Review: The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas

the-perilous-sea

The Perilous Sea
by Sherry Thomas
Series: The Elementary Trilogy #2
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Published by Balzer + Bray
Library book
416 pages
Grade: A-
Synopsis: After spending the summer away from each other, Titus and Iolanthe (still disguised as Archer Fairfax) are eager to return to Eton College to resume their training to fight the Bane. Although no longer bound to Titus by a blood oath, Iolanthe is more committed than ever to fulfilling her destiny—especially with the agents of Atlantis quickly closing in.

Soon after arriving at school, though, Titus makes a shocking discovery, one that makes him question everything he previously believed about their mission. Faced with this devastating realization, Iolanthe is forced to come to terms with her new role, while Titus must choose between following his mother’s prophecies—and forging a divergent path to an unknowable future.

“Is there anything else I can do for you?”

“No, thank you.”

He looked back at her. “Are you sure?”

“Yes, I am sure,” she made herself say.

She returned to her room and leaned for a minute against the door.

So this was what it had come to, this stilted courtesy, like that of a divorced couple who must still deal with each other.

With she being the one who hadn’t found anyone else, of course.

Cheers

  • I love the cover.
  • I enjoyed this book a lot. Even more than the first one.
  • This book delivers many blows–both physical and emotional–to both Titus and Iolanthe. And they happen just when they think everything is wonderful for both of them.
  • I was annoyed at first when the book switched back and forth between two different time periods and places, but I adjusted and began to try to figure out the mysteries of both settings. And by the end, I have to agree this was a very effective way of writing this book.
  • I’m sure this is classified as a young adult book and I don’t read too many of them, but that didn’t affect my enjoyment of the book. To me it felt like an adventure fantasy and I just enjoyed it!
  • Titus suffers a crisis of faith in this book.
  • The book moves the story along and we find out more about the history behind the story.
  • I like the secondary characters a lot–especially the boys at Eton. So many good characters there.
  • I like the big surprises in this book…and they are some doozies!

Jeers

  •  The mage world and the non-mage world aren’t really explained very well. I don’t know how they fit together, but I have to admit when I like a book I can forget about “little” things like this!

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I’m ready for the next book!
  • One of my favorite books of the year.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

  • 2014 Goodreads Challenge

Goals & Resolutions

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

This week we talk about our goals and resolutions for 2015–bookish, blogging or otherwise! As well as posting my 2015 goals I’ve gone back and checked to see how I did with my 2014 goals!

2015 goals:

Blog and reading goals

1. A new header and some blog identity. My blog feels blah and doesn’t have a cohesive feel to it.

2. Write and schedule at least three weeks of posts. And keep at least that many posts ready.

4. Continue to post three or four times a week.

5. Read at least 110 books.

6. 1/2 hour in the morning visiting other blogs.

7. Comment on my blog and others–Write a response to everyone who comments on my blog. And visit their blog and leave a comment.

Personal goals

8. Exercise more–30 minutes a day at least five days a week.

9. Eat more fruits and vegetables every day.

10. Continue to sort books to donate or sell.

2014 goals:

  1. Move my blog to a self-hosting site–Done!
  2. Figure out what the header will be for my self-hosted blog–Done, but I want to improve my header.
  3. Start participating in social media–Done! I’m on twitter–though I don’t do too much with it.
  4. Write posts two to three weeks ahead of time–Done . . . at various times throughout the year. I want to make that more permanent.
  5. Continue to post three or four times a week–Done!
  6. Read at least 100 books this year–Done!
  7. Participate in at least four reading challenges this year–Done!
  8. Set a time limit in the morning and evening I spend reading other blogs–Still need to work at it
  9. Make sure I read and answer comments on my blog–Usually. December I’ve been behind most of the month.
  10. Remember my reasons for blogging–Done! I continue to love it.

What about you? Have you set any goals or resolutions for 2015? Did set any in 2014? How did you do accomplishing them?

Review: Now May You Weep by Deborah Crombie

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Now May You Weep
by Deborah Crombie
Series: Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James #9
Genre: Mystery (police procedural)
Published by William Morrow & Company
E-book, purchased
416 pages
Grade: A
Synopsis: A gripping story of family rivalry, romance and sinister deeds, set in the haunting Scottish Highlands. When Detective Inspector Gemma James is persuaded by her friend, Hazel, to take a trip to the Scottish Highlands, land of mists and fine whiskey, she jumps at the chance. But Gemma soon learns that Hazel has ulterior motives, and that her friend has concealed more than one dangerous secret. At their remote B&B, Hazel encounters her former lover, Donald Brodie, now the owner of a well known local distillery. Their relationship had ended abruptly years before, when they had been driven apart by their parents. Now he is determined to win her back. But the lovers’ reunion yields shocking – and mortal – consequences. Suddenly all too aware of the distance between her and Kincaid, Gemma must come to terms with what she has learned.

