The Biblio Blogazine

Reviews, Opinions, and More

The Biblio Blogazine - Reviews, Opinions, and More

Sunday Salon: Book Sale Bonanza


I’ve mentioned my love for libraries and the very active and productive Friends of Washoe County Library. Just last year, through their efforts, $114,600 was raised to benefit the Washoe County Library system.

Reno has always been a haven for book lovers as evidenced by the excellent independents we have (Grassroots Books and Sundance for example), as well as having a thriving Barnes & Noble.

It’s no wonder that this community does all it can to support the library. As you can see below, I did my part. Thirty-four dollars for twenty-three amazing finds to add to my home library. From what I saw, I wasn’t the only one finding great books. One couple needed to borrow a cart from the volunteers to get all their purchases to their car.

Does your community have a Friends of the Library group? If not, is there something you can do? Every little bit helps and with dedicated volunteers, much can be accomplished.

So, about my Book Sale Bonanza Booty.

  • Three by Tey – Josephine Tey
    (Miss Pym Disposes, The Franchise Affair, Brat Farrar)
    If you are a fan of Agatha Christie, then you should know Josephine Tey. You really should.
  • And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie
    A nice trade paperback re-issue edition. Just couldn’t pass it up.
  • The Best of Rumpole – John Mortimer
    Rumpole of the Bailey. Need I say more? I can see from the blank look on your face I’m dating myself. It ran on the BBC from 1978 to 1992….and, wow, that was a long time ago.
  • Busted Flush & Suicide Kings (both Wild Cards)
    George R.R. Martin stories outside of Westeros-along with other excellent Science Fiction/Fantasy writers. Each book is an anthology but with a theme based in a shared universe.
  • Bring Up The Bodies – Hilary Mantel
    Second book in the Wolf Hall trilogy, winner of the Booker and Costa awards, this is a sequel as good or better than the original. Can’t wait for the last book, The Mirror and Light.
  • The Winthrop Woman – Anya Seton
    Lovers of historical fiction will understand why this one book might be the best find of the day. If you haven’t read any Seton (Katherine, Green Darkness) you should. Her well-researched stories are the epitome of the genre.
  • Our Kind of Traitor – John le Carré
    No, not a Smiley novel, but still a story of intrigue and suspense.
  • Oscar Wilde and a Game Called Murder – Gyles Brandreth
    (formerly Oscar Wilde and the Ring of Death)
  • Oscar Wilde and a Death of No Importance – Gyles Brandreth
    (formerly Oscar Wilde and the Candlelight Murders)
  • Kingdom of the Golden Dragon – Isabel Allende
    Book Two in the City of Beasts series, plus…it’s ALLENDE.
  • The Ghost Brigades – John Scalzi
    Second book in the Old Man’s War series. I am quickly becoming a fanatic…I mean a fan of Scalzi’s work.
  • The Pyramid – Henning Mankell
    A book in the Wallander series. I’ve been enjoying noir fiction from Stieg Larsson (Swedish) and Jo Nesbø (Norwegian), so adding Mankell (Swedish) seems a logical step that I plan to enjoy.
  • The Troubled Man – Henning Mankell
    Another Wallander book.
  • The Shadow Girls – Henning Mankell
    The Man From Beijing – Henning Mankell
    Not more Wallander books. I wanted see what Mankell’s stand-alone books are like and the price for trying them was right.
  • The Bat and Phantom (both Harry Hole novels) – Jo Nesbo
    The Bat is chronologically the first. Sometimes I just want to smack Harry upside the head, but he is a character you love to hate to love.
  • Doctor Sleep – Stephen King
    Hmm, a sequel to The Shining. Thought since they had an excellent paperback edition for only $4, I’d give it a shot.
  • The Adventures of Langdon St. Ives – James Blaylock
    As one of the pioneers of Steampunk, I just had to get some of Blaylock’s work. This actually is made up of several stories including Lord Kelvin’s Machine. Definitely couldn’t pass it up.
  • Death Is Now My Neighbor and The Daughters of Cain– Colin Dexter
    An Inspector Morse mystery. I was introduced to Morse through PBS and am enjoying reading through the books that spawned Inspector Morse, Inspector Lewis, and Endeavour.
  • A Murderous Procession – Ariana Franklin
    Another historical fiction mystery. It’s no trend. At this point, I guess it’s an obsession. A happy one!

Been to any good book sales recently? Hope your finds were as good as mine, if not better!





Review: Fiddlehead

Fiddlehead by Cherie Priest Fiddlehead by Cherie Priest
a Novel of the Clockwork Century
Steampunk/Fantasy/Alternative History
ISBN: 9780765334077
A Tor Paperback


FTC Disclosure: Oh, it’s mine. ALL MINE.


One of Steampunk’s better series comes to an end. For now.

