August 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.

July 31

A Tale of Two Murders

by Heather Redmond

Series: A Dickens of a Crime #1

Published by Kensington

Genre: Mystery

320 pages

Synopsis: In the winter of 1835, young Charles Dickens is a journalist on the rise at the Evening Chronicle. Invited to dinner at the estate of the newspaper’s co-editor, Charles is smitten with his boss’s daughter, vivacious nineteen-year-old Kate Hogarth. They are having the best of times when a scream shatters the pleasant evening. Charles, Kate, and her father rush to the neighbors’ home, where Miss Christiana Lugoson lies unconscious on the floor. By morning, the poor young woman will be dead.

When Charles hears from a colleague of a very similar mysterious death a year ago to the date, also a young woman, he begins to suspect poisoning and feels compelled to investigate. The lovely Kate offers to help–using her social position to gain access to the members of the upper crust, now suspects in a murder. If Charles can find justice for the victims, it will be a far, far better thing than he has ever done. But with a twist or two in this most peculiar case, he and Kate may be in for the worst of times . . . 

August 7

Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding

by Rhys Bowen

Series: Her Royal Spyness #12

Published by Berkley

Genre: Historical Mystery

304 pages

Synopsis: Georgie is finally able to plan for her wedding in the summer. It is going to be a summer of weddings: her mother is marrying Max, her German beau; Georgie’s grandfather is marrying his next door neighbor, Mrs. Huggins; and Darcy’s father is getting up the courage to ask the princess to marry him. Georgie is staying at the princess’s London house when she receives a letter from one of her mother’s former husbands, Sir Hubert Anstruther. Georgie is now his sole heir, and he’s offering her the use of his lovely country house. He suggests she move in right away to keep an eye on the place because all might not be well since his butler died.

Georgie talks this through with her husband-to-be, Darcy, who is off to Europe again, this time to Berlin. They decide that she will take Sir Hubert up on his offer. However, when Georgie arrives, it becomes clear that she is definitely not wanted in the house. Strange things are happening, including a lively ghost and a less than friendly reception from the new butler. When a body shows up, Georgie realizes that Sir Hubert’s invitation may not have been entirely altruistic and begins to wonder if she’ll even make it to her wedding day. 

Alternate Routes

by Tim Powers

Series: Unknown

Published by Baen

Genre: Urban Fantasy

288 pages

Synopsis: Something weird is happening to the Los Angeles freeways—phantom cars, lanes from nowhere, and sometimes unmarked offramps that give glimpses of a desolate desert highway—and Sebastian Vickery, disgraced ex-Secret Service agent, is a driver for a covert supernatural-evasion car service. But another government agency is using and perhaps causing the freeway anomalies, and their chief is determined to have Vickery killed because of something he learned years ago at a halted Presidential motorcade.

Reluctantly aided by Ingrid Castine, a member of that agency, and a homeless Mexican boy, and a woman who makes her living costumed as Supergirl on the sidewalk in front of the Chinese Theater, Vickery learns what legendary hell it is that the desert highway leads to—and when Castine deliberately drives into it to save him from capture, he must enter it himself to get her out. 

Rogue Protocol

by Martha Wells

Series: The Murderbot Diaries #3

Published by Tor.com

Genre: Science Fiction, Novella

160 pages

Synopsis: SciFi’s favorite crabby A.I. is again on a mission. The case against the too-big-to-fail GrayCris Corporation is floundering, and more importantly, authorities are beginning to ask more questions about where Dr. Mensah’s SecUnit is.

And Murderbot would rather those questions went away. For good.

August 14

Stars Uncharted

by S.K. Dunstall

Series: Unknown

Published by Ace

Genre: Science Fiction

416 pages

Synopsis: Three people who are not who they claim to be:

Nika Rik Terri, body modder extraordinaire, has devoted her life to redesigning people’s bodies right down to the molecular level. Give her a living body and a genemod machine, and she will turn out a work of art.

Josune Arriola is crew on the famous explorer ship the Hassim, whose memory banks contain records of unexplored worlds worth a fortune. But Josune and the rest of the crew are united in their single-minded pursuit of the most famous lost planet of all.

Hammond Roystan, the captain of the rival explorer ship, The Road, has many secrets. Some believe one of them is the key to finding the lost world.

Josune’s captain sends her to infiltrate Roystan’s ship, promising to follow. But when the Hassim exits nullspace close to Roystan’s ship, it’s out of control, the crew are dead, and unknown Company operatives are trying to take over. Narrowly escaping and wounded, Roystan and Josune come to Nika for treatment–and with problems of her own, she flees with them after the next Company attack.

Now they’re in a race to find the lost world…and stay alive long enough to claim the biggest prize in the galaxy. 

Noumenon Infinity

by Marina J. Lostetter

Series: Unknown

Published by Harper Voyager

Genre: Science Fiction

576 pages

Synopsis: Travel to the remotest reaches of deep space in this wondrous follow-up to the acclaimed Noumenon—a tale of exploration, adventure, science, and humanity with the sweep and intelligence of the works of Arthur C. Clarke, Neal Stephenson, and Octavia Butler.

