Monday, September 24, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Sept. 24, 2018)

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

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

I will be combining my YA and adult reading and purchases on this one weekly roundup. YA and middle grade reviews will still be posted on  Ms. Martin Teaches Media - my other blog.

Other Than Reading...

Fall made what I hope is a brief appearance this week. We had a cold, grey, rainy last half of the week. The furnace is on at my house but I'm not ruling out turning the AC back on if we get a warm stretch.

I did get out the the Mall for walking a couple of days this week but mostly spent the time quietly at home reading. I passed my Goodreads goal and added 50 books to it which should still be very doable given that I'm 46 books ahead of even that schedule already.

I said last week that I had twelve books at NetGalley that I've had for more than three months and that I wanted to work on lowering that number. I'm down to seven with five of them being November releases, one December, and one January. I'm still reading October releases but have a gap this week that I filled in with some books from TBR mountain.

I usually try to read books in the order that they appear on my calendar but this week I did something different. A Sorrow Fierce and Falling was so emotionally wrenching and melodramatic that I needed to take breaks from reading it. So when I had reached saturation point with that book, I read something else from my calendar. In fact, I read three other books before completing it. Luckily, they were quite different genres and didn't lead to plot confusion. Hopefully, this week I return to being a one-book-at-a-time reader.

The baseball season is winding down but, barring a total collapse, my Braves will be playing in the postseason this year. And The Voice starts again this week. I see myself doing some channel flipping and the like in order to watch both things I really want to see. I'm glad I don't watch my regular television. I couldn't deal with the stress.

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.)
  • The Wood Queen by Karen Mahoney - TBR mountain, book 2 in Iron Witch YA trilogy. My review will be posted on Oct. 8
  • The Stone Demon by Karen Mahoney - TBR mountain, book 3 in Iron Witch trilogy. My review will be posted Oct. 15. 
  • The Hour of Death by Jane Willan - Review (Oct. 9) - Cozy set in Wales with a nun as the amateur detective. My review will be posted on Oct. 10.
  • A Murder By Any Name by Suzanne M. Wolfe - Review (Oct. 9) - Elizabethan mystery. My review will be posted on Oct. 13.
  • The Guggenheim Mystery by Robin Stevens - YA Review (Oct. 16) - Mystery with an autistic middle grader as the detective. My review will be posted on Oct. 12.
  • A Sorrow Fierce and Falling by Jessica Cluess - YA Review (Oct. 16) -- Emotionally wrenching conclusion the the Kingdom on Fire trilogy. My review will be posted on Oct. 10.
  • Six Cats a Slayin' by Miranda James - Review (Oct. 23 - 10th Cat in the Stacks cozy. My review will be posted on Oct. 17.
Currently
Take the Key and Lock Her Up by Ally Carter concludes the Embassy Row trilogy.

Next Week
Reviews Posted

On Inside of a Dog:
What I've Done by Melinda Leigh
Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean
The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal

On Ms. Martin Teaches Media:
The Grand Escape by Neal Bascomb
The Emerald Sea by Richelle Mead
Chasing Truth by Julie Cross

Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?
  • Stray Magic by Kelly Meding - another Kindle Deal in a genre I like by an author I haven't tried
  • Vendetta by Iris Johansen - Review (Oct. 23) request from the publisher
  • Inventing Victoria by Tonya Bolden - YA Review (Jan. 8) in my mailbox from Bloomsbury
What was your week like?

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Book Review: The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal

The Calculating Stars
Author: Mary Robinette Kowal
Series: Lady Astronaut (Book 1)
Publication: Tor Books (July 3, 2018)

Description: On a cold spring night in 1952, a huge meteorite fell to earth and obliterated much of the east coast of the United States, including Washington D.C. The ensuing climate cataclysm will soon render the earth inhospitable for humanity, as the last such meteorite did for the dinosaurs. This looming threat calls for a radically accelerated effort to colonize space, and requires a much larger share of humanity to take part in the process.

Elma York’s experience as a WASP pilot and mathematician earns her a place in the International Aerospace Coalition’s attempts to put man on the moon, as a calculator. But with so many skilled and experienced women pilots and scientists involved with the program, it doesn’t take long before Elma begins to wonder why they can’t go into space, too.

Elma’s drive to become the first Lady Astronaut is so strong that even the most dearly held conventions of society may not stand a chance against her.

My Thoughts: THE CALCULATING STARS was amazing. Fans of science fiction and alternate history won't want to miss it. Even if you hate science fiction, this book is filled with such interesting characters and fine writing that you won't want to miss it.

Elma York and her husband Nathaniel are weekending in the Poconos when the world ends. A large meteorite impacts near Chesapeake Bay and destroys Washington, DC, and most of the eastern seaboard. The formal government is gone except for the Secretary of Agriculture who was touring a farm in the Midwest.