It was a cold-blooded business, policing, thought Gemma, and for the first time, the knowledge that it had to be done did not make it seem more palatable.

and

“Hullo, love.” he said against her hair, his voice gentle. “I can’t let you out of my sight, can I, without your getting into trouble?”

Cheers

  • Such a good book!
  • I loved reading about the whiskey making in Scotland. I really felt like I was at a distillery smelling the angels’ share! (The angels’ share is the amount of alcohol which evaporates from casks while they mature.)
  • Scotland is also described lyrically. The quotes from Robert Burns and Robert Louis Stevenson are especially evocative.
  • In some ways the writing in this book reminds me of Susanna Kearsley’s The Winter Sea–also about Scotland and also a book I loved.
  • The mystery is good, but almost overshadowed by the personal events in the book.
  • Gemma discovers she doesn’t know nearly as much about her friend Hazel as she thought. Hazel has always been so calm and competent and so helpful with her insights and advice…a good therapist. We sometimes forget the people who help others are also human and make mistakes in their own lives. It’s easy to put people on pedestals and if they fall to feel betrayed.
  • Once again, the past affects people’s lives and we learn a bit about what happened in Scotland in the late 1890’s and the effects on the characters in the story. Though the effects were not exactly what I thought they were as I was reading. There were a few red herrings in this story!

Jeers

  • I don’t like reading about infidelity in marriage, but this book doesn’t glorify it. The ramifications and heartbreak are shown.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • As many of my blog readers know I’ve loved discovering and reading Deborah Crombie’s mysteries. Since September this is the ninth book I’ve read!

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

  • 2014 Goodreads Challenge

Sunday Post: Dec 28

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The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba 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 take part in every week and I thank Kimba for hosting it!

The last Sunday Post of 2014–the year flew by

Last Week

Home & blog

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So much fun to be together this week . . . lots of laughing and lots of food! I gave my daughters some of our Christmas ornaments–some they had made or some made for them when they were younger. They had fun opening them and reminiscing. My daughter’s dog–Bailey–is six months old now and a bundle of energy. She will sit, but she gets so excited and wiggles so much sometimes she falls over! She wants lots of belly rubs and loves to go for walks.

Our younger daughter made a wonderful photo book from Shutterfly about my family and my parents (who both died a few years ago). She had asked for stories and memories and she had so many wonderful photos. The book is almost 70 pages! A very special Christmas present!

Christmas Day was a beautiful sunny day. No snow and in the 40’s! We went for a walk in a sculpture park and saw Into the Woods at the movie theater. We all loved it, but we’ve seen the play several times and love the music. Meryl Streep was very good as the witch and Chris Pine did a great job as one of the princes. The two princes singing “Agony” about who has the worst time finding their princess is so funny. A great movie for anyone who enjoys fairy tales.

On Boxing Day (26 Dec) my daughter invited a few co-workers and neighbors over in the evening and that was lots of fun. Lots of people were still out-of-town so it was a small group, but that was okay. . . made it easier to talk!

Blog posts

 Books

What I’m reading

Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish

Red Rising by Pierce Brown (audio)

What I read the this week

Tainted Blood by M. L. Brennan

Books, E-books, Audiobooks–NetGalley, library, purchased or free

Kindle e-books (bought or free)

Defenders by Will McIntosh

2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson

Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan

Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan

*Please Don’t Tell My Parents I’m a Supervillain by Richard Roberts

*Radiant by Karina Sumner-Smith

*The Bloodbound by Erin Lindsey

*City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennet

The Iron Trial by Holly Black

*Christmas present!

Audiobooks

The Language of Bees by Laurie King

Death by Black Hole by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Holiday Classics by O. Henry

Next Week

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My older daughter and I are headed to Illinois where I’m spending the week with her. I’m looking forward to that. She will have to work a few of the days and is on-call, but we will have a wonderful time together. I fly home next Sunday.

Blog Posts

  • Review
  • TTT: Goals and Resolutions
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • End of 2014
  • January books on my radar . . .
  • Sunday Post

What books did you collect last week? What are you planning next week?

