My favorite books of 2019

In 2019 I read lots of books that made me happy I can read!

I’m finally getting my favorite books of the year completed. 2019 was a good reading year since I read many books I liked and many that filled me with joy. So I have lots of favorites this year!

I had set a goal for myself to read 95 books and only read 90, but that’s okay. I love to read. I think I’m reading a little slower these days. However, the important thing for me is that I’m still reading and that I enjoy most of the books I read.

I’ve added links to the books I reviewed (only three books). 😦

Mystery

Mercy Falls by William Kent Krueger, Cork O’Connor #5

This series takes place in northern Minnesota’s lake country. I love the series which features wonderful descriptions of northern Minnesota and well-written mysteries. However, I need to read them a little quicker since there are already 17 books in the series!

Burning Ridge by Margaret Mizushima, Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries #4

This is another series I love. I’m up-to-date with this series and have read these books since started being published a few years ago. I love reading about working dogs and Robo is a great example of a K-9 dog in a police department. He and Mattie are a wonderful team.

Watcher in the Woods by Kelley Armstrong, Rockton #4

This police procedural is set in one of the oddest towns I’ve read about in a mystery and there’s lots of suspense. Each book ratchets up the suspense a little more.

Fractured Truth by Susan Furlong, Bone Gap Travellers #2

Former Marines Brynn and her K-9 partner Wilco suffer from PTSD and both carry the scars from an IED explosion. Brynn tries to control the flashbacks with alcohol and pain pills–not a good combination especially since she’s now working for the McCreary County Sherrif’s Department. She’s also trying to straddle two worlds–that of the Irish Travellers (a nomadic group from Ireland who came to the U.S. during the Great Famine) and the settled townspeople (most of whom distrust the Travellers.) The mysteries are good in this series and the world of the Travellers is fascinating.

The First Eagle by Tony Hillerman, Leaphorn & Chee #13

I’ve read these mysteries since I was a teenager. My mom and I would talk about the books through the years since we both loved them. One of the best things about this series is that it’s set in the United States Southwest. For a while I stopped reading mysteries so now I’m catching up with this series. And I’m so happy that Tony Hillerman’s daughter Anne Hillerman has continued writing the series after he died.

The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #8

The books in this series are so well written. Sometimes they’re difficult to read since heartbreaking things happen to characters I like. Things that happen in one book may have far-reaching impact several books later and then we see how skillfully Louise Penny has intertwined so much into her books.

A Bitter Feast by Deborah Crombie, Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James #18

I was so happy to read this book since it has been several years since Deborah Crombie had written a book in the series. When I read about Duncan and Gemma and their family it’s like having a chat with old friends. And the mysteries are good, too!

The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths, Ruth Galloway #9

I’m always happy to return to Ruth’s world. She’s such an interesting character and I love the mysteries which always have something to do with her forensic archaeology work.

Science Fiction

Exit Strategy by Martha Wells, The Murderbot Diaries #4

I’ve loved every single one of the Murderbot books. They are original, an adventure story and also thought-provoking.

Borderline by Janet Edwards, Hive Mind #4

I like everything I’ve read by Janet Edwards. This series is one I especially love. Ms. Edwards has a great way of writing exciting stories about characters I care about. And her world building is so good. It takes place in Earth’s future.

Mantivore Dreams by S.G. Higbee, Arcadian Chronicles #1

I like the way this book slowly unfolds so that it gives readers time to try to figure things out themselves. I also like that by the end of the book there are threads for future books, but that this book is a complete story. I need to get that next book read! The world building is especially good and I like the way Kyrillia grows and changes throughout the book.

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C.A. Fletcher

I chose to read this book because it was about a dog! I love the bond between Griz and the dogs. However, the book is a post apocalyptic science fiction so the book is good, but also has an overall feeling of sadness.

The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley

I feel like a lot of science fiction really makes you think in a different way and that’s kind of what this book did for me. It’s also post apocalyptic, military science fiction and during parts of the book I wasn’t really sure what was happening! It went different directions than I thought it would.

Ascending by Meg Pechenick, The Vardeshi Saga #1

Margaret (Meg) Pechenick is a new author to me. (S.G. Higbee @ Brainfluff reviewed this book. I find out about so many good books from her.) I loved this science fiction about aliens visiting Earth and inviting a group of Earthlings to visit their part of space.

Doing Time by Jodi Taylor, The Time Police #1

This was book one of a new series–The Time Police–that came out in fall 2019. It’s a spin-off of The Chronicles of St. Mary’s series. These are both time travel series and so much fun. I’m doing a happy dance that Jodi Taylor decided to start another series which comes at the time travel idea from a slightly different angle. Can’t wait for the next book!

Urban Fantasy

These are my favorite urban fantasies (which are about the only fantasies I read these days) and I’ve read every book as they’ve been published!

Wild Country by Anne Bishop, The World of the Others #2 (The Others #7)

The world building in these books is one of the most appealing parts of this series. It very different from other urban fantasy series I read.

Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs, Mercy Thompson #11

Mercy Thompson is such a great character. She doesn’t always do the smart thing, but she’s such a loyal friend and she tries to do what’s right for the people she’s responsible for. And I love the world Patricia Briggs has created.

Between Homes by W.R. Gingell, The City Between #5

This series is so unique and the last book has really ratcheted up the suspense. I hope another book comes soon in this world where Fae often come and go in the human world, but very few humans manage to survive a trip either Between or Behind. And most humans don’t even know they exist.

Fiction

Doggirl by Robin Brande

I loved this book! It’s young adult which I seldom like or read, but this book about a high school girl who wants to be an animal trainer for movies is just lovely. And the dogs are wonderful!

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

An out-of-work librarian, a bookstore on wheels and remote towns without libraries all come together in this wonderful book. There’s even some romance in it! And it’s set in Scotland!

Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts by Lucy Dillon

I loved all the dogs in this book plus the human characters are great fun to read about.

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

At the end of the book I felt so happy I’d read this which is one of the reasons I love reading. It’s set in Maine which is one of my favorite places and Evvie Drake is a great character. She’s certainly not perfect, but she’s someone I’d love to talk to. Linda Holmes is also one of the hosts of the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast which I love to listen to.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

One of my most favorite books of 2019! So glad I read it. The language flows and the characters are so vivid–especially Kya (aka “Marsh Girl”). The book is heartbreaking at times, but ultimately a wonderful read. It’s historical fiction, almost a natural history of the North Carolina swamps and marshland and a mystery all set in swamps along the North Carolina Coast. It switches back and forth between Kya’s childhood in the 1950’s and a murder that happens in 1969. Cassandra Campbell narrated the audiobook and made my enjoyment of the book so vivid and immersive.

Memoir

Becoming by Michelle Obama

I don’t usually read memoirs or biographies, but I enjoyed this one a lot–especially since I listened to the audiobook narrated by Michelle Obama. By the end I felt like we had met! So interesting to hear about her childhood, her meeting and marriage to Barack Obama, and then her life as the First Lady in the White House. She’s such an inspirational person.

Have you read any of these books? What were some of your favorite books of the year?

My favorite books of the last decade

50 Favorite books from 2010 – 2019

Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy did her best books of the decade post which I thought was great so I’ve created my own. It was lots of fun to look back at the last 10 years and remember books I’ve loved. I’ve kept a spreadsheet of the books I’ve read every year since 2004 so I went back through my spreadsheets and picked out these books. I didn’t give all of them an A, but these are the ones that have stuck with me.

I’ve listed anywhere from three to six favorite books a year. These books span a number of genres and some are books published that year and some are books published years and years ago. I don’t review all the books I read so if I have a review for the book on my blog I will show a link after the book covers. (I started my blog during 2013 so there are no reviews before that.)

2019

Doggirl by Robin Brande

2018

What the Dog Ate by Jackie Bouchard

Not a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf

2017

The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson

2016

Killing Trail by Margaret Mizushima

Cold in the Earth by Aline Templeton

In the Shadow of the Glacier by Vicki Delany

2015

Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear

The Lady Astronaut of Mars” by Mary Robinette Kowal

Lock In by John Scalzi

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

The Martian by Andy Weir

2014

The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron

Iron Night by M.L. Brennan

Old Man’s War by John Scalzi

Earth Girl by Janet Edwards

2013

The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Death Masks by Jim Butcher

The Touchstone Trilogy by Andrea K. Höst

2012

2011

2010

Have you read any of these books? How did you like them? Are any of them favorites of yours?

