Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: In Safe Hands by Katie Ruggle

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books and a Beat. 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:
"You're not crazy."

Although she felt too tired to start the argument again, she couldn't make the assurances he needed to hear. Instead, she sighed. "See you later, Chris."
This week I am reading In Safe Hands by Katie Ruggle which is the final book in her Search and Rescue romantic suspense series. Here is the description from Amazon:
In the remote Rocky Mountains, lives depend on the Search & Rescue brotherhood. But in a place this far off the map, trust is hard to come by and secrets can be murder...

It's all come down to this...

Daisy Little has lived in agoraphobic terror for over eight years. Trapped within a prison of her own making, she watches time pass through her bedroom window. Daisy knows she'll never be a part of the world...until the day she becomes the sole witness of a terrible crime that may finally tear the Search and Rescue brotherhood apart for good.

Monday, September 26, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Sept. 26, 2016)

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... 

Last week was a quiet, rainy week. I was busy watching the final games of the Atlanta Braves baseball season and the first week of The Voice. I also had an eye exam and picked out new glasses. For the first time since I began wearing glasses at age 10, my vision was better than the previous exam. I am still very nearsighted but just about did my happy dance in the eye doctor's office. Other than driving 13 miles home from my eye exam with very dilated pupils, my week was drama free.

Next week looks more exciting. I will be driving up to Duluth after work on Tuesday so that I can attend the Celtic Thunder concert at the DECC. I took Wednesday off because I had no desire to drive 4 hours back Tuesday night after the concert. I'll be eager to catch up with my brother on new house stuff since I have only had one email from him since school began. I plan to bring a basket load of towels, etc. to begin moving in. To the best of my knowledge right now the only thing in the new house is a lawn chair that I left there on Sept. 3 so that I had something to sit on while I was cleaning.

Read Last Week
Death of a Toy Soldier by Barbara Early was a nice cozy mystery from Crooked Lane Books. My review will be posted on October 15 for this Oct. 11 release.


Cast in Flight by Michelle Sagara was also a review book. This is the latest in her Chronicles of Elantra series and was the usual complex fantasy. I am totally hooked on this series. My review will be posted on October 22 for this Oct. 25 release.

Only You by Denise Grover Swank was a cute romance that begins a new trilogy. It was filled with quirky characters who all wanted a say in the main characters' romance. My review will be posted on October 26 for this Oct. 25 release.

Currently
I am currently reading a book from my TBR stack. Stealing Jason Wilde by Dee Ernst sounds like it will be a fun, light read.

Next Week
I have two from my November review stack for next week.
  • Once a Gypsy by Danica Winters - an urban fantasy coming out Nov. 1
  • Shadow of Victory by David Weber - the latest in the Honor Harrington series coming out Nov. 1 and weighing in at 768 pages
Reviews Posted
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?
  • Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews - an auto-buy for me
  • The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst - a keeper copy since I read an ARC for review
  • Forgive Me by Daniel Palmer - an impulse buy after reading about it on someone's blog
Two more for the review stack:
  • Explosive Forces by D. D. Ayres - I was invited to read this Nov. 1 release at NetGalley
  • Shadow of Victory by David Weber - I got this one from Baen Books at Edelweiss when I learned it was being released Nov. 1
To see what Young Adult books I have been reading and plan to read, check out Ms. Martin Teaches Media - my other blog.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

ARC Review: Home by Harlan Coben

Home
Author: Harlan Coben
Series: Myron Bolitar (Book 11)
Publication: Dutton (September 20, 2016)

Description: Ten years after the high-profile kidnapping of two young boys, only one returns home in Harlan Coben’s gripping thriller.

A decade ago, kidnappers grabbed two boys from wealthy families and demanded ransom, then went silent. No trace of the boys ever surfaced. For ten years their families have been left with nothing but painful memories and a quiet desperation for the day that has finally, miraculously arrived: Myron Bolitar and his friend Win believe they have located one of the boys, now a teenager. Where has he been for ten years, and what does he know about the day, more than half a life ago, when he was taken? And most critically: What can he tell Myron and Win about the fate of his missing friend? Drawing on his singular talent, Harlan Coben delivers an explosive and deeply moving thriller about friendship, family, and the meaning of home.

My Thoughts: This is the story of a parent's worst nightmare. Two 6-year-old boys are taken from their home and never heard from again. At least, not for ten years. Rhys Baldwin and Patrick Moore disappear during a playdate at Rhys's house. Rhys happens to be a cousin of Win - Windsor Horne Lockwood III - who is Myron's partner.

The story begins in Win's voice as he has traveled to London because he received an email saying one of the missing boys has been spotted. He sees the boy hanging out with male prostitutes under a bridge but doesn't approach because it is Patrick and not Rhys. He decides to keep watch in the hopes that Rhys will show up too. Before too much time Patrick is accosted by bully boys and Win is forced to intervene. He winds up killing the bully boys and Patrick runs away. This is when Win phones Myron for some help.

