Posted in Mystery, Rated LI

Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas

Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas

Author:     Stephanie Barron

Genre:     Mystery

Rating:     LI

Synopsis:

Jane Austen turns sleuth in this delightful murder mystery set over the twelve days of a Regency-Era Christmas party.

Christmas Eve, 1814: Jane Austen has been invited to spend the holiday with family and friends at The Vyne, the gorgeous ancestral home of the wealthy and politically prominent Chute family. As the year fades and friends begin to gather beneath the mistletoe for the twelve days of Christmas festivities, Jane and her circle are in a celebratory mood: Mansfield Park is selling nicely; Napoleon has been banished to Elba; British forces have seized Washington, DC; and on Christmas Eve, John Quincy Adams signs the Treaty of Ghent, which will end a war nobody in England really wanted.

Jane, however, discovers holiday cheer is fleeting. One of the Yuletide revelers dies in a tragic accident, which Jane immediately views with suspicion. If the accident was in fact murder, the killer is one of Jane’s fellow snow-bound guests. With clues scattered amidst cleverly crafted charades, dark secrets coming to light during parlor games, and old friendships returning to haunt the Christmas parties, whom can Jane trust to help her discover the truth and stop the killer from striking again?

Bluestocking’s Opinion:  One of the things that I really liked about this book, is the whole 12 days of Christmas concept.  I mean there is a song, but I really never thought about why there were 12 days of Christmas.  The author does give some background information about the fact that the 12 days of Christmas stems from the pagan feast Saturnalia.  Pagan-ness aside, I think we should totally go back to celebrating 12 days of Christmas.  In this country, at least, all people do is work and more work.  I think we need to get back to the good old days of actually taking time off.  Some of the role playing games sound really fun!

In this book, we got to meet Jane’s curate brother James and his wife Mary who definitely seems (according to the author’s perspective) to be the template for Mary Elliot Musgrove.  We also get to see Jane’s childhood home at Steventon.  From the description given, this wasn’t some little clap-trap house.  I’ve seen a couple of sketches online as to what the house used to look like.  It was quite sizeable!!  It’s too bad the house isn’t in existence now.

Well, the mystery itself was as good as ever.  The author did her usual job.  As usual, solving the mystery involved exploring the characters of the characters.  There were a few riddles that I got a kick out of trying to solve.  I didn’t figure out who had done it.  Not that this is suprising. Another excellent read by Stephanie Barron.

Oh!  you can download a reader’s guide in to creating a Jane Austen Christmas.  I wish I had purchased the book a couple of days before Christmas so that I could have tried some of the ideas.  Ah well!  There is next year!

Posted in Liked It, Science Fiction, Space travel, Star Wars

Star Wars Tarkin

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Author: James Luceno

Genre: Science fiction

Rating: LI

Synopsis:

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. . . .

Bestselling Star Wars veteran James Luceno gives Grand Moff Tarkin the Star Wars: Darth Plagueis treatment, bringing a legendary character from A New Hope to full, fascinating life.

He’s the scion of an honorable and revered family. A dedicated soldier and distinguished legislator. Loyal proponent of the Republic and trusted ally of the Jedi Order. Groomed by the ruthless politician and Sith Lord who would be Emperor, Governor Wilhuff Tarkin rises through the Imperial ranks, enforcing his authority ever more mercilessly . . . and zealously pursuing his destiny as the architect of absolute dominion.

Rule through the fear of force rather than force itself, he advises his Emperor. Under Tarkin’s guidance, an ultimate weapon of unparalleled destruction moves ever closer to becoming a terrifying reality. When the so-called Death Star is completed, Tarkin is confident that the galaxy’s lingering pockets of Separatist rebellion will be brought to heel—by intimidation . . . or annihilation.

Until then, however, insurgency remains a genuine threat. Escalating guerrilla attacks by resistance forces and newfound evidence of a growing Separatist conspiracy are an immediate danger the Empire must meet with swift and brutal action. And to bring down a band of elusive freedom fighters, the Emperor turns to his most formidable agents: Darth Vader, the fearsome new Sith enforcer as remorseless as he is mysterious; and Tarkin—whose tactical cunning and cold-blooded efficiency will pave the way for the Empire’s supremacy . . . and its enemies’ extinction.

Bluestocking’s Opinion: I was really surprised. I don’t think It was possible for Tarkin to be sympathetic. I found myself liking him against my will. I thought it was really interesting the relationship between Tarkin and Vader. There was a great deal of camaraderie between the pair. Tarkin has clearly figured out that Vader is Anakin. They seemed to have fought together in the Clone Wars. I don’t know that story. I hope there is a novel about it.

I thought it was also very interesting to see how Palpatine manipulated him into being his little tool.

Oh, also, Palpatine’s first name is Shreev.

You know Tarkin seems to have principles in this book. I mean, he is definitely a product of his upbringing, but he doesn’t appear to be evil. But I supposed over 18 years he eventually became to person we saw in Star Wars A New Hope.

Kudos to the author for humanizing Tarkin.

Posted in Historical, Mystery

The Job

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Author: Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg

Genre: Mystery

Rating: LI

Synopsis:

He’s a charming con man and she’s a dedicated FBI agent, and they’re about to drive each other crazy . . . again!

The FBI had one demand when they secretly teamed up Special Agent Kate O’Hare with charming con man Nicolas Fox—bring down the world’s most-wanted and untouchable felons. This time it’s the brutal leader of a global drug-smuggling empire. The FBI doesn’t know what their target looks like, where he is, or how to find him, but Nick Fox has a few tricks up his sleeve to roust this particular Knipschildt chocolate–loving drug lord.

From the streets of Nashville to the back alleys of Lisbon, from the rooftops of Istanbul to the middle of the Thames, Nick and Kate chase their mark. When they find themselves pitted against a psychopathic bodyguard and a Portuguese enforcer who gets advice from a pickled head, they decide it’s time to enlist some special talent—talent like a machete-wielding Somali pirate, a self-absorbed actor, an Oscar-winning special effects artist, and Kate’s father Jake, a retired Special Forces operative. Together they could help make this Fox and O’Hare’s biggest win yet . . . if they survive.

Bluestocking’s Opinion: This was another funny one. The relationship between Nick and Kate is becoming tangled, they are both realizing that they are falling for each other. By the end of it, Kate is starting to cross lines. It was just more good fluffy fun.