Monday, May 20, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (May 20, 2019)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.  It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.

I will be combining my YA and adult reading and purchases on this one weekly roundup.

Other Than Reading...

This week we played host to the roofers who got to work pounding and stamping around on my roof at 8 AM Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. This would be okay if I didn't think that midnight was an early time to go to bed. So I was a little sleep deprived all week.

I'm told that we are in the "permitting phase" for our solar project which could take a couple more weeks before the "install" phase begins. I am excited to carry on with this project and hope it happens soon.

Otherwise, the weather was good although we are looking at a cool and rainy weekend where the temperatures hover in the low 40s. It should allow for a lot of nice reading time. I am nearly finished filling all the reviews on my June calendar and have to start to think about what I'll be reading next for posts in July. I have 12 slots to fill after the review books are slotted in. I'll probably divide them up like this month with some from recent purchases and some that have been lingering on TBR mountain for a while.

Read Last Week

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

  • Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop (mine) - This was a re-read for the umteenth time. I just love this series. 
  • Shadow of the Fox by Julia Kagawa (mine) - I combined reading and listening to this one and enjoyed this fantasy based on Japanese mythology. My review will be posted on June 11.
  • Straight by Dick Francis (mine) - Dick Francis is one of my all-time favorite mystery authors. Straight is one of my favorites of all his books. I recently got a Kindle copy and, since I'm trying to read what I buy, I chose to re-read this one. My review will be posted on June 15. 


  • Shoot to Thrill by P. J. Tracy (mine) - Entertaining entry in the Monkeewrench series. My review will be posted on June 16.
  • The Leopard King by Ann Aguirre (mine) - An entertaining and spicy paranormal romance. My review will be posted on June 13.
  • Shout of Honor by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller (mine) - This is the latest novella in the Liaden Universe series. I won't be reviewing it but it was an excellent story.


  • Wherever She Goes by Kelley Armstrong (Review) - This was a fast-paced thriller by one of my favorite authors. My review will be posted on June 18.
  • Off the Grid by P. J. Tracy (mine) - Another great entry in the Monkeewrench series. My review will be posted on June 23.


  • The Sixth Idea by P. J. Tracy (mine) - Monkeewrench #7 was filled with fast-paced action. My review will be posted on June 30.
  • A Spell of Trouble by Leighann Dobbs (mine) - This paranormal mystery begins a self-published series and was a fun story. My review will be posted on June 19.
DNF
  • I read 37% of Girl in the Rearview Mirror by Kelsey Rae Dimberg before I set it aside. I kept waiting for something mysterious or suspenseful to happen and kept being disappointed. 

Currently


Next Week



  • Mary Russell's War by Laurie R. King (mine) - This is a print book that has been on TBR mountain since Oct. 8, 2016.
  • The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton (mine) - purchased the Kindle copy March 11
  • Thrice Burned by Angela Misri (mine) - purchased the Kindle copy April 23

Reviews Posted




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

Bought:





  • Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop - hardcover for my Keeper shelf
  • Shout of Honor by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller - latest novella in the Liaden Universe

Review:
These arrived in a surprise package from Bloomsbury YA:


These are from NetGalley:


What was your week like?

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Book Review: Dead Run by P. J. Tracy

Dead Run
Author: P. J. Tracy
Series: Monkeewrench (Book 3)
Publication: G.P. Putnam's Sons (April 4, 2006)

Description: Computer game company founders Grace MacBride and Annie Belinsky—along with Wisconsin deputy Sharon Mueller—are en route to Green Bay, following reports of a serial killer, when their car breaks down deep in the northern woods. A short walk through the forest leads them to the eerily quiet town of Four Corners, where they find severed phone lines and a complete absence of any life. But the quiet is deceptive. Before they know it, they witness a horrifying double murder—and discover that this is only the beginning of a race to save their own lives…and countless others.

My Thoughts: A road trip goes horribly wrong when Grace, Annie and Deputy Sharon Mueller leave from the Cities for Green Bay to use Monkeewrench's new computer program to help solve a troubling crime. But when car trouble leaves them stranded, a walk to the nearest town leaves all sorts of questions.

