COYER Summer Vacation finished up on Friday. It was a fun way to keep track of what I read and reviewed during the summer. There were also lots of activities to participate in–read-a-thons, Twitter parties, a Facebook group. Unfortunately, my summer was much busier than I had planned and though I tried to participate in some of the extra activities I didn’t really manage it. 😦
I read and reviewed 16 books during the read-a-thon and I’m pleased with that…especially getting all the reviews done. I’ve listed the purchase dates and prices on my COYER Reading Challenge Page. COYER (Clean-Out Your E-Reader) traditionally means reading e-books which cost less than $5.00 each. For COYER Summer Vacation we didn’t have to follow that rule, but I wanted to see how many of my Reads actually cost less than $5.00 and how many had been on my E-Reader longer than six months:
Books which cost less than $5.00–11 of 16 books (counting my library e-book)
Chimes at Midnight
by Seanan McGuire
Series: October Daye, Book 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by DAW, 2013
Synopsis: Things are starting to look up for October “Toby” Daye. She’s training her squire, doing her job, and has finally allowed herself to grow closer to the local King of Cats. It seems like her life may finally be settling down…at least until dead changelings start appearing in the alleys of San Francisco, killed by an overdose of goblin fruit.
Toby’s efforts to take the problem to the Queen of the Mists are met with harsh reprisals, leaving her under sentence of exile from her home and everyone she loves. Now Toby must find a way to reverse the Queens decree, get the goblin fruit off the streets–and, oh, yes, save her own life, since more than a few of her problems have once again followed her home. And then there’s the question of the Queen herself, who seems increasingly unlikely to have a valid claim to the throne….
To find the answers, October and her friends will have to travel from the legendary Library of Stars into the hidden depths of the Kingdom of the Mists–and they’ll have to do it fast, because time is running out. In faerie, some fates are worse than death.
October Daye is about to find out what they are.
Faerie: where it’s only a little weird to realize that my boyfriend is older than the internal combustion engine.
“You know, I did not sign up for a crazy fairy tale scavenger hunt this week.”
“Yes, you did,” said Tybalt, pacing me. I shot him a sharp look. He shrugged. “You got out of bed. The universe does seem to take that as a personal affront.”
This is one of my favorite urban fantasy series. And though this isn’t my favorite book in the series it’s still very good.
I like the relationship between Toby and Tybalt. I like that Tybalt doesn’t try to restrict Toby’s actions. They often talk or argue about each other’s actions, but they do listen to each other. They respect and like each other as well as love each other.
There are so many likeable characters in these books. I’m always happy to read a new book and catch up with them. Many of these characters have become Toby’s family. In the early books she was very solitary–now she’s surrounded by a group who have her back.
We find out a few new things about some of the characters and I like that.
I think the whole goblin fruit addiction is interesting–how it affect humans, changelings and Fae. It shows how little most Fae care about either humans or changelings.
I never saw an explanation about how the Queen discovered some of the conspirators. Toby wondered about it, but nothing more was explained. I thought the Queen must have someone on the inside who leaked the information.
The book ended abruptly.
This felt like a book where lots of things happen which will be important later.
And a few thoughts . . .
I’m looking forward to the next book which came out this week. I’ve already bought the book and I’m hoping some more stuff gets explained!
John Golden: Freelance Debugger
by Django Wexler
Series: John Golden, Book 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by Ragnorak Publications, 2014
Synopsis: John Golden is a debugger: he goes inside the computer systems of his corporate clients to exterminate the gremlins, sprites, and other fairies that take up residence. But when he gets a frantic call from Serpentine Systems, a top-of-the-line anti-fairy security company, John finds out he’s on much more than a simple smurf-punting expedition.
I found a socket and plugged Sarah into it, leaving her leaning against the wall.
— Seattle power: fruity and piquant, with the hint of citrus that comes from a dash of hydroelectricity. Not as subtle as San Francisco, but quite palatable. —
As I’d told Delphi, a fairy burrow is a kind of extended metaphor, a story telling and retelling itself through the medium of bits and pieces of computing time. From the outside, with a connection to the underlying system, Sarah can push or pull in certain ways.
