Friday, July 31, 2015

Friday Memes: Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Marty Wingate

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 am spotlighting Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Marty Wingate. I got this cozy mystery from Alibi via NetGalley. Here is the description from Amazon:
After her romantic idyll with the debonair Detective Chief Inspector Christopher Pearse culminates in a marriage proposal, Pru Parke sets about arranging their nuptials while diving into a short-term gig at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. At hand is the authentication of a journal purportedly penned by eighteenth-century botanist and explorer Archibald Menzies. Compared to the chaos of wedding planning, studying the journal is an agreeable task . . . that is, until a search for a missing cat leads to the discovery of a dead body: One of Pru’s colleagues has been conked on the head with a rock and dumped from a bridge into the Water of Leith.

Pru can’t help wondering if the murder has something to do with the Menzies diary. Is the killer covering up a forgery? Among the police’s many suspects are a fallen aristocrat turned furniture maker, Pru’s overly solicitous assistant, even Pru herself. Now, in the midst of sheer torture by the likes of flamboyant wedding dress designers and eccentric church organists, Pru must also uncover the work of a sly murderer—unless this bride wants to walk down the aisle in handcuffs.
Beginning:
Three boys in school uniforms, their ties askew now at the end of the day, edged their way over the imaginary line drawn on the pavement by the police constable.
Friday 56: 
"I believe that last entry was February 16, 1794, when they left Hawaii," Pru said. "The entire return journey on the Discovery—more than a year—all missing." Iain didn't look at her as she spoke, and so she turned to Alastair, who slid the book across the desk to her.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

ARC Review: Wolf Trouble by Paige Tyler

Wolf Trouble
Author: Paige Tyler
Series: SWAT (Book 2)
Publication: Sourcebooks Casablanca (August 4, 2015)

Description: He's in trouble with a capital T

There's never been a female on the Dallas SWAT team and Senior Corporal Xander Riggs prefers it that way. The elite pack of alpha male wolfshifters is no place for a woman. But Khaki Blake is no ordinary woman.

When Khaki walks through the door attractive as hell and smelling like heaven, Xander doesn't know what the heck to do. Worse, she's put under his command and Xander's protective instincts go on high alert. When things start heating up both on and off the clock, it's almost impossible to keep their heads in the game and their hands off each other...

My Thoughts: The Dallas PD wants to add a female to the SWAT team for better PR. Since they are all werewolves, this doesn't sound like a good idea to the team. But their commander Gage has an idea. Newly turned Khaki Blake might be the perfect fit. She is eager to get away from her Washington town to get away from her harassing ex Jeremy. As a fellow cop, he has made things very hard for her.

When Gage puts Khaki on Xander's team, troubles mount. Xander is immediately attracted to Khaki but the facts that he is her supervisor and that she is just getting over a workplace relationship gone wrong make this the wrong time and the wrong place. But when a werewolf meets The One, there really isn't a choice.

Khaki feels the same way about Xander and is hurt when he seems to not like her. It takes a very special hostage rescue before they can own their feeling for each other. Once they do...the love scenes are spicy. Some vicious bank robbers, Khaki's pyscho ex and police department procedures mean the Xander and Khaki have lots of hurdles to jump before their romance can flourish.

Fans of werewolf romances will enjoy this book which is the second in the SWAT series and be looking forward to me. I can't wait for the next one.

Favorite Quote:
But then Riggs had walked into the training room, and snap! The scent coming off him was so tantalizing she'd almost leaned forward to get a better sniff. She controlled herself–barely. Shoving your nose into your new supervisor's neck and snuffling him like a pig probably wasn't' the kind of first impression she wanted to make.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

ARC Review: The Veil by Chloe Neill

The Veil
Author: Chloe Neill
Series: A Devil's Isle Novel (Book 1)
Publisher: NAL (August 4, 2015)

Description: Seven years ago, the Veil that separates humanity from what lies beyond was torn apart, and New Orleans was engulfed in a supernatural war. Now, those with paranormal powers have been confined in a walled community that humans call the District. Those who live there call it Devil's Isle.

