November Books On My Radar…

Each month I write about the books I’ve noticed and think might be good. Sometimes they’re from favorite authors and other times I get excited by some new author I might try. I don’t always buy all the books–since I already have way too many books to read and sometimes these new books have high prices 😦

This month I have quite a few books which look good, but only a couple I actually plan to buy right away. I’ll wait for more reviews or for the prices to come down for most of the others. Because I post this I can go back and check on these books at a later time!

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November 5

This is a new series and I like both the cover and the sound of it!

gossamer-wingGossamer Wing

by Delphine Dryden

Series: Steam and Seduction #1

Published by Berkley Sensation

Genre: Steampunk Romance

320 pages

Synopsis: After losing her husband to a rogue French agent, Charlotte Moncrieffe wants to make her mark in international espionage. And what could be better for recovering secret long-lost documents from the Palais Garnier than her stealth dirigible, Gossamer Wing? Her spymaster father has one condition: He won’t send her to Paris without an ironclad cover.

Dexter Hardison prefers inventing to politics, but his title as Makesmith Baron and his formidable skills make him an ideal husband-imposter for Charlotte. And the unorthodox undercover arrangement would help him in his own field of discovery.

But from Charlotte and Dexter’s marriage of convenience comes a distraction—a passion that complicates an increasingly dangerous mission. For Charlotte, however, the thought of losing Dexter also opens her heart to a thrilling new future of love and adventure.

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I read the first book in this series and liked it a lot. However, for some reason I didn’t read the others! I wonder if it’s necessary to read the others before I read this one?

Kinked

by Thea Harrison

Series: Elder Races #6

Published by Berkley

Genre: Fantasy Romance

304 pages

Synopsis: As a harpy, Sentinel Aryal is accustomed to dealing with hate, but Sentinel Quentin Caeravorn manages to inspire in her a burning ire unlike anything she’s ever known. Aryal believes the new Sentinel to be a criminal, and vows to take him out as soon as the opportunity arises. But the harpy’s incessant wrath has pushed Quentin to the limit, and forces him to make a deadly vow of his own.

To put an end to the conflict, Dragos, Lord of the Wyr, sends them on a reconnaissance mission to the Elven land of Numenlaur. Forced to work together, Aryal and Quentin’s mutual antagonism escalates. Each fight draws forth more passion—culminating in an explosively sexual confrontation. But when their quest reveals real danger, Aryal and Quentin must resolve their differences in ways beyond the physical, before the entire Wyr is threatened.

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The Liaden Universe and authors Sharon Lee and Steve Miller are among my very favorites. Their books are ones I read over and over. I love the adventure and the characters. And they usually include cats in the books!

trade-secretTrade Secret

by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller

Series: Liaden Universe #4

Published by Baen

Genre: Space Opera

368 pages

Synopsis: The Liaden Universe ® Saga Continues! Star-spanning galactic trader Jethri Gobelyn adventures are the focus in book 17 by master storytellers Sharon Lee and Steve Miller.

In a universe full of interstellar intrigue and burgeoning commerce novice Terran trader Jethri Gobelyn, adopted by a Liaden clan after an ill-directed bow of honor insulted the scion of a major Liaden house, is alive and whole to tell the tale. Convinced that the adoption has saved his life and made his future he settles into a comfortable and even elite routine, a Trader’s Ring his goal.

Even as Jethri’s initiation into the mysteries and joys of Liaden Festival bring him to manhood he’s forced to face Necessity and the facts of life: his adoption has also invigorated a net of unfinished Balance far more complex and potentially deadly than a simple Terran blood feud. He must embrace his Terran birthright as well as his Liaden connections while leaving behind the safety of the great Liaden trade ship Elthoria to defend his honor and that of shipmates past and present. Forced to sit Second Board as a back-up pilot on a Liaden Scout ship, Jethri’s convinced he’s already at wit’s end—when several familiar faces threaten all that he knows of himself, and all that he wishes to do.

