The Fame Thief by Timothy Hallinan

>> Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Fame Thief by Timothy Hallinan

The Fame Thief by Timothy Hallinan

Genre: Mystery
Series: #3 in the Junior Bender series
Publisher: Soho Press
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 322
Source: Library



The Short Version:
Junior Bender, professional burglar and occasional private investigator for those on the wrong side of the law investigates something that happened back in the glory days of Hollywood and the Mob rule in Vegas.

Why I Read It:
I enjoyed the first two in the series and I wanted to see what Junior got himself into this time.


The Book:
From the publisher:

There are not many people brave enough to say no to Irwin Dressler, Hollywood’s scariest mob boss-turned-movie king. Even though Dressler is ninety-three years old, LA burglar Junior Bender is quaking in his boots when Dressler’s henchman haul him in for a meeting. Dressler wants Junior to solve a “crime” he believes was committed more than sixty years ago, when an old friend of his, once-famous starlet Dolores La Marr, had her career destroyed after compromising photos were taken of her at a Las Vegas party. Dressler wants justice for Dolores and the shining career she never had.

Junior can’t help but think the whole thing is a little crazy. After all, it’s been seventy years. Even if someone did set Dolores up for a fall from grace back then, they’re probably long dead now. But he can’t say no to Irwin Dressler (no one can, really). So he starts digging. And what he finds is that some vendettas never die—they only get more dangerous.

My Thoughts:
I like Junior Bender. Yeah, he's a burglar but he's also a good guy who is trying to be a good father to his teenage daughter.

He just keeps getting pressured into investigative work. This time it's for an aging mob boss. The difficulty is that he's been asked to find out who was behind something that happened back in 1950. Who was behind ruining Dolores La Marr's reputation and career and why?

I enjoyed the way the story alternated between the present day investigation by Junior and the 1940's golden age of Hollywood story of Dolores. The more Junior digs the more trouble he finds. When people he's talked to start dying in ugly ways it turns out that Junior just might be in over his head.

Hallinan has created a flawed hero in Junior. As usual there are lots of twists and turns. There are also quite a few laughs. My favorite mystery series are those that blend action, humor and a hero I like. Hallinan has a winner with this series. I'm looking forward to reading the fourth soon.

4 stars Rating 4/5

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Bout of Books 11 Goals and Updates

>> Monday, August 18, 2014

I am participating in my fourth Bout of Books this week. I did my first one last August and have participated in every one since.

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 18th and runs through Sunday, August 24th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional.  For all Bout of Books 11 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team
My goals for the week and all my updates will be on this post. I’ll also be updating via twitter.
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Time Devoted to Reading
I am working full time this week so I can’t possibly spend a gazillion hours reading. I'm using the same approach as I have previously for getting extra reading time in because it worked pretty well. I do plan to limit some of what is normally my time spent on social media or wandering aimlessly online and replace those activities with more reading time.

I also plan to keep my iPod with my audiobook with me as much as possible. I typically only listen when I’m in the car by myself or when I’m out walking but I keeping my iPod handy might give me some extra listening time.

Usually weekends are not a big reading time for me. That’s when The Hubster and I tend to do things together whether it’s chores and errands or out doing fun stuff. This upcoming weekend however, he'll be busy so I'll have a lot of the weekend pretty much to myself. That should make it easier for me to get more reading time in. Taking all of that into consideration these are my goals for time devoted to reading this week:
  • 2 hours a day total reading/listening time Monday - Thursday
  • 3 hours Friday
  • Saturday and Sunday as much as I feel like
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My Goals:
  • Meet or exceed the time spent reading according to the goals above
  • I'm not setting a number of pages or books goal because I plan on switching around between several books throughout the week.
  • Participate in at least one Bout of Books Tweet Chat
  • Participate in one Bout of Books challenge
  • Spend some time each day visiting other participants blogs
  • Have fun
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Reading List (which may end up having no resemblance at all to the books I end up actually reading):
I can’t possibly read all of these and it’s highly likely that I’ll pick up something that’s not even on the list. There’s a reason this blog is named Whimpulsive.

Anyway - here’s what’s on my radar for reading soon and that includes this week.
  • One Kick by Chelsea Cain (I'm partway through this and enjoying it a lot)
  • The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (again one I'm partway through)
  • Herbie's Game by Timothy Hallinan (I recently finished the third in this series and would like to catch up by reading the latest)
  • The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz (I've wanted to read this for ages and I've got it out from the library)
  • Birdmen by Lawrence Goldstone (non-fiction about the early days of flight that I started a while ago and set aside but I want to get back to it)
  • The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar (I have heard excellent things about this author)
I've got several graphic novels out from the library and they're great for a change of pace or a break from other books
  • Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud (highly recommended and one I really want to read)
  • 100 Bullets Vol. 2: Split Second Chance by Brian Azzarello (I read the first a while ago and it intrigued me)
  • Queen and Country Vol. 1: Broken Ground by Greg Rucka (the author is a local guy and I have heard good things about this series)
  • Jack of Fables Vol. 3: The Bad Prince (next in the series for me)
  • Fables Vol. 111: War and Pieces (next in the series for me)
On Audio I'm listening to How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny (narrated by Ralph Cosham). I doubt I'll finish it this week but you never know.

