Friday, August 31, 2018

Friday Memes: The Plot is Murder by V. M Burns

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:
North Harbor, Michigan

"Victor Carlston, don't you think it's wicked to sit here enjoying yourself while your dearest relative lies at death's door?"
Friday 56:
Dorothy looked at me like I was dim-witted. "Whales can spend their money anywhere. They want to attract them to their casino, instead of Vegas or Atlantic City. Sometimes, whales win and take the casino's money. More often than not, they lose, and the casino's clean up."
This week I am reading The Plot is Murder by V. M Burns. This one is from my TBR mountain. Here is the description from Amazon:
The small town of North Harbor on the shores of Lake Michigan is about to have a new mystery bookstore. But before the first customer can browse its shelves, the store’s owner is suspected of her own murder plot . . .

Samantha Washington has dreamed of owning her own mystery bookstore for as long as she can remember. And as she prepares for the store’s grand opening, she’s also realizing another dream—penning a cozy mystery set in England between the wars. While Samantha hires employees and fills the shelves with the latest mysteries, quick-witted Lady Penelope Marsh, long-overshadowed by her beautiful sister Daphne, refuses to lose the besotted Victor Carlston to her sibling's charms. When one of Daphne's suitors is murdered in a maze, Penelope steps in to solve the labyrinthine puzzle and win Victor.

But as Samantha indulges her imagination, the unimaginable happens in real life. A shady realtor turns up dead in her backyard, and the police suspect her—after all, the owner of a mystery bookstore might know a thing or two about murder. Aided by her feisty grandmother and an enthusiastic ensemble of colorful retirees, Samantha is determined to close the case before she opens her store. But will she live to conclude her own story when the killer has a revised ending in mind for her?

Thursday, August 30, 2018

ARC Review: Cowboy, Cross My Heart by Donna Grant

Cowboy, Cross My Heart
Author: Donna Grant
Series: Heart of Texas (Book 2)
Publication: St. Martin's Paperbacks (August 28, 2018)

Description: New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant takes you deep inside the Texas rodeo scene in the second book in her Heart of Texas series, Cowboy, Cross My Heart, where danger and desire ride side by side. . .

Naomi Pierce isn’t the type to let a cowboy sweep her off feet. It’s not her first rodeo, after all. But when she returns to her Texas hometown, she can’t help but be swept up again in the rough-and-tumble world of hard-riding, bronco-busting good-ol’-boys she loved as a girl. She might be here to photograph her Rodeo Queen best friend. But it’s one fine-looking cowboy who really captures her eye…

Brice Harper is all man, all muscle, and all heart. From the moment he rides into the stadium, he can’t help but notice the beautiful stranger with a camera watching him from the stands. It doesn’t take a zoom lens to see the sparks of instant attraction. But things really heat up when he meets Naomi up-close―and he discovers that someone is stalking her friend. Brice wouldn’t be any kind of cowboy if he didn’t offer to help the ladies out. But can the rough rider keep this spirited shutterbug out of danger―without risking his heart?

My Thoughts: This was an entertaining romantic suspense title set in Texas. Naomi Pierce left after high school and made a good career for herself as a photographer. Now she's back home visiting her mom and her best friend Whitney. Whitney is involved in the whole Rodeo Queen thing and has changed a lot since Naomi left. She seems frightened by something but won't share what is bothering her with Naomi.

Naomi meets her at a rodeo and takes lots of photos while rekindling her love of the whole rodeo scene. When Whitney and Naomi are attacked and her camera is broken, they are rescued by Brice Harper. Brice and his brother Caleb are involved in team roping.

Naomi is determined to help her friend and quickly develops and prints the pictures she took. She has a picture of their attacker but she can't identify him. She shows the pictures to Brice and his friends to see if they know who the attacker was. Then Brice is attacked, the pictures are stolen, he has a head wound and a stomped on right hand. While that is happening, Naomi is also attacked. Someone pushes her and she lands in the arena just as the chuckwagon race is getting close. She's saved by Caleb.

