December books on my list

books-on-my-listEach month I write about books due to publish that month which I think might be good. Sometimes favorite authors, sometimes new authors.

I don’t buy all the books since I already have way too many books to read. I try to limit the new books I buy each month to the ones I’m going to read soon.

But the list I make each month helps me not forget books. The Goodreads links help me keep track of these books.

And I hope people reading my post may find some new books, too! I also hope they will point me toward books I missed.

I did miss a couple of books in November so here are two more November books:

Nov 24

I read the first book in this series recently and really enjoyed it.

death-comes-to-kurland-hallDeath Comes to Kurland Hall

by Catherine Lloyd

Series: Kurland St. Mary Mystery #3

Published by Kensington

Genre: Historical Mystery

320 pages

Synopsis: As wedding bells chime in Kurland St. Mary, a motley group of visitors descends on the village—and with a murderer on the prowl, some of them may not be returning home…

Lucy Harrington has returned to Kurland St. Mary to help with her friend Sophia Giffin’s wedding. But her homecoming is made disagreeable by the presence of Major Robert Kurland, whose bungled proposal has ruffled Lucy’s composure, and a meddling widow who has designs on her father, the village rector.

Wary of the cloying Mrs. Chingsford from the start, Lucy has doubts about the busybody’s intentions with her father. But everyone else seems to think they make an ideal match—until the courtship is curtailed when Mrs. Chingsford is found dead at the bottom of a staircase. It’s clear that it wasn’t an accident, and in hopes of finding the culprit, Lucy and Robert call a truce and begin scrutinizing the wedding guests.

But the widow left behind plenty of enemies, and when one of them is the next to turn up dead, Lucy and Robert discover that the truth is far more scandalous than anyone could have imagined…

I saw this book recently and think it sounds like a great setting and time period.

murder-on-the-last-frontierMurder on the Last Frontier

by Cathy Pegau

Series: Charlotte Brodie Series #1

Published by Kensington

Genre: Historical Mystery

288 pages

Synopsis: There’s many who feel the Alaska Territory is no place for a woman on her own. But Charlotte Brody, suffragette and journalist, has never let public opinion dictate her life choices. She’s come to the frontier town of Cordova, where her brother Michael practices medicine, for the same reason many come to Alaska—to start over.

Cordova is gradually getting civilized, but the town is still rougher than Charlotte imagined. And when a local prostitute—one of the working girls her brother has been treating—is found brutally murdered, Charlotte learns firsthand how rough the frontier can be. Although the town may not consider the murder of a prostitute worthy of investigation, Charlotte’s feminist beliefs motivate her to seek justice for the woman. And there’s something else—the woman was hiding a secret, one that reminds Charlotte of her own painful past.

As Charlotte searches for answers, she soon finds her own life in danger from a cold-blooded killer desperate to keep dark secrets from seeing the light of day…

Dec 1

I have the first book in the series and want to read it. This sounds good.

ash-and-silverAsh and Silver

by Carol Berg

Series: The Sanctuary Duet #2

Published by Roc

Genre: Fantasy

464 pages

Synopsis: Ever since the Order of the Equites Cineré stole his memory, his name, and his heart, thinking about the past makes Greenshank’s head ache. After two years of rigorous training, he is almost ready to embrace the mission of the Order—to use selfless magic to heal the troubles of Navronne. But on his first assignment alone, the past comes racing back, threatening to drown him in conspiracy, grief, and murder.

He is Lucian de Remeni—a sorcerer whose magical bents for portraiture and history threaten the safety of the earth and the future of the war-riven kingdom of Navronne. He just can’t remember how or why.

Fighting to unravel the mysteries of his power, Lucian must trace threads of corruption that reach from the Pureblood Registry into the Order itself, the truth hidden two centuries in the past and beyond the boundaries of the world…

It’s been awhile since I’ve read this any of this series, but I’ve liked them a lot.

ornaments-of-deathOrnaments of Death

by Jane K. Cleland

Series: Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery #10

Published by Minotaur Books

Genre: Mystery

304 pages

Synopsis: Christmas lights twinkle throughout the cozy coastal town of Rocky Point, New Hampshire, and Prescott’s Antiques auction venue has been transformed into a winter wonderland for Josie Prescott’s annual holiday party. Josie is especially excited this year—Ian Bennington, a recently discovered distant relative, will be joining the fun. Both Ian and Josie are, it seems, descended from Arabella Churchill, a 17th century royal mistress. The party is a success and Ian is a hit. It gives Josie an unexpected thrill to have family—and unexpected dread when he vanishes.

