April books on my list

books-on-my-listEach month I write about the books I’ve noticed and think might be good. Sometimes they’re from favorite authors and sometimes a new author strikes my fancy.

I don’t get all the books (not during the month they’re released at least)–since I already have way too many books to read. And I’m trying to limit the new books I get each month to the ones I’m going to read soon. Right…that doesn’t always work…lol.

But the list I make each month helps me not forget books. The Goodreads links help me keep track of these books.

And I hope people reading my post may find some new books, too! I also hope you will point me toward books I missed.

Apr 1

skeleton-bluesSkeleton Blues

by Paul Johnston

Series: Quint Dalrymple #7

Published by Severn House Publishers

Genre: Science Fiction Dystopian, Mystery

256 pages

Synopsis: Ex-cop Quint Dalrymple discovers there is something very rotten in the independent city-state of Edinburgh in this near-future dystopian thriller.”

Edinburgh, spring 2034. The weather s balmy, there s a referendum on whether to join a reconstituted Scotland coming up and a tourist is found strangled. As usual, maverick detective Quint Dalrymple is called in to do the Council of City Guardians dirty work.

For the first time in his career, Quint is stumped by the complexity of the case. An explosion at the City Zoo is followed by the discovery of another body and the prime suspect is nowhere to be found. Can Quint and his sidekick, Guard commander Davie, put a stop to the killings before the city erupts into open violence? Are the leaders of other Scottish states planning to take over Edinburgh, or is the source of unrest much closer to home? Quint must race to pull the threads together before he becomes one of the numerous skeletons on display.

Apr 4

the-butcher-birdThe Butcher Bird

by S.D. Sykes

Series: Somershill Manor Series #2

Published by Pegasus

Genre: Historical Mystery

336 pages

Synopsis: Oswald de Lacy is growing up fast in his new position as Lord of Somershill Manor. However, there is still the same amount of work to be done in the farms and fields, and the few people left to do it think they should be paid more—something the King himself has forbidden.

Just as anger begins to spread, the story of the Butcher Bird takes flight. People claim to have witnessed a huge creature in the skies. A new-born baby is found impaled on a thorn bush. And then more children disappear. Convinced the bird is just a superstitious rumor, Oswald must discover what is really happening. He can expect no help from his snobbish mother and his scheming sister Clemence, who is determined to protect her own child, but happy to neglect her step-daughters.

From the plague-ruined villages of Kent to the thief-infested streets of London and the luxurious bedchamber of a bewitching lady, Oswald’s journey is full of danger, dark intrigue, and shocking revelations.

Apr 5

braking-for-bodiesBraking for Bodies

by Duffy Brown

Series: Cycle Path Mysteries #2

Published by Berkley

Genre: Cozy Mystery

304 pages

Synopsis: Moving from Los Angeles to small, picturesque Mackinac Island to work in a bike shop might seem crazy, but Evie knows it’s the best decision she’s ever made. That’s not to say she’s gotten rid of all her stress; after all, the upcoming Lilac Festival has everyone in town riding in circles.

But things really go downhill when a ferry full of tourists—including Evie’s friend Fiona’s former boss, the editor of a sleazy rag in LA—arrives on the island. No one knows why Peephole Perry came all the way to Mackinac, but things aren’t looking good for Fiona when Peep is found dead. Now Evie has to gear up and get a grip on the truth if she wants to clear her friend’s name…

reading-up-a-stormReading Up a Storm

by Eva Gates

Series: Lighthouse Library Mystery #3

Published by NAL

Genre: Cozy Mystery

336 pages

Synopsis: Misfortune blows into North Carolina’s Outer Banks when a dead body in a boat on the shore leaves local librarian Lucy Richardson racing to solve a strange new mystery….

After a successful party at Bodie Island’s Lighthouse Library, librarian Lucy Richardson is ready to curl up with her cat, Charles, and a good book. But her R and R is cut short when she notices some mysterious lights leading a small boat to crash into the coast.

The two shipwrecked seafarers survive the ordeal—but one of them shows up dead ashore a few days later. Lucy finds herself again roped into a murder investigation and navigating a sea of suspects, all of whom had motives to deep-six the deceased. And this time, she has a sinking feeling that finding the real killer won’t be so easy…

 arenaArena

by Holly Jennings

Series: None

Published by Ace

Genre: Science Fiction

336 pages

Synopsis: A fast-paced and gripping near-future science fiction debut about the gritty world of competitive gaming…
 
Every week, Kali Ling fights to the death on national TV.
She’s died hundreds of times. And it never gets easier…
 
The RAGE tournaments—the Virtual Gaming League’s elite competition where the best gamers in the world compete in a no-holds-barred fight to the digital death. Every bloody kill is broadcast to millions. Every player is a modern gladiator—leading a life of ultimate fame, responsible only for entertaining the masses.

And though their weapons and armor are digital, the pain is real.

Chosen to be the first female captain in RAGE tournament history, Kali Ling is at the top of the world—until one of her teammates overdoses. Now, she must confront the truth about the tournament. Because it is much more than a game—and even in the real world, not everything is as it seems.

