Review: The Merchant’s House by Kate Ellis

the-merchants-house-kate-ellisThe Merchant’s House by Kate Ellis

Wesley Peterson #1

E-book, purchased

Setting: Devon, England

Mystery, Police Procedural

Detective Sergeant Wesley Peterson’s first day finds him investigating the death of a young woman who may be connected to a kidnapped child. As the suspense builds, a strange parallel emerges between his case and the two skeletons found in the ruins of a 17th century merchant’s house. With stellar characterizations and sharp plotting, readers will find themselves completely swept up in this virtuoso mystery, the ending of which is as satisfying as it is shocking.

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My thoughts

I love finding a new police procedural series! This reminded me a little of some of the Gemma James and Duncan Kincaid series where historical events affect current events in the story. Other than that this book is different from that series. This is the first in the series and was published in 1998. I like that over 20 books have now been published in the series.

Detective Sergeant Wesley Peterson and his wife Pam transferred to Devon from London where Wesley will work in CID for the local police and Pam hopes to find a teaching job. They will also be closer to Pam’s mother in Devon.

The book sets up interesting arcs for future books in the series–Wesley’s wife determined to get pregnant and have a child by any means and racial tensions in the police station because of Wesley’s dark skin color. I look forward to future books to see what happens with Wesley and the various characters in the book. I would like to meet Wesley’s family in these books since they are all doctors. I get the feeling they were at least puzzled when Wesley chose the police force!

Wesley is immediately busy when he arrives at the station his first day on the job. A call has come in reporting a suspicious death. This death of a young woman who has had her face disfigured by the murderer makes her identification difficult. Before Wesley arrived in Devon a young child was kidnapped. Every police officer dreads a missing child case and though the case belongs to a different team the entire department knows the details of the case. As the book continues it begins to look as though the two cases may be linked–but are they really?

I also like the fact that Wesley has a degree in archaeology and has a friend in the area who is an archaeologist. That is an important part of this story. It will be interesting to see if Neil, Wesley’s friend, shows up in future books.

I enjoyed this first book. However, I thought the linking of the historical with the present day happenings was a little forced. Since this was the first book in the series that doesn’t bother me too much.

Will I read more books in this series or other books by Kate Ellis?

Yes! I want to read more about Wesley and the other characters in the book.

Have you read any of these books? How do you like the series?

Rating: C+

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April 2017 books on my list

These are April books on my list. I keep a list of all the books I might want to read and add to it as the year goes on. As each month comes along I create a list on my blog for others and for me to keep track of asbooks-on-my-list the months go by.

I don’t buy all these books–since I already have way too many books to read and some of the new books are expensive. I’m trying to stick to a budget.

I hope people reading my post may find some new books to read. I also hope these people will point me toward books I missed.

April 4

A Date With Death

by Julia Chapman

Series: The Dales Detective #1

Published by Minotaur Books

Genre: Mystery

304 pages

Synopsis: Delilah Metcalfe, the owner of The Dales Dating Agency, is besieged by financial concerns, struggling to keep two businesses afloat and a roof over her head. She has no choice, but to accept Samson O’Brien as a new tenant for her office space.

Dismissed from the police force and facing criminal prosecution, Samson has returned to his home town to set up a detective agency while he fights to clear his name.

But when Samson gets his first case, investigating the supposed suicide of a local man, things take an unexpected turn. Soon he is discovering a trail of deaths that lead back to the door of Delilah’s Dales Dating Agency. With suspicion hanging over someone they both care for, the two feuding neighbors soon realize that they need to work together to solve the mystery of the dating deaths. For Samson and Delilah, however, working together is easier said than done.

Defy the Stars

by Claudia Gray

Series: Defy the Stars #1

Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Genre: YA Science Fiction

512 pages

Synopsis: Noemi Vidal is a teen soldier from the planet Genesis, once a colony of Earth that’s now at war for its independence. The humans of Genesis have fought Earth’s robotic “mech” armies for decades with no end in sight.