Such a different urban fantasy.
This fantasy gives a whole new spin to debugging!
A fun book to read. I didn’t like that it was so short, but that also made it a good, quick read!
An irreverent and breezy writing style.
John Golden is good at his job, but also kind of a lovable flake! He hides his expertise behind his wisecracking exterior.
Sarah is John’s sister and his assistant. John explains in this story that her soul is a computer program in a Dell Inspirion computer. Wow! She helps John with his debugging work.
In the Kindle edition of this book Sarah makes mocking and tongue-in-cheek comments via footnotes (at the end of a paragraph) about the things John does. (See the quote above for an example.)
It’s too short! I wanted more.
And a few thoughts . . .
The second novella in this series–John Golden and the Heroes of Mazaroth–was published in August.
The Cloud Roads
by Martha Wells
Series: The Books of the Raksura, Book 1
Published by Night Shade Books, 2011
Synopsis: Moon has spent his life hiding what he is — a shape-shifter able to transform himself into a winged creature of flight. An orphan with only vague memories of his own kind, Moon tries to fit in among the tribes of his river valley, with mixed success. Just as Moon is once again cast out by his adopted tribe, he discovers a shape-shifter like himself… someone who seems to know exactly what he is, who promises that Moon will be welcomed into his community. What this stranger doesn’t tell Moon is that his presence will tip the balance of power… that his extraordinary lineage is crucial to the colony’s survival… and that his people face extinction at the hands of the dreaded Fell! Now Moon must overcome a lifetime of conditioning in order to save himself… and his newfound kin.
Moon had been almost killed too many times to develop an aversion to anything.
“…Look, you either trust me or you don’t–”
“I don’t, Moon said, frustrated.
“You’re such a cynical bastard. You’re going to fit right in at home.”
I love this book. I’m not sure what chord it hit for me, but I devoured the book! It was a joy to read.
I love the cover!
Moon is a great character. He’s just trying to get by. His family was all killed when he was a child. He’s a shape-shifter and has never found another like himself so he’s not sure if he’s the only one left. He tries to fit into the Grounder communities he finds, but always ultimately gives himself away and has to leave.
Moon is a very solitary character. He’s an orphan and no one he meets really understands him–because he can’t show who he really is. Then he discovers he’s a Raksura and quite an important one, but this doesn’t bring the universal happiness he would think he’d find.
The other Raksura he meets are a mix of characters. The society is very stratified. Each group has their own tasks and they don’t mix too much between groups.
The Fell are such interesting and frightening enemies. I want to find out more about them in the next books.
I like the world building. The world is detailed. We don’t know how this world got the way it did, but everyone is just trying to survive–and stay away from the Fell. It’s peopled with a vast variety of sentient creatures.
The way the different societies we see in this world have developed is very interesting.
I was a little put off by the Raksura using their claws to climb walls! I don’t like spiders or lizards that can climb my walls. But the Raksura are so awesome every other way I just put that behind me…LOL.
And a few thoughts . . .
I’ve had this book awhile and I’m so glad I finally read it. I’m looking forward to the next books and reading other books by Martha Wells.
The next two books in this series are already out–Yay! And Stories of the Raksura, Vol 1: The Falling World & The Story of Indigo and Cloud just came out this week.
by Cassie Alexander
Series: Edie Spence #5
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by St. Martin Paperbacks, 2014
Synopsis: Ambushed. Blindfolded. Kidnapped by vampires. Edie Spence must race against time to save herself and her baby—from the nightmare that flows through her veins…
As a nurse in the hospital’s secret Y4 ward, Edie has seen her share of daytimers. Once-ordinary humans who’ve tasted vampire blood, daytimers are doomed to serve their nighttime masters. Forever. And now Edie has to face something even more horrifying: she’s become one too…
Abducted by the vampire, Raven, Edie is taken to the catacombs beneath the Catacombs, an ironically-named L.A. night club that supplies fresh blood and other favors for its vampire Masters. Edie has no intention of swapping her nurse’s uniform for a cocktail dress—not when her newborn infant needs her. But if she and Asher—her shapeshifter fiancé—can’t figure out a way to bleed Raven’s power, they may never get out of this plasma-soaked pleasure palace…undead or alive.
