Saturday, October 24, 2020

ARC Review: Monsters Among Us by Monica Rodden

Monsters Among Us

Author:
Monica Rodden
Publication: >Crown Books for Young Readers (January 5, 2021)

Description: Fans of Sadie and You will be riveted by this compulsively readable new thriller about a survivor of dating violence who uses her newfound awareness of everyday evil to hunt for a killer.

When Catherine Ellers returns home after her first semester at college, she is seeking refuge from a night she can barely piece together, dreads remembering, and refuses to talk about. She tries to get back to normal, but just days later the murder of someone close to her tears away any illusion of safety.

Catherine feels driven to face both violent events head on in hopes of finding the perpetrators and bringing them to justice with the help of her childhood friend, Henry. Then a stranger from college arrives with her lost coat, missing driver's license--and details to help fill in the gaps in her memory that could be the key to solving both mysteries. But who is Andrew Worthington and why is he offering to help her? And what other dangerous obsessions is her sleepy town hiding?

Surrounded by secrets and lies, Catherine must unravel the truth--before this wolf in sheep's clothing strikes again.

My Thoughts: I almost quit reading this book very shortly after I began it. I was afraid that I would be spending a book caught in the traumatized memory of the main character. And she was traumatized! Catherine Ellers was raped after drinking too much and attending a party. She doesn't remember much about the experience. She sees the bruises and knows she washed away blood. She can't remember and both does and doesn't want to remember. Since it is just before Christmas Break, she comes home where her parents don't know how to help her.

Catherine reconnects with her childhood friend Henry Brisbois and his dog Molly. They had lost contact with each other at the end of Elementary School for reasons that make Catherine feel guilty. But now his presence is something of a comfort to her because he doesn't look at her strangely and know about what happened at college.

When twelve-year-old Amy Porter is found strangled to death. Catherine is pulled out of her introspection and needs to find out who killed her. Catherine had been Amy's babysitter/nanny for three summers and feels very connected to her. Catherine recruits Henry to help her with her investigation.

Then a boy named Andrew Worthington comes to town with Catherine's coat and drivers license and debit card and knowing more about what happened the night Catherine was raped than Catherine does. His need to assuage his own guilt makes him add himself to the investigative team. 

The three teens find out all sorts of buried secrets as they investigate including secrets about what happened to Catherine. The story was filled with tension that kept building and building. I enjoyed the story and thought it was a well-plotted mystery with a surprising twist.

Favorite Quote:
What can I do? her mother had asked.

She wanted someone to go into her brain. Cut out the memories--these little fragments that sliced her open.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Friday Memes: Monsters Among Us by Monica Rodden

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:
Catherine stared out the window of her bedroom and thought about throwing herself out of it.
Friday 56: 
Henry grabbed a key on the left and, without a word, led them farther down the hall. Andrew was looking at her. She could feel his eyes on her more than she could see them, so she turned her phone to get a better look at his face, but then he was moving, following Henry. She went after them, not wanting to be left alone in the dark.
This week I am spotlighting Monsters Among Us by Monica Rodden. This YA is from my review stack. Here is the description from Amazon:
Fans of Sadie and You will be riveted by this compulsively readable new thriller about a survivor of dating violence who uses her newfound awareness of everyday evil to hunt for a killer.

When Catherine Ellers returns home after her first semester at college, she is seeking refuge from a night she can barely piece together, dreads remembering, and refuses to talk about. She tries to get back to normal, but just days later the murder of someone close to her tears away any illusion of safety.

Catherine feels driven to face both violent events head on in hopes of finding the perpetrators and bringing them to justice with the help of her childhood friend, Henry. Then a stranger from college arrives with her lost coat, missing driver's license--and details to help fill in the gaps in her memory that could be the key to solving both mysteries. But who is Andrew Worthington and why is he offering to help her? And what other dangerous obsessions is her sleepy town hiding?

Surrounded by secrets and lies, Catherine must unravel the truth--before this wolf in sheep's clothing strikes again.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Audiobook: Storm from the Shadows by David Weber

Storm from the Shadows
Author: David Weber
Series: Honor Harrington - Saganami Island Book 2
Narrator: Jay Snyder
Publication: Audible Studios (March 3, 2009)
Length: 31 hours

Description: Perfidious Plots,
Courageous Resolve—and,
of course,
Starships Blown to Smithereens!

The Solarian League Navy has been the premier navy of the galaxy for centuries. Indeed, no one can remember a time when it hasn't been acknowledged as the most powerful fleet in existence.