Top Ten Tuesday: Twelve books I want to read this winter

That Artsy Reader Girl has hosted Top Ten Tuesday since January of 2018. This is a fun meme with specific topics each week. If you like to make lists and talk about books be sure to check it out.

This week we’re talking about some of the books on our Winter TBR lists. I’ve included both books that will publish during this winter and books from my TBR pile.

Books published during winter 2020

Shattered Justice

by Susan Furlong

Series:Bone Gap Travellers #3

Genre: Mystery

Publication date: December 31

A Longer Fall

by Charlaine Harris

Series: Gunnie Rose #2

Genre: Alternate History, Fantasy

Publication date: January 14

Stars Beyond

by S.K. Dunstall

Series: Stars Uncharted #2

Genre: Science Fiction

Publication date: January 21

Alone in the Wild

by Kelley Armstrong

Series: Casey Duncan #5

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Publication date: February 4

False Value

by Ben Aaronovitch

Series: Rivers of London #8

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publication date: February 20

Smoke Bitten

by Patricia Briggs

Series: Mercy Thompson #12

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publication date: March 10

Books from my TBR pile

The Dark Angel

by Elly Griffiths

Series: Ruth Galloway #10

Genre: Mystery

The Wailing Wind

by Tony Hillerman

Series: Leaphorn & Chee #15

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Thunder Bay

by William Kent Krueger

Series: Cork O’Connor #7

Genre: Mystery

The Long Way Home

by Louise Penny

Series: Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #10

Genre: Mystery

Between Frames

by W.R. Gingell

Series: The City Between #4

Genre: Urban Fantasy

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

by Jodi Taylor

Series: The Chronicles of St. Mary’s #6

Genre: Science Fiction, Time Travel

Bonus Book

I had to return this book to the library before I was done with it. I’ve got it on hold again so I hope to finish it early in 2020.

The Giver of Stars

by Jojo Moyes

Series: None

Genre: Historical Fiction

Source: Audiobook, Library

Have you read any of these books? What books do you want to read this winter?

Review: Emma: An Audible Original Drama by Jane Austen

Emma Thompson & a full supporting cast perform a Jane Austen classic

Emma: An Audible Original Drama by Jane Austen
Emma: An Audible Original Drama by Jane Austen (Anna Lea, Adaptation Author)

Series: None

Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, Classic

Setting: Surrey, England

Source: Audible, Sep 2018 member benefit

Note: I received this book for free as an Audible Original Member Benefit. That didn’t influence my review.

Narrator: Emma Thompson with a full supporting cast (see below)

Publishing Date: 1815 (2018 for the Audible version)

Duration: 8 hours, 21 minutes

Synopsis: This Audible Original production of Jane Austen’s Emma is narrated by Emma Thompson (Academy Award, Golden Globe, Emmy and BAFTA winner, Love Actually, Harry Potter, Sense and Sensibility), with a full supporting cast including Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey, Liar), Morgana Robinson (The Windsors, Walliams & Friend, Morgana Robinson’s the Agency), Aisling Loftus (Mr Selfridge, War & Peace), Joseph Millson (Casino Royale, The Sarah Jane Adventures), Alexa Davies (Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again) and rising star Isabella Inchbald as our eponymous heroine.

Before she began writing, Jane Austen wrote, ‘I am going to take a heroine whom no-one but myself will much like’ and thus introduces the handsome, clever, rich – and flawed – Emma Woodhouse. Emma is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage; nothing, however, delights her more than matchmaking her fellow residents of Highbury. But when she ignores the warnings of her good friend Mr Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her protegee Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected.

This lively comedy of manners, with its witty and subtle exploration of relationships, is often seen as Jane Austen’s masterpiece.

Public Domain (P)2018 Audible, Ltd. 

My thoughts

I really enjoyed this presentation of Emma. Each character is voiced by a different actor and they do a great job. I love Emma Thompson as an actor and she is the narrator of this story. She did a wonderful job. I was totally immersed in the story. I haven’t listened to many dramatizations before and want to listen to more now that I’ve listened to this story.

It’s been a long time since I read this book by Jane Austen, but I’ve always remembered it as a favorite of mine. Jane Austen is always a good observer of society while also creating a very enjoyable story. I like that Austen writes about a character who’s not likable whom we end up liking, because she has learned a lot during the course of the book.

Emma

Even though Emma isn’t very likable during much of the book she’s certainly a force to contend with! I like that she grows and matures a lot and is self-aware enough to acknowledge and learn from her mistakes. She has to learn there are consequences to her actions. She learns some harsh lessons, but is a better person for it. She’s not the same person she was when the book began.

Bottom line

I very much recommend this dramatization.

My Rating: A

Dramatization Rating: A

Have you read any books by Jane Austen? What about full cast dramatizations? Do you like them?

April 2019 books on my list

books-on-my-list

 

I keep a list of all the books I might want to read and add to it as the year goes on. As each month comes along I create a list on my blog for others and for me to keep track of as the months go by.

I don’t buy all these books–since I already have way too many books to read and some of the new books are expensive. I’m trying to stick to a budget.

I hope people reading my post may find some new books to read. I also hope these people will point me toward books I missed.

March 26

A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine

Series: Teixcalaan #1

Published by Tor Books

Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera, Mystery

464 pages

Synopsis: Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in the center of the multi-system Teixcalaanli Empire only to discover that her predecessor, the previous ambassador from their small but fiercely independent mining Station, has died. But no one will admit that his death wasn’t an accident–or that Mahit might be next to die, during a time of political instability in the highest echelons of the imperial court.

Now, Mahit must discover who is behind the murder, rescue herself, and save her Station from Teixcalaan’s unceasing expansion–all while navigating an alien culture that is all too seductive, engaging in intrigues of her own, and hiding a deadly technological secret–one that might spell the end of her Station and her way of life–or rescue it from annihilation.

March 28 (April 4 for Kindle edition)

Fluffy’s Revolution by Ted Myers

Series: Unknown

Published by Black Rose Writing

Genre: Science Fiction

142 pages

Synopsis: It’s 2135. Fluffy is a super-intelligent GAB (Genetically Altered Brain) cat. Like many dogs, cats, mice, and the occasional pig, her brain is the product of genetic tinkering by humans that started more than a century ago. With their powers of telekinesis, the animals can manipulate physical objects without being able to grasp them. They can speak to each other telepathically without audible voices. Now, people have begun to fear them and to systematically capture and exterminate them. Fluffy leaves the safety of her home to look for her lost brother and joins a band of animal revolutionaries. After a series of brushes with death, Fluffy and her friends find a secret university for GAB animals. There, they work with enlightened humans to save Earth from certain destruction. 

April 2

We Rule the Night by Claire Eliza Bartlett

Series: Unknown

Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers

Genre: YA Fantasy

400 pages

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Revna is a factory worker, manufacturing war machines for the Union of the North. When she’s caught using illegal magic, she fears being branded a traitor and imprisoned. Meanwhile, on the front lines, Linné defied her father, a Union general, and disguised herself as a boy to join the army. They’re both offered a reprieve from punishment if they use their magic in a special women’s military flight unit and undertake terrifying, deadly missions under cover of darkness. Revna and Linné can hardly stand to be in the same cockpit, but if they can’t fly together, and if they can’t find a way to fly well, the enemy’s superior firepower will destroy them–if they don’t destroy each other first.

Finder by Suzanne Palmer

Series: Unknown

Published by DAW

Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera

400 pages

Synopsis: Fergus Ferguson has been called a lot of names: thief, con artist, repo man. He prefers the term finder.

His latest job should be simple. Find the spacecraft Venetia’s Sword and steal it back from Arum Gilger, ex-nobleman turned power-hungry trade boss. He’ll slip in, decode the ship’s compromised AI security, and get out of town, Sword in hand.

Fergus locates both Gilger and the ship in the farthest corner of human-inhabited space, a gas-giant-harvesting colony called Cernee. But Fergus’ arrival at the colony is anything but simple. A cable car explosion launches Cernee into civil war, and Fergus must ally with Gilger’s enemies to navigate a field of space mines and a small army of hostile mercenaries. What was supposed to be a routine job evolves into negotiating a power struggle between factions. Even worse, Fergus has become increasingly–and inconveniently–invested in the lives of the locals.