Generations ago, Convoy Seven and I.C.C. left Earth on a mission that would take them far beyond the solar system. Launched by the Planet United Consortium, a global group formed to pursue cooperative Earth-wide interests in deep space, nine ships headed into the unknown to explore a distant star called LQ Pyx.

Eons later, the convoy has returned to LQ Pyx to begin work on the Web, the alien megastructure that covers the star. Is it a Dyson Sphere, designed to power a civilization as everyone believes—or something far more sinister?

Meanwhile, Planet United’s littlest convoy, long thought to be lost, reemerges in a different sector of deep space. What they discover holds the answers to unlocking the Web’s greater purpose.

Each convoy possesses a piece of the Web’s puzzle . . . but they may not be able to bring those pieces together and uncover the structure’s true nature before it’s too late.

August 21

The Black God’s Drum

by P. Djèlí Clark

Series: Unknown

Published by Tor.com

Genre: Fantasy, Steampunk, Novella

112 pages

Synopsis: In an alternate New Orleans caught in the tangle of the American Civil War, the wall-scaling girl named Creeper yearns to escape the streets for the air – in particular, by earning a spot on-board the airship Midnight Robber. Creeper plans to earn Captain Ann-Marie’s trust with information she discovers about a Haitian scientist and a mysterious weapon he calls The Black God’s Drums.

But Creeper also has a secret herself: Oya, the African orisha of the wind and storms, speaks inside her head, and may have her own ulterior motivations.

Soon, Creeper, Oya, and the crew of the Midnight Robber are pulled into a perilous mission aimed to stop the Black God’s Drums from being unleashed and wiping out the entirety of New Orleans.

City of Ink

by Elsa Hart

Series: Li Du Novels #3

Published by Minotaur Books

Genre: Historical Mystery

352 pages

Synopsis: Li Du was prepared to travel anywhere in the world except for one place: home. But to unravel the mystery that surrounds his mentor’s execution, that’s exactly where he must go.

Plunged into the painful memories and teeming streets of Beijing, Li Du obtains a humble clerkship that offers anonymity and access to the records he needs. He is beginning to make progress when his search for answers buried in the past is interrupted by murder in the present.

The wife of a local factory owner is found dead, along with a man who appears to have been her lover, and the most likely suspect is the husband. But what Li Du’s superiors at the North Borough Office are willing to accept as a crime of passion strikes Li Du as something more calculated. As past and present intertwine, Li Du’s investigations reveal that many of Beijing’s residents ― foreign and Chinese, artisan and official, scholar and soldier ― have secrets they would kill to protect.

When the threats begin, Li Du must decide how much he is willing to sacrifice to discover the truth in a city bent on concealing it, a city where the stroke of a brush on paper can alter the past, change the future, prolong a life, or end one.

The Fated Sky

by Mary Robinette Kowal

Series: Lady Astronaut #2

Published by Tor Books

Genre: Science Fiction, Alternate History

320 pages

Synopsis: Continuing the grand sweep of alternate history laid out in The Calculating Stars, The Fated Sky looks forward to 1961, when mankind is well-established on the moon and looking forward to its next step: journeying to, and eventually colonizing, Mars.

Of course the noted Lady Astronaut Elma York would like to go, but could the International Aerospace Coalition ever stand the thought of putting a woman on such a potentially dangerous mission? Could Elma knowingly take the place of other astronauts who have been overlooked because of their race? And could she really leave behind her husband and the chance to start a family? This gripping look at the real conflicts behind a fantastical space race will put a new spin on our visions of what might have been.

The Stars Now Unclaimed

by Drew Williams

Series: The Universe After #1

Published by Tor Books

Genre: Science Fiction

448 pages

Synopsis: Jane Kamali is an agent for the Justified. Her mission: to recruit children with miraculous gifts in the hope that they might prevent the Pulse from once again sending countless worlds back to the dark ages.

Hot on her trail is the Pax–a collection of fascist zealots who believe they are the rightful rulers of the galaxy and who remain untouched by the Pulse.

Now Jane, a handful of comrades from her past, and a telekinetic girl called Esa must fight their way through a galaxy full of dangerous conflicts, remnants of ancient technology, and other hidden dangers.

And that’s just the beginning . . .

Terra Incognita: Three Tales

by Connie Willis

Series: None

Published by Del Rey

Genre: Science Fiction, Novellas

352 pages

Synopsis: Terra Incognita unites three previously published novellas by Connie Willis. This collection contains Uncharted Territory, where planetary surveyors battle hostile terrain, bureaucratic red tape, and renegade “planet crashers”, Remake, where moviemaking’s been computerized and live-action films are a thing of the past and all one starry-eyed young woman wants to do is the impossible: dance in the movies, and D.A., where a young space cadet will stop at nothing to uncover the conspiracy that has her tied up. 

Coldfall Wood

by Steven Savile

Series: Unknown

Published by St. Martins Press

Genre: Fantasy

368 pages

Synopsis: Steven Savile returns to the world of Glass Town with this gritty new fantasy where reluctant hero Joshua Raines will combat a forgotten god

Every legend promises the same thing: at the time of the land’s greatest need the heroes shall return. What they don’t mention is that we are the greatest threat our green and pleasant land has ever known. In the legends, saving the land never involves the slaughter of its inhabitants. Legends lie.

