Sunday Post–June 30

The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

A look back at my last week and forward to next week:

 

Last Week

Around the House

Lots of activity last week. We met my SIL last Sunday afternoon for lunch and toured some of the monuments in DC. Lots of fun. She’s been in town all week for a conference so we also met her down on the National Mall one evening this week. The folklife festival has started (annual festival on the Mall every year around 4th of July). This year the emphasis is on Hungary. We watched some Hungarian dancers, ate some Hungarian food and listened to violin players. Afterward we went  to a rooftop bar. A fun evening.

At the end of the week our son in Northern Virginia moved from one apartment building to another. Our daughter went to help him the night before the move and called to tell us he needed more help! We spent a couple days this week helping pack and move stuff.

Saturday evening we went out to dinner and to see the Capitol Steps for my husband’s birthday. Lots of fodder for political satire…lol. We’ve also had very humid weather, rain and thunderstorms most afternoons. That made the move a challenge at times! A good week, not much done around the house or the blog…but that’s okay.

Blog

Sunday Post–June 23

Quote-Tastic–from An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire

Top Ten Tuesday–Favorite Books Read…January-June 2013

Books read

An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire

E-books bought

Summer Knight: Book Four of the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (e=book, borrowed from library)

Libriomancer  (Magic Ex Libris, Book 1) by Jim C. Hines

Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles, book 2) by Marissa Meyer

Hounded: The Iron Druid Chronicles, book 1 (with two bonus short stories!) by Kevin Hearne

Around the web

The Sync free downloads for this week (June 27 – July 3)

June 27 – July 3, 2013
Rotters by Daniel Kraus, read by Kirby Heyborne (Listening Library)
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, read by Jim Weiss (Listening Library)

……………

rivers-of-london-tv-series

The Tor.Com website reports that the Peter Grant series (described as an urban fantasy/police procedural) by Ben Aaronovitch has been optioned to become a UK TV series. I’m excited about that since I hope it will eventually make its way across the Atlantic to the U.S. I like this series of books a lot so I hope it does get made into a TV series.

Next Week

Around the house

We are traveling to the Midwest for the week of 4th of July so this will be another week with not too much on the blog.

Posts on the blog

  • Quote-Tastic
  • Review: A Matter of Circumstance and Celludrones by Claire Robyns
  • Sunday Post

Favorite Books Read…January-June 2013

toptentuesday2Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish blog. I don’t always participate, but try to at least once a month or so. This month I’ve managed more than that so that’s been fun. Sometimes I have a hard time coming up with anything to say and sometimes I feel like I’m saying the same thing over and over so those weeks I try not to participate. I think I repeat myself enough as it is! Some of this is also repetitive since I’ve already reviewed most of these books. but anyway here goes…

This has been a pretty good reading year for me so far. I haven’t read as many books as last year so far, but I’ve read some that I really like. I’ve reviewed all but three of these books so far. My backlog of reviews is getting smaller, but I still have at least a half dozen books to review.

Fair Game by Patricia Briggs— A (An Alpha and Omega series book also set in the Mercy Thompson world. Very good and I like how it ties into Frost Burned!)

Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews— A (Book 5 of the Kate Daniels series…Ilona Andrews and Patricia Briggs are my favorite authors for urban fantasy right now. The next book in this series come out at the end of July. Every book is excellent.)

Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs— A (I love Patricia Briggs’ books. It’s always hard to wait two years for a new book in the Mercy Thompson books. She is moving the series along in a very good way!)

Written in Red by Anne Bishop— A- (The author’s voice, world building and characters are wonderful. This is probably my favorite new series of the year so far.)

A Hint of Frost by Hailey Edwards— A- (This was a unique fantasy for me…using spider characteristics for the characters.)

Terms of Enlistment by Marko Kloos— B+ (Very good military science fiction…one of the best I’ve read in a long time.)

God Save the Queen by Kate Locke— B+ (A modern day Victorian setting with vampires, humans, werewolves and goblins…I liked the author’s voice a lot)

The Girl With the Cat Tattoo by Theresa Weir— B+ (The voice in this book…mostly Max the cat…is very entertaining.)

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning— B+ (I’ve read three books in this series so far and they are all very good…though they keep getting darker as they go along.)

The Duchess War by Courtney Milan— B+ (Courtney Milan’s books have all been favorites of mine. I like her voice and characters.)

How about you? What are your favorite books of the first half of the year?

