Limelight: a review

Limelight by Emily Organ (Penny Green #1)

Synopsis

How did an actress die twice?

London, 1883. Actress Lizzie Dixie drowned in the River Thames, so how was she murdered five years later in Highgate Cemetery?

Intrepid Fleet Street reporter Penny Green was a friend of Lizzie’s and Scotland Yard needs her help. Does Penny unwittingly hold clues to Lizzie’s mysterious death? Penny must work with Inspector James Blakely to investigate the worlds of theatre, showmen and politicians in search of the truth.

But who is following her? And who is sending her threatening letters?

Penny is about to discover that Lizzie’s life was more complicated, and dangerous, than she could ever have imagined.

Review

I finished this one yesterday and found myself trying to figure out how I felt about the book. I mean, I didn’t HATE it, but I didn’t like it either. Penny, our MC, has an interesting back story, but I still thought her actions didn’t make a lot of sense.

In the end, I think it was just that writing was pretty – well, average. We only got to really know 2 characters in the book, and they were still a little flat. The pacing was off, all the action occurs in the beginning and the very end. There was a lot of telling, a lot of dialogue, but not much to hint at what characters were actually feeling.

I do enjoy this time period, and I admit to being intrigued by the female reporter angle. But really, there are better Victorian era mysteries out there. I would not recommend this one and I don’t plan on reading more by this author. However, it is a first novel, so it’s possible the series gets better as it goes on. I won’t be bothered to find out.

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Burning Ridge – a review

Burning Ridge, Timber Creek K9 #4

By Margaret Mizushima

Mattie Cobb is a police detective with a K9 partner working on a small town in Colorado. Her latest case turns out to have a very personal connection and her past will hold the answers she needs to solve the crime.

This is the 4th book in the series, but I didn’t feel lost for long. I really liked Maggie’s relationship with her dog, Robo. That was the best part of the book. I would definitely read more in this series.

The Inventor and the Tycoon: A Review

12786118 The Inventor and the Tycoon: A Gilded Age Murder and the Birth of the Moving Pictures

by Edward Ball

Synopsis: From the National Book Award-winning author of Slaves in the Family, a riveting true life/true crime narrative of the partnership between the murderer who invented the movies and the robber baron who built the railroads.

Review:

I am a sucker for historic true crime. I love reading about crime, detection, and the law from the past. This one sounded pretty interesting. I really liked the movie aspect of the story, more about the early days of film.

Unfortunately, this book didn’t really work for me. It’s a joint biography of two men in the 19th century, inventor Eadweard Muybridge and rail tycoon Leland Stanford. I liked the story about the building of the railroad – and the many references to Utah in there – and the story of the inventor/photographer was pretty interesting too. But together, they didn’t make any sense. The only connection, as far as I could tell, was that that had a brief business connection. But I’m sure that millionaire Stanford had lots of business dealing with a lot of people.

But the author chose to drop plenty of hints about the murder and then drop it for another chapter about the plight of Chinese workers on the railroad. Honestly, I finally just got bored and let it go. I need a better book about the the building of the railroad. This one just didn’t work for me.

Currently reading!

Happy weekend! Today was lazy after some health -related stuff this week, so I’m finally getting back into reading again. Here’s what I’m reading now.

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. Ok, I’d put this aside for now as it was getting to the heavy part, and I just couldn’t handle it, but I think it’s time to dig it out again.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. My first book by her and I’m not really connecting with it. Not sure about this one.

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot. This one is for book club and I am *flying* through this. Love it.

What are you reading? Let me know in the comments.

Sawdust in His Shoes

Sawdust in His Shoes by Eloise McGraw Jarvis.

One minute Joe is on top of the world – fame, applause, friends – the next he is orphaned, homeless, and unemployed. When his father is killed, Joe hopes he’ll be able to stay in the circus and live with an old friend. But the court needs time to consider the matter. Soon the circus must move on and Joe is shoved into a boys’ home. Joe decides to set off on his own instead, but it’s only after meeting an extraordinary ordinary family that things finally start looking up.

A few years ago I read another book by Jarvis and really enjoyed it. (The Golden Goblet) When I heard she had a new book out, I was pleased but surprised. She must be pretty lucky to be writing new stuff so long after her previous book. It turns out that this is a new edition of her very first novel, which explains its old-fashioned feel. It’s set during the height of the traveling circus, when tractors were replacing horse drawn plows, when telephones were on the party line and no television existed. A circus was seen as glamorous and exotic, not quite respectable.

Joe is a brash, daring kid with a quick temper. He’s kind of a mess when his dad dies. It takes a family like the Dawsons to help him heal.

I really enjoyed this book. It did take me a little while to get into it, but that might have been me. Once I got started, the story moved well enough. I think most lids would like this one. It was clean and perfect for your animal loving kids. It would be good one to read aloud too.

