Saturday, October 19, 2019

Book Review: Ask Me No Questions by Shelley Noble

Ask Me No Questions
Author: Shelley Noble
Series: Lady Dunbridge Mystery (Book 1)
Publication: Forge Books (October 16, 2018)

Description: From New York Times bestselling author Shelley Noble, Ask Me No Questions is the first in the Lady Dunbridge Mystery series featuring a widow turned sleuth in turn-of-the-twentieth century New York City.

A modern woman in 1907, Lady Dunbridge is not about to let a little thing like the death of her husband ruin her social life. She’s ready to take the dazzling world of Gilded Age Manhattan by storm.

From the decadence of high society balls to the underbelly of "horse racing, romance, murder, and scandals abound. Someone simply must do something. And Lady Dunbridge is happy to oblige.

My Thoughts: Lady Philomena Dunbridge is recently widowed and also in the midst of a new scandal when she helps solve a crime. At twenty-seven, she feels to young to be considered a dowager and too old to be back under the thumb of the father who married her to the much older and dissolute earl when she was seventeen.

Phil decides to travel to New York to visit an old school friend and start a new life for herself. Unfortunately she arrives just in time to find her old friend in the midst of a scandal of her own. Bev's husband Reggie is found dead in the arms of his mistress. He was shot with a gun he had given Bev. Worse yet, they return to Bev's home and enter her husband's locked office to find another dead man. This one is a stranger.

The police in the person of Detective Sergeant Atkins are convinced that Bev killed her philandering husband. Phil is certain that she did not and is going to clear her name and protect her own reputation. Phil is assisted by her new maid Lily and her butler Preswick who accompanied her to New York.

Phil finds herself looking into Reggie's life and especially his horse racing stable. He has the current favorite for an upcoming race. Phil is also being followed by a mysterious stranger who seems as comfortable with costumes and undercover work as the fictional Sherlock Holmes.

This story took us from the social scene of 1907 New York City and to the underbelly of corrupt police, racing conspiracies, and murder. Phil investigates the mistress, the right-hand man, Reggie's cousin Freddy and his wife Marguerite among many others as she tries to untangle a complex situation.

At first I wasn't too fond of Phil. I thought she was a little useless and aimless. But then I realized that she was a product of her environment which didn't place any more value on women than their appearance, reputation, and social clout. Once Phil decided to do something, she revealed some intelligence and skills at investigation.

I can't wait to see what happens next for her and her employees.

Favorite Quote:
"Isn't it interesting that the gentleman in the bookstore recommended a story about horses." She turned to the first page and read aloud. "'"I am afraid, Watson, that I shall have to go," said Holmes...'

"And so must we," Phil murmured.

"But where, madam?" Lily asked, sounding alarmed.

"Wherever the clues lead us, Lily."

"Ah, and are we to become detectives, madam?"

"Yes, Lily, I believe we are."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Friday Memes: Ask Me No Questions by Shelley Noble

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:
Lady Philomena Dundridge's father slammed the newspaper on the tea table. "This is an outrage."
Friday 56:
Atkins turned to Bev. "Did you scream? You didn't tell me about that."

"I screamed? Yes, I must have. I really --"
This week I am spotlighting a new historical mystery. Ask Me No Questions by Shelley Noble takes place in turn-of-the-century New York. Here is the description from Amazon:
From New York Times bestselling author Shelley Noble, Ask Me No Questions is the first in the Lady Dunbridge Mystery series featuring a widow turned sleuth in turn-of-the-twentieth century New York City.

A modern woman in 1907, Lady Dunbridge is not about to let a little thing like the death of her husband ruin her social life. She’s ready to take the dazzling world of Gilded Age Manhattan by storm.

From the decadence of high society balls to the underbelly of Belmont horse racing, romance, murder, and scandals abound. Someone simply must do something. And Lady Dunbridge is happy to oblige.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Book Review: Through the Evil Days by Julia Spencer-Fleming

Through the Evil Days
Author: Julia Spencer-Fleming
Series: Fergusson/Van Alstyne Mysteries (Book 8)
Publication: Minotaur Books; Reprint edition (November 4, 2014)

Description: In Through the Evil Days, New York Times bestselling author Julia Spencer-Fleming raises the stakes for Russ and Clare, putting their new marriage, their unborn child, a missing teen, and their very own lives on the line.

On a frigid January night, Chief of Police Russ Van Alstyne and Reverend Clare Fergusson are called to the scene of a raging fire. The extent of the tragedy isn't known until the next day, when the charred remains of a man and woman are recovered―along with evidence showing they were shot execution style.

The last thing Russ needs are two potential homicides. He's struggling with the prospect of impending fatherhood, and his new wife is not at all happy with his proposal for their long-delayed honeymoon: a week ice-fishing at a remote Adirondack lake.

St. Alban's Church is still in turmoil over the Reverend Clare Fergusson's news that she's five and a half months pregnant―but only two and a half months married. Worried her post-deployment drinking and drug use may have damaged the baby, she awaits the outcome of the bishop's investigation into her "unpriestly" behavior: a scolding, censure, or permanent suspension.

Officer Hadley Knox is having a miserable January as well. Her on-again, off-again lover, Kevin Flynn, has seven days to weigh an offer from the Syracuse Police Department that might take him half a state away. And her ex-husband's in town―threatening to take custody of their kids unless Hadley pays him off with money she doesn't have.

