The Manual of Detection – a Review

The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry

Found at the library

In this tightly plotted yet mind-expanding debut novel, an unlikely detective, armed only with an umbrella and a singular handbook, must untangle a string of crimes committed in and through people’s dreams

I’m not really sure how to describe this one. It starts when lowly clerk Charles Unwin finds himself unexpectedly promoted to detective but given no cases. Instead he decides to solve a disappearance, but he has no clues.

I’m the one hand he just sort of bubbles through the investigation, but on the other events unravel in such unpredictable ways that I never knew where this story was going. I couldn’t even figure out what it was about for a really long time. I am sure though that whatever it was I just read, it was truly original and I’m glad I read it.

You can find a better synopsis, but I would avoid them. If this description appeals, just give it 50 pages and then decide if you like it. I’ll be interested to see what this author does next.


Early weekend?

How’s your week been? Mine has been, well, kinda off. For instance, I made it to therapy this Wednesday to discover that I was an hour late. I still hadn’t changed my bedroom clock ⏰ to daylight savings time. 😒 And now I have a little stomach thing and I don’t feel up to doing a long post. Can we just start the weekend now?



I was wondering why I hadn’t been getting any query requests. I haven’t been on the desktop computer as much lately, since my son is obsessed with his new games. I’ve been doing all my blogging and internet on my tablet. But it does some things better than others.

Yesterday I grabbed the desktop and started trying to sort through my Google mail. After a few tries, I found that all my query related mail has been sent to a new folder than I forgot about. I’m slowly going through it all, but I wanted to apologize if you wrote me regarding a review and never got an answer. I don’t answer every email, but I try to. And if I agree to read something, I try to finish it. Sometimes it just doesn’t work for me and I don’t finish though. And sometimes the files get buried and are hard to find. Just so you know where we are! Thanks for your patience!


This is not me. Just FYI.

I just read two fun books in a row, both YA, both ones I would recommend.

The first is The Plastic Magician by Charlie M Holmberg. I’ve blogged about her before, even did a giveaway of one of her books. (Speaking of which, I should do another giveaway soon!) So it’s no secret that I enjoy her writing. This book is an add-on to her Paper Magician series, but introduces an entirely new main character. Here’s the synopsis.

Wall Street Journal bestselling author Charlie N. Holmberg returns to the enchanting world of The Paper Magician.

Alvie Brechenmacher has arrived in London to begin her training in Polymaking—the magical discipline of bespelling plastic. Polymaking is the newest form of magic, and in a field where there is so much left to learn, every Polymaker dreams of making the next big discovery.

Even though she is only an apprentice, Alvie is an inventor at heart, and she is determined to make as many discoveries—in as short a time frame—as she can. Luckily for her, she’s studying under the world-renowned magician Marion Praff, who is just as dedicated as Alvie is.

Alvie’s enthusiasm reinvigorates her mentor’s work, and together they create a device that could forever change Polymaking—and the world. But when a rival learns of their plans, he conspires to steal their invention and take the credit for it himself.

To thwart him, Alvie will need to think one step ahead. For in the high-stakes world of magical discovery, not everyone plays fair…

My take:

Alvie is a young German American woman who can’t wait to learn magic. She’s even chosen her field – The newly emerging study of plastics. She gets chosen for a very prestigious apprenticeship in England and sets off. Not a lot of plot going on here, but Alvie was so much fun as a character and the world was so engrossing that it didn’t bother me that the villain was really obvious. There was a light romance – very light – but it was a sweet one. I would recommend it to lovers of light fantasy.

Which brings me to my second book, The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman. I saw this recommended by a Good Reads friend, so when I saw a copy at the library, I had to grab it. It’s based on this extra-dimensional library that maintains the language and literature of the worlds. Cool, right? Here’s a synopsis.

Collecting books can be a dangerous prospect in this fun, time-traveling, fantasy adventure from a spectacular debut author. One thing any Librarian will tell you: the truth is much stranger than fiction…

Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, a shadowy organization that collects important works of fiction from all of the different realities. Most recently, she and her enigmatic assistant Kai have been sent to an alternative London. Their mission: Retrieve a particularly dangerous book. The problem: By the time they arrive, it’s already been stolen.

London’s underground factions are prepared to fight to the death to find the tome before Irene and Kai do, a problem compounded by the fact that this world is chaos-infested–the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic to run rampant. To make matters worse, Kai is hiding something–secrets that could be just as volatile as the chaos-filled world itself. Now Irene is caught in a puzzling web of deadly danger, conflicting clues, and sinister secret societies. And failure is not an option–because it isn’t just Irene’s reputation at stake, it’s the nature of reality itself.

My verdict:

A fun romp that goes completely over the top. Vampires and airships and far and alternate worlds all combine in this crazy little book. I’m sure it’s not for everyone, but I was in the mood for slightly goofy fun and this book was just what I needed. Irene and Kai are great characters and there’s still plenty of mystery left for the next book. It’s the first in a series, and I’m looking forward to reading the rest.

Book Haul


I love new books! 💓💖💕💟💞 Nothing like nice new books to make you to get all the books you are supposed to be reading, right? I am working on a Net Galley book right now, but that didn’t stop me from getting a few new ones for myself.

A Dead Liberty by Catherine Aird. I have mentioned this author before. She writes dry little English police mysteries that I really love. Her older books have been out of print for a while, but they are available now on Kindle so I’m slowly buying the backlist. This one is about a woman who may have poisoned her lover, but the police can’t get her to talk.

The Clever Woman of the Family by Charlotte Yonge. This was described as an early feminist satire on marriage and courtship. I don’t know much more about it, but this edition was free, so I thought it was worth looking at.