All of these are in the house and available and I've got a good mix of audio, print, ebooks, genres and types of book so I can change up the pace or mood when it strikes.
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Updates:

Monday:
How much I read or listened to today:  I got my two hours of reading in
Total number of books completed this week:  Haven't finished anything yet
Thoughts on today’s reading:  I'm enjoying One Kick by Chelsea Cain quite a bit. I love her Gretchen and Archie series but it's nice to see her venture out with new characters. I did complete the instagram book scavenger hunt hosted by The Book Monsters. It was a lot of fun.

Tuesday:
How much I read or listened to today:
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Wednesday:
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Thursday:
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Friday:
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Saturday:
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Sunday:
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Weekend Update – The Yesterday Was Derby Day Edition

>> Sunday, August 17, 2014


Weekend Update







Three years ago we heard about the Portland Adult Soapbox Derby and since it was a weekend we didn't have much planned we decided to stop by and watch a couple of the races. We ended up staying the whole day and it’s been an event we've planned the third Saturday of August around ever since.

And so it began. In the heat of the summer of 1997, six men climbed to the top of Mt Tabor pulling their creations of death and destruction behind them. It was early in the day yet the smell of beer and sweat already filled the air. They lined their impossible vehicles up and strapped on their glasses , helmets and the PDX Adult SoapBox Derby was born. Mt. Tabor and for that matter, Portland Oregon, would never be the same.



This is such a fun event. There are two divisions of teams those for speed (aka the really insane guys) and the ‘art’ division which is just all kinds of wackiness.

As always - click on the photos to see a larger version.

Portland Adult Soapbox Derby 2014

My favorite two cars this year were Mrs. PotatoHead and The Starship Enterprise.

Portland Adult Soapbox Derby 2014


Portland Adult Soapbox Derby 2014

Portland Adult Soapbox Derby 2014

The Mystery Machine was back this year too!

Portland Adult Soapbox Derby 2014
It’s weird, It’s fun, It’s a little disturbing at time (I’m still trying to unsee the Zardoz car).

Portland Adult Soapbox Derby 2014

Portland Adult Soapbox Derby 2014
"Water-skiing" down Mt. Tabor

It’s a little dangerous. We saw a few crashes and at one point were preparing to turn and run but the car swerved the other way.

Portland Adult Soapbox Derby 2014
The red car on the left crashed (at least) twice.
Good thing he built it with a roll cage


I can’t wait until next year!

Portland Adult Soapbox Derby 2014


Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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The Unwritten, Vol. 9: The Unwritten Fables by Mike Carey et al.

>> Friday, August 15, 2014

The Unwritten, Vol. 9: The Unwritten Fables by Mike Carey et al.

The Unwritten, Vol. 9: The Unwritten Fables written by Mike Carey and Bill Willingham with art by Peter Gross and Mark Buckingham

Genre: Fantasy (Graphic Novel)
Series: #9 in the Unwritten series
Publisher: Vertigo Comics
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 144
Source: copy provided by the publisher

The Short Version:
Tom Taylor still seeking answers lands in the world of Fables and it’s impressive.

Why I Read It:
These are two of my favorite comic series that I have been reading in the collected editions. When I heard that there was going to be a crossover edition I could not wait to get my hands on it.

The Book:
This volume 9 is a compilation of issues 50 - 54 of the comic series The Unwritten.

From the publisher

The worlds of FABLES and THE UNWRITTEN collide in the epic comic event by Mike Carey and Bill Willingham!

Tommy Taylor is thrust into the world of Vertigo’s hit series Fables! But a dark and terrible foe has seized the fairy-tale homelands and our world. In desperation, the witches of Fabletown gather to summon the greatest mage the worlds have ever seen. But they are in for an unpleasant surprise.

My Thoughts:
I expected this to be a fairly self contained spinoff from both series and that's exactly what it felt like. I thoroughly enjoyed this blending of two of my favorite comics series. Both of them are full of literary references so it feels natural to have them intersect at some point.

While I have read all of the previous issues of The Unwritten I'm not anywhere near up to current releases with Fables. Because of that I'm sure that there were pieces of the Fables storyline revealed in this that I'll be reading at some point as I continue with the series. It really didn't bother me at all. I had enough familiarity with the characters and pieces of the history to not be baffled.

I think my favorite part was the discussion about how the world of Fables is a story in the reality of the Unwritten characters and vice versa.

It turns out that Tom Taylor ended up in the world of Fables because some of the Fables have summoned help in their war between good and evil. They are nearly as surprised as Tom Taylor when he (and his friends) turn out to be the help that arrives.

This is a departure from both series and while I don't know about the more recent Fables storylines I do know that in terms of The Unwritten this doesn't do a lot to advance the original story but it is a thoroughly enjoyable detour to a place where two of my comic worlds collide. I am guessing that the same is true from the Fables side.

The artwork is a lovely blend of the styles of both series. Peter Gross and Mark Buckingham have done a great job of staying true to each series and making it work together. Both series have a history of rich and complex artwork so they intertwine well.

As a fan of both series I liked it. If you only know Fables you might be a bit lost on the Unwritten side of things and the reverse is also true. If you are familiar with both series, I think you'll enjoy this one even though it's more of a joint side trip than a continuation of either journey.

4 stars Rating 4/5

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