Claire Connolly is a good girl with a dangerous secret: she’s a Sensitive, a human endowed with magic that seeped through the Veil. Claire knows that revealing her skills would mean being confined to Devil’s Isle. Unfortunately, hiding her power has left her untrained and unfocused.

Liam Quinn knows from experience that magic makes monsters of the weak, and he has no time for a Sensitive with no control of her own strength. But when he sees Claire using her powers to save a human under attack—in full view of the French Quarter—Liam decides to bring her to Devil’s Isle and the teacher she needs, even though getting her out of his way isn’t the same as keeping her out of his head.

As more and more Sensitives fall prey to their magic, and unleash their hunger on the city, Claire and Liam must work together to save New Orleans, or else the city will burn…

My Thoughts: Times have changed in New Orleans. Seven years ago the Veil that separated Earth from paranormals broke and paranormals stormed through with the goal of conquering Earth. New Orleans was ground zero but battles extended through much of the South. The government with the assistance of some human magic users managed to reseal the Veil stranding some paranormals on this side. Containment has set up a prison in New Orleans called Devil's Isle to sequester paranormals and Sensitives - humans who can use magic.

Claire is 24 and a fourth generation citizen of New Orleans. Her great-grandfather began Royal Merchandise which was an antique store in good time but which now sells MREs, batteries, duct tape and other goods the remaining citizens of New Orleans need. Claire has also recently learned that she is a Sensitive with a small gift for telekinesis and is desperate to keep the information from Containment. If she doesn't learn how to deal with her magic, she can turn into a Wraith.

However, when she uses her magic to help save a young woman from Wraiths, her cover is blown. Liam Quinn discovers her. He is a bounty hunter who hunts Wraiths. A Wraith killed his younger sister. Liam helps Claire by finding a teacher for her so that she can learn to deal with magic in such a way as to not turn into a Wraith.

He takes her into Devil's Isle where she learns that all paranormals aren't evil. This is quite a change in her world view. Soon she gets involved in a movement that wants to get Containment to realize that all Sensitives can learn to use their magic and, therefore, not turn into Wraiths. She also learns that someone is trying to reopen the Veil which could further devastate New Orleans and all who live there.

There is the beginning of a romance between Liam and Clare complicated by Liam's fear that Claire will someday turn Wraith and that he will be forced to hunt her and take her to Devil's Isle. Liam does admire Claire. He calls her "recklessly brave."

I liked the world building in this story and I liked the way Claire grew and changed. I can't wait to see where this series goes next.

Favorite Quote:
Liam sighed. "You ever wonder why we didn't leave? Start over outside the Zone?"

"Because memories are the most powerful chains," I said.

He looked surprised by my answer. "That's right on the mark."

"Between stocking batteries and dusting antiques, I have lots of time to think."
I got this eARC from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Teaser Tuesday: Wolf Trouble by Paige Tyler

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. 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:
She was just thinking she might be lucky enough to get out of there before Jeremy showed up when he stormed into the bullpen. Crap.
This week my teaser comes from Wolf Trouble by Paige Tyler. This is the second book in her SWAT series. Here is the description from Amazon for this August 4 release:
He's in trouble with a capital T

There's never been a female on the Dallas SWAT team and Senior Corporal Xander Riggs prefers it that way. The elite pack of alpha male wolfshifters is no place for a woman. But Khaki Blake is no ordinary woman.

When Khaki walks through the door attractive as hell and smelling like heaven, Xander doesn't know what the heck to do. Worse, she's put under his command and Xander's protective instincts go on high alert. When things start heating up both on and off the clock, it's almost impossible to keep their heads in the game and their hands off each other...

Monday, July 27, 2015

Sunday Post/It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (July 27, 2015) #IMWAYR

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.
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.

Other Than Reading...

This was another quiet reading week. The weather has been hot and humid (at least for Duluth) making me grateful for air conditioning and good books.

Read Last Week
I took two off TBR mountain this week for my first two reading choices.

Heart of Brass by Kate Cross was an entertaining steampunk thriller/romance that begins a series. I enjoyed the world building and the characters which led me to purchase the rest of the series. My review will be posted on September 12.

