Weekend Reads: “The Age of Bowie”

The Age of Bowie: How David Bowie Made a World of DifferenceThe Age of Bowie: How David Bowie Made a World of Difference by Paul Morley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this book slowly. I savored it over two months. I loved it, and I didn’t want it to end.

Rock journalist Paul Morley not only writes a loving biography of David Bowie, but interweaves it with a chronicle of his own fandom. In the process he looks at Bowie as a consummate performer and self-marketing guru, but also at Bowie’s effects on culture.

The book is not a gossipy, superficial tell-all, like Stardust: The David Bowie Story, which I devoured (as I do with all Bowie biographies). This is a deep dive into what Bowie was up to, and why. It’s such a deep dive that it includes a list of Bowie’s 100 favorite books (I’ve read five of them …).

What we get is a picture of a complicated autodidact with a desire to rise above modest circumstances by becoming the stereotype of a rock star, combined with a sharp intellect and a desire to have a life of relative normalcy.

Part of the book was written while Morley was writer-in-residence at the David Bowie Is … exhibit, and that part is where the fans start telling personal stories about what Bowie meant to them. This serves as a lovely memorial to a man who was a distant but important step-parent for many whose lives were troubled but could look to Bowie and his music for comfort.

I know.

I was one of them.

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Weekend Reads: “Only a Hero Will Do”

Only a Hero Will Do (The Heart of a Hero #1)Only a Hero Will Do by Alanna Lucas

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a fun Regency romp, with characters based on heroes and villains from Marvel Comics (by the author’s own admission). Elizabeth Atwell is a member of the Legion, a group determined to protect the Crown from threats against it. So is Captain Grant Alexander, a muscular, sensitive hunk — who only wants to protect Elizabeth from harm.

The two are united against Typhon, the leader of a dark organization determined to overthrown the government.

I am not a comic book reader, but I have enjoyed many of the movies. It was fun picking out the various Avengers and members of Hydra in the tale, which as in and of itself a delightful piece of romantic suspense.

Highly recommended.

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Weekend Reads: “Except the Dying”

I’m looking forward to saying hello to Maureen Jennings, who is one of the guests of honor at Left Coast Crime, and telling her how much I’ve enjoyed the Murdoch mysteries over the years.

Except the DyingExcept the Dying by Maureen Jennings

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m a huge fan of “The Artful Detective,” as the “Murdoch Mysteries” are known in the US. I have all of the available seasons on DVD. I’ve all four of the movies. I’ve now also read several of the books.

So, now that that’s out of the way … you know going into it that I’m a fan.

In this book, Toronto police detective William Murdoch is investigating the murders of two women. One is found with no clothing, and it takes a while to identify that she is the maid of a well-to-do family. The other is a prostitute. While others don’t see how the murders could be related, Murdoch is convinced that they’re connected.

The book is rife with historical detail about women’s roles, the practice of medicine, and even police work in the mid-19th Century. We also see a bit about Toronto’s politics during the time period.

This book was a “ripping good yarn,” filled with lots of believable characters and plot twists. If you’re a fan of the Murdoch series (as I am), I highly recommend that you check out the books.

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Weekend Reads: “Rue Toulouse”

Hi, everyone. I’m gearing up for a great meeting of the Silicon Valley chapter of Romance Writers of America tomorrow morning, Left Coast Crime next week, and even the A to Z Challenge.  I’ve been adding new entries to my blog roll so that I’ll be able to see plenty of posts this April.

There’s a lot going on, and I’m glad not only for that but also the kind support I have received from so many during this difficult time after my dad’s passing.

This week’s book is Rue Toulouse, by Debby Grahl. I was on a panel with her during Heather Graham’s Writers for New Orleans last year, and she was just delightful. Check it out!

Rue ToulouseRue Toulouse by Debby Grahl

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Debby Grahl’s romantic suspense tale, set during Carnival in New Orleans, is an entertaining read. Caterine Doucette has no idea she’ll ever see the Cajun who stepped between her and a catcaller in the French Quarter … let alone at her friend’s costume party. But she does indeed see Remi Michaud again … and sparks fly.

Unbeknownst to her, Remi is a former police officer and security expert … and his skills are much needed in her life as she deals with angry family members when an elderly relative’s will is changed in her favor.

Grahl creates a well-constructed mystery with a side order of steamy romance. I felt the chemistry between Caterine and Remi, and believed their romance — even though it was so quickly established due to circumstances that constantly threw them together. I found the secondary characters believable and complex, and enjoyed the book very much.

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Weekend Reads: “Hope and Other Superpowers”

Hi, everyone. I highly recommend this book. We all need to be encouraged.

Hope and Other Superpowers: A Life-Affirming, Love-Defending, Butt-Kicking, World-Saving ManifestoHope and Other Superpowers: A Life-Affirming, Love-Defending, Butt-Kicking, World-Saving Manifesto by John Pavlovitz

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

John Pavlovitz has, I think, become the pastor to a far greater flock than he ever anticipated. The popular Christian blogger’s second book, in which he talks about how each person can be an ordinary hero every day, is a series of beautiful and hopeful essays that provide both inspiration and action steps to readers who may be weary of the darkness currently affecting the world — and the US in particular.

Pavlovitz’ authorial voice is as gentle and humorous as his real-world voice (I have been privileged to hear him speak in person), and his constant message that we must remain encouraged bears repeating for all. Highly recommended.

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