Thursday, August 29, 2013

Bookish Thoughts: Mini Review of Short Reads

What better time to fit in three novellas then when I cannot quite decide what to read next? 

Ring in the Dead by J.A. Jance 
William Morrow, 2013
Crime Fiction; 114 pgs

I have long been a fan of J.A. Jance's J.P. Beaumont, and so when I was offered the chance to read and review a novella that takes the reader back to one of Beau's earliest cases, I could not resist.  The daughter of Beau's first partner, Pickles Gurkey, as a Seattle P.D. Homicide Detective surprises Beau one evening with part of an entry to a book Pickles Gurkey had been writing.  It takes Beau back in time to their first case, and Pickles involvement in another murder investigation that almost landed him in jail.  

The story is told from two viewpoints, that of Pickles and that of Beau.  I thought the two perspectives fit nicely together.  Pickles wasn't particularly excited about taking on a new partner, especially one was inexperienced as Beau. This was a perfect story for a novella--giving the reader a taste of what Beau had been like in his younger years both on a personal and professional level while at the same time telling an entertaining mystery.  

You can learn more about J.A. Jance and her books on the author's website

Source: I received an e-copy of this novella from the publisher through Edelweiss.

Bitter Disenchantment by Shawntelle Madison
Fantasy; 156 pgs

Having read and enjoyed Shawntelle Madison's other books, I jumped at the chance to read Bitter Disenchantment.  This  novella features werewolf Agatha McClure, a character we've met before in the author's series featuring heroine Natalya Stravinksy.  I love that Madison's characters tend to have anxiety type disorders, and Agatha's is one I can relate all too well with.  She's an over eater.  I know all too well what it's like to be a comfort eater, and how difficult it can be to stop.  This story isn't about that though.  Bitter Disenchantment is the story of how Agatha ended up on Natalya's doorstep.  About her controlling father, an arranged marriage and taking drastic measures to get out of an unwanted relationship.  

This was a good story and I enjoyed catching up on Aggie's history.  She's one of my favorite characters in Madison's series.  I think the only fault I found with the novel is that I would have ended it sooner.  Although I do understand why the author took the novel to the point she did.  It leads nicely into the series and offers a peak into what is to come.

You can learn more about Shawntelle Madison and her books on the author's website

Source: I received an e-copy of this novella from the publisher for review via NetGalley.

The Wanderer in Unknown Realms by John Connolly
Atria, 2013
Horror, 96 pgs
“Books alter men, and men, in their turn, alter worlds.”
A World War I veteran, Soter, is doing investigative work now and then for an attorney is asked to look into the disappearance of a wealthy man, Lionel Maulding.  Mr. Maulding is a bit of a recluse, not having many friends and mostly keeping to himself.  His house is full of books varying in subject matter.  Soter discovers Mr. Maulding's most recent interest in the occult, and what follows is the stuff of nightmares.  

I fell in love with John Connolly's writing the moment I began this short novella.  The author's words easily set the tone of the novel and his descriptions of the characters and setting took me right into the pages of the book.  Soter is surviving rather than living, after having lost his family and seeing the horrors he saw during the war.  It makes this story all the more compelling--are the horrors Soter encounters real or a dissent into madness?  I am not so easily frightened by horror novels, but this one got under my skin.  I won't be so quick to get into a bubble bath any time soon.

You can learn more about John Connolly and his books on the author's website

Source: I bought an e-copy of this novella for my own reading pleasure.

© 2013, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. Waaaay back in the day, before blogging, I read a lot of J.A. Jance. I'm so out of it now, I think that novella would be lost on me, but I do love when my favorite series go back in time and let me see the protagonist's beginnings!

  2. I started the JA Jance Beaumont books on audio and really loved them, but for some reason I never got past the third or fourth book. I'll have to go back and pick them up again.

  3. Ring in the Dead would be the perfect way for me to try Jance.

  4. I used to read Jance--the Joanna Brady series. I lost track over the past few years (though I did enjoy it), but I am signed up to receive the newest Beaumont book for review, and if I really enjoy it I will certainly backtrack a bit on this one. I like the storyline for J.P.Beaumont.

  5. The Wanderer In Unknown Realms sounds marvelous; new to me but will definitely be looking for it.

  6. I hate when I can't settle on my next read...or decide which book that I want to read that is :) I've been wanting to try Madison's urban fantasy series. It sounds like my kind of series!

  7. That John Connolly books sounds really good. I just read one of his short stories in his collection Nocturnes, about a serial killer's old house, and it was sooo spooky it still gives me chills. Yes, definitely going to look for this one.

    The worse is when you keep picking up books and putting them down again....sometimes I start to panic, and then I do find 'the one' even though I didn't know what it was, which book it was! lol

  8. The cover of the Connelly is awesome, though I suppose the figure at the bottom is a good indication of what's inside? Looks more than your average person. It sounds pretty creepy, but the possibility of it being all in the mind is quite compelling.


Thank you for taking the time to visit Musings of a Bookish Kitty. Don't be shy! I would love to hear from you. Due to a recent increase in spam, I will be moderating all comments for the foreseeable future. Please be patient with me as it may take a few hours before I am able to approve your comment.