Saturday, June 23, 2018

Book Review: A Rumor of Bones by Beverly Connor

A Rumor of Bones
Author: Beverly Connor
Series: Lindsay Chamberlain Mystery (Book 1)
Publication: Cumberland House (October 1996)

Description: Lindsay Chamberlain, archaeologist and forensic anthropologist, is working on an archaeological dig in Georgia. The local county sheriff asks her to identify human remains found recently in shallow graves in nearby woods.

As the archaeology crew excavates, strange things begin to happen. First come the grave robbers and pot hunters. Then mysterious opposition to the dig from a shady lawyer who has been orchestrating attacks against the crew. When the lawyer is murdered and someone attempts to abduct a five-year-old girl, Lindsay finds herself in the middle of a chain of crimes that began with a homicide sixty years ago. After the passage of so much time it looks as if the guilty party may get away with murder - unless Lindsay can uncover the solution.

My Thoughts: Archaeologist and forensic anthropologist Lindsay Chamberlain is working on a dig in Georgia when the local sheriff asks her to identify some bones that were just located by hunters. Lindsay has Sarah and Mike Pruitt, anxious parents, waiting to know if their little girl has been found. By comparing the bones to photos of their child, Lindsay quickly eliminates her but there is still a question of who the child is. Lindsay volunteers her friend Derrick who is in charge of clearing the site and his crew to the sheriff.

Derrick and his crew find another grave. This time the bones do belong to little Peggy Pruitt. It looks like the town has a serial killer. Than a third body of a molested and murdered little girl is found in the same area. Lindsay can't get the question of who killed the children out of her mind and brings her theories to the sheriff.

Meanwhile at the dig, tensions are high. The archaeologist in charge is constantly arguing with one of the other archaeologists, pothunters are harassing the site, a lawyer is trying to shut them down, and another body is discovered. This one is not one of the Native Americans who belong in the site as evidenced by a gold filling in a tooth and a bullet in the skull. Lindsay decides to do a facial reconstruction to see if the body can be identified but she estimates the person has been there between 25 and 50 years.

Adding even more tension is the fact that Lindsay seems to have gained herself an admirer who won't take no for an answer and who is the son of one of the prominent families. The Taylors used to own the banks, lumberyards and land though their influence has lessened over the years. Lindsay is also unsettled in her personal life. She's had a bit of a crush on Frank who is archaeologist in charge of the dig and who seems to be returning her interest but she also has changing feelings about Derrick who seems to want to move on from the friend category. Then there are other women who are interested in both Frank and Derrick and who resent Lindsay for what they see as not making up her mind.

This was an entertaining mystery filled will all sorts of great detail about what it means to be an archaeologist and what archaeologists do. I liked Lindsay despite her inability to make up her mind about her love life and look forward to reading more about her.

Favorite Quote:
"They are very real to you, these Indians."

"They were real. Every burial represents a person who once walked around just as you and I. They were happy and sad, loved and hated, worried about making a living, and enjoyed celebrations, just as we do. Mostly, working with the skeletal population is a pleasure. It's like going back in time and talking to them Their bones tell me a lot about how they lived and died."
I bought this one Oct. 17, 2010. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Friday Memes: A Rumor of Bones by Beverly Connor

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:
The mist rose from the uncovered graves like a spirit. Soon the sun would rise above the horizon and burn off the haze, and the site would be alive with the activity of archaeologists. But now, in the predawn hours, it was a mystic place -- silent, stranded between the past and present. This was the time of day when Lindsay loved the site best. She could almost breathe in the past.
Friday 56:
They looked up at Lindsay and grinned, like suddenly the great Lindsay could be mistaken, humbled by the likes of Thomas. Derrick, however, winked his "I'm with you kid" wink at her. The sheriff grinned as if he were witnessing a contest.
This week I am reading A Rumor of Bones by Beverly Connor. This book has been on my TBR pile since I bought it October 17, 2010. Here is the description from Amazon:
Lindsay Chamberlain, archaeologist and forensic anthropologist, is working on an archaeological dig in Georgia. The local county sheriff asks her to identify human remains found recently in shallow graves in nearby woods.

As the archaeology crew excavates, strange things begin to happen. First come the grave robbers and pot hunters. Then mysterious opposition to the dig from a shady lawyer who has been orchestrating attacks against the crew. When the lawyer is murdered and someone attempts to abduct a five-year-old girl, Lindsay finds herself in the middle of a chain of crimes that began with a homicide sixty years ago. After the passage of so much time it looks as if the guilty party may get away with murder - unless Lindsay can uncover the solution.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Book Review: Foolproof by Barbara D'Amato, Jeanne M. Dams & Mark Zubro

Foolproof
Author: Barbara D'Amato, Jeanne M. Dams, & Mark Richard Zubro
Publication: Forge Books; 1 edition (December 22, 2009)

Description: The morning of 9/11 Brenda Grant and Daniel Henderson met for coffee before going to their software firm in the World Trade Center.  That casual act saved them from the Twin Towers' collapse, even as their friends and Brenda’s fiancĂ© were killed and their company obliterated.

