Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Mary Flora Bell: The Horrific True Story Behind an Innocent Girl Serial Killer

Title: Mary Flora Bell: The Horrific True Story Behind an Innocent Girl Serial Killer

Author:  Nancy A. Veysey and Ryan Becker

Publisher: Sea Vision Publishing

Series: Real Crime by Real Killers, Volume 5

ISBN: 9781987467888

Length: 92 pages + "Preview of True Crime Stories: 12 Terrifying True Crime Murder Cases, Vol 3"

Obtained: Library copy (from another library system, but not ILL)


The grammar, particularly the punctuation, needs work.  The story itself is somewhat scattered and could use being reorganized.  It is also much to conversational, rather than what I would expect from a book.

I'd never heard of Mary Flora Bell or the murders she committed.  Something about an 11-year-old girl murdering children caught my attention.  I've actually been to Newcastle upon Tyne in England where Mary lived, so the location was of interest as well.  The book is brief, moving from Mary's youth and abuse, to the murders, to her trial and on to her sentencing and the remainder of her life.  The authors provide quite a bit of commentary on Mary, her circumstances, her actions, and the consequences she faces.  I tend to feel this is something better left to the reader.  However, these also provide some of the authors' more amusing remarks.  No references or resources are provided, though, so statements are made as fact with nothing noted to back them up.

The last 40ish pages of the book are the preview for another title.  I went on to read this preview, and it sounds both interesting and more evenly written.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Good, the Bad, and the Uncanny

Title: The Good, the Bad, and the Uncanny

Author: Simon R. Green

Series: Nightside, Bk 10

ISBN: 9781101171455

Obtained: Library ebook copy


I decided it is about time I finish this series.  Unfortunately, I forgot that I had already read this one.  All worked out, though, because while scenes were vaguely familiar as I read them, I remembered nothing in advance.  I do have a post from the first time I read this, but I will not be reading it until after I've written this one so I can provide fresh impressions.

I felt like I had already been through the bulk of the story, and then saw that I had just finished chapter 2.  The majority of this book was like that.  Loosely linked together with some connected threads, but told in what seemed more like short stories or episodes.  I do still enjoy this series, but I can tell I've forgotten a lot.  In that sense, the way this is written allowed me to be reintroduced to a number of characters that I recognize from throughout the series, but didn't distinctly remember.

And now I am ready to read book 11, A Hard Day's Knight.

I've gone back and re-read my first post, and I thinking I may need to re-read the other books in this series as well.  Apparently, I last read this in 2010.  What was I thinking to let such time pass by!

Monday, July 16, 2018

It's Monday! What are you reading? 7/16/2018

Hosted by: Book Date

It's been a week.  Dog training classes (2), book club, crafting night, volunteering (at a local cat rescue), worship, work, and some family things.  All in the life.

One of the dogs is on a mole hunt in the backyard.  She has dug several large holes along the fence-line trying to catch this mole.  Last year it took her the bulk of the summer to catch the mole plaguing us, and in the meantime we ended up with holes across the entire yard.  You can tell where it/they move(s) by watching the dog (as well as the tunnels that pop up, of course). Her head cocks as she listens, she sniffs around, and next thing you know dirt is flying.  Once she has decided the mole is out of reach she comes back with a dirty brown nose, dirty white sock paws, and an innocent "didn't I do good?" look.

Oh, and I almost forgot! I finally have my desktop set up!  (Many thanks to my father who spent hours running virus protection on my old, tired Vista and then more transferring all my files to a portable external hard drive.)  I've been a year+ just borrowing other computers.  This should definitely help my blogging.

This week I finished reading:

Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig - [My post] An emotional and intense read.

From the Charred Remains (Lucy Campion Mystery, Bk 2) by Susanna Calkins - [My post] I look forward to beginning book three in this series.
I'm currently reading:

In audio (on CD), I've been listening to Moby Dick by Herman Melville (read by Paul Boehmer).  I haven't gotten much further in this story because I had some (Celtic) music CDs come in.  Ishmael has secured his place on the whaling vessel of his choice and will be introducing Queequeg.

Mary Flora Bell : The Horrific True Story Behind an Innocent Girl Serial Killer by Nancy A. Veysey and Ryan Becker - This book needed a lot more editing.  The punctuation is horrible, and the actual writing is too casual and scattered.  But the story and content is interesting (if horrifying and tragic).

The Good, the Bad, and the Uncanny (Nightside, Bk 10) by Simon R. Green - A new coworker's question about if I've been reading anything good lately brought the revelation that I haven't been reading enough fantasy lately.  So I decided to finish up the Nightside series.  I thought I was picking up where I left off, but as I've been reading the story began to feel vaguely familiar.  That would be because I've read it before... [My original post]  I'm going to finish it out without reading my post, and I guess this can still be a springboard to the end of the series.

