Monday, May 23, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (May 23, 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 sped by so fast and nothing memorable happened. Our weather was cool but mostly dry. The lilacs outside my patio door are blooming. There are just nine student contact days and one teacher workday before this school year is over.

I get a week of vacation here at home before a doctor's appointment which includes a colonoscopy after which I head up to my summer home for a couple of months. I'm already planning what books will be making the trip with me.

I should finish all the reviews on my June calendar before school is over. So I'm looking for books to read with reviews showing up in July. August, and September. I hope to get a whole bunch scheduled. I plan to fit in books from my TBR mountains around the review books which are already on the calendar.

Read Last Week
Veil of Night by Linda Howard was a very enjoyable romantic suspense title that had been sitting on my TBR mountain since 2010. My review will be posted on June 18.

Boundary Lines by Melissa F. Olson is the second in an urban fantasy series set in Boulder, Colorado. My review will be posted on June 15.

Boundary Born by Melissa F. Olson puts an end to the Boundary Magic trilogy (for now). I like the characters, worldbuilding, and setting of this series. My review will be posted on June 22.

Currently
I am currently reading Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet by Charlie N. Holmberg. I got this one for review from NetGalley.

Next Week
Also from NetGalley is Seconds to Live by Melinda Leigh. And, from deep in TBR mountain, is Damage by Felix Francis.

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

For Review:
I am also completing my collection of the Pink Carnation series by Lauren Willig. Arriving this week were:
To see what Young Adult books I have been reading and plan to read, check out Ms. Martin Teaches Media - my other blog.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Book Review: Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop

Marked in Flesh
Author: Anne Bishop
Series: A Novel of the Others (Book 4)
Publication: Roc (March 8, 2016)

Description: For centuries, the Others and humans have lived side by side in uneasy peace. But when humankind oversteps its bounds, the Others will have to decide how much humanity they’re willing to tolerate—both within themselves and within their community...

Since the Others allied themselves with the cassandra sangue, the fragile yet powerful human blood prophets who were being exploited by their own kind, the delicate dynamic between humans and Others changed. Some, like Simon Wolfgard, wolf shifter and leader of the Lakeside Courtyard, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn, see the new, closer companionship as beneficial—both personally and practically.

But not everyone is convinced. A group of radical humans is seeking to usurp land through a series of violent attacks on the Others. What they don’t realize is that there are older and more dangerous forces than shifters and vampires protecting the land that belongs to the Others—and those forces are willing to do whatever is necessary to protect what is theirs...

My Thoughts: In this story, Humans First and Last think that they are ready to take over lands held by the terra indigene - the Others - and find that they have bitten off much more than they can chew from someone who is more that capable of biting back.

The story begins with Simon receiving a message from the Elders that he will have to decide how much human to keep. Naturally, he goes to Meg to help him decide. Meg is also busy trying to find a way to deal with prophecies without having to cut herself. The cutting is an addiction that creates a euphoria that she craves. She is experimenting with a variety of fortune telling cards. She is doing this not only for herself but for the other cassandra sangue who are living in various parts of Thaisia and who are looking to Meg for guidance.

Meanwhile, HFL policies and sabotages are growing more common and more frequent. The human pack inside the Courtyard is growing as those who are branded "wolf lovers" are taking refuge there. This is a worry to Simon who fears that there won't be enough resources to take care of all of them. But saying no to Meg when she wants to offer protection to someone else is not something Simon can do.

It is interesting watching those in the know try to figure out what they have to have if society ceases to exist and each place is on its own and in danger from the Elders. It was also fascinating to see some of those previously unseen Elders and see that the terra indigene, who are so frightening to humans, have things that frighten them too.

I love the growing relationship between Meg and Simon. But I think what I like best about this series is the portrayal of the Others which is so different than most paranormal series. These are humans who can sometimes put on a wolf suit. These are wolves who clearly think differently than humans do. I can't wait for ETCHED IN BONE coming in 2017.

Favorite Quote:
"What are you going to call them?" Meg asked.
"Lunch?" Simon offered.
The female pack gave him a look that made him think running away would be a good idea, if he wasn't the leader and couldn't back down.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Friday Memes: Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop

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:
Sunsday, Juin 5

The sweet blood has changed things. You have changed because of her. We are intrigued by the humans who have gathered around your Courtyard, so we will give you some time to decide how much human the terra indigene will keep.
Friday 56:
Jesse Walker pushed at a lock of gray hair that had escaped the hairclip and looked up from her list as Shelley Bookman, the community's librarian, rushed into the general store.
This week I am featuring Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop. This is the fourth book in this excellent fantasy series. Here is the description from Amazon:
For centuries, the Others and humans have lived side by side in uneasy peace. But when humankind oversteps its bounds, the Others will have to decide how much humanity they’re willing to tolerate—both within themselves and within their community...