Maybe being a daytimer meant getting to eat all the hamburgers you wanted, hooray.
This book begins where the last book ended and everything which happened in that book is the reason for this book.
The world building is quite original in this series and I enjoy each new book.
Edie needs to figure out why Raven agreed to take her on as daytimer. She also discovers lots is happening among this group of vampires and daytimers. She needs to figure out about that, too.
Edie found out she was pregnant near the end of the last book. That ups the stakes for her since she needs to protect her baby from the vampires and daytimers.
Edie is able to find some empathy for some of the daytimers she interacts with–even though she doesn’t trust any of them.
We don’t get a series ending which I’m unhappy about. The book has a satisfying ending, but is written with at least one more book in mind so it leaves lots of questions not answered.
And a few thoughts . . .
I’m so sad this seems to be the last Edie Spence book. I really like the series. I guess it doesn’t have a big enough fan base. 😦
From checking Ms. Alexander’s blog, she is writing other fiction. She has two erotica books available now and is working on a YA series.
Suddenly Last Summer
by Sarah Morgan
Series: O’Neil Brothers, Book 2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published by Harlequin HQN, 2014
Synopsis: Fiery French chef Élise Philippe is having a seriously bad day. Not only have the opening day plans for her beloved café fallen apart, but Sean O’Neil is back in town, and looking more delectable than ever. Last summer, they shared an electrifying night together…and the memories have Élise really struggling to stick to her one-night-only rule! Her head knows that eventually Sean will be leaving, so all she can do is try to ignore her heart before she spontaneously combusts with lust.
Being back in Vermont—even temporarily—is surgeon Sean O’Neil’s worst nightmare. For Sean, returning home to the Snow Crystal Resort means being forced to confront the reasons and the guilt he feels about rejecting his family’s rural lifestyle years ago. But discovering that Élise has settled in Vermont and still sets his blood racing is a very welcome distraction! Thinking he can persuade her into a replay of last summer is tempting, but remembering how good they are together is going to make walking away more difficult than he could imagine…
More often than not, he saw a family as stifling, whereas in fact it was a cocoon. Not a straightjacket, but a protection. He’d always had that, it had always been there, even when he hadn’t noticed, or wanted it.
“What she means is you are truly terrible at cooking.” Élise poured coffee into mugs and set them on the table. “What? Why are you all looking at me?”
Brenna grinned. “Because you don’t know the meaning of the word tact.”
“I speak the truth so none of us is poisoned….”
The O’Neil Brothers series celebrates family–the love, the anger, the belonging, the fear for our loved ones, the friendships. Sure, it’s idealized, but the family isn’t perfect either. They have problems to work out and don’t always do the best communicating.
I like Élise and Sean. Neither wants a relationship (for different reasons), but there’s mutual attraction (which they fight against at first). They get to know each other better and they become friends.
Élise and Sean must learn to trust each other and Élise especially must bury the ghosts of the past.
I like the humor and comradery found between so many of the characters.
I like the cooking Élise does in the book. Not too much detail, just enough. I wish I could cook some of her dishes!
A nice summer read.
I was bored sometimes in the early part of the book. I think this is just me…I’m not reading much romance these days and even less contemporary romance.
And a few thoughts
The third book in the series–Maybe This Christmas–comes out on November 1 of this year. I look forward to this one since I love Snow Crystal in winter and at Christmas!
by Dick Francis
Narrated by Simon Prebble
Series: Kit Fielding #1
Published by Berkeley, 2005 (originally published 1986)
Length: 9 hours, 14 minutes
Narrator Grade: B+
Synopsis: Steeplechase jockey Christmas “Kit” Fielding has had more than his share of close calls both on and off the course. But trouble hits close to home when a grudge between his family and his sister’s in-laws turns into a blood feud.
