Can’t Wait Wednesday: Peace Talks by Jim Butcher

Long running urban fantasy series featuring magic, wizards, vampires, werewolves, fae and great stories

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 set to 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 . . .

Peace Talks

by Jim Butcher

Series: The Dresden Files #16

Published by Ace

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publication date: July 14

400 pages

Synopsis: When the Supernatural nations of the world meet up to negotiate an end to ongoing hostilities, Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard, joins the White Council’s security team to make sure the talks stay civil. But can he succeed, when dark political manipulations threaten the very existence of Chicago–and all he holds dear?

………………………….

This is one of my favorite urban fantasy series and it has been a few years since Jim Butcher wrote a new book in the series. And I have several books to read so I’m ready for this one!

Sunday Post: Trip to Chicago

Weekly meme to talk about books and a little my personal life last week

Sunday-Post

Kimberly hosts the Sunday Post each week. I like to take part because it gives me an opportunity to look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also love to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading.

Personal life

I spent a lot of last week getting ready to go to Chicago for our niece’s wedding. I don’t wear dresses much anymore so I had to find the dress I had in mind to wear, make sure it didn’t need cleaning, that it still fit and find all the stuff to wear with it and make sure they fit! Then we had to get up at 5:00 a.m. on Friday to drive to Chicago. Now that we’re back home I’m ready for some rest!

Chicago wedding

We just got back from the Chicago wedding for one of our nieces. The wedding was beautiful and lots of fun. It was held outside at a nature preserve and was a little breezy which helped since it was also humid! Afterward the reception was held at an Irish bar. It was a large Irish bar and the entire bar was rented for the reception for five hours! Very nice to talk to people, sample appetizer foods, drink some Guinness, watch people dancing upstairs.

All the activities related to the wedding occurred near the Chicago River so we stayed at a hotel near the river. The pictures above show the river.

Blog life

I didn’t get as much done on my blog as I’d planned. I was distracted trying to remember what I needed to do for our trip as well as having a number of appointments to take care of.

Recent posts
Next week
  • Top Ten Tuesday
  • Can’t-Wait Wednesday
  • Review
  • Sunday Post

My books

What I’m reading
  • Echo In Onyx by Sharon Shinn
What I read recently
  • The Night Raven by Sarah Painter
  • How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny
Books I got recently

Please Don’t Feed the Mayor by Sue Pethick (Kindle Unlimited)

What have you been doing? What are your plans next week?

Sunday Post: Mid September, but still hot

Weekly meme to talk about books and a little my personal life last week

Sunday-Post

Kimberly hosts the Sunday Post each week. I like to take part because it gives me an opportunity to look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also love to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading.

Personal life

Labor Day is over, kids are back in school–and now it’s mid September!

We had cooler weather last week , but next week the temperatures are forecast to be close to 90 degrees. I love the cooler temperatures of fall so I’m looking forward to more cool weather!

Back from Indiana

I spent a week in Indiana visiting one of my daughters and got back during the middle of this week. I had lots of fun visiting with her and her two Labrador retrievers. They are such fun happy dogs. (And my daughter is pretty fun, too…lol)

Chicago wedding

This next week we’re driving to Chicago for a niece’s wedding. It will be fun to see lots of family members and see our niece and her fiance get married. They seem very happy!

Blog life

You may have noticed that during the last month my blog was gone for a few days and then back and then may have disappeared again. It’s finally back though I do still have a few things to tweak.

I spent a lot of time over the last month deciding whether to keep my self-hosted blog or to try to move the blog to WordPress.com. I wrote a post about that earlier in the week. I published a number of posts this week and am working on more posts for the future. It feels good to be back.

Recent posts
Next week
  • Can’t-Wait Wednesday
  • Review
  • Sunday Post

My books

What I’m reading
  • The Night Raven by Sarah Painter
What I read recently
  • Craks in a Marriage by Barbara Barrett
  • A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee
  • The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan
  • Bright Shards by Meg Pechenick
  • The White Shepherd by Annie Dalton
  • The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny
  • The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan
Books I got recently

Last Boat to Camden Town by Paul Charles (Kindle Unlimited)

Poor Man’s Flight by Elliott Kay (Prime)

Echo in Onyx by Sharon Shinn

A Shot in the Dark by Matthew Costello

The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith

What have you been doing? What are your plans next week? Are you looking forward to autumn or mourning because summer is nearly gone?

Sunday Post: Back to Indiana

Sunday-Post

Kimberly hosts the Sunday Post each week. I like to take part because it gives me an opportunity to look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also love to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading.

