On top of that, now seemed like a peachy time to look for a new place to live. Good news, we found a place! Even better news - it's going to cut my work commute IN HALF! The bad news? We've been in the current Bat Cave for 10 years and good Lord WHY did we keep all this crap?!?! So weekends have been spent cleaning out clutter, figuring out what will be downsized (the new Bat Cave is a teensy bit smaller), and starting the packing process. We'll do the actual, physical moving the first weekend on November. I cannot wait!
I also continue to not be reading much. I did burn through September's TBR Challenge read in one late night sitting, but beyond that? It's been kind of a slog. But here's a few things I've gotten through that are worth, at least, a quick mention.
Royal Crush is the third book in Meg Cabot's middle-grade series set in her Princess Diaries world. This go around Olivia is awaiting for her big sister, Mia (now ruler of Genovia) to give birth to her twins. As if that weren't exciting enough? Her school is gearing up for a field trip to the Royal School Winter Games and then there's the realization that she has her *gasp* first ever crush.
Yes, I read a book meant for junior high schoolers. I have no shame! I love this world that Cabot has created. It's like pink bows, glitter, cotton candy and unicorns all rolled into one. It's my happy place and as long as she keeps writing books set in this universe, I'll be hard pressed to give them up.
Grade = B
Ask the Cards a Question is the second book in Marcia Muller's Sharon McCone mystery series. Muller is credited with creating the first female PI character and this entry was originally published in 1982. This time out there's a murder in Sharon's San Francisco apartment building. Molly Antonio was the nicest person in the entire building, who would want her dead? There's Molly's unique relationship with her somewhat estranged husband, the creepy fortune teller, Madame Anya, who foretold evil was in store for Molly, and Sharon's BFF and current house guest, Linnea, who has fallen into a bottle ever since her husband left her for a younger woman.
I first read this when I was a teen and it was surprising how much of the story came back to me. It's interesting that back in 1982 Muller wrote a diverse San Francisco setting (completely reasonable) when so many current authors struggle with showing diversity in their stories. That said? Some of these characterizations haven't necessarily aged well - although the worst of them was definitely Sharon's Irish superintendent who always has a beer in his hand. That said, solid mystery and what I always preferred about Sharon over, say, Grafton's Kinsey Millhone character is that Sharon actually has some people skills and, you know, friends.
Grade = B-
Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase was a recommendation I picked up from author Laura K. Curtis. As Laura indicates, it's a book that defies easy classification. It's not a tragedy, and yet it kind of is. It's not a romance, but it is romantic. It's not a Gothic, per se, but it definitely has Gothic elements. It follows the lives of the Alton children in the late 1960s when they arrive at their country estate, Black Rabbit Hall, for the Easter holiday. Naturally, something bad happens and it sends the family careening down a path of tragedy, drama, and secrets.
I can see why Laura liked this and recommended it. It's well written, there's a good story, and the atmosphere is compelling. That said I found it really, really slow. I don't think I could have read this and even listening to it on audio was a bit of a slog. Also, while not a tragedy, per se, there's a sense of doom that hovers over the narrative for nearly the entire book. I found it suffocating. This is actually a compliment to the author, but it was something that I don't think I was in the right frame of mind for at the time I was listening. That said, I'm glad I persevered because I did like the ending and the author ties up all the drama leaving us on an "up note." But I'm also not in any hurry to pick up another one of her books. Maybe one day.
Side note, one of the best villains I've read in a long while.
Grade = C+