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Jude's World

I love books, as long as they are good
Susan Slutt, Girl Sleuth - Kate Emburg If, like myself, you were hooked on the Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys series of "teen sleuth" books...back in the 1950s-1960s.....then you are in for a serious treat with this series, featuring the intrepid, if at times dense, Susan Slutt...she, of the titian tresses, powder blue roadster, and entourage of interesting chums.

These adventures range from the ridiculous to the hilarious, with plenty of Homoerotic overtones, cross-dressing, indiscriminate groping, and enough sexual innuendo to choke a cat (except the dead one, in the first story)

Porkerville , USA should be proud of its genius detective.....or her debonair Lawyer daddy will whupp everyone's ass (including Susan's)...

These stories do become a bit "much", after a while. I suggest small hits, like 2 or 3 at a pop.......that way you'll be able a appreciate the fine writing and "mannered" style...and won't just be sitting there with a goofy grin on your face.

5 Stars (for entertainment value alone)......I have the other two collections as well...Susan Slutt, Girl Shamus...and Susan Slutt, Girl Dick......and am looking forward to more of the same lubricious fun...
Lucretia and the Kroons (Novella) - Victor Lavalle It's a weird novella and I'm still trying to get my thoughts in order..The writing itself was wretched...but the story/message was good

**Real review to follow**
Only One Life: A Novel (Pegasus Crime) - Sara Blaedel
The very idea of Honor Killings...that the recalcitrant actions of one person could lead another family member to commit murder......boggles the mind. Even though our society seems to have lost all concept of Shame and/or Honor...the thought of Murder for Honor makes me blench. Not to mention the fact that, according to this book, most Honor Killings are perpetrated my members of the Extended Family...those living outside the country where the Killing took place..

All of which is Nice & Good.......except , in the case of this book, Honor Killings are a matter of Police Procedural...and Journalistic Hubris

.....and so it goes

Louise Rick is caught up in another Honor Killing case, after being.sourced out to the town of Holbaek...where a Jordanian immigrant girl’s battered corpse is discovered...awash in a cold sea. Enter Dicta Moller....dead girl’s best friend (and aspiring Model....she’s got the Looks)..the Linchpin of this story.....

Be Warned: Teen Angst abides in this story (in a rather Wooden manner)....as does Rape-by-a Family-Member

After much back&forth.....with Samra’s family (the Jordanian girl)....and the whole Honor Killing thing....and Dicta (Teenage Slut).....I was left with a “let down” feeling...mainly because the whole tone of the Narrative is dry-as-dust (but, I’ll chalk that up to the translation)...or full of excess characters (Camilla-the-Journalist was present..to remind the reader of the previous novel....CALL ME PRINCESS..????)....and the fact that Samra's murder had nothing to do with Honor Killing...just Family Hubris.....and teenage ambition

The denouement wasn’t unexpected..just Slow on Arrival..

My second read by Sara Blaedel......it was better than CALL ME PRINCESS....but still too busy, in ways that didn’t keep the story moving.....

I like this woman’s stories...just wish they had more life..in the translation

*****This was a Net Galley*****
Quarantine - John Smolens What happens when a viral epidemic strikes a seaport in Massachusetts.....1796? the social, political, and economic aspects...

some characters are "Dickensian", in that they are caricatures...but the story doesn't suffer for their existence (perish the phony "French" though)

Very atmospheric....i could almost smell the salt-tinged sea air.....and the smudge pots from the Pest House

Sometimes too much "nobility" in these savages (I mean, the constables rip off the apothecaries, and then try to sell the much needed drugs back, to the doctors...through a Third party...Sounds downright Contemporary to me)

In no way an Earth Shaker..this is a good story, well told. The Authors' Note at the end gives the book's provenance...and that's a good story as well

*****this review could change/improve*****

**this was a Net Galley**
Talulla Rising - Glen Duncan The review for this puppy will have to wait, until I finish its prequel, The Last Werewolf.......otherwise, most of what I have to say won't make a damned bit of sense....

City of Women

City of Women - David R. Gillham 1943 Berlin becomes the setting for a real tear jerker of a Soap Opera....Sex is everywhere, both the rough sort and the solo...but no one is happy. Sigrid is busy with her dead end job and Life with Mother-in-Law..while hubby is fighting on the Eastern Front. She makes the acquaintance of a little snippet, who works as a Mother's Helper in their Apartment Building...who subsequently involves Sigrid in the Savory business of hiding Jews from the Nazis...Sigrid drowns her sorrows in Sex....first with a nasty Jew (with a nasty history)...then with a suave, yet crippled, soldier man. No one is happy, or satisfied....

