Sunday Post: January 29

Sunday-Post

Kimba hosts the Sunday Post each week. I like to take part because it gives me an opportunity to look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also love to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading.

Home and Blog

Dogs frolicking in the snow

My son and his dog are visiting from New York and we are all having lots of fun. This weekend my son and daughter drove to northern Wisconsin for a long weekend with relatives. They’re hoping to play in the snow while they’re there. My husband and I are taking care of their dogs (a Labrador retriever and mini dachshund). Luckily, the dogs get along well and have lots of fun playing. We had a little snow earlier this week and the dogs have had so much fun chasing each other through the yard.

Bailey and Donnie
Blogging

Not too much blogging done this week. I’ve been busy doing things with my family, but I’m trying to comment when I can and write some posts. I really enjoy connecting with other bloggers–one of the best parts of having a book blog.

Blog posts last week
Blog posts planned next week
  • February books on my list
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • Book review
  • Sunday Post

My books

What I’m reading

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Arabella of Mars by David D. Levine

What I read last week

Dead Man’s Fancy by Keith McCafferty

E-books & Audiobooks Purchased

e-books

The Q by Beth Brower

Upstairs at the White House: My Life with the First Ladies by J.B. West

The Merchant’s House by Kate Ellis

audiobooks

Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey

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

Waiting on Wednesday: January 25

I am 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.

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Brother's Ruin by Emma NewmanBrother’s Ruin

by Emma Newman

Series: Industrial Magic #1

Genre: Historical Fantasy Novella

Publication date: March 14

Synopsis: The year is 1850 and Great Britain is flourishing, thanks to the Royal Society of the Esoteric Arts. When a new mage is discovered, Royal Society elites descend like buzzards to snatch up a new apprentice. Talented mages are bought from their families at a tremendous price, while weak mages are snapped up for a pittance. For a lower middle class family like the Gunns, the loss of a son can be disastrous, so when seemingly magical incidents begin cropping up at home, they fear for their Archie’s life and their own livelihoods.

But Archie Gunn isn’t a talented mage. His sister Charlotte is, and to prevent her brother from being imprisoned for false reporting she combines her powers with his to make him seem a better prospect. However, maintaining the charade will mean masquerading as Archie’s assistant, and delaying or destroying her own plans for marriage.

When she discovers a nefarious plot by the sinister Doctor Ledbetter, Charlotte must use all her cunning and guile to protect her family, her secret and her city.

.…………………………

The reasons this book appeals to me:
  • I read After Atlas by Emma Newman last fall and really liked it so when I saw she had a new book coming out I immediately put it on my list to read.
  • This is a totally different kind of book and not part of the Planetfall series, but it sounds very good.
  • Good cover! I like the Victorian vibe.

2017 books I want in first half of year

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

This week is a freebie week so we can all decide on our own topics. My topic–2017 books I want in first half of year. This was a topic from December, but I didn’t get it done in then.

January

the hanging-tree-by-ben-aaronovitch

The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch (Peter Grant/Rivers of London #6) — Urban Fantasy, Police Procedural

One of my favorite urban fantasy series and I’ve waited for this book for a couple of years so I’m happy it’s almost here.

February

Garden of Lamentations by Deborah Crombie (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James #17) — Mystery, Police Procedural

One of my very favorite series. I’m so excited for this next book in the series.

Swiss Vendetta by Tracee de Hahn (Agnes Luthi Mysteries #1) — Mystery, Police Procedural

This sounds like a great start to a new series–a police procedural set in Switzerland.

Old Bones by Trudy Nan Boyce (Detective Sarah Alt #2) — Mystery, Police Procedural

I really liked the first book in this series. Sarah Alt “Salt” is a great character.

Murder at an Irish Wedding by Carlene O’Connor (Irish Village Mystery #2) — Mystery

The first book was so much fun!

March

Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop (The Others #5) — Urban Fantasy

Such a good series. The world building is excellent.

Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson #10) — Urban Fantasy

One of my favorite urban fantasy series. I’ve read these since they first came out.

The Holver Alley Crew by Marshall Ryan Maresca (The Streets of Maradaine #1) — Fantasy

I really like how the author is writing about the world he has created. This is the third series set in the same world, but with different characters and settings.

Brother’s Ruin by Emma Newman (Industrial Magic #1) — Historical Fantasy

I read After Atlas in 2016 and really liked it. This is the beginning of a different series and totally different, but I like Ms. Newman’s writing and this sounds great.

The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi — Science Fiction, Space Opera

John Scalzi is an auto buy author for me. This is the beginning of a new series in a new universe. Sounds great.

April

cold-welcome-by-elizabeth-moon

Cold Welcome by Elizabeth Moon (Vatta’s Peace) — Science Fiction

I’ve read Elizabeth Moon’s books for years. Kylara Vatta from the Vatta’s War series is one of my favorite protagonists.

May

white-hot-by-ilona-andrews

White Hot by Ilona Andrews (Hidden Legacy #2) — Fantasy Romance

Ilona Andrews has written some of my favorite fantasies. And I really enjoyed the first book in this series.

What books are you looking forward to during the first half of 2017?

Sunday Post: January 22

Sunday-Post

Kimba hosts the Sunday Post each week. I like to take part because it gives me an opportunity to look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also love to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading.

Home and Blog

We had some freezing rain early in the week. That kept me inside for a few days, but that was fine. At the beginning of the year I moved things around in my craft room and I didn’t finish arranging everything so this week I worked on that. I still have more to do. Every time I move something that means I have to figure out where to put it.

My son arrives for a visit on Wednesday so I need to clean the bedroom. He’s bringing his dog with him so I’m looking forward to spending time with Donnie, too!

Blogging

I posted my first review of the new year as well as the first review in a long time. That felt good. I hope to post at least one review a week. And I’m hoping to get caught up on comments.

Blog posts since Christmas
Blog posts planned next week
  • Top Ten Tuesday
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • Book review
  • Sunday Post

My books

What I’m reading

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Dead Man’s Fancy by Keith McCafferty

Arabella of Mars by David D. Levine

What I read last week

A Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths

E-books & Audiobooks Purchased

e-books

The Girl with Ghost Eyes by M.H. Boroson

The Seventh Bride by T. Kingfisher

Winding Up the Serpent by Priscilla Masters

audiobooks

None this week

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

Review: The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson

The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson

Walt Longmire #1

Audiobook, purchased

Contemporary Mystery, Police Procedural

Walt Longmire, sheriff of Wyoming’s Absaroka County, knows he’s got trouble when Cody Pritchard is found dead. Two years earlier, Cody and three accomplices had been given suspended sentences for raping a Northern Cheyenne girl. Is someone seeking vengeance? Longmire faces one of the more volatile and challenging cases in his twenty-four years as sheriff and means to see that revenge, a dish that is best served cold, is never served at all.

………………

TV series. I’ve watched some of the Longmire TV series on Netflix and enjoyed it so I decided to start reading some of the books.

I really like Walt Longmire. Of course, since I’ve watched the TV show my thoughts are colored by watching that series. To me Robert Taylor (Walt Longmire), Lou Diamond Phillips (Henry Standing Bear) and Katee Sackhoff (Victoria “Vic” Moretti) seem perfect for their roles. These main characters are very familiar after watching the TV series. As I read more of the books I’ll have to decide if I continue to think that.

Narrator. When I started listening to the audiobook I didn’t like the narrator (George Guidall) very well. However, by the end of the book I decided he did a good job. I really like the different voices he uses for different characters. I have the second book as an audiobook, too, so I will get to listen to him again and make a further evaluation.