Celebrating 25 Years of the Liaden Universe®

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I thought this sounded like a good book, but I see the reviews are mixed so I’ll probably wait for a few more reviews.

bellman-and-blackBellman and Black: A Ghost Story

by Diane Setterfield

Series: unknown

Published by Afria/Emily Bestler Books

Genre: Fantasy Ghost story

336 pages

Synopsis: Bellman & Black is a heart-thumpingly perfect ghost story, beautifully and irresistibly written, its ratcheting tension exquisitely calibrated line by line. Its hero is William Bellman, who, as a boy of 11, killed a shiny black rook with a catapult, and who grew up to be someone, his neighbours think, who “could go to the good or the bad.” And indeed, although William Bellman’s life at first seems blessed—he has a happy marriage to a beautiful woman, becomes father to a brood of bright, strong children, and thrives in business—one by one, people around him die. And at each funeral, he is startled to see a strange man in black, smiling at him. At first, the dead are distant relatives, but eventually his own children die, and then his wife, leaving behind only one child, his favourite, Dora. Unhinged by grief, William gets drunk and stumbles to his wife’s fresh grave—and who should be there waiting, but the smiling stranger in black. The stranger has a proposition for William—a mysterious business called “Bellman & Black” . . .

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Sharon Shinn is one of my favorite authors and I always want to buy her books!

Royal Airs

by Sharon Shinn

Series : Elemental Blessings #2

Published by Ace

Genre: Fantasy

400 pages

Synopsis: Josetta is a princess of one of the Five Families. But she is far from the throne, so she is free to spend her days working in the poorest sections of the city.

Rafe Adova, an outcast since he was born, lives the life of a career gambler in those slums. He has no ambition other than cheating at the card tables—until the night he decides to help a girl named Corene, who looks like she’s stumbled into the wrong bar. She, too, is a princess—sister to Josetta, who finds her with Rafe. He fascinates her.

Josetta has never encountered anyone like him—someone seemingly devoid of elemental blessings. He is drawn to her, though he thinks they are unlikely to ever meet again—but their connection grows strong when she nurses him back to health after he is assaulted by foreign mercenaries.

And when they learn the reason he’s being hunted, they know that the truth about his history could endanger not only their love but also their very lives…

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I used to read a lot of mysteries, but now only read them occasionally. This series, however, is my favorite, but since this new book costs $11.00 right now at Amazon I’ll wait and hope the price goes down.

through-the-evil-daysThrough the Evil Days

by Julia Spencer-Fleming

Series : Claire Fergusson/ Russ Van Alstyne Mystery #8

Published by Minotaur Books

Genre: Mystery

368 pages

Synopsis: On a frigid January night, Chief of Police Russ Van Alstyne and Reverend Clare Fergusson are called to the scene of a raging fire, that quickly becomes a double homicide and kidnapping. Which is the very last thing Russ needs…Currently he’s struggling with the prospect of impending fatherhood. And his new wife is not at all happy with his proposal for their long-delayed honeymoon: a week in an unelectrified ice-fishing cabin. The vestry of St. Alban’s Church has called for the bishop to investigate Clare’s “unpriestly” pregnancy. She has one week to find out if she will be scolded, censured, or suspended from her duties. Officer Hadley Knox is having a miserable January as well. Her on-again-off-again lover, Kevin Flynn, has seven days to weigh an offer from the Syracuse Police Department that might take him half a state away.

As the days and hours tick by, Russ and Clare fight personal and professional battles they’ve never encountered. In the course of this one tumultuous week the lives of the Millers-Kill residents readers have come to love and cherish change forever. Readers have waited years for Through The Evil Days and Julia Spencer-Fleming delivers with the exquisite skill and craftsmanship that have made her such a success.

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November 12

I read the first book–Mothership–in this series about a week ago and really liked it. I gave it a B+

a-stranger-thingA Stranger Thing

by Martin Leicht & Isla Neal

Series: The Ever-Expanding Universe, #2

Published by Simon & Schuster

Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction

288 pages

Synopsis: In this witty, adventurous sequel to Mothership, which Publishers Weekly called “a whole lot of fun,” Elvie Nara is back on earth—but her life (including her new baby) is still pretty out there!
Pregnancy was pretty rough for sixteen-year-old Elvie Nara, what with the morning sickness, constant food cravings, and the alien race war she found herself in the middle of. But if she thought giving birth to an extraterrestrial’s baby would be the hard part, she was sorely mistaken.

