Sunday, June 16, 2019

Book Review: Shoot to Thrill by P. J. Tracy

Shoot to Thrill
Author: P. J. Tracy
Series: Monkeewrench (Book 5)
Publication: G.P. Putnam's Sons; 1st edition (April 29, 2010)

Description: The Monkeewrench crew returns in a stunning new thriller.It's eighty-five degrees in the shade when Minneapolis detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth pull into the MPD parking garage. They're driving a tricked-out Caddy, repossessed from a low-level drug dealer. It's not a Beemer or a Mercedes, but it's got GPS, air-conditioning, and power seats with more positions than the Kama Sutra. Things are heating up inside the station-house, too. The bomb squad's off to investigate another suspicious package at the mall, and kids are beating the crap out of one another and posting it on YouTube. And before Magozzi and Rolseth can wish for a straight-on homicide, the call comes in: a floater.Soon they're humping it along a derelict stretch of the Mississippi River, beyond the green places where families picnic and admire the views. They can see her- she looks like a bride in her white formal gown- face down, dead in the water. And so it begins.

My Thoughts: Magozzi and Rolseth's most recent case is that of a transvestite dressed as a bride found face down in the Mississippi River. At first it looks like an accident, but that changes to murder when it is learned that someone videoed the murder and posted it on YouTube.

Meanwhile, Grace and the Monkeewrench gang are trying to write some software that can distinguish between videos that fake murders and those that are real. They are working with FBI Agent John Smith who is nearing his mandatory retirement date and wondering what he is going to do with the rest of his life.

When it is discovered that there is a chatroom where murderers and would-be murderers can go and brag about their kills, the case and the project come together. The Monkeewrench gang and the police work together to try to find the killers before they can kill again.

A side issue has to do with the disaffected using the internet to get their fifteen minutes of fame with a case of someone leaving packages with suspicious contents all over the Twin Cities. This story talks a lot about the negative side of the Web since it gives a forum for crazies of all kinds.

I thought it was a great story and a thought-provoking one too.

Favorite Quote:
"And by the way, the Web is really starting to piss me off. It's like a meet-and-greet for sociopaths all of a sudden."

"Access and anonymity. If you're a scumbag, it's the perfect storm. But in the end, it's the same old criminals, just a different venue.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Book Review: Straight by Dick Francis

Straight
Author: Dick Francis
Publication: G.P. Putnam's Sons (February 7, 2006)

Description: In this mystery from New York Times bestselling author Dick Francis, a jockey becomes the sole inheritor of his late brother's business, horse, mistress, and enemies.

Steeplechase jockey Derek Franklin has had more broken bones than he cares to count, but it seems his latest injury could very well bring his days on the race course to a screeching halt. But that’s the least of his concerns when his brother turns up dead, leaving Derek as the sole inheritor of his estate.

It doesn’t take long for Derek to learn that his brother—a magistrate who imported and sold semiprecious stones—was keeping more than his share of secrets. Now Derek must recover $1.5 million worth of missing diamonds—and find out who wanted his brother dead—or else his career won’t be the only thing in danger of being cut short...

My Thoughts: Champion steeplechase jockey Derek Franklin is nursing a broken ankle caused by a fall and an encounter with a horse's hoof when he receives a call that his much older brother Greville was in hospital after some scaffolding fell on him in Ipswich.

Derek and Greville had reconnected only a few years earlier. The nineteen year age gap was difficult for them to overcome until Derek became an adult himself. Recently, though, they had been meeting for occasional dinners and exchanging occasional phone calls. Derek rushes to Ipswich to be present when Greville passes away. Then he has to try to settle the affairs of a man who was known for keeping secrets.

Greville was a gem merchant with his own firm. Derek has inherited it and all of his other property including his two race horses. When he learns that his brother had purchased a number of diamonds for a famed jeweler, all of the employees at the firm are surprised. The firm didn't deal in diamonds. Worse yet, the diamonds are missing and the loan payment for them is coming due.

The racehorses are also a problem. They are kept with noted trainer Nicholas Loder. But Derek as a jockey can't own racehorses. Derek gets bad vibes from Loder when he phones him to discuss the horses. Loder is angry and also frightened.

This gives Derek two different mysteries to solve and someone doesn't want him to solve either of them. Besides an attack when he is leaving the hospital after his brother's death, he also has to deal with break-ins at the business and at Greville's home. Then there is the car accident when the man chauffeuring Derek and a couple of horse owners from a race. The driver is killed and it as a near thing for Derek who is trapped in the car.

