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Posts by Katie H

Something strange on the morning commute

Cover of The Haunting of Tram Car 0
A review of The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P. Djeli Clark

Something is very wrong with tram car 015. Unlike the other trams that wiz above Cairo’s bustling streets powered by djinn magic, something in tram car 015 is angry, and it’s up to Agent Hamad Nasr and his new partner Onsi Youssef in The Haunting of Tram Car 015 to discover just what that something is. It’s not the easiest of propositions: in the Cairo of 1912, it’s been decades since the power of djinn has been harnessed and turned Cairo into a world power.

Nov 16, 2023

Mannerling wants your soul

A review of Daughters of Mannerling Series by Marion Chesney

I’m not one who typically goes back and reads classic romance authors since I often have my hands full of newly released titles, but when a colleague extolled the virtues of Marion Chesney’s Regency-set romances, I was intrigued enough to check out the audio recording of The Banishment, the first title in Chesney’s Daughters of Mannerling series. It was short, and the audio appealed as much as the print version’s dated and ugly covers did not. Well, dear reader, I did not know what I was getting into.

Sep 12, 2023

What would the Bandit Queen do?

Cover of The Bandit Queens
A review of The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff

“Remove my nose ring.”  Geeta hasn’t heard that expression in a while, but she immediately knows what the woman before her is asking: make me a widow. Geeta has been an outcast in her small Gujarati village ever since her husband Ramesh mysteriously disappeared five years ago. While Geeta most certainly did not kill her husband, she does little to dispute the rumors that she’s a killer, since it keeps the villagers at arm’s length.

Jul 7, 2023

Caught betwixt and between

Cover of A Disappearance in Fiji
A review of A Disappearance in Fiji by Nilima Rao

Fiji in 1914 would appear to be a perfect island paradise. For constable Akal Singh, it is at is best a purgatory, hopefully a temporary one. Far from the turmoil of the Great War, far from the desperately poor regions of the British Empire, for Singh, it is just far from everything; far from his family in the Punjab, far from his beloved billeting in Hong Kong. But one thing that is uncomfortably close is racial prejudice, particularly as Fiji is an island divided. At the top sits the small British elite, owners of the sugar cane plantations that forms the colony’s economic backbone.

Jun 6, 2023

One Wager lost, but this Wager is a winner

Cover of The Wager: A Tale of Shipw
A review of The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder by David Grann

David Grann is an author who doesn’t like to rush into releasing work—his last full-length book appeared in 2017—but he continually proves that whatever he writes is worth the wait. The bestselling author of Killers of the Flower Moon and The Lost City of Z has a knack for finding little-known but intense and compelling stories in the dustiest corners of history, and his latest is no exception.

May 15, 2023

An attainable goddess?

Cover of Aphrodite and the Duke
A review of Aphrodite and the Duke by J. J. McAvoy

Aphrodite Du Bell hates her name. The eponymous heroine of J. J. McAvoy’s romance Aphrodite and the Duke certainly has the beauty and bearing reminiscent of the Greek goddess, but ever since she was jilted by Evander Eagleman, Duke of Everely, she’s been reluctant to reenter society. An ultimatum from her formidable mama means she must find a husband this year, but the discovery that the now-widowed Evander will be present this season gives Aphrodite a sliver of hope she might be able to rekindle the love she knows Evander genuinely held for her.

Feb 1, 2023

They just don’t make ‘em like they used to

Cover of Killers of a Certain Age
A review of Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn

It’s the day that many dream about, the culmination of a job well done:  retirement. It’s no different for the quartet of Billie, Natalie, Mary Alice and Helen, whose employer has generously gifted a Caribbean cruise to bid them adieu after decades of service for The Museum. It’s a lavish gift, and one that might be a trip of a lifetime—or the end of life. But it’s hardly surprising, as this group of sexagenarians are highly trained hit women, and they know it can only be their former employer gunning for them. The Museum, nominally devoted to erasing deserving baddies from the earth, has s

Dec 27, 2022

Haunted and haunting

Cover of Shutter
A review of Shutter by Ramona Emerson

It’s a grisly scene that police photographer Rita Todacheene is called to late one night outside of Albuquerque. Bits of the woman’s body are strewn over the interstate, the victim of an apparent suicide from an overpass. But the voice of a furious Erma—whose remains Rita is so diligently documenting—insists it was murder, and Erma won’t stop haunting Rita until she gets vengeance. But Rita’s secret—her ability to see and speak to the dead—is a terrible secret she can neither escape nor even acknowledge to anyone living, a curse that makes her taboo in her Diné (Navajo) community.

Dec 1, 2022

We could all use a little more tuba in life

Cover of I’m Possible:  A Story o
A review of I’m Possible: A Story of Survival, A Tuba, and the Small Miracle of a Big Dream by Richard Antoine White

It’s no secret that it takes extraordinary effort and preternatural talent to achieve coveted, competitive positions at top universities, internships, or sports leagues. (Who you know and how much money you have certainly doesn’t hurt either.) Now consider a job that makes the task of getting into Harvard, or the NFL draft, or an internship at Vogue seem like a walk in the park. Give up? Try winning a seat as a professional tuba player in one of America’s full-time or part-time professional orchestras.

Oct 18, 2022

Done in by the Bard

Cover of Death by Shakespeare:  Sna
A review of Death by Shakespeare: Snakebites, Stabbings, and Broken Hearts by Kathryn Harkup

One was killed by drowning. A few succumbed to grief. At least one fell and broke his neck, while others went by hanging, or in battle, or were stabbed. Some deaths were quite singular—a ‘burning quotidian tertian’, a ‘Malady of France’, a bear’s meal, and even a death from a surfeit of joy. All told, the killer had some 250 victims, not including the nameless souls that died without notice. No, this isn’t some horrid tale of a serial killer run amok, but the casualty list from William Shakespeare’s plays.

Sep 26, 2022