After a surprise attack, Noemi finds herself stranded in space on an abandoned ship where she meets Abel, the most sophisticated mech prototype ever made. One who should be her enemy. But Abel’s programming forces him to obey Noemi as his commander, which means he has to help her save Genesis–even though her plan to win the war will kill him.

Together they embark on a daring voyage through the galaxy. Before long, Noemi begins to realize Abel may be more than a machine, and, for his part, Abel’s devotion to Noemi is no longer just a matter of programming.

The Secrets of Gaslight Lane

by M.R.C. Kasasian

Series: The Gower Street Detective #4

Published by Pegasus Books

Genre: Historical Mystery

512 pages

Synopsis: London, 1883. All is quiet at 125 Gower Street. Private detective Sidney Grice is studying up on the anatomical structure of human hair whilst his ward, March Middleton, sneaks upstairs for her eighth secret cigarette of the day. The household is, perhaps, too quiet.

So, when a beautiful young woman turns up at the door, imploring London’s foremost private detective to solve the mystery of her father’s murder, Grice can barely disguise his glee.

Mr. Nathan Garstang was found slaughtered in his bed, but there is no trace of a weapon or intruder. A classic locked-room case. But what piques Grice’s interest is the crime’s link to one of London’s most notorious unsolved murders. Ten years ago, Nathan’s uncle aunt and servants were murdered in their sleep in the very same house.

Now, it seems, the Garstang murderer is back…

April 8

Called to Justice

by Edith Maxwell

Series: Quaker Midwife Mystery #2

Published by Midnight Ink

Genre: Historical Mystery

312 pages

Synopsis: When Hannah Breed confides to midwife Rose Carroll that she’s pregnant out of wedlock, Rose promises to help her through the pregnancy and figure out a way to break the news to her family. But that night, amid the noise and revelry of the Independence Day fireworks, Hannah is found shot dead.

After a former slave and fellow Quaker is accused of the murder, Rose delves into the crime, convinced of the man’s innocence. An ill-mannered mill manager, an Irish immigrant, and the victim’s young boyfriend come under suspicion even as Rose’s future with her handsome doctor suitor becomes unsure. Rose continues to deliver babies and listen to secrets, finally focusing in on the culprit only to be threatened herself.

April 11

Song of the Lion

by Anne Hillerman

Series: Leaphorn & Chee #21

Published by Harper

Genre: Mystery

304 pages

Synopsis: A deadly bombing takes Navajo Tribal cops Bernadette Manuelito, Jim Chee, and their mentor, the legendary Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, back into the past to find a vengeful killer in this riveting Southwestern mystery from the bestselling author of Spider Woman’s Daughter and Rock with Wings

When a car bomb kills a young man in the Shiprock High School parking lot, Officer Bernadette Manuelito discovers that the intended victim was a mediator for a multi-million-dollar development planned at the Grand Canyon.

But what seems like an act of ecoterrorism turns out to be something far more nefarious and complex. Piecing together the clues, Bernadette and her husband, Sergeant Jim Chee, uncover a scheme to disrupt the negotiations and inflame tensions between the Hopi and Dine tribes.

Retired Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn has seen just about everything in his long career. As the tribal police’s investigation unfolds, he begins to suspect that the bombing may be linked to a cold case he handled years ago. As he, Bernadette, and Chee carefully pull away the layers behind the crime, they make a disturbing discovery: a meticulous and very patient killer with a long-simmering plan of revenge.

Writing with a clarity and grace that is all her own, Anne Hillerman depicts the beauty and mystery of Navajo Country and the rituals, myths, and customs of its people in a mystery that builds on and complements the beloved, bestselling mysteries of her acclaimed father, Tony Hillerman.

Cold Welcome

by Elizabeth Moon

Series: Vatta’s Peace #1

Published by Orbit

Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera

448 pages

Synopsis: Summoned to the home planet of her family’s business empire, space-fleet commander Kylara Vatta is told to expect a hero’s welcome. But instead she is thrown into danger unlike any other she has faced and finds herself isolated, unable to communicate with the outside world, commanding a motley group of unfamiliar troops, and struggling day by day to survive in a deadly environment with sabotaged gear. Only her undeniable talent for command can give her ragtag band a fighting chance.

