Thursday, August 17, 2017

Book Review: Iron Lake by William Kent Kruger

Iron Lake
Author: William Kent Kruger
Series: Cork O'Connor (Book 1)
Publication: Atria Books; Reprint edition (July 14, 1999)

Description: New York Times bestselling author William Kent Krueger joined the ranks of today's best suspense novelists with this thrilling, universally acclaimed debut. Conjuring "a sense of place he's plainly honed firsthand in below-zero prairie" (Kirkus Reviews), Krueger brilliantly evokes northern Minnesota's lake country—and reveals the dark side of its snow-covered landscape.

Part Irish, part Anishinaabe Indian, Corcoran "Cork" O'Connor is the former sheriff of Aurora, Minnesota. Embittered by his "former" status, and the marital meltdown that has separated him from his children, Cork gets by on heavy doses of caffeine, nicotine, and guilt. Once a cop on Chicago's South Side, there's not much that can shock him. But when the town's judge is brutally murdered, and a young Eagle Scout is reported missing, Cork takes on a mind-jolting case of conspiracy, corruption, and scandal.

As a lakeside blizzard buries Aurora, Cork must dig out the truth among town officials who seem dead-set on stopping his investigation in its tracks. But even Cork freezes up when faced with the harshest enemy of all: a small-town secret that hits painfully close to home.

My Thoughts: The first Cork O'Connor mystery introduces him to audiences and tells an entertaining story about secrets hidden in a small Minnesota town. Cork is part Anishinaabe Indian, has friends and mentors in the tribe, but has been the sheriff of Aurora enforcing white men's laws. After a confrontation between whites and natives that caused him to kill a white resort owner, he lost a recall election. He has been deeply grieving which caused him to lose his marriage.

Cork has started a new relationship with Molly Nurmi but hasn't given up hope of rebuilding his marriage to Jo in order to keep his relationship with his children. When a woman in town asks him to help locate her missing son, Cork finds himself in an investigation that leads to the death of a prominent and heartily disliked judge, Minnesota militant groups, Indian casinos, and small town corruption and secrets.

I liked the setting. I liked Cork who was a man who fought for justice more than he fought for the law. I'll be reading more of the series which has now reached sixteen books.

Favorite Quote:
"I'm sorry," Cork said.

"Yeah." Parrant gave him a brief smile of thanks. But he was a man way on the other side of something terrible, and the look in his eyes came from far, far away.
I got this one in exchange for an honest review from  You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Book Review: Penric's Fox by Lois McMaster Bujold

Penric's Fox
Author: Lois McMaster Bujold
Series: Penric and Desdemona Book 3
Publication: Spectrum Literary Agency, Inc. (August 7, 2017)

Description: Some eight months after the events of “Penric and the Shaman”, Learned Penric, sorcerer and scholar, travels to Easthome, the capital of the Weald.  There he again meets his friends Shaman Inglis and Locator Oswyl.  When the body of a sorceress is found in the woods, Oswyl draws him into another investigation; they must all work together to uncover a mystery mixing magic, murder and the strange realities of Temple demons.

My Thoughts: PENRIC'S FOX was an entertaining mystery set in the World of the Five Gods. Penric is a scholar and sorcerer who is getting used to being the carrier of a demon - Desdemona. When a temple sorcerer is murdered, Penric is called in to see if he can discover what happened to her demon. His friend Locator Oswyl is in charge of finding out who murdered the sorcerer but Penric gets involved in that part of the case too.

This novella is filled with wonderful world building as it creates a world with demons and animal spirits in a vaguely medieval setting. Penric is a great character. He is interested in learning everything and is madly inquisitive. I love his growing relationship with his demon which is not really the usual sort of relationship between sorcerers and their demons. Since Desdemona came to him in something of an accident, Penric is left to forge his own relationship. He didn't have any preconceived notions about "proper" relationships.

This novella, while the most recently published, is actually the third in what is currently a five story series. It made me want to go back and read the rest of the stories because I very much enjoy Penric, Desdemona and their adventures.

Favorite Quote:
It was a continuing wonder to him how much less, rather than more, freedom that acquiring a responsible authority gave to one. Not at all how he'd pictured his elders, so seemingly powerful. as a child.
Penric series:
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Adult and YA Teasers (August 15, 2017)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by The Purple Booker. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • 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 and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Teaser on Inside of a Dog:
"Is anybody there?" he tried again.

No voice answered except the bitter howl of the wind. Cork finished clearing the snow and got into his Bronco. As an afterthought he locked the doors. He waited a moment before driving away, trying one last time to see if anything moved among the trees.

Because he could have sworn someone there had called his name.
Iron Lake by William Kent Kruger

Teaser on Ms. Martin Teaches Media:
At the same time I began to understand why Lady Cecily might have entered into correspondence with this young man. Beneath his bland exterior lay a great deal of intelligence and -- and some other, less definable qualities.
The Case of the Left-Handed Lady by Nancy Springer



Monday, August 14, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (August 14, 2017)

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...