The VGL hides dark secrets. And the only way to change the rules is to fight from the inside…

the-murder-of-mary-russell

 

 

The Murder of Mary Russell

by Laurie R. King

Series: Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes #14

Published by Bantam

Genre: Historical Mystery

384 pages

Synopsis: Laurie R. King’s Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell novels—the New York Times bestselling series that Lee Child calls “the most sustained feat of imagination in mystery fiction today”—will never be the same after this bombshell: The Murder of Mary Russell.

 

every-heart-a doorwayEvery Heart a Doorway

by Seanan McGuire

Series: Every Heart a Doorway #1

Published by Tor.com

Genre: Fantasy

160 pages

Synopsis: Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost.

the-edge-of-worldsThe Edge of Worlds

by Martha Wells

Series: The Books of the Raksura #4

Published by Night Shade Books

Genre: Fantasy

400 pages

Synopsis: An expedition of groundlings from the Empire of Kish have traveled through the Three Worlds to the Indigo Cloud court of the Raksura, shape-shifting creatures of flight that live in large family groups. The groundlings have found a sealed ancient city at the edge of the shallow seas, near the deeps of the impassable Ocean. They believe it to be the last home of their ancestors and ask for help getting inside. But the Raksura fear it was built by their own distant ancestors, the Forerunners, and the last sealed Forerunner city they encountered was a prison for an unstoppable evil.

Prior to the groundlings’ arrival, the Indigo Cloud court had been plagued by visions of a disaster that could destroy all the courts in the Reaches. Now, the court’s mentors believe the ancient city is connected to the foretold danger. A small group of warriors, including consort Moon, an orphan new to the colony and the Raksura’s idea of family, and sister queen Jade, agree to go with the groundling expedition to investigate. But the predatory Fell have found the city too, and in the race to keep the danger contained, the Raksura may be the ones who inadvertently release it.

The Edge of Worlds, from celebrated fantasy author Martha Wells, returns to the fascinating world of The Cloud Roads for the first book in a new series of strange lands, uncanny beings, dead cities, and ancient danger.

Apr 8

delivering-the-truthDelivering the Truth

by Edith Maxwell

Series: Quaker Midwife Series #1

Published by Midnight Ink

Genre: Historical Mystery

312 pages

Synopsis: Quaker midwife Rose Carroll hears secrets and keeps con­fi­dences as she attends births of the rich and poor alike in an 1888 Massachusetts mill town. When the town’s world-famed car­riage indus­try is threat­ened by the work of an arson­ist, and a car­riage fac­tory owner’s adult son is stabbed to death with Rose’s own knitting needle, she is drawn into solv­ing the mys­tery. Things get dicey after the same owner’s mis­tress is also mur­dered, leav­ing her one-week-old baby with­out a mother. The Quaker poet and abolitionist John Greenleaf Whittier helps Rose by lending words of advice and support. While strug­gling with being less than the per­fect Friend, Rose draws on her strengths as a counselor and prob­lem solver to bring two mur­der­ers to justice before they destroy the town’s carriage industry and the people who run it.

quiet-neighborsQuiet Neighbors

by Catriona McPherson

Series: None

Published by Midnight Ink

Genre: Mystery

336 pages

Synopsis: It’s the oldest bookshop in a town full of bookshops; rambling and disordered, full of treasures if you look hard. Jude found one of the treasures when she visited last summer, the high point of a miserable vacation. Now, in the depths of winter, when she has to run away, Lowell’s chaotic bookshop in that backwater of a town is the safe place she runs to.

Jude needs a bolt-hole; Lowell needs an assistant and, when an affordable rental is thrown in too, life begins to look up. The gravedigger’s cottage isn’t perfect for a woman alone but at least she has quiet neighbors.

Quiet, but not silent. The long dead and the books they left behind both have tales to tell and the dusty rooms of the bookshop are not the haven they seem to be. Lowell’s past and Jude’s present are a dangerous cocktail of secrets and lies and someone is coming to light the taper that could destroy everything.

Apr 11

a-murder-in-timeA Murder in Time

by Julie McElwain

Series: Unknown

Published by Pegasus

Genre: Science Fiction, Time Travel, Mystery

320 pages

Synopsis: Beautiful and brilliant, Kendra Donovan is a rising star at the FBI. Yet her path to professional success hits a speed bump during a disastrous raid where half her team is murdered, a mole in the FBI is uncovered and she herself is severely wounded. As soon as she recovers, she goes rogue and travels to England to assassinate the man responsible for the deaths of her teammates.

While fleeing from an unexpected assassin herself, Kendra escapes into a stairwell that promises sanctuary but when she stumbles out again, she is in the same place – Aldrich Castle – but in a different time: 1815, to be exact.

Mistaken for a lady’s maid hired to help with weekend guests, Kendra is forced to quickly adapt to the time period until she can figure out how she got there; and, more importantly, how to get back home. However, after the body of a young girl is found on the extensive grounds of the county estate, she starts to feel there’s some purpose to her bizarre circumstances. Stripped of her twenty-first century tools, Kendra must use her wits alone in order to unmask a cunning madman.