Founding their own software security firm, they never forgot that morning of horror.  Grant and Henderson then establish a clandestine division inside their company committed to covertly tracking down global terrorists. In a search involving Washington DC, Egypt, Italy and Turkey, they expose a plot to hijack a US presidential election, rig voting machines, and topple democracies worldwide.

Foolproof is a global thriller in the tradition of Tess Gerritson, Catherine Coulter, and Linda Howard.

My Thoughts: This thriller, written in 2009, has themes ripped from today's headlines. Brenda Grant and Daniel Henderson were two minutes away from being in the World Trade Center when the first plane hits on the morning of 9/11. Their company was above where the plane hit and no one managed to get out before the towers collapsed. Brenda lost her fiance who was one of the company owners.

A few years later, Brenda and Grant have started a security company and have a mission to track down terrorists. When they find evidence by trolling chat rooms and the deep web, they try to pass the information along to authorities who can do something about their finds with varying degrees of success.

Sarah, an old college friend of Brenda's gives her a call one day to set up an appointment but, before they can meet, she dies in what looks like a street accident. Having a bit of the friend's point of view, we know that she was pushed into traffic by a man she just met. Brenda, who hasn't seen her since college, wonders why Sarah, who works for a software development company, wanted to meet with her.

Brenda and Daniel are also approached by a man from the government who gives his name as Allen Cooper who works for NSAA and wants to hire their firm for some security work. They are hesitant because they don't like working for the government but the money is too good to pass up. Coop begins to make a play for Brenda by asking her out and taking her to expensive places but Brenda's heart is still with the fiance she lost on 9/11.

Coop asks them to look into a new vote tallying program that will be used in the next presidential election which is only days away. It looks to be a really tight race between the incombent President Kierkstra, a corrupt politician from South Dakota, who took office when the President died of a heart attack and Governor Evan Harkinnon. Meanwhile, Brenda is still puzzled about Sarah's death and sends memo to all of her offices to see if anyone knows more about her. She hears from her office in Egypt that Sarah has some concerns about an election program she was working on but then the office goes silent.

Daniel flies out to see what is going on in Egypt and the story takes a James Bond twist as he becomes the target of unknown assassins and has to wend his way back home facing all sorts of danger and gathering data along the way.

The story was exciting and fast-paced. The villains were larger than life but our smart computer security experts are a match for them. I enjoyed the characters in this one and would recommend it to those who read thrillers.

Favorite Quote:
"There isn't any personal tragedy caused by terrorism is my background. So I can't really...well, I can barely guess how you must feel, and I can't claim any emotional reason. Except outrage. Like a lot of people around the world who haven't personally been victims of terrorism, it disgusts me. It's an offense against reason. Maybe deep down there's nothing that scares me more than zealots, people who think they have the only right view of the world, and if you don't share it, you aren't even human. That scares me. You can't reason with them. They don't even hear you."
I bought this one Dec. 3, 2010. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Book Review: The Lady Julia Grey Novellas

Midsummer Night 
Series: Lady Julia Grey Mysteries (Book 0.5)
Publication: MIRA (January 16, 2017)

Description: Midsummer in England—an auspicious time for a wedding. Brisbane has taken charge of the music. Julia has, perhaps mistakenly, authorized her sisters to choose the dress. And Belmont Abbey is overflowing with guests awaiting the blessed day. What could go wrong?

Combine the close-knit chaos of village life, pagan traditions bursting through staid Victorian conventions, and the congenial madness that tends to swirl around Lady Julia's
family, and you get an unforgettable wedding. But add in a dangerous past nemesis who has
come to wish them not-so-well, and their day to remember just might take a fatal turn…

My Thoughts: This novella tells about Julia and Brisbane's Midsummer wedding. Having turned over the arrangements to her sisters, the plans for the ceremony are rapidly getting out of control. Between Brisbane's deaf and outrageous great-uncle who happens to be a Scottish duke and his gypsy aunt who deeply resents that he has more gypsy powers than she does, Brisbane's side of the family adds a lot to the chaos that is already the March family. Throw in a fire and a jewel thief trying to recover stolen loot and you have a madcap adventure.

Silent Night
Series: Lady Julia Grey Mysteries (Book 5.5)
Publication: MIRA (September 14, 2015)

Description: After a year of marriage—and numerous adventures—Lady Julia and Brisbane hope for a quiet, intimate Christmas together—until they find themselves at her father's ancestral estate, Bellmont Abbey, with her eccentric family and a menagerie of animals.