April 8

Scot & Soda by Catriona McPherson

Series: Last Ditch Mystery #2

Published by Midnight Ink

Genre: Mystery

312 pages

Synopsis: Now settled in her little houseboat, moored in the slough at the back of the Last Ditch Motel, Lexy Campbell wants nothing more than to build her counseling business, avoid her mother’s phone calls and–who knows?–meet a nice guy. But when she throws a Halloween party for her motley crew of motel pals, the only single man is too old for her, too wrapped up in the case of beer chilling in the slough, and–oh, yes–too dead.

The sensible choice is to leave it up to the cops to identify the body and catch the killer. So faster than you can say “Tam O’Shanter,” Lexy and her friends jump into the case themselves, delving deep into their town’s past for the roots of a mystifying crime.

April 9

One Summer in Paris by Sarah Morgan

Series: Unknown

Published by HQN

Genre: Women’s Fiction

400 pages

Synopsis: To celebrate their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, Grace has planned the surprise of a lifetime for her husband—a romantic getaway to Paris. But she never expected he’d have a surprise of his own: he wants a divorce. Reeling from the shock but refusing to be broken, a devastated Grace makes the bold decision to go to Paris alone.

Audrey, a young woman from London, has left behind a heartache of her own when she arrives in Paris. A job in a bookshop is her ticket to freedom, but with no money and no knowledge of the French language, suddenly a summer spent wandering the cobbled streets alone seems much more likely…until she meets Grace, and everything changes.

April 16

The Hummingbird Dagger by Cindy Anstey

Series: Unknown

Published by Swoon Books

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Young Adult

352 pages

Synopsis: 1833. After young Lord James Ellerby witnesses a near-fatal carriage accident on the outskirts of his estate, he doesn’t think twice about bringing the young woman injured in the wreck to his family’s manor to recuperate. But then she finally regains consciousness only to find that she has no memory of who she is or where she belongs.

Beth, as she takes to calling herself, is an enigma even to herself. She has the rough hands of a servant, but the bearing and apparent education of a lady. Her only clue to her identity is a gruesome recurring nightmare about a hummingbird dripping blood from its steel beak.

Winds of Marque by Bennett R. Coles

Series: Blackwood Virtue #1

Published by Harper Voyager

Genre: Science Fiction

368 pages

Synopsis: The first novel in an exciting science fiction series—Master and Commander in space—a swashbuckling space adventure in which a crew of misfit individuals in the king’s navy are sent to dismantle a dangerous ring of pirate raiders.

In a dense star cluster, the solar winds blow fiercely. The star sailing ship HMSS Daring is running at full sheet with a letter of marque allowing them to capture enemy vessels involved in illegal trading. Sailing under a false flag to protect the ship and its mission, Daring’s crew must gather intelligence that will lead them to the pirates’ base.

Before She Was Found by Heather Gudenkauf

Series: None

Published by HQ

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

384 pages

Synopsis: For twelve-year-old Cora Landry and her friends Violet and Jordyn, it was supposed to be an ordinary sleepover – movies and talking about boys. But when they decide to sneak out to go to the abandoned rail yard on the outskirts of town, little do they know that their innocent games will have dangerous consequences…

Later that night, Cora Landry is discovered on the tracks, bloody and clinging to life, her friends nowhere to be found. In an investigation that leaves no stone unturned, everyone is a suspect and no one can be trusted – not even those closest to her. But who would want to hurt a young girl like Cora – and why?

April 23

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C.A. Fletcher

Series: Unknown

Published by Orbit

Genre: Science Fiction, Post Apocalyptic

384 pages

Synopsis: My name’s Griz. My childhood wasn’t like yours. I’ve never had friends, and in my whole life I’ve not met enough people to play a game of football.

My parents told me how crowded the world used to be, but we were never lonely on our remote island. We had each other, and our dogs.

Then the thief came. There may be no law left except what you make of it. But if you steal my dog, you can at least expect me to come after you.

Because if we aren’t loyal to the things we love, what’s the point? 

 Ragged Alice by Gareth L. Powell

Series: Unknown

Published by Tor.com

Genre: Fantasy, Horror

208 pages

Synopsis: Orphaned at an early age, DCI Holly Craig grew up in the small Welsh coastal town of Pontyrhudd. As soon as she was old enough, she ran away to London and joined the police. Now, fifteen years later, she’s back in her old hometown to investigate what seems at first to be a simple hit-and-run, but which soon escalates into something far deadlier and unexpectedly personal—something that will take all of her peculiar talents to solve.

Storm of Locusts by Rebecca Roanhorse

Series: The Sixth World #2

Published by Saga Press

Genre: Urban Fantasy

384 pages

Synopsis: It’s been four weeks since the bloody showdown at Black Mesa, and Maggie Hoskie, Diné monster hunter, is trying to make the best of things. Only her latest bounty hunt has gone sideways, she’s lost her only friend, Kai Arviso, and she’s somehow found herself responsible for a girl with a strange clan power.

Then the Goodacre twins show up at Maggie’s door with the news that Kai and the youngest Goodacre, Caleb, have fallen in with a mysterious cult, led by a figure out of Navajo legend called the White Locust. The Goodacres are convinced that Kai’s a true believer, but Maggie suspects there’s more to Kai’s new faith than meets the eye. She vows to track down the White Locust, then rescue Kai and make things right between them.

April 25

Hope for the Best by Jodi Taylor

Series: The Chronicles of St. Mary’s #10

Published by Headline

Genre: Science Fiction, Time Travel

480 pages

Synopsis: You can’t change History. History doesn’t like it. There are always consequences.

Max is no stranger to taking matters into her own hands. Especially when she’s had A Brilliant Idea. Yes, it will mean breaking a few rules, but – as Max always says – they’re not her rules.

Seconded to the Time Police to join in the hunt for the renegade Clive Ronan, Max is a long way from St Mary’s. But life in the future does have its plus points – although not for long.

April 30

Staging is Murder by Grace Topping

Series: Laura Bishop Mystery #1

Published by Henery Press

Genre: Cozy Mystery

262 pages

Synopsis: Laura Bishop just nabbed her first decorating commission—staging for sale a 19th century mansion that hasn’t been updated for decades. But when a body falls from a laundry chute and lands at Laura’s feet, removing flowered wallpaper becomes the least of her duties.

To clear her young assistant of the murder and save her fledgling business, Laura’s determined to find the killer. Turns out it’s not as easy as renovating a manor home, especially with two handsome men complicating her mission: the police detective assigned to the case and the real estate agent trying to save the manse from foreclosure.

Thread on Arrival by Lea Wait

Series: Mainely Needlepoint #8

Published by Kensington

Genre: Cozy Mystery

320 pages

Synopsis: Ike Hamilton is a part of the Haven Harbor community just like anyone else, though he’s fallen on hard times and has to make do on disability checks and deposit bottles. Most of the locals do what they can to help him out, and needlepointing partners Angie and Sarah are happy to see him at the annual Blessing of the Fleet, honoring all those lost at sea over the centuries.

But when harmless Ike is stabbed, suspicion quickly falls on a troubled teenage boy who’s new in town. Angie’s convinced that young Leo is innocent–but if he didn’t do it, who did? 

 

What books are you excited about this month?

February 2019 books on my list

I keep a list of all the books I might want to read and add to it as the year goes on. As each month comes along I create a list on my blog for others and for me to keep track of asbooks-on-my-list the months go by.

I don’t buy all these books–since I already have way too many books to read and some of the new books are expensive. I’m trying to stick to a budget.

I hope people reading my post may find some new books to read. I also hope these people will point me toward books I missed.

February 5

Watcher in the Woods by Kelley Armstrong

Series: Rockton #4

Published by Minotaur Books

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

368 pages

Synopsis: The secret town of Rockton has seen some rocky times lately; understandable considering its mix of criminals and victims fleeing society for refuge within its Yukon borders. Casey Duncan, the town’s only detective on a police force of three, has already faced murder, arson and falling in love in less than the year that she’s lived there. Yet even she didn’t think it would be possible for an outsider to find and cause trouble in the town she’s come to call home.

Black Leopard, Red Wolf  by Marlon James

Series: The Dark Star Trilogy #1

Published by Riverhead Books

Genre: Fantasy

640 pages

Synopsis: Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter: “He has a nose,” people say. Engaged to track down a mysterious boy who disappeared three years earlier, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group that comes together to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as Leopard.