Yet even as Ky leads her team from one crisis to another, her family and friends refuse to give up hope, endeavoring to mount a rescue from halfway around the planet—a task that is complicated as Ky and her supporters find secrets others will kill to protect: a conspiracy infecting both government and military that threatens not only her own group’s survival but her entire home planet.

April 18

Flamingo Road

by Sasscer Hill

Series: Unknown

Published by Minotaur Books

Genre: Mystery

320 pages

Synopsis: Baltimore police officer Fia McKee is put on leave for excessive use of force after interfering in a crime that turns deadly. Given a second chance, she is sent to work undercover for the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau (TRPB) at the Gulfstream Park in Florida, where she works as an exercise rider. Her assignment is to watch and report back on two racetrack workers who have been suspected of illegal activities and whose horses continue to outperform all expectations, winning their owners unseemly amounts of money in the races.

To complete her cover story, Fia moves in with her semi-estranged brother, Patrick, who lives near the racetrack. Her investigations are complicated when her niece, Jilly, disappears after a shadow gang takes Jilly’s beloved horse. Now Fia must work two angles—first to find out what’s really going on with the men who might or might not be gaming the system, and second to bring the men who prey on horses to justice. Along the way, Fia encounters Cuban gangs living off the grid, a (very handsome) do-gooder who’s close on their trail, and a cabal of super wealthy gamblers who will stop at nothing to ensure they always win.

April 25

Buffalo Soldier

by Maurice Broaddus

Series: Unknown

Published by Tor.com

Genre: Steampunk Novella

176 pages

Synopsis: Having stumbled onto a plot within his homeland of Jamaica, former espionage agent, Desmond Coke, finds himself caught between warring religious and political factions, all vying for control of a mysterious boy named Lij Tafari.

Wanting the boy to have a chance to live a free life, Desmond assumes responsibility for him and they flee. But a dogged enemy agent remains ever on their heels, desperate to obtain the secrets held within Lij for her employer alone.

Assassins, intrigue, and steammen stand between Desmond and Lij as they search for a place to call home in a North America that could have been.

What the Dead Leave Behind

by Rosemary Simpson

Series: Unknown

Published by Kensington Publishing

Genre: Historical Mystery

304 pages

Synopsis: Set amidst the opulent mansions and cobblestone streets of Old New York, this enthralling historical mystery by Rosemary Simpson brings the Gilded Age to life in a tantalizing tale of old money, new love, and grave suspicion . . .

As the Great Blizzard of 1888 cripples the vast machinery that is New York City, heiress Prudence MacKenzie sits anxiously within her palatial Fifth Avenue home waiting for her fiance s safe return. But the fearsome storm rages through the night. With daylight, more than two hundred people are found to have perished in the icy winds and treacherous snowdrifts. Among them is Prudence s fiance his body frozen, his head crushed by a heavy branch, his fingers clutching a single playing card, the ace of spades . . .

Close on the heels of her father s untimely demise, Prudence is convinced Charles s death was no accident. The ace of spades was a code he shared with his school friend, Geoffrey Hunter, a former Pinkerton agent and attorney from the South and a former Pinkerton agent. Wary of sinister forces closing in on her, Prudence turns to Geoffrey as her only hope in solving a murder not all believe in and to help protect her inheritance from a stepmother who seems more interested in the family fortune than Prudence s wellbeing . . .

Filled with richly colorful characters, fascinating historical details, and thrilling moments of suspense, What the Dead Leave Behind is an exquisitely crafted mystery for the ages.

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What books are you excited about this month?

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Waiting on Wednesday: March 29

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.