Trespassing by Brandi Reeds. This was my Kindle First pick of the month. Some of those have been great, some not so much. This book sounds like a creepy domestic thriller. I’m not totally sold on it, but it appealed to me more than the other choices, so we’ll see.

Beasts and Queens by Suzanne Roundtree. I follow this author on Twitter, so when she shared this collection of fairy tale retellings I was interested. The settings are all different, but they sound really good.

I know these are not the super popular books everyone is reading, but maybe some  of them will appeal to you too! What have you bought recently?


Major Lord David, a review

Major Lord David by Sherry Lynn Ferguson

Decades of war with France are over and Napoleon Bonaparte is safely confined on Elba. Yet Major Lord David Trent finds his homecoming far from peaceful. His father, the Duke of Braughton, is determined to see his son wed, and he has a very specific bride in mind: his neighbor’s daughter. David cannot recall that the neighbor even has a daughter, much less one he might find appealing! And after years spent fighting on the Peninsula, he is in no mood to be ordered to court anyone.

Wilhelmina Caswell has always been in love with Lord David, as her family is well aware. Her preference, and the designs of both their fathers, would seem to make the match inevitable. But as the spring of 1815 advances along with an emboldened Bonaparte, a looming battle threatens thousands of lives and one growing love at Waterloo.

It’s funny how sometimes when you’re reading, all your books 📚 sort of align. I’m listening to a book about Napoleon in Egypt and then I started this one, which is about an English officer in the war against the French, and the in Touch there was a section about his life in Egypt.

This is a neat little historical romance between two lovers who grew up as neighbors and then fell in love. 💓 My problem though was that the conflict between the two was more annoying than believable. Billie was too afraid of her feelings or something to admit them. I got tired of that. It was really sudden on David’s part, but too slow on hers.

Some reviews mentioned not liking the descriptions of war in a romance book. I didn’t have any problem with that. The synopsis made it pretty clear that was was a major theme in the book. I’ve read other books set in the era that have similar passages, notably The Spanish Bride by Georgette Heyer. If you wanted pure romance, then this will probably not satisfy. I thought it was good enough that I want to read the next book in the series. All of these so far have been clean as far as sexual content, so if you like it steamy this book is not for you.

Touch – a Review

Touch by Claire North

Kepler had never meant to die this way — viciously beaten to death by a stinking vagrant in a dark back alley. But when reaching out to the murderer for salvation in those last dying moments, a sudden switch takes place.

Now Kepler is looking out through the eyes of the killer himself, staring down at a broken and ruined body lying in the dirt of the alley.

Instead of dying, Kepler has gained the ability to roam from one body to another, to jump into another person’s skin and see through their eyes, live their life — be it for a few minutes, a few months or a lifetime.

Kepler means these host bodies no harm — and even comes to cherish them intimately like lovers. But when one host, Josephine Cebula, is brutally assassinated, Kepler embarks on a mission to seek the truth — and avenge Josephine’s death.

This book is a case of where the idea 💡 was better than the execution. First of all, if I hadn’t read the synopsis, I might have enjoyed the slow reveal a little more. As it was, the description doesn’t really match the spirit of the book, IMO.

As it was, I wish there had been more time in each “skin” before jumping into the plot. I liked the idea a lot, but the ending fell flat for me. I will admit that I found myself thinking about the book for a long time, wondering what I would have done differently

Meet Sam!

We got a new kitty 🐱! I have been so sad, missing Tina and Spooky so much. Rosie is a great cat, and I love her, but she’s not very cuddly. She’s happy to be petted sometimes, and more than happy to have a bobble of what you’re eating, but she’s no snuggler.

It is kind of soon, but we were ready for a new cat friend. I drove myself crazy for a couple of weeks, trying to find the perfect new cat🐱 for our family. I wanted one that would get along with the humans, one that was fairly young and healthy, and one with short hair. But I kept finding a cat I loved, only to call and find that someone else had gotten it first. I was seriously making myself sick over the whole thing.

Finally on Saturday, a local rescue group was doing an adoption event at a local pet store. Jack went with me to help me find the right cat. It took a little while, but as soon as I held this big guy, I knew I wanted to bring him home.

We named him Samwise, but we’re calling him Sam. He’s 5 years old and super mellow. As soon as we opened his crate he started rubbing up against everyone, wanting to be petted. He’s sleeping on my bed right now and he’s made friends with everyone – except Rosie! We’ll just take it slow and give them time to get used to each other. Anyway, I’m really happy with him. He’s just what we needed!

Deadly Engagement – a Review


Deadly Engagement by Lucinda Brant (Alec Halsey #1)

Synopsis: An eighteenth century historical mystery. Diplomat and amateur sleuth Alec Halsey becomes embroiled in countryhouse murder and mayhem. He must confront past demons in his love life and a cruel twist of fate that reveals why his brother now loathes him. If you love Sebastian St. Cyr novels by CS Harris and Julian Kestrel novels by Kate Ross then you’ll love Deadly Engagement.

My Thoughts:

When I opened this ebook, it was billed as a ‘crimance.’ Call me a word snob, but if I had seen that in the description, I never would have bothered reading it. What the heck is a crimance? But I can’t really hold that against the author because I don’t know who chose that word. It could have been her, but it could have been the editor, some PR person, or a random publishing exec. In any case, it’s such a horrible word!

But let’s put that aside and talk about the story. Alec arrives back in England after being posted in Paris. He goes to visit the woman he loves only to find that she is recently betrothed to his brother. And his former lover is there to witness his humiliation. Trying to forget his love, Alec learns that friend is dead from a duel, again with Alec’s brother, Edward. That guy is bad news. And he hates Alec.

Intrigue and romance all around, followed by a murder and attempted rape. I enjoyed the story and the setting, but the love angle wasn’t as convincing as it should have been. Still, I would read more by this author.