Saturday, December 8, 2018

ARC Review: A Moment in Crime by Amanda Allen

A Moment in Crime
Author: Amanda Allen
Series: Santa Fe Revival Mysteries
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (December 11, 2018)

Description: The on-set murder of a famous Jazz Age film director unearths a hornet’s nest of passion, duplicity, naked ambition, and bitter revenge.

The golden age of cinema is dawning, and Santa Fe is in the grip of movie fever when director Luther Bishop arrives for the filming of his new cowboy flick. Maddie Vaughn-Alwin’s cousin Gwen Astor is in town with a bit part in the movie―but Gwen finds herself caught in a whirlwind of mischief before shooting even begins. But the plot only thickens when the detestable director is found hanging in his office.

When it comes to light that Gwen was having a torrid affair with Luther, she gets pegged as the prime suspect, much to Maddie’s dismay. But Maddie, quick on her feet with ever the keen eye knows that Luther had his fair share of enemies, and there’s no shortage of contenders. Luther’s widowed wife Bridget finally assumes her late husband’s most-coveted director’s chair, head of wardrobe Lorelei Fontaine is bitterly denied a role by Luther she was once promised, and original leading man Harry Kelly was summarily fired by Luther just upon arriving at Santa Fe.

Desperate to prove Gwen’s innocence, Maddie begins an investigation, but every clue reveals another motive―and could point to another murder―in A Moment in Crime, the second engaging whodunit in Amanda Allen’s enchanting Santa Fe Revival mysteries.

My Thoughts: Maddie Vaughn-Alwin is settling into Santa Fe, pursuing her art, and adjusting to the loss of her husband in World War I. But then her cousin Gwen Astor arrives, having a bit part in a movie being shot in Santa Fe. Gwen is different than the girl who was Maddie's best friend when they were children. She's fragile and brittle and confesses that she had an affair with the director of the film who brutally dropped her when he thought she was pregnant. Maddie wonder why Gwen would be willing to still be in his movie.

Maddie also meets another old friend from New York City who is working as a writer for the film. He invites Maddie and her housekeeper to visit the set. Maddie is curious and her housekeeper is a fan of of all the movie star magazines. Maddie discovers that making a movie isn't really very glamorous as she quickly sees the tensions on the set. When the director is found dead - an apparent suicide, Maddie is suspicious. He didn't seem at all like the sort of person to take his own life. And no one on the film crew, including his wife, liked him.

When Gwen comes under suspicion, Maddie has to find out what really happened to save her cousin.

I loved the time period and the information about the early days of movie making. Maddie is an intriguing character who is overcoming her grief and building a new life that is just right for her.

Favorite Quote:
"It seems a little far-fetched, I know. It looks so obviously suicide. But there's just something a little--off about the whole thing, isn't there? and Luther Bishop wasn't the most popular person around."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Friday Memes: A Moment in Crime by Amanda Allen

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:
New York City, 1910

"What are you going to be, Maddie? When you're a grown-up lady, I mean," Gwendolyn asked, suddenly breaking the dusty silence of their attic sanctuary.
Friday 56: 
It appeared as if the police hadn't been there yet. Maybe Sadler didn't know about it yet, or maybe it hadn't seemed important if they were still officially treating the death as a suicide. The desk drawers were all neatly closed, nothing out of place.
This week I am featuring A Moment in Crime by Amanda Allen from my review stack. It is the first in the Santa Fe Revival Mysteries. Here is the description from Amazon:
The on-set murder of a famous Jazz Age film director unearths a hornet’s nest of passion, duplicity, naked ambition, and bitter revenge.

The golden age of cinema is dawning, and Santa Fe is in the grip of movie fever when director Luther Bishop arrives for the filming of his new cowboy flick. Maddie Vaughn-Alwin’s cousin Gwen Astor is in town with a bit part in the movie―but Gwen finds herself caught in a whirlwind of mischief before shooting even begins. But the plot only thickens when the detestable director is found hanging in his office.