Stray Moon by Kelly Meding

Series: Strays #2

Published by Harper Voyager Impulse

Genre: Urban Fantasy

336 pages

Synopsis: Para-Marshal Shiloh Harrison has always been a great number two for the East Coast unit. But after her boss is found dead (having betrayed the paranormals he was sworn to protect), she’s suddenly thrust into a leadership role she isn’t prepared for. And it doesn’t help that she traded away memories of one of her most important team members to save another’s life during her last mission.

Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik

Series: Consortium Rebellion #1

Published by Harper Voyager

Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera, Romance

446 pages

Synopsis: A space princess on the run and a notorious outlaw soldier become unlikely allies in this imaginative, sexy space opera adventure—the first in an exciting science fiction trilogy.

In the far distant future, the universe is officially ruled by the Royal Consortium, but the High Councillors, the heads of the three High Houses, wield the true power. As the fifth of six children, Ada von Hasenberg has no authority; her only value to her High House is as a pawn in a political marriage. When her father arranges for her to wed a noble from House Rockhurst, a man she neither wants nor loves, Ada seizes control of her own destiny. The spirited princess flees before the betrothal ceremony and disappears among the stars.

February 8

A Gentlewoman’s Guide to Murder by Victoria Hamilton

Series: A Gentlewoman’s Guide to Murder #1

Published by Midnight Ink

Genre: Historical Mystery

360 pages

Synopsis: The bloody murder of Sir Henry Claybourne leaves Regency London shaken and horror-struck. But for genteel spinster Miss Emmeline St. Germaine, the crime slices far too close to home. Just hours before the knight’s death she held a dagger to him, threatening him to stay silent as she rescued a scullery maid he had procured for his pleasure.

Did the man—or woman—who murdered the knight know of her visit? Her secret identity at risk, her reputation and life in jeopardy, Emmeline must solve the crime or face scandalous exposure and ruination, or worse—the hangman’s noose—for a crime she did not commit.

The Murder Book by Lissa Marie Redmond

Series: Cold Case

Published by Midnight Ink

Genre: Mystery

312 pages

Synopsis: After being brutally stabbed at her desk late one night, Lauren Riley works her way backwards through the haze to piece together who attacked her and why. A mysterious phone message forces her to enlist the help of a retired lieutenant to track down a witness who is desperate not to be found. As she digs into the Buffalo Police Department’s hidden past she uncovers a terrible secret, one a fellow officer would kill to protect.

February 12

The Victory Garden by Rhys Bowen

Series: Unknown

Published by Lake Union Publishing

Genre: Historical Fiction

305 pages

Synopsis: As the Great War continues to take its toll, headstrong twenty-one-year-old Emily Bryce is determined to contribute to the war effort. She is convinced by a cheeky and handsome Australian pilot that she can do more, and it is not long before she falls in love with him and accepts his proposal of marriage.

When he is sent back to the front, Emily volunteers as a “land girl,” tending to the neglected grounds of a large Devonshire estate. It’s here that Emily discovers the long-forgotten journals of a medicine woman who devoted her life to her herbal garden.

Murder at the Palace by Margaret Dumas

Series: Unknown

Published by Henery Press

Genre: Mystery, Cozy

266 pages

Synopsis: Welcome to the Palace movie theater! Now Showing: Philandering husbands, ghostly sidekicks, and a murder or two.

When Nora Paige’s movie-star husband leaves her for his latest co-star, she flees Hollywood to take refuge in San Francisco at the Palace, a historic movie theater that shows the classic films she loves. There she finds a band of misfit film buffs who care about movies (almost) as much as she does.

She also finds some shady financial dealings and the body of a murdered stranger.

Oh, and then there’s Trixie, the lively ghost of a 1930’s usherette who appears only to Nora and has a lot to catch up on. With the help of her new ghostly friend, can Nora catch the killer before there’s another murder at the Palace? 

Early Riser by Jasper Fforde

Series: Standalone

Published by Viking

Genre: Fantasy

416 pages

Synopsis: Every Winter, the human population hibernates.

During those bitterly cold four months, the nation is a snow-draped landscape of desolate loneliness, devoid of human activity.

Well, not quite.

Your name is Charlie Worthing and it’s your first season with the Winter Consuls, the committed but mildly unhinged group of misfits who are responsible for ensuring the hibernatory safe passage of the sleeping masses.

You are investigating an outbreak of viral dreams which you dismiss as nonsense; nothing more than a quirky artefact borne of the sleeping mind.

When the dreams start to kill people, it’s unsettling.

The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas

Series: Unknown

Published by Crooked Lane Books

Genre: Science Fiction, Time Travel

336 pages

Synopsis: In 1967, four female scientists worked together to build the world’s first time machine. But just as they are about to debut their creation, one of them suffers a breakdown, putting the whole project—and future of time travel—in jeopardy. To protect their invention, one member is exiled from the team—erasing her contributions from history.

Fifty years later, time travel is a big business. Twenty-something Ruby Rebello knows her beloved grandmother, Granny Bee, was one of the pioneers, though no one will tell her more. But when Bee receives a mysterious newspaper clipping from the future reporting the murder of an unidentified woman, Ruby becomes obsessed: could it be Bee? Who would want her dead? And most importantly of all: can her murder be stopped?

February 19

Death in Provence by Serena Kent

Series: Unknown

Published by Harper

Genre: Mystery

368 pages

Synopsis: The first entry in a clever, lighthearted mystery series set in modern Provence—a delightful blend of Agatha Christie and Peter Mayle—featuring the irrepressible Penelope Kite, a young-at-heart divorcee with a knack for stumbling across dead bodies.

It’s love at first sight when Penelope Kite sees Le Chant d’Eau—The Song of Water—the stone farmhouse tucked high in the hills above the Luberon valley, complete with a garden, swimming pool, and sweeping mountain vistas. For years, Penelope put her unfaithful ex-husband and her ungrateful stepchildren first. Since taking early retirement from her job in forensics at the Home Office in England, she’s been an unpaid babysitter and chauffeur for her grandchildren. Now, she’s going to start living for herself. Though her dream house needs major renovations, Penelope impulsively buys the property and moves to St. Merlot.

But Penelope’s daydreams of an adventurous life in Provence didn’t include finding a corpse floating face down in her swimming pool. The discovery of the dead man plunges her headlong into a Provençal stew of intrigue and lingering resentments simmering beneath the deceptively sunny village. Having worked in the forensics office, Penelope knows a thing or two about murder investigations.

February 26

Murder in an Irish Pub by Carlene O’Connor

Series: Irish Village Mystery #4

Published by Kensington

Genre: Mystery, Cozy

304 pages

Synopsis: When competing card sharps stir up Siobhán O’Sullivan’s quiet Irish village, a poker tournament turns into a game of Hangman . . .

In the small village of Kilbane in County Cork, for a cuppa tea or a slice of brown bread, you go to Naomi’s Bistro, managed by the many siblings of the lively O’Sullivan brood. For a pint or a game of darts—or for the poker tournament that’s just come to town—it’s the pub you want.

One player’s reputation precedes him: Eamon Foley, a tinker out of Dublin, called the Octopus for playing like he has eight hands under the table. But when Foley is found at the end of a rope, swinging from the rafters of Rory Mack’s pub, it’s time for the garda to take matters into their own hands. 

What books are you excited about this month?

February books on my list

books-on-my-list

Each month I write about the books I’ve noticed and think might be good. Sometimes they’re from favorite authors and sometimes new authors strike my fancy.

I don’t buy all the books (not during the month they’re released at least)–since I already have way too many books to read and often too expensive. I’m trying 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.

My list is long this month. Lots of great sounding books. I hope you all can find something to enjoy.

Feb 1

 the-case-of-the-missing-morris-dancerThe Case of the Missing Morris Dancer

by Cathy Ace

Series: A Cozy Mystery Set in Wales

Published by Severn House Publishers

Genre: Mystery

224 pages

Synopsis: The Anwen Morris Dancers are to play a pivotal role in the imminent nuptials of Henry, eighteenth Duke of Chellingworth. But it looks as though the wedding plans might go awry unless Mavis, Annie, Carol and Christine can help Althea, the Dowager Duchess, by finding a missing Morris man and a set of ancient and valuable artefacts in time for her son s wedding.