Ian doesn’t keep his dinner date with Josie’s good friend, Lavinia, or his lunch date with her. Surely, he would have done so—if he could. Ian has given his daughter two priceless 17th century watercolor miniature portraits, one of Arabella and one of her lover, King James II, and they’ve gone missing, too. Knowing that after her nasty divorce, Lavinia is facing financial ruin, Josie can’t help wondering if her friend is behind the theft—and Ian’s disappearance.

Determined to find Ian, Josie uses her knowledge of antiques to track the miniatures. In doing so, she learns the true meaning of Christmas—and the true meaning of family.

Sounds like a good mystery. I’m going back to look for some of the earlier books.

guilty-as-sinGuilty as Sin

by Judith Cutler

Series: Lina Townend Mystery series #7

Published by Severn House Publishers

Genre: Mystery

224 pages

Synopsis: It’s a busy weekend for Lina: she wins a dance competition, annoys a valuable client and has to play gooseberry when Griff, her business partner, meets an old flame. Killing time, she drives across Dartmoor, only to find two men robbing a medieval church. Outraged, she manages to stop them – only to discover that it’s not just in Devon that they are working.

Safely back in Kent, she makes some new friends. One, a frail and confused pensioner, may have been the victim of a heartless crime. Another is a bright young woman eager to hear all about Lina’s life. But suddenly Lina realises that she may have made new enemies too – or maybe just stirred up some very dangerous old ones.

A unique setting and a mystery, too!

his-right-handHis Right Hand

by Mette Ivie Harrison

Series: A Linda Wallheim Mystery #2

Published by Soho Crime

Genre: Mystery

452 pages

Synopsis: In Draper, Utah, a tight-knit Mormon community is thrown into upheaval when their ward’s second counselor—one of the bishop’s right-hand men—is found dead in an elaborately staged murder on church property. Carl Ashby was known as a devout Mormon, a pillar of the community, and a loving husband and father. Who would want him dead?

Linda Wallheim, the wife of the ward’s bishop, can’t rest as long as the ward is suffering. She is particularly worried about Carl’s grieving family. But the entire case is turned upside down by the autopsy report, which reveals Carl Ashby was a biological female. In the Mormon church, where gender is considered part of a person’s soul, some people regard transgenderism as one of the worst possible transgressions of faith. Church officials seem to be more upset by Carl’s gender than by his murder, and more concerned with hushing up the story than solving the crime.

Linda realizes that if the police are to catch the killer, they are going to need an ally on the inside—and she is the only one who can help. Carl was living a life of secrecy for twenty years. What else was he hiding—and can Linda ferret out the key to his death before the rumors tear her community apart?

This is book 2 and I haven’t read book 1, but it sounds like a great series. Science Fiction? Yes! Steampunk? Yes!

the-risingThe Rising

by Ian Tregillis

Series: The Alchemy Wars #2

Published by Orbit

Genre: Science Fiction (steampunk)

480 pages

Synopsis: Jax, a rogue Clakker, has wreaked havoc upon the Clockmakers’ Guild by destroying the Grand Forge. Reborn in the flames, he must begin his life as a free Clakker, but liberation proves its own burden.

Berenice, formerly the legendary spymaster of New France, mastermind behind her nation’s attempts to undermine the Dutch Hegemony — has been banished from her homeland and captured by the Clockmakers Guild’s draconian secret police force.
Meanwhile, Captain Hugo Longchamp is faced with rallying the beleaguered and untested defenders of Marseilles-in-the-West for the inevitable onslaught from the Brasswork Throne and its army of mechanical soldiers.

