Moonlight Madness

Moonlight Madness

The third annual game of Booklikes Halloween Bingo starts 9/1/18! Join us and play!

Much happy mail for Moonlight Madness over the last few days!

 

Thank you to both Murder by Death and Tigus!

 

The bingo card is gorgeous and you have totally outdone yourself with the spreadsheet on the back to fill in, MBD! I love it!

 

And, Tigus, the books are in PERFECT condition! I was stunned when I opened the package. I am excited to read both of them as part of my Halloween bingo extravaganza!

Review
4 Stars
Second half blew away the first
Black Water Rising - Attica Locke

As I previously mentioned in my update, I was struggling a bit with this book and the pacing. Once I got home from work today, I settled in to read - my husband and daughter are spending the night with my in-laws, and my son works until 8:30, so I had a completely silent house all to myself.

 

The first half of the book was good. The second half of the book was great. Locke tied all of the disparate threads together. She palmed the ace a few times, and made me go "aha," more than once. She answered all of my questions, and then some, and left me wanting more.

 

So much more that I jumped directly into the second book of the Jay Porter series, Pleasantville.

 

I still think I liked Bluebird, Bluebird better, because a book about a black Texas Ranger is pretty freaking hard to beat. But I ended up thoroughly enjoying this legal thriller.

 

I read this for the Diverse Voices square.

 

 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 61%.
Black Water Rising - Attica Locke

I'm struggling a bit with this one - not because it's poorly written, but because the setting - Houston, Texas, at an indeterminate time in the past that seems like it's probably the mid- to late-1970's - is so gritty, bleak and unpleasant.

 

Jay Porter is a struggling black lawyer in Houston, whose wife, Bernie, is very pregnant with their first child. There are two story lines - the first, and seemingly primary, story line focuses on a birthday cruise that Jay has arranged for Bernie, during which they rescue a white woman whom they originally thought was a crime victim from the river, but it seems that this may not be true. The body of a murdered man is found the following day, and then things get weird, and dangerous, for Jay. 

 

The second story line involves the decision by the dockworkers union to strike, which puts Houston's economy in peril, and which has resulted in a young black man, Darren, being beaten up by three white men. Jay has been asked by Bernie's father to speak to the mayor, an old friend from their college days, to seek prosecution of the men who assaulted Darren. One of them is fairly prominent, so you can see where this is going.

 

Interspersed with these stories are flashbacks to Jay's college years in the sixties, when he was a civil rights activist. He and the mayor, Cynthia, go way back to those days. Cynthia's character is confusing. I can't tell if she was just a white girl "slumming" with the civil rights activists for kicks, or if she was really committed. And I can't tell if she is going to betray Jay to retain the power she's managed to consolidate or not.

 

This is not a fast-paced book - Locke is unfolding and revealing in a positively leisurely manner, which is not the norm for this genre and takes some getting used to. Her writing is convincing, even if her characters (except for Bernie. Bernie is everything) seem to be continually making the worst possible, most dangerous, choices for themselves and their loved ones. If Jay's stupidity gets Bernie hurt, I am going to be pissed.

 

There is a lot of uncomfortable material in here to unpack. Locke doesn't pull her punches talking about race relations in Houston, and she does not romanticize the civil rights era, or the aftermath. It is dirty and brutal. Houston is humid, dirty and segregated, both racially and into extremes of wealth and poverty. I can't say that I like it, but I am interested in where it is going and where it will end up.

 

I am reading this for my Diverse Authors square.

Halloween Bingo Pre-read
Black Water Rising - Attica Locke

I am reading this one for my diverse authors square! 

 

Here is what Attica Locke's website says about her:

 

Attica Locke’s Pleasantville was the 2016 winner of the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction. It was also long-listed for the Bailey’s Prize for Women’s Fiction, and made numerous “Best of 2015” lists. Her first novel, Black Water Rising, was nominated for an Edgar Award, an NAACP Image Award, as well as a Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and was short-listed for the Women’s Prize for Fiction. Her second book, The Cutting Season, is a national bestseller and the winner of the Ernest Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. A former fellow at the Sundance Institute’s Feature Filmmaker’s Lab, Locke has worked as a screenwriter as well. Most recently, she was a writer and producer on the Fox drama, Empire. She serves on the board of the Library Foundation of Los Angeles. A native of Houston, Texas, Attica lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband and daughter.

 

I read Bluebird, Bluebird earlier this year and really enjoyed it, and I've been holding onto this one for the Diverse Authors square!

 

This book would also work for Southern Gothic, Terrifying Women, Murder Most Foul, and most likely Suspense, as well!

