Ray Vecchio

To Davy Jones & Kill the Farm Boy

My Ninth book for ljbookbingo is To Davy Jones by Carola Dunn for #13 Female Author, card found here:

I have been greatly enjoying this series. I love a good mystery and usually Ms. Dunn does not disappoint. Daisy and her new husband Alec are roped into going to America in order for Alec to consult about proper police procedure. They book a cruise across the Atlantic and of course they are soon involved in a murder mystery that gets bigger and more personal with each passing day. I was fairly sure early on I knew who the killer was and it turned out I was right. But I have to say the why and wherefores of the final situation was so novel that I totally didn't mind. I will definitely be continuing this delightful series.

My Tenth book for ljbookbingo is Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah S. Dawson for #33 Satire, card found here:

Once upon a time, in a faraway kingdom, a hero, the Chosen One, was born...and so begins every fairy tale ever told. This is not that fairy tale. There is a Chosen One, but he is unlike any One who has ever been Chosened. And there is a faraway kingdom, but you have never been to a magical world quite like the land of Pell. There, a plucky farm boy will find more than he's bargained for on his quest to awaken the sleeping princess in her cursed tower. First there's the Dark Lord, who wishes for the boy's untimely death...and also very fine cheese. Then there's a bard without a song in her heart but with a very adorable and fuzzy tail, an assassin who fears not the night but is terrified of chickens, and a mighty fighter more frightened of her sword than of her chain-mail bikini. This journey will lead to sinister umlauts, a trash-talking goat, the Dread Necromancer Steve, and a strange and wondrous journey to the most peculiar "happily ever after" that ever once-upon-a-timed. ~Amazon Description

I had high hopes for this book. I thought it had an amazing premise, satirizing the fantasy genre sounded awesome. Unfortunately, this book wasn't all that great. It was honestly more silly then humorous if that makes sense. There were parts that worked but even those got old because the book keep repeating the same joke over and over. I think the book really suffered because it was so long, almost 400 pages, it would have been better suited as a novella. I will probably not be continuing on in this series.

This entry was originally posted at https://under-the-silk-tree.dreamwidth.org/63185.html

Circe & The Mystery of Nevermore

My Seventh book for ljbookbingo is Circe by Madeline Miller for #4 Historical Fiction, card found here:

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child -- not powerful like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power -- the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves. Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts, and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus. But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love. With unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and page-turning suspense, Circe is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, love and loss, as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man's world. ~Amazon Book Description

This book has been recommended to me a couple times over and I have been meaning to read it for awhile. Luckily my library has a copy but unfortunately there was also a long waitlist. Finally after almost a year I was able to get my hands on it. As a preteen I fell in love with Greek mythology and read everything I could get my hands on so this book was right up my alley. Ms. Miller really makes Circe a well rounded sympathetic character. She felt so real and so you really can't help but feel for her and all she goes though. I loved how the author wove the myths and the mythological people through Circe's story while keeping her and her journey at the center. A warning there is a rape scene in the book that is a bit disturbing but you see it coming and can skip it fairly easily.

If you have any interest in mythology or just a really well written story then I would highly recommend this one.

My eighth book for ljbookbingo is The Mystery of Nevermore by C.S. Poe for #52 Author's Debut Novel, card found here:

It’s Christmas, and all antique dealer Sebastian Snow wants is for his business to make money and to save his floundering relationship with closeted CSU detective, Neil Millett. When Snow’s Antique Emporium is broken into and a heart is found under the floorboards, Sebastian can’t let the mystery rest.

He soon finds himself caught up in murder investigations that echo the macabre stories of Edgar Allan Poe. To make matters worse, Sebastian’s sleuthing is causing his relationship with Neil to crumble, while at the same time he’s falling hard for the lead detective on the case, Calvin Winter. Sebastian and Calvin must work together to unravel the mystery behind the killings, despite the mounting danger and sexual tension, before Sebastian becomes the next victim.