Personal life

I didn’t get a Sunday Post done last Sunday. I was visiting family and didn’t have time or internet access for a few days. In the last week my husband and I were in Chicago, central Illinois and then I came back to Indiana and my husband drove home to Iowa. He’s going to meet me in Indiana at the end of the week.

Chicago

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My husband and I drove to Chicago to visit my sister-in-law. She always takes us to fun and wonderful places! We went to see the Choir of Man on Friday night. So much good music and any show set in a pub that invites the audience onstage before the show for free beer and then pulls people onstage during the show is great!

On Saturday we went to the Chicago Botanic Garden to see their orchid show. I love orchids (mostly because I can grow them and get them to rebloom, but also because they come in so many sizes, colors and shapes.) After the orchid show we stopped at Northwestern University and visited an art exhibit called “Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time.” Fascinating. I had no idea so much trade in gold and salt went on in the Middle Ages between Europe and Africa.

We celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by going to an Irish pub and getting corned beef and cabbage. They had Irish dance and music. There wasn’t time to see the St. Patrick’s Day parade or the Chicago River turn green–maybe another year.

Central Illinois & Indiana

Bailey and Juneau
Bailey and Juneau relax on the bed!

After the weekend we drove to Bloomington to spend another few days with my older daughter. My husband drove back home to Iowa and after a few days in Illinois I went to Indiana to visit my younger daughter again and take care of her dogs while she vacations in Scotland. I brought my cats along so we have a menagerie here! I’m staying through the first week of April. And I’m happy to report my daughter has bulbs coming up in her yard so I hope to see some flowers blooming while I’m here. Great to see signs of spring!

Blog life

With all the travel I’ve been too tired and busy to spend much time on my blog though I did have a few posts scheduled. I haven’t even had very much time for reading. I hope that all changes some next week.

Recent posts
Next week
  • Top Ten Tuesday
  • Can’t-Wait Wednesday
  • Review
  • Sunday Post

My books

What I’m reading
  • Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre
What I read recently
  • Exit Strategy by Martha Wells
  • Minimum Wage Magic by Rachel Aaron
  • 10 lb. Penalty by Dick Francis
Books I got recently

Ambush by Barbara Nickless

The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley (library ebook)

What have you been doing? What are your plans next week?

Review: Mercy Falls by William Kent Kreuger

Mercy Falls by William Kent Kreuger

Series: Cork O’Connor #5

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Setting: Minnesota and Chicago

Source: Audiobook, Library; 11 hours, 32 minutes

Narrator: David Chandler

Publishing Date: 2005

434 pages

Synopsis: Back in the saddle as sheriff of Tamarack County, Cork O’Connor is lured to the nearby Ojibwe reservation on what appears to be a routine call — only to become the target of sniper fire. Soon after, he’s called to investigate a mutilated body found perched above the raging waters of Mercy Falls. The victim is Eddie Jacoby, a Chicago businessman negotiating an unpopular contract between his management firm and the local Indian casino. Sparks fly when the wealthy Jacoby family hires a beautiful private investigator to consult on the case. But once Cork discovers an old and passionate tie between one of the Jacoby sons and his own wife, Jo, he begins to suspect that dark, personal motives lurk behind recent events. Murder, greed, sex, and jealousy hide around every corner in this maze of danger. But somewhere beneath the turbulent Mercy Falls lies the truth — and Cork is determined to find it….

My thoughts

This book was like riding a roller coaster…just when I thought the mystery was solved and it was winding up something more happens and I’m chugging back up a hill again and then racing down the other side. This happened to me several times and I’m still not sure the mystery is completely solved!

Once again sheriff

Cork is the sheriff of Tamarack County again and he has changed some of the department policies. As the book opens one of his deputies is questioning why the sheriff has changed the policy that he ride along on most calls to the reservation. A few minutes later they come under sniper fire and are fighting for their lives. And so begins a book full of twists and turns. I’m not going to say too much more about the book except that this is a great series and I think Mercy Falls is my favorite so far! There’s a lot of suspense as the story rolls along and Cork and the other law enforcement officers try to figure out why everything happens. Is everything connected, and, if so, how’s it connected?

A good listen

I listened to the audiobook and even though it’s over 11 hours long I listened to almost all of it in a day! The narrator is David Chandler and I think he does a good job. I’ve listened to several of the books in this series that he narrates and he makes the characters come alive in my imagination.

Bottom line

I have taken my time reading these books over the last couple of years, because I like them so much. It’s hard when I run out of books in a series even if it just means waiting for a year or so for the next one. However, as soon as I ended this book I had to go and get the next in the series since Mercy Falls ends on a bit of a cliffhanger!