Elma is a mathematician with a double doctorate. She was also a WASP ferrying planes during World War II. She and her husband who is an engineer in the budding space program find their way to Wright-Patterson airfield though she really has to do some fancy flying to get there.

She is surprised that her old nemesis Stetson Parker is in charge of the base and acts like he is the highest ranking military member remaining. He's also convinced that the disaster was probably caused by Russia. While waiting for more senior military personnel, notably General Eisenhower, to make his way to the base from Europe, Elma and Nathaniel begin to do some calculations. If their numbers are right, the meteor strike might be an extinction event on the same level as the one that caused the dinosaurs to die out. All of a sudden plans to explore space have become necessary and not just a whim of scientists and the military.

This story talks about the process of getting man into space to save humanity. Of course, it also talks about those who don't believe that the Earth will heat up enough for the seas to boil because "it's snowing in LA." Newspaper articles begin each chapter and it is easy to see the wide-reachng effects of the meteor on the world. More near to home, Elma has to deal with the chauvinism of the military which can't believe that a woman could ever qualify to be an astronaut. Also close to home is the reality of the United States's segregated society which makes it almost impossible for any Black American to become part of the space program.

Personally, Elma has other issues. She suffers with anxiety which makes her ill whenever she is forced to be the center of attention. Bringing this to the attention of the brass is an almost sure way for her to wash out of the space program. But hiding it gets harder and harder as more attention is focused on her as it is when she's invited on Mr. Wizard and becomes the face of the Lady Astronauts and a role model to young girls who also want to explore space.

This was a story that was hard to put down. I was so engaged with the characters and the situation. I can't wait to read the conclusion of the story in THE FATED SKY.

Favorite Quote:
"Really--no. You have nothing to apologize for."

"I was being thoughtless."

"I--" I stopped and narrowed my gaze. "I should remind you that I'm Southern, and you'll never win a politeness battle with me."

She laughed, and people down the sidewalk turned to glare as if she had begun cursing in public. "Truce?"
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Friday Memes: The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal

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:
President Dewey Congratulates NACA on Satellite Launch

March 3, 1952 --(AP)-- The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics successfully put its third satellite into orbit, this on with the capability of sending radio signals down to Earth and taking measurements of the radiation in space. The president denies that the satellit has any military purpose and says that its mission is one of scientific exploration.
Do you remember where you were when the meteor hit? I've never understood why people phrase it as a question, because of course you remember.
Friday 56:
"Because your're the Lady Astronaut."

"I am not an astronaut!" My voice cut through the low hum of conversation around us. Wealthy and powerful people turned to stare. What must they think? Bending my head, I applied myself to the martini and let the cold burn of the gin distract me.
This week I am featuring The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal. This book is a recent purchase of mine. Here is the description from Amazon:
On a cold spring night in 1952, a huge meteorite fell to earth and obliterated much of the east coast of the United States, including Washington D.C. The ensuing climate cataclysm will soon render the earth inhospitable for humanity, as the last such meteorite did for the dinosaurs. This looming threat calls for a radically accelerated effort to colonize space, and requires a much larger share of humanity to take part in the process.

Elma York’s experience as a WASP pilot and mathematician earns her a place in the International Aerospace Coalition’s attempts to put man on the moon, as a calculator. But with so many skilled and experienced women pilots and scientists involved with the program, it doesn’t take long before Elma begins to wonder why they can’t go into space, too.

Elma’s drive to become the first Lady Astronaut is so strong that even the most dearly held conventions of society may not stand a chance against her.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Book Review: Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean

Wicked and the Wallflower
Author: Sarah MacLean
Series: Bareknuckle Bastards Book 1
Publication: Avon (June 19, 2018)

Description: When Wicked Comes Calling . . .

When a mysterious stranger finds his way into her bedchamber and offers his help in landing a duke, Lady Felicity Faircloth agrees—on one condition. She’s seen enough of the world to believe in passion, and won’t accept a marriage without it.

The Wallflower Makes a Dangerous Bargain . . .

Bastard son of a duke and king of London’s dark streets, Devil has spent a lifetime wielding power and seizing opportunity, and the spinster wallflower is everything he needs to exact a revenge years in the making. All he must do is turn the plain little mouse into an irresistible temptress, set his trap, and destroy his enemy.

For the Promise of Passion . . .

But there’s nothing plain about Felicity Faircloth, who quickly decides she’d rather have Devil than another. Soon, Devil’s carefully laid plans are in chaos and he must choose between everything he's ever wanted . . . and the only thing he's ever desired.

My Thoughts: This was an entertaining historical romance. Lady Felicity Faircloth is a wallflower who has fallen from the center of the popular people in the ton and wants her place back. Devil is a man with revenge on his mind who has clawed himself out of the gutter to become a very rich man. Their paths collide when Devil decides to use her to get revenge on the Duke of Marwick - his estranged half-brother.

