Friday, July 23, 2021

Friday Memes: The Bookman's Promise by John Dunning

 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:
The man said, "Welcome to Book Beat, Mr. Janeway" and this was how it began.
Friday 56:
It was now twilight time, the beginning of my long nightly journey through the dark. For the moment the Treadwell business had played itself out. I didn't want to leave it there, but there it sat, spreading its discontent. I didn't want to go home. I didn't want to call a friend, catch a movie, do a crossword puzzle. I sure as hell didn't want to sit in a bar full of strangers as an alternative to Erin d'Angelo's luminous presence. When all else fails I usually work on books, but that night I didn't want to do that, either.
This week I am spotlighting The Bookman's Promise by John Dunning. This hardcover has been on my TBR pile since September 26, 2015. Here is the description from Amazon:
Cliff Janeway is back! The Bookman's Promise marks the eagerly awaited return of Denver bookman-author John Dunning and the award-winning crime novel series that helped to turn the nation on to first-edition book collecting.

First, it was Booked to Die, then The Bookman's Wake. Now John Dunning fans, old and new, will rejoice in The Bookman's Promise, a richly nuanced new Janeway novel that juxtaposes past and present as Denver ex-cop and bookman Cliff Janeway searches for a book and a killer.

The quest begins when an old woman, Josephine Gallant, learns that Janeway has recently bought at auction a signed first edition by the legendary nineteenth-century explorer Richard Francis Burton. The book is a true classic, telling of Burton's journey (disguised as a Muslim) to the forbidden holy cities of Mecca and Medina. The Boston auction house was a distinguished and trustworthy firm, but provenance is sometimes murky and Josephine says the book is rightfully hers.

She believes that her grandfather, who was living in Baltimore more than eighty years ago, had a fabulous collection of Burton material, including a handwritten journal allegedly detailing Burton's undercover trip deep into the troubled American South in 1860. Josephine remembers the books from her childhood, but everything mysteriously disappeared shortly after her grandfather's death.

With little time left in her own life, Josephine begs for Janeway's promise: he must find her grandfather's collection. It's a virtually impossible task, Janeway suspects, as the books will no doubt have been sold and separated over the years, but how can he say no to a dying woman?

It seems that her grandfather, Charlie Warren, traveled south with Burton in the spring of 1860, just before the Civil War began. Was Burton a spy for Britain? What happened during the three months in Burton's travels for which there are no records? How did Charlie acquire his unique collection of Burton books? What will the journal, if it exists, reveal?

When a friend is murdered, possibly because of a Burton book, Janeway knows he must find the answers. Someone today is willing to kill to keep the secrets of the past, and Janeway's search will lead him east: To Baltimore, to a Pulitzer Prize-winning author with a very stuffed shirt, and to a pair of unorthodox booksellers. It reaches a fiery conclusion at Fort Sumter off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina.

What's more, a young lawyer, Erin d'Angelo, and ex-librarian Koko Bujak, have their own reasons for wanting to find the journal. But can Janeway trust them?

Rich with the insider's information on rare and collectible books that has made John Dunning famous, and with meticulously researched detail about a mesmerizing figure who may have played an unrecognized role in our Civil War, The Bookman's Promise is riveting entertainment from an extraordinarily gifted author who is as unique and special as the books he so clearly loves.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

ARC Review: A Good Day for Chardonnay by Darynda Jones

A Good Day for Chardonnay

Author:
Darynda Jones
Series: Sunshine Vicram (Book 2)
Publication: St. Martin's Press (July 27, 2021)

Description: From the New York Times bestselling author Darynda Jones comes the second novel in her laugh-out-loud Sunshine Vicram mystery series, A Good Day for Chardonnay.

Running a small-town police force in the mountains of New Mexico should be a smooth, carefree kind of job. Sadly, full-time Sheriff―and even fuller-time coffee guzzler―Sunshine Vicram, didn’t get that memo.

All Sunshine really wants is one easy-going day. You know, the kind that starts with coffee and a donut (or three) and ends with take-out pizza and a glass of chardonnay (or seven). Turns out, that’s about as easy as switching to decaf. (What kind of people do that? And who hurt them?)

