RedT Reads Randomly

Love books of all kinds. Just call me Eclectic. Favorites, though, are sci fi and fantasy, history, mystery, YA and children, time travel, dystopian -- the end of the world as we know it, and conspiracy theory and thrillers.



"The Spirit is Willing

The Spirit is Willing - Max McCoy

. . . but the alibi is weak."


Why do I like that so much?  I do not know.  I just do.


so now I'm diving right back in to 1880s Dodge City, and adventuring with Ophelia and Eddie.

"She talks to dead people. Then she solves their murders."

Of Grave Concern:: An Ophelia Wylde Paranormal Mystery - Max McCoy

I liked the first several paragraphs.  


Then I didn't like it. for several chapters.  The main character seemed rude and unpleasant.  I took a break until I had more patience; and then I found out that there are underlying factors for her manners.  She has reasons to be tense and irritable.


pretty soon, I found myself quite liking Ophelia, a woman on the run and stuck in Dodge City on her way to points west.  My favorite character is Eddie, the Raven, who quotes Poe at every opportunity, and earns the Corvid Good Citizens Award when he saves Ophelia from a fate worse than death.



so, this is why I didn't quite like Ophelia at first.  She is disdainful of the place and the people, and doesn't bother to hide it.  In responding to a comment made by a fellow traveller, she says, "Why, bless your rustic soul."  That just seems uncalled for.


she climbs the hill to the cemetery and these are her thoughts as she looks down on the town:


"From up on Boot Hill, it was easy to imagine the cowboys and the soldiers and the townspeople as animals. The good citizens and the soldiers were mostly herd animals, I decided, but the cowboys ran in packs, like wolves. The most unpredictable and therefore most dangerous of the cowboy animals were the loners— the lobos."

[I don't even know how to process that.]


but after that, I guess she got her feet back under her, and her sense of humor began to shine through.  After over-indulging in the local beverage, she paid a visit to the doctor, who offered this advice:  


" . . . the old- timers say the best cure for the common hangover is to brew up some tea using rabbit pellets,” Doc McCarty said, lifting his glasses so he could read the label on a small tin he had taken from the shelf. “You could try some rabbit-drop tea, if you like.”

“The thought makes me want to hurt you.”


 After she makes a comment about the primitive structures prevalent in the city --


You have the best rooms in the city.”

“That is sad,” I said. “The wind blows the dust through the walls.”


And the conversation that takes place at the attorney's --


There wasn’t room to sit, because every flat surface was piled with something— legal documents, law books, dirty plates. Even the chairs had bundles of the Times and other newspapers on them.

“How do you live like this?”

“Sorry, I didn’t know I was going to have guests.”

“Where are your books?”

“The law books are in the corner.”

“No, I mean literature.”

“I read newspapers.”

“But not Twain or Dickens.”

“I only read factual material.”

“There’s more fiction in just one edition of the Kansas City Times than in all of Thackeray,” I said, aiming at sounding droll but grazing boorish, instead.


Ophelia Wylde is a spiritualist with her own set of ethics.  She helps people, but she doesn't have a problem cheating those whose own morals are in question.  She seems to think it's karma.  

I like the next three conversations because it shows that, while she may have a problem with religion, she still has a heightened sense of spirituality. --


" . . . it’s curious that a woman who professes to demonstrate spirit communication seems skeptical of religious faith. Don’t you believe, Miss Wylde?”

“I believed in a lot of things, Doc,” I said, “when I was a child. But now, I have given up childish things.”

“That’s good,” he said. “Using the Bible to support your disbelief. Clever."


And here, one of her clients has found a reason to find fault with her performance regarding his dead sister. --

“You maybe isn’t a whore, but you is for damn sure a witch. I seen you at the opera house once and twice and knows you is a witch, and the Book says not to suffer a witch to live.”


“But it also says a lot of other stuff,” I pleaded. “Jesus said to turn the other cheek, to go and sin no more, to love thy neighbor as thyself. Don’t just take the part that justifies murdering somebody.”


and later, they have to exhume the body of a murdered girl in order to obtain some evidence. --

“All right, boys. Seal her up and get her back into the ground.”

“Wait,” I said.

“For what?” Calder asked.

“We should say something.”

“She’s right,” McCarty said.

