Review: Under Wraps by Hannah Jayne

Hannah Jayne is another new author for me! The New Authors Challenge 2013 is hosted by the Literary Escapism blog.

Under Wraps
by Hannah Jayne
Underworld Detection Agency, book 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by:  Kensington, 2011
E-book, purchased
352 pages
Grade: C

Synopsis: As a human immune to magic, Sophie Lawson can help everyone from banshee to zombie transition into normal, everyday San Francisco life. With a handsome werewolf as her UDA boss and a fashionista vampire for a roommate, Sophie knows everything there is to know about the undead, the unseen, and the uncanny. Until a rash of gruesome murders has demons and mortals running for cover, and Sophie finds herself playing sidekick to detective Parker Hayes. 

Dodging ranging bloodsuckers, bad-tempered fairies, and love-struck trolls is one thing. But when Sophie discovers Parker isn’t what he seems, she’s only got one chance to figure out whom to trust. Because an evil hiding in plain sight is closing in…and about to make one wisecracking human it means to ultimate power.

This wasn’t my favorite new author or urban fantasy. It didn’t quite work for me. I’ve read several books recently about the main character who is a null (Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning, for example). In Under Wraps Sophie is immune to magic and the supernatural creatures around her become normal creatures. Sophie works for a secret organization called the Underworld Detection Agency (UDA). It’s located 37 floors under the San Francisco Police Department. Sophie describes her agency:

We’re kind of like the DMV for the demon world—long lines, lots of windows, forms up the wazoo. It’s our job to get all the demons registered, documented, and legal and take care of any Underworld disputes. UDA is pretty forward thinking when it comes to demon life. We’ve got job counseling for the demon who has decided to leave the Underworld careers of terrorizing children and hiding under beds and move to something more permanent and substantial—like working the register at the Pottery Barn on Chestnut Street. We even offer a cutting-edge demon-human immersion program. It usually culminates with an exorcism on the part of the human, but still, it’s a start.

Sophie, the only human working for the UDA, is the administrative assistant for Pete Sampson the head of the UDA who is also a werewolf. When a policeman is sent down to the UDA by the police chief to speak with her boss Sophie finds herself in the middle of an investigation. I found this rather odd as she has no experience and given her internal thoughts she’s thinking about a lot more than the case:

I looked up into the cop’s beautiful blue eyes, and although I had no idea what swooning was, I was pretty sure I was doing it. I started to think of the two of us, hands joined, spinning in a meadow somewhere while the theme to Love Story played in the background.

The book is a light, fluffy read, but tries to also be a mystery. Sophie ends up helping Detective Hayes with the investigation of a murder of a lawyer who had all his blood drained. This is just the first of several murders. Her boss disappears and it looks like he might be guilty of the crimes. The world building is on the light side and I didn’t find most of the characters very likeable or memorable. I only read the book a month ago, but have a hard time remembering it.

I’m sure this series works for a lot of people, just not for me!

Blog Update…How I’m Learning an Old Saying Is Still True

Have you ever heard the saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?”

Well, I’m beginning to wonder if I should have thought of that. My comment system for the blog wasn’t broken, but I decided to tweak it. 😦

Yesterday I updated my blog to Disqus–a commenting system on the internet which works with different blogging platforms. It helps eliminate spam and helps encourage conversations between people. I’ve seen other blogs which use Disqus and read a little about it so I decided to give it a try.

I’ve signed up for it and it’s supposed import the comments I already have into my new Disqus system. So far nothing has happened. The Disqus site says it may take 24 hours, but since I only have a few blog posts and comments I would have thought it could be done very quickly. It has already been nearly 24 hours and I see nothing. Very frustrating.

Just wanted to let anyone know who might have commented in the past that I’m aware of the problem. I may go back to plain old Blogger! I do still have the comments so I hope I can restore them if I decide to return to my old system. I want my comments back…

Sunday Post–April 28

The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer. This is where I take a look at my last week and look ahead to what I might be doing next week.

Last Week

Around the House
More gardening, beautiful weather, reading and cards made and mailed. One thing I’m noticing is that I’m buying a lot more books than I’m getting read. One good thing is that these are all e-books so I’m not adding to my groaning physical bookshelves!

On my blog
One of the posts didn’t get completed so I posted another review instead.

Updated the blog
I decided to add grades to my reviews since I do add them to my reading list which I have kept for nearly 10 years now. Since I do grade the book after I read it I decided I might as well add them to the blog. I’ve gone back and added them to my past reviews since I don’t have that many. As I’ve done a few more reviews I’ve come up with a format so I also went back and included that format in the past reviews.