Quote-Tastic–from An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire

This is a meme hosted by the herding cats & burning soup blog.

Just pick a quote and the book it came from.

an_artificial_nightThe quote today is from the book I’m reading right now–An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire. This is the third book in the October Daye urban fantasy series. This quote is found within the first few pages of the book.  October (Toby) answers a knock at her door early one morning and faces a person who looks exactly like her. This person says her name is May Daye:

May shook her head again. “Close your mouth. You look like a goldfish.” The barb hit home. Anyone who knew me well enough to steal my face should have known better than to make cracks about the time I spent as a fish. [from the beginning of Book 1]

My notoriously short-lived patience was running out. I glared, demanding, “What the hell are you?”

“A Fetch. Your Fetch, to be exact,” she said. “You know, the spirits that wear your face when they come to escort you to the lands of–”

“–the dead,” I finished. “Little problem: I’m not dead.” A Fetch is a duplicate of a living person created when it’s time for them to die. They’re incredibly rare, and most people don’t get one. I certainly never requested the honor.

“Of course. I know everything there is to know about you, right up until the universe decided you were destined to die and created me to be your guide.”

“Everything?” I didn’t like the sound of that. There are some things I don’t want anyone to know.

“Everything. From what you got on your sixth birthday to what kind of flowers you leave on Dare’s grave. I even know what you were thinking about Tybalt after you saw him in those red leather pants–”

I held up my hand. “Stop. I believe you.”

This quite a twist in the beginning part of the book and Toby (obviously) isn’t happy about it! This is a really good series.

Sunday Post–June 23

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

Lots of cleaning and picking up…always a good thing in our house…lol

Blog

Sunday Post–June 16

Quote-Tastic–from Lady of Devices

Top Ten Tuesday–Ten New Books for Summer

Review: Lady of Devices by Shelley Adina

Review: Shapeshifted by Cassie Alexander

Books read

Shapeshifted by Cassie Alexander

What I’m reading

An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire

E-books bought

Indexing by Seanan McGuire (e-book serial)

Old Man’s War by John Scalzi

Roaring Midnight (The Gardella Vampire Chronicles, Macey #1) by Coleen Gleason

Carniepunk: Parlor Tricks by Jennifer Estep (free story)

The Art of Detection by Laurie R. King

Audio Books from Sync

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, read by Will Patton (Scholastic Audiobooks)

Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya, read by Robert Ramirez (Recorded Books)

Around the web

The Sync free downloads for this week (June 20 – 26)

June 20 – June 26, 2013
Once by Morris Gleitzman, read by Morris Gleitzman (Bolinda Audio)
Letter From Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King, Jr., read by Dion Graham (christianaudio)

Next Week

Around the house

Our older daughter is arriving…can’t wait. She will stay with us until she starts a college program this fall. We are doing some traveling and she’s planning to do some studying while she’s here. It will be great to have her around for awhile.

Posts on the blog

  • Quote-Tastic
  • Top Ten Tuesday–Best books so far this year
  • Review: A Matter of Circumstance and Celludrones by Claire Robyns
  • Sunday Post

Review: Shapeshifted by Cassie Alexander

shapeshiftedShapeshifted
by Cassie Alexander
Series: Edie Spence series, #3
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, June 2013
E-book, purchased
320 pages
Grade:  B

Synopsis: Nurse Edie Spence is once again called upon to save a life…and this time, it’s personal. Can her new community of zombies, vampires, and shapeshifters come to her rescue when she needs them most?

When Edie was fired from her paranormal nursing job at County Hospital, her whole world came crashing down. Now she’s is once again shaken to her core. Her mother is deathly ill and there’s only one thing that will save her: vampire blood. But with the paranormal community shunning Edie, where can she obtain it…without losing her own life in the process?

………………………………..

This is the third book in the Edie Spence series so if you haven’t read the first two books I’ll try not to put spoilers in, but to even read the synopsis does give away information. This book picks up a few months after book 2 ended. Edie works in a sleep clinic, bored and depressed because she has been shunned by the supernatural community.

Then she finds out her mother has cancer and is devastated. Her mother has come to the realization she’s going to die and found her peace, but Edie has just found out about the cancer and wants her mother to continue to fight. If she can’t fight, Edie is determined to fight for her.

Edie tries to contact someone in the supernatural society thinking a vampire could save her mom, but since she’s shunned no one will talk to her. Next she applies for a new job. She realizes she has to leave the sleep clinic and get her life back in order. She interviews for one of the jobs even though it’s in a bad part of town and everyone speaks Spanish…which she doesn’t speak or understand. She manages to get the job and the book continues from there.