In a single night six girls who have never met and bear no relation to each other are struck down by a mysterious sickness that leaves them in persistent vegetative state. Across the city an old woman who hasn’t opened her eyes in years finally wakes. Her first words are: The Horned God is Awake.

One for one. Josh is about to learn the terrible truth behind these three words seared in the floor of his crazy grandfather’s flat. He is all that stands between our world and the cleansing fire of the once and future king. The question he must answer, how do you kill a god the world has forgotten about?

Steven Savile has been an international sensation, selling over half a million copies of his novels worldwide and writing for cult favorite television shows including Doctor Who, Torchwood, and Stargate. His US debut Glass Town, a brilliantly composed novel revolving around the magic and mystery lurking in London, came out in December 2017. Coldfall Wood, while set in the world of Savile’s US debut Glass Town, can be read as a standalone novel.

August 28

Magic Triumphs

by Ilona Andrews

Series: Kate Daniels #10

Published by Ace

Genre: Urban Fantasy

352 pages

Synopsis: Kate has come a long way from her origins as a loner taking care of paranormal problems in post-Shift Atlanta. She’s made friends and enemies. She’s found love and started a family with Curran Lennart, the former Beast Lord. But her magic is too strong for the power players of the world to let her be.

Kate and her father, Roland, currently have an uneasy truce, but when he starts testing her defenses again, she knows that sooner or later, a confrontation is inevitable. The Witch Oracle has begun seeing visions of blood, fire, and human bones. And when a mysterious box is delivered to Kate’s doorstep, a threat of war from the ancient enemy who nearly destroyed her family, she knows their time is up.

Kate Daniels sees no other choice but to combine forces with the unlikeliest of allies. She knows betrayal is inevitable. She knows she may not survive the coming battle. But she has to try.

For her child.

For Atlanta.

For the world.

Little Comfort

by Edwin Hill

Series: Hester Thursby #1

Published by Kensington

Genre: Mystery

304 pages

Synopsis: Harvard librarian Hester Thursby knows that even in the digital age, people still need help finding things. Using her research skills, Hester runs a side business tracking down the lost. Usually, she’s hired to find long-ago prom dates or to reunite adopted children and birth parents. Her new case is finding the handsome and charismatic Sam Blaine.

Sam has no desire to be found. As a teenager, he fled his small New Hampshire town with his friend, Gabe, after a haunting incident. For a dozen years, Sam and Gabe have traveled the country, reinventing themselves as they move from one mark to another. Sam has learned how trusting wealthy people can be—especially the lonely ones—as he expertly manipulates his way into their lives and homes. In Wendy Richards, the beautiful, fabulously rich daughter of one of Boston’s most influential families, he’s found the perfect way to infiltrate the milieu in which he knows he belongs—a world of Brooks Brothers suits, Nantucket summers, and effortless glamour.

As Hester’s investigation closes in on their brutal truth, the bond between Sam and Gabe is tested and Hester unknowingly jeopardizes her own safety. While Gabe has pinned all his desperate hopes of a normal life on Hester, Sam wants her out of the way for good. And Gabe has always done what Sam asks…

River of Secrets

by Roger Johns

Series: Wallace Hartman Mysteries #2

Published by Minotaur Books

Genre: Mystery

304 pages

Synopsis: Herbert Marioneaux, a Louisiana politician infamous for changing his mind on hot-button issues, has been murdered and his body posed to send a message. Baton Rouge homicide detective Wallace Hartman has to figure out who’s sending that message. DNA points to Eddie Pitkin, a social justice activist who also happens to be the half-brother of Wallace’s childhood best friend. But even with the combative history between Pitkin and Marioneaux, murder seems out of character for Pitkin, whose usual MO is to confront the wealthy and powerful with their inconvenient past. As Wallace digs deeper, she unearths a possible alibi witness, along with evidence of a deeply troubled relationship that points the finger of suspicion at Marioneaux’s son.

While Eddie’s supporters are convinced of his innocence, his enemies are equally certain of his guilt. Under pressure from all directions, Wallace pursues her investigation into the dark heart of the political establishment as Baton Rouge falls under the shadow of escalating violence. When it appears a police department insider may be sabotaging her efforts by leaking information about the case, and after menacing messages are left for her and her loved ones, Wallace is forced to untangle a trail of old and disturbing secrets unaided by those she most needs to trust.

Irontown Blues

by John Varley

Series: Eight Worlds

Published by Ace

Genre: Science Fiction

304 pages

Synopsis: Christopher Bach was a policeman in one of the largest Lunar cities when the A.I. Lunar Central Computer had a breakdown, known as the Big Glitch, but it turned out to be a larger war than anyone expected. When order was restored, Chris’s life could never be the same. Now he functions as a private detective assisted by his genetically altered dog Sherlock as he does his best to emulate the tough guys in the noir books and movies that he loves.

