Sunday Post–March 31

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

Last Week

Around my house
We had a little snow on Monday (second consecutive Monday!), but the daffodils two of my sisters-in-law helped me plant last fall are finally coming up! I love daffodils and the deer leave them alone. Next week we may finally get some warmer weather. Our oldest daughter (who lives in North Carolina right now) came for a visit this weekend. It’s so good to see her!

Posts on my blog
Top Ten Tuesday–Books I Recommend to Friends

Review: The Girl With the Cat Tattoo by Theresa Weir

Books read
Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs

The Girl With the Cat Tattoo by Theresa Weir (reviewed…see link above)

Find Me When the Sun Goes Down by Lisa Olsen (review pending)

News around the web
Amazon is buying Goodreads. Dear Author posted news about this on Friday in their Friday News. Jane has a good analysis which I found interesting. I am not on Goodreads right now and haven’t used it too much, but have been thinking of setting up an account. I don’t know how this will change Goodreads, but I imagine a lot of users of Goodreads won’t be happy.

Full disclosure here: I buy most of my ebooks at Amazon and read them on my Kindle or Kindle Fire. I buy lots of other things at Amazon, too, and am an Amazon Prime member. In short, I like Amazon a lot.

New Book Covers I noticed for the first time! These may have been revealed awhile ago, because I don’t always pay attention to covers!

Heart of Iron by Bec McMaster. This is the second book in the London Steampunk series. It is out in May. I read the first book Kiss of Steel in January and hope to review it soon.

Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch. Book 4 of The Rivers of London series. This is the British cover. I like how it uses the back cover of the book. So far I don’t see this book scheduled for publication in the U.S.:(

I like the covers in this series. The first two in the U.S. were different from the British covers, but we finally got the same cover as the British in Book 3, so I hope we get this cover, too. I also hope we get a publication date soon!

Books (actually ebooks!) bought
These were all ebooks on sale or self-published and under $4.00 (at least at Amazon). These are all new authors to me and I don’t know a great deal about them except the blurbs that I read. That made them interesting enough to me to buy them.

The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

Monster in My Closet (Monster Haven story) by R. L. Naquin

The Scrapyard Incident (Scrapyard Dogs) by Phillip Nolte

Next Week

What’s going on in my life
We are driving to Iowa to visit my father-in-law. Our younger daughter who lives in Wisconsin is going to come visit so we will see her, too. We plan to see friends on the way back and a sister-in-law in Chicago. I will have to see how much I get done on the blog.

Blog posts planned
–Books in April

–Book Review

Review: The Girl With the Cat Tattoo by Theresa Weir

This is the first book I’ve read by Theresa Weir so I’m adding it to the 2013 New Author Challenge hosted by the Literary Escapism blog. I’ve said I will try to read 25 new authors this year. I’ve already read a lot of new authors, but I need to write the reviews.

The Girl with the Cat Tattoo
by Theresa Weir
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published by: Belfry Press, 2012
E-book, purchased
103 pages
Grade: B+

Synopsis: When a matchmaking cat takes it upon himself to find his young mistress a new mate, he accidentally stirs up memories better left forgotten.

Melody’s husband was murdered by what seemed a random act of violence. Two years later, the killer hasn’t been caught, and Melody is coping in unhealthy ways. During the day she’s a mild-mannered children’s librarian, but at night she’s a party girl, hanging out in bars, drinking with new friends, and often bringing home strange men. Although acquaintances have tried to keep in touch, Melody has cut herself off from most of the people in her old life. Max, her eccentric cat, doesn’t approve of her new friends, he’s tired of the parade of losers, and he finally takes it upon himself to find Melody a new man.

I had this book for almost a year before I read it and really should have read it sooner. Once I started it I read it in a day. I loved the book, mostly because I loved the Max the cat! He is so much fun to read about.

From the first two sentences this book caught me:

Max had been a cat as long as he could remember, but he was pretty sure he’d been a rock star in one of his previous lives. He just had that kind of cool about him.

