Review: Starman Jones by Robert A. Heinlein

Starman Jones by Robert A HeinleinStarman Jones by Robert A. Heinlein

Series: None

Genre: Science Fiction (one of Heinlein’s Juveniles)

Source: Audiobook, purchased

Narrated by Paul Michael Garcia

Published by Blackstone Audiobooks, 2008, (original publication date: 1953)

252 pages; 8 hours, 29 minutes

Synopsis: The stars were closed to Max Jones. To get into space you either needed connections, a membership in the Guild, or a whole lot more money than Max, the son of a widowed, poor mother, was every going to have. What Max does have going for him are his uncle’s prized astrogation manuals—book on star navigation that Max literally commits to memory word for word, equation for equation. When Max’s mother decides to remarry a bullying oaf, Max takes to the road, only to discover that his uncle Chet’s manuals, and Max’s near complete memorization of them, is a ticket to the stars. But serving on a spaceship is no easy task. Duty is everything, and a mistake can mean you and all aboard are lost forever. Max loves every minute of his new life, and he steadily grows in the trust of his superior officers, and seems to be on course for a command track position. But then disaster strikes, and it’s going to take every trick Max ever learned from his tough life and his uncle’s manuals to save himself and the ship from a doom beyond extinction itself.

My thoughts

Starman Jones is part of the Heinlein Juveniles series. Heinlein wrote twelve novels between 1947 and 1958 which were published as the juvenile series.  These books are all standalone books. The first book was Rocket Ship Galileo and the last was Have Space Suit — Will Travel. I guess these would be considered young adult books today though in many ways they’re simpler more straightforward stories than many young adult books written today. I read these (and many of Heinlein’s adult novels) as a teenager. I loved the adventure in these books as well as so many of the characters. It’s been years since I read most of these books, but I think the main characters were all boys. That didn’t bother me when I was reading them. I don’t think I thought about it! I still related to the main characters and wanted to have those adventures. Heinlein wrote about characters who were intelligent, hardworking and honest and showed that was the way to get ahead in the world. I took that to heart and still believe that today. However, I am also really happy there are more books written with female main characters and more female authors.

This was a good science fiction adventure story. Max Jones is a teenager who always wanted to be an astrogator and since his uncle was an astrogator and talked of naming Max as his heir Max hopes he did that before he died. Many occupations–including astrogation–are hereditary and managed by guilds and since Max doesn’t come from an important family and doesn’t have any money he won’t have a chance to become an astrogator if he wasn’t named an heir by his uncle.

Max runs away from home after his stepmother remarries soon after Max’s father dies. Max does manage to get himself onto a passenger spaceship (but with forged documents). Even though his job is taking care of the animals on the ship–cleaning their cages–he’s ecstatic that he’s in space. During the course of the book Max manages to come to the attention of the spaceship’s captain and other officers and is given a chance to learn about the running of the ship. However, he not only has the deception that got him onto the ship, but a number of other disasters await him and the ship.

Jones is a smart, but naive young man at the beginning of this story. He learns a lot and grows up a lot by the end of the book. The book didn’t end quite as I thought it would. It’s always nice when a book surprises me. I thought this ending was good and wished that Heinlein had written more books about Max!

I read and reviewed Have Spaceship – Will Travel a couple of years ago, but of the two I like Starman Jones better. I own a number of the other Juvenile Series books so I may try to read them this year.

My Rating: A-

Narrator Rating: A

Have you read any of Robert Heinlein’s books?

Reading Challenges

2018 Swords & Stars Reading Challenge hosted by MsNoseinaBook — Read a book whose cover has stars in it or whose title has any variation of the word star in it.

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: Shadow Dancing by Julie Mulhern

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings. This is a weekly meme to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. The books I choose aren’t released yet and usually won’t be published for at least two or three months.

I love finding out about books which will publish in future months and I like to share my excitement about the books. I also like to find out about new books on other people’s blogs and hope they’ll sometimes find something to look forward to on my blog.

I’m excited to read . . .

shadow dancing by Julie mulhernShadow Dancing by Julie Mulhern

Series: The Country Club Murders #7

Published by Henery Press

Publishing date: June 19, 2018

Genre: Historical Mystery, cozy

Synopsis: Visiting a psychic is outside the norm for Ellison Russell. Finding bodies is not. Unfortunately, the psychic’s crystal ball says she’ll soon be surrounded by death. Again. 

Drat. 

Now there’s a corpse in the front drive, a witchy neighbor ready to turn Ellison and her (not so) little dog into toadstools, and a stripper named Starry Knight occupying the guest room. 