After Elvie somehow has a baby girl, the always-male Almiri completely wig out. Suddenly Elvie’s supposed allies have shipped her—along with her father, her best friend, Ducky, and her maybe-boyfriend, boneheaded Almiri commando Cole Archer—off to a remote “retention facility” (aka alien jail) in Antarctica. Talk about cold. But things really get complicated when a new group of hybrid aliens arrive with information that sends Elvie’s world spinning. Before long, Elvie is trekking across the bottom of the Earth with a band of friends and frenemies to uncover the secrets of her own origin. Will Elvie ever be able to convince the Almiri that a conspiracy to conquer the planet is a greater threat than a sixteen-year-old girl and a newborn who won’t stop crying?

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The first two books in this series are two of my favorites books of the year so far.

long-live-the-queenLong Live the Queen

by Kate Locke

Series: The Immortal Empire #3

Published by Orbit

Genre: Urban Fantasy

320 pages

Synopsis: Xandra Vardan thought life would be simpler when she accepted the goblin crown and became their queen, but life has only become more complicated. Everyone — vampires, werewolves and humans — wants the goblins on their side, because whoever has the goblins — wins.

Queen Victoria wants her head, Alpha wolf Vex wants her heart, and she still doesn’t know the identity of the person who wanted her blood. What she does know is that a project from one of the ‘secret’ aristocrat labs has gotten free and she’s the only one who can stop the perfect killing machine — a sixteen year-old girl. With human zealots intent on ridding the world of anyone with plagued blood and supernatural politics taking Britain to the verge of civil war, Xandra’s finding out that being queen isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and if she doesn’t do something fast, hers will be the shortest reign in history.

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The books I plan to buy in November (either because the price is good or it’s a favorite author):

  • Gossamer Wing (good price)
  • Long Live the Queen (not too bad a price/favorite author)

The rest of the books are on my watch list–for either reviews or price drops!

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What books are you looking forward to this month? What books have I missed?

Review: Mothership by Martin Leicht and Isla Neal

Martin Leicht and Isla Neal are new authors to me whom I haven’t read before and so it’s part of my New Authors Challenge which is hosted by the Literary Escapism blog. Check out their blog and also the challenge. I’m really enjoying all the new authors I’m reading this year!

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Poking my head out just a smidge from the top of the stairwell, I see my helmet-wearing friends are still lurking in the halls. There are five of them, dressed in dark fatigues that are sooo five years ago. If we were on better terms, I’d inform them that they might want to, you know, invest in some plaid or something. But the guns make me think maybe they’re not here to discuss fashion.

Mothership
by Martin Leicht and Isla Neal
Series: Ever-Expanding Universe #1
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Adults, 2012
E-book, purchased
308 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: Elvie Nara was doing just fine in the year 2074. She had a great best friend, a dad she adored, and bright future working on the Ares Project on Mars. But then she had to get involved with sweet, gorgeous, dumb-as-a-brick Cole–and now she’s pregnant.

Getting shipped off to the Hanover School for Expecting Teen Mothers was not how Elvie imagined spending her junior year, but she can go with the flow. That is, until a team of hot commandos hijacks the ship–and one of them turns out to be Cole. She hasn’t seen him since she told him she’s pregnant, and now he’s bursting into her new home to tell her that her teachers are aliens and want to use her unborn baby to repopulate their species? Nice try, buddy. You could have just called.

So fine, finding a way off this ship is priority number one, but first Elvie has to figure out how Cole ended up as a commando, work together with her arch-nemesis, and figure out if she even wants to be a mother–assuming they get back to Earth in one piece.

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What I like about this book:

  • Elvie’s voice is great.
  • A fun book to read. Read it very quickly.
  • The premise is silly (pregnant girls sent to an orbiting spaceship high school where they will give birth find out all their teachers are aliens)–almost a parody of a space game–but the story has unexpected twists.

What I don’t like:

  • Suspension of belief is necessary.
  • For a 16 year old Elvie is mature beyond her years and surprisingly proficient in everything from a complete knowledge of the ship to tremendous survival skills.
  • In some ways the book kind of has a multiple personality–funny and light one moment, dark and violent the next. It gets more serious as the book goes on.

