Monday, December 22, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Dec. 22, 2014)


It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

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.

Just two more days and I'll be on Christmas Break. I can't wait to be able to sleep in and read all I want. My brother is planning to come to my house if the weather permits. Hopefully, the weather will be good on Tuesday. Otherwise, he'll try again on Friday and spend the weekend with me. I have been planning menus and have done shopping. I'm ready and hope I don't have to eat all that I've planned by myself.

I hit a blog milestone this week when my 2000th post went live. I never imagined that I would do so many when I began this blog as a requirement for an online class I was taking. My first post was on January 24, 2008. I'm at 1706 posts on my other blog too. I started that one on Dec. 30, 2009.

Read Last Week
I read Gifted by Kelley Armstrong which featured two stories. Gabriel's Gargoyles is in her Cainsville World and The Puppy Plan in in her Otherworld series. Both were entertaining. I don't plan to review this one.

I also read Hunt by Rachel Vincent which is a short story that begins her new spinoff series. I enjoyed this one and am looking forward to the novels. I won't be reviewing this one either.

Night Shift by Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, Lisa Shearin and Milla Vane. I hadn't read Lisa Shearin before and have discovered a new favorite author. I enjoyed both the Singh and Andrews story. I couldn't get into the one by Vane and will have to try again another day. My review will be posted on January 10.

I also read Polaris by Mindee Arnett which is the sequel to Avalon. This is YA science fiction and was an action-packed adventure. Science fiction fans will enjoy this one. My review will also be posted on January 10 for this book.
I finished out the week with two romances from my review stacks.

The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark is a romance between two skating partners who have been best friends since pre-school. Now 17, Maddy would like to change her friendship into a romance but Gabe hasn't ever had a relationship that lasted more than two weeks. Besides a really nice romance, this book tells a lot about competitive figure skating. My review will be posted on January 14.

Too Hot to Handle by Katie Rose is a baseball romance. The management hires Nikki to clean up the images of baseball's bad boys. Jake is the star shortstop. There's a bet that is going to come back to bite Jake and lots of hot scenes. I really liked the characters in this one. My review will be posted on January 15.

Currently
22061971 
I am reading The Prey by Tom Isbell. It is the first in his YA dystopian The Hatchery trilogy. It is supposed to be similar to The Maze Runner (which I haven't read) and The Hunger Games (which I have).

Next Week
Twisted Fate by Norah Olson and Bastion by Mercedes Lackey will be first.
Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff and Bring on the Heat by Katie Rose are next.
If time permits I will also read The Inquisitor's Mark by Dianne K. Salerni and Beastkeeper by Cat Hellison.

All the YA books are from my review stack and all the adult books are from my TBR mountain.


Reviews Posted
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?
 What have you been reading? Leave me a link and I'll be sure to visit.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (Dec. 21, 2014)

Tynga of  Team Tynga's Reviews hosts this meme to spotlight the books we receive each week. I guarantee that your TBR pile will grow when you see all the wonderful books everyone gets.
I read my first Lisa Shearin story in the Night Shift anthology and decided that I wanted to read more by the author. I chose Wild Card and The Grendel Affair for my Kindle.

What did you add to your stack this week?

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Book Review: Garment of Shadows by Laurie R. King

Garment of Shadows
Author: Laurie R. King
Series: Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes
Publications: Bantam; Reprint edition (August 20, 2013)

Description: Laurie R. King’s New York Times bestselling novels of suspense featuring Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, comprise one of today’s most acclaimed mystery series. Now, in their newest and most thrilling adventure, the couple is separated by a shocking circumstance in a perilous part of the world, each racing against time to prevent an explosive catastrophe that could clothe them both in shrouds.

In a strange room in Morocco, Mary Russell is trying to solve a pressing mystery: Who am I? She has awakened with shadows in her mind, blood on her hands, and soldiers pounding on the door. Out in the hivelike streets, she discovers herself strangely adept in the skills of the underworld, escaping through alleys and rooftops, picking pockets and locks. She is clothed like a man, and armed only with her wits and a scrap of paper containing a mysterious Arabic phrase. Overhead, warplanes pass ominously north.

Meanwhile, Holmes is pulled by two old friends and a distant relation into the growing war between France, Spain, and the Rif Revolt led by Emir Abd el-Krim—who may be a Robin Hood or a power mad tribesman. The shadows of war are drawing over the ancient city of Fez, and Holmes badly wants the wisdom and courage of his wife, whom he’s learned, to his horror, has gone missing. As Holmes searches for her, and Russell searches for her self, each tries to crack deadly parallel puzzles before it’s too late for them, for Africa, and for the peace of Europe.

