Grace's Mosaic Moments

Saturday, March 4, 2023

What Grace is Reading

To add to our continuing gallery of English oddities and plain ol' bloopers . . .

To begin, never say "never."


An ironic comment on the Computer Age . . .


And then we come to Proverbs Reworked . . .


And a little gem posted to Facebook by one of my friends the morning after Ash Wednesday. . . (Read carefully!)


Grace note: Why every author needs to edit his/her work with great care.


What Grace is Reading (for good or ill)

 I suppose it's something about writing Gothic novels that inclines me toward reading mysteries, both contemporary and historical. And I've been reading SciFi since high school, so not too surprising I still do, though I lean toward SciFi with strong overtones of Fantasy, as well as the out-and-out Fantasy of a few authors I cherish (even though I could not get more than a few pages into the Ring series). And then there's the odd intrusion into my reading of a series so violent I often cringe . . . (See explanation below.) I have, however, abandoned Trad Regencies, even though I thoroughly enjoyed writing the ones I did for Signet way back when. Today, I am looking for more "meat," less "frivol," less Almack's and twittering conversations over nothing. I do, however, still relish a good Regency mystery or adventure.

So what tops my Kindle list since I last visited this topic?

Thank goodness Lindsay Buroker is so prolific, for her name tops the list when I'm searching for new reading matter. Her SciFi/Fantasy novels contain high adventure, an infinite number of truly amazing (and weird) characters, plus a strong dollop of saucy dialogue. Some series are more serious than others - some, broad in the scope of the plot and ranging across the universe; others, as simple as strange characters and portals to other worlds, hovering as close as next door. And if that isn't enough, there's a series featuring witches and werewolves. 

As for Fantasy, Jeff Wheeler is at the top of my search list. Though I am long past the age of the readers his books are aimed at, I thoroughly enjoy the worlds he has created, borrowing liberally from the Arthurian Legend, Shakespeare, and the Bible! Sometimes his allusions are obvious; others, I have a belated OMG moment when I realize a certain character is actually a well-known figure from our own legends of the past. I should add that through thick and thin Wheeler emphasizes the honorable behavior of his young protagonists, including chastity.

Most of the mysteries I read are set in England, a bow to my interest in the Regency, even though many are set in modern times. I have long enjoyed the Yorkshire-set books of J. R. Ellis but have only recently discovered the DCI Ryan series of LJ Ross, set in neighboring Norththumberland. I promptly read my way through all of them and am anxiously awaiting the next. As I do the Regency-set mysteries of Ashley Gardner.

And then there are the mysteries of Robert Galbraith (the pseudonym for the female author of the Harry Potter books). Though I'm not a total devotee, I would not miss a book in this series. And happily, though I have just begun the latest, I can report that the opening is some of the most sensitive writing I have seen from this author.

As for reading tales of violence, I never thought I'd see the day, but one day while browsing, I noticed a series with more than 60 books. Huh? I took a look, downloaded Number One, and I was hooked. Still following this series with bated breath, wondering how it will all turn out. Yes, some of the novels are stomach-churning—at one point I almost chucked the series—but Robert Crane doesn't just write a story; he exposes the ills of our society, philosophizes about right and wrong, makes it clear that we are already living through many of the ills of society that he describes. I.e., though frequently violent, his work is also thoughtful and thought-provoking. As well as amazingly imaginative. The series:  Girl in a Box

As for disappointments - those, too, were mysteries. Though, in keeping with my policy of not openly criticizing a fellow author, I will not name the authors or series below.

Firstly, a relatively new series of novellas that I have thoroughly enjoyed - until the latest turned not only "too cute," but left a plot hole big enough to drive a 14-wheeler through. Yes, I'll buy the next in the series, but I will read warily, hoping the author has rejected egregious carelessness and returned to writing clever tales of mystery.

The other mystery I found disappointing was Book 1 of a much-acclaimed mystery series. Perhaps it's just that styles of writing have changed so much since that first book was written, but I just kept shaking my head, thinking, "You've got to be kidding." I will not pursue the series. Too many newer books to explore.

To end on a happy note: Over the past year I went back to an all-time favorite series, Anne Cleeland's Doyle & Acton (Scotland Yard) series, reading many of the earlier books for what must be the fourth time. If you like humor with your mystery and adventure, this long-running tale of what happens when a bog Irish Detective Constable marries a Detective Chief Inspector who happens to be an earl and a man with more schemes running than a Mafia capo - maybe the don himself - is not to be missed. (And yes, I've mentioned this series before, but it's well worth mentioning it again.) It should be noted that Anne Cleeland also writes outstanding Regency Adventure.

On the personal side . . .

Even though I did not care for what I called an old-fashioned mystery style, I found myself using a classic mystery device in my latest Regency Gothic. The plot was such that I had to create one of those everyone-gathered-in-the-drawing-room moments in order to explain the ins and outs, as well as the solution, to the mystery. Will it work, or will my readers cry, "Foul!"? I haven't the slightest idea. You will have to decide yourself when Menace at Lincourt Manor finally makes its debut in a month or so. (FYI, it's a longer book than I've written in quite some time, the plot complex and hopefully challenging.)

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For a link to Blair's website, click here.

 For a link to Blair's Facebook Author Page  click here.


Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)


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