Author Archives: Barbara Howe

Banned Book Week 2022

It is, once again, Banned Book Week: the American Library Association’s yearly campaign to draw attention to efforts to remove certain books from classrooms and libraries. Their current list of the most frequently challenged books is here. As far as … Continue reading

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The Hands of the Emperor

I am conflicted about The Hands of the Emperor, by Victoria Goddard. I’m giving it three stars on goodreads.com, a compromise between five stars (It’s wonderful! You have to read it!) and two (meh). Let’s start with the part I … Continue reading

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A Trio of Short Reviews

A trio of books, all by New Zealand authors: Ten Acceptable Acts of Arson: and other very short stories, by Jack Remiel Cottrell, is a collection of flash or micro fiction; the longest stories are a page and a half, … Continue reading

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The Quicksilver Pool

This was a pleasant surprise. The blurb on my copy of The Quicksilver Pool by Phyllis Whitney paints it as a somewhat cliché gothic novel. When I paid a couple of dollars for this vintage (1955) novel at a used … Continue reading

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Winter’s Orbit

Irresponsible Prince Kiem isn’t ready to be married. But his cousin, Prince Taam, died in a crash, tearing a hole in the carefully arranged structure of alliance marriages binding the seven-planet Iskat Empire together. Someone has to salvage the situation … Continue reading

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Piranesi

Piranesi’s house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands upon thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. Within the labyrinth of halls an ocean is imprisoned; waves … Continue reading

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Elder Race

Lynesse Fourth Daughter, the last and therefore least important of the queen’s daughters, is her family’s wild child. The one who gives the tutors ulcers and tries her mother’s patience. She is also the only one who takes seriously the … Continue reading

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Right Wing Fairy Tales

Once upon a time… That’s the start of a fairy tale, right? Well… Once upon a time, a position espoused by the American right wing—the Republicans, the conservatives—was that the government should keep its nose out of personal life, that … Continue reading

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Flashback

Anna Pigeon is enjoying her temporary assignment as Acting Supervisory Ranger of the Dry Tortugas National Park. The Dry Tortugas, seventy miles further into the Gulf of Mexico than Key West, is one of the U.S. National Park System’s least … Continue reading

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Death and Taxes

Death and taxes: the only things certain in this world, and they’ve taken a toll on us over the last few weeks. Between a funeral (of a friend and former neighbour, not a family member) and some complications in our … Continue reading

Posted in A Writer's Life, Historical Mysteries, Mysteries, On Reading | 2 Comments