When he takes the case of a woman involuntarily afflicted with an engineered virus, he is on the hunt to track the bio hackers down to the infamous district of Irontown. If he gets there, he’ll have to confront his own demons if he wants to save humanity.

What books are you excited about this month?

Review: Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

Trail of Lightning by Rebecca RoanhorseTrail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

Series: The Sixth World #1

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Dystopia

Setting: Navajo Indian Reservation–called Dinétah in this future

Source: Ebook, purchased

Publishing Date: 2018

304 pages

Synopsis: While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters.

Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last—and best—hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much larger and more terrifying than anything she could imagine.

Maggie reluctantly enlists the aid of Kai Arviso, an unconventional medicine man, and together they travel to the rez to unravel clues from ancient legends, trade favors with tricksters, and battle dark witchcraft in a patchwork world of deteriorating technology.

As Maggie discovers the truth behind the disappearances, she will have to confront her past—if she wants to survive.

Welcome to the Sixth World. 

My thoughts

I don’t read a lot of dystopian novels. I usually find them sad and depressing. This is a dystopian future, but the urban fantasy aspects make the book more hopeful.

I love the setting for this book–Dinétah (what was the Navajo Indian Reservation). The book is set in a dystopian future where much of the Midwest is under water. The Navajos had built a wall to keep out people who wanted to steal their land so they survived.

However, the Navajo lands have problems of their own–severe drought, monsters, Navajo gods coming back, some Navajos manifesting powers depending on their clans. Maggie Hoskie is a monster hunter. She uses her clan powers to hunt the monsters in the Dinétah lands. However, as the book opens she has spent nearly a year mourning the disappearance of her mentor. She goes on her first monster hunt since his disappearance and discovers a monster she’s never seen before. The rest of the book is a search for the Diné witch that must be making these monsters. Lots of action, Diné gods, twists and surprises.

The world building is just wonderful in this book. Ms. Roanhorse uses Navajo myths, legends and stories to create the new Dinétah world. I love the Tony Hillerman Leaphorn and Chee mysteries set on the Navajo Indian Reservation and think he does a good job showing how the Navajo myths affect the police work Chee and Leaphorn do. Ms. Roanhorse takes that even further. I highly recommend this book!

My Rating: B+

Have you read any books by this author?

Reading Challenges

Swords and Stars Reading Challenge hosted by MsNoseinaBook — Read a book that has a weapon on the cover

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: Terra Nullius by Claire G. Coleman

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. So I have a while to wait!

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 . . .

Terra Nullius by Claire G. ColemanTerra Nullius by  Claire G. Coleman

Series: Unknown

Published by Small Beer Press

Publishing date: September 4 (published in Australia in 2017)

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia

304 pages

Synopsis:  Jacky was running. There was no thought in his head, only an intense drive to run. There was no sense he was getting anywhere, no plan, no destination, no future. All he had was a sense of what was behind, what he was running from. Jacky was running.

The Natives of the Colony are restless. The Settlers are eager to have a nation of peace, and to bring the savages into line. Families are torn apart, reeducation is enforced. This rich land will provide for all.

This is not Australia as we know it. This is not the Australia of our history. This TERRA NULLIUS is something new, but all too familiar.

This is an incredible debut from a striking new Australian Aboriginal voice.

…………………………….

(Note: I looked up the term terra nullius since I didn’t know what it meant–and that it’s actually a Latin term which means “nobody’s land.” Even though Australia probably had about 750,000 Aboriginal people living there when James Cook discovered it in 1770 he declared Australia terra nullius. This then affected how Great Britain treated the Aboriginal people.)

I like to read books by authors from other parts of the world. This sounds like historical fiction so I’m especially interested that it’s designated science fiction and dystopian. And I really like the simplicity of the cover.

Can’t Wait Wednesday: Wild Fire by Ann Cleeves

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. So I have a while to wait!

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 . . .

wild fire by ann cleevesWild Fire by Ann Cleeves

Series: Shetland Island series #8

Published by Minotaur Books

Publishing date: September 4

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

416 pages

Synopsis: When the Flemingsdesigner Helena and architect Danielmove into a remote community in the north of Shetland, they think it’s a fresh start for themselves and their children.

But their arrival triggers resentment, and Helena begins to receive small drawings of a gallows and a hanged man. Gossip spreads like wildfire.

A story of dysfunctional families and fractured relationships, Inspector Jimmy Perez’s eighth case will intrigue series fans and Shetland Island newcomers alike. 

…………………..

This is one of my favorite mystery series. I’ve read four of the books so far this year and am loving the characters and setting as well as the mysteries.

I only have a few more books to read to catch up to this current book. I hope she continues writing more books in this series.

Review: The Sinister Pig by Tony Hillerman

the sinister pig by tony hillermanThe Sinister Pig by Tony Hillerman

Series: Leaphorn & Chee #16

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Setting: U.S. Southwest, Washington, DC

Source: Ebook, Purchased

Publishing Date: 2003

352 pages

Synopsis: Sergeant Jim Chee of the Navajo Tribal Police is troubled by the nameless corpse discovered just inside his jurisdiction, at the edge of the Jicarilla Apache natural gas field. More troubling still is the FBI’s insistence that the Bureau take over the case, calling the unidentifiedvictim’s death a “hunting accident.”

