Wednesday, May 31, 2023

ARC Review: Final Cut by Marjorie McCown

Final Cut

Marjorie McCown
Series: A Hollywood Mystery
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (June 6, 2023)

Description: Perfect for fans of Elle Cosimano and Nita Prose, when Hollywood costumer Joey Jessop stumbles across a dead body near the set of a big budget movie, she must find ways to protect her career—and herself—before it's too late.

Joey Jessop enjoys working behind the scenes. As key costumer for the next epic superhero movie, her role is to make others look good while staying out of the spotlight. That means making sure to be professional around Eli Logan, her ex and the First Assistant Director, and Courtney Lisle, Eli's newest love interest and the Second Assistant Director. But this isn't a problem for Joey—especially when the movie is shooting at a gorgeous Malibu location.

All of that changes when Joey finds Courtney's dead body on the first day of principal photography and she soon becomes the primary suspect. When the press takes hold of the story and social media begins to run with it, Joey watches her well-ordered life behind the scenes become front and center for all to see. But that isn't even the worst of it. In the midst of this newfound and unfortunate stardom, she must also contend with the reckless behavior of the movie's predatory director and producer, Marcus Pray, who seems driven to continue his practice of making another blockbuster hit while making sure his crew endures a toxic and potentially lethal work environment. As a result, Joey finds herself embattled both personally and professionally.

With tensions building on set and a murder investigation looming over her life and future, Joey takes it upon herself to clear her name. Will she be able to expose the truth before it's a wrap?

My Thoughts: This mystery introduces costumer Joey Jessup as she stumbles onto the body of one the Assistant Directors on the beach the first day of filming for the latest superhero blockbuster. She had been trying to contact the AD all day in order to smooth out their working relationship. The AD was currently dating Joey's ex and seemed to think Joey wanted him back. 

This is just one of the bad things that are happening on the movie set. One of the set electricians is almost electrocuted in an accident. And tensions are generally high because the director is a high-maintenance kind of guy who wants to be surrounded by beautiful models and doesn't hesitate to hit on any woman who catches his eye. Everyone knows that he is harassing women, but no one is brave enough to take him on and have their career derailed or be blacklisted as a result of his spite. 

Joey is trying to keep her head down but wants to know who murdered the AD since she has fallen under police suspicion. She is also being victimized by text messages that quote bible verses that are unnerving her. She also has some vandalism done to her car which the police think is self-inflicted as a way to gain herself some publicity. This police attitude is why she doesn't go to them as the dangers pile up.

I enjoyed this story which gave an interesting look at the production of movies from the viewpoint of an important member of the crew. The #metoo movement plot provided a good red herring for the story and made the story timely. 

Favorite Quote:
"Everyone knows you show's got big problems, along with the rumors flying about that pig of a director. He makes Donald Trump look like a pussycat." The librarian pursed her lips. "Pun intended."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Audiobook Review: Booked for Murder by Jasmine Webb

Booked for Murder

Jasmine Webb
Narrator: Kristine Hvam
Series: Poppy Perkins Mystery (Book 1)
Publication: Blueberry Books Press (January 6, 2023)
Length: 6 hours and 40 minutes

Description: Poppy’s dream of being an author is on life support, and the plug’s about to be pulled. She can barely make her rent, and she’s avoiding her mom’s calls about going to law school. She hasn’t even hit rock bottom yet, this is just a ledge on the way down….

When Poppy Perkins decides to talk back to a customer who thinks it’s okay to scream at her over donuts, Poppy knows she’s going to get fired. But what she doesn’t expect is for the customer to be a local celebrity, and for a video of their interaction to go viral—or for the customer to drop dead five minutes later, poisoned by the donut Poppy had just served him.

Okay, now she’s hit rock bottom.

With Poppy the prime suspect, she has to find the real killer before she’s locked up for a crime she didn’t commit. But what originally looks to be a run-of-the-mill murder quickly finds Poppy mired in a case that’s thicker than San Francisco fog. And can Poppy trust the journalist with adorable dimples who insists he’s only after the truth?

Will Poppy get to the bottom of this case and find the killer, or is she about to get Boston creamed?