I would have enjoyed the story more if Sigrid had had more "character"...all of her whingeing became tedious...and her air of martyrdom rang false

However, as a Beach Read for the Depressive Set..this wasn't half bad

3 Stars

***this was a Net Galley***
Ill Will - J.M. Redmann ILL WILL by J M Redmann

#7 in the “Micky Knight” series......

Micky Knight is a Lesbian PI...a “dyke dick”....and, this time around, she’s tackling the Health Care System......post Hurricane Katrina....in the shambles of New Orleans

Besides dealing with shady Contractors...she’s dealing with shady Health Care Providers....Snake Oil salesmen of the first water, who have “science” as a back up..

The thing is, Micky’s lover is a Doctor....with a recent Cancer diagnosis....I think you see where this is going...Micky has to fight for what’s right...and, fight for the Love of her Life....Lesbianism ain’t easy...even in The Big Easy!!...especially in this case..with Evil Doctors and HIT MEN on the loose

My first Micky Knight was THE INTERSECTION OF LAW & DESIRE....from there i was hooked!

There is much emotionalism here....as there would be, if your lover was ill....get over it...they’re women...Jeesh

Read the series....J M Redmann/Micky Knight Rock!!!
Alif the Unseen - G. Willow Wilson ...is a tour de force of storytelling!!

Young computer hackers plying their trade in an unnamed Middle Eastern Police State...risking life, limb, and motherboards...all in the name of Freedom. Then....this book appears...an ancient tome that wasn't supposed to exist. The Thousand and One Days (as opposed to The Thousand and One Nights)....full of odd tales...or metaphors. Or, is the book really a complex computer program that recognizes individuals...without the aid of ISPs or code names? I'll never know what else to say about this one...except WOW! Go...get a copy when it's published....you'll be sitting open-mouthed. like I was!! (
Grave Mercy  - Robin LaFevers, R.L. LaFevers On the one hand...lords and ladies and "palace intrigue"...a beleagured Princess...skeevy schemes...all the stuff of good fairy tales. On the other hand...a "religious order" that trains female assassins..(Sisters of Death!). I know, it sounds Ho-Hum, but...this gal can write! The story (14th century Brittany and the constant war against France) is exceptionally well told and the characters...while "characters"..are all too human. Seek out this gem...read it! (I'll be buying a copy when it's published...that's how much I liked it)

Lady of Devices (Magnificent Devices #1)

Lady of Devices (Magnificent Devices #1) - Shelley Adina What a lively, fun read!

All the hallmarks of Steampunk, with enough murder and mayhem to keep the "sweetness factor" to a minimum..

Complete review to follow. Highly recommended.
The Technologists - Matthew Pearl
One fine day, when the compasses on all the ships in Boston Harbor went haywire......and a while later, all the glass (on Bank Street) melted.....it became obvious that “something was up”, and not just the sky

it’s 1868...shortly after the Civil War

The first class of THE MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY is about to graduate....and all Hell breaks loose!!

Fear and Ignorance among the general populace......The Hardy Boys meet Harry Potter (meet The Technologists)....Harum scarum pyrotechnics.....corporate greed.....Creationists.....Richy rich Harvard Boys....and one lone female with the brains to attend MIT, albeit sub rosa (“in the basement”)

I loved this book......for the fact that, while it is Historical in content...and I’m sure the research is/was flawless.....but more so, because it was such a damned “fun” read

I haven’t read anything else by Mr Pearl...though The Dante Club has been lurking hereabouts for quite a while, and i do want to read it, now

Recommended for those who won’t be nitpickers or Grouchy Guses.....who want a good story that also makes one think a bit...about our own attitude toward technology/innovation...and Education/Intellectualism....the more things change, they really do stay the same

4 Stars

**This was a Net Galley**

The Trade

The Trade - Thomas Kirkwood Young, Eastern European women are promised jobs, and a chance for a better life, only to see those promises crushed when they are auctioned off and sold into sexual slavery...Welcome to the Natasha Trade...a multi-million dollar, world wide business....set up to satisfy the "esoteric" tastes of wealthy men...Asian, American, Arab, Russian.....mostly Westerners, who have the $$$

One Natasha escaped....and built a better life with a husband and child...until her former "master" found her....killed her husband and framed her for the murder.....now, with her daughter's whereabouts unknown...life is pretty much over for Kristyna