(I don’t have any quotes since I listened to the audiobook and wasn’t thinking about quotes as I listened.)
I enjoy Dick Francis’ writing so much.
Dick Francis’ books are mysteries which deal in some way with the racing world. That’s one of the things I always love about them since I learn so many peripheral things–like about airplanes flying race horses to distant races or about an ex-jockey private investigator.
His heroes are brave and must overcome high odds when the villain tries to stop him. Sometimes even physical challenges when the villain tries to kill him. I like the courageousness of these heroes who overcome the odds to do what is right not just for themselves but also to help others.
His heroes aren’t ambiguous about what is right and wrong like some modern-day anti-heroes. That’s really nice sometimes.
There is some romance in the book, but it doesn’t take over the story. I like that.
I like the secondary characters a lot. Kit’s twin sister–Holly–is very likeable, his brother-in-law who doesn’t really know if he likes Kit some of the time, the Countess whom he rides for and likes and respects.
The narrator is good. However, I sometimes had trouble remembering who all the characters were…partly because I had to stop listening for a couple of weeks. I was able to figure out and remember who people were when I listened a little more.
And a few thoughts . . .
I read almost all of Dick Francis’ books when they came out. My mother and I loved his books and read them and discussed them through the years. It was a yearly ritual for us since he wrote a novel a year for 38 years. They all deal in some way with the racing world.
Dick Francis wrote one more book about Kit Fielding called Bolt. Most of his books are stand-alone mysteries.
He wrote several mysteries in the last few years (until his death in 2010) with his son–Felix Francis. Felix has continued to write books with his father’s name in the title.
I want to read and re-read more of Dick Francis’ books.
Have you read this book or others by Dick Francis? How did you like it or the book you read by him?
by James S. A. Corey
Series: Expanse #1
Genre: Science Fiction Space Opera
Published by Orbit, 2011
Synopsis: Humanity has colonized the solar system – Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt and beyond – but the stars are still out of our reach.
Jim Holden is XO of an ice miner making runs from the rings of Saturn to the mining stations of the Belt. When he and his crew stumble upon a derelict ship, “The Scopuli,” they find themselves in possession of a secret they never wanted. A secret that someone is willing to kill for – and kill on a scale unfathomable to Jim and his crew. War is brewing in the system unless he can find out who left the ship and why.
Detective Miller is looking for a girl. One girl in a system of billions, but her parents have money and money talks. When the trail leads him to “The Scopuli” and rebel sympathizer Holden, he realizes that this girl may be the key to everything.
Holden and Miller must thread the needle between the Earth government, the Outer Planet revolutionaries, and secretive corporations – and the odds are against them. But out in the Belt, the rules are different, and one small ship can change the fate of the universe.
Seven years in Earth’s navy, five years working in space with civilians, and he’d never gotten used to the long, thin, improbable bones of Belters. A childhood spent in gravity shaped the way he saw things forever.
Havelock shook his head again, this time in mild disbelief. If he’d been a Belter, he’d have made the gesture with his hands, so you could see it when he had an environment suit on. Another of the hundred small ways someone who hadn’t grown up on the Belt betrayed himself.
The story is told in alternating chapters by Miller and Holden. This gives interesting points of view. At the beginning of the book they don’t know each other and are in different locations. Later on they meet. Miller is a Belter and Holden is from Earth. Their viewpoints are fundamentally different. It’s helpful to understanding this world and what’s happening to see the different points of view.
Humans have traveled throughout the solar system, but not discovered how to leave it.
An exciting space opera–just the kind of science fiction I like. Even though the book is almost 600 pages (and I was on vacation with a large family group while I read the end of the book), I read it quickly.
I like the way the author imagines and describes the way the solar system develops–both the habitats humans develop and the way humans change based on where they live in the solar system.
Ceres–where Miller lives–with the multitude of people, businesses, living quarters, foods, the need for shipped-in water is vividly described. I feel like I can see it.