Nevertheless, Julia looks forward to a lively family gathering—but amongst the celebrations, a mystery stirs. There are missing jewels, new faces at the Abbey, and a prowling ghost that brings back unwelcome memories from a previous holiday—one that turned deadly. Is a new culprit recreating crimes of the past? And will Brisbane let Julia investigate—?

My Thoughts: This novella takes place at Christmas at Bellmont Abbey. Julia has been looking forward to spending time with her new husband in the Rookery, a dower house given to her by her father, but a fallen tree means they are housed in the Abbey. With only half of his children able to attend and a romantic disappointment, the Earl is a picture of gloom. Throw in missing jewels and a return of the ghost from an earlier mystery and Julia and Brisbane have a number of things to investigate.

Twelfth Night
Series: Lady Julia Grey Mysteries (Book 5.6)
Publication: MIRA (February 1, 2017)

Description: To mark the passing of another decade, the esteemed—and eccentric—March family have assembled at Bellmont Abbey to perform the Twelfth Night Revels for their sleepy English village. But before Lady Julia and her handsome, sleuthing husband, Nicolas Brisbane, can take to the stage, a ruckus in the stable yard demands their attention. An abandoned infant is found nestled in the steel helm of St. George. What's more, their only lead is the local legend of a haunted cottage and its ghastly inhabitant—who seems to have returned.

Once again, Lady Julia and Nicholas take up the challenge to investigate, and when the source of the mystery is revealed, they'll be faced with an impossible choice—one that will alter the course of their lives…forever.

My Thoughts: The March family is all present at Bellmont Abbey for the traditional Twelfth Night mummers play. Every ten years the family gets together to perform the play written by Shakespeare. This year's performance has the addition of a foundling baby which opens an investigation by Brisbane and Julia to find out who he is. Julia is also dealing with some of her sibling's attitudes toward her new half-gypsy, private inquiry agent husband who is not their kind of people. This was has returning characters from earlier books in the series who bring their problems home with them and with Julia and Belmont winding up with a child when they never expected to have one. 

Bonfire Night
Series: Lady Julia Grey Mysteries (Book 5.7)
Publication: MIRA (March 1, 2017)

Description: It’s the autumn of 1890, and almost a year has passed since—much to their surprise—Lady Julia and her detective husband, Nicholas Brisbane, became parents. Just as the couple begins to adapt, a solicitor arrives with a strange bequest. Nicholas, it seems, has inherited a country house—but only if he and his family are in residence from All Hallows’ Eve through Bonfire Night.

Neither Lady Julia nor Nicholas is likely to be put off by local legends of ghosts and witches, and the eerie noises and strange lights that flit from room to room simply intrigue them. Until a new lady’s maid disappears, igniting a caper that will have explosive results…

My Thoughts: This novella takes place on All Hallows' Eve when Brisbane inherits a haunted manor from a man he has never met. Julia, Portia, and Plum accompany him and all of them investigate the many hauntings and happenings. They bring along Portia's daughter Jane the Younger and their child John Nicholas Brisbane. It is all a complex plot orchestrated by Brisbane's very disreputable father which puts both Nicholas and Julia in danger but does finally cement the place of John Nicholas in their lives.

I bought these. The titles link to their Amazon pages.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

First Paragraph/Teaser Tuesday: Foolproof by Barbara D'Amato, Jeanne M. Dams & Mark Zubro

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:
"One decaf mochacchino with a sprinkle of cinnamon," Daniel said.

Brenda said, "That's pitiful. The only decent coffee is fully leaded espresso with just a dash of caramel. Total bliss. Trust me."
 
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:
"We have a companion in every bus, besides the driver, and seat belts for every child --"

Sighing at the thought that he might go through the company's entire brochure, she interrupted. "That's very good. I am appalled that most school buses don't have seat belts. But they won't keep terrorists or kidnappers away. They won't stop a hijacking."
This week I am reading Foolproof by Barbara D'Amato, Jeanne M. Dams, and Mark Richard Zubro. This one has been on my TBR mountain since Dec. 3, 2010 because I liked Zubro's gay mysteries and was looking for more books he wrote. Here is the description from Amazon:
The morning of 9/11 Brenda Grant and Daniel Henderson met for coffee before going to their software firm in the World Trade Center.  That casual act saved them from the Twin Towers' collapse, even as their friends and Brenda’s fiancĂ© were killed and their company obliterated.

Founding their own software security firm, they never forgot that morning of horror.  Grant and Henderson then establish a clandestine division inside their company committed to covertly tracking down global terrorists. In a search involving Washington DC, Egypt, Italy and Turkey, they expose a plot to hijack a US presidential election, rig voting machines, and topple democracies worldwide.

Foolproof is a global thriller in the tradition of Tess Gerritson, Catherine Coulter, and Linda Howard.

Monday, June 18, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (June 18, 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. YA and middle grade reviews will still be posted on  Ms. Martin Teaches Media - my other blog.