My Rating: A-

Narrator Rating: B+

Have you read any books by this author?

Awards

  • Barry Award Nominee for Best Novel (2006)
  • Anthony Award for Best Novel (2006)

Reading Challenges

  • 52 books in 52 weeks hosted by the mommymannegren.com blog — An audiobook
  • The Backlist Reader Challenge hosted by Lark @ The Bookwyrm’s Hoard
  • Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge hosted by Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My! & Barb @ Book T’s Farm
  • Library Love Challenge hosted by the Angel’s Guilty Pleasures blog
  • Review Writing Challenge hosted by Shari @ Delighted Reader blog

Review: Nightshades by Melissa F. Olson

nightshades-by-melissa-f-olsonNightshades by Melissa F. Olson

Nightshades #1

e-book, purchased

Fantasy, Urban Fantasy

Alex McKenna is the new Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago office of the Bureau of Paranormal Investigations—the division tasked with investigating crimes involving shades.

Or vampires, as they’re more widely known.

Children have been going missing, and agents are routinely being slaughtered. It’s up to McKenna, and some unlikely allies, to get to the bottom of the problem, and find the kids before it’s too late.

………………………..

Melissa F. Olson is an author whose books I’ve read and liked before. This book is the beginning of a new series and is a novella (208 pages) published by Tor.com (which is publishing novella e-books). I’ve read several others they’ve published and enjoyed the ones I’ve read. (Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire is a Tor.com book, for example.)

I thought this book was quite different from others I’ve read by Ms. Olson. For example, the main character is male and the other two series I’ve read by her had female protagonists.

The setting

This book takes place in the Chicago area in a new division of the FBI (called the Bureau of Paranormal Investigations–BPI). Shades–or vampires as people who hear about them often call them–have only become known to humans within the last couple of years after a shade was captured alive by humans. He is being held and studied by the FBI in a secure prison. However, he’s legally still considered a human so only certain tests can be done–blood drawn, but no dissections!

Changes in Shade behavior

Before this book opened the shades kept a low profile. Now they have changed in the Chicago area and are acting more openly. A number of teenagers near Chicago have been kidnapped and other people killed all in what look like Shade attacks. In the first few pages of the book a number of Bureau of Paranormal Investigations agents are killed. New agents are posted to Chicago including a new Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago office.

Alex McKenna, Special Agent in Charge

Alex McKenna is known as “the legacy agent” since his mother was the first female director of the FBI. Alex grew up in the Hoover Building and the FBI doesn’t want him killed. However, Alex is ambitious and though he’s only in his early thirties he gets the Special Agent in Charge job even though it’s a very dangerous job. He has a better chance to get this job because other agents don’t want this very dangerous job! Plus he feels someone has to figure out what is going on with the shades.

Once Alex and his best friend–Chase Eddy (who becomes Alex’s number two in Chicago)–set up their team and arrive in Chicago everything moves very fast in the book.

My thoughts

The first part of the book deals with setting up background for the characters and getting to know them. We learn about the world building slowly and I would guess we will find out more in future books. By the end of the book more is known about shades and there are several confrontations with the shades. Ms. Olson has plenty more avenues for future books!

This book doesn’t end in a cliff hanger which pleased me. It’s a quick read. The story has a number of familiar parts as an urban fantasy about vampires. However, it has a few unique parts which helped keep my interest. Ms. Olson’s characters are well-written and we get several points-of-view. Two more books in the series show up on Goodreads, but they have no publication date or cover yet.

Rating: B

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TBR Review: Geared for the Grave by Duffy Brown

geared-for-the-graveGeared for the Grave
by Duffy Brown
Series: The Cycle Path Mysteries #1
Genre: Mystery (cozy)
Published by Berkley, 2014
E-book, purchased
288 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: Mackinac Island is a peaceful summer resort town where everyone coasts through the streets on bicycles. But after someone sends a prominent local on her final ride, it’s up to one resourceful visitor to get things running again…

Hoping to shift her chances of a promotion in her favor, Evie Bloomfield heads to Mackinac Island to assist her boss’s father. Rudy Randolph has broken his leg and operating his bike shop, Rudy’s Rides, is too much to handle by himself. But Evie’s good turn only leads to more trouble…

After Evie’s arrival, wealthy resident Bunny Harrington dies in what looks like a freak bike accident. Upon closer inspection, Bunny’s brakes were tampered with, and now the prime suspect in her murder is also Bunny’s number one enemy: Rudy. So if Evie hopes to stay on her boss’s good side, she’ll need to steer Rudy clear of jail. Now she must quickly solve this mystery so she can put the brakes on the real killer’s plan…

Before I could answer, two handlebars fell of the wall, crashing to the ground, an owl hooted three times, the lights blinked on and off, and a rooster crowed somewhere in the distance. The woman clutched the gold shamrock around neck, her eyes big as goose eggs. “Great day in the morning and blessed be Saint Patrick!” She kissed the shamrock. “How can it be you’re still alive?”

and

“You’re jumpy?” Sutter took a step back and laughed. “Oh, that’s rich. Got any idea the impact you’re having on the rest of us around here? We passed jumpy two days ago. The whole island’s destined for Prozac.”