 The Harbors of the Sun by Martha WellsThe Harbors of the Sun by Martha Wells

Series: The Books of the Raksura #5

Publication Date: July 4

Synopsis (from Goodreads): A former friend has betrayed the Raksura and their groundling companions, and now the survivors must race across the Three Worlds to rescue their kidnapped family members. When Moon and Stone are sent ahead to scout, they quickly encounter an unexpected and potentially deadly ally, and decide to disobey the queens and continue the search alone. Following in a wind-ship, Jade and Malachite make an unlikely alliance of their own, until word reaches them that the Fell are massing for an attack on the Reaches, and that forces of the powerful Empire of Kish are turning against the Raksura and their groundling comrades.

But there may be no time to stage a rescue, as the kidnapped Raksura discover that their captors are heading toward a mysterious destination with a stolen magical artifact that will cause more devastation for the Reaches than anything the lethal Fell can imagine. To stop them, the Raksura will have to take the ultimate risk and follow them into forbidden territory.

The Harbors of the Sun, from celebrated fantasy author Martha Wells, is the thrilling follow-up to The Edge of Worlds, and the conclusion of a new Three Worlds duology of strange lands, uncanny beings, dead cities, and ancient danger.

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Why I want this book

  • One of my favorite series! I’m looking forward to reading about all the characters in this series again–Moon, Stone, Jade and so many others.
  • The Raksura are a shapeshifting species with two separate breeds and such interesting family and social structures.
  • Martha Wells has created a wonderful world with many different and interesting sentient species–and the Raksura are the most interesting of all. It’s all very imaginative and so fun to read about with lots of adventures.
  • A beautiful cover.

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Sunday Post: March 26

. . . . spring is here!

Sunday-PostKimba 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 are having typical spring weather–one day it’s nearly 70 degrees and the next day we have a little snow! (That happened this week!)

Busy months

My husband and I have gone on several weekend trips lately and it takes me several days to recuperate after we get back home…lol. I’ve also been trying to clean and organize our house. We have family coming to visit in April and I decided I better get started early! We have a lot to do!

At the beginning of the year I started working on my family history and genealogy. I love history and I did a lot of research 10 years ago when I spent a lot of time at the Library of Congress and the National Archives. I found quite a bit of information. For example, in the National Archives–my great great grandfather’s military records from the War of 1812. However, I got busy with other things and put my research aside until this year. So I’ve sorted files and records to see what I have. And I’ve done some new research and found new information which is exciting. My kids also got me a DNA kit from Ancestry.com which I have sent in to see what I can learn from that.

Blogging

I’ve read some really good books, but with all my other activities I haven’t spent a lot of time blogging or visiting other blogs. I’m trying to organize my time a little better though to get more posts done and visit more blogs.

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

My books

What I’m reading

Cold Welcome by Elizabeth Moon

What I read recently

A Bone to Pick by Charlaine Harris

The Dispatcher by John Scalzi

Linesman by S.K. Dunstall

The Outcast Dead by Elly Griffiths

Alliance by S.K. Dunstall

The Armada Boy by Kate Ellis

What I bought or borrowed

Bitter Harvest by Wendy Tyson

Linesman by S.K. Dunstall & Alliance by S.K. Dunstall

Brother’s Ruin by Emma Newman

The Black Wolves of Boston by Wen Spencer

Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs

The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi

Cold Welcome by Elizabeth Moon

Gambrelli and the Prosecutor by Laurence Gilotti

Dead in the Water by Matthew Costello

Interesting on the Interest

Molly at Molly’s Book Nook wrote about 8 Libraries and Bookstores I Want to Visit  –They all look like wonderful places to visit. I think if I could only choose one of these to visit I would choose the Livraria Lello Bookstore in Porto, Portugal.

Danya from Fine Print blog asksWhen Do You Get Rid of Books? — She just got her dream job, but it means moving so she needs to purge and get rid of some of her books. Would you purge books if you were moving?

