Sunday, September 27, 2020

State of the State #100 (September 27, 2020)

 

This is my monthly post which details progress made on review books. I want to thank the authors and publishers who have contributed their books. 

Read This Month 
  1. Second Chance Angel by Griffin Barber & Kacey Ezell (Sept. 3)
  2. Nightshade by M. L. Huie (September 5)
  3. See Her Die by Melinda Leigh (September 9)
  4. A Trace of Deceit by Karen Odden (September 11)
  5. Trader's Leap by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (December 1)
  6. A Highlander Comes to Town by Laura Trentham (Sept. 23)
  7. The Unspoken by Ian K. Smith (Sept. 26)
  8. Deception by Gaslight by Kate Belli (Sept. 29)
  9. Girl on the Run by Abigail Johnson (Sept. 30)
  10. Shadow Ridge by M. E. Browning (Oct. 1)
  11. Saddled with Murder by Eileen Brady (Oct. 3)
  12. Murder on Cold Street by Sherry Thomas (Oct. 6)
Read Previously But Posted This Month 
  1. Hanging Falls by Margaret Mizushima (Sept. 1)
  2. Murder in the Bayou Boneyard by Ellen Byron (Sept. 2)
New This Month 
  1. Murder Is a Must by Marty Wingate (Dec. 1)
My Review Stack

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November
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January


Saturday, September 26, 2020

Book Review: The Unspoken by Ian K. Smith

The Unspoken
Author: Ian K. Smith
Series: Ashe Cayne (Book 1)
Publication: Thomas & Mercer (October 1, 2020)

Description: In this new series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Ian K. Smith, an ex-cop turned private investigator seeks justice on the vibrant, dangerous streets of Chicago.

Former Chicago detective Ashe Cayne is desperate for redemption. After refusing to participate in a police department cover-up involving the death of a young black man, Cayne is pushed out of the force. But he won’t sit quietly on the sidelines: he’s compelled to fight for justice as a private investigator…even if it means putting himself in jeopardy.

When a young woman, Tinsley Gerrigan, goes missing, her wealthy parents from the North Shore hire Cayne to find her. As Cayne looks into her life and past, he uncovers secrets Tinsley’s been hiding from her family. Cayne fears he may never find Tinsley alive.

His worries spike when Tinsley’s boyfriend is found dead—another black man murdered on the tough Chicago streets. Cayne must navigate his complicated relationships within the Chicago PD, leveraging his contacts and police skills to find the missing young woman, see justice done, and earn his redemption.


My Thoughts: Ashe Cayne is a former police officer who left the force after refusing to participate in a cover-up. He left with quite a settlement and good investments means that he can choose his own cases as a private investigator while still trying to improve his golf game.

When Violet Gerrigan comes and asks him to look for her missing daughter Tinsley, he isn't very interested. But the more Violet tells him about Tinsley, the more his curiosity is aroused. So he begins an investigation. Soon he is led to the best friend - Hunter Morgan - who was supposed to host her friend the night she disappeared but says she didn't arrive and hasn't called to let her know why.

Morgan does mention a boyfriend - Tariq "Chopper" McNair - who is the nephew of a well-known gang lord in town and who is Black and not what people from the best part of Chicago want as a son-in-law. Ashe meets Chopper who is worried about his missing girlfriend and paints a picture of a strong, lasting relationship. Soon thereafter, Chopper is found shot to death in an abandoned alley and decorated with gang marks to make it look like he was killed by a rival gang of his uncle's. Now his uncle comes to Ashe because he wants to know who killed his nephew. He has revenge in mind.

The story was filled with interesting information about the city of Chicago, Chicago politics, and the activities of the very wealthy. Ashe is a smart, competent investigator who's as comfortable with gang leaders as the most wealthy in town. He is persistent and has a strong sense of justice. He is also something of a smartass. 

A subplot about what he does to a former priest who abused a number of boys but seemed to evade justice was jarring but understandable considering Ashe's sense of justice and dislike of bullies. 

I liked the sidekick characters too. Carolina provides a lot of information and seems like she'd be good girlfriend material once he finally gets over his fiance running off to Paris with another man and Mechanic is also an intriguing character.

I enjoyed this story and am eager to read more of Ashe Cayne's adventures. 

Favorite Quote:
You were really cut out for this," Carolina said.

"Eating good food?"

"Trying to make right out of wrong."

"I'm not delusional enough to think that I can change the world," I said. "But I do think there's a universal karma that dictates good will ultimately prevail over evil. Maybe not always in the terms that we want or can identify, but it still happens."

I received this book as a part of the Kindle First program. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Friday Memes: The Unspoken by Ian K. Smith

 Happy Friday everybody!

Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Rose City ReaderThe Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Beginning:
"My daughter is missing, and I want you to find her."
Friday 56:
Chopper look at one of his security guys and grinned. His teeth were big and perfect. "The guy's got jokes," he said. 
This week I am spotlighting a recent Kindle First selection. The Unspoken by Ian K. Smith is the firstin the Ashe Cayne series. Here is the description from Amazon:

In this new series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Ian K. Smith, an ex-cop turned private investigator seeks justice on the vibrant, dangerous streets of Chicago.

Former Chicago detective Ashe Cayne is desperate for redemption. After refusing to participate in a police department cover-up involving the death of a young black man, Cayne is pushed out of the force. But he won’t sit quietly on the sidelines: he’s compelled to fight for justice as a private investigator…even if it means putting himself in jeopardy.

When a young woman, Tinsley Gerrigan, goes missing, her wealthy parents from the North Shore hire Cayne to find her. As Cayne looks into her life and past, he uncovers secrets Tinsley’s been hiding from her family. Cayne fears he may never find Tinsley alive.

His worries spike when Tinsley’s boyfriend is found dead—another black man murdered on the tough Chicago streets. Cayne must navigate his complicated relationships within the Chicago PD, leveraging his contacts and police skills to find the missing young woman, see justice done, and earn his redemption.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Book Review: Sucker Punch by Laurell K. Hamilton

Sucker Punch

Author:
Laurell K. Hamilton
Series: Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Book 27
Publication: Berkley (August 4, 2020)

Description: A brutal murder, a suspect in jail, and an execution planned—but what if the wrong person is about to be killed? 

When a fellow U.S. Marshal asks Anita Blake to fly to a tiny community in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on an emergency consult, she knows time is running short. When she arrives, there is plenty of proof that a young wereleopard killed his uncle in the most gruesome and bloody way possible. As the mounting evidence points to him, a warrant of execution is already under way.

But something seems off about the murder, and Anita has been asked for her expert opinion on the crime scene. Despite escalating pressure from local cops and the family’s cries for justice for their dead patriarch, Anita quickly realizes that the evidence doesn’t quite add up.

Time is against Anita, as the tight-knit community is up in arms and its fear of supernaturals is growing. She races to uncover the truth and determine whether the Marshals have caught the killer or are about to execute an innocent man—all in the name of justice.

My Thoughts: When Anita is called to assist a fellow Marshal in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, she goes to help out a man who she has mentored. She finds a case that should be simple - a wereleopard has killed his adopted father - but it turns out to be much more complicated.

Marshal Win Newman isn't convinced that Bobby Marchant actually killed his adopted father. And once Anita gets a look at him and at the scene, she has her doubts too. But a warrant of execution has been authorized and they have limited time before they are required by law to execute it and end Bobby's life. 

Anita and Win have to convince the Sheriff that they need to do more investigating before they'll execute the warrant. They find the victim's estranged sister and her husband looting the house almost before the body had been removed which adds them to the list of possible suspects. Also, there is something very suspicious about the victim's stepdaughter.

Adding to the tension is that Marshal Otto Jeffries shows up to notch up the tension. Otherwise knows and Olaf and a serial killer who has fixated on Anita, Jeffries is trying to convince Anita that they can have a relationship which doesn't end with her tortured, raped and murdered. Anita calls her best friend Marshal Ted Forrester to come help her with Olaf. Anita also calls in some of one of her fiance's people to act as advocates for Bobby and, incidentally, to protect her from Olaf. 

Most of this story deals with the mystery and much less of it is concerned with Anita's very complicated love life. There is quite a bit of discussion about her domestic situation but just a couple of kisses for any demonstration of it. Anita's ardeur does rear its head when she accidentally rolls a stripper that she is interviewing but otherwise seems to have it under control.

I liked this story because it wasn't so involved with Anita's sex life. I did miss the presence of Jean Claude, Nathaniel and Micah though. I thought the mystery was pretty well done. I liked the investigation into the victim's death. While the story didn't have what anyone would describe as a happy ending, it did provide a satisfying resolution to the case while leaving a number of issues to be solved in later books. 

Favorite Quote:
There are three types of people in this world: those you protect, those who fight with you, and those who fight against you. You killed to save those under your protection and to defend your own life and the lives of the people who fought beside you. It was simple math until the monsters became your friends and the people who were fighting beside you still wanted to kill them. Then it all went to hell.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

ARC Review: A Highlander Is Coming to Town by Laura Trentham

A Highlander Is Coming to Town

Author: Laura Trentham
Series: Highland, Georgia (Book 3)
Publication: St. Martin's Paperbacks (September 29, 2020)

Description: The third book in the Highland, Georgia romantic comedy series from Laura Trentham, A Highlander is Coming to Town, full of love, laughs...and highlanders!
You better watch out. . .

Holt Pierson is dreading Christmas. His parents absconded to Florida for the season and left him to handle the family farm which will be his one day―whether he wants it or not. Driven by duty, Holt has always followed the path expected of him. But lately, he’s been questioning what he wants and where he belongs. Will assuming the responsibility of the Pierson farm make him happy or is there something―or someone―else out in the wider world calling to him?

To Claire Smythe, the Scottish lead singer of a touring band, Highland, Georgia, is the perfect place to hide . . .until a very handsome and deeply curious Holt begins to ask all the questions Claire doesn’t want to answer. As Holt draws Claire out from under and into the fabric of small-town life, can Claire put the past behind her and embrace the unexpected gifts of the season―including the new and lasting love?

My Thoughts: This contemporary romance stars Claire Smythe and Holt Pierson.

Claire is in hiding and trying to decide about her future. When she turns 25 right after Christmas she will inherit shares in her family's company which is a whiskey distillery. Doing so will force her to return to Scotland and her parents and will put her right in the middle between her father and her cousin's goals for the company. She is a poor little rich girl who was raised more by the family lawyer than by her parents. 

Holt Pierson is a lifelong resident of Highland, Georgia. He is an only child and works at his family farm. He likes his life but is now feeling lonely since his parents have semi-retired and taken off in an RV to travel. Holt is feeling lonely and a bit envious of his friends who are finding love and marriage.

Claire is working for an elderly woman and living in her house after spending some time as the lead singer of a Scottish rock band. Claire keeps running into Holt, usually when she is having problems, and Holt becomes fascinated with her. 

This was a nice, fast-paced story with engaging characters. 

Favorite Quote:
She was trapped. It was scary and thrilling. She'd always had an out. An escape route. She had run away from complications more times than she could count, starting with her parents.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Audiobook: On Basilisk Station by David Weber

On Basilisk Station
Author: David Weber
Series: Honor Harrington Book 1
Narrator: Allyson Johnson
Publication: Audible Studios (March 4, 2009)
Length: 15 hours and 36 minutes

Description: Having made a superior look a fool, Honor Harrington has been exiled to Basilisk Station in disgrace and set up for ruin.

Her demoralized crew blames her for their ship's humiliating posting to an out-of-the-way picket station.

The aborigines of the system's only habitable planet are smoking homicide-inducing hallucinogens.

Parliament isn't sure it wants to keep the place; the major local industry is smuggling; the merchant cartels want her head; the star-conquering, so-called "Republic" of Haven is up to something; and Honor Harrington has a single, over-age light cruiser with an armament that doesn't work to police the entire star system.

But the people out to get her have made one mistake. They've made her mad.

My Thoughts: This book introduces Honor Harrington as she takes command of the Fearless and, after embarrassing Admiral Hemphill, finds herself assigned to Basilisk Station. There she finds an old enemy, Lord Pavel Young, in command. He attempted to rape her while they were at the Academy but she wiped the floor with him. However, instead of pressing her advantage and getting him thrown out of the service in disgrace, she let's him off the hook and makes a major enemy.

Young takes advantage of Honor's appearance to take himself and his ship back home to Manticore for "essential repairs" hoping that Honor will fail in her new command. However, Honor doesn't fail. Despite a first officer who seems to have some sort of grudge against her, she rallies her crew to do all the things Young and his ship should have been doing.

From customs inspections to interfacing with the diplomatic mission overseeing the residents on the planet, Honor's crew is stretched thin but finally doing what the Navy should have been doing all along. And just in time too. Because Haven has been hatching a plot to get Manticore off Basilisk and gain control of its terminus for itself.

Haven has hatched a plan to drug and arm the natives with weapons far above their technological development and let them loose on the enclaves where the foreigners live. Then they will sweep in with their Navy and "save" the foreigners and highlight Manticoran incompetence.

However, with Honor on the planet, there is no Manticoran incompetence to be had. After Hemphill's reconfiguring of Honor's ship's weapons which made them a lot less effective and useful, Honor is left to face a much larger and better armed Havenite ship to keep it from escaping to hyperspace and alerting the rest of the invasion force that it is time to sweep in to an easy victory.

The story is filled with technical detail that I would normally skim but couldn't in the audiobook. However, the parts of the story where people were interacting and plans were developed was engaging enough to get me through the technical details. I loved the way Honor wins the loyalty of her new crew and even finally gets her first officer on the right track.

I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Monday, September 21, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (September 21, 2020)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.  It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.

Other Than Reading... 

This was another pretty quiet week. We are having some landscaping done to clean up around the house and they were here a few days repairing snowplow damage, trimming very overgrown shrubbery, and making new garden beds. They should finish up this coming week. I also had an exciting trip to have my oil changed and spent about an hour in my car dealer's waiting room. Now that is done until late March when maybe I'll have another couple hundred miles on the car. It seemed silly to have the oil changed when I had slightly less than 500 miles on the car but ... rules are rules. 

I spent the whole week listening to and reading the Hidden Legacy series by Ilona Andrews. My next audiobook will actually be something other than a reread. I decided to give Shadows In Death by J. D. Robb a try as an audiobook. I also have the Kindle version and may end up doing a hybrid of listening and reading.

I also watched a lot of baseball this week. It is hard to believe that the regular season is almost over. I think my team should have enough wins to get into the playoffs. I hope so anyway because that will extend my baseball watching season for a couple more weeks. 

It is hard to believe that it is late in September already but a few mornings of hard frosts are beginning to convince me. I just hope it will stay warm enough to let the new sod get tightly rooted before the ground freezes and it is covered with snow. We are expecting temperatures to get into the lower 70s a couple of days this week before it cools off again.

Read Last Week

If you can't wait until the review shows up on my blog, reviews are posted to LibraryThing and Goodreads as soon as I write them (usually right after I finish reading a book.)
  • Girl on the Run by Abigail Johnson (YA Review; Oct. 6) - Great YA thriller. My review will be posted on Sept. 30.
  • Deception by Gaslight by Kate Belli (Review; Oct. 6) - Entertaining historical mystery. My review will be posted on Sept. 29.
  • Shadow Ridge by M. E. Browning (Review; Oct. 6) - First in a new contemporary mystery series. It was entertaining. My review will be posted on Oct. 1)
  • Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews (Mine; Audiobook) - I decided to reread the Hidden Legacy series and combined listening and reading. 
  • White Hot by Ilona Andrews (Mine; Audiobook) - 2nd in the Hidden Legacy series.
  • Wildfire by Ilona Andrews (Mine; Audiobook) - 3rd in the Hidden Legacy series.
  • Diamond Fire by Ilona Andrews (Mine; Kindle) - This novella is 3.5 in the Hidden Legacy series.
  • Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews (Mine; Audiobook) - 4th in the Hidden Legacy series.
  • Emerald Blaze by Ilona Andrews (Mine; Audiobook) - This time I listened to the 5th in the Hidden Legacy series. The review of the Kindle book is linked below.
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