Whitney is still afraid to share information about the attacker. She knows why she was attacked but is afraid to tell anyone. When she confides in Naomi that she is being sexually abused by a group of powerful men, Naomi is outraged but really can't do anything since Whitney isn't naming names.

Then another attack comes and Whitney is almost killed. Brice and Naomi who have fallen in love band together to keep Naomi safe and find the group of men who are preying on the beauty contest participants.

This was a nice romance and a nice suspense story. Both Naomi and Brice were interesting people and nicely developed characters. I thought their romance happened awfully quickly though.

Favorite Quote:
How in the world could she have given this up? who in their right mind would leave behind something so freeing? And who wouldn't quickly return home after seeing the error of their ways?

Certainly not Naomi.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

ARC Review: Her Majesty's American by Steve White

Her Majesty's American
Author: Steve White
Publication: Baen (September 4, 2018)

Description: THE UNION JACK TAKES TO SPACE! All-new alternate history science fiction from New York Times best-selling author Steve White.

In an alternate future where the British empire never crumbled, the space ships of Her Majesty’s Navy work to keep the spaceways safe. Commander Robert Rogers of the Royal Space Navy is a defense intelligence officer known for his unconventional ways. Rogers is American born-and-raised, a loyal citizen of the Viceroyalty of North America. He’s a descendant of the founder of the highly effective, pro-British Rogers’ Rangers during the Colonial unpleasantries of 1776, and he’s inherited his ancestor’s intelligence and drive in spades.

But there are those among the stars who are not so happy being subjects of the British Empire. In the Tau Ceti system, a cauldron of trouble brews as a terrorist faction of the rebellious Sons of Arnold attacks the empire from within, and warships of the theocratic Caliphate enters the system, prepared to do their worse to destroy the hated empire head on.  Yet standing against the coming anarchy and tyranny is one intrepid spy prepared to risk all for queen and empire:

COMMANDER ROBERT ROGERS, HER MAJESTY’S AMERICAN

My Thoughts: This book hits all the tropes and quite a few genres too. It is alternate history depicting a future when the American Revolution was lost and North America is part of the British Empire. It is science fiction taking place in a future where residents of Earth have expanded onto numerous planets and a faster-than-light drive has been developed. It is an espionage novel in that the hero Robert Rogers is an agent for Naval Intelligence trying to track down a terrorist plot.

Robert Rogers gets some information from a colleague telling him that the Caliphate (think very extreme Muslims in space) have some plans for something at New America - a planet settled by North Americans who aren't happy with the results of the failed American Revolution. At first, he is skeptical but when his colleague is killed in front of him he decides that this needs investigating.

Rogers travels to New America to check things out. He is assigned to work with Special Agent Grey Goldson from the New American Internal Security Agency. She is also skeptical about the existence of a Caliphate plan on a planet with few Muslims. Of course, her more usual activities are tracking the Sons of Arnold who are the secret group who want to "free" North America from the Empire.

Grey and Robert are ambushed when they are returning from a meeting but rescued by Empire security. Shortly after they are ambushed again this time with Grey's assistance. Turns out she's a member of the Sons of Arnold. Extremists in that organization called the Sons of Wilkinson are working with members of a Caliphate trade delegation to further their plans. This comes as a surprise to Grey that the Sons of Wilkinson even exists. But the bigger surprise is that the Caliphate is working with an alien group who also want to destabilize the Empire.

This book has plots within plots and schemes aplenty. Robert reminds me of a sort of James Bond in space - super competent, bright, a babe magnet, and completely loyal to the goals of the Empire. Grey is more a character of mystery since her loyalties seem to keep shifting.

I liked the fast pace and the space adventures in this story. I'd be glad to read of Robert Rogers further adventures defending the Empire.

Favorite Quote:
Her look grew even odder, and more intense. "But they're aliens -- and aliens whose government is hostile to the Empire, at that. Why did you give a damn?"

He matched her look for look. "They're sentient beings. And I don't believe in random mass killing. Only fanatics do -- people so obsessed with ideological abstractions that life means nothing to them. The kind of people that the Empire has prevented from ruining the world in the name of some fine-sound ideal or other."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

First Paragraph/Teaser Tuesday: Her Majesty's American by Steve White

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:
It was April, but this was London.
 