Until now, that is.

A conference to end the terrible war between the Peeps of Haven and the Manticorean Star Kingdom is slated. Peace is finally within reach.

Yeah, right.

Not with the slaver conspiracy that calls itself Manpower, Inc. pulling intergalactic strings. The plan To plunge the Star Kingdom into a two-front war with Peeps and Sollies—a process calculated to blast Honor Harrington's home system to smoking ruin!

Assassination's afoot. And out on the galactic frontier known as the Verge, big trouble boils over as Solarian League arrogance butts up against the steely resolve of Harrington protégé Michelle Henke, aka Admiral Gold Peak.

Too bad for the Sollies. For Harrington's officers have a habit of coming through in the clutch and finding a way to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. But most of all—whatever the odds—they never, ever give up the fight!

My Thoughts: This episode has a lot of overlap with AT ALL COSTS. It reprises the battle that has Michelle Henke captured. It expands on her conversation with President Pritchart that leads to a proposed peace conference. It also talks about the various assassinations that derail that conference.

This episode provides the viewpoint of the Mesan Alliance - a secret organization with galactic ambitions. Manpower, Inc., Manticore's long-time enemy, is just one branch of the Mesan Alliance. 

Most of the action takes place in the Talbot Quadrant where Henke has been sent in command of a military force to help protect the Quadrant. The Mesan Alliance is continuing to foment situations which will lead to Manticore fighting a war on two fronts - against Haven and against the Solarian League. The Solarian League is immense and they can't believe that any neobarb could pose any threat to it. Unfortunately, they are quite mistaken. Their supposed superiority has led them to skimp on both renovation and refit and the research to keep improving their military hardware that Manticore and Haven had to so since they have been at war for a number of years.

When the Sollies sent a particularly arrogant admiral in the person of Admiral Bing to the quadrant, an incident that would likely lead to war is almost inevitable. And Manpower's agents are right there stoking the fires.

This was another entertaining and exciting episode in this space opera.

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

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Audiobook: The Short Victorious War by David Weber

The Short Victorious War
Author: David Weber
Series: Honor Harrington Book 3
Narrator: Allyson Johnson
Publication: Audible Studios (March 4, 2009)
Length: 13 hours and 47 minutes

Description: THESE PROLES ARE REVOLTING!

The families who rule the People's Republic of Haven are in trouble. The treasury's empty, the Proles are restless, and civil war is imminent.

But the ruling class knows what they need to keep in power: a ''short victorious war'' to unite the people and fill the treasury once more. It's a card they've played often in the last half-century, always successfully, and all that stands in their way is the Star Kingdom of Manticore and its threadbare allies: enemies in the past who have always backed down.

Only this time the Peeps face something different. This time they're up against Captain Honor Harrington and a Royal Manticoran Navy that's prepared to give them a war that's far from short—or victorious.

My Thoughts: The People's Republic of Haven is in trouble. Their economy is tanking because so many of their people are on public assistance. They can only support their economy and the privileges the wealthy enjoy by continually adding new star systems to their Republic. So they have the wonderful idea to start, or pretend to start, a war with Manticore.

Honor Harrington has completed her long complicated recovery from the injuries sustained in the previous book and has been assigned as Flag Captain to a new ship named Nike and sent with a task force to a frontier repair base. The only problem is that that Admiral in charge of the task force doesn't like Honor whom he sees as hot-tempered and reckless which causes some problems for her despite the support of her immediate superior who is also in the Admiral's bad books.

Since the Peeps are conducting all sorts of feints into neighboring star systems, the Admiral decides that he needs to defend one of the more populous systems and leaves Honor and her boss to defend the repair facility with very little help.

Haven has been secretly watching the whole area with stealth ships and knows when the largest part of the force leaves the repair facility and knows that it is time to take it and bring the war into official existence. It should be easy as their ships and armaments vastly outnumber those left with Honor. But Honor and her boss have done all the tricky planning they can to get their system as safe as it can be and can hope to hold out until help arrives to support them.

Meanwhile on Haven, Rob Pierre is planning a revolution which will take down the current government and put himself and his own supporters in control. And he is planning to use part of the Navy he hates to accomplish his goals.

This was another exciting episode in the Honor Harrington series. It was filled with action and adventure.