Last week was a pretty quiet week. My new television did arrive and was installed on Friday. I also had them make sure that everything was attached and working including my new Amazon Fire. Friday night was the first night that I could watch my MLB.TV Atlanta Braves game on the big screen. They lost but the picture was marvelous.

We're still waiting for our new garage to be built but the electrician did come over on Friday to find out what we wanted in terms of electricity. Now we are going to have to shop for new light fixtures since we also want to replace the outside lights on our house so that the ones on the house and the garage match.

As far as I know, everything is proceeding as it should for our house sales. I heard that my townhouse had its appraisal on Friday but I haven't heard the results. My realtor is also working on the one item on the inspection report that needed to be fixed which should happen sometime this week. We seem to be in a cone of silence regarding the Locust Street house. Our papers list three different potential closing dates and our realtor doesn't know which one, if any of them, is the correct date. I think we're still waiting for the appraisal on that house.

Meanwhile, summer is rushing by with lots of great weather mixed with rain and thunderstorms. We're 4 inches above average rainfall for the year which makes us nice and green but also is the main reason we don't have a new garage yet.

Read Last Week

I finished my Liaden Universe re-reads and went back to my September release review books. 
Fledgling by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (Amazon | Review)
Dragon Ship by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (Amazon | Review)
Saltation by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (Amazon | Review)
Body on Baker Street by Vicki Delany - review on Inside of a Dog Sept. 7
Ghost Ship by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (Amazon | Review)
Nyxia by Scott Reintgen - review on Ms. Martin Teaches Media Sept. 6
I started by abandoned The Equals by Daniel Sweren-Becker. I didn't enjoy the style of the writing which was more tell than show and just seemed clunky to me.

Currently
When The Equals didn't work for me, I chose Refuge for Masterminds by Kathleen Baldwin from my TBR mountain to fill the slot on my calendar. This is alternate history with a paranormal twist.

Next Week

I want to re-read Anne Bishop's Others series but am determined to read review books that are releasing in September first.
The Exact Location of Home by Kate Messner (Sept. 12)
All the Secret Places by Anna Carlisle (Sept. 12)
A Poison Dark and Drowning by Jessica Cluess (Sept. 19)
Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones (Sept. 19)
Stolen Secrets by L. B. Schulman (Sept. 19)
Sleep Like a Baby by Charlaine Harris (Sept. 26)

Reviews Posted
Among the Dead by J. R. Backlund
To Catch a Killer by Sherry Scarborough
Come Sundown by Nora Roberts
Heart of the Storm by Michael Buckley

Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?
Penric's Fox by Lois McMaster Bujold

What was your week like?

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Book Review: Come Sundown by Nora Roberts

Come Sundown
Author: Nora Roberts
Publication: St. Martin's Press (May 30, 2017)

Description: A novel of suspense, family ties, and twisted passions from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Obsession...

The Bodine ranch and resort in western Montana is a family business, an idyllic spot for vacationers. A little over thirty thousand acres and home to four generations, it’s kept running by Bodine Longbow with the help of a large staff, including new hire Callen Skinner. There was another member of the family once: Bodine’s aunt, Alice, who ran off before Bodine was born. She never returned, and the Longbows don’t talk about her much. The younger ones, who never met her, quietly presume she’s dead. But she isn’t. She is not far away, part of a new family, one she never chose—and her mind has been shattered…

When a bartender leaves the resort late one night, and Bo and Cal discover her battered body in the snow, it’s the first sign that danger lurks in the mountains that surround them. The police suspect Cal, but Bo finds herself trusting him—and turning to him as another woman is murdered and the Longbows are stunned by Alice’s sudden reappearance. The twisted story she has to tell about the past—and the threat that follows in her wake—will test the bonds of this strong family, and thrust Bodine into a darkness she could never have imagined.

My Thoughts: The story begins in 1995 when twenty-one year old Alice Bodine is hitchhiking her way back to the family ranch outside of Missoula, Montana. She had left three years earlier right after her sister Maureen's wedding in the hopes of building a career in Hollywood. She still has some miles to go and night is falling when a man in a pick-up offers her a ride. She doesn't know that he is going to kidnap her, rape her, imprison her and abuse her for more than twenty-five years.

Then the story switches to the present day. The Bodine Ranch and Resort is thriving under the care of Bodine Longbow, Alice's niece. She and her family including her siblings, parents, grandmother and great-grandmother are a tight knit group. Bodine doesn't miss Alice since she never knew her but knows her grandmother still thinks about her often and wonders what happened to her.

Meanwhile, Cal Skinner comes home. Cal grew up on a neighboring ranch and was her older brother Chase's best friend. He did build a career in Hollywood managing horses but is back now. Bodine has a crush on him when she was young but he didn't think of her as anything more than his best friend's little sister. Things have changed now that they are both grown up.

Before they can do more than looking longingly at each other, a young woman employee of the resort is murdered. Then a second young woman is kidnapped and her body found on the resort. One of the Sheriff's deputies who has had a hate on for Cal since childhood is convinced that Cal is the killer and harasses him.