Dragon's Kin by Anne McCaffrey and Todd McCaffrey had been on the mountain since sometime before Feb. 19, 2008. (I began my LibraryThing account then and scanned in all my books over the course of a few days.) This is a story of the early days on Pern and, with the main character being eleven, would be a great into to Pern for middle schoolers and young adults. My review will be posted on September 16.
Dark Waters by Chris Goff was a great thriller that I got for review from Crooked Lane Books. It takes place in Israel and is filled with the twisted politics of that region. I liked the characters, the twisty plot, and the setting. My review will be posted on September 9 for this September 15 release.

The Heat of the Moment by Katie Rose is the third book in her Boys of Summer romances. This pairs up a star baseball player traded to the Sonics after an injury and the trainer who wants to get him back in shape. This one also had great characters and nicely spicy love scenes. My review will be posted on September 17 for this September 22 release.
Bengal's Quest by Lora Leigh is the latest (30th!) in her Breeds series. This was an entertaining paranormal romance for fans of the series. My review will be posted on Sept. 19.

Breaking a Legend by Sarah Robinson was a review book from Loveswept. This was a great romance with well-rounded characters and an interesting plot. My review will be posted on Sept. 24 for this Sept. 29 release.

Currently
Having caught up on review books for a while, I'm back to trying to lower TBR mountain. Dragonsblood by Todd McCaffrey is his first solo effort in the world his mother built. I've had this on on my stack since before I added all my books to LibraryThing in February of 2008.

Next Week
Dead Ice by Laurell K. Hamilton is the latest book in her Anita Blake, Vampire Slayer series. I got this book when it was released in June and want to read it before my summer vacation is over.

Live to See Tomorrow by Iris Johansen is a romantic suspense title (or maybe a thriller) that has been on my stack since Sept. 24, 2014. It is the third book in a series. I have, but have not read, book 1. I have read books 2 and 4.
Kitty Steals the Show by Carrie Vaughn has a werewolf for a main character. It is part of a long-running series. This is the tenth book. I bought it July 7, 2012. Since book 15 is being released on August 4, I am really behind.

Blood Bound by Rachel Vincent is the first in an urban fantasy/paranormal romance series. I added it to my stack on August 31, 2011 because I had read and enjoyed other books by the author. I also have book two but not book 3 in this series.

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

This read one-buy two (or more) strategy is not helping me lower TBR mountain but when I read a good first book in a series, I have to have the rest of the series.
Breath of Iron by Kate Cross is the third book in the Clockwork Agents series. I bought it for my Kindle.

Touch of Steel is the second book in the Clockwork Agents series. This is also a Kindle book.

Valour and Vanity by Mary Robinette Kowal is the fourth book in her Glamourist series. I bought the hardcover because I couldn't resist the lovely cover. Also, it was a deal in Amazon Marketplace.

After reading a couple of books from the new publisher Crooked Lane Books, I went to NetGalley and asked for these three more.
Dark Waters by Chris Goff is a thriller that will be released on September 15.

Nine Lives by Wendy Corsi Staub is a cozy mystery that will be released on Oct. 27.

Dark Turns by Cate Holahan is a romantic suspense title that will be released on Nov. 10.

To see what Young Adult books I have been reading and plan to read, check out Ms. Martin Teaches Media - my other blog.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Book Review: Thornyhold by Mary Stewart

Thornyhold
Author: Mary Stewart
Series: Rediscovered Classics
Publication: Chicago Review Press; Reprint edition (October 1, 2008)

Description: During Gilly Ramsey’s lonely childhood, the occasional brief visits of her mother’s cousin were a delight, seeming like visits of a fairy godmother. Years later, when Gilly inherits Thornyhold, her house, she discovers that her cousin, with her still room and herbalist practices—and her undoubted powers—had long been known to the locals as a witch. She is approached by neighbors, some innocent, some not so innocent, but all assuming that she, too, is a witch, and a possible addition to the local coven. Gilly finds there is some truth in this, for she discovers that she can call on a kind of power in difficult moments. This wonderful novel from bestselling author Mary Stewart is delicate in its perception of a young woman’s falling in love, delightful in its portrayal of the English countryside, and skilled in its creation of a world full of magic.