For anyone who is buying a gift for a child 7 and older who’s interested in computers and/or gaming this could be a great gift!

coding-games-in-scratchCoding Games in Scratch

by Jon Woodcock

Series: None

Published by DK Childrens (for 7 years old and older)

Genre: Nonfiction

224 pages

Synopsis: Coding computer programs is one of the most valuable skills for anyone to have. Written for children with little to no coding experience, Coding Games in Scratch guides children through building platform games, puzzles, racers, and 3-D action games.

Schools have incorporated computer coding into their curriculum, beginning as early as kindergarten to ensure students understand the languages and uses of computer coding. The step-by-step guides are simple and easy to follow with Minecraft-style pixel art. Children will learn essential coding skills while having fun and creating games to play with their friends. The many different styles and types of games are covered, such as classic and arcade games. When people learn to code in Scratch, they learn important strategies for solving problems, designing projects, and communicating ideas.

Coding Games in Scratch empowers children to be creative and to have fun while teaching them practical real-life skills.

Dec 8

 Set in Colorado and a police procedural!

killing-trailKilling Trail

by Margaret Mizushima

Series: Timber Creek K-9 Mystery #1

Published by Crooked Lane Books

Genre: Mystery

320 pages

Synopsis: When a young girl is found dead in the mountains outside Timber Creek, life-long resident Officer Mattie Cobb and her partner, K-9 police dog Robo, are assigned to the case that has rocked the small Colorado town.

With the help of Cole Walker, local veterinarian and a single father, Mattie and Robo must track down the truth before it claims another victim. But the more Mattie investigates, the more she realizes how many secrets her hometown holds. And the key may be Cole’s daughter, who knows more than she’s saying.

The murder was just the beginning, and if Mattie isn’t careful, she and Robo could be next. Suspenseful and smart, Killing Trail is a gripping read that will have readers clamoring for more Mattie and Robo for years to come. Fans of Nevada Barr and C.J. Box will love this explosive debut.

Dec 15

I haven’t read any of this series, but this mystery series sounds really good.

bryant&may-and-the burning-manBryant & May and the Burning Man

by Christopher Fowler

Series: Bryant & May #12

Published by Bantam

Genre: Mystery

416 pages

Synopsis: In the week before Guy Fawkes Night, London’s peaceful streets break out in sudden unrest. Enraged by a scandal involving a corrupt financier accused of insider trading, demonstrators are rioting outside the Findersbury Private Bank, chanting, marching, and growing violent. But when someone hurls a Molotov cocktail at the bank’s front door, killing a homeless man on its steps, Bryant, May, and the rest of the Peculiar Crimes Unit is called in. Is this an act of protest gone terribly wrong? Or a devious, premeditated murder?

Their investigation heats up when a second victim is reported dead in similar fiery circumstances. May discovers the latest victim has ties to the troubled bank, and Bryant refuses to believe this is mere coincidence. As the riots grow more intense and the body count climbs, Bryant and May hunt for a killer who’s adopting incendiary methods of execution, on a snaking trail of clues with roots in London’s history of rebellion, anarchy, and harsh justice. Now, they’ll have to throw themselves in the line of fire before the entire investigation goes up in smoke.

This isn’t set at Christmas, but cinnamon makes me think of Christmas. So this book interests me!

cinnamon-toastedCinnamon Toasted

by Gail Oust

Series: Spice Shop Mystery #3

Published by Minotaur Books

Genre: Mystery (cozy)

320 pages

Synopsis: Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Case in point: Piper Prescott’s former mother-in-law Melly. Beneath her twin sets and pearls beats the heart of a geek—a geek whose programming changes for the point-of-sale software in Piper’s shop have the owners of the program ready to make her an offer she can’t refuse. “Trusty” Rusty Tulley and Chip Balboa swing by Brandywine Creek—just in time for the town’s annual Oktoberfest, which has cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom flying off Piper’s shelves in record numbers. News spreads faster than a text message, and Melly is the toast of the town.

But it isn’t long before Melly’s status changes to public enemy number one when Chip’s body is found at the foot of her basement stairs. Questions start to pile up when handsome police chief Wyatt McBride arrives on the scene and the coroner sets the time of death for the previous evening. McBride wants to know why it took Melly so long to report the incident—especially after she admits to arguing with Chip about the contract he wanted her to sign. Piper knows Melly would never hurt a fly, so she enlists the help of her BFF Reba Mae to clear her name—but can they find the real killer before Melly gets sent away for good? A mouth-watering entry in Gail Oust’s delicious Spice Shop series, Cinnamon Toasted is sure to delight cozy fans of all stripes.