Since the Others allied themselves with the cassandra sangue, the fragile yet powerful human blood prophets who were being exploited by their own kind, the delicate dynamic between humans and Others changed. Some, like Simon Wolfgard, wolf shifter and leader of the Lakeside Courtyard, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn, see the new, closer companionship as beneficial—both personally and practically.

But not everyone is convinced. A group of radical humans is seeking to usurp land through a series of violent attacks on the Others. What they don’t realize is that there are older and more dangerous forces than shifters and vampires protecting the land that belongs to the Others—and those forces are willing to do whatever is necessary to protect what is theirs...

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Book Review: The Thing Is by Kathleen Gerard

The Thing Is
Author: Kathleen Gerard
Publication: Red Adept Publishing, LLC (February 9, 2016)

Description: Ever since the death of her fiancé, Meredith Mancuso has shrunk from the world. Even with her successful writing career, she's not motivated to work. When her sister, Monica, begs for a favor, Meredith wants nothing more than to say no. But she's ultimately roped into pet-sitting an orphaned Yorkshire terrier named Prozac.

Blessed with spiritual wisdom and a high IQ, Prozac is an active pet therapy dog. To heal broken-hearted Meredith, he rallies his fan club at Evergreen Gardens, an independent living facility, where he visits each week.

Prozac and the community of resilient older folks challenged by losses of their own propel Meredith, often against her will, back into the land of the living. Meredith learns that most people carry some sort of burden, but it's still possible to find meaning, purpose, and joy--and sometimes, even love--along the way.

My Thoughts: This was an interesting story about a woman who has her grief-stricken life shaken up by a five pound dog. Meredith Mancuso was with her fiance when he was murdered. Since then, she has become reclusive and is watching her career as a mid-level author stalling. She can't seem to get over her loss until her sister drops off a Yorkie named Prozac who needs a temporary dog-sitter.

Meredith can't think of anything she wants less than the responsibility of a dog. She is definitely not a dog person. Prozac's owner is an 87-year-old woman who broke her foot and is now recuperating. She sends along a spreadsheet filled with Prozac's responsibilities. One of the most prominent is his weekly appointment at the Evergreen Gardens Senior Living facility. Meredith would be more than willing to skip it but is blackmailed into it by Judge Theo, one of the residents.

Getting out with Prozac has a positive impact on her life despite the number of small calamities that seem to follow every visit to Evergreen Gardens. As Meredith gets to know the residents, she learns that they all have losses that they they are dealing with and she learns that attitude makes a big difference in how you live.

I liked the cast of characters. Prozac is one of the most notable characters in the story. He is a Spirit Guide Dog who has had many lives helping people in many situations. He has gained a lot of wisdom through these lives which he would love to communicate to Meredith, if only he could talk. Nonetheless, his presence serves as a vehicle for changes in her life.

This was an entertaining story that even had a little bit of a new romance woven in.

Favorite Quote:
Like the crazy, completely irrational lady I was fast becoming, I ran after him and kept hollering his name. I sent up loud, pleading petitions of "Prozac! Prozac!" as if I were an antidepressant junkie in the midst of a nervous breakdown, desperately in search of my next prescriptive fix. I was frantic to get that dog back. I didn't like him, and I sure as heck didn't want to keep him, but the thought of that dog charging toward the busy, traffic-laden main street district of downtown...Horror of horrors!
I was given this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Spotlight: The Fall of Neskaya by Marion Zimmer Bradley

I have decided that 2016 is the year when I take a look at books on my TBR mountain and read them or donate them. I'm starting with the books that have been on the stack the longest.

Hopefully by the end of 2016, my TBR mountain will be only a foothill.

I'm turning the spotlight on The Fall of Neskaya by Marion Zimmer Bradley this week. I've had it on the stack since I began my LibraryThing account in February of 2008.