But if a hunter was involved, Chee knows the prey was intentionally human. This belief is shared by the “Legendary Lieutenant” Joe Leaphorn, who once again is pulled out of retirement by the possibility of serious wrongs being committed against the Navajo nation by the Washington bureaucracy. Yet it is former policewoman Bernadette Manuelito, recently relocated to Customs Patrol at the U.S. — Mexico border, who possibly holds the key to a fiendishly twisted conspiracy of greed, lies, and murder — and whose only hope for survival now rests in the hands of friends too far away for comfort. 

My thoughts

Background

I love Tony Hillerman’s mysteries. I’ve read them for years (though there was a time in the late 1990’s and 2000’s I stopped reading mysteries). I’m going back now to read some of the ones I missed and some of the older ones I don’t remember as well or that I just want to read again and enjoy.

This is one of the books I hadn’t read and I really enjoyed it. I’m reading the books as I find them for a price I can pay so I’ve been skipping back and forth with the books. Each book is a self-contained mystery, but the overall arc of the main characters’ personal lives changes throughout the series so this isn’t the best way to read the books! I’m not sure that I read the two books before this one so I’ll eventually read those.

The story

This mystery involves Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee when an unidentified man is found shot in their jurisdiction. The FBI takes over the case and the case is closed when the Feds say the man was a hunting accident victim. This is a tense mystery. There were problems even in 2003 (as there have been for years before and years after) with illegal immigrants and drugs coming over the U.S. – Mexico border. And any time there’s lots of money involved people don’t want to give that up–so they don’t care who gets hurt or killed in the process.

Bernadette “Bernie” Manuelito

Bernadette “Bernie” Manuelito is a main character in this book and I like her. She quits her job with the Navajo Tribal Police and  takes a job with the Customs Patrol at the U.S. – Mexico border. She’s curious about unusual things she sees during her patrols and that quickly gets her in trouble. Leaphorn and Chee begin to see that some of the things Bernie has seen may tie-in with their dead man even though no one at the federal level will talk to them.

One reason Bernie quit her job with the Navajo Tribal Police: she realizes she needs to get on with her life. She likes Jim Chee, but he doesn’t seem to notice her. I like that she realizes she has to be strong enough to leave that situation. She’s not only strong, but a smart, honest and conscientious law enforcement officer. And maybe Chee noticed her more than he let on!

A really good mystery and I recommend the series! I plan to read and review more of the books this year.

My Rating: A-

Have you read any books by this author?

Reading Challenges

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

Thoughts about books I’ve read–Jan 2018

I’m trying something a little different for some of my reviews this year. I’ve only done a few stand-alone reviews so far this year so I’m going to do a post about the books I read each month, I will list all the books I read (in this case January 2018) and write a few sentences about each one and give a link to the review if I’ve already reviewed the book. I really want to get my reviews under control.

The Furthest Station by Ben Aaronovitch

The Furthest Station by Ben Aaronovitch

Series: Peter Grant #5.5

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Novella

Source: Ebook, purchased

129 pages

My Rating: B+

Reviewed: April 19

Bottom Line: A quick read, but a satisfying story. Great for Peter Grant fans.

;The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine ArdenThe Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Series: Winternight Trilogy #1

Genre: Historical Fantasy, FairyTale Retelling

Source: Audiobook, library (11 hours, 48 minutes)

Narrator: Kathleen Gati

346 Pages

My thoughts

I listened to the audiobook and loved the narrator. She does a really good job with this historical fantasy. I think this is a good book to listen to since it’s a fairy tale retelling and I think fairy tales are great to read aloud. It reminded me of when my mother would read fairy tales to me when I was a child–especially ones like “East o’ the Sun, West o’ the Moon.”

The story kept me guessing about how it would end especially since fairy tales told by Hans Christian Anderson or the Brothers Grimm do not always end well for the main characters. The setting is in a fantasy medieval Russia–very exotic. This has so many fairy tale images–a stepmother and stepsisters, a nanny who tells the old stories of magic and spirits and how the smart people honor these spirits. Vasilisa loves the old stories and follows her nanny’s teachings which puts her in opposition to her stepmother. A wonderful story with memorable characters . . . a true tribute to fairy tales.

My Rating: A

Narrator Rating: A

A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna RaybournA Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn

Series: Veronica Speedwell #2

Genre: Historical Mystery

Source: Ebook, library

338 Pages

My thoughts

I read the first book in the series when it came out. I’ve read a number of Deanna Raybourn books through the years and enjoyed them. I liked the first book in the series more than this one–maybe the setting seemed newer to me in the first book. However, that may have more to do with me and my mood when I read this one. I do like the main characters–Veronica Speedwell and Stoker. (The books remind me a little of Jayne Ann Krentz’s books when she writes books set in the 1800s using the pseudonym Amanda Quick.)

This is quick, fun, light reading. However, I’m not sure I’ll read the next book  since this didn’t holding my interest as much as the first book.