Win has been missing for more than a year. His phone call finds Myron with his fiancee. But Myron drops everything to head to London to back up his friend. Together they extract Patrick from the clutches of a crime lord with ties to prostitution, hacking, and other stuff. But Patrick is swept up by his parents before Myron and Win can find out about Rhys.

This leads them to begin investigating the crime again from the beginning and leads them to lots of questions about what happened. Aiding in the investigation are a variety of characters from earlier books in the series including Myron's nephew Mickey and his friend Ema.

Myron and Win follow a twisted and twisting path to reach a conclusion that really surprised me. I have only read the first Myron Bolitar mystery and didn't know Win who turns out to be one scary dude with a unique sense of justice. I have read the YA books starring Mickey, Spoon, and Ema and was glad to see them again.

This was a book I found impossible to put down. I loved the relationship between Myron and Win and their clever repartee. I also really enjoyed Myron's relationship with both Micky and with his aging parents. We say a man who isn't afraid to love which contrasts greatly with Win who doesn't really care for very many people but will fight to the death for those he does care about.

This was a great mystery and makes me want to go back and read all the Myron Bolitar mysteries that I haven't yet read.

Favorite Quote:
"It has to end."

"What do you mean?"

"That was Brooke's confession. When the phone rings, do you know what she hopes?"

Myron shook his head.

"That it's the police. That they've finally found Rhys's body. Do you understand what I'm saying? The not-knowing - the hope - has become more painful than death. And that just makes the tragedy of it more obscene. It is horrible enough that you make a mother suffer like this. But this, she told me - wishing, no matter what, that it would just end - was even worse."
I got this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday Memes: Home by Harlan Coben

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 boy who had been missing for ten years stepped into the light.
Friday 56:
They slip back into Italian, which is fine with me. I don't speak tech-ese anyway.
This week I am reading Home by Harlan Coben. I got this one for review from Dutton. Here is the description from Amazon:
Ten years after the high-profile kidnapping of two young boys, only one returns home in Harlan Coben’s gripping thriller.

A decade ago, kidnappers grabbed two boys from wealthy families and demanded ransom, then went silent. No trace of the boys ever surfaced. For ten years their families have been left with nothing but painful memories and a quiet desperation for the day that has finally, miraculously arrived: Myron Bolitar and his friend Win believe they have located one of the boys, now a teenager. Where has he been for ten years, and what does he know about the day, more than half a life ago, when he was taken? And most critically: What can he tell Myron and Win about the fate of his missing friend? Drawing on his singular talent, Harlan Coben delivers an explosive and deeply moving thriller about friendship, family, and the meaning of home.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

ARC Review: Body on the Bayou by Ellen Byron

Body on the Bayou
Author: Ellen Byron
Series: A Cajun Country Mystery (Book 2)
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (September 13, 2016)

Description: The Crozats feared that past murders at Crozat Plantation B&B might spell the death of their beloved estate, but they’ve managed to survive the scandal. Now there’s a très bigger story in Pelican, Louisiana: the upcoming nuptials between Maggie Crozat’s nemesis, Police Chief Rufus Durand, and her co-worker, Vanessa Fleer.

When everyone else refuses the job of being Vanessa's Maid of Honor, Maggie reluctantly takes up the title and finds herself tasked with a long list of duties--the most important of which is entertaining Vanessa’s cousin, Ginger Fleer-Starke. But just days before the wedding, Ginger’s lifeless body is found on the bayou and the Pelican PD, as well as the Crozats, have another murder mystery on their hands.

There’s a gumbo-potful of suspects, including an ex-Marine with PTSD, an annoying local newspaper reporter, and Vanessa’s own sparkplug of a mother. But when it looks like the investigation is zeroing in on Vanessa as the prime suspect, Maggie reluctantly adds keeping the bride-to-be out of jail to her list of Maid of Honor responsibilities in Body on the Bayou, Ellen Byron's funny and engaging follow up to her critically acclaimed novel Plantation Shudders.

My Thoughts: Maggie Crozat is has her hands full as the Maid of Honor to real bridezilla. Vanessa is constantly adding more tasks to her to-do list. One of those tasks is housing Van's cousin Ginger Fleer-Starke at her family's B & B. Ginger is a horrible guest who is well-known for suing people. She has made enemies all over the place. When she is found dead in the bayou, it is harder to find someone who didn't want her dead than it is to find some who did. Since Vanessa is one the suspects, Maggie adds keeping the bride out of jail to her to-do list.

Of course, Maggie is also dealing with the ex-wife of her potential boyfriend who seems to be angling to get him back. I liked the scenes that Mattie had with her boyfriend's autistic young son. I also liked the way Maggie adopted an adopted mama cat and her kittens and mama dog and her pups. One of the funniest parts had to do with Maggie's reluctance to let any of the pets be adopted. Lots more humor came from the ridiculous plans put forth by the bride and her mother for the wedding. Maggie had her hands full keeping the plans just this side of tacky.