Proposing an unofficial buddy read
Houses of Stone - Barbara Michaels

I noticed that Murder By Death has Houses of Stone by Barbara Michaels on her list of reads. I had tons of fun with our Ammie Come Home buddy read two years ago, and thought I would propose a follow-up!

 

Houses of Stone is available on kindle and nook book for $6.99. It's also in print in paperback, and is available on amazon for $7.99, and through the book depository for slightly more at $8.60 (US) for the overseas players.

 

 

You know me - I can't resist messing with you guys!

So . . . 

 

 

This year, you can read ONE book in the week leading up to bingo to get a head start on filling your card!

 

Ready.

 

Set. 

 

Read!

You Guys. 'Murica.

Manafort guilty.

 

 

Michael Cohen guilty.

 

 

Omarosa dropping a videotape on Hardball like a t.v. villain.

 

 

What a day.

Review
2.5 Stars
Limelight by Emily Organ
Limelight - Emily Organ

My daughter was obsessively reading a fairy tale retelling series that was available through the KU library, so I decided to use my "free trial" and activate. I wanted to find a few books to read as well, and I'm a historical mystery fan, so I decided to give this one a try.

 

The main character was a newspaper reported named Penny Green, and it's set during the Victorian time period. Overall, I found the book pretty weak, although it wasn't bad for a first installment in the series. 

 

When I compare this book with some of the stalwarts of this particular genre, including Anna Lee Huber, Tasha Alexander, C. S. Harris, and my personal favorite Deanna Raybourn, the flaws are apparent. All three of those authors are able to imbue their historical settings and characters with a sort of a crackling personality that is just simply missing in this book. The romantic subplot- because this type of mystery ALWAYS has a romantic subplot - is usually overflowing with chemistry.

 

The mystery itself was meh and I figured it out very early in the book. Penny, the main character, wasn't entirely without charm, but the romantic subplot with the putative love interest lacked that sparkling chemistry that exists between Nicholas and Lady Julia or Sebastian St. Cyr and Hero. 

 

The cover is lovely, though, and the remaining books in the series have covers that are equally lovely. I suspect, as well, that the series will get better over time. I haven't downloaded the second in the series, but I might before my trial ends, just to see if I'm right.

Reblogged
Halloween Bingo: Updates

I'm up to four bingos with the Romantic Suspense call.

 

First card is blacked out! Now it's just how much of that second card I can fill by the end of the game!

 

 Called:

 

1. Ghost; 2. Cozy Mystery; 3. In the Dark, Dark Woods; 

4. Horror; 5. Locked Room Mystery; 

6. Murder Most Foul; 7. Witches; 8. Werewolves

9. Modern Masters of Horror; 10. Terrifying Women; 11. Diverse Voices

12. Haunted Houses; 13. Serial/Spree Killer; 14. Terror in a Small Town

15. Aliens; 16. Darkest London; 17. Gothic

18. 80's Horror19. Classic Noir; 20. Chilling Children

21. Magical Realism 22. Romantic Suspense

23. Vampires

 

 

 

Called + Read:

 

Cozy Mystery: Behold, Here's Poison by Georgette Heyer. Read 9.2.17 (320 pages)

GhostThe Looking-Glass Portrait by Linda Hilton. Read 9.4.17 (391 pages)

In The Dark, Dark Woods: Endless Night by Agatha Christie. Read 9.7.17 (303 pages)

Locked Room Mystery: Miraculous Mysteries: Locked Room Murders and Impossible Crimes by Martin Edwards (351 pages)

Murder Most Foul: Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey (288 pages)

Genre: Horror: The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (512 pages)

Free Space: The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books by Martin Edwards. Read 9.17.17 (357 pages)

Terrifying Women: Hickory Dickory Dock by Agatha Christie. Read 9.20.17 (304 pages)

Witches: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling. Read 9.25.17 (652 pages)

Serial/Spree Killer: The Alienist by Caleb Carr. Read 9.26.17 (498 pages).

Terror in a Small Town: The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie. Read 9.17.17 (299 pages)

Haunted House: Greygallows by Barbara Michaels. Read 9.29.17 (352 pages)

Diverse Voices: Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel Jose Older. Read 10.2.17 (326 pages).