Four Corners is suspiciously silent. There is no one there and the town looks scrubbed clean. With all the phone lines cut and in a dead spot in cellphone coverage in very rural Wisconsin, the women have no way to call for help. And they need help badly. They have run into some sort of military operation.

We know what happened in Four Corners. There was an accident with a milk truck the loosed nerve gas that killed all the people there. And a group came in to sanitize the scene before their dastardly plot could be discovered and stopped.

Meanwhile, Magozzi, Rolseth, and Harley and Roadrunner from the Monkeewrench crew are getting very concerned when they don't hear from the women. Sheriff Halloran is also concerned when he can't contact Sharon. He has a mystery of his own when three bodies are pulled from a local quarry which is a hang-out spot for teens. The three had been killed execution style. Before he can identify them, the FBI sweep in and claim the bodies.

The story is divided between the women who are trying to get out of Four Quarters and the men who are trying to find them. The suspense kept building to a very dramatic conclusion. I love the variety of mysteries in this series. This time the focus is on domestic terrorists which is a very timely topic in a book written in 2006.

Favorite Quote:
"You've been on road trips with men?" Annie asked from the backseat, immediately intrigued.

"A couple. I wouldn't recommend it, though. Guys have this thing about getting from point A to point B as fast as possible. No side trips. They never want to stop and look at anything. And they never have to go to the bathroom either."

"Yeah, yeah, I know all that, but who'd you go on a road trip with? Sheriff Halloran?"

"God, no. Elias McFarressey. He played the accordion, among other things."

Annie's jaw dropped. "You dated a man who played the accordion?"
"It was Wisconsin. You kind of had to be there."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Book Review: Very Bad Deaths by Spider Robinson

Very Bad Deaths
Author: Spider Robinson
Series: Very Bad Deaths (Book 1)
Publication: Baen Books; 1 edition (January 20, 2014)

Description: A MAN CAN'T EVEN DIE IN PEACE

Blind to the beauty of his island home in Canada, shattered by the death of his wife of 32 years, American expatriate Russell Walker is ready to join her. But Smelly won't let him!

Smelly—notorious for his refusal to bathe—was Russell's college roommate back in 1967. He's lived a hermit's life ever since, and only Russell knows why: Smelly reads minds, can't help it—and it hurts. After all these years, Russell is still the only person Smelly can stand to be near. And now Smelly urgently needs an intermediary with the police—suicidal or not.

He's learned that a serial sadist who would terrify Ted Bundy is at play in the Vancouver area. Unfortunately, he's got only scraps of information that aren't enough to ID either the killer or his next victims. And he can't even come close enough to a cop to tell his story.

Against his better judgment, Russell brings this unlikely tale to Constable Nika Mandic, a tough but unlucky Vancouver policewoman—and soon the mild-mannered Sixties survivor finds himself conspiring with a telepathic hermit and an uptight cop to track a monster to his lair.

But are the three together smart enough to stalk a creature who thinks of himself as the first true scientist of cruelty If not, Russell's suicidal urges may be fulfilled sooner—and much less painlessly—than he planned. . . .

My Thoughts: This mystery begins with a clinically-depressed man planning his suicide. Russell Walker is a widower who has lost his beloved wife Susan and who is estranged from his son Jesse. He lives on an island outside of Vancouver and writes columns for the Toronto Globe and Mail. He is articulate, irreverent, witty, and a leftover hippie. He's almost at the point of committing to death when his old college roommate drops in - after being out of his life for 30 years - with a problem that needs Russell's help to solve.

Zandor Sudenigo was not Russell's first choice as a roommate. Zandor, better known as Smelly, was someone no one even wanted to be near at the Catholic college in upstate New York. Here's Russell's description: "No. 'Smell' doesn't begin to touch it. Even 'stench' is inadequate. Another word is needed. Perhaps 'reek,' or 'miasma,' or possibly 'fetor.' You could have planted beans in his body odor. Some said it would show up on radar. Paint discolored as he walked past. Flies dropped from the sky behind him." What made their relationship possible was that Russell was a really laid-back guy who was very tolerant of differences.

