Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Tough Evening

This has been a very tough evening here. Sandi fell here a couple of hours ago for the second time since she came here. Had one hell of a time getting her back on her feet. I thought we were going to have to call Dallas Fire Rescue. She has been safely in bed the last two hours, but I worry about not just tonight, but things going forward.

Doctor Day

Finally home as things ran exceptionally long this morning and then we went to the apartment very briefly so that Sandi could see it one final time and know that we got everything. Sandi's blood work was okay, though things are beginning to trail off so by the end of the week she probably will need platelets followed by a major blood transfusion on Monday. Today they also gave her the white blood cell shot they give as she is not a candidate for the patch you see constantly advertised on television.

In addition to the fact that the skull lesions have gone down considerably, while sitting in a waiting room this morning, Sandi realized she could hear the television from the other waiting room. This is the first time she has been able to do that since February. It is also another small sign that this round of chemo definitely did something.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers | ErikaDreifus.com

Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers | ErikaDreifus.com

Aubrey Hamilton Reviews: A Cast of Vultures by Judith Flanders

A Cast of Vultures by Judith Flanders (Minotaur, 2017) is the third in the Samantha Clair contemporary amateur sleuthe mystery series set in London. Samantha Clair is an editor with an established publishing company who lives part-time with a police detective. Let me say for the record that I am more than a little tired of the mandatory police detective boyfriend in amateur sleuth stories. Yes, it makes a convenient venue for obtaining information that the general public is not supposed to have. But still, if authors are creative enough to manufacture plots and people, one of them can surely devise another way of getting information, like having a 13-year-old computer whiz from next door break into the police network. At any rate, this particular arrangement actually sounds like the kind of accommodation adults might come to. He is out at all hours and when he finds himself closer to his home than Samantha’s, he stays there, giving her some much-needed space. He does not have access to all police information either, as is the case in real life.

Initially there appears no real cause for police interest. A neighborhood organizer reports that someone in her apartment house is missing but since he is an adult, everyone assumes he will show up sooner or later. The neighbor is one of those holy terrors who can convince anyone to do anything through sheer force of character and in no time Samantha buckles to her demand to help break into the missing man’s apartment. They find nothing out of the way there and remain puzzled until a few days later when his body is found in a burned house with drugs and a large amount of cash. The police assume that he is a drug dealer caught in a fire he set to hide his illicit activities. None of the people who know him can see him as a drug dealer, but the police just point to the contraband when they protest.

On the job front Samantha is appalled to learn her company has hired consultants to reorganize their work with no real understanding of what it involves. The scene where the editors meet with the consultants spouting jargon and waving PowerPoint presentations is so true to life it’s clear the author has endured a few of these attempts at corporate restructuring. Samantha’s assistant encounters every publisher’s nightmare when she fact-checks an autobiography the firm paid mega bucks for and finds little truth in the manuscript.

The characters are a big reason I enjoyed the book so much. Nice people with recognizable quirks, we all know folks like them. Well-written and witty, the book moves smoothly back and forth between publishing crises and the murder/arson investigation and ties it all up with an unexpected resolution that could have been foreseen had I paid a little more attention to the deviously placed clues. Do add this book to your To-Be-Read list.

·         Hardcover: 320 pages
·         Publisher: Minotaur Books (February 21, 2017)
·         Language: English
·         ISBN-10: 1250087821
·         ISBN-13: 978-1250087829

Aubrey Hamilton © 2017
Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal IT projects by day and reads mysteries at night.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Chemo Round 2 Finished--Sandi Home

Sandi has finished her second round of chemo and is back home where she belongs.

Lesa's Latest Contest: Island Mysteries Giveaway

This week, I'm giving away 2 island mysteries, Linda Greenlaw's Shiver Hitch & Francine Mathews' Death on Nantucket. Details available on my blog, https://www.lesasbookcritiques.blogspot.com. Entries from the U.S. only, please.

