Someone To Wed (A Westcott Novel) by Mary Balogh

5136KRDuxTLThis Regency romance released on November 7, 2017. I received an ARC copy and have been mulling over the review for two weeks. I love Mary Balogh. 

Also, I loved this book. Full recommendation, five stars, all that jazz. When I write reviews, I sometimes comment on writing style, but I won’t for authors whose books I pick up without even reading the back cover blurb because it’s a non-issue. No complaints, only the highest of praise for Mary Balogh because she sets the romance bar higher than most.

I found that I could relate to the characters on a personal level, which is always such a hard thing to find in books. The romance was front and center, love scenes tasteful and unpredictable, and the story believable–even if it takes place before my grandparents were even born. Regency is actually not my favorite time period, but in this book it really doesn’t matter.

I don’t even know what else to say about the story. It’s superb. If I had a microphone, I’d give it to Mary Balogh so she could drop it.

To my blog readers, please note that I will always pick up titles by this author when they come into my view. I will always review them here when I have the opportunity, whether I’m given an ARC (as was the case with this particular title) or I run to the store to buy a copy myself. If you have a favorite title by this author, please do share!

If you’d like to read your own copy, head over to Amazon before Christmas shipping times get ridiculous! 😀 Of course, with a Kindle copy I suppose you can get around that.

Kindle $7.99 
Paperback $10.42

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Batman/The Flash: The Button Deluxe Edition

Batman

The road to DOOMSDAY CLOCK begins here. BATMAN/THE FLASH: THE BUTTON DELUXE EDITION is the prelude to this epic story, complete with a lenticular motion cover!
 
During the unforgettable events of DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH, Batman found a mystery he can’t even begin to solve—a strange bloodstained smiley-face button embedded in the Batcave wall. All analysis suggests the button is not of this universe…so where did it come from? And who left it here? These are questions only the Flash can help answer.
 
When the button is stolen by Reverse-Flash, Batman and Flash follow his trail to a parallel world, a twisted alternate timeline that shouldn’t exist. Someone is sending the heroes on a bizarre trip through reality, showing them glimpses of fallen loved ones and forgotten friends—but who? Wally West warned the Flash of an unseen force influencing our world—distorting histories, pulling the strings, watching all—and the strange yellow button could be the key to finding it. 
 
Featuring the all-star creative team of writers Joshua Williamson and Tom King alongside top-tier artists Jason Fabok and Howard Porter, BATMAN/THE FLASH: THE BUTTON collects BATMAN #21-22 and THE FLASH #21-22. The road to DOOMSDAY CLOCK begins here!

Release date: October 17, 2017

I don’t get to review comics nearly as much as I’d like. I tend to dislike crossovers, though. I didn’t dislike this. At least not all of it. For a little bit of background, I should inform you, my readers, that I grew up with a dad who ate, slept, and breathed Batman. Still does. The man has grandchildren who go to his house and want to see what new Batman toys he has. And, according to my grandma, my dad has been like that since he was little bitty because when he was a kid, Adam West was Batman and all one needed to become “the bat” was a bed sheet cape and the back of a sofa to leap from.

Fast forward a to the nineties. I was just a kid who wanted nothing to do with anything my parents thought was cool. That included Batman. And Kiss (but that’s a post for a whole new day). So, even though I fought the urge to really dislike Batman tooth and nail, going to see each movie and having to live in Gotham for my entire childhood really instilled in me a queasy roller coaster ride of emotions toward the superhero. I also grew to realize that I can relate more to the villains than the heroes, so maybe my dad’s lifelong love of all things Batman wasn’t a total bummer. There were important life lessons in there.

So, when I picked up a copy of a Batman/The Flash: The Button Deluxe Edition, I had some uneasy feelings because I felt like if I hated the story, I was letting my dad’s hero down. Don’t judge me (giggle).  I do love Flash, though.

The biggest issue I have for myself as well as other readers is this: If you feel like you won’t have any qualms over The Watchmen being involved in the story, you’ll probably enjoy the premise, as it is meant to be a prelude to Doomsday Clock. The artwork is great and I wouldn’t assume to expect anything less. The writing itself was a bit predictable. I could see that ending coming a mile away and I imagine most other readers could too.

I can’t see any reason not to recommend Batman/The Flash: The Button Deluxe Edition to other readers, particularly if you’re looking forward to Doomsday Clock (though you could actually skip this story if you wanted to). It’s not a particularly long read, but great for a rainy afternoon or to spread across a few class periods.

PRE-ORDER TODAY

Amazon.com

DC Comics.com

Barnes & Noble 

 

 

 

 

 

Quakery: A Brief History Of the Worst Ways To Cure Everything by Lydia Kang/Nate Pedersen

516+JwxQkSL._SX377_BO1,204,203,200_Genre: Non-fiction/historical
Release Date: October 17, 2017

What won’t we try in our quest for perfect health, beauty, and the fountain of youth?

