Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Book & Audio Review: The Way to Glory by David Drake

The Way to Glory

Author:
David Drake
Narrator: Victor Bevine
Series: Lt. Leary (Book 4)
Publication: Baen Books; 1st edition (December 9, 2013); Audible Studios (November 4, 2008)
Length: 424 p.; 14 hours and 20 minutes

Description: Lieutenant Leary and Adele Mundy are Back in This Blazing Sequel to The Far Side of the Stars

Violence racks Cinnabar. The fleets of the tyrannical Alliance are on the move, and at home class riots threaten to rip apart not only society but the Republic of Cinnabar Navy. Lt. Daniel Leary has earned promotion, but the needs of the Republic and the RCN require that he serve under an officer whose paranoia has already led him to execute crewmen out of hand. 

Signals Officer Adele Mundy has repeatedly proved her skills and loyalty as Cinnabar's most accomplished intelligence agent, but now elements within the Republic want to draw her into a conspiracy like the one that led to her parent's massacre. Leary and Mundy battle their way from riot-torn streets to spies in an outlying base and an anarchic planet where violence is the only law, but if they succeed at every stage, one test still remains: a space battle against an overwhelming Alliance force. Even for Daniel Leary it will be a difficult fight to win—and almost impossible to survive.

My Thoughts: Class warfare is heating up in Cinnabar exacerbated by the actions of a ship commander who executed some crew for mutiny and who was then exonerated by the court martial held to look into the incident. Now Daniel Leary has been assigned to the man's ship and sent off to deal with pirates. The ship commander doesn't like Daniel at all either because he blames Daniel for actions of Daniel's father which caused the death of the commander's brother. 

Meanwhile, factions are trying to recruit Adele Mundy for a conspiracy similar to the conspiracy that caused the deaths of the whole of Adele's family. But Adele's spymaster has a mission for her that can be accomplished by going along on Daniel's new mission.

Pirate hunting should be easy. But spies and the dastardly Alliance's plans to establish a base just where Daniel has been sent, means that Daniel and Adele are in the right location to foil their plans ... if they can get their suspicious commanding officers to pay attention to them.

The story was filled with action, politics, space battles, and other exciting things. I really like both Daniel Leary and Adele Mundy who, with very different personalities, make an amazing team fighting for Cinnabar's future.

The narration was well done. The world building was excellent. Fans of space opera will enjoy this series. 

Favorite Quote:
The difference between victory and failure was very often the willingness to see what had to be done, and to do it instantly and with all the strength at your disposal.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Book & Audio Review: Sword and Shadow by Michelle Sagara

Sword and Shadow

Author:
Michelle Sagara
Narrator: Khristine Hvam
Series: Wolves of Elantra (Book 2)
Publication: MIRA; Original edition (February 22, 2022); Harlequin Audio (February 22, 2022)
Length: 518 p.; 16 hours and 50 minutes

Description: Beyond the Emperor's law

In the city of Elantra, the law is upheld by a few groups, and the most feared are the Wolves—the Emperor’s executioners. The newest member of this elite force is Severn Handred.

Granted a leave of absence to pursue information about his unknown past, Severn joins a mission to an enclave well outside the boundaries of the Empire. And he will be in danger the entire time. Still, the instincts that led him to the Wolves and the sense of duty that keeps him there can’t be discarded as easily as the tabard he wears.

While he's in the heart of the West March, enmeshed in a tangled web of mysteries that have been held for centuries, Severn's belief in justice is going to be tested. It's one mortal man and his single ally against a community of immortals who will kill to keep their secrets. But they don't know who they're up against.

My Thoughts: Severn Handred is the newest of the Emperor's Wolves and is already getting involved in a number of areas that could be dangerous for him. When he is asked to travel to the West March with An'Tellerus, he knows she has an agenda. But Severn has an agenda of his own. 

An'Tellerus has promised to tell Severn about his past. All he knows is that he was raised by a Barrani until he was ten. He doesn't know anything about his parents or why he was raised by a Barrani. Severn also has a quest for another Barrani lord who is curious about the fate of one of his childhood friends. Since Severn feels he owes a debt to that lord, that becomes his first priority.

But the West March is very different from Elentra and Severn finds himself entangled in quite a few plots. Even the mysterious Green seems to have its own use for him.

This was an entertaining and intriguing fantasy. The world building is complex and fascinating. Severn is also a wonderful character. 

I alternated between the Kindle and audiobook of this one. The narration was very well done - but seeing the unfamiliar names was also very helpful in keeping track of the many characters in the story. 

Favorite Quote:
An'Tellerus laughed. "No. Never waste time with regrets if you can help it; it is idel and dark as a pastime, and it brings no peace."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Monday, May 23, 2022

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (May 23, 2022)

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.

Want to See What I Added to My Stack? links to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Marlene at Reading Reality.

Other Than Reading...