The story was fast-paced and entertaining. Derek was a wonderful character who is bright and observant and out of his depth trying to run his brother's business. Like many of Dick Francis's characters, he is an honorable and bright man dropped into a difficult situation.

Favorite Quote:
"I don't forgive it. Or forget. But after wars, enemies trade." It always happened, I thought, though cynics might mock. Mutual benefit was the most powerful of bridge-builders, even if the heart remained bitter. "We'll see how we go," I said again.
I bought this one in hardcover when it was released and in Kindle copy when it was a recent Kindle Deal. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Friday Memes: Straight by Dick Francis

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 inherited my brother's life. I inherited his desk, his business, his gadgets, his enemies, his horses and his mistress. I inherited my brother's life, and it nearly killed me.
Friday 56:
I let myself into the house and regretted the embargo on a large scotch. Instead, with June's lunchtime sandwich a distant memory, I refueled with sardines on toast and ice cream after, which more or less reflected my habitual laziness about cooking.
This week I am spotlighting Straight by Dick Francis. I read this one years ago but couldn't resist when it was offered as a Kindle Daily Deal. Here is the description from Amazon:
In this mystery from New York Times bestselling author Dick Francis, a jockey becomes the sole inheritor of his late brother's business, horse, mistress, and enemies.

Steeplechase jockey Derek Franklin has had more broken bones than he cares to count, but it seems his latest injury could very well bring his days on the race course to a screeching halt. But that’s the least of his concerns when his brother turns up dead, leaving Derek as the sole inheritor of his estate.

It doesn’t take long for Derek to learn that his brother—a magistrate who imported and sold semiprecious stones—was keeping more than his share of secrets. Now Derek must recover $1.5 million worth of missing diamonds—and find out who wanted his brother dead—or else his career won’t be the only thing in danger of being cut short...

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Book Review: The Leopard King by Ann Aguirre

The Leopard King
Author: Ann Aguirre
Series: Ars Numina Book 1
Publication: Self-Published (September 28, 2016)

Description: Proud. Imperious. Impassioned.

Until three years ago, those words applied to Dominic Asher, the leader of Ash Valley. His family has ruled the feline branch of the Animari for hundreds of years, guiding the pride through perilous times. Unspeakable loss drove him into seclusion, a feral beast nobody can tame. Now he's wrecked, a leopard king in exile, and he wants nothing more than to die.

Fierce. Loyal. Determined.

Fortunately for Dom, those words still apply to Pru Bristow, his dead mate's best friend. She's had her heart broken too, but she never quits. With the conclave approaching, alliances with the Pine Ridge pack and Burnt Amber clans on the verge of collapse, she's prepared to do whatever it takes to drag their leader back, before his second can start a war.

At best theirs seems like a desperate alliance, but when their mate bond turns hot and fierce, there's no end to the questions and the doubts. Neither of them expects to fall in love. But sometimes people don't know what they're looking for until they find it.

My Thoughts: Pack leader Dominic Asher has made himself a recluse since the death of his beloved wife. But now with the conclave approaching to renew the peace accords, Pru Bristow has to bring him back home.

Pru was his wife's best friend and is still grieving herself. Dom makes a deal with her: if she can finally shift, he'll become her mate and go back to the pack. Since Pru has been doing all sorts of very dangerous things to finally trigger her latent shifting abilities, Dom thinks he's safe. But when they two of them are attacked, Pru shifts to save him.

Pru is a bundle of insecurities. She was rejected by the cat she wanted for a mate because she couldn't shift. Slay had kept up a sort of casual relationship with her since but that added to her insecurity rather than diminished it.

Even after finally shifting, Pru is certain that Dom's heart is still with his first mate and that he has become her mate only because of his vow. Meanwhile, Dom is falling in love with the gallant, courageous, and good-hearted Pru.

However, with the peace accords breaking down, and invasion imminent, Pru and Dom have bigger worries than their relationship. Balancing allies and locating enemies has to take top priority. It doesn't matter that Slay was really in love with Pru and just waiting for his mother to die before he told her. Now Pru has made her total commitment to Dom and they will work together for their pack.

This was engaging and spicy. There were a lot of misunderstandings between Dom and Pru that took a while to be cleared up. This is the first of a series of books and I'm eager to read more.