My thoughts. Walt seems depressed through much of the book. (That may be why I didn’t like the narrator to begin with.) The murders of young men convicted of rape (but given suspended sentences) of a young native American girl several years before is an absorbing mystery. It’s hard not to want vengeance for the young girl. But Walt has to find a murderer even if he abhorred the original crime.

Even though Walt is depressed he still has a personal code, belief in justice and he does his job. Henry Standing Bear is a good friend–even when Walt sometimes doesn’t want a friend. It’s nice to see such a strong friendship.

The book has a lot of wry, self-deprecating humor–mostly Walt’s.

There are only three major vote getting days in Absoroka County, and I can’t remember the other two. “Oh God, no. It’s Pancake Day.” I thought about shooting myself. I could see the headlines: Sheriff shoots self, unable to face pancakes.

I like the mysticism that sometimes shows through in the story. Henry Standing Bear takes it for granted, but Walt isn’t always comfortable when he comes face-to-face with it.

I sometimes forgot about how spiritual Henry was. I had been raised as a Methodist where the highest sacrament was the bake sale.

The story and mystery are absorbing right to the end. The time Walt and Henry spend on the mountain is absorbing reading. I grew up in Central Oregon so mountains and winter were often scary times when people were lost in the mountains. I also have many relatives in Eastern Oregon who are ranch owners so I’m familiar with western lands and cowboys. When my husband and I drove through Wyoming and Montana in September 2016 the land seemed so familiar to me. Sometimes I long to step into the fictional land of books like Craig Johnson writes–the lands where a cowboy code often still exists.

I have the second book in the series and want to read it soon.

Rating: B

Have you read books in this series? Or have you watched the TV series?

Waiting on Wednesday: January 18

I am 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.

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old-bones-by-trudy-nan-boyceOld Bones

by Trudy Nan Boyce

Series: Detective Sarah Alt #2

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Publication date: February 21

Synopsis: A senseless act of violence.

During a vigil calling for police reform, students from Spelman College, a historically black women’s institution, are assaulted by rifle fire from a passing vehicle. On her way to interview witnesses, Detective Sarah “Salt” Alt confronts the fleeing vehicle of the suspects, but they get away.

A city in turmoil.`

While other detectives take the lead on the Spelman murders, Salt is tasked to investigate the case of a recently discovered decomposed body. When she combs through the missing-persons reports, it becomes clear the victim is a girl Salt took into custody two years before, and Salt feels a grave responsibility to learn the truth about how the girl died. But before she can pursue any leads, Salt is called onto emergency riot detail—in the wake of the assault on the Spelman students, Atlanta has reached the boiling point.

In a city burdened by history and a community erupting in pain and anger, Salt must delve into the past for answers. A gripping and astute story about what it means to serve and protect, Old Bones solidifies Trudy Nan Boyce as an evocative, authoritative voice in crime fiction.

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The reasons this book appeals to me:
  • I read the first book in this series last year and really enjoyed it.
  • This sounds like a timely book. It will be interesting to read Trudy Nan Boyce’s take on these situation since she is a former police officer.
  • I do like police procedurals!
  • Nice cover.

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Underrated gems I read in 2016

top-ten-tuesday

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

This week I’m talking about Underrated gems I read in 2016. 

Mysteries

Murder in an Irish Village by Carlene O’Connor (Irish Village Mystery #1) — Contemporary Mystery

I loved the Irish village in County Cork and the O’Sullivan family.

Out of the Blues by Trudy Nan Boyce (Detective Sarah Alt #1) — Police Procedural

Well-written book about a young police detective. Written by a veteran police officer.

Among the Departed by Vicki Delany (Constable Molly Smith #5) — Police Procedural

Takes place in mountainous eastern British Columbia in a small town where Moonlight (Molly) Smith grew up. She has hippy parents and everyone in town knows her and many still call her Moonlight. But she’s an ambitious police officer. The series keeps getting better and better.

