Thursday, February 18, 2010

Catching Up & A Review

Are you tired of the cold winter weather and long for the warm sunshine of spring?

I know I do. The winter weather should be a great time for reading (or writing if you're an author). With all the snow, rain and gloom we've had, however, I'm starting to get cabin fever. It's not like I haven't been out and about. I have. Maybe that's part of the problem. You have to spend 10 minutes bundling up just to go outside. 

I just need to see some sunshine and feel some warm temperatures on my skin to help uplift my spirits and mood. 

Okay, enough of my "pity-party" for now. Let me tell you about some of the authors that will be guest blogging here soon, some giveaways coming up, and share a review.

Melissa Ramrez will be here tomorrow to talk about "How do you like your mysteries, straight up or with a shot of romance and fun?"

Margot Kinberg will be here on Saturday to talk about the various type of mysteries that are out on the market - cozies, spy thrillers, police procedurals, etc. Margot will also be giving away a signed copy of her latest release "B-Very Flat."

On Sunday I plan to have a review of Laura Child's latest Tea Shop Mystery "The Teaberry Strangler" that is slated to be released on March 2.

Susan Kearney will be here on Monday, Feb. 22, as part of her virtual blog tour for her latest book, "Jordan." She will also kick-off a five book giveaway. 

Susan Jane Gilman will be here on Tuesday, Feb. 23, as part of her virtual blog tour for "Undress Me In The Temple of Heaven."

Judi Fennell will be here on Wednesday, Feb. 24, for an interview about how she got into writing and some background on her series. She will be giving away two copies of her latest release, "Catch of a Lifetime."

The husband and wife team of W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal will be here on Thursday, Feb. 25, for an interview about their latest book, "Coming of the Storm, Contact: The Battle for America." They will be giving away a copy of their book.

Ted Dekker will be here on Friday, Feb. 26, as part of his virtual blog tour for his latest book, "The Bride Collector." Check out the widget on the right side of the blog for more information on this book and giveaway.

The last two days of the month I will be doing a review of "Eternal on the Water" and "Coming of the Storm."

I hope you enjoy this lineup of authors and the interesting topics they will be discussing, as well as participate in the giveaways.

Now I would like to share a review of Ian Rankin's "Exit Music." This review was done by Betty Gelean, who won a copy of the book during a giveaway here at Thoughts in Progress. Betty was kind enough to share her thoughts on the book with us.

I was very interested in reading this book because I had heard so much about the author and had never read one of his books before, not realizing that would make it difficult to review this as part of a series, so I will review it as a stand-alone. 

The final in a long-running series, this book was entertaining, the characters full-fledged and mostly long established. Ian Rankin handles his characters well, the interaction is so natural - fun and serious by turns. There is the bull-headed terrier DI John Rebus, 10 days from retirement, fond of old movies and music who likes to test his young assistant on actors and musicians of decades past; DS Siobhan Clarke, his well-trained assistant who proves herself as both faithful and extremely capable; the straight-up newbie Todd Goodyear, and the two DCs assigned to Rebus, Colin  Tibbet and Phyllida Hawes. This comprises the core group under DCI Macrae. Excellent police procedural and team play.

Rankin's portrayal of the murdered expatriated but acclaimed Russian poet rings true.  With a group of Russian businessmen in town, could this be political?  Then one murder becomes two, with a slight connection between the victims. With tenuous connections, many red herrings and lies, the case quickly escalates into a masterful puzzle, pitting Rebus and Clarke first against DCI Macrae and later against each other.  His old nemesis "Big Ger" Cafferty may or may not be involved.  This interplay of characters engenders an almost family feeling, as though the past is a part of the present. It also makes for a fascinating ride and draws the reader into the "family".

When the case is taken over by the SCD (SCDEA, Scottish Crime and Drugs Enforcement Agency), and then by DI Derek Starr, I felt the anger along with the rest of the original investigators. With Rebus removed from the case, Clarke proves her mettle and capabilities.  I was a little disappointed toward the end, probably mostly on behalf of John Rebus, but also touched.  A fit end to a long-standing series.  