Max reminds me so much of one my daughter’s cats. He’s also black and white and he’s also a cool cat…though maybe a little more adventurous than Max. Geronimo would never stay in a backyard
and actually went missing for three days when he slipped out of our house while we were taking care of him. When we finally found him I could see the thoughts slipping through his head about whether he really wanted to wait for me to pick him up. He was definitely thinking about running back into the woods!

Max, on the other hand, isn’t sure he wanted to leave his backyard, but was willing to do so for Melanie, Max’s mistress. He decided to do some matchmaking after Melanie had a number of one night stands. He wants to help her find someone who would be good for both Melanie and Max. Max’s plan actually does work and he brings Joe and Melanie together, but perhaps Joe isn’t all he seems to be! Max and Melanie begin to wonder if they made a mistake with Joe. Adventure ensues…even Ellen Degeneres makes an appearance!

I love the cover of the book showing Max wearing a hat. Melanie is a children’s librarian and during the course of the book she begins taking Max to her story hour for children. She dresses in costumes so naturally Max also wears costumes. Max suffers through the costumes and the children with fairly good grace. Melanie thinks he likes the children, but, of course, he’s not very fond of children!

Max has a great voice and I like the other characters in the book, too. Theresa Weir states on her site  a sequel called The Geek With the Cat Tattoo will be published in 2014. Yay!

Quotes from the book further illustrate Max’s voice:

Humans tended to jump into things with no thought, when in truth the most pleasurable part of life came from the anticipation of catnip, not the crazy buzz.

and

A cat, especially a cat like him, had to retain an outward appearance of cool at all times. Upon occasion, he’d had the misfortune of spending time with cats that cried and begged and generally made fools of themselves. He would never be one of those cats.

I definitely recommend this book!

The Books I Recommend to Friends

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme sponsored each week by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week I’m listing the ten books I recommend the most. I’ve sorted them by genre. I had difficulty keeping this to just ten books! I love so many different books and authors and want to share the love!

In a series with an ongoing story arc in which we slowly find out more about the characters as they grow and change I usually recommend the first book and that they be read in order. Other books in a series are more standalone and it doesn’t matter as much the order they are read.

Urban Fantasy 

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs is the first book in the Mercy Thompson series. Mercy is an auto mechanic who can change into a coyote because of her Native American heritage. She grew up with werewolves and in Spokane where the stories usually takes place there are a variety of other supernatural beings. There is adventure, mystery and wonderful characters. The characters grow and change during the course of the books–sometimes in surprising ways.

Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews is also the first book in a series–the Kate Daniels series. The books are set in an Atlanta where magic is leaking back into the world and defeating the technological world (causing skyscrapers to tumble down, plants to take over in places and other strange events). Again lots of adventure, mystery, romance and great characters.

Science Fiction

Agent of Change by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller is a space opera written in the Liad Universe created by the authors. All the Liad Universe books are full of adventure, romance, characters you care about and are just fun books to read. This is the one I recommend my friends start with though the books are not a linear series about the same characters. However, there are a few books with the same characters. The authors give several suggestions about reading order!

Archangel by Sharon Shinn is part of the Samaria series. This book and this series by Sharon Shinn are ones I recommend over and over to friends. Sharon Shinn is one of my favorite authors. This is my favorite of her series. This book is also her best selling book. The series features angels who sing to change the weather on their planet. The worldbuilding is incredible, characters aren’t infallible and don’t always act for the greater good, different characters see the events and settings differently and events aren’t always what they seem. This is also a series set on the same world, but with different main characters over a great many years. A great series.

Trading in Danger by Elizabeth Moon is the first book in the Vatta’s War series. Ky Vatta is expelled from Spaceforce Academy after making a mistake. Her family is a powerful trading family and give her a wreak of a spaceship and a remote trading route, but Ky finds adventure anyway! This is a great series. I like military science fiction and Elizabeth Moon has several good series.

 

Mysteries

In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming is the first book of the Claire Fergusson/ Russ Van Alstyne series. These are very good mysteries, but it’s also the relationship between the two main characters which grows and changes throughout these books that I look forward to in each book. The characters act in very human ways. Sometimes they are difficult books to read because the characters are human and not infallible.

