Originally published at Sherry D. Ramsey. You can comment here or there.

  
This little gem came to light yesterday and generated a thrill of memory for me. This book was one of my favorites when I was young, and I would consider it a foundational influence on my reading and writing tastes.

It was probably one of my first introductions to “mystery” as a genre, and features a lot of story in its slim 80 pages. Kidnapping in the name of love! Trial by jury! Prison and escape! Vengeance and redemption! I read it countless times and I’m not sure what ever happened to the copy that lived at our house, but I’m sure glad to have one again now. 

I think I’ll curl up and read it today. :)

Originally published at Sherry D. Ramsey. You can comment here or there.

The Laughing Corpse
The Laughing Corpse by Laurell K. Hamilton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Although the “gore score” was a little higher than I’m usually comfortable with, I did really enjoy the audiobook version of this book. It took me through a day of housecleaning (which is one of the reasons I finished it so quickly). I liked Anita Blake’s character, although she’s occasionally a bit *too* sassy. However, she’s a strong and charismatic heroine and one with interesting abilities, and just flawed enough to be human. The plot is fast-paced and engrossing, with lots of thrills, chills, and action, and the book is populated with many interesting characters. Recommended for anyone who likes urban fantasy.



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At Grave's End
At Grave’s End by Jeaniene Frost

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Although I jumped into this series with this book (I believe it’s the third) I quite enjoyed it and had no trouble getting up to speed with the story or characters. It offers a twist on the usual vampire/urban fantasy tales in that the main character is a half-vampire, which makes her quite interesting.

The pace is quick and the writing is very good for the most part. The audiobook is excellently narrated by Tavia Gilbert, who does a great job with voices and inflections for the various characters.

I got a little weary of the sex around the middle of the book–not that it’s badly-written, just that there was too much of it for my personal taste, and in my opinion, it slowed the story down.

I do know some friends who would probably love this series, so I’ll be recommending it to them, and I may pick up more myself in the future.



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The Big Exit
The Big Exit by David Carnoy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is not a short book, but I was so engrossed in the audio version that I just couldn’t stop listening until I got to the end–stayed up late and bent my schedule around being able to listen. :) It’s a fairly gritty murder mystery but has so many twists and turns that you just have to keep going. The characters were intriguing and the plot so nicely complicated that as a reader, I kept second-guessing what I thought was really going on. Definitely recommended for crime novel lovers!



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Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read the print version of this book long ago (in fact, I owned it, but it has mysteriously disappeared), but thought the full-cast audio version sounded fun. And it was–a lot of fun! Of course, Adams is a perennial favourite of mine, and can pretty much do no wrong, so your mileage may vary. I like these books only slightly less than the Hitchhiker’s Guide series, and Adams is at his witty best in them.



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The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What can I say? I have to give this book five stars because I can’t really think of any way it could have been improved. Even though it strayed far into creepier vampire environs than I usually venture into, I enjoyed it and was riveted and engaged in the story from beginning to end. The audiobook was excellently narrated. Highly recommended if you like vampire fiction with an edge to its fangs. ;)



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Notorious Nineteen
Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Stephanie Plum is in fine form in this installment of Evanovitch’s always-fun series. I love the way she combines wacky elements with serious plotting to make nicely complex and fast-paced plots. Great fun!



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Wicked Business
Wicked Business by Janet Evanovich

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A really fun book. I think I liked this one more than the first in the series…it seemed to have a little more meat on its bones. :) I love the combination of urban fantasy and a dash of over-the-top humour. Looking forward to more in the series!



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W is for Wasted
W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What can I say? I’ve loved the Kinsey Milhone books ever since A is for Alibi. I don’t think I’ve missed a single one, and I still enjoy them from beginning to end. This was the audiobook, and well-narrated in a voice that I could buy into for the character. Looking forward to a few more yet!



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Dead Man Rising
Dead Man Rising by Lilith Saintcrow

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dante Valentine’s adventures continue in this second book of the series. Although these urban fantasy books venture sometimes into areas a little darker than I generally like, I just flip those pages really quickly. :) I like the complexity of the character(s) and the layers of the world the author has built. Will definitely read more!



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Farside
Farside by Ben Bova

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am a big fan of Ben Bova and have read quite a bit of his work, so although I did enjoy this book, I found it strangely lacking a sense of urgency. There was intrigue and danger, but little sense of real alarm among the characters. I liked the characters, and the moon setting was interesting, but if this had been a print book I might not have kept reading. Luckily, as I’ve said before, I’m less discerning with audiobooks because they generally accompany other tasks. This one is good SF, worth reading for some of the other aspects, but not a real page-turner.