How did 1975 go so wrong so quickly? 

Ellison must handle Mother (who’s found a body of her own), make up with a certain handsome detective, and catch a killer, or the death surrounding her might be her own. 

……………………………………….

I don’t read many cozy mysteries, but I love this series. They’re really fun to read without being silly. I’m all caught up and looking forward to this book!

Books that take place in another country

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week the topic is Books that take place in another country. I haven’t done a Top Ten Tuesday topic for quite awhile, but this topic inspired me since reading books set in other places is one reason I love to read. When I looked at my reading lists back to 2012 however, I discovered that I don’t read too many books set outside the United States. And the ones I do read are often set in the United Kingdom or Canada. I do have some books I want to read set in other places (Africa, Asia, Europe), but haven’t read them yet. I’ve included one historical fantasy that was set in Russia. The rest are mysteries.

As I finished up this post I see that I had a Top Ten Tuesday post from 2016–Books set outside the U.S. which has some of the same books. However, I didn’t write about those books (and I spent quite a bit of time on this!!) so I’m going to post it…lol.

I have broken out the books which take place in Great Britain into England, Scotland and Wales. In many ways they feel like separate countries! However, I think I wanted to pretend to myself that I have a more diverse reading experience than I do!

Note: All links in my title for the book or series go to Goodreads. In the case of a series the link and photo of the book are for the first book in that series. If I have a link in the part where I write about the book or series the link is to a review on my blog.

India

A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee

This is a book I’m listening to set in Calcutta, India in 1919. It’s a mystery about an English police officer who comes to Calcutta to join the police force there. India was under British rule at the time so the British are in charge of the government, but there are Indians who are part of the police force. India is shown here with Indians working with the British government as well as Indians who are working for India’s independence. The British are mostly a self-satisfied lot who’ve brought civilization to the savages. I’m really enjoying the book and am nearly finished.

England

The Ruth Galloway series by Elly Griffiths

This series mostly takes place in Norfolk, England. Ruth is a forensic archaeologist and college professor who sometimes consults with the police. I’ve read eight books in this series so far and love them all. The tenth book comes out this spring.

Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James series by Deborah Crombie

I read quite a few police procedurals set in England, but probably my favorite police procedural series set in England is the Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James series set mostly in London though Duncan and Gemma sometimes travel outside of London and at least once I can think of there’s a mystery set in Scotland. I’ve read all the books written so far in this series, have reviewed most of them and love them all.

Scotland

Shetland Island series by Ann Cleeves

This series takes place in the Shetland Islands of Scotland. I read Raven Black quite a while ago, but read White Nights this year. I enjoy this series a lot and have the third book in the series to read soon.

DI Marjory Fleming series by Aline Templeton

This series is set in southwest Scotland near Galloway. DI Marjory Fleming and her team of detectives are very good characters to read about. They don’t always have it easy and her subordinates and superiors don’t always like Marjory, but she’s a very interesting character. My favorite book in the series is the first book–Cold in the Earth. Very good! However, I’m bogged down in the sixth book in the series at the moment. I’m going to finish it soon though and I think I will end up liking it.

Wales

Constable Evans series by Rhys Bowen

This series takes place in Wales which in these books seems like a different country from England. The Welsh characters all speak Welsh–especially when they are around any English visitors! This is quite a lighthearted police procedural series. I’ve read the first two books in the series and am really enjoying them.

Canada

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series by Louise Penny

These take place in Quebec, Canada. It certainly feels very foreign to me since the main character is part of the French Canadian part of Canada. Though Chief Inspector Armand Gamache speaks excellent English he is most definitely part of the French Canadian community. I’m really enjoying these books and recently read books 6 and 7–Bury Your Dead and A Trick of the Light.

Constable Molly Smith series by Vicki Delany

These books take place in British Columbia, Canada. I’ve loved all that I’ve read (six of the eight books) and hope Ms. Delany writes some more. The last book was written in 2016 and Ms. Delany is currently writing several other series. I like this series best and do hope she will continue.

Rockton series by Kelley Armstrong (formerly called the Casey Duncan series)

I’ve read the first two books in this series and have the third book to read very soon! This mystery series is very suspenseful. I don’t usually like books which are too suspenseful, but I’ve made an exception for these. They’re set in the wilderness of northern Canada in a village which is “off-the-map”–which helps add to the suspense.