“Go ahead,” Calder said to me.

“I’m no preacher.”

“You’re the closest thing we’ve got,” McCarty said.

“All right.” I told the men to doff their hats, although Calder wasn’t wearing a hat, as usual. Then I cleared my throat and bowed my head.

“I wish you could hear me,” I said. “Because if you could, I’d tell you that you aren’t forgotten, that even if we don’t know your name, there are good people here who care about what happened to you. We’re going to try to help you find some rest.”


And this is my favorite scene in the whole book.  It might not make you cry but me, I did.  Ophelia is riding to her death and has a hard task to accomplish first: 


"The problem with ravens and other corvids is that once they imprint on a person, it’s for life. If given to another owner, they become deeply melancholic and often will themselves dead. I had raised Eddie since he was just a baby. If I left him for someone else to take care of, even somebody as kind as Doc McCarty, odds were that Eddie would soon become miserable and would eventually die.


So there was only one thing to do. I opened the cage and reached my hand in. Eddie rubbed his beak against my fingers, the membrane over his eyes half closing in contentment. Then I took him out of the cage and held him for a moment on my forearm, stroking his gleaming blue-black feathers.

“I’m sorry, Eddie,” I said. “My hand is played out and I’m about to jump off the edge of the world for God knows where. I don’t expect to come back, considering the amount of weaponry Calder was preparing, and from the tone of his voice. . . It’s better to die trying than to just sit and waste away into somebody else, don’t you think?”

He cocked his head. “I know. It’s all my fault. I’m so sorry.” I started to cry. “At least this way, you’ll have a chance,” I said.

“Ravens are smart, and you’re the smartest of them all. Why, if you could learn the things I taught you, you will do just fine on your own. But you’ll have to look out for hawks and eagles, and probably hang around town so you can eat scraps the restaurants throw out their back doors.”

I wiped my eyes with the back of my free hand. “And who knows?” I told him. “Maybe I will come back, and you’ll still be here in Dodge, and you’ll find me and we’ll be like we always were— inseparable. What do you think, baby? We’ll meet again, right?”


Now I was truly bawling. I carried him to the open window. “Go on,” I said. He didn’t budge. “Take off,” I said. “You’re free.” He swiveled his head to look at me with first one eye, and then the other.

“Fly, damn it!” I shoved my arm out the window and shook it, and Eddie squawked and snarled and dug his claws into my arm, trying to hang on. Then I shook harder, and Eddie flew off. He swung out low over North Front, flapped over the train depot, and then turned sharply, coming back to the hotel.

I slammed the window shut."



There's still time to read the second in the series before Halloween is over.  This was a Kindle Unlimited, but depending how the next book plays out, I may end up adding it to my own library.


I was planning to finish this last night . . .

Of Grave Concern:: An Ophelia Wylde Paranormal Mystery - Max McCoy

. . . But found it annoying and couldn't get into it.


tonight, it's getting better.


“What do they do with all those hides, anyway?”

“They cut them up to make belts to drive machinery back East. Whether it’s steam power or water power, the power has to be transmitted to the pulleys somehow, and buffalo hide is cheap and wears well. Also, the bones can be ground into fertilizer.”

“So the buffalo are being turned into the very things that hasten their demise— fertilizer for farmland and pulleys to drive machinery that produces everything from guns to barbed wire.”

“How is that different than the Comanche using buffalo meat for food and the hide for their lodges and the tails for fly swatters?”

“One is a matter of need,” I said. “The other is just an example of greed.”


i was under the impression that they stripped the skins and left the carcasses to rot.  I was not aware that they used the bones for fertilizer. So, not quite such a travesty.  


No, still a travesty.  But also, old news.  There's plenty more to take its place in contemporary time.



This one starts great. Think I'll be finishing it tonight.

Of Grave Concern:: An Ophelia Wylde Paranormal Mystery - Max McCoy

I saw the dead girl from the window of the train as we passed the Hundredth Meridian marker, but I didn’t say anything.


She was lying atop the bronze tablet, turned on her right side with her knees drawn up, as if asleep. I knew she was dead because her throat had been cut. Her hair was straight and blond and riffled by the breeze, and the ends were stained claret where they had trailed in the blood. Her flower print calico dress was torn to the waist; her corset was popped open, and judging from her bare shoulders, she was young. The hem of her dress was bunched around her scuffed knees, her hose had fallen, and she wore only one lace shoe, her left. Her right arm was outstretched, with the hand clenched, blue fingers squeezed tightly over something.


