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About the blogger:
Debra Hamel is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.


Books by Debra Hamel:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


paperback | Kindle | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


paperback | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)





Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



Book Notices | The Venus Fix by M.J. Rose / The Lost Art of Gratitude by Alexander McCall Smith

M.J. Rose, The Venus Fix

  Amazon  

This is the third book in M.J. Rose's Butterfield Institute series. The books feature sex therapist Dr. Morgan Snow, who has worked with the police in the past on cases related to her field. This time, there's a string of bizarre on-screen deaths involving "web cam girls," girls who perform live for people watching on their computers. Morgan has insight into the case but isn't able to share it with her policeman boyfriend because of confidentiality issues, and that is in fact a recurring problem for the couple. The story was interesting and I did not guess who done it before the reveal. It bothered me a bit, though, that it was all so incestuous. The victims were all in New York (despite that web cam pornography could be coming from anywhere in the world) and one way or another the case involved Morgan's client, Morgan's co-worker, some kids in Morgan's group therapy session, Morgan's boyfriend, and at least one other connection I won't specify. How likely is that? But apart from that, a good read. Be warned that there's sexually explicit stuff in this series, if that's not something you want to read.

Alexander McCall Smith, The Lost Art of Gratitude

  Amazon  

In book six of the series, Isabel Dalhousie faces a new series of challenges. Her nemesis, Christopher Dove, is trying to bring her and the philosophy journal she owns and edits into disrepute. And an old acquaintance, Minty Auchterlonie (whom, however, I did not remember at all from her previous appearance), involves Isabel in a pair of her problems. But fixing things this time around is complicated by the difficulty our practical philosopher has in getting the truth out of people. There are also developments on the personal front and the Brother Fox front to be enjoyed. There are no great surprises here for readers of the series, though I did find Minty's machinations a little harder to follow than usual for this series. My only real gripe is this. Isabel's son Charlie is now something like a year and a half old. Somehow, Isabel has two cheerful caretakers—Charlie's father Jamie and Isabel's housekeeper Grace—who together seem to watch Charlie at least 80% of the time, leaving Isabel free to involve herself in other people's problems and take leisurely walks around art galleries. (To say nothing of the kid going to bed before she and Jamie sit down to some lovely dinner that he cooked.) At that stage of parenthood, I was lucky if I could take regular showers. So, yeah, that aspect of the series is beginning to irritate. But we'll see how it continues.

Jean Hanff Korelitz, The Plot

  Amazon  

Stephen King called this book "insanely readable," and that may have been the final selling point for me. But first, there was the plot: A novelist with two books under his belt but nothing new on the horizon uses someone else's story under extraordinary circumstances, with dire results. I love a good novel about writing, but a lot could have gone wrong here. There's a story within a story, and sometimes those transitions are just too jarring and don't work for me. That wasn't a problem here, though, perhaps because the story within a story was so important to the main plot. Also, there were a couple of leaps in time, when a few years pass between chapters. This may be just me, but I don't usually like leaps in time. They distance me from the characters and, frankly, depress me. But they weren't a problem for me here. I did have suspicions about the big twist pretty early on, and the final reveal was a bit of an information dump, a little too Hercule Poirot in the drawing room telling everybody what happened. Maybe I'd take off half a star for that. But apart from that, yeah, insanely readable! Now to see what other books Jean Hanff Korelitz has written.

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