I liked Felicity who sees herself as plain and uninteresting but has a quick wit and a major skill with lockpicking. Devil is also an interesting character who has his life upturned by Felicity.

The setting weaving between the upper class homes of the rich and the poor area of Covent Garden was well done. I loved the relationship between Felicity and Devil who both had to make major changes in their expectations before they could fall in love.

Since this is the first in a series, there are still many questions to be answered. There was a fair amount of background information given too but it didn't slow down the fast-paced plot.

Favorite Quote:
"It's difficult, as at this point, my mother has strict requirements for any suitor."

"For example?"

"A heartbeat."

He did laugh at that, a single, harsh bark, shocking the hell out of him. "With such high standards, it's unsurprising that you've had such trouble."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

ARC Review: What I've Done by Melinda Leigh

What I've Done
Author: Melinda Leigh
Series: Morgan Dane (Book 4)
Publication: Montlake Romance (September 18, 2018)

Description: Morgan Dane’s new client has blood on her hands—and no recollection of what happened—as the #1 Amazon Charts bestselling series continues.

Haley Powell wakes up covered in blood, with no memory of the night before. When she sees a man lying in the backyard, stabbed to death, she has only one terrified thought: What have I done?

Agreeing to take the case as a favor to her PI friend Lincoln Sharp, Morgan must scale a mountain of damning circumstantial and forensic evidence to prove her client innocent. Haley couldn’t appear more guilty: her bloodstained fingerprints are on the murder weapon, and she has no alibi. But Morgan can’t shake the feeling that this shocked young woman has been framed.

Someone out there is hell-bent on sabotaging her defense, targeting Morgan, her partner, and especially Haley. Someone who will stop at nothing—and whose next move will be deadly.

My Thoughts: The fourth Morgan Dane thriller was a fast-paced, action-packed experience. It begins with Morgan meeting with a client before his court appearance. She learns that he had a previous assault experience that he hadn't told her about. Robert McFarland demands that she get him off without jail time despite the fact that he attacked a man in a crowded club in front of numerous witnesses and security cameras. Morgan's only possibility to get him off has to do with a procedural issue. When she presents him with the prosecutor's best deal, he sucker punches her in the side of the head and is ready to kick her in the face until the prosecutor and a bunch of deputies manage to pull him off her.

While Morgan is at the hospital for treatment an old friend of Sharp's drops in at his office. She is the widow of his partner who died in the line of duty twenty-five years earlier. Sharp had promised her husband to look after her and her baby Haley but their relationship wasn't good for either of them and she left the area. Now, she's come to Sharp because her daughter Haley has been accused of murder. She was found covered in blood standing over the corpse of a guy who took her home from a bar. She doesn't remember what happened.

Sharp contacts Morgan and she and Lance ride to the rescue to get Haley out of jail. She had been sitting in a cell for a couple of days. Since the sheriff was convinced that Haley's case was a clear cut case of murder, he had been focusing his attention on the case of a missing woman. When Morgan arrives at the jail, she finds a young woman who is suffering from Addison's disease and who has been left without treatment. She demands that Haley be taken to the hospital. While there they run drug and rape tests but Morgan knows that too much time has passed to get confirmation that she was drugged.

Even though she has a concussion, Morgan isn't going to slow down and rest when a young woman, especially one close to Sharp, is in danger. She and Lance begin trying to uncover what happened in the space of time that Haley doesn't remember that led to the death of Carter. But someone doesn't want them to investigate. Noah's brother Adam is especially concerned since he's convinced Haley killed his brother. He expresses his concern by sending threatening emails to Morgan and Haley, trespassing at Haley's house with a couple of weapon-wielding friends, and other things.

As Morgan and Dane investigate, they learn that Noah Carter wasn't the saint his family would like everyone to believe he was. They also are led to investigating Noah's friends who were at the club with them and who are a suspicious bunch of characters. Even Haley's ex-boyfriend comes under suspicion because he's quite an unsavory character too.

The action never stops in this story as Morgan, Lance and Sharp unravel all the twisted threads. I loved the relationship between Lance and Morgan. I liked that Sharp could get some resolution regarding his relationship with his partner's widow Eliza. I liked the introduction of a new character who intrigues Sharp. Fans of romantic suspense won't want to miss this story.

Favorite Quote:
"I have excellent sources." Ms. Cruz smiled at him, which was irritating. "There's no reason we can't help each other."

Except she was a reporter.

He had to admit she had presented herself openly and with integrity.

So far.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from . You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

First Paragraph/Teaser Tuesday: What I've Done by Melinda Leigh

Every Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posted the first paragraph of a book she is reading or planning to read. In 2018, Vicki from I'd Rather Be at the Beach is taking over this meme.