Posts
Sunday Post–April 21

Review: The Scrapyard Incident by Phillip Nolte

Review: The Duchess War by Courtney Milan

Book read
Kissed by Darkness by Shea MacLeod

Reading
Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning

E-books bought

Stranded by Anne Bishop, Anthony Francis, James Alan Gardner (short stories)
A Rose at Midnight by Anne Stuart
Overdraft: The Orion Offensive (Kindle serial) by John Jackson Miller
Terms of Enlistment by Marko Kloos

Through the Door (The Thin Veil) by Jodi McIsaac

Starfire by Mike Lee

Dreadful Skin by Cherie Priest

Plans for Next Week

Around the house
More of the same. My husband is out of town so I’m hoping to do more reading!

On my blog
May 2013 Books

Review: Under Wraps by Hannah James

Undetermined Post!

Review: The Duchess War by Courtney Milan

I’ve decided to add grades to my reviews as I do grade the books I read when I add them to my book list. I will add grades to my older reviews, too.

The Duchess War
by Courtney Milan
The Brothers Sinister series, book 1
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Courtney Milan, 2012
E-book, purchased
270 pages
Grade: B+

Synopsis: Miss Minerva Lane is a quiet, bespectacled wallflower, and she wants to keep it that way. After all, the last time she was the center of attention, it ended badly—so badly that she changed her name to escape her scandalous past. Wallflowers may not be the prettiest of blooms, but at least they don’t get trampled. So when a handsome duke comes to town, the last thing she wants is his attention.
But that is precisely what she gets.
Because Robert Blaisdell, the Duke of Clermont, is not fooled. When Minnie figures out what he’s up to, he realizes there is more to her than her spectacles and her quiet ways. And he’s determined to lay her every secret bare before she can discover his. But this time, one shy miss may prove to be more than his match…

……………………

Courtney Milan is one of my favorite writers. She has a great voice and I like the smart characters she writes. This book is the first in her Brothers Sinister series (though a novella called The Governess War is the introduction to the series). I am in awe of Ms. Milan because she is the model for a self-published author. She publishes smart, well-edited books with beautiful covers.

The beginning of this book made me laugh…

ROBERT BLAISDELL, THE NINTH DUKE OF CLERMONT, was not hiding.
True, he’d retreated to the upstairs library of the old Guildhall, far enough from the crowd below that the noise of the ensemble had faded to a distant rumble. True, nobody else was about. Also true: He stood behind thick curtains of blue-gray velvet, which shielded him from view. And he’d had to move the heavy davenport of brown-buttoned leather to get there.
But he’d done all that not to hide himself, but because—and this was a key point in his rather specious train of logic—in this centuries-old structure of plaster and timberwork, only one of the panes in the windows opened, and that happened to be the one secreted behind the sofa.
So here he stood, cigarillo in hand, the smoke trailing out into the chilly autumn air. He wasn’t hiding; it was simply a matter of preserving the aging books from fumes.

He might even have believed himself, if only he smoked.

So we understand he’s hiding, but we’re not sure why. Then another person arrives in the room. She walks around the room, but when the door begins to open again she dives behind the davenport and is hiding within feet of the Duke whom she doesn’t see.

Minerva (Minnie) is the woman who dove behind the davenport…hiding from an unwelcome suitor. This beginning could be the start of many historical romances, but Courtney Milan has crafted more complex characters. Both Minnie and Robert, the Duke of Clermont have important secrets. These secrets could be devastating for both of them if other people find out about them. Minnie understands this, but Robert who has led a privileged life is more sanguine about his secrets and whether they are made public. He deeply desires to do something important with his life; Minnie just wants a quiet life.

“You probably think battles are won with cannons and brave speeches and fearless charges.” She smoothed her skirts as she spoke. “They’re not. Wars are won by dint of having adequate shoe leather. They’re won by boys who make shells in munition factories, by supply trains shielded from enemy eyes. Wars are won by careful attendance to boring detail. If you wait to see the cavalry charge, Your Grace, you’ll have already lost.”

Both Minnie and Robert must fight for what they want both externally and internally. Minnie thinks she wants a quiet life, but she soon decides a quiet life and marriage to her despised suitor isn’t for her–not even to keep her secrets. Robert wants to do something meaningful, but learns that even though he may be too important to be hurt himself, his very presence may endanger others. They fall in love, but because of their secrets they are vulnerable. They have to decide their love is important enough to fight for,

The best thing about Ms. Milan’s characters is that they are genuine people. They aren’t perfect. They make mistakes. Minnie already knows life isn’t perfect. Robert learns that. They both grow and change during the course of this book and it’s a joy to watch.