This was a pretty quiet week. The lawn people came and aerated and fertilized around the rainy days. The grass is nicely green, but we don't have leaves on the deciduous trees yet. The forecast doesn't give much hope for leafing out this week either.
Yes, that word is "Frost." Notice all the rain and sprinkles in the forecast too.

I finally made an appointment for my second Covid booster but have to wait until June 1 to get it. I should also make an appointment with my doctor because I've been coughing for a couple of months. Some days it is worse than others. Some days I cough very little and I keep hoping it will finally stop. It hasn't yet. 

I've quit my listening to the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series since I remembered how traumatic I found Justice Hall and wanted something lighter. I did read one from 2008 and decided I didn't want to read another. After another round of discarding books I no longer want to read, my remaining unread books from 2008 number only 7. All of them are books in various series that I have started. I'm afraid that I'll have to reread earlier books for these to make sense. 

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.)
  • O Jerusalem by Laurie R. King (Audiobook reread)
  • The Moor by Laurie R. King (Audiobook reread)
  • Borrower of the Night by Elizabeth Peters (Kindle Daily Deal & Audiobook) -- Reread of book I read many years ago. My review will be posted on June 8.
  • Her Dying Day by Mindy Carlson (Review; June 7) -- Slow starting contemporary mystery about a film student who finds herself in danger when trying to make a documentary about the disappearance of her favorite author. My review will be posted on 7.
  • A Little Too Familiar by Lish McBride (Mine) -- This was a very engaging paranormal romance. My review will be posted on June 9.
DNF
  • Last Call at the Nightingale by Katharine Schellman (Review; June 7) -- I read 10% before abandoning this title. It was historical fiction that didn't compare in writing quality or characters to the Laurie R. King books I was listening to at the same time. 
Currently
Next Week
Reviews Posted
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?
What was your week like?


Saturday, May 21, 2022

Book Review: Kiss Hard by Nalini Singh

Kiss Hard

Author:
Nalini Singh
Series: Hard Play (Book 4)
Publication: TKA Distribution (May 3, 2022)

Description: New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh brings you a sinfully playful contemporary romance between two sworn enemies turned partners in crime...

Daniel Esera is a young god on the rugby field, a sexy and charming man who's got the world at his feet. There's just one problem: his sudden potent attraction to his number one nemesis--Catie River. No. Just no. Not happening.

Catie River is on her way to Paralympic gold, and she's not about to allow Danny "Hotshot" Esera to derail her plans. Too bad her body isn't cooperating. Even worse? Her heart might be coming along for the ride. No. Nope. Never.

The pair are united in their desire to remain enemies... until a stranger's reckless action threatens both their careers. Now, the only way out for Catie and Danny is to pretend to be in a relationship. How bad can it be? They're adults in full control of their hormones and their hearts. There will be no kissing. No PDA. And definitely no falling in love.

Let the games begin.

My Thoughts: KISS HARD was an engaging sports romance. Catie River is preparing for the Paralympics since she lost her lower legs in an accident when she was a young teen. Danny Esera is a champion rugby player. They have known each other since her sister began her relationship with his brother when both Catie and Danny were young teens.

Catie and Danny have always been frenemies. The delight in teasing each other. Neither could imagine thinking of the other as any sort of romantic interest. Or at least, that's what they try to tell themselves. But when Danny is drugged at a club and Catie manages to rescue him, the optics seem to show that they are in a relationship. 

To preserve their reputations with their sponsors, they have to continue to pretend that they are the newest, hottest item. The only problem is that the pretense soon becomes real though neither wants to admit it to the other. 

After Catie's history with her neer-do-well father, she has difficulty trusting any man with her heart. Danny has been raised in a family where love and trust are natural. He needs to convince Catie that she can trust him.

This was an excellent addition to the Hard Play series.

Favorite Quote:
She and Danny might be frenemies at the best of times, but even she'd admit he was one of the genuine good guys. Smart, loyal, trustworthy - and irritating as all fuck. But when the shit hit the fan, Danny Esera would be the man you'd want beside you.

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

Friday, May 20, 2022

Friday Memes: Kiss Hard by Nalini Singh

 Happy Friday everybody!

Book Beginnings on Friday is 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:
Catie stared out the rain-washed window.
Friday 56:
Delicious smells permeated the air by the time she finally finished reading the contract -- she refused to think about why it had taken her so long to concentrate. 
This week I am spotlighting Kiss Hard by Nalini Singh. It is a new arrival on my TBR stack and is the fourth in the Hard Play series. Here is the description from Amazon:
New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh brings you a sinfully playful contemporary romance between two sworn enemies turned partners in crime...

Daniel Esera is a young god on the rugby field, a sexy and charming man who's got the world at his feet. There's just one problem: his sudden potent attraction to his number one nemesis--Catie River. No. Just no. Not happening.

Catie River is on her way to Paralympic gold, and she's not about to allow Danny "Hotshot" Esera to derail her plans. Too bad her body isn't cooperating. Even worse? Her heart might be coming along for the ride. No. Nope. Never.