Ireland

Murder in an Irish Village by Carlene O’Connor

Set in a small village in County Cork, Ireland. I really enjoyed this book and have the second book so I need to read it soon!

Russia

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

This is a historical fantasy which set in a fantasy Russia. The book is told like a fairy tale and was really enjoyable. The second book in the series came out in January 2018 and I hope to read it this year.

Iceland

Reykjavik Nights by Arnaldur Indridason

I read this book in 2017. It’s a prequel to the series which is set in Reykjavik, Iceland. Not all the books are translated into English, but a few are and I’m hoping to read more about Inspector Erlendur.

What books do you like which take place in a different country?

 

 

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings. This is a weekly meme to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. The books I choose aren’t released yet and usually won’t be published for at least two or three months.

I love finding out about books which will publish in future months and I like to share my excitement about the books. I also like to find out about new books on other people’s blogs and hope they’ll sometimes find something to look forward to on my blog.

I’m excited to read . . .

Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers

Series: Wayfarers #3

Published by Harper Voyager

Publishing date: July 24, 2018

Genre: Science Fiction

400 pages

Synopsis: Hundreds of years ago, the last humans left Earth. After centuries wandering empty space, humanity was welcomed – mostly – by the species that govern the Milky Way, and their generational journey came to an end.

But this is old history. Today, the Exodus Fleet is a living relic, a place many are from but few outsiders have seen. When a disaster rocks this already fragile community, those Exodans who have not yet left for alien cities struggle to find their way in an uncertain future. Among them are a mother, a young apprentice, an alien academic, a caretaker for the dead, a man searching for a place to belong, and an archivist, who ensures no one’s story is forgotten. Each has their own voice, but all seek answers to inescapable questions:

Why remain among the stars when there are habitable worlds within reach? And what is the purpose of a ship that has reached its destination?

…………………………………

I read the first book in this series and it was really good. I still need to read the second book, but when I saw the third book coming out I decided I need to tell others about this series and remind myself to read the second book!

Review: Promise Not to Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz

Promise Not to Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz

Series: Cutler, Sutter & Salinas #2

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Setting: Seattle, Washington and San Juan Islands

Publishing Date: 2018

Source: Ebook from library

Synopsis: Seattle gallery owner Virginia Troy has spent years battling the demons that stem from her childhood time in a cult and the night a fire burned through the compound, killing her mother. And now one of her artists has taken her own life, but not before sending Virginia a last picture: a painting that makes Virginia doubt everything about the so-called suicide—and her own past.

Like Virginia, private investigator Cabot Sutter was one of the children in the cult who survived that fire… and only he can help her now. As they struggle to unravel the clues in the painting, it becomes clear that someone thinks Virginia knows more than she does and that she must be stopped. Thrown into an inferno of desire and deception, Virginia and Cabot draw ever closer to the mystery of their shared memories—and the shocking fate of the one man who still wields the power to destroy everything they hold dear. 

Jayne Ann Krentz is a “comfort read” author for me and this book didn’t disappoint. I haven’t read the first book in the series and though there were a few references to characters from the first book I didn’t feel lost. I am considering reading the first book since I enjoyed this book.

A little background

I enjoyed reading about Virginia Troy who owns an art gallery in Seattle. Even though she had a traumatic childhood, twenty years later she has managed to put a lot of that behind her and is a success. However, she’s aware of some others who survived the cult her mother was a member of who haven’t managed to get past the trauma. When Hannah Brewster, one of the few adults who survived the fire the night the cult was destroyed, dies and her cabin burns to the ground everyone thinks it’s suicide, but  Virginia thinks she might have been murdered. Hannah Brewster was an artist, but her paintings never sold in Virginia’s gallery. They are just too dark for most people. Hannah always painted scenes from the night of the fire at the cult. They always show the children who were at the cult as well as the cult leader. Before Hannah died she sent Virginia a digital camera with a photo showing a wall she painted in her cabin. Hannah notices that this painting of the fire is a little different from others Hannah painted. Since the police and everyone else thinks Hannah committed suicide and that she was crazy, Hannah decides to go to a private detective agency.

Cutler, Sutter and Salinas isn’t just any agency. The private detectives are also survivors of the cult and the police officer who was there that night and who saved the children. Cabot Sutter is one of the surviving children and he’s inclined to agree with Virginia that Hannah’s death should be investigated. Cabot and the rest of the investigators of the agency believe that although Quinton Zane, the leader of the cult, was declared dead that he might have faked his death and that he’s still alive. Cabot is eager to see if he’s behind Hannah’s death.

