21 Following

Riva's Reads

I read just about anything with words - especially cozy mysteries and urban fantasy.

Currently reading

Kitty Rocks the House (Kitty Norville, #11)
Carrie Vaughn
Loki’s Wolves
Kelley Armstrong, Melissa Marr
Beyond Sugar Shock: The 6-Week Plan to Break Free of Your Sugar Addiction & Get Slimmer, Sexier & Sweeter
Connie Bennett
Ghosts of 42nd Street
Anthony Bianco
Kevin Hearne

The Frog Princess (Tales of the Frog Princess)

The Frog Princess - E.D. Baker I discovered this series by browsing the YA shelves at Barnes & Noble. It looked like a cute idea. This volume lived up to my expectations. I really enjoy the strong heroine and the idea that young people can accomplish big things.

Once Upon a Curse (Preguel to the Frog Princess)

Once Upon a Curse - E.D. Baker Still more with Emma and Eadric. This was a little darker, and little more grown up, but still lots of fun. Grassina might have been a little over the top, but everything worked out well in the end. I can't wait until the fourth installment is out in paper.

Dragon's Breath (Tales of the Frog Princess)

Dragon's Breath - E.D. Baker The second in the series about Emma and Eadric, this is just as good as the first book. Emma comes into her own a bit more and realizes that she's not as hapless as she's always been told.

Modoc: The True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived

Modoc: The True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived - Ralph Helfer Helfer is the owner/operator of Africa, USA - the Hollywood company that supplied many of the animals for movies and TV shows; most notably Clarance the Cross-Eyed Lion and Judy the Chimp from Daktari (a series from the '60's). Modoc is the first elephant he had in his stable. Helfer met Modoc when she was already in her 30's. He later met (and worked with) Modoc's original handler (Bram Gunterstein) who told him Modoc's story. And what a story it is!! Modoc and Bram were born on the same day in a little German circus. They were shipwrecked in the Indian Ocean, adopted by an Indian maharajah, employed in the teak jungles, hijacked by rebels, brought to the US as star circus performers, separated by a cruel twist of fate, and later reunited by Helfer. It's animal adventure in the tradition of Lassie, Come Home or Lad, A Dog - and it's all true.

The False-Hearted Teddy: A Bear Collector's Mystery

The False-Hearted Teddy - John J. Lamb I had one little quibble with a legal matter in this story (I'm a law librarian in real life), but I really like this series. There's something really endearing about a retired policeman making artistsan teddy bears. The stories are easy reads, and I really like the characters.

Island of the Sequined Love Nun

Island of the Sequined Love Nun - Christopher Moore Take a down and out pilot who crashed a private jet while initiating a prostitute into the "Mile High Club", a talking fruit bat, a Micronesian cargo cult, an unreformed cannibal, and the black market organ transplant market; mix it thru the warped mind of Christopher Moore, and you have this book. Not the best of Moore, but anything by him is worth reading. I love his edgy comedy and his wordplay. I love the quirky characters he develops. Tucker Case, for instance, has a backstory that reads like a modern day Hamlet (except he's not dead yet). I love that regardless of how weird things get, there's a "happy" ending to the story. Not as good as some of Moore's other books - I liked both Lamb and Fluke better - it still belongs on the reading list for every Christopher Moore fan.

The Forgotten (Peter Decker & Rina Lazarus Novels)

The Forgotten - Faye Kellerman One of the better Decker and Rina novels, Faye Kellerman still has what it takes to write a gripping mystery/police procedural. While character development continues to be her strong suit, Kellerman gets the details right too. This is the 13th installment in this series, but you don't need to read the first 12 to enjoy this story or understand the characters. Kellerman finds logical ways to re-introduce material from earlier stories that is needed for continuity. Even if you've never read a Decker and Rina book, you'll be able to follow this one. The story starts with the Deckers' synagogue being vandalized. Soon, the kid who vandalized the synagogue is killed, as is his shrink. Decker, with Rina's help, has to figure out what the connection is. A very enjoyable read.

Imperium: A Novel of Ancient Rome

Imperium  - Robert Harris It started off OK, but it finished sort of 'meh'. Not bad, just not all that good. Very detailed, and seemed to be historically accurate (ancient Rome is not a well-known era for me), but for much of the book there really didn't seem to be anything happening. Guess political pot boilers aren't my cup of tea. I did enjoy Harris' writing style, so will probably read others of his work at some time.