Review: Shifting Shadows by Patricia Briggs

shifting-shadows

Shifting Shadows
by Patricia Briggs
Series: Mercy Thompson world
Genre: short stories
Published by Ace Hardcover, 2014
Library book
450 pages
Grade: A
Synopsis: Mercy Thompson’s world just got a whole lot bigger…

A collection of all-new and previously published short stories featuring Mercy Thompson, “one of the best heroines in the urban fantasy genre today” (Fiction Vixen Book Reviews), and the characters she calls friends…

Includes the new stories…
“Silver”
“Roses in Winter”
“Redemption”
“Hollow”

…and reader favorites
“Fairy Gifts”
“Gray”
“Alpha and Omega”
“Seeing Eye”
“The Star of David”
“In Red, with Pearls”

Bran nodded at Charles. Charles looked at the prisoners and smiled. Asil had practiced in a mirror, trying to get that smile. His own were very good, but he hadn’t gotten quite the same “I’d rather rip you to little pieces, but my father says I can’t—yet” effect. Asil was better at the “I’m crazy, and you are about to die.

and

The Prophet database (of course, the whole IT—computer geek—world called it the For-Profit database) was well written, but all the programs the mother company tried to sell with it were garbage.

Cheers

  • I don’t read short stories very often, because I usually don’t like them, but a few authors like Patricia Briggs, Ilona Andrews and Mary Balogh write short stories and novellas which really work for me. These are no exception and I’m so glad I read them.
  • I like the background Patricia Briggs gives for each story.
  • The stories begin with the earliest to the most recent.
  • Most of these stories were new to me which is great. I had only read “Alpha and Omega” before which is the short story where Anna is introduced. And the beginning of the Alpha and Omega series which is also a very good series set in Mercy’s world, but with Charles and Anna as protagonists.
  • I love every story in this book. It’s hard to choose a favorite, but probably my favorite is “Rose in Winter.” About a young female werewolf named Kara who has trouble controlling her change.
  • There are stories about witches, vampires, the Fae and, of course, werewolves. There’s also a story about Mercy! And some outtakes from two of the Mercy books. Good stuff.

Jeers

  • None…except I could have read a dozen more stories about different characters in Mercy’s world!

And a few thoughts . . .

  • These stores are so good. It whets my appetite for the next book in the series–Dead Heat, book 4 in the Alpha & Omega series. And it makes me want to go back and read all the books in the series again since I realize I’ve forgotten quite a few things. I may re-read the books this year.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

  • 2014Goodreads Challenge
    • The 100th book I’ve read this year!
    • I’ve met the challenge I made for myself on Goodreads though without much time to spare.

WoW: Stories of the Raksura by Martha Wells

 

Breaking the Spine blog hosts Waiting on Waiting-on-WednesdayWednesday–a time each week we can spotlight upcoming releases. Visit the blog to find out more information and to leave your link on her blog.

 

The book I’m excited about this week:

Stories of the Raksura by Martha Wells

Series: Volume 2

Publication Date: April 7, 2015

Synopsis from Goodreads: “The Dead City” is a tale of Moon before he came to the Indigo Court. As Moon is fleeing the ruins of Saraseil, a groundling city destroyed by the Fell, he flies right into another potential disaster when a friendly caravanserai finds itself under attack by a strange force. In “The Dark Earth Below,” Moon and Jade face their biggest adventure yet; their first clutch. But even as Moon tries to prepare for impending fatherhood, members of the Kek village in the colony tree’s roots go missing, and searching for them only leads to more mysteries as the court is stalked by an unknown enemy.

Stories of Moon and the shape changers of Raksura have delighted readers for years. This world is a dangerous place full of strange mysteries, where the future can never be taken for granted and must always be fought for with wits and ingenuity, and often tooth and claw. With these two new novellas, Martha Wells shows that the world of the Raksura has many more stories to tell…

……………………………..

What made me pick this book:

  • I love the Raksura series. This world Martha Wells has created is special.
  • I just bought the Audible edition of the first volume in the Stories of the Raksura series and am looking forward to listening to its. So glad to know there’s another volume.
  • I’m happy we get to read some more about Moon and Jade.
  • I love the covers of these books.

Books I wouldn’t mind Santa bringing me

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme which I take part in when I can. It’s a great meme 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!

This week–Books I wouldn’t mind Santa bringing me for Christmas. I either buy books I want or find them at my library. I thought it would be hard to find books I don’t already have, but it was pretty easy when I started looking! I guess I can always find new books to buy.