The romance and the mystery

Cabot and Virginia work together to solve the mystery and though they don’t want to like each other at first they admire each other. The admiration grows as they get to know each other and see the honesty and bravery both show. They were both scarred by their time in the cult, but they have managed to rise above it even though they both have issues. I like the way Ms. Krentz shows their angst as well as their integrity and courage. I felt the romance was real and that it didn’t overtake the mystery.

I also really like Anson Salinas also who was the policeman who saved the children and adopted three of them whose relatives wouldn’t or couldn’t take care of them. He’s very honorable and intelligent. There’s obviously a strong bond between him and the boys he adopted.

There’s a lot of action and adventure in the book that I liked. I didn’t like the parts that are in the antagonist point-of-view as well. I understand why at least some of it was necessary for the story, but still didn’t like those parts as well. The book also surprised me several times which is always fun.

I don’t like romantic suspense as well as a book that’s just a mystery, but thought this was quite well-done. I really do like Jayne Ann Krentz’s writing. These books continue the mystery of the cult and how it’s affecting the present day throughout the series.

My rating: B

Reading Challenge

Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge hosted by Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!

Review: Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny

Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny

bury-your-dead-by-louise-penny

Series: Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #6

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Setting: Quebec City & Three Pines, Canada

Source: Audiobook, Library

Audiobook Narrator: Ralph Cosham

Audiobook Length: 12 hours, 43 minutes

Publishing Date: 2010

Synopsis: It is Winter Carnival in Quebec City, bitterly cold and surpassingly beautiful. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache has come not to join the revels but to recover from an investigation gone hauntingly wrong. But violent death is inescapable, even in the apparent sanctuary of the Literary and Historical Society – where an obsessive historian’s quest for the remains of the founder of Quebec, Samuel de Champlain, ends in murder. Could a secret buried with Champlain for nearly 400 years be so dreadful that someone would kill to protect it?

Although he is supposed to be on leave, Gamache cannot walk away from a crime that threatens to ignite long-smoldering tensions between the English and the French. Meanwhile, he is receiving disquieting letters from the village of Three Pines, where beloved Bistro owner Olivier was recently convicted of murder. “It doesn’t make sense,” Olivier’s partner writes every day. “He didn’t do it, you know.” As past and present collide in this astonishing novel, Gamache must relive the terrible event of his own past before he can bury his dead. 

This is the most personal book about Chief Inspector Gamache I’ve read so far. It shows Gamache’s integrity, honesty, guilt, his feelings of betrayal. I think it’s also the most powerful book in this series so far. Irony, too.

Background

This is the book after the arrest of Olivier. Olivier has recently been convicted of murder. Olivier’s partner, Gabri, has sent a letter to Gamache every day telling Gamache of Olivier’s innocence. Gamache is convinced of Olivier’s guilt, but sends Beauvoir to Three Pines to investigate further just in case. Gamache doesn’t go himself because he is in Quebec City visiting his retired mentor, Emile Comeau and going to the English library to research Captain Cook and what he might have had to do with Quebec City. A murder occurs in the English library and with Gamache’s excellent English he is brought into the investigation by both the English and the French.

Gamache’s reason for visiting his mentor and his extended stay in Quebec City came as the result of a large police raid Gamache led to free a kidnapped police officer. This story is told in flashbacks by Gamache as he remembers what happened. He feels a great deal of guilt about his role in this raid. Apparently, a number of police officers died.

My thoughts

This was such a well-written book that it was a joy to read. My favorite of the series so far. I’ve never been to Quebec City, but it’s a place I would love to visit–even though I don’t speak French.

I always like the way the differences between the English and French show up in Ms. Penny’s books. I have been to Montreal and I have to admit I was surprised at the amount of French spoken in the city and the problems we had not speaking French. I have a feeling that some of the people felt that if we were visiting where they live we should speak their chosen language. (I agree–though I’m terrible at foreign languages. I took four years of German and we lived in Germany for three years and I still speak really bad German.)

I love the way history was woven into the narrative. Gamache is researching Captain Cook at the English library. There is also quite a bit about the Battle of the Plains of Abraham and Samuel de Champlain. I didn’t know any of this information before I read about it in the book and then looked up a little more information about Quebec City and its history. I have heard of Lake Champlain, of course, but didn’t think about the reason it was named. I blame this on growing up in Oregon and learning the history of the Pacific Northwest when I was in school (it did include French explorers and fur traders at least!)