My Rating: B-

Evan Help Us by Rhys BowenEvan Help Us by Rhys Bowen

Series: Constable Evans #2

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Source: Audiobook, purchased (6 hours, 52 minutes)

Narrated by Roger Clark

223 Pages

My thoughts

This is a series Rhys Bowen wrote before her Molly Murphy and Royal Spyness series. I love the setting in Wales and Evan Evans is a very fun character. (He reminds me of Hamish in the Hamish MacBeth series by M.C Beaton.)

I like the cover of this book since the story is about someone in the village finding ruins. The villagers immediately begin thinking the ruins must be a castle and that it will put the village on the map. They even think about renaming their village! Then the person who found the ruins is murdered. Does his murder have something to do with the discovery of the ruins?

I listened to the first book in the series last December and I really like this series. In my genealogy research it looks like some of my ancestors came from Wales to the United States in the 1700s. I have someone in my family tree named “Ellis Ellis!” So that makes me love the Welsh setting even more! I also like how Ms. Bowen shows that the villagers don’t like incomers–especially from England. If the villagers are speaking English they quickly switch to Welsh! It’s these little touches which make me like this series.

My Rating: B

Narrator Rating: B

Summon the Keeper by Tanya HuffSummon the Keeper by Tanya Huff

Series: Keeper Chronicles #1

Genre: Fantasy

Source: Ebook, purchased

366 pages

My Rating: B-

Reviewed: April 17

Bottom Line: This was fun, but a little too cute. Not my favorite Tanya Huff book.

A Dragon of a Different Color by Rachel AaronA Dragon of a Different Color by Rachel Aaron

Series: Heartstrikers #4

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Source: Ebook, Kindle Unlimited

525 Pages

My thoughts

One of my favorite series and now there’s only one more book before the series ends. That makes me sad since I love the characters and feel the world building is excellent. However, I’m glad when an author decides a series is finished and ends it so they can move on to other stories they want to tell.

A Dragon of a Different Color really moved the story along and I can see an ending in sight! It seems things just keep getting worse and worse for Julian and the Heartstrikers. Lots of things he thought he knew and understood are in doubt–including who he can trust. Julius has gone through so much, lost so much and in this book there is more to come.

The arrival of the dragons of China is very dramatic and it doesn’t look good for the Heartstrikers. It’s hard for Julius to show much interest in what’s happening, but he has to continue to step up. And, of course, all is not as it seems. If you haven’t read the books before this one you really need to read them before you read this one. And I do recommend you read this series especially if you like fantasy, urban fantasy, good world building, dragons and good story telling!

My Rating: B+

Starman Jones by Robert A Heinlein

Starman Jones by Robert A. Heinlein

Series: None

Genre: Science Fiction

Source: Audiobook, purchased

272 pages

My Rating: A-

Reviewed: March 30

Bottom Line: One of Heinlein’s Juvenile series and a good science fiction adventure story.

………………………….

Does this format I’m trying out work for you to show my mini reviews as well as links to my reviews.
Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?

June monthly wrap-up

I’ve decided to do a monthly wrap-up post each month to see how I’m doing on my blog and what’s going on in my personal life. I plan to link-up to a couple of blogs that host wrap-ups and reviews of their months. The Month in Review is hosted at The Book Date, and the Monthly Wrap-up Round-up is hosted by Feed Your Fiction Addiction.

Personal life

Family

My personal life has been on a roller coaster the last couple of months. My father-in-law died the first part of May. It was sudden, but not too unexpected since he was 89 and not in the best of health. My husband is the executor of the estate so he’s been very busy. We’ve made several trips back to his dad’s house as we all try to get the house ready to sell.

Daughter moving to Indiana

Then one of our daughters was offered a promotion, but it meant moving to Indianapolis. She jumped at the chance, because it’s a great job. However, she found out about the new job the first of June and starts July 2. That meant getting her house ready to sell and getting her household goods moved. The household goods won’t get moved until the middle of July and she was lucky to get such an early date. Family members have pitched in to help with painting, decluttering and cleaning. After all the work the house and yard look amazing. Her house is a Tudor style brick home and almost 100 years old, but is in really good condition. It has the original wood floors and lots of unique details. She’s loved living there.

The house went on sale June 26 and she got a full price cash offer at the end of that day! Amazing!!  All the hard work really paid off. The buyers want to close on the house the middle of July which works great. We just hope it all goes smoothly.

I’ve come with her to Indianapolis and will stay until right after the 4th of July. Then I’m going to stay for a few days with my older daughter who lives in Illinois. My younger daughter will be swinging through the second week in July to go back to Iowa so she can watch the movers pack her household goods and I will ride back to Iowa with her. I’m going to miss being in the same city, but I think the move to Indianapolis is a great one for her!

TV & Movies

We got rid of our satellite TV since it doubled in price. Now we’re streaming Netflix, Hulu, PBS and Amazon. We’re slowly getting used to the new set-up.  It seems to work well so far.

