Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (52)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.  So here's a thing I'm looking forward to: The White Magic Five and Dime, by Lisa Falco and Steve Hockensmith (8 July 2014).

Much to Alanis McLachlan's surprise, her con-woman mother, Barbra, has left her an inheritance - The White Magic Five & Dime, a new-age shop in tiny Berdache, Arizona. Reluctantly traveling to Berdache to claim her new property, Alanis decides to stay and pick up her estranged mother's tarot reading business in an attempt to find out who killed her. With help from a hunky cop and her mother's live-in teenage apprentice, Alanis begins faking her way through bogus tarot readings in order to win the confidence of her mother's clients. But much to her surprise, the more she uses the tarot deck, the more Alanis begins to find real meaning in the cards.


I have a thing for tarot cards. I'd started collecting decks (mostly for their artwork or quirkiness) long before I met my husband, who had about 70 of his own at the time--he's a professional reader, though he doesn't have a regular gig now that he doesn't work the Ren Faire any more. So this premise is interesting to me to start with.

I'm also a fan of one of the authors, Steve Hockensmith, whose cowboy detectives Big Red and Old Red (inspired to take up deducifying by reading about Sherlock Holmes in The Strand) were great fun. So I'll happily take a chance on this new series.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (51)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. So here's a thing I'm looking forward to: Landline, by Rainbow Rowell (8 July 2014).

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it's been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply - but that almost seems besides the point now.

Two days before they're supposed to visit Neal's family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can't go. She's a TV writer, and something's come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her - Neal is always a little upset with Georgie - but she doesn't expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her. When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she's finally done it. If she's ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It's not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she's been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .

Is that what she's supposed to do? Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened? 


I really enjoyed Rainbow Rowell's novel Fangirl, so now I'm looking into her other stuff. This has an odd premise, but I like odd.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (50)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. So here's a thing I'm looking forward to: A Plunder of Souls, by D.B. Jackson (8 July 2014).

Boston, 1769: Ethan Kaille, a Boston thieftaker who uses his conjuring to catch criminals, has snared villains and defeated magic that would have daunted a lesser man. What starts out as a mysterious phenomenon that has local ministers confused becomes something far more serious.

A ruthless, extremely powerful conjurer seeks to wake the souls of the dead to wreak a terrible revenge on all who oppose him. Kaille's minister friends have been helpless to stop crimes against their church. Graves have been desecrated in a bizarre, ritualistic way. Equally disturbing are reports of recently deceased citizens of Boston reappearing as grotesquely disfigured shades, seemingly having been disturbed from their eternal rest, and now frightening those who had been nearest to them in life. But most personally troubling to Kaille is a terrible waning of his ability to conjure. He knows all these are related...but how? When Ethan discovers the source of this trouble, he realizes that his conjure powers and those of his friends will not be enough to stop a madman from becoming all-powerful. But somehow, using his wits, his powers, and every other resource he can muster, Ethan must thwart the monster's terrible plan and restore the restless souls of the dead to the peace of the grave.


The previous novels in this series have been a very interesting mix of historical novel and urban fantasy, and this installment promises more of the same. I'm a little worried that they may be getting too dark for me, but I'll give it a try anyway.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (49)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. So here's a thing I'm looking forward to: The Care and Management of Lies, by Jacqueline Winspear (1 July 2014).

By July 1914, the ties between Kezia Marchant and Thea Brissenden, friends since girlhood, have become strained - by Thea's passionate embrace of women's suffrage, and by the imminent marriage of Kezia to Thea's brother, Tom, who runs the family farm. When Kezia and Tom wed just a month before war is declared between Britain and Germany, Thea's gift to Kezia is a book on household management - a veiled criticism of the bride's prosaic life to come. Yet when Tom enlists to fight for his country and Thea is drawn reluctantly onto the battlefield, the farm becomes Kezia's responsibility. Each must find a way to endure the ensuing cataclysm and turmoil.

As Tom marches to the front lines, and Kezia battles to keep her ordered life from unraveling, they hide their despair in letters and cards filled with stories woven to bring comfort. Even Tom's fellow soldiers in the trenches enter and find solace in the dream world of Kezia's mouth-watering, albeit imaginary meals. But will well-intended lies and self-deception be of use when they come face to face with the enemy?


This straight historical novel is a bit of a departure from the author of the Maisie Dobbs mystery series (set after World War I), but I'm a fan of her writing and interested in the period, so I'll gladly give this a try.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Time and Again

by Jack Finney.

Artist Simon Morley is, at worst, only vaguely dissatisfied with his job at an ad agency, drawing bars of soap from every angle, when a total stranger approaches to offer him the chance of a lifetime: to be part of a government project so secret that Si has to say yes or no without even knowing what the project actually does. He says yes, and learns that the mysterious project is investigating the theory that time is not linear, but that all moments exist simultaneously, so that it should be possible for him to walk into the Dakota apartments in New York in the 1970s--and simply walk out in 1882.

Now, I normally try to talk about books without spoilers just in case somebody might want to read one (first rule of book talks for librarians, in fact--one of the things I learned in grad school was how to make a book sound kind of interesting without giving anything vital away). But I have to say something about the ending here, and I think the spoiler statute of limitations on this one ran out long ago.

So here's the thing. I have read a lot of science fiction over the years, and I am also really fond of historical novels, so both sides of this story appealed to me. I have also read a lot of 19th-century novels, so I'm not put off by a leisurely pace. So far, so good; I really enjoyed the story.

But then the author drops a variation of the venerable Grandfather Paradox (TV Tropes link, click with caution) on the very last page, and the narrator just walks away from it without considering the implications at all. Here's the spoiler, if you're interested: he prevents the birth of the scientist who will be in charge of the time travel project in the 1970s, which should have prevented the project and made his own presence in 1882 impossible, and then he just walks away. It drove me nuts, though I couldn't get across to my book club just why I found that so infuriating. 

So maybe it's just me.