Divided in Death by J.D. Robb – Audio Edition

Posted by on Nov 3, 2017 in 2017, 3.5 stars, Audio, Book Review, JD Robb | 2 comments

Divided in Death by J.D. Robb narrated by Susan EricksenDivided in Death by J.D. Robb narrated by Susan Ericksen

Genre: Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Series: #18 in the In Death series
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication Date: 2004
Length: 12 hours, 10 minutes
Narrated by: Susan Ericksen
Source: Library

The Book:
From the publisher:

Reva Ewing was a former member of the Secret Service, and then a security specialist for Roarke Enterprises—until she was found standing over the dead bodies of her husband, renowned artist Blair Bissel, and her best friend. But Lieutenant Eve Dallas believes there was more to the killing than jealous rage—all of Bissel’s computer files were deliberately corrupted.

To Roarke, it’s the computer attack that poses the real threat. He and Reva have been under a code-red government contract to develop a program that would shield against techno-terrorists. But this deadly new breed of hackers isn’t afraid to kill to protect their secret—and it’s up to Lieutenant Eve Dallas to shut them down before the nightmare can spread to the whole country.

My Thoughts:
This series has long been a guilty pleasure of mine. The mix of police procedural, romance and just slightly in the future science fiction elements is a lot of fun. Now that I’m listening to the audio editions instead of reading the print editions I’m enjoying it even more.

Susan Ericksen does a fabulous job of narrating this series. She creates recognizable character voices with a variety of accents. Even though she is female her voice for Roarke is yummy.

In this volume Eve and Roarke are at odds with each other for most of the book so it’s a little lighter on the romance than other books in the series. The identity of the perpetrator is known about halfway through the books so it changes from a ‘whodunnit’ to a ‘How with they catch ’em’ with a side of ‘Will Eve and Roarke be OK?’.

Peabody continues to be my favorite supporting character. She and her boyfriend/fellow cop are so delightfully earnest and funny. I love them.

 

Rating
3.5 stars 3.5/5 for the book

4 stars 4/5 for the narration

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A Second Chance by Jodi Taylor

Posted by on Oct 27, 2017 in 2017, 3.5 stars, Book Review, Jodi Taylor | 0 comments

A Second Chance by Jodi Taylor A Second Chance by Jodi Taylor

Genre: Science Fiction
Format: Ebook, Trade Paperback
Series: The Chronicles of St Mary’s #3
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Publication Date: 2013
Pages. 317
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

Behind the seemingly innocuous facade of St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research, a different kind of academic work is taking place. Just don’t call it “time travel”—these historians “investigate major historical events in contemporary time.” And they aren’t your harmless eccentrics either; a more accurate description, as they ricochet around history, might be unintentional disaster-magnets.

In A Second Chance, it seems nothing can go right for Max and her fellow historians. The team confronts a mirror-stealing Isaac Newton and later witnesses how the ancient and bizarre cheese-rolling ceremony in Gloucester can result in CBC: Concussion By Cheese.

Finally, Max makes her long-awaited jump to Bronze Age Troy, only for it to end in personal catastrophe. And just when it seems things couldn’t get any worse, it’s back to the Cretaceous Period to confront an old enemy who has nothing to lose.

My Thoughts:
I don’t get too worried about the ‘correct science’ of time travel stories and I was pleased to read this comment from the author at the beginning of the first book in this series:

I made all this up. Historians and physicists – please do not spit on me in the street.

After reading the second book in the series back in April I decided not to let too much time pass before continuing with the series. I think this one is my favorite in the series so far. I have a feeling that this is a series that I’ll go back and reread in the audio format. The author has written many short stories related to the series and I have the audio editions of those

The important thing to know is that even though the story jumps around in time (including to future and past St. Mary’s) it’s imortant to read the serie in order and start with the first (Just One Damned Thing After Another).

The story is told by Madeline (Max) Maxwell with a good bit of sarcasm and humor in between the brushes with death.

The major mission in this one is to observe Troy before the war started and then go back 10 years later to find out what really happend when Troy fell. For these missions the team spent months in the past. There’s some pretty brutal violence in this part. You can’t really tell the story of the fall of Troy without it. Other missions include the battle of Agincourt and a couple of other short missions.