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

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Review: Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop

etched-in-bone-by-anne-bishopEtched in Bone by Anne Bishop

The Others, #5

Publication date: March 7, 2017

e-ARC (from NetGalley and the publisher)

–All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Urban Fantasy

After a human uprising was brutally put down by the Elders—a primitive and lethal form of the Others—the few cities left under human control are far-flung. And the people within them now know to fear the no-man’s-land beyond their borders—and the darkness…

As some communities struggle to rebuild, Lakeside Courtyard has emerged relatively unscathed, though Simon Wolfgard, its wolf shifter leader, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn must work with the human pack to maintain the fragile peace. But all their efforts are threatened when Lieutenant Montgomery’s shady brother arrives, looking for a free ride and easy pickings.

With the humans on guard against one of their own, tensions rise, drawing the attention of the Elders, who are curious about the effect such an insignificant predator can have on a pack. But Meg knows the dangers, for she has seen in the cards how it will all end—with her standing beside a grave.

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I’ve read books by Anne Bishop for at least ten years. She’s one of my favorite fantasy authors. And I’ve read all the books in the series–and enjoyed them all.

World building

World building is so important for any fantasy and Anne Bishop does an excellent job in this series. It’s a very imaginative and unique alternate version of Earth (called Namid). There are vampires and werewolves (as well as other supernatural beings), but they are so different from any I’ve read about before.

The Others–the terra indigene–are a separate predatory species. They are very different from humans–part of the essence of Namid–and humans have to work with The Others to get natural resources (such as water). The Others appreciate the cleverness of humans, but throughout history humans seem to forget over and over that the Others are at the top of the food chain. During this series the dominant question: Does the cleverness of humans provide enough reason to keep humans alive when some humans keep forgetting who The Others are and humans try to become the dominant species on earth? Another important question in the series: Are some of The Others becoming too much like humans?

Favorite characters

There are so many great characters in these books: Simon, Meg, Sam, Vlad, Captain Burke, Lieutenant Montgomery, Tess, the Elders, the Ponies and many more.

I really like how Meg Corbyn has grown and changed throughout this series. At the beginning of the series she was very much alone–without friends and with difficulty managing to survive outside the compound where she was owned by humans who used her for prophecies. She has managed to overcome so much in these books, but hasn’t lost her ability to form friendships and trust others or to keep learning. She’s truly courageous. And she has changed the world!

Simon Wolfgard is also a great character. He has also changed a lot in the course of the books and that’s been fun to see. Sometimes he wishes he hadn’t changed so much. Life was much simpler before he had friends who are human. Things aren’t as simple now that he can’t think of all humans as meat.

My thoughts

I like the fact that Meg and Simon are so special to each other. But I also like that these books aren’t romances. Individuals have relationships–sometimes friendships, sometimes more than that. The focus isn’t the romance or friendship, but the fact that these can exist between some of The Others and some of the humans. Namid has changed and will continue to change. I like that!

I thought this book did a great job finishing up the series. I can imagine the characters going about their lives. I like that not every single thread is knotted neatly. People’s lives are messy and don’t always go smoothly.

I read on Anne Bishop’s Facebook page that she’s working on a new series set in the same world. That sounds great!

Rating: A

Have you read this book or any of the books in this series? How did you like it?

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Waiting on Wednesday: March 22

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.

 

Hunting-Hour-by-Margaret-MizushimaHunting Hour by Margaret Mizushima

Series: Timber Creek K-9 Mystery #3

Publication Date: August 8

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Deputy Mattie Cobb is working through issues from her past and has withdrawn from Cole Walker and his family to focus on herself, when she and her K-9 partner Robo get called to track a missing junior high student. Until they find the girl on Smoker’s Hill behind the high school, dead. But that’s only the start of trouble in Timber Creek, because soon another girl goes missing–and this time it’s Sophie Walker. Hard as they search, Cole, Mattie, and Robo can’t find her anywhere. Mattie’s primary suspect, a strange man who lives near the wilderness area, calls to report he hears deer “screaming” in the woods. Suspecting the man might have lost touch with reality and be referring to something he’s done to Sophie, Mattie takes Robo into the dense pine forest, hoping to pick up a trace of her scent. But when Robo does catch Sophie’s trail, it leads them to another clue that challenges everything they thought they knew about the case. Now Mattie and Robo must rush to hunt down Sophie’s kidnapper before they’re too late in Hunting Hour, the third installment in critically acclaimed author Margaret Mizushima’s exhilarating mystery series.