With the dazzling mix of period detail and contemporary pace that is her hallmark, Laurie R. King continues the stunningly suspenseful series that Lee Child called “the most sustained feat of imagination in mystery fiction today.”

My Thoughts: Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell find themselves in Fez, Morocco, this time. Mary and Sherlock are separated. Mary wakes up in a strange place, injured, and without her memory. She runs from soldiers and wanders the poorer area trying to remember who she is and learn where she is. She does learn that she has some skills as a pickpocket, acrobat, and thief but doesn't really learn much about herself in her explorations.

Meanwhile, Sherlock who had been off visiting a distant cousin, returns to rejoin Mary only to discover that she is missing. He immediately begins a hunt for her which leads him to Fez. In 1924, things in Morocco are tense. The country is divided between the Spanish and the French and the natives are unhappy with both. The man in charge of the French Protectorate is Holmes' cousin.  The native rebel forces are well-armed because they have had victories over the Spanish and gotten a lot of their arms from the captured armies.

The rebels themselves are not united. The two factions are controlled by Raisuni who is the last of Barbary pirates and who has made substantial funds by kidnapping and ransoming Europeans and the Abd al-Klims who are Western educated and anxious for independence for their country. The land is full of spies and supporters of all political interests. Mary soon learns that her friends Mahmoud and Ali Hzir (from O Jerusalem and Justice Hall) who are British agents controlled by Mycroft Holmes are deep in the mix of spies.

Mary has to recover her memory, rescue her friend Mahmoud, and determine who is pulling the strings, and what strings they are pulling, in this very troubled region. She is battered, shot at, and kidnapped in the course of her investigation.

What I really like about this series of historical mysteries is that I learn so much about pieces of history that I never knew about. I also really like Mary as a main character. She is an intellectual and physical equal to her husband Sherlock Holmes even though she is probably 50 years his junior and only about 24. She is a scholar and a reluctant investigator. She also has a strong moral compass that has been putting her at odds with Mycroft's machinations in these last couple books.

The language, because the stories are told in Mary's voice, is articulate and descriptive without being flowery. Mary has a dry sense of humor.

Fans of Sherlock Holmes will enjoy this series and this latest episode of Mary Rusell's and Sherlock Holmes' adventures. I loved it!

Favorite Quote:
It was reassuring, really, if still maddening. When the man who claimed to be my husband (he did not look like someone who fit the word husband) said my name, faint reverberations had gone down my spine, stirring—not so much memories as the shadow of memories. As if I were outside of a library (libraries—those I remembered!) anticipating the treasures within.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Friday Memes: Garment of Shadows by Laurie R. King

Happy Friday everybody!
Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Rose City Reader. The 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.


This week I chose Garment of Shadows by Laurie R. King from my TBR mountain. I love the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series and could have sworn I've read this one but it wasn't in my LibraryThing account. Here is the description:
Laurie R. King’s New York Times< bestselling novels of suspense featuring Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, comprise one of today’s most acclaimed mystery series. Now, in their newest and most thrilling adventure, the couple is separated by a shocking circumstance in a perilous part of the world, each racing against time to prevent an explosive catastrophe that could clothe them both in shrouds. In a strange room in Morocco, Mary Russell is trying to solve a pressing mystery: Who am I? She has awakened with shadows in her mind, blood on her hands, and soldiers pounding on the door. Out in the hivelike streets, she discovers herself strangely adept in the skills of the underworld, escaping through alleys and rooftops, picking pockets and locks. She is clothed like a man, and armed only with her wits and a scrap of paper containing a mysterious Arabic phrase. Overhead, warplanes pass ominously north.

Meanwhile, Holmes is pulled by two old friends and a distant relation into the growing war between France, Spain, and the Rif Revolt led by Emir Abd el-Krim—who may be a Robin Hood or a power mad tribesman. The shadows of war are drawing over the ancient city of Fez, and Holmes badly wants the wisdom and courage of his wife, whom he’s learned, to his horror, has gone missing. As Holmes searches for her, and Russell searches for her self, each tries to crack deadly parallel puzzles before it’s too late for them, for Africa, and for the peace of Europe.

With the dazzling mix of period detail and contemporary pace that is her hallmark, Laurie R. King continues the stunningly suspenseful series that Lee Child called “the most sustained feat of imagination in mystery fiction today.”
Beginning:
I was in bed. A bed, at any rate.
Friday 56:
One of the others made a remark. The two talked back and forth for a minute in Tjamazigth, then the spokesman returned to his narrative. "I am sorry, Monsieur, but Massim here says that it was no so much a case of the two speaking, as it was her asking questions."