The pair are united in their desire to remain enemies... until a stranger's reckless action threatens both their careers. Now, the only way out for Catie and Danny is to pretend to be in a relationship. How bad can it be? They're adults in full control of their hormones and their hearts. There will be no kissing. No PDA. And definitely no falling in love.

Let the games begin.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Audiobook Review: Like a Charm by Elle McNicoll

Like a Charm

Author: Elle McNicoll
Narrator: Carmella Brown
Publication: Audible Studios (April 12, 2022)
Length: 8 hours and 34 minutes

Description: Edinburgh is a city filled with magical creatures. No one can see them...except Ramya Knox.

As she is pulled into her family's world of secrets and spells, Ramya sets out to discover the truth about the Hidden Folk with only three words of warning from her grandfather: beware the sirens.

Plunged into an adventure that will change everything, Ramya is about to learn that there is more to her powers than she ever imagined.

My Thoughts: This was an engaging middle grade title with an intriguing main character. Ramya Knox has a learning disability - dyspraxia. It is a motor disorder meaning she falls often and has really messy handwriting. Since her intelligence is not affected, she's bright and really frustrated to be in special education classes when she sees her cousin in Gifted and Talented classes. 

Ramya's parents are news presenters on television. They are really busy people who don't seem to have time for her. Her mother is also frustrated about her motor issues and is constantly criticizing her. A recent move to Edinburgh has brought Ramya from London to the same city where her aunts live. But a long ago disagreement has estranged Ramya's family from her other relatives.

When her grandfather dies, Ramya attends the funeral - without her parents - and learns that he has left her a gift. The gift opens up a whole new world for her. There is a whole magical side to Edinburgh that she has never seen. But now she learns that she can see through the glamours the hide all the non-human residents. And she learns that sirens are evil and have chaos and divisiveness as their goal. 

She and her cousin - who is bright but doesn't see through glamours - are on a quest to help the magical residents of Edinburgh and to reunite Ramya's family.

The story was filled with adventures for both cousins. It was an engaging and imaginative story. It also had nice things to say about those who have learning disabilities and about the importance of families. I enjoyed the story very much.

This Audible book was included as part of my membership. You can buy your copy here.

ARC Review: Midnight Dunes by Laura Griffin

Midnight Dunes

Author:
Laura Griffin
Series: The Texas Murder Files
Publication: Berkley (May 24, 2022)

Description: When the shocking discovery of a murdered woman’s body disturbs the tranquility of tourist season, the police detective in charge of the puzzling case must work alongside the new filmmaker in town to pursue every lead in the new romantic thriller from New York Times bestselling author Laura Griffin.

After a scandal derails her television reporting career, Macey Burns comes looking for a change of pace in Lost Beach, Texas. She’s ready to focus on her first passion—documentary filmmaking—and has a new job working for the island’s tourism board, shooting footage of the idyllic beachside community. Her plans for a relaxing rebound are dashed when she realizes the cottage she’s renting belonged to the woman whose body was just found in the sand dunes.

Detective Owen Breda is under intense pressure to solve this murder. Violent crimes are rising in his small town, and he can’t stand to see anyone else hurt…especially not the beautiful documentarian who keeps showing up at the precinct

With the clock ticking, cameras rolling, and body count climbing, Macey and Owen must use all their resources to find the killer without getting caught in the crosshairs.

My Thoughts: This is a romantic suspense title that is third in a series. In this episode, Detective Owen Breda is trying to solve the murder of a woman found buried in one of the area's famous sand dunes. And filmmaker Macey Burns is trying to make commercials to highlight the attractions of the area for the tourist board.

Macey has left her current career as a television personality in disgrace. She's sunk all her savings into her new business as a filmmaker. She has self-doubts and still some guilt about her previous bad choices.

Owen is busy trying to prove himself as a detective and suffering some doubts of his own. He feels he isn't measuring up to the standards set by his older brother who is a successful detective. 

Macey finds that she has unknowingly leased the same house that the murdered woman lived in - and it seems someone wants something she might have left there. 

Owen and Macey's paths keep crossing as he's searching for clues and she's searching for perfect locations on the island to film. Both are really busy people who have different desires for a relationship. Owen is fascinated with her, but she is hesitant to start a new relationship with memories of her former relationship's implosion firm in her mind.

For me, this story suffered from an overabundance of characters. I'm assuming that quite a few of them were introduced in the previous two books of the series and were here to let readers know what was happening with them. I found it hard to focus on the two main characters of this story because so many other characters kept showing up.

The mystery was interesting and there was a nice amount of suspense both in relation to the crime and to the new relationship. Fans of the previous two books will enjoy this one.

Favorite Quote:
When she'd opened up to Owen, he'd seemed so nonjudgmental. He'd made her feel like he understood what it was like to screw up and regret it. She'd thought they had connected, but now it seemed like he was using their conversation against her. 
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.