When it comes to light that Gwen was having a torrid affair with Luther, she gets pegged as the prime suspect, much to Maddie’s dismay. But Maddie, quick on her feet with ever the keen eye knows that Luther had his fair share of enemies, and there’s no shortage of contenders. Luther’s widowed wife Bridget finally assumes her late husband’s most-coveted director’s chair, head of wardrobe Lorelei Fontaine is bitterly denied a role by Luther she was once promised, and original leading man Harry Kelly was summarily fired by Luther just upon arriving at Santa Fe.

Desperate to prove Gwen’s innocence, Maddie begins an investigation, but every clue reveals another motive―and could point to another murder―in A Moment in Crime, the second engaging whodunit in Amanda Allen’s enchanting Santa Fe Revival mysteries. 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Book Review: The Fated Sky by Mary Robinette Kowal

The Fated Sky
Author: Mary Robinette Kowal
Series: Lady Astronaut (Book 2)
Publication: Tor Books (August 21, 2018)

Description: Mary Robinette Kowal continues the grand sweep of alternate history begun in The Calculating Stars, The Fated Sky looks forward to 1961, when mankind is well-established on the moon and looking forward to its next step: journeying to, and eventually colonizing, Mars.

Of course the noted Lady Astronaut Elma York would like to go, but there’s a lot riding on whoever the International Aerospace Coalition decides to send on this historic—but potentially very dangerous—mission? Could Elma really leave behind her husband and the chance to start a family to spend several years traveling to Mars? And with the Civil Rights movement taking hold all over Earth, will the astronaut pool ever be allowed to catch up, and will these brave men and women of all races be treated equitably when they get there? This gripping look at the real conflicts behind a fantastical space race will put a new spin on our visions of what might have been.

My Thoughts: This is the continuation of THE CALCULATING STARS. This alternate history space adventure begins in in 1961. Elma is returning from the moon where a small colony has been established when the return ship goes off course and lands in Alabama instead of Kansas. They are invaded by six armed men who hold them hostage because they are angry that scarce resources are being devoted to the space program instead of dealing with problems on Earth that have been caused by the meteor strike some years earlier.

Elma is rescued but the incident has long-lasting consequences. Some of the men who hijacked the ship were Black which just highlighted the racial divide that existed in the United States at the time. The racial divide is also apparent in the space program where there are very few who aren't White and those are often given lesser jobs.

The main focus of this story is the plan to colonize Mars. Because good publicity is needed and Elma is famous as the Lady Astronaut, she is asked to join this Mars expedition. This is a hard decision for her and her husband Nathaniel in many ways. It will mean another separation and putting off starting a family. The trip will take at least three years. Nathaniel's job as an engineer in the space program means that he will have to remain on Earth. Additionally, adding Elma to the mission one year in means that another astronaut - her friend Helen Carmouche, nee Liu - is being bumped from the mission. Helen is from Taiwan which causes more conflict as the switch makes the mission even less ethnically diverse. Elma faces resentment from her fellow crewmates because she bumped Helen and because she is so far behind in the training. It doesn't help that Stetson Parker is the mission commander. He and Elma have been at odds since they met during World War II.

The mission begins and many problems are faced including clogged toilets, an E Coli outbreak on the other ship which kills the ship's doctor, an ammonium leak that forces the crew of Elma's ship to move to the other ship until it is repaired. One of the most enduring problems is that the co-pilot of the second ship is from South Africa and really believes in Apartheid which makes it even more difficult for the Black members of the mission. Then, the mission loses contact with Mission Control on Earth which makes them all feel abandoned and concerned about their loved ones left behind.

This was a book that I couldn't put down. Each scene was so suspenseful that I had to keep reading to find out what happened next. The politics on Earth and within the space program had enough detail to make the story very realistic. In fact, many of the newspaper articles the began many chapters were actual articles from papers of the day.

Favorite Quote:
"This is the first time I've literally worried I would never see you again." He leaned forward to grab the towel off the stand

"I was never in any real danger." I grimaced with the weight of memories. "Aside from the reentry."