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Why I want this book
  • I really like this series. Mattie and her K-9 partner Robo are great characters. I really like reading about K-9 dogs. They are truly great partners for police and military work. And Colorado is a great setting.
  • This is a police procedural–one of my favorite sub-genres.
  • Great cover!

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Waiting on Wednesday: March 15

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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all-systems-red-martha-redsAll Systems Red

by Martha Wells

Series: The Murderbot Diaries #1

Genre: Science Fiction Novella

Publication date: May 2

Synopsis: In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.

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The reasons this book appeals to me:
  • I love Martha Wells’ Books of the Raksura series.
  • This is totally different from the Raksura series, but it sounds really interesting.
  • It’s about androids–and I like so many of the Tor.com novellas that Tor is publishing.

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Waiting on Wednesday: March 8

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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arabella-and-the-battle-of-venus-by-david-d-levineArabella and the Battle of Venus

by David D. Levine

Series: Adventures of Arabella Ashby #2

Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera

Publication date: July 18

Synopsis: The thrilling adventures of Arabella Ashby continue in the second book in Hugo-winning author David D. Levine’s swashbuckling sci-fi, alt-history series!

The swashbuckling Arabella Ashby is back for brand new adventure in the ongoing story of her life among the stars.

Arabella’s wedding plans to marry Captain Singh of the Honorable Mars Trading Company are interrupted when her fiancé is captured by the French and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp on swampy Venus. Now, Arabella must find passage to an enemy-controlled planet in the middle of a war, bribe or fight her way past vicious guards, and rescue her Captain.

To do this she must enlist the help of the dashing privateer, Daniel Fox of the Touchstone and build her own clockwork navigational automaton in order to get to Venus before the dread French general, Joseph Fouché, the Executioner of Lyon.

Once on Venus, Arabella, Singh, and Fox soon discover that Napoleon has designed a secret weapon, one that could subjugate the entire galaxy if they can’t discover a way to stop Fouché, and the entire French army, from completing their emperor’s mandate.

.…………………………

The reasons this book appeals to me:
  • I loved the first book in this series–Arabella of Mars. It’s a great adventure story.
  • I’m really looking forward to finding out what happens next in this series.
  • Space opera is one of my favorite kinds of science fiction.
  • The series’ covers are wonderful.

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Sunday Post: March 5

March is here–almost Spring!

Sunday-PostKimba 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

Cleaning and planning

I sorted papers this week. Recycled a lot and now I have to file the rest of it. Also unpacking some more boxes that had been left in the garage. That seems to take a lot of time!

We are also planning to build a fence in the yard plus we are putting together a long-term plan of what we want to do with our yard. So now that we have a weekend with some 60 degree weather we went to price materials and measure the yard. We have the utility company coming to mark where the utilities are.

The season for day trips

I feel like I hibernated most of January and February. Now that the weather is warmer some days (we’ve still had days of snow, snow flurries and cold wind!) I am getting out a little more. (February was actually one of the warmest on record for Iowa.)

My daughter and I had a wonderful day out. We drove to Ames, Iowa–about an hour north of us (home of Iowa State University) to have brunch first, then went to Reiman Gardens and finished off at a winery we both like! Reiman Gardens is wonderful (a butterfly room I could have spent all my time in) and we even walked outside in the gardens even though everything was still dormant. We plan a return visit when the garden starts growing again.

My husband, daughter and I also went to the State Historical Museum of Iowa here in Des Moines. It’s in a beautiful building and we’ve wanted to visit for awhile. We all like history and the museum has some great exhibits. The lobby has a wooly mammoth in the lobby which was dug up when they built the parking garage a few years ago. That’s kind of amazing to think it was there for thousands of years and suddenly found when the historical building and parking garage were built. One of the displays we spent quite a bit of time in was the Civil War era. I hadn’t really thought about Iowa and the Civil War, but a lot of men from Iowa joined the armies.

