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The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag: A Flavia de Luce Mystery

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Bradley is too concerned with the female mind. Flavia attributes far too much in the story to some inherent mental gender. It's distracting and out of character. Otherwise, I was delighted to accompany young Flavia on another adventure.
Thud!: (Discworld Novel 34)

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Commander Vimes never has enough time. He's got an ever-expanding watch to supervise including their first-ever vampire watchman, a brewing war between trolls and dwarves to quell, and baby Sam expects their daily picture book reading of Where's My Cow? to begin at 6pm on the dot, no excuses. When an extremist dwarf is murdered, apparently by a troll, Vimes is determined to get to the bottom of it, even if the bottom is buried deep beneath the site of a legendary battle of dwarf vs. troll. With help from a pocket organizing demon (a hilarious running joke on Blackberries) from Lady Sybil, Vimes may just be able to find out what those extremist dwarves are up to under Ankh-Morpork, how they're connected to a stolen mural, what really happened in the legendary battle between dwarves and trolls, and still manage to read to young Sam. Of course, he may have to do all of that at once while battling an ancient dwarf curse lodged in his consciousness. Thud! is as funny, insightful and entertaining as any of Pratchett's other Discworld novels, and is deftly organized around Vimes' daily reading of Where's My Cow?, young Sam's favorite picture book. At the climax, Vimes' investigation of the budding dwarf/troll war entwines with the text of Where's My Cow with hilarious results.
Going Postal: (Discworld Novel 33)

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I usually prefer Discworld books with familiar characters like Esme Weatherwax, but I'm glad to have met Moist Von Lipwig. A life of cons, theft and deception seems to have finally caught up with Moist. He's used to getting out of any spot no matter how tight, but there aren't a lot of ways out of a noose at a public hanging. Much to Moist's surprise, instead of waking up dead, he wakes up with a sore neck and a job offer from the Patrician - overhaul the totally defunct Ankh Morpork post office or die, for real this time. Moist chooses a life of letters, and Mr. Pump, his own personal golem body guard, makes sure he sticks to it. Moist is a man of action who thinks on his feet, leaps before he looks and constantly raises the stakes. His spontaneity contrasts nicely with the controlled, corrupt corporate machinery of the clacks company, the only working message service in Ankh Morpork until Moist gets the post office moving again. The clacks company may be huge and profitable, but the men at the top are too focused on their own embezzlement to notice when Moist, being one of the few living experts on the subject, gives them just enough rope to hang themselves by.
Dead in the Family

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(This review doesn't spoil the mysteries in book 10, but it does include some plot summary and references to the previous books.) This book isn't going to change my life or improve my mind, but I could barely put it down. Healing, exhausted and jumpy from her ordeal with two evil fairies in book 9, Sookie tries to pick up the pieces of her life, but is, of course, drawn into more supernatural drama. Her cousin Claude moves in for some fae company, but may have an ulterior motive as well. Eric's maker shows up with an undead member of the Russian royal family. Bill is wasting away from the silver poisoning he suffered while rescuing Sookie in book 9. Sam is seeing a super aggressive werewolf. And Victor, Eric's new supervisor, has got to go. To top it all off, the gateways to the fae world are supposed to be closed for good, so why do the werewolves smell a strange new fairy on Sookie's land? Oh, and a body. There's a mystery body buried on Sookie's land as well, and it's not Debbie Pelt. I was intrigued to see how Harris would handle Sookie after the culminating events in book 9. Up until now, Sookie has been able to bounce back from injury and adversity fairly quickly, but taking part in the short but deadly fae war seems to have changed her for good, as it well should have. Harris really ups the ridiculousness ante with this book. Did I mention the Russian royalty? Yeah, I'm not kidding about that. We also see death at every turn, fairy spells, psychedelic werewolf drugs, a Shaman shortage, and the trials of raising a telepathic child. Sookie is the thread that ties all of the ridiculousness together, and makes it just believable enough to be totally addictive and thoroughly entertaining.
The Charming Quirks Of Others: An Isabel Dalhousie Novel

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Isabel is as enjoyable as ever. Interestingly, in this book, we get a few half glimpses into Jamie's mind.
The Swan Thieves

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It's hard to imagine readers who are not interested in painting enjoying this book. Kostova describes artwork vividly, and is especially good at conveying the mood paintings evoke in viewers. I enjoy such rich descriptive detail about the art, but it can be verbose and tiresome in the rest of the book. All three of her main narrators seem to have the same remarkable gift for recalling detail and expressing it floridly. These three characters are clearly Kostova instead of developed, believable individuals. It's like seeing a ventriloquist's lips moving. Even so, the story is compelling, and the ending is satisfying. The main mystery twists and reforms itself rapidly in the last few chapters before neatly tying the story lines together. I enjoyed reading it, but am not likely to pick it back up for a second go-round.
The Language of Bees

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I started this book twice. On my first reading, I got about 20 pages in before I decided I really had to go back and reread the previous book. All of King's Russell mysteries are connected, but this is the first direct sequel. King seems to have improved her skill with this installment. Russell's world is richer, more detailed and includes more interesting side characters. The greenman character, Robert Goodman, was particularly memorably - a believable mortal character, he also strikes Mary as benevolent forest spirit, and seems to symbolize the simple, earthy way of life being suffocated by the after effects of WWI and industrialization. I also enjoyed the "lady doctor" who made a few brief but pleasing appearance in The Language of Bees. I hope to see her again in future installments.
Hotel Paradise

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Hotel Paradise was better than I expected though not as good as some of the critics quoted on the cover claim. The characters are engaging, the setting is rich and clear, and the pacing is well done. When she's not waiting tables at the hotel owned by her shut-in great aunt and run by her industrious mother, twelve-year-old Emma helps the sheriff write parking tickets, sips soda at the town diner, and generally pokes her nose in where it doesn't belong. Fascinated by a young girl who drowned mysteriously 40 years prior, Emma sifts through old newspapers, visits the girl's abandoned family home, and interviews just about everyone over 40 in her town and the next. Like young Flavia De Luce of The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, Emma doesn't relate to kids her own age, but keeps to herself and lives more in her own head than anywhere else. Although I'm a Flavia fan, Grimes writes Emma so believably it's easy to forget all about Flavia while reading. I wouldn't say Grimes writing is "poetry" as one critic suggests, but Emma is fully human - excited, confused, variable, in love with her mother's cooking, growing up in fits and starts, and sometimes questioning her own sanity - and I'm looking forward to finding out where she goes next.
The Sherlockian

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I almost didn't pick up this book, but I'm glad I did. It's good fun if you like mysteries. Bram Stoker as Conan Doyle friend and accomplice is delightful.
Darker Still: A Novel of Magic Most Foul

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I can't resist Hieber because I do love a good ghost story, and hers are very entertaining. Darker Still is as heavy-handed as her novels about the Guard, which is not helped by the fact that Still's heroine is a little annoying. As usual, Hieber is at her best when describing magical transformations and thresholds. She also more than hints at future novels following these characters, and while I don't find her writing particularly edifying or inspiring, it is damn hard to put down. I'd pick up the sequel, annoying heroine or no.
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