His jaw went slack with surprise. "Elma. You were held hostage by six armed men."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Book Review: An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris

An Easy Death
Author: Charlaine Harris
Series: Gunnie Rose (Book 1)
Publication: Saga Press (October 2, 2018)

Description: The beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse series, the inspiration for HBO’s True Blood, and the Midnight Crossroad trilogy adapted for NBC’s Midnight, Texas, has written a taut new thriller—the first in the Gunnie Rose series—centered on a young gunslinging mercenary, Lizbeth Rose.

Set in a fractured United States, in the southwestern country now known as Texoma. A world where magic is acknowledged but mistrusted, especially by a young gunslinger named Lizbeth Rose. Battered by a run across the border to Mexico Lizbeth Rose takes a job offer from a pair of Russian wizards to be their local guide and gunnie. For the wizards, Gunnie Rose has already acquired a fearsome reputation and they’re at a desperate crossroad, even if they won’t admit it. They’re searching through the small border towns near Mexico, trying to locate a low-level magic practitioner, Oleg Karkarov. The wizards believe Oleg is a direct descendant of Grigori Rasputin, and that Oleg’s blood can save the young tsar’s life.

As the trio journey through an altered America, shattered into several countries by the assassination of Franklin Roosevelt and the Great Depression, they’re set on by enemies. It’s clear that a powerful force does not want them to succeed in their mission. Lizbeth Rose is a gunnie who has never failed a client, but her oath will test all of her skills and resolve to get them all out alive.

My Thoughts: This book is quite a departure for Charlaine Harris. Set in an alternate United States decimated by influenza, nineteen-year-old Lizbeth Rose makes her living as a gunnie - an armed mercenary. She lives in Texahoma which was carved out of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and part of Colorado. The United States has lost territory to Canada and Mexico and fractured into Britannia which includes all the thirteen original colonies except Georgia which chose to join the Southern tier of states and become Dixie. California and the West Coast has become the Holy Russian Empire and the home of the exile Tsar Alexei. The HRE is the only place that has magicians called grigori.

Lizbeth has a special hatred for grigori because her mother was raped at age sixteen by one of HRE's traveling magicians Oleg Karkarov and the result was Lizbeth. She was working as part of a crew ferrying people from Mexico to New America when their caravan was ambushed by bandits. All of her crew was killed. But Lizbeth managed to track down the bandits, kill them all, and see their human cargo to safety. After all, she has her standards. It does leave her without a job though.

Two grigori from the HRE have come looking for a guide. They want to find this Oleg Karkarov. It seems that his blood can be used in transfusions to keep the ailing Tsar alive. Only Gunnie Rose found him first and killed him to get revenge for the rape of her mother which she doesn't share with the grigori. When Gunnie learns that Karkarov may have another daughter, she decides to take the job with the Russians.

The action begins almost immediately when another gunnie attempts to murder her new clients. And the action doesn't stop. As they travel trying to track down Karkarov's brother and daughter, they run into all sorts of trouble and attacks from other grigori. It seems clear that someone doesn't want the Tsar to live.

This was an entertaining story with clever worldbuilding. I liked the character of Gunnie Rose who is fast and accurate with any of her many guns and who is quick to kill to protect her clients.

Favorite Quote:
"Lucky it didn't strike you over your heart. It would have stopped it beating, whether he meant to kill you or not."

"Yeah. I'm really lucky."

He moved a little. I could hear his hair dragging along his pillow. "I feel you are being sarcastic." He sounded almost playful.

"You"re real smart."

"Very sarcastic."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

First Paragraph/Teaser Tuesday: The Fated Sky by Mary Robinette Kowal

Every Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posted the first paragraph of a book she is reading or planning to read. In 2018, Vicki from I'd Rather Be at the Beach is taking over this meme.

Here's mine:
Do you remember where you were when the Friendship probe reached Mars? I was getting ready to return from the moon. I'd been up in Artemis Base for a three-month rotation, flying geologists from our tiny colony out to different survey sites.
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 was never in any real danger." I grimaced with the weight of memories. "Aside from the reentry."