When Hadley discovers that the dead couple fostered an eight-year-old girl who was a recent liver donee, the search for the killer takes on a new and terrible urgency. With no access to immunosuppressant drugs, transplant rejection will kill the girl in a matter of days.

As a deadly ice storm downs power lines and immobilizes roads, Russ and Clare search desperately for the truth about the missing child, but the hunters will become the hunted when they are trapped in the cabin beside the frozen lake and stalked through the snowbound woods by a killer.

My Thoughts: Russ and Clare are set to go on their honeymoon - in January, at a remote rural cabin with no electricity or running water - to go ice fishing. They are also carting along a lot of "baggage." Russ has just learned that the town council will be making a decision in a week about whether or not to disband the police department and contract services from the State Highway Patrol. Clare has been given an ultimatum by her bishop. He wants her to resign for "unpriestly" behavior. She is also dealing with the fact that she was still using drugs and alcohol when she became pregnant and the baby could be facing significant issues. Even worse, she and Russ had agreed to not have children before she found herself pregnant and Russ isn't dealing at all well with it.

Throw in arson, two executed people in the house before it was burnt, and a missing eight-year-old girl who has just had a kidney transplant and needs her immuno-suppresant drugs or she will die and the story gets filled with drama and tension. Mikayla's mother has lost custody of her because of her drug use. When the police go to search for her, they find that she is gathering pharmaceuticals used in making crystal meth. She flees before they can find out if she has Mikayla.

Meanwhile, the storm of the century bringing snow, ice, falling trees, downed power lines, and collapsed cell towers is bearing down on the region. And Russ and Clare attract the attention of bad guys who send them fleeing from their shelter in the height of the storm.

While Clare and Russ are dealing with their issues, Kevin Flynn and Hadley Knox are also dealing with theirs. Hadley's ex-husband has shown up demanding money, threatening to take her children back to California, and threatening to expose her secrets. And Flynn is still dealing with his love for Hadley and also a job offer in Syracuse.

This was a fast-paced and tension-filled story. Many characters are faced with difficult decisions and police work has to go on while they are troubled. The ending leaves a number of plot threads dangling and I can't wait for the next book to tie them off.

Favorite Quote:
"I don't think one broken leg in ten years as chief actually sets a precedent," Russ said.

"Still, we're glad you came." Clare wanted to get the subject away from "officer down,"before they started showing each other their bullet scars. "I'd expect a trooper, not a lieutenant."

"Oh, Mrs. Van Alstyne. I wouldn't have missed this for the world." 
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Book Review: I, Robot: To Obey by Mickey Zucker Reichert

I, Robot: To Obey
Author: Mickey Zucker Reichert
Series: I, Robot (Book 2)
Publication: Ace (September 3, 2013)

Description: Susan Calvin is about to enter her second year as a psych resident at the Manhattan Hasbro teaching hospital when a violent crime strikes very close to home.

When she was young, Susan lost her mother in a terrible car wreck that also badly injured her father. She now believes the accident was orchestrated by government officials who wanted her parents dead. Susan has always known there was a faction of the U.S. government that wanted to hijack her father’s work for military use. Now it seems that faction is back.

As she struggles to overcome her pain and confusion, as well as deal with her studies, Susan finds herself hunted by violent antitech vigilantes who would revert mankind to the Dark Ages—and at the same time she’s being watched very closely by extremists who want high-tech genocide. Somehow she must find a way to stop them both.

My Thoughts: Susan Calvin is entering her second year in Psych residency when this story begins. She has survived the loss of her true love at the hands of terrorists from the SFH - Society for Humanity - and gotten to know N8-C - a positronic robot who could be mistaken for a regular human. She has learned that her father had a large part in the development of the positronic brain and the three laws that govern it.

She has chosen the same beginning site for her second year which lets her be with her friend Dr. Kendall Stevens. Their site has them working with dementia patients which is a difficult thing for Susan who wants to believe that she can fix medical problems. It causes her to wonder about the rationale for prolonging life when the mind is gone. She is also working for a lazy, self-serving boss. When Susan's genius level diagnostic skills suggest that some of her patients have been misdiagnosed and can actually be helped, she is first obstructed by her boss. When she goes around him to prove her diagnoses, he is quick to claim the credit and claim that Susan is the one who was obstructing. Susan, naturally, finds this very frustrating but it becomes quite a minor problem when the death of her father happens.

Susan comes home to find that her father has been murdered. When she tries to see his body to understand what happens, she is obstructed by the police who have decided that his death was because of "natural causes." Susan begins to conduct her own investigation along with one police officer who doesn't want to follow the party line. They soon find themselves at odds with the SFH and a shady government department that wants the secret they are certain she and her father had about the way to separate the positronic brain from the three laws.

Along the way in their investigation, Susan learns a big secret about her past and finds a way to get both the government department and the SFH off her back.

This was an engaging science fiction story. However, I started to get bogged down in all the medical terminology that Susan uses in her diagnoses. Once I decided to treat it all as bafflegab things went better. I don't know if the medical terms are fact or fiction and for the purposes of the bigger story it really didn't matter.

Fans of hard science fiction and fans of Isaac Asimov will enjoy this second book in a trilogy. I would recommend reading the series in order though.

Favorite Quote:
"The humanity, the intellect, the essence of everything we are is entirely in that one convoluted, double-fist-sized structure hidden in our craniums. Damage that one organ and we are--"

"Different?" Nate tried.