My Thoughts: Poppy Perkins has a dream of being a published writer. However, she's making ends meet in a San Francisco donut shop and trying to write. When a customer is rude to her, she loses her temper and tells him off. This leads to her boss firing her which is bad. But it also happens that the customer falls dead in the store with a confirmed case of cyanide poisoning. 

Poppy is the number one suspect. A video of the argument goes viral on social media when it turns out that the victim was a tech billionaire on the verge of selling his start-up for additional billions. Poppy needs to find the real killer in order to keep herself out of jail.

Bobby acquires some unlikely allies in the persons of a mysterious investigator named Ophelia Ellis and a cute reporter named Nick Monroe who writes for the San Francisco Examiner. Ophelia, who is a consulting investigator in the Sherlock Holmes mode, brings Poppy along as she investigates who wanted the billionaire dead. They find quite a number of suspects inside his business but no one quite fits the bill.

I enjoyed this short cozy mystery. I found Poppy an interesting character who managed to defy family expectations and her very formidable mother in order to pursue her own dreams. She also overcomes betrayal by her best friend who steals one of Poppy's book ideas and presents it as her own in order to become a published author. 

This series has possibilities for future stories. I'll be looking forward to them.

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

ARC Review: A Botanist's Guide to Flowers and Fatality by Kate Khavari

A Botanist's Guide to Flowers and Fatality

Kate Khavari
Series: A Saffron Everleigh Mystery (Book 2)
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (June 6, 2023)

Description: 1920s London isn’t the ideal place for a brilliant woman with lofty ambitions. But research assistant Saffron Everleigh is determined to beat the odds in a male-dominated field at the University College of London. Saffron embarks on her first research study alongside the insufferably charming Dr. Michael Lee, traveling the countryside with him in response to reports of poisonings. But when Detective Inspector Green is given a case with a set of unusual clues, he asks for Saffron’s assistance.

The victims, all women, received bouquets filled with poisonous flowers. Digging deeper, Saffron discovers that the bouquets may be more than just unpleasant flowers— there may be a hidden message within them, revealed through the use of the old Victorian practice of floriography. A dire message, indeed, as each woman who received the flowers has turned up dead.

Alongside Dr. Lee and her best friend, Elizabeth, Saffron trails a group of suspects through a dark jazz club, a lavish country estate, and a glittering theatre, delving deeper into a part of society she thought she’d left behind forever.

Will Saffron be able to catch the killer before they send their next bouquet, or will she find herself with fatal flowers of her own in Kate Khavari’s second intoxicating installment.

My Thoughts: The second Saffron Everleigh historical mystery was an engaging look at the 1920s. Saffron faces prejudice as she tries to make a place for herself as a botanist at University College in London where the old boys' network isn't eager to let her in. 

She and Dr. Michael Lee are engaged in a study of poisonous plants in England. They are often sent into the countryside when accidental poisonings occur where they combine their knowledge of medicine and botany. 

When Chief Inspector Green calls in Saffron to take a look at bouquets left at the scenes of murders of upper-class women, Saffron is drawn into her second police investigation. The first one (A Botanist's Guide to Parties and Poison) almost killed her but her curiosity has been aroused and so has her desire to help. Saffron realizes that the flowers are conveying messages in the old Victorian floriography language, and the messages are chilling.

Saffron and Lee soon find themselves visiting the jazz clubs the victims frequented. The clubs are filled with upper class people or those who are hangers-on who are drinking and taking drugs and generally trying to have a good time. They find a range of suspects as they try to unravel the clues to who wanted each victim dead.

Saffron is also dealing with man troubles. She has started to like Lee despite his messy habits and bonhomie. But she is also still corresponding with Alexander Ashton who was her partner in her first investigation and who is currently on an expedition to the Amazon. When Alexander returns, her man troubles escalate but both men are there at the story's climactic moments. 

I enjoyed this mystery. I thought the setting was well-developed. I liked Saffron's determination to solve the mystery and build her own career. I also liked the preview to Saffron's next case provided by the ending of the story when Alexander's brother comes to him with a problem. I really want to know what happens next. 

Favorite Quote:
"If you encourage pretty girls to eat poisonous berries, there won't be any pretty girls left."

Saffron burst out laughing. "And what did he have to say to that?"