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:
It was six o'clock when Rogers spoke an irritable command, and the computer's holographic display above the desk vanished. He sat back, stretched, and bestowed a disappointed look on De Graeff.
This week I am featuring Her Majesty's American by Steve White. I got this review copy at Edelweiss. Here is the description from Amazon:
THE UNION JACK TAKES TO SPACE! All-new alternate history science fiction from New York Times best-selling author Steve White.

In an alternate future where the British empire never crumbled, the space ships of Her Majesty’s Navy work to keep the spaceways safe. Commander Robert Rogers of the Royal Space Navy is a defense intelligence officer known for his unconventional ways. Rogers is American born-and-raised, a loyal citizen of the Viceroyalty of North America. He’s a descendant of the founder of the highly effective, pro-British Rogers’ Rangers during the Colonial unpleasantries of 1776, and he’s inherited his ancestor’s intelligence and drive in spades.

But there are those among the stars who are not so happy being subjects of the British Empire. In the Tau Ceti system, a cauldron of trouble brews as a terrorist faction of the rebellious Sons of Arnold attacks the empire from within, and warships of the theocratic Caliphate enters the system, prepared to do their worse to destroy the hated empire head on.  Yet standing against the coming anarchy and tyranny is one intrepid spy prepared to risk all for queen and empire:

COMMANDER ROBERT ROGERS, HER MAJESTY’S AMERICAN

Monday, August 27, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (August 27, 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... 

This was another quiet week. The landscapers did come and replace our sagging retaining wall. They also planted most of the plants I wanted. However, I'll need to wait until Spring for my two new apple trees. They forgot to tag them as mine when I accepted the bid in June. Now I have a week or so of daily watering so that the plants take and then 3 - 4 times a week watering until the growing season ends.We have been sadly lacking in rainfall in August and could use a few days of a good, soaking rain.

It's hard to believe that it is almost the end of August. I am going to skip around on my reading calendar to finish all of my September review books before the end of the month. Then I'll go back and read the books from TBR mountain that I put on my September calendar. I just noticed that I have 20 October Review books coming up. I should begin them this week too. However, Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews which I ordered on Dec. 28, 2017 will be downloading to my Kindle on Tuesday and I intend to read it this week too.

I had my semi-annual dentist appointment for a cleaning and exam this past week. A small cavity was discovered. I have an appointment this week to fix it. Otherwise my week is empty of appointments and should be quiet. I do have to prepare my State of the Stack post toward the end of the week which usually takes a couple of hours. 

I also plan to watch lots of baseball. To the surprise of many, my Atlanta Braves are holding on to first place in their Division. I hope that they continue to play as well as they have been this season and just know that it is my watching all of the games that has them playing so well. ;-)

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.)
  • Red Waters Rising by Laura Anne Gilman - conclusion to Devil's West trilogy. My review will be posted Sept. 10.
  • The Deepest Roots by Mirana Asebedo - Review, YA, paranormal mystery. My review will be posted on Sept. 12.
  • The Guilty Dead by P. J. Tracy - Review, mystery. My review will be posted on Sept. 12.
  • Intercepted by Alexa Martin - Review, romance. My review will be posted on Sept. 13.
  • The Storm Runner by J. C. Cervantes - Review, YA, fantasy. My review will be posted on Sept. 14.
  • What I've Done by Melinda Leigh - Review, romantic suspense/thriller. My review will be posted on Sept. 19.
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?
What was your week like?



Saturday, August 25, 2018

ARC Review: Second Chance at Two Love Lane by Kieran Kramer

Second Chance at Two Love Lane
Author: Kieran Kramer
Series: Two Love Lane Series (Book 3)
Publication: St. Martin's Paperbacks (August 28, 2018)

Description: Sometimes love is waiting in the second act.

In her professional career, Ella Mancini plays matchmaker at Two Love Lane but, in her personal life, she takes the stage at the Dock Street Theatre. Now she has a chance at a new role in a Hollywood movie that happens to be filming in Charleston―one that features a big-name actress, Samantha Drake. Long ago, Ella passed up a major audition while awaiting a marriage proposal. Not only didn’t she get the role; she never got the ring, either. Instead, her boyfriend Hank went on to become a huge filmstar…leaving her, and all her dreams, behind.