Great world building.
I like the political dynamics in the book–the inner planets v. the Belters; Earth v. Mars, corporations v. everyone else and so on.
The differences which have developed between all the people has created misunderstandings and prejudices on both sides. I think that’s realistic.
Holden is young, idealistic and thinks people are basically good; Miller is the cynical policeman who’s seen it all. I relate better to Miller than Holden. Does that say something about me?!!
Toward the end of the book I got irritated with Holden when he never seems to learn. In some ways that’s nice–he’s idealistic–in other ways, I thought he was stupid and willfully blind!
And a few thoughts . . .
This is the first book I’ve read by James S. A. Corey and I really enjoyed it.
James S. A. Corey is the pseudonym of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck.
My kindle edition also has a full copy of The Dragon’s Path by Daniel Abraham. This is the first book of the Dragon and the Coin series. The fourth book in that series–The Widow’s House–just came out in August 2014.
The Heiress Effect
by Courtney Milan
Series: Brothers Sinister, Book 2
Genre: Historical Romance–1867 England
Published by Courtney Milan, 2013
Synopsis: Miss Jane Fairfield can’t do anything right. When she’s in company, she always says the wrong thing—and rather too much of it. No matter how costly they are, her gowns fall on the unfortunate side of fashion. Even her immense dowry can’t save her from being an object of derision.
And that’s precisely what she wants. She’ll do anything, even risk humiliation, if it means she can stay unmarried and keep her sister safe.
Mr. Oliver Marshall has to do everything right. He’s the bastard son of a duke, raised in humble circumstances—and he intends to give voice and power to the common people. If he makes one false step, he’ll never get the chance to accomplish anything. He doesn’t need to come to the rescue of the wrong woman. He certainly doesn’t need to fall in love with her. But there’s something about the lovely, courageous Jane that he can’t resist…even though it could mean the ruin of them both.
“I worry about you,” he finally said to Free. “I’m afraid that you’re going to break your heart, going up against the world.”
“No.” The wind caught her hair and sent it swirling behind her. “I’m going to break the world.”
“Is it a thorny question of ethics? Or is it the sort of ethical question where the right choice is easy, but the unethical answer is too tempting?”
“And nothing says lace like…more lace.”
I’ve mentioned this before, but Courtney Milan does such a good job self-publishing her books.
The two main characters–Jane and Oliver–are so well written. I feel I understand them and their motivations. They aren’t perfect people, but they are people I would like to know (if I knew to look beneath the surface).
Oliver is the illegitimate son of a Duke. He went to Eton, but wasn’t liked by many of the other students. They felt he didn’t know his place. Slowly he learns he has to keep quiet even though he’s determined to make his mark. I like the fact that Oliver realizes the man who raised him is his father–not the man who sired him. And Oliver loves his mother, father and half-sisters. I like that!
Most people don’t look below Miss Jane Fairfield’s surface. She hides in plain sight by dressing in brightly colored often clashing colors with three or four different kinds of lace or perhaps beads. She talks loudly and often says impertinent things to people. Society people laugh at her behind her back. They are polite to her face since she’s an heiress with $100,000 pounds.
Oliver comments that poisonous plants and animals are brightly colored to tell everyone “I’m poisonous. Don’t touch!”
Jane isn’t easy to know in society since she’s trying to camouflage herself so men won’t want to marry her. If Jane marries she would have to leave Emily with her guardian.
The supporting characters in the book are interesting, too. There’s even an additional romance which I enjoyed and continues the theme of the book–look below the surface.
The book isn’t a fluffy romance. The characters in the book face hard decisions.
I like the way history and politics are woven into the story. The Reform Act is an important part of 1867 England. Courtney Milan makes use of this very effectively in her book. Oliver is trying to get the Reform Act to pass in Parliament even though as the bastard son of a Duke he can’t be a member of Parliament. Of course, if the Reform Act passes the common man will have more say in government. And Oliver plans to be an influence in the future.
Oliver is very ambitious and will do almost anything to get the Act passed. Perhaps even humiliate Jane.