"Nothing." Susan insisted. 
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Book Review: In a Badger Way by Shelly Laurenston

In a Badger Way
Author: Shelly Laurenston
Series: The Honey Badger Chronicles (Book 2)
Publication: Kensington Books (April 1, 2019)

Description: Petite, kind, brilliant, and young, Stevie is nothing like the usual women bodyguard Shen Li is interested in. Even more surprising, the youngest of the lethal, ball-busting, and beautiful MacKilligan sisters is terrified of bears. But she’s not terrified of pandas. She loves pandas.

Which means that whether Shen wants her to or not, she simply won’t stop cuddling him. He isn’t some stuffed Giant Panda, ya know! He is a Giant Panda shifter. He deserves respect and personal space. Something that little hybrid is completely ignoring.

But Stevie has a way of finding trouble. Like going undercover to take down a scientist experimenting on other shifters. For what, Shen doesn’t want to know, but they’d better find out. And fast. Stevie might be the least violent of the honey badger sisters, but she’s the most dangerous to Shen’s peace of mind. Because she has absolutely no idea how much trouble they’re in . . . or just how damn adorable she is.

My Thoughts: This second in the Honey Badgers series features the romance of the youngest of three sisters. Stevie was a prodigy in both music and science and her older sisters are determined to protect her - mostly from her father who once sold her to Peruvian drug lords.

Stevie has panic attacks, anxiety, and really hates her hybrid nature. A combination of honey badger and tiger makes for a scary being. She is also terrified of bears! Well, except for cute panda shifter Shen Li who is a bodyguard for Stevie's friend Kyle who is one of a talented jackal family.

Shen is a laid back sort of guy who spends a lot of time eating bamboo and being puzzled by Stevie. After all, she has decided that they are going to be girlfriend/boyfriend. And he takes some convincing.

Events center around a family funeral and a scientist who is experimenting on hybrids like Stevie. The story is filled with madcap humor and over-the-top situations. It was a lot of fun to read.

Favorite Quote:
"Why were you in the men's room?" she asked.

"Because I won't be confined by gender constraints?"

"Do you even know what that means?"

"Not really."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Monday, October 14, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Oct. 14, 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...

As I am writing this Saturday noontime, a gentle snow is falling. It is not yet sticking to the roads but makes a nice covering on grassy areas, our solar panels, and the deck. I rousted out my brother and we did our shopping for the next couple of days earlier. I wanted to get out before the roads become covered in snow. We are making homemade healthy pizzas today and a healthy chicken and mushroom dish for dinner tomorrow.

This week I got a meat grinder and used it to make one pound of Italian sausage and two pounds of breakfast sausage. It works really slick and went quite quickly with both of us working in the kitchen. Both are recipes that we got from the binders at Bill's cardio rehab so they are flavorful without added sodium and with low saturated fat.

My TV watching this week included The Voice and the baseball playoffs. While I am disappointed that my Atlanta Braves didn't advance, I am still interested in watching the games. I may even have time to catch up with the Minnesota Vikings as they play football.

I was having trouble settling down to reading this week and currently have three books in various stages of completion. I do hope to get them all finished this week and move on to the next ones on my list. With all the commotion from mid-September until now, I never did report on my September reading. I read a total of 17 books with 5888 pages. Eight were review books and nine were mine which included four rereads.

Solar Power Report

Even before the snow today, we had a couple of rainy and cloudy days this week.

We have a few more days before the end of our billing cycle and have made 535.85 kWh. Our high was 1.2 MWh and last month we produced 968.21 kWh. I doubt we'll catch last month in the next five days. They are predicting snow and gloom again tomorrow with a nice day on Monday and then back to snow on Tuesday.

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.)

  • Artifacts by Mary Anna Evans (Mine) - First in the Faye Longchamp mystery series. I chose this one because the main character is an archaeologist. I enjoyed it. My review will be posted on November 7.

Currently

I was having trouble setting into one book this week. So I have three in progress.

Next Week


Reviews Posted




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

Bought:


Review:


What was your week like?

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Book Review: Pirate King by Laurie R. King

Pirate King
Author: Laurie R. King
Series: Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes (Book 11)
Publication: Bantam; First Edition edition (September 6, 2011)

Description: In this latest adventure featuring the intrepid Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, New York Times bestselling author Laurie R. King takes readers into the frenetic world of silent films—where the pirates are real and the shooting isn’t all done with cameras.

In England’s young silent-film industry, the megalomaniacal Randolph Fflytte is king. Nevertheless, at the request of Scotland Yard, Mary Russell is dispatched to investigate rumors of criminal activities that swirl around Fflytte’s popular movie studio. So Russell is traveling undercover to Portugal, along with the film crew that is gearing up to shoot a cinematic extravaganza, Pirate King. Based on Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance, the project will either set the standard for moviemaking for a generation . . . or sink a boatload of careers.

Nothing seems amiss until the enormous company starts rehearsals in Lisbon, where the thirteen blond-haired, blue-eyed actresses whom Mary is bemusedly chaperoning meet the swarm of real buccaneers Fflytte has recruited to provide authenticity. But when the crew embarks for Morocco and the actual filming, Russell feels a building storm of trouble: a derelict boat, a film crew with secrets, ominous currents between the pirates, decks awash with budding romance—and now the pirates are ignoring Fflytte and answering only to their dangerous outlaw leader. Plus, there’s a spy on board. Where can Sherlock Holmes be? As movie make-believe becomes true terror, Russell and Holmes themselves may experience a final fadeout.