What Russell only figured out years later was that Zandor was a telepath who used his foul odor to keep people far enough away from him that he could survive the contact. It is his telepathy that brings him to Russell. Someone passed over his remote island in a plane that was crashing and Zandor found himself inside a mind that was incredibly evil. He learns that the man is planning to kidnap and murder a family living in a Vancouver suburb. He wants Russell to use his police contacts as a newspaper man to begin an investigation.

Russell doesn't have any police contacts. He makes it clear that he is not a reporter but a columnist and that he writes for a newspaper in Toronto, not Vancouver. The first problem is figuring which variety of police he needs because of the wide variety of jurisdictions involved. Then he has to find the proper place to report this possible crime. After a major runaround, he finally meets a police officer when he prevents her car from being stolen. Constable Nika Mandic wouldn't be his first choice of police ally. After all, she is one of the officers assigned to drive around the van bringing exhibits to the local schools.

This unlikely trio doesn't seem like much of a force when pitted against a man who has killed many and made a study of ways to cause pain. They seem especially mismatched when the killer finds Russell on his island home and tortures him for information on his colleagues.

This was an engaging story with oddball but intriguing heroes and a really horrible villain. The writing was filled with Robinson's wit and prose. His anti-establishment viewpoint and his irreverent attitude shine through.

Favorite Quote:
The next fifty kilometers or so of highway serve to separate the men from the helplessly screaming objects plummeting from great heights. Those fifty kilometers carry you through some of the most splendid scenery to be found anywhere on the planet, and ensure that you will not be able to spare a since second's attention to appreciate it. They seem to have been carefully designed by a crack team of brilliant sadists to provide every possible driving challenge ...over and over, often in combination, and always by surprise. There are blind curves, double switchbacks, incorrect banks, inadequate shoulders overlooking horrific dropoffs, vanishlingly rare passing zones, frequent avalanches - and on the rare stretches that do let you get a little speed going, there's usually a scenic-lookoff turnout feeding low speed traffic back into the stream.
I bought this one. I bought the paperback sometime before February 2009 and the Kindle when I decided I wanted to read the story. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Friday Memes: Very Bad Deaths by Spider Robinson

Happy Friday everybody!
Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Rose City ReaderThe Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Beginning:
I was fifty-four years old the first time a dead person spoke to me. Wouldn't you know it? It was the wrong one.
Friday 56:
However lame, corny, dopey, cheesey or full of shit you may have imagined a Police Community Services Trailer to be, I assure you the reality is several orders of magnitude worse on all counts. I fell asleep on an air mattress under the dangerous drugs display, feeling genuinely sorry for her.
This week I am spotlighting Very Bad Deaths by Spider Robinson. This is one of the books that has been on my TBR mountain since 2008. Here is the description from Amazon:
A MAN CAN'T EVEN DIE IN PEACE

Blind to the beauty of his island home in Canada, shattered by the death of his wife of 32 years, American expatriate Russell Walker is ready to join her. But Smelly won't let him!

Smelly—notorious for his refusal to bathe—was Russell's college roommate back in 1967. He's lived a hermit's life ever since, and only Russell knows why: Smelly reads minds, can't help it—and it hurts. After all these years, Russell is still the only person Smelly can stand to be near. And now Smelly urgently needs an intermediary with the police—suicidal or not.

He's learned that a serial sadist who would terrify Ted Bundy is at play in the Vancouver area. Unfortunately, he's got only scraps of information that aren't enough to ID either the killer or his next victims. And he can't even come close enough to a cop to tell his story.

Against his better judgment, Russell brings this unlikely tale to Constable Nika Mandic, a tough but unlucky Vancouver policewoman—and soon the mild-mannered Sixties survivor finds himself conspiring with a telepathic hermit and an uptight cop to track a monster to his lair.

But are the three together smart enough to stalk a creature who thinks of himself as the first true scientist of cruelty If not, Russell's suicidal urges may be fulfilled sooner—and much less painlessly—than he planned. . . .