Before she can say iced mocha latte, Sunny’s got a bar fight gone bad, a teenage daughter hunting a serial killer and, oh yes, the still unresolved mystery of her own abduction years prior. All evidence points to a local distiller, a dangerous bad boy named Levi Ravinder, but Sun knows he’s not the villain of her story. Still, perhaps beneath it all, he possesses the keys to her disappearance. At the very least, beneath it all, he possesses a serious set of abs. She’s seen it. Once. Accidentally.

Between policing a town her hunky chief deputy calls four cents short of a nickel, that pesky crush she has on Levi which seems to grow exponentially every day, and an irascible raccoon that just doesn’t know when to quit, Sunny’s life is about to rocket to a whole new level of crazy.

Yep, definitely a good day for chardonnay.

My Thoughts: This book was an emotional roller coaster. I went from laughing out loud (several times) to sobbing equally loudly. It would be hard to summarize this plot because there were so many threads and so much happened in this story. The book blurb gives some hint of the variety of things that happen in the book but leaves out a lot too.

I loved the way the characters - especially Sunshine and her daughter Auri - interact. The characters from the old woman who confesses to every crime and the flasher who haunts the park and the guy in pest control Sunshine's parents set her up with for a blind day and who now won't stop texting her all add interest, humor, and mystery to the story. The chapter headings which are adds for various local business also provide a lot of humor. 

I like the romance plots too. Auri's young first love sort of romance with Cruz was touching. And Sunshine's growing romance with Levi Ravinder was also really entertaining. I liked the friendships in the story too. Sunshine's best friend is her Chief Deputy and he is quite a character. In fact, all the deputies are unique characters.

I really, really enjoyed this story and hope that there is more to come in this series. There were plot threads left hanging. I want to know what happens next for these characters.

Favorite Quote:
She was so close she could taste victory. Or wishful thinking. Emotional figures of speech tasted startlingly similar.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Book and Audio Review: Part-Time Gods by Rachel Aaron

Part-Time Gods

Author:
Rachel Aaron
Narrator: Emily Woo Zeller
Series: DFZ Book 2
Publication: Aaron/Bach (June 9, 2019); Audible Studios (June 9, 2019)
Length: 336 p.; 11 hours and 8 minutes

Description: Life in the magical mess of the Detroit Free Zone is never easy. When you’re laboring under the curse of a certain prideful, overbearing dragon, it can be down right impossible.

My name is Opal Yong-ae, and I’m a Cleaner. At least, I used to be. Thanks to the supernatural bad luck that turns everything I do against me, these days I’m more of a walking disaster. Getting rid of this curse is the only way to get my life back. Unfortunately, dragon magic is every bit as sneaky and deadly the monsters behind it, and just as hard to beat.

But I’ve never been one to take her doom at face value. Cornered doesn’t mean defeated, and in an awakened city that rules herself, dragons are no longer the biggest powers around.

My Thoughts: This is the middle book of a trilogy and, therefore, doesn't really have a beginning or an ending. Opal Yong-ae works as a Cleaner in the Detroit Free Zone. She is desperate to earn money to pay her debt to her father - who happens to be an old and powerful dragon, but he has cursed her with bad luck because he doesn't want her to get free of him.

Opal has always felt like a failure in her family because, despite being genetically engineered to be an exceptional mage, she has never been able to get magic to work for her. Her spells are usually failures  which backfire on her. 

She has teamed up with another Cleaner named Nik who is a product of the DFZ and has the scars and cyber-enhancements to prove it. They try to get around the curse by having Nik do the buying and selling but it isn't working. When Opal's dad calls in her debt, she has to find another way to make money fast. When she and Nik go to a more dangerous than normal part of the DFZ they are attacked and Opal has to use her magic to save him. 

Opal manages to save Nik but she manages to detach her soul in the process. She's been given the name of a shaman who might be able to help her get a handle on her magic. Opal has a low opinion of shamanistic magic because she's been trained in a different school. But the shaman makes sense and also turns out to be one of the priests of the spirit of the DFZ who offers Opal a job. 

Opal doesn't want to be a priest of the DFZ. She is trying to be free of all ownership. She is almost pathological about being independent. But when her dad needs her, she realizes that while she's angry with her dad, she doesn't want him deal. So Opal takes the DFZ's deal...

And we have to wait to read book three - NIGHT SHIFT DRAGONS - to find out how things work out.