In the end, Sebastian only wants to get out of this mess alive, and live happily ever after with Calvin.
~Goodreads Description

I greatly enjoyed this book.  I loved the protagonist Sebastian.  He was relatable in his worries and in his hopes, and in this book he has a lot of both.  Especially considering his four-year relationship to his boyfriend is on it's last legs and his antique shop keeps getting broken into in order for someone to leave disturbing presents.  As the mystery deepens he meets and starts to fall for Detective Calvin Winter, who has his own set of problems.  I also loved the mystery and how it was all tied to Edgar Allen Poe, and I found the conclusion satisfying.  This is the first book in a series and I will definitely be reading the next one!

This entry was originally posted at https://under-the-silk-tree.dreamwidth.org/62585.html

Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands by Mary Seacole

My Sixth book for ljbookbingo is Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands by Mary Seacole for #9 An Autobiography, card found here:

I love autobiographies.  Getting to hear a person's life story in their own words is always a treat.  I thought Mrs. Seacole did an outstanding job when writing this book, it was clear and well ordered.  Mrs. Seacole led a very interesting life as a nurse and boarding house owner.  Born in Kingston, Jamaica she learned the healing arts from her mother and she used them with great skill for the rest of her life.  She eventually followed her brother to Cruces, Panama and ran a boarding house for those gold rush miners seeking there fortune in California by crossing the isthmus.  She ended up helping many when there was a cholera outbreak.  Later when she heard of the Crimean war she was determined to lend a hand and although she applied to be a nurse she was continually refused so she decided to go on her own.  Once there she established a hotel where she would also medically help those in need including helping on the battlefield, which she did until the end of the war.

Mrs. Seacole had a very fascinating life and it is awesome that all these years later we get to read about it.

I first heard about Mary Seacole from the podcast Stuff You Missed in History Class, if you want you can listen to it here.  Her book is in the public domain and it is available via Project Gutenberg.  Also for free on Librivox if you prefer audiobooks.

This entry was originally posted at https://under-the-silk-tree.dreamwidth.org/62445.html

Scratchman & Crown of Coral and Pearl

My fourth book for ljbookbingo is Scratchman by Tom Baker for #3 A Horror Novel, card found here:

The Doctor, Harry and Sarah Jane Smith arrive at a remote Scottish island, when their holiday is cut short by the appearance of strange creatures – hideous scarecrows, who are preying on the local population. The islanders are living in fear, and the Doctor vows to save them all. But it doesn’t go to plan – the time travellers have fallen into a trap, and Scratchman is coming for them.

With the fate of the universe hanging in the balance, the Doctor must battle an ancient force from another dimension, one who claims to be the Devil. Scratchman wants to know what the Doctor is most afraid of. And the Doctor’s worst nightmares are coming out to play
~Amazon Description

I have been intrigued by this book ever since I heard about it as it features one of my favorite Doctor Who Trios, the 4th Doctor, Sarah-Jane Smith, and Harry Sullivan. Apparently it was an idea discussed between Tom Baker (4th Doctor) & Ian Marter (Harry Sullivan) when they were on the set of the Doctor Who series. Eventually Tom Baker wrote this book with the help of James Goss. One of the genre's linked to this book is Horror which I think the first half of the book readily deserves. I found the scarecrows to be fairly terrifying and the setting on a isolated Scottish island to be properly ominous. It is in the second half where although still horror-ish is more like your standard Doctor Who story. I thought the idea was a novel one and one I would love to see as an episode of Doctor Who kind of reminiscent Blink or Midnight. I especially loved the appearance of another Doctor I wont say which because Spoilers but their interactions was perfect. Overall it was very good!

