Friday, December 15, 2017

Friday Memes: Crimson Death by Laurell K. Hamilton

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:
I'd fallen asleep cuddled between two of the men I loved most, with one arm flung across their naked bodies so I could touch the third.
Friday 56:
"There's no way to win with you, is there?" I asked.


"I'm not a game to win, Anita. I'm a person with a heart and right now you're breaking it."
This week I am reading Crimson Death by Laurell K. Hamilton. I bought this one when it was released but it sort of got lost on my Kindle. Here is the description from Amazon:
In her twenty-fifth adventure, vampire hunter and necromancer Anita Blake learns that evil is in the eye of the beholder...
 
Anita has never seen Damian, her vampire servant, in such a state. The rising sun doesn’t usher in the peaceful death that he desperately needs. Instead, he’s being bombarded with violent nightmares and blood sweats. 

And now, with Damian at his most vulnerable, Anita needs him the most. The vampire who created him, who subjected him to centuries of torture, might be losing control, allowing rogue vampires to run wild and break one of their kind’s few strict taboos.

Some say love is a great motivator, but hatred gets the job done, too. And when Anita joins forces with her friend Edward to stop the carnage, Damian will be at their side, even if it means traveling back to the land where all his nightmares spring from...a place that couldn’t be less welcoming to a vampire, an assassin, and a necromancer: Ireland.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Book Review: Heartstone by Elle Katherine White

Heartstone
Author: Elle Katherine White
Publication: Harper Voyager (January 17, 2017)

Description: A debut historical fantasy that recasts Jane Austen’s beloved Pride & Prejudice in an imaginative world of wyverns, dragons, and the warriors who fight alongside them against the monsters that threaten the kingdom: gryphons, direwolves, lamias, banshees, and lindworms.

They say a Rider in possession of a good blade must be in want of a monster to slay—and Merybourne Manor has plenty of monsters.

Passionate, headstrong Aliza Bentaine knows this all too well; she’s already lost one sister to the invading gryphons. So when Lord Merybourne hires a band of Riders to hunt down the horde, Aliza is relieved her home will soon be safe again.

Her relief is short-lived. With the arrival of the haughty and handsome dragonrider, Alastair Daired, Aliza expects a battle; what she doesn’t expect is a romantic clash of wills, pitting words and wit against the pride of an ancient house. Nor does she anticipate the mystery that follows them from Merybourne Manor, its roots running deep as the foundations of the kingdom itself, where something old and dreadful slumbers . . . something far more sinister than gryphons.

It’s a war Aliza is ill-prepared to wage, on a battlefield she’s never known before: one spanning kingdoms, class lines, and the curious nature of her own heart.

Elle Katharine White infuses elements of Austen’s beloved novel with her own brand of magic, crafting a modern epic fantasy that conjures a familiar yet wondrously unique new world.

My Thoughts: This was an excellent fantasy with lots of romance. When Merybourne manor is invaded by gryphons, the local lord gathers together enough money to hire a group of Riders to clear them out. While Aliza Bentaine is grateful to the riders, one of them, Alistair Daired, just rubs her the wrong way. She first meets him when he kicks her hobgoblin friend Tobble and calls him vermin. Daired is rude, arrogant and haughty. A romance does bloom between one of the other Riders and Aliza's sister Anjey though which delights Aliza and Anjey's social climbing mother who wants nothing more than to marry her daughters off to Riders.

After the gryphons have been defeated, most of the Riders leave and when the king calls, the rest leave too. Anjey and her Rider promise to write to each other every day but no letters arrive. Aliza is angry and sad for her sister. Time passes and Aliza travels to visit her best friend who has married and is living near a Daired family home. There she meets Alistair again whom she blames for sabotaging her sister's relationship by intercepting the letters. He denies it and confesses his love for her in a somewhat tactless manner. She rebuffs him but can't seem to get him out of her thoughts.

When a terrible lindworm surfaces endangering Aliza's home and all the Riders, she learns what her true feelings are for Alistair Daired. I loved the slow building romance. I loved all the various creatures especially Tobble and Alistair's dragon partner Akarra. I liked the world building. I liked Aliza's adventure to save her love.

I haven't read PRIDE AND PREJUDICE and can't compare this story to the original. However, I do recommend this one to anyone who likes fantasy and romance. 