Pirate King is a Laurie King treasure chest—thrilling, intelligent, romantic, a swiftly unreeling masterpiece of suspense.

My Thoughts: This was an engaging episode of the long-running Sherlock Holmes/Mary Russell series that began with The Beekeeper's Apprentice in 1994 and continues in this eleventh story. This is a lighter episode than the previous one. Mary is asked by Inspector Lestrade to go undercover with a company making a pirate movie to discover the fate of a missing secretary. The film crew also seems to be followed by crimes that mirror the plots of the films - drugs, illegal arms sales, and rum running. Her immediate response is to refuse but then she recalls that Holmes' brother Mycroft is coming to stay at their home for two weeks. Suddenly, pirates and movie crews are much more appealing.

Mary is quickly immersed in all the drama that surrounded the early days of silent film. She must deal with an extremely flamboyant director who is obsessed with realism, a bevy of demanding blonde actresses (and a few stage mothers), and pirates. The plot of the film is that a movie is being made of The Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert and Sullivan. This leads to a lot of confusion as we have actors playing double roles as a character in The Pirates of Penzance and in the cast making the movie. Determined as he is on realism, Randolph St. John Warminster-Fflytte determines that the film will be shot in Portugal and Morocco. While many of the principal actors have been cast in England, including thirteen young ladies, Fflytte waited until he reached Portugal to cast his pirates. The Portuguese interpreter leads him to La Rocha and his crew of shady figures.

This was a very entertaining story that also gives a glimpse of the early days of film-making. I liked Mary's interaction with the various actresses. I liked that she began investigating one crime but soon found herself involved in something more complex and more dangerous. My only regret was that Sherlock Holmes made a late appearance in the story and we didn't get to see as much of him as in earlier episodes. Those scenes with Sherlock and Mary were still wonderful glimpses of their marriage of equals.

I recommend this book for fans of the series but do recommend that new readers wait to read this one until after they have caught up on the series. This one is for fans of historical, literary mysteries.

Favorite Quote:
Pessoa inclined his head. "I merely suggested that if Senhor Fflytte requires men who look like pirates, he might wish to search among the sea-fold rather than among those who make thier living in the theater."

"It's a great idea," Fflytte repeated.

"An interesting possibility," Hale mused.

I could not imagine that this would end well. 
I bought and read this one in 2011 but didn't review it. I am rereading it. You can buy your copy here.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

ARC Review: The Adventure of the Peculiar Protocols by Nicholas Meyer

The Adventure of the Peculiar Protocols: Adapted from the Journals of John H. Watson, M.D.
Author: Nicholas Meyer
Publication: Minotaur Books (October 15, 2019)

Description: With the international bestseller The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, Nicholas Meyer brought to light a previously unpublished case of Sherlock Holmes, as recorded by Dr. John H. Watson. Now Meyer returns with a shocking discovery―an unknown case drawn from a recently unearthed Watson journal.

January 1905: Holmes and Watson are summoned by Holmes' brother Mycroft to undertake a clandestine investigation. An agent of the British Secret Service has been found floating in the Thames, carrying a manuscript smuggled into England at the cost of her life. The pages purport to be the minutes of a meeting of a secret group intent on nothing less than taking over the world.

Based on real events, the adventure takes the famed duo―in the company of a bewitching woman―aboard the Orient Express from Paris into the heart of Tsarist Russia, where Holmes and Watson attempt to trace the origins of this explosive document. On their heels are desperate men of unknown allegiance, determined to prevent them from achieving their task. And what they uncover is a conspiracy so vast as to challenge Sherlock Holmes as never before.

My Thoughts: Still another long-lost journal written by Dr. John Watson has found its way to Nicholas Meyer's hands. This one details a case that they worked in 1905. After getting together to celebrate Holmes's 50th birthday where they were joined by Mycroft, Mycroft brings a problem for Sherlock to solve.

One of Mycroft's agents was found murdered in a way that it made it look like she had been murdered by someone Jewish who wanted the papers she was carrying. Since the papers weren't taken and the murder weapon was conveniently left with the body, Holmes suspects a set up.

The recovered papers were supposedly the secret minutes of a group of Jews who were plotting to take over the world. This discovery leads our characters into the growing movement to found a homeland for the Jews who were dispersed throughout Europe. It also led them to Russia where they saw the results of pogroms which murdered countless Jews. Despite Sherlock's lack of knowledge about politics, the pair and their beautiful translator Anna Strunsky Walling hop aboard the Orient Express and find themselves battling the Okhrana - the Russian Secret Police - on their way to the truth.

The story includes quite a number of actual historical figures including Chaim Weizmann who would later become the first president of Israel. It is also about an actual document that, despite being debunked thoroughly, has come to prominence many times in the years since it was first written even as recently as 2018. It is a story about the power and persistence of a lie. It is also a case that Sherlock isn't able to solve despite his keen observation.

I enjoyed this story. I liked the way Sherlock and Watson interact despite the fact that they don't see each other as often as they once did.

Favorite Quote:
"I don't embellish." I insisted, annoyed at this charge he always laid at my door. "I include colour."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Friday Memes: The Adventure of the Peculiar Protocols by Nicholas Meyer

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:
For a good portion of my adult life I have been involved with and found myself editing missing, unknown, or unearthed manuscripts alleged to have been authored by Sherlock Holmes's amanuensis, John H. Watson, M.D. It had been years since i had given any thought to this subject when an item in the New York Times last September caught my eye.
Friday 56:
"Can you ask when our train leaves for Odessa?"

She posed the question to the porter, who jabbered back with much gesticulating, while we waited. Why is it, I wonder, that when such seemingly simple exchanges occur in a foreign tongue they always appear to consume inordinate amounts of time?
This week I am spotlighting The Adventure of the Peculiar Protocols: Adapted from the Journals of John H. Watson, M.D. by Nicholas Mayer. This is a review copy that I found at Edelweiss and feeds my obsession with all things Sherlock Holmes. Here is the description from Amazon:
With the international bestseller The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, Nicholas Meyer brought to light a previously unpublished case of Sherlock Holmes, as recorded by Dr. John H. Watson. Now Meyer returns with a shocking discovery―an unknown case drawn from a recently unearthed Watson journal.beg

January 1905: Holmes and Watson are summoned by Holmes' brother Mycroft to undertake a clandestine investigation. An agent of the British Secret Service has been found floating in the Thames, carrying a manuscript smuggled into England at the cost of her life. The pages purport to be the minutes of a meeting of a secret group intent on nothing less than taking over the world.

Based on real events, the adventure takes the famed duo―in the company of a bewitching woman―aboard the Orient Express from Paris into the heart of Tsarist Russia, where Holmes and Watson attempt to trace the origins of this explosive document. On their heels are desperate men of unknown allegiance, determined to prevent them from achieving their task. And what they uncover is a conspiracy so vast as to challenge Sherlock Holmes as never before.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Book Review: One Was a Soldier by Julia Spencer-Fleming

One Was a Soldier
Author: Julia Spencer-Fleming
Series: Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries (Book 7)
Publication: Minotaur Books; First edition (April 10, 2012)

Description: On a warm September evening in the Millers Kill community center, five veterans sit down in rickety chairs to try to make sense of their experiences in Iraq. What they will find is murder, conspiracy, and the unbreakable ties that bind them to one another and their small Adirondack town.

The Rev. Clare Fergusson wants to forget the things she saw as a combat helicopter pilot and concentrate on her relationship with Chief of Police Russ Van Alstyne. MP Eric McCrea needs to control the explosive anger threatening his job as a police officer. Will Ellis, high school track star, faces the reality of life as a double amputee. Orthopedist Trip Stillman is denying the extent of his traumatic brain injury. And bookkeeper Tally McNabb wrestles with guilt over the in-country affair that may derail her marriage.

But coming home is harder than it looks. One vet will struggle with drugs and alcohol. One will lose his family and friends. One will die.

Since their first meeting, Russ and Clare's bond has been tried, torn, and forged by adversity. But when he rules the veteran's death a suicide, she violently rejects his verdict, drawing the surviving vets into an unorthodox investigation that threatens jobs, relationships, and her own future with Russ.

As the days cool and the nights grow longer, they will uncover a trail of deceit that runs from their tiny town to the upper ranks of the U.S. Army, and from the waters of the Millers Kill to the unforgiving streets of Baghdad.

My Thoughts: Clare has come back from her service in the National Guard with nightmares and an addiction to the many drugs that helped her get through her time in Iraq. She is in denial about her problems and she is spending a lot of time combining her drugs with alcohol and pretending everything is all right. When Will Ellis, one of her parishioners who came back a double amputee at age 19, is having issues, she agrees to attend a Vets support group if he will. There they meet Dr. George Stillman, Officer Eric McCrea, and Tally McNab. It is a small town and there are lots of connections. Trip Stillman was Russ's doctor and also treated Will. Eric works in the police department with Russ. Each of them came back wounded though Will's is the only visible injury. And all are having trouble coping with the return to civilian life.

When Tally dies, an apparent suicide, Clare doesn't want to believe that she took her own life despite Russ's investigation which supports the suicide verdict. Clare and Russ are at odds over this conclusion which just adds more stress as they are in the lead-up to their wedding.

As Clare and the rest of the support group begin looking into Tally's death, they are led to, first, a missing million dollars in cash that Tally and her husband probably brought back from Iraq. An investigator from the Army's financial division is on Tally's trail but isn't conducting her investigation as Russ thinks it should be done. He becomes suspicious of her but is willing to let the Army take over since the crime isn't in his jurisdiction.

But the theft of a million is only the tip of the iceberg of a much larger financial crime that leads to Opperman who is a long-time enemy of Russ's and who Russ believes got away with the murder of his two partners (A FOUNTAIN FILLED WITH BLOOD).

Much of the plot in this one revolves around the problems the support group brought back with them from war. Tally's suicide, Clare's addiction, Will's suicide attempt, Trip's traumatic brain injury, and Eric's anger management issues all play roles in this engaging and twisty thriller.

This was a fast-paced and emotional thriller. I love the relationship between Russ and Clare. They are both strong people who become better and stronger together.

Favorite Quote:
"Why do you want to get married? I mean, other than the sex thing."

"There has to be more than sex?" He grinned. "It's not because I'm chomping at the bit to be the preacher's husband, I can guarantee you that." She laughed a little. He ran his hands up her arms and rested the on her shoulders. "I want to be married because I like those easy-to-understand, boring definitions. Husband. Wife. I want to be married because life is short, and I want to spend whatever I have left of it with you, every day, every night. I want to be married so that everything I have and everything I am is yours, and everything of  you is mine. And I want to be married so I can lay you out on the dining room table if I feel like it and have you six ways from Sunday in the middle of the afternoon and if one of your parishioners walks in on us, it's tough titties for them."

She started laughing.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

ARC Review: The Art of Theft by Sherry Thomas

The Art of Theft 
Author: Sherry Thomas
Series: The Lady Sherlock Series (Book 4)
Publication: Berkley (October 15, 2019)

Description: Charlotte Holmes, Lady Sherlock, is back solving new cases in the Victorian-set mystery series from the USA Today bestselling author of The Hollow of Fear.

As "Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective," Charlotte Holmes has solved murders and found missing individuals. But she has never stolen a priceless artwork—or rather, made away with the secrets hidden behind a much-coveted canvas.

But Mrs. Watson is desperate to help her old friend recover those secrets and Charlotte finds herself involved in a fever-paced scheme to infiltrate a glamorous Yuletide ball where the painting is one handshake away from being sold and the secrets a bare breath from exposure.

Her dear friend Lord Ingram, her sister Livia, Livia's admirer Stephen Marbleton—everyone pitches in to help and everyone has a grand time. But nothing about this adventure is what it seems and disaster is biding time on the grounds of a glittering French chateau, waiting only for Charlotte to make a single mistake...

My Thoughts: Charlotte Holmes' next case comes to her by way of Mrs. Watson. When Mrs. Watson was young she had a romantic affair with the Maharani of Ajmer was the regent for her young son. The affair was ended when Mrs. Watson couldn't follow her back to India because of her own needs to secure her own security.

Now the maharani has come to London hoping to hire Sherlock Holmes to steal some incriminating letters back from the blackmailer who holds them. When she learns that Sherlock Holmes is unavailable, she wants to find someone else to help her. Mrs. Watson convinces Charlotte to take the case and Charlotte recruits her friend Lord Ingram to help. Her sister Olivia and her sweetheart Mr. Marbleton are also recruited.

The more they look into the situation the more they become convinced that the maharani hasn't told them the whole truth and the letters - supposedly in the back of an artwork by Van Dyck which will soon be sold at auction - might be the least of their worries.

This is a heist story. Charlotte and her colleagues need to learn about the Chateau where the art auction will be held, get invitations to the party, and find a way to remove a large piece of art out of a heavily guarded home perched on an island in a lake.

Charlotte begins to suspect that there is more going on than their potential art theft and old enemies of both Lord Ingram and Mr. Marbleton have some sort of role in the whole situation. Meanwhile, with Lord Ingram on the verge of divorce, his relationship with Charlotte is changing in ways that jeopardize their future. And Olivia's relationship with Mr. Marbleton is at least as precarious.

This is the fourth book in the Lady Sherlock series and in each we learn more about all of the characters who are complex and interesting people. And the ending clearly signals that more adventures are in story for Charlotte Holmes and her companions.

Favorite Quote:
Rather than feeling ashamed for having been so wrong in his assumptions, he had instead become annoyed by just how strange she was. And by the fact that he was and would continue to be friends with a girl so far from normality she'd need a sextant and an ocean voyage to find it. 
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

ARC Review: Read and Buried by Eva Gates

Read and Buried
Author: Eva Gates
Series: A Lighthouse Library Mystery (Book 6)
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (October 15, 2019)

Description: Librarian Lucy Richardson unearths a mysterious map dating back to the Civil War. But if she can't crack its code, she may end up read and buried.

The Bodie Island Lighthouse Library Classic Novel Book Club is reading Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne while workers dig into the earth to repair the Lighthouse Library's foundations. The digging halts when Lucy pulls a battered tin box containing a Civil War-era diary from the pit. Tucked inside is a hand-drawn map of the Outer Banks accompanied by a page written in an indecipherable code.

The library is overrun by people clamoring to see the artifact. Later that night, Lucy and Connor McNeil find the body of historical society member Jeremy Hughes inside the library. Clearly Jeremy was not the only one who broke into the library--the map and the coded page are missing.

Lucy's nemesis, Louise Jane McKaughnan, confesses to entering the library after closing to sneak a peek but denies seeing Jeremy--or his killer. When Lucy discovers that fellow-librarian Charlene had a past with Jeremy, she's forced to do what she vowed not to do--get involved in the case. Meanwhile, the entire library staff and community become obsessed with trying to decode the page. But when the library has a second break in, it becomes clear that someone is determined to solve that code.

My Thoughts: This is the sixth in the Bodie Lighthouse Library Mystery series and the first I've read. It worked quite well as a stand-alone. Librarian Lucy Richardson is the one who has to climb into the put dug by construction workers repairing the lighthouse foundation who found a deeply buried box. Since this happened in the middle of the work day, quite a few people were there for the unveiling including some members of the historical society who were there planning a community event.

Many were disappointed to find only a journal with descriptions of the current days weather  - and  a hand-drawn map of the Outer Banks and a sheet written in code. Lucy uses her phone to take pictures of the map and the coded sheet but the library director decides to put the find away for the night.

Lucy has a date with her boyfriend Connor and when they return to the library where Lucy's apartment is, they find that someone has broken down the library door and trashed the library director's office. They also find the body of Jeremy Hughes. Jeremy is a new member of the historical society and not much liked by his colleagues. Also the map and coded sheet are missing.

Lucy has successfully solved mysteries before but she is going to try to keep out of this one. However, when a fellow colleague becomes a suspect, she has to get involved. Besides, she really likes codes and is determined to break this one. Of course, so is almost everyone else in town. After all, the message might lead to a treasure.

I liked the setting for this one. I liked learning more about the groups of people who settled the Outer Banks. I liked Lucy's curiosity and persistence. This was an engaging story.

Favorite Quote:
"Realism in historical reenactment only goes so far," I said. "Not many people are going to wear their costume every day for a year without washing it, to get the scent authentic."

Charlene chuckled. "And thank heavens for that. What's up?"
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Monday, October 7, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Oct. 7, 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...

We seem to be getting into our new routine after my brother's heart attack and triple bypass. I drive him to cardio rehab on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and walk the skywalks between the hospitals while he exercises. Then we usually wander through some grocery stores to get more exercise and look for ingredients for whichever recipe we've decided to try. We met with a dietitian on Friday to get some more food ideas and got lots of good tips.

Otherwise, this has been a good week for watching playoff baseball games and The Voice. I do walk in place during commercials to try to get some more exercise while catching my favorite shows. I can't seem to fit in visits to Curves. It doesn't help that they are closed from 12:30 to 2:30 M-Th and close for the day at 2 on Fridays. My Curves location is closing at the end of October and the other Curves in town has even less convenient hours. I will be canceling my membership for now at the end of October. Hopefully when spring arrives and Bill can drive again, I'll be able to rejoin. I'm also looking into joining the YMCA which is building a brand new facility complete with water park near me.

I had more success with finishing books this week after a couple of false starts. I abandoned Echoes of the Fall by Hank Early which was on my review stack. I knew it was the third book in the series but didn't know that I absolutely had to read books one and two before this one made sense. I also decided to stop my re-read of the Mary Russell mysteries for a while. I found The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith and Lost Souls by Kelley Armstrong when I was checking my Kindle for something to read for those spots on my calendar and enjoyed both of them.

Our weather has been gray, rainy and foggy all week which has really lowered our production of solar energy. I'm hoping for some sunny weather to elevate my mood and lower my electric bill!

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.)

  • I started but did not finish Echoes of the Fall by Hank Early. It is the third in a series and isn't a good place to start. I couldn't understand what possible motivation would allow the main character to hide the body of a man murdered on his land. 


  • Poppy Redfern and the Midnight Murders by Tessa Arlen (Review; Nov. 5) - This was an entertaining history mystery set in England during World War II. My review will be posted on Nov. 2.
  • The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (Mine) - After sitting on TBR mountain since July 17, 2013, I thought it was time to finally read this one. I enjoyed this thriller and really liked the main character. I have the rest of the series and plan to read it soon. My review will be posted on Nov. 3)


  • Tracking Game by Margaret Mizushima (Review; Nov. 12) - This is the fifth book in the series and was a great addition to this mystery series. My review will be posted on Nov. 6.
  • Lost Souls by Kelley Armstrong (Mine) - This long novella adds an interesting story to the Cainsville urban fantasy series. My review will by posted on Nov. 5)

Currently

  • Artifacts by Mary Anna Evans is a contemporary mystery and a recent arrival on my TBR mountain.

Next Week

  • Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers (Mine) is a Kindle copy of a book I read many years ago. It will be a perfect read while I'm waiting for my brother to finish his cardio rehab.
  • This Side of Murder by Anna Lee Huber (Mine) - First book in a new historical mystery series from a favorite author.



Reviews Posted




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


What was your week like?

Sunday, October 6, 2019

ARC Review: A Legacy of Murder by Connie Berry

A Legacy of Murder
Author: Connie Berry
Series: A Kate Hamilton Mystery (Book 2)
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (October 8, 2019)

Description: American antique dealer Kate Hamilton's Christmastime jaunt to a charming English village leads to an investigation of a missing ruby...and a chain of murders.

It's Christmastime and antiques dealer Kate Hamilton is off to visit her daughter, Christine, in the quaint English village of Long Barston. Christine and her boyfriend, Tristan, work at stately-but-crumbling Finchley Hall. Touring the Elizabethan house and grounds, Kate is intrigued by the docent's tales of the Finchley Hoard, and the strange deaths surrounding the renowned treasure trove. But next to a small lake, Kate spies the body of a young woman, killed by a garden spade.

Nearly blind Lady Barbara, who lives at Finchley with her loyal butler, Mugg, persuades Kate to take over the murdered woman's work. Kate finds that a Burmese ruby has vanished from the legendary Blood-Red Ring, replaced by a lesser garnet. Were the theft and the woman's death connected?

Kate learns that Lady Barbara's son fled to Venezuela years before, suspected of murdering another young woman. The murder weapon belonged to an old gardener, who becomes the leading suspect. But is Lady Barbara's son back to kill again? When another body is found, the clues point toward Christine. It's up to Kate to clear her daughter's name in Connie Berry's second Kate Hamilton mystery, a treasure for fans of traditional British mysteries.

My Thoughts: Kate Hamilton is in England to visit her daughter Christine who is an intern at Finchley Hall. She is on a tour of the estate while waiting for her daughter to finish orientation when the tour group comes upon the body of a young woman in a lake.

The young lady is Tabitha King who is another intern and who was in charge of organizing a exhibition of the Finchley Hoard which is celebrating its 200th anniversary of being rediscovered. The hoard is a collection of Anglo-Saxon artifacts and is literally priceless. The fees for the exhibition will go a long way to keeping Finchley Hall in the possession of almost-blind Lady Barbara.

Lady Barbara convinces antiques dealer Kate to take over the final organization of the exhibition. Kate is also busy, along with her boyfriend Detective Inspector Tom Mallory, trying to find out who murdered Tabitha. Kate is also dealing with relationship drama with her daughter Christine and her boyfriend Tristan who is being vamped by another of the interns. Christine has a very difficult, prickly personality.

Also raising tensions is an organized group of thieves who are targeting nearby stately homes and stealing assorted small but very valuable items - just the sort of thing that the Finchley Hoard is known for.

This was an engaging mystery in a great setting. I loved all the distinct characters. I was almost certain I had figured out who the murderer was by the middle of the story and was pleased to be correct. I was intrigued by the relationship between Tom and Kate which had a number of impediments including the fact that the two live in different countries.

Fans of British cozy mysteries will enjoy this one.

Favorite Quote:
"No need. Mrs. Hamilton will lend me her arm, won't you, Kate?"

"Very good, madam." Mugg backed out of the room. None too pleased. He shot me a look that said bring her back in one piece or you'll answer to me."

Lady Barbara reached for my arm.

In the light of the mirrored wall sconces, her pale-blue irises looked opaque.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Book Review: The Language of Bees by Laurie R. King

The Language of Bees
Author: Laurie R. King
Series: Mary Russell (Book 9)
Publication: Bantam (April 28, 2009)

Description: For Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, returning to the Sussex coast after seven months abroad was especially sweet. There was even a mystery to solve—the unexplained disappearance of an entire colony of bees from one of Holmes’s beloved hives.

But the anticipated sweetness of their homecoming is quickly tempered by a galling memory from the past. Mary had met Damian Adler only once before, when the surrealist painter had been charged with—and exonerated from—murder. Now the troubled young man is enlisting the Holmeses’ help again, this time in a desperate search for his missing wife and child.

Mary has often observed that there are many kinds of madness, and before this case yields its shattering solution she’ll come into dangerous contact with a fair number of them. From suicides at Stonehenge to the dark secrets of a young woman’s past on the streets of Shanghai, Mary will find herself on the trail of a killer more dangerous than any she’s ever faced—a killer Sherlock Holmes himself may be protecting for reasons near and dear to his heart.

My Thoughts: Mary and Sherlock are just home from months abroad when Sherlock's son Damian Adler comes to ask for their help finding his missing wife and child. Sherlock wasn't aware of Damian's existence until 1919 when he and Mary worked to clear him of a murder charge.

Damian was a war hero, a drug addict, and a Bohemian painter. He greatly resented Holmes for his neglect and for his mother's unhappiness. He felt that Holmes should have know of his existence. As soon as he was cleared of the murder charge, he disappeared.

Now it is 1924 and Damian is back with his attitude toward Holmes pretty much unchanged. Adler and Holmes disappear to London to look for his family leaving Mary behind to work on the mystery of the hive of bees that had been abandoned. After a few days of working on that mystery, Mary decides to head to London to begin her own investigation.

Mary learns that Damian's wife Yolanda was fascinated by a wide variety of religions and belief systems. Mary discovers her relationship with the Children of Lights whose theology is a mash-up of many other beliefs including Norse mythology. She becomes convinced that their holy book is the work of a madman and she fears that Damian might be the author.

When Yolanda is found dead - murdered - at an ancient historical site, Mary and Sherlock begin looking at other odd events at historical sites to try to find out if her death was one in a pattern. Meanwhile, Holmes is looking for Damian who left him during their investigation.

This story was filled with great detail about the Bohemian movement and the art scene in London for those who were called Surrealists. I loved the descriptions of Damian's art work though I wouldn't want them in my living room any more than Mary did.

The tension builds as the story progresses until Mary is forced to fly from London to the Orkneys with a military pilot and through massively difficult weather to try to beat the villain to his final sacrificial site and save Damian and his daughter's lives. The descriptions made me feel that I was there along with Mary during that harrowing flight.

The only thing I didn't like about the story was the cliffhanger ending. I am very grateful that the next book is available for me and that I didn't have to wait a year for it.

Favorite Quote:
My own tradition of Judaism believes that there is nothing God loves more than a quick-witted argument; the words Millicent Dunworthy read were an excellent illustration of the need to teach Rabbinic debate in public schools.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Friday Memes: The Language of Bees by Laurie R. King

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:
As homecomings go, it was not auspicious.
Friday 56:
He laid the cigarette case down and looked straight at Holmes, for the first time in several minutes. "Once we decided to leave Shanghai, I married Yolanda. Neither of us believes in the concept, but I doubt the government would have permitted her to come otherwise."
This week I am digging into a book from my Keeper shelves that I haven't read for ten years or so. The Language of Bees by Laurie R. King is the ninth in the Mary Russell series of historical mysteries. Here is the description from Amazon:
For Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, returning to the Sussex coast after seven months abroad was especially sweet. There was even a mystery to solve—the unexplained disappearance of an entire colony of bees from one of Holmes’s beloved hives.

But the anticipated sweetness of their homecoming is quickly tempered by a galling memory from the past. Mary had met Damian Adler only once before, when the surrealist painter had been charged with—and exonerated from—murder. Now the troubled young man is enlisting the Holmeses’ help again, this time in a desperate search for his missing wife and child.

Mary has often observed that there are many kinds of madness, and before this case yields its shattering solution she’ll come into dangerous contact with a fair number of them. From suicides at Stonehenge to the dark secrets of a young woman’s past on the streets of Shanghai, Mary will find herself on the trail of a killer more dangerous than any she’s ever faced—a killer Sherlock Holmes himself may be protecting for reasons near and dear to his heart.