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

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Book Review: The Bodies in the Library by Marty Wingate

The Bodies in the Library 

Author:
Marty Wingate
Series: A First Edition Library Mystery Book 1
Publication: Berkley (October 8, 2019)

Description: Hayley Burke's fresh start as the curator of The First Edition Society's library in Bath, England, is about to take a rotten turn in this charming new mystery series from USA Today bestselling author Marty Wingate.

Hayley Burke has landed a dream job. She is the new curator of Lady Georgiana Fowling's First Edition library. The library is kept at Middlebank House, a lovely Georgian home in Bath, England. Hayley lives on the premises and works with the finicky Glynis Woolgar, Lady Fowling's former secretary.

Mrs. Woolgar does not like Hayley's ideas to modernize The First Edition Society and bring in fresh blood. And she is not even aware of the fact that Hayley does not know the first thing about the Golden Age of Mysteries. Hayley is faking it till she makes it, and one of her plans to breathe new life into the Society is actually taking flight--an Agatha Christie fan fiction writers group is paying dues to meet up at Middlebank House.

But when one of the group is found dead in the venerable stacks of the library, Hayley has to catch the killer to save the Society and her new job.

My Thoughts: Hayley Burke has gotten a great new job. She's been hired as the curator of the First Edition Library in the former home of Lady Fowling who was a collector of mysteries written in the 1930s by the likes of Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers. Lady Fowling herself was the author of some mysteries. The job comes with lodgings which is quite a perk for a divorced woman with a daughter at university. 

There are a couple of problems with Hayley's dream job. Mrs. Glynis Woolgar was Lady Fowling's secretary until her death and feels that she has to keep things as they are which thwarts Hayley's plans to make the library more relevant. Second, Hayley doesn't know anything about mysteries written in the 1930s since her degree was in 19th Century literature. 

Hayley has convinced the Board to allow a group of writers who specialize in fan fiction using some of Agatha Christie's characters to use the library. She might be regretting that decision though because they are constantly arguing and seldom leave the library as neat as Mrs. Woolgar would prefer. She regrets it even more when she enters the library one morning and discovers the body of Trist - the leader of the group. 

At first, Hayley is quite content to leave the investigation to the local police. Detective Sergeant Ronald Hopgood and Detective Constable Kenny Pye seem to be quite competent. That isn't the same for the author group. As writers of mysteries they feel that they have a lot to contribute to the investigation. Hopgood wants Hayley to get them to back off. 

Hayley is also dealing with a threat from Lady Fowling's sleazy nephew who is determined to overset the trust and take over the house and all its contents himself and isn't above using some blackmail to get his way. She also has to deal with her boyfriend Wyn who is so busy working on his robot in London that he doesn't have time to offer her support during the troubles in Bath. And she meets a new man who has so much in common with her as she works to set up some literary salons in concert with the university. 

I enjoyed this cozy mystery. The characters were interesting people. Hayley is the sort of person who is easy to identify with. The plot was complex enough to keep my interest and leave me guessing about the mystery. I liked the setting in Bath and in a home that is now a library for mysteries. 

Favorite Quote:
"Well, Ms. Burke, as it isn't April Fools', I will believe you," DS Hopgood said. "So what we've got is a body in the library at a society that specializes in murder mysteries. Doesn't that just take the biscuit?"
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Monday, October 19, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Oct. 19, 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... 

Such a lovely Saturday morning! I woke up to snow this morning and it has been snowing all day. It looks like we have seen the last of summer but I do have some hopes that this snow won't stay and we'll have some more nice Fall days. I have some garden cleanup to do and hope for good weather to do it in.

This has been a week filled with baseball. I'm getting ready to watch my Braves play the Dodgers in an hour or so. By Monday when this is posted, the series will be decided. Hopefully, I'll be happy! The Braves just need to win one of the next two games.

I discovered Susanna Kearsley as a new favorite author this week when I listened to A Desperate Fortune. I checked my Kindle to find that I had a few other books by her that have been available to me since 2012 and 2014 when they were Kindle Daily Deals. I did add the Audible books this week for a couple more since I find that I enjoy both reading and listening to these books. 

This week should be mostly reading review books. I hope to finish the rest of my November releases. 