Darkest London: Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch. Read 9.6.17 (396 pages)

Gothic: Listen For the Whisperer by Phyllis Whitney. Read 9.11.17 (299 pages)

Classic Noir: The Bride Wore Black by Cornell Woolrich. Read 9.1.17. (191 pages)

Chilling Children: Down a Dark Hall by Lois Duncan. Read 9.17.17 (240 pages)

Magical Realism: Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moira Fowley-Doyle (416 pages)

Romantic Suspense: Columbella by Phyllis Whitney. Read 9.16.17 (276 pages)

 

Read + Waiting for a Call

 

Monsters: Chaos Choregraphy by Seanan McGuire. Read 9.2.17. (368 pages)

Amateur Sleuth: A Study In Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle. Read 9.11.17 (108 pages)

American Horror StoryThe Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett. Read 9.16.17 (201 pages) (this is my wild card)

Country House Murder: The Crime at the Black Dudley by Margery Allingham. Read 9.22.17 (224 pages)

Supernatural: Magic for Nothing by Seanan McGuire. Read 10.5.17 (368 pages)

Classic Horror: Carmilla by Sheridan LeFanu (61 pages) 

 

Second Card (Blackout Only)

 

 

 

Darkest London: Murder in Piccadilly by Charles Kingston. Read 9.29.17 (320 pages)

Murder Most Foul: Murder at the Museum by John Rowland. Read 10.1.17 (272 pages).

Terrifying Women:  Lord Edgware Dies by Agatha Christie. Read 10.4.17 (352 pages)

Locked Room: Murder of a Lady by Anthony Wynne. Read 10.7.17 (288 pages)

Gothic: The Secret Woman by Victoria Holt. Read 10.7.17 (379 pages)

Ghost: Woman Without A Past by Phyllis Whitney. Read 10.10.17 (352 pages)

Romantic Suspense: Dream of Orchids by Phyllis Whitney. Read 10.14.14 (279 pages)

Free Square: Above Suspicion by Helen MacInnes. Read 10.13.14 (337 pages)

 

Currently Reading:

 

Country House Mystery: The Dower House Mystery by Patricia Wentworth

 

Total pages read for bingo: 10680

Reblogged from Moonlight Madness
How to track your bingo!

We're less than two weeks away from starting Halloween bingo, so let's talk about how we are going to track our bingos!

 

First, a bit of a rule refresher! A square is captured when two things have occurred - one under the control of the reader, one under the control of the game hosts! The reader must have finished the book for the square, and the square must have been called.

 

There will be bingo calls every other day starting on 9/1/18. You will find the calls here, on my blog, and also on Obsidian Blue's blog, as we will alternate. She will make the first call on September 1st, I will make the second call on September 3rd and so we will proceed until the last call drops on Halloween.

 

You can read in any order. The square does not have to have been called for you to read! What this means is that you can just start reading on September 1, but you cannot mark off a square until the square is called and the book is finished.

 

The way that I handled tracking last year was to use different markers for different stages. I had one marker for called but not read, one marker for read but not called and one marker for claimed.

 

Example:

 

 

The yellow moons would represent called but not read, the orange pumpkin represents read but not called and the back cats are claimed squares. 

 

I did a tracking post last year that I would just update every few days to reflect the calls and my list of completed books, which I will reblog for reference!

 

Other readers have different systems! If you've done a post that talks about your personal system for tracking, feel free to link to it in the comments!

The Countdown Begins...

Review
3.5 Stars
Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett
Equal Rites  - Terry Pratchett

So, this was my first foray into Discworld - and I've been given the impression that it's an early Discworld and shouldn't serve as my final impression of the series. This led me to believe that it probably wasn't very good, or at least not very good relative to the series as a whole.

 

I liked the set up a lot, though I do feel like Pratchett left a lot of possibilities on the table with respect to Eskarina being accidentally made to be the first female wizard. I really liked Granny Weatherwax, although I'm getting the impression that she isn't a granny at all, which I find sort of confusing. I picture her as being quite an attractive, spry youngish witch. Could be wrong about that, but she seemed to capture a great deal of male attention and complained about her lack of crone-ishness. 

 

I really just decided to sort of let the book flow over me, enveloping me in a sense of Discworldishness, since Pratchett's writing style is decidedly unique and, for me at least, needs to be approached with a sense of open-mindedness and adventure. 

 

So, I liked it and I'm excited to read more.

Update
Equal Rites  - Terry Pratchett

I decided to read this in preparation for the Official Booklikes Halloween Bingo Buddy Read, which is Wyrd Sisters.

 

This is my first Discworld book!

Official Buddy Read Selected!
Wyrd Sisters - Terry Pratchett

The official buddy read for Halloween Bingo is Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett!

 

I am really excited about this one! I've never read any of the Discworld books, and I've been meaning to check them out for years. Wyrd Sisters looks like fun.

 

Join us - the read begins 10/1/18!

Runoff Poll for Official Buddy Read

This poll is closed!

 

I am going to close voting on this poll at noon, which gives everyone about an hour and forty minutes to get their vote in!

 

Since the first and second choices were only one vote apart, we're going to do a run off poll! Vote for the one you want to read.

 

Run-off Poll for Official BL Bingo Buddy Read
The Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett
The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole
 
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