Favorite Quote:
"I just told you I love you!"

"You don't even know me!"

"I know enough--"

"Enough? Aye, my birth and bloodline being 'beneath you' summed it up pretty well."

He reddened."I didn't mean it like that."

"Oh, you meant to insult me in a kind and considerate way?"
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

ARC Review: Killman Creek by Rachel Caine

Killman Creek
Author: Rachel Caine
Series: Stillhouse Lake Series (Book 2)
Publication: Thomas & Mercer (December 12, 2017)

Description: Every time Gwen closed her eyes, she saw him in her nightmares. Now her eyes are open, and he’s not going away.

Gwen Proctor won the battle to save her kids from her ex-husband, serial killer Melvin Royal, and his league of psychotic accomplices. But the war isn’t over. Not since Melvin broke out of prison. Not since she received a chilling text…

You’re not safe anywhere now.

Her refuge at Stillhouse Lake has become a trap. Gwen leaves her children in the protective custody of a fortified, well-armed neighbor. Now, with the help of Sam Cade, brother of one of Melvin’s victims, Gwen is going hunting. She’s learned how from one of the sickest killers alive.

But what she’s up against is beyond anything she feared—a sophisticated and savage mind game calculated to destroy her. As trust beyond her small circle of friends begins to vanish, Gwen has only fury and vengeance to believe in as she closes in on her prey. And sure as the night, one of them will die.

My Thoughts: The story begun in STILLHOUSE LAKE comes to its heart-pounding conclusion in this book. Gwen has survived the trap set by her serial killer ex-husband but the safety that she found for herself and her children has been destroyed. She is no longer the meek, ignorant young wife who was unaware of her husband's crimes. But is she strong enough to finally take down the man who is haunting her life and threatening her children?

Gwen is going hunting for her ex-husband. Assisting her her is Sam Cade, who sister was her husband's final victim. He, too, has a strong motive to find and destroy Melvin Royal. Sam and Gwen are starting a romance but it isn't easy because Sam is just beginning to trust the woman he thought was her husband's accomplice.

The power of social media is a strong presence in this book. Gwen and her kids are targets of internet trolls and have been since her husband's crimes were discovered. Part of the story has Sam and Gwen trying to track down Absalom who first seemed to help Gwen when she was trying to start a new life but who was revealed as a minion of her ex-husband. Now Gwen and Sam learn that Absalom's internet harassment is only the tip of iceberg that hides child porn, blackmail, and snuff films in its depths.

This story is told from four points of view. Gwen, Sam, Lanny, and Connor all tell the story in their own chapters. Lanny and Connor both have interesting points of view. Lanny knows that her father is a murderer but she still remembers times when he was just "dad." Connor is even more conflicted. He was only seven when his father's crimes were revealed. He has even stronger memories of good times with his father. He now has a cellphone that he can use to contact his father which he has to keep secret from his mother and Lanny. He also knows that his father is a murderer but is still looking for a way to connect with his father.

This was an excellent thriller packed with action and dangerous situations. I was especially moved when videos surfaced that showed Gwen complicit in Melvin's crimes and which her children and Sam believed. Gwen was even more isolated after they were revealed and even more determined to kill Melvin and protect her children.

Read STILLHOUSE LAKE first and then read this excellent conclusion to the story.

Favorite Quote:
"Of course I want to go back," Gwen says, then takes a deep breath. "But I can't, can I? If I don't fight for my kids and protect them now, how can I ever look them in they eyes again? He's going to come for them. And I need to be in his way when he does."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

First Paragraph/Teaser Tuesday: Killman Creek by Rachel Caine

Every Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the first paragraph of a book she is reading or planning to read. She provides a linky for others to post theirs.

Here's mine:
On the twelfth night since my ex-husband escaped prison, I am in bed. Not sleeping. Watching the play of light and shadow on the curtains. I'm lying on a narrow foldout cot and feeling every twinge of spring poking through the thin mattress. My kids, Lanny and Connor, occupy the two full-size beds in this mid-price motel room. Midpriced is the best I can afford right now. 
 
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:
"I'll call tonight," she tells me, and I shrug, like it's no big deal if she doesn't. Except it is. We both know it. 
This week my book is Killman Creek by Rachel Caine. I got this one for review from NetGalley. Here is the description from Amazon:
Every time Gwen closed her eyes, she saw him in her nightmares. Now her eyes are open, and he’s not going away.

