Connect 5 Friday–Beach reads

Five books with a setting near a body of water

It’s Friday and I’ve decided to try a new meme since I have come back to blogging after a few months away. Connect Five Friday is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. The hashtag is #connect5books

The five book/reading list needs to connect in some way, but each person who participates can decide for themselves what the book subject and connection are. For example, you could write about five books read last year or five books you want to read. It could even be favorite bookstores or five movies made from books.

This sounds like a fun and creative way to think about my books and reading. Check out Kathyrn’s blog and link up your Friday Five!

Since the upcoming weekend is Labor Day in the U.S. and this traditionally marks the end of summer for the U.S. I decided to talk about five beach reads for those who want to stretch summer out. Of course, some beach reads are light and frothy books that have nothing to do with a beach. (You just wish you were at the beach when you read them!) I haven’t been to a beach or an ocean or lake lately so I read about those in my books and dreamed about them as I read.

Beach Read by Emily Henry

This even has the right name!

I read this a couple of months ago and really liked it. It’s about a romance author with writer’s block. She no longer believes in happy endings which makes it hard for her to write romance.

The beach is on Lake Michigan at North Bear Shores, Michigan.

It’s funny, sometimes sad, but also heartwarming.

Hello, Summer by Mary Kay Andrews

I had lots of fun reading this book. I loved the characters–especially Conley Hawkins who has to come home to her family’s small town newspaper after a new job in Washington, DC falls through.

The Florida beach where lots of the action takes place sounds wonderful.

The Body on the Beach by Anna Johannsen

Takes place on an island off the coast of Germany. I really like reading about islands and I haven’t read any books taking place on islands in this area before.

A body is found on the beach and DI Lena Lorenzen is sent to investigate. She’s not too happy with the assignment since she grew up on the island.

Stormy Cove by Bernadette Calonego

Takes place on the island of Newfoundland in a fishing village called Stormy Cove. I’ve thought Newfoundland would be so interesting to visit.

Lori Finning is a freelance photographer from Vancouver, BC who’s hired to take photos in a fishing village. She tells everyone it’s for a coffee table book of a way of life that’s disappearing, but what about an unsolved murder that happened twenty years ago?

Holy Island by L.J. Ross

Takes place on the island Lindisfarne which has become known as Holy Island. It’s located off the Northumberland coast in the north east of England just a few miles south of Scotland. (It sounds like a fascinating spot!)

DCI Ryan travels to Holy Island when he’s forced to take leave from his homicide job. However, he can’t get away from his job when a murdered girl is found on the island.

Have you read any of these books? Do you have favorite beach reads? What do you think of when you think of “beach reads?”

March 2020 books on my list

Books published in March 2020 I might read — What books have I missed?

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 might not know about! The links to the following books will take you to the book on Goodreads.

March 3

I haven’t read any in this series, but I love most police procedurals so I want to keep this on my list so I can remember to look for earlier books in the series. Has anyone else read any in this series? How did you like them?

The Lady of the Lake

by Peter Guttridge

Series: Brighton Mysteries #7

Published by Severn House Publishers

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

208 pages

Synopsis: When Major Richard Rabbitt, owner of a large estate in Sussex, is found floating in a lake belonging to Nimue Grace, a charismatic former Hollywood actress, DI Sarah Gilchrist and DS Bellamy Heap are called in to investigate – and quickly discover Rabbitt was a notoriously difficult man to deal with.

Rabbitt was hated by his estranged wife, had several rivalries with residents of the area, and was involved in a number of deals with other shady businessmen . . . such as Said Farzi, a ‘criminal’ according to many, and the corrupt politician William Simpson – the father of Heap’s girlfriend.

With numerous suspects and many refusing to cooperate, Gilchrist and Heap must stay on their toes to unravel all the connections. Who stood to gain the most from Rabbitt’s demise, and who can be trusted?

I read one or two of the young adult books Sarah Maas writes and I think she’s a very talented author so I’m excited to read her first adult fantasy.

House of Earth and Blood

by Sarah J. Maas

Series: Crescent City #1

Published by Bloomsbury Publishing

Genre: Adult fantasy

816 pages

Synopsis: Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.

With unforgettable characters, sizzling romance, and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom—and the power of love.

A science fiction murder mystery!

Re-Coil

by J.T. Nicholas

Series: Unknown

Published by Titan Books

Genre: Science Fiction, Mystery

384 pages

Synopsis: Out on a salvage mission with a skeleton crew, Carter Langston is murdered by animated corpses left behind on this ship. Yet in this future, everyone’s consciousness backup can be safely downloaded into a brand-new body, and all you’d lose are the memories of what happened between your last backup and your death. But when Langston wakes up in his new body, he is immediately attacked in the medbay and has to fight once again for his life—and his immortality. Because this assassin aims to destroy his core forever.