Lee shrugged, looking pleased. "He said I made a very good point, thanks for the advice."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Monday, May 29, 2023

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (May 29, 2023)

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

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

I will be combining my YA and adult reading and purchases on this one weekly roundup.

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

Other Than Reading...

Welcome to the official kick-off to summer. Memorial Day weekend has arrived. Our weather has been great. We've had a couple of warm days and lots of sunshine. It was 84F on Tuesday and then Wednesday struggled to reach 50F. Naturally, Wednesday was the day I had to be out and about for my ultrasound. Thursday, Friday and Saturday were nice with gradually rising temperatures. Today (Sunday) is supposed to reach a high of 75F.

I don't know where the time went this week. I only finished four books which is almost a record low for me. I had a review copy arrive that will be published on June 1 which required some rearranging of my calendar and my reading plans. It was a pretty good book once I got into it. I did spend a lot of time watching videos that Facebook brought to my attention. There is a whole series about a guy who buys abandoned storage lockers and hopes to find hidden treasures. I couldn't stop watching even though I came to wonder who packed up the storage lockers since they seemed to contain masses of random junk. 

I also really added to my audiobook collection this week. First was the Audible 2-for-1 credit sale. I got the next two books in the Lady Sherlock series. The first three were Audible Plus titles. Then something, either my Audible Daily Deal email or my Chirp email, led me to the Audible Plus catalog where I stocked up on vintage Elizabeth Peters titles. I'm sure I've read most of them and many are on my keeper shelves, but a reread sounds good to me. I like that most of these are under 10 hours of listening too. I was also led to a Melinda Leigh series that I hadn't completed. The audiobooks were $1.99 each and the Kindle copies were less than $5 so I added them to my stack too. 

Then I added four review copies. Three of them are August and September releases which isn't as far away as it might seem. I've already mentioned my June 1 book which was the fourth I added. 

Next week's plans include finishing Beyond Heaving Bosoms. I have to read this with some breaks in-between since the snarky humor gets a little cloying if I read too much at a time. I may have to move the review further down my calendar since I might not have it finished this week. 

I have a mixed bag of reading planned for this coming week including one audiobook, two books I've had since 2009, and two review books. Hopefully, I'll find my reading mojo again. 

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.)
  • Final Cut by Marjorie McCown (Review; June 6) -- This contemporary mystery stars a costumer working on a big budget movie who is accused of killing one of the Assistant Directors who happens to be her ex's new girlfriend. Also a lot about the #MeToo movement. My review will be posted on May 31.
  • The Queen's Weapons by Anne Bishop (Mine) -- This is the 11th book in the Black Jewels series and is a dark fantasy. I love the author's work but this isn't my favorite of her series. I did find the story engaging though. My review will be posted on June 1.
  • Swan for the Money by Donna Andrews (Audiobook; mine since May 10, 2022) -- Eleventh in the Meg Langslow mystery series. This one is about Meg organizing a rose show for her parents' garden club. It is full of the author's quirky humor. My review will be posted on June 8.
  • The Truth Against the World by David Corbett (Review; June 1) -- The story was part dystopia, part fantasy, and part quest story. I found it engaging and sort of scary. My review will be posted on June 3.
Next Week
Reviews Posted
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?

Audible 2 for 1 Sale:
Audible Plus Catalog:

I've read most of these and have paperback copies on my keeper shelves. I read them so long ago that it seems like a good time for a reread. And the price is certainly right!
I bought this series by Melinda Leigh. I enjoy her writing and thought I had read everything she'd written. I had only previously read Midnight Betrayal as a Review book in 2014. I had purchased the Kindle copy of Midnight Sacrifice in 2013 but haven't yet read it. My plans are to read them all as audiobooks. 
What was your week like?

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Book Review: Deadtown by Nancy Holzner


Nancy Holzner
Series: A Deadtown Novel (Book 1)
Publication: Ace; Reissue edition (November 10, 2009)

Description: First in a brand new urban fantasy series that's "fresh and funny, with a great new take on zombies" (Karen Chance) and "full of dangerous magic and populated with characters so realistic, they almost jump off the page" (Ilona Andrews).

If you were undead, you'd be home by now...

They call it Deadtown: the city's quarantined section for its inhuman and undead residents. Most humans stay far from its borders-but Victory Vaughn, Boston's only professional demon slayer, isn't exactly human.