Apr 12

masks-and-shadowsMasks and Shadows

by Stephanie Burgis

Series: Unknown

Published by Pyr

Genre: Historical Fantasy

300 pages

Synopsis: The year is 1779, and Carlo Morelli, the most renowned castrato singer in Europe, has been invited as an honored guest to Eszterháza Palace. With Carlo in Prince Nikolaus Esterházy’s carriage, ride a Prussian spy and one of the most notorious alchemists in the Habsburg Empire. Already at Eszterháza is Charlotte von Steinbeck, the very proper sister of Prince Nikolaus’s mistress. Charlotte has retreated to the countryside to mourn her husband’s death. Now, she must overcome the ingrained rules of her society in order to uncover the dangerous secrets lurking within the palace’s golden walls. Music, magic, and blackmail mingle in a plot to assassinate the Habsburg Emperor and Empress–a plot that can only be stopped if Carlo and Charlotte can see through the masks worn by everyone they meet.

dying-for-a-tasteDying for a Taste

by Leslie Karst

Series: Sally Solari Mystery #1

Published by Crooked Lane Publishing

Genre: Cozy Mystery

304 pages

Synopsis: After losing her mother to cancer, Sally Solari quits her job as an attorney to help her dad run his old-style Italian eatery in Santa Cruz, California. But managing the front of the house is far from her dream job.

Then in a sudden twist her Aunt Letta is found murdered in her own restaurant, and Sally is the only one who can keep the place running. But when her sous chef is accused of the crime, and she finds herself suddenly short-staffed, Sally must delve into the world of sustainable farming—not to mention a few family secrets–to help him clear his name and catch the true culprit before her timer runs out.

Leslie Karst serves a platter of intrigue in her stirring and satisfying debut Dying for a Taste, which is sure to become a new favorite of food mystery fans.

Apr 19

the-emperors-railroadThe Emperor’s Railroad

by Guy Haley

Series: Dreaming Cities #1

Published by Tor.com

Genre: Fantasy

192 pages

Synopsis: Global war devastated the environment, a zombie-like plague wiped out much of humanity, and civilization as we once understood it came to a standstill. But that was a thousand years ago, and the world is now a very different place.

Conflict between city states is constant, superstition is rife, and machine relics, mutant creatures and resurrected prehistoric beasts trouble the land. Watching over all are the silent Dreaming Cities. Homes of the angels, bastion outposts of heaven on Earth. Or so the church claims. Very few go in, and nobody ever comes out.

Until now…

the-everything-boxThe Everything Box

by Richard Kadrey

Series: Unknown

Published by Harper Voyager

Genre: Fantasy

368 pages

Synopsis: Reminiscent of the edgy, offbeat humor of Chris Moore and Matt Ruff, the first entry in a whimsical, fast-paced supernatural series from the New York Times bestselling author of the Sandman Slim novels-a dark and humorous story involving a doomsday gizmo, a horde of baddies determined to possess its power, and a clever thief who must steal it back . . . again and again

2000 B.C.
A beautiful, ambitious angel stands on a mountaintop, surveying the world and its little inhabitants below. He smiles because soon, the last of humanity who survived the great flood will meet its end, too. And he should know. He’s going to play a big part in it. Our angel usually doesn’t get to do field work, and if he does well, he’s certain he’ll be get a big promotion.
And now it’s time . . .
The angel reaches into his pocket for the instrument of humanity’s doom. Must be in the other pocket. Then he frantically begins to pat himself down. Dejected, he realizes he has lost the object. Looking over the Earth at all that could have been, the majestic angel utters a single word.
“Crap.”

2015
A thief named Coop-a specialist in purloining magic objects-steals and delivers a small box to the mysterious client who engaged his services. Coop doesn’t know that his latest job could be the end of him-and the rest of the world. Suddenly he finds himself in the company of the Department of Peculiar Science, a fearsome enforcement agency that polices the odd and strange. The box isn’t just a supernatural heirloom with quaint powers, they tell him.

It’s a doomsday device. They think. . .
And suddenly, everyone is out to get it.

til-death-do-us-part‘Til Death Do Us Part

by Amanda Quick

Series: Unknown

Published by Berkley

Genre: Historical Romance, Mystery

352 pages

Synopsis: Calista Langley operates an exclusive “introduction” agency in Victorian London, catering to respectable ladies and gentlemen who find themselves alone in the world. But now, a dangerously obsessed individual has begun sending her trinkets and gifts suitable only for those in deepest mourning—a black mirror, a funeral wreath, a ring set with black jet stone. Each is engraved with her initials.

Desperate for help and fearing that the police will be of no assistance, Calista turns to Trent Hastings, a reclusive author of popular crime novels. Believing that Calista may be taking advantage of his lonely sister, who has become one of her clients, Trent doesn’t trust her. Scarred by his past, he’s learned to keep his emotions at bay, even as an instant attraction threatens his resolve.

But as Trent and Calista comb through files of rejected clients in hopes of identifying her tormentor, it becomes clear that the danger may be coming from Calista’s own secret past—and that only her death will satisfy the stalker…

Apr 21

the-body-on-the-doorstepThe Body on the Doorstep

by A.J. MacKenzie

Series: Romney Marsh Mystery #1

Published by Bonnier Publishing

Genre: Historical Mystery

272 pages

Synopsis: Kent, 1796.

Shocked to discover a dying man on his doorstep – and lucky to avoid a bullet himself – Reverend Hardcastle finds himself entrusted with the victim’s cryptic last words.

With smuggling rife on England’s south-east coast, the obvious conclusion is that this was a falling out among thieves. But why is the leader of the local Customs service so reluctant to investigate?