Well, just imagine a time when doctors prescribed morphine for crying infants. When liquefied gold was touted as immortality in a glass. And when strychnine—yes, that strychnine, the one used in rat poison—was dosed like Viagra.

Looking back with fascination, horror, and not a little dash of dark, knowing humor, Quackery recounts the lively, at times unbelievable, history of medical misfires and malpractices. Ranging from the merely weird to the outright dangerous, here are dozens of outlandish, morbidly hilarious “treatments”—conceived by doctors and scientists, by spiritualists and snake oil salesmen (yes, they literally tried to sell snake oil)—that were predicated on a range of cluelessness, trial and error, and straight-up scams. With vintage illustrations, photographs, and advertisements throughout, Quackery seamlessly combines macabre humor with science and storytelling to reveal an important and disturbing side of the ever-evolving field of medicine.

I’m going to start by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed reading through this book. I laughed and cringed all the way through. It looks as though Lydia Kang and Nate Pedersen have an interest in history that closely matches mine, but with a sense of humor, too. Obviously, a sense of humor is much needed when writing a book about all of the ways humans have tried to cure what ails them and most of the ways in which they have failed miserably. Who would have thought bloodletting was a bad idea?

Quackery is available in Kindle ($9.99) and Hardback ($15.60) on Amazon and Hardback ($16.29) from Barnes & Noble. As of now, it is only a pre-order, so by the time we come to the actual release date that may change. Typically I don’t add this information so soon in a review, but I feel like, in this case, there may be a lot of readers interested in buying this as a gift for someone else, including me, actually. Not only is the book great to just read it yourself for entertainment value, but it could also be used as a reference, coffee table book, or (in my opinion) great to use as a book club read because it’s a good conversation holder.

The pages inside the book are fantastically designed. There are a lot of pictures with great captions and, for a book of this sort, they are absolutely a wonderful pairing with the text. Though much of the subject matter is hilariously horrifying (for lack of a better description), it’s an odd comfort to have a photo of some of the cures because, with them, a reader can try and imagine being ill, having someone with a knife come and cut you open for absolutely no good reason. It’s frighteningly mad.

The writing, aside from the pictures and subject matter, is frank and to the point. Those of you who are not new to my reviews will realize that I am not a fan of writing that meanders and “lollygags” around. If I have to put a star rating to this book–and for the sake of Amazon and Goodreads, I’m sure I’ll have to–I give Quackery a four.

 

Quarry’s Climax by Max Allan Collins

I know I’ve reviewed Max Allan Collins in here before, but this book is different than the last in that I could not make myself become interested in the stories or the characters. Frankly, I didn’t really relate to the main character.

I did enjoy the plot and, as always, Collins’s writing style. Hard Case Crime is usually either a thumbs way up or a thumbs down for me, no between, no gray areas. One good thing I can say is that I didn’t just throw the book down because I disliked the characters. It wasn’t a particularly painful read. There was just absolutely no connection for me and sometimes, when you’re a reader, that happens. It’s like when you meet somebody and you’re just not into them (similar concept, at least).

HOWEVER, I can still give this book a recommendation to certain readers of hard case crime and the like. A certain type of readership (and it’s a broad readership, too) will absolutely love it.

If you’d like to buy your own copy, Quarry’s Climax was released on October 10, 2017 and is available all over the place, including Amazon.com.

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There’s Nothing More Dangerous Than a Loaded Magazine
Memphis, 1975. “Raunchy” doesn’t begin to describe Max Climer’s magazine, Climax, or his all-hours strip club, or his planned video empire. And evangelists, feminists, and local watchdog groups all want him out of business. But someone wants more than that, and has hired a killer to end Max’s career permanently. Only another hit man – the ruthless professional known as Quarry, star of the acclaimed series on Cinemax – can keep Climer from becoming a casualty in the Sexual Revolution.

Queens Of the Conquest by Alison Weir

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The lives of England’s medieval queens were packed with incident—love, intrigue, betrayal, adultery, and warfare—but their stories have been largely obscured by centuries of myth and omission. Now esteemed biographer Alison Weir provides a fresh perspective and restores these women to their rightful place in history.
Spanning the years from the Norman conquest in 1066 to the dawn of a new era in 1154, when Henry II succeeded to the throne and Eleanor of Aquitaine, the first Plantagenet queen, was crowned, this epic book brings to vivid life five women, including: Matilda of Flanders, wife of William the Conqueror, the first Norman king; Matilda of Scotland, revered as “the common mother of all England”; and Empress Maud, England’s first female ruler, whose son King Henry II would go on to found the Plantagenet dynasty. More than those who came before or after them, these Norman consorts were recognized as equal sharers in sovereignty. Without the support of their wives, the Norman kings could not have ruled their disparate dominions as effectively.
Drawing from the most reliable contemporary sources, Weir skillfully strips away centuries of romantic lore to share a balanced and authentic take on the importance of these female monarchs. What emerges is a seamless royal saga, an all-encompassing portrait of English medieval queenship, and a sweeping panorama of British history.  (*Blurb from Amazon.com*)

Non-fiction/Historical 

Release Date: September 26, 2017
Includes: Maps, family trees, illustrations, glossary, British terms, two appendixes, bibliography, notes, and references. 