Mistborn : Final Empire Series (Book #1) (Mistborn, Book 1)

Mistborn: The Final Empire  - Brandon Sanderson LOVE Mistborn - I will read everything Sanderson writes. He does a GREAT job with world building, and I'm really intrigued with the source of his characters' powers. Not the type of thing you see every day. I'm looking forward to the sequel, but will wait for it to come out in paperback.

The gutbucket quest.

The gutbucket quest. - ISBN 10: 0312864639 According to the Author Notes, Anthony lent his name to this one to help a down and out author. I'm not sure I buy that. The tone is too much like Anthony's. This book feels like a grown-up Xanth novel. There aren't as many puns, but then the book is written for an older audience and the "mature content" doesn't have to be disguised. I enjoyed the story and liked the "matter of factness" of the magic. There's no real explanation - it just IS. And, since my husband plays blues guitar (among other styles), I really enjoyed all the musical references. But, no musical knowledge is needed to understand or enjoy this story.

Off the Wall at Callahan's

Off the Wall at Callahan's - Spider Robinson This is a short collection of puns, epigrams, and other sentiments "written on the wall at Callahan's Crosstime Saloon". It was a quick read, but it was great to visit the folks at Callahan's again. I always enjoyed the stories by Robinson of the bar in NY where all sorts of folk - alien, time travelers, and 'regular' people - gather to pass the time.

The Crafty Teddy: A Bear Collector's Mystery

The Crafty Teddy: A Bear Collector's Mystery - John J. Lamb Just as satisfying as the first two in this series. I really get a kick out of the idea that a retired homicide detective would enjoy collecting and making teddy bears. Character development is what drives this series (for me at least). I love watching what happens next in the characters' lives. It helps that the mysteries are good too - at least, I don't figure them out easily. I sure hope Lamb can keep up the good work. While I'd love to have another story NOW - I'd rather have another GOOD story.

Belles on Their Toes

Belles on Their Toes - Frank B. Gilbreth Jr., Ernestine Gilbreth Carey As with most sequels, this is not as good as the original; but then, Father Gilbreth was such a vital part of the family that he was sorely missed in this second book. Still, I enjoyed reading about the further exploits of the Gilbreths and how they survived without Father. I did feel that the later years of the family (before the younger children left home) were not covered as well. Guess that's to be expected since the authors were no longer at home, but out making their own way in the world. I just missed the detail of the earlier years.

Dancing with Werewolves: Delilah Street, Paranormal Investigator

Dancing With Werewolves - Carole Nelson Douglas I really enjoyed this new offering by Douglas. Delilah Street is an investigative reporter who moves to Las Vegas and gets involved in solving a decades old crime. Delilah reminds me somewhat of Eve Dallas from the . . . In Death series by J. D. Robb - she's not quite as hard boiled, but the characters have similar backgrounds. More than just paranormal fluff, this book includes a gripping mystery and just enough sizzle to keep things interesting. I look forward to future titles in this series.

The House at Riverton: A Novel

The House at Riverton: A Novel - Kate Morton WOW!! What a great book! Morton has crafted a tale very Gothic in tone. Set at the end of the Victorian era, this is the story of love and tragedy; secrets kept and told. Grace is a young housekeeper at Riverton and becomes the lady's maid for the older Hartford sister. Now at the end of her long life, she records her memories for her grandson - memories that show the accepted versions of events in the lives of the Hartford girls were far from correct. A wonderful tale, this book keeps you guessing long after the last page is read.

The Bondwoman's Narrative

The Bondwoman's Narrative - Hannah Crafts I enjoyed this book, but would have edited/arranged it differently. Gates left in Crafts' strikeouts, misspellings, and grammar errors (for historical reasons). I understand his reasoning, and it was interesting to see some of the thought processes that went into the book, but it took a while to get used to. I'd read the strike outs in a sentence, then read the sentence as intended, then think about the differences that made in the meaning of the sentence - then I'd forget where I was and have to do it all over again. I would have preferred the novel to be presented first, in a polished form, with the historical notes and information about the edits following. I did enjoy reading how the manuscript was discovered and the things Gates did to try and find the author. It's really a neat story - and a historically important work. The podcast of Gates that I found was more about identifying the author of this book. Gates is a captivating speaker; I'd have loved having him for my history professor in college.