Other Than Reading...

This has been a quiet week at my house. Duluth has been pretty busy gearing up for Grandma's Marathon which attracts thousands of visitors each year. Friday was really nasty weather with strong thunderstorms and there were also thunderstorms forecast for the race time too. Fortunately, there were no storms during the actual race. I don't think it even rained.

I've been keeping busy reading the many July releases on my review pile. I've also been able to get a couple of books off TBR mountain. Unfortunately, I enjoyed them and added to TBR mountain so that I have the complete series for Glimmerglass and The Agency.

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.)
  • The Anatomist's Wife by Anna Lee Huber - Historical mystery that was a recent arrival on TBR mountain. My review will be posted on July 5.
  • Glimmerglass by Jenna Black - YA fantasy that has been on my Kindle since May 8, 2011. My review will be posted on July 4.
  • Hullmetal Girls by Emily Skrutskie - YA science fiction from my review stack. Review will be posted on July 6.
  • Shelved Under Murder by Victoria Gilbert - Cozy mystery from my review stack. My review will be posted on July 7.
  • The Agency: A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee - YA historical mystery that has been on my Kindle since Sept. 16, 2012. My review will be posted on July 9.
  • Lovers and Ladies by Jo Beverly - Two Regency romances that have been on TBR mountain since at least May 8, 2008. My review will be posted on July 11,
Currently
When Life Gives You Demons by Jennifer Honeybourn - YA from my review stack. Publication date is July 17.

Next Week

These are all July releases from my review stack.
Reviews Posted

On Inside of a Dog:
On Ms. Martin Teaches Media:
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?

Bought
New Review
What was your week like?



Saturday, June 16, 2018

ARC Review: Girl with a Gun by Kari Bovee

Girl With a Gun
Author: Kari Bovee
Publication: SparkPress (June 19, 2018)

Description: Fifteen-year-old Annie Oakley is the sole supporter of her widowed mother and two siblings. An expert markswoman and independent spirit, she hunts game to sell to the local mercantile to make ends meet instead of accepting a marriage proposal that could solve all her problems.

After a stunning performance in a shooting contest against the handsome and famous sharpshooter Frank Butler, Annie is offered a position in the renowned Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. Finally, she has a chance to save the nearly foreclosed family farm and make her dreams come true. But then her Indian assistant is found dead in her tent, and Annie is dubious when the local coroner claims the death was due to natural causes. When another innocent is murdered, Annie begins to fear the deaths are related to her. And to make matters worse, her prized horse, Buck, a major part of her act, is stolen.

Annie soon discovers that the solution to her problems lies buried in a padlocked Civil War trunk belonging to the show’s manager, Derence LeFleur. And so, with the help of a sassy, blue-blooded reporter, Annie sets out to find her horse, solve the murders, and clear her name.

My Thoughts: This novel stars a young Annie Oakley when she first joins Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show as a fifteen-year-old sharpshooter. She needs to money to support her mother and two younger siblings since the mother seems to only make bad choices in men since she became a widow. The current candidate is a drinker who has brought the family home near foreclosure.

The Show is a hotbed of secrets and jealousies. Annie's new and sudden popularity with the public has made for former star Frank Butler jealous. Also jealous is Twila who happens to be Bill's long-time lover. Twila brings her surrogate daughter Lillie Smith who is another sharpshooter. Lillie hates Indians, drinks too much whiskey, and seems to bring a new cowboy to their shared tent every night which makes her very different from Quaker Annie.

When Kimi, Annie's dresser and Native American, is found dead leaving behind a half-breed baby, Annie is sure she was murdered though the investigations says she died of natural causes. While Annie investigates, she is also being courted by Frank Butler and Derence LeFleur who is an older, married man who was influential in getting Annie the job with the Show.

Frank is having some issues with his shooting and so is Lillie since alcohol really doesn't help accuracy but Annie hasn't lost her touch except when someone sabotages her rifle. She and her horse Buck are stars. But then Buck becomes ill and listless. After some time, she becomes convinced that someone is trying to hurt him too.

This was an entertaining story set in 1885. I liked the variety of characters from Buffalo Bill to Sitting Bull. I liked the intrepid girl reporter who encourages Annie to participate in the budding Women's Suffrage Movement. I liked Annie even though I think she jumped to conclusions rather too quickly. I had identified the villain early in the story because of his general smarminess but there were still some plot twists that I didn't see coming.

Fans of historical mysteries will enjoy this story and look forward to more of Annie's adventures.

Favorite Quote:
Annie paced in the small area next to her bed and raised hand to her throat in exasperation, her pulse thudding faster and faster. Everything will be fine, she tried to tell herself, but why did she feel so helpless? Her family's suffering, her tainted reputation, and her uncertainty about Kimi's death felt like an anvil settling on her chest. Her hands went cold.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.