Cheers

  • I haven’t found too many cozy mysteries I like. Most are too silly or too sweet for me–not that I like gruesome murders, but I like a little more realism.
  • I’m not sure how realistic this book was, but I liked it a lot.
  • The characters are fun to read about–Rudy the murder suspect and Mark Twain look-alike; Fiona editor of the Town Crier; Bunny snooty owner of a house on the bluffs; Chicago aka Evie Bloomfield; Irish Donna owner of Blarney Scones and many more.
  • The mystery is pretty good. (I didn’t figure out who did it until the end!)
  • I like the setting–Mackinac Island, Michigan–a lot. That’s the reason I bought the book. I’ve wanted to visit the island ever since I read about it years ago so this was the next best thing for me. I like that transportation around the island is by bike, foot or horse.
  • I’m not sure how an author writes about a real place like this. The island is quite small and has only about 150 permanent residents. I would think those people wouldn’t be too happy about the book unless it’s not very realistic! I don’t live there so I don’t care about that!
  • I love the humor in the book.

Jeers

  • I don’t have any!

And a few thoughts . . .

  • This is my TBR read for the month of April. This challenge is hosted by Wendy @ The Misadventures of Super Librarian The April challenge is to read a contemporary book. Geared for the Grave is a contemporary cozy mystery.
  • I managed to finish this book the morning of the challenge so I barely completed the challenge this month!
  • I plan to read more mysteries by Duffy Brown. I really enjoyed this book and I really want to visit Mackinac Island now!

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

Duffy Brown is the author of two cozy mystery series: Consignment Shop Mystery series (set in Savannah, Georgia) and the new Cycle Path Mystery series (set on Mackinac Island, Michigan).

Reading Challenges

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • Cloak & Dagger Mystery Challenge–hosted by Amy @ A Bookish Girl
  • New Author Challenge–hosted by the Literary Escapism blog
  • TBR Challenge–hosted by Wendy @ The Misadventures of Super Librarian
  • TBR Pile Challenge–hosted by the Bookish blog
  • Ultimate Reading Challenge–hosted by the Popsugar blog (A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit)

Sunday Post: Apr 12

rp_sundaypostmeme13.jpg

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

I like this meme because it gives me an opportunity to take a look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also like to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading. This is a great meme to take part in every week and I thank Kimba for hosting it!

 

Last Week

Home & blog

I’m in Chicago for a wedding this weekend. My niece is getting married–a joyous and fun occasion! I’m sitting in the hotel lobby to finish up my blog post and talking to family members as they come by.

Spring is finally coming. I love seeing the bright yellow forsythia and all the bulbs starting to bloom. Such a beautiful time of the year!

Blog posts

Books

What I’m reading

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny (audio)

What I read the last week

Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal

New–Books, E-books, Audiobooks–purchased or free or from library

Library

Raven Black by Ann Cleeves

E-books

Boundary Crossed by Melissa F. Olsen

Audiobooks

A Cool Breeze on the Underground by Don Winslow

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Next Week

Home & blog

Back home on Sunday and hopefully a quiet week. I’m still fighting my cold so I just want a quiet week and some extra sleep! I hope to get my Ireland post finished and posted this week, too.

Blog Posts

  • Top Ten Tuesday
  • TBR Review
  • Review: The Pyramids of London by Andrea K. Höst
  • Ireland
  • Sunday Post

What books did you collect last week? What are you planning next week?

Review: Hot Lead, Cold Iron by Ari Marmell

hot-lead-cold-ironHot Lead, Cold Iron
by Ari Marmell
Series: Mick Oberon #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy (Historical)
Published by Titan Books, 2014
E-book, purchased
400 pages
Grade: B
Synopsis: Chicago, 1932. Mick Oberon may look like just another private detective, but beneath the fedora and the overcoat, he’s got pointy ears and he’s packing a wand.