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My thoughts: 

I bought the book on a whim when I saw it on sale. And I read it right away–unlike a-stranger-thingmany of the books on my Kindle! It was nice to read something so different from what I’ve been reading lately. However, I probably wouldn’t have finished it based on the beginning because it seemed so outlandish and silly and I wanted more than that. But I really like Elvie’s voice! She’s a fun character. I’m very glad I read it. The bottom line is I really enjoyed it…lol

The second book–A Stranger Thing–comes out on November 12. Unfortunately, the e-book costs around $10 on Amazon right now. 😦  But the first book is still on sale–as of today–(on the U.S. Amazon site at least) for $1.99.

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Have you read this book? What did you think of it.

Sunday Post–October 27

The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kim at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

I like this meme because it gives me an opportunity to take a look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also like to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading. This is a great meme to participate in every week and I thank Kim for hosting it!

Last Week

Around the House

Well, I read and reviewed some books, but not a whole lot more was done around the house! Reading is always good though. We did go out to dinner Saturday night on the spur of the moment with our son and that was lots of fun.

Blog

Sunday Post–October 20

Character Names–Important to the Story?

Review: Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews

Review: Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews

What I’m reading or listening to

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers (audio book)

Friday Night Bites by Chloe Neill (audio book CDs from library)

What I read this week

The Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff

Mothership by Martin Leicht & Isla Neal

Hounded by Kevin Hearne

E-books bought or from the library

Cat Versus Human by Yasmine Surovec

Finding Cinderella (a novella) by Colleen Hoover

A Grosvenor Square Christmas by Shana Galen, Vanessa Kelly, Anna Campbell, Kate Noble

Clockwise by Elle Straus

The Good, the Bad, and the Undead by Kim Harrison

Farm Fatale: A Comedy of Country Manors by Wendy Holden

Next Week

Around the house

My husband is out of town for work this next week so I plan to do a lot of reading again!

Posts on the blog

  • Review: The Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff
  • Review: The Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines
  • November books on my radar…
  • Sunday Post

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What was your week like? Did you read (or find) some great books this week? Are you reading spooky books because of Halloween or doing other Halloween fun?

Review: Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews

gunmetal-magicGunmetal Magic
by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels series, #5.5; Kate Daniels World, #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by Ace, 2012
e-book, purchased
326 pages
Grade: A-
Synopsis: Some people have everything figured out—Andrea Nash is not one of those people. After being kicked out of the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid, Andrea’s whole existence is in shambles. All she can do is try to put herself back together, something made easier by working for Cutting Edge, a small investigative firm owned by her best friend, Kate Daniels.

When several shapeshifters working for Raphael Medrano—the male alpha of the Clan Bouda, as well as Andrea’s former lover—die unexpectedly at a dig site, Andrea is assigned to investigate…and must work with Raphael. As her search for the killer leads her into the secret underbelly of supernatural Atlanta, Andrea knows that dealing with her feelings for Raphael might have to take a back seat to saving the world…

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How is it that I could run into a gunfight against overwhelming odds and put myself between bullets and civilians, but I couldn’t scrape together enough courage to speak to the one person who mattered the most to me?

What I like about this book:

  • It was good to see this world (and Kate) from a different point of view.
  • Andrea is a great character. Learning more about her backstory shows why she makes decisions about her life. And how she changes during the course of the book–how she has to learn to live with the fact she’s beastkin.
  • Raphael and Andrea are a good couple. Some of their behavior made me laugh and lightened up the book. The romance between the two of them is wonderful!
  • The reasons for spoiling Clan Bouda children–few of them grow to adulthood.
  • The characteristics of Clan Bouda–especially the excited or nervous laughter.
  • Aunt B is a great character as the alpha of Clan Bouda. Andrea’s interactions with Aunt B are pretty funny and give insight into both of their characters and the job of the alpha.

What I don’t like:

  • I guess I would say I don’t like that it took me so long to start this book since I thought I didn’t want to read about Andrea!

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My thoughts: 

I didn’t want to read about Andrea. I wanted more about Kate and Curran! I ended up really liking this book and liking the different viewpoint in the Kate Daniels world.

