4 Stars
Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch
Broken Homes - Ben Aaronovitch

Broken Homes takes our special task force members into the 1960's concrete architecture of London, putting Peter and Leslie 20 plus stories up doing undercover work to find "The Faceless Man".  The architect of this particular building turns out to be a suspected magician that fled Germany before WWII and designed this building with a special feature that nobody knew about. 


Aaronovitch does a lot of good research for his books so he can tackle his subjects and themes of his books with strong knowledge.  All I can say without spoilers is that this book leaves you like a batter facing that aging pitcher that puts a 100+ fastball over the plate and the batter just watches it with his mouth wide open.  Not that slow curveball but a fastball that just makes you wonder where that came from.  Really a great ending and a what will surely be a great subject for the 5th book, Foxglove Summer,


I rate this 4 out of 5 stars.


Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch,

Book 4 of the Peter Grant (Rivers of London) Series

4 Stars
Whispering Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch
Whispers Under Ground - Ben Aaronovitch

AFTER you read the book, you REALLY get the title.  Whispers Under Ground starts up with young Abigail making Peter Grant take her out to look at a ghost.  Peter brings along his friend and fellow Constable Leslie May with him to be led to the train tunnels from his home neighborhood to see the ghost and watches it get run over by what they can only describe as the Hogwart's Express thus the start of our underground adventure.  Next, we get a dead American student found on the tracks of the Tube, which the murder weapon has the vestigium, or the trace imprint that magic leaves, and that brings Constable Peter May and his master of magic DCI Thomas Nightingale into the case.  We also get Constable Lesley May back into the book after her unfortunate attack in the first book.


The Peter Grant series a really magical, witty series about the many different magical societies in London and features a young Constable that is assigned to a magical detail as an apprentice.  Peter doesn't always get it right and having Lesley there, now also an apprentice to remind him when he's wrong brings another dynamic to this series that makes it that much better.  Also, the elusive villain from Moon Over Soho, book 2 in the series, is still making his mark.


I rated this 4 of 5 stars, a really good series to get into if urban fantasy is your taste.


Whispering Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch,

Book 3 in the Peter May Series.

Reading progress update: I've read 23%.
Whispers Under Ground - Ben Aaronovitch

Whispers Under Ground is starting out great.  I've decided to binge this series and a quarter of the way in book 3 I'm not disappointed.  One thing I've noticed is that Aaronovitch has changed one style of his writing, which suits the style I prefer.  His chapters have gone from long chapters, the first two had 14 and now Whispers Under Ground has 29 chapters.  More refrigerator breaks for me.

Moon over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch
Moon Over Soho - Ben Aaronovitch

This series is hitting me like the Dresden series by Jim Butcher and the Iron Druid series by Keven Hearne.  On these two series, I couldn't make it through the first book.  I picked each up about 6 months later and just couldn't get enough of them.  Now that's the way I feel about the Peter Grant series (or Rivers of London).  After reading the first book I didn't know exactly if I wanted to go through with reading more in the series but since I had the ebook and the audiobook on my reader I thought I would read "Moon Over Soho".


Aaronovitch's Peter Grant is a smart, sometimes too smart constable in London that just happens to be an apprentice magician to DCI Nightingale.  Because of this, he has to live in the "Folly" with Nightingale which leaves Grant with a lot of research time between his police duties and his magic lessons.  After investigating the death of a Jazz musician he starts seeing that Jazz musicians are dying off at an alarming rate when compared to other types of musicians.  Grant discovers the reason being "Jazz Vampires".


This is why I am loving this series (thanks Mike Finn) because of Aaronovitch's unexhausted originality and the storytelling by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, who else can come up with Jazz Vampires and who else could sell like Kobna.  One phrase does not make a book, but the originality of this book really makes it a good read.


I rate this a 4 of 5 stars.


Moon over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch

Book 2 in the Peter Grant series

3.5 Stars
Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
Rivers of London  - Ben Aaronovitch

Rivers of London is billed as "What would happen if Harry Potter grew up and joined the fuzz".  I disagree.  When Harry Potter grew up he knew there was magic.  PC Peter Grant did not know or believe in magic until he was left by himself while protecting a murder scene while his partner goes for coffee.  While alone he is greeted by what he believes is a ghost.  After the ghost leaves a man walks by and identifies himself as a DCI Thomas Nightingale.


