Thoughts about books I’ve read–Feb 2018

I’m trying something a little different with my reviews. I’ve only done a handful of separate reviews so far this year. So instead I’m going to list all the books I read during a month and write a few sentences about each one or give a link (if I’ve already reviewed the book). I really want to get my reviews under control. And in some cases just write a few sentences. (Did I mention that already?!!)

A Matter of Loyalty by Anselm Audley & Elizabeth Edmondson

A Matter of Loyalty by Anselm Audley & Elizabeth Edmondson

Series: A Very English Mystery #3

Genre: Historical Mystery

Source: Ebook, purchased

287 pages

My Rating: B+

Reviewed: February 23

Bottom Line: The last book in this series (because the author–Ms. Edmondson–died). The author’s son finished the book and did a good job with this British cold war mystery.

Promise Not to Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz

Promise Not to Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz

Series: Cutler, Sutter & Salinas #2

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Source: Ebook, Library

304 pages

My Rating: B

Reviewed: March 19

Bottom Line: A romance and a mystery . . . Ms. Krentz does a good job giving both equal time. 

White Nights by Ann Cleeves

White Nights by Ann Cleeves

Series: Shetland Islands #2

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Source: Ebook, purchased

392 pages

My Rating: B+

Reviewed: May 25

Bottom Line: The white nights of summer–where it never gets completely dark during the summer. That theme runs throughout this very good mystery.

Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny

 Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny

Series: Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #6

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

371 pages

Source: Audiobook, Library

My Rating: A

Narrator Rating: A

Reviewed: March 16

Bottom Line: Excellent story and narration. The story arc which started in the last book continues in this book.

A Youthful Indiscretion by Elizabeth Edmondson

 A Youthful Indiscretion by Elizabeth Edmondson

Series: A Very English Mystery #1.5

Genre: Historical Mystery

Source: Ebook, purchased

60 pages

My Rating: C+

Reviewed: February 23

Bottom Line: A short story that provides some background to the books I read before I read this one. However, it isn’t necessary to read this to understand the books in this series.

Rivers of London: Body Work by Ben Aaronovitch

Rivers of London: Body Work by Ben Aaronovitch & Andrew Cartmel

Series: Peter Grant/Rivers of London Graphic Novels #1

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Graphic Novel

Source: Graphic Novel, Library

128 pages

My Rating: B

Reviewed: April 19

Bottom Line: I don’t read many graphic novels, but I really enjoy the Peter Grant series so I really liked the illustrations and the story in this graphic novel. It gave me a new way of looking at the series.

Diamond Girl by Julie Mulhern

Series: The Country Club Murders

Genre: Historical Mystery

Source: Ebook, purchased

38 pages

My thoughts

This was a fun short story while we all wait for the next Country Club Murder book! It’s about Aggie DeLucci who is Ellison’s housekeeper. She’s an important character in the series so it’s nice to find out a little more about her. And even though it’s such a short story the mystery is good and finishes up well.

My Rating: B

A Rare Book of Cunning Device by Ben Aaronovitch

A Rare Book of Cunning Device by Ben Aaronovitch

Series: Peter Grant #6.5

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Audiobook

Source: Audiobook, Purchased

29 Minutes

My Rating: B

Reviewed: April 19

Bottom Line: Very short, but what a fun story about something larger than Peter’s dog running around the British library!

Twelve Days of Faery by W.R. GingellTwelve Days of Faery by W.R. Gingell

Series: Shards of a Broken Sword #1

Genre: Fantasy

Source: Ebook, purchased

136 pages

My Rating: B+

Reviewed: June 8

Bottom Line: A short book (novella), but a fun and satisfying fairy tale retelling that turns the usual fairy tales upside down!

…………………………..

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?

Review: Promise Not to Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz

Promise Not to Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz

Series: Cutler, Sutter & Salinas #2

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Setting: Seattle, Washington and San Juan Islands

Publishing Date: 2018

Source: Ebook from library

Synopsis: Seattle gallery owner Virginia Troy has spent years battling the demons that stem from her childhood time in a cult and the night a fire burned through the compound, killing her mother. And now one of her artists has taken her own life, but not before sending Virginia a last picture: a painting that makes Virginia doubt everything about the so-called suicide—and her own past.