Skinwalkers by Tony Hillerman features both Lt. Joe Leaphorn and Officer Jim Chee of the Navaho Tribal Police. I’m fascinated by the way they each look at their Navajo heritage and interact with their world. Some of Tony Hillerman’s books feature Leaphorn and some Chee and some both. The characters age and things change for better or worse in their personal lives through the years. I’ve recommended Tony Hillerman’s books to many people. He evokes the Southwest setting and the Navaho so well.

Mandarin Plaid by S. J. Rozan is part of a mystery series which features Lydia Chin and Bill Smith who are private detectives. The books generally take place in New York City and every other book is written from either Lydia’s or Bill’s point of view . Also the mysteries feature either the Chinatown Chinese American community or the Caucasian world. Very good mysteries, great settings and complex characters.

Historical Mystery

And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander is the first book in the Lady Emily series. The mystery, the setting, the characters all create an atmosphere which makes this a book and series many people will enjoy.

 
Contemporary Romance
Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie is a great book to offer to people who don’t think they like to read romances. Jennifer Crusie always creates such fun romances with quirky characters. Her books make me happy. I love so many of her books, but this is the one I come back to again and again and recommend. This is a book I re-read every couple years.

What about you? Do you recommend books? Which ones and why?

Sunday Post Meme

I found the Sunday Post Meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer and decided to participate. This sounds like a fun activity for a Sunday…kind of like reading the Sunday paper. 








News I found from around the Internet:

The Science Fiction/Fantasy Daily Deal today:

I read this book in January and wrote about it on my blog. God Save the Queen by Kate Locke is really good and today it’s only $1.99. If you use a Kindle and like fantasy buy it today!!

 

A few things about favorite authors:

From the Ilona Andrews blog:

Andrews/Gordon Ink Two

The husband-and-wife writing team of Ilona Andrews and Andrew Gordon have signed two deals, with different houses. Agent Nancy Yost, at Nancy Yost Literary, handled both agreements. In the first, Yost signed the pair up to continue their Kate Daniels at Ace Books series for mid six figures, with Anne Sowards acquiring world English rights. In the second deal, also for mid six figures, Yost sold world rights for the first three books in a new series to Erika Tsang at Avon. Yost said the Avon series will be set in a world controlled by “modern Medici-like dynasties with paranormally enhanced abilities.”

The new series sounds good and I’m so glad they will continue the Kate Daniels books, too.  I enjoy their books and stories so much! Congratulations to both of them. A new Kate Daniels book is set to come out at the end of July.

When I was looking at Sharon Lee’s blog for a blog post I wrote on Friday I discovered there are going to be more books in this series! I loved this book and wanted more after I read it, but at that time when I visited Sharon Lee’s Carousel Tides blog she didn’t mention more books. However, now the second book Carousel Sun was turned in to the publisher in February 2013 and Sharon Lee is working on the third and last book in the series.

I loved Archer’s Beach and could relate to it since I’ve spent some time at the Maine coast. My husband’s sister and brother-in-law live in Waterville, Maine (fairly close to where Sharon Lee and her husband Steve Miller live, I think). I read the Liad Universe books Sharon Lee and Steve Miller write together and love those, too.

I visited  Sharon Shinn’s website and discovered there will be a sequel to Troubled Waters. I like her books so much. You can also find t-shirts showing blessings from Troubled Waters. Such a good writer and I’m always on the lookout for more of her books.

On my blog this week I hope to write at least two posts:

  • Top Ten Tuesday post (sponsored by the Broke and the Bookish blog ) about the top ten books I recommend the most.
  • A book review of a new author I’ve read.

What are you up to this week…on your blog or in real life?!?

 

My Top Ten Urban Fantasy of the Last Decade

The Angieville blog posted about a list of the Top 20 Paranormal Fantasies of the Last Decade at the Barnes and Noble Book Blog.

