Thursday, November 23, 2017

TV on DVD Review: The Librarians - Season 3

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Mixes comedy and fantasy with ease
Cons: Effects could be better at times
The Bottom Line:
God resurrected
Causing Chaos on the Earth
More fantasy fun

“I Hate Prophecy More Than I Hate Time Travel.”

I’ve gotten so I watch mostly shows on the traditional five networks.  Honestly, that’s gotten to be more than I can handle.  (I need to cut back somewhere.)  One of the rare shows I enjoy on the non-traditional networks is The Librarians, and the show is just as much fun in the third season.

Now if you are thinking this show is about books and people who take care of them, you’d be completely wrong.  In this case, the library is really a place for collecting artifacts – magical artifacts.  That means our librarians, Ezekiel Jones (John Harlan Kim), Cassandra Cillian (Lindy Booth), and Jake Stone (Christian Kane), are collecting these objects before they fall into the wrong hands.  You can see how this would cause some excitement in their lives.  Helping them out is their guardian Eve Baird (Rebecca Romijn).  As far as the library itself goes, there’s Jenkins (John Larroquette), who has curated the collection for a long, long time.

This season finds the librarians fighting chaos.  Okay, so that’s pretty standard, but in this case, Chaos is a person, an ancient Egyptian god, in fact.  And he’s determined to regain his power and take over the world.  The librarians have a way of stopping them, but it will require a sacrifice.  What will that sacrifice entail?

The show is actually a spinoff of a series of made for TV movies that starred Noah Wiley.  He continues to serve as an executive producer and returning to play Flynn Carsen.  He’s not in every episode, but he appears in more of them here than in the first two seasons.  Also reprising a role from the movies this season is Jane Curtin as Charlene, another of the librarian’s curators.

Of course, the fight against Chaos doesn’t occupy the entire season.  Along the way, we get Baird trying to stop a prophecy of her own death, a spontaneous combustion death at a wellness resort, and a spooky carnival.

What is hard to capture is the exact feel of this show.  It’s quite obviously a fantasy.  But unlike many shows on today that seem to want to take things super seriously, this show is part comedy.  It creates some pretty wacky situations for the characters and milks them for laughs.  That light-hearted feeling translates to a lot of fun for us.

Yet the show takes itself seriously enough.  When things do get serious, and they do, it plays those moments perfectly, too.  There is a fine balance, and the show makes it look very easy.

Of course, the cast deserve their fair share of the credit for that.  No matter which notes they are expected to play they hit it out of the park.  There is not a moment you can point to as a problem.

The biggest weakness the show has is special effects.  I’m sure it’s no surprise to learn the show has quite a few of them, and most of them work, but it is easy at times to tell that this is a lower budget show.  Still, this is worth noting only in passing.  I’m always having so much fun, I don’t really mind.

The other issue this season is a personal pet peeve.  I am not a fan of the device where a show starts out in an interesting situation and then flashes back to show us how the characters got there.  This season, the writers employed it for a long string of episodes in the middle of the season.  Not a deal breaker for sure, but definitely annoying.

There were 10 episodes in this season, so there are 10 episodes in this set.  In addition, we get commentaries and vlogs on all 10 episodes.

If you are looking for a show that is just plain fun and isn’t trying to be anything else, you’ll want to check out The LibrariansSeason 3 continues that fine tradition of being completely entertaining.

Season 3 Episodes:
1. And the Rise of Chaos
2. And the Fangs of Death
3. And the Reunion of Evil
4. And the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
5. And the Tears of a Clown
6. And the Trial of the Triangle
7. And the Curse of Cindy
8. And the Eternal Question
9. And the Fatal Separation
10. And the Wrath of Chaos

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Ornament Review: Keepsake Korners Bakery - Keepsake Korners #3 - 2017 Hallmark Ornament

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Bakery with fun tie ins on display
Cons: None
The Bottom Line:
Bakery ready
Showing off festive displays
That are fun tie ins

Delicious Addition to Keepsake Korners

Every town needs a bakery.  There is nothing like fresh delicious treats to brighten any day.  Fortunately for the residence of the Keepsake Korners series, there is the Keepsake Korners Bakery.

This ornament is a building, and this time around the building is yellow.  The building is obviously wood, and the yellow makes it stand out.  The door on the building is red, and it is in the middle with two giant display windows on either side.  In keeping with the others in this series, the displays in the window harken back to other popular series.  In this case, the ornaments chosen are recent ones.  In the left window, we see Santa floating in an ice cream hot air balloon, which was the 2011 ornament in the Santa’s Sweet Ride series.  The right window features a display of sugar cookies arranged on a plate to look like a Christmas tree.  This was the popular 2015 Season’s Treatings ornament.