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Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor

Age of Iron by Angus Watson

Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia Macneal

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

Ironskin by Tina Connolly

The Scroll of Years by Chris Willrich

Radiant by Karina Sumner-Smith

California Bones by Greg Van Eekhout

The Bloodbound by Erin Lindsay

City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett

What books would you like Santa to bring?

 

Review: A Killer’s Christmas in Wales by Elizabeth J. Duncan

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A Killer’s Christmas in Wales
by Elizabeth J. Duncan
Series: Penny Brannigan #3
Genre: Mystery (cozy)
Published by Minotaur Books
Library book
274 pages
Grade: C+
Synopsis: As the townsfolk of the Welsh valley town of Llanelen settle in for the snowiest winter in twenty-five years, an American stranger arrives. Harry Saunders charms the ladies, one of them in particular: Evelyn Lloyd, the town’s former postmistress, who was left comfortably off after the death of her husband. After Mrs. Lloyd invests a good deal of money with him, Harry goes missing, as does her money. His body is soon discovered outside the walls of Conwy Castle, and Mrs. Lloyd is implicated in the murder.

Although Penny Brannigan and her business partner, Victoria Hopkirk, are busy overseeing the grand opening of their new spa, that doesn’t stop Mrs. Lloyd from desperately seeking Penny’s help to prove her innocence. It’s quite possible that Harry made other enemies while in Llanelen and Penny’s investigation unfolds while she juggles her work at the spa, her growing relationship with Detective Inspector Davies, and the Christmas window competition that she signed up to judge.

She was not bothered that he would recognize her even if he did turn around. He hadn’t paid much attention to her when they’d met in Evelyn Lloyd’s home, today she was wearing a hat, and as she had learned a long time ago, women her age are almost invisible to the rest of the world.

and

“. . . If we can find the time to read at all, we are looking for a book with well-developed characters and a complicated plot that still promises to be a fast, easy read. We have learned to be multitaskers. We talk on the phone while we draft an e-mail. We eat and text while we drive.

“So I would ask you on this beautiful Christmas morning to consider those three wise men who made that journey to Bethlehem two thousand years ago and . . .”

Penny’s attention drifted away. She shifted in her seat and gazed slowly around the church.

Cheers

  • I like the Christmas details in the book.
  • I picked this book up because it was a Christmas book and was on a display at my library. The cover was cute and caught my eye. I didn’t know where the book fell in the series and it didn’t really matter for the mystery that I read the third book first.
  • I like the setting in Wales. Not too many contemporary books about Wales.
  • I like Penny and Victoria, but didn’t get enough of them in this book. I might like the relationship between Penny and Detective Chief Inspector Gareth Davies, but didn’t see them together very much. We don’t get his point-of-view. Again, this might just be because it’s the third book in the series.

Jeers

  • The beginning is a little slow.
  • I am puzzled about who Dorothy Martin is. She appears in one scene, gives Penny some helpful advice and goes on her way. It just seems too convenient. She comes into the book like someone the reader should know, but I didn’t! She and Penny seem to have immediate rapport, but she’s only on two pages of the book?!
  • Penny is in a relationship with a policeman, but I felt it was more convenience so she could ask questions and get answers.
  • It may just be that I started with the third book in the series, but I didn’t feel there was a lot of characterization. I didn’t really feel I knew the characters other than Evelyn Lloyd and Florence who were the focus of the first half of the book.
  • Some parts of the mystery seem to come out of left field and others aren’t really followed up.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I felt the first part of the book went on for too long. I was a bit bored, but even though there were problems with the book and the mystery I read the second half quickly. I will probably try another one by the author and see how I like it.
  • I gave the book a C+, because I did like the second half of the book quite well.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

  • 2014 Goodreads Challenge
  • New Author Challenge–hosted by the Literary Escapism blog

Sunday Post: Dec 21

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The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba 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 take part in every week and I thank Kimba for hosting it!

 

Last Week

Home & blog

Both my husband and I were busy. He’s really busy at work now, but we also got a lot done around the house before we left for Iowa on Saturday. I finished up my Christmas cards and sent them plus getting a package finally sent to my brother and sister-in-law! We arrived in Iowa in time for lunch and then did a little shopping in some cute little antique stores. We found some wonderful old maps and had fun browsing. In the evening we went to a Christmas show which was lots of fun.