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  • Gunmetal Magic also has Magic Gifts, a Kate Daniels series (#5.4) novella at the end of the magic-giftsbook. The novella is about 100 pages and I liked having a bit of Kate and Curran to read.
  • I  gave it a B+, because while the story is great I wished I had read it before Gunmetal Magic since the action in the novella happens before or at the beginning of Gunmetal Magic.
    • From some of the events in the novella it seemed more time should have passed before Gunmetal Magic takes place.
    • However, it was evident to me that the events in Gunmetal Magic–Andrea investigating the deaths of several of Clan Bouda’s shapeshifters–occur because of the investigation by Kate and Curran in Magic Gifts.
  • I do like the story though and was happy it was included with Gunmetal Magic. Oh, and I really like the cover which is shown at Goodreads! This is how I picture Kate!

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Review: Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews

magic-slaysMagic Slays
by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels series, #5
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by Ace, 2011
e-book, purchased
308 pages
Grade: A-
Synopsis: Plagued by a war between magic and technology, Atlanta has never been so deadly. Good thing Kate Daniels is on the job.

Kate Daniels may have quit the Order of Merciful Aid, but she’s still knee-deep in paranormal problems. Or she would be if she could get someone to hire her. Starting her own business has been more challenging than she thought it would be—now that the Order is disparaging her good name, and many potential clients are afraid of getting on the bad side of the Beast Lord, who just happens to be Kate’s mate.

So when Atlanta’s premier Master of the Dead calls to ask for help with a vampire on the loose, Kate leaps at the chance of some paying work. Turns out this is not an isolated incident, and Kate needs to get to the bottom of it—fast, or the city and everyone dear to her might pay the ultimate price . . .

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“Yes I can,” Curran snarled. “Listen: this is me telling you what you will not do.”
I raised the cookbook and tapped him on the nose. Bad cat.”

What I like about this book:

  • The relationship between Kate and Curran. They’re learning to be a couple and that living together isn’t always easy for two solitary and stubborn people. But it’s worthwhile because they both love and like each other. It helps they both have a sense of humor.
  • I like the mystery and investigation.
  • Each book moves the story arc a little further along as we learn more about Kate and Curran and others in the books.
  • The characters are all individuals and interesting. They change and grow as the series goes forward.
    • Kate is no longer with the Order of Merciful Aid and has started her own business–and it’s not instantly a success.
    • Andrea–Kate’s friend–is and has been going through her own crises.
    • Julie–Kate’s ward–is growing up and doesn’t want to be kept safe at school.

What I don’t like:

  • I don’t have any quibbles really–except maybe that the titles all starting with “Magic” become confusing!

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My thoughts: 

This spring when I was seeing when and what the new Kate Daniels new book would be I realized I hadn’t read this book. I read it last spring and recently realized I hadn’t reviewed it either! And it’s not because it’s a forgettable book–I really liked it!

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Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Character Names–Important to the Story?

toptentuesday2Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme which I participate in occasionally. It’s a great meme and is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish blog. Every week a new topic is presented. It’s not only fun to think about my own list, but to read what other people come up with!

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is supposed to be a list of the character names I love or unusual character names. I changed the topic slightly. This is my list of character names I find significant, funny or otherwise important to their story or a character or concept which survives outside the story. These characters aren’t in any particular order!

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an_artificial_nightOctober (Toby) Daye and May Daye are both characters in Seanan McGuire’s October Daye urban fantasy series. May Daye shows up in the third book-An Artificial Night. I like October Daye as a character name, but when Ms. McGuire adds May Daye it’s just really funny and makes both names resonate even more for me.

May is Toby’s Fetch. A Fetch is an exact replica of a person. A Fetch is sent when a person is about to die or has just died. Only some people are important enough to rate a Fetch!

“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.

naked-in-death

Eve Dallas from the In Death series by J. D. Robb. Naked in Death is the first book in the series. Eve was found in an alley in Dallas, Texas when she was about 8 years old. She had no memory of her life until then so she was named Eve Dallas by the social workers. The series includes not only mysteries Eve solves, but also a journey of self-discovery for Eve.

podkayne-of-marsPodkayne from Podkayne of Mars by Robert Heinlein. I first read this book when I was a teenager. It’s one of my favorite books by Heinlein. Podkayne is such a memorable character for me. Certainly the unusual name, but also because of her character. I found the book heartbreaking, because of the betrayal of adults in her life. Now that is a familiar trope in young adult books, but I hadn’t read that at the time.