Louise Penny also did an excellent job weaving the three mysteries and narratives into the story. I liked that we still got to visit Three Pines even though Gamache was in Quebec City. Inspector Beauvoir was more of an individual character instead of an appendage of Gamache in this book. It was nice to see him grow and change a bit. And also to understand his motivations a little more.

I understand why Gamache felt so guilty and understand why he’s so devastated when a video of the raid is released to the public. He receives some very good advice toward the end of the book and I’m looking forward to the next book to see how he’s doing. I ached for Gamache in this book and for his wife Reine-Marie. She and Gamache love each other so much. She fears for him and feels helpless in many ways. But she’s also honest and courageous.

The narration of the book is excellent. The narrator sounded as though he pronounced the French names and words very well (though I admit I don’t really know)! I really enjoyed listening to the audiobook and felt it added to my enjoyment of this mystery.

My rating: A

Narration rating: A

Awards Won

  • Macavity Award for Best Mystery Novel (2011)
  • Anthony Award for Best Novel (2011)
  • Dilys Award (2011)
  • Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Novel (2011)
  • Agatha Award (2010)
  • Nero Award (2011)

Reading Challenge

Spring 2018 Bloggiesta Sign-Up

Spring Blogggiesta Sign-up post

Spring Bloggiesta will be a week-long challenge, March 19-25th, where we all get focus on that massive to-do list for improving, maintaining, and generally making your blog great.

If you’ll be joining us, be sure to make a to-do list and link it below. As always, your to-do list can contain as much or as little as you want to do. Ideas for a basic to do list can be found at this link. You are welcome to copy it and use it however you see fit. Or visit other people’s to-do lists and steal borrow their great ideas.

……………………..

I did a Bloggiesta a couple of years ago and  meant to do one again ever since, but have forgotten to check for dates. I saw that this was happening so now is the time! I have ideas and plans for my blog that I want to work on and Spring Bloggiesta is the perfect time to do it. Check out the Spring Bloggiesta site to get some ideas of what you can do for your blog.

To Do List

  1. Finish and schedule at least two discussion posts.
  2. Finish and schedule at least three reviews.
  3. Check blog for broken links, speed
  4. Complete at least two challenges.
  5. Participate in a twitter party.
  6. Comment on other Bloggiesta blogs throughout the week.

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings. This is a weekly meme to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. The books I choose aren’t released yet and usually won’t be published for at least two or three months.

I love finding out about books which will publish in future months and I like to share my excitement about the books. I also like to find out about new books on other people’s blogs and hope they’ll sometimes find something to look forward to on my blog.

I’m excited to read . . .

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Series: Unknown

Published by Del Rey

Publishing date: July 10, 2018

Genre: Fantasy

448 pages

Synopsis: Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders… but her father isn’t a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has loaned out most of his wife’s dowry and left the family on the edge of poverty–until Miryem steps in. Hardening her heart against her fellow villagers’ pleas, she sets out to collect what is owed–and finds herself more than up to the task. When her grandfather loans her a pouch of silver pennies, she brings it back full of gold.

But having the reputation of being able to change silver to gold can be more trouble than it’s worth–especially when her fate becomes tangled with the cold creatures that haunt the wood, and whose king has learned of her reputation and wants to exploit it for reasons Miryem cannot understand. 

……………………..

I read Uprooted by Naomi Novik and loved it. Spinning Silver sounds like a similar kind of fairy tale retelling. So I’m very excited to read this book when it comes out!

Meet Me on a Monday

meet-me-on-a-monday

I’ve decided to start an occasional blog post called “Meet Me on a Monday”. I plan to talk about anything that catches my interest. I think it will have some tie-in to my blog and to books, but my plans are still a little vague! I thing I will use it for discussion posts as well. I feel the need to do some new things on my blog and I hope this will spur me on.

A Sick Dog

Last Monday my daughter called me about 7:00 a.m. and asked if I could take her dog to the vet. She had to go into work for a while, but Bailey had vomited several times and there was blood in the vomit. I got her to the vet and it was not as bad as it could have been, but still they kept her at the veterinary office all day while they x-rayed her, did blood tests and gave her various medications. The diagnosis was hemorrhagic gastroenteritis. Apparently, dogs can die from this if it isn’t treated.

I took care of her several days during the week since she needed special food and medications which had to be given at various times during the day–including a pill dissolved in water and then drawn into a syringe and squirted down her throat. Needless to say, Bailey didn’t like that medicine very well! The first time I did it I got her mouth open and squirted it into her mouth…just as she shook her head violently! I had medicine all over the kitchen! She spent most of her time sleeping and I sat beside her most of the time!