I enjoyed Emily Woo Zeller's narration of this story. She made each character distinctive. 

Favorite Quote:
"Wait, you're not planning to eat that potato in your bag, are you? 'Cause we just sold your microwave and your convection oven."

"It's not for eating!" I cried. "That's my magic potato!"

I knew how bad that sounded as soon as it came out of my mouth. Unfortunately, everything I could have said to explain it made even less sense.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Book and Audio Review: Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters

Crocodile on the Sandbank

Author:
Elizabeth Peters
Narrator: Susan O'Malley
Series: Amelia Peabody (Book 1)
Publication: Blackstone Audio (August 23, 2002); Mysterious Press (February 10, 2010)
Length: 8 hours and 47 minutes; 246 p. 

Description: Amelia Peabody, that indomitable product of the Victorian age, embarks on her debut Egyptian adventure armed with unshakable self-confidence, a journal to record her thoughts, and, of course, a sturdy umbrella. On her way to Cairo, Amelia rescues young Evelyn Barton-Forbes, who has been abandoned by her scoundrel lover. Together the two women sail up the Nile to an archeological site run by the Emerson brothers-the irascible but dashing Radcliffe and the amiable Walter. Soon their little party is increased by one-one mummy that is, and a singularly lively example of the species.

Strange visitations, suspicious accidents, and a botched kidnapping convince Amelia that there is a plot afoot to harm Evelyn. Now Amelia finds herself up against an unknown enemy-and perilous forces that threaten to make her first Egyptian trip also her last . . 

My Thoughts: Amelia Peabody is an independent woman. After caring for her father until his death, she learns that she has inherited his considerable fortune and decides to travel the world. She's 32 but proprieties demand that she have a companion. When her current companion proves to be unsatisfactory, she rescues a young woman named Evelyn Barton-Forbes to be her new companion.

Evelyn had run away with an unsuitable man who has now abandoned her in Rome. Her wealthy grandfather disinherited her and she is without hope. Amelia takes her under her wing and together the two head off for Egypt. 

Amelia falls in love with Egypt and with archaeology but danger seems to be following them. On a trip  up the Nile they meet the Emerson brothers who are archaeologists. The younger is Walter. He and Evelyn fall in love but she feels that, as a ruined woman, she has nothing to offer him. The older brother is Radcliffe who is as opinionated and strong-minded as Amelia herself. The two butt heads from the moment they meet. Their interaction was really fun to read.

The story is told from Amelia's point-of-view which is a unique one. She embodies most of the virtues and faults of the the wealthy Victorian lady tourist. She is certain that things would run better if people would just let her be in charge!

Susan O'Malley did a great job bringing Amelia to life. She also did an excellent job with the other characters. 

Favorite Quote:
"But why should any independent, intelligent female choose to subject herself to the whims and tyrannies of a husband? I assure you, I have yet to meet a man was sensible as myself."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Monday, July 19, 2021

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (July 19, 2021)

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 week just sped by. I didn't do anything except take a couple of walks. I watched a little of the Home Run Derby and all of the All-Star Game but really missed seeing my Braves play. I'm glad the regular season of baseball has begun again. 

I did get a haircut and walk around the Mall a little bit on Thursday. It is always interesting to see what new stores have opened and which ones have closed. There are lots of vacant spaces at our local Mall. I don't get there often. I've been avoiding places where people congregate for so long that I have gotten out of the habit of walking there. 