Dr. Susan Calvert in I, Robot by Isaac Asimov. She is a robopsychologist in these short stories about robots and ties the series together. She’s rather emotionless and almost like a robot herself. The stories in I. Robot were written in the 1940’s and first published in 1950.

caves-of-steelWhen I first read all these robot books as a teenager I just enjoyed the stories. Asimov wrote a number of other robot stories some of which are included in The Robot Novels: Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun and Robots of Dawn which feature R. Daneel Olivaw (R stands for “Robot”) and his human partner who solve crimes together.

Now, however, I see how The Three Laws of Robotics in Asimov’s robot books created a mythology for robots which became a model for many books and even TV shows (Star Trek: The Next Generation and Data (who has a positronic brain), for example) and movies in the years after these stories.

The Three Laws of Robotics:

1: A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm;

2: A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law;

3: A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law;

Cinder & Scarlet are both characters of books by the same names written by Marissa Meyer. These books are futuristic retelling of fairy tales–Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood. I like the way Marissa Meyer has changed the stories and the names. Both Cinder and Scarlet are in the second book–Scarlet.

a-midsummer-nights-dream

Titania from A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare. Titania is queen of the faeries in this play. She actually becomes queen of the faeries as she is featured in many books and movies in the years after William Shakespeare wrote his play.

Bobby Tom Denton in Heaven, Texas by Susan Elizabeth Phillips–Bobby Tom is a “good ole heaven-texasboy” and football player from Texas. He’s a caricature of the dumb football player from Texas when he’s actually very smart. This is one of my favorite contemporary romances. One of the reasons for that is Bobby Tom!

“I happen to be immature, undisciplined, and self-centered, pretty much a little boy in a man’s body, although I’d appreciate it if you didn’t quote me on that.”

-Bobby Tom

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Did you write a Top Ten Tuesday this week? How did it go for you? I have to admit I spent a lot longer coming up with these characters than I’d meant to…lol

Sunday Post–October 20

The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kim at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

I like this meme because it gives me an opportunity to take a look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also like to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading. This is a great meme to participate in every week and I thank Kim for hosting it!

Last Week

Around the House

We got home from the Midwest and as usual I was wiped out after the trip! We had such a good time with everyone…a very nice break.

Blog

Sunday Post–October 13

I was “forced” to read it

Review: The Arrangement by Mary Balogh

Review: River Road by Suzanne Johnson

What I’m reading or listening to

The Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers (audio book)

Friday Night Bites by Chloe Neill (audio book CDs from library)

What I read this week

Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews

Magic Gifts (novella) by Ilona Andrews

E-books bought or from the library

Only a few books this week!

The Enchantment Emporium

by Tanya Huff (e-book, from the library)

Nothing Personal

by Eileen Dreyer

Mothership (The Ever-Expanding Universe)

by Martin Leicht & Ilsa Neal

Next Week

Around the house

Relatives were planning to visit, but postponed because of the government shutdown. Instead I’m hoping to pick things up around the house, read, write blog posts and make a bunch of Halloween cards.

Posts on the blog

  • Top Ten Tuesday
  • Review: Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews
  • Review: Magic Slays and Magic Gifts by Ilona Andrews
  • Sunday Post

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What was your week like? Did you read (or find) some great books this week? Are you reading spooky books because of Halloween or doing other Halloween fun?

Review: River Road by Suzanne Johnson

river-road-loresRiver Road
by Suzanne Johnson
Series: Sentinels of New Orleans, Book 2
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by Tor, 2012
E-book, Purchased
334 pages
Grade: B-
Synopsis: Hurricane Katrina is long gone, but the preternatural storm rages on in New Orleans. New species from the Beyond moved into Louisiana after the hurricane destroyed the borders between worlds, and it falls to wizard sentinel Drusilla Jaco and her partner, Alex Warin, to keep the preternaturals peaceful and the humans unaware. But a war is brewing between two clans of Cajun merpeople in Plaquemines Parish, and down in the swamp, DJ learns, there’s more stirring than angry mermen and the threat of a were-gator.

Wizards are dying, and something—or someone—from the Beyond is poisoning the waters of the mighty Mississippi, threatening the humans who live and work along the river. DJ and Alex must figure out what unearthly source is contaminating the water and who—or what—is killing the wizards. Is it a malcontented merman, the naughty nymph, or some other critter altogether? After all, DJ’s undead suitor, the pirate Jean Lafitte, knows his way around a body or two.