My Thoughts: This is a story told by a woman looking back at her life. She tells of her lonely childhood when she was neglected by her parents and bullied at her boarding school. She tells of the life she lived as a pastor's daughter in a dirty, ugly coal town. She tells of the few, magical visits by her godmother.

She also tells what happens when she inherits Thornyhold after that same godmother's death. She describes the beauty of the house, gardens and countryside. She also describes her interactions with the local witch who is her rival for the affections of a widowed author who lives nearby. This story also tells us about how she fell in love with that same author and his young son.

Woven into the story are some magical elements. Her godmother was a herbalist and maybe she was also a witch. And maybe Gilly herself has inherited the potential to be a witch too. It describes incidents that could be magical in nature but could also have natural explanations.

The book is set in the time just after World War II and in a part of England that is still very much behind the times. She travels by bicycle and doesn't have a telephone. Until her arrival and her encounters with would-be witch Agnes Trapp, no one ever locked their doors and neighbors felt free to just walk in. Mentions are made of rationing and coupons though shortages aren't as noticeable in this rural area.

This was a quick read. It had lovely descriptions and lyrical writing. It was definitely a gentle Gothic romance.

Favorite Quote:
He smiled at me, and I got the impression that the sun came out and all the birds suddenly burst out singing. I took some sort of control of my besotted thoughts, and said feebly: "Do come in. I was just finishing here."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Friday Memes: Thornyhold by Mary Stewart

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 am spotlighting Thornyhold by Mary Stewart. I recently discovered a series of books called Rediscovered Classics done by Chicago Review Press which is reprinting a number of books I remember reading years ago. I thought I had read everything Mary Stewart wrote but somehow this one has eluded me until now. Here is the description from Amazon:
During Gilly Ramsey’s lonely childhood, the occasional brief visits of her mother’s cousin were a delight, seeming like visits of a fairy godmother. Years later, when Gilly inherits Thornyhold, her house, she discovers that her cousin, with her still room and herbalist practices—and her undoubted powers—had long been known to the locals as a witch. She is approached by neighbors, some innocent, some not so innocent, but all assuming that she, too, is a witch, and a possible addition to the local coven. Gilly finds there is some truth in this, for she discovers that she can call on a kind of power in difficult moments. This wonderful novel from bestselling author Mary Stewart is delicate in its perception of a young woman’s falling in love, delightful in its portrayal of the English countryside, and skilled in its creation of a world full of magic.
Beginning:
I suppose that my mother could have been a witch if she'd chosen to. But she met my father, who was a rather saintly clergyman, and he cancelled her out. 
Friday 56: 
Slowly, as I lay with open eyes, the darkness dissolved into shapes of varying blackness; the room was a cave of blackness with the faint oblongs of the uncurtained windows showing indigo.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Book Review: Magic Lost, Trouble Found by Lisa Shearin

Magic Lost, Trouble Found
Author: Lisa Shearin
Series: Raine Benares, Book 1
Publication: Ace (May 29, 2007)

Description: A girl with attitude. An all-powerful amulet.
This could only mean trouble.


My name is Raine Benares. I’m a seeker. The people who hire me are usually happy when I find things. But some things are better left unfound…

Raine is a sorceress of moderate powers, from an extended family of smugglers and thieves. With a mix of street smarts and magic spells, she can usually take care of herself. But when her friend Quentin, a not-quite-reformed thief, steals an amulet from the home of a powerful necromancer, Raine finds herself wrapped up in more trouble than she cares for. She likes attention as much as the next girl, but having an army of militant goblins hunting her down is not her idea of a good time. The amulet they’re after holds limitless power, derived from an ancient, soul-stealing stone. And when Raine takes possession of the item, it takes possession of her.

Now her moderate powers are increasing beyond anything she could imagine—but is the resum√© enhancement worth her soul?


My Thoughts: Raine Benares is not having a good day. While protecting a friend she gets captured by an amulet that won't let go and which is a beacon to a weapon that everyone wants. The weapon known as the Soul Stealer would help the goblin king keep power, or it would help the king's brother overthrow him, or it would give an evil goblin sorcerer power unimagined.