Queens Of the Conquest focuses on the consorts of the Norman kings of England. These ladies lived lives none of us, no matter how well read or traveled, could ever begin to imagine. Spectacular language with feeling, concern, and incredible knowledge tell the tales of the backbone of a Norman society. Alison Weir’s gift of historical realness to her readers is incredible. Bravo, Miss Weir.

As I would imagine people might like to read this particular volume for research, I feel I should say that the book’s contents are arranged in such a way that a pupil will feel at ease flipping through the pages (digital or paper, applies to both) knowing that whatever bit of information they’re looking for will be right there. Every bit of every Queen’s life is explained and painted in such a way that a reader–scholarly or leisurely–will understand on a level deeper than common knowledge usually allows.

For those reading for leisure, which I assume is most of us, this is just book one and that means there are more coming in the Medieval Queens series. If the rest of the series is as meticulously involved as this one, I’m in. It is unfortunate that the Norman queens haven’t been given the same amount of attention (in my opinion) as the queens of other eras because they are, simply put, incredible.

The only gripe I really have is that I cannot seem to find any information regarding subsequent books in this series, other than that there is some. I will most certainly be following up, however, and I will let my own readers know about any editions to come.

Pre-order Queens Of the Conquest by Alison Weir on Amazon.com if you are interested.  

You can also visit Alison Weir’s website if you follow this link through cyberspace! 

 

Wickedly Spirited by Deborah Blake

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Kindle price $1.99, release date September 19, 2017, available for pre-order!

This book is marketed as a romance, but honestly it reads as more of a YA magical adventure, though I do realize Wickedly Spirited is part of a series, so I’m absolutely certain (after having read this story) the other pieces of the world Deborah Blake has built for her readers are more romantically involved. As a matter of fact, the next bit of story will be released in November 2017 (Titled Dangerously Divine). But, as is, this story can standalone and I would easily recommend it to my fifteen year old daughter.

The story revolves around sixteen year old Baba-Yaga (witch) in-training, Jazz, after having been adopted by her mentor. Behind her mentor’s back, Jazz tasks herself with restoring immortality to The Riders, companions of the Baba-Yagas. With the help of her mentor’s dragon-cat, Koshka, Jazz ventures into the Otherworld to gather ingredients to help her out.

There isn’t much to add because this is a very short read, one which I really enjoyed because sometimes I’m really too busy to get too involved in what I’m reading, regardless of how enjoyable it might be. Those of you who are busy during the day and have jobs and lives beyond the internet probably understand what I mean. The premise of the story is nice, the characters are all great, if not surreal (reminiscent of late nineties dramedies), and knowing there’s more coming in just a few months–rather than years, as with other book sequels–is a treat.

I can give my recommendation for this book without having to mull it over because it’s an easy YES. A person can read this story while they fold their laundry. Kindle gave it a bit over an hour and a half, so great to read while you’re in a waiting room or having morning coffee. I really am glad I stumbled upon this.

I am going to make sure to get a copy of Dangerously Divine as soon as it’s released because I really would like to know what happens to Jazz next. Without going into too much detail, Wickedly Spirited sort of leaves you wondering.

PRE-ORDER WICKEDLY SPIRITED FROM AMAZON HERE!

TO PRE-ORDER DANGEROUSLY DIVINE (BROKEN RIDERS NOVEL, A) FRO

M AMAZON, CLICK HERE!

DANGEROUSLY DIVINE

Available for pre-order. Release date November 28, 2017

Clade by James Bradley, A cautionary tale.

clade.jpgAdam is in Antartica, marking the passage of the solstice. Across the globe, his wife Ellie is waiting for the results of her IVF treatment. So begins the story of one family in a changing world, where the apocalyptic mingles with the everyday; a father battles a biblical storm; an immigrant is mysteriously drawn to the art of beekeeping; a young girl’s diary chronicles a pandemic; and a young man finds solace in building virtual recreations of the dead…

Let’s be honest, this book was bound to come to my view one day and I’m glad that it did because I happen to absolutely love time travel or alternate reality type stories. This goes beyond that–it follows a family through the expanse of time, so readers get to enjoy a great story that explores both science fiction and something of a family drama. As far as I can see, it isn’t part of a series, either, so for those who enjoy single stories (instead of having to read multiple novels in order to get the full view of the characters and their plights), this is a great fit.

I have never read any of James Bradley’s other works, but I feel like I might. My to-be-read pile is absolutely huge right now, but I’ll make room and I would imagine that after reading Clade, others will too. He’s a good writer, but some of the characters weren’t as strong as I would have liked. He did, however, deliver a great premise and he followed through until the very last chapter. The climate change cautionary tale James Bradley has written for us is certainly thought provoking.

If you would like to find out for yourself, I found Clade by James Bradley on Amazon, but you can also buy it from Titan Books.