My Thoughts: Victory Vaughn is a shapeshifter and demon killer. She might be the last of her kind if her young niece doesn't inherit shapeshifting which her sister really hopes she won't.

After a plague hit Boston and turned most of the citizens into zombies, the human government created an enclave called Deadtown for the inhuman and undead residents. Since then, residents have been fighting for their rights which is a real uphill battle.

Vicky's sometime boyfriend Kane is a werewolf lawyer really concerned about winning rights for all inhuman and undead residents. Currently, Massachusetts is one of the few US States were residents of Deadtown have some limited rights. The current race for governor could change that as the leading candidate is extremely opposed to any more rights and freedoms for people he calls "monsters."

Vicky is more concerned about making a living than politics. She is hired by the haunted wealthy to rid their dreams of various demons that cause nightmares. However when helping her latest client who happens to be a gangster and a supporter of the anti-inhuman governor candidate, she encounters the demon who killed her father and marked her. 

She learns that the demon has been bound by a human sorcerer. It makes Vicky determined to find the demon and send it back to hell and to find the sorcerer too. 

There is another problem too. A fanatic human scientist wants to study Vicky and her family and goes so far as to kidnap Vicky's ten-year-old niece. Since it isn't certain that the niece is human or like Vicky, human law is taking a wait-and-see approach leaving the rescue to Vicky and one police officer who is one her side. 

This was an engaging and entertaining urban fantasy story with an interesting main character. I enjoyed this story which begins a series. 

Favorite Quote:
For me, ethics were a lot simpler. If you had a problem and you could afford my fee, I'd help you out. And if you were a demon and came after me, I'd kill you. So I wouldn't win the Nobel Peace Prize any time soon. My system worked for me.
I bought this one for my first Kindle December 29, 2009. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, May 26, 2023

Friday Memes: Deadtown by Nancy Holzner

 Happy Friday everybody!

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

Two rules I live by: Never admit to being a shapeshifter on a first, second, or third date with a human. And never, ever bring along a zombie apprentice wannabe on a demon kill.
Friday 56:
The next summer I was eighteen years old, a high school graduate, and feeling more than ready to graduate from Mab's training program as well. I was all grown up now, and this would be the summer I finally got to kick some demon ass. 
This week I am spotlighting a book I added to my stack December 29, 2009. It was one of the first books I bought for my Kindle. Deadtown by Nancy Holzner is the first in an urban fantasy series. Here is the description from Amazon:
First in a brand new urban fantasy series that's "fresh and funny, with a great new take on zombies" (Karen Chance) and "full of dangerous magic and populated with characters so realistic, they almost jump off the page" (Ilona Andrews).

If you were undead, you'd be home by now...

They call it Deadtown: the city's quarantined section for its inhuman and undead residents. Most humans stay far from its borders-but Victory Vaughn, Boston's only professional demon slayer, isn't exactly human.

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Audiobook Review: The Battered Badge by Robert Goldsborough

The Battered Badge

Robert Goldsborough
Narrator: L. J. Ganser
Series: Nero Wolfe Mysteries (Book 13)
Publication: Blackstone Audio (April 17, 2019)
Length: 6 hours and 31 minutes

Description: A shake-up in the New York Polic Department's homicide squad following a high-profile murder is bad for business for private investigator Nero Wolfe.

When wealthy and popular crusader and reformer Lester Pierce is gunned down in front of his Park Avenue residence, the public outcry forces the NYPD to restructure its homicide department. As the deceased was highly critical of Inspector Lionel Cramer, the longtime head of homicide is temporarily relieved of his badge. But it seems Cramer was not just a scapegoat. He was seen dining in Little Italy with mob kingpin Ralph Mars.

All of this amounts to little more than conversational fodder for private eye Nero Wolfe and his assistant Archie Goodwin. But if Cramer's provisional replacement, Captain George Rowcliff, becomes permanent, Wolfe's future dealings with the force will be much compromised. Loath to depart from his routine, Wolfe makes the unusual decision to take on a case without an actual client.