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.)
  • Dark Currents by Jacqueline Carey (Mine) -- The hardcover was sitting on my shelves since 2012. I bought the Kindle and audiobook recently since the series was on sale. This was an entertaining urban fantasy story set in Michigan with great worldbuilding. My review will be posted on September 8.
  • Autumn Bones by Jacqueline Carey (Mine; Kindle Daily Deal & Audiobook) -- Second in the Agent of Hel series was also entertaining . My review will be posted on October 2.
  • Poison Fruit by Jacqueline Carey (Mine; Kindle and Audiobook) -- Finale of the Agent of Hel trilogy nicely wrapped up all the plot threads. My review will be posted on October 12. 
  • More Than Fiends by Maureen Child (Mine since April 17, 2008) -- This was a fun and funny urban fantasy that has been on my TBR mountain for years. My review will be posted on August 21.
  • All Night Long with a Cowboy by Caitlin Crews (Review; August 24) -- This contemporary Western Romance pairs up the local school librarian and the local playboy. It was entertaining and the female lead was a nicely quirky character. My review will be posted on August 18.
  • Eyes of the Forest by April Henry (Review; August 24) -- This YA mystery has a high school girl searching for her favorite author when he disappears. Told from multiple viewpoints including the missing author's. My review will be posted on August 19.
  • A Bad Day for Sunshine by Darynda Jones (Mine; Kindle and Audiobook) -- This was a reread and first listen of a book I had for review last year. It worked very well as an audiobook.
  • Enola Holmes and the Boy in Buttons by Nancy Springer (Mine; Kindle and Audiobook) -- This novella was a brief case undertaken by Miss Holmes. 
Currently
Next Week
Reviews Posted
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?

Review:
Bought:
  • Derelict edited by David B, Coe & Joshua Palmetier (Kindle) - I've already read the story by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller which is the reason I bought the anthology. I'll be dipping into this one for the others someday, I'm sure.
  • Enola Holmes and the Boy in Buttons by Nancy Springer (Kindle Daily Deal and Audiobook)
What was your week like?

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Book Review: Stormwatcher by Maria V. Snyder

Storm Watcher

Author:
Maria V. Snyder
Publication: Leap Books (October 2013)

Description: Luke Riley is lost. His mother's recent death has set Luke and his family adrift. Even though his father, twin brothers, and their three Bloodhounds are search and rescue volunteers, they have been unable to rescue themselves and become a family again. The summer after sixth grade looms in Luke's mind as a long, lonely three months where the only thing he can look forward to is watching The Weather Channel. Luke is fascinated with the weather, but since his mother's death in a storm, he is also terrified. Even the promised 13th birthday present of a Bloodhound puppy fails to lift Luke's spirits. He would rather have a different breed - a petite Papillon, but his father insists he get a Bloodhound.

When Luke decides to get the Bloodhound from Willajean, a dog breeder who owns Storm Watcher Kennel, he works out a deal to help at her kennel in exchange for the expensive dog. Thrilled to have a summer with a purpose, Luke befriends Willajean's daughter, Megan and together they plan how Luke can get a Papillon puppy instead of a Bloodhound. But nothing seems to work as they struggle with stubborn fathers, summer storms, unhelpful siblings, and hidden guilt. Can one little white dog really save both families?

My Thoughts: This story begins when Luke Riley is almost thirteen. He's a few days away from his thirteenth birthday. His mother has recently died when her car was struck by lightning and she lost control of it and ran into a tree. 

Luke's dad and his older twin brothers are all dealing with their loss differently. His brothers are constantly picking on him and his dad spends all his time doing his work as an electrician or working Search and Rescue with his bloodhound. Luke's brothers also have bloodhounds and are training them for search and rescue too. His dad wants to have him a bloodhound for his birthday, but Luke wants to have a papillon instead. He's seen them tracking too. 

Luke's dad has arranged for him to work at a local kennel which breeds both bloodhounds and papillons so that he can afford the puppy. His dad thinks he's getting a bloodhound but Luke is determined to get a papillon instead. He gets to know Megan at the kennel. She is the same age as he is and is also a dog lover. She's determined to train her German shepherd as a search and rescue dog. 

Luke has a weather phobia and an obsession with the Weather Channel. He has always been afraid of storms and his mother's death has only cemented his fears. His dad lets him call in sick if the weather is stormy but believes Luke will outgrow his phobia. Luckily, his middle school guidance counselor refers him to the high school guidance counselor who helps him deal his phobia and his grief and guilt at the loss of his mother. 

Things come to a head when Megan goes missing during a storm and his papillon named Lightning is able to track her down when his father and his dog are searching in the wrong direction. 

This was a great story about dealing with loss. It had all sorts of interesting facts both about the weather and about dog training. 