Gwen Proctor won the battle to save her kids from her ex-husband, serial killer Melvin Royal, and his league of psychotic accomplices. But the war isn’t over. Not since Melvin broke out of prison. Not since she received a chilling text…

You’re not safe anywhere now.

Her refuge at Stillhouse Lake has become a trap. Gwen leaves her children in the protective custody of a fortified, well-armed neighbor. Now, with the help of Sam Cade, brother of one of Melvin’s victims, Gwen is going hunting. She’s learned how from one of the sickest killers alive.

But what she’s up against is beyond anything she feared—a sophisticated and savage mind game calculated to destroy her. As trust beyond her small circle of friends begins to vanish, Gwen has only fury and vengeance to believe in as she closes in on her prey. And sure as the night, one of them will die.

Monday, December 11, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Dec. 11, 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...

After predicting it all week, we finally got between one and two inches of snow Friday night which happens to be less than Atlanta. Our television news thought it was funny that an inch stops Atlanta in its tracks and is barely worth mentioning here. It does look a lot more like Christmas with the ground covered with snow though.

It was a quiet week. I did some more Christmas shopping midweek to avoid the weekend rush and putting up the tree has at least gotten on the agenda. My brother and I have been having a discussion about where the tree should go since last year's location is now covered with bookshelves and won't work this year. We'll see where it ends up.

I have entered into a time when I'll be reading lots of review books. I added seven new ones this week. I have already read and written reviews for seven January releases but I have eight more still on the stack to read. February is another month packed with review books. I have 19 on the pile. I'll still be trying to fit in books from TBR mountain but I don't know how successful I will be.

Read Last Week
The Turncoat's Gambit by Andrea Cremer completes her Inventor's Secret trilogy which comes bines alternate history and steampunk into a great adventure. My review will be posted on Jan. 5.

Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner is a review book that begins a science fiction trilogy and was an engaging story. My review will be posted on Jan. 3.
The English Wife by Lauren Willig was a review book which was a historical mystery. I thought this book was excellent with great characters, an engaging mystery, and a wonderful depiction of 1899. My review will be posted on Jan. 6.

A Wedding at Two Love Lane by Kieran Kramer was a traditional romance but with more characterization than is usual. My review for this upcoming release will be posted on Jan. 3.

A Mortal Likeness by Laura Joh Rowland is a historical mystery from my review stack. This one was also entertaining and really made the time period come to life. My review will be posted on Jan. 4.

Currently
What Doesn't Kill You by Aimee Hix is also a review book. This is a contemporary Romantic Suspense title.

Next Week
A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn (Review; Jan. 16)
Year One by Nora Roberts (TBR pile new arrival)
Cast in Deception by Michelle Sagara (Review: Jan. 23)
Vampire Academy: The Graphic Novel by Richelle Mead (TBR pile since 2014)
Frostbite: The Graphic Novel by Richelle Mead (TBR pile since 2014)
Shadow Kiss: The Graphic Novel by Richelle Mead (TBR pile since 2014)
Wake Up Missing by Kate Messner (Review copy from 2010 discovered in my TBR mountain)
Let's Talk About Love by Claire Kann (Review: Jan. 23)
The Last Girl on Earth by Alexandra Blogier (Review: Jan. 23)

Reviews Posted

On Ms. Martin Teaches Media:
Almost Final Curtain by Tate Hallaway
Almost to Die For by Tate Hallaway

On Inside of a Dog:
A Case of Syrah, Syrah by Nancy J. Parra
Bury the Past by James L'Etoile
A Murder for the Books by Victoria Gilbert

Want to See What I Added to the Stack This Week?

Check out my Stacking the Shelves post.

What was your week like?


Sunday, December 10, 2017

Stacking the Shelves (Dec. 10, 2017)

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks! You can find linkups at Tynga's Reviews and Reading Reality.