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What worked for me:

  • Jean Lafitte returns in book two! He’s one of the best characters in these books.
  • The merpeople were interesting. I like the way Suzanne Johnson portrays the preternatural characters.
  • New Orleans is a great setting and made even more interesting now (after Hurricane Katrina) because the Beyond is now open to the preternatural characters.

What didn’t work:

  • The book has a love triangle and the relationships don’t move forward very much.
  • This book takes place several years after the first book and while I don’t mind that nothing much seems to have happened in the intervening years.

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My thoughts:

I like the series and this story was interesting, but I don’t like love triangles in books. I’m looking forward to book 3 which was published in August. I’ve bought the book and will start it soon!

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Do you read this series? How did you like book 2?

Review: The Arrangement by Mary Balogh

arrangementThe Arrangement
by Mary Balogh
Series: The Survivors Club series, #2
Genre: Historical Romance
Published by Dell, 2013
e-book, purchased
400 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: Desperate to escape his mother’s matchmaking, Vincent Hunt, Viscount Darleigh, flees to a remote country village. But even there, another marital trap is sprung. So when Miss Sophia Fry’s intervention on his behalf finds her unceremoniously booted from her guardian’s home, Vincent is compelled to act. He may have been blinded in battle, but he can see a solution to both their problems: marriage.

At first, quiet, unassuming Sophia rejects Vincent’s proposal. But when such a gloriously handsome man persuades her that he needs a wife of his own choosing as much as she needs protection from destitution, she agrees. Her alternative is too dreadful to contemplate. But how can an all-consuming fire burn from such a cold arrangement? As friendship and camaraderie lead to sweet seduction and erotic pleasure, dare they believe a bargain born of desperation might lead them both to a love destined to be?

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‘But how devoid of music our lives would be,’ he said, ‘if we allowed the making of it only to those of outstanding talent. Sing while I play.’

What I like about this book:

  • The two main characters–Vincent and Sophia (Sophie)–are interesting, flawed and damaged characters. They grow and change because of each other.
  • The marriage is a real marriage.
  • I thought the “arrangement” was an arranged marriage, but it’s not. They make an arrangement with each other before they get married.
  • Mary Balogh does a good job portraying a blind person–the feelings of panic he still sometimes has, his vulnerability, the early days when he was both deaf and blind, his desire for touch, the desire of his family to protect him, his desire for independence,
  • His family loves him, but also smothers him with their love and concern for his safety. He’s not an independent person when the book begins and he’s chafing at the dependence he let his family create.romance
  • Sophie is such a giving person with a great sense of humor. She has a great imagination and is able to put herself in Vincent’s shoes so she’s able to empathize and come up with ways to make him more independent.
  • Vincent realizes what’s important: Sophie’s fierce loyalty to him (not how she looks to others); that he and Sophie can trust each other; his loyalty to Sophie.
  • Vincent doesn’t regain his sight. I was afraid there would be a miraculous return of his sight.
  • Mary Balogh is very good at portraying loving families.

What I don’t like:

  • I thought the “arrangement” and accompanying unhappiness went on for too long.

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My thoughts: 

I think I liked the first book in this series–The Proposal–a little better (but not by much!), but I do like Mary Balogh’s writing. She’s very adept at portraying well-rounded, flawed characters who can grow and change, loving but stifling families and a great love story. And Vincent and Sophie are a great couple!

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Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

I was “forced” to read it

toptentuesday2Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme which I participate in occasionally. It’s a great meme and is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish blog. Every week a new topic is presented. It’s not only fun to think about my own list, but to read what other people come up with!

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This week the topic is the books I was forced to read. This could mean by teachers, friends, other bloggers, or reviews.

I’ve only been “forced” to read books by teachers. So this is a partial list of books I read in high school. Some of these books became favorites, others I didn’t appreciate at the time, but am very glad I read and others I still don’t like to remember! However, even the books I don’t like I’m glad I read. Some of these books I wouldn’t have read if they hadn’t been assigned in English.

Books I was glad I had to read–both then and now:

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Odyssey by Homer

The books I didn’t appreciate at the time, but still think about and appreciate now:

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

The books I didn’t like then and still don’t like:

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Lord of the Files by William Golding

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What about you–did someone force you to read books? Who was it? What books were you forced to read? After you read the books are you glad you had to read them?