Favorite Quote:
"Dogs see the world through their noses," Megan had explained. "They have one million scent receptors per nostril. And did you know, people shed about forty thousand dead skin cells per minute? That's so gross, but that's what Lance is smelling - those skin cells when they're blown downwind from the person."
I bought this one on February 25, 2014. It is currently out of print.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Friday Memes: Storm Watcher by Maria V. Snyder

 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:
Everything changed the day Luke's mom died. No surprise, right? Of course things changed. He'd be stupid to expect anything else. But what surprised him the most was what hadn't changed.
Friday 56:
The lights flickered, and Luke held his breath until they steadied. Because the storm showed no signs of letting up, Megan let Lance out of his crate. Although she'd never said as much, Luke figured Lance was her favorite. She fed him first, and she played with him the most.
Storm Watcher
by Maria V. Snyder has been on my TBR stack since February 2014. It is currently out of print. It is a young adult story about grief, a boy and his dog, and family life. Here's the description from Maria V. Snyder's website:
Luke Riley is lost. His mother's recent death has set Luke and his family adrift. Even though his father, twin brothers, and their three Bloodhounds are search and rescue volunteers, they have been unable to rescue themselves and become a family again. The summer after sixth grade looms in Luke's mind as a long, lonely three months where the only thing he can look forward to is watching The Weather Channel. Luke is fascinated with the weather, but since his mother's death in a storm, he is also terrified. Even the promised 13th birthday present of a Bloodhound puppy fails to lift Luke's spirits. He would rather have a different breed - a petite Papillon, but his father insists he get a Bloodhound.

When Luke decides to get the Bloodhound from Willajean, a dog breeder who owns Storm Watcher Kennel, he works out a deal to help at her kennel in exchange for the expensive dog. Thrilled to have a summer with a purpose, Luke befriends Willajean's daughter, Megan and together they plan how Luke can get a Papillon puppy instead of a Bloodhound. But nothing seems to work as they struggle with stubborn fathers, summer storms, unhelpful siblings, and hidden guilt. Can one little white dog really save both families?

Thursday, July 15, 2021

ARC Review: Last Guard by Nalini Singh

Last Guard

Author:
Nalini Singh
Series: Psy-Changeling Trinity (Book 5)
Publication: Berkley (July 20, 2021)

Description: New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh returns to a world devastated by change in her award-winning Psy-Changeling Trinity series, where two people defined by their aloneness hold the fate of the Psy in their hands. . . .

Termed merciless by some, and a robotic sociopath by others, Payal Rao is the perfect Psy: cardinal telekinetic, CEO of a major conglomerate, beautiful—and emotionless.

For Canto Mercant, family and loyalty are everything. A cardinal telepath deemed “imperfect” by his race due to a spinal injury, Canto cares for the opinions of very few—and ruthlessly protects those he claims as his own. Head of intel for the influential Mercant family, he prefers to remain a shadow in the Net, unknown and unseen. But Canto is also an anchor, part of a secretive designation whose task it is to stabilize the PsyNet. Now that critical psychic network is dying, threatening to collapse and kill the entire Psy race with it.

To save those he loves, Canto needs the help of a woman bound to him by a dark past neither has been able to forget. A woman who is the most powerful anchor of them all: Payal Rao. Neither is ready for the violent inferno about to ignite in the PsyNet . . . or the passionate madness that threatens to destroy them both.

My Thoughts: Canto Mercant and Payal Rao meet when they are young children in a boarding school that their parents sent them to because they are defective Psy. When Payal kills a teacher who is going to kill Canto, they are separated.

Canto is taken to his mother's family where he is loved and supported and where he becomes a surveillance expert and a valuable member of the Mercant family. Payal Rao is taken back to her family where she has to deal with a psychopath for an older brother and a father who thinks betrayal is a perfectly acceptable way of life. Payal learns to hide her broken pieces and some have compared her to a robot.

Canto has spent years looking for the girl who saved his life. It isn't until he forms an association of anchors that the two of them are reunited. The anchors are an almost forgotten designation of Psy but a very important one since they are the ones who hold the PsyNet together. They are almost in crisis mode because of the attacks on the PsyNet and because their designation doesn't manifest when they are infants and many with the designation are disposed of by the Psy because they come with physical or mental problems. Canto is paralyzed and in a powered chair and Payal has brain tumors that can only be controlled with a drug her father doles out to her as a way of keeping her under control. 

Reuniting gives them an opportunity to fall in love but it isn't easy for either of them. Payal especially has learned that trust is a weakness that will surely be exploited. Canto can love but he has major fears about losing control. 

