The Fall of the House of Thomas Weir by Andrew Neil MacLeod

The Fall of the House of Thomas Weir by Andrew Neil MacLeod

I adore Edinburgh as a setting. I've never been there, but maybe one day. And it does seem a perfect place for the supernatural to bump heads with the rational. It's the 1770s and Dr. Samuel Johnson has come to Edinburgh to visit his friend, James Boswell, for a tour of the city and holiday in the Highlands. Hearing reports of ghouls haunting the Old Town, and about a series of burglaries in the houses of noblemen, Dr. Johnson can’t resist getting involved. Of course, Dr. Johnson is knowledgeable and experienced in occult and supernatural phenomena. We get a story of secret societies, conspiracies, and hideously deformed people living in the tunnels below the city. The story moves along at a good pace. The characters are well-drawn. Both Johnson and Boswell are likable in their own ways, but not without faults. Secondary characters are brought to life well, even if they have smaller parts. Edinburgh is described well: the sights, sounds,...
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The Cure for What Ales You by Ellie Alexander

The Cure for What Ales You by Ellie Alexander

Sloan works at a craft brewery in the Pacific Northwest. The town has a faux-Bavarian ambiance and attracts a lot of tourists. I enjoy spending time in the town and with Sloan and her friends and family. I love how the town actually likes its tourists and how the townspeople all know and look out for each other. Of course, quirky characters and a good setting can just about carry any cozy mystery - thankfully. Our victim here is a housekeeper at a local hotel, but that investigation is overshadowed by the return of a woman from Sloan's past claiming to be her aunt. Honestly, I hope we're finally done with all the stuff from Sloan's childhood. It all seems unlikely and over the top and detracts from a good series. If the author could just keep the focus on the murders in the town, and not veer off into organized crime or drugs or whatever, I'd be much happier. Sloan's present...
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Red Tide at Heron Bay by Gerri Hill

Red Tide at Heron Bay by Gerri Hill

The romance and mystery in Red Tide at Heron Bay are evenly balanced. Harley Shepherd comes to Heron Bay Resort to investigate a case of vandalism. Lauren Voss is the manager of the resort, which is owned by her grandmother. Even though both women have been living in the town for a while, this is their first meeting. Harley is friendly and casual, but Lauren immediately finds her annoying. Of course, they both have pasts. Lauren had a bad breakup; Harley has come to the small town after an incident when she was a homicide detective in San Antonio. The mystery was interesting. Of course, the vandalism is just the tip of the iceberg. First a dead bird, then a dead body is found. There's a killer at Heron Bay and Harley will need Lauren's cooperation to find them. The clues were tucked in well and Harley was a competent investigator. Once Lauren realizes the danger, she is reasonable...
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Thin Air by Richard K. Morgan

Thin Air by Richard K. Morgan

I tend to say I don't read a lot of sci-fi. That's probably not true. This is my 7th sci-fi book this year, which compared to the number of mysteries I've read is small but compared to the amount of sci-fi the average person reads is probably a lot. I do think when you're reviewing genre fiction it does matter how much you read. It affects your expectations, your familiarity with structures, how original the work seems, your enjoyment of the book. I guess that makes me a casual sci-fi reader. But Thin Air is not solely sci-fi. I'dsay its more noir with a sci-fi backdrop. Veil is our "detective," an outsider with an attitude who takes the job both because he needs the money and because his honest cop friend wants him to. We've got lots of violence and several sex scenes. We've got the dark underbelly of the city where everyone lives in shades of grey, where corruption runs...
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Scandal at the Salty Dog by Josh Lanyon

Scandal at the Salty Dog by Josh Lanyon

I'm thoroughly enjoying this series. It's light and fun with just enough tension thrown in. Of course, it does have everything a cozy should have - an amateur detective, a bookstore, a dog, a quaint town, quirky secondary characters, and a sexy love interest. And of course, Ellery finds himself in danger on a semi-regular basis. This is a series best read in order. While the mystery is confined to this book, you'll understand the characters' backgrounds and relationships better if you start from the beginning. This time around Ellery finds himself in the middle of two mysteries. First, someone's breaking into the Salty Dog pub and stealing food. Second, Mrs. Blackwell is being haunted, well, maybe not haunted - Ellery doesn't believe in ghosts, but someone uninvited has definitely been in her house. Of course, the two are connected, but it takes a bit to figure out how. Ellery and Jack are finally kinda dating in this one, which is nice....
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Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

I almost didn't read Project Hail Mary. I enjoyed Weir's Artemis, but had no interest in The Martian, and a lot of reviewers commented that it was a return to the style of The Martian. But, I had a copy from NetGalley and I have a friend who will definitely be reading it, so . . . Turns out, I actually enjoyed it. It's smart and funny and accessible. There was a lot of science and some of it got a little boring, but I never felt like I was lost in the details. Alien microorganisms, astrophage, are consuming the sun’s energy, which will sooner rather than later make Earth colder and lead to another ice age. Ryland Grace, our narrator, is an 8th-grade teacher is a scientist who becomes involved in researching this phenomenon. He wakes up on the Hail Mary, part of a suicide mission to find a way to save Earth. The book shows two timelines, Ryland...
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