Here is the description from Amazon:
The Fall of Neskaya, Book One of the Clingfire Trilogy, marks the legendary author's final return to Darkover before her death. Set in the tumultuous era of The Hundred Kingdoms, a terrible time of strife and war, this unique fantasy world is divided into a mutlitude of small belligerent domains vying for power and land. One ambitious and corrupt tyrant will stop at nothing to control Darkover-even wield the terrifying weapons of the matrix.
I think I've read all of the Darkover books by Marion Zimmer Bradley but I haven't read this series that she wrote with Deborah J. Ross. Somehow this one got lost on my TBR mountain.

Have you read this one?

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: The Thing Is by Kathleen Gerard

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:
I was tempted to dry him off atop the bathroom vanity, but conjuring images of his taking a flying-leap onto the ceramic tile floor—or flirting with the potential for electrocution from the wet sink nearby—I decided instead to set off for my office.
This week my teaser comes from The Thing Is by Kathleen Gerard. I was sent a copy of this Kindle book by the author in exchange for an honest review. Here is the description from Amazon:
Ever since the death of her fiancé, Meredith Mancuso has shrunk from the world. Even with her successful writing career, she's not motivated to work. When her sister, Monica, begs for a favor, Meredith wants nothing more than to say no. But she's ultimately roped into pet-sitting an orphaned Yorkshire terrier named Prozac.

Blessed with spiritual wisdom and a high IQ, Prozac is an active pet therapy dog. To heal broken-hearted Meredith, he rallies his fan club at Evergreen Gardens, an independent living facility, where he visits each week.

Prozac and the community of resilient older folks challenged by losses of their own propel Meredith, often against her will, back into the land of the living. Meredith learns that most people carry some sort of burden, but it's still possible to find meaning, purpose, and joy--and sometimes, even love--along the way.

Monday, May 16, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (May 16, 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... 

A cold and rainy week was very helpful in keeping my students' minds on their schoolwork. With only 14 days left, teachers need every possible advantage. These last few weeks are filled with programs, field trips, and other distractions. I'll lose my elementary students for at least two days for track and field day and attendance at the fifth grade musical. I don't think I'll be losing my 6th graders anymore this year but I'm not sure. There is a middle school track and field day that might disrupt things.

We are having a bad year for teacher retention in my school district. We have already had 4 resignations at the high school and 2 at the elementary. Last year, we had one new staff member in the district. I know that a number of other teachers have applications and interviews in their future. A good part of the reason is the high cost of family insurance. Most teachers with that insurance plan have seen their take-home pay reduced for the last two years and, with a 22% insurance increase again for next year, it is just going to get worse. The cost of insurance is killing small school districts. Luckily, I'm old and not on the school insurance. Medicare and my supplemental policy are much less costly than what my fellow teachers are paying. This should be an interesting summer. Next year with a whole crop of new teachers should be interesting too.

I haven't yet heard if my proposed schedule for next year has been approved. The elementary principal and the high school principal have to fight it out. But the high school principal is so busy looking for new staff that he hasn't had time. This semester with only 15 minutes of elementary prep for five classes a day has been hard to manage.

I am very eager for summer vacation and a chance to refresh and reflect.

Read Last Week
The dug the next books in the Pink Carnation series from deep in TBR mountain and read:
I also bought but have not yet received all the rest of the books in the series.
I read Magic and Manners by C. E. Murphy this week which was an enjoyable mashup of Jane Austen and magic. My review will be posted on August 4.

Death on the Sapphire by R. J. Koreto was an very enjoyable historical mystery that I got for review from NetGalley. My review will be posted on June 9.

Currently
I am currently reading Boundary Lines by Melissa F. Olson which is the second book in a series in which I have the third book on my review stack.

Next Week
Veil of Night by Linda Howard is from deep in TBR mountain. This is a romantic suspense title by an author I have enjoyed in the past.

Then, I'll be reading review books:
  • Boundary Born by Melissa F. Olson will be released on June 21. I got the eARC from NetGalley.
  • Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet by Charlie N. Holmberg will be released on June 28. I got this one from NetGalley too.
  • Seconds to Live by Melinda Leigh will be released on June 28. I got this one from NetGalley too.
Reviews Posted
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?
State of TBR Mountain:
  • Added in May: 24
  • May still TBR: 22
  • Added in 2016: 149
  • 2016 still TBR: 90
  • Total TBR: 1939
  • Review Books: 29
To see what Young Adult books I have been reading and plan to read, check out Ms. Martin Teaches Media - my other blog.