I’ve read all of Courtney Milan’s books and always look forward to new books from her. I’m so glad she is publishing her own books and I hope this is working for her, because I want to read more of her books!

The next book in this series–The Heiress Effect–should be out sometime between May and August 2013.

Review: The Scrapyard Incident by Phillip Nolte

Another new author! Another addition to the New Author Challenge 2013. This challenge is hosted by the Literary Escapism blog.

The Scrapyard Incident
by Phillip Nolte
Junkyard Dogs, book 1
Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera
Published by: Amazon Digital, 2013
E-book, purchased
365 pages
Grade: C+

Synopsis: Ensign Tamara Carlisle, a brilliant, beautiful but decidedly quirky young officer on a remote assignment to obtain information needed to finish her advanced degree in Military History…
Lieutenant Ryan Harris, a talented and experienced engineer who harbors doubts about his ability to command…Engineering Technician Angus Hawkins, a savvy veteran and former Chief Petty Officer busted down in rank for brawling…

These three unsuspecting individuals, marooned after a devastating sneak attack on the United Terran Federation Naval Reclamation Center– a huge, orbiting Junkyard located in a remote corner of Federation space– are forced to confront their limitations and team up to fight back against unknown, heavily armed foes who threaten their continued survival…

………………….

This is a self-published book and looks like the first book written by Phillip Nolte. I enjoy space opera and military science fiction and I liked this book. It could have been written tighter and I saw some editing errors, but overall I enjoyed the book.

I thought the idea of the Scrapyard was good. It’s a junkyard for spacecraft! The Scrapyard is formally known as the United Terran Federation Naval Reclamation Center–the derelict spacecraft left after a war and additional junked spacecraft brought here. The military has a base here because the parts from the spacecraft can often be sold and used for repairs. The military center is destroyed in a sneak attack and all but three military who are away from the Center in the Scrapyard during the attack are killed.

The three military left after a sneak attack are all engaging characters:

  • Ensign Tamara Carlisle…with a tattoo on her face and especially her habit of talking to herself while she was thinking is a well-drawn character.

She got into the short line that had formed as the newcomers were processed.
“…Reclamation center…checkpoint…credentials…take it easy, Tamara…,” she mumbled to herself.
“Pardon? said the man directly in front of her, turning slightly to acknowledge the speaker behind.
“What? Oh, I must’ve been talking to myself again. Bad habit. My apologies.”

I thought this was a clever character trait and made her more human and individual. However, this makes other people think she’s odd and she hasn’t fit in well with her academy classmates. She is intelligent, but she’s an outsider in the military. This book reminded me a little of Elizabeth Moon’s book Once a Hero about Lt. Esmay Suiza. Lt. Suiza is also young, very talented and an outsider in the military.

  • Lieutenant Ryan Harris is a stereotypical engineer…good at the technical, but not a good people person. During the course of the book he discovers he’s a better people person and leader than he thought.
  • The former Chief Petty Officer–now Engineering Technician Angus Hawkins (demoted due to a fight several years ago)–was the quintessential crusty, taciturn, but experienced NCO. Another stereotype…good officers know they should trust their experienced NCO even if he is crusty and has a chip on his shoulder!

While Lt. Harris, Ensign Carlisle and Engineering Tech Hawkins were having their battles with unknown forces their commanding officer and others on a space station are trying to figure out what force has taken over the space station and why. The book moves back and forth between the two locations as each battle for their lives and to try to figure out why the attacks happened.

I especially like that the military stayed true to being military. There is attraction between Lt. Harris and Ensign Carlisle, but during their fight in the Scrapyard he is her commander and he’s aware that it’s against regulations for them to become romantically involved. Also they were in the middle of life and death battles. It’s much more realistic that the attraction was there, but they were too busy fighting for their lives. There is a slight romance by the end of the book (after the battles are over and Lt. Harris is no longer her commander), but they go their separate ways. This is the first book in a series so perhaps they meet again in the next book. I hope so!

As I stated above I think the book would have benefited from more editing, but I do plan to buy the next book in this series and hope it comes out soon!

Sunday Post–April 21

The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer. This is where I take a look at my last week and look ahead to what I might be doing next week.

