Damsgaard, Shirley: The Witch is Dead (2007)

The Witch Is Dead (Ophelia and Abby Mysteries)“The Witch is Dead” is part of the Ophelia and Abby mysteries. This is the only one of them that I’ve read. Even though it is the 6th book in the series, I had no problem figuring out what was going on. It’s always nice when authors manage to write stand-alone books.

I found Damsgaard’s writing pretty good. She kept the action coming and her characters, especially Aunt Dot, likeable. The baddies were not a given from the start. As I’m one of those terrible people who reads the last few pages right after the first chapter, I knew who they were. I find reading books more enjoyable if I’ve read the ending quite early on.

As a mystery The Witch worked. At times it was a bit off in its rhythm. For the most part it followed a Christierian formula. Violence wise it was the same. It’s refreshing when writers avoid splattering guts and blood all over my pages.

“Psychic librarian Ophelia Jensen has an exciting life––solving supernatural mysteries with her Grandmother Abby and her adopted teenage daughter, Tink, who also happens to be a medium. But, all Ophelia really wants is to create some normalcy and routine. When Ophelia’s elderly Great–Aunt Dot comes to Summerset, Iowa, for a visit and is out from the watchful eye of her older sister, Dot is determined to find a little fun and excitement, too.

Briggs, Patricia: Moon Called (Mercy Thompson I) (2006)

Moon Called - The last full moon of october

This is the image that I feels illustrates Moon Called best and it shows Mercy (Mercedes) as I had imagined her from the words Patricia Briggs has written about her in Moon Called.

I am a fan of Ms. Briggs’ writing. My adventure with her began with the Hurog saga. Then it sort of developed into a full-fledged love affair and here I am writing about yet another series of hers.

Poor little teen-ager Mac/Alan. Little had he thought about the possibility of werewolves being real. Then all of a sudden he was mauled and changed into one by nefarious people. The Marrok (Bran) calls this rape. To make matters worse, Mac was experimented on and kept in a cage. One day he manages to escape and turns up at Mercedes’ garage (auto-shop). She is a softie and takes him under her wings, eventually introducing him to the Alpha of the Tri-Cities area, Adam Hauptman.

Map created by Michael Enzweiler
Map created by Michael Enzweiler

Adam and Mercy will according to all the foreshadowing become a couple. Mercy and Adam are very alike, yet incredibly different. She is a shape-shifting coyote, he is the alpha werewolf of the Tri-Cities area. If the two of them decide to become mates, his pack will have to accept Mercy as his second. At least one of the members of the pack seems to have done so already, Warren.

Warren is a sweet-heart. He is a gay were-wolf with an open lifestyle. Meeting Mercy changed his life for the better. For once he met another predator who did not care what gender he loved. Then she introduced him to Adam and Adam accepted him as well. That did not mean that the rest of the pack managed to embrace him as one of their own, but that is the way of the world. We all have different prejudices. Some are more vocal and open about them than others. Sadly, getting to love the person you love is not something we all get to experience.

Just now it really struck me. What if I refused to accept a person because of who they loved? How would that change me and the person I met like that? It is a concept I find terribly confusing.  It would be like me refusing to accept a person because of the color of their skin or hair or eyes. Being on the receiving end of such prejudice must hurt terribly.

Mercy is the kind of person that opens up her heart to a great variety of people. Vampire, werewolf, fae or human matters not. If the other person seems to be decent, then there is room for them in Mercy’s life. Her attitude does create problems when some of her friends meet others of her friends, but Mercy just expects them to be polite to each other no matter how much they might despise each other (vampires vs. werewolves comes to mind). And people often do what Mercy expects. For reasons they do not always understand themselves, Mercy is definitely a person they want to have in their lives. What a gift, and possibly, what a curse.

Her being a mechanic is a bonus for me. As a kid I wanted to be a lot of things and mechanic was one of them. There is something satisfying about being able to take things apart. Sadly, I stink at putting them back together again. Then there is the goo. Goo is the loveliest thing on earth. Mercy gets to fix cars and is a whole lot better at putting them back together again than I am. My “niece” is a mechanic. Even here in Norway it is still unusual for a girl to choose such a career. I absolutely love that my “niece” chose such a line of work. So the idea of a mechanic that happens to be a woman is an added attraction for me.

Just so you know. One of Patricia Briggs series also begins at the time of Moon Called. When Bran sends Charles off to deal with a problem in Chicago the series Alpha and Omega starts.