Determined to find his shipmates and solve this evolving mystery, Langston locates their tech whiz Shay Chan, but two members are missing and perhaps permanently killed. Langston and Chan are soon running for their lives with the assassin and the corporation behind him in hot pursuit.

What Langston and Chan ultimately find would signal the end of humanity. What started as a salvage mission just might end up saving the world.

Another science fiction adventure and the beginning of a new series.

A Pale Light in the Black

by K.B. Wagers

Series: NeoG #1

Published by Harper Voyager

Genre: Science Fiction

432 pages

Synopsis: For the past year, their close loss in the annual Boarding Games has haunted Interceptor Team: Zuma’s Ghost. With this year’s competition looming, they’re looking forward to some payback—until an unexpected personnel change leaves them reeling. Their best swordsman has been transferred, and a new lieutenant has been assigned in his place.

Maxine Carmichael is trying to carve a place in the world on her own—away from the pressure and influence of her powerful family. The last thing she wants is to cause trouble at her command on Jupiter Station. With her new team in turmoil, Max must overcome her self-doubt and win their trust if she’s going to succeed. Failing is not an option—and would only prove her parents right.

But Max and the team must learn to work together quickly. A routine mission to retrieve a missing ship has suddenly turned dangerous, and now their lives are on the line. Someone is targeting members of Zuma’s Ghost, a mysterious opponent willing to kill to safeguard a secret that could shake society to its core . . . a secret that could lead to their deaths and kill thousands more unless Max and her new team stop them.

Rescue those in danger, find the bad guys, win the Games. It’s all in a day’s work at the NeoG. 

March 10

Anne Bishop is a favorite author of mine–I especially like The Others series. I read one or two of the Black Jewels books years ago so this is a book I might try.

The Queen’s Bargain

by Anne Bishop

Series: Black Jewels #10

Published by Ace

Genre: Fantasy

448 pages

Synopsis: After a youthful mistake, Lord Dillon’s reputation is in tatters, leaving him vulnerable to aristo girls looking for a bit of fun. To restore his reputation and honor, he needs a handfast—a one-year contract of marriage. He sets his sights on Jillian, a young Eyrien witch from Ebon Rih, who he believes has only a flimsy connection to the noble society that spurned him. Unfortunately for Dillon, he is unaware of Jillian’s true connections until he finds himself facing Lucivar Yaslana, the volatile Warlord Prince of Ebon Rih.

Meanwhile, Surreal SaDiablo’s marriage is crumbling. Daemon Sadi, the Warlord Prince of Dhemlan, recognizes there is something wrong between him and Surreal, but he doesn’t realize that his attempt to suppress his own nature in order to spare his wife is causing his mind to splinter. To save Daemon, and the Realm of Kaeleer if he breaks, help must be sought from someone who no longer exists in any of the Realms—the only Queen powerful enough to control Daemon Sadi. The Queen known as Witch.

As Jillian rides the winds of first love with Dillon, Daemon and Surreal struggle to survive the wounds of a marriage turned stormy—and Lucivar has to find a way to keep everyone in his family safe…even from each other.

I love this series so this is my most anticipated book for March!

Smoke Bitten

by Patricia Briggs

Series: Mercy Thompson #12

Published by Ace

Genre: Urban Fantasy

352 pages

Synopsis: I am Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptman.
My only “superpowers” are that I turn into a thirty-five pound coyote and fix Volkswagens. But I have friends in odd places and a pack of werewolves at my back. It looks like I’m going to need them.

Centuries ago, the fae dwelt in Underhill–until she locked her doors against them. They left behind their great castles and troves of magical artifacts. They abandoned their prisoners and their pets. Without the fae to mind them, those creatures who remained behind roamed freely through Underhill wreaking havoc. Only the deadliest survived.

Now one of those prisoners has escaped. It can look like anyone, any creature it chooses. But if it bites you, it controls you. It lives for chaos and destruction. It can make you do anything–even kill the person you love the most. Now it is here, in the Tri-Cities. In my territory.

It won’t, can’t, remain.

Not if I have anything to say about it. 

A historical mystery that takes place during WWI.

A Death in Chelsea

by Lynn Brittney

Series: Mayfair 100 Murder Mystery #2

Published by Crooked Lane Books

Genre: Historical Mystery

326 pages

Synopsis: In the dark days of World War I, an aristocrat’s suspicious suicide propels a one-of-a-kind crime-fighting team into a sordid world of blackmail, betrayal, and tragic secrets.

When the phone rings at the Mayfair 100 exchange, the news is rarely good, and this time is no exception. The Duchess of Penhere’s daughter, notorious society gossip queen Lady Adeline Treborne, has been found dead in her room in what appears to be a suicide–but her family suspects foul play.

The secret Mayfair team of amateur female detectives has been restlessly awaiting their next case, and this will prove one of their thorniest. When Dr. Caroline Allardyce performs an autopsy, she is able to conclusively prove that the woman was murdered. