Saturday, December 15, 2018

Book Review: Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

Trail of Lightning
Author: Rebecca Roanhorse
Series: The Sixth World (Book 1)
Publication: Saga Press (June 26, 2018)

Description: While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters.

Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last best hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much more terrifying than anything she could imagine.

Maggie reluctantly enlists the aid of Kai Arviso, an unconventional medicine man, and together they travel the rez, unraveling clues from ancient legends, trading favors with tricksters, and battling dark witchcraft in a patchwork world of deteriorating technology.

As Maggie discovers the truth behind the killings, she will have to confront her past if she wants to survive.

My Thoughts: This post-apocalyptic novel in set on the former Navajo reservation which is one of the few parts of the United States that are still above water. Magic also came back with the rising waters enabling the Dine to build magical walls around the reservation. Of course the magic brought back all kinds of monsters too.

Maggie Hoskie became a monster hunter after the home she shared with her grandmother was invaded, her grandmother killed, and she was rescued just before the invaders could kill her too. The trauma caused her Clan powers to manifest. Maggie has two - super speed and the ability to kill. Her talents are honed by her rescuer Neizghani who is an immortal warrior. She spent a few years with him hunting the monsters.

When the story begins, Neizghani has abandoned her and she fears it is because of her ability to kill. She has to reinvent her life but she doesn't know anything else but monster hunting. She is heartbroken because she has fallen in love with Neizghani. She is also really isolated. Her only friend is an elderly medicine man whom she hasn't seen for almost a year. When she goes to see him, he wants to introduce her to his grandson Kai who has come to learn from him. Maggie doesn't want a partner but both the grandfather and Coyote, who pops in and out of Maggie's life sowing confusion, want Kai and Maggie to work together.

They have a problem to solve. A witch is creating monsters and the witch needs to be found and stopped. Both Maggie and Kai have secrets which are gradually revealed as they begin to work together.

This was a story about a young woman deciding what way her life was going to go. She faces betrayal and finds friendship. I loved the emphasis on Navajo mythology but found the Navajo names with so many double vowels and accent marks something of a challenge even without trying to read it aloud.

Favorite Quote:
"Words matter," he says. "The name you give things, it forms them when you speak. You must always be careful with your words."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Friday Memes: Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

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.

The monster has been here. I can smell him.
Friday 56:
"I thought you said your truck was some kind of supermachine."

"No, I said she was a classic, and that means you treat her with respect. Once you get past Twin Lakes, the road's pretty much a suggestion up until Nahodishgish. Overheating's bad, but one big pothole and the axle's toast. Any idea how hard it is to replace the axle on a 1972 Chevy these days?"
This week I am featuring Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse from my TBR pile. Here is the description from Amazon:
While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters.

Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last best hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much more terrifying than anything she could imagine.

Maggie reluctantly enlists the aid of Kai Arviso, an unconventional medicine man, and together they travel the rez, unraveling clues from ancient legends, trading favors with tricksters, and battling dark witchcraft in a patchwork world of deteriorating technology.

As Maggie discovers the truth behind the killings, she will have to confront her past if she wants to survive.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Book Review: Kimiko and the Accidental Proposal by Forthright

Kimiko and the Accidental Proposal
Author: Forthright
Series: Amaranthine Saga (Book 2)
Publication: Twinkle Press (October 22, 2018)

Description: Kimiko enrolls at the In-between’s prestigious new high school, which is designed to promote the integration of the human and inhuman races. As a reaver, she’s supposed to act as peacemaker, bridging a formidable cultural gap, but the other two members of her triad don’t need any help in that department. Akira and Suuzu have been friends since middle school. Instead, the boys must rally behind Kimiko when she inadvertently initiates a courtship with Eloquence Starmark.

My Thoughts: Kimiko Miyabe is from a family of reavers who manage the Kikusawa Shrine. She is the middle daughter in her family. When she gets a chance to attend the New Saga High School with Amaranthines and other humans, she is eager to learn more and her family, especially her mother, is eager for the opportunity to form connections. The students are divided into triads containing one Amaranthine, one reaver, and one human. Kimiko's new triad partners are Suuku, a phoenix, and Akira, a human - both characters familiar to readers of Tsumiko and the Enslaved Fox.

Also a part of the class is Eloquence Starmark, whose father in one of the Five. Quen is reluctant to join the class because he is older than most of the other Amaranthine class members and has responsibilities to his clan. He'll also miss his daily closeness with his little crosser - hybrid - brother Ever.

Tenma Subaru is a human who was encouraged to apply by his father who is also looking for new connections. Tenma was fascinated when the Emergence happened nearly four years earlier but he is finding actual close contact with the Amaranthine frightening. He is saved from a panic attack when Quen offers him a sigil of protection and agrees to form a triad with him. Their third is Isla Ward who is twelve and already a brilliant reaver.

This school year will be a learning experience for all of these characters because there is a secret threat that is threatening the fragile peace between the Amaranthine and the humans in Japan. And each of the characters will grow and change because of contact with each of the others.

This change is especially true when Kimiko accidentally proposes to Quen. Gladly accepted by Quen's family, Kimiko has to quickly learn what it means to court a member of the dog clan. Meanwhile, she is concerned that she will never satisfy her mother who wishes her to marry another, stronger reaver to improve the status of their family. I loved the way Quen and Kimiko get to know each other and fall in love.

I enjoyed the rich, creative worldbuilding in this story. I also liked getting to know more about some of the characters from Tsumiko and the Enslaved Fox as they interacted with characters in this story. While the main plot of this story is resolved, there are still questions unanswered and problems unsolved which makes me eager for the next book set in this world.

Favorite Quote:
She asked, "Do you think knowing little things about someone is part of loving them?"

Akira considered that idea aloud. "Could be. I mean, the more you know about someone, the more reasons you may find to like them. Or maybe the more you like someone, the more you want to know the kinds of things nobody else does. Because that'd mean they trust you more than anyone."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Book Review: Murder at Half Moon Gate by Andrea Penrose

Murder at Half Moon Gate
Author: Andrea Penrose
Series: A Wrexford and Sloane Mystery (Book 2)
Publication: Kensington (March 27, 2018)

Description: A wealthy lord who happens to be a brilliant scientist . . . an enigmatic young widow who secretly pens satirical cartoons . . . a violent killing disguised as a robbery . . . Nothing is as it seems in Regency London, especially when the Earl of Wrexford and Charlotte Sloane join forces to solve a shocking murder.

When Lord Wrexford discovers the body of a gifted inventor in a dark London alley, he promptly alerts the watchman and lets the authorities handle the matter. But Wrexford soon finds himself drawn into the murder investigation when the inventor’s widow begs for his assistance, claiming the crime was not a random robbery. It seems her husband’s designs for a revolutionary steam-powered engine went missing the night of his death. The plans could be worth a fortune . . . and very dangerous in the wrong hands.

Joining Wrexford in his investigation is Charlotte Sloane, who uses the pseudonym A. J. Quill to publish her scathing political cartoons. Her extensive network of informants is critical for her work, but she doesn’t mind tapping that same web of spies to track down an elusive killer. Each suspect—from ambitious assistants to rich investors, and even the inventor’s widow—is entwined in a maze of secrets and lies that leads Wrexford and Sloane down London’s most perilous stews and darkest alleyways.

With danger lurking at every turn, the potent combination of Wrexford’s analytical mind and Sloane’s exacting intuition begins to unravel the twisted motivations behind the inventor’s death. But they are up against a cunning and deadly foe—a killer ready to strike again before they can recover the inventor’s priceless designs . . .

My Thoughts: In the second Wrexford and Sloane mystery, Wrexford and Charlotte investigate the death of inventor Elihu Ashton who is about to patent a revolutionary new steam engine. Wrexford is approached by the lovely widow of the inventor. Wrexford had corresponded with him about a problem Ashton was having with his boilers. Wrexford and his friend Sheffield had stumbled on Ashton's body as they were taking a shortcut through a dangerous part of town but didn't know who the victim was.

Charlotte has been busying herself with a series of satirical cartoons about the current conflict between the new inventions and the workers who are being put out of work by them. She is also getting ready to move, along with her two young wards Raven and Hawk, to a more genteel part of town. She fears that as she has more contact with the gentility, her own deeply buried secrets of her past will be revealed. She is being assisted by her friend Jeremy, Lord Sterling, who has emptied some of his attics to help her furnish her new place which makes her feel indebted.

Wrexford and Charlotte have a number of suspects including the inventor's secretary and assistant, all the investors in his invention, and even his lovely widow. When it is discovered that Lord Sterling is one of the investors and went to school with Ashton's assistant, Charlotte becomes even more determined to figure out who murdered Ashton and clear her friend's name.

I loved the period detail. I also loved the growing relationship between Charlotte and Wrexford which can certainly change both of their lives. One of the major themes of this story was change and it was shown from the personal to the societal. This was an excellent mystery which made good use of the history of the time.

Favorite Quote:
"If they're innocent, they've nothing to fear."

Charlotte let out an exasperated huff. "We both know it's not that simple, milord. Everyone has secrets they would prefer to keep buried. Suspicion wields an eager spade. It cares not where it digs, as log as it's turning up dirt."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

FP/TT: Shadow Girl by Gerry Schmitt

Every Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posted the first paragraph of a book she is reading or planning to read. In 2018, Vicki from I'd Rather Be at the Beach is taking over this meme.

Here's mine:
Mom Chao Cherry hunched forward in a broken wicker chair and stared anxiously across the Mississippi River toward the University of Minnesota campus. Almost unrecognizable as a wealthy khunying from Bangkok, she wore a polyester blouse and baggy pants, cheap rubber flip-flops, and carried an eight ball of cocaine in her handbag. Only her red lacquered nails, edged in twenty-four karat gold, hinted at her ridiculous wealth.

Link up here. It is very easy to play along:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.
Here's mine:
"Look, I don't need to tell you this is high profile. The university has already beefed up security and we've got some heavy hitters looking over our shoulders. More than that, we've got and anxious public thinking that ISIS is on our doorstep. Let's leave no stone unturned."
This week I am spotlighting Shadow Girl by Gerry Schmitt. This book is from my TBR pile. Here is the description from Amazon:
The brutal murder of a business tycoon leaves Afton Tangler and the Twin Cities reeling, but that’s just the beginning of a gruesome crime spree...

Leland Odin made his fortune launching a home shopping network, but his millions can’t save his life. On the list for a transplant, the ailing businessman sees all hope lost when the helicopter carrying his donor heart is shot out of the sky.

Now with two pilots dead and dozens injured, Afton Tangler, family liaison officer for the Minneapolis Police Department, is drawn into the case. As she and her partner investigate family members and business associates, whoever wants Leland dead strikes again—and succeeds—in a brazen hospital room attack.

The supposedly squeaky clean millionaire has crossed the wrong person—and she’s not finished exacting her revenge. The case explodes into an international conspiracy of unbridled greed and violence. And as Afton gets closer to unearthing the mastermind behind it, she gets closer to becoming collateral damage...

Monday, December 10, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Dec. 10, 2018)

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.

I will be combining my YA and adult reading and purchases on this one weekly roundup.

Other Than Reading... 

This was a week of organizing and re-organizing. I have decided to stop posting on Ms. Martin Teaches Media - my middle grade and young adult blog - after nine years and concentrate on this blog. That meant that I had to organize my calendar and move reviews from that blog to this one which really filled up the calendar. I had some posts set up on that blog for January reviews and moved them over to this blog too.

Looking at my calendar tells me that January will be a month with all review books. I have nineteen review books on the calendar to read. Because I need to fit in the YA review books on my stack, I have decided to stop participating in the First Paragraph/Teaser Tuesday meme. I am in the habit of only posting one thing a day on the blog and I need Tuesdays for additional reviews. Do you post more than one thing a day to your blog?

While I was in the mood for organizing, I decided to interfile my adult books and YA books on my physical TBR pile. Here's a picture of what my physical TBR mountain looks like after the reorganization. If I can't find my next read there, I do have an additional 1616 Kindle books waiting to be read.
The bottom shelf in the middle section has oversized books and review copies and TBR books that I plan to read soon. The bottom right has audiobooks I haven't listened to yet. I did weed through the YA books to send off with a friend but should look through the adult books to get rid of ones I am no longer interested in reading. However, that's a project for another time.

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.)
Next Week
Reviews Posted
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?

TBR Pile:
Review Stack:

I got a present from a publicist because I reviewed Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovitch - the 7th in the Rivers of London urban fantasy series. I also read Midnight Riot - the 1st in the series - which had been on my Kindle for quite a while. Look for that review on Dec. 19:
  • Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch - 4th in the Rivers of London series
  • The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch - 6th in the Rivers of London series
  • The Furthest Station by Ben Aaronovitch - 5.5 in the Rivers of London series. I actually bought this one for my Kindle so that I had the whole series. 
A surprise (unsolicited) package from Bloomsbury also arrived this week:
Interesting books from NetGalley. I received email invitations to review each these:
What was your week like?

Saturday, December 8, 2018

ARC Review: A Moment in Crime by Amanda Allen

A Moment in Crime
Author: Amanda Allen
Series: Santa Fe Revival Mysteries
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (December 11, 2018)

Description: The on-set murder of a famous Jazz Age film director unearths a hornet’s nest of passion, duplicity, naked ambition, and bitter revenge.

The golden age of cinema is dawning, and Santa Fe is in the grip of movie fever when director Luther Bishop arrives for the filming of his new cowboy flick. Maddie Vaughn-Alwin’s cousin Gwen Astor is in town with a bit part in the movie―but Gwen finds herself caught in a whirlwind of mischief before shooting even begins. But the plot only thickens when the detestable director is found hanging in his office.

When it comes to light that Gwen was having a torrid affair with Luther, she gets pegged as the prime suspect, much to Maddie’s dismay. But Maddie, quick on her feet with ever the keen eye knows that Luther had his fair share of enemies, and there’s no shortage of contenders. Luther’s widowed wife Bridget finally assumes her late husband’s most-coveted director’s chair, head of wardrobe Lorelei Fontaine is bitterly denied a role by Luther she was once promised, and original leading man Harry Kelly was summarily fired by Luther just upon arriving at Santa Fe.

Desperate to prove Gwen’s innocence, Maddie begins an investigation, but every clue reveals another motive―and could point to another murder―in A Moment in Crime, the second engaging whodunit in Amanda Allen’s enchanting Santa Fe Revival mysteries.

My Thoughts: Maddie Vaughn-Alwin is settling into Santa Fe, pursuing her art, and adjusting to the loss of her husband in World War I. But then her cousin Gwen Astor arrives, having a bit part in a movie being shot in Santa Fe. Gwen is different than the girl who was Maddie's best friend when they were children. She's fragile and brittle and confesses that she had an affair with the director of the film who brutally dropped her when he thought she was pregnant. Maddie wonder why Gwen would be willing to still be in his movie.

Maddie also meets another old friend from New York City who is working as a writer for the film. He invites Maddie and her housekeeper to visit the set. Maddie is curious and her housekeeper is a fan of of all the movie star magazines. Maddie discovers that making a movie isn't really very glamorous as she quickly sees the tensions on the set. When the director is found dead - an apparent suicide, Maddie is suspicious. He didn't seem at all like the sort of person to take his own life. And no one on the film crew, including his wife, liked him.

When Gwen comes under suspicion, Maddie has to find out what really happened to save her cousin.

I loved the time period and the information about the early days of movie making. Maddie is an intriguing character who is overcoming her grief and building a new life that is just right for her.

Favorite Quote:
"It seems a little far-fetched, I know. It looks so obviously suicide. But there's just something a little--off about the whole thing, isn't there? and Luther Bishop wasn't the most popular person around."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.