After a daring escape from the courthouse, during her sentencing hearing (an escape involving a body-double, no less)...and a series of evasive maneuvers by sea....our Kristyna ends up back in Europe, hell-bound for Slovenia...bent on revenge, and finding her daughter. Hot on her tail are two FBI agents, bent on capturing her and returning her to the USA....after that, the story gets complicated

Did I mention, one of the the Slovenian bad guys seemed to be an reincarnation of the Mad Monk, Rasputin...complete with a "church" and a "doctrine" of Redemption that would creep out anyone. A cold blooded but "smart as a whip" sociopath...

Car chases, role playing, "slave auctions" by the light of oil barrel fires....all the elements of a decent thriller are here..along with pointed social commentary. The story ain't pretty, there is plenty of violence...but the scared little girl is finally reunited with her mother and they live...

Except, the Natasha Trade is still thriving...young women are still desperate..throughout the world

I thought this was a good Thriller..a bit heavy-handed, at times. The FBI agents were a bit much in the "macho" vein...as Tough Guys...but, they spoke in complete sentences and had legitimate gripes about their lame assed Superiors...Ultimately they were brave and saved one woman and her daughter...I recommend this book, it was a pleasant surprise

***this was a Net Galley***

3 Stars

The Pleasure Dial

The Pleasure Dial - Jeremy Edwards Oh my lord, what a delight, is this book!

This peek-a-boo into the world of 1930s radio...when Radio was King...has it all. Frazzled comedy writers, egotistical radio Stars, a nymphomaniacal daughter, pansexuality,and men who wear Fedoras!

Artie Plask leaves New York, after spending too much time looking up a mannequin's skirt, for a lucrative job writing for one Sid Huffy...Radio Star/King of Comedy...Once in the City of Angels, our boy Artie meets a bunch of characters that blow his mind..and other body parts..The lovely Elyse (daughter of Sid) who can't seem to keep her clothes on....Sid, himself...the Star-of-the-day...with a serious flair for comedy (too bad he yearns for Drama)....and Mariel, the true Star of this story...writer extraordinaire...the girl-with-the-feather...the wittiest of them all

And Sex....of which there is a plethora. Lubricious, lively, and louche...Fun sex, not Porn (sex-for-profit)..although these folks profit greatly by all their exertion/exercise. The dialogue improves, and this reader felt the temperature rise..a Good thing

There is a story here...and believable characters. Women who like sex, in all its permutations, but still have a job....and think with their brains (they leave their pussies for pleasure, and know the difference). Men who are more than their "tools"...who care about life, and their job, and women

Old time radio was no different than today's Media...Professional jealousy...Pompous asshole writers...Money issues..This story has all of that, with a touch of Innocence

Recommended to anyone who enjoys sex-on-the-page...in good fun with a touch of innocence...and a decent story, to boot

4 Stars

*** I received this from GoodReads***
The Lola Quartet - Emily St. John Mandel Four friends form a jazz band in High School, the eponymous Lola Quartet....add one more (the drummer's step sister/trumpet player's girlfriend) and you have the cast of characters playing in this story

You also have a pregnancy-kept-secret, a runaway, a theft of mucho $$$$ from a meth dealer, a ruined journalist, and a cold-blooded murder. Oh my!

Gavin and Anne were High School sweethearts, until Anne became pregnant, and decided to run away with Daniel (because he had a place to run to in Utah)....Anne spends a lot of time in turmoil, wondering if the baby will look half-Japanese, like Gavin, or Cocoa brown, like Daniel...Anna slept around a bit. Once the baby is born all pink and shiny, Daniel splits...and Anna steals over $100,000 from her crazy Meth dealer landlord....so begins her Life on the Lam....Meanwhile, 10 years on, Gavin's successful career as a journalist tanks miserably once he's caught faking stories...he has to return home to Florida to work for his sister, foreclosing properties....Jack the erstwhile Boy Genius is a Vicodin addict who spends his days reading books about jazz arcana...Daniel is an embittered police detective with a trashed marriage, two kids, and no life...Sasha the drummer spends her days hiding from reality..her nights working at a roadside diner..her spare moments devising a plan to save Anna from that hellhound Meth dealer..