She’s doing much better now though she still is taking medicine and eating special food. On Saturday she and Juneau had great fun chasing each other around the yard. Another reason she stayed with me is that she needed to stay quiet during the early part of the week. Juneau stayed home since she’s a very high-energy dog and would have not let Bailey sleep all day.

Allergy Attack Days

I also spent several days fighting my allergies. They’ve been worse the last couple of weeks (even though nothing is growing outside yet). I take allergy medicine every day, but I still have nonstop sneezing, runny nose and itching eyes for most of the day on “Allergy-Attack Days.” It’s very frustrating. I think I need to change my medicine again.

Blog

Anyway I didn’t get anything posted on my blog last week even though I had some things ready to post and nearly ready. There were several days I didn’t even open my computer–and if I did it was later in the day. I’ve decided I need to get more posts written ahead and then actually schedule them. Sometimes I get a post partly written, but then forget to go back and finish it. Then if I discover that the day I need to publish the post it doesn’t get finished especially if it’s already in the afternoon.

Do you ever do that? I looked at my draft posts and I have quite a few that are nearly finished. I need to go back and edit some of them, maybe add a little more content and then schedule them. And I need to delete the ones I don’t want to put on the blog anymore.

Bloggiesta

Spring Bloggiesta starts next week and I think I will join that and plan to get posts written as well as work on my blog and do some of the challenges. I did a Bloggiesta a couple of years ago and it was helpful and fun.

March 2018 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.

March 1

Last Dragon Standing

by Rachel Aaron

Series: Heartstrikers #5

Published by Aaron/Bach LLC

Genre: Urban Fantasy

306 pages

Synopsis: Dear Reader, 

There is no way to write a blurb for this final book without spoiling all of the others. Suffice it to say, mysteries resolve, dragons war, pigeons abound, and Julius must risk himself in ways he never dreamed possible as Bob’s grand plan finally comes to fruition. 

But the Great Seer of the Heartstrikers isn’t the only one whose schemes are nearing completion. The Nameless End is coming, and even the machinations of the world’s most brilliant dragon seer might not be enough to stop it. As the world comes crashing down, it’s up Julius to prove what he’s always known: that seers can be wrong, and Nice Dragons don’t always finish last.

A Gruesome Discovery

by Cora Harrison

Series: Reverend Mother Mystery #4

Published by Severn House Publishers

Genre: Historical Mystery

256 pages

Synopsis: The Reverend Mother receives a decidedly gruesome gift in this compelling Irish historical mystery. 

Ireland. 1925.

Like all who seek charitable contributions, Reverend Mother Aquinas is used to being gifted some fairly dubious items. But nothing like this. On opening the evil-smelling trunk, labelled ‘old books’, the Reverend Mother is horrified to discover it contains the dead body of one of Cork’s richest merchants, wrapped in decomposing animal hides.

Many had reason to loathe the hides and skins merchant: his rebellious, republican son; his frustrated, clever daughter; his neighbours; his business rivals; and those whose unbaptised babies were buried on the site of his new tanning yard. But when suspicion falls on a former lay sister from her convent, the Reverend Mother decides she must help find the real killer.

The Magic Chair Murder

by Diane Janes

Series: A Black & Dod Mystery #1

Published by Severn House Publishers

Genre: Historical Mystery

224 pages

Synopsis: 1929.

The night before she’s due to make a speech to the Robert Barnaby Society on the subject of the famous writer’s ‘magic chair’, committee member Linda Dexter disappears. When her body is discovered two days later, fellow members Frances Black and Tom Dod determine to find out the truth about her death.

Could Linda have discovered something about Robert Barnaby that got her killed? Or does the answer lie in the dead woman’s past? As they pursue their investigations, Fran and Tom find the Barnaby Society to be a hotbed of clashing egos, seething resentments and ill-advised love affairs – but does a killer lurk among them? 

March 6

Lake Silence

by Anne Bishop

Series: The Others #6

Published by Ace

Genre: Urban Fantasy

416 pages

Synopsis: Human laws do not apply in the territory controlled by the Others–vampires, shapeshifters, and paranormal beings even more deadly. And this is a fact that humans should never, ever forget . . .

After her divorce, Vicki DeVine took over a rustic resort near Lake Silence, in a human town that is not human controlled. Towns like Vicki’s have no distance from the Others, the dominant predators that rule most of the land and all of the water throughout the world. And when a place has no boundaries, you never really know what’s out there watching you.