His jaw went slack with surprise. "Elma. You were held hostage by six armed men."
    This week I am spotlighting The Fated Sky by Mary Robinette Kowal from my TBR pile. Here is the description from Amazon:
    Mary Robinette Kowal continues the grand sweep of alternate history begun in The Calculating Stars, The Fated Sky looks forward to 1961, when mankind is well-established on the moon and looking forward to its next step: journeying to, and eventually colonizing, Mars.

    Of course the noted Lady Astronaut Elma York would like to go, but there’s a lot riding on whoever the International Aerospace Coalition decides to send on this historic—but potentially very dangerous—mission? Could Elma really leave behind her husband and the chance to start a family to spend several years traveling to Mars? And with the Civil Rights movement taking hold all over Earth, will the astronaut pool ever be allowed to catch up, and will these brave men and women of all races be treated equitably when they get there? This gripping look at the real conflicts behind a fantastical space race will put a new spin on our visions of what might have been.

    Monday, December 3, 2018

    It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Dec. 3, 2018)

    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...

    Welcome to snowy Minnesota! Light fluffy flakes are falling as I write this on Saturday afternoon and my brother just finished snowblowing to clear out Wednesday's snow which only amounted to an inch or two. He was hoping the sun would come out and melt it away from our south-facing driveway. Unfortunately despite the temperatures hovering around 30 degrees, there was no sunshine to be found.

    I've been deep in a re-reading binge and have been finding it hard to convince myself to get up off the couch and go exercise. I've missed a couple of days in a row now and will have to be resolute about going back on Monday.

    I've finished my State of the Stack post which takes a look at my review books. I have also compiled the stats for my November reading. I read 26 books last month with a total of 9141 pages. 21 of them were my books with 8 being re-reads. 23 of them were book on my Kindle. I read five review books early in the month.

    I spent some time thinking about my blogs. I think I'm going to phase out Ms. Martin Teaches Media now that I have been retired for more than a year. I do still have 21 YAs on my review stack but I don't think I'm going to be looking for more to review. I'll still probably keep up with my favorite YA authors and, in fact, have a few of their upcoming books on my review stack. Right now I only have one scheduled post on that blog. I find that I'm less interested in reading YA books these 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.)

    This week I was doing some re-reading. I have previously reviewed all of these both on my blog and on LibraryThing and Goodreads. Despite the space ships on the covers, these are fascinating stories about people - members of an extended family - who live in a complex and intriguing world.
     Mouse and Dragon by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
    Fledgling by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
    Saltation by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
     Ghost Ship by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
    Dragon Ship by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
    Necessity's Child by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
    Dragon in Exile by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
    The Disasters by M. K. England - I read about 35% of this one and then set it aside to read some of the Liaden books. I decided that I didn't care about the characters or story enough to keep on reading.


    Currently
    Alliance of Equals by Sharon Lee is the 19th book in the Liaden Universe. 

    Next Week

    More re-reading in the Liaden Universe
    The Gathering Edge by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller is the 20th book in the Liaden Universe
    Neogenesis by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller is the 21st book in the Liaden Universe

    After I finish my Liaden Universe re-read, these are some possibilities from my TBR piles.
     Wildcard by Marie Lu
    The Bronze Key by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare
    Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal
    Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

    Reviews Posted

    On Inside of a Dog:
    Shades of Wicked by Jeanine Frost
    Murder on Black Swan Lane by Andrea Penrose

    On Ms. Martin Teaches Media:
    Fire & Heist by Sarah Beth Durst
    Guardian by A. J. Hartley

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

    These were both Kindle deals. I've heard great things about Dread Nation but Savage Liberty is totally new to me. Savage Liberty is the 5th in a series of historical mysteries. I'm hoping that it works well as a stand-alone.
    Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
    Savage Liberty by Eliot Pattison

    What was your week like?