At the same time, he and a fellow PC Lesley May are reaching the end of their probation and pondering and hoping for an exciting assignment.  Lesly gets the job she dreams of, joining a major crime department while Peter finds out he going to be pushing paper for his career. 


Enter DCI Thomas Nightingale, and PC Grant finds himself in a secret investigation department, which consists of DCI Nightingale and now himself.  Their department basically investigates things that go bump in the night.  As Peter is introduced to magic and begins his lessons he learns there is a lot more to Nightingale than meets the eye.


Rivers of London introduces us to a new magical story and Ben Aaronovitch's imagination is magical in its own self.  Aaronovitch takes Peter through modern England and its history to tell this story.  Some parts get a little long but all in all, this is a very solid book and a very good lead-in for a brand new series.  While I am late getting into this series, I will probably catch up with it by the end of the year.


I rate this 3.5 stars, and I bet this series gets better as time goes on.


Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
Book 1 in the Rivers of London Series

4 Stars
Backlash by Brad Thor
Backlash - Brad Thor

When I got into reading one of the first espionage series that I got into was the Scot Harvath series by Brad Thor.  Backlash is the 19th book in the series and if the bro-mance spy thriller type books are your bag, as Austin Power's would say, then "this should be in your bag, baby".


Without getting into the story, this is your typical Scot Harvath story, told by Armand Schultz.  Backlash picks up where Spymaster ends, and finds Scot in hot water in a very cold place.  The story is good, and every Scot Harvath fan should be happy when finished.


Picking up the picture, and his glass, he headed outside. The sun was almost low enough to touch the water. He wanted to watch it disappear. Then he wanted to start thinking about what he was going to do next.


Cue the contemplating music. 

In the Market for Murder by T. E. Kinsey
In The Market For Murder - T E Kinsey

In the second installment of the Lady Hardcastle Murder Mysteries, we find our Lady Emily Hardcastle and her Lady Maid and best friend Florence (Flo) Lawrence going to a livestock auction, going to a Rugby match, going to a farmer's market for lunch, going to a seance, and the bringing to justice the people that committed insurance fraud, scams, improper disposal of a body, a misuse of witchcraft, the theft of a Rugby trophy, attempted murder, and of course a murder or two.  All this and they buy a car and dare say, two women driving a car?  People are aghast.  These two lead us through such a busy life.


I enjoy these type of books, even though they aren't that great but there's a little too much saccharin in this series where I can read more than a couple at a time.  I enjoy the author's use of what we think of the proper English used in the early 20th century.  I also enjoy Elizabeth Knowelden's storytelling in the audiobook.  If it weren't for Knowelden's narration I would never have bothered with the books.  She really has her pish posh's down. 


I forgot to rank this but I give it 3 stars


In the Market for Murder by T. E. Kinsey

Book 2 in the Lady Hardcastle Murder Mysteries series.

3.5 Stars
Spearhead by Adam Makos
Spearhead - Adam Makos

The real name of this book is "Spearhead: An American Tank Gunner, His Enemy, and a Collision of Lives in World War II". I don't know why I chose this book other than maybe thinking about my Uncle, who fought in Italy.  


This is a book seen through an American tanker's eyes, along with researched observations of some of the dead, and interviews with the few that lived.  Spearhead also includes interviews with a German tanker that was a gunner in one of the three German tanks left to keep Cologne from being taken by the American forces.  The common theme in this book is that both sides were not out with the main mission of killing the enemy, but to keep their "tank family" alive.


Spearhead is a book about Clarence Smoyer, a tanker that came to France three weeks after D-Day and the book picks up about two months after that Normandy invasion with the Germans exiting France.  Makos takes through this time, intertwining the lives of the people surrounding Smoyer, including the "dough's" to covering the life of a German tanker, Gustav Schaefer, and his and his tank family's interaction of their Panzer tank and their confrontation with the American Pershing tank.