(As an aside, the article on the B&N blog is written by Paul Goat Allen. I read his articles years ago when B&N put out a paper science fiction and fantasy newsletter each month. That brought me into their store at least once a month and I found so many new authors that way. He introduced me to Laurell K. Hamilton and her Anita Blake books. I loved those early books by her. They were the first vampire books I read. I didn’t realize Allen still wrote for B&N. I will have to check that out.)

Anyway, as Angie did in her blog I’m going to post my top ten fantasy/urban fantasy books (not in any particular order):

Carousel Tides by Sharon Lee
I enjoyed this book so much. It’s about an amusement park in a tourist town on the coast in Maine. I read this book after our family had a family reunion in Maine and we visited an amusement park at the beach! That made the book so much fun to read, but I would like it regardless. One of my favorite books! Sharon Lee also writes science fiction favorites of mine with her husband Steve Miller.

Sunshine by Robin McKinley
I was so sorry when I finished this book and then find out it’s a standalone book. This was my introduction to Robin McKinley.

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
I love this series. Just finished Frost Burned and it was as good or better than the first!

Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews
This is the other series I love. They are my co-favorites right now!

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
This has been a great series, too. Hard to believe the last book is in May. I started reading at the beginning of the series and it lead me to the True Blood series on HBO which is also a favorite.

Tinker by Wen Spencer
I’ve read a lot of Wen Spencer’s books, but this is my favorite. She built a great world in this book.

Nightshifted by Cassie Alexander
A new author and series I found at the end of 2012. Really looking forward to the next book.

Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch
Another new author I read at the end of last year. Good series. I like the lore about the rivers of London.

Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
October Daye is such a great character.

God Save the Queen by Kate Locke
Another new author and series. I started this one in January and quickly read the next book when it arrived in February.

Bitten by Kelley Armstrong
I’m fudging a little with this book. It was written in 2001, but I do like it a lot!

Most of the books which are part of series I used the first book in the series. I admit I’ve liked some books more than others in some of the series, but I can’t choose a favorite in each series so quickly!

What are your favorite books in this genre?

I Had to Buy the Book…But Why Haven’t I Read It?

The Broke and the Bookish sponsors this weekly Meme.

I love books and have more books than I’ll ever have time to read. When I started looking through my books I realized I’ve got a lot of books I really want to read, but some of them have sat for years waiting for me.Why is that?

I’ve thought about that and I think one reason is that I like to savor things. I nibble and save things instead of gobbling them up and I do this with books, too. But I think it’s time to enjoy my books.

1. Killing Rocks by DD Barant–I read the first book in this series–Dying Bites–and thought it was great. Then I bought Killing Rocks in 2011 thinking it was book 2 when it was book 3! Now there are six books in the series!

2. Trial By Fire by Jennifer Lynn Barnes–I read the first book Raised by Wolves and really liked it; bought Trial By Fire in 2011 when it was published. It’s a trilogy and the final book and a short story have been published! Time to start reading.

3. The Girl with the Cat Tattoo by Teresa Weir–I bought this book in June 2012 (on sale) after I read a great review of it. It was on several bloggers best of 2012 lists, but still haven’t even started it. I love the cover, too.

4. I searched and searched in used bookstores over the years and found some of Robin McKinley‘s older books (Deerskin, Dragonhaven, The Blue Sword, The Door in the Hedge, The Hero and the Crown, and The Outlaws of Sherwood, for example), but still haven’t read them.

5. Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti. Bought in 2008, great cover, exciting premise…still unread.

6. Going Postal by Terry Pratchett. I bought this book several years ago. I’ve read so many great things about Terry Pratchett’s books and I haven’t read any of them.

7. Sharing Knife series by Lois McMaster Bujold–I love the Miles Vorkosigan books (and still have more of them to read much to my delight). I’m sure I’ll love the Sharing Knife series, too, and even bought all the books, but haven’t started them yet.

8. Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong–I bought, read and loved Bitten when it first came out in 2001. I think it might have been my first werewolf book! Then I bought five more books in the series, but I haven’t read any of them. I’ve stopped buying this series until I read what I already have.

9. Tears of Pearl (Lady Emily Mysteries, Book 4) by Tasha Alexander. I love the first three books in this series and now there are seven books in the series. Time to start again, I think.