    Saturday, December 1, 2018

    Book Review: Tsumiko and the Enslaved Fox by Forthright

    Tsumiko and the Enslaved Fox
    Author: Forthright
    Series: Amaranthine Saga Book 1
    Publication: Twinkle Press (February 21, 2018)

    Description: Tsumiko inherits an ancestral home, a vast fortune, and a butler who isn’t exactly human.

    Humanity is rocked by the Emergence of a people who call themselves the Amaranthine. They are our myths and legends come to life. Neither human nor animal, yet embracing qualities of both, the inhuman races inspire both awe and fear. Every newsfeed is clogged with updates about the peace process, but some places don’t concern themselves with worldly affairs. Like the girls’ school run by Saint Midori’s of the Heavenly Lights, where Tsumiko Hajime grew up.

    A letter from a long-lost aunt names Tsumiko heiress to an ancestral estate and its accompanying fortune. Only the legacy comes with an aloof heirloom: an inhuman butler. Argent has served the Hajime family for centuries, and Tsumiko must renew the generational bond or he’ll die. Argent hates her for the hold she has over him, but he craves her soul almost as much as he craves his freedom.

    My Thoughts: Tsumiko is an orphan who was raised in a girls' school run by Saint Midori's of the Heavenly Lights. It is a life that she cherishes as she has found a purpose in taking care of the young girls and orphans who live there. When a lawyer comes to tell her that she is the heir of a great-aunt she doesn't know, she doesn't know just how much her life if going to change. She has inherited a house, a fortune, and an Amaranthine butler.

    When Tsumiko learns that she needs to bind Argent to her in order to save his life, she does it. But she makes a promise to him to find a way to set him free. Argent doesn't believe her since he has faced ownership from generations of women in Tsumiko's family. But Tsumiko gradually wins him over with her kindness and sincerity. But breaking a bond that has lasted for generations is not an easy thing to do.

    Since the Emergence which brought the Amaranthine to the notice of humans is only a year old, it is still a fragile situation. The Amaranthine are trying to convince the humans that they are harmless which is difficult because some kind of Amaranthine is kidnapping and impregnating young women. Unfortunately, most do not survive giving birth to an Amaranthine child. Argent has a grown, hybrid son of his own from a forced encounter with one of his owners who didn't survive the experience.

    Tsumiko is a beacon which means that she overflows with the life energy that the Amaranthine covet, but she is completely untrained. Her generosity with her energy is part of what draws Argent to her. It is also the thing that makes her a target for less scrupulous Amaranthine.

    I really enjoyed the creative world building in this story and the well-developed characters. The Amaranthine are fully developed and non-human characters. I liked that the story is told from both Argent and Tsumiko's point of view.

    Favorite Quote:
    "Argent hates me. He told me so himself."

    "Foxes aren't famous for being straightforward. Saying he hates you could mean anything."

    "He hates that I own him."

    "No doubt, but it's probably more complicated than that. With foxes, it's all about nuance."

    Tsumiko tweaked his ear. "There's no nuance in 'I hate you.'"

    "There are plenty of possibilities. He hates that he wants you. He hates that he can't hate you. He hates how much he doesn't hate you." Gingko's eyebrows arched. "He's got it bad."
    I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

    Friday, November 30, 2018

    Friday Memes: Tsumiko and the Enslaved Fox by Forthright

    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:
    "There must be some mistake." Tsumiko finished the solicitor's letter of introduction and rechecked the name of the firm embossed on the heavy gray envelope--Watanabe, Wada, & West. "I've never heard of Eimi Hajime-Smythe."
    Friday 56:
    Upon learning that visiting the crime scene would require a long tramp through the rough, Cedric volunteered to remain with the driver.
    This week I am featuring Tsumiko and the Enslaved Fox by Forthright. This book was recommended by Ilona Andrews and, since I like their books, I thought I would give this fantasy a try. Here is the description from Amazon:
    Tsumiko inherits an ancestral home, a vast fortune, and a butler who isn’t exactly human.