This was an excellent story with a lot of emotional impact as we watch two damaged people fall in love and grow stronger for it. The story also advances the plot thread that runs through this series: preserving the PsyNet against a hidden enemy.

Fans of the series will be glad to meet Canto and Payal and will also be glad to see some characters from earlier books in the series. I love that Canto is so easy with the bears who are a great group of changelings. 

Favorite Quote:
He nodded. "They were brilliant, our psychic forefathers. Why did we forget?"

"Because our people like to forget things. Apparently, we believe ignoring and forgetting is as good as actually fixing problems."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

ARC Review: Fatal Family Ties by S. C. Perkins

Fatal Family Ties

Author:
S. C. Perkins
Series: Ancestry Detectives (Book 3)
Publication: Minotaur Books (July 20, 2021)

Description: S.C. Perkins's Fatal Family Ties is the captivating third mystery in the Ancestry Detective series, in which Texas genealogist Lucy Lancaster deals with murders in both the past and present.

Lucy is just about to tuck into a plate of tacos at her favorite Austin joint, Big Flaco’s, when she gets an unexpected visit from her former―and least-favorite―co-worker. Camilla Braithwaite hasn’t gotten much friendlier since the last time Lucy saw her, but that doesn't stop her from asking a favor. In her hand is a newspaper feature on an ancestor, a civil war corporal―and a liar, according to the article. Charles Braithwaite is depicted as a phony and a deserter, and Camilla wants Lucy’s help clearing his name.

Lucy would prefer to spend her free time with her new beau, special agent Ben Turner, but takes the case, making no promises that Camilla will like the outcome of her investigation. Camilla leads Lucy to the Texas History Museum, where their first clue is a triptych painting, passed down in the Braithwaite family for generations, one panel of which has disappeared. But before Lucy can get much further, a member of the Braithwaite family is murdered in his own bed, and another panel of the painting found missing.

There are no shortage of suspects among the Braithwaite clan―including Camilla herself. This case will take Lucy to Houston and back again as she works to find the truth, and catch an elusive killer.

My Thoughts: Lucy Lancaster is a genealogist. When she is approached by a disliked former co-worker, she's reluctant to take the job that is offered to her. She's rather spend time with her new FBI Agent boyfriend. But she is intrigued about finding the truth about Camilla Braithwaite's Confederate soldier many times great-grandfather. There has been an article in a history magazine that paints him as a deserter rather than a hero.

Cpl. Charles Braithwaite had a successful life after his service. He was a business owner who hired people of many colors, He favored more rights for women. He's had schools and parks named for him. He was also an artist and a triptych he painted has become a focus of the investigation. One piece went missing in 1988, another is stolen from a great-uncle of Camilla's who is also murdered, and attempts are made to get Camilla's piece too.

Lucy gets involved in the murder investigation and in searching for the lost parts of the painting when it is discovered that the really, really ugly painting actually covers a well-executed and potentially very valuable painting of a lesser Civil War battle. 

There are quite a few suspects - all members of the extended Braithwaite family - including Lucy's client Camilla. The story was fast-paced and entertaining. It is also the third in the series but stands alone quite well. I liked Lucy who is both smart and nice and look forward to catching up on her earlier investigations. 

Who knew genealogy could be so dangerous? 

Favorite Quote:
"How do you mean?" I returned. I hoped my face was an innocent mask, but I could feel the heat in my cheeks. It only got worse when he swiped his finger along the side of his nose as if to assure me that I didnt need to worry, he would keep my secret.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Book and Audio Review: Carousel Seas by Sharon Lee

Carousel Seas

Author:
Sharon Lee
Narrator: Elisabeth Rodgers
Series: Archer's Beach (Book 3)
Publication: Audible Studios (January 6, 2015); Baen Books (December 9, 2014)
Length: 12 hours and 36 minutes; 352 p.

Description: NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED

Welcome to Archers Beach in the Changing Land, the last and least of the Six Worlds, where magic works, sometimes, and the Guardian husbands the vitality of the land and everyone on it -- earth spirit and plain human alike.

Kate Archer, Guardian and carousel-keeper, has been busy making some changes of her own, notably beginning a romantic relationship with Borgan, the Guardian of the Gulf of Maine, Kate's opposite number, and, some would say, her natural mate.