This was another fun cozy mystery in the Plantation Shudders series. It featured great characters and an interesting mystery.

Favorite Quote:
Lia burst out laughing. "Oh my gosh. You're a helicopter pet parent."

"What?!"

"You know, one of those parents who worries too much about their kids and hovers over them. That's exactly what you're doing with those pups and kitties. Honey, you need a boyfriend and a baby."
I got this one in exchange for an honest review from Julia at Kaye Publicity. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sarah Beth Durst Guest Post

I would like to welcome Sarah Beth Durst to my blog today. I recently read and really enjoyed The Queen of Blood which begins a new fantasy trilogy. You can see my review here.

Why I'm Writing a Series

My new book, THE QUEEN OF BLOOD, is the first book in a new epic fantasy series from Harper Voyager called THE QUEENS OF RENTHIA.  It is a complete story -- no cliffhanger -- but it's not a standalone.

I do love writing standalones.  You get a complete meal: appetizer, entree, and dessert, all at once.  Mmm, dessert...  I've written several of them (DRINK SLAY LOVE, VESSEL, CONJURED, etc.) and plan to do more (my upcoming MG novel JOURNEY ACROSS THE HIDDEN ISLANDS, for example).  But while I love writing standalones, there's one thing that's particularly hard about them: saying goodbye.  After living in a world and falling in love with its characters, it's so hard to leave when the book is done.

I'm not very good at saying goodbye.  Not even to fictional people.

So I've been wanting to write a series, to sink into a world and not have to leave for a long while. And epic fantasy is the perfect way to do that, because, pretty much by definition, it's large enough to hold multiple storylines with many characters.

I also happen to truly love epic fantasy.  It's the subgenre that made me fall in love with fantasy in the first place.  I must have read David Eddings's Belgariad at least a dozen times between the ages of 10 and 20.  Ditto for Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series and Terry Brooks's Shannara books.  I spent a not-insignificant chunk of my childhood drawing maps of imaginary lands on scrap pieces of paper.

A couple summers ago, I decided that I would brainstorm an idea for my first epic fantasy series while I was at a writing retreat in the Poconos.  I wasn't expecting the idea to grab me within ten minutes of my arrival.

It was a beautiful place: forested hills in every direction.  Each writer had his or her own adorable wood cabin nestled beneath the towering pine trees.  I'd just arrived and was walking up to mine -- marveling at the trees, basking in the bird song, and not watching where I was going.  My foot caught on the step up to the door, and I fell flat on my face.  Cut my lip.  And suddenly the idea for my epic fantasy was born: bloodthirsty nature spirits.

THE QUEEN OF BLOOD is set in a world filled with nature spirits.  But these aren't sweet, frolicking pastoral sprites.  These spirits want to kill all humans.  And only certain women -- queens -- have the power to control them.  Book one is about an idealistic young student and a banished warrior who join forces against a rising number of spirit attacks.

It was so much fun to write!  And the best part is that I don't have to say goodbye!  Book two (THE RELUCTANT QUEEN) will be out next summer, and book three (THE QUEEN OF SORROW) will be out ten months after that.

I hope you'll join me in saying hello to Renthia.  It's a beautiful place!  Just watch out for the trees. They bite.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: Body on the Bayou by Ellen Byron

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books and a Beat. 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:
Beads of sweat on Vanessa's forehead combined with her makeup and dripped beige blobs onto the white caftan she wore.
This week I'm reading Body on the Bayou by Ellen Byron. This is the second book in her Cajun Country Mystery cozy series. Here is the description from Amazon:
The Crozats feared that past murders at Crozat Plantation B&B might spell the death of their beloved estate, but they’ve managed to survive the scandal. Now there’s a très bigger story in Pelican, Louisiana: the upcoming nuptials between Maggie Crozat’s nemesis, Police Chief Rufus Durand, and her co-worker, Vanessa Fleer.

When everyone else refuses the job of being Vanessa's Maid of Honor, Maggie reluctantly takes up the title and finds herself tasked with a long list of duties--the most important of which is entertaining Vanessa’s cousin, Ginger Fleer-Starke. But just days before the wedding, Ginger’s lifeless body is found on the bayou and the Pelican PD, as well as the Crozats, have another murder mystery on their hands.

There’s a gumbo-potful of suspects, including an ex-Marine with PTSD, an annoying local newspaper reporter, and Vanessa’s own sparkplug of a mother. But when it looks like the investigation is zeroing in on Vanessa as the prime suspect, Maggie reluctantly adds keeping the bride-to-be out of jail to her list of Maid of Honor responsibilities in Body on the Bayou, Ellen Byron's funny and engaging follow up to her critically acclaimed novel Plantation Shudders.