERE).

I have to admit I was awfully surprised that Madoc didn't appear at all until the tenth chapter! The first nine were all setting up the first murders and the background of Janet Wadman and her neighbors in Pitcherville, New Brunswick (which is in Canada for those of you who may be geographically challenged). Of course, the title is clearly "A Madoc and Janet Rhys Mystery" per the cover of the ebook so even before starting I knew that the two were going to end up together sooner or later.

I hate spoilers.

Maybe THAT was one of the reasons it didn't grip me as much. I kept reading and thinking "Well, get ON with it already!" knowing what was coming for the two ... sooner or later ...

Maybe the second one will hook me a bit more. We'll find out before the end of the year!

02 October 2015

Suzanne Chazin's A Blossom of Bright Light

If I didn't trust Kensington books as much as I did I may not have read past the first dead body discovery of Suzanne Chazin's A Blossom of Bright Light.
It was more than I can usual bring myself to handle. It was a newborn.
However, since I have come to trust Kensington (who gave me the book through NetGalley to read ahead of its October 27th release), and since I loved the first in the series so much, I had to keep reading.

Even after I had accurately figured out "whodunnit" well before the 50% mark,  I had to keep reading.

I don't always like Jimmy Vega ... or his girlfriend ... or his co-workers ... or his daughter ... but I had to keep reading.

Suzanne Chazin's Lake Holly isn't some place that I would ever want to visit, even though I probably wouldn't have to travel outside of my own county to find someplace similar. It's too uncomfortable -- too uncozy. At the same time, though, I had to keep reading.

I can't seem to be able to pull myself away once I start reading one of the books. Although it's "fiction" I know from reading the notes at the end of the first book that a lot of the side stories came from actual immigrants (documented and otherwise) Chazin has encountered and interviewed. The characters even feel more like mere characters in a book -- they feel like people. Real people with real angst and real hopes.

Part of the whole inability to pull myself away from their stories results in the books being fairly quick reads. According to Amazon, A Blossom of Bright Light is going to be 368 pages long when it's released in a few weeks. I added it to my "Currently Reading" shelf on Goodreads at 6:33am yesterday morning (according to the auto-update to my Facebook wall). It is now just around 5:30am so it took less than 24 hours WITH sleeping, working, grocery shopping, and mommying (including some 4th grade homework help). And now all I can do is sit and stew and wonder/worry about what's happening with all of these people I've grown so attached to until the next book gets written!

October Stuff, #BookBeginnings & #Friday56

If you're on Instagram you probably know all about the photo-a-day challenges. I've done them before -- mostly highly unsuccessfully -- and decided today (well, yesterday, technically) to give it another shot. I'll be doing a book one AND a health/diet one for Rising Like Fawkes and, hopefully, will at least remember to post MOST days.

Here are the prompts for my chosen bookish one:

And, accordingly, here is my first post:

I'm currently reading A Blossom of Bright Light but since it's an ARC I've decided to do my Friday56 and Book Beginnings for the next book on the list, A Pint of Murder by Charlotte MacLeod (under the pen name Alisa Craig).

As always, Friday56 (share a blurb from the 56th page or 56% mark) is hosted at Freda's Voice & Book Beginnings (share the first few sentences & your thoughts) is at Rose City Reader.

This is the first book in this particular series so I have no idea who Agatha Treadway was or who Marion Emery is ... but I do know that I snorted my coffee at how funny the opening is. I'm hoping to fly through the book I'm reading now so I can really start this one ASAP!!!

01 October 2015

Alan Bradley's A Red Herring Without Mustard

Oh, Alan Bradley ... you've done it again! The third Flavia de Luce book, A Red Herring Without Mustard, started out a little slower than the first two for me ... the flow didn't seem as easy. Shortly after I had stated as much in my Teaser Tuesday post it picked up and kept going and going and kept me guessing the whole way through.

Flavia is still obsessed with chemistry and still eleven and still wise beyond her years ... in some ways. I think this time more than the first two installments, though, we get to see a little more about how much of a little girl she still is.

She's still tortured by her two older sisters -- physically and emotionally.


She still has her trusty companion, Gladys -- her mother's old bicycle:

She can still always rely on the family jack-of-all-trades, Dogger, to be there for her:

Her relationship with her emotionally distant father seems to be improving ... albeit still more a distant closeness than an up-close-and-personal one:

And, of course, she still stumbles into murder investigations!

(Yes, I mustard-ed out the victim's identity. Spoilers, you know.)

As always, Inspector Hewitt is there to investigate ... or, at least, to assist Flavia in her investigations, although not always answering her questions (and, in turn, not always answering his):

Ah yes ... I, too, adore Hewitt and I still adore Flavia and as the book progressed I adored the whole tale. We got to meet new neighbors, revisit characters from past books, dig deeper into the mystery that was her mother (whom I'm still not totally convinced actually died on that mountain when Flavia was a baby), and see Flavia discover more about herself.

The next book, I Am Half-Sick of Shadows, has a Christmas theme to it according to the GoodReads write-up so you can expect me to ramble about that (or, at the very least, take a bunch of screen caps of it) some time in December. I'm already excited!!!