Lesa Holstine 

KRL This Week Update for 8/12/17

Up in KRL this morning a review & giveaway of "Fire and Ashes" by Elaine
Viets along with an interesting guest post by Elaine about some of her
research for the book

Also a review & giveaway of "Murder at the Male Revue" by Elizabeth Perona


And a review & ebook giveaway of "Dead Storage" by Mary Feliz along with an
interesting interview with Mary

We also have a review of "Divas, Diamonds, & Death" by Sally J. Smith &
Jean Steffens & a great giveaway where you can not only win a copy of the
book, but also a great animal rescue t-shirt. And we also have an animal
rescue guest post by Sally

And a review & giveaway of "Bad Housekeeping" by Maia Chance

And we have an overview of some of the many great mystery programs on Acorn
TV http://kingsriverlife.com/08/12/acorn-tv-rocks/

Over on KRL News & Reviews, we have a review & giveaway of "Ruined Stones"
by Eric Reed http://www.krlnews.com/2017/08/ruined-stones-by-eric-reed.html

Happy reading,

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Chemo--Round 2-Day 4

Been to the hospital with Scott to see Sandi and found her very active thanks to steroids. Chemo seems to be going fine. The guy who caught the error last time was sent to her floor specifically to do the audit check on her drug cocktail. He came to her room yesterday afternoon to assure her that all is correct this time. The fact he came and did that meant a lot to her.

As it currently stands, they will be sending her home sometime tomorrow. When is in question right now, though I suspect it will be mid to late afternoon. After that we go back Tuesday morning to see her people in the office and do blood work.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Chemo--Round 2-Day 3

Seen Sandi today and she is doing okay. Assuming things continue correctly she will be released sometime Sunday.

FFB Review: WHO’S NEXT? by George Baxt -- Reviewed by Barry Ergang

After you read Barry’s review below, make sure you check out the full list at Patti Abbott’s blog.

WHO’S NEXT? (1988) by George Baxt

Reviewed by Barry Ergang

Multimillionaire Medwin Patton collects “protégés,” people whose talents he can exploit to their mutual benefit. In his case, the benefits might be, on occasion, sexual as well as financial. The latest protégé is eighteen-year-old Vanessa Clay, a ballerina who “was already acclaimed as one of the brightest luminaries in the Gotham Ballet Theatre…Haven Haskell, considered the next best choreographer to Jerome Robbins, was leaving Gotham Ballet to form his own company with financing supplied by Medwin Patton.”

Before he and Vanessa have even met Patton, Vanessa’s widowed father Jethro Clay is having misgivings about his daughter’s welfare in the company of her would-be benefactor. On the other hand, being impoverished, he understands Vanessa’s desire for a big career break and its attendant wealth. An inventor who does “free-lance work as a patents specialist,” he has in the past done some work for the movie industry, creating for films “all forms of infernal machinery with which to astonish and then horrify the teenage audiences who mostly patronized the junk.” Among those films was The Scarecrow, based on the best-selling novel by Lilith Manley, now Mrs. Medwin Patton.

Lilith and Medwin have developed an open marriage so that when, at a lavish party at the Pattons’ Westchester estate, Lilith and Jethro meet and exchange sparks, Medwin could care less. What he does care about—and intensely—is Vanessa as an object of his lust. When the two are alone in the library and he makes a pass at her, the instantly repelled young woman bolts from the room and the house. Medwin has the habit, when angered, of jumping into his Volvo and driving maniacally off the estate to settle himself. On this particular evening, Vanessa flees along the driveway as Medwin decides against slowing down. Besides Jethro and Lilith, there are seven of the many party-going protégés on the estate’s grounds who witness what they all subsequently testify to as an accident, despite recognizing it as purposeful murder lest they lose any sort of personal celebrity status and, more importantly, Patton monetary benefits.

Jethro is determined to avenge his daughter’s death, but realizes he would be the suspect investigators would look at immediately and most intensely. Lilith is the one witness who sided with him, and their mutual attraction, along with her hatred of Patton, leads them to devise a plan for Jethro’s phony suicide coupled with murder methods appropriate to the professions or personal quirks of the witnesses. What follows is a well-paced, absolutely improbable, often absurd tale of retribution.

It’s also pretty funny, its omniscient narrative, along with some of its dialogue, packed with wry observations and occasional word-play. Its final couple of moments of dialogue struck me as suitably and humorously ambiguous, in a dark sort of way, though I’m sure not everyone will agree.