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.)
  • A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley (Mine; Audiobook) -- My first by this author was an excellent dual timeline romance. I both listened to the audiobook and read this book on my Kindle. My review will be posted on October 31.
  • The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley (Mine; Audiobook) -- I liked my first Kearsley so much that I went looking for more to find out that I had purchased the Kindle version of this one in 2014. Since I enjoyed the combination of listening sometimes and reading sometimes, I just bought the audiobook. My review will be posted on November 3.
  • Absence of Mercy by S. M. Goodwin (Review; Nov. 10) -- This is a new series set in New York City in 1857. A British Lord is sent to help the police department learn more modern investigative techniques and find himself in a city and police department rife with corruption as he tries to solve the murders of some prominent men. My review will be posted on November 7.
  • Cast in Silence by Michelle Sagara (Mine; audiobook) - This is the fifth in the Chronicles of Elantra Epic Fantasy series and was another entertaining adventure. My review will be posted on December 31.
Currently
  • Vanishing in the Haight by Max Tomlinson (Mine) is the first in the Colleen Hayes mystery series. Colleen is an ex-con who was imprisoned for murdering her husband who was abusing their daughter. Now she's out on patrol and living in San Francisco. She's trying to set herself up as a private investigator and is working on an interesting cold case. I have the second in the series on my Review Stack.
Next Week

I have a bunch of review books on my stack but will likely slide in a couple of audiobooks too.
Reviews Posted
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?
What was your week like?


Saturday, October 17, 2020

Book Review: Shadows in Death by J. D. Robb

Shadows in Death

Author:
J. D. Robb
Series: In Death (Book 51)
Publication: St. Martin's Press (September 8, 2020)

Description: In the new novel in the #1 New York Times-bestselling series, Lt. Eve Dallas is about to walk into the shadows of her husband’s dangerous past…

While Eve examines a fresh body in Washington Square Park, her husband, Roarke, spots a man among the onlookers he’s known since his younger days on the streets of Dublin. A man who claims to be his half brother. A man who kills for a living—and who burns with hatred for him.

Eve is quick to suspect that the victim’s spouse—resentful over his wife’s affair and poised to inherit her fortune—would have happily paid an assassin to do his dirty work. Roarke is just as quick to warn her that if Lorcan Cobbe is the hitman, she needs to be careful. Law enforcement agencies worldwide have pursued this cold-hearted killer for years, to no avail. And his lazy smirk when he looked Roarke’s way indicates that he will target anyone who matters to Roarke…and is confident he’ll get away with it.

Eve is desperate to protect Roarke. Roarke is desperate to protect Eve. And together, they’re determined to find Cobbe before he finds them—even if it takes them across the Atlantic, far outside Eve’s usual jurisdiction…

My Thoughts: This mystery centers on an old enemy of Roarke's from his childhood in Dublin. It begins with the murder of a woman in a park. While Eve is investigating, Roarke spots an old enemy in the background. He knows that Lorcan Cobbe has become a paid assassin.

It doesn't take Eve long to prove that the woman's husband is guilty of hiring Cobbe to murder his wife so that he can get revenge for her daring to have an affair and so that he could inherit her substantial wealth. Eve's willing to make a deal on the sentence if the husband will turn over information on Cobbe.

The main thrust of the book is trying to track down Cobbe before he can get his revenge on Roarke by killing everyone he loves and then killing Roarke. Eve's detectives are quick to join in on the hunt because they consider Roarke to be one of their own. Also, Cobbe has a previous history of murder in New York which was never solved but which Commander Whitney and Captain Feeney worked. They both want to catch Cobbe and throw in their expertise too. 

I enjoyed all the details of the investigation to find Cobbe. I liked the strong relationship between Roarke and Eve and its contrast with the life of Cobbe. Cobbe was jealous of Roarke when they were kids and always claimed that Roarke's father was his father too and that he was the older son who should be his heir. That jealousy is leading him to make mistakes in the case Eve is investigating that will allow her to finally capture him.

I both read the Kindle version and listened to the audio version of this book. It is the first I've listened to. I thought the narrator sounded a little too old to be Eve and didn't think Roarke sounded Irish enough. Otherwise it was an engaging experience to listen to. 

Favorite Quote:
"Eve. For all my life before you, and had fate been so cruel as to deem I'd never meet you, I'd have nothing, just nothing that could compare even to this single moment."

"Where we're standing in your closet strapped with weapons?"

He laughed, cupped her face. "Yes."

"Let's go find this bastard, and make an even better moment."

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

Friday, October 16, 2020

Friday Memes: Shadows in Death by J. D. Robb

 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 it often did since he'd married a cop, murder interrupted more pleasant activities. Then again, Roarke supposed, the woman lying in a pool of her own blood a few steps inside the arch in Washington Square Park had a heftier complaint.
Friday 56: 
"Name of wit?"