Anwen-by-Wye might look like an idyllic Welsh village where family values reign and traditions still mean something in a modern world, but what will the WISE women find when they peer behind the respectable net curtains?

tundra-kill

Tundra Kill

by Stan Jones

Series: Nathan Active #5

Published by Bowhead Press

Genre: Mystery

305 pages

Synopsis: Nathan Active, the top cop in a sweep of Alaska tundra larger than 15 of the United States, has to figure out what connects Alaska’s gorgeous female governor to a dog musher killed by a snowmobile.

thicker-than-waterThicker Than Water

by Sally Spencer

Series: Monica Paniatowski series

Published by Severn House Publishers

Genre: Mystery

224 pages

Synopsis: DCI Monika Paniatowski investigates a case that could be the making or, more likely, breaking of her career

DCI Monika Paniatowski has only been back from maternity leave for three days when she is called in to investigate a nightmare of a case. Not only is the murder victim a mother of three small children, but her husband is a wealthy politician. Monika knows that if she can t make a quick arrest her career is on the line. It s lucky, then, that within minutes of meeting Councillor Danbury, she has a bruised face and a prime suspect.

But then the case takes a nasty twist, and suddenly the investigation is national news. Monika s sure she has the right man but how to prove it? Particularly when she s under pressure from her superiors to arrest anyone other than Councillor Danbury, president of the golf club and friend of her chief constable . . .

Feb 2

assassins-heartAssassin’s Heart

by Sarah Ahiers

Series: Assassin’s Heart #1

Published by HarperTeen

Genre: YA Fantasy

400 pages

Synopsis: In the kingdom of Lovero, nine rival Families of assassins lawfully kill people for a price. As a highly skilled member of one of these powerful clans, seventeen-year-old Lea Saldana has always trusted in the strength of her Family. Until she awakens to find them murdered and her home in flames. The Da Vias, the Saldanas’ biggest enemy, must be responsible—and Lea should have seen it coming. But her secret relationship with the Da Vias’ son, Val, has clouded her otherwise killer instinct—and given the Da Vias more reason than ever to take her Family down.

Racked with guilt and shattered over Val’s probable betrayal, Lea sets out to even the score, with her heart set on retaliation and only one thought clear in her mind: make the Da Vias pay.

With shades of The Godfather and Romeo and Juliet, this richly imagined fantasy from debut author Sarah Ahiers is a story of love, lies, and the ultimate vengeance.

winterwoodWinterwood

by Jacey Bedford

Series: Rowankind #1

Published by DAW

Genre: Fantasy

432 pages

Synopsis: Set in 1800 in Britain, Mad King George is on the throne with Napoleon Bonaparte knocking on the door. Unregistered magic users are pursued to the death, while in every genteel home resides uncomplaining rowankind bondservants who have become so commonplace that no one can recall where they came from.

Meanwhile, Rossalinde Tremayne is satisfied with her life as a cross-dressing privateer captain on the high seas. But a bitter deathbed visit to her estranged mother changes her life completely when she inherits a magical winterwood box. Now, not only is she confronted with a newly-discovered brother, and an annoyingly handsome wolf shapeshifter, Rossalinde has to decide whether or not to open the box to free rowankind and right an ancient wrong—even if it brings the downfall of Britain.

This brand-new series is perfect for fans of Elizabeth Bear, D.B. Jackson, and Marie Brennan, as well as readers of historical fiction who are looking for an accessible gateway to fantasy.

Layout 1Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen

by Lois McMaster Bujold

Series: Vorkosigan Saga #16

Published by Baen Books

Genre: Science Fiction

352 pages

Synopsis: Three years after her famous husband’s death, Cordelia Vorkosigan, widowed Vicereine of Sergyar, stands ready to spin her life in a new direction. Oliver Jole, Admiral, Sergyar Fleet, finds himself caught up in her web of plans in ways he’d never imagined, bringing him to an unexpected crossroads in his career.

Meanwhile, Miles Vorkosigan, one of Emperor Gregor’s key investigators, this time dispatches himself on a mission of inquiry, into a mystery he never anticipated – his own mother.

Plans, wills, and expectations collide in this sparkling science-fiction social comedy, as the impact of galactic technology on the range of the possible changes all the old rules, and Miles learns that not only is the future not what he expects, neither is the past.

dreaming-deathDreaming Death

by J. Kathleen Cheney

Series: Palace of Dreams #1

Published by Roc

Genre: Fantasy

400 pages

Synopsis: Shironne Anjir’s status as a sensitive is both a gift and a curse. Her augmented senses allow her to discover and feel things others can’t, but her talents come with a price: a constant assault of emotions and sensations has left her blind. Determined to use her abilities as best she can, Shironne works tirelessly as an investigator for the Larossan army.

A member of the royal family’s guard, Mikael Lee also possesses an overwhelming power—he dreams of the deaths of others, sometimes in vivid, shocking detail, and sometimes in cryptic fragments and half-remembered images.

But then a killer brings a reign of terror to the city, snuffing out his victims with an arcane and deadly blood magic. Only Shironne can sense and interpret Mikael’s dim, dark dreams of the murders. And what they find together will lead them into a nightmare…

the-big-rewindThe Big Rewind

by Libby Cudmore

Series: Unknown

Published by William Morrow

Genre: Mystery

256 pages

Synopsis: Jett Bennett moved to New York to become a music journalist. What she found was a temp gig as a proofreader, but at least she’s fitting in with the artists and musicians in the tragically hip Brooklyn neighborhood she calls home.

But when Jett opens up her mail and finds a mix tape meant for her neighbor, KitKat, a local queen bee renowned for her “enhanced” baked goods and retro videogame collection, everything changes. Jett drops off the cassette and discovers that it’s game over for KitKat: someone bashed her head in with a rolling pin… and left her pot brownies burning in the oven.

KitKat’s boyfriend, Bronco, is M.I.A. Her sister is so desperate that she asks Jett to snoop around. Then there’s that mix tape. Jett didn’t know KitKat well, but she knows music. And a tape full of love songs from someone other than Bronco screams motive—sending Jett and her best friend, Sid, on an epic quest to find KitKat’s killer through record stores, strip joints, vegan bakeries, and basement nightclubs—a journey that resonates with Jett, and her past, in unexpected ways.

in-another-lifeIn Another Life

by Julie Christine Johnson

Series: None

Published by Sourcebooks Landmark

Genre: Historical Fiction

368 pages

Synopsis: Historian Lia Carrer has finally returned to southern France, determined to rebuild her life after the death of her husband. But instead of finding solace in the region’s quiet hills and medieval ruins, she falls in love with Raoul, a man whose very existence challenges everything she knows about life–and about her husband’s death. As Raoul reveals the story of his past to Lia, she becomes entangled in the echoes of an ancient murder, resulting in a haunting and suspenseful journey that reminds Lia that the dead may not be as far from us as we think.

Steeped in the rich history and romantic landscape of rural France, In Another Life is a story of love that conquers time and the lost loves that haunt us all.

a-criminal-magicA Criminal Magic

by Lee Kelly

Series: Unknown

Published by Simon & Schuster, Saga Press

Genre: YA Fantasy

384 pages

Synopsis: THE NIGHT CIRCUS meets PEAKY BLINDERS in Lee Kelly’s new magical realism, crossover novel.

Magic is powerful, dangerous and addictive – and after passage of the 18th Amendment, it is finally illegal.

It’s 1926 in Washington, DC, and while Anti-Sorcery activists have achieved the Prohibition of sorcery, the city’s magic underworld is booming. Sorcerers cast illusions to aid mobsters’ crime sprees. Smugglers funnel magic contraband in from overseas. Gangs have established secret performance venues where patrons can lose themselves in magic, and take a mind-bending, intoxicating elixir known as the sorcerer’s shine.

Joan Kendrick, a young sorcerer from Norfolk County, Virginia accepts an offer to work for DC’s most notorious crime syndicate, the Shaw Gang, when her family’s home is repossessed. Alex Danfrey, a first-year Federal Prohibition Unit trainee with a complicated past and talents of his own, becomes tapped to go undercover and infiltrate the Shaws.

