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31 March 2015

Teaser Tuesday # 7

The Meme

The Tease

The Book
Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

(Yes - it's my first time reading it. I'm shocked and amazed, too!)

30 March 2015

Michael Innes' Death at the President's Lodging

Death at the President's Lodging is the first John Appleby mystery and was published in 1936. I stumbled upon it 79 years later while searching for an "I" for my A to Z Author Challenge and I am so very glad that I did.

I love classic mysteries. Mysteries set before you could do a background search on someone just by going to Google. Before cell phones made calling for help instantaneous. Even better than a classic mystery without all of the technological gizmos and whatnots? One set in an academic setting. (I'm that much of a geek.)

The "President" in question here is (well, was before, you know, his death) the head of St. Anthony's College in England. You've heard of the "closed room mystery,"  right? Where the crime is committed under seemingly impossible circumstances -- like a closed room with no possible entry or exit? Well, this sort of goes along those lines except that the room is the college campus and entry/exit is limited after hours to a select handful of professors who have been given keys to the school gates. The good news is that this limits the suspect list down greatly. The bad news is that of course a mysterious extra key exists and is unaccounted for.

Now, I could go on and on about plots (complicated and puzzling and, at times, I think made my eyes cross) and characters (the eccentric professors, the bumbling locals, the overly-enthusiastic student sleuths). You know, I could write a review like a "good" reviewer would do.

I never claimed to write good reviews.

What I DO claim is simply this: I'm glad that there are 36 more Appleby titles in existence. If even a quarter of them tickle me as much as Death at the President's Lodging has, I'll be ecstatic.

25 March 2015

Reading With John : Magic Tree House Dolphins At Daybreak

On Sunday John started reading the ninth Magic Tree House book, Dolphins At Daybreak. Monday after school he finished it. Tuesday after school I gave him some questions. And THIS is the latest installment of Reading With John!

The Questions & Answers:

1. What was strange about Annie's dream?
Annie's dream was weird because Morgan's note was in it and Jack had the same dream.

2. How do you think Jack and Annie felt when they saw the tree house again?
Annie and Jack felt happy when they saw the magic tree house.

3. What did Morgan Le Fay ask Jack and Annie to do? Why?
Morgan asks them to find something 'hard as a rock, plain as plain can be, but inside me there is great beauty' to become Master Librarians.
[Karen's note: the kid has a mind like a steel trap sometimes! I would have said "solve a riddle" and he gave the whole riddle from memory!]

4. What do you think was the scariest part of their adventure?
The scariest part was the hammerhead shark.

5. What do you think was the most exciting part of the adventure?
The most exciting part was meeting Sukie and Sam.
[Karen's note: they are the Dolphins At Daybreak & he had them in his lunch Tuesday!]

6. If you could take a trip with the Magic Tree House, which book would you pick to travel to?
I would like to go to Frog Creek Woods so I would pick up a Magic Tree House book.

7. If Jack and Annie had a book about Syracuse, where do you think they should visit first?
I'd want them to go to Ed Smith School.

24 March 2015

Teaser Tuesday # 6

The Meme

The Tease
(I know - it's 3 sentences instead of 2. Blame spacing.)

The Book

Top Ten Tuesday - Books From My Childhood/Teen Years I Would Love To Revisit

It's another Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish! This time around we're revisiting books from our childhood & teen years. I have to admit that one thing that I'm most excited about with John is getting to revisit some of these with him over the next several years. Hopefully he'll love them even half as much as I did.

In no particular order ... and with no wordy explanations because I have piles of laundry to fold at work (again). And I know I cheat horribly since most are series. Deal.











23 March 2015

Rambling About.. Robin Stevens - Murder Most Unladylike

Oh how I love love LOVE this book!

Murder Most Unladylike (set to be released this April 21 as Murder Is Bad Manners in the US) is a murder mystery set at the Deepdean School for Girls in 1934 featuring 13-year-old sleuths Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong. Hazel narrates the tale in much the manner of Hastings for Poirot or Watson for Holmes. In fact, Daisy often calls Hazel "Watson." It suits her. (I generally like Watson more than Holmes -- and Hazel more than Daisy!)

From the back cover:

It's a spiffing tale. According to Amazon written "for" ages 9 to 12. Pshaw. All that means is that it's written without vulgarities and smut and no parts that I have to worry about not being able to read out loud around John. (I do that sometimes -- read my books out loud when he's around just to see if he bothers to pay any attention to me. Sometimes just to annoy him when he's trying to watch Netflix. I'm a mean mom. Or an awesome one. Whatever.)

Robin Stevens has created a truly wonderful little world with delightful (and despicable) characters. Part of me would love to see them jump onto the big screen. Part of me doesn't want it ever to happen for fear of literary butchery. Kind of like part of me desperately wants to know all about Daisy's uncle and part of me wonders if it might be best left with the snippets and mind-meanderings as it was in MMU. (You'll understand when you read it.)

If you like mysteries at all, get it. Wait until the US release if you must ... or order it directly from the UK like I did (and like I plan on buying the next in the series as soon as payday rolls around again).

17 March 2015

Teaser Tuesday # 5 -- Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens

The Meme

The Tease

The Book

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten on My Spring TBR List

I'm a scatter-brain. That's my only excuse for not doing a Top Ten Tuesday from The Broke and the Bookish in so long! Luckily, I actually logged in to my Bloglovin for the first time in ages and one of the top posts in my feed was someone's Top Ten Tuesday post. I'm avoiding folding laundry at work so here we go!