Of course, the four ornaments in this continuity series itself are inspired by the popular Nostalgic Homes and Shops series.  This building features light.  You can put a light from a Christmas light string in the back of the ornament, which helps light up in the inside of the shop.  There is a scene paint on the back of the ornament showing a helpful employee wrapping a purchase next to the cases of baked goods ready for you to buy.  It adds a nice touch and separates these ornaments from the mother series.

Yes, this is essentially a building, but I find the tie ins to the old ornaments in this series to be lots of fun.  The added light is also a draw for me.

Being a building, this ornament has a nice, flat base, which is a good thing because I’m thinking of creating a display of these and the rest of the Nostalgic Homes and Shops series this year.  After all, I never have displayed those ornaments before.  If you do want to hang the ornament, you’ll find the hook on the roof is perfect to balance them.

The four Keepsake Korners ornaments released this year have proved to be very popular, so if you are interested in the Keepsake Korners Bakery, I suggest you snag one now.  Just like delicious baked goods, it is going quickly.

Original Price: $15.95

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Book Review: A Perfect Manhattan Murder by Tracy Kiely (Nic and Nigel Mysteries #3)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Comedy and a good mystery
Cons: Characters a little thin
The Bottom Line:
Broadway critic killed
Means more laughs and clues for us
You won’t stop smiling

Poisonous Reviewer Gets Poisoned

I never would have guessed how much I’d come to love the Nic and Nigel Mysteries when I started them this year.  They are a complete delight with good mysteries and plenty of laughs.  I’m sadly all caught up now that I’ve read the third, A Perfect Manhattan Murder.

This book finds retired police detective Nicole, Nic to her friends, and her husband Nigel Martini back in Manhattan for the premier of a friend’s play on Broadway.  This means that they can reconnect with Patty, the playwright, as well as Harper, two of Nic’s best friends.  Unfortunately, Harper’s husband Dan is also involved in the reunion.  He’s a well respect Broadway critic who is extremely unpleasant in real life and has a reputation for being nasty in his reviews.  The night of the play’s premier is enjoyable, except any time that Dan is in the vicinity.

The morning after the play opens, Harper finds Dan dead in his work apartment.  The more the police investigate, the more it looks like Harper did it.  Nic believes that her friend is innocent, but can she prove it?

We get a chance to see Dan in action before his demise, and this time is put to great use introducing the suspects.  By the time he dies, we know who Nic needs to talk to, and she and Nigel spend the rest of the book trying to get to the truth.  The reveal at the end was a surprise to me, yet all the clues were there.  I love it when that happens.

These books are a loving homage to The Thin Man series, and at times I feel the characters are a bit thin.  Then again, they were in the movies as well.  Still, they completely work for the world of this book, and I didn’t mind as I was reading.

Of course, one reason I didn’t mind was that I was so busy laughing.  Once again, this book perfectly captures the banter of the movies.  Nigel, especially, is always ready with a quip that made me laugh.  Then there are the reactions to Skippy, their Bullmastiff.  This is one of the wittiest series I’ve read, period.

Some of the conversations between Nic and Nigel definitely head into sexually suggestive territory, but we still only get vague hints at their sex life.  Considering they are a very happily married couple, I don’t mind in the slightest.  There are a handful of four letter words scattered around the book as well.  I don’t feel the book needed them, but they are hardly enough to put me off this book.

Like in The Thin Man movies, Nigel and Nic both love their alcohol.  We get some theater themed cocktail recipes at the end of the book as a result.

As I said before, I’m sad I’m caught up on this series.  Next time you are in the mood for a light read, you’ll find that A Perfect Manhattan Murder is the perfect book to meet your needs.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Movie Review: Justice League (2017)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters, great action, solid story
Cons: Effects a couple of times, but I’m being nitpicky
The Bottom Line:
We meet new heroes
Come together; save the world
Film pure escapism

“Is This a Bad Time to Bring Up My Blood Sugar?”

As much as I love TV’s Arrowverse, I have been very disappointed with the recent DC Comics movies.  That’s been doubly disappointing since these are the superheroes I know best (which, admittedly, isn’t saying much).  Still, I couldn’t help it, I was holding out hope that Justice League would be great despite the trend, and my hope was rewarded.

