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Mini-Reviews: A Roundup of Recent Reads, Part I

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Okay, since this lack of blogging/reviewing stuff on my part has now reached proportions of epic ridiculousness--I mean, seriously... how long has it been?--I've decided to do something never done before (erm, by me), and commit to writing some itty-bitty little reviews of the things I've read since... well, since last I put fingers to keyboard here. Sound good? Righty-o, then... and away we go!


The Gods of Guilt (Michael Connelly)

Connelly's cool legal eagle, Mickey Haller (first seen in The Lincoln Lawyer, as the attorney who conducts a major part of his work from the backseat of a chauffeured Lincoln Continental), is back for another case, this one involving someone from his past--a former client he'd befriended along the way, who used to be a prostitute, before Mickey helped her find another life path... or so he thought. Turns out, the ex-pro was still active, and something he did may have just gotten her killed. It's when someone else dies--again, because of Mi…

Luck be a Lady (or two)... an Interview with author Deborah Coonts

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Ahh, Las Vegas... a place unlike any other. The inescapable, mega-watt glitz of colorful lights blinking 24/7,  against a crazy, ever-present backdrop of electronic slot machine "music"... glamour, both ersatz and genuine, in the showy hotel facades with their exotic themes and lavish decor, and the exclusive designer shoppes tucked within their cavernous interiors... feather-and-glitter-clad cigarette girls and hostesses, rubbing elbows on the casino floors with cargo-shorts-and-flip-flops-wearing visitors and suit-wearing conventioneers... and all of it found every day of the year in a little desert oasis. Love it or hate it, it's something you've got to experience at least once.

Me, I love spending time there, for the sensory overload and feeling of escape. It isn't always feasible to go on a little road trip (or long plane ride, as the case may be) to indulge in all that is Vegas, though... which is why I enjoy Deborah Coonts' ongoing series set in Sin Cit…

The Year the Zombies Invaded the Con

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A long time ago in an itty-bitty town far, far away… there lived a bookish little girl, who’d been saddled by her peers with a (to her way of thinking) less-than-ideal nickname. No cutesy monikers flattering personality, energy, or looks for her; instead, what she got stuck with alluded to her undeniable geekiness (as though the oversized glasses and ever-present stack of books didn’t already make things clear enough).
Times have changed a lot since then, though (and hoo-boy, thank the Quantum field for that). Now, it’s actually cool to let your geek flag fly… to show off your knowledge of anything and everything, to sport nerdy (though rarely huge, thank you, fashion gods) spectacles, mismatched patterns, and thrift shop finds, and to revel in pursuits requiring brainpower instead of brawn.
Oh, and, to convene in unbelievably-ginormous numbers at yearly mega-conventions—aka “cons”—to celebrate things now part of pop culture which used to be seen as geeky or weird, from comic books and …

Monsters in the Wilds of Ohio

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Last year, when giving my two cents’ worth on Midnight Blue-Light Special(the second installment in Seanan McGuire’s urban fantasy “Incryptid” series, which you can catch up on/refresh your memory about, here), I mentioned a few things of which I have no knowledge whatsoever. (And no, nothing has changed on those fronts, in case you’re wondering… including my utter lack of skill with an onion.)

That brings me to another area in which I have no personal expertise: knowing what it’s like to be the eldest child (or the middle, youngest, or any other position in the familial pecking order, for that matter, being an only, myself). Sure, I can sort of imagine what it must be like, growing up with siblings—splitting the attention, resources, space, blame, responsibility, etc.—but I’ll never actually know.

Not so with Alex Price, star of the third “Incryptid” tale, Half-Off Ragnarok. The first-born child in a branch of the family hailing from a very long line of cryptozoologists (think of them …

Parts & Pieces

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Yes, it's been a ridiculously-long time since I last posted anything, I know. Sometimes, that's just the way the cookie crumbles... or life explodes, all Humpty Dumpty-ish.

My various pieces are mostly back in order, though, finally... so I'll try to show up more often.

Happy reading, one and all. :)

Like Wading Through a Field of Oatmeal

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Sometimes, reading just isn't fun. Slow starts, characters that don't grab me from the get-go, or a general feeling of "huh?" after x-amount of pages--those things just happen, now and then, sure. But when a book--one with excellent write-ups, no less--feels like wading through an endless field of oatmeal? Ugh. That is a special form of hell. 

But no, before anyone asks, I won't share what I'm reading right now. (Or "valiantly attempting to slog my way through", as is actually the case.) Perhaps putting it down and diving into something else will render the porridge-like tome more palatable in future, who knows? (And if so, I'll fill you in, then.) 