His investigation quickly points toward Pierce's organization, Good Government Group, where high-minded idealism is often trampled under the competing ambitions of the staff - several of whom would clearly have benefited from Pierce's demise. Despite the burgeoning list of suspects, Wolfe hasn't ruled out the involvement of the underworld and its connection to Cramer. But in order to untangle an abundance of motives and end the inspector's forced furlough, Wolfe may have to venture out of his comfort zone - and the premises of his brownstone.

Continuing his beloved series, Nero Award-winning author Robert Goldsborough "demonstrates an impressive ability to emulate Rex Stout's narrative voice" (Publishers Weekly).

The Battered Badge is the 60th book in the Nero Wolfe mystery series, but all titles can be enjoyed in any order.

My Thoughts: A new Nero Wolfe story is concerned with the death of Lester Pierce who is a crusader and reformer who wants to change the police department. Inspector Lionel Cramer of the NYPD Homicide division has been a particular target of the reformer. He's been put on leave and Captain George Rowcliff has become his replacement.

Neither Wolfe nor Archie are looking forward to working with Rowcliff but they don't have a client to encourage them to investigate. Cramer's sergeant comes to ask Wolfe and Archie to look into the case but he doesn't have the money to hire them. Archie begins to investigate and discovers a bunch of potential suspects including the "other woman." the mob, and others. 

When Wolfe finally decides to get involved, it brings some changes to his normal pattern. He doesn't have a client and the climax has him actually leaving his home for the reveal of the villian. 

Goldsborough does an excellent job recreating Rex Stout's characters. They sound and act just like the originals. L. J. Ganser does a great job narrating the story. He does an excellent job with Archie as the narrator.

I received this one February 26, 2023 from the Audible Plus catalog. You can buy your copy here.

Book Review: Unknown by Rachel Caine


Rachel Caine
Series: Outcast Season (Book 2)
Publication: Ace; 1st Printing edition (February 2, 2010)

Description: Living among mortals, the djinn Cassiel has developed a reluctant affection for them-especially for Warden Luis Rocha. As the mystery deepens around the kidnapping of innocent Warden children, Cassiel and Luis are the only ones who can investigate both the human and djinn realms. But the trail will lead them to a traitor who may be more powerful than they can handle...

My Thoughts: The second book in the Outcast Season series finds Cassiel becoming more human and falling in love with Earth Warden Luis Rocha. They are both on a quest to rescue Luis's niece who has been kidnapped by Pearl along with many other Warden children to be turned into weapons in her war against humanity.

Cassiel is conflicted and alone. She was exiled from the Djinn and turned human because she refused to massacre humanity. Her leader believes that this is the only way to defeat Pearl and save the Djinn. More and more Cassiel fears that he might be right. But the more she spends time with humans, the more determined she is to find a way to defeat Pearl and still save humanity. 

I enjoyed the worldbuilding in this story. I am also getting to like Cassiel more as she becomes more involved with humans and their problems. 

Favorite Quote:
Luis sighed. "So, I'm taking bets. Did we just do something really smart, or really, dramatically stupid?"

"I see nothing to say it can't be both," I said. "There is, after all, an endless supply of stupidity."
I bought this Kindle version February 2, 2010. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Book Review: Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman

Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader

Anne Fadiman
Publication: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1st edition (November 25, 2000)

Description: Perfectly balanced between humor and erudition, Ex Libris establishes Anne Fadiman as one of our finest contemporary essayists.

Anne Fadiman is--by her own admission--the sort of person who learned about sex from her father's copy of Fanny Hill, whose husband buys her 19 pounds of dusty books for her birthday, and who once found herself poring over her roommate's 1974 Toyota Corolla manual because it was the only written material in the apartment that she had not read at least twice.

This witty collection of essays recounts a lifelong love affair with books and language. For Fadiman, as for many passionate readers, the books she loves have become chapters in her own life story. Writing with remarkable grace, she revives the tradition of the well-crafted personal essay, moving easily from anecdotes about Coleridge and Orwell to tales of her own pathologically literary family. As someone who played at blocks with her father's 22-volume set of Trollope ("My Ancestral Castles") and who only really considered herself married when she and her husband had merged collections ("Marrying Libraries"), she is exquisitely well equipped to expand upon the art of inscriptions, the perverse pleasures of compulsive proof-reading, the allure of long words, and the satisfactions of reading out loud. There is even a foray into pure literary gluttony--Charles Lamb liked buttered muffin crumbs between the leaves, and Fadiman knows of more than one reader who literally consumes page corners.