Readers preferring grim, ominous vengeance tales of the sort found in some Mickey Spillane novels and Clint Eastwood westerns will be sorely disappointed. Absurdities apply to some of Jethro’s murderous inventions--e.g., his method of disposing of a sculptress is one that must be accepted as something that would appear in a science fiction or horror film: just go along with it unanalytically and enjoy the ride because in real life the odds don’t favor its hurried devising if it could be devised at all. (Nowadays, who knows? It probably could be.)

Who’s Next? is good criminous comic entertainment.

© 2017 Barry Ergang

Some of Derringer Award-winner Barry Ergang’s work is available at Amazon and Smashwords.com

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Guest Post: Jeanne and Treadmill Books: Retired Witches Mysteries by Jim and Joyce Lavene

This is a day late because I was so worn out Tuesday evening I was online very briefly only to let everyone know how Sandi was doing and then I went to bed. I apologize to Jeanne as well as everyone who expected to see the latest review yesterday.

Treadmill Books:  Retired Witches Mysteries by Jim and Joyce Lavene

Molly, Elise, and Olivia are three good friends who run a magical shop in Wilmington, NC.  They’re also witches who have helped protect their town from –well, whatever ill supernatural beings or events might appear.  In the opening book in the series, Spell Booked, the three are facing the fact that none of them are spring chickens any longer and their powers are starting to fade.  Their magic is becoming a bit iffy at best. The trouble is that they can’t just up and retire to Boca Raton (retirement community of choice for witches, in case you didn’t know) because that would leave the town unprotected.  They’re trying to recruit replacements to pass on their spell book, but that’s proving more difficult than anticipated. 

Then Olivia is murdered and their spell book is stolen. Molly and Elise must try to find the murderer and recover the spell book before their powers fade away.

A friend recommended this book, which she called charming.  I agree wholeheartedly, and not just because the main characters are women “of a certain age.” There’s a whiff of Golden Girls among the cast as well in their observations about growing older.  To up the ante, the conceit is that witches cannot reveal themselves to non-magical beings, even if that individual is a spouse or child.  Molly, for example, is married to a mortal policeman and they have a non-magical son. This makes for a very difficult situation when both Molly and her husband are trying to solve Olivia’s murder—not only is her husband upset that Molly is meddling, but Molly knows a number of things about the murder that she can’t reveal even when the official investigation is following the wrong leads.

For me, much of the appeal is the humor and the age of the characters.  Younger ones are introduced, but the stories revolve mostly around these aging ladies with whom I can identify.  The stories, while having dark elements, have a light-heartedness about them.  I don’t think it’s giving too much away to reveal that Olivia shows up as a ghost early on, but she doesn’t know who did her in.  She’s too disoriented and trying to come to terms with her new state of being—or non-being, as the case may be.  The three friends are also portrayed as being among the “little people”—i.e., not the ones in positions of power, like the Council.  They are small fish in a big pond, struggling to keep their part of the world safe.

Previously, I reviewed the Lavenes’ Sweet Pepper Mystery series which I tried because of my fondness for this series.  I also tried a book from another of their series and it just didn’t click, for whatever reason.  The settings tend to be a bit generic; there are some details, but not many.  The writing can occasionally be clunky, but the fun of the Retired Witches Mysteries kept me turning pages.  There are only three in the series, and the third book was published after Joyce’s untimely death. I found a few stylistic problems with that one, but overall I found this to be a good treadmill series.

The books are:
1.      Spell Booked
2.      Looking for Mister Goodwitch
3.      Putting on the Witch

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 8/8/17

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 8/8/17

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: JFK, Beloved Poison, Donner Party, Fat...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: JFK, Beloved Poison, Donner Party, Fat...:   Reported by Kristin Our first Nevermore reader was moved by the story of peace-seeking President Kennedy in To Move the World:...

Chemo--Round 2- Day 1

Earlier today after taking care of some stuff at the apartment, Scott and I went to the hospital to check on Sandi. Last night and this morning they gave her additional doses of the antibiotic. She will have one more of those tomorrow and then she should be done with that.

This morning they gave her steroids as well as the premeds and then started the chemo. So far so good as there have been no issues.