Favorite Quote:
"World of hurt, I know. I'm familiar with your rhetoric."

"My what?"

"Bombast. Grandiloquence. Orotundity."

"You're just making up words now." Dom smiled, despite the fact that she was clearly insulting him. Normally, the pride didn't give him shit like this, part of being the exalted leader.

He didn't hate it.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

ARC Review: A Merciful Promise by Kendra Elliot

A Merciful Promise
Author: Kendra Elliot
Series: Mercy Kilpatrick (Book 6)
Publication: Montlake Romance (June 18, 2019)

Description: The Wall Street Journal bestselling series continues as Mercy Kilpatrick becomes embedded in the nightmare of a terrorist conspiracy.

The job: infiltrate a militia amassing illegal firearms in an isolated forest community. FBI agent Mercy Kilpatrick is the ideal candidate. She knows Oregon. She’s near the compound. And having been raised among survivalists, Mercy understands the mind-set of fanatics. Lay low, follow rules, do nothing to sound an alarm, and relinquish all contact with the outside world. She’s ready to blend in.

As Mercy disappears into the winter hills, something just as foreboding emerges. Mercy’s fiancĂ©, Eagle’s Nest police chief Truman Daly, is faced with a puzzling series of murders—three men dumped in random locations after execution-style shootings.

Now, for Mercy, trapped in a culture where suspicion is second nature, and betrayal is punishable to the extreme, there is no way out. No way to call for help. And as plans for a catastrophic terrorist event escalate, there may be no way to stop them. Even if Mercy dies trying.

My Thoughts: Truman and Mercy are just three months away from their Christmas wedding when Mercy is tapped for an undercover assignment to look for stolen weapons and a plot to use them in a secretive militaristic compound deep in a rural area. She has less than a day to prepare since she is filling in for an agent who suddenly contracted Shingles. She can't tell anyone where she is going or how long she'll be gone.

Meanwhile, Truman who is left at home is suddenly involved in a case of his own when random dead bodies are turning up stripped to their underwear and shot in the head.

As Truman worries about Mercy, she finds herself in a compound where she isn't sure that she can trust her partner who seems to be proceeding much too slowly for Mercy's liking. Mercy's cover is that of someone with nursing experience which immediately gets her involved with a heavily pregnant woman and some sick children. Since the attitude of the group is that medical intervention is a government plot to control people, Mercy has a fight on her hands to get help for the sick child.

When her partner disappears and Mercy fears for him, she is left alone, unable to communicate with anyone outside, and with only a sixteen-year-old girl for an ally. Her identity betrayed to the leader, Mercy is in great danger when she gets help from an unexpected source that might be enough to save her. Meanwhile, after her partner's body is discovered, Truman learns where she is and the danger she's in and is determined to find her.

This was an action packed, intense conclusion to the Mercy Kilpatrick series. It was well written and fast-paced and, best of all, it looks like a happy ending for Mercy and Truman and the family that they have built.

Favorite Quote:
Shock froze Truman midstride. "Jesus, Britta. You could have told me on the phone that it was a dead body. Or when I arrived." His breakfast threatened to reappear.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Book Review: Wolf Rain by Nalini Singh

Wolf Rain 
Author: Nalini Singh
Series: Psy-Changeling Trinity Book 3
Publication: Berkley (June 4, 2019)

Description: The fate of millions of lives hangs in the balance in this new Psy-Changeling Trinity novel from New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh...

Kidnapped as a young girl, her psychic powers harnessed by a madman, Memory lives a caged and isolated existence...until she comes face-to-face with a wolf. Labelled an empath by her bad-tempered rescuer, Memory knows that her 'gift' is nothing so bright. It is a terrible darkness that means she will always be hunted.

But Memory is free now and she intends to live. A certain growly wolf can just deal with it.

Alexei prefers to keep his packmates at bay, the bleak history of his family a constant reminder that mating, love, hope is not for him. But Memory, this defiant and fearless woman who stands toe-to-toe with him awakens the most primal part of his nature--and soon, he must make a choice: risk everything or lose Memory to a murderous darkness that wants to annihilate her from existence...

My Thoughts: This latest in the Psy-Changeling series is centered around the SnowDancer pack of wolves. It especially features Alexi who is one of the lieutenants and a wolf with a deep well of sorrow. His beloved older brother turned rogue and killed his wife before the pack executed him. Besides being angry at his brother, Alexei has deep fears that he will also turn rogue someday.