For now, though, there's always another book to read (and another, and...). I'll try to find something worthy, and see you soon. :)

The Fears that can't be Fought

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The world is full of scary things. And, while I’m as terrified by the thought of chainsaw-wielding lunatics (‘nuff said), friendly sociopaths (mainly the ones with a horde of dead bodies stashed in their basements), and evil clowns (who, let’s face it, are just plain creepy even when it’s only your Uncle Bob wearing a layer of grease paint and a stupid red nose) as the next person, those aren’t the things that really give me the heebie-jeebies.
What scares the living daylights out of me--turning run-of-the-mill dreams into nightmares--is quite ordinary. Losing control of my car and plunging over a cliff. Getting hopelessly lost--and running really late--in a humongous airport, all alone. Slipping through the treads of an open staircase, and falling to certain death below. In other words, Normal Stuff that Doesn’t Happen Only in the Movies. (Okay, maybe that last one isn’t too likely, but it’s my bad dream.)
The uniting theme is being powerless when something bad happens... a concept whi…

The Wearin' of the Green (fun placeholder)

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Hello out there! Yes, it really has been forever and a day (erm, at least) since I posted. Just one thing after another, so far this year... which is frustrating, since I've had two separate reviews started--and waiting--on my desktop for... [gulp]... a looong time, now. Ah, well... I promise something new, soon. Really. :)

For now, please enjoy a little boycat, in the spirit of all-things-Irish day. (And no, if you rub/kiss on his belly three times, it does not automatically confer good luck upon you. It does, however, win you purrs, which is a whole 'nother sort of wonderful magic.)


Cleanin' Up Evil... with a Broom, Some Fangs, and a Bit of Fur

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A bed-and-breakfast, to me, involves a large Victorian house--bedecked with ornate, pastel gingerbread on the outside, with uncomfortable sofas protected by embroidered antimacassars, ruffled floral curtains, and old porcelain pitchers full of cut flowers perched precariously on doily-covered, three-legged tables, on the inside--sitting on a large corner lot in a quaint small town, and run by a nice, older couple clad in matching cardigan sweaters. (And no, I’ve never actually been in a B-and-B, in case you’re wondering.)
Something that’s definitely never been part of that picture, though, is for said establishment to be run by a young witch (complete with broomstick and some crazy-ass magic powers), or for a werewolf to be living just down the street. 
Trust Ilona Andrews to think of those quirky little touches--suddenly making a B-and-B sound like a much-more interesting place--in the nifty new urban fantasy, Clean Sweep.
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Twenty-something Dina Demille runs the Gertrude Hunt Bed-…

Hospital of Death: Patients' Worst Nightmares, Come to Life

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No one likes going to the hospital... not as a visitor, and certainly not as a patient. Could there be a scarier, more vulnerable position to be in, than spending time on an uncomfortable bed in a strange, sterile room, clad only in a skimpy gown that flaps open in the back... anxiously awaiting tests, treatments, or (gulp) surgery? 
That last is, I think, the absolute worst of the worst... “going under the knife”. (Who in their right minds would want to find themselves under a sharp-pointy-stabby thing?!)
Consider the near-absolute power which surgeons wield... armed with their scalpels (and all those other scary-looking things that grab, grip, swab, cut, and so on); surrounded by an array of ridiculously-expensive, beeping and humming machines; and aided by a number of other individuals, each with her or his own job to do (or not); all crammed into one small operating room, with your naked body lying helpless on the cold hard table... and your life in their hands.
The hope, of course, …

Life and Death Behind the Robe

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I’ll never be a trial lawyer, yet have a fair idea of what they go through (no doubt seeing as it’s well-trod ground in countless books, shows, and movies). I haven’t had jury duty, but have no trouble putting myself in a jurist’s shoes. And, although I’ve never been (nor ever will be, knock on wood) the defendant in a court case, it’s easy enough to imagine how awfully fraught that situation must be. 
Being the judge, though--the mysterious, all-powerful figure who sports those flowing robes and rules like royalty in his/her courtroom--well, picturing just what that’s like is another matter. Until now, that is. Enter newcomer Michael Ponsor into the fray of legal thrillers with his stellar debut, The Hanging Judge.

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It’s just another ordinary morning in an urban neighborhood in Holyoke, Massachusetts... until, that is, a drive-by shooting leaves a drug dealer and an innocent bystander--a nurse on her way to put in a shift at the lower-income clinic she volunteered at--d…