The death of High School dreams...the harsh bite of reality...the way people we once thought we knew, can change into monsters...the way we accept all of this as "just life" but still keep an eye peeled over one shoulder...that's what this book is about. It's no "mystery" any more than life itself

While not earth shattering, I thought this was a good story, well told...it made me consider some of my youthful indiscretions...and what the fallout would have been, if i'd stayed in touch with people from college...and if anything would have survived from those friendships, besides regret


4 Stars

***This was a Net Galley***
The Whipping Club - Deborah Henry Marian and Ben, young lovers in 1950s Ireland, are on the road to learning some of Life's more difficult lessons. Marian (Catholic) is pregnant, and about to tell Ben (Jewish)...but after a disastrous first meeting with his parents, she hies off to a Catholic "Mother & Baby" home to complete her pregnancy and "give up" the baby for adoption.

Fast forward ten years.....Marian and Ben are married with a daughter, Johanna, and life is good. Things start to unravel when the "other" child makes an appearance, though not directly at first. Seems Adrian was not adopted by a wealthy American couple, but has been languishing in a Catholic Orphanage, within spitting distance (okay, I exaggerate, here) of Marian's happy home. Thus begins the journey through Irish Adoption Law...the quest to "get Adrian back".

After a shaky period within the bosom of his family, Adrian is returned to the Orphanage while the wheels of Church and State grind slow, his fate in the balance, since he is legally the ward of one Sister Agnes....head "angel" of the Orphanage.. He befriends another orphan, a girl...and all hell breaks loose because they are kids and curious. The girl is shipped off to a madhouse and Adrian is consigned to an Industrial School for Boys, where the loving attention of the priests leaves many marks.

If this story seems to be following a pattern...it is. It did. It is a fierce indictment of the Catholic Orphanage/Industrial School system....of the "homes" for unwed mothers....of the abuse of defencless children by priests and nuns....but it is told more from the side of one family caught up in the system's net. The toll taken on a marriage through guilt, frustration, and anger..Marian spends a lot of time blaming herself for Adrian's situation...and suspecting her husband of countless infidelities....and envying his ties to Judaism and "faith"....Ben goes through life trying to succeed at his job as a Journalist, being thwarted at every turn for his "radical" ideas....trying to understand his wife's mood swings...Johanna goes through life as a kid in a shaky home situation...The Church people go through life with "God's blessings"

I liked this book for its restraint..and respect the author for not turning it into a screed...for developing believable characters caught in a heartbreaking situation, without reverting to a "4 hankie" fest...I came away from this book still angry as hell at the blindness of the Catholic Church and the cruelty meted out in the name of God....but I am glad I saw the human side of this one story..

Recommended to anyone who wants to be pleasantly surprised at the handling of one Hot Button Issue

4 Stars

***this was a Net Galley***
The Sausage Maker's Daughters - A.G.S. Johnson I thought this book would be another take on KING LEAR....likeA Thousand Acres..a literate, "moving" take.....Not so...Shakespearian this is not....in tone or telling

Kip Czermanski was the eternal Black Sheep in her family of Breck Blonde sisters...and the strict Catholicism...Needless to say Kip was short and dark haired...Kip was the trouble maker..the wild child...the Counter Culture rabble rouser who loved to terrorize her family by indulging in such "nonsense" as anti-war activities..Feminist terrorism...never mind that she was blamed for the death of her mother...the "sainted mother" who died from complications of Kip's birth

A fact that older sister Sybel never let's Kip forget

This story starts where Kip is languishing in jail...charged with the murder of her brother-in-law...Sybel's husband...Kip's lover from her college days. The final straw for JJ Czwermanski..The Sausage King's...youngest daughter (herself a bother and,now, an Adulteress to boot)

Talk about family dysfunction.....this book is a Big Ass soap opera

Sisters pointing fingers and pulling their own hair

There is also a whiff of the AFTER SCHOOL SPECIALS....as far as the Counterculture aspect.....a "preachy teachy" tone (which leads me to think the Author didn't live through this era)

I tend to avoid books that deal with the 1960s-early 1970s...because I lived that era...the Anti-War/Feminist Movements...because my issues, within those Movements, were "class" related....I saw that most of the Movement Radicals were Trust Fund babies...dressed as Lumberjacks..driving snazzy sports cars.....kinda made me sour

That BS being said....I thought this book was a "guilty pleasure"....oddly compelling..if only for the fact that the "least" of the Czermanski sisters....ended up a murderess

Recommended to those who enjoy their Family Dramas as "soap opera"....and never really lived through the Counterculture of the 60s-70s

3 Stars

**this was a Net Galley**