While Alexei is out for some solitary time in the far reaches of his territory, he is drawn in to a very strong feeling of grief. He has to find the grieving one and assuage their grief. His search leads him to Memory, a Psy empath who has been kept prisoner by a psychopath for fifteen years - since she was eight. Memory is found in a hitherto unknown bunker holding on to the body of her only companion, a cat she named Jitterbug.

Memory is convinced that she is a monster because she was forced to help the psychopath commit his crimes. But Alexei sees the strength and goodness in her and takes her to the training camp where Es are being taught to use their gifts. It is only since Silence fell that Es have been recognized. Their talents weren't valued while Silence reigned.

But it might be the Es who are the only thing holding the failing PsyNet together. The new council is very concerned about the threat of imminent failure of the PsyNet and the millions of deaths of Psy that will ensue it fails. While the wolves and the Arrows are trying to track down Memory's captor, there is still another threat weakening the PsyNet.

I loved the fast pace and the emotional intensity of this episode. I loved Memory's determination to survive, triumph over her enemy, and win the love of her wolf. I loved Alexei's playfulness and determination to protect and shelter his E despite his fears for their future. The romance was hot and very romantic and emotionally intense.

This was an excellent addition to an already strong series.

Favorite Quote:
Unfettered respect wiped away his earlier pity, his wolf looked at her with new eyes. This was how she survived in that bunker.

The woman beside him was a fighter. 
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Monday, June 10, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (June 10, 2019)

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.

Other Than Reading...

This has been a good week. I have been doing a lot of walking along with my Curves visits. The weather has been just great!

This week saw a visit from a service that analyzes our home energy uses and suggests ways to improve. It was a free service and required by our power company before we can do our solar install. We got a lot of good ideas along with some freebies including energy efficient light bulbs, an energy efficient power strip, and even a low water flow shower head. Of course, there were also ideas we have no intention of implementing. We like have two refrigerators and two freezers and the freezers, at least, are almost always full!

Weather permitting (and thunderstorms are in the forecast), our solar install will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday. The man who called from the installing company said they like to start work at 7 AM. He heard my whimper when he said that. Days don't count as starting for me until the time reaches double digits! I am definitely a night owl. Oh, well, it should only be a couple of days.

Read Last Week

If you can't wait until the review shows up on my blog, reviews are posted to LibraryThing and Goodreads as soon as I write them (usually right after I finish reading a book.)

  • Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop (Mine and a reread)
  • The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King (Mine 2019) - This is the first Sherlock Holmes/Mary Russell historical mystery. I read it years ago and didn't keep the book. I got the Kindle copy. My review will be posted on August 18. It was scheduled earlier but I needed to move it for July 9 releases that I got this week.
  • The Pawful Truth by Miranda James (July 16) - This is the eleventh book in the Cat in the Stacks cozy mystery series. I've only read two but enjoyed this story of Librarian Charlie Harris getting involved in another mystery and solving it with the help of his Maine coon cat Diesel. My review will be posted on July 9.


  • Past Perfect Life by Elizabeth Eulberg (July 9) - This was an excellent contemporary YA story about a girl who discovers that she was kidnapped by her father as a toddler when she applies to college. Her sense of identity is tested when her mother, who had been looking for her for 15 years, sweeps in and takes her back to a life and people she doesn't know or want. My review will be posted on July 6.
  • Wolf Rain by Nalini Singh (Mine 2019) - The latest in the Psy-Changeling series was another excellent paranormal romance with a lot of suspense too. My review will be posted on June 11.


  • The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman (July 9) - This laugh-out-loud contemporary romance tells the story of Nina Hill who discovers, after the death of the father she never knew, that she has sisters, a brother, nieces, nephews, and even great-nieces and nephews which really rocks the world of this solitary, anxiety-prone bookworm. My review will be posted on July 7.
  • The Hills Have Spies by Mercedes Lackey (Mine 2019) - I really enjoy the Valdemar fantasy stories by Lackey and had been waiting until the paperback was released to lower the Kindle price before buying this one. It was a great story that would work quite well as a YA or even Middle Grade title. My review will be posted July 3.

Currently

  • Eye Spy by Mercedes Lackey (July 9)

Next Week




Reviews Posted




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What was your week like?