Like Virginia, private investigator Cabot Sutter was one of the children in the cult who survived that fire… and only he can help her now. As they struggle to unravel the clues in the painting, it becomes clear that someone thinks Virginia knows more than she does and that she must be stopped. Thrown into an inferno of desire and deception, Virginia and Cabot draw ever closer to the mystery of their shared memories—and the shocking fate of the one man who still wields the power to destroy everything they hold dear. 

Jayne Ann Krentz is a “comfort read” author for me and this book didn’t disappoint. I haven’t read the first book in the series and though there were a few references to characters from the first book I didn’t feel lost. I am considering reading the first book since I enjoyed this book.

A little background

I enjoyed reading about Virginia Troy who owns an art gallery in Seattle. Even though she had a traumatic childhood, twenty years later she has managed to put a lot of that behind her and is a success. However, she’s aware of some others who survived the cult her mother was a member of who haven’t managed to get past the trauma. When Hannah Brewster, one of the few adults who survived the fire the night the cult was destroyed, dies and her cabin burns to the ground everyone thinks it’s suicide, but  Virginia thinks she might have been murdered. Hannah Brewster was an artist, but her paintings never sold in Virginia’s gallery. They are just too dark for most people. Hannah always painted scenes from the night of the fire at the cult. They always show the children who were at the cult as well as the cult leader. Before Hannah died she sent Virginia a digital camera with a photo showing a wall she painted in her cabin. Hannah notices that this painting of the fire is a little different from others Hannah painted. Since the police and everyone else thinks Hannah committed suicide and that she was crazy, Hannah decides to go to a private detective agency.

Cutler, Sutter and Salinas isn’t just any agency. The private detectives are also survivors of the cult and the police officer who was there that night and who saved the children. Cabot Sutter is one of the surviving children and he’s inclined to agree with Virginia that Hannah’s death should be investigated. Cabot and the rest of the investigators of the agency believe that although Quinton Zane, the leader of the cult, was declared dead that he might have faked his death and that he’s still alive. Cabot is eager to see if he’s behind Hannah’s death.

The romance and the mystery

Cabot and Virginia work together to solve the mystery and though they don’t want to like each other at first they admire each other. The admiration grows as they get to know each other and see the honesty and bravery both show. They were both scarred by their time in the cult, but they have managed to rise above it even though they both have issues. I like the way Ms. Krentz shows their angst as well as their integrity and courage. I felt the romance was real and that it didn’t overtake the mystery.

I also really like Anson Salinas also who was the policeman who saved the children and adopted three of them whose relatives wouldn’t or couldn’t take care of them. He’s very honorable and intelligent. There’s obviously a strong bond between him and the boys he adopted.

There’s a lot of action and adventure in the book that I liked. I didn’t like the parts that are in the antagonist point-of-view as well. I understand why at least some of it was necessary for the story, but still didn’t like those parts as well. The book also surprised me several times which is always fun.

I don’t like romantic suspense as well as a book that’s just a mystery, but thought this was quite well-done. I really do like Jayne Ann Krentz’s writing. These books continue the mystery of the cult and how it’s affecting the present day throughout the series.

My rating: B

Reading Challenge

Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge hosted by Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!

‘Til Death Do Us Part by Amanda Quick

til-death-do-us-part‘Til Death Do Us Part by Amanda Quick
Series: Unknown
Genre: Historical Romance, Mystery
Setting: Victorian London
Published by Berkley
Format: e-Arc (Release Date: April 19)
–I received a review copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.
352 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: Calista Langley operates an exclusive “introduction” agency in Victorian London, catering to respectable ladies and gentlemen who find themselves alone in the world. But now, a dangerously obsessed individual has begun sending her trinkets and gifts suitable only for those in deepest mourning—a black mirror, a funeral wreath, a ring set with black jet stone. Each is engraved with her initials.

Desperate for help and fearing that the police will be of no assistance, Calista turns to Trent Hastings, a reclusive author of popular crime novels. Believing that Calista may be taking advantage of his lonely sister, who has become one of her clients, Trent doesn’t trust her. Scarred by his past, he’s learned to keep his emotions at bay, even as an instant attraction threatens his resolve.

But as Trent and Calista comb through files of rejected clients in hopes of identifying her tormentor, it becomes clear that the danger may be coming from Calista’s own secret past—and that only her death will satisfy the stalker…

Initial impressions

  • Amanda Quick is a favorite author of mine. I love her characters and the humor and fun she puts into her books. This book has all those things plus suspense!