We didn’t get a chance to see everything in the museum so we’ll have to come back another day. We had lunch in the cafe on the top floor. It has a great view of Des Moines and when the weather is warmer we plan to come back and sit on the terrace outside.

On another day my husband and I took a ride through the southern part of Des Moines . . . passed by the zoo, Fort Des Moines (which has a museum) and the fairgrounds (home of the Iowa State Fair). We ended up in downtown Des Moines for an early dinner.

Looking back I see a trend–our trips always involve at least one stop to eat!

Blogging

I got some blogging done, but didn’t visit many blogs. It seemed like every day I was pulled away from my computer. I’m hoping this next week to catch up on some of my favorite book blogs as well as find some new ones to read.

Blog posts last week
Blog posts planned next week
  • Review: Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • Book review
  • Sunday Post

My books

What I’m reading

A Bone to Pick by Charlaine Harris

What I read recently

Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop

Heirs and Graces by Rhys Bowen

City of Wolves by Willow Palecek

To Dwell in Darkness by Deborah Crombie

The Merchant’s House by Kate Ellis

Nightshades by Melissa Olson

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

What I bought or borrowed

The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie

The Armada Boy by Kate Ellis

Catch the Fallen Sparrow by Priscilla Masters

The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle

Interesting on the Interest

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) announce 2016 Nebula, Norton and Bradbury Award Nominees

  • These awards have the following categories: Novel, Novella, Novellette, Short Story, Bradbury and Norton.
  • I have read Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire (Novella nominee) and Arabella of Mars by Daniel D. Levine (Norton nominee). I own several other books, but haven’t read them yet (story of my life!)

 

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

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March 2017 books on my list

books-on-my-listThese are the March books on my list. I keep a list of all the books I might want to read and add to it as the year goes on. As each month comes along I create a list on my blog for others and for me to keep track of the books.

I don’t buy all these books–since I already have way too many books to read and some of the new books are expensive. I’m trying to stick to a budget.

I hope people reading my post may find some new books to read. I also hope these people will point me toward books I missed.

March 7

Etched in Bone

by Anne Bishop

Series: The Others #5

Published by Roc

Genre: Urban Fantasy

416 pages

Synopsis: After a human uprising was brutally put down by the Elders—a primitive and lethal form of the Others—the few cities left under human control are far-flung. And the people within them now know to fear the no-man’s-land beyond their borders—and the darkness…

As some communities struggle to rebuild, Lakeside Courtyard has emerged relatively unscathed, though Simon Wolfgard, its wolf shifter leader, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn must work with the human pack to maintain the fragile peace. But all their efforts are threatened when Lieutenant Montgomery’s shady brother arrives, looking for a free ride and easy pickings.

With the humans on guard against one of their own, tensions rise, drawing the attention of the Elders, who are curious about the effect such an insignificant predator can have on a pack. But Meg knows the dangers, for she has seen in the cards how it will all end—with her standing beside a grave.

Silence Fallen

by Patricia Briggs

Series: Mercy Thompson #10

Published by Ace Books

Genre: Urban Fantasy

352 pages

Synopsis: Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world, taken as a weapon to use against alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. In coyote form, Mercy escapes only to find herself without money, without clothing, and alone in the heart of Europe…

Unable to contact Adam and the rest of the pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, and she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy must be her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves, and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise…

The Holver Alley Crew

by Marshall Ryan Maresca

Series: The Streets of Maradaine #1

Published by Daw Books

Genre: Fantasy

352 pages

Synopsis: Mixing high fantasy and urban fantasy, The Holver Alley Crew is the first novel of Maresca’s third interconnected series set in the fantasy city of Maradaine– The Streets of Maradaine

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.

Blue Light Yokohama

by Nicolas Obregon

Series: Inspector Iwata #1

Published by Minotaur Books

Genre: Mystery

416 pages

Synopsis: In a beautifully written, hauntingly original first novel, Tokyo Police Inspector Iwata, recently reinstated to a new post, is assigned to investigate a disturbing multiple murder.