Blog posts

 Books

What I’m reading

Tainted Blood by M. L. Brennan

Red Rising by Pierce Brown (audio)

What I read the this week

Shifting Shadows by Patricia Briggs

Books, E-books, Audiobooks–NetGalley, library, purchased or free

I bought nothings this week! Yay!

Kindle e-books (bought or free)

None

Audiobooks

None

Next Week

Home & blog

Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate Christmas!

Christmas is almost here! One of my favorite times of the year. I love all the lights, listening to Christmas music (but not in the malls), baking cookies, planning Christmas dinner. And best of all, our family being together. This year our son is spending with his girlfriend’s family, but they’re happy and we saw him last week. Even so we will miss him. We’re with our younger daughter at her new home in Iowa and we’re going to have a grand time!

Our older daughter arrives early in the week and she’s planning the Christmas meal this year. We also plan to see the new movie Into the Woods on Christmas Day. It’s one of our favorite musicals and we have a family tradition of going to a movie on Christmas Day so this movie is perfect!

Blog Posts

  • Review: A Killer’s Christmas in Wales by Elizabeth J. Duncan
  • TTT: Books I’d like Santa to bring
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • Review: Shifting Shadows by Patricia Briggs
  • Sunday Post

What books did you collect last week? What are you planning next week?

Review: Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet Marillier

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Dreamer’s Pool
by Juliet Marillier
Series: Blackthorn & Grim #1
Genre: Fantasy
Published by Roc Hardcover
Library book
434 pages
Grade: A-
Synopsis: In exchange for help escaping her long and wrongful imprisonment, embittered magical healer Blackthorn has vowed to set aside her bid for vengeance against the man who destroyed all that she once held dear. Followed by a former prison mate, a silent hulk of a man named Grim, she travels north to Dalriada. There she’ll live on the fringe of a mysterious forest, duty bound for seven years to assist anyone who asks for her help.

Oran, crown prince of Dalriada, has waited anxiously for the arrival of his future bride, Lady Flidais. He knows her only from a portrait and sweetly poetic correspondence that have convinced him Flidais is his destined true love. But Oran discovers letters can lie. For although his intended exactly resembles her portrait, her brutality upon arrival proves she is nothing like the sensitive woman of the letters.

With the strategic marriage imminent, Oran sees no way out of his dilemma. Word has spread that Blackthorn possesses a remarkable gift for solving knotty problems, so the prince asks her for help. To save Oran from his treacherous nuptials, Blackthorn and Grim will need all their resources: courage, ingenuity, leaps of deduction, and more than a little magic.

The need to see so many people and to stay courteous left me ill-tempered and weary at the end of the day. Grim was good at having a brew ready when I needed it.

Cheers

  • The language is lyrical and the story is deeply satisfying.
  • I love the setting of long  ago Ireland. If ever a place might have magic Ireland would be one of my choices!
  • I’ve seen that other reviewers called this a fairytale and that’s certainly true. And it even has a character named Grim!
  • The story is absorbing and even though told from three points of view (Blackthorn, Grim and Prince Oran) it flows well and the three characters have distinct voices. I like having the different points of view of some of the same happenings in the story.
  • The book takes place in a fantasy version of Ireland and has the feel of old stories.
  • Blackthorn doesn’t like being with people and doesn’t have the patience to have to listen to gossip…which, of course, she has to listen to as a healer. This is also part of her healing, I think–having to learn patience and to be with people again.
  • Blackthorn and Grim are both very damaged characters which I imagine will play a big part in the books to come. I look forward to learning more about each of them.
  • This book is a mystery as well as a fantasy and I figured out some of the mystery, but that didn’t take away my enjoyment of the book and I wasn’t sure how it would end.
  • The character who saves Blackthorn–probably a Fae. . . we don’t know his motivations. . . who he is exactly or why he saved her. We get a few clues, but I look forward to learning more in future books.

Jeers

  • None. This book is a wonderful beginning for a series.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • This is the first book I’ve read by Juliet Marillier and I don’t know why I waited so long. I own several more books by her and want to read them soon.
  • I can’t wait for the next book and I gave this book an A- only because it’s the first book I’ve read by Ms. Marillier and I want all of her books to be as good or even better!
  • This is one of my favorite books of the year (see my Top Ten Tuesday for this week and for last week as she is one of my favorite new authors, too.)

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

  • 2014 Goodreads Challenge (Hoping to read 100 books this year)
  • New Author Challenge–hosted by the Literary Escapism blog (Juliet Marillier is one of my favorite new authors this year!)