My thoughts: This book moved slower than I remember with the first two books. When it did start to move along I enjoyed it. Quite a bit of the book is internal…inside Edie. She worries about her mother a lot. She spends a lot of time searching for vampires, searching for someone who will find vampires for her. The clinic where she’s working has it’s own mysteries–gang violence, mysterious test tubes of blood, hostile employees. The clinic’s doctor has many secrets. She’s drawn to the doctor–Dr. Hector Tovar–but as a nurse she  knows nothing good comes from getting involved with a doctor!

Olympio is a character I really enjoyed in this book. He’s a young boy who hangs out outside the clinic trying to steer patients to see his grandfather who is a faith healer of some sort. He’s an engaging character and Edie spends free time with him. Olympio shows her the neighborhood around the clinic, answers a lot of her questions and tries to get Edie to visit his grandfather.

As a nurse, I’d heard all sorts of holistic health bullshit. I’d seen patients who’d been burned by cupping, who had made themselves ill by eating mislabeled ‘remedy’ pills contaminated with lead. “Yeah?” I said, my eyebrows rising.

Yeah. You got something wrong with you, lady. I can tell. I don’t know what it is, but my grandfather is a great curandero, he’d know.”

“Well–” I regrouped. “I disagree. No, wait. Actually, I do agree–there’s something wrong with me.” I was sure I looked worried about my mom. I’d seen it in the mirror this morning, in the corners of my eyes. “But it’s not the kind of thing that other people can fix.”

“My grandfather–”

“I’m late for work….”

He leaned back, casual, ready for wherever business took him. “Hey, I’ll be here trying to rescue people from you all, all day.”

I grinned at him. “Make sure you stand in the shade. I don’t want to know what your grandfather does for heatstroke.”

This book moved the story arc along…some doors closed for Edie and others opened, but I don’t have a sense where the series is going next. I feel like Edie doesn’t really feel she deserves happiness. I hope that changes.

I checked the author’s website and read that St. Martin’s Press bought the next two books in the series–Deadshifted and Bloodshifted. There isn’t a date for when these books will be published…soon, I hope! I want to see what happens to Edie next.

Review: Lady of Devices by Shelley Adina

The Literary Escapism Blog has hosted a new author challenge since 2009. They ask you to choose a number of new authors to read and then review their books during the year. I chose to read 25 this year. Since this is the first book I’ve read by Shelley Adina it’s listed with the Literary Escapism blog on their 2013 New Author Challenge page. You can also check out my page for the new authors I’ve read and reviewed so far this year.

Lady of Devices: A Steampunk Adventure Novel
by Shelley Adina
Series: Magnificent Devices, book 1
Genre: Steampunk
Published by: Shelley Adina, 2011
E-book, purchased
160 pages
Grade: B
Synopsis: London, 1889. Victoria is Queen. Charles Darwin’s son is Prime Minister. And steam is the power that runs the world.

At 17, Claire Trevelyan, daughter of Viscount St. Ives, was expected to do nothing more than pour an elegant cup of tea, sew a fine seam, and catch a rich husband. Unfortunately, Claire’s talents lie not in the ballroom, but in the chemistry lab, where things have a regrettable habit of blowing up. When her father gambles the estate on the combustion engine and loses, Claire finds herself down and out on the mean streets of London. But being a young woman of resources and intellect, she turns fortune on its head. It’s not long before a new leader rises in the underworld, known only as the Lady of Devices.

When she meets Andrew Malvern, a member of the Royal Society of Engineers, she realizes her talents may encompass more than the invention of explosive devices. They may help her realize her dreams and his . . . if they can both stay alive long enough to see that sometimes the closest friendships can trigger the greatest betrayals . . .

………………………………

The book begins in a school for young women being trained mainly to make their debut in society and make a good marriage. Claire, however, doesn’t care about those things. She likes science and all things to do with steam power. She has a habit of blowing things up though. That’s how the book starts…she’s at St. Cecelia’s Academy for Young Ladies and blows up her experiment during Chemistry class–mostly because the professor wouldn’t tell her what would happen if she combined certain things. She’s very curious and not afraid to explode things. Of course, the popular girls tease her and make fun of her. The book starts out very traditionally and predictably.