    Humanity is rocked by the Emergence of a people who call themselves the Amaranthine. They are our myths and legends come to life. Neither human nor animal, yet embracing qualities of both, the inhuman races inspire both awe and fear. Every newsfeed is clogged with updates about the peace process, but some places don’t concern themselves with worldly affairs. Like the girls’ school run by Saint Midori’s of the Heavenly Lights, where Tsumiko Hajime grew up.

    A letter from a long-lost aunt names Tsumiko heiress to an ancestral estate and its accompanying fortune. Only the legacy comes with an aloof heirloom: an inhuman butler. Argent has served the Hajime family for centuries, and Tsumiko must renew the generational bond or he’ll die. Argent hates her for the hold she has over him, but he craves her soul almost as much as he craves his freedom. 

    Thursday, November 29, 2018

    Book Review: Murder on Black Swan Lane by Andrea Penrose

    Murder on Black Swan Lane
    Author: Andrea Penrose
    Series: A Wrexford & Sloane Mystery (Book 1)
    Publication: Kensington (June 27, 2017)

    Description: In Regency London, an unconventional scientist and a fearless female artist form an unlikely alliance to expose a cold-hearted killer . . .

    The Earl of Wrexford possesses a brilliant scientific mind, but boredom and pride lead him to reckless behavior. So when pompous, pious Reverend Josiah Holworthy publicly condemns him for debauchery, Wrexford unsheathes his rapier-sharp wit and strikes back. As their war of words escalates, London’s most popular satirical cartoonist, A.J. Quill, skewers them both. But then the clergyman is found slain in a church—his face burned by chemicals, his throat slashed ear to ear—and Wrexford finds himself the chief suspect.

    An artist in her own right, Charlotte Sloane has secretly slipped into the persona of her late husband, using his nom de plume A.J. Quill. When Wrexford discovers her true identity, she fears it will be her undoing. But he has a proposal—use her sources to unveil the clergyman’s clandestine involvement in questionable scientific practices, and unmask the real murderer. Soon Lord Wrexford and the mysterious Mrs. Sloane plunge into a dangerous shadow world hidden among London’s intellectual enclaves to trap a cunning adversary—before they fall victim to the next experiment in villainy . . .

    My Thoughts: The Earl of Wrexford has been engaging in a war of words with the Reverend Josiah Holworthy. Wrexford is a scientist and Holworthy doesn't hold with those new-fangled ideas. When Holworthy is found murdered with his face burned by acid and his throat cut, Wrexford becomes suspect number one for Bow Street runner Griffin.

    Wrexford has to put aside his boredom and clear his name. It seems that noted cartoonist A. J. Quill has an uncanny knowledge of the crime and Wrexford is determined to locate him and find out how he knows.

    Charlotte Sloane, a woman of great mystery, has taken on the identity of A. J. Quill after the death of her artist husband. She has quite a network of servants and children who bring her information. She has taken in two young street boys Raven and Hawk who help her find her information and run her drawings to the publisher. She isn't rich but the popularity of the cartoons has increased her income substantially. 

    Wrexford does manage to track her down and together they piece together the facts that led to the death of Holworthy and a scientist at the Royal Institution. It turns out that her husband's death is also linked to the same mysterious conspiracy.

    I loved the Regency setting. I also loved that it was clear that it was a time of great change with science becoming more accepted - although it is still something done by many gentleman who have the funds and leisure to pursue it. I liked both main characters who were interesting people full of secrets. I would have loved to know more about Wrexford and Charlotte's pasts.

    The mystery was interesting and both Wrexford and Charlotte brought their unique skills and talents to solving it.

    Favorite Quote:
    God forbid that a gentleman sully his lily-white hands in business or a profession other then the military, the government, or the church. Charlotte didn't envy the aristocracy. The cage might be gilded, and filled with sumptuous pleasures and glittering amusements.