Amazon Kindle


Moon Called as cartoon:

SKU: C1606902032
Rating: Teen +
Cover: Amelia Woo
Writer: Patricia Briggs, David Lawrence
Penciller/Inker/Colorist: Amelia Woo (digitally painted)
Publication Date: March 2011
Format: Comic Book Collection
Page Count: 104+

ISBN-10: 1-60690-203-2
ISBN-13: 978-1-60690-203-5

Just because I like pointing out the obvious. Do the images below remind you of anything? Anything at all??

Layout 1


Meaney, John: Paradox (2001)

Paradox: Book I of the Nulapeiron Sequence (Bk. 1)

Cover art by Jim Burns

I’ve now read “Paradox” for the third time and am still enjoying it as much as the first. Because I’m a dork, I just realised that there are two more books to this series. Well, well, live and learn.

From the above I’m sure you can tell that I really liked “Paradox“. We get a large dash of philosophy, some biology, sociology, lots of action and a thoroughly likeable protagonist. Tom Corrigan is at the centre of our attention throughout the whole novel. He raises himself through the various layers of society through hard work, luck and other people’s ambition. There is no sugar-coating of our hero. He rises to the greatest heights and falls to the deepest depths of hell. Meaney is a really good writer.

Nulapeiron is a strange world. Semi-alive dwellings and vehicles. Subterranean demesnes layered from the poorest to the richest. At the very top we find the Oracles.

Tom Corrigan is witness to the brutal killing of a woman by the militia. She just happens to the same woman who gave him a small, seemingly insignificant info-crystal. Shocked to his core, Tom realises that she is one of the mythical Pilots.

This info-crystal, along with the Oracle Gerard, are the two things that push Tom onto a path that will take him to his destiny.

Weber, David: Honor Harrington

Field of Dishonor by David Mattingly

The Honor Harrington series by David Weber consists of 12 books:

  • “On Basilisk Station” (1992)
  • “The Honor of the Queen” (1993)
  • “The Short Victorious War” (1994)
  • “Field of Dishonor” (1994)
  • “Flag in Exile” (1995)
  • “Honor Among Enemies” (1996)
  • “In Enemy Hands” (1997)
  • “Echoes of Honor” (1998)
  • “Ashes of Victory” (2000)
  • “War of Honor” (2002)
  • “At All Costs” (2005)
  • “Mission of Honor” (2010)

The Honor series is military science fiction. Technical information is important. The series goes into detail about the various vessels Honor is on. It also explores the relationship between the kingdom of Manticore and the People’s Republic of Haven. Honor is a citizen of the Manticoran kingdom, originally from the planet Sphinx. Along with her is her bonded companion, the tree-cat Nimitz.

Honor and Nimitz end up being in the center of conflicts between the Peeps and the Manties. They survive impossible situations in space and on the ground and Honor really needs her brass ovaries to survive the gruelling conditions she often finds herself in. At the center of each book is the conflict between the Peeps and the Manties. There is always some kind of scheme by the Peeps to get the Manties to reveal their military strength or to get the Manties to join in war. Part of that is due to the instability of the Peep system. Governments come and go and in many ways it reminds me of Russia at the time of the revolution in 1917.

The Manties, on the other hand, have a monarchy with all of its attendant problems. There is a government pretty much like the government of the UK – Overhouse/Underhouse with the peers in the Overhouse and the commoners in the Underhouse. There is plenty of corruption and political scheming. Someone is always seeking more power, quite often at the expense of the Manticoran system.

Wikipedia gives an excellent summary of each book, but be warned of spoilers.

David Weber is a fun writer. There are political discussions, but they are placed in a context that make them interesting not preachy (mucho importante). Adventure, adventure, adventure and then some humor are important ingredients. There is some romance, but thankfully not much. My favorite book in the series is Echoes of Honor. It seemed the most different from the rest, and the action centered around a great deal of people, not just Honor.

Collier, Paul: The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries Are Falling and What Can Be Done About It (2008)

The Bottom Billion
The Bottom Billion (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, one billion people live in countries that are dirt poor. One billion! 1 000 000 000! The really strange thing is that global poverty is falling, except for in the poorest states (50) where the opposite is the case. Some of these countries, like Malawi, have always been at the bottom but others, like Sierra Leone, have only recently arrived there.

What Paul Collier explores in The Bottom Billion is why there does not seem to be an easily pinpointed answer to the question of why this is the case. Neither is the solution one simple answer. In order to find an answer Collier has had to turn to researching statistical data. Through that data, he tries to answer the following questions:

  • What are the possible causes of some countries staying at the bottom?
  • What, if anything, can be done to change that?

