And Then I Read... By Merry at Annie's Book Stop/Sharon, MA

Merry's back, reporting on some really good books...

Oh good grief, look how long it's been since I posted anything. I should be ashamed of myself for slacking off. Truth is, I did write an entry a few weeks ago, but then I didn't like it, and ... it never got posted. So I'll try again; okay by you?

I did finally, sadly, finish reading "Captain Vorpatril's Alliance" by Lois McMaster Bujold; it was wonderful, and I read it v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y to prolong the enjoyment as long as possible. It's the seventeenth book in the Vorkosigan saga, so I won't try to bring you up to date on the entire Bujold universe - besides, why spoil the pleasure of discovering it for yourself? But in this entry, Cousin Ivan Vorpatril, known fondly in the family as "that-idiot-Ivan" finally gets to be the lead character and proves he's no slouch at derring-do and concocting plots himself. It starts with an act of unthinking chivalry and winds up with a spectacular development in the capital city of Barrayar - one that changes the face of the city forever. And it's all Ivan's doing! Well, sort of. At least this time, he can't blame Miles for his woes - he stepped into this one with both eyes wide open.

The next book was also a series entry - Robert Randisi's newest Rat Pack mystery. Set in the early 1960's in Las Vegas, "It Was a Very Bad Year" finds The Sands' pit boss Eddie Gianelli once again sweet-talked into lending a hand to one of Frank Sinatra's buddies. Joey Bishop asks him to help Abby Dalton recover some embarrassing pictures from a local sleazy photographer. World history intervenes when November 22, 1963 brings shocking news that devastates Sinatra - not only is his friend, JFK, killed in Dallas, but the next day in Reno, Frank Jr. is kidnapped and held for ransom. Desperate to retrieve his son, Frank calls in Eddie G. and his buddy, Jerry Epstein, to handle the ransom delivery. Bodies begin to appear in Eddie's and Jerry's wake, with the cops following close behind, waving warrants. I love this series - Randisi brings the era to life perfectly. It feels as if he was there and is personally relating the happenings to the reader.

Just yesterday, I finished reading the first in a newish mystery series by Rebecc M. Hale, set in an antique shop in San Francisco - "How to Wash a Cat". It was a good mystery in that I didn't guess just who the bad guy was until nearly the end (although I will say the culprit was high on my list of possibilities), but the plot twisted and turned in so many directions with so many auxiliary characters creeping in and out of the shadows, that at times, it was a bit hard to follow. Which raises the point, would I read the second in the series? Yup. Maybe the next one will be a little more follow-able (is that even a word?);I certainly liked the cast of characters enough to want to see what happens to them.

I'm about two-thirds of the way through another cozy mystery, "Killer Librarian" by Mary Lou Kirwin. It's good so far - as the blurb on the front cover says, "When she checks in, someone always checks out..." 

Hope that you all had a wonderful, family- and fun-filled holiday season - whether you celebrate Winter Solstice, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or just the joy of breathing, and that the new year brings you happiness and contentment.

Keep reading, and visit us on Facebook (Annie's Book Stop of Sharon) or on our own website, almost ready for business... anniesbooksofsharon.com.

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