    But it was still a cage.
    I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

    Wednesday, November 28, 2018

    Book Review: Shades of Wicked by Jeaniene Frost

    Shades of Wicked
    Author: Jeaniene Frost
    Series: A Night Rebel Novel
    Publication: Avon (October 30, 2018)

    Description: The Rule Breaker...

    Master vampire Ian is unrepentant, shameless…and every shade of wicked. He’s made one too many enemies in his two centuries of existence, including Dagon, a demon who now lays claim to his soul. Ian’s only chance to escape Dagon is to join forces with a Law Guardian, but he's never been able to abide by the rules for long.

    The Law Maker...

    Veritas’ normal role is police, judge, and jury to reprobates like Ian. But she has her own ax to grind with Dagon, so if she can use Ian as bait...well, all’s fair in law and war. As they scour supernatural hotspots to perfect their trap, Veritas soon realizes Ian’s carefully cultivated, devil-may-care roguish image hides something much more powerful. And Ian discovers Veritas has shocking secrets of her own. As they’re drawn to each other with a passion as intense as their peril, either love or justice will prevail. But each will have devastating consequences.

    My Thoughts: Ian and Veritas couldn't be more different. He's a proud hedonist always looking for the next thrill. She's a rule follower, a cop, a judge, and jury to those who break supernatural law. The only thing they have in common is a hatred for the demon Dago who is trying really hard to ruin both of their lives.

    Dagon had kept Veritas as a prisoner for years using her ability to gain himself worshipers and human sacrifices. He also tricked Ian into giving up his soul. Ian and Veritas both have reasons to want Dagon dead but he is a formidable enemy.

    Of course, Ian and Veritas are enemies, too, until they realize that they share a goal. They need to find a way to work together to accomplish that goal. As they get to know each other, Veritas spills secrets that no one else knows and Ian reveals depths that no one else has seen.

    This story was action-packed, filled with wonderful characters including a flying, demon dog, and filled with romance too. I can't wait for the second book in this new series.

    Favorite Quote:
    "Actions, not existence, define character."
    I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

    Tuesday, November 27, 2018

    FP/TT: Shades of Wicked by Jeaniene Frost

    Every Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posted the first paragraph of a book she is reading or planning to read. In 2018, Vicki from I'd Rather Be at the Beach is taking over this meme.

    Here's mine:
    This had better be the right whorehouse.
     
    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:
    "Come," I told Ian. It was past time we left.

    He snorted. "Keep speaking to me as if I'm a dog and I'll either hump your leg or bite you."
    This week I am featuring one of my recent purchases. Shades of Wicked is the latest by Jeaniene Frost. Here is the description from Amazon:
    The Rule Breaker...

    Master vampire Ian is unrepentant, shameless…and every shade of wicked. He’s made one too many enemies in his two centuries of existence, including Dagon, a demon who now lays claim to his soul. Ian’s only chance to escape Dagon is to join forces with a Law Guardian, but he's never been able to abide by the rules for long.

    The Law Maker...

    Veritas’ normal role is police, judge, and jury to reprobates like Ian. But she has her own ax to grind with Dagon, so if she can use Ian as bait...well, all’s fair in law and war. As they scour supernatural hotspots to perfect their trap, Veritas soon realizes Ian’s carefully cultivated, devil-may-care roguish image hides something much more powerful. And Ian discovers Veritas has shocking secrets of her own. As they’re drawn to each other with a passion as intense as their peril, either love or justice will prevail. But each will have devastating consequences.

    Monday, November 26, 2018

    It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Nov. 26, 2018)

    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...

    Here on this rainy Saturday, I'm working on this blog post while my brother is working on our Thanksgiving dinner. He's chopping celery and onions for our stuffing as I type. We are just doing a turkey breast since there are only the two of us. We'll also be doing mashed potatoes and gravy. He has in mind a vegetable side dish with green beans, carrots, mushrooms and onions too. We've decided that the sweet potatoes can wait until leftovers day.