Through different paths, Joan and Alex tread deep into the violent, dangerous world of criminal magic – and when their paths cross at the Shaws’ performance venue, despite their orders, and despite themselves, Joan and Alex become enchanted with one another. But when gang alliances begin to shift, the two sorcerers are forced to question their ultimate allegiances and motivations. And soon, Joan and Alex find themselves pitted against each other in a treacherous, heady game of cat-and-mouse.

A CRIMINAL MAGIC casts a spell of magic, high stakes and intrigue against the backdrop of a very different Roaring Twenties.

the-alchemy-of-chaosThe Alchemy of Chaos

by Marshall Ryan Maresca

Series: Maradaine #2

Published by DAW

Genre: Fantasy

400 pages

Synopsis: The saga of the streets of Maradaine that began in The Thorn of Dentonhill continues….

Veranix Calbert is The Thorn—the street vigilante who became a legend to the people of Maradaine, especially the gangs that run the neighborhood of Aventil. The Thorn continues to harass Willem Fenmere, the drug kingpin of the Dentonhill neighborhood. Veranix is still determined to stop Fenmere and the effitte drug trade, especially when he discovers that Fenmere is planning on using the Red Rabbits gang to bring the drug into Aventil.

But it’s also Exam Week at the University of Maradaine, where Veranix is a magic student. With his academic career—and future as a mage—riding on his performance, Veranix needs to devote himself entirely to studying and participating in a fellow student’s thesis experiments. There’s no time to go after Fenmere or the Red Rabbits.

Then a series of strange pranks begin to plague the campus, using a form of magic that Veranix doesn’t recognize. As the pranks grow increasingly deadly, it becomes clear that there’s someone with a vendetta against the university, and The Thorn may be the only one capable of stopping them. Between the prankster, the war brewing between the Aventil gangs, and the flamboyant assassins Fenmere has hired to kill him, Veranix may end up dead before the week is out. Which just might be preferable to taking his exams….

burning-midnightBurning Midnight

by Will McIntosh

Series: Unknown

Published by Delacorte Press

Genre: YA Science Fiction

320 pages

Synopsis: Sully is a sphere dealer at a flea market. It doesn’t pay much—Alex Holliday’s stores have muscled out most of the independent sellers—but it helps him and his mom make the rent. No one knows where the brilliant-colored spheres came from. One day they were just there, hidden all over the earth like huge gemstones. Burn a pair and they make you a little better: an inch taller, skilled at math, better-looking. The rarer the sphere, the greater the improvement—and the more expensive the sphere.

When Sully meets Hunter, a girl with a natural talent for finding spheres, the two start searching together. One day they find a Gold—a color no one has ever seen. And when Alex Holliday learns what they have, he will go to any lengths, will use all of his wealth and power, to take it from them.

There’s no question the Gold is priceless, but what does it actually do? None of them is aware of it yet, but the fate of the world rests on this little golden orb. Because all the world fights over the spheres, but no one knows where they come from, what their powers are, or why they’re here.

kingfisherKingfisher

by Patricia A. McKillip

Series: Unknown

Published by Ace

Genre: Fantasy

352 pages

Synopsis: Hidden away from the world by his mother, the powerful sorceress Heloise Oliver, Pierce has grown up working in her restaurant in Desolation Point. One day, Heloise tells her son the truth: about his father, a knight in King Arden’s court, about an older brother he never knew existed, about his father’s destructive love for King Arden’s queen, and Heloise’s decision to raise her younger son alone.

As Pierce journeys to Severluna, he learns that things are changing in that kingdom. Ancient magic is on the rise. The immensely powerful artifact of an ancient god has come to light, and the king is gathering his knights to quest for this profound mystery, which may restore the kingdom to legendary glory—or destroy it.

Feb 7

the-sleeping-lifeThe Sleeping Life

by Andrea K. Höst

Series: Eferum #2

Published by

Genre: Fantasy

??? pages

Synopsis: Fallon DeVries has a sister who lives only in his mind. Paying the price of magic gone wrong, Aurienne is trapped watching a world she cannot touch, only able to communicate with her brother while he sleeps.

And it’s slowly killing him.

Fallon and Auri’s best chance of untangling their lives is to win the help of a mage of unparalleled ability. But how can they ask for help when the warped spell prevents him from speaking?

Besides, Rennyn Claire – once the most powerful mage in the world – is a shadow of her former self: ill, injured and unlikely to recover unless she can hunt down the monster who once tried to make her his slave. But that Wicked Uncle is nowhere to be found, and other dangers, once slumbering dormant, are stirring…

Feb 8

Death-and-the-Brewmasters-Widow-664x1024Death and the Brewmaster’s Widow

by Loretta Ross

Series: The Auction Block Mysteries #2

Published by Midnight Ink

Genre: Mystery

266 pages

Synopsis: They call it “the Brewmaster’s Widow”; the abandoned brewery where Death Bogart’s brother died in an arson fire.

With his girlfriend, Wren Morgan, Death goes home to St. Louis to take on a deeply personal mystery. When Randy Bogart went into the Einstadt Brewery, he left his broken badge behind at the firehouse. So why did the coroner find one on his body? Every answer leads to more questions. Why did the phony badge have the wrong number? Who set the brewery fire? What is the connection between Randy’s death and the mysterious Cherokee Caves, where the opulent playground of 19th century beer barons falls into slow decay?

Not understanding how and why he lost his brother is breaking the ex-Marine’s heart. But the Brewmaster’s Widow is jealous of her secrets. Prising them loose could cost Death and Wren both their lives.

the-abyss-surrounds-usThe Abyss Surrounds Us

by Emily Skrutskie

Series: The Abyss Surrounds Us #1

Published by Flux

Genre: YA Fantasy

288 pages

Synopsis: For Cassandra Leung, bossing around sea monsters is just the family business. She’s been a Reckoner trainer-in-training ever since she could walk, raising the genetically-engineered beasts to defend ships as they cross the pirate-infested NeoPacific. But when the pirate queen Santa Elena swoops in on Cas’s first solo mission and snatches her from the bloodstained decks, Cas’s dream of being a full-time trainer seems dead in the water.

There’s no time to mourn. Waiting for her on the pirate ship is an unhatched Reckoner pup. Santa Elena wants to take back the seas with a monster of her own, and she needs a proper trainer to do it. She orders Cas to raise the pup, make sure he imprints on her ship, and, when the time comes, teach him to fight for the pirates. If Cas fails, her blood will be the next to paint the sea.

But Cas has fought pirates her entire life. And she’s not about to stop.

Feb 9

the-fine-art-of-murderThe Fine Art of Murder

by Emily Barnes

Series: Katherine Sullivan Mystery #1

Published by Crooked Lane Books

Genre: Contemporary Mystery

304 pages

Synopsis: Former Police Chief Katherine Sullivan has been called brilliant, brave, compassionate, and quirky, but after decades of crime fighting, this resilient grandmother with an artist’s soul is discovering that retirement can be just as deadly as being on the job.

When Katherine returned to her hometown, her only thought was to comfort her recently divorced daughter. That was before a young woman was found murdered on the estate of the town’s richest family. Now, in order to track down the killer, Katherine must uncover the generations of secrets that at least one person as already killed to protect in this charming and smart series debut, The Fine Art of Murder.

morning-starMorning Star

by Pierce Brown

Series: Red Rising #3

Published by Del Rey

Genre: YA Science Fiction

400 pages

Synopsis: Born a lowly Red in the mines of Mars, Darrow lost his beloved wife to the treacherous Gold overlords. Vowing to fight for the future that his wife believed in, Darrow joins a secret revolutionary group and is remade into a Gold so that he can infiltrate the ruling class and bring them down from the inside. Now, after years of hiding amongst the Golds, Darrow is finally ready to declare open revolution and throw off the chains of oppression. Nothing in Darrow’s world has been easily won, and this final fight will be the most harrowing of all.

the-big-brush-offThe Big Brush-Off

by Michael Murphy

Series: Jake & Laura Mystery #4

Published by Alibi

Genre: Historical Mystery

237 pages

Synopsis: The irresistible Jake & Laura return in Michael Murphy’s witty, fast-paced mystery series—perfect for readers of Dorothy Cannell and Christopher Fowler. In The Big Brush-off, the charming and indomitable duo heads to the Midwest to solve a chilling cold case of a young girl’s murder.