Last Week


Around the House
One of our daughters came to visit this weekend. She helped me make some changes to my craft/art room. I made quite a few cards and even mailed quite a few…lol! We also bought planters, soil and herbs and got them planted. So happy to have herbs…basil, parsley, dill, oregano, thyme, mint, rosemary, lavender. I still need cilantro and a few more herbs. Also need some flowers. The other thing my husband and I did was have a mini Dr. Who marathon…caught up on last season so we can start this season! I only managed to read the first book in Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series this week. 😦

Posts on my blog
Sunday Post–April 14


National Library Week–April 14 -20

Top Ten Tuesday–My Most Vivid Worlds/Settings

Buddy Review–Assassin’s Gambit by Amy Raby (the buddy review is at the Breezing Through blog)

Books read
Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning

E-books bought

Gun, With Occasional Music by Jonathan Lethem
Bossypants by Tina Fey
The Element of Fire by Martha Wells
The Death of the Necromancer by Martha Wells
No Peace for the Damned by Megan Powell
Defiance by C. J. Redwine
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Plans for Next Week

Around the house
More planting, more reading, more cards…those are my plans!

On my blog
Review: The Scrapyard Incident by Ralph Nolte

My Favorite Women Science Fiction/Fantasy Authors

Review

Review: Assassin’s Gambit by Amy Raby

This is a buddy review I did with nath over at Breezing Through. I had a lot of fun talking with nath about this book, but it did make me realize I’m not a very critical reader. While we discussed the book I had to admit a number of things in the book were problems!

This is also a new author I read so this is another of my New Author Challenge 2013 books. This is hosted by the Literary Escapism blog.

Assassin’s Gambit
by Amy Raby
The Hearts and Thrones series, book 1
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Published by: Signet, 2013
E-book, purchased
400 pages
Grade: C+

Synopsis:Vitala Salonius, champion of the warlike game of Caturanga, is as deadly as she is beautiful. She’s a trained assassin for the resistance, and her true play is for ultimate power. Using her charm and wit, she plans to seduce her way into the emperor’s bed and deal him one final, fatal blow, sparking a battle of succession that could change the face of the empire.

As the ruler of a country on the brink of war and the son of a deposed emperor, Lucien must constantly be wary of an attempt on his life. But he’s drawn to the stunning Caturanga player visiting the palace. Vitala may be able to distract him from his woes for a while—and fulfill other needs, as well.
Lucien’s quick mind and considerable skills awaken unexpected desires in Vitala, weakening her resolve to finish her mission. An assassin cannot fall for her prey, but Vitala’s gut is telling her to protect this sexy, sensitive man. Now she must decide where her heart and loyalties lie and navigate the dangerous war of politics before her gambit causes her to lose both Lucien and her heart for good.…

The book has a lot of promise so please check out our buddy review, see what nath and I thought and then see what you think!

Top Ten Tuesday–Top Ten Most Vivid Book Worlds/Settings

Note: I had trouble finishing up this post this morning after the terrible events in Boston yesterday. One of my daughters ran in the Boston Marathon a couple years ago so this brought back memories of my happiness for her that day with the horror of seeing those bombs go off  blanketed over those happy memories. Plus I have a nephew and his wife who just moved from Boston. My hearts go out to all the people injuried or killed yesterday, their families and to all of Boston. My thoughts are also with the police, FBI and everyone working to catch the person or person who did this: I hope they are caught very soon and put on trial very soon.

My topic this week is apropos: Sometimes I want to escape this world reality and become immersed in a book’s world or setting. That’s one reason I read.

…………………………

This week  on Top Ten Tuesday we have a rewind–where we can pick a topic we missed the first time around or one we want to revisit. Since I have only done Top Ten Tuesday for about a month I have lots of past topics to choose from. I chose the Top Ten Most Vivid Book Worlds/Settings.

Lord of the Rings (and The Hobbit) by J. R. R. Tolkien
The world Tolkien created is one of the first fantasy worlds I learned about. It is certainly the richest and most complex world I had encountered at that time (as a teenager) and Tolkien has influenced many fantasy authors. I wanted to go to Middle Earth and the Shire after I read The Hobbit! I’ve always felt I could see the big trees walking. We had a  Beech tree in our yard when we lived in Ohio that I could see walking away from our yard.

 

Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers
My mother read the Mary Poppins books to me when I was a child before the movie was made by Disney. We both loved them so much and were so excited when the movie came out. I loved to hear about Jane , Michael, the twins and Mary Poppins. As a child I wanted to know how these children lived their lives and I envied them having a nanny! I tried reading the books to my children and either I was too early or too late, because they weren’t interested. Sad, but true!