Ably assisted by the ingenious Mrs Chaytor, Hardcastle sets out to solve the mystery for himself. But smugglers are not the only ones to lurk off the Kent coast, and the more he discovers, the more he realises he might have bitten off more than he can chew.

Apr 26

sleeping-giantsSleeping Giants

by Sylvain Neuvel

Series: Themis Files #1

Published by Del Rey

Genre: Science Fiction

320 pages

Synopsis: 17 years ago: A girl in South Dakota falls through the earth, then wakes up dozens of feet below ground on the palm of what seems to be a giant metal hand. Today: She is a top-level physicist leading a team of people to understand exactly what that hand is, where it came from, and what it portends for humanity. A swift and spellbinding tale told almost exclusively through transcriptions of interviews conducted by a mysterious and unnamed character, this is a unique debut that describes a hunt for truth, power, and giant body parts.

………………..

This month I have a number of NetGalley books I’ve already read (and liked):

  • Skeleton Blues by Paul Johnson
  • Reading Up a Storm by Eva Gates
  • Arena by Holly Jennings
  • ‘Til Death Do Us Part by Amanda Quick
  • Dying for a Taste by Leslie Karst

What books are you excited about this month?

Waiting on Wednesday: March 30

I’m participating in Waiting on Wednesday hosted by Breaking the Spine. This gives me a chance to show the books I’m looking forward to in the next few months.

Check out Breaking the Spine for more information.

 

den-of-wolvesDen of Wolves by Juliet Marillier

Series: Blackthorn & Grim series #3

Publication Date: November 1

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Feather bright and feather fine, None shall harm this child of mine…

Healer Blackthorn knows all too well the rules of her bond to the fey: seek no vengeance, help any who ask, do only good. But after the recent ordeal she and her companion, Grim, have suffered, she knows she cannot let go of her quest to bring justice to the man who ruined her life.

Despite her personal struggles, Blackthorn agrees to help the princess of Dalriada in taking care of a troubled young girl who has recently been brought to court, while Grim is sent to the girl’s home at Wolf Glen to aid her wealthy father with a strange task—repairing a broken-down house deep in the woods. It doesn’t take Grim long to realize that everything in Wolf Glen is not as it seems—the place is full of perilous secrets and deadly lies…

Back at Winterfalls, the evil touch of Blackthorn’s sworn enemy reopens old wounds and fuels her long-simmering passion for justice. With danger on two fronts, Blackthorn and Grim are faced with a heartbreaking choice—to stand once again by each other’s side or to fight their battles alone…

………………………………………

Why I want this book

  • This sounds really interesting. The synopsis reminded me a little of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe–probably because of the WWII setting.
  • Beautiful cover
  • I’ve read the first two books in this series and am very excited to read this book.

What about you? Is there some book you are waiting impatiently for?

Best books so far in 2016

Top Ten

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted at the Broke and the Bookish blog. Each week has a different topic and it’s fun to see what everyone writes each week. Check out their blog for more information.

This week I’m talking about the best books I’ve read so far this year. As you can see I’ve read lots of good mysteries so far!

Note: The links go to my reviews unless I haven’t reviewed them yet. Then the link goes to Goodreads.

Mysteries

Murder in an Irish Village

  • by Carlene O’Connor
  • Contemporary Mystery (cozy)
  • Set in a small village in County Cork, Ireland
  • I love the setting, the characters–especially the O’Sullivan family–and the story.

Out of the Blues

  • by Trudy Nan Boyce
  • Police Procedural
  • Set in Atlanta, Georgia
  • A police procedural–one of my favorite types of mysteries. By a debut author who was a police officer for over 30 years.

In the Shadow of the Glacier (not reviewed yet)

  • by Vicki Delany
  • Constable Molly Smith series #1
  • Police Procedural
  • Set in a small town in British Columbia, Canada
  • I haven’t reviewed this book yet, but it is very good. The first in a series and I have already read the second book and would have read more, but I want the series to last awhile!

Killing Trail

  • by Margaret Mizushima
  • Timber Creek K-9 Mystery series #1
  • Police Procedural
  • Set in a small town in the Colorado Rockies.
  • The main characters are a police officer and her K-9 partner. I really like partnership between the two of them.

A Muddied Murder

  • by Wendy Tyson
  • A Greenhouse Mystery #1
  • Contemporary Mystery (cozy)
  • Set on an organic farm and a small town in Pennsylvania
  • I love the setting and the characters in this cozy.

The Royal Wulff Murders

  • by Keith McCafferty
  • Sean Stranahan series #1
  • Contemporary Mystery (part police procedural, part detective)
  • Set in southern Montana in fly fishing country
  • The setting is great in this book. And the story is really good, too!

Death Comes to London and Death Comes to Kurland Hall (not yet reviewed)

  • by Catherine Lloyd
  • Kurland St. Mary Mystery series #2 & #3
  • Historical Mystery
  • Set in Regency England, 1817–one in London, one in a small village
  • I really like the characters, settings and stories in these books.

A Useful Woman

  • by Darcie Wilde
  • Rosalind Thorne Mysteries #1
  • Historical Mystery
  • Set in Regency England–London
  • Rosalind Thorne is a smart woman. She’s been through a lot, but is still resilient. I liked the story and setting as well.

