Tag Archives: female lead

Book Review, The Good, the Bad, and the Emus by Donna Andrews

by Donna Andrews

Writing in first person, Donna Andrews, puts the reader into the quirky mysteries of Meg Langslow. Andrew’s books provide entertainment in easy to read prose. Add humor, and the afternoon slips by within Meg’s mystery.

I like that the main character is not morose. Wrapping the story around the antics of an emu round-up provides squiggle room to keep it light. Now place the entire emu crew, including a film crew, camping next to Meg’s grandma’s old house. From here, Andrews creates a recipe for humorous drama.

In this story, Meg agrees to find her long-lost grandmother, but quickly learns she died. Hence she becomes obsessed with investigating who killed her. Her grandfather’s pet project, to rescue a herd of wild emus in Virginia, overlaps with the investigation, thus casting suspicion on him. Add the emu project’s entanglement with a suspect, who’s bent on acquiring land for mineral excavation. Doesn’t look good for Grandfather.

As a writer I noted the inconsistent use of commas throughout the novel, an over use of the passive voice and more “that”s than I like. That said, I enjoyed the characters and story line.

Donna Andrews’ Series

Donna Andrews captures a niche mystery market with her Meg Langslow series. Twenty-two books and waiting.

Book Review, The Good, the Bad, and the Emus by Donna AndrewsThe Good, the Bad, and the Emus (Meg Langslow, #17) by Donna Andrews
Published by Minotaur Books on July 8th 2014
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 320

Life will never be the same for Meg Langslow after family secrets are revealed, introducing a whole new layer of intrigue in Donna Andrews's beloved series. Meg’s long-lost paternal grandfather, Dr. Blake, has hired Stanley Denton to find her grandmother Cordelia. Dr. Blake was reunited with his family when he saw Meg’s picture—she’s a dead ringer for Cordelia—and now Stanley has found a trail to his long-lost love in a small town less than an hour's drive away. He convinces Meg to come with him to meet her, but unfortunately, the woman they meet is Cordelia’s cousin—Cordelia died several months ago, and the cousin suspects she was murdered by her long-time neighbor.Stanley and Meg agree to help track down the killer and get justice for Cordelia. Grandfather even has perfect cover--he will come to stage a rescue of the feral emus and ostriches (escaped from an abandoned farm) that infest this town. He dashes off to organize the rescue—which will, of course, involve most of Meg's family and friends in Caerphilly. But then, the evil neighbor is murdered, and not only Cordelia’s cousin but also the entire contingent of emu-rescuers, who have had conflict with the neighbor, are suspects. Only Meg and the cousin—who seems to share a lot of telling traits with Meg—can find the real killer and clear the air in The Good, the Bad, and the Emus, the newest beverage-spittingly funny installment in this uproarious series from the one-and-only Donna Andrews.

Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede

Redd Becker Book Review

Thirteenth Child by Patricia Wrede

I enjoyed the dynamics of the large, extended family portrayed inPatricia Wrede’s story, Thirteenth Child by . Wrede did a great job of allowing the characters to grow within the story. More than the protagonist changed because of their individual challenges, therefore, allowing unexpected reactions by characters.

Patricia Wrede’s Heroine

Wrede takes us to an alternate Earth where magicians use magic to protect pioneer homesteads and frontier towns from mammoths, saber tooth tigers, steam dragons and magical mirror bugs.  Threats loom large, but their society finds ways of managing them, until, of course, they cann’t.

Eff is a wonderful female lead. Her twin, Lan, is the seventh son of a seventh son. With this position, he is given great prestige. Eff is the thirteenth child born to a family of fourteen. She is bad luck. While her magical powers are strong, they’ve been uncontrollable and she is discouraged from using them. 

Patricia Wrede’s Frontier Magic series

Thirteenth Child is the first in the series, where Eff ventures into frontier America to help her people. Although this is the first book, it stands on its own well.

As a fun reference Ask History covers “What’s so unlucky about the number thirteen?” on their web site.

My Rating four-stars

Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. WredeThirteenth Child (Frontier Magic, #1) by Patricia C. Wrede
Series: Frontier Magic #1
Published by Scholastic on January 1st 1970
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Pages: 344
Buy on Amazon

Eff was born a thirteenth child. Her twin brother, Lan, is the seventh son of a seventh son. This means he's supposed to possess amazing talent -- and she's supposed to bring only bad things to her family and her town. Undeterred, her family moves to the frontier, where her father will be a professor of magic at a school perilously close to the magical divide that separates settlers from the beasts of the wild.