The story

  • Calista Langley is a businesswoman who introduces respectable people to other respectable people and provides them a place to meet and get to know each other.
  • She has attracted a stalker who is sending her increasingly menacing “gifts.”
  • Trent Hastings, a successful author, visits her pretending to want her services to meet people, but is really concerned that she’s taking advantage of his sister.
  • When he learns about Calista’s stalker he and his sister offer their help.

Pluses

  • It has been awhile since I read an Amanda Quick book. This book is just as much fun to read as I remember all the others being. The characters have Ms. Quick’s trademark humor.
  • Calista is a strong, likeable character who has managed to carve out a life and business for herself.
  • Calista’s stalker and the things he does are very spooky.
  • I like that Calista has the sense to be scared about the “gifts” she’s receiving and to tell someone else who may be able to help. The items she’s receiving are called “memento mori” by Victorians. (Many Victorians were obsessed with death.)
  • Trent is a great character. He’s an author who writes a detective series which is serialized in a newspaper and he’s quite famous. He meets many fans during the book–some who like the direction his book is taking and some who don’t! He also channels his main character when he’s helping Calista! Sometimes with funny results.
  • There are a number of red herrings in the story that kept me guessing to the end.

Minuses

  • Trent is described as standoffish and he’s suspicious of Calista, but that changes very quickly. Having Trent change more slowly might have been more realistic, however I have to admit I like the two characters a lot and his change of heart didn’t bother me too much!

And concluding thoughts . . .

  •  I hope the author decides to turn this into a series. I really like the characters and the time period.

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

Author info

  • The author of a string of New York Times bestsellers, JAYNE ANN KRENTZ uses three different pen names for each of her three “worlds”.   As JAYNE ANN KRENTZ (her married name) she writes contemporary romantic-suspense.  She uses AMANDA QUICK for her novels of historical romantic-suspense.  JAYNE CASTLE (her birth name) is reserved these days for her stories of futuristic/paranormal romantic-suspense.
  • She earned a B.A. in History from the University of California at Santa Cruz and went on to obtain a Masters degree in Library Science from San Jose State University in California.  Before she began writing full time she worked as a librarian in both academic and corporate libraries.
  • She is married and lives with her husband, Frank, in Seattle, Washington.

Reading Challenges

I own the most books from these authors…

toptentuesday2Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme which I take part in occasionally. It’s a great meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish blog. Every week a new topic is presented. It’s not only fun to think about my list, but to read what other people come up with!

This week we write about the ten authors I own the most books from. I have broken the authors down by e-books, audio books and paper books.

When I look at my list several things occur to me:

  • Of course, one of the reasons I have so many books by certain authors is that they’ve written a lot of books.
  • I used to read a lot of romances so the authors from whom I have the largest number of books are romances. I’ve kept the paper books by my favorite authors.
  • I used to get a lot of my books from the library, but now I read my books as digital editions now and the library has fewer digital editions.
  • The library tended to have more mystery and more science fiction/fantasy than romance.
  • Over the years I gave away or sold my books to used bookstores–in the past I read lots of sci-fi, fantasy and mysteries so I don’t have as many books from long-time favorite authors such as Dick Francis and Tony Hillerman and Anne McCaffrey.

Top Ten Authors

1. Jayne Ann Krentz — ever since I discovered her she’s been a favorite (obviously!) and a comfort read author–especially her older books which I spent a lot of time in used bookstores to find!

  • e-books – 4
  • audiobooks – 0
  • paper books – 53

–aka Amanda Quick — I love these historical romances…especially the older ones.

  • e-books – 0
  • audiobooks – 1
  • paper books – 17

–aka Jayne Castle — Jayne Ann Krentz uses this pseudonym for her futuristic romances. I haven’t liked these books as well.

  • e-books – 0
  • audiobooks – 0
  • paper books – 7

–Total — 82

2. Nora Roberts — I haven’t read any Nora Roberts books for a while, but I do like a number of her books.

  • e-books – 3
  • audiobooks – 2
  • paper books – 38

–aka J. D. Robb — I especially enjoy the In Death series though I haven’t read any for a couple years.