My fifth book for ljbookbingo is Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford for #21 A Book that is More then 400 Pages, card found here:

Nor once dreamed of seeing the wondrous wealth and beauty of Ilara, the kingdom that’s ruled her village for as long as anyone can remember. But when a childhood accident left her with a permanent scar, it became clear that her identical twin sister, Zadie, would likely be chosen to marry the Crown Prince—while Nor remained behind, unable to ever set foot on land. Then Zadie is gravely injured, and Nor is sent to Ilara in her place. To Nor’s dismay, her future husband, Prince Ceren, is as forbidding and cold as his home—a castle carved into a mountain and devoid of sunlight. And as she grows closer to Ceren’s brother, the charming Prince Talin, Nor uncovers startling truths about a failing royal bloodline, a murdered queen…and a plot to destroy the home she was once so eager to leave. In order to save her people, Nor must learn to negotiate the treacherous protocols of a court where lies reign and obsession rules. But discovering her own formidable strength may be the one move that costs her everything: the crown, Varenia and Zadie. ~Amazon Description

Last year I saw this book on a display at B&N and I was immediately enamored.  I loved the premise of the two sisters who have only ever lived at sea raised to compete in a contest to marry a prince they have never seen.  Even though technically they are in competition they have never loved each other less because of it.  Their bond was a real highlight in the book.  I also loved the literal fish out of water situation Nor finds herself in as she is taken from the only home she has ever known to a castle and a prince she has only the bare bones information on.  It was very well written and I liked the main protagonist Nor and her interactions with the other characters.  It is the first book in a series, so it ends with a lot of loose ends.  The next one is out this year and I can't wait to read it.

This entry was originally posted at https://under-the-silk-tree.dreamwidth.org/62104.html

Mr. Justice Raffles by E.W. Hornung

My third book for ljbookbingo is Mr. Justice Raffles by E.W. Hornung for #49 A Book with an Unreliable Narrator, card found here:

"It was Raffles I loved. It was not the dark life we led together, still less it's base rewards; it was the man himself his gayety, his humor, his dazzling audacity, his incomparable courage and resource"- Bunny Manders (A Thief in the Night)

It was quotes like the one above that has kept me reading these books and so here is the final book in the Raffles series. Overall I really have enjoyed this series.  I loved Bunny's pov as he narrated his life with Raffles and the capers and crimes they got involved in.  Unlike the other three books this is not a collection of short stories instead it is a full length novel.  Raffles and Bunny come to the rescue of Raffles friend Teddy who has borrowed from a moneylender who charges massive amounts of interest.  Raffles who has had run-ins with the moneylender before so he decides to teach the man a lesson.  The antagonist is Jewish and so the anti-Semitism is somewhat frequent.  Which is a bit of a disappointing note to end on.   Overall I think Hornung really shows his strength in his short stories, novel length is not as great but still good.

This entry was originally posted at https://under-the-silk-tree.dreamwidth.org/61815.html

i feel your heartbeat next to me

Title: i feel your heartbeat next to me
Fandom: Numa Files
Pairing: Kurt Austin/Joe Zavala
Rating: PG
Word Count: 2,143
Warnings: N/A
Summary: After a near miss Kurt and Joe's relationship changes.

Notes: With much thanks to my awesome and ever giving beta jdl71Written for H/C_Bingo prompt: restrained.  Fifth Fic for 100 Fandoms prompt: new.  Also for Small Fandom Fest prompt: first time.  Title is from the song Parachute by Kris Allen.

Here on AO3
Ray Vecchio

Raffles: Further Adventures of the Amateur Cracksman & A Thief in the Night

My first book for ljbookbingo is Raffles: Further Adventures of the Amateur Cracksman by E.W. Hornung for #12 Short Story Anthology card found here:

In the second installment in E. W. Hornung’s crackerjack crime series, England’s greatest jewel thief is up to all of his old tricks and many ingenious new ones—none so spectacular as turning Queen Victoria herself into an accomplice. ~Amazon Description