Fantasy

Fire Touched

  • by Patricia Briggs
  • Mercy Thompson series #9
  • Urban Fantasy
  • Set in the Tri-Cities, Washington State
  • Number 9 is just as good as all the rest! One of my all-time favorite series.

Marked in Flesh

  • by Anne Bishop
  • The Others #4
  • Urban Fantasy
  • Set in Lakeside
  • Another favorite series. Very unique take on urban fantasy.

What are some of your favorite books?

Silenced in the Surf by Kate E. Dyer-Seeley

silenced-in-the-surf-by-kate-e-dyer-seeleySilenced in the Surf by Kate E. Dyer-Seeley
Series: Pacific Northwest #3
Genre: Mystery
Setting: Portland, Oregon and Hood River on the Columbia River in Oregon
Published by Kensington, 2016
Format: e-Arc (Release Date: March 29)
–I received a review copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.
304 pages
Grade: B-
Synopsis: Covering a windsurfing competition should have been a breeze for reporter Meg Reed, but with a killer in the curl, she’s headed for rough waters…

Hood River in the Columbia River Gorge is the windsurfing capital of the world, and Meg is stoked to cover the King of the Hook event for Portland’s Northwest Extreme magazine. Before the competition gets under way, Meg has a chance to try some windsurfing on her own. But when the current sweeps her downriver, she spots a body snagged on the rocks. The dead man is Justin Cruise, aka Cruise Control, a celebrity windsurfer and not exactly a nice guy. It’s soon clear his death was no accident, and Cruise had no shortage of enemies. As Meg dives right in to discover who wiped out the windsurfer, she’ll need to keep her balance—or she too may get blown away.

Initial impressions

  • I love the setting of the book in the Columbia Gorge. The author did a great job bringing it to life.

The story

  • Meg works for Northwest Extreme Magazine and travels to Hood River to cover a windsurfing competition.
  • During a windsurfing lesson she is swept downriver and ends up finding a body on rocks along the shore.
  • It looks like the death could be accidental, but the windsurfer had lots of enemies.

Pluses

  • I grew up in Oregon so this book was great fun to read. I’ve seen the windsurfers on the Columbia River. I’ve never done that myself or wanted to. I’m a little like Meg before she got her job at Northwest Extreme magazine…lol.
  • I haven’t read the other books, but was able to follow along just fine. However, I think reading the earlier books is a great idea!
  • There is an ongoing story arc that sounds like it started in the first book. Meg’s father who was a reporter working on a story was murdered. The murder was never solved and Meg is trying to discover what happened.
  • There are funny parts and some scary parts and even one I can think of which is both: when Meg gets a windsurfing lesson, is carried away by the wind and current, can’t get the sail up and falls off the board several times–funny and scary both.
  • A beautiful cover!
  • I like the way the author describes Hood River and the windsurfing scene and all the people who descend on the little town. Not everyone in town likes all the windsurfers and tourists. I like all the brewpubs visited during the book!

Minuses

  • The end of the book didn’t feel like an end. I have a feeling the next book will start about where this ended.
  • The mystery part of the story isn’t quite complete either. Of course, in real life everything isn’t tied up in a neat bow, but I wonder if that will wrap-up in the next book also.

And concluding thoughts . . .

  • Book 4 in the series–First Degree Murder–is scheduled to arrive on shelves in December 2016.

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

Author info

  • Kate Dyer-Seeley writes the Pacific Northwest Mystery Series for Kensington Publishing, featuring a young journalist, Meg Reed, who bills herself as an intrepid adventurer in order to land a gig writing for Northwest Extreme. Only Meg’s idea of sport is climbing onto the couch without spilling her latte.
  • She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and son, where you can find her hitting the trail, at an artisan coffee shop, or at her favorite pub. Better yet—all three.

Reading Challenges

Sunday Post: Mar 27

Sunday-Post

This is a great meme to take part in every week and I thank Kimba for hosting it!

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.

Last Week–home and blog

Iowa here we come!

Our older daughter arrived Saturday to help finish packing, pack the U-Haul truck, help drive and then unload in Iowa. Two of my husband’s sisters arrive the morning we leave to help with the drive across the country and unpack at the end of the trip. It’s great to have family!

We are in frenzy packing mode now getting it all finished! Lots of little odds and ends to find a place for in boxes. My husband is coming back to Maryland to finish work and then take early retirement. We are leaving a few things for him–but very few since anything he’s taking with him has to fit in his car!

The cats are going in my car though they don’t know that yet. They aren’t too happy with all the chaos, boxes and disruption of their naps. They’re going to be even unhappier when it comes time to get into their carriers!

 Cherry blossoms and monuments

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The cherry blossoms are at their peak this weekend in Washington D.C. We decided to take some time off packing to see DC one last time. It was great. We went early in the morning thinking there wouldn’t be too many people–haha. There were masses of people already and no places to park. I stayed with the car at one point and it was lucky I did, because the police were ticketing cars. Luckily, he let me move the car and luckily I was able to call my husband and daughter so we didn’t lose each other! It is all beautiful and wonderful to see and we will miss DC, but are ready for the next chapter in our lives.

The blog

I’ve got posts written for next week, but haven’t answered comments or visited blogs. I love all your comments and hope to start visiting blogs again the first week in April. Once we actually get moved I hope to have more time as I gradually unpack.