    This week brought snow and rain and lots of gray skies. I didn't get out to exercise on Tuesday because it was snowing when I usually go and the roads were covered. I'm a fair-weather driver. I really like to be able to see any road I plan to drive on. I did unearth and set up my treadmill this week too. I walked for 20-minute stretches since I'm avoiding the Mall now that Christmas shoppers have been using it.

    I have been enjoying my week of free-range reading. It is nice to be able to pick things off TBR mountain and my own keeper shelves that have been calling my name. I still have one December review book to read. In fact, I've read about 35% of it. Then I decided to switch to something I was more eager to read. I intend to get back to it this week to see if I'm going to finish it.

    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.)
    • An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris - TBR pile. My review will be posted Dec. 5.
    • Guardian by A. J. Hartley - TBR pile. My review will be posted on Nov. 30.
    Currently
    Next Week
    Reviews Posted

    On Inside of a Dog:
    On Ms. Martin Teaches Media:
    Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?

    TBR Pile:
    Review:
    What was your week like?

    Saturday, November 24, 2018

    Book Review: Serpentine by Laurell K. Hamilton

    Serpentine
    Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
    Series: Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter (Book 26)
    Publication: Berkley (August 7, 2018)

    Description: Vampire hunter Anita Blake has always managed to overcome everything she faces. But this time there’s a monster that even she doesn’t know how to fight...

    A remote Florida island is the perfect wedding destination for the upcoming nuptials of Anita’s fellow U.S. Marshal and best friend, Edward. For Anita, the vacation is a welcome break, as it’s the first trip she gets to take with just wereleopards Micah and Nathaniel. But it’s not all fun and games and bachelor parties…

    In this tropical paradise, Micah discovers a horrific new form of lycanthropy, one that has afflicted a single family for generations. Believed to be the result of an ancient Greek curse, it turns human bodies into a mass of snakes.

    When long-simmering resentment leads to a big blowp within the wedding party, the last thing Anita needs is more drama. But it finds her anyway when women start disappearing from the hotel, and worse, her own friends and lovers are considered the prime suspects. There’s a strange power afoot that Anita has never confronted before, a force that’s rendering those around her helpless. Unable to face it on her own, Anita is willing to accept help from even the deadliest places. Help that she will most certainly regret—if she survives at all, that is…

    My Thoughts: Anita and Micah have been so busy traveling for their various jobs that Nathaniel is feeling neglected. Fortunately, Edward's destination wedding in the Florida Keys with his long-time girlfriend Donna is giving them a chance for a romantic getaway. But work is threatening to interfere when first Micah's job encroaches when he's called to bring an in the closet, but out of control, shifter home from the bar where he is drowning his sorrows.

    Then a young woman who has been flirting with Nathaniel and one of their bodyguards goes missing and is found gruesomely dead. One of the local detectives has decided that Nathaniel is guilty and is using a secret psychic power to get him to confess.

    When a second woman is kidnapped and she's a member of Donna's wedding party, Anita, Edward, Bernardo and creepy Otto are called in to locate her using Nathaniel in his leopard form as a tracker. They find her but two other young women disappear.  Bringing together Micah's case of a family that believes they have been cursed which causes some of them to grow snakes from various parts of their body and their cop with his secret psychic abilities.

    Unfortunately, this situation with the kidnappings and people turning to serpents is almost overpowered by the relationship issues that are going on in the story. Besides the Anita, Micah, Nathaniel drama there is drama between Donna and Edward since she is very jealous of Anita and Edward's relationship. She is convinced, and has confided on one of her bridesmaids, that Anita and Edward are having an affair. The bridesmaid goes more than a little crazy and is determined to tell Donna's children Peter and Becca about the affair. Peter knows that there is no affair but eleven-year-old Becca needs to be protected so that her opinion of the man who has been her father since she was six isn't damaged.

    This was another entertaining episode in the long-running Anita Blake series that most fans will want to read.

    Favorite Quote:
    "If you decide day after day to make good, positive, moral choices, they you are not evil. In fact, you would be the definition of a good person."

    "You're saying that she's not evil because she has decided to be good?"
    I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.