Thursday, May 16, 2019

YA ARC Review: Missing, Presumed Dead by Emma Berquist

Missing, Presumed Dead
Author: Emma Berquist
Publication: Greenwillow Books (May 21, 2019)

Description: When eighteen-year-old Lexi foresees the brutal murder of a young woman outside a club in downtown L.A., she is powerless to stop it.

But then the girl’s ghost appears, seeking vengeance, and Lexi is swept into a dangerous search that could put her directly in the path of a serial killer. From the author of Devils Unto Dust, this fast-paced and literary thriller will haunt fans of Maureen Johnson’s Truly Devious and Karen M. McManus’s One of Us Is Lying. 

With a touch, Lexi can sense how and when someone will die. Some say it’s a gift. But to Lexi it’s a curse—one that keeps her friendless and alone. All that changes when Lexi foresees the violent death of a young woman, Jane, outside a club.

Jane doesn’t go to the afterlife quietly. Her ghost remains behind, determined to hunt down her murderer, and she needs Lexi’s help. In life, Jane was everything Lexi is not—outgoing, happy, popular. But in death, all Jane wants is revenge.

Lexi will do anything to help Jane, to make up for the fact that she didn’t—couldn’t—save Jane’s life, and to keep this beautiful ghost of a girl by her side for as long as possible.

Emma Berquist’s second novel is a haunting and atmospheric murder mystery that tackles themes of depression, loneliness, love, and identity. This high-concept novel is for fans of Holly Black’s The Coldest Girl in Coldtown and Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me series.

My Thoughts: Lexi has a psychic gift that forces her to see how and when anyone will die if she touches them. She thinks of it as a curse. She is achingly lonely and hungry for touch but each touch means pain. When she accidentally brushes up against a young woman outside the club where she works, she sees the girl's brutal death and it makes her sick.

When she learns that the girl is missing as are quite a few other young people who were last seen near the club, Lexi goes looking for her ghost and she finds it. Jane is filled with rage but doesn't remember how she came to be did. She has no memory of her murderer. This is the first strange thing because, in Lexi's previous experience, ghosts do remember how they died. Lexi promises to help Jane find out who killed her and takes her home with her.

Lexi already lives with a ghost named Trevor who died in a car accident. She is hoping that Trevor can help Jane adjust to being dead. Lexi also feels very close to Jane. And she can touch ghosts. But ghosts do have a habit of moving on, either to explore the world or to go on to the next world. Falling in love with a ghost won't really help Lexi's loneliness ... or will it?

This was an excellent story. I liked the world of supernaturals that the author built. I liked that the negatives of psychic abilities made up a big part of the story. The mystery was engaging as Lexi and Jane track down her murderer. The writing was descriptive and emotionally engaging. I couldn't put it down.

Favorite Quote:
It shouldn't hurt anymore. I thought I made my peace with this a long time ago. But it's loneliness that's scraping out my organs, ancient and unmistakable. I shouldn't have let them in, shouldn't have gotten used to the warmth at my back, a voice in my ear. It hurts worse now, because I know what I've lost.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Book Review: Tightrope by Amanda Quick

Tightrope
Author: Amanda Quick
Series: Burning Cove, California (Book 3)
Publication: Berkley (May 7, 2019)

Description: An unconventional woman and a man shrouded in mystery walk a tightrope of desire as they race against a killer to find a top secret invention before it’s too late.

Former trapeze artist Amalie Vaughn moved to Burning Cove to reinvent herself, but things are not going well. After spending her entire inheritance on a mansion with the intention of turning it into a bed-and-breakfast, she learns too late that the villa is said to be cursed. When the first guest, Dr. Norman Pickwell, is murdered by his robot invention during a sold-out demonstration, rumors circulate that the curse is real.

In the chaotic aftermath of the spectacle, Amalie watches as a stranger from the audience disappears behind the curtain. When Matthias Jones reappears, he is slipping a gun into a concealed holster. It looks like the gossip that is swirling around him is true—Matthias evidently does have connections to the criminal underworld.

Matthias is on the trail of a groundbreaking prototype cipher machine. He suspects that Pickwell stole the device and planned to sell it. But now Pickwell is dead and the machine has vanished. When Matthias’s investigation leads him to Amalie’s front door, the attraction between them is intense, but she knows it is also dangerous. Amalie and Matthias must decide if they can trust each other and the passion that binds them, because time is running out.

My Thoughts: Amalie Vaughn has come to Burning Cove to open a bed and breakfast with her aunt. She got a terrific deal on a furnished mansion only to find out, after she bought, it that it had a bad reputation because a noted psychic had committed suicide there by jumping off the roof. She was a former trapeze artist who survived a murder attempt but rumor has it that she killed her attempted murderer as some part of a twisted love triangle.

Amalie has only one boarder now. Inventor Dr. Norman Pickwell is presenting his latest invention before a packed audience when his robot shoots him to death. This is certainly not going to help the reputation of Amalie's new B & B. The death also attracts the attention of engineer Matthias Jones who thinks there is more to this than a robot gone amuck.

Matthias wants to discover whatever secret Dr. Pickwell was keeping and Amalie wants to save the reputation of the business she has invested her future in. As they investigate and find out about a secret cipher machine, a spy out for revenge, and a fading movie star who wants to get back into the spotlight, the two fall in love.

Matthias has a hard time accepting that Amalie can ever accept him. He has a psychic gift that lets him know when anyone is lying which tends to make most people uncomfortable. Amalie tells him, quite correctly, that his gift doesn't even make the top ten of things that scare her. After all, she is used to performing on the high trapeze without a net and she escaped a man who wanted to murder her.

This was an entertaining story filled with quirky characters and situations. I enjoyed the story even though I had tapped the wrong person as the villain.

Favorite Quote:
"Welcome to the real world, Jones. It's a little scary out here. Sometimes you have to take a chance, grab the bar, and have faith that the catcher can be trusted."

He hauled her toward him.

"Catch me, Amalie," he whispered. 
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

ARC Review: The Dark Bones by Loreth Anne White

The Dark Bones
Author: Loreth Anne White
Series: A Dark Lure novel
Publication: Montlake Romance (May 21, 2019)

Description: She’s come back to solve the mystery of her father’s death and confront her own dark past.

When Detective Rebecca North left her rural hometown, she vowed never to return. Her father’s apparent suicide has changed that. The official report is that retired cop Noah North shot himself, knocked over a lantern, and set his isolated cabin ablaze. But Rebecca cannot believe he killed himself.

To prove it, she needs the help of Ash Haugen, the man she left behind. But Rebecca and Ash share more than broken hearts. Something darker lies between them, and the investigation is stirring it back to life. Clues lead them to the home of Olivia West and her deeply troubled twelve-year-old daughter, Tori. The child knows more about the murder than anyone can imagine, but she’s too terrified to say a word.

And as a cold-blooded killer resurfaces from the past, Rebecca and Ash begin to fear that their own secrets may be even harder to survive.

My Thoughts: Detective Rebecca North was eager to leave the small town where she grew up. After her boyfriend's betrayal, she couldn't get out of town fast enough. She's built a good life for herself working on white collar crime in Ottawa.

But now Rebecca is back after the apparent suicide of her father. Noah North was a retired police officer who made his own moonshine and drank too much of it. He was also paranoid. But being paranoid doesn't mean that someone isn't out to get you. Rebecca doesn't believe that her father committed suicide but, rather, that a cold case that he was investigating was the cause of his death.

As Rebecca investigates her father's death and the old case that might have caused it, she is forced to work with Ash Haugen, the man who broke her heart and, who might be a suspect in the old case. Ash is clearly keeping secrets. When Whitney, the girl he betrayed her with, and her boyfriend disappear, everyone thinks they just left town to move to LA for a better life. But some months later an investigation is begun when Whitney never contacts anyone from home.

The town seems filled with secrets as Rebecca uncovers a lot of them in her investigation. In fact, she finds herself in a lot of danger as she gets to close to uncovering those who killed her father.

The story was filled with flashbacks. We begin by seeing Whitney on the run from hunters who want her dead. We also see what happens on that hot July day twenty years earlier when Rebecca discovers Ash after a sexual encounter with Whitney. And what happens when Whitney comes across an injured Ash and swears he had an accident falling off a horse.

This was an entertaining mystery with well-developed and complex characters. I was totally engaged in this suspenseful story.

Favorite Quote:
It meant a predator could still be out there. One who might kill again.

Or not.

Maybe it really was all just as it seemed. As Dr. Seuss had said. And she was being infected by her father's paranoia. As it if were a germ that still clung to this place and his clothing and his truck.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Monday, May 13, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (May 13, 2019)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.  It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.

I will be combining my YA and adult reading and purchases on this one weekly roundup.

Other Than Reading...

There hasn't been any progress on my solar project this week in part because Duluth broke two all-time weather records. We had 10.2 inches of snow fall from Wednesday afternoon through Thursday early morning which broke the snowfall in May record and the "latest Winter Storm Warning of the year" record. However, it is May so most of the snow was gone by Thursday afternoon. The snow did put my roofer off by a couple of days. Tentative plans are that they will begin roofing on Monday.

I threw last week's reading plans out the window this week. Two books I had ordered quite a while ago arrived and I read them because they were May releases and I had left spots on my May calendar for them. Then I decided to re-read the Others series by Anne Bishop again since I also decided that I wanted hardcover copies of the five books for my Keeper shelves. I already have the paperbacks and Kindle copies.

I have been battling a Spring cold with sneezing, coughing and a sinus headache that just won't go away. It was a perfect week to curl up on my couch and enjoy my favorite comfort books. After I finish the last book of the Others series, I plan to get back to reading Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa. I was turned down for a review copy and was glad to see it was a Kindle Deal for $.99. I set it aside when I got the two new May releases I'd been waiting for. Then I got the SYNC audiobook on Thursday. I think I'll continue with the audiobook this week.

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.)



  • Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop (mine) - re-read
  • Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs (mine) - the latest in her Mercy Thompson urban fantasy series. My review will be posted on May 12.


  • Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop (mine) - re-read
  • Tightrope by Amanda Quick (mine) - the latest in her Burning Cove, California, historical mystery series. My review will be posted on May 15.
  • Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop (mine) - re-read

Currently

  • Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop (mine) - re-read
  • Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa (mine) - I took advantage of the Kindle Daily Deal this week and also got an audiobook copy from SYNC. I read the first twelve chapters and plan to listen to the rest of this one.

Next Week




Reviews Posted




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

Bought (Kindle copies unless I note differently):





SYNC Audiobooks:



Review:


What was your week like?

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Book Review: Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs

Storm Cursed
Author: Patricia Briggs
Series: A Mercy Thompson Novel (Book 11)
Publication: Ace (May 7, 2019)

Description: In this powerful entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series, Mercy Thompson must face a deadly enemy to defend all she loves…

My name is Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptman, and I am a car mechanic.

And a coyote shapeshifter.

And the mate of the Alpha of the Columbia Basin werewolf pack.

Even so, none of that would have gotten me into trouble if, a few months ago, I hadn’t stood upon a bridge and taken responsibility for the safety of the citizens who lived in our territory. It seemed like the thing to do at the time. It should have only involved hunting down killer goblins, zombie goats, and an occasional troll. Instead, our home was viewed as neutral ground, a place where humans would feel safe to come and treat with the fae.

The reality is that nothing and no one is safe.  As generals and politicians face off with the Gray Lords of the fae, a storm is coming and her name is Death.

But we are pack, and we have given our word.

We will die to keep it.

My Thoughts: Plans are underway for a meeting of officials from the US government and the Grey Lords in the territory of the Columbia Basin werewolf pack. There are so many things that can go wrong that Mercy would be hard-pressed to even make a guess as to how many.

What she hadn't factored in were a group of witches - a horribly powerful group of witches - who definitely don't want that meeting to take place. Interference from Coyote is also making things more difficult for Mercy because, as always, Coyote has his own agenda.

With Adam busy trying to remain neutral while being under contract to provide security for the meeting due to a bad contract lawyer and an almost forgotten line in an old contract, Mercy has to call in some old friends and some old enemies and some new friends to deal with the witches.

This episode brings in threads from earlier books in the series but stands alone quite well. I love Mercy's relationship with Adam and her growing bonds with the werewolf pack. I liked seeing Zee and Tad and even Uncle Mike again. I enjoyed meeting the Goblin King and, like Mercy, wonder about his cryptic comments about the future.

The book is filled with action and packed with magic. It was an exciting read that kept me up late because I couldn't go to sleep until I knew what happened.

Favorite Quote:
But I've learned that there are always terrible things, and sometimes it is very important to grasp what joy and beauty you can, whenever you can.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Book Review: Shadowblack by Sebastien De Castell

Shadowblack
Author: Sebastien De Castell
Series: Spellslinger (Book 2)
Publication: Orbit (August 21, 2018)

Description: A failed mage turned outlaw must use guile and a handful of spells to challenge a dangerous rival in the second book of an exciting adventure fantasy series from Sebastien de Castell.

Forced to live as an outlaw, Kellen relies on his wits and his allies to survive the unforgiving borderlands.

When he meets a young woman cursed with a deadly plague, he feels compelled to help. But her secrets draw powerful enemies and it's not long before Kellen is entangled in a conspiracy of blackmail, magic, and murder. As the bodies begin to pile up, Kellen fears he's next.

My Thoughts: Outlawed Kellen is wandering in the Seven Sands region with his mentor Argosi Ferius Parfax and his "business partner" squirrel-cat Reichis when they come upon another Argosi and her charge who are also being chased by bounty hunters. When they discover the Path of Stones and Roses' charge Seneira has the same shadowblack around her eye that Kellen has.

The Path of Stones and Roses, who is called Rosie by Ferius, is on the track of a possible shadowblack plague and so they take Seneira back to Teleidos which is a town in the Seven Sands that is famous for its Academy which draws the best and the brightest from all the countries in the world.

Once in Teleidos, they find that Seneira's younger brother and her betrothed also have caught shadowblack. They also find another outlaw named Dexan Videras who claims to be able to cure the shadowblack but needs to find the mage who cursed the suffers. Dexan also causes a conflict for Kellen. He offers to make Kellen his partner and teach him all that he has learned as an outlaw. But following Dexan means leaving Ferius behind.

Kellen is torn between his need to help Seneira and his need to find a way to be safe from the bounty hunters who are pursuing him. He also has to decide what he wants for his future instead of just living moment to moment and staying one step ahead of the bounty hunters.

I really enjoy the characters and the worldbuilding in this series. Kellen is a young man who is trying to find his purpose and learning about himself. Reichis is great comic relief  but also has surprising depth. Ferius is the character who is the most mysterious, perhaps deliberately so, as she helps Kellen in his growth.

I can't wait to see what further adventures Kellen, Reichis, and Ferius have.

Favorite Quote:
"Most days, sure, but Kellen here is a spellslinger like me, and, well, the fifth rule of spellslinging is ..."

Please let it be "Always help a fellow spellslinger in need."

"There's always profit to be found in having a fellow spellslinger owe you a favour."

Okay, that'll work.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Friday Memes: Shadowblack by Sebastien De Castell

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:
"This isn't stealing," I insisted, a little loudly considering the only person who could hear me was a two-foot-tall squirrel cat who was, at that moment, busily picking the combination lock that stood between us and the contents of the pawnshop's glass display case.
Friday 56:
She grinned and gave me a sly wink. "Let me tell you something, kid...there's no better spell a man can learn than how to dance proper."
This week I am featuring Shadowblack by Sebastien De Castell. This is the second book in a fantasy series I've recently discovered. Here is the description from Amazon:
A failed mage turned outlaw must use guile and a handful of spells to challenge a dangerous rival in the second book of an exciting adventure fantasy series from Sebastien de Castell.

Forced to live as an outlaw, Kellen relies on his wits and his allies to survive the unforgiving borderlands.

When he meets a young woman cursed with a deadly plague, he feels compelled to help. But her secrets draw powerful enemies and it's not long before Kellen is entangled in a conspiracy of blackmail, magic, and murder. As the bodies begin to pile up, Kellen fears he's next.