Raffles and Bunny return in this sequel. Once again it is a collection of short stories and although maybe not quite as good as the first book it is still very good. I continued to feel bad for Harry "Bunny" Manders who having just served 18mths in jail is unable to make much of his chosen career as a writer and he has been shunned by his only living relative so he is close to being homeless. Of course that's when he meets up with Raffles again who had survived his swim to freedom at the end of the last book and now has made his way back to England. The various stories are all fairly interesting and the dynamic between Raffles and Bunny continues to be intriguing. Bunny is still (IMHO) very much in love with Raffles and Raffles continues to be protective of Bunny although he at times can be a touch self-centered. The ending story is sad but considering there are two more books in the series it helps mitigate it a bit. Of course I do need to warn for Victorian era racism and anti-Semitism.

My second book for ljbookbingo is A Thief in the Night by E.W. Hornung for #20 A Book of Less then 200 Pages card found here:

Pushed to the very brink of disaster, the quick-footed Raffles recovers in style. In these classic stories, England’s most honorable thief and his loyal companion elude criminologists, cops, and ruthless professional villains, stealing whatever they want—and doing it with flair. ~Amazon Description

This was another grouping of short stories featuring A.J. Raffles and Harry "Bunny" Manders. These stories take place in-between and around the other two books. I continued to enjoy the relationship between Bunny and Raffles. Bunny is an interesting character because he enjoys the high from committing crime but then he has regrets and lots of guilt. Plus he craves Raffles approval and attention and he gets both by going along on these capers. Raffles in most of the stories seems very carefree and seems to be chasing the high that comes with outsmarting others. He is very lackadaisical about his crimes except for a couple of the later ones where he expresses regrets and wants to make amends.

Also if you're interested all of the Raffles books are public domain and can be read on Project Gutenberg and the audiobooks can be found for free on Librivox.   Plus this handy tumblr post goes over where to find all the books, radio plays, pastiches, tv shows, & movies.  

This entry was originally posted at https://under-the-silk-tree.dreamwidth.org/61045.html
Ray Vecchio

2020 Reading Challenge

It's that time again!

Here is my 2020 LJ Book Bingo Reading Challenge card: 

I will list/check them off here as I go: 

1. #12 Short story anthology: Further Adventures of the Amateur Cracksman by E.W. Hornung
2. #20 Book less then 200 pages: A Thief in the Night by E.W. Hornung
3. #49 Book with an unreliable narrator: Mr. Justice Raffles by E.W. Hornung
4. #3 A Horror Novel: Scratchman by Tom Baker
5. #21 Book with more then 400 pages: Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford
6. #9 An Autobiography: Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole by Mary Seacole
7. #4 Historical Fiction: Circe by Madeline Miller
8. #52 Author's Debut Novel: The Mystery of Nevermore by C.S. Poe
9. #13 Female Author: To Davy Jones by Carola Dunn
10. #33 Satire: Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah S. Dawson
This entry was originally posted at https://under-the-silk-tree.dreamwidth.org/60765.html
Ray Vecchio

Bingo! \o/

I completed my four corners bingo. You can see my table here. I was surprised by some of the squares I ended up using and I totally hadn't planned to write quite so many NCIS: New Orleans stories. But overall I like what I have written and I am looking forward to next year!

Collapse )

This entry was originally posted at https://under-the-silk-tree.dreamwidth.org/60072.html

'Til Our Compass Stands Still

Title: 'Til Our Compass Stands Still
Fandom: NCIS: New Orleans
Pairing: Sonja Percy/Chris LaSalle, Loretta Wade/Dwayne Pride
Rating: PG
Word Count: 6,233
Warnings: Temporary Character Death
Summary: Chris and Sonja keep in touch.

Notes: A huge thank you to my awesome beta jdl71 Written for Small Fandom Fest. Also written for H/C Bingo prompt: body swap.  I started to write this before the writers made it so there could never be a Persalle reunion.  So this became a bit of a fix-it because Chris and Sonja deserved better.  Title is from the song West by Sleeping at Last.

Here on AO3