My Top Ten Spring To-Be-Read
(all covers are Amazon Associate links)

1. Death at the President's Lodging by Michael Innes
Published in 1936, this is the first on 37 books featuring Inspector John Appleby of Scotland Yard. 
I'm bothered and bewildered that this will be my first time reading any of them!

2. Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen
Because, you know, Hook is awesome. I kinda have a thing for pirates.

3. Irregardless of Murder by E. E. Kennedy
The first in a series of cozies featuring a high school English teacher in northern New York. 
There may even be an appearance by Champy (Lake Champlain's beloved sea monster)!

4. The Man In The Brown Suit by Agatha Christie
Continuing the Christie read-a-thon with her fourth. 
Off the top of my head I'm not sure if it's a read or a re-read.

5. Roast Mortem by Cleo Coyle
The ninth in the Coffeehouse Mystery series. 
Accidentally had it missing-in-action for months so the series has been, sadly, on hold.
I could have skipped over it and gone to the tenth but then I might cry.

6. The Winter Ground by Catriona McPherson
This is the fourth book in the Dandy Gilver series. 
You, therefore, should have plenty of time to catch up by the time I get to this to review.

7. The Collectors' Society by Heather Lyons
Alice is out of Wonderland, all grown up, and in New York City. Sure. I'll try.

8. Wrack and Rune by Charlotte MacLeod
I've missed Peter. That's all.

9. The Weed That Strings The Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley
I've missed Flavia, too.

10. Dreamwalker by Rhys Bowen & CM Broyles
Attempted once before. Hoping that by the time I get to it this time I'll be in a better frame of mind for it because I would really love to love this!

13 March 2015

Ach. Crivens!

Still totally and utterly smashed and teary-eyed over Sir Terry Pratchett's passing. Putting the amazing Murder Most Unladylike aside to read at least one -- quite possibly more -- Pratchett masterpieces.

I probably won't blog reviews about them because how many times can I type "utter genius -- just read it yourself" ???

If I don't resurface in a week or so, send out the Wee Free Men to come looking. Just have them listen for the endless sobs of wailey wailey wailey.

12 March 2015

Three months in ... and changing things up a bit

Yesterday (or the day before -- it's all a blur) I finished my 20th book of 2015 (not including the ones read with John).

I tried starting the next book on my TBR which should have been my "I" for the A to Z. I had it so hyped up in my head for so long and then got thinking "Wait. These are some of my favorite characters of all time. What if they screw them up???" and once I finally started reading it I think one eye was looking for problems and issues while the other eye was just trying to enjoy the ride.

Having your eyes doing different things at the same time can give you a headache.


I'm putting off "I" for a while. Hopefully I'll get to the point of being a little less uptight about it. Or find a new "I." Whatever.

Moving on with a totally random pick: Robin Stevens' Murder Most Unladylike (which will be released in mid-April in the US with the title Murder is Bad Manners ... because Americans don't understand what is and isn't "ladylike" perhaps???).

After that? Probably something else randomly picked. Life is stressful enough to try and follow any sort of plan for my reading. Even the looseness of the "alphabet-random-series-alphabet-Christie" got too stressful.

Randomization rules.


Until it doesn't.

11 March 2015

Deanna Chase's Demons of Bourbon Street

The third Jade Calhoun book! You can read the previous two rambles by clicking HERE. This is really a series that needs to be read in order so you aren't completely lost. (And, even then, you might get a little discombobulated from time to time.)
Good grief does Deanna Chase ever seem to enjoy putting her poor main character in turmoil! First Jade gets mixed up with ghosts haunting her apartment building and torturing her new friend/boss. Then she finds out that she's a witch. Then she battles a witch, Meri, who has gone black. Of course, Meri has dragged her boyfriend to Purgatory and is the same witch who twelve years ago trapped Jade's mother. Jade pretty much sucks at controlling her magic, has issues with the neighborhood guardian angel, and her ex-boyfriend ends up sacrificing himself in order to save Jade's mother -- who, of course, still treats Jade like a teenager instead of a 27 year old since time stands still in Purgatory. I guess.

At least she gets to have a lot of steamy scenes with the boyfriend (which I skip/skim for the most part) .... when, you know, they aren't being trapped or possessed or otherwise mixed up in Chase's twisted plan for their lives.

Seriously. I don't ever want to be a character in a Deanna Chase book.

This time around Jade, her friends and her coven are trying to get the ex-boyfriend, Dan, free from Meri's clutches.  Jade's mom is left behind in Idaho with Aunt Gwen, but gives some words of advice before they part ways:
 Her "solid escape plan" involves getting help from the angels -- including Dan's biological father (who happens to have been involved with Meri way-back-when). Of course, if you've read the first two installments you already know that angels in Chase's world haven't been all halos and wings and happiness. That hasn't changed. At all.
SO we have the still-snarky angel Lailah, the absentee-dad angel Philip, and as an added bonus there's an angel who's on Earth as a conservative televangelist trying to rid the world of witches -- and, more specifically, Jade. He feels her soul has been tainted and that she needs to be bound before she goes all black witch freaky on the world.
Souls (yes - multiple) are in danger. Lives are in danger. Witchcraft is in danger. Danger danger danger. Of course, that means there also ends up being battles and wins and losses and sacrifices. Yep .... it's a Deanna Chase book!

Seriously. I don't ever want to be a character in a Deanna Chase book. I enjoy the books but I definitely wouldn't want to live in one of them!

The next title is a short story (# 3.5) titled Engaged Off Bourbon Street. I'm guessing there'll be danger ... and we'll probably find out soon! (Not too soon, though. You know how I am about staggering series.)