But now Hank’s back in Charleston, cast as the male lead in the same movie Ella’s in. In spite of the dramatic tension off-screen, he and Ella try to stay cool onset. But when their old feelings start to heat up―at the same time leading-lady Samantha tries to play cupid―all bets are off. How can Hank convince Ella, after all this time, that she’s the one he really wants to be with in real life―and that some happy, rom-com endings really can come true?

My Thoughts: Ella Mancini has a great life in Charleston. She is happy acting in community theater and being a matchmaker at Two Love Lane. She loves being surrounded by her big family. But she has some regrets about her lost love. She had a relationship ten years earlier with a fellow actor named Hank Rogers. Having passed up a major audition in hopes of getting a marriage proposal, Ella is blindsided when Hank tells her that he has an opportunity for a film role in Hawaii and he's leaving.

Ella has built a new life but still has regrets. When Hank, who also has regrets, gets a chance to star in a movie being shot in Charleston, he takes the opportunity to see if he can have a second chance with Ella. He gets Ella a small part in the movie and they find themselves sharing a small house with his cousin Pammy for the week that he will be in Charleston.

While working on rekindling their romance, Ella is busy trying to find a match for one of her clients who is under a curse and dealing with the issue of her mother's paternity. Meanwhile, Pammy has found a potential new love of her own which helps her become less homesick in Charleston. Hank and Ella have a more difficult time with their relationship because she has found a home and business in Charleston and he has movie roles around the world lined up for at least the next two years.

Readers who want a richly detailed romance in a Southern setting or those who have read the previous books in this series will enjoy this one. I found it to be incredibly wordy and very slowly paced.

Favorite Quote:
Hank's heart leaped. He was embarrassed about that, but yeah, Ella had always been life a rainbow appearing in his sky, which was filled with too many squawking birds, gathering storm clouds, some occasional rank, which switched off to a glaring sun, and loud jets. And maybe some mild pollution from a nearby factory. Only one person had ever been the rainbow.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Friday Memes: Second Chance at Two Love Lane by Kieran Kramer

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:
"So what did you think?" Papa Mancini asked his oldest daughter, Ella.
Friday 56:
"I like you, Samantha."

"Thank you. Have you told her you've come to Charleston for her?"
This week I am featuring Second Chance at Two Love Lane by Kieran Kramer. I got this review copy from NetGalley. Here is the description from Amazon:
Sometimes love is waiting in the second act.

In her professional career, Ella Mancini plays matchmaker at Two Love Lane but, in her personal life, she takes the stage at the Dock Street Theatre. Now she has a chance at a new role in a Hollywood movie that happens to be filming in Charleston―one that features a big-name actress, Samantha Drake. Long ago, Ella passed up a major audition while awaiting a marriage proposal. Not only didn’t she get the role; she never got the ring, either. Instead, her boyfriend Hank went on to become a huge filmstar…leaving her, and all her dreams, behind.

But now Hank’s back in Charleston, cast as the male lead in the same movie Ella’s in. In spite of the dramatic tension off-screen, he and Ella try to stay cool onset. But when their old feelings start to heat up―at the same time leading-lady Samantha tries to play cupid―all bets are off. How can Hank convince Ella, after all this time, that she’s the one he really wants to be with in real life―and that some happy, rom-com endings really can come true?

Thursday, August 23, 2018

ARC Review: Through the Fire by Katie Ruggle

Through the Fire
Author: Katie Ruggle
Series: Rocky Mountain K9 Unit (Book 4)
Publication: Sourcebooks Casablanca (August 28, 2018)

Description: He's tall.
He's dark.
He's brutally handsome...
And he may be her only hope.


Kit Jernigan despairs of ever fitting in with her new tight-knit K9 unit—they've been through too much to welcome a stranger. So when a killer strikes, it's a fight to convince her fellow officers to trust her long enough to catch the woman she knows is responsible.