Blackie Doyle is dying. That’s what Jake Donovan’s literary agent tells him. Sales are falling, and the rough draft of Jake’s latest Blackie novel doesn’t look promising. Maybe Jake has been distracted by a recent barrage of real-life homicides, or by his marriage to the beautiful up-and-coming actress Laura Wilson, now slated for a part opposite Clark Gable himself. Whatever the reason, Jake decides to return to his roots. Which is why he and Laura hop the next train to the small town in Pennsylvania where Jake once worked as a Pinkerton detective.

Ten years ago, the murder of a teenage girl interrupted life in quiet, God-fearing Hanover. The unsolved case has always gnawed at Jake, and it seems no coincidence that as soon as he starts digging up old ghosts, he’s once again writing like a dervish. Nor is it surprising that some townfolk would rather see the truth stay buried—and maybe even Jake and Laura with it. But the glamorous crime-solving pair refuse to leave before sorting through a bevy of suspects—and at long last nailing the one who almost got away with the not-so-perfect crime.

a-song-for-no-mans-land“A Song for No Man’s Land”

by Andy Remic

Series: A Song for No Man’s Land #1

Published by Tor.com

Genre: Fantasy Novella

208 pages

Synopsis: He signed up to fight with visions of honour and glory, of fighting for king and country, of making his family proud at long last.

But on a battlefield during the Great War, Robert Jones is shot, and wonders how it all went so very wrong, and how things could possibly get any worse.

He’ll soon find out. When the attacking enemy starts to shapeshift into a nightmarish demonic force, Jones finds himself fighting an impossible war against an enemy that shouldn’t exist.

Feb 16

the-immortalsThe Immortals

by Jordanna Max Brodsky

Series: Olympus Bound #1

Published by Orbit

Genre: Urban Fantasy

464 pages

Synopsis: Manhattan.
The city sleeps. Selene DiSilva walks her dog along the banks of the Hudson. She is alone-just the way she likes it. She doesn’t believe in friends, and she doesn’t speak to her family. Most of them are simply too dangerous.

Murders.
In the predawn calm, Selene finds the body of a young woman washed ashore, gruesomely mutilated and wreathed in laurel. Her ancient rage returns. And so does the memory of a promise she made long ago. To protect the innocent-and to punish those who stands in her way.

Gods.
With the NYPD out of its depth, Selene vows to hunt the killer on her own. But when classics professor Theo Schultz decodes the ancient myth behind the crime, the solitary Huntress finds herself working with a man who’s her opposite in every way. Together, they face a long-forgotten cult that lies behind a string of murders, and they’ll need help from the one source Selene distrusts most of all: the city’s other Immortals.

the-girl-from-everywhereThe Girl from Everywhere

by Heidi Hellig

Series: The Girl from Everywhere #1

Published by Greenwillow Books

Genre: YA Science Fiction (time travel)

464 pages

Synopsis: It was the kind of August day that hinted at monsoons, and the year was 1774, though not for very much longer.

Sixteen-year-old Nix Song is a time-traveller. She, her father and their crew of time refugees travel the world aboard The Temptation, a glorious pirate ship stuffed with treasures both typical and mythical. Old maps allow Nix and her father to navigate not just to distant lands, but distant times – although a map will only take you somewhere once. And Nix’s father is only interested in one time, and one place: Honolulu 1868. A time before Nix was born, and her mother was alive. Something that puts Nix’s existence rather dangerously in question…

Nix has grown used to her father’s obsession, but only because she’s convinced it can’t work. But then a map falls into her father’s lap that changes everything. And when Nix refuses to help, her father threatens to maroon Kashmir, her only friend (and perhaps, only love) in a time where Nix will never be able to find him. And if Nix has learned one thing, it’s that losing the person you love is a torment that no one can withstand. Nix must work out what she wants, who she is, and where she really belongs before time runs out on her forever.

the-ballad-of-black-tom“The Ballad of Black Tom”

by Victor LaValle

Series: Unknown

Published by Tor.com

Genre: Fantasy / Horror / Science Fiction / Time Travel

160 pages

Synopsis: People move to New York looking for magic and nothing will convince them it isn’t there.

Charles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table, keep the roof over his father’s head, from Harlem to Flushing Meadows to Red Hook. He knows what magic a suit can cast, the invisibility a guitar case can provide, and the curse written on his skin that attracts the eye of wealthy white folks and their cops. But when he delivers an occult tome to a reclusive sorceress in the heart of Queens, Tom opens a door to a deeper realm of magic, and earns the attention of things best left sleeping.

A storm that might swallow the world is building in Brooklyn. Will Black Tom live to see it break?

Feb 23

allianceAlliance

by S.K. Dunstall

Series: Linesman #2

Published by Ace

Genre: Science Fiction

400 pages

Synopsis: The lines. The soul of every ship. It was once thought there were only ten, but that was before an alien vessel appeared at the edge of space—before Ean Lambert heard more lines singing. Ean’s ways of communicating with lines is strange. But his abilities make him a valuable tool—or weapon—to command.

Captain Selma Kari Wang has lost everything—her ship, her crew, her legs. But the New Alliance of Worlds is not done with her yet. After they rebuild her broken body, they send her to captain one of the new alien ships, teaming her up with Ean, the only one who can understand the alien lines.

Kari Wang and Ean are poised on the threshold of discoveries that could change the world. But not everyone wants the New Alliance to control the secrets they uncover—and those who oppose won’t hesitate to do whatever it takes to stop them…

murder-in-an-irish-villageMurder in an Irish Village

by Carlene O’Connor

Series: Unknown

Published by Kensington

Genre: Mystery (cozy)

304 pages

Synopsis: In the small village of Kilbane, County Cork, Ireland, Natalie’s Bistro has always been a warm and welcoming spot to visit with neighbors, enjoy some brown bread and tea, and get the local gossip. Nowadays twenty-two-year-old Siobhán O’Sullivan runs the family bistro named for her mother, along with her five siblings, after the death of their parents in a car crash almost a year ago.

It’s been a rough year for the O’Sullivans, but it’s about to get rougher. One morning, as they’re opening the bistro, they discover a man seated at a table, dressed in a suit as if for his own funeral, a pair of hot pink barber scissors protruding from his chest.

With the local garda suspecting the O’Sullivans, and their business in danger of being shunned–murder tends to spoil the appetite–it’s up to feisty redheaded Siobhán to solve the crime and save her beloved brood.

A Gathering of Shadows FinalA Gathering of Shadows

by V.E. Schwab

Series: A Darker Shade of Magic #2

Published by Tor

Genre: Fantasy

512 pages

Synopsis: Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift, and into Black London.

In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games—an extravagant international competition of magic, meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries—a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again—meaning that another London must fall.

the-absconded-ambassador“The Absconded Ambassador”

by Michael R. Underwood

Series: Genrenauts #2

Published by Tor.com

Genre: Science Fiction novella

176 pages

Synopsis: Fiction is more important than you think. When stories go wrong, the Genrenauts step in to prevent the consequences from rippling into our so-called real world.

When a breach is discovered in Science Fiction World, rookie genrenaut Leah Tang gets her first taste of space flight.

A peace treaty is about to be signed on space station Ahura-3, guaranteeing the end of hostilities between some of the galaxy’s most ferocious races, but when the head architect of the treaty is unexpectedly kidnapped, it’s up to Leah and her new colleagues to save the day.

At any cost.

………………..

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

  • Dreaming Death by J. Kathleen Cheney
  • The Sleeping Life by Andrea K. Höst
  • The Fine Art of Murder by Emily Barnes
  • The Big Brush-Off by Michael Murphy
  • “The Ballad of Black Tom” by Victor LaValle
  • Murder in an Irish Village by Carlene O’Connor

What books are you excited about this month?

Top Ten Tuesday–New to my TBR

Top Ten

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted at the Broke and the Bookish blog. Each week a different topic is introduced and it is fun to see what everyone writes each week. Check out their blog for more information.

This week I’m talking about books I’ve recently added to my TBR list. Since I’m often adding books I’ve chosen the ten books I’ve added that I’m most excited about.

marked-in-flesh

Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop

Netgalley book–comes out March 8. 4th book in this fantasy series and I’ve loved all of them. One of my most anticipated 2016 reads.

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harmony-black

Harmony Black by Craig Schaefer

The first book in a new urban fantasy series. This is a Kindle First book which comes out February 1.