Here's mine:
Haley gasped, sucking air into her lungs like a person who had just surfaced after being underwater too long. Oxygen flooded her, and consciousness returned with a rush of sensation that swept over her skin and left it tingling. Pain throbbed through her head as she opened her eyes. Her vision blurred. The blur spun, and she quickly shut her eyes again.
 

Link up here. It is very easy to play along:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.
Here's mine:
"The baby has been awake for days." Ted rubbed an eye. "I need sustenance."
    This week I am spotlighting What I've Done by Melinda Leigh. This is the fourth in the Morgan Dane thriller series. Here is the description from Amazon:
    Morgan Dane’s new client has blood on her hands—and no recollection of what happened—as the #1 Amazon Charts bestselling series continues.
    Haley Powell wakes up covered in blood, with no memory of the night before. When she sees a man lying in the backyard, stabbed to death, she has only one terrified thought: What have I done?

    Agreeing to take the case as a favor to her PI friend Lincoln Sharp, Morgan must scale a mountain of damning circumstantial and forensic evidence to prove her client innocent. Haley couldn’t appear more guilty: her bloodstained fingerprints are on the murder weapon, and she has no alibi. But Morgan can’t shake the feeling that this shocked young woman has been framed.

    Someone out there is hell-bent on sabotaging her defense, targeting Morgan, her partner, and especially Haley. Someone who will stop at nothing—and whose next move will be deadly.

    Monday, September 17, 2018

    It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Sept. 17, 2018)

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

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

    I will be combining my YA and adult reading and purchases on this one weekly roundup. YA and middle grade reviews will still be posted on  Ms. Martin Teaches Media - my other blog.

    Other Than Reading...

    This week was a return to summer in Duluth. Our temperatures were in the high 70s and low 80s all week. I love that sort of weather. It was pretty humid all week though and thunderstorms rolled through Friday late night. We need the rain and I like the timing. I slept through the storms.

    I had a pretty good reading week. I went to NetGalley to catch up on a review and noticed that I had some more books switch over to the Older Than 3 Months category bringing my total in that category to 12. I also have 16 in the Newer category. This isn't really a surprise since I read books by publication date and add books when they appear on NetGalley. Luckily, this week's reading plans include 5 of the 12 which will take care of all of the ones that are releasing in October.

    I'm also planning to read the rest of the Iron Witch trilogy. I pulled the first one off TBR mountain a couple of weeks ago and now want to finish the trilogy. Also, after reading See How They Run by Ally Carter, the third in that series is on its way to me and already has a place on my calendar.

    Next week is appointment-free and should be filled with reading and baseball games. I love weeks like that!

    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.)
    • Uncompromising Honor by David Weber - Review Science Fiction (Oct. 2) - My review will be posted on Sept. 29.
    • Del Toro Moon by Darby Karchut - Review YA fantasy (Oct. 2) - My review will be posted on Oct. 1.
    • Mardi Gras Murder by Ellen Byron - Review cozy mystery (Oct. 9) - My review will be posted on Oct. 3.
    • The Hollow of Fear by Sherry Thomas - Review historical mystery (Oct. 2) - My review will be posted on Oct. 4.
    • The Perfect Candidate by Peter Stone - Review YA thriller (Oct. 2) - My review will be posted on Oct. 3.
    • A Crafter Knits a Clue by Holly Quinn - Review cozy mystery (Oct. 9) - My review will be posted on Oct. 6.



    • See How They Run by Ally Carter - TBR mountain replacement on the calendar for Grenade - My review will be posted on Oct. 5.
    • In the Mood Fur Love by Eve Langlais, Milly Taiden, Kate Baxter - Review book (Oct. 2) - My review will be posted on Oct. 11.

    DNF
    Grenade by Alan Gratz - This was an unsolicited review book. I didn't care for the writing style of this World War II story.


    Currently
    The Wood Queen by Karen Mahoney - TBR mountain

    Next Week
    Reviews Posted

    On Inside of a Dog:
    On Ms. Martin Teaches Media:
    Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?

    TBR Mountain:
     Sadie by Courtney Summers
    Wolves and Roses by Christina Bauer (Free)
     Weather Witch by Shannon Delany - Kindle copy to replace autographed print copy.
    See How They Run by Ally Carter - Kindle copy to replace print copy
     Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse
    A Ring of Truth by Michelle Cox (Free)
    The Fireproof Girl by Loretta Lost (Free)
    Outlaw by Edward W. Robertson (Free)
    Accidental Abduction by Eve Langlais (Free)

    Review Stack:
    Winter War Awakening by Rosalyn Eves (March 19, 2019)
    Archangel's Prophecy by Nalini Singh (Oct. 39)

    What was your week like?