Hope is something that is in short supply as this movie opens.  The world is falling apart and growing dark as a result of Superman’s death.  But something else is bothering Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck).  It seems there are strange creatures out there feeding on the fear that is rising in the streets.  After Batman captures and kills one of them, it’s remains leave behind a symbol of three boxes.

Fortunately, Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) knows what these creatures are, but it’s more bad news.  These creatures are the creation of Steppenwolf (voiced by Ciaran Hinds), a creature that destroys worlds.  He was only defeated generations ago thanks to the combined efforts of the Amazons, the ancient gods, and the citizens of Atlantis, among others.

With evidence that Steppenwolf is back and ready to destroy the world, Bruce and Diana begin recruiting others with powers to help them, people like Arthur Curry, aka Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Barry Allen, aka The Flash (Ezra Miller), and Victor Stone, aka Cyborg (Ray Fisher).  But will they be enough?

I had not realized that Joss Whedon was involved in this project until I was in the theater and the opening credits were playing.  Despite the fact that I don’t find his TV projects that good, I absolutely love his movies, and this movie is another great example of why.

First of all, this movie needs to juggle all the characters, introducing us to three of them.  The job, then, is to make sure that we care about them enough to want to see them win.  And we do.  The new characters arrive fully fleshed out.  We get enough of their backstory to understand them, but there is plenty more to explore in their future solo projects.  Meanwhile, there are moments that fill us in on what is going on with the characters we’ve already met and allow them to develop as well.

Of course, this is a superhero movie, and that calls for plenty of action, and we get that here, too.  The action scenes and fights will satisfy you if that is what you are looking for, yet they don’t go on too long and they are filmed so that they are easy to follow.

And the story tying all this together actually makes sense.

Of course, this film is filled with special effects, but they are there to support everything else going on and not the other way around.  There were a couple of scenes that could have been a little better, but they were short, and this was a minor issue overall.

This is truly an ensemble movie, and the cast does a wonderful job at making their characters shine at the right time and supporting everyone else when it isn’t their turn in the spotlight.

I mentioned earlier being a fan of the TV Arrowverse, which includes the TV version of The Flash.  Some fans of the show were upset when they didn’t cast Grant Gustin in the movie.  Personally, I think it was a very wise decision.  This is a different take on the character and not tied into the show at all.  This allows the show to do what it does (which I love) and the movies to do their take on the character and his stories.  This helps keep them separate for everyone.  Having said that, I certainly enjoyed seeing a few of the things I’ve learned from the show be mentioned in passing in this film.

I can’t leave out the laughs.  There are some truly fun and funny moments and lines in this script that help lighten the mood at times.  Not that it really needs it since this is a lighter movie overall than some of the other recent DC films.

Be sure to stay through the entire credits.  There are two bonus scenes you'll want to be sure to watch.

I left the theater smiling, which is exactly what I wanted when I went to see Justice League.  It is perfect escapism, which is all it wants to be.  I highly recommend you go see this movie today.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Book Review: Spy School Secret Service by Stuart Gibbs (Spy School #5)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Action and laughs
Cons: Nothing worth dwelling on
The Bottom Line:
Saving President
Filled with action, laughs, danger
Fun for all readers

Homework Assignment: Save the President

One of my favorite authors is Stuart Gibbs.  Yes, he writes for middle graders.  But he writes such delightful books for middle graders that everyone should read them.  Spy School Secret Service is his latest, and it’s filled with his usual adventure and laughs.

This series features Ben Riley.  Just over a year ago, he was recruited to the CIA’s spy training school.  Since then, he’s found himself on some pretty serious missions fighting SPYDER, a top secret evil organization.  How top secret is it?  Not everyone at the CIA knows they even exist.

Unfortunately, SPYDER just keeps coming back, and the latest chatter is that they are plotting to kill the President of the United States.  Cyrus Hale decides that Ben is the perfect person to go undercover and figure out who SPYDER has on the inside of the White House.  His cover is that he is the new friend of the President’s son.  However, to say the two don’t hit it off is an understatement.  And the number of people in the White House is overwhelming.  Will Ben be able to narrow the suspects down in time?

This is just the set up for this book.  Trust me, from here it shoots off and becomes another wild ride.  There are some pretty spectacular action scenes that had me turning pages quickly.  All the twists and turns lead us to a completely believable climax.  Okay, a believable climax for a world where a twelve-year-old regularly saves the world, but that’s exactly what we are expecting when we pick up this book.