She can't do it on her own. What she needs most is a partner: local fire spotter Wesley March.

Wes knows in his heart that Kit is right, and he's willing to leave his lonely tower to help her prove it. But the more time they spend together, the hotter the fire smolders...and the more danger they're in. A member of the K9 unit's inner circle is determined to have her revenge—no matter who gets burned in the process.

This time, it's personal.

My Thoughts: Kit Jernigan has just arrived to begin her new job with the Monroe Police department to find a bombed out town. She and her K9 tacking bloodhound Justice find themselves in the middle of all sorts of secrets and falling for the nerdy Forest Service fire spotter Wes March. Wes isn't very good with people and is barely known to the town but somehow the two of them just click.

I liked the suspense as an assassin has come to town to finally get her revenge. Kit is just about the only one who is suspicious of her since she is very good at playing the shy, victim card. I liked getting to see how characters from earlier books in this series were doing.

I liked Kit's relationship with her dog and her desire to fit in now that she is in a new town. I could understand why the other cops were secretive but wished they would have given her more of a chance. Having read the earlier books, I did know the secrets that the others were keeping.

I liked the romance. Wes was a great character. His combination of genius and social awkwardness made him an unusual romance hero.

This feels like the end of the series since most of the plot threads begun in earlier books were wrapped up in this one. Fans of romantic suspense will want to add this series to their reading plans.

Favorite Quote:
With his enormous bulk and shaggy beard, she hadn't expected him to be so wonderfully dorky. He was like a nerdy, math-loving Sasquatch. Any lingering insecurities dredged up earlier were flushed away. She'd be willing to bet a lot of money that this guy hadn't been one of the popular kids in high school, either. No, this guy had been getting stuffed into lockers right alongside Kit.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Book Review: A Brush with Shadows by Anna Lee Huber

A Brush with Shadows
Author: Anna Lee Huber
Series: A Lady Darby Mystery (Book 6)
Publication: Berkley (March 6, 2018)

Description: Sebastian Gage returns home to battle the ghosts of his past and prevent them from destroying his future with Kiera in the latest exciting installment in this national bestselling series.

July 1831. It's been fifteen years since Sebastian Gage has set foot in Langstone Manor. Though he has shared little with his wife, Lady Kiera Darby, about his past, she knows that he planned never to return to the place of so many unhappy childhood memories. But when an urgent letter from his grandfather reaches them in Dublin, Ireland, and begs Gage to visit, Kiera convinces him to go.

All is not well at Langstone Manor. Gage's grandfather, the Viscount Tavistock, is gravely ill, and Gage's cousin Alfred has suddenly vanished. He wandered out into the moors and never returned. The Viscount is convinced someone or something other than the natural hazards of the moors is to blame for Alfred's disappearance. And when Alfred's brother Rory goes missing, Kiera and Gage must concede he may be right. Now, they must face the ghosts of Gage's past, discover the truth behind the local superstitions, and see beyond the tricks being played by their very own eyes to expose what has happened to Gage's family before the moors claim yet another victim...

My Thoughts: Kiera and Gage's current case takes them to Gage's childhood home in Dartmoor. He has been summoned by his grandfather because his cousin Alfred is missing. Gage's childhood was not a happy one. He was tormented by his cousins and his aunt because he was blamed for his mother's marriage. She married down by choosing a simple mister who was a Navy Captain. His mother also suffered from some illness that affected her life and sent her back to the home she ran away from when she married. Gage, even as a small child, felt that he had to be her protector. He hasn't been back since he was eighteen and his mother died of poison administered by her maid.

They arrive to find that most things are the same. His aunt still resents him and his cousin Rory has mixed feelings about him. Just about the only one who welcomes him is Hammett who is the majordomo and who has been on the estate since his childhood. His grandfather is gravely ill but is still keeping secrets. He thought his grandson ran away to avoid an arranged marriage but he's been gone too long.

Kiera and Gage investigate despite the fact that Gage really dislikes his cousin Alfred who tormented him when he was a child and has grown into a thoughtless, vain adult. They have some clues to follow. Could it be the Swing who are protesting the use of farm equipment that lower the need for farm workers? Could it be a family curse that seems to have been plaguing the family for generations? Could Alfred have run afoul with the father or brother of one of the young women he despoiled?