  • e-books – 9
  • audiobooks – 1
  • paper books -28

Total — 81

3. Mary Balogh — I still buy and read Mary Balogh’s books. I love the way she writes. I’ve searched for her out-of-print Signet regencies through the years and found them in used bookstores and even on Ebay!

  • e-books – 12
  • audiobooks – 1
  • paper books – 58

Total — 71

4. Jo Beverley – Another favorite historical romance author. Her older books are easier to find and I think I have almost all of them.

  • e-books – 7
  • audiobooks – 0
  • paper books – 34

Total — 41

5. Linda Howard — Another author whom I love to read and re-read especially her older books.

  • e-books – 3
  • audiobooks – 0
  • paper books – 40

Total — 43

6. Lois McMaster Bujold — I love the Miles Vorkosigan series though I haven’t read one for a while. I need to read some. I have some of her other books and need to read them, too.

  • e-books – 5
  • audiobooks – 2
  • paper books -27

Total — 34

7. Patricia Briggs — I’ve bought and read all of Ms. Briggs’ older books from before she started her Mercy Thompson series.

  • e-books – 4
  • audiobooks – 0
  • paper books – 16

Total — 20

8. Robert Heinlein — I used to own a lot more of Heinlein’s books, but I gave a few of them to my kids.

  • e-books – 1
  • audiobooks – 0
  • paper books – 17

Total — 18

9. Ilona Andrews — I love Ilona Andrews writing.

  • e-books – 12
  • audiobooks – 0
  • paper books – 5

Total — 17

10.  Dana Stabenow — I used to read all of Ms. Stabenow’s books until one book stopped me reading any for quite a while. I’ve bought a number of her digital releases and hope to start reading her newer books again.

  • e-books – 10
  • audiobooks – 1
  • paper books – 5

Total — 16

Honorable Mention

Archangel
Sharon Shinn–Archangel

Sharon Shinn – I love her writing, but her digital editions have tended to stay expensive plus some of her older books weren’t digitized. When I looked at her books this week I saw more books of her books digitzed and some of the books I’ve searched for are now available as e-books at lower prices. Yay!

  • e-books – 1
  • audiobooks – 0
  • paper books – 12

Total — 13

What about you? Which authors do you own the most number of books?

My summer reading list

toptentuesday2The Broke and the Bookish blog hosts Top Ten Tuesday.

The books I’m excited about reading this summer–a mix of books published this summer and books I already own and want to read–more than just ten!

New Books

Suddenly Last Summer by Sarah Morgan (June 24)

  • I read the first book (Sleigh Bells in the Snow) in this series around Christmas last year. Sarah Morgan is a favorite author of mine.magicbreaks

Bloodshifted by Cassie Alexander (July 1)

  • I finished the last book (Deadshifted) in this series about a month ago and am looking forward to this book since the last book ended in a cliffhanger.

The Escape by Mary Balogh (July 1)

  • Mary Balogh is an auto-buy author and I’m enjoying this historical romance series.

The Suffragette Scandal by Courtney Milan (July 14)

  • Courtney Milan is another historical romance author I like a lot. Her books are very well written.

Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews (Aug 5)

  • The Kate Daniels series is one of my very favorite series and this is my most anticipated book of the summer!

My TBR Books

Earth Star by Janet Edwards

  • I loved the first book (Earth Girl) in this series.medair

Sweet Disorder by Rose Lerner

  • I bought this book when it came out in March, but still haven’t read it. 😦  Rose Lerner is also a favorite historical romance author.

Medair by Andrea K. Höst

  • I’m loving Andrea K. Höst’s writing and I’ve had this book (actually two books–The Silence of Medair and Voice of the Lost) for a while so I hope to read it this summer.

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

  • I really like the first book in this series so I need to get busy and read this one!

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (audiobook)

  • I’ve had this audiobook for a long time and have heard lots of great things about it.

Extras

the-apple-orchardThe Apple Orchard by Susan Wiggs (Library e-book)–if the library book comes in this summer

  • I love the cover of this book–it sure looks like summer! I have it on hold and hope I’ll get it sometime this summer.

River Road by Jayne Ann Krentz (Library e-book)–if the library book comes in this summer

  • This book came out in January and I’ve wanted to read it. I finally found it at my library so again I’ve got it on hold.

Harlequin books–light reads for summer

  • I enjoy reading Harlequin books sometimes. They’re great books for summer reading and I’ve found some good authors.

 

What books are you excited to read this summer?