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Working for the Devil
Working for the Devil by Lilith Saintcrow

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Not for the faint of heart, but if you like gritty urban fantasy with loads of paranormal stuff going on, you will like this book. I bought a HUGE volume with the complete series between two covers early in the summer, and I’m finally getting to it. Fast-paced with nicely complex characters and lots of action. Moved on to the next book already!



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A Red Herring Without Mustard
A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am so sad now, because I’m caught up on all the Flavia books that my local library has in audio. Sigh. I see one of two choices in my future. I either break down and read the next one in print–but how can I enjoy Flavia if she is not voiced by the inimitable Jayne Entwhistle?–or finally join Audible just so I don’t have to wait. Decisions, decisions…



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Lucky Stuff
Lucky Stuff by Sharon Fiffer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was my first encounter with the protagonist of this series, and I’ll certainly look for more. I found the book to be engaging and fast-paced; a nice little mystery and funny to boot. Ironically, I listened to the audiobook while I cleaned out my office–and the protagonist in this volume (an almost-hoarder)is having trouble letting go of material clutter. Perfect timing!



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Death's Apprentice: A Grimm City Novel
Death’s Apprentice: A Grimm City Novel by K.W. Jeter

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Before I say anything else, remember that a 2-star rating from me on Goodreads means what Goodreads says it does–it was okay. NOT terrible, just okay. Although it was quite violent and dark, I kept with this story because it had characters and a setting with a ton of potential. However, as the story progressed, it felt like the main focus was on that darkness, not on fulfilling the potential.

The writing is strong and evocative, and the storyline progresses quickly for the most part (the backstory on each new character is sort of dumped all in one go, but it’s interesting backstory and presented almost as part of the narrative, so it doesn’t really slow the story down). I think it suffers in audiobook form because there are a lot of fight scenes, which, when read, mostly become confusing rather than exciting.

All in all, it was not my cup of tea, but if you like darker themes, a bleak setting, and lots of action, you’ll probably like this book.




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Married With Zombies
Married With Zombies by Jesse Petersen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another audiobook with an excellently-suited narrator. I went into this book with no clear expectations, but ended up really enjoying it. It was funny and touching and suitably gross for a zombie novel, without going over the line for me. The plot was fast-paced and there was lots of tension on several levels. My biggest complaint was that it’s not a long novel, and it ended too soon. Apparently I’m in luck, though–there are more in the series!



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The Reversal
The Reversal by Michael Connelly

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I listened to the audiobook version of this book, which featured a narrator with a perfect voice for this book. Overall, though, I didn’t like it as much as the previous Connelly books I’ve read. The courtroom stuff comprised a little too much of the book for me, and I wasn’t very satisfied with the ending. However, I’ll try other title by this author; he does spin a good plot and I like the characters.



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The Brass Verdict
The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As I suspected, it didn’t take me long to pick up another Michael Connelly book. Although Det. Bosch played a side role in this book, I also enjoyed the character of Mickey Haller and the legal procedural slant of the story. A nicely complex plot and characters, and a fast-paced, engrossing read. I wish the dialogue were a little less stilted at times (more contractions needed!) but I just have to turn off the editor part of my brain and enjoy the story. I guess it can’t be too bad, anyway–I’ve already started listening to the audiobook version of the next book in the series. :)



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The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Yes, I’m reading them out of order, but it really doesn’t matter. I love the protagonist of these books! Perhaps it’s the absolutely delightful audio presentation, but I have no difficulty believing in Flavia, as some readers seem to. I know, she’s only eleven, but I just want her to be real so much that–for me, she is! It could also have something to do with my lifelong penchant for books with precocious and adventurous young protagonists. :)

I have a little more trouble with some plot aspects of the novel than I do with the character. A bit too much exposition here and there, for sure, and some loose threads. But still a lovely read!



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Originally published at Sherry D. Ramsey. You can comment here or there.

Tales of the Left Hand, Book 1
Tales of the Left Hand, Book 1 by John Meagher

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A nice, original-feeling fantasy adventure. The audiobook is well-narrated by the book’s author, with good production values. The author has built a nicely complex fantasy world, with intriguing characters and interesting problems. I’ll be checking out the second book in the series.



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