It’s not great literature but it’s good light escapist fun.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5

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The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie

Posted by on Oct 17, 2017 in 2017, 3.5 stars, Agatha Christie, Book Review, Uncategorized | 0 comments

The Body in the Library by Agatha ChristieThe Body in the Library by Agatha Christie

Genre: Mystery
Format: Trade Paperback and Ebook
Series: #3 in the Miss Marple series
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: 1942 Originally, 2011 This Edition
Pages: 207
Source: Library

The Book:
From the publisher:

It’s seven in the morning. The Bantrys wake to find the body of a young woman in their library. She is wearing an evening dress and heavy makeup, which is now smeared across her cheeks. But who is she? How did she get there? And what is the connection with another dead girl, whose charred remains are later discovered in an abandoned quarry?
The respectable Bantrys invite Miss Marple into their home to investigate. Amid rumors of scandal, she baits a clever trap to catch a ruthless killer.

My Thoughts:
It’s been a while since I read a Miss Marple book. I wanted something short after finishing a chunkster and this was on my ereader. I was just what I needed. A classic mystery with just enough touches of humor.

This time around Miss Marple is one of several people investigating the murder both professional and amateur. Mrs. Bantry wants to be part of the investigation after she invites her friend Jane Marple to find out what happened. She wants the murder solved to prove her husband didn’t have anything to do with it but she doesn’t mind having a little fun along the way. Multiple police departments are involved as well as a retired Scotland Yard commissioner. Of course, Miss Marple is the one who solves the case.

I enjoyed this one partly for the characters and partly for the mystery. I had some guesses along the way but wasn’t sure before Miss Marple explained it all.

Now that I’ve read a few Miss Marple books I’m planning to start the Hercule Poirot series.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5

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Queen & Country Vol. 7: Operation Saddlebags

Posted by on Jun 29, 2017 in 2017, 3.5 stars, Book Review, Comics, Greg Rucka | 0 comments

Queen & Country Vol. 7: Operation Saddlebags by Greg RuckaQueen & Country Vol. 7: Operation Saddlebags by Greg Rucka with art by Mike Norton and Steve Rolston

Genre: Spy Thriller, Comics
Format: Collected Trade Paperback
Series: #7 in the Queen & Country series
Publisher: Oni Press
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 144
Source: Library

The Book:
This volume 7 is a compilation of issues 25-28 of the comic series.
From the publisher:

Still recovering from the death of her co-worker and lover, Tara Chace is granted a brief reprieve from London’s rain and MI6’s bureaucracy. This emotionally charged vacation take Chace to the slopes of Switzerland for a visit with old friends and family. But being an agent for Her Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service leaves very little time for rest and Chace is quickly thrown into another mission of national importance. A junior minister with close ties to the Prime Minister appears to be selling state secrets to the Russians, and the Minders are assigned to quietly investigate. Tara is forced to walk a tight rope between the violent dangers inherent in the field of espionage and the discretion inherent in the bureaucracy of the government, all the while assuming the new position of Minder One and field-testing a new agent.

My Thoughts:
Another excellent volume in this well done spy thriller series.

Tara Chase is a spy for the British Government. She’s got issues and in the first issue she faces one of the major ones. Her mother. Tara’s time off is anyting but restful as she visits and clashes with her mother.

Once back at work, Tara is now the leader of her team. They have mission to find out what if anything a junior diplomat might be shopping to the Russians. Tara’s got a rookie agent with her on this one and things do not go well and not just because of the newbie. Real spies aren’t like James Bond. Sometimes they make mistakes.

This is tense and exciting spy thriller fiction. I like the recurring characters but there is always something and someone new with each story arc.