Skinwalkers by Tony Hillerman
Tony Hillerman wrote about the Navajo Indians in the Four Corners area of Arizona and New Mexico and occasionally Colorado and Utah. I love this area of the United States and Tony Hillerman brought it alive for me. I started these books when I was a teenager and at first I thought he must be a Navajo to write the way he did. It doesn’t surprise me he won many awards for his writing or the Navajo Tribe’s Special Friends of the Dineh Award. The protangonists in this book are both Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn of the Navajo Tribal Police. I especially like this book because it does have both characters. Both are Navajos, but they approach their lives and their investigations very differently. Jim Chee is studying with his uncle to become a yataalii (a wiseman or shaman). He is more mystical in his approach to the world than Joe Leaphorn is. Leaphorn is skeptical of the many Navajo traditions, but he does take rumors of Navajo witchcraft and other mysteries seriously. Tony Hillerman also wrote books about each character separately. Hillerman’s descriptions of the American Southwest, the weather, the people especially the Navajo Indians are all clear and strong in his books and I am swept away to the Southwest when I read these books.

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
I read this book a number of years ago and it has stayed with me. It was a very emotional read and I also convinced one of my daughters and  my husband to read it. They loved it, too. We’ve gone on to read a number of Connie Willis books, but this is still our favorite. Kivrin travels back in time (she thinks she is going to 1320), but the technician in 2048 makes a mistake and she arrives in 1348 England during the Black Plague. One of the interesting things for me is that she doesn’t immediately realize what year she has arrived since calendars and clocks aren’t common things during that time. The Church kept their church calendar which is how people knew what time of the year it was (that and the seasons, of course!) and the church rang bells during the day. It wasn’t until people began dying that she began suspect what had happened and then she finds she can’t return to 2048 right then and maybe won’t get back at all. This wasn’t an easy read for me. Many people die and the setting was so vivid to me. I felt I was there having to watch all these people die along with Kivrin. The characters were so vivid and as in life there were heroes and villains both in 1348 and 2048 (where an epidemic also occurs).

Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
The setting is a 1950 English village. The main character is 11 year old Flavia de Luce who is fascinated by chemistry and poison. She is also a neglected child, a prodigy of sorts and when she finds a murdered man decides to investigate. I felt part of the 1950 English village. Alan Bradley as a first time 70 year old author has written such a good series. The other books in this series are also very good. Flavia is such an interesting character and the 1950’s is a great setting.

Fledgling by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
I like the world Sharon Lee and Steve Miller have created with all their books. They show the long history of the Liaden Universe. The Liadens are so interesting with their careful manners and complex language and I like that they aren’t perfect. In fact, there are some villains as well as the heroes. The Clan Korvel is the family followed throughout the books. Fledgling is a departure that doesn’t take place on Liad and seems not to be part of the series at first. If you read the earlier books it slowly dawns on you who some of the characters must be. The authors have created a new culture on a new planet which is very interesting. I feel like I could know these people! Each culture they introduce in their books are diverse and unique to me.

A Christmas Bride by Mary Balogh
I like Mary Balogh’s books very much…especially her older Regency books. The Christmas books and stories she writes really evoke the English winter countryside at Christmas during the Regency era. They involve families and the adults are active in their children’s lives. There is often snow and they play in the snow, have snowball fights, go sledding or go ice skating. They bring in a yule log and greenery and decorate the house. They attend Christmas Eve services and sing carols. I realize it may be an idealized setting, but it is lovely for the Christmas season especially. It makes me feel I am there!

Secrets of the Night by Jo Beverley 
This is part of Jo Beverley’s Malloren series. They are historical romances which take place in England during the Georgian era. This is one of my favorites by Jo Beverley, but really I love all her books–the Georgian Mallorens, the Regencies and the Medievals. The Marquis of Rothgar is a character in all the books and is a very powerful person in Great Britain. In this book one of his brothers is kidnapped and Rothgar is incensed. He’s determined to find out who did this and why and them make them pay for it. Rothgar is a friend of the King and the Prince of Wales. Jo Beverley does a good job showing how powerful Rothgar is and the influence he wields both inside and outside his family. I like the romance in these books, but I also like how I feel part of the Georgian period and the politics of the time.

The Warrior’s Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold
This is not the first book in the Vorkosigan series, but it is the first one with Miles nearly grown. He’s physically handicapped on a planet where the warrior class rules. Miles is a brilliant strategist, very intelligent, but his body betrays him. Miles can’t pass the physical for the military academy so he leaves his planet–Barrayer–to try to cope with the fact he can’t be the warrior he wants to be. This is an adventure story, but Ms. Bujold also does a great job showing Miles coming to terms with his handicap, growing up and discovering just what he can do. The people around him are also vivid. Miles begins to come into his own. The world Ms Bujold creates a unique world with people I would like to meet (at least some of them!)

Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
This is the first book in the October Daye series. I love the way this series starts. October (Toby) works as a private investigator. She is half human and half fae and has spent 14 years as a fish after a PI assignment went bad! After that, she doesn’t want anything more to do with magic, but of course, she’s drawn back into that world. The San Francisco setting and Toby’s job sucked me into her world…the human world and the fae world in the middle of it all.

National Library Week–April 14 – 20

April 14-20 is National Library Week here in the U.S. I love libraries. The small town I grew up in didn’t have any bookstores so the library in our town was very precious to us. Some of my earliest memories are going to the library with my mother. I remember the children’s section was in the basement. I was thrilled when I finally came upstairs and looked for books in the adult section! In those days there weren’t any young adult books though looking back a lot of the books I read were pretty much young adult–Mary Stewart, Andre Norton and some of Robert Heinlein, for example.

I loved spending a Saturday morning browsing through the adult section at the library. In those days I read a lot of mysteries and science fiction and it was wonderful just to pull books from the shelves and look through them to decide if I wanted to check them out. My mother read a lot, read to me when I was younger and when I was a teenager we read a lot of the same books. It was wonderful for us to go to the library and each check out books and then trade books part way through the two week check out period. Even after I became an adult and moved away we each continued to use libraries and continued to talk about books and share favorite authors.

You can check out the graphic below at this site:

This graphic illustrates how important libraries are today. They have evolved and stayed relevant in this Internet age. I still love to browse the shelves in a library, but today I also check to see if my library is offering e-books or DVDs. When my husband and I travel we often find a library we can go to use the Internet. When we moved to Maryland one of the first things we did was visit the library so we could find out more about the area we were moving to.

What about you? Do you use libraries? Have they been important in your life?

Sunday Post–April 14

The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer. This is where I review my last week and look ahead to what I might be doing next week.

Last Week

Around the House
We drove home from Iowa this week. Lots of driving, but fun to see friends and family. My husband helped his dad clean up his yard to get ready for spring.

We arrived back in the DC area and it was summer! The daffodils my sisters-in-law helped me plant last fall are blooming, tulips are growing and the lawn is getting green. We’ve only been in this house a few months so this is our first spring. The soil is terrible–hard clay. The builder destroyed all the top soil and compacted everything so we are just hoping to keep the lawn growing. Our lot has a few trees growing at the end of our very small backyard and we have a runoff pond just beyond that so we have a little more privacy than most people in the subdivision. We’ve put up bird feeders and over the winter had lots of birds…goldfinches, woodpeckers, chickadees, cardinals, and hoards of red winged blackbirds! My cats love to watch them through the windows (as do I)!

Posts on my blog
Sunday Post–April 7

Review: Kiss of Steel by Bec McMaster

Review: Monster in My Closet by R. L. Naquin

Books read
Assassin’s Gambit by Amy Raby

E-books bought

Assassin’s Gambit by Amy Raby
Hunting by Andrea K. Host
Now May You Weep by Deborah Crombie
The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz
Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet by Darynda Jones
The Fever Series: Five Book Bundle by Karen Marie Moning
The Accidental Demon Slayer by Angie Fox
A Bit of Bite by Cynthia Eden (short story)
Big Boy (Strangers on a Train) by Ruthie Knox (short story)

Around the web
Kristen at Fantasy Cafe is hosting her second annual Women in SF&F Month. Each day in April she has a post by fellow bloggers or authors, For example, Lois McMaster Bujold has written a post about the women who write science fiction and fantasy and how this conversation is a re-run of many others. Very interesting! I’ve been enjoying all the posts. I’ve found a number of new authors and books to read! Go and check them out.

Next Week

Around the house
A little more spring than summer this week so I’m hoping to plant some containers with flowers. I’m also hoping to do lots of reading. I bought the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning and am reading the first book. Really enjoying it. I also want to start making more cards. I’ve lots of birthdays and friends and family to send “happy spring” cards to! It should be a fun, productive week!

On the blog 
Planned posts:

  • National Library Week
  • Top Ten Tuesday
  • Review
  • Buddy Review with nath at the Breezing Through blog: Assassin’s Gambit