"Roarke."

That put a small hitch in Reo's purposeful stride. "That's complicating matters. How does Roarke know a paid killer?"

"He knew him when they were kids in Dublin."

"Friends? Associates?"

"Neither. You can say the opposite."

"Slightly less complicated."
This week I am spotlighting Shadows in Death by J. D. Robb. This is the 51st book in the In Death series. Here is the description from Amazon:
In the new novel in the #1 New York Times-bestselling series, Lt. Eve Dallas is about to walk into the shadows of her husband’s dangerous past…

While Eve examines a fresh body in Washington Square Park, her husband, Roarke, spots a man among the onlookers he’s known since his younger days on the streets of Dublin. A man who claims to be his half brother. A man who kills for a living—and who burns with hatred for him.

Eve is quick to suspect that the victim’s spouse—resentful over his wife’s affair and poised to inherit her fortune—would have happily paid an assassin to do his dirty work. Roarke is just as quick to warn her that if Lorcan Cobbe is the hitman, she needs to be careful. Law enforcement agencies worldwide have pursued this cold-hearted killer for years, to no avail. And his lazy smirk when he looked Roarke’s way indicates that he will target anyone who matters to Roarke…and is confident he’ll get away with it.

Eve is desperate to protect Roarke. Roarke is desperate to protect Eve. And together, they’re determined to find Cobbe before he finds them—even if it takes them across the Atlantic, far outside Eve’s usual jurisdiction…

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Audiobook: The Shadow of Saganami by David Weber

The Shadow of Saganami
Author: David Weber
Series: Honor Harrington - Saganami Island Book 1
Narrator: Jay Snyder
Publication: Audible Studios (April 2, 2009)
Length: 30 hours and 55 minutes

Description: STUDENTS OF HONOR . . .

The Star Kingdom of Manticore is once again at war with the Republic of Haven after a stunning sneak attack. The graduating class from Saganami Island, the Royal Manticoran Navy's academy, are going straight from the classroom to the blazing reality of all-out war.

Except for the midshipmen assigned to the heavy cruiser HMS Hexapuma, that is. They're being assigned to the Talbott Cluster, an out of the way backwater, far from the battle front. The most they can look forward to is the capture of the occasional pirate cruiser and the boring duty of supporting the Cluster's peaceful integration with the Star Kingdom at the freely expressed will of eighty percent of the Cluster's citizens. With a captain who may have seen too much of war and a station commander who isn't precisely noted for his brilliant and insightful command style, it isn't exactly what the students of Honor Harrington, the "Salamander," expected.

But things aren't as simple — or tranquil — as they appear. The "pirates" they encounter aren't what they seem, and the "peaceful integration" they expected turns into something very different. A powerful alliance of corrupt Solarian League bureaucrats and ruthless interstellar corporations is determined to prevent the Cluster's annexation by the Star Kingdom . . . by any means necessary. Pirates, terrorists, genetic slavers, smuggled weapons, long-standing personal hatreds, and a vicious alliance of corporate greed, bureaucratic arrogance, and a corrupt local star nation with a powerful fleet, are all coming together, and only Hexapuma, her war-weary captain, and Honor Harrington's students stand in the path.

They have only one thing to support and guide them: the tradition of Saganami. The tradition that sometimes a Queen's officer's duty is to face impossible odds . . . and die fighting.

My Thoughts: This story follows snottie Helen Zilwicki and four of her fellow snotties as they go on their first ship duties. Even though things are heating up with Haven, Helen is sent on a new ship - the Hexapuma - to the Talbot Cluster. It should be a quiet area but it was only recently within reach of Manticore as a recently discovered node of Manticore's wormhole. Hexapuma is being captained by Aivars Terekhov who has just recovered from injuries suffered in a previous battle which decimated his command. There is some question that he is able to make the tough decisions that a captain in wartime might have to make and some of the questions come from Terekhov himself. 

Many in the Talbot Cluster are afraid that their star systems will be gobbled up by Frontier Security and the Solarian League and have voted to be annexed by Manticore instead. There is a constitutional convention going on filled with its own political infighting. And some of the people who weren't in favor of the annexation are developing their own homegrown terrorist organizations to oppose the vote. We get a look at two of the terrorist organizations. Stephen Westman is on the planet of Montana and Agnes Nordbrandt is on Kornati. They are taking two radically different approaches to their protests. Nordbrandt is favoring killing lots and lots of people whereas Westman has been scrupulously careful not to kill anyone though he isn't opposed to destroying a lot of the property owned by those he considers interlopers. What these two protest organizations have in common is under-the-conter support from an agitator called Firebrand who, unknown to either of them, is an agent of Frontier Security.