To get to those answers Collier looks at countries plagued by civil war, countries without natural resources, countries that have bad neighbors, poorly governed countries and latecomers to the international market.

This book is well worth reading. It certainly changed my way of thinking of the countries that are stuck in such terrible poverty. All I had to do (extremely difficult for me) is keep in mind that statistics are open to interpretation.

Benedict, Lyn: Shadows Inquiries series

Lane Robins writing as Lyn Benedict is the author of the Shadows Inquiries series. I think you’ll find that all of these books lean toward the lighter side of fantasy literature. Sylvie Lightner’s character lives in Miami, a slightly different Miami from what most people associate with it. This is a place where the magical and godly take up a lot of space.

Sylvie is the owner of Shadows Inquiries, a P.I. firm that investigates the supernatural. Sylvie Lightner fits the mold that most women in urban fantasy seem to be cast to. The difference in these books is that there seems to be a darker undertone, and Sylvie might be slightly darker than the average. Benedict’s writing is good. The plots are as below, so nothing really complicated.


When one of Sylvie’s employees ends up killed during a case, Sylvie decides she has had enough of investigating the weird and unusual. It is time to close shop.

Then Kevin Dunne turns up looking for his lover, and he just will not take no for an answer. Sometimes you just cannot fight “fate” and Sylvie ends up working for Dunne. Knowing who/what Kevin Dunne is does not make the job pressure any lighter – quite the opposite in fact.

Sylvie’s least favorite part of the whole investigation is that she has to involve friends and her employee Alex. Sometimes the consequences are anything but good and the battle Sylvie has to fight is against herself and the supernatural community.

Sins & Shadows is great entertainment and has no pretensions of grandeur. It delivers what it promises – escape from reality for a while.


Once again Benedict writes an entertaining book about the world of Sylvie Lightner. As the title says, ghosts will appear.

During the investigation of what appears to be simple burglaries, Sylvie discovers the involvement hands of glory. On top of looking into the burglaries, Sylvie has to look after her rebellious sister, Zoe. Sylvie feels she has more than enough on her plate.

But the fates would have it otherwise. While investigating the burglaries case, Sylvie is approached by detective Adam Wright who thinks he has picked up the ghost of a dead man. Against her will, Sylvie is drawn into the fate of detective Wright.

Ghosts, black magic and a wayward sister are bound to make for an exciting time for Sylvie. Fortunately for her she has her trusted employee, Alex, helping her out.


The third novel in the Shadows Inquiries series follows in the path of the first two. Once again Sylvie Lightner is confronted with a mystery that only she is able to solve (with the help of a few others).

The legacy of her bloodline – with all of its inherent anger – continues to plague Sylvie. What others might think of as the gift of the century, Sylvie feels is more of a curse. But she will find it invaluable during the process of the novel.

Five women turn up dead in the Everglades. While something feels off about the whole thing, Sylvie decides this is probably a regular murder case. Hah, hah. When the bodies come to life and start killing, Sylvie has to step in and take what help she can in figuring out what dark magic is afoot.

The help of a necromancer is what Sylvie ends up with. Together they end up confronting the world of gods, and once again Sylvie decides that the gods are not all that great.

LIES & OMENS (2012)

The three people Sylvie cares most about are threatened. Zoe, Alex and Demalion are the one thing that can bring Sylvie out of her hiding and into investigating the magical attacks on Internal Surveillance and Investigation government agency.

What Sylvie has discovered throughout the other three books is that she needs help and does not have to do everything alone. That is definitely true in Lies & Omens. Sylvie will need all the help she can get in order to save the mundane world from the magical one.

As a final book in the Shadows Inquiries’ series, Lies & Omens works pretty well. The conclusion tied up loose ends and felt satisfactory.

Cook, Glen: Sweet Silver Blues (1987)

Sweet Silver Blues is the first book in a series about P.I. A. Garrett. It’s a humorous story about a world filled with gnomes, blood-suckers and various other elven creatures. The tone is ironic and the action plenty.

Garrett has to track down the woman his dead pal Denny left a fortune in silver to. On the way he is attacked by various “people” who are after this treasure. Fortunately he has the aid of Morley and his grolls. Otherwise, this would truly be a mission impossible.

Humor is tough. We all laugh at such different things. Some like this type of humor, while I’m more into the dry wit of Terry Pratchett. Without googling him, I would have guessed that Cook is from the US (he is). While the British humor sneaks up on you from behind and taps you on the shoulder, some US humor is more direct.

Which is why commenting on humorous books is practically impossible. Having said ALL that, Silver is well written.

Use public libraries

%d bloggers like this: