Monday, May 25, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (May 25, 2020)

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...

Happy Memorial Day weekend to those in the US! So many celebrations are going to be virtual this year since only small gatherings are allowed here in Minnesota. And, of course, rain is predicted for each day of the long weekend.

Even though things are opening up in my state, I'm still content to spend most of my time at home. It looks like June 1 will be another milestone date since that is when salons can open again. I think restaurants can open to some inside seating then. This week they were allowed to open for outside dining with limited numbers of people at one time. Of course, many don't have an outside area that they can use for patrons and our weather doesn't make outdoor dining possible every day. There are still a lot of things that have to happen before a complete reopening. For one thing, Minnesota is still waiting for cases to peak. Hopes are that reopening won't cause a major surge in cases.

I did get outside and walk a couple of days since the weather was warm and it was sunny. Rain is forecast for the whole Memorial Day weekend which will likely keep me inside. I can just see rain beginning to fall when I am at the farthest point of my walk!

After watching a Zoom from Penguin Books last night with Jim Butcher and Patrick Rothfuss, I realized that I had missed one of the Dresden Files books. I knew that a book in the series was coming out in July - a first since 2014, but didn't know there would also be a second Dresden book later in 2020 too. I bought a copy of the first Dresden book from Audible so that I can revisit the world before the new books come out.

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.)
  • Lady Rights a Wrong by Eliza Casey (Review; June 2) - England 1912. Lady Cecelia Bates investigates the death of a woman in charge of a suffrage group. Interesting story with lots to think about regarding the choices women had at that time in history. My review will be posted on May 28.
  • Mouse & Dragon by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller (Audiobook; reread) - Daav and Aelliana don't have smooth sailing after meeting and falling in love in this sequel to Scout's Progress. I recently reviewed this one.
  • Death of an Aristocrat by Anya Wylde (Review) - This second Lucy Trotter mystery was humorous but less silly than the first in the series. I liked Lucy with her determination to be able to take care of herself. My review will be posted on May 30.
  • Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs (Audiobook; reread) - This is the second book in the Mercy Thompson urban fantasy series and features all sorts of trouble for Mercy when vampire Stefan calls in his favor. My review will be posted on June 9.
  • Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs (Audiobook; reread) - The third Mercy Thompson story concerns the fae and some puzzling murders. My review will be posted on June 24.
  • The Girls Weekend by Jody Gehrman (Review; June 9) - Tense locked room thriller about five women who had been college best friends getting together for a reunion weekend where all sorts of formerly hidden issues are revealed and one of the women dies. My review will be posted on June 2.
  • The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes by Leonard Goldberg (Audiobook) - I picked this at Audible since I'm a huge fan of any story featuring Sherlock Holmes. It was okay but the characters seemed awfully one-dimensional to me. My review will be posted on June 17.
Currently
Next Week
Reviews Posted
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?

Kindle
Audiobooks
Review
  • Catalyst by Sarah Beth Durst (June 9)
  • Riviera Gold by Laurie R. King (June 9) - print ARC from the publisher
What was your week like?

Saturday, May 23, 2020

ARC Review: Hideaway by Nora Roberts

Hideaway
Author: Nora Roberts
Publication: St. Martin's Press (May 26, 2020)

Description: A family ranch in Big Sur country and a legacy of Hollywood royalty set the stage for Nora Roberts’ emotional new suspense novel, Hideaway.

Caitlyn Sullivan had come from a long line of Hollywood royalty, stretching back to her Irish immigrant great-grandfather. At nine, she was already a star―yet still an innocent child who loved to play hide and seek with her cousins at the family home in Big Sur. It was during one of those games that she disappeared.

Some may have considered her a pampered princess, but Cate was in fact a smart, scrappy fighter, and she managed to escape her abductors. Dillon Cooper was shocked to find the bloodied, exhausted girl huddled in his house―but when the teenager and his family heard her story they provided refuge, reuniting her with her loved ones.

Cate’s ordeal, though, was far from over. First came the discovery of a shocking betrayal that would send someone she’d trusted to prison. Then there were years spent away in western Ireland, peaceful and protected but with restlessness growing in her soul.

Finally, she would return to Los Angeles, gathering the courage to act again and get past the trauma that had derailed her life. What she didn’t yet know was that two seeds had been planted that long-ago night―one of a great love, and one of a terrible vengeance…

My Thoughts: This was another excellent standalone novel by Nora Roberts. It takes place over a number of years and follows Cate Sullivan from age 10 to about age 30. Cate is the daughter of Hollywood royalty.

The first part of the story takes place when she is ten. She was kidnapped but through her own brains and courage escaped from her kidnappers and found her way to the Cooper's house. There she met Dillon who was a couple of years older along with his mother and grandmother.

After learning that her mother was a part of the conspiracy to kidnap her and extort a large amount of money from her family, Cate's family enclosed itself around her to help her get over the trauma. Her mother and co-conspirators went to prison and Cate's dad took her to live in Ireland with her great-grandmother.

The next part of the story takes place when she is seventeen and back from Ireland ready to begin her own acting career. Unfortunately, her mother has been released from prison and wants to use Cate again for her own selfish reasons. Her mother forces herself into her presence which sets off a major panic attack in Cate. Restraining orders ensue but that doesn't stop her mother from spawning all sorts of publicity to make herself look like a mother who was wronged and who only wants to reunite with her child.

The next part sees Cate in New York City where she has gone to get away from the scrutiny of the press and her mother's schemes to use her. Unfortunately, trouble follows in the form of frightening phone calls that mix her mother's voice and her own from their various acting roles into a very threatening combination. It is a time for Cate to begin exploring what she wants to do with her life and to grow up. That part ends after her first love is attacked and beaten. It looks like a hate crime but staying away from Cate is part of the message. They are both too young to get over the incident.

After some years, Cate comes back to California and to the estate on Big Sur where the kidnapping happened. She has some initial reservations but she is strong enough to persevere. She is eager to spend more time with her grandparents and her work as a voice actor lets her move her business there. She also reunites with Dillon and the two begin a romance or maybe, rekindle one since he is almost certain that he fell in love with her when he first met her as a ten-year-old.

But their romance is not trouble free. Adding to the stress the her mother's endless quest for publicity at Cate's expense is the fact that people close to the events of the kidnapping are being murdered and the murderer might be getting close to Cate.

The was an excellent story with all the elements Roberts is known for. Cate is surrounded by a loving family who both nurture her and provide a template of what loving others looks like. She is both protected and given opportunities to grow and become her own person. Dillon is a strong, confident man who is sure in his life and what he wants and is willing to wait for Cate to catch up to what he wants for them.

This was a very compelling story that I just couldn't put down. Fans of Nora Roberts won't want to miss this one.

Favorite Quote:
He moved, as he wandered her space, with the rangy kind of ease of a man who strode around fields and pastures.

She let out a half laugh. "It's central casting."

"What's that?"

He glanced back, and well, Jesus, the un slanted over him like a damn key light.

She pointed at him. "Rancher. You nail the look."

He grinned, and of course, it was lightning quick and just the right amount of crooked. "I am what I am. And you're a - Hugh calls it - voice actor."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Friday Memes: Hideaway by Nora Roberts

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:
When Liam Sullivan died, at the ageof ninety-two, in his sleep, in his own bed with his wife of sixty-five years beside him, the world mourned.

An icon had passed.
Friday 56:
He studied the work island. "You're messy."

"Yeah." She went to the sink to wash dough off her hands. "And if I don't clean it up to Consuela's standards, I'll hear her clucking her tongue when she come in to clean tomorrow."
This week I am spotlighting the latest standalone title by Nora Roberts. I got this review copy of Hideaway from Edelweiss. Here is the description from Amazon:
A family ranch in Big Sur country and a legacy of Hollywood royalty set the stage for Nora Roberts’ emotional new suspense novel, Hideaway.

Caitlyn Sullivan had come from a long line of Hollywood royalty, stretching back to her Irish immigrant great-grandfather. At nine, she was already a star―yet still an innocent child who loved to play hide and seek with her cousins at the family home in Big Sur. It was during one of those games that she disappeared.

Some may have considered her a pampered princess, but Cate was in fact a smart, scrappy fighter, and she managed to escape her abductors. Dillon Cooper was shocked to find the bloodied, exhausted girl huddled in his house―but when the teenager and his family heard her story they provided refuge, reuniting her with her loved ones.

Cate’s ordeal, though, was far from over. First came the discovery of a shocking betrayal that would send someone she’d trusted to prison. Then there were years spent away in western Ireland, peaceful and protected but with restlessness growing in her soul.

Finally, she would return to Los Angeles, gathering the courage to act again and get past the trauma that had derailed her life. What she didn’t yet know was that two seeds had been planted that long-ago night―one of a great love, and one of a terrible vengeance…

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Audiobook: Wildfire by Ilona Andrews

Wildfire
Author: Ilona Andrews
Narrator: Renee Raudman
Publication: HarperAudio (July 25, 2017)
Length: 12 hours and 44 minutes

Description: From Ilona Andrews, New York Times best-selling author, the thrilling conclusion to her Hidden Legacy series, as Nevada and Rogan grapple with a power beyond even their imagination.

Nevada Baylor can't decide which is more frustrating - harnessing her truthseeker abilities or dealing with Connor "Mad" Rogan and their evolving relationship. Yes, the billionaire Prime is helping her navigate the complex magical world in which she's become a crucial player - and sometimes a pawn - but she also has to deal with his ex-fiancée, whose husband has disappeared and whose damsel-in-distress act is wearing very, very thin.

Rogan faces his own challenges, too, as Nevada's magical rank has made her a desirable match for other Primes. Controlling his immense powers is child's play next to controlling his conflicting emotions. And now he and Nevada are confronted by a new threat within her own family. Can they face this together? Or is their world about to go up in smoke?

My Thoughts: In this third Hidden Legacy novel, the case Nevada is working on comes really close to home. Rynda Sherwood was once thought to be "Mad" Rogan's future wife but he joined the military instead and didn't want to marry her. Rynda married another man, the head of his House and a botanical mage whose specialty was mushrooms. She had two children with him and looked to be having a satisfying life until he was kidnapped. Rynda comes to Nevada for help in finding her husband.

Nevada wants to help her but many in her family feel that having Rynda so close to Rogan will reignite the relationship between them. Nevada feels that, if it does, it means that her relationship with Rogan wasn't strong enough to last. She also isn't willing to give up the man she has claimed no matter what any other woman thinks.

It soon becomes apparent that the kidnapping was related to the whole conspiracy that has been a central plot point through the first two books. Some mysterious and unknown agent has been trying to destabilize the magical community in Houston and recruiting dissatisfied and dangerous mages to work for the cause. This one has a mage who can call creatures from some other world and another mage who can control the weather and bring down devastating storms.

Meanwhile, Nevada has registered for testing of her ability as a Prime and petitioned to form a House. Her grandmother Tremayne isn't going to go away quietly and has made a couple of unsuccessful attempts to have her kidnapped. Her registration has also opened her up to offers of marriage from a number of Houses who want her talents for themselves. Suitors are guaranteed to infuriate Rogan who is torn between wanting Nevada for his own and wanting her to be able to form a strong House.

This was another great entry in a strong urban fantasy series. I liked the narration because of the number of distinct voices for the characters and the emotion portrayed.

I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Audiobook: Crystal Soldier by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

Crystal Soldier
Author: Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
Narrator: Kevin T. Collins
Publication: Audible Studios (Sept. 4, 2012)
Length: 13 hours and 51 minutes

Description: Centuries in the past, mankind fought a seemingly unbeatable adversary from sector to sector across the Spiral Arm until the war ground to a standstill and the Enemy withdrew. Believing that they had won, the citizens of the galaxy rebuilt. The Inner Worlds, which had escaped the worst of the war's ravages, became even more insular, while the Rim worlds adopted a free and easy way with law and order. Now, hundreds of years after their withdrawal, the Enemy is back - and this time they'll be satisfied with nothing less than the extinction of the galaxy.

My Thoughts: This story is the beginning of the Liaden Universe. Characters who are legends in the new (in the timeline) Liaden books are the main characters in this one with all their strengths and flaws.

The story begins with an M series soldier named Jela on a planet that is dry and desiccated. His ship was damaged and he was forced to land and hope for retrieval by his own forces. M type soldiers are generalists and explorers which means that Jela decides to explore while waiting for pickup and begins following a trail of fallen trees. He follows and watches the trees become smaller and smaller on their way down from the hills to what was once a river and now is just a dry bed. There at the end of his trail, with him running out of food and water, Jela comes upon a living tree - the sole survivor of its species.

When Jela is finally rescued, he brings the tree with him. He made it promises as they waited for pickup by his crew. Jela feels that the tree is able to communicate with him. It also provides him with edible seedpods.

Jela and the army he is part of have been fighting the enemy for all of his life. They are losing the war. The enemy has weapons that eat planets and they are determined to remove all life from the universe and remake it to their specifications.

Jela is chosen to be part of a last-ditch effort to slow the enemy down. It is on this mission that he meet Cantra yos'Phelium.

Cantra is a smuggler and the last of a line that was eliminated by its creators. She is on the run from those creators and trying to keep a low profile. She stops on a planet and decides that she needs some company which leads her to having dinner with Jela who was expecting someone else to dine with him. Warned by one of the servers that they are under observation, they end up having to fight off various enemies before they are able to escape from the planet bringing the server - a batch created slave named Dulsey - and Jela's tree with them.

After visiting the planet where Cantra has a cargo to drop off and running afoul with her buyer, they decide to take Dulsey to the one place where she might be safe. Cantra knows where the Uncle makes his home since he helped her get away from the creators who wanted to repossess her. The Uncle is trying to find a way to make the enemy's tech into weapons that humans can use to defeat the enemy. Jela doesn't believe that is possible or desirable. Uncle doesn't want to let either Cantra or Jela go since they could be useful to his plans. This leads to still another fight and another narrow escape for our heroes.

The story was filled with danger and action and intriguing characters. I loved seeing Jela and Cantra as humans rather than as icons. The narration was well done. I also enjoyed the interview of Kevin T. Collins done by Steve Miller which gave a lot of interesting information about how narrators work and also about how authors work.

The cliffhanger ending mean that CRYSTAL DRAGON has just gone on my "read NOW" list.

I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Audiobook: Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop

Etched in Bone
Author: Anne Bishop
Narrator: Alexandra Harris
Publication: Penguin Audio (March 7, 2017)
Length: 16 hours and 21 minutes

Description: New York Times best-selling author Anne Bishop returns to her world of the Others, as humans struggle to survive in the shadow of shape-shifters and vampires far more powerful than themselves….

After a human uprising was brutally put down by the Elders - a primitive and lethal form of the Others - the few cities left under human control are far-flung. And the people within them now know to fear the no man's land beyond their borders - and the darkness....

As some communities struggle to rebuild, Lakeside Courtyard has emerged relatively unscathed, though Simon Wolfgard, its wolf shifter leader, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn must work with the human pack to maintain the fragile peace. But all their efforts are threatened when Lieutenant Montgomery's shady brother arrives, looking for a free ride and easy pickings.

With the humans on guard against one of their own, tensions rise, drawing the attention of the Elders, who are curious about the effect such an insignificant predator can have on a pack. But Meg knows the dangers, for she has seen in the cards how it will all end: with her standing beside a grave.

My Thoughts: The Humans First and Last have been defeated leaving a new world for the humans and Others to learn to navigate. There are many abandoned towns. Communication doesn't easily pass from one region to another. The trains, boats, trucks and other vehicles are limited to daylight only transport. There are food shortages and floods of refugees who poured into Lakeside when their towns were destroyed.

Tolya Sanguinati is in charge of the town of Bennett which was emptied of human life when the Elders passed though. He has asked the Lakeside Courtyard to hold a job fair to help him find Intuits and Simple Life people who can run the businesses and farms that exist is the area. But the Elders may not have finished their purge of the pesky humans. They want to observe the humans in the Lakeside Courtyard to decided what sort of humans they are going to let repopulate those empty places.

Having Elders observe would be fine except that Lieutenant Montgomery's brother Jimmy has come to Lakeside with his wife and two children. He is not a good person. He is a thief and a schemer and never does anything for anyone unless he gets something from it. Since he has a hold on Monty's sister Sierra which causes her to do bad things for him, his presence upsets the working relationships in the Courtyard.

Simon and the rest of the Others in the Courtyard would have been more than willing to drive him out or kill and eat him but are forced to let him stay so that the Elders can observe his behavior. Simon does get the Elders to promise to help protect the human female pack though.

Jimmy's schemes run the gamut from pressuring Sierra for money and food to attempting to rent out empty apartments in the apartment building where he is staying to encouraging his children to shoplift in the Others' store to masterminding a theft of meat from the Others' butcher shop. All of these are thwarted and Jimmy thinks he has skated free to his next scheme because all is good if he doesn't face any consequences.

But Jimmy's latest scheme is kidnapping Meg so that he has a captive blood prophet of his very own. That scheme will be his last as humans, Others, and the Elders unite to find Meg and bring her back home to Simon.

This was another excellent episode in The Others series and brings the main plotlines to a very satisfying conclusion. I enjoyed listening to this audiobook version of a favorite series.

I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Monday, May 18, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (May 18, 2020)

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...

I got out twice this week which was just a little scary. One quick trip to the grocery store and one to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription were the extent of my adventures. Our stay at home order expires on Monday and things are reopening as long as safety precautions are in place in the newly reopened businesses. It will be at least June 1 before restaurants, gyms, and salons can open which a lot of people are waiting for. For myself, my hair doesn't need cutting since it is a style that can grow without damaging any sort of style. My brother really, really wants a haircut though.

He was supposed to work only two days this past week but was asked to work more. He ended up working four days. This coming week has him scheduled for five days and the week after for six. Now all he has to do is keep on human resources about getting paid for the paid leave that he recently finished. There is all sorts of confusion there.
We have made more power this month than last on this the last day of our billing period which makes waiting for the new power bill easy. I expect that our credit will grow again this month.

Our temperatures are warming which should make it easier to get outdoors and exercise except along with the warmth has come clouds and strong chances of rain. I did get out and walk twice and walked on the treadmill twice too. I need to make exercise more of a priority if I want to continue the weight loss that began in September. I have lost a total of 40 pounds now but would like to lose five or six more pounds at least.

I've been sorting through some drawers to get rid of summer clothes that don't fit anymore. The problem is that I don't know what to do with the clothes I don't want. I usually donate to the Salvation Army or Goodwill but don't think that either of them have reopened yet. Maybe they will this week... I have lots more drawers to go through but will wait until I have somewhere to go with the surplus.

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.)

  • Hideaway by Nora Roberts (Review; May 26) - Excellent standalone romantic suspense title from a master of the genre. My review will be posted on May 23. 
  • Alliance of Equals by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller (Audiobook; Reread)
  • The Gathering Edge by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller (Audiobook; Reread)



Currently


Next Week




Reviews Posted




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


What was your week like?

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Book Review: Murder at Rudhall Manor by Anya Wylde

Murder at Rudhall Manor
Author: Anya Wylde
Series: Lucy Anne Trotter Mysteries (Book 1)
Publication: Self-Published (June 15, 2014)

Description: A murder and a theft have been committed at Rudhall Manor. A box of jewels has vanished and Lord Sedley, a lusty old aristocrat, has been stabbed six times in the chest.

It is all very mysterious, and the Sedley family and the servants have decided that Miss Lucy Anne Trotter, a recently employed governess, is to blame for the unfortunate events.

The legendary and wickedly handsome Marquis, Lord William Adair, learns of the matter and decides to uncover the truth.

Lucy, however, has little faith in blue-blooded creatures—even if they possess dashing good looks— and, accompanied by two naughty pugs and a moody raven, decides to investigate and unmask the killer herself.

But the hunt for the killer turns out to be far more complicated than she anticipates—what with snooty servants, warts in odd places, mixed up love affairs, agitated chickens and dreadful disguises ruining her plans.

Soon she begins to wonder if, for once, she is in over her head….

My Thoughts: Miss Lucy Ann Trotter was orphaned as a young child and raised and educated in an orphanage. Now grown, she has taken her first position as a governess at the home of Lord Sedley. Lucy is optimistic and imaginative and has a wonderful gift for description. However, she is also the perfect suspect when some jewels are stolen and Lord Sedley is found murdered.

The family has banded together and so have the servants leaving Lucy with no one to take her side except the handsome and desirable Lord William Adair who is famous for his investigative abilities . He enters the scene via hot air balloon and clad in his dressing gown after an unexpected flight.

Lucy decides that Lord Adair will likely side with the aristocratic family and thus has to investigate herself if she wants to avoid the hangman's noose. She enters into a contest with Lord Adair as to who will discover the murderer first.

Lucy's investigations take her to all of the family's rooms to search for the missing jewels and lead her to discover that the widow is having an affair with a valet and the eldest daughter is also romancing the valet. The eldest son seems too involved with collecting animals including a baboon, a crane, a raven, and a couple of pugs to have had anything to do with his father's death. While the youngest son seems to involved in drinking and gambling and chasing women to have any role in his father's death.

Lucy's investigations include disguising herself as a tree to follow after the widow and her eldest to try to overhear them conspiring and impersonating a chicken in the hopes that the chickens will get off their nests to reveal stolen jewels. Assisting Lucy in her investigations is the family ghost who is a bit distracted by her romance with another local ghost.

The story was engaging and silly. The descriptions were humorous and Lucy's actions comical. Readers looking for slapstick humor in their mysteries will enjoy Lucy's first case.

Favorite Quote:
Lady Sedley squeaked and immediately wrapped herself around Lord Adair's arm in fright where she hung bubbling and spluttering like a dozen eggs frying in a hot pan.
I got this one as a gift from the author. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Friday Memes: Murder at Rudhall Manor by Anya Wylde

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:
"Miss Trotter, I hope you understand what an honour this is?

"Yes, Miss Summer," Lucy replied meekly.

"You will be stepping out into the world and leaving the comforts of this orphanage forever. You will be representing us, Miss Trotter, in an aristocratic family, and I hope you will do nothing to tarnish our good name."
Friday 56:
"This is for you."

Lucy abandoned the bag, wiped her hands on the side of her skirt and took the offered bundle.

It contained twenty candles tied together with a bit of twine.

Her eyes grew large. "Goodness. These are beeswax."
This week I am spotlighting Murder at Rudhall Manor by Anya Wylde. This author contacted me on Goodreads and offered me the book. I accepted because I do enjoy historical mysteries. Here is the description from Amazon:
A murder and a theft have been committed at Rudhall Manor. A box of jewels has vanished and Lord Sedley, a lusty old aristocrat, has been stabbed six times in the chest.

It is all very mysterious, and the Sedley family and the servants have decided that Miss Lucy Anne Trotter, a recently employed governess, is to blame for the unfortunate events.

The legendary and wickedly handsome Marquis, Lord William Adair, learns of the matter and decides to uncover the truth.

Lucy, however, has little faith in blue-blooded creatures—even if they possess dashing good looks— and, accompanied by two naughty pugs and a moody raven, decides to investigate and unmask the killer herself.

But the hunt for the killer turns out to be far more complicated than she anticipates—what with snooty servants, warts in odd places, mixed up love affairs, agitated chickens and dreadful disguises ruining her plans.

Soon she begins to wonder if, for once, she is in over her head….

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Audiobook: White Hot by Ilona Andrews

White Hot
Author: Ilona Andrews
Narrator: Renee Raudman
Publication: HarperAudio (May 30, 2017)
Length: 13 hours and 18 minutes

Description: The Hidden Legacy series by New York Times best-selling author Ilona Andrews continues as Nevada and Rogan navigate a world where magic is the norm...and their relationship burns hot.

Nevada Baylor has a unique and secret skill - she knows when people are lying - and she's used that magic (along with plain hard work) to keep her colorful and close-knit family's detective agency afloat. But her new case pits her against the shadowy forces that almost destroyed the city of Houston once before, bringing Nevada back into contact with Connor "Mad" Rogan.

Rogan is a billionaire Prime - the highest rank of magic user - and as unreadable as ever, despite Nevada's talent. But there's no hiding the sparks between them. Now that the stakes are even higher, both professionally and personally, and their foes are unimaginably powerful, Rogan and Nevada will find that nothing burns like ice.

My Thoughts: This second book in the Hidden Legacy series brings Nevada a new case. The wife of Cornelius Harrison, an animal mage, has died along with three colleagues while working as a lawyer for a House and now the House is trying to bury the investigation. Cornelius has tried everyone else and he has come to Baylor Investigations as his last resort. Nevada feels sorry for him and wants to help him.

It soon becomes apparent that something bigger is going on. There is no reason that the House Nori worked for would be failing to investigate. Sure, Cornelius is a minor talent and the third child of his House but he should still be important enough not to dismiss.

Things get even more complicated when "Mad" Rogan comes on the scene. Nevada hasn't seen him since the end of their first case and things then were not left in a satisfactory state. After asking her to go away with him and Nevada refusing, Rogan disappeared from her life. Now, it was his people who were assigned to protect Nori and her colleagues and he has recordings showing what happened to the whole group which shows him that a number of Primes were involved in the massacre.

Nevada and Rogan team up to solve the mystery of  Nori's death and try to find out what sort of conspiracy is going on in Houston. They had hints of it in the first book and this story provides more information about the goals and spread of the conspiracy.

The book was filled with exciting scenes with fascinating magic. It also had the growing romance between Rogan and Nevada which was hot and fascinating. Rogan is a very scary man with unbelievable powers who scares everyone. Nevada isn't afraid of him and has enough power of her own to meet him as an equal.

Nevada has been keeping under the radar in magical Houston. She isn't and acknowledged Prime and doesn't want to be. Her goal is to protect her family which includes her two younger sisters and two younger cousins along with her mother and grandmother. But her secret is about to be exposed because her father's mother has come looking for her. Victoria Tremayne is infamous for the use of her powers which are the same as Nevada's and she definitely needs to add Nevada to her House or the House will end with her death. She is ruthless and determined.

Nevada's only hope is to step into the light and declare herself a Prime and form a House. The problem is that it will mean exposing her sister's talents too - talents they have kept carefully hidden to protect them.

This was a great audiobook with excellent narration.

I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Audiobook: Sweep of the Blade by Ilona Andrews

Sweep of the Blade
Author: Ilona Andrews
Narrator: Natalie Naudus
Publication: NYLA (Sept. 19, 2019)
Length: 8 hours and 53 minutes

Description: Maud Demille is a daughter of Innkeepers - a special group who provide "lodging" to other-planetary visitors - so she knows that a simple life isn't in the cards. But even Maud could never have anticipated what Fate would throw at her.

Once a wife to a powerful vampire knight, Maud and her young daughter, Helen, were exiled with him for his treachery to the desolate, savage planet of Karhari. Karhari killed her husband, and Maud - completely abandoned by his family - has spent over a year avenging his debts. Rescued by her sister Dina, she's sworn off all things vampire.

Except...in helping Dina save the world, she met Arland, the Marshal of House Krahr, one of the most powerful vampire houses. One thing led to another and he asked for her hand in marriage. She declined. Arland is not used to hearing the word "no"; and try as she might, Maud can't just walk away from Arland. It doesn't help that being human is a lot harder for Maud than being a vampire.

To sort it all out, she accepts his invitation to visit his home planet. House Krahr is extremely influential and Maud knows that a woman - a human, with a very questionable past - who's turned down a proposal from its most beloved son won't get a warm reception. Maybe she’s not sure about marrying Arland, but House Krahr isn’t going to decide for her. Maud Demille has never run from a fight, and House Krahr will soon discover that there's a lot more to Maud than they’re expecting.

My Thoughts: This Maud's story. It begins with a more complete description of her life on Karhari as she struggles for survival for herself and her daughter after her husband's treachery and death. She has definitely sworn off vampires.

But then she meets Arland. He is Marshal of House Krahr and a friend of her sister Dina. He is a much more honorable man than her husband was. But she doesn't know if she can trust him with her life and especially her daughter's life.

Maud does agree to go home with him to try to get to know him better and to see if they can have a future together. She doesn't expect to find herself dropped right into the middle of vampire politics and a plot to overthrow House Krahr.

I really liked Maud. She was smart and competent and a woman very worthy of the militant vampire houses. She was also an excellent mother to her half-vampire child. Her intelligence helps her carve out a place for herself in House Krahr and that competence gives her the confidence to link her future with Arland's.

I really enjoyed the narration of this story. I thought the pacing was great and the action nonstop.

I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Audiobook: Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop

Marked in Flesh
Author: Anne Bishop
Narrator: Alexandra Harris
Publication: Penguin Audio (March 8, 2016)
Length: 15 hours and 21 minutes

Description: For centuries, the Others and humans have lived side by side in uneasy peace. But when humankind oversteps its bounds, the Others will have to decide how much humanity they're willing to tolerate - both within themselves and within their community....

Since the Others allied themselves with the cassandra sangue, the fragile yet powerful human blood prophets who were being exploited by their own kind, the delicate dynamic between humans and Others changed. Some, like Simon Wolfgard, wolf shifter and leader of the Lakeside Courtyard, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn see the new closer companionship as beneficial - both personally and practically.

But not everyone is convinced. A group of radical humans is seeking to usurp land through a series of violent attacks on the Others. What they don't realize is that there are older and more dangerous forces than shifters and vampires protecting the land that belongs to the Others - and those forces are willing to do whatever is necessary to protect what is theirs....

My Thoughts: This is the story which bring the ongoing plot thread having to do with the Humans First and Last movement to its conclusion. Humans First and Last have begun attacks on the Terra Indigene - especially the Wolfgard. What they don't seem to realize is that the Others who live in the Wild Country are very close to exterminating all the pesky humans.

In the Lakeside Courtyard, things are better. Meg and Simon are working together to build better relations between humans and the Others. Lieutenant Montgomery and his officers are tying very hard to keep the peace.

After the Wolfgard are attacked throughout Thasia, Simon brings the human pack into the Courtyard to protect them from the retaliation that the Elementals and Elders plan for the humans in Thasia. These humans include Montgomery's mother Twyla and his sister Sierra and her two young daughters who managed to get out of Toland before the Elementals hit it.

We also see what is happening in Cel Romano as the Humans First and Last use the events in Thasia as a distraction for their massive land grab and slaughter of the Others.

This story was darker than earlier books in the series with its killing of The Others including Simon's friend Joe Wolfgard and the battles in Cel Romano. But Simon and Meg's relationship is growing closer and Meg is learning to use prophecy cards instead of cutting her skin to reveal the prophecies that buzz under her skin.

I enjoyed listening to the audiobook version of this story this time. I like the way Alexandra Harris narrates the events.

I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Monday, May 11, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (May 11, 2020)

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 was another quiet week for me. I did go to the grocery store once this week because I wanted to pick out my own breakfast cereal rather than putting "cereal" on the list my brother makes when he shops. I ended up getting another box of the one I'm finishing up anyway - but I wanted to see if anything else looked good and fit my nutritional plan.

My brother did start back at Target this week but only for about 15 hours. This week he'll work just two days and next week goes back to a more usual 34 hours schedule. I liked having him home for his 30-day leave because we could plan meals and eat at more regular times. For some reason, most of his work days mean that he isn't home for supper. They really seem to favor the 1PM - 9PM time slot for him.
We did have a mostly sunny week but the temperatures were too cold for me to go out walking most days. Temperatures seem to be running about ten degrees cooler than normal for this time of year which means high temperatures in the mid-40s for most of the week. I'm a wimp and want the temperature to be no lower than the high 50s if I'm going to walk outside. Maybe this week will be better.

I've been looking ahead for my reading calendar and am almost finished with May posts. June is a wide open page after I finish the review books listed below under Next Week. I have been looking at my TBR shelves and have a few more Liaden Universe books to listen to again before I run out. I also have 2 Audible credits to use and don't quite know how I want to use them. I'm thinking of getting more of the older books in the Mercedes Thompson books by Patricia Briggs which I have been wanting to reread anyway.

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.)

  • Saltation by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (Audiobook; Reread) - This is the 12th book in the Liaden Universe series.
  • Ghost Ship by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (Audiobook; Reread) - This is the 14th book in the Liaden Universe series. (Thirteen is a sequel to book 6 and will probably be slotted in when I listen to that one again.)
  • Dragon Ship by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (Audiobook; Reread) - This is the 15th book in the Liaden Universe series.  


  • Necessity's Child by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (Audiobook; Reread) - This is the 16th book in the Liaden Universe series. 
  • Dragon in Exile by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (Audiobook; Reread) - This is the 18th book in the Liaden Universe series. (Seventeen was actually a sequel to book 8 which I read and reviewed a little while ago.)
  • Murder at Rudhall Manor by Anya Wylde (Mine) - I got this one from the author who noticed that I enjoyed historical mysteries. This was that and was also quite a humorous story. I enjoyed the descriptions and the characters. My review will be posted on May 16.

DNF


  • A Spell for Trouble by Esme Addison (Review; June 9) - I abandoned this one at 50% when I realized that I had no desire to read anymore and kept picking up the next audiobook in my stack instead. I think this was a me problem more than a book problem. I didn't want to learn a new setting and meet new characters especially since it is apparently the first book in a series and a lot of time (too much?) was devoted to setting the scene and building the world. 

Currently

  • Hideaway by Nora Roberts (Review; May 26) - This one is very compelling. I've been reading all day and loving it.
  • Alliance of Equals by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (Audiobook; Reread) - This is also great. I'm listening while walking and while playing computer games.

Next Week




Reviews Posted


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

These are all additions to my review stack.




What was your week like?