The Royal Wulff Murders by Keith McCafferty (Sean Stranahan #1) — Contemporary Mystery

Sean is a fly fisherman and private detective living in Montana. The setting is wonderful and I like Sean and all the fishing talk. The royal wulff is the name of a trout fly and it’s found in a dead man’s lip.

Murder on Bamboo Lane by Naomi Hirahara (Officer Ellie Rush Mystery #1) — Police Procedural

Ellie is a young bicycle patrol officer in Los Angeles still on probation. She has dreams of becoming a detective, but still has a lot to learn. A very good series.

The Darkness and the Deep by Aline Templeton (DI  Marjory Fleming #2) — Police Procedural

Marjory is such a good character in these books. She’s deeply human even though she’s a detective inspector. She has doubts sometimes, a complicated relationship with her father, is a farmer’s wife (she loves her chickens) and does what’s right even when it causes her grief. And it’s set in Scotland!

Death Comes to the Fair by Catherine Lloyd (Kurland St. Mary Mystery #4) — Historical Mystery

I’ve enjoyed the progression of the lives of the main characters from the very first book to this one. Takes place in Regency England and has a lot of humor and a little romance.

Moonshadows by Julie Whitesel Weston (Nellie Burns and Moonshine Mystery #1) — Historical Mystery

This book takes place during Prohibition (though in the small Idaho town there’s no shortage of liquor) in 1920’s Idaho. Nellie travels to Idaho from Chicago. She wants to make a name for herself as a photographer. Moonshine is the Labrador Retriever she finds. I especially love all the photography detail in the book as well as the mystery.

Fantasy

An Import of Intrigue by Marshall Ryan Maresca (The Maradaine Constabulary #2) — Police Procedural

I love the fantasy setting for these police procedurals. There’s magic and politics and lots beneath the surface we don’t always see.

Dark Alchemy by Laura Bickle (Dark Alchemy #1) — Urban Fantasy

Petra Dee is a geologist working for the federal government. She arrives in Wyoming with a dual mission of finding her father (who disappeared in the area years ago) and working in Yellowstone National Park. It turns out Yellowstone and the area around it is very strange. There’s magic and mysticism and alchemy. It’s a great mix.

Do you have books you love that you consider hidden gems? That you want more people to know about and read?

Sunday Post: January 15

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.

Home and Blog

I haven’t done a Sunday Post or very many other posts in the last month. In December I had several computer problems (my computer cord not charging and the internet not working). Luckily, I bought a new cord and my son worked his magic when he came at Christmas and the internet has worked since then.

I talked about 2016 in my “Look back look forward” post last week. This was a real transition year for me–retirement, moving halfway across the continent and then personal challenges. And all that affected my blog and my reading.

Television

My husband and I watched lots of college choirs on our public television station during the Christmas season. That was really nice.

Now we’re watching the new Sherlock series and enjoying it. And we’ve watched the first season of Stranger Things on Netflix.

Blogging

I have blogging goals for the year which I talked about this week, but essentially I want to post at least three times a week and review books I read (which really didn’t happen too much the latter part of the year). I didn’t meet my 100 book reading goal in 2016 so I set the same goal again in 2017

Blog posts since Christmas
Blog posts planned next week
  • Top Ten Tuesday
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • Book review
  • Sunday Post

My books

What I’m reading

A Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths

What I read recently

The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson

A Room Full of Bones by Elly Griffiths

In Arcadia by Andrea K. Höst

One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews

Mercury Retrograde by Laura Bickle

E-books & Audiobooks Purchased

e-books

White Sky, Black Ice by Stan Jones

In Arcadia by Andrea K. Höst

Nine of Stars by Laura Bickle

Cold Sacrifice by Leigh Russell

Fire in the Stars by Barbara Fradkin

Basque Moon by Julie Weston

audiobooks

A Cold White Sun by Vicki Delany

Queen of Hearts by Rhys Bowen

Red Bones by Ann Cleeves

Crowned and Dangerous by Rhys Bowen

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

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Look back and look forward

2016 wasn’t my best book year…

But I did read some good books. My biggest problem was writing reviews. Lots of the books I read did not get reviewed–especially in the latter part of the year. There were good reasons for that, but since there were lots of good books and authors I didn’t highlight I want to change that this year. I also didn’t get to my reading goal last year. That doesn’t bother me too much since I read some good books and found quite a few new authors to read. And anyway that was last year.

So what happened last year?

Lots went on in my personal life:

→  My husband and I decided to retire a few year earlier than planned.

→  We decided to move to Iowa.

→  We bought a house in Iowa last March, but our house in Maryland didn’t sell until the first of October.

→  I moved in April, but my husband moved in July.

→  In September we went on a road trip from Iowa to Washington State. The trip was wonderful–we drove to several national parks including Jasper and Banff in the Canadian Rockies. However, we also hit a deer with our car while still in Canada.

→  Car repair happened in Spokane, Washington, but we didn’t get the car back until around the first of November.

→  About that same time my husband was diagnosed with cancer and started receiving chemotherapy and radiation. Luckily, the type of cancer is treatable and slow-growing.

→  November and December are always very busy family months for me–Thanksgiving and Christmas are wonderful, joyous, busy times of year for us. We were also very busy with my husband’s cancer treatments.

Reading and blogging life

I lost a little of my mojo from October through the end of the year. Reading was still a comfort to me, but I didn’t have time for quite so many books and some of the books I started just didn’t hit the mark and went unfinished.

Part of the lost mojo meant fewer blog posts–especially book reviews.

I made the mistake of requesting extra NetGalley books thinking they would spur on my reading…but not-so-much. I started to think of those books like homework–never a good thing for me. Even books and authors I knew I would enjoy didn’t get read.

Plans for 2017

→  No 2017 reading challenges right now.

→  No in-depth review of how I did with my challenges or my reading in 2016. I just want to move forward.

→  Reviews will restart with the books I read in 2017 plus a few NetGalley books I didn’t get reviewed in 2016.

→  A shake-up in my review style. I just haven’t figured out what yet.

→  I do plan a review post with mini reviews toward the beginning of each month for the books I didn’t review the previous month.

→  Short reviews on Goodreads for 2016 books.

→  I still set my reading goal for 100 books. This is a doable goal, though still means stretching a bit.

→  Finish reading my NetGalley books.

→  And no new NetGalley book requests!

What are your plans for 2017?

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Waiting on Wednesday: January 11

I am 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.

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the-holver-alley-crew-by-marshall-ryan-marescaThe Holver Alley Crew

by Marshall Ryan Maresca

Series: The Streets of Maradaine #1

Genre: Fantasy

Publication date: March 7

Synopsis: The Rynax brothers had gone legit after Asti Rynax’s service in Druth Intelligence had shattered his nerves, and marriage and fatherhood convinced Verci Rynax to leave his life of thievery. They settled back in their old neighborhood in West Maradaine and bought themselves a shop, eager for a simple, honest life. Then the Holver Alley Fire incinerated their plans. With no home, no shop, and no honest income—and saddled with a looming debt—they fall back on their old skills and old friends.

With a crew of other fire victims, Asti and Verci plan a simple carriage heist, but the job spirals out of control as they learn that the fire was no accident. Lives in Holver Alley were destroyed out of a sadistic scheme to buy the land. Smoldering for revenge, burdened with Asti’s crumbling sanity, the brothers lead their crew of amateurs and washouts to take down those responsible for the fire, no matter the cost.

.…………………………

The reasons this book appeals to me:
  • I like that Marshall Ryan Maresca is writing about different groups of people, but who live in the same world. Sometimes things overlap between the groups in different series which is interesting.
  • The Maradaine Constabulary series is my favorite of the two series so far published. It is a police procedural set in a fantasy world which I really like.
  • This book is about a whole new set of people and set of problems.
  • A great cover.

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