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steal-the-sky

Steal the Sky by Megan E. O’Keefe

The first book in a new fantasy-science fiction-steampunk series which came out this month.

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detective-strongoak-and-the-case-of-the-missing-elf

Detective Strongoak and the Case of the Dead Elf by Terry Newman

A fantasy mystery (maybe urban fantasy). And a great title and cover!

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bloodrush

Bloodrush by Ben Galley

A fantasy western!

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girl-waits-with-gun

Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart

Historical fiction (mystery) based on true story of one of the first female deputy sheriffs. And a great cover.

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the-builders

The Builders by Daniel Polansky

A fantasy western novella with animals as the main characters!

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the-shootout-solution

The Shootout Solution by Michael J. Underwood

The first in a new fantasy novella series. And another western theme.

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of-sorrow-and-such

Of Sorrow and Such by Angela Slatter

Another fantasy novella. Has great ratings!

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GEEK-GIRL_murder_ROUGHS_3

A Geek Girl’s Guide to Murder by Julie Anne Lindsey

The first in a new cozy mystery series. And what a fun title!

What new books inhabit your TBR list?

Fav books of 2015

Top Ten

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme I take part in when I can think up answers! It’s a great meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish blog. Every week they suggest a new book-related topic. It’s not only fun to think about my list, but to read what other people come up with!

This week I’m talking about my favorite books of 2015. It was difficult to choose just 10 so i have a number of  honorable mention books, too! Here they are and in no particular order (and all the links are to my reviews of the books):

Science Fiction

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

  • I loved the gamer vibe and the game world within the world even though I’m not really a gamer. I also loved that the main character had to become an expert in 1980’s culture.

The Martian by Andy Weir

  • The ingenuity and perseverance of astronaut Mark Watney is what stands out when I think about this book. And since I listened to the book the great narration of R.C. Bray is also a standout.

The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi–Old Man’s War #2

  • I love this series by John Scalzi. I read the third book in the series this year, too, but reading about the “Ghost Brigade”–the special forces of the human military was my favorite.
Fantasy

Dark Ascension by M.L. Brennan–Generation V #4

  • This has been such a good urban fantasy series. The vampires are different and Fort (short for Fortitude) as the youngest vampire in his family is a great character. And Suzume is so much fun.
  • I was sad to read this might be the last book in this series.

Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs–Alpha & Omega #4

  • Patricia Briggs is one of my favorite authors. I think I’ve read all her books. I love both this series and the Mercy Thompson series which are both set in the same urban fantasy world.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

  • This is the first book I’ve read by Naomi Novik. It’s a stand-alone fantasy and completely different from her long-running fantasy Temeraire series. I plan to start reading that series, too!

Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear

  • Another author who has written a number of books, but this is the first book I’ve read by her.
  • When I think of this book the unique setting and unique character of Karen Memory stand out.

The Siren Depths by Martha Wells–The Books of the Raksura #3

  • Such a wonderful series and this was such a good finish to the trilogy. (Though I’m excited to see that Ms. Wells is expanding the series and book 4 will come out in 2016.)
  • The world created in these books is unique and I love reading about both the Raksura and the many different groups of groundlings.
Mysteries

Necessary as Blood by Deborah Crombie–Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James #13

  • I love this series. I started reading them in 2014 and read five of the books this year. It’s hard to pick a favorite in the five I read, but this is certainly one of my favorites!
  • I love these police procedural mysteries and the way Ms. Crombie often weaves in the present day with the history of the area she writes about in England.
  • I’m equally a fan of the relationship between Duncan and Gemma.

Guaranteed to Bleed by Julie Mulhern–The Country Club Murders #2

  • Julie Mulhern is one of my favorite new to me authors this year and I read both books in this series.
  • It’s a good mystery series with interesting mysteries and good characters.
Honorable Mentions

The Lady Astronaut of Mars” by Mary Robinette Kowal

  • Science fiction, a short story and the first book I read by Ms. Kowal.
  • I don’t read a lot of short stories, but I really enjoyed it and the way the story was complete in such a short format.

Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch–Peter Grant #5

  • This is one of my favorite series.
  • The books keep getting better and better. It’s a combination of police procedural and urban fantasy.

One Good Dragon Deserves Another by Rachel Aaron–Heartstrikers #2

  • I love this urban fantasy series. The dragons and other characters are unique and fun to read about.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (I haven’t reviewed it yet)

  • Such a fun and interesting science fiction. I love all the characters and species in this book.

The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley

  • Ms. Kearsley writes such interesting historical fiction which bring the history to life for me.
  • Her books are actually kind of hard to categorize–there’s romance, paranormal elements, history and the present day all in her books. And her writing just brings the setting and characters to life.

Lock In by John Scalzi–Lock In #1

  • Another John Scalzi book I read and the beginning of an interesting new science fiction series set in our world in the near future.
  • This first book has a police procedural vibe as well as the medical condition called the Hayden Syndrome and the way the society has managed it. That makes this new series so interesting and unique.

What are your favorite books this year?

The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley

the-firebird-by-susanna-kearsleyThe Firebird by Susanna Kearsley
Narrated by Katherine Kellgren
Series: Slains #2
Genre: Historical Fiction
Setting: Scotland, Belgium, Russia
Published by Sourcebooks Landmark , 2013
Audiobook, purchased
539 pages
14 hours, 37 minutes
Grade: A-
Narrator grade: A
Synopsis: Nicola Marter was born with a gift. When she touches an object, she sometimes glimpses those who have owned it before. When a woman arrives with a small wooden carving at the gallery Nicola works at, she can see the object’s history and knows that it was named after the Firebird—the mythical creature from an old Russian fable.

Compelled to know more, Nicola follows a young girl named Anna into the past who leads her on a quest through the glittering backdrops of the Jacobites and Russian courts, unearthing a tale of love, courage, and redemption.

There are times when our victories have a cost that we did not foresee, when winning brings us loss.

and

“If we cannot be what we were born to be–the whole of it–we die a little on the inside every day we live the lie. I’d die for you in every other way,” he told me quietly, “but not like that….”

Initial impressions

  • I love this book. And I love that we hear about and meet a few of the same characters from The Winter Sea.

Cheers

  • The narration by Katherine Kellgren is excellent.
  • I love the songs sprinkled throughout the audio version of the book. The narrator sings them and it’s lovely.
  • This book is similar to The Winter Sea in the sense that the story has both contemporary and historical story lines.
  • This book is called Slains #2, but I think it can be read as a standalone book.
  • I can understand why Nicola doesn’t want to publicize her gift–that she can sense things from objects when she holds them.
  • Rob is such a likable character–someone I would want as a friend. He really cares about Nicola, but he wants her to accept who she is. Even so, he’s willing to go to Russia with her and try to help her.
  • I love the part of the story in Russia–both in the past and in the present.
  • Parts of the book are heartbreaking–especially the story in the past. The story about Anna is from the time she’s a little girl until she’s a young woman. She is wonderful to read about. The narrator really brings her to life and though she goes through many trials she still emerges a happy and optimistic young woman.
  • I love the way Ms. Kearsley writes. Her writing is really lovely–very poetic. Makes me happy to read or listen to. She makes me care so much for the characters. Sometimes I’m crying and sometimes I’m just so happy to read about these characters.
  • I think I like The Winter Sea a little better than The Firebird.

Jeers

  • None I can think of!

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I was so happy to listen to this book. The narrator is excellent and Susanna Kearsley’s writing is excellent. I’m looking forward to reading some more of her books.

Awards

  • RITA Award by Romance Writers of America for Best Paranormal Romance (2014)
  • Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Fantasy (2013)

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

Author info

  • Susanna Kearsley studied politics and international development at university, and has worked as a museum curator.
  • Her first novel Mariana won the prestigious Catherine Cookson Literary Prize and launched her writing career. Susanna continued her mix of the historical and paranormal in novels The Splendour Falls, Named of the Dragon, Shadowy Horses and Season of Storms.
  • Susanna Kearsley also writes classic-style thrillers under the name of Emma Cole.

Reading Challenges

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • Audiobook Challenge–hosted by Hot Listens and The Book Nympho blogs
  • TBR Pile Challenge–hosted by the Bookish blog
  • Ultimate Reading Challenge–hosted by the Popsugar blog (a book set in a different country–Great Britain (Scotland) & Russia)