Spearhead is a simple, easy to read book that is a re-written telling of stories put into history colored by Makos verbiage and some small dramatization.  The book ends with Smoyer fighting PTSD brought on by seeing a video of a car traveling down the street and being shot up by the American tanks, only to find out minutes later it was carrying civilians.  To try to find out what really happened he goes to Cologne to meet with Gustav and talk about what went happened on the streets of where they battled.


I teared up reading the last chapter, having to stop and relive the last time I talked with my Uncle.  My wife was doing all our family history and the only person that would talk about my father's service in the Pacific and my Uncle's service in Italy was another Uncle.  I guess both my father and Uncle had PTSD and neither would talk about it.  One thing my Uncle told me was that when he and the men under him were in a house in Italy it started taking artillery hits so my Uncle ordered his men into an empty swimming pool in the back yard for protection. When half his men were in the pool it took a direct hit, killing everyone inside the pool.  He cried.  We didn't ask him any more questions.

3.5 Stars
Gone Haunting in Deadwood by Ann Charles
Gone Haunting in Deadwood - Charles Dickens

Wow, Charles Dickens is using Ann Charles as a pen name?  Nope.


Even if it's not Dickens this has been the best of the Deadwood Mysteries as of yet.  Violet Parker really becomes the "Scharfrichter" in this book and takes her crew to Slagtown to take on the Hunter and is scouts, to try to become the Queen of Slagtown.  Violet starts getting comfortable with her new powers, well comfortable might be generous but she finds she can draw from her power easier than before.  This book has a lot going for it and has more action than any of the other books in this series.  Okay, maybe action as in fighting, not action as in time spent with Doc, her boyfriend, but there is that action too.

11 new science fiction and fantasy books to check out in late June

Here's another Science fiction list I found on The Verge.



Rattling the Heat in Deadwood By Ann Charles
Rattling the Heat in Deadwood - Ann Charles

Short review.  In keeping in the Violet Parker fashion of the paranormal, we find our Scharfrichter, trying to learn about becoming an executioner and being a Time Keeper in her own, reluctant way.  Between being a single mother of twins, her job, being chased and hounded by the local police version of Rockford, and fantasizing and actually having coitus with her boyfriend, Violet actually does chase some ghosts and demons.


This is a fun little series, it's easy to read, and Ann Charles has proven that she can be unpredictable as the story keeps stretching out to what will be the 11th book coming out around Christmas 2019.


Now it's on to book 9.  Why, because it's there.


I rate this 3 stars


Rattling the Heat in Deadwood By Ann Charles
Book 8 in the Deadwood Mysteries

5 Super-Competent Sci-Fi Ensembles We’d Trust to Get Us Through Space

I thought I would share this, seeing how I'm an Expanse fanboy.  Plus it gives me some more books to add to my TBR list


5 Super-Competent Sci-Fi Ensembles We’d Trust to Get Us Through Space




5 Super-Competent Sci-Fi Ensembles We’d Trust to Get Us Through Space

Reading progress update: I've read 11%.
Rattling the Heat in Deadwood - Ann Charles

Here's what I like about this series;


Yep. We’re going to give Tiffany Sugarbell a run for her money and drive the ball into her key.”
“We are?” The ringing grew louder after hearing the name of Doc’s neurotic ex-girlfriend. My upper lip started to sweat. “What key?”
“You know, the key in basketball. Where her hoop is.”
Jerry spoke English as a second language, with Sport-uguese being his native tongue. Some days his accent was so thick with basketball jargon that I had to watch the instant replay video to make sense of what he was saying.
Then a couple of lines later;
As soon as Tiffany caught wind of that billboard, she was going to come at me with her claws sharpened and fully extended. How could Jerry not see that the redheaded sexpot was born on Crazy Creek just this side of Nutterville’s city limits?
Jeez-on-crackers, like I needed to give the ultra-competitive, Jessica Rabbit wannabe another reason to hate me to death. She’d already spit sparks at me for stealing Doc—although for the record he’d left her well before I’d come into the picture. That billboard would make flames shoot from Tiffany’s eyes. Jerry might as well have painted a target on my ass and handed her a damned rocket launcher.
That's why I keep calling this series a no-brainer series.  Ann Charles gets on a roll in some chapters and keeps throwing zingers.  I know it's not a literary genius but its these stupid lines that keeps me coming back for more.
A couple of other things.  Some dummy (me) uploaded the wrong cover, I sent a correction in and uploaded the correct cover, and Charles Dickens didn't write this book.
1.5 Stars
Tequila & Time by Ann Charles
Tequila & Time - C.S. Kunkle, Ann Charles

Tequila & Time is # 7.5 in the Deadwood Mysteries Series.  One thing I've found out about this series is the .5 novellas are hit and miss, and for me, this was a miss.