Up next:

I have too many library books at once, and had to return some unread.  I hope to get back to them some other time.  Some of the library books I still have out include:

Eye of the Shoal : a Fish-watcher's Guide to Life, the Ocean and Everything by Helen Scales
The Scroll of Kings (Lost Books, Bk 1) by Sarah Prineas
White Sand Blues (Ashley Grant Mystery, Bk 1) by Vicki Delany (Canadian Author)
Almost Adulting: All You Need to Know to Get It Together (Sort Of) by Arden Rose

Sunday, July 15, 2018

From the Charred Remains

Title: From the Charred Remains

Author: Susanna Calkins

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Series: Lucy Campion, Bk 2

ISBN: 9781250007889

Length: 340 + Histoical Note (343)

Obtained: Library copy


I started this immediately after finishing the first book in the series, A Murder at Rosamund's Gate for the second time.

Lucy is leaving her former master's home to make way for herself as a printer's apprentice.  She hopes to both make better future for herself and possibly to clear the way for her to have a relationship with her now former master's son, Adam.  But Adam is distant and Lucy has discovered (in a way) another mystery in the aftermath of the great London Fire.  The charred remains of a foreigner hidden in a barrel and with naught but what are apparently the winnings from a card game, including a coded love letter.

I'll be reading more of this series soon, I hope.  I own an autographed copy of the third book, The Masque of a Murder, from when I met the author a few years back.

Ginny Moon

Title: Ginny Moon

Author: Benjamin Ludwig

Publisher: Park Row Books

ISBN: 9780778330882

Length: 364 + Reader's Guide

Obtained: Library copy


I had been interested in this book from the first I saw of it in the professional journals, but I had also been putting it off.  Then it was time to select a book club selection and I chose this.

I read it Monday, and I cried/sobbed through most of it.  I'm already pretty emotional and sensitive when it comes to the stories I read and watch.  But on top of that, Ginny is autistic and shares some characteristics with my oldest nephew.  Of course much of Ginny's story is very different from my nephews and that caused yet more crying.  She fears for her "baby doll" who was left behind when she was taken from her mother at the age of nine.  So she is trying to track down and get back to her birth mother - despite the extreme abuse and neglect she went through while under her mother's care.  But her adoptive "forever" parents are about to have a birth child of their own, and don't seem to know how to handle a teenage autistic girl who they worry will mistreat the new baby.

The emotions run high on all levels, making this a gripping read (I was tempted to skip to the end because the tension was so intense for me).  It also made for some interesting discussion in the book club.  No one said they disliked the story, quite a few said they wished they had read it sooner.  But there was some debate on which characters are most sympathetic and relate-able.

Monday, July 9, 2018

It's Monday! What are you reading? 7/9/2018

Hosted by: Book Date

This week I joined the 12th Annual Canadian Book Challenge.  We saw the new Jurassic World movie on Tuesday (I mostly liked it, but they hit quite a bit on the sad emotional stuff, and I didn't have quite enough raptor action, and I have mixed feelings about the ending).
I enjoyed the 4th of July parade Wednesday (despite the fact that it never really has floats anymore), but I did not enjoy the fireworks that have been turning the dogs into nervous and high-strung wrecks.

This week I finished reading:

Better Off Read (Bookmobile Mystery, Bk 1) by Nora Page - [My post] I had series doubts about this one for the first half.  But it looked adorable, and others seemed to enjoy it.  Thankfully, it picked up in the second half.

A is for Alibi (Kinsey Millhone, Bk 1) by Sue Grafton - [My post] Pretty enjoyable.  I look forward to continuing the series.

I'm currently reading:

In audio (on CD), I've been listening to Moby Dick by Herman Melville (read by Paul Boehmer).  Most recently, Ishmael has gone to select the vessel that he and Queequeg will be whaling on.  I actually do not not much about this story, despite it being a classic; though I'm still early on, everything in the story is new to me.

I started in print, From the Charred Remains (Lucy Campion Mystery, Bk 2) by Susanna Calkins.  I haven't gotten any further than last week because I was finishing some other books.

Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig - I've just barely started this, but the book discussion it is for is Tuesday.  Fortunately, I've taken Monday off so I should be able to focus on finishing it.

Up next:

Other books I have through the library (and may or may not get to) include:

No Cure for the Dead (Florence Nightingale Mystery, Bk 1) by Christine Trent
How to Fall in Love with a Man Who Lives in a Bush by Emmy Abrahamson
Eye of the Shoal : a Fish-watcher's Guide to Life, the Ocean and Everything by Helen Scales
Mary Flora Bell : The Horrific True Story Behind an Innocent Girl Serial Killer by Nancy A. Veysey and Ryan Becker
The Scroll of Kings (Lost Books, Bk 1) by Sarah Prineas


A is for Alibi

Title: A is for Alibi 

Author: Sue Grafton

Series: Kinsey Millhone, Bk 1

ISBN: 9781429901345

Obtained: Library ebook copy


It took me awhile to finish this not because of the story, which I found interesting and enjoyed, but because of the format.  Until the day I finished it, I was pretty much only reading it when I could cram it in on the desk at work, which has been very busy lately.