Few things now surprise me, but I covered my mouth and uttered a bit of a gasp. Instinctively, my left hand went out to Eddie’s cage on the seat beside me, seeking a familiar comfort. Then the train slid by a row of warehouses, cutting off my view of anything but unpainted lumber.


“Dodge City!” the conductor called, walking unsteadily through the coach, one hand on each chair back, as if pulling himself along. “Ten- minute stop for coal and water. Dodge City!”

Meet: Quiet or Loud? A Book Reader's Thoughts

a new BLer for you to meet.  She loves to read, and to share her thoughts on what she read.  Just like all of us!


here's a couple of her reviews for your reading pleasure:


How It Went Down - Kekla Magoon 


The Summer I Died - Ryan C. Thomas 





This one had me all the way.

Ruins by Kuper, Peter(September 22, 2015) Hardcover - Peter Kuper

from the cover, (it's tactile)


to the dedication (Dedicated to pollinators everywhere),


to the flyleaf:


to the title page:


To the story and the artwork:



I loved it all.



My cats are getting tyrannical

they've come to the conclusion that the iPad belongs to them.  Any attempts by the human to use the Kindle app, read BookLikes, or post a blog are looked upon most disfavorably.  It cuts into their time to watch the fishes, stalk the mouses, and chase the laser dots.  


Im not sure why I ever thought it was a good idea to introduce them to the CatPlay apps.

Stevie, Elvis, and Moma, completely enraptured.  Only Arcie refuses to join in.  She still prefers the sofa cushion in front of the window.  Sunlight and birds are her thing.


after letting them have my tablet most of last week, I finally got my husband's iPad and loaded apps on his as well.  That didn't work precisely as planned.  Now they simply lay claim to both of them.




so now, H asked if they need their own tablet.  Yay!  Because I'm tired of sharing; not to mention the nose prints on the screen.


Looking back and evaluating your life's value causes headaches. At least I never had to kill for Queen and Country.

Darkness on His Bones: A James Asher vampire mystery - Barbara Hambly

Aside from Buffy, this is my favorite vampire series.  


"Asher drifted again into feverish sleep. A year ago he had warned Ysidro that he would no longer abide or endure the odd partnership – – close enough at times to border on friendship – – that for the past seven years had existed between himself and the vampire. From what felt like an enormous distance he saw himself and Ysidro together by lantern-light in a dream he'd had of African twilight, and reflected that it didn't seem to matter to the vampire what he, James Asher, could abide or endure.

And the past few days had brought home to him that his own commitment to what was right, to the deserts justly due to this pale predator – – wouldn't stand the test of expediency either.

And Ysidro knew it. Had known it from their first meeting.

Had he walked in my dreams and known that of me, before we met? Was that how he chose me as his tool?

He'd come back, a hundred times, from 'abroad,' in the days of his service to the Queen, loathing himself and the things that he had done. Loathing his calm readiness to kill total strangers, his undoubted facility for theft, fraud, lies, and the betrayal of those 'enemy' civilians who'd trusted the man they'd thought he was. Like poisoned magic, the words 'for Queen and country' had always drawn him back. And the knowledge that he was good at what he did.

Thus he recognized that he was apparently perfectly willing to form a partnership with Don Simon Ysidro – – knowing full well what Ysidro was and did – – if those he, James Asher, personally loved were in danger.
He had done far worse, for goals less vital and true.
What does that make me?
He didn't know, and his head hurt too much to think."

It's National Cat Day. have a Happy one!


If we lived in San Antonio, we could make an appointment to have kittens delivered to the office for fifteen minutes of play time.  If you meet one you love, they are also available for adoption.  (Don't tell the boss.)


while "researching" this story, I also learned that National Feral Cat Day was last week.  I missed it.  :(.




so anyway, Happy Cat Day.  Hug your cat.  Like you don't do that every day already.

Where'd October go?


I've been away for the better part of three weeks.  


Been with my brothers at my parents doing DIY home maintenance stuff.  It was fun, but I've missed my reading time and also visiting with you guys every day. 