Yard & Garden

daylily
Daylily

We’ve had lots of very wet and sometimes very hot days in June, but the plants I planted this spring are growing. One of the daylilies I planted about a month ago has even bloomed! My new rose is growing and has lots of new leaves. We had to put a chicken wire fence around it to keep bunnies and other little rodents from chomping it. The Japanese beetles start coming out in July around here and I’m hoping we don’t have too many since they were terrible last summer. It got very cold during the winter here in Iowa so I hope that killed some of the grub stage. They’ve loved some of the roses when we lived in other parts of the country. My new rose is so small I’d like to give it a good start this first year.

Blog life

Reviews

I got a few more reviews finished and posted in June and quite a few others started. I’m also going to publish a post of my thoughts on the books read during a month. I have the January edition just about ready to post. It will have links to the review posts I’ve completed. I will also do a one or two sentence summary of those reviews. The books I haven’t reviewed on my blog yet will get mini reviews. I’m trying this method out to see how it will work. Hopefully, this method will at least get a few thoughts posted about my books.

I’m also trying to add at least a few sentences to Goodreads after I finish a book. That’s helping me when I sit down to write a review since I don’t always get my blog reviews started right away.

No internet in Indianapolis

I don’t have internet in Indianapolis, but when I get to Illinois I will have it so I’m hoping to work on blog posts as well as visiting other blogs. I didn’t get a chance to post much or visit other blogs and comment very much during the month of June. I’m hoping July will be a little better, but it also looks quite busy with some more travel planned.

Books read during June

Dead Water by Ann Cleeves (ebook)

Between Jobs by W.R. Gingell (ebook/Kindle Unlimited)

Silent City by Carrie Smith (ebook)

The Sinister Pig by Tony Hillerman (ebook)

Coyote Waits by Tony Hillerman (ebook)

Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs (audio)

Modern Crimes by Chris Nickson (ebook)

The Crow Trap by Ann Cleeves (audio)

Books reviewed

Reviews

The Woman in Blue by Elly Griffith (audio) — B+

The Star Beast by Robert A. Heinlein (audio) — B+

A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny — A

Mini Reviews

Twelve Days of Faery by W.R. Gingell (ebook) — B+

Fire in the Blood by W.R. Gingell (ebook) — B

The First Chill of Autumn by W.R. Gingell (ebook) — B+

My Challenges update

Goodreads Challenge

Goal–90 books read

By the end of June I’ve read 54 books toward my goal. I’m still 10 books ahead of schedule!

Cloak & Dagger Reading Challenge

Goal–read and review 26-35 mysteries (mysteries must be over 100 pages)

I’ve read 28 mysteries so far, but have only reviewed eight of those mysteries so far.

Discussion Challenge

Goal — 1 -10 discussion posts

I still haven’t written any discussion posts. 😦 Perhaps in July or August.

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

Goal — 40 prompts to the challenge

I’ve read nine books which match prompts.

Swords & Stars Reading Challenge

Goal — 20 prompts for the challenge

I’ve read and reviewed four books which match this challenge.

What was the month like for you?

July 2018 Books on my List

books-on-my-listI 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 as 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.

July 3

Scandal Above Stairs by Jennifer AshleyScandal Above Stairs

by Jennifer Ashley

Series: Kat Holloway #2

Published by Berkley Books

Genre: Historical Mystery

320 pages

Synopsis: Priceless artwork has gone missing from the home of a wealthy baronet, and his wife stands to take the blame. When Kat’s employer asks for help in clearing her friend’s name, Kat trades her kitchen for the homes of Mayfair’s wealthiest families.
Soon antiques are disappearing not only from the extravagant households of connoisseurs and collectors, but from the illustrious British Museum. As the thefts increase in frequency, Kat calls upon her friend Daniel McAdam, who has already set himself up in a pawnshop on the Strand as a seedy receiver of stolen goods. When a man is murdered in the shop, Kat must use all of her wits to see that the thieves are caught and justice is done.
 

The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette KowalThe Calculating Stars

by Mary Robinette Kowal

Series: Lady Astronaut #1

Published by Tor Books

Genre: Science Fiction

384 pages

Synopsis: A meteor decimates the U.S. government and paves the way for a climate cataclysm that will eventually render the earth inhospitable to humanity. This looming threat calls for a radically accelerated timeline in the earth’s efforts to colonize space, as well as an unprecedented opportunity for a much larger share of humanity to take part.

One of these new entrants in the space race is Elma York, whose experience as a WASP pilot and mathematician earns her a place in the International Aerospace Coalition’s attempts to put man on the moon. But with so many skilled and experienced women pilots and scientists involved with the program, it doesn’t take long before Elma begins to wonder why they can’t go into space, too—aside from some pesky barriers like thousands of years of history and a host of expectations about the proper place of the fairer sex. And yet, Elma’s drive to become the first Lady Astronaut is so strong that even the most dearly held conventions may not stand a chance. 

A Death in Eden by Keith McCaffertyA Death in Eden

by Keith McCafferty

Series: Sean Stranahan Mystery #7

Published by Viking

Genre: Mystery

320 pages

Synopsis: Scarecrows are appearing in the cliffs above the Smith River in Montana, and state investigator Harold Little Feather, is trying to discover the culprit leaving the hay figures in the cliffs, with signs painted that read “No Smith River Mine–Not on My Watch.” The event is related to a copper mine project that threatens the river, but his investigation takes an ominous turn when a little girl claims that a scarecrow chased her in the night. 