Anyway, I did find myself noting some very small parts that were dated (primarily, the lack of cell phones meant Kinsey's job traveling from place to place left her using answering services and scrambling to keep up with any calls or clues she received in her investigation).  But overall the story seemed to age pretty well.

I has issue with the dog scenes.  I can't go into too much detail, but apparently Kinsey doesn't care for dogs - or at least large ones - and that bothered me.  The sex scenes startled me with their presence, but they were pretty brief, presumably because the main focus of these books isn't romance.

I look forward to starting B is for Burglar.  Perhaps that will be my next ebook, or perhaps I will wait for things to calm down.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Better Off Read

Title: Better Off Read

Author: Nora Page

Series: Bookmobile Mystery, Bk 1

Publisher: Crooked Lane

ISBN: 9781683316435

Length: 320 + Recipes

Obtained: Library copy


I had some trouble really getting into this.  Something about the way the story was introduced didn't quite gel with me.  I'm not sure what, though.  I've read and enjoyed books with senior detectives (such as the Gladdy Gold Mysteries by Rita Lakin), bookmobiles (Bookmobile Cat Mysteries by Laurie Cass), librarians (I can't even start this list), cats/dogs (again, too long to list)...  Whatever the issue, by the time I was midway through I settled in and breezed through the remainder of the story.

I've said this in comments and on Goodreads, but... Rhett Butler the Persian cat, and Mr. Chaucer the pug are lovely characters.  I love the cover.  Cleo's relationship with Henry was great.  I will try the next book whenever it comes out.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

12th Annual Canadian Book Challenge

I participated in this the 6th - 8th years (that last which, as I recall, I didn't finish).  But I'm refreshing myself and this blog.  Plus, I've always enjoyed this challenge.

Between July 1 and June 30 of next year, I will be striving to read AND post at least 13 Canadian books (that is, books by Canadian authors).  I will update them here as well as on the host blog.  Speaking of which, this challenge is now being hosted by Melwyk at The Industrious Reader.  Stop by here for more information: 12th Annual Canadian Book Challenge.

Monday, July 2, 2018

It's Monday! What are you reading? 7/1/2018

Hosted by: Book Date

This week I finished reading:

Zero Waste: Simple Life Hacks to Drastically Reduce Your Trash by Shia Su - I've posted my thoughts here (Zero Waste), but basically some was interesting and potentially useful and some is not currently likely.

The King of Bones and Ashes (Witches of New Orleans, Bk 1) by J. D. Horn - I was interested in the second book, and of course I have to read a series in order.  I suspect this is a necessity in this instance because there are a lot of characters to familiarize oneself with.  I've posted my thoughts here (King of Bones and Ashes), but I have mixed feelings.

A Murder at Rosamund's Gate (Lucy Campion Mystery, Bk 1) by Susanna Calkins - This was a re-read.  Still enjoyed, although the past 5 years have slightly changed my reaction.  My newest post is here (Murder at Rosamund's Gate Re-read) and my original is here (Murder at Rosamund's Gate).

I'm currently reading:

In ebook format, I've been reading A is for Alibi (A Kinsey Millhone Novel, Bk 1) by Sue Grafton.  I think I've made less progress this week than last.  I'm at about midway through this, and I'm going to have to just set down my print books and pick up my phone or Kindle, because otherwise this isn't happening.

In print, I've been reading Better Off Read (Bookmobile Mystery, Bk 1) by Nora Page.  I did get a little further, but then I left my book at home one workday (hence The King of Bones and Ashes) and in my car overnight another evening (hence the re-read of The Murder at Rosamund's Gate).

In audio (on CD), I've been listening to Moby Dick by Herman Melville.  Apparently I wanted to continue the sea theme that I started with Master and Commander.  Some parts are interesting or amusing, some parts I have to strain to keep focused or I miss chunks.  And some parts I think I need to pull my print copy (never read) off the shelf and check on what they actually said.  I'm currently in a sermon of "Jonah and the Great Fish" being given by some whaling sailor with a very different perspective than any I've heard before.

I started in print, From the Charred Remains (Lucy Campion Mystery, Bk 2) by Susanna Calkins.  Lucy has come across another murder (this time of a foreign man), but now she is in new circumstances, and several aspects of her life are in flux.

Up next:

It was my turn to select the book for one of my discussion groups.  After gathering the input of my fellow group members, I decided on Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig.  Now the discussion is approaching in a week and I haven't read it yet.

Other books I have through the library (and may or may not get to) include:

The Grey Bastards (Lot Lands, Bk 1) by Jonathan French
No Cure for the Dead (Florence Nightingale Mystery, Bk 1) by Christine Trent
How to Fall in Love with a Man Who Lives in a Bush by Emmy Abrahamson