But, fear not, fans of Rankin. He will be with us for a long time yet, and he currently has his latest book "Doors Open" released as of lastmonth. Whether this is a stand-alone or the beginning of another series I was unable to find out but I as a new fan will be looking up some of the earlier Rebus books, and following future books.

Exit Music by Ian Rankin; Little, Brown and Company, @2009, ISBN:9780316018876, paperback

Thank you Betty, appreciate your review. Now, how is your week looking? Are you ready for sunshine or are you enjoying the cold and snow?


  1. Mason - Thanks for sharing that review of Exit Music. It really is a wonderful book, and Betty did a fine review.

    I am so excited that you're hosting the Gears! They wrote a wonderful series of mysteries, the Anasazi series, that I so very much enjoyed. I'm eager to read what they have to say. Very cool!!

  2. What a great line up of guest bloggers!

    And I'm with you - I am so ready for this winter to be over. It's supposed to be sunny and near 40 here today - the fact that that's exciting to me says everything about the kind of winter this has been, doesn't it? You know it's been a long winter when 40 degrees starts to look good!

  3. Oh I adore your sunshine graphic. What a happy little sun! Come here! Come here!

    In case that wasn't clear enough, I am so tired of winter! All of a sudden the song, "Here comes the sun" is running through my mind. A little sun and warm weather and It'll be all right! LOL!

  4. Ted Dekker - really?

    And I'm ready to be warm again...

  5. Sounds like a great line up! Nice review :)

  6. This is a great line-up and I can't wait.

    I'm so ready for Spring to arrive. How many more weeks do we have to endure?

    Have a good Thursday.

  7. Margot, I think the Gears are interesting too. I love their other series and I'm excited to start this one.

    Ingrid, I agree. I never thought 40 would sound good, but right now it sounds great (especially if there's sunshine involved).

    Crystal, now I'll have that song running through my head all day too. LOL Maybe with our positive thoughts we can make it happen. One can hope.

    Diane, yep Ted Dekker. His new book looks very interesting. When I first got it, I decided to read a few pages to see. Help my attention and I had to remind myself I had several books before his I HAD to finish.

    Jemi and Teresa, I think the line-up is a nice mix of authors and books.

    Dru, I've lost track of the weeks. In Georgia we are suppose to have spring in six weeks from General Lee popping his head out. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

  8. I'm enjoying the winter, snow and all, when I'm more inclined to stay comfortably inside and get the words down on paper :)

  9. You've got a great line-up!

    I think this weekend is supposed to be nicer here than it's been. Let's hope so! I'm selling Girl Scout cookies at an outdoor booth. :)

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  10. Wow, Mason. You've got quite a guest list of wonderful writers. I wanted to thank you for your consistently loving and thoughtful comments on my blog during this difficult time.

  11. Great line-up! And when I woke up this morning and saw the sun, I sang "Here comes the Sun". Honest. No lie.

  12. Sounds like a great line-up of guest bloggers! Wow.

    Straight From Hel

  13. Joanne, cold weather does help with that. But I miss the sunshine.

    Elizabeth, I'm hoping the weather does take a turn for warm and sunny. Good luck with the cookie sales.

    Karen, thank you for your kind words. I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

    Deb, we've got sunshine right now and it looks wonderful.

    Helen, I'm looking forward to this line-up in the coming weeks too.

  14. I love seeing the sun in the winter time. Sometimes, when the sun is shining through my living room window, I grab a pillow, stretch out on the floor and try to pretend I'm on a beach!

  15. Janel, that sounds like fun. I'll have to give that a try. I've always wanted a bay window to sit in and read on sunny days in the winter.

  16. Corra, I've heard that sunshine is a nice warm thing that makes people happy. I catch a glimpse of it today and it was awesome. :)

  17. It;s wonderful that you get all these authors to comment here and introduce us to them and have giveaways! YAY!


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.