For me, this was 76 pages of two women getting sloppy drunk and doing what the author thinks these two 30 somethings would do when celebrating one of the women's birthday.  It barely touched on the paranormal that I love in this light-hearted, no-brainer series.


But I like the series and had to read it.  During today I finished this book and started book 8 in the series.  It is back to business as normal.


1.5 stars for me.  While I like the series, this was a time waster for me.


Tequila and Time by Ann Charles

Book 7.5 in the Deadwood Mysteries Series and book 4 in the Deadwood Shorts Series.

4 Stars
A Wild Fright in Deadwood by Ann Charles
A Wild Fright in Deadwood - Ann Charles

I like these no-brainer mystery/horror (very light on the horror) books by Ann Charles.  After reading the first two Dune books this was a welcomed vacation from books that require extra brain powerlifting.  I think this is the best in the Deadwood Mysteries series that I have read to date.


This is another Violet Parker book, full-time real estate salesperson and part-time Scharfrichter, or executioner of the dead.  I don't really think on a literary sense that it is a 4 star but this series pretty good.  It sort of goes against my judgment but I really liked the book. It's fairly predictable with the romance and spookiness but Ann Charles does come up with some good twists that make this book enjoyable.


I think Ill binge read what I have in this series.  I have too many aches and pains to read anything serious right now.


A Wild Fright in Deadwood by Ann Charles
Book 7 in the Deadwood Mysteries Series

Reading progress update: I've read 43%.
A Wild Fright in Deadwood - Ann Charles

A Wild Fright in Deadwood by Ann Charles


 I gasped in surprise, fumbling with my phone before dropping it. The flashlight went out, leaving me in a darkness lit only by the faint glow of the first floor button.

Shit. I held my right hand over my pounding heart as my eyes tried to adjust to the dark. Had I really heard my name, or was my mind playing tricks on me?

Something bit into my forearm.

I screeched and whirled around, searching the shadow-filled corners as I clutched my arm. What in the hell was that?

The corners were too shadow-filled for me to see, so I moved closer to the dim light from the lobby button. Where was my phone? I tried to scan the floor for it, but it was too dark to see anything below my knees.

The elevator slowed to a stop. A rush of relief filled my legs, making them wobbly and weak. A ding sounded outside the doors. I backed up against them, keeping my eyes on the shadow-thick corners, wishing the damned doors would hurry up and open.

The lights overhead flickered on, the sudden brightness making me recoil.

Then I saw my phone. It rested on the handrail that lined the opposite wall. Next to it, with its legs splayed over the rail, was the half-burned clown doll I’d seen earlier in the video playback.


It took a second for me to remember to breathe.

Why weren’t the doors opening?

I had a feeling it had something to do with that clown and the little girl who’d been holding it earlier.

Stepping forward, I reached as far toward my phone as I could without one foot leaving the doors. My hand trembled as it neared the phone. My gaze moved to that damned clown in case it decided to come to life and go all Chucky the killer doll on me. As soon as I grasped my phone, a cackle of clown laughter filled the elevator. I cried out and plastered myself back against the doors, which were now opening, thank God.

“Wilda,” I said over the cackling while backing out of the elevator, “leave Cornelius alone.”

The cackling stopped as suddenly as it had started.

As the elevator doors started to close, the light flickered out again. From out of the darkness I heard two words spoken in a high, scratchy voice: Kill her

I love reading the Deadwood Mysteries series by Ann Charles.  They are light, funny, easy to read with a little paranormal element and romance in the book.  I like these books because I don't have to concentrate ob the written word like I had to to in the two Dune books I just read.  The above quote is about as scary as it gets so I don't really look at this as a horror type book.  This is the 7th book in the series of 10 so far and 3 novellas.