Dec 29

A mystery set in Maine!

thread-and-goneThread and Gone

by Lea Wait

Series: Mainely Needlepoint series #3

Published by Kensington

Genre: Mystery (cozy)

304 pages

Synopsis: When a priceless antique is stolen, murder unravels the peaceful seaside town of Haven Harbor, Maine. . .

Angie Curtis and her fellow Mainely Needlepointers know how to enjoy their holidays. But nothing grabs their attention like tying up loose threads. So when Mary Clough drops in on the group’s Fourth of July supper with a question about an antique needlepoint she’s discovered in her family attic, Angie and her ravelers are happy to look into the matter.

Angie’s best guess is that the mystery piece may have been stitched by Mary, Queen of Scots, famous not just for losing her head, but also for her needlepointing. If Angie’s right, the piece would be extremely valuable. For safekeeping, Angie turns the piece over to her family lawyer, who places it in a safe in her office. But when the lawyer is found dead with the safe open and ransacked, the real mystery begins. . .

…………………..

The books I plan to get (and hopefully read) soon:

  • I bought Twisted Thread–the first book in the Mainely Needlepoint series.

What books are you excited about this month?

Top Ten Tuesday–Top Ten Most Vivid Book Worlds/Settings

Note: I had trouble finishing up this post this morning after the terrible events in Boston yesterday. One of my daughters ran in the Boston Marathon a couple years ago so this brought back memories of my happiness for her that day with the horror of seeing those bombs go off  blanketed over those happy memories. Plus I have a nephew and his wife who just moved from Boston. My hearts go out to all the people injuried or killed yesterday, their families and to all of Boston. My thoughts are also with the police, FBI and everyone working to catch the person or person who did this: I hope they are caught very soon and put on trial very soon.

My topic this week is apropos: Sometimes I want to escape this world reality and become immersed in a book’s world or setting. That’s one reason I read.

…………………………

This week  on Top Ten Tuesday we have a rewind–where we can pick a topic we missed the first time around or one we want to revisit. Since I have only done Top Ten Tuesday for about a month I have lots of past topics to choose from. I chose the Top Ten Most Vivid Book Worlds/Settings.

Lord of the Rings (and The Hobbit) by J. R. R. Tolkien
The world Tolkien created is one of the first fantasy worlds I learned about. It is certainly the richest and most complex world I had encountered at that time (as a teenager) and Tolkien has influenced many fantasy authors. I wanted to go to Middle Earth and the Shire after I read The Hobbit! I’ve always felt I could see the big trees walking. We had a  Beech tree in our yard when we lived in Ohio that I could see walking away from our yard.

 

Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers
My mother read the Mary Poppins books to me when I was a child before the movie was made by Disney. We both loved them so much and were so excited when the movie came out. I loved to hear about Jane , Michael, the twins and Mary Poppins. As a child I wanted to know how these children lived their lives and I envied them having a nanny! I tried reading the books to my children and either I was too early or too late, because they weren’t interested. Sad, but true!

Skinwalkers by Tony Hillerman
Tony Hillerman wrote about the Navajo Indians in the Four Corners area of Arizona and New Mexico and occasionally Colorado and Utah. I love this area of the United States and Tony Hillerman brought it alive for me. I started these books when I was a teenager and at first I thought he must be a Navajo to write the way he did. It doesn’t surprise me he won many awards for his writing or the Navajo Tribe’s Special Friends of the Dineh Award. The protangonists in this book are both Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn of the Navajo Tribal Police. I especially like this book because it does have both characters. Both are Navajos, but they approach their lives and their investigations very differently. Jim Chee is studying with his uncle to become a yataalii (a wiseman or shaman). He is more mystical in his approach to the world than Joe Leaphorn is. Leaphorn is skeptical of the many Navajo traditions, but he does take rumors of Navajo witchcraft and other mysteries seriously. Tony Hillerman also wrote books about each character separately. Hillerman’s descriptions of the American Southwest, the weather, the people especially the Navajo Indians are all clear and strong in his books and I am swept away to the Southwest when I read these books.