At the same time, Sean Stranahan and his friend “Rainbow” Sam Meslik have been contracted as guides to float a party down the river, which includes the manager of the mine project and the president of “Save Our Smith,” a grassroots organization devoted to stopping the project. Both men grew up on the Smith on neighboring ranches. When a dead body is found in the park, it’s revealed that the two have a shared history that runs much deeper and darker than their opposing viewpoints.

July 10

Spinning Silver by Naomi NovikSpinning Silver

by Naomi Novik

Series: Unknown

Published by Del Rey

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. 

July 12

The Steam Pump Jump by Jodi TaylorThe Steam Pump Jump

by Jodi Taylor

Series: The Chronicles of St. Mary’s #9.6

Published by Accent Press

Genre: Science Fiction, Time Travel, Historical, Short Story

81 pages

Synopsis: Not one to let being banged up in Sick Bay stop her, Max has had a brilliant idea. But she needs Markham to execute it on her behalf. The subject of this cunning plan is Peterson, struggling with another bereavement and not doing very well. What’s needed to get him through it is sympathy, sensitivity, tact and understanding. 

Step forward Mr Markham, for whom sympathy, sensitivity, etc., are things that happen to other people. 

July 17

Veins of Gold by Charlie N. HolmbergVeins of Gold

by Charlie N. Holmberg

Series: Unknown

Published by Mirror Press

Genre: Historical Fantasy

312 pages

Synopsis: Desperate to save her siblings from poverty, a young woman discovers magic fueled by gold . . . and a love for the man who wields it. 

Abandoned by their father for the gold rush, Gentry and her siblings labor to survive alone in the inhospitable west. When bizarre natural disasters begin wreaking havoc on the land, Gentry discovers a world of magic. Desperate for help, she accepts aid from a mysterious stranger. 

The Wild Dead by Carrie VaughnThe Wild Dead

by Carrie Vaughn

Series: The Bannerless Saga #2

Published by John Joseph Adams/Mariner Books

Genre: Science Fiction

272 pages

Synopsis: A century after environmental and economic collapse, the people of the Coast Road have rebuilt their own sort of civilization, striving not to make the mistakes their ancestors did. They strictly ration and manage resources, including the ability to have children. Enid of Haven is an investigator, who with her new partner, Teeg, is called on to mediate a dispute over an old building in a far-flung settlement at the edge of Coast Road territory. The investigators’ decision seems straightforward — and then the body of a young woman turns up in the nearby marshland. Almost more shocking than that, she’s not from the Coast Road, but from one of the outsider camps belonging to the nomads and wild folk who live outside the Coast Road communities. Now one of them is dead, and Enid wants to find out who killed her, even as Teeg argues that the murder isn’t their problem. In a dystopian future of isolated communities, can our moral sense survive the worst hard times?

July 24

Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky ChambersRecord of a Spaceborn Few

by Becky Chambers

Series: Wayfarers #3

Published by Harper Voyager

Genre: Science Fiction

400 pages

Synopsis: Centuries after the last humans left Earth, the Exodus Fleet is a living relic, a place many are from but few outsiders have seen. Humanity has finally been accepted into the galactic community, but while this has opened doors for many, those who have not yet left for alien cities fear that their carefully cultivated way of life is under threat.

Tessa chose to stay home when her brother Ashby left for the stars, but has to question that decision when her position in the Fleet is threatened.

Kip, a reluctant young apprentice, itches for change but doesn’t know where to find it.

Sawyer, a lost and lonely newcomer, is just looking for a place to belong.

When a disaster rocks this already fragile community, those Exodans who still call the Fleet their home can no longer avoid the inescapable question: What is the purpose of a ship that has reached its destination?

July 31

Arabella the Traitor of Mars by David D. LevineArabella the Traitor of Mars

by David D. Levine

Series: Adventures of Arabella Ashby #3

Published by Tor Books

Genre: Science Fiction, Steampunk

384 pages

Synopsis: Taking up almost immediately after the great Battle of Venus, Arabella has finally returned home to Mars to settle in to life with her husband, the mysterious Captain Singh. The Regent of the United Kingdom sets his eyes on solidifying his rule in the colonies and dispatches a fleet to better cement his control over Mars. Now Arabella and Singh must decide where their ultimate loyalties lie, with the Empire or with their home. 

Planetside by Michael MammayPlanetside

by Michael Mammay

Series: Unknown

Published by Harper Voyager

Genre: Science Fiction

384 pages

Synopsis: War heroes aren’t usually called out of semi-retirement and sent to the far reaches of the galaxy for a routine investigation. So when Colonel Carl Butler answers the call from an old and powerful friend, he knows it’s something big—and he’s not being told the whole story. A high councilor’s son has gone MIA out of Cappa Base, the space station orbiting a battle-ravaged planet. The young lieutenant had been wounded and evacuated—but there’s no record of him having ever arrived at hospital command.

What books are you excited about this month?