My Thoughts: This collection of essays illuminates Anne Fadiman's love of books and shows how books have influenced and infused her life. She covers a wide range of topics from her own curiosity about Arctic explorers especially the Victorian failures to her family's obsession with proofreading. 

Essays about merging her library and her husband's library after their marriage and about the care and treatment of books were my favorites. While she and I have different feelings about writing in books, I do share the habit of leaving books face down and sprawled open as I'm reading them. The idea that using a bookmark indicates a stop while leaving the book open and facedown indicates a pause is one I hadn't had before but do agree with. 

I don't share her feelings about used books and really don't want to find someone else's crumbs in the gutter of a book but can understand how they could appeal to some other different reader. Nor do we read the same sort of books. "Literary" and "Classics" are phrases that lead me to look for some different book while they seem to draw her in. 

All in all, I enjoyed this book. Fadiman's love for books shone clearly through each page. 

Favorite Quote:
But why do I receive catalogues devoted exclusively to salsa, equestrian gear, electric grills, extra-large clothes, extra-small clothes, tours to sites at which UFO's have landed, and resin reproductions of medieval gargoyles? Do these companies know something about me that I don't know?
I bought this one October 25, 2009. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

ARC Review: A Killer's Game by Isabella Maldonado

A Killer's Game

Isabella Maldonado
Series: Daniela Vega (Book 1)
Publication: Thomas & Mercer (June 1, 2023)

Description: An FBI agent with a background in cryptography. A brilliant game maker bent on revenge. A deadly battle of wits and wills. An ingenious thriller from the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Cipher.

FBI agent and former military codebreaker Daniela “Dani” Vega witnesses a murder on a Manhattan sidewalk. The victim is chief of staff for a powerful New York senator. The assassin turned informant is Gustavo Toro. His code: hit the target and don’t ask questions. When Dani suspects a complex conspiracy, the only way to take down the mastermind is from the inside, forcing her to partner with Toro. Together they must infiltrate the inner circle at a remote facility.

Except it’s a trap. For all of them.

Locked in a subterranean labyrinth and held captive by an unseen host, Dani, Toro, and others must fight for their lives. Now Dani must stay undercover, unravel a bizarre conspiracy, and survive lethal puzzles. But will Toro be friend or foe? Because in this killer’s game, everything is real: the paranoia, the desperation, and the body count. And only one person can make it out alive.

My Thoughts: A KILLER'S GAME was an action-packed thriller starring Danielle Vega, a former Army Ranger turned FBI Agent. The case begins with the death of a Senator's Chief of Staff and ends in a former missile silo. 

Vega sees a man kill the Chief of Staff and chases him. He eludes her. When a friend of the Chief of Staff comes with a letter he was to bring to the FBI if anything happened to his friend, the case becomes more complex. From a band of hired killers run by a former Army Colonel to a tech billionaire with a grudge to a corrupt Senator, the story is packed with a variety of characters. 

Vega herself seems too good to be true. She's an elite soldier; she's a master strategist with the ability to solve all sorts of puzzles. She's also only been with the FBI for a matter of months. Yet she's the one for is assigned to go undercover with to find evidence to arrest the Senator. 

If the reader is ready to suspend belief, the story was engaging and it certainly was packed with action. Fans of thrillers will enjoy it. 

Favorite Quote:
Before leaving the Army, Vega had served in their most elite combat unit, where she had smashed through closed doors, glass ceilings, and preconceived notions. Wu had no doubt she was more than qualified for this assignment. Her only challenge would be dealing with Toto, whose loyalty was only to himself. 
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Monday, May 22, 2023

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (May 22, 2023)

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

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

I will be combining my YA and adult reading and purchases on this one weekly roundup.

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

Other Than Reading...

I had a nice quiet week with nothing on my schedule after last Monday's doctor's appointment. This week I have another medical appointment for an ultrasound of my thyroid but otherwise the week is empty of appointments. 

I finished the final In Death novel until the new one comes out in September and am trying to ignore the stack of novellas in the In Death series until I get ahead on my calendar. Next week will be filled with books I already own including some I bought in 2009. I am starting my June review books too. 