I enjoyed getting to know Helen and her fellow snotties and watch them grow as potential Queen's officers. I liked seeing a new part of Weber's world which was away from Manticore. I liked reconnecting with characters from earlier in the series including Commander Ginger Lewis who is the ship's engineer which is quite a change from when we met her as a noncom engineering mate in an earlier book. And also Abigail Hearns whom we met as a young girl on Grayson who wanted to break the stereotypes of her planet and follow her idol Honor Harrington into military service. Now she's a tactical lieutenant. Many other characters from earlier books in the series also make appearances here. 

I thought this episode was a nice blend of the political infighting, the military battles and the personal stories of many of the characters. 

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

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Audiobook: The Honor of the Queen by David Weber

The Honor of the Queen
Author: David Weber
Series: Honor Harrington Book 2
Narrator: Allyson Johnson
Publication: Audible Studios (March 4, 2009)
Length: 16 hours and 12 minutes

Description: RIGHT WOMAN, WRONG PLACE

It's hard to give peace a chance when the other side regards war as the necessary prelude to conquest, and a sneak attack as the best means to that end. That's why the Kingdom of Manticore needs allies against the so-called ""Republic"" of Haven--and the planet Grayson is just the right strategic place to make a very good ally indeed. But Her Majesty's Foreign Office had overlooked a ""minor cultural difference"" when they chose Honor Harrington to carry the flag: women on the planet Grayson are without rank or rights; Honor's very presence is an intolerable affront to every male on the planet.

At first Honor doesn't take it personally; where she comes from gender discrimination is barely a historical memory, right up there in significance to fear of the left-handed. But in time such treatment as she receives from the Graysonites does become wearing, and Honor would withdraw if she could--but then Grayson's fratricidal sister planet attacks without warning and she must stay and prevail, not just for Honor's honor, but for her sovereign's, for--THE HONOR OF THE QUEEN.

My Thoughts: Honor Harrington and her ship Fearless are on their way to Grayson as part of a diplomatic mission to sign a treaty with Grayson which will advance Grayson technologically and provide Manticore with an ally in its conflict with the Republic of Haven.

The problem is that Grayson is a place where women are definitely second class citizens. Honor's presence is an affront to all of Grayson. She deals with prejudice and intolerance as do her female officers. Because she fears her presence will hamper treaty talks, she convinces the diplomats including her old mentor Admiral Courvosier that she should escort some freighters to their next destination which will take about 11 days.

What she doesn't know is that Grayson's old enemies on Masada are getting ready to invade. And their religious fanaticism makes the Graysonites look positively liberal in comparison. Add in that the Masadans have the secret support of the Republic of Haven in the form of two ships with more power than Honor's and things get tense very quickly.

I liked the way this story told what was happening on Grayson and what was happening on the ships lent to the Masadans. The story was filled with plenty of space battles but also with character development for Honor and for the people on Grayson.

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

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

ARC Review: The Emperor's Wolves by Michelle Sagara

The Emperor's Wolves

Author:
Michelle Sagara
Series: The Wolves of Elantra (Book 1)
Publication: MIRA; Original Edition (October 13, 2020)

Description: At the Emperor’s command

Multiple races carefully navigate the City of Elantra under the Dragon Emperor’s wing. His Imperial Wolves are executioners, the smallest group to serve in the Halls of Law. The populace calls them assassins.

Every wolf candidate must consent to a full examination by the Tha’alani, one of the most feared and distrusted races in Elantra for their ability to read minds. Most candidates don’t finish their job interviews.

Severn Handred, the newest potential recruit, is determined to face and pass this final test—even if by doing so he’s exposing secrets he has never shared.

When an interrogation uncovers the connections to a two-decade-old series of murders of the Tha’alani, the Wolves are commanded to hunt. Severn’s first job will be joining the chase. From the High Halls to the Tha’alani quarter, from the Oracles to the Emperor, secrets are uncovered, tensions are raised and justice just might be done…if Severn can survive.

My Thoughts: This new series beginning in the world of Elantra makes Severn Handred the main character. It also takes place about seven years before the first book in the Chronicles of Elantra. Besides giving more information about Severn, it also shows us mysteries yet to be discovered about him. 

