The Spectators
April 6th, 2019 by diane92345

The Spectators is literary fiction but the two portions of the plot make strange bedfellows.

Mattie M. is a talk show host (think Jerry Springer) in the late 1990s. When a horrific school shooting is determined to be by hard-core fans of Mattie’s show, it opens a national discussion on the pros and cons of sensational television. It also reveals Mattie’s history as a disgraced NYC politician. In separate chapters, Mattie’s former lover, Semi, tells the story of the carefree 1970s NYC gay culture and how the 1980s’ AIDS crisis effected that culture.

I’m not sure who would be the perfect reader of this clearly divided book. The discussion on the talk show phenomenon appeals to me but not the gay culture portion of the book.  Others will feel the other way, I’m sure. The Spectators was not for me but perhaps it will be for you. 3 stars!

Thanks to Random House and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in Literary Fiction, New Books Tagged with:

Goldmine Record Album Price Guide
April 5th, 2019 by diane92345

With over 110,000 albums listed, the Goldmine Record Album Price Guide is the most comprehensive listing on the market.

This guide lists all albums that are worth at least $15 in near mint condition. In addition, it lists promo and dj copies when available. There is a section describing how to determine the condition of an album. This book includes very clear descriptions of how to tell the $250 copy from the $15 copy using color or changes in the album photo in addition to the catalog number. There are rock, folk, pop, jazz, country, soundtracks, and compilation albums included. Despite being 800 pages in length, it is very easy to find a particular album as they are alphabetized by artist or group name.

It is interesting to go through and see how much the albums from your youth are worth now. For example, Prince is worth more than both Madonna and Michael Jackson. Most of the pop and rock albums are only worth $15, which with inflation is probably what you paid for them. Not only that but trying to reach the near mint condition required to get the $15 basically means that you can’t have played the record much as even bent corners on the sleeve will downgrade the album. It appears that you will have better luck searching for 1960s jazz albums in thrift stores or pawn shops if you are hoping to find a profitable album. My only complaint is that I would like to see more pictures of the album covers in the listings. At most there are only a few per page. But that is a minor complaint. Overall, if you are interested in albums from the 1950s through the 1990s, the Goldmine Record Album Price Guide is the best choice out there. 4 stars!

Thanks to Krause Publications and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in New Books, Non-fiction Tagged with: ,

Ghost Manuscript
April 4th, 2019 by diane92345

Old manuscripts! Ghostly monks! Treasure! Ghost Manuscript has something for every adventure fan!

Carys is a rare book authenticator. When the eccentric old man who owns the rare Dark Ages library she is authenticating asks her to follow the leads in a sixth century manuscript to find a king’s burial site, Carys can’t resist. However, there are evil forces that are also looking for the site and they are willing to kill to get there first.

Moving from Boston to Scotland and back, Ghost Manuscript is an exciting ride! Carys is a female Indiana Jones trying to find the elusive burial site. While looking, she finds a love interest and reconnects to someone from her past. I thought the first half of the book was great but it did start dragging a bit around the 70% mark. Still, it is an adventure-packed thrill ride of a book! It is perfect for fans of Clive Cussler’s books. 4 stars!

Thanks to Post Hill Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with:

Kawaii Origami
April 3rd, 2019 by diane92345

Kawaii Origami combines the cute Japanese pop art with more traditional paper folding to create original art using only colored paper and a few simple tools.

If you or your crafty child love Japanese culture, this is a perfect choice for some fun-filled hours. The set includes fifty sheets of colored paper but I would highly recommend practicing on cheap copy paper first.

All twenty-five projects include a difficulty rating of one to five stars. Even the pictures of the five-star Twinkle Star and Flower Bowl look complicated but the results are correspondingly impressive. Many of the easier projects, like the one-star Lucky Stars, two-star Tea Bag, and three-star Cute Purse are pretty enough to display or give as gifts.

Spend a few hours being a maker and create some cute paper decorations using only Kawaii Origami and some scissors. Your choice of color will make each result uniquely your own. 4 stars for going beyond the usual frogs and birds of traditional origami books!

Thanks to Race Point Publishing and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in New Books, Non-fiction Tagged with: , ,

Crazy Cat Lady
April 2nd, 2019 by diane92345

It’s just a matter of rebranding. Repeat several times, “I’m not a Crazy Cat Lady. I’m a Cat Enthusiast.”

A humorous graphic look at what it means to be in love with your cat(s). The book is filled with cute illustrations and witty You Know You’re a Crazy Cat Lady When asides. There are also useful quizzes such as when your cat should get their own Instagram page, how to select your cat’s name, and how to make the perfect cat toy using common household objects. There are wise sayings regarding cats like “it’s not drinking alone when the cats are home.”

It’s nice to know that even in the Netherlands there are still crazy cat ladies. Crazy Cat Lady is the perfect gift for a cat owner—crazy or not. All owners will see themselves and their cats in these pages. 4 stars!

Thanks to Workman Publishing and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Graphic Novel, Humor, New Books Tagged with: ,

Bluff
April 1st, 2019 by diane92345

“Poker has its own moral universe. Lying is called bluffing. Deception is the norm.”—from the new humorous revenge thriller Bluff

Maud is convinced that her parent’s financial advisor, Burt, stole all their money. However, she cannot get anyone to believe her.

Broke, Maud plays online poker. Skilled at the game, she wins. When the online casinos are shuttered by the government, Maud turns to live games. Throughout it all, she continues to nurse her grudge with Burt.

One morning, she walks into the Four Seasons and shoots Burt. Luckily for Burt, he is able to shield himself with his lunch companion, and longtime friend, Sun. While Sun is in the ICU, his secrets begin to unravel leading to a domino effect on his entire social circle.

Structured like poker itself, Bluff manages to surprise at every turn. Plus it has many moves like tournament poker. Honestly, if you love thrillers where the motive is cunningly plotted revenge, you will love this tale as much as I do. 5 stars!

Thanks to Poisoned Pen Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in Diane's Favorites, Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: ,