When this part of the book come to light–humiliate Jane and get a number of Lords willing to support the Act, my first thought was “Oh, no, I don’t want to read a book where a main character humiliates another character.” I should have known Ms. Milan would turn this idea on it’s head.
Oliver feels it’s impossible for him to love Jane, because as a bastard he has to be above reproach. Jane is too loud, too opinionated, too badly dressed and doesn’t know how to act in society.
During the course of the book, Jane learns to value herself and not compromise who she is.
Oliver almost goes too far when he continues to accept other people’s views of both Jane and himself.
And a few thoughts . . .
I don’t read many romances these days, but I still have a few auto-buy authors. Courtney Milan is one of these authors. She writes such good books. I’m interested in the people she writes about as well as the time periods she writes about.
I’ve had this book for about a year so it was definitely time to read it.
The suggested type of book for the August book for the TBR Challenge is to have luscious love scenes. This book is definitely not erotica, but there are some love scenes so that’s close enough for me!
by Mary Balogh
Series: The Survivors’ Club, Book 3
Genre: Historical Romance
Published by Dell, 2014
Synopsis: In this poignant novel of longing and salvation, a hopeful widow and a resilient war hero discover the promise of love’s magic and new beginnings.
After surviving the Napoleonic Wars, Sir Benedict Harper is struggling to move on, his body and spirit in need of a healing touch. Never does Ben imagine that hope will come in the form of a beautiful woman who has seen her own share of suffering. After the lingering death of her husband, Samantha McKay is at the mercy of her oppressive in-laws – until she plots an escape to distant Wales to claim a house she has inherited. Being a gentleman, Ben insists that he escort her on the fateful journey.
Ben wants Samantha as much as she wants him, but he is cautious. What can a wounded soul offer any woman? Samantha is ready to go where fate takes her, to leave behind polite society and even propriety in her desire for this handsome, honorable soldier. But dare she offer her bruised heart as well as her body? The answers to both their questions may be found in an unlikely place: in each other’s arms.
Includes Mary Balogh’s charming short story “The Suitor.”
And was that what his problem was? That wherever he went, he had to take himself with him? Was it in denial of that fact that he had decided to travel? The eternal quest to escape from himself, from the body that slowed him down, made him grotesque and ungainly, and stopped him from living the life he wanted to live?
It might have amused Samantha that Sunday service had become the big outing and social event of her week, if it had not also been so pathetic.
I like Mary Balogh’s writing very much.
The setting in Wales sounds wonderful. (I want to visit Wales!)
I like all the characters in the series so much and it’s nice to catch glimpses of them in each book.
Ben is an inspiring character. He refuses to give up and he refuses to feel sorry for himself. However, he’s also not sure what to do with his life. He always thought he’d be a military officer and now that that’s impossible he’s lost his way.
Both Samantha and Ben must make a journey both to Wales and to decide who they really are and where their lives are going.
Ben is completely different from Samantha’s deceased husband who never tried to do anything for himself and insisted Samantha wait on him all the time.
The whole Survivors’ series deals with the effects of war on the survivors. Sometimes there are physical injuries, sometimes psychological injuries and sometimes both.
The way Ben and Samantha meet is pretty funny. Neither of them reacts well and they don’t want to see each other again, but Ben knows he needs to see her to apologize. They gradually see each other more as Samantha becomes friends with Ben’s sister.
The way Ben and Samantha fall in love is wonderful. I really feel they are in love and will stay in love.
And a few thoughts . . .
I like Mary Balogh’s writing very much. She does a great jobs Making her characters unique. I always feel like I know them when I’m finished with her books.
I didn’t read The Suitor so I can’t comment on that story.
The above cover is apparently the cover of the Kindle edition (according to Goodreads). I like it much better than the cover I saw when I bought my Kindle book. (However, it does look a little too modern for me.)
The next book in this series–Only Enchanting–is due to come out at the end of October 2014. It is Flavian, Viscount Ponsonby’s story. I can’t wait!