Blog posts

My books

What I’m reading
  • The Gray Ghost Murders by Keith McCafferty
What I read last week
  • Arena by Holly Jennings
New–Books, E-books, NetGalley, Audiobooks–purchased or free or from library

Next Week–home & blog

We leave the middle of next week for Iowa. We start packing everything into the moving van in a couple days. I don’t know if I’ll get a chance to do a Sunday Post next week or not.

  • Review: Silenced in the Surf by Kate E. Dyer-Seeley
  • Top Ten Tuesday
  • Waiting on Wednesday: March 30
  • April books on my list
  • Review: Skeleton Blues by Paul Johnson
  • Sunday Post

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

The Royal Wulff Murders by Keith McCafferty

the-royal-wulff-murdersThe Royal Wulff Murders by Keith McCafferty
Series: Sean Stranahan series #1
Genre: Mystery
Setting: Montana
Published by Viking, 2012
Library book
352 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: A clever and fast-paced murder mystery full of wit, suspense, and fly fishing.

When a fishing guide reels in the body of a young man on the Madison, the Holy Grail of Montana trout rivers, Sheriff Martha Ettinger suspects foul play. It’s not just the stick jammed into the man’s eye that draws her attention; it’s the Royal Wulff trout fly stuck in his bloated lower lip. Following her instincts, Ettinger soon finds herself crossing paths with Montana newcomer Sean Stranahan.

Fly fisher, painter, and has-been private detective, Stranahan left a failed marriage and lackluster career to drive to Montana, where he lives in an art studio decorated with fly-tying feathers and mouse droppings. With more luck catching fish than clients, Stranahan is completely captivated when Southern siren Velvet Lafayette walks into his life, intent on hiring his services to find her missing brother. The clues lead Stranahan and Ettinger back to Montana’s Big Business: fly fishing. Where there’s money, there’s bound to be crime.

In Sean Stranahan’s philosophy of life, any man who had a fly rod, a quarter tank of gas, and four decent tires was never too far from home.

and

The rainbow marked the end of a story that had begun nearly nine months ago and he was reluctant to open his hand. Trout are the ghosts of moving waters, gone like the dreams one longs to remember. When this one glimmered away, he felt as if he’d caught smoke or that it had never been there in the first place.

Initial impressions

  • I love the Montana setting with fly fishing, the beautiful outdoors and rivers and the dichotomy of the people who flock to the Montana rivers for the fishing–some who have vacation homes in Montana, but only spend a few weeks every year in the state–and those who live year round and try to make a living in Montana.

The story

  • When a body is found in a popular fly fishing river the sheriff wonders if the young man is a victim of accidental drowning or murder.
  • Sean Stranahan is a painter, but not selling too many paintings. He’s recently come to Montana from New England and he’s living in his studio. He was a private detective in New England so his studio door is marked with both “Blue Ribbon Watercolors” and “Private Investigations.”
  • Velvet Lafayette walks into Sean’s office and hires him to find her father’s fishing spot. And keep his eye out for her brother. Sean asks her for her brother’s description since he has heard about the drowned fisherman. The two descriptions don’t match.
  • Sheriff Ettinger questions Sean while he’s out fishing when she and her deputies are questioning fishermen who might have seen something along the river where the young man died.
  • Later Sean is fishing with the fishing guide who found the body when someone shoots the guide. Sean manages to save the guide’s life and meets up again with Sheriff Ettinger.
  • They investigate these events from two different directions.

Pluses

  • I enjoyed this book partly because I grew up living in the U.S. West and loving the outdoors, but I don’t think you have to be familiar with those aspects of the book to enjoy this story.
  • When Velvet Lafayette walks into Sean’s life I felt a flash of the hard-boiled detective story such as Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon where the femme fatale leads the detective on. Velvet has a rather bizarre story and it’s hard to know if she’s telling the truth.
  • The story revolves around trout, fly fishing and rivers in Montana. I loved all the outdoor scenes and writing. I grew up camping and fishing with my family in Oregon. My Dad tied his own flies so I relate to the fly tying and fishing.
  • The Royal Wulff fly (which you can see on the cover of the book) is a dry-fly pattern originally tied by Lee Wulff in the 1930’s and still used by fishermen today. It resembles a number of different types of mayflies. I like the authenticity that Mr. McCafferty uses without making the book boring.
  • The book also features Sheriff Martha Ettinger who has fought her way to the top of her profession. Along with her department she investigates the death of the young man found in the river. She’s a great character to read about. We see only a little of the woman behind the sheriff and I like that.
  • The characters are well-written and varied. We have both the sheriff’s and Sean’s points-of-view and since they are coming at things from two different directions that makes the story interesting as I wondered where their investigations would converge.
  • I love the humor in the story. In the first paragraph: “The client, whose largest trout to date had been the size of a breakfast sausage, reared back as if to stick a tarpon.” That sets the stage for lots more humor!
  • I like Keith McCafferty’s writing a lot. I think an outdoorsman and writer like Mr. McCafferty is something of a philosopher and I find some of that in his writing along with a great story.

Minuses

  • There might be too much “fish” talk for some readers, but I think the book is worth reading through that even if you don’t like fishing.

And concluding thoughts . . .

  • I’m ready to read more books by Mr. McCafferty! I’ve bought the second book in the series and hope to read it soon. The fourth book in the series–Crazy Mountain Kiss–comes out in June 2016.

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

Author info

  • As well as being a novelist for Viking/Penguin Books, Keith McCafferty is the Survival and Outdoor Skills Editor of Field & Stream. He has written articles for publications as diverse as Fly Fishekeith-mccaffertyrman Magazine, Mother Earth News, Gray’s Sporting Journal and the Chicago Tribune, and on subjects ranging from mosquitoes to wolves to mercenaries and exorcism. Based in Montana and working on assignment around the globe–he recently spent a month in India trekking the Himalayas, fishing for golden mahseer and studying tigers–Keith has won numerous awards, including the Robert Traver Award for angling literature. He has twice been a finalist for a National Magazine Award.

Reading Challenges

A Muddied Murder by Wendy Tyson

a-muddied-murderA Muddied Murder by Wendy Tyson
Series: A Greenhouse Mystery #1
Genre: Mystery (cozy)
Setting: Winsome, Pennsylvania
Published by Henery Press, 2016
Format: e-Arc (Release Date: March 29)
–I received a review copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.
235 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: When Megan Sawyer gives up her big-city law career to care for her grandmother and run the family’s organic farm and café, she expects to find peace and tranquility in her scenic hometown of Winsome, Pennsylvania. Instead, her goat goes missing, rain muddies her fields, the town denies her business permits, and her family’s Colonial-era farm sucks up the remains of her savings. 

Just when she thinks she’s reached the bottom of the rain barrel, Megan and the town’s hunky veterinarian discover the local zoning commissioner’s battered body in her barn.  Now Megan is thrust into the middle of a murder investigation—and she’s the chief suspect. Can Megan dig through small-town secrets, local politics, and old grievances in time to find a killer before that killer strikes again?

Initial impressions

  • I enjoyed this mystery a lot. The setting on a farm in Pennsylvania with small-town politics thrown in plus a murder has the main character Megan (and the reader) scrambling to figure out what is going on.

The story

  • Her grandmother Bibi needs her help so Megan gives up her law practice in Chicago and returns to the Colonial-era family farm near Winsome, Pennsylvania where her family has strong roots.
  • Winsome has a strong historical preservation group and they want the farm zoned for historical preservation. Small towns always have local politics and Winsome is no different. Megan must wade through the politics and secrets to find some answers.
  • Some of the secrets are in her own family. Her grandmother isn’t telling her everything and Megan can’t figure why or what she’s not telling.
  • Megan is ready to open her cafe to highlight the organic produce she grows, but she keeps getting turned down for permits.
  • Then the zoning official ends up dead on the farm and Megan must figure out what is going on since she’s a suspect.

Pluses

  • I really enjoyed this mystery. The author does a great job with the characters including those who might have motive for the murder.
  • I like the setting on the organic farm and the starting of a cafe. I love gardening so it’s fun to read about the gardening necessary to grow organic produce. Starting the cafe and store is also interesting. We see some of the hard work which goes into farming with the problems of weather plus the hard work of beginning a cafe and store.
  • Megan has a lot to do in this story–run an organic farm, start a cafe and store and help her grandmother. And then a murder happens and the mystery of why and what is going on.
  • There’s a lot to like about the characters. They’re interesting and well-developed so I felt like I knew them. I love how Megan interacts with her grandmother. Other characters like the farmhand (Clay), the store manager (Clover),  the veterinarian (Dr. Denver Finn) all are people who would be fun to know. There’s even a hint of romance in the book.
  • Love the cover. It reminds me of the pictures on old seed packets.
  • The goat is a lot of fun and is part of the action!

Minuses

  • Megan’s grandmother could have helped Megan figure out what was happening if she’d been more honest with Megan from the start.

And concluding thoughts . . .

  •  I look forward to reading more mysteries in this series and hope to read books in Ms. Tyson’s other series–Allison Campbell Mystery series and Delilah Powers Percy Mystery series.

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

Author info

  • Wendy Tyson is an author, lawyer and former therapist whose background has inspired her mysteries and thrillers.  Wendy has written four published crime novels, including Dying Brand, the third novel in the Allison Campbell Mystery Series, which was released on May 5, 2015.  The first in the Campbell series, Killer Image, was named a best mystery for book clubs in 2014 by Examiner.com.  Wendy is also the author of the Greenhouse Mystery Series, the first of which, A Muddied Murder, is due to be released in spring 2016.  Wendy is a member of Sisters in Crime and International Thriller Writers, and she is a contributing editor for The Big Thrill, International Thriller Writers’ online magazine.  Wendy lives with her husband, three sons and three dogs on a micro-farm just outside of Philadelphia.  

Reading Challenges

Beyond the books–Things I miss about being a kid

beyond-the-books

Beyond the Books is a weekly meme hosted at Kissin’BlueKaren. Beyond the Books is a weekly meme of mostly non-bookish topics. Share the link to your blog post at her site and we all have fun learning about each other. For more information and future topics.

I’m participating in the Beyond the Books meme when I can think of answers to the questions! I like finding out more about other bloggers. It’s fun to share a few non-bookish things about ourselves. This week the topic is things I miss about being a kid.

Small town living

I grew up in a small town and walked or rode my bike all over town. A great feeling of freedom.

Freedom to wander

Living on a hill.  We lived on a hill on the last road above the town and there were only a few houses around us. (Now that hill is completely covered with houses and the town and county have grown and grown.) There weren’t too many kids living close to us, but there were two sisters around my age and we played together a lot when we weren’t in school. In the summer we often met up early in the morning and wandered the hillside all day long–not coming home until dinner sometimes.

Wandering with my dog. Sometimes I would wander the hillside with just my dog. She was a Brittany Spaniel (similar to a Springer Spaniel) and she loved to run along the hillside. Occasionally we would scare a deer or rabbit and off she would go!

Sledding. Since we lived on a hill when there was snow the sledding was great. Lots of kids would come around our hill to sled and we sometimes stayed all day long.

The cliff and river. We lived a couple blocks from a cliff with a river at the bottom. We weren’t supposed to go there, but, of course, we did! We found ways to climb around on the rocks, climb down to the river (which was deep and swift) and play by the river. (Makes me shudder now thinking about my kids around something like that at that age.) I remember once picking a bunch of cattails to give to my Mom. When I got back home it dawned on me that the cattails  only grew along and in the water. If I gave them to Mom she would know where I had been. So I took them apart until there was fuzz all over the grass. I remember Mom and Dad wondering what in the world had gotten into the yard! Of course, I didn’t say a word.

Weather

Since we lived on a hill we could see for miles. I loved watching storms rolling in. That’s how it looked–like the weather was rolling closer and closer. I miss seeing the weather like that.

The wonder of summer

Summers were the very best. Long days outside. The weather was usually warm after a cold night. I loved laying on my back on the grass just watching the sky and the clouds–seeing shapes in the clouds– and daydreaming. Maybe falling asleep in the warm sun. I would sometimes sleep outside on a summer night on our deck under the stars–looking at all the stars. Having one of our cats (indoor-outdoor cats) come and sleep with me. That was bliss.

The library

Reading. Another vivid memory is visiting the library with my Mom (and then having her read the books to me) when I was small and walking to the library myself when I was older. I loved to spend hours just walking through the aisles smelling the books…lol…and browsing and finding new authors and books to read. Even though I spent a lot of time outside I managed to read a lot, too.

Many other memories

Of course, there are many more memories–learning to cook and bake, camping in the mountains during the summer, fishing with my parents, visiting my grandparents who lived on a ranch and riding horseback with my cousins.

So many great memories! What about you? What did you like best about being a kid?

 

Waiting on Wednesday: March 23

I’m participating in Waiting on Wednesday hosted by Breaking the Spine. This gives me a chance to show the books I’m looking forward to in the next few months.

Check out Breaking the Spine for more information.

roses-and-rotRoses and Rot by Kat Howard

Series: Unknown

Publication Date: May 17

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Imogen and her sister Marin have escaped their cruel mother to attend a prestigious artists’ retreat, but soon learn that living in a fairy tale requires sacrifices, be it art or love in this haunting debut fantasy novel from “a remarkable young writer” (Neil Gaiman).

What would you sacrifice in the name of success? How much does an artist need to give up to create great art?

Imogen has grown up reading fairy tales about mothers who die and make way for cruel stepmothers. As a child, she used to lie in bed wishing that her life would become one of these tragic fairy tales because she couldn’t imagine how a stepmother could be worse than her mother now. As adults, Imogen and her sister Marin are accepted to an elite post-grad arts program—Imogen as a writer and Marin as a dancer. Soon enough, though, they realize that there’s more to the school than meets the eye. Imogen might be living in the fairy tale she’s dreamed about as a child, but it’s one that will pit her against Marin if she decides to escape her past to find her heart’s desire.

………………………………………

Why I want this book

  • The book sounds very imaginative. Living in a fairy tale? Maybe not what these two sisters imagined.
  • This is a debut fantasy.

What about you? Is there some book you are waiting impatiently for?

Sunday Post: Mar 20

Sunday-Post

This is a great meme to take part in every week and I thank Kimba for hosting it!

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.

Last Week–home and blog

First Day of Spring

And it’s cold! Down to 34 degrees Saturday night and only around 40 degrees during the day on Sunday. However, by Tuesday it gets warmer again so I guess that is typical of spring–some days cooler and some days warmer. Our daffodils are blooming and I see yellow forsythia in bloom everywhere. Yellow daffodils and forsythia are the signs of spring as far as I’m concerned.

Less than 2 weeks and counting…

And still packing, but making progress.

The blog

I’ve gotten some posts written, but haven’t answered many comments or visited many blogs. I love all your comments and will continue to visit blogs as time permits during the next two weeks. Once we actually get moved I hope to have more time as I gradually unpack.

I have a number of reviews to write, too. I still manage to read whenever I have a free moment!

Blog posts

My books

What I’m reading
  • Arena by Holly Jennings
What I read last week
  • Death Comes to London by Catherine Lloyd
  • Death Comes to Kurland Hall by Catherine Lloyd
  • ‘Til Death Do Us Part by Amanda Quick
New–Books, E-books, NetGalley, Audiobooks–purchased or free or from library

No new books this week!

Next Week–home & blog

Sorting, packing, reading and regular life continues. I’m trying to stay caught up with my blog.

Blog posts

  • Waiting on Wednesday: Mar 23
  • Beyond the Books: Things I miss about being a kid
  • Review: A Muddied Murder by Wendy Tyson
  • Sunday Post

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