Luckily, Raine isn't in the fight alone. She has the support of her cousin Phaelen who is from the less law-abiding part of the family. She also has the help of her godfather who is a retired spellsinger. Then there's Mychael Eiliesor who is an Elven Paladin and Guardian. The Soul Stealer has been safe in their keeping for hundreds of years and he wants to return it to their keeping.

I enjoyed this story. Raine is a fascinating main character who would like to stay under the radar but who finds herself too much in the spotlight. I liked her loyalty to her friends especially the young spellsinger who she thinks of as her younger brother.

I can't wait to read more of Raine's adventures. Luckily, I have them all on my Kindle.

Favorite Quote:
"Soul-stealing rock, razor-fanged pixies, bloodsucking leaches," I hissed as I struggled to get my knife wedged under the thing's blindly seeking mouth and pry it off. "When this is over I'm going to treat myself to a screaming fit. I deserve it, and I'm going to have one."
I bought this one for my Kindle. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Book Review: Demon Hunting in a Dive Bar by Lexi George

Demon Hunting in a Dive Bar
Author: Lexi George
Series: Demon Hunting, Book 3
Publication: Brava (January 29, 2013)

Description: Demons, shifters, zombies: You don't have to go to hell, but you can't stay here. . .

It's Last Call On Earth.

Rebekah "Beck" Damian runs a demonoid bar where everyone's welcome--even a reformed flesheater who's strictly vegetarian, a musical ghost who's looking for a piano bar, and a feline harbinger of doom named Wampus Kitty who's scaring the customers. So when a big strapping demon-hunter walks into the bar, Beck knows it's not the end of the world. She'll treat him like any other customer. If only she could. Conall Dalvahni is the toughest, meanest, sexiest demon-hunter Beck's ever seen--and she's finding it awful hard to hide her attraction. As far as Conall's concerned, the feeling is mutual. But how can he trust a beautiful half-demon babe like Beck--when her demonic friends have the perfect weapon to destroy every hunter on earth? With all the sparks flying between Beck and Conall, it's hard to tell who's the predator and who's the prey. Either way, love is hell--and impossible to resist. . .

My Thoughts: The third Demon Hunting book lacked the over-the-top humor of the first two books but had a great story. Beck is a demonoid who was raised in her father's bar by a shape-shifting friend of her father's. Now the bar is hers and it has become a haven for the kith (supernaturals) who live in the area. It has also become a hang out for Connal Dalvahni who is the captain of all the Dalvahni. His attraction to Beck is somewhat baffling to him since he is a demon hunter and she is part demon.

The plot of this one revolves around the return of Beck's hitherto unknown twin brother who had been the slave of demons since he was a small child. He has come to Hannah with them to raise an army of kith. Beck and the Dalvahni need to foil that plan.

Some of the interesting side characters in this one include a vegetarian zombie and a piano playing ghost. There is also a cat named Wampus Kitty who is supposed to be a harbinger of doom but is actually an eight-year-old demonoid girl who has been surviving on her own for two years.

I liked this story but I missed the humor of the earlier books. Beck is a more serious character. The ending leaves room for more books. I hope to get a chance to read them.


Favorite Quote:
He wasn't wearing a tie. No surprise there. Somehow, demon hunters and neckties didn't go together.

Swords, mayhem, and evisceration, yeah. Neckties...not so much.

His ragged dark hair gleamed in the light, and his eyes were black as midnight—blacker, like the space between the stars.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Teaser Tuesday: Magic Lost, Trouble Found by Lisa Shearin

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. 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:
"Sit tight," Phaelan whispered. "I'll get some help. Tanik Ozal and his crew are two blocks over at the Rude Parrot. They live for this sort of thing."
This week my teaser comes from Magic Lost, Trouble Found by Lisa Shearin. I bought this one because I have read a few of her other books and really enjoyed them. Here is the description from GoodReads:
A girl with attitude. An all-powerful amulet.
This could only mean trouble.