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
I read this book a number of years ago and it has stayed with me. It was a very emotional read and I also convinced one of my daughters and  my husband to read it. They loved it, too. We’ve gone on to read a number of Connie Willis books, but this is still our favorite. Kivrin travels back in time (she thinks she is going to 1320), but the technician in 2048 makes a mistake and she arrives in 1348 England during the Black Plague. One of the interesting things for me is that she doesn’t immediately realize what year she has arrived since calendars and clocks aren’t common things during that time. The Church kept their church calendar which is how people knew what time of the year it was (that and the seasons, of course!) and the church rang bells during the day. It wasn’t until people began dying that she began suspect what had happened and then she finds she can’t return to 2048 right then and maybe won’t get back at all. This wasn’t an easy read for me. Many people die and the setting was so vivid to me. I felt I was there having to watch all these people die along with Kivrin. The characters were so vivid and as in life there were heroes and villains both in 1348 and 2048 (where an epidemic also occurs).

Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
The setting is a 1950 English village. The main character is 11 year old Flavia de Luce who is fascinated by chemistry and poison. She is also a neglected child, a prodigy of sorts and when she finds a murdered man decides to investigate. I felt part of the 1950 English village. Alan Bradley as a first time 70 year old author has written such a good series. The other books in this series are also very good. Flavia is such an interesting character and the 1950’s is a great setting.

Fledgling by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
I like the world Sharon Lee and Steve Miller have created with all their books. They show the long history of the Liaden Universe. The Liadens are so interesting with their careful manners and complex language and I like that they aren’t perfect. In fact, there are some villains as well as the heroes. The Clan Korvel is the family followed throughout the books. Fledgling is a departure that doesn’t take place on Liad and seems not to be part of the series at first. If you read the earlier books it slowly dawns on you who some of the characters must be. The authors have created a new culture on a new planet which is very interesting. I feel like I could know these people! Each culture they introduce in their books are diverse and unique to me.

A Christmas Bride by Mary Balogh
I like Mary Balogh’s books very much…especially her older Regency books. The Christmas books and stories she writes really evoke the English winter countryside at Christmas during the Regency era. They involve families and the adults are active in their children’s lives. There is often snow and they play in the snow, have snowball fights, go sledding or go ice skating. They bring in a yule log and greenery and decorate the house. They attend Christmas Eve services and sing carols. I realize it may be an idealized setting, but it is lovely for the Christmas season especially. It makes me feel I am there!

Secrets of the Night by Jo Beverley 
This is part of Jo Beverley’s Malloren series. They are historical romances which take place in England during the Georgian era. This is one of my favorites by Jo Beverley, but really I love all her books–the Georgian Mallorens, the Regencies and the Medievals. The Marquis of Rothgar is a character in all the books and is a very powerful person in Great Britain. In this book one of his brothers is kidnapped and Rothgar is incensed. He’s determined to find out who did this and why and them make them pay for it. Rothgar is a friend of the King and the Prince of Wales. Jo Beverley does a good job showing how powerful Rothgar is and the influence he wields both inside and outside his family. I like the romance in these books, but I also like how I feel part of the Georgian period and the politics of the time.

The Warrior’s Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold
This is not the first book in the Vorkosigan series, but it is the first one with Miles nearly grown. He’s physically handicapped on a planet where the warrior class rules. Miles is a brilliant strategist, very intelligent, but his body betrays him. Miles can’t pass the physical for the military academy so he leaves his planet–Barrayer–to try to cope with the fact he can’t be the warrior he wants to be. This is an adventure story, but Ms. Bujold also does a great job showing Miles coming to terms with his handicap, growing up and discovering just what he can do. The people around him are also vivid. Miles begins to come into his own. The world Ms Bujold creates a unique world with people I would like to meet (at least some of them!)

Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
This is the first book in the October Daye series. I love the way this series starts. October (Toby) works as a private investigator. She is half human and half fae and has spent 14 years as a fish after a PI assignment went bad! After that, she doesn’t want anything more to do with magic, but of course, she’s drawn back into that world. The San Francisco setting and Toby’s job sucked me into her world…the human world and the fae world in the middle of it all.