I have planned my June calendar but still have openings for two books and two audiobooks late in the month. I haven't decided what I want to read but have 2450 choices on my "To Read" stack. I'm sure that something will catch my attention. 

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.)
  • Desperation in Death by J. D. Robb (Mine; Audiobook) -- 55th in the In Death series.
  • Encore in Death by J. D. Robb (Mine; Audiobook) -- 56th in the In Death series
  • Unknown by Rachel Caine (Mine since February 2, 2010) -- Second in the Outcast Season urban fantasy series. Knowing that there were two more books in the series removed a lot of the suspense, but it was a good story. My review will be posted on May 25.
  • Booked for Murder by Jasmine Webb (Mine; Audiobook) -- Aspiring author Poppy Perkins finds herself the prime suspect in the murder of one of the customers in the coffee shop where she works. Entertaining story. My review will be posted on May 30.
  • The Battered Badge by Robert Goldsborough (Mine; Audiobook) -- This entry in the Nero Wolfe mystery series was an engaging historical mystery. The new author has Rex Stout's voice down pat. My review will be posted on May 25.
  • Deadtown by Nancy Holzner (Mine since December 29, 2009) -- This is the first in an urban fantasy series and was an entertaining story. My review will be posted on May 27.
  • A Fool's Gold Wedding by Susan Mallery (Mine; Audiobook) -- I was looking for something short to listen to this week and found this novella which is part of the Fool's Gold romance series by Susan Mallery. It was entertaining and well-narrated. I don't plan to review it.
  • A Botanist's Guide to Flowers and Fatality by Kate Khavari (Review; June 6) -- This second in the Saffron Everleigh historical mystery series was an engaging mystery about a woman trying to make her way as a botanist is 1920s London. My review will be posted on May 30.
  • Final Cut by Marjorie McCown (Review; June 6)
Next Week
Reviews Posted
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?


What was your week like?

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Book Review: The House at Sea's End by Elly Griffiths

The House at Sea's End

Elly Griffiths
Series: Ruth Galloway (Book 3)
Publication: Mariner Books; Reprint edition (January 10, 2012)

Description: In “a wonderful, atmospheric mystery” featuring forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway and DCI Harry Nelson, six bodies of men killed during World War II turn up in Brighton—bringing with them a long-buried, nefarious secret (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel).

Just back from maternity leave, forensic archeologist Ruth is finding it hard to juggle motherhood and work when she is called in to investigate human bones that have surfaced on a remote Norfolk beach. The presence of DCI Harry Nelson, the married father of her daughter, does not help. The bones, six men with their arms bound, turn out to date back to World War II, a desperate time on this stretch of coastland.

As Ruth and Nelson investigate, Home Guard veteran Archie Whitcliffe reveals the existence of a secret the old soldiers have vowed to protect with their lives. But then Archie is killed and a German journalist arrives, asking questions about Operation Lucifer, a plan to stop a German invasion, and a possible British war crime. What was Operation Lucifer? And who is prepared to kill to keep its secret?

My Thoughts: Dr. Ruth Galloway is juggling the care of her five-month-old daughter, her relationship with DCI Nelson, and bones discovered on an eroding seashore. These bones are found with tied wrists and gunshot wounds in the back of the neck. 

Testing determines that the bones are about 70 years old and from Germany which puts their deaths during World War II. That would be an interesting historical mystery if DCI Nelson doesn't have to investigate suspicious deaths of some of the very few remaining survivors who might know what happened to the men found buried. Someone clearly wants to cover up what happened when these Germans showed up on the coast. 

Ruth is also dealing with developing a routine for the care of her daughter Ruth and suffers from mother-guilt when she has to leave her in order to do her work as a forensic archaeologist. Ruth is also trying to find some balance with Nelson who wants to be a helpful caring father but doesn't want to blow up his marriage or ruin his relationship with his almost-grown daughters. It doesn't help the Nelson's wife wants to help Ruth whom she sees, rightly, as a woman a bit out of depth in raising a baby. 

This was a great story and entertaining mystery. I love the setting and the characters. 

Favorite Quote:
She has got her figure back after having the baby, which is a shame -- she was rather hoping to ger someone else's. 
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.