How bittersweet it was turning that last page. Luckily, Cherie Priest has written other books and stories that I hope to get my hands on — SOON..

This is one of those series that you want to re-read almost as soon as you put down the last book. The development of the story and all its characters are what made this so good, not to mention so hard to say good-bye to.

Priest has always been an author I love to recommend as an introduction to Steampunk along with Gail Carriger and Scott Westerfeld. The Clockwork Century books aren’t as traditional as some being set during an alternative version of the Civil War, but that difference is what, I think, helps American readers connect to the genre.

What I love about Steampunk is that I’ve found it not to be heavily gender based, at least not in the series I’ve read. Yes there are definite male and female protagonists, but I never feel I am reading something girly or over the top masculine. In the Clockwork Century books, storylines are divvied up nicely regardless of gender, color, and/or social background. Also every book, including Fiddlehead, remains true to the Steampunk world and an accuracy to history even though it’s been tweaked in order to fit well into an alternate rendition.

Fiddlehead is the name given to an extraordinary calculating machine, so called because it is so quick and smart, it’s function could “fiddle with a fellow’s head”. It’s inventor, a freed slave and genius Dr. Gideon Bardsley, constructed Fiddlehead to help end the war. Unfortunately war is expensive and profitable. There are those that don’t want Fiddlehead to survive. Or Dr. Bardsley for that matter.

Enter ex-spy and current Pinkerton operative by the name of Maria “Belle” Boyd. Formerly working for the Confederacy, now for the Union, she just wants to move on with her life and help end the war. Trusting her when few do, Allan Pinkerton sends her to Abraham Lincoln when he asks for help in protecting Dr. Bardsley, who happens to be one of the people who trust Belle the least based upon her past. Oh the tangled webs.

It’s just one of the many challenges she, as well as those who support Lincoln and Fiddlehead’s information, will face in order to end the war when there are those more powerful who don’t. More than just the United States is facing a world-ending catastrophe and it takes all of Dr. Bardsley genius, Belle’s cleverness, and Lincoln’s power to prove this potential for Armageddon and get the war to end.

It’s a wild ride from start to finish, so be sure to set enough time aside to enjoy it.

I’m sad to have to say farewell to them all, but I know it’s not a final good-bye. Cherie Priest has other books and just came out with one (Maplecroft) that from what I can see, will have me falling even more in love with her writing.

Love this book. Love the series.

You will too.





Cherie Priest is the author of several books, including Boneshaker, the first Clockwork Century book, which won the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel and was nominated for the Hugo and Nebula awards. She lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and keeps a popular blog a

Review: An Unwilling Accomplice

AnUnwillingAccompliceTodd8259_f An Unwilling Accomplice by Charles Todd
Mystery/Historical Fiction
ISBN: 9780062237194 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780062326447 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780062237217 (digital)
William Morrow an imprint of HarperCollins

FTC Disclosure: Advanced review copy provided by publisher


I can never get enough of historical fiction, especially mysteries. I guess this was born from reading a bit of Agatha Christie, although hers are only “historical” because of how much time has passed since initial publication. Nowadays, whenever I want a reliable read, I don’t look much further than Charles Todd and his Ian Rutledge and Bess Crawford mysteries. Although it must be noted, Charles Todd is actually a mother and son writing team who work so well together, that determining who contributed what in any of their books is impossible.

An Unwilling Accomplice is one of the latest installments of the Bess Crawford mystery series. Set toward the end of World War I, this particular story finds Bess on a short leave looking forward to some much needed rest. However, she’s been requested to accompany a wounded soldier to Buckingham Palace where the man is to receive a medal.

The mystery begins subtly as she doesn’t recognize the name and with her memory of wounds, she’s sure she would have remembered him. Regardless, she does her duty only to be repaid by the man up and disappearing. The next time she hears about him, he is suspected of committing murder and is on the run.

Bess is yet again caught up with intrigue during a tumultuous time in England which quickly mirrors itself in Bess’ life as she strives to right a wrong. This time the situation nearly causes her to lose her place in the nursing service, as well as the respect of her superiors she’s worked so hard to earn on her own, not as her father’s daughter.

The story is engaging and keeps your attention through every chapter. In the past, she’s received some help from her family, but this particular adventure is primarily her and Simon Brandon working to find the truth before their suspect kills again. Another difference is that most of the book is set in England while Bess is on leave, giving those familiar with the series a break from the war just like their heroine Bess.

At 352 pages, you won’t feel the need to skip along, because the story never drags. There is little predictability and the plot is complex enough but not over the top. Highly, highly recommended!

Fans of Maisie Dobbs and Maggie Hope will love Bess and once Todd has you hooked, you have to check out the Ian Rutledge mysteries. The first book in that series is called A Test of Wills.

The official author website is and they can be found on Facebook at

Find more of Charles Todd books on Amazon. They can also be found at Powell’s Books.




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