Severn has come from the Fiefs in order to keep track of Elianne without her knowing that he is looking after her. She would be extremely unhappy if she knew of his surveillance. While watching her, he is discovered by Elluvian who is the only Barrani Wolf who thinks he would make a fine candidate for the Wolves.

There are three branches of civilian law enforcement in Elantra: the Swords deal mainly with crowd control and riots, the Hawks are the investigators, and the Wolves are the ones who carry out the Emperor's justice as his executioners.

Severn is paired with Elluvian in an investigation into the deaths of some Tha'alani who are mind readers and generally feared by the other populations in Elantra. Seeing a Barrani connection leads Elluvian and Severn into the very political Barrani court which is where some of Severn's secrets are revealed. Why does a street rat from the Fiefs have such a comprehensive knowledge of the Barrani language? Why is he familiar with some of the tests for magic? 

Severn also comes to know quite a lot about the Tha'alani during this investigation and comes to know Ybelline who will become the Tha'alani Caste Lord. She also becomes involved in the investigation that Severn is conducting because the current deaths are echoes of deaths that came about twenty years before. 

I enjoyed learning more about the Tha'alani's group memory and how some members could keep things out of it or even erase memories. This ability has a lot to do with the plot of this story. 

This is not easy fantasy. There are lots of varied races both human and immortal who each have their own complicated politics and reasons for the things they do. Severn has to try to uncover long buried secrets that someone is demonstrably willing to kill to keep.

Fans of the Chronicles of Elantra won't want to miss the excellent start to a related series. 

Favorite Quote:
In the Emperor's Empire, power was not to be the sole measure of worth. There was right, there was wrong, and laws laid out which action belonged in which category. They seemed arbitrary to Elluvian, an echo of the systems around which the Dragons and the Barrani built their societies. Right and wrong simply meant: angers the Emperor or does not anger the Emperor--the person in power. 

The Emperor, however, denied that this was the intent.

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

Monday, October 12, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Oct. 12, 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 a quiet week filled with lots and lots of baseball. In between games (or innings) I listened to audiobooks or switched to reading them on my Kindle. I like being able to switch back and forth. It is nice to see how words are spelled in the mostly fantasy books I'm reading. 

My Braves have advanced to the next round of playoffs and will face a really tough opponent in the Los Angeles Dodgers. They haven't faced the Dodgers yet this year because Covid had all the teams playing regionally. Can't get much farther apart than Atlanta and Los Angeles. There will be fewer games to watch this week as the number of teams participating has been cut in half. Hopefully, I'll be able to read the ones I'm listing below.

I'm probably going to wander away from home to get a flu shot this coming week. I checked on Friday at the pharmacy where I refill my prescriptions to find that they had over 100 names on their waiting list. I think I'll try one of the pharmacies at Essentia where my doctors work to see if they can accommodate me sooner.

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 Bodies in the Library by Marty Wingate (Mine) - This contemporary cozy is told by the middle-aged curator of a private library housing first editions of mysteries written in the 1930s. When one of a group of fan-fic authors who meet in the library is found dead, Hayley has to discover the murderer to save the library's reputation. My review will be posted on October 20.
  • Cast in Courtlight by Michelle Sagara (Mine; Audiobook) - This is the second in the Epic Fantasy Chronicles of Elantra series. I combined reading and listening for this one. My review will be posted on December 8.
  • Monsters Among Us by Monica Rodden (Review; Oct. 27) - This YA thriller stars a young women dealing with being raped at a college party and then dealing with the murder of a young girl she acted as babysitter/nanny for. Engaging characters and a twisty plot kept me reading! My review will be posted on October 24.
  • Cast in Secret by Michelle Sagara (Mine; Audiobook) - This is the third book in the Chronicles of Elantra. I am really enjoying how the main character is growing and maturing. The series also has excellent worldbuilding. My review will be posted on December 15.
  • The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Mine) - This YA is full of puzzles and secrets as a young woman named Avery Grambs finds out she has inherited the multi-billions of Tobias Hawthorne effectively disinheriting his two daughters and four grandsons. Lots of twists and turns and a great main character. My review will be posted on October 27.
  • Cast in Fury by Michelle Sagara (Mine; Audiobook) - This is the fourth in the Chronicles of Elantra. My review will be posted on December 24.
Currently
  • A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley (Mine; Audiobook) - I've only read and listened to a bit of this but am already intrigued by the story and love the accents the narrator is using. 
Next Week
Reviews Posted
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?

