Jar of Hearts' Author Video
June 18th, 2018 by diane92345

I reviewed Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier last week.  Today I have a video of the author talking about the book.

I totally agree with her assessment of a 16-year-old girl’s feelings. It is a confusing time. More important, I’m envious of the author’s bookshelves that are not wall to wall books.  I want to know what is on her to-be-read pile.

Here is a link to the first three chapters and here is the link to the book on Amazon.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: ,

Island of the Mad
June 16th, 2018 by diane92345

Mary and Sherlock are back to work in Island of the Mad.

Mary’s old friend Ronnie’s “mad” Aunt Vivian has disappeared. Returning early from a home visit to Bedlam, both Vivian and her caregiver never arrive. After a search fails to find her, Mary and Sherlock are enlisted into the search. Mary enters Bedlam undercover as a patient. Lady Vivian has reason to believe Bedlam is a safe harbor and her lifestyle before entering comes into question. The search continues among the rich internationals in Venice.

This is the first book in the series I’ve read and it works as a stand alone. However, some of the teases to what happened to Watson and Mrs. Hudson make me look forward to reading some of the earlier entries later. I selected this series because of glowing references to it in the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series by Vicki Delany.

This book is highly recommended to Sherlock Holmes fans. It is also great for historical fiction fans interested in the build-up to World War II in Europe. It’s 1925 and the fascists are afoot! I thoroughly enjoyed the well-researched Sherlock Holmes references along with all the characters. Mary, being a feminist, was especially enjoyable. 5 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Bantam Books, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Diane's Favorites, Historical Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: ,

Bone and Sinew of the Land
June 15th, 2018 by diane92345

Tells the true story of free African-American farmers’ struggles in early to mid-1800s.

The Northwest Territories of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin were initially free states where slavery was outlawed. As the area’s population grew, slavery was replaced by a lifetime of indentured servitude for many. Told through the eyes of one such free family, the book describes their struggles with the virgin farmland, neighbors, changing politics and harsh weather.

This well-researched tale is highly recommended for those interested in both African-American and midwestern history. 4 stars!

Thanks to Public Affairs and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Non-fiction Tagged with: , , ,

Spook in the Stacks
June 14th, 2018 by diane92345

Spook in the Stacks is an entertaining cozy mystery.  It is the fourth Lighthouse Library Mystery.

The Bodie Island lighthouse library is located on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Rich Jay Ruddle is looking for somewhere to house his historic documents.  The library and a local college are in the final round. At the same time, the library is holding several Halloween events in the days leading up to the holiday. During the first event, a murder occurs in the library.

I only read the third in the series before this one.  However, I had no problem keeping up with the large cast of characters and the characters are the best part of Spook in the Stacks. Everyone, even the difficult Louise Jane, are clearly differentiated and have reasonable motivations.  Teddy takes center stage in this series entry. But Lucy and Connor’s relationship are also featured. There is a paranormal element that is not resolved that hopefully will be revisited in book five.

Spook in the Stacks is a fun mystery for cozy fans. 4 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Crooked Lane Books, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: , ,

Quick and Easy Guide to They Them Pronouns Vol 1
June 13th, 2018 by diane92345

An important graphic novel about gender neutral pronouns and why they are important.

“Pronouns are great if you don’t know something or are lazy.”

However, they are increasingly problematic in a gender fluid world. Using humor, this guide gives all the tenses for common pronouns like he, she, they and ze while gently coaxing readers to use each person’s requested pronoun. The book explains that the question “what pronoun do you use?” is better than “which pronoun do you prefer?”. The second implies that gender is a choice.

The Quick and Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns Vol 1 is a useful reference for the non-binary population and their friends, family and co-workers. 4 stars!

Thanks to Limerence (Oni) Press and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Graphic Novel, Non-fiction Tagged with: , ,

Dark Nights: Metal
June 12th, 2018 by diane92345

Dark Nights: Metal was billed as the ultimate event from DC Comics.  Certainly, the book is filled with every hero and villain in their stable. In addition, there are a multitude of Easter eggs and call outs (literally—they are in little yellow boxes) to other DC Comics. Maybe the buildup made me expect too much…but I didn’t enjoy the plot very much.

It appears that 52 universes within the multiverse are not enough for DC. Underlying the multiverse is a dark multiverse ruled by Barbatos. There are also a bunch of metals that are not on the periodic table that will be used to create a door into it. Around that point in the book (25%), I decided that this was not the book for me but maybe a physicist that has also read every single DC Comic will like it.  I usually love Scott Snyder’s complex plots but this one was a bit much. I read the prequel first and I cannot imagine how confused I would have been if I had not.

Despite, or possibly because of, the crazy plot, the artwork was great!  I don’t want to give away any spoilers but some of the League are in for some sh*t and the art definitely goes there to illustrate it!  So 3 stars for the plot (and this big Scott Snyder fan has to cringe a bit to write it) and 5 for the art averages to 4 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, DC Comics, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Graphic Novel Tagged with: , ,

Jar of Hearts' Author Video
June 11th, 2018 by diane92345

Angela Wong’s body is found buried and dismembered fourteen years after her disappearance in Jar of Hearts.

DNA links the crime to Calvin James, aka the Sweetbay Strangler, who is ultimately found guilty of four murders.  His 16-year-old girlfriend at the time of the murder, Geo Shaw, is found guilty too but receives only a five-year sentence due to her testifying against Calvin.

Jar of Hearts tells the story of the trial, Geo’s prison time, and what happens when she gets out of prison.  Each section is based on one of the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I think it is best not to tell more of the plot.  Personally, I read a review that gave away the surprise twist ending, which is just rude.

The book is recommended for thriller fans.  How Geo survives in prison is an interesting story but the meat of the story is in the last two thirds after she gets out. There are some twists in the story and the ending is good so Jar of Hearts receives a solid 3 stars from me. Be aware that there is a rape scene and a sexual assault in the book if that bothers you.

Thanks to the publisher, Minotaur Books, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: ,

Lulu is a Rhinoceros
June 10th, 2018 by diane92345

Cute, well-illustrated picture book that explains why Lulu is a Rhinoceros.

Lulu looks like a bulldog to everyone but herself. She knows deep inside that she is a rhinoceros. To fix her lack of horn, Lulu tries on a banana peel and an upside-down ice cream cone. It is only when she meets a community that accepts her perception that she feels at home in her own skin.

It is the perfect little picture book for our gender-fluid times. Lulu is a Rhinoceros would be a good way to introduce the idea that the way you look may not match how you feel. While this is labeled a middle-school reader, it seems for younger children. It is recommended for families, like mine, that include transgender members or for children who might have their own gender dysphoria issues. 4 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Wicked Cow Books, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Children Tagged with: ,