Must Read Graphic Novel!!

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You need this one!

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage – The Mostly True Story of the First Computer by Sydney Padua

Have you heard of Countess Ada Lovelace, daughter of poet Lord Byron? What about Charles Babbage? You should get to know this pair!

Book description:

THE THRILLING ADVENTURES OF LOVELACE AND BABBAGE . . . in which Sydney Padua transforms one of the most compelling scientific collaborations into a hilarious series of adventures.

Meet Victorian London’s most dynamic duo: Charles Babbage, the unrealized inventor of the computer, and his accomplice, Ada, Countess of Lovelace, the peculiar protoprogrammer and daughter of Lord Byron. When Lovelace translated a description of Babbage’s plans for an enormous mechanical calculating machine in 1842, she added annotations three times longer than the original work. Her footnotes contained the first appearance of the general computing theory, a hundred years before an actual computer was built. Sadly, Lovelace died of cancer a decade after publishing the paper, and Babbage never built any of his machines.

But do not despair! The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage presents a rollicking alternate reality in which Lovelace and Babbage do build the Difference Engine and then use it to build runaway economic models, battle the scourge of spelling errors, explore the wilder realms of mathematics, and, of course, fight crime—for the sake of both London and science. Complete with extensive footnotes that rival those penned by Lovelace herself, historical curiosities, and never-before-seen diagrams of Babbage’s mechanical, steam-powered computer, The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage is wonderfully whimsical, utterly unusual, and, above all, entirely irresistible.

My review:

I completely fell in love with this book! It made me laugh so hard! The stories were great, the illustrations clever. The author adds so much historical data. I can’t pick my favorite story, the one with the Victorian novelists or the Looking Glass episode. If you are a nerd like me, you will love this one.

Walter Cronkite, a biography

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Walter Cronkite by Douglas Brinkley

I was very excited to read this biography as Walter Cronkite has always been someone I admire. I remember watching him when I was a little girl. He was the news anchor on CBS. I still remember his last broadcast on the day he retired.

Unfortunately, the book wasn’t as good as I’d hoped. The information was interesting, but it was presented fact after fact, with little attempt to break it up into meaningful chunks or themes. I listened to this one and I think that was a mistake. The reader had a rather monotone voice that nearly put me to sleep.

Murder on the Appian Way

Murder on the Appian Way (Roma Sub Rosa #5) by Stephen Saylor

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Photo by Anastasia Zhenina on Pexels.com

I love a good historical fiction, and if there’s mystery or romance in there too, I am even more interested. This book is about Gordianus the Finder, neighbor of the orator Cicero, who becomes entangled in the hunt for a murderer.

Even in Rome, maybe especially in Rome, politicians did not get along. But this feud may have actually caused a murder. Soon each side is fighting in the streets and then actual riots break out. Gordian goes back to the scene of the crime to see if he can figure out who’s really guilty.

I loved the setting on this. The story is based on actual events, and it’s full of details, such as the local shrine of the Good Goddess, Hestia  I think, and the courtroom drama. It felt like I was really there.

The one thing I wasn’t crazy about was Gordianus. He comes a little too close to cheating on his wife for me to see him as a really good guy. But I did like the series enough to see if I can find the first book in the series. I like the audio version, but I think print would be fine too.

Back from vacation!

My trip was great! Of course, I was worn out when we got back, and I had a lot of catching up to do. But I’ve been away from my blog for too long so I wanted to share a couple of reviews with you.

I didn’t get as much reading in this week, but I do have 2 books I DNFd.

The first was a debut mystery, Turnstone by Graham Hurley. Based on Portsmouth, England, the book description said it was about a missing man. But after reading to a while, there was no indication of that case and I had found five typos. Not interesting enough to continue.

Then I found Zero Limit, which sounded like a cross between Artemis and Armageddon. Unfortunately, I guessed the disaster and who would die first long before it happened. The idea sounded good, but the writing wasn’t up to it.

I got both of these from Kindle Unlimited, so maybe it’s just a case of you get what you pay for. Luckily, I had a fun Net Galley book up next. I’ll get to that review later.

 

Whispers Underground – a review

Whispers Underground by Ben Aaronovitch
Rivers of London series book 4

So much that I love about this series. The world building is really different. This is urban fantasy set in London, but what sets it apart from most UF is that our main character, although he is part of a supernatural crime section, remains very much a policeman. He acts like a cop, he thinks like a cop. He just deals with weird stuff. I like that.

What I didn’t like was amount of profanity. I know I’m really conservative about that, but it is a real annoyance for me. My library only has this book as digital audio books, so unless I want to buy them, this is the only way to consume them. Which is great for all the variety of accents in here, but not so great as hearing the profanity is worse for me than reading it. I don’t like being sworn at repeatedly. Undecided if I want to continue this series