My name is Raine Benares. I’m a seeker. The people who hire me are usually happy when I find things. But some things are better left unfound…

Raine is a sorceress of moderate powers, from an extended family of smugglers and thieves. With a mix of street smarts and magic spells, she can usually take care of herself. But when her friend Quentin, a not-quite-reformed thief, steals an amulet from the home of a powerful necromancer, Raine finds herself wrapped up in more trouble than she cares for. She likes attention as much as the next girl, but having an army of militant goblins hunting her down is not her idea of a good time. The amulet they’re after holds limitless power, derived from an ancient, soul-stealing stone. And when Raine takes possession of the item, it takes possession of her.

Now her moderate powers are increasing beyond anything she could imagine—but is the resum√© enhancement worth her soul?

Monday, July 20, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (July 20, 2015) #IMWAYR

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.

Other Than Reading...

This was another quiet week with lots of reading time. With my car in the shop for a minor repair from Monday morning until Wednesday afternoon, I took advantage of not being able to leave home to read down some more books from TBR mountain.

Read Last Week
I read Here I Stay by Barbara Michaels which has been on my TBR mountain since 2008 and was written much earlier than that. It was a spooky story about spirits hanging around an old house and influencing the new residents of the house. My review will be posted on September 2.

Kindling the Moon by Jenn Bennett begins a new urban fantasy series. The main character is a powerful human magician who tends a bar frequented by demons. There is a romance. There is also danger and betrayal. My review will be posted on September 3.
I read Summoning the Night by Jenn Bennett which is the second book in the Arcadia Bell series and has events which immediately follow the events of the first book. I enjoyed this story and ordered the next two books in the series for my Kindle. My review will be posted on September 9.

Led Astray: The Best of Kelley Armstrong collects 23 of her short stories and novellas. I like the convenience of having her works gathered for me. I liked the stories that told more about the characters of her Cainsville story the best. My review will be posted on September 10.
Next I decided to read the two mysteries I got for review this week from Crooked Lane Publishers.

Plantation Shudders by Ellen Byron was an excellent cozy that takes place on a plantation turned bed & breakfast in Louisiana. The characters were interesting and the plot was nice and twisty. The recipes included also sound good. My review will be posted on August 5 for this August 11 release.

No Virgin Island by C. Michele Dorsey was also an entertaining mystery. This one is set on St. John in the US Virgin Islands and features a woman fleeing scandal who wants to start a new life. But a murder in one of the villas she manages threatens her new life. This one also had engaging characters and a nicely twisty plot. My review will be posted on August 12 for this August 11 release.

Currently
Being in the mood for steampunk, I pulled Heart of Brass by Kate Cross off TBR mountain. I have had this one on the stack since May 1, 2012.

Next Week
Dead on the Delta by Stacey Jay has been on the TBR mountain since October 31, 2014. This urban fantasy begins a series.

I thought I'd visit Pern again this week by reading two books that have been on TBR mountain since 2008. Dragon's Kin is the first book that Anne McCaffrey wrote with her son Todd as her co-author.
Dragonsblood by Todd McCaffrey will be my second visit to Pern this week.

The Heat of the Moment by Katie Rose is a review book on my Kindle. I chose to review this one because I like sports romances and one of the main characters of this one is a baseball player.

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

Again, I sabotaged my efforts to lower TBR mountain by buying too many books.
I bought the next two books in the Arcadia Bell urban fantasy series for my Kindle.

Banishing the Dark by Jenn Bennett
Binding the Shadows by Jenn Bennett
I bought the next three books in the Glamourist Histories series though only two have arrive so far.

Glamour in Glass by Mary Robinette Kowal
Without a Summer by Mary Robinette Kowal
On the occasion of the publication of the third compilation of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller's Liaden Universe stories, I decided to buy copies of all three compilations for my Kindle. I already have print copies of Volumes 1 and 2 but much prefer reading on my Kindle these days.


I received an email on July 13 from a publicist for Crooked Lane Books, a new mystery publisher, which asked if I would be interested in reviewing some of their upcoming releases. I chose two and received finished hardcover copies on July 17.
Plantation Shudders by Ellen Byron is the first novel in her Cajun Country Mystery series. Look for my review on August 5.

No Virgin Island by C. Michele Dorsey is the first novel in her Sabrina Salter Mystery series. Look for my review on August 12.