10. Curtain by Agatha Christie. I read almost all of Agatha Christie’s books when I was a teenager. Hercule Poirot was always my favorite character. This is the last book published by Agatha Christie during her lifetime…tells of Hercule Poirot’s last case and his death. I just haven’t ever been able to read it. She actually wrote it during WWII and kept in a vault until she realized she couldn’t write anymore. It was published in 1975. She died on January 12, 1976 at the age of 85 and I have had this book for years and not read it. I don’t like endings.

What about you? Do you have books you had to buy, but you haven’t read them? Or maybe you don’t have exciting unread books…maybe you read your books when you buy them…tell me about that, too!

Blog Hoppy

I was doing a bit of blog hopping the last couple of days and decided to share some of my findings!

At Bunbury in the Stacks (a blog I found today!) I read that at BBC 4 you can listen to an audible version of Neal Gaiman’s Neverwhere and it has a quality cast (such as Benedict Cumberbatch, James McAvoy and Natalie Dormer). The first episode which is one hour long is already available online. The rest of the episodes will be 30 minutes long and will broadcast each night this week Monday through Friday. I’ve listened to the first hour and love it! Very excited!

Dear Author reported that Google Reader is dead (by July). I used Google Reader for awhile, but stopped using it a year or so ago. I don’t subscribe to blogs or anything to compile RSS feeds. I tend to visit a dozen or so blogs a day. Not always the same ones. I don’t use twitter. I have a facebook page, but seldom visit it and I don’t visit industry facebook pages or “like” them.

After reading the post at Dear Author I found many blogs had information about Google Reader in the last couple of days. The Intrepid Reader tells why she uses an RSS feed to follow her blogs. Maybe I need to rethink whether to use a news feed…and  I probably need to put a subscription link on my blog.

 

At the Angieville blog I was excited to see that Veronica Mars may become a movie! Did I mention I’m excited?!! There is a Kickstarter Project which people can pledge to so the movie can happen. I was really sad when the TV show was cancelled several years ago so I hope this happens and that it is great.

What are you excited about or up in arms about or sad to see happening?

Kindle Daily Deal Alert!

The Science Fiction/Fantasy Daily Deal for today at Amazon is Bec McMaster‘s Kiss of Steel which I read in January and enjoyed. The book is only $1.99 which is a great way to try a new author. A new book by Ms. McMaster (Taste of Steel) is arriving in May.

This book is more of a steampunk romance than urban fantasy, but I enjoyed it nevertheless. As I’ve mentioned in other posts I don’t like the romance to be the focus in my fantasy. To me when the emphasis is on the romance many times the worldbuilding suffers. Don’t get me wrong, I do like some romance just not too much. This book passed my test and I liked it!

Honoria Todd has no choice. Only in the dreaded Whitechapel district can she escape the long reach of the Duke of Vickers. But seeking refuge there will put her straight into the hands of Blade, legendary master of the rookeries. No one would dare cross him, but what price would he demand to keep her safe?
Ever since Vickers infected him with the craving, Blade has been quicker, stronger, almost immortal—and terrified of losing control of the monster within. Honoria could be his perfect revenge against the duke…or the salvation he never dared to dream of.

If you enjoy some romance in your fantasy or like the steampunk craze check out this book. For $1.99 you don’t have too much to lose!

BTW, I’ve never met the author, don’t work for Amazon and don’t accept books for review so I’m just letting you all know about a book I enjoyed available at a good price today only.

New Author Challenge–Kate Locke

Last year I read lots of historical romance (13 by the end of February); this year it’s lots of urban fantasy (11 by the end of February). I’ve also found a number of new urban fantasy authors which makes me happy! Because I’m finding many new authors to try this year I’ve joined the New Author Challenge 2013 at the Literary Escapism blog. I’ve challenged myself to read 25 new authors this year. This is my first new author blog post.