I enjoyed the setting of this story. The moors of Dartmoor really came to life. I like that Kiera and Gage are getting closer as Gage is gradually giving up some of the secrets of his past that he has been clinging to since his difficult childhood. I thought the mystery was well done and not overpowered by the politics. I liked the way Kiera protects Gage and that she isn't above a spot of blackmail to make his life easier. 

Favorite Quote:
I leaned over to kiss the honorable man I'd married, pouring all of my regret that he'd had to endure so much pain, and gratitude that he'd chosen me for his wife, into my caress. When I lifted my mouth to stare into his eyes, my chest tightened at the vulnerability reflected there. Gage so rarely showed weakness. Even in our private interactions he was usually so confident and self-assured. To see him expose his pain and insecurities in such a raw way made me want to wrap him up in my arms and never let him go. 
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

First Paragraph/Teaser Tuesday: Through the Fire by Katie Ruggle



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:
The match flipped end over end, the spinning flame creating a small pocket of light in the dim house. It landed in a pool of lighter fluid, and flames rippled outward with such speed that Alex took a startled step back, away from the quickly spreading fire. Arson was one of the few crimes she'd never had to commit, but the lure was understandable. The dancing flames were mesmerizing, and the potential damage significant. Lighting a fire was a powerful feeling -- one she could get addicted to.
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:
Theo slowed, and Kit assumed they were getting close. The air was getting hazier, and she could smell smoke -- and the acrid burn told her that it wasn't a cozy little campfire. Something was burning that wasn't supposed to be burning.
This week I am reading Through the Fire by Katie Ruggle. I got this eARC from NetGalley. Here is the description from Amazon:
He's tall.
He's dark.
He's brutally handsome...
And he may be her only hope.


Kit Jernigan despairs of ever fitting in with her new tight-knit K9 unit—they've been through too much to welcome a stranger. So when a killer strikes, it's a fight to convince her fellow officers to trust her long enough to catch the woman she knows is responsible.

She can't do it on her own. What she needs most is a partner: local fire spotter Wesley March.

Wes knows in his heart that Kit is right, and he's willing to leave his lonely tower to help her prove it. But the more time they spend together, the hotter the fire smolders...and the more danger they're in. A member of the K9 unit's inner circle is determined to have her revenge—no matter who gets burned in the process.

This time, it's personal.

Monday, August 20, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (August 20, 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...

This was another quiet week. It seems like the summer is just flying by. Next week, weather permitting, landscapers will be here to redo a sagging retaining wall and plant a variety of new shrubs and trees. I'm supposed to get two apple trees but that may have to wait until Spring if my landscaper didn't remember to tag them when I accepted the bid in June.

We have been low on rain lately. My brother has been watering the lawn. Of course, with the landscapers scheduled, we have a 90% chance of rain on the day they are supposed to begin. Since I've already been waiting for them to be able to fit me in for a couple of months, I'd rather have the rain and delay the landscapers a couple of days.

I've been making steady progress on lowering my review stack and building up my cushion. I was worried about the nonfiction books I received but am pleased to say that I have really been finding them fascinating and readable. I wish nonfiction had been like that when I was a child. It would have given me a more favorable outlook on nonfiction.

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.)
  • In Cold Chocolate by Dorothy St. James - Review cozy mystery. My review will be posted on Sept. 5.
  • The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney - YA Urban fantasy from my TBR mountain. My review will be posted Sept. 5.
  • Read and Gone by Allison Brook - Review cozy mystery. My review will be posted on Sept. 6.



  • Dactyl Hill Squad by Daniel Jose Older - Review Middle Grade historical fantasy. My review will be posted on Sept. 7.
  • Burning Ridge by Margaret Mizushima - Review thriller. My review will be posted on Sept. 8.

DNF - The Splintered Light by Ginger Johnson. This was an unsolicited review copy from Bloomsbury. It was compared to The Giver by Lois Lowry which made it a negative for me since I hated The Giver. I read a few pages and just wasn't interested.