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Book Review: Cajun Nights by D. J. Donaldson

Cajun Nights
Author: D. J. Donaldson
Series: Andy Broussard & Kit Franklyn Mystery (Book 1)
Publication: Astor + Blue Editions (October 31, 2014)

Description: Imagine investigating a case where each of the several victims had type O blood, drove an obsolete car, and hummed a nursery rhyme before committing murder and then suicide. That’s young criminal psychologist Kit Franklyn’s assignment and the solution just seems plain impossible. Her obese, jovial boss, chief medical examiner Andy Broussard, is just as baffled as she is. Together, they devise strictly scientific possibilities. Not once do they consider black magic to be the culprit until an ancient Cajun sorcerer’s curse surfaces, “Beware the songs you loved in youth.”

My Thoughts: I enjoyed the first Kit Franklyn/Andy Broussard mystery. In this case seemingly ordinary men are going crazy and committing murder and then suicide. Since Kit's specialty is suicide, she is involved in the cases but is baffled because most of the men showed no previous signs that they were suicidal. Soon, she's working with a computer-savvy colleague and discovers that the men might have something in common after all.

She and Andy investigate despite attempts on each of their lives. Kit shows realistic fear but also shows determination not to let the fear win. She is also thinking about her relationship with her boyfriend David who is pushing for the relationship to get closer. Kit is worried about his disdainful attitude toward her job. Besides, she says that she just doesn't feel that spark that indicated that he's the one.

I liked the touch of magic in the story and will be eager to see if it continues in later books in the series. I also liked Kit's relationship with her new boss Andy. I'll be eager to see how that works out in later books too.

Favorite Quote:
"You've heard the sayin', 'Things are not always what they seem'?"

"Yes."

"Usually they are."
I got this eARC from Shelby at Astor + Blue. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

WoW: Trust No One by Jayne Ann Krentz

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. She has a linky widget at her site each week for your post and to make it easy to find posts by other people.

The purpose of the meme is to spotlight books that we are eagerly anticipating. It is fun to take a look at what others are waiting for. I have noticed that it has expanded my wishlist though. Be warned!

I am eagerly anticipating Trust No One by Jayne Ann Krentz. She is one of my favorite authors of all time. I have 170 books by her in my collection. I can't wait to read her newest which will be released on January 6. Here is the description:
Following up on the incredible success of River RoadNew York Times–bestselling author Jayne Ann Krentz delivers another masterpiece of romantic suspense. 

It’s no coincidence when Grace Elland finds a vodka bottle next to the lifeless body of her boss, motivational speaker Sprague Witherspoon. The bottle is a terrifying—and deliberate—reminder of the horrors of her past.

Grace retreats to her hometown to regroup and tries to put everything she’s learned about positive thinking into practice—a process that is seriously challenged on the world’s worst blind date.

Awkward doesn’t begin to describe her evening with venture-capitalist Julius Arkwright. She has nothing in common with a man who lives to make money, but the intense former Marine does have some skills that Grace can use—and he’s the perfect man to help her when it becomes clear she is being stalked.

As Witherspoon’s financial empire continues to crumble around them, taking a deadly toll, Julius will help Grace step into her past to uncover a devious plan to destroy not only Grace, but everyone around her… 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: Cajun Nights by D. J. Donaldson

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. 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:
He unbuttoned the pocket on his white shirt, plunged two fingers and a thumb into it, and brought out three lemon balls and some lint. He held them out in the palm of his small hand, an appendage she knew regularly handled human remains. "Care for one?" he asked.

The answer came easily. "No thanks."
This week my teaser comes from Cajun Nights by D. J. Donaldson. I was offered a review copy of this book and couldn't resist because I have been meaning to start this series. The ebook version was released on October 31 by Astor + Blue. Here is the description from Amazon:
Imagine investigating a case where each of the several victims had type O blood, drove an obsolete car, and hummed a nursery rhyme before committing murder and then suicide. That’s young criminal psychologist Kit Franklyn’s assignment and the solution just seems plain impossible. Her obese, jovial boss, chief medical examiner Andy Broussard, is just as baffled as she is. Together, they devise strictly scientific possibilities. Not once do they consider black magic to be the culprit until an ancient Cajun sorcerer’s curse surfaces, “Beware the songs you loved in youth.”