I have some catching up to do.



Behind every great man . . .

The Daylight War - Peter V. Brett

"A great man doesn't fear his wife will steal his glory . . . He uses her support to reach even higher."

P. 571

Appreciate Your Vet Tech

It's National Vet Tech Appreciation week.

Read more about it at Constantly Moving the Bookmark.

The Cambridge Key - Second October Story

I'm delivering several free stories on Amazon this month -- happy October.


My little alternative history story about JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis is free on Kindle for one week -- enjoy!


Get free story The Cambridge Key >>




In 1937, the British Crown anticipated war with the emerging fascist leader Adolf Hitler. The British Secret Service was desperate for code-breakers, and for a method to encode messages to Allied agents on the ground, deep in the heart of the continent.

One agent was assigned to solicit the help of a set of secretive, brilliant professors to find a solution to this dangerous puzzle.

The cryptographic key these professors proposed was radical, and changed the course of the war effort (and English literature) forever…

Reblogged from Ned Hayes Writing

Handmade at Amazon

Today Amazon launched it's newest venture, Handmade at Amazon after sort of dragging their feet and never committing to a precise launch date. One of our own, Linda Hilton,  is a member, and will be adding more pieces to her "shop" soon. Check out her shop and all the rest of the artists and craftsmen that are taking a chance on Amazon's newest venture.

Reblogged from Spare Ammo

Elementary library question

I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic, 1912 - Lauren Tarshis


I know most of you are interested in adult books, but I have a question that maybe a few of you could help out with regarding our elementary school library. We have a lot of reluctant readers (as I'm sure all elementary schools do). Many of them love the "I Survived" series by Lauren Tarshis. I'm looking for another series similar to this that might interest them as well. If you have any ideas.... Please let me know. 


The books are historical fiction, about 4th grade level and around 100 pages.


Thanks in advance for any suggestions!!

Reblogged from Reading is my ESCAPE from Reality!

BLer with two followers -- I'm asking you to give him a chance

ETA: never mind the endorsement.  I would simply delete my post, but there are comments I like. Besides this will be a future reminder to me -- please quit with the naive "stuff needs to be fixed approach." It needs to stop. Besides, the two novels he wrote reviews for still sound good.


Rod Raglin been featured twice in the BookLikes newsletter, but most of us have declined to follow him.  he's an author and I understand why that X's him out for some of us; and sure he talks about his own books some, and about his own journey in the publishing world.  


But he also writes really entertaining reviews for books that are mostly under the radar -- some deservedly so, but some that are worthy of our attention.


i offer this as an example: excerpts from his review of In the Light Of What We Know, which he rated two stars:

In the Light of What We Know: A Novel - Zia Haider Rahman 


"I’m not a very smart guy.

At least not compared to Zia Haider Rahman, author of In Light of What We Know.

I dropped out of journalism school because I got a job on a newspaper – hey, I thought if Icould get a job on a newspaper before graduating just think of all the tuition I'd save,


Anyhow, this is a review about Zia Haider Rahman’s novel, not my autobiography.

Smart is what Rahman is – first class honours at Balliol Oxford, then on to Munich and back to finish at Cambridge and Yale, sort of the academic grand slam.

This is his first novel and as one would suspect for a guy that smart – did I say he also worked as a investment banker at Goldman Sachs in New York – that would likely make him rich as well as smart.

Back to the novel, his first one, it’s a huge hit. Well, what would you expect from a super rich, super smart guy except his first novel would be a best seller? . . . 

. . . ordinary set up, certainly not what I’d call a dramatic hook, but then like I said I’m not very smart and Rahman, well…"


So that's an example of a review for a book he didn't like so much, but his review? fun and snarky.


in fairness, I offer two Post Titles for books he did like:


When the Decision Is To Be Indecisive


Rod writes a good review for a solid book.



 The Humanity and the Hypocrisy of Pioneer Life in America

The title of the post alone made me want to read the book, but read his review; you might like it too.


i've never seen Rod be ungracious to BookLikers.  [ETA:  I stand corrected.  Turns out he's way less than gracious. Only reason he wasn't, is he's not interacted with us before.]


And besides he takes good photographs, some of which he shares.



So that's it.  Just wanted you to know he's over there.