Currently
Red Waters Rising by Laura Anne Gilman is a recent arrival on my TBR mountain. I am eager to begin this conclusion to the Devil's West trilogy - a Western fantasy.

Next Week

These are mostly from my review stack of September releases.
Reviews Posted

On Inside of a Dog:
On Ms. Martin Teaches Media:
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?
  • Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon - free ebook from Tor.com
  • A Dangerous Duet by Karen Odden (Nov. 6) - review print copy of a historical mystery from the author. 
  • Past Due for Murder by Victoria Gilbert (Feb. 12, 2019) - review copy from NetGalley
What was your week like?



Saturday, August 18, 2018

Book Review: As Death Draws Near by Anna Lee Huber

As Death Draws Near
Author: Anna Lee Huber
Series: Lady Darby Mystery (Book 5)
Publication: Berkley (July 5, 2016)

Description: In this historical mystery from the national bestselling author of A Brush with Shadows, Lady Kiera Darby and Sebastian Gage get tangled in a dangerous web of religious and political intrigue.

July 1831. In the midst of their idyllic honeymoon in England’s Lake District, Kiera and Gage’s seclusion is soon interrupted by a missive from her new father-in-law. A deadly incident involving a distant relative of the Duke of Wellington has taken place at an abbey south of Dublin, Ireland, and he insists that Kiera and Gage look into the matter.

Intent on discovering what kind of monster could murder a woman of the cloth, the couple travel to Rathfarnham Abbey school. Soon a second nun is slain in broad daylight near a classroom full of young girls. With the sinful killer growing bolder, the mother superior would like to send the students home, but the growing civil unrest in Ireland would make the journey treacherous.

Before long, Kiera starts to suspect that some of the girls may be hiding a sinister secret. With the killer poised to strike yet again, Kiera and Gage must make haste and unmask the fiend, before their matrimonial bliss comes to an untimely end...

My Thoughts: Kiera and Gage have their honeymoon interrupted by Gage's father who sends them off to Ireland to investigate the death of a nun. Miss Harriet Lennox is a relative of the Duke of Wellington. Tagging along is the Marquess of Marsdale who played a role in one of their earlier cases. He is on the run from an irate father after he compromised the man's not-so-innocent daughter. It just so happens that Miss Lennox is also a relative of his.

At first Gage and Kiera are baffled at who would want to murder this quiet young woman. Of course they are wondering what made her decide to convert to Catholicism and join a convent. At this time, the conflict between Catholics and Protestants is heated. Laws have been passed to give Catholics more rights but these laws don't give much help to anyone but the more wealthy. Most Irish Catholics are in more difficult economic straits. The current issue of forced tithing to support the Irish Anglican Church is leading to violence.

When a second nun is killed in the same way as Miss Lennox, the confusion amplifies. Gage and Kiera both explore different aspects of the case since only Kiera is allowed into the convent to investigate that part of the case.

I liked the political detail in this story. I also liked the way Kiera and Gage are building their marriage. Kiera is wondering about her new career and how it will change if or when they have children. She gets some good advice from the Mother Superior of the convent and reassurance from Gage that shows how different he is from her first husband.

I will admit that I was surprised about the resolution of the mystery since so much of the story revolved around the conflict between Catholics and Protestants but the murders didn't directly relate to that conflict. It almost moved the murders to the side of the story.

Favorite Quote:
Sometimes it was difficult to accept the terrible lengths people would go to for their beliefs, particularly when they fooled themselves into thinking they were acting in the Lord's name or for the public's good when they were truly reacting out of hatred and fear.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Friday Memes: As Death Draws Near by Anna Lee Huber

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:
It began with a letter. Or perhaps, more accurately, a messenger. Though I suppose it's pointless to quibble over such a triviality.
Friday 56:
Reverend Mother appeared equally relieved by my ready acceptance of her decision. "We noted any details as best we could, but I'm afraid there wasn't much. Though perhaps we did not know what to look for."
This week I am featuring As Death Draws Near by Anna Lee Huber. This is the fifth in the Lady Darby Mystery series. Here is the description from Amazon:
In this historical mystery from the national bestselling author of A Brush with Shadows, Lady Kiera Darby and Sebastian Gage get tangled in a dangerous web of religious and political intrigue.