Peppered into this world of action and intrigue are quite a few laughs.  I was lucky no one caught me laughing at this book in the break room at work, in fact.  There are so many moments that just caught me off guard, and I loved it.

The characters are good.  Oh, they could be a little stronger, especially the supporting characters, but they are strong enough to make us care about the outcome of the story.  We do get to learn a bit more about Erica Hale, Cyrus’s granddaughter who is a couple years older than Ben.  With the emphasis on action, kids will get caught up in the story and travel along with Ben.  Heck, as an adult, I do, too, so really, this is worth noting only in passing.

I’m always disappointed when I reach the final page of a Stuart Gibbs novel because I’m not ready to leave the story behind yet.  Fans of the Spy School series will feel the same way when they reach the end of Spy School Secret Service.  If you haven’t started the series yet, I highly recommend you do.  You’ll find yourself waiting anxiously for the next in the series before you know it.

Since one adventure is never enough, be sure to check out the rest of the Spy School series.

This review is part of this week's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Movie Review: Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Classic story, wonderful acting
Cons: Time constraints hamper story and characters
The Bottom Line:
Classic Christie tale
Told with great modern actors
Overall good take

“I Recognize That Mustache.”

I am often a little embarrassed to admit that with how much I love mysteries, I have read very little Agatha Christie.  One of the few I’m familiar with is Murder on the Orient Express, thanks to listening to the audio book a few years ago.  So, when I heard about a new big screen adaptation, I knew I had to see it.  Despite the mixed reviews, I found I enjoyed it.

We meet famed detective Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) in Israel where he is working the case of a stolen relic that could start an inter faith war if he doesn’t figure it out in time.  With the case concluded, he thinks he deserves a vacation, but a summons when in Istanbul finds him boarding the Orient Express at the last minute as he heads to London.

On the train, he begins to meet his fellow passengers, including Mr. Ratchett (Johnny Depp).  Ratchett is a business man of dubious ethics who is afraid that one of the people he’s swindled might be out to get him.  He wants to hire Poirot to watch his back, but Poirot refuses.

Their second night on the train, an avalanche traps the train.  While everyone has their bumps and bruises, Poirot discovers in the morning that Ratchett is dead.  Murdered, in fact. Stabbed.  Despite his desire for a vacation, Poirot finds himself pressed into service.  Is one of his fellow passengers a killer?

There are twelve suspects in this case, and this movie clearly shows why some stories work better as books than movies.  In the book, we get time to know all the suspects.  There just isn’t time for that here.  It’s not a fault of the writers, it’s just a flaw of the medium.  It’s a shame since this movie has such a huge cast of well-known names with the likes of Michelle Pfeiffer, Josh Gad, Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, and Judi Dench.  Everyone is fantastic at making the most of their screen time, but it isn’t enough to truly show off their talents.

Not having read many of the Poirot stories, I don’t have a solid picture in my mind of the detective.  I know some people who complained that Kenneth Branagh isn’t at all the way Poirot is described.  Honestly, that didn’t bother me.  I did find his mustache very distracting, and not at all the way I pictured it in the book.  At times, it felt like he was a bit more Sherlock Holmes personality wise than his own character.  At times, I even saw some Monk in him.  While only occasional references to “little grey cells” are made, I was okay with that.  Honestly, I find that phrase overused when describing Poirot.  The movie gives Poirot a love interest in his past.  We don’t know much about this relationship, but he does talk to her picture a few times as a device to allow us to hear his thoughts on the case.

And the case feels short shafted here.  In the book, it is a carefully constructed puzzle that leads to only one logical conclusion.  It’s a story that is masterful even rereading it.  Again, because of the time constraints, some of these plot points get condensed, which makes the story feel rushed.  It’s all there, but I was glad I had the background of the novel to make it easier to follow.

The movie tries to have some beautiful shots.  Unfortunately, their location budget must have been small and their effects budget just as small.  It’s obvious most of the time when they are using effects instead of a physical location.  This is mainly worth noting only in passing.

In addition to starring, Kenneth Branagh also directed the film.  He made a few interesting artistic choices designed, I suspect, to show us how cramped the train is.  Instead, they just make those scenes weird.  I’m thinking especially of the scenes shot from above, where we see the tops of the actor’s heads as they carry on a conversation.  Fortunately, those are rare.

The movie does add in a dash more action and vary the locations for a few scenes to keep things from getting too slow and repetitive for the viewers, and these changes worked for me.

Let me make it clear, I think this film works overall and captures this story well.  It takes on an almost impossible task, so it is easy to spot the flaws.  But I was drawn into the story as I watched it, and the climax is riveting.

So, if you are looking for an old fashioned mystery, this is a movie to go see.  Murder on the Orient Express isn’t perfect, but it is enjoyable for fans of the classic story.

November 18th's Weekly TV Thoughts

I eliminated one show this week.  Unfortunately, only a half hour show.  I really need to cut back on TV.

Once Upon a Time (11/10) – Ivy cast the curse?  After learning from Regina?  Did not see that twist coming.  Oh, I know Regina was trying to help Ivy, but it didn’t turn out that way at all.  I’m most curious out how she “hero proofed” the curse.  And I’m sure there is some way around it, but until we know for sure what it is, I can’t figure out how they’d get around it.  I’m sure it has something to do with Storybrooke, but what exact that is, I don’t know.

Supergirl – I feel like this was a light week for all the regulars to give them time for the crossover.  Not that it was a bad episode, but they were planning ahead, I’m sure.  I loved the shout out to Chloe from Smallville.  Yes, I know she’s now part of the comics, but she started on Smallville, so I’m considering it a shout out to that show.

Dancing with the Stars – I really should have been Drew.  Don’t get me wrong, I like Drew, but I feel like he’s the weakest dancer left.  Still, it is Jordan’s to lose at this point.  The others are strong, but he is so far above them.

The Flash – They are definitely having fun this season.  Heck, I was laughing from the very beginning of the episode.  The mugger was great.  The counsel of Wells was funny, too.  And the new guy is right on the line between super annoying and pretty fun.  I hope they don’t cross over to all annoying.

Lethal Weapon – I’m not sure the sub-plots scenes without Riggs and Martaugh worked for me this week.  The sub-plot was rather stupid, and going back to search just seemed weird.  However, the rest was powerful stuff.  Not as much humor, but watching Riggs with his old friends was so hard at times.

Legends of Tomorrow – Don’t get me wrong, I had fun with this episode.  The Freaky Friday sub-plot was great, and the two actors did a fairly good job of playing each other.  But can’t we just let Darhk die already?  This is the third season he’s been a villain now in the Arrowverse.  And I expected to like have another woman in the cast, but if it is just going to be a chance for them to bad mouth men, I’m less than impressed.

This is Us – Wow.  What a heavy episode.  Jack’s struggles being mirrored in the modern day Kevin was pitch perfect as always.  But what really hurt was Kevin’s breakdown on the lawn.  And then for that whiplash final scene.  I’m not looking forward to next week at all.

Survivor – I really thought Joe was going to go home, especially after the tie.  I get that Desi is a threat at challenges, but Joe is obnoxious.  Please, don’t make the same mistake next week.  Get him off my TV!

Designated Survivor – I really feel for Leo.  The first friend he’s tried to have over in a year and it’s someone who is using him?  Ouch!  At least Kirkman came up with a way to save the day again.  They’ve wrapped up the murder investigation, too.  But where are they going with the “bribery” story.

The Big Bang Theory – Raj’s new relationship didn’t last long.  And we got to see Barry again, if only very briefly.  I’m happy for the actor having a full-time job on another show, but I miss his character here.  I’m wondering if the actress who plays Bernadette is really on bed rest or if they just decided to go with this to shake up the pregnancy storylines since they did this not that long ago.

Young Sheldon – I laughed once over the course of this episode.  This show just isn’t working for me, so I’m dropping it from my list.  Obviously, I still have plenty to watch.

Arrow – Everyone knows about Diggle now.  I’m glad because I get tired of secrets that drag out forever.  Hopefully, we can fix that for good soon now that everyone knows.  I wonder when and how Slade will show back up because you know this story with his son isn’t over.

The Orville – I began to suspect something was off when Clair went crazy.  Although did she ever sell that scene in the cell.  I wasn’t sure where they were going with it.  Classic sci-fi trick episode, but I did like it overall.  There were some very funny moments in the midst of the tension.  And yes, I did catch Voyager’s Doctor’s scene.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Book Review: The Last Detective by Robert Crais (Cole and Pike #9)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Action, suspense, characters becoming real
Cons: All cons kidnapped
The Bottom Line:
Ben being kidnapped
Start this heart pounding thriller
With personal stakes

Personal Kidnapping

I know lots of people who rave about Robert Crais’s books, but I’ve found them to be hit or miss.  That’s changed with The Last Detective.  Sit back while I rave about this book.