Claire doesn’t want to get married right away as her parents expect her to. She wants to go to Oxford and become an engineer. Her mother is horrified at the mere mention. Her father loses all their money by thinking the combustion engine would win out over the steam engine (silly man!) Claire doesn’t have to worry about coming out and marrying some rich titled lord. Now she has to worry about surviving and this is where the story becomes less conventional.

Through a series of mishaps Claire finds herself stranded in London without a place to stay. With her talent for chemistry and blowing things up she becomes the Lady of Devices. From this point on she is more an adventurer and creates her own life rather than letting it happen. I liked the steampunk aspects of the story…especially that her father loses his money by betting it on the internal combustion engine! Claire learns to drive the family steam landau (before they lose all their money) and she had ridden a quadricycle. It’s fun to read the names and descriptions of these devices.

I initially gave the book a B+ when I read it in January, but as I was writing this review I realized I’d forgotten a lot of the book. I had to re-read quite a bit of it, so even though I enjoyed the book, I downgraded it a bit since I couldn’t remember it!

The book is self-published and the author has done a good job with the editing and writing. There are already four books in the series, but I’ve only read this first one so far. I do have the second book–Her Own Devices–and plan to move it up my TBR list.

Ten New Books for Summer 2013

toptentuesday2

I published this and then realized I forgot to add a shout out and link to The Broke and Bookish blog who sponsors this weekly meme.

Top Ten Tuesdays have a new topic each week asking each blogger to write about their top ten favorites for that topic. This week was the top ten books on our summer TBR list. I interpreted this as the top ten books published this summer I’m most excited about.

 

June books

trailofdead

Trail of Dead by Melissa F. Olson…this is book 2 of the Scarlett Bernard series. I read and enjoyed the first book in the series--Dead Spots–and reviewed it in May.

shapeshifted

Shapeshifted by Cassie Alexander…this is the third book in the Edie Spence series and I enjoyed the first two books a lot!

roaring-midnight

Roaring Midnight (The Gardella Vampire Chronicles) by Colleen Gleason…this book takes place in the Roaring 20s and since I liked the original Gardella books and since a book in the Roaring 20s sounds fun…

July books

Magic-Rises_md

Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews…these books about Kate and Curran are one of my favorite series. When I finally get this book it will be one of the highlights of my summer!

CarniePunk (anthology) by Rachel Caine, Jennifer Estep, Kevin Hearn, Seanan McGuire & Rob Thurman…these authors are such good writers and have written some of my favorite books so I think this would be a great anthology.

a-time-of-dying

A Time of Dying by Hailey Edwards…the first book in this series is one of my favorite books of the year so far. This is the third book in the series. I reviewed the first book–A Hint of Frost–just a couple weeks ago (though I read it in January).

August books

seduction-in-silk

Seduction in Silk by Jo Beverley…Ms. Beverley is an autobuy author for me. I love her historical romance books. This one is set in the Georgian era of the Malloren world–which started a number of years ago when Ms. Beverley wrote about the Malloren family.

arrangement

The Arrangement (Survivor’s Club) by Mary Balogh…this is the second book in Ms. Balogh’s Survivor’s Club series. She is also an historical romance autobuy author for me.

dragonwriter

Dragonwriter: A Tribute to Anne McCaffrey and Pern by Todd McCaffrey, David Brin, Lois McMaster Bujold, & Mercedes Lackey…I read the Pern books many years ago and loved them. I’m interested to see what these very good authors have to say.

Quote-Tastic

This is a meme hosted by the herding cats & burning soup blog.

Just pick a quote and the book it came from.

lady_of_devices_shelleyadina_cover_500x800My quotes today are from the book I’m reviewing later this week…Lady of Devices: A Steampunk Adventure Novel by Shelley Adina.

“…If there’s anything I hate, It’s someone telling me ‘don’t’ without saying why.”

“And one must know the reason why for everything.”

and

“You have something you wish to say to me?” She had quite a number of things she wished to say to him, but not in front of the girls. If one wanted models of good behavior, one must be a model of good behavior oneself.

“Yes, I–well, I–” Flushing again, he chewed the lower edge of his mustache. Good heavens. He was as edgy as a man about to propose. Not that she had any experience along those lines except for what she’d see in the flickers.

“Cat got your tongue?” Lizzie enquired.

“He’s got something stuck in his throat,” Maggie agreed. “Lozenge?’ She held up a hard cherry drop, somewhat fuzzy from being carted about in her pocket all day.

Lord James looked down at them like Zeus from Olympus. “Little girls should be seen and not heard.”