Oh, and she's been instrumental in releasing the prisoners that had been bound into the carousel animals -- which she's inclined to think is a good thing. . .

Until a former sea goddess sets up housekeeping in the Gulf of Maine, challenging Borgan's authority; endangering Kate and everything she holds precious.

. . .because the goddess has fallen in love in Borgan; and she'll stop at nothing to possess him.

Archers Beach is about to suffer a sea-change -- and the question is whether Kate can survive it.

My Thoughts: Kate Archer is beset with problems both magical and mundane in this conclusion to the Archers Beach trilogy. Having released prisoners bound to the carousel she manages in a seaside town in Maine, she knows that she will have trouble with the Wise - powerful beings from the other linked worlds - but she thinks that the prisoners have all left Earth. She learns that, at least, one has remained behind and has determined to conquer Borgan and take over his guardianship of the Gulf of Maine.

In an attempt to win his affections this goddess kills two goblins that Borgan has spared, despite the fact that they would like him dead. This grieves and angers the sea who loved them and the sea changes making life hard for the citizens of the town. After all, no waves and invasions of jellyfish aren't going to draw the tourists needed for the booths and rides.

Of course the whole of the amusement park is being threatened by another mundane source. The owners are planning to sell the land where it sits so that condos can be built. This is very upsetting to the magical and non-magical folks who make their livings from the park. In facts, they had been petitioning to make the season longer than the 12 weeks it had shrunk to over the years. Now the committees are looking for other options - either a way to buy the land or a place to move the park.

If that wasn't enough, Kate is just getting used to her connection with the land and her growing magical abilities. She is still learning about her land and finding out about the trenvay who live there. Kate also expands her family by adding a cat and a liege-sworn to her retinue. Both add depth and complications to her life. 

This book was a thoroughly enjoyable contemporary fantasy with excitement, magic and romance. I highly recommend this trilogy. Elisabeth did a great job with the narration giving each character a distinct voice.

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

Monday, July 12, 2021

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (July 12, 2021)

 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 with only a brief kerfuffle when the air conditioner decided that it wanted to run but not cool - on the 4th of July -- when absolutely no one was available for a service appointment and the temperature was in the low 90s with humidity the same. A call did yield the information that the problem could be the furnace filter. My brother bought and installed a new one and we were back to enjoying cool air. 

Then the temperature plummeted and my part of the state experienced record lows for a couple of days and I turned the furnace back on for a couple of cycles in the morning. Minnesota is such an interesting place to live!

Other than a few walks, the rest of the week was a pleasant combination of reading and baseball games. 

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.)
  • Track of the Cat by Nevada Barr (Mine; Audiobook) -- This audiobook is the first in the Anna Pigeon mystery series. I liked the characters and the setting. My review will be posted on September 29.
  • A Terrible Fall of Angels by Laurell K. Hamilton (Review; August 17) -- The first in a new urban fantasy series peoples with angels and demons. The main character is a police detective who can speak to angels without going insane. The case concerns a different kind of demon. My review will be posted on August 17.
  • At Summer's End by Courtney Ellis (Review; August 10) -- This historical fiction story is set in 1922 and is sort of a romance and sort of a picture of the horrors of war and the changes happening in England. My review will be posted on August 10.
  • White Lies by Jayne Ann Krentz (Mine; Audiobook) -- This is contemporary paranormal romantic suspense that was a reread. I like this author's style and enjoy her characters. My review will be posted on September 30.
  • The Family Plot by Megan Collins (Review; August 17) -- This was a weirdly compelling mystery set on an island with a serial killer and a family whose life centers around true crime. My review will be  posted on August 11.
  • Hex on the Beach by Kelley Armstrong, Jeaniene Frost, Melissa Marr (Mine) -- I read the Armstrong and Frost stories but am saving the Marr story until I've read some books in that series. I don't plan to review it.
  • Cast in Conflict by Michelle Sagara (Mine; Audiobook) -- The new Chronicles of Elantra book deals with filling the empty tower that Candellar had filled which pits two of her roommates against each other. My review will be posted on September 25.
Currently
  • Dark Currents by Jacqueline Carey (Mine; Hardcover since 2012 but the Kindle and Audiobook are a recent purchases)
Next Week
Reviews Posted
  • Omens by Kelly Armstrong
  • Back from the Bring by Emery Hayes
  • Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz
  • Silence in the Library by Katharine Schellman
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?