As the book opens, Los Angeles based PI Elvis Cole is trying to repair things with Lucy Chenier, he girlfriend.  She’s beginning to think that her ex-husband, Richard, is correct that Elvis’s world is too dangerous for her and her ten-year-old son Ben, while Elvis is trying to convince her that some of the events she’s seen since they got together were exceptions to what his life is like.

Lucy still does trust Elvis mostly since, while Lucy is out of town for a few days for work, she leaves Ben with Elvis.  On the last afternoon, the unthinkable happens – Ben vanishes.  After a frantic search of the neighborhood, Elvis gets a phone call.  Only it’s not a ransom.  The caller tells Elvis this is payback for sins from his past.  The only problem is, Elvis doesn’t recognize the voice or know what the caller is talking about.  With so many people investigating the case, can Elvis figure out what is really going on in time to save Ben?

Lucy and Ben have been in the past few books in the series, and I love these characters, so I was immediately pulled into the story.  While most of the book is told from Elvis’s first person point of view, we get scenes from Ben’s point of view and even some from the point of view of Elvis’s partner Joe Pike.  This adds to the suspense and our knowledge of what is really going on.  Even though I figured out one plot point early on, I was still glued to the story to find out how it would end.

Just how engrossed was I in the book?  I listened to the audio version narrated by James Daniels.  I had already started the book, but I listened to the majority of it while driving to and from an event in Southern California.  I was actually disappointed when I got home since I was in a very exciting point and I needed to know what was going on.  I might have invented a reason to go out again that night to get just a little bit more of the story.

Since the kidnapper is targeting Elvis because of his past, we get our first real look at his past, from his childhood to an extended look at an incidence from his time in Vietnam.  At first, I was disappointed because I wanted to know about what was happening to Ben, but then I got caught up in these flashbacks, too.

My biggest complaint with previous books has been that the characters, especially Joe Pike, haven’t felt real to me.  That wasn’t the case here at all.  We are seeing weakness in Joe even as we get to see a different side of Elvis.  The rest of the cast are also strong characters.  Fans of Crais’s other books will be glad to know that Carol Starkey pops up here.  She was first introduced in the standalone Demolition Angel.  I feel like we missed a piece of her life between that book and her appearance here, but that’s a very minor issue.

James Daniels’s narration of the book is mostly good.  Occasionally, it is a little hard to keep the speakers straight in dialogue heavy passages, but that was rarely an issue for more than a line or two.  It was very minor, and I was so pulled into the story I almost missed a turn or two while driving.  He perfectly narrates the story without overdoing it or trying to make himself part of it.

As with all of Crais’s books, there is more language and violence than the cozies I normally read.  A couple scenes of violence were unnecessary, but I didn’t feel the language was as out of place this time as in some of his other books.

I am also listening to Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch novels on audio, and since the two characters live on the same street and inhabit a similar Los Angeles world, I often think of one series while listening to the other.  That’s why I had to laugh when Bosch makes an unnamed cameo in this book.  It’s a fun bonus, but if you don’t know who it is, it doesn’t impact this book at all.  It makes me want to see the characters team up on a case sometime, however.

Obviously, I can’t praise this book enough.  The Last Detective is a thriller that will keep you engrossed until the very last word.

Once you've read this, you'll definitely want to read the rest of the Elvis Cole and Joe Pike novels.

This review is part of this week's Friday's Forgotten Books.

November 17th's Book Beginning and Friday 56

Welcome to Friday and another edition of Book Beginning and Friday 56.

I've got another Middle Grade book tonight, this time a fantasy book - Nightfall by Shannon Messenger.

I've been reading this book all week.  I hope that's excused since it in 800 pages.  I'm almost to page 600, so I should finish it this weekend.  It's the sixth in the Keeper of the Lost Cities series, and it is so good.  Not that I'm surprised since I've enjoyed all the books in this series.

The previous book ended with a cliffhanger, and this one picks up moments later.  Don't worry, this isn't really a spoiler:

"You remember me?"
The question slipped from Sophie's lips before she could stop it, and the weighted words seemed to hit the floor of the messy bedroom with a thud.

Moving on to page 56, we find this:

"I can't let anything happen to you," she said quietly.  "I could never live with that guilt."

If you are looking for a great middle grade series and you haven't checked out this one yet, I highly recommend it.  I'll have my full review up next Sunday (the Sunday after Thanksgiving).

Thursday, November 16, 2017

City of Lies Winner

I just pulled the winner for City of Lies.  And the winner is...


I've sent you an e-mail, so please watch your inbox and get back to me so I can connect you with your prize.