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

Like squirrels storing up nuts for the winter, I seem to have decided that I need to store up for some upcoming snowpocalyse.
 Bannerless by Carrie Vaughn (permanent copy to replace review copy)
Elsker by S. T. Bende (Kindle deal)
North of Need by Laura Kaye (Kindle Deal)
 Shades of Memory by Diana Pharaoh Francis (Adds to a series I'm reading)
Steele Resolve by Kimberly Amato (Kindle Deal)
The Strangers on Montague Street by Karen White (Adds to a series I'm reading)
The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso (Kindle Deal)
Trouble in Loveland by Jennifer Peel (Kindle Deal)
A Wilder Rose by Susan Wittig Albert (Kindle Deal)
Year One by Nora Roberts (favorite author's new release)
Murder in Bloomsbury by D. M Quincy (Review: Feb. 13)
Shattered Mirror by Iris Johansen (Review: April 24)

YA Additions to the Stack:
Desolate by Amy Miles (Kindle Deal)
The Last Girl on Earth by Alexandra Blogier (Review; Jan. 23)
Layover by Amy Andelson & Emily Meyer (Review; Feb. 6)
The Science of Breakable Things by Tae Keller (Review; March 6)
The Summer of Broken Things by Margaret Peterson Haddix (Review: April 10)
Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian (Review: April 24)

These additions bring the total on TBR mountain to 2049 of which 1472 are Kindle books.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

ARC Review: A Murder for the Books by Victoria Gilbert

A Murder for the Books
Author: Victoria Gilbert
Series: A Blue Ridge Library Mystery (Book 1)
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (December 12, 2017)

Description: Fleeing a disastrous love affair, university librarian Amy Webber moves in with her aunt in a quiet, historic mountain town in Virginia. She quickly busies herself with managing a charming public library that requires all her attention with its severe lack of funds and overabundance of eccentric patrons. The last thing she needs is a new, available neighbor whose charm lures her into trouble.

Dancer-turned-teacher and choreographer Richard Muir inherited the farmhouse next door from his great-uncle, Paul Dassin. But town folklore claims the house’s original owner was poisoned by his wife, who was an outsider. It quickly became water under the bridge, until she vanished after her sensational 1925 murder trial. Determined to clear the name of the woman his great-uncle loved, Richard implores Amy to help him investigate the case. Amy is skeptical until their research raises questions about the culpability of the town’s leading families... including her own.

When inexplicable murders plunge the quiet town into chaos, Amy and Richard must crack open the books to reveal a cruel conspiracy and lay a turbulent past to rest in A Murder for the Books, the first installment of Victoria Gilbert’s Blue Ridge Library mysteries.

My Thoughts: Amy Webber has come home to a small mountain town to live with her aunt after a love affair went wrong. She is now the library director of the Carnegie public library which is underfunded and in need of repair. One day she takes a trip to the Archives and finds the body of a local resident with dementia. Doris Virts has been shot.

Amy, being sensible with a strong sense of what she is good at, leaves the investigation to the local police. She's busy doing her kind of research helping her new neighbor Richard Muir investigate the history of his house. Local legends claim that the original owner was poisoned by his wife who was acquitted of the charges largely because of the efforts of Richard's great-uncle Paul who was a reporter and in love with Eleanora. However, Eleanora disappeared right after her acquittal in 1925 leaving a mystery behind her. Amy is attracted to Richard but is hesitant to start anything with another artistic type. Richard is a dancer and choreographer who is now teaching at Clarion.

Besides the historical research she and Richard are doing, they also get involved in a more contemporary mystery regarding Richard's land which once held an orphanage that suffered a tragedy when the cook and some students died in 1956. Suspicions were that the cook mistakenly included some poisonous mushrooms in her cooking.

There is still another contemporary issue. Town leaders are trying to sell some land for development despite various protests including one organized by Amy's best friend and library assistant Sunny. All of these plot threads come together as old family secrets and rivalries are discovered and another murder is committed. Amy even learns some secrets about her own family in the course of the investigation.

I liked Amy and Richard's romance. I liked the way they worked together on their research. I thought that the town politics and relationships were well-done. There were a number of possible suspects but I will admit that I didn't pick the right one when I was trying to figure out the killer. But then neither did Amy which led to traumatic things happening to her.

This was an engaging mystery with great characters and a nicely complex plot. There is even a possibility that ghosts are involved.

Favorite Quote:
Maybe he wanted it to look like a theft gone wrong...

You're not a detective, Amy, even if you know some investigative techniques. You shouldn't be speculating on things without facts.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.