Review;
Bought:
  • Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell (Kindle and Audiobook)
  • Carry On by Rainbow Rowell (Audiobook; I already own the Kindle)
What was your week like?

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Book and Audio Review: Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz

Orphan X

Author:
Gregg Hurwitz
Narrator: Scott Brick
Series: Orphan X (Book 1)
Publication: Minotaur Books (January 19, 2016); Brilliance Audio (January 19, 2016)
Length: 416 p.; 11 hours and 15 minutes

Description: The first in the international bestselling series!

Who is Orphan X?

The Nowhere Man is a legendary figure spoken about only in whispers. It’s said that when he’s reached by the truly desperate and deserving, the Nowhere Man can and will do anything to protect and save them. But he’s not merely a legend.

“Excellent…A smart, stylish, state-of-the-art thriller…might give Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books a run for their money.”—The Washington Post

Evan Smoak is a man with skills, resources, and a personal mission to help those with nowhere else to turn. He’s also a man with a dangerous past. Chosen as a child, he was raised and trained as an Orphan, an off-the-books black box program designed to create the perfect deniable intelligence asset: An assassin. Evan was Orphan X—until he broke with the program and used everything he learned to disappear. But now someone is on his tail. Someone with similar skills and training who will exploit Evan’s secret new identity as the Nowhere Man to eliminate him.

My Thoughts: Evan Smoak was taken from a foster home when he was twelve and trained to be an assassin. He was part of the Orphan Program which was an off-the-books government program. After some years and the death of his mentor, he goes rogue. 

To spend his time, he has become the Nowhere Man. When someone has a problem that they can't solve, the Nowhere Man steps in. But now, someone seems to have tracked down the Nowhere Man through some people who have come to him with problems.

Evan has to decide which of the people with problems is legitimate and which has been set up by his enemies so that they can get to him. 

The story was action-packed and very fast-paced. Evan is a great characters in the tradition of dark heroes of the past. He's a man who is alone because he doesn't know who he can trust. But people with smaller problems in the building where he has his tricked out condo are chipping away at his isolation by becoming people he can care about. But caring means putting them in incredible danger because his enemies don't care who they have to kill if they manage to kill him too.

Scott Brick did a great job narrating this one. He had distinct voices for the many characters and he had great pacing as the suspense and danger built throughout the story.

Favorite Quote:
The Post-It beside the wall-mounted phone had been replaced. The new one read: "Make friends with people who want the best for you."

He thought, What a goddamned luxury that would be.
I bought this one January 7, 2017. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Friday Memes: Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz

 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:
After picking up a set of pistol suppressors from a nine-fingered armorer in Las Vegas. Evan Smoak headed for home in his Ford pickup, doing his best not to let the knife wound distract him.
Friday 56:
The ice cube singed Evan's fingertips as he twisted the palm-coded hot water lever in the shower and stepped through the hidden door into the Vault. He crossed to the sheet-metal desk and nestled the cube gently into the spikes of the tiny aloe vera plant. Vera seemed not unappreciative.
This week I'm spotlighting a kindle/audiobook combination read -- Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz. The Kindle copy has been on my TBR mountain since January 2017 but the audiobook is new. Here is the description from Amazon:
The first in the international bestselling series!

Who is Orphan X?

The Nowhere Man is a legendary figure spoken about only in whispers. It’s said that when he’s reached by the truly desperate and deserving, the Nowhere Man can and will do anything to protect and save them. But he’s not merely a legend.

“Excellent…A smart, stylish, state-of-the-art thriller…might give Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books a run for their money.”—The Washington Post

Evan Smoak is a man with skills, resources, and a personal mission to help those with nowhere else to turn. He’s also a man with a dangerous past. Chosen as a child, he was raised and trained as an Orphan, an off-the-books black box program designed to create the perfect deniable intelligence asset: An assassin. Evan was Orphan X—until he broke with the program and used everything he learned to disappear. But now someone is on his tail. Someone with similar skills and training who will exploit Evan’s secret new identity as the Nowhere Man to eliminate him.