January 17th, 2014

witch muse, hallow muse

Book 13: Magic and the Modern Girl by Mindy Klasky

Book 13: Magic and the Modern Girl (Jane Madison #3).
Author: Mindy Klasky, 2008.
Genre: Paranormal Chick-Lit. Witchcraft.
Other Details: ebook. 416 pages.

In 'Magic and the Modern', librarian-witch Jane learns a magical lesson the hard way:  Use it or lose it!  Her neglected powers are disappearing before her eyes, her handsome warder David Montrose is ignoring her, her cat-like familiar has moved out of her home, and her family life is in chaos.  (Really — what octogenarian grandmother decides to get married — and with orange-and-silver bridesmaid dresses?) Jane stakes everything on one last-ditch spell — only to find that magic has a way of making its own complications. - synopsis from author's website.

I adore these fun and frothy witchy books by Mindy Klasky. They are the kind of ebooks that I can curl up with my Kindle in bed on chilly winter mornings.

This is the third outing for novice witch Jane and her companions and nicely brings to a close the ongoing story started in Book 1, Girl's Guide to Witchcraft . I was pleased to discover that there is a new series about Jane's next stage.

Mindy Klasky's page on 'Magic and the Modern Girl' - contains Chapter 1.
hidden dragon

Books 14-15: Salvation of a Saint and Red Dragon

Book 14: The Salvation of a Saint (Detective Galileo #5).
Author: Keigo Higashino, 2008. Translated from the Japanese by Alexander O. Smith with Elye J. Alexander, 2012.
Genre: Crime Thriller. Police Procedural. Japan.
Other Details: Paperback. 377 pages

When a man is discovered dead by poisoning in his empty home his beautiful wife, Ayane, immediately falls under suspicion. All clues point to Ayane being the logical suspect, but how could she have committed the crime when she was hundreds of miles away? As Tokyo police detective Kusanagi tries to unpick a seemingly unrelated sequence of events he finds himself falling for Ayane. When his judgement becomes dangerously clouded his assistant must call on an old friend for help; it will take a genius to unravel the most spectacular web of deceit they have ever faced... - synopsis from UK publisher's website.

As with The Devotion of Suspect X, Keigo Higashino's only other novel to date translated into English, this is not a whodunit but more of a "how did they do it?" The identity of the murderer is revealed to the reader in the first chapter and from then on it is a matter of whether the police, assisted by physicist Manabu Yukawa (Detective Galileo), will be able to solve the crime.

Once I began this novel I could not put it down and read it in a single sitting today. Just amazing and I am keeping an eye out for further translations of this outstanding series.

Book 15: Red Dragon (Hannibal Lecter #1).
Author: Thomas Harris, 1981.
Genre: Crime Thriller. Police Procedural. Serial Killer.
Other Details: Paperback. 432 pages.

Will Graham, a retired profiler for the F.B.I., is asked by Jack Crawford, Agent-in Charge of the BSU, to assist the Bureau with apprehending a serial killer who has brutally murdered two families, one in Birmingham, Alabama and the other in Atlanta, Georgia. Graham has a talent for getting into the heads of murderers and together with a team of other forensic experts begins to investigate the seemingly random murders. In the course of the investigation Will realises he needs to visit Dr. Hannibal Lecter, the cannibalistic serial killer who Graham apprehended some years previously. Lecter had seriously wounded Graham and this had led to his early retirement. Unknown to the F.B.I. the killer has reached out to Lecter and this along with Will's visit prompts Lecter to take an interest in the case.

This is at least my third reading of 'Red Dragon' and it is one of those novels that bears up well to rereads as it retains the excitement despite knowing how it turns out. I was already a fan of Thomas Harris when this was published and so read it before I saw Manhunter.

My main reason to read it again was my love of the TV series Hannibal. What struck me right away is how much of what is canon has been woven into the TV adaptation including Will Graham's career (the Minnesota Shrike case), his love of stray dogs and even mentions of antlers(!). Thomas Harris wrote an introduction to this edition and his description of walking out at night and looking back to see his house like a boat at night was put into Will's mouth for an episode. It also always struck me that Will Graham was the template for C.S.I.'s Gil Grissom as not only were they both played by the same actor but Will is a famous 'bug' guy.

So yes, one of my favourites in the crime/forensic genre that has stood up well to the test of time.
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Owls Circle Tracks; Journey with Education; Pretty Library

Tracks and Shadows: Field Biology as Art, by Harry Greene
This was lovely - easy to read but deeply geeked out. Only the last section directly addresses the subtitle, but the entire work exemplifies it.

The Circle, by Dave Eggers
I ate this in one enormous serving. Yes, yes, it has flaws. But a lot of its critics don't seem very familiar with the conventions of satire or the nuances of the text. Definitely worth my time.

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, by David Sedaris
This was a mixed bag, and less than I expect from Sedaris - who when he is on is one of my most favorites. Most of the pieces I liked were toward the end of the book.

Stuck in the Middle with You, by Jennifer Finney Boylan
Boylan is one of the most readable, intriguing writers I haven't read enough of. Trying to remedy that a bit :).

My Education, by Susan Choi
This was overwhelming and strained and often very very good. Some sentences so apt I had to reread three or four times before I could let them go. Often very funny, often perfectly observed. I enjoyed this infinitely more than "graduate student sleeps with a bunch of people older than she is in varyingly weird power relationships" might suggest.

Journey, by Aaron Becker
Lovely, wordless, reminiscent of a video game.

All Our Pretty Songs, by Sarah McCarry
Magical, though it never quite stopped being frustrating to read on a sentence by sentence level - everything all stuffed in and present tense everywhere. Still, I'm awfully glad I didn't let those things stop me, because I was very satisfied by the end.

Evaluating the Impact of your Library, by Sharon Markless and David Streatfield
I can't imagine many of you would be in a situation where you must read about library assessment, but if you ever are, this book is SO MUCH BETTER THAN ANY OF THE OTHERS OMG. British dry wit can make anything better, and reasonableness also helped.
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