As is typical for this series there is a new artist for most of this story arc. While Steve Rolston returned for the first issue which has Tara’s trip to Switzerland. For the final three issues and the majority of the volume Mike Norton is the artist. I liked his work a lot. It’s all pretty stark black and white and the action in portrayed well.
You can see an excerpt here on Greg Rucka’s website

As I’ve said before, if you’re a fan of Homeland and/or The Americans you should check out this series.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5

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Imitation in Death by J.D. Robb – Audio Edition

Posted by on Jun 23, 2017 in 2017, 3.5 stars, Audio, Book Review, JD Robb | 0 comments

Imitation in Death by J.D. Robb narrated by Susan EricksenImitation in Death by J.D. Robb narrated by Susan Ericksen

Genre: Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Series: #17 in the In Death series
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication Date: 2003
Length: 14 hours, 14 minutes
Narrated by: Susan Ericksen
Source: Library

The Book:
From the publisher:

Summer, 2059. A man wearing a cape and a top hat approaches a prostitute on a dark, New York City street. Minutes later, the woman is dead. Left at the scene is a letter addressed to Lieutenant Eve Dallas, inviting her to play his game and unveil his identity. He signs it, ‘Jack.’

Now Dallas is in pursuit of a murderer who knows as much about the history of serial killers as she does. He has studied the most notorious and the most vicious slayings in modern times. But he also wants to make his own mark. He has chosen his victim: Eve Dallas. And all Eve knows is that he plans to mimic the most infamous murderers of all — starting with Jack the Ripper…

My Thoughts:
This series has long been a guilty pleasure of mine. The mix of police procedural, romance and just slightly in the future science fiction elements is a lot of fun.

When I read the previous book in the series it was the first one I’d listened to instead of reading. I will not go back to print for this series. Susan Ericksen is an excellent narrator. Her accents and voice characterizations for the regular characters match perfectly with what my brain created when I read the print editions.

The mystery in this one was interesting and the investigation kept me guessing.

My favorite supporting character in this series is Eve’s aide Peabody. She cracks me up. In this book she’s nervously studying and preparing for her detective’s exam. The utterly predictable outcome had me a little teary with joy.

 

Rating
3.5 stars 3.5/5 for the book

4 stars 4/5 for the narration

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Fairest Vol. 1: Wide Awake by Bill Willingham

Posted by on May 26, 2017 in 2017, 3.5 stars, Bill Willingham, Book Review, Comics | 0 comments

Fairest Vol. 1: Wide Awake by Bill WillinghamFairest Vol. 1: Wide Awaye by Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges with art by Phil Jiminez, Andy Lanning, et al.

Genre: Fantasy, Comics
Format: Trade Paperback Comics Collected Edition
Series: #1 in the Fairest series
Publisher: Vertigo
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 160
Source: Library

The Book:
This volume 1 is a compilation of issues 1-7 of the comic series.
From the back cover:

Love’s labors lost and found

They call her Sleeping Beauty, but life’s always been ugly for Princess Briar Rose. Cursed at birth by a pissed-off fairy godmother, she wound up acting as a one-woman weapon of mass destruction against the Adversary in the last days of his war against the Free Fables. She won the day, but at the cost of sending herself into a permanent nap from which one true love’s kiss can awaken her. Few would have guessed that it would be Ali Baba, Prince of Thieves, who would rise to the challenge–or that he;d be accompanied by an obnoxious, not-quite-a-genie sidekick. But as Briar Rose’s true origin is revealed, can this no-longer-sleeping beauty and her Prince Charmless escape the cold fury of the Adversary’s former right-hand woman–the icily regal Snow Queen?

My Thoughts:
I’m glad to move on from Mr. Dark. This volume has a couple of major story lines. I really enjoyed the one that focused on Bigby Wolf and Snow White’s children. One of them will take over in their grandfather’s place as the king of the North Wind. The children are subjected to a series of tests to determine which of them is the rightful heir. It’s a bit odd and fun but also a tad bit dangerous.

The second major story involved Bufkin and his crew traveling through Oz. I usually enjoy Bufkins adventures but this time around it just didn’t click with me for some reason. It was okay but I didn’t enjoy those parts of the book as much as I did the rest.

In addition, there are a couple of other stories. I really enjoyed Rose Red’s version of A Christmas Carol.

The artwork throughout was wonderful. The majority is by Mark Buckingham. He’s done most of the Fables series and I always enjoy his work The final issue is done by several artists and the variety of styles works well with the series of short tales that are not part of the main ongoing storyline.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5

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