Oberon’s used to solving supernatural crimes, but the latest one’s extra weird. A mobster’s daughter was kidnapped sixteen years ago, replaced with a changeling, and Mick’s been hired to find the real child. The trail’s gone cold, but what there is leads Sideways, to the world of the Fae, where the Seelie Court rules. And Mick’s not really welcome in the Seelie Court any more. He’ll have to wade through Fae politics and mob power struggles to find the kidnapper – and of course it’s the last person he expected.

Now I’m a PI in a filthy, crime-ridden city, where I gotta talk like I’ve got a beef with grammar if I wanna halfway blend in, in a world that actually hurts me.

and

His peepers were zipping back and forth like pixies on caffeine….

Cheers

  • I love the world building and setting. 1932 Chicago isn’t a place I see much in fantasy!
  • This world parallels our world except for the magic and the Fae and other supernatural creatures.
  • One of the best new urban fantasy series I’ve read in recent years.
  • I’ve seen this book compared to the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. The similarities: They both live in Chicago and Mick Oberon has a similar humor to Harry Dresden. I like Oberon’s inner dialogue and that he takes everything with a grain of salt. (Sometimes literally–he uses quite a bit of salt in this book!)
  • This book also has a slightly different take on the Fae community. I haven’t seen this twist before–that the Fae mimic human behavior. I like how the author uses this in the book.
  • The Seelie and Unseelie Courts in the Chicago Otherworld near the human city of Chicago is built from the homes or buildings destroyed or torn down in the human Chicago. The Seelie Court is modeled after the municipal government in Chicago. They use titles like Judge and Police Chief, but the titles don’t tell a person how important that Fae are. For example, the King is just one of many judges.
  • The gangsters are great characters.
  • I like all the slang the book uses. “Lamps” and “peepers” are eyes; “choppers” and Chicago typewriters” are Tommy guns.
  • The book has a number of twists and turns and I didn’t see most of them coming.

Jeers

  • I thought Oberon could have managed without making a deal with Queen Mob. That just sounds like a bad idea.

About the author

  • Besides this book which is the beginning of a new series Ari Marmell has a written a number of other books including the Widdershin’s Adventures. He’s also a long-time RPG player.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I want to read the next book in this series! Luckily, the next book comes out in a few months.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • New Author Challenge–hosted by the Literary Escapism blog
  • Ultimate Reading Challenge–hosted by the Popsugar blog (a book with antonyms in the title)
  • COYER Winter Reading Challenge–hosted by Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun and Michelle @ Because Reading (e-book, $1.99)

Review: Turn Coat by Jim Butcher

turn-coatTurn Coat
by Jim Butcher
Series: The Dresden Files #11
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by Roc, 2009
E-book, Library
540 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: When it comes to the magical ruling body known as the White Council, Harry keeps his nose clean and his head down. For years, the Council has held a death mark over Harry’s head. He’s still thought of as a black sheep by some and as a sacrificial lamb by others. But none regard him with more suspicion and disdain than Morgan, a veteran Warden with a grudge against anyone who bends the rules.

Like Harry.

So when Morgan turns up asking for help, Harry isn’t exactly eager to leap into action. Morgan has been accused of treason against the White Council, and there’s only one final punishment for that crime. He’s on the run, he wants his name cleared, and he needs someone with a knack for backing the underdog.

Like Harry.

Now Harry must uncover a traitor within the Council, keep a less than agreeable Morgan under wraps, and avoid coming under scrutiny himself. And a single mistake may cost someone his head.

Like Harry…

Cell phones were like those security guys in red shirts on old Star Trek: as soon as something started happening, they were always the first to go.

and

Colonel Mustard, in the den, with the lead pipe.

Now all I needed was a clue.

No pressure, Harry.

Cheers

  • Lots happens in this book.
  • This is one of my favorites of the series so far.
  • I like the Edinburgh setting of parts of this book.
  • Even though I figured out the traitor I didn’t realize all the ramifications of it.
  • Harry has lots of great allies. The werewolves, the pixies, Karrin Murphy–he knows how to be a good friend and is willing to put his life on the line for his friends and allies.
  • He has a code of honor which the rest of the White Council doesn’t have.
  • Many twists and turns in this book and by many characters.
  • I’m glad this book moves the overall arc of the series forward.
  • There are sad portions in this book–I admit I shed some tears.
  • We find out more about Morgan’s background and history.
  • I love the humor in these books…the banter between characters, in Harry’s thoughts and his taunting the bad guys at inconvenient places! Other characters get good lines sometimes and even the bad guys have their moments.
  • Mouse and Mister continue their awesomeness–mostly Mouse who is amazing!

Jeers

  • I figured out who the traitor was early in the book. However, it didn’t take away my enjoyment of  the book.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I hope to read the next book in the series soon!

Have you read this book? How did you like it?