Vicki was hoping to find a new career and a new life. But when her lodger, Aggie Crowe–one of the shapeshifting Others–discovers a dead body, Vicki finds trouble instead. The detectives want to pin the man’s death on her, despite the evidence that nothing human could have killed the victim. As Vicki and her friends search for answers, things get dangerous–and it’ll take everything they have to stay alive. 

Burn Bright

by Patricia Briggs

Series: Alpha and Omega #5

Published by Orbit

Genre: Urban Fantasy

384 pages

Synopsis: They are the wild and the broken. The werewolves too damaged to live safely among their own kind. For their own good, they have been exiled to the outskirts of Aspen Creek, Montana. Close enough to the Marrok’s pack to have its support; far enough away to not cause any harm.

With their Alpha out of the country, Charles and Anna are on call when an SOS comes in from the fae mate of one such wildling. Heading into the mountainous wilderness, they interrupt the abduction of the wolf–but can’t stop blood from being shed. Now Charles and Anna must use their skills–his as enforcer, hers as peacemaker–to track down the attackers, reopening a painful chapter in the past that springs from the darkest magic of the witchborn…

Lady Henterman’s Wardrobe

by Marshall Ryan Maresca

Series: The Streets of Maradaine #2

Published by DAW

Genre: Fantasy

352 pages

Synopsis: Mixing high fantasy and urban fantasy, the second novel of the Streets of Maradaine series follows the Rynax brothers’ crew of outlaws as they attempt their biggest heist yet and restore justice to the common people.

The neighborhood of North Seleth has suffered–and not just the Holver Alley Fire. Poverty and marginalization are forcing people out of the neighborhood, and violence on the streets is getting worse. Only the Rynax brothers–Asti and Verci–and their Holver Alley Crew are fighting for the common people. They’ve taken care of the people who actually burned down Holver Alley, but they’re still looking for the moneyed interests behind the fire.

The trail of breadcrumbs leads the crew to Lord Henterman, and they plan to infiltrate the noble’s house on the other side of the city. While the crew tries to penetrate the heart of the house, the worst elements of North Seleth seem to be uniting under a mysterious new leader. With the crew’s attention divided, Asti discovers that the secrets behind the fire, including ones from his past, might be found in Lady Henterman’s wardrobe. 

Reclaiming Shilo Snow

by Mary Weber

Series: The Evaporation of Sofi Snow #2

Published by Thomas Nelson

Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction

352 pages

Synopsis: Trapped on the ice-planet of Delon, gamer girl Sofi and Ambassador Miguel have discovered that nothing is what it seems, including their friends. On a quest to rescue her brother, Shilo, a boy everyone believes is dead, they must now escape and warn Earth of Delon’s designs on humanity. Except the more they unearth of the planet and Sofi’s past, the more they feel themselves unraveling, as each new revelation has Sofi questioning the very existence of reality.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, Sofi’s mom, Inola, is battling a different kind of unraveling: a political one that could cost lives, positions, and a barely-rebuilt society, should they discover the deal made with the Delonese.

But there’s a secret deeper than all that. One locked away inside Sofi and ticking away with the beginnings, endings, and answers to everything. Including how to save humanity.

March 13

Disappointment River: Finding and Losing the Northwest Passage

by Brian Castner

Series: None

Published by McClelland & Stewart

Genre: History

352 pages

Synopsis: In 1789, Alexander Mackenzie travelled the 1,125 miles of the immense river in Canada that now bears his name, in search of the fabled Northwest Passage, only to confront impassable pack ice. In 2016, the acclaimed memoirist Brian Castner retraced Mackenzie’s route by canoe in a grueling journey — and discovered the Passage he could not find.

Disappointment River is a dual historical narrative and travel memoir that at once transports readers back to the heroic age of North American exploration and places them in a still rugged but increasingly fragile Arctic wilderness in the process of profound alteration by the dual forces of energy extraction and climate change. Eleven years before Lewis and Clark, the Scottish explorer Alexander Mackenzie actually crossed the North American continent with a team of voyageurs and Native guides. Before that he was the first to discover a route to the Arctic Ocean from the Great Lakes, along the river he named “Disappointment” because he believed he’d failed in his mission to find a trade route to the riches of the East. In fact he had — he was just two-plus centuries early.

In this book, Brian Castner not only retells the story of Mackenzie’s epic voyages in vivid prose, he personally retraces his travels in an 1,125-mile canoe voyage down the river that bears his name, battling exhaustion, exposure, mosquitoes, white water rapids and the threat of bears. He transports readers to a world rarely glimpsed in the media, of tar sands, thawing permafrost, remote Native villages and, at the end, a wide open Arctic Ocean that is quickly becoming a far-northern Mississippi of barges and pipelines and oil money. 

