No Nest for the Wicket re-read

No Nest for the WicketNo Nest for the Wicket
by Donna Andrews
Rating: ★★★★
isbn: 9780312329402
Series: Meg Langslow #7
Publication Date: August 8, 2006
Pages: 259
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur

 

I read this when it first came out back in 2008-ish, and my first review can be found here.

I love Donna Andrews, but for some reason haven’t re-read the non-Christmas ones in ages, if ever.  It was a little bit strange going back this far, as Meg and Michael aren’t married yet, the twins are not yet a glint in their eye, and Meg’s family has yet to transition from Yorktown to Caerphilly.  But the eXtreme croquet tournament that is at the heart of this mystery is hilarious – extra wickets for hitting the balls between the legs of the cows and the sheep! and the Morris Men Dancer team is certainly an interesting twist.

I’m going to say that the plot is not the primary reason to read this book.  If you’re a follower of the series, the characters and the side plots are enough to keep the book entertaining.  While the mystery itself was decent, Andrews gave an abundance of clues to the reader and then sprung an unexpected murderer on Meg and the rest of us.  Not strictly fair play.

 

I read this for Halloween Bingo – for a square I dreaded: Lethal Games until Themis-Athena reminded me of the Meg Langslow series’ multiple games-focused plots.  Thanks TA for making this square a lot less stressful.  🙂

Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet (Charley Davidson #4)

Fourth Grave Beneath My FeetFourth Grave Beneath My Feet
by Darynda Jones
Rating: ★★★★
isbn: 9781250014467
Series: Charlie Davidson #4
Publication Date: November 4, 2012
Pages: 308
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Sometimes being the grim reaper really is, well, grim. And since Charley's last case went so awry, she has taken a couple of months off to wallow in the wonders of self-pity. But when a woman shows up on her doorstep convinced someone is trying to kill her, Charley has to force herself to rise above . . . or at least get dressed. It becomes clear something is amiss when everyone the woman knows swears she's insane. But the more they refute the woman's story, the more Charley believes it.

In the meantime, the sexy, sultry son of Satan, Reyes Farrow, is out of prison and out of Charley's life, as per her wishes and several perfectly timed death threats. But his absence has put a serious crimp in her sex life. While there are other things to consider, like the fact that the city of Albuquerque has been taken hostage by an arsonist, Charley is having a difficult time staying away. Especially when it looks like Reyes may be involved.


Just excellent. Have I mentioned how much I love this whole series? and this book was fabulous.

Truly great snark making for excellent readability. Fabulous characters with depth. No relationship in the book is perfect, but realistically messy – with the exception of Charlie and Cookie and, please, just don’t mess with that!

The main(ish) plot point of this book was an interesting one with a creepy twist at the end that I only half liked (and that’s all I can say without spoilers), but the entire story and all the plots had my undivided attention. I literally devoured this book in one sitting. It’s going to be a very long year waiting for the next book…

Window on the Square

Window on the SquareWindow on the Square
by Phyllis A. Whitney
Rating: ★★★★½
Publication Date: January 1, 1962
Pages: 297
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Romance, Suspense
Publisher: Appleton-Century-Crofts

 

This was one of the first ‘adult’ books I’d ever read, one of my mothers favorites. I love the story, even though it’s not my usual fare.

Ms. Whitney does a brilliant job of writing characters that come alive – from the prim and proper Megan, to the mercurial Brandon, and the dark and forbidding Garth. I’ve read this story again and again over the years, wearing out the paperback until it is in pieces and held together with a rubber band. I upgraded to the hardcover version so I can keep on re-reading this book – it stands up very well over time.

If you like a ‘dark’ (kind of gothic) cozy, I think you’ll enjoy reading this oldie but goodie.

Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy #2)

Shadow of NightShadow of Night
by Deborah Harkness
Rating: ★★★★★
isbn: 9780670023486
Series: All Souls #2
Publication Date: July 12, 2012
Pages: 577
Genre: Fantasy, Historical
Publisher: Viking Books

In a trilogy, I tend not to like the second book – it always seems a bit dull compared to the first and the third. In contrast, I found this book to be excellent – just as good as the first book. Lots of drama, enough action, and the author’s ability to have me completely lost in the story is something I just love. Once again, I felt like I was watching the story in my head as I was reading it on the page.

Shadow of Night takes place primarily in 1591, but the author doesn’t get bogged down in too much historical detail – or at least, the historical detail is woven seamlessly into the story itself. Most of the detail is in passing observations made by Diana, so it’s easy for non-history lovers to take in. I loved the Libri Personæ at the back of the book, detailing the characters, and noting which ones were known to actually exist at the time. I think it makes the fiction that much more fun to read when notable figures in history are interwoven into the story.

There are a couple of plot lines that run through the book, and there were a few times it felt like one or the other might be getting a bit lost. Most of the questions raised in the book are answered by the end, with one or two hanging out there to be answered in the third book. But what I really appreciated was this book felt like it ended – no gigantic cliff-hangers. There are upcoming events and confrontations that you know will appear in the third book; major events that need to be explained, but Shadow of Night, I think, has enough of an ending that early readers like myself won’t get too irritated with having to wait another year/18 months for the final book. I was able to close the book at the end with a sense of satisfaction, not frustration.

NB: I loved the last chapter – it made me smile.

Third Grave Dead Ahead (Charley Davidson #3)

Third Grave Dead AheadThird Grave Dead Ahead
by Darynda Jones
Rating: ★★★★★
isbn: 9781250001542
Series: Charlie Davidson #3
Publication Date: February 4, 2012
Pages: 310
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Paranormal private eye. Grim reaper extraordinaire. Whatever. Charley Davidson is back! And she's drinking copious amounts of caffeine to stay awake because, every time she closes her eyes, she sees him: Reyes Farrow, the part-human, part-supermodel son of Satan. Yes, she did imprison him for all eternity, but come on. How is she supposed to solve a missing persons case, deal with an ego-driven doctor, calm her curmudgeonly dad, and take on a motorcycle gang hell-bent on murder when the devil's son just won't give up?


2021 Re-read: Wow,  I can’t believe I didn’t have anything to say in my original post about how dark this one is, and how hard to read at least one scene was.  Re-reading it, even knowing it was coming up, was still incredibly difficult, and I found I couldn’t let myself do more than skim read said scene.  It’s the sharp contrast of the often dark plots, to the snarky humour woven throughout the narrative that makes these books readable for me.

Original Thoughts: What a great book. I started it and couldn’t put it down until it was finished. I was hesitant about the premise – Charley can’t go to sleep. I was afraid it would be painful to read – but that wasn’t the case in the slightest. I found myself holding my breath during parts of the story, and although there were places where the reading of the story was difficult – truly painful for the characters at times – the humour never lets up and I love Charley’s sense of humour. The comedic banter she exchanges with many of the characters – especially her BFF Cookie, makes me laugh out loud.

I truly hope I do not have to wait another year for the fourth one. I’ll be re-reading the three I have in the meantime.

No Nest for the Wicket (Meg Langslow Mystery #7)

No Nest for the WicketNo Nest for the Wicket
by Donna Andrews
Rating: ★★★★★
isbn: 9780312329402
Series: Meg Langslow #7
Publication Date: August 8, 2006
Pages: 259
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur

 

Donna Andrews’ Meg Langslow series is one of my all time favourites and a series I re-read with regularity.

No Nest for the Wicket is one of the best (extreme croquet – really!), as I really enjoy the ones where Meg’s wacky family plays their part (and boy they are the best sort of whack-jobs!). I’ve read no author who can so perfectly write such three-dimensional characters – even the most out there of the relatives seems believable (ok, almost believable).

I think the plot was solid, with lots of red herrings and the murderer ultimately not easy to guess.

I hope Ms. Andrews finds many, many more plots within her as I’ll be devastated when this series ends. (This review reflects the third time I’ve read this book.)