This new-to-me author is Kate Locke who is writing The Immortal Empire series. I’m so glad I found Ms. Locke and it’s all because the first book was on sale for $2.99 (the e-book…probably because the second book was coming out in February). I enjoyed the set-up in this first book–the world, the characters and the story.

God Save the Queen 
by Kate Locke
The Immortal Engine, book 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by: Orbit, 2012
E-book, purchased
368 pages
Grade: B+

Synopsis: Blood. Bloomers. Bedlam.
The Victorian Era never ended. It’s 2012 and her Ensanguined Majesty is still on the throne, the vampire ruler of the British Empire. There are werewolves too. And Goblins. All brought about by mutations caused by the plague.
 
Xandra Vardan is a half-blood, the daughter of a vampire and a human courtesan. A member of the Royal Guard, she’s supposed to keep the aristocrats (those of plagued blood) safe, but then her little sister goes missing and Xandra stumbles upon a secret that not only changes her life forever, but just might end it if she’s not careful.
 
And just what’s going on at Bedlam Asylum for the Insane?

I do like the premise of Queen Victoria still on the throne because she’s a vampire! This series is a lot of fun to read and the world Kate Locke has built is complex and interesting. The fact that vampires, werewolves and goblins were created because of mutations caused by the plague is interesting. I liked Xandra and her brother and sisters and by the end of this book I was definitely ready for the next book. Because I enjoyed the first book so much I bought the second book as soon as it was available in February!

The Queen is Dead
by Kate Locke
The Immortal Engine, book 2
Grade: B+

Synopsis: Humans are growing restless. Goblins are growing impatient, and the aristocrats are growing…hungry. Disappearances, hormonal human boys and Bubonic Betties — it’s all in a night’s work for Xandra Vardan, reluctant Goblin Queen.
 
Her brother Val has gotten into something way over his head. Someone’s sending not so subtle hints to Xandra (dead rats, anyone?). There’s tension amongst the wolf-pack, and the Human League wants blood. There are rumors of Horror Shows — humans being bled to death for entertainment — and half-bloods are being abducted.
 
Xandra just wants a moment’s peace, but she may have to die to get it.

I liked the second book and am looking forward to the third book (Long Live the Queen) which will be published in November. There is romance in these books, but I don’t view it as paranormal romance (which I tend not to like), because the emphasis is on the story, characters and a complete world which is not the case in many paranormal romances.

Top Ten Books On My Spring 2013 TBR list!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly Meme sponsored by The Broke and the Bookish Blog

When I looked over the list of books I want to buy and read this spring I had a hard time coming up with ten books! Many of the books on my list are hardcover editions and even as e-books they are $10 or more. I only buy a few of these books each year. Usually I will wait until they come out in paperback and hope that the e-book version is also reduced. It is frustrating when the paper version of the book is less than the electronic version, but this happens quite often. It has to be a favorite author before I spend that much money.

1. Frost Burned (Mercy Thompson series) by Patricia Briggs–This is my most anticipated book of the spring. I haven’t bought it yet, but will probably do so this week. I don’t want to buy it and read it too soon because I have to wait another year for Ms. Briggs to write another book!

2. What Darkness Brings: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery by C. S. Harris

3. Heart of Iron by Bec McMaster

The rest of the books I will wait to read reviews and buy as my budget allows:

4. Murder in Chelsea (Gaslight Mystery)
by Victoria Thompson

5. The Family Way (Molly Murphy Mysteries)
by Rhys Bowen

6. Death, Doom and Detention (Darklight series)
by Darynda Jones

7. Midnight Blue-Light Special: An Incryptid Novel
by Seanan McGuire

8. Written in Red: A Novel of the Others
by Anne Bishop

9.  Dead Ever After: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel
by Charlaine Harris

The following book sounds quite intriguing and has some good authors, but I don’t usually like short stories so I will wait and see:

10. Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells: An Anthology of Gaslamp Fantasy
Edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
(18 stories from such writers as Elizabeth Bear, Ellen Kushner, Tanith Lee, James Blaylock, Gregory Maguire as well as new authors)

I’m looking forward to seeing what books others are looking forward to so I can find some new authors and books! What are you excited about this spring?