Holy Ceremony

by Harri Nykanen

Translated by Kristian London

Series: Ariel Kafka #3

Published by Bitter Lemon Press

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

248 pages

Synopsis: There are two Jewish cops in all of Helsinki. One of them, Ariel Kafka, a lieutenant in the Violent Crime Unit, identifies himself as a policeman first, then a Finn, and lastly a Jew. Kafka is a stubborn, dedicated policeman with wry sense of humor, always willing to risk his career to get an answer. A woman’s body scrawled with religious texts is found in a Helsinki apartment. It turns out she wasn’t murdered: the body was stolen from the morgue. The body is stolen again, and this time is immolated in a funeral pyre in Helsinki’s Central Park. Kafka finds himself investigating a series of crimes leading to the enigmatic Christian Brotherhood of the Holy Vault. But before he can solve the puzzle, more than one Brother must pay for past sins with his life.

March 20

Stone Mad

by Elizabeth Bear

Series: Karen Memory #2

Published by Tor.com

Genre: Science Fiction, Steampunk, Novella

192 pages

Synopsis: Now Karen is back with Stone Mad, a new story about spiritualists, magicians, con-men, and an angry lost tommy-knocker—a magical creature who generally lives in the deep gold mines of Alaska, but has been kidnapped and brought to Rapid City.

Karen and Priya are out for a night on the town, celebrating the purchase of their own little ranch and Karen’s retirement from the Hotel Ma Cherie, when they meet the Arcadia Sisters, spiritualists who unexpectedly stir up the tommy-knocker in the basement. The ensuing show could bring down the house, if Karen didn’t rush in to rescue everyone she can. 

March 27

Murder at Half Moon Gate

by Andrea Penrose

Series: A Wrexford & Sloan Mystery #2

Published by Kensington

Genre: Historical Mystery

304 pages

Synopsis: When Lord Wrexford discovers the body of a gifted inventor in a dark London alley, he promptly alerts the watchman and lets the authorities handle the matter. But Wrexford soon finds himself drawn into the murder investigation when the inventor’s widow begs for his assistance, claiming the crime was not a random robbery. It seems her husband’s designs for a revolutionary steam-powered engine went missing the night of his death. The plans could be worth a fortune . . . and very dangerous in the wrong hands.

Joining Wrexford in his investigation is Charlotte Sloane, who uses the pseudonym A. J. Quill to publish her scathing political cartoons. Her extensive network of informants is critical for her work, but she doesn’t mind tapping that same web of spies to track down an elusive killer. Each suspect—from ambitious assistants to rich investors, and even the inventor’s widow—is entwined in a maze of secrets and lies that leads Wrexford and Sloane down London’s most perilous stews and darkest alleyways.

With danger lurking at every turn, the potent combination of Wrexford’s analytical mind and Sloane’s exacting intuition begins to unravel the twisted motivations behind the inventor’s death. But they are up against a cunning and deadly foe—a killer ready to strike again before they can recover the inventor’s priceless designs . . . 

The Bengal Identity

by Eileen Watkins

Series: A Cat Groomer Mystery #2

Published by Kensington Publishing

Genre: Cozy Mystery, Cats

272 pages

Synopsis: Everyone knows a leopard can’t change its spots. But can a thief hide the spots on a catnapped Bengal? Groomer Cassie McGlone is about to find out . . .

With no ID for his pet, an agitated young man shows up at Cassie’s Comfy Cats claiming his house has burned down and he needs to board his big, brown cat, Ayesha. But after a bath washes dye out of the cat’s coat and reveals beautiful spots, Cassie suspects the exotic-looking feline may in fact be a valuable Bengal show cat, possibly stolen. At the same time, there are rumored sightings of a “wild cat” in the hills of Chadwick, New Jersey. Could there be a connection?

When Ayesha’s alleged owner turns up dead, it looks like whoever wants the beautiful Bengal is not pussyfooting around. Working with the police, Cassie and her staff need to be careful not to reveal the purloined purebred’s whereabouts while they discreetly make inquiries to cat breeders to find her real owners. But after a break-in attempt rattles Cassie’s cage, it’s clear someone let the cat out of the bag. And when a second body is found, it’s up to Cassie to spot the killer, who may be grooming her to be the next victim . . .

What books are you excited about this month?