Book Review: The Affair of the Mysterious Letter 

A Decadent Affair: A Review of The Affair of the Mysterious Letter

Over at Spec Chic!  The short take: if you like weird and wild Sherlock Holmes styled fantasies… you’ll like this.

I purchased it in ebook form, but I’m going to buy a dead tree copy just so I have one that I can press on friends.

Definitely recommended.

Book Review: The Affair of the Mysterious Letter 

Monday Miscellany 072919

Mostly a book recap this week because really all I’ve done this week is either write books, critique books, or read books.

Four, count them FOUR!!! Highly recommended books.  It’s been a very good week for reading.

First up: Alexis Hall’s The Affair of the Mysterious Letter.  Just so much fun.  It’s a Sherlockiana story twisted into full fantasy, where Sherlock is Shaharazad Haas, sorceress, and John Watson is John Wyndham, um, soldier.  Either way, it’s quirky and delightful and fun.  Look for a full review of it on Speculative Chic soon.  If you read it before then, come on over and tell me what you thought!


Melissa Caruso’s The Tethered Mage.  I mentioned that I had started this book before and ran out of time, bought it on ebook, and found myself stalling because I wanted it in book form. (If books strike me really positively, I want them in actual paper.)  I checked it out again and zoomed through it.  It’s wonderful. Actually, it’s so wonderful and so much of the type of fantasy that I wish I wrote that I had to take a day or two off writing to sulk about how good this was.  Well, and order the next two in the series.

The other two books didn’t quite reach these heights, but were both fun and engaging reads.

The Reign of the Kingfisher by TJ Martinson.  Technically shelved in urban fantasy (at my library at any rate), and yeah, there are glimmerings.  But mostly this is an interesting crime novel based around a vanished superhero and the people left in his wake.  If you want the superheroics, this is not the book for you.


Andrew Pyper’s The HomecomingAnother book that kind of misleads, but pleasantly.  It starts off as a fairly straightforward family drama with the promise of horror, and ends… in a very strange place.  Very readable.

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Tuesday Miscellany 072319

Where did Monday go?  Oh yeah, where the whole week went–to an allergy stupor.  The amazing part about modern medicine is that allergy shots are a thing.  (YAY!)  The nightmare part of modern medicine is that to take an accurate skin test you have to stop taking allergy medicine for five days prior.  I did not die though there were moments I wanted to.  I went through three boxes of tissue. If I ever had doubts about my allergy medicine’s effectiveness, I no longer do.  I am allergic to everything around me!  Except dogs and ragweed.

I’m planning on moving my home office from one room to another, and before I can do that, I have to declutter the chaos of said home office.  It’s terrifying how much mess one writer can accumulate over ten years.  One of the (procrastinatory) ways I’m tackling this is by reading through my TBR shelf.  One of the TBR shelves, let me be honest.  There are multiple ones throughout the house.  And that doesn’t include the digital one (oh, ebooks, how I love/hate you).

So I read Grimspace by Ann Aguirre.  I liked it all right, but not enough to read through the rest of the series.  The world-building just kept shifting too much.  It felt like she was whipping something new out every time the story flagged.  On the other hand, Aguirre has awesome characters.  But that cleared five books from my shelf (because I’d bought the first five books in the series at the same time).  They’ll go to a more appreciative home.

And I am currently reading Walter Greatshell’s Mad Skills.  This one is a weird one.  The blurb is one of those where it’s technically accurate but makes it sound like a completely different book than what you actually get.   I think they must have corrected it, because each edition online has a different blurb; the latest ones, the more accurate.


“This is Flowers for Algernon, gene-spliced to La Femme Nikita, the Bourne series, MacGyver, and The Prisoner ….” –Adam-Troy Castro’s review from SCI-FI magazine.

The revision continues.  Right now, the heroine is about to have her grand plan overturned for the third time in as many days. Poor Silene. And her new friends are driving her nuts.

The new monster hunter book scene-sketching continues. Right now, the monster hunter is sulking because his boyfriend didn’t want his help and his sister is picking on him. Life is hard when you’re not actively hunting and killing things. Sometimes you have to stop and have feelings.


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Monday Miscellany 070819

Sometimes I swear my life can be summed up in books, pets, baking, and mindless entertainment.  I think I need some more hobbies.

Finished the first season of Black Spot which was very satisfying.  So many times these “weird” mysteries lose track of the actual whodunit in favor of atmosphere and mood.  But there’s a missing girl, a murder, and hey, a murderer who is uncovered. And yes, there’s a lot of atmosphere and mood.  I think that readers of Tana French’s books would feel pretty much at home in Villefranche. I’ve been listening to the dub, reading subtitles, and ignoring that they rarely match.  I feel like between the two, I might get the right story.

I finished reading Teeth in the Mist and what a peculiar book it turned out to be.  I picked it up on a whim at the library, and had a fun surprise when I sat down to read it.  There’s all sorts of artwork and photographs and strange formatting and the like. Lovely to read. That said, I didn’t love the story overmuch.  There are two main timelines (three if you count Hermione, but she’s barely a blip on the pages), and I think that they ended up making each other look less interesting.  Roan, the 19th century girl, has a story that’s full of ominous big magic and enormous emotions–wild lost loves and witch-hunters and trauma and the devil walking the mountain–and it feels really rushed.  In comparison, Zoey, the modern girl, has a really lightweight story that sort of drifts along until it goes crazy at the end. I think I would really rather have seen two books: Roan’s story followed by Zoey’s story.

Off to see the allergist soon.  Here’s hoping they can wave a magic wand and fix the fact that my body has declared war on the ENTIRE DAMNED OUTSIDE WORLD.  I woke myself up sneezing last night, who does that? Just UGH!

The endless re-revision continues.  I keep overthinking the issues, making myself spin in place trying to think of all the variables needed, then underthinking them, reminding myself that really, I’m only altering one POV, which then leads to me falling flat on my face, because even one POV can undergo some big changes.  Still, progress is happening.

I’m also outlining the second book of monster-hunters in love. And contemplating a short story about a retired superhero.  And fighting the urge to work on the super complex urban fantasy. Basically, my brain wants to write ALL THE THINGS but it wants them all done NOW. Which is to say, writer brain status: normal.

No new music this week.  I’ve been listening to more of the podcast Unwell instead.  I’m enjoying it, though it’s definitely a slow burn.  Right now, it’s all about the people: Lily coming back to small town Ohio to help her estranged mom run a boarding house, and the people she meets.  In some ways, it reminds me a little bit of Cold Comfort Farm where Flora Post swans into the countryside home of her relatives and starts trying to “fix” them all.  Flora Post was in the right of it, but I’m not sure where Lily lands yet. It’s been engaging so far, and we’ve just tippytoed into the “weird” segment of the tale… a creepy voice on a recording.  I’m looking forward to where it goes from here.

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