Books & Blog: October 1, 2018

Books of the Week: 

 

  • Lethal White, Robert Galbraith
  • Two for Sorrow, Nicola Upson
  • Night and Silence, Seanan McGuire
  • Magic Triumphs, Ilona Andrews
  • Friction, Sandra Brown
  • Out of Circulation, Miranda James
  • A Rule Against Murder, Louise Penny
  • What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank, Krista D. Ball
  • Rocky Mountain Cowboy Christmas, Katie Ruggle
  • Wild Hunger, Chloe Neill

 

It’s been so long since I wrote a B&B that I have scads of books to mention. I’ve been working on rewrites of A LONGER FALL, the next book in the Lizbeth Rose series. The first one (AN EASY DEATH) comes out tomorrow, and I hope you like it. I loved writing something so different, but at the same time, it’s a risk.

 

You can tell this is a really diverse list, and that’s not counting the ones I decided I didn’t like enough to include.

 

Everyone knows by now that Robert Galbraith is J.K. Rowling, famous for writing about a certain wizard. But the Galbraith books are mysteries, with nary a magic spell in the narrative. They are excellent books, however, and Lethal White is a great read. Don’t let its length scare you. Detective Cormorant Strike and his (now) business partner Robin Ellacott are hired by an irascible MP to spy on another MP, it all ties in with a visit by an obviously disturbed young man who tells Strike he has witnessed a child being murdered, long ago. Strike is dating a new woman, though the dreadful Charlotte, his obsession, makes an appearance, and Robin’s marriage is dead in the water. Robin’s and Cormorant’s personal lives all intertwine with the chaos of the MP’s family life to make a compelling mystery.

 

Two for Sorrow is Nichola Upson’s latest mystery featuring Josephine Tey (the Golden Age mystery writer) as a sleuth. Tey herself was a mystery in her personal life, and Upson does a wonderful job creating the writer as a human being. When a former prisoner turned seamstress is killed while working on a dress for Tey, she is drawn into the search for the killer.

 

I love just about anything by Seanan McGuire (whom I’ll be seeing this week at New York City ComicCon), and Night and Silence is no exception. It’s another October Daye adventure, and every bit as good as the preceding Toby books. Toby is trying to reconnect with her traumatized lover Tybalt, king of cats. In a ploy designed to draw Toby out, her human daughter Gillian is kidnapped . . . again.

 

I’ve been waiting for Magic Triumphs for what seems like a long time. Ilona Andrews has ended the Kate Daniels series with a real bang. Kate’s father is pushing at the boundaries of Atlanta, trying to provoke her, when another enemy she hadn’t even known she had delivers a box to her door with a clear threat inside. Kate has to fight on many fronts to survive and to ensure her child remains with her and Curran, her husband. But Curran has his own plans to ensure their safety . . ..

 

Sandra Brown and I live not too far from each other, but (unfortunately) our paths seldom cross. However, at least I can read her books. Friction is a great sampling of her strengths.  Texas Ranger Crawford Hunt wants to regain custody of his daughter from her grandparents, and Judge Holly Spencer is hearing the case. But a gunman in the courtroom changes everything, and their lives are altered forever.

 

Miranda James is my long-time friend, and I was appalled to find Out of Circulation under of a pile of other books, especially since I enjoyed it so much. James and I had much the same upbringing in the same state, and the Cat in the Stacks books always make me feel at home. Librarian Charlie Harris takes his Maine Coon cat, Diesel, with him to work and to call upon his friends. Diesel is good at picking out the right people to like, and the right people to distrust. When town terror Vera Cassity is murdered at a costume party, Charlie’s housekeeper, Azalea, comes under suspicion. Of course, Charlie has to prove her innocence . . . with Diesel’s help.

 

Here’s where I get to confess: despite all the praise Louis Penny has gotten, I had not read her until I picked up A Rule Against Murder.  Mea culpa. This adventure of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is set not in Three Pines, a village he often visits, but while Gamache is on vacation with his wonderful wife Reine-Marie. They’re both French-Canadian, and they’re both charming as they can be. Unfortunately, the Finney family is at the same hotel, and they are NOT charming, but really chaotic. To no mystery reader’s surprise, there is a murder in the family. You should pick up this series, if you haven’t already.

 

Krista D. Ball’s book, What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank (subtitled “A fantasy lover’s food guide”), is just fun. If you read a lot of fantasy, you know that stew just can’t appear in the pot of the many travelers through fantastic lands. You’ll learn how much water these questers must carry to survive their adventures. You’ll learn how to set snares to catch those rabbits they always roast over their fires . . . and much, much more.

 

Okay, I’m a Katie Ruggle sucker, even for a book that has a romancier title than I usually go for. Rocky Mountain Cowboy Christmas still delivers the adventure and the less-than-typical characters Ruggle specializes in creating. Shy artist Camille Brandt is horrified to find her cranky neighbor has sent out the search-and-rescue team to track her down, and even more horrified when she finds out her lifelong crush, Steve Springfield, has returned to town with his four kids and is the one who finds her. Just as charming as Ruggle’s other books.

 

If you read the Chicagoland Vampire series featuring Merit, Sentinel of Cadogan House, and her lover and leader Ethan, you will be primed and ready for Wild Hunger, in which their daughter Elisa returns from France to foster in another vampire house. Elisa has a big, big, secret, and only her childhood frenemy, Connor Keene, a shifter, knows it. But when danger threatens Chicago, Elisa has some decisions to make.

 

Whew. That’s it for a few weeks until I’m back at home.

 

Blog

 

Here I go, on the road again. First a bookshop in the Philadelphia area, then NYC Comic Con – half promoting the new book, half promoting the new season of “Midnight” – and then to infinity and beyond, or so it feels.

 

When I return from my book tour, I have three days to pack for our trip to England and Italy. Because I did something good in a previous life, I’ve been invited to teach a class and ride on the Orient Express with them, from London to Venice. Who could pass that up?  My husband decided to go with me (took 30 seconds to persuade him) and since we don’t often have a vacation, this will be a treat.

 

Like many seniors, I have to hope the shots in my knees hold out for the whole trip, but I’m taking my cane as a backup. That seems too pitiful, huh? Stepping off curbs has suddenly become a perilous sport.

 

But if some things in my life have changed, writing hasn’t. It’s still the most wonderful job in the world, and I love creating new worlds and new people. I’m really proud of AN EASY DEATH, and I hope you read it and enjoy it. I’ve just finished the sequel, and though I’m sure I have a lot of rewriting to do – again – it was another adventure I’m proud to have gone on. I’ve been writing now for thirty-eight years, and it’s never boring, and it’s never easy.

 

I love my job.

 

Charlaine Harris