Sunday Post–June 16

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.

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there!

Last Week

Around the House

A quiet week…some reading, working on the blog, lunch with our son.

Blog

I’ve been taking a WordPress Blog and Website class so I decided to take the plunge and move my blog. To my surprise it was a pretty painless process. I spent most of the time after the blog exported and then imported picking out a theme and then deciding on categories and tags. I still have a few more things to do and I may decide on a different theme, but I’m enjoying the process!

  • Sunday Post
  • Quote-Tastic
  • Top Ten Tuesday–Beach Reads
  • Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Books read

Faefever by Karen Marie Moning

What I’m reading

Shapeshifted by Cassie Alexander

E-books bought

mad-earls-bride

The Mad Earl’s Bride by Loretta Chase

memorys-wake

Memory’s Wake (Memory’s Wake Trilogy) by Selina Fenech

blood-seduction

A Blood Seduction: A Vamp City Novel by Pamela Palmer

Clarity by Kim Harrington

Around the web

The Sync free downloads for this week (June 13 – 19)

June 13 – June 19, 2013
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, read by Will Patton (Scholastic Audiobooks)
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya, read by Robert Ramirez (Recorded Books)

Next Week

Around the house

A busy week ahead of us. We have a couple sets of visitors coming this week and next. Time to get the house cleaned!

Posts on the blog

  • Quote-Tastic
  • Top Ten Tuesday
  • Review: Lady of Devices by Shelley Adina
  • Sunday Post

Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Marissa Meyer is another new author to me so I have added this to the New Author Challenge 2013 at the Literary Escapism blog.

Cinder 
by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles, book 1
Genre: Fantasy
Published by: Feiwel & Friends, 2012
E-book, purchased
400 pages
Grade:  B
Synopsis: Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless Lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

………………………………..

Cinder is a cyborg…meaning parts of her aren’t human. She doesn’t really remember what happened to her, but was told she was injured in an accident that killed her parents. She was given some mechanical parts because she was so badly injured. She’s very careful to keep her nonhuman parts hidden so when the prince shows up in her repair shop she hides the fact that she has removed her foot to replace it with another foot. He believes she’s a human girl and flirts a little with her. He has brought an android for her to repair. It’s an old android, but Cinder can tell it’s important to him and she promises to do what she can to repair it.

Cinder was brought back by her foster mother’s husband from the European states, but he died very quickly from the disease which is becoming epidemic on Earth. Because he brought Cinder home, but didn’t reveal a reason for adopting her and because he became sick right after he returned to New Beijing with Cinder, Cinder’s foster mother and sisters don’t like her–though one sister is kinder to her (as in many of the Cinderella stories).

The plague which is ravaging the population comes to the market where Cinder has her repair shop when the baker across the street sickens. Anytime someone is sick androids appear to take them away to some secret place. These people are never seen again. Cinder knows the government has begun a lottery choosing who are used as guinea pigs to find a cure since they aren’t really viewed as human. Cinder fears she will “win” this lottery eventually.

My thoughts: When I first saw this book a few months ago I didn’t even read the synopsis because I was sure I didn’t want to read a take-off on Cinderella. A couple of weeks ago I did read the synopsis and immediately thought, “Well, maybe I do want to read this…a book about a cyborg, New Beijing and Lunar people…sounded good!

I downloaded it and quickly read it. I like the storyline and the way the book followed Cinderella…the wicked stepmother, stepsisters,  the prince, the ball…all were there. Even the stepmother and sisters (foster mother and sisters) lord it over Cinder that they are going to the prince’s ball wearing their beautiful dresses and she’s not.

But I love how the story changed–Cinder is a mechanic and cyborg and shunned by anyone who figures out she’s a cyborg. The Lunar Queen is a new character, but certainly does fairy tales proud with her evilness! The epidemic is a new twist, too. Also the prince meets Cinder on several occasions before the ball and likes her. Actually, most of the book happens before the ball. The ending of the story doesn’t follow the original Cinderella either, but apparently Cinder shows up in the next book–Scarlet–which I haven’t read yet.

Cinder has an identity problem and inferiority problem…but with reason–people do shun her when they find out she’s a cyborg. Parts of her aren’t human and even people who like her turn against her when they find out the truth. During the course of the book she grows and becomes more self-confident…but still has difficulty taking the final step in her journey towards self-identity. By the end of the book she has her own identity and is a strong and confident young woman. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens to her in future books.