Bought:
Review:
What was your week like?


Saturday, October 10, 2020

ARC Review: Silent Bite by David Rosenfelt

Silent Bite

Author:
David Rosenfelt
Series: Andy Carpenter (Book 22)
Publication: Minotaur Books (October 13, 2020)

Description: Andy Carpenter and his golden retriever, Tara, are finding that all is not calm or bright in Silent Bite, the latest Christmas mystery in this heartwarming series from bestselling author David Rosenfelt.

Lawyer Andy Carpenter can finally take a breath; he’s back on dry land after a family Caribbean cruise forced on him by his wife, Laurie, to get into the Christmas spirit. Of course the family’s first stop is to the Tara Foundation, the dog rescue organization that has always been Andy’s true passion.

But when Andy arrives, his partner, Willie Miller, needs his help. Willie’s old cellmate, Tony Birch, has been arrested for murder. Andy doesn’t necessarily believe in Tony, but Willie does. And Andy believes in Willie, which is why Andy decides to take the case.

Once again David Rosenfelt puts readers in the Christmas spirit in a tale that is equal parts mystery and holiday cheer.

My Thoughts: Andy Carpenter's new case takes place during the Christmas season. An old friend of his partner Willie Miller has been accused of murder. Andy is, as always, reluctant to take the case. He likes being a mostly retired lawyer. He doesn't need the money. But he'll do anything for a friend. He isn't so sure that Tony Birch didn't commit the murder but both Willie and Tony's rescue dog Zoey have faith in him.

Tony Birch has outgrown and outlived his gang past. He served time for involuntary manslaughter after a fight that should have been considered self-defense if two of his fellow gang members, and people he considered his friends, hadn't testified against him. Now, he's the owner of his own auto repair shop.

Tony's supposed victim is one of the men who testified against him during his manslaughter trial. Adding more fuel to the investigation is that the police found the murder weapon buried in his yard and loosely covered with a handkerchief holding Tony's DNA. 

When the body of the second witness is discovered things get even grimmer. He was killed in the same manner and with the same gun as the first victim. Tony doesn't have an alibi for either of the two murders and has no idea why anyone would be trying to frame him for the crimes.

Without another suspect, Andy and his team have to dig deep into Tony's past to try to find someone who wants him convicted of the two murders. The investigations lead them into the gang landscape of New Jersey and put them in contact with Luther, the man who runs the Blood Dragons, and to the death of an eight-year-old girl who was accidentally shot during an attempted robbery which was actually Luther's gang's attempt to get payment from someone who owed him drug money.

When a number of other people who had connections to the child's death also start dying, Andy becomes more convinced that Luther is trying to clean up loose ends. And then Luther and his top lieutenants are killed too...

I really enjoyed this story. I like that it is told in the first person by Andy. I liked his sarcastic voice. I liked that he would do anything for his friends. I liked his devotion to his dog and to rescuing other dogs. 

Favorite Quote:
When a jury returns a quick verdict, I always assume it is bad news.

When they take a long time, I always assume it is bad news.

I am not the most rational person during a verdict watch.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Friday Memes: Silent Bite by David Rosenfelt

 Happy Friday everybody!

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

Beginning:
"This is Terry Banner asking you to remember that you heard it here first."
Friday 56: 
I can't get anything else out of Tony; he seems genuinely puzzled by why Estrada or anyone else would burn down his business. As I'm getting ready to leave, he says, "Chuck must be really scared. He doesn't do well with excitement."
This week I am featuring Silent Bite by David Rosenfelt. It is the 22nd Andy Carpenter mystery. Here is the description from Amazon:
Andy Carpenter and his golden retriever, Tara, are finding that all is not calm or bright in Silent Bite, the latest Christmas mystery in this heartwarming series from bestselling author David Rosenfelt.

Lawyer Andy Carpenter can finally take a breath; he’s back on dry land after a family Caribbean cruise forced on him by his wife, Laurie, to get into the Christmas spirit. Of course the family’s first stop is to the Tara Foundation, the dog rescue organization that has always been Andy’s true passion.

But when Andy arrives, his partner, Willie Miller, needs his help. Willie’s old cellmate, Tony Birch, has been arrested for murder. Andy doesn’t necessarily believe in Tony, but Willie does. And Andy believes in Willie, which is why Andy decides to take the case.

Once again David Rosenfelt puts readers in the Christmas spirit in a tale that is equal parts mystery and holiday cheer.