Sunday, November 05, 2023

October 2023 Additions to My Digital Security Blanket


I haven't shared the eBooks I purchased in September, and if I have time, I will, but right now I want to concentrate on what I couldn't resist in October. My period of austerity has taken a sabbatical; however, I have a feeling that it will return. We shall see, eh?
What couldn't I resist last month? Let's take a look!

=== Noir ===

In a Lonely Place by Dorothy B. Hughes. Set in post-World War II Los Angeles.
Synopsis: "Los Angeles in the late 1940s is a city of promise and prosperity, but not for former fighter pilot Dix Steele.  To his mind nothing has come close to matching “that feeling of power and exhilaration and freedom that came with loneness in the sky.” He prowls the foggy city night—­bus stops and stretches of darkened beaches and movie houses just emptying out—seeking solitary young women. His funds are running out and his frustrations are growing. Where is the good life he was promised? Why does he always get a raw deal? Then he hooks up with his old Air Corps buddy Brub, now working for the LAPD, who just happens to be on the trail of the strangler who’s been terrorizing the women of the city for months...

Written with controlled elegance, Dorothy B. Hughes’s tense novel is at once an early indictment of a truly toxic masculinity and a twisty page-turner with a surprisingly feminist resolution. A classic of golden age noir,
In a Lonely Place also inspired Nicholas Ray’s 1950 film of the same name, starring Humphrey Bogart.

👉 I don't read much noir fiction, but I read too many intriguing things about this book to pass it by when the price was right.

=== Historical Fiction ===

The Bookbinder by Pip Williams. Set in World War I England.
Synopsis: "It is 1914, and as the war draws the young men of Britain away to fight, women must keep the nation running. Two of those women are Peggy and Maude, twin sisters who live on a narrow boat in Oxford and work in the bindery at the university press.

Ambitious, intelligent Peggy has been told for most of her life that her job is to bind the books, not read them—but as she folds and gathers pages, her mind wanders to the opposite side of Walton Street, where the female students of Oxford’s Somerville College have a whole library at their fingertips. Maude, meanwhile, wants nothing more than what she has: to spend her days folding the pages of books in the company of the other bindery girls. She is extraordinary but vulnerable, and Peggy feels compelled to watch over her.

Then refugees arrive from the war-torn cities of Belgium, sending ripples through the Oxford community and the sisters’ lives. Peggy begins to see the possibility of another future where she can educate herself and use her intellect, not just her hands. But as war and illness reshape her world, her love for a Belgian soldier—and the responsibility that comes with it—threaten to hold her back.

The Bookbinder
is a story about knowledge—who creates it, who can access it, and what truths get lost in the process. Much as she did in the international bestseller The Dictionary of Lost Words, Pip Williams thoughtfully explores another rarely seen slice of history through women’s eyes.

👉 After reading-- and loving-- Williams' The Dictionary of Lost Words, I wasn't about to pass this one by when I had an excess of credits in my hot little hands!

=== Non-Fiction ===

Synopsis: "In the summer of 1938, botanists Elzada Clover and Lois Jotter set off to run the Colorado River, accompanied by an ambitious and entrepreneurial expedition leader, a zoologist, and two amateur boatmen. With its churning waters and treacherous boulders, the Colorado was famed as the most dangerous river in the world. Journalists and veteran river runners boldly proclaimed that the motley crew would never make it out alive. But for Clover and Jotter, the expedition held a tantalizing appeal: no one had yet surveyed the plant life of the Grand Canyon, and they were determined to be the first.

Through the vibrant letters and diaries of the two women, science journalist Melissa L. Sevigny traces their daring forty-three-day journey down the river, during which they meticulously cataloged the thorny plants that thrived in the Grand Canyon’s secret nooks and crannies. Along the way, they chased a runaway boat, ran the river’s most fearsome rapids, and turned the harshest critic of female river runners into an ally. Clover and Jotter’s plant list, including four new cactus species, would one day become vital for efforts to protect and restore the river ecosystem. 

Brave the Wild River is a spellbinding adventure of two women who risked their lives to make an unprecedented botanical survey of a defining landscape in the American West, at a time when human influences had begun to change it forever."
👉 Women's history? Botany? And... having personally waded in the Colorado River at the bottom of the Grand Canyon AND photographing the wildflowers there? When this book went on sale, I snapped it up.

=== Historical Mystery ===

Hunters of the Dead by Steve Hockensmith. set in Wyoming.
Synopsis: "The A.A. Western Detective Agency takes on a new case in 1894 Wyoming, a land of bandit gangs and rustlers, when a group of scientists come to town in the hopes of rustling up something very different—dinosaur fossils.

With Big Red and Old Red Amlingmeyer on protection duty, Old Red’s obsession with Sherlock Holmes is forced to take a back seat. Until a human body is shockingly discovered during an excavation, that is.

As the mystery deepens, these cowboy detectives must put their sleuthing skills to the test to catch a killer stalking their client’s dig site.

👉 I've loved this series since the very first book, so I wasn't about to pass this one up. The icing on the cake was being able to talk about it with the author at a recent event at The Poisoned Pen Bookstore.
=== Cozy Mystery ===
Tulle Death Do Us Part by Diane Vallere. Set in California.
Synopsis: "When the historic Waverly House is transformed into a wedding venue, the town buzzes with excitement. An out-of-town couple with the loosest of local ties has adopted them as their own. But amidst the celebration, tragedy strikes when a guest is found dead in the chapel before the wedding march plays. Suspicion quickly falls on the bride. Poly's ex-boyfriend, the groom-to-be, needles Poly for help in solving the murder, but things take a complicated turn as the bride points the finger--at him.

Poly dives headfirst into a web of secrets and hidden agendas. From the eccentric wedding planner to the envious bridesmaids, she must untangle the knot of clues while navigating chaos of wedding season at her fabric shop. As the investigation unfolds, Poly has a choice: her familiar past or a potential future with the town’s most eligible bachelor. With puns as sharp as tailor's shears and her knack for finding trouble, Poly is determined to expose the real culprit before the bride’s “I do” becomes the bride doing life.

👉 I enjoyed the first three books in Vallere's Material Witness cozy series, so I was very happy to see this fourth book appear on my radar. When it was released, I didn't waste any time in downloading it.

I certainly seemed to buy a little bit of this and a little bit of that last month, didn't I? I've already read one of them (review to come), and I'm looking forward to reading the rest. Did I tempt you with any of these books, or have you already read some of them? Which ones? Inquiring minds would love to know!


  1. You've got such interesting non-fiction here, Cathy! I do like history, so these different perspectives on it appeal to me. And Steve Hockensmith is talented - thanks for the reminder!

  2. Ooh...The Bookbinder looks really good. And I love the cover and title of Tulle Death Do Us Part. :D

    1. I agree, that is a great title and cover. :-)

  3. I enjoyed Down the Great Unknown, about the first expedition to ride the Colorado through the Grand Canyon, so that follow-up with female explorers definitely caught my eye.

    The Hughes book at the start of your post interests me more as a Bogart fan than as a reader. I'm not sold on the story as represented by the synopsis, but I can easily envision Bogie playing the part, while I enjoy watching the film.

    1. I can see where you'd be interested in In a Lonely Place as a Bogart fan, Kate.


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