Newly reinstated to the Homicide Division and transferred to a precinct in Tokyo, Inspector Iwata is facing superiors who don’t want him there and is assigned a recalcitrant partner, Noriko Sakai, who’d rather work with anyone else. After the previous detective working the case killed himself, Iwata and Sakai are assigned to investigate the slaughter of an entire family, a brutal murder with no clear motive or killer. At the crime scene, they find puzzling ritualistic details. Black smudges. A strange incense smell. And a symbol—a large black sun. Iwata doesn’t know what the symbol means but he knows what the killer means by it: I am here. I am not finished.

As Iwata investigates, it becomes clear that these murders by the Black Sun Killer are not the first, nor the last attached to that symbol. As he tries to track down the history of black sun symbol, puzzle out the motive for the crime, and connect this to other murders, Iwata finds himself racing another clock—the superiors who are trying to have him removed for good.

Bitter Harvest

by Wendy Tyson

Series: Greenhouse Mystery #2

Published by Henery Press

Genre: Mystery, Cozy

264 pages

Synopsis: Megan Sawyer should be shouting from the barn roof. Washington Acres survived its first year, the cafe has become a hot spot for locals, and Winsome’s sexy Scottish veterinarian is making house calls-and not just for the animals! But as summer slips into fall and Winsome prepares for its grand Oktoberfest celebration, beer isn’t the only thing brewing.

When the town pub’s owner is killed in a freak accident, Megan suspects something sinister is afoot in Winsome, but no one is listening. As nights grow longer and temperatures chill, Megan must plow through Winsome’s fixation with autumn festivities to harvest the truth, before another dead body marks the season.

March 14

Elementary, She Read

by Vicki Delany

Series: Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery #1

Published by Crooked Lane Books

Genre: Mystery, Cozy

320 pages

Synopsis: Gemma Doyle, a transplanted Englishwoman, has returned to the quaint town of West London on Cape Cod to manage her Great Uncle Arthur’s Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium. The shop–located at 222 Baker Street–specializes in the Holmes canon and pastiche, and is also the home of Moriarty the cat. When Gemma finds a rare and potentially valuable magazine containing the first Sherlock Homes story hidden in the bookshop, she and her friend Jayne (who runs the adjoining Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room) set off to find the owner, only to stumble upon a dead body.

The highly perceptive Gemma is the police’s first suspect, so she puts her consummate powers of deduction to work to clear her name, investigating a handsome rare books expert, the dead woman’s suspiciously unmoved son, and a whole family of greedy characters desperate to cash in on their inheritance. But when Gemma and Jayne accidentally place themselves at a second murder scene, it’s a race to uncover the truth before the detectives lock them up for good.

Brother’s Ruin

by Emma Newman

Series: Industrial Magic #1

Published by Tor.com

Genre: Fantasy Novella

160 pages

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.

March 21

The Collapsing Empire

by John Scalzi

Series:

Published by Tor Books

Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera

336 pages

Synopsis: The first novel of a new space-opera sequence set in an all-new universe by the Hugo Award-winning, New York Times-bestselling author of Redshirts and Old Man’s War.

Our universe is ruled by physics and faster than light travel is not possible — until the discovery of The Flow, an extra-dimensional field we can access at certain points in space-time that transport us to other worlds, around other stars.

Humanity flows away from Earth, into space, and in time forgets our home world and creates a new empire, the Interdependency, whose ethos requires that no one human outpost can survive without the others. It’s a hedge against interstellar war — and a system of control for the rulers of the empire.

The Flow is eternal — but it is not static. Just as a river changes course, The Flow changes as well, cutting off worlds from the rest of humanity. When it’s discovered that The Flow is moving, possibly cutting off all human worlds from faster than light travel forever, three individuals — a scientist, a starship captain and the Empress of the Interdependency — are in a race against time to discover what, if anything, can be salvaged from an interstellar empire on the brink of collapse.

What books are you excited about this month?

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