Before the real killer is found, a brutalized and damaged Alice manages to escape from her kidnapper and her re-entry into the family not only changes the family dynamic but links the current murders to her kidnapping many years earlier.

This was an engaging story with Alice's story woven into it in a series of flashbacks. It also has a number of romances since not only Bodine but her brother's Chase and Rory also find romantic partners. The story has a number of Roberts's signature details in the strong family relationships among the Bodine-Longbows and the strong friendships among the younger generation. This one also has a great setting and talks a lot about the beauty of Montana. Nora Roberts fans won't want to miss this engaging story.

Favorite Quote:
"Had the pining eyes," Miss Fancy patted a hand over her heart. "Hell. I'd've been sweet on him myself if I'd been younger, or him older."

"What would Grandpa have had to say?" Bodine wondered.

"That married and dead aren't the same. We were married sixty-seven years before he passed, and the both of us were free to look all we wanted. Touching, now? That's when married and dead are the same."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Friday Memes: Come Sundown by Nora Roberts

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:
Alice Bodine relieved herself behind a thin screen of lodgepole pines. She'd had to trudge through knee-high snow for the screen, and her bare ass (with the dragonfly tattoo she'd had inked in Portland) shivered in the wind that soughed like the surf.
Friday 56:
The man could sit a horse, she mused. Just as easy as another might sit a Barcalounger.
This week I am featuring Come Sundown by Nora Roberts. This one is from my TBR pile. She is an auto-buy for me. Here is the description from Amazon:
A novel of suspense, family ties, and twisted passions from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Obsession...

The Bodine ranch and resort in western Montana is a family business, an idyllic spot for vacationers. A little over thirty thousand acres and home to four generations, it’s kept running by Bodine Longbow with the help of a large staff, including new hire Callen Skinner. There was another member of the family once: Bodine’s aunt, Alice, who ran off before Bodine was born. She never returned, and the Longbows don’t talk about her much. The younger ones, who never met her, quietly presume she’s dead. But she isn’t. She is not far away, part of a new family, one she never chose—and her mind has been shattered…

When a bartender leaves the resort late one night, and Bo and Cal discover her battered body in the snow, it’s the first sign that danger lurks in the mountains that surround them. The police suspect Cal, but Bo finds herself trusting him—and turning to him as another woman is murdered and the Longbows are stunned by Alice’s sudden reappearance. The twisted story she has to tell about the past—and the threat that follows in her wake—will test the bonds of this strong family, and thrust Bodine into a darkness she could never have imagined.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

ARC Review: Among the Dead by J. R. Backlund

Among the Dead
Author: J. R. Backlund
Series: A Rachel Carver Mystery
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (August 8, 2017)

Description: Ex-SBI agent Rachel Carver must hunt a group of killers on her own before time runs out in this gripping debut.

Former North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation agent Rachel Carver blames herself for the collateral death of an innocent woman in her last case. Unable to accept her superior’s attempts to cover up the incident, she turned in her badge. But when a former partner asks her to consult on a new murder case, she reluctantly agrees, traveling to a small, remote mountain community, where she’s tasked with leading a group of inexperienced detectives on a hunt for the killer. The trek has hardly begun when what seems to be the act of a loner proves to be much more as Rachel's team comes under attack―and a detective is killed in the fallout.

Now that the stakes have risen, Rachel’s old employers at the SBI step in to take over the investigation. But Rachel, convinced they are on the wrong track, continues to work the case alone. And just as she delves into the town’s past, she discovers a secret history that connects the victims―one that makes her the target of a man who would kill to keep it a secret.

My Thoughts: Rachel Carver has quit the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation after she shot and killed a woman in the course of an investigation. Her superiors quickly closed the case by stating that the woman was guilty of killing her boyfriend. Rachel had her doubts and quit. She's been watching the woman's small child and stoking her own guilt.

When Rachel gets a call from an old friend to help in an investigation in rural North Carolina, she agrees. There her job is to make sure that the police force crosses its t's and dots its i's so that the case isn't thrown out of court. The Chief of Police is under pressure from the town council who wants to fire him.

The case quickly gets complicated when one victim becomes two and then three and the SBI gets involved. Their focus turns to meth labs which Rachel doesn't think actually has anything to do with the murders. Soon Rachel is working around the SBI and even the department that hired her to find out the truth about the murders

Rachel is an interesting character. She is an excellent investigator who tends to get too involved in her cases to the detriment of all the other parts of her life. I liked her and her obsession with energy drinks.

I thought the mystery was nicely twisty. I recommend this book to people looking for a woman sleuth and an interesting mystery.

Favorite Quote:
She looked over her shoulder and bounced ont the balls of her feet like a small child needing a potty break. "She made me promise that, if I saw you here, I'd tell you...I mean, it ain't me sayin' it...but she said for me to tell you that you all should be out tryin' to find that murderer instead of sittin' here eatin' barbecue."

Braddock laughed. "Is that exactly how she said it?"

Amber looked around nervously. "Not exactly. She said you should be out tryin' to find that muderer instead of sittin' her stuffin' your faces."

"Yeah, that sounds more like her."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.