Both books are being released on August 11. I have rearranged my blogging calendar so that I can post these reviews near to the books' publication dates.

To see what Young Adult books I have been reading and plan to read, check out Ms. Martin Teaches Media - my other blog.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Book Review: Silver Mirrors by A. A. Aguirre

Silver Mirrors
Author: A. A. Aguirre
Series: Apparatus Infernum, Book 2
Publication: Ace (April 29, 2014)

Description: As powerful magic comes creeping back, dangerous days are dawning…

Criminal Investigation Division inspectors Janus Mikani and Celeste Ritsuko were lucky to make it out of their last mission alive. Since then, strange troubles have plagued the city of steam and shadows, apparently as a result of magic released during the CID inspectors’ desperate interruption of an ancient ritual. The fabric of the world has been unsettled, and the Council has assigned Mikani and Ritsuko to investigate.

They soon discover that matters are worse than they imagined. Machines have developed minds of their own, cragger pirates are raiding the seas with relentless aggression, and mad elementals are running amok. As the chaos builds to a crescendo, Mikani and Ritsuko must fight a war on two fronts—and this time, they may not be able to turn the deadly tide…

My Thoughts: Mikani and Ritsuko have just come off a case where they foiled a villain who was trying to destroy their city. Despite the accolades they receive, they are certain that he wasn't acting alone and are pursuing their investigation without official sanction.

Things are going a little crazy in the city too with the elementals that power the trains and the long distance mirror going crazy. They believe that it is an after effect of the spell the villain was trying to perform. Their superiors want them to find out the cause and stop the problem. Thus, they are sent out of the city in search of a solution.

Mikani calls on an older lover Saskia for help. She, in turn, wants him to return a favor owed and help her kill the leader of the craggers who are hampering shipping between the cities. Little do they know that the two problems are connected.

Between fighting off attacks of the craggers and dealing with angry elementals, Mikani and Ritsuko have their hands full. It doesn't help that Ritsuko has developed an ability to discern truth from lies when she hears people speak. This new power along with Mikani's ability to feel what people around him feel further complicates their new relationship.

The world building in this series is amazing. The magic is well integrated in the story as is the history of the world. I also really like the interactions between the characters. Mikani and Ritsuko's changing feelings for each other and their hesitancy to do anything about them provided an interesting dynamic played out around the larger issues.

I really hope that this wasn't the last adventure for Mikani and Ritsuko since the ending left them currently safe but with large problems still to be solved.

Favorite Quote:
He closed the book with an echoing boom and was on his feet before she had quite finished speaking. "I swear you make up reasons to bring me here, Ritsuko. Let's go talk to some fences and gold dealers, then, shall we?"

"Good plan. And you know it's just because I like watching your lips move when you read the big words."

"I know. You can't take your eyes off me."

She gave him her best mysterious smile. "Could be."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Friday Memes: Silver Mirrors by A. A. Aguirre

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 am spotlighting Silver Mirrors by A. A. Aguirre. It is the second book in the Apparatus Infernum series. These are steampunk mysteries. Here is the description from Amazon:
As powerful magic comes creeping back, dangerous days are dawning…

Criminal Investigation Division inspectors Janus Mikani and Celeste Ritsuko were lucky to make it out of their last mission alive. Since then, strange troubles have plagued the city of steam and shadows, apparently as a result of magic released during the CID inspectors’ desperate interruption of an ancient ritual. The fabric of the world has been unsettled, and the Council has assigned Mikani and Ritsuko to investigate.

They soon discover that matters are worse than they imagined. Machines have developed minds of their own, cragger pirates are raiding the seas with relentless aggression, and mad elementals are running amok. As the chaos builds to a crescendo, Mikani and Ritsuko must fight a war on two fronts—and this time, they may not be able to turn the deadly tide…
Beginning:
One month ago, the world nearly ended.
Friday 56: 
From what he recalled, Ritsuko's grandfather had died before they met, and she'd been orphaned when she was a baby. Any extended family disapproved of her since she'd chosen to handfast in place of permanent bond with Warren, and when she dissolved that arrangement without settling and having children, their displeasure deepened to near ostracism. Little wonder she preferred the boardinghouse near Central.