July 1831. In the midst of their idyllic honeymoon in England’s Lake District, Kiera and Gage’s seclusion is soon interrupted by a missive from her new father-in-law. A deadly incident involving a distant relative of the Duke of Wellington has taken place at an abbey south of Dublin, Ireland, and he insists that Kiera and Gage look into the matter.

Intent on discovering what kind of monster could murder a woman of the cloth, the couple travel to Rathfarnham Abbey school. Soon a second nun is slain in broad daylight near a classroom full of young girls. With the sinful killer growing bolder, the mother superior would like to send the students home, but the growing civil unrest in Ireland would make the journey treacherous.

Before long, Kiera starts to suspect that some of the girls may be hiding a sinister secret. With the killer poised to strike yet again, Kiera and Gage must make haste and unmask the fiend, before their matrimonial bliss comes to an untimely end...

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Book Review: A Study in Death by Anna Lee Huber

A Study in Death
Author: Anna Lee Huber
Series: Lady Darby Mystery (Book 4)
Publication: Berkley (July 7, 2015)

Description: Scotland, 1831. After a tumultuous courtship complicated by three deadly inquiries, Lady Kiera Darby is thrilled to have found both an investigative partner and a fiancĂ© in Sebastian Gage. But with her well-meaning—and very pregnant—sister planning on making their wedding the event of the season, Kiera could use a respite from the impending madness.

Commissioned to paint the portrait of Lady Drummond, Kiera is saddened when she recognizes the pain in the baroness’s eyes. Lord Drummond is a brute, and his brusque treatment of his wife forces Kiera to think of the torment caused by her own late husband.

Kiera isn’t sure how to help, but when she finds Lady Drummond prostrate on the floor, things take a fatal turn. The physician called to the house and Lord Drummond appear satisfied to rule her death natural, but Kiera is convinced that poison is the real culprit.

Now, armed only with her knowledge of the macabre and her convictions, Kiera intends to discover the truth behind the baroness’s death—no matter what, or who, stands in her way…

My Thoughts: In March 1831, Lady Kiera Darby is engaged to gentleman inquiry agent Sebastian Gage and accepting commissions for portraits. Her current subject is Lady Drummond who seems to be having the same difficulties with her husband that Kiera did with hers. Lord Drummond is a former Navy man who rules his wife with an iron hand. When she arrives for Lady Drummond's next sitting, she is surprised to find her dying on the floor. Kiera is suspicious but the doctor called in by her husband has diagnosed an apoplexy. Kiera thinks it looks a lot more like poison.

Kiera convinces Gage to help her investigate and together they check out Lady Drummond's friends and local apothecaries. Even Bonnie Brock Kincaid gets involved, much to Gage's dismay. While investigating, Keira is also preoccupied with her very pregnant sister's health and her brother-in-law's seeming indifference to his wife's plight. Throw in Gage's father Lord Gage who has come to Edinburgh and is very much opposed to their marriage and Gage's own secretive nature. Add, too, that the rumors that plagued her right after her husband's death seem to be making a reappearance leading to snubs and whispers following wherever she goes. Keira has a lot of emotional ups and downs during the course of this episode.

The story had me wondering why any gently born woman would get married at this time. A woman was her husband's property and physical and mental abuse was much more common and almost acceptable. One example in this story is of a woman married to a gambler who had almost gambled them into the poorhouse who was plotting to hide her jewelry from him. The idea that the jewelry belonged to the husband rather than the wife was the way it was. I liked Kiera's solution to help the wife. I also liked the comparison between a wife and a concubine. The one in this story owned her home and gifts given to her by her protectors.

Fans of historical mysteries will enjoy this latest episode starring Lady Kiera Darby and Sebastian Gage.

Favorite Quote:
She glanced about her once more. "Because it seems awfully convenient for Lord Drummond that his wife is suddenly deceased since her dowry is spent and he's about to be floating up the River Tick. Unless he can find a wealthy new bride, that is.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.