November 27, 2022

2-star review of "Sour Puss"

Sour Puss (Mrs. Murphy, #14)Sour Puss by Rita Mae Brown
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I listened to this audiobook in two sessions, one on the drive from LA to Phoenix and the other on the return trip. I was hoping to hear more of how the animals spoke, but they seldom appeared in the beginning of the story, except for when they disrupted Harry and Fair's long-awaited wedding. There was a long, boring, scene where the experts on bioterrorism and chemical warfare discussed the subjects, which never came up later. Then more interminable TMI about viticulture and winemaking. I felt like I was hearing way too many lectures about subjects I had no interest in, and since it was an audiobook, I couldn't just skim it. It seemed forever until the first murder, not just the missing person, but knowing it was a murder. And that ending was way too gruesome to listen to.
I think I'll go back and read the earlier books in the series [11, 12 and 13] that I skipped because I wanted to hear an audio version. Then I'll give up. "Sour Puss" definitely soured me on this series.

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Posted by maggie at 11:38 AM | Comments (0)

November 17, 2022

5-star review of "O is for Outlaw" by Sue Grafton

O is for Outlaw (Kinsey Millhone, #15)O is for Outlaw by Sue Grafton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I can see from other reviews that quite a few readers were not as impressed with O is for Outlaw as I was. But compared with Sue Grafton's previous N mystery, which I gave 3 stars, this was a great improvement. The steps Kinsey took to put all the puzzle pieces together were completely understandable, although I can see why some readers were confused and put off by the two unrelated crimes that Kinsey had to unravel. However that only made her detective skills shine brighter, although there were so many characters involved that I sometimes had to go back to remind myself who a particular one was. But none of them were superfluous. I enjoyed the apartment manager sisters and their tarot card readings; Kinsey couldn't have solved the murder without their help. I also appreciated how the police detectives, after realizing that Kinsey had been set up, turned to her for assistance. And that ending! Although gruesome, I thought it was great. The murder only got what he deserved.

And after slogging through The Golden Enclaves's 30-page bloated chapters, I very much appreciated how short [less than 15 pages] and condensed the ones in this novel were. And as an author, I appreciate how tempting Grafton made it to read just one more chapter because they were so short.
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Posted by maggie at 12:59 PM | Comments (0)

November 10, 2022

planning Israel trip

Forgive the week-long blog absence, but I’m organizing a family vacation in Israel this summer for my second-oldest grandson to celebrate his bar mitzvah there instead of an expensive over-the-top reception in Los Angeles. Not that taking a dozen people, aged 3 to 76, won’t be expensive, but it will be an incredible experience once-in-a-lifetime experience. But trying to plan a trip that includes what all those folks want to see and do, as well as trying to get us all flights to Tel Aviv that arrive the same day [more or less] is like planning the Normandy Invasion.

Posted by maggie at 01:00 PM | Comments (0)

November 06, 2022

2-stars for "The Golden Enclaves" by Naomi Novak

The Golden Enclaves (The Scholomance, #3)The Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Another Scholomance novel with a long, tedious start that easily could have given readers the same information in half the words. It again annoyed me that the chapters are so long [25-35 pages] that I end up having to cease reading mid-chapter, which forced me to skim that chapter to find a logical stopping point. It really annoyed me how many thousands of ratings went up months—some even a year—before the book was published, way more than the number of ARCs would/could have been sent out.
Now for the complaints that are specific to this book, not just the series. 1] The gratuitous casual lesbian sex seemed completely out of character for our heroine, 2] the one sex scene with Orion came out of nowhere and was almost exactly the same as the one in Book Two, 3] Way too many unnecessary descriptions that pulled me out of the story, 4] Loose plot threads that go nowhere, characters who appear and then not heard from again, and 5] Last but not least, El has just gotten out of high school and now, suddenly, she’s the world’s most powerful wizard, the only one who can kill maw-mouths and that’s with a spell she just tosses out. What a disappointment from one of my favorite authors.
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Posted by maggie at 12:53 PM | Comments (0)

November 02, 2022

4-star review of "Claws and Effect" by Rita Mae Brown

Claws and EffectClaws and Effect by Rita Mae Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've enjoyed all the Mrs. Murphy mysteries I've read so far, and I've read them in order. But I've so many recommendations that the audiobooks have an interesting take on the talking animals that when I had a long drive scheduled this week, I decided to try this one to hear in the car. I wasn't that impressed with the animal voices, but I'm glad I tried it out. My main objection to mystery audiobooks is that it is inconvenient to go back to find where a particular clue was dropped. When driving, it is impossible [if I want to reach my destination safely]. So I'll continue to read Mrs. Murphy stories in print form.
As for Claws and Effect, I liked the hospital setting and seeing relationships deepen between the longterm characters. I had a pretty good idea who the murderer was, or at least one of the murderers since it wasn't clear how many there were. I could have done with less information about horses and hunting, but I did appreciate that the hunters always let the fox escape, and that we got to hear what the fox was thinking. I also liked the Underground Railroad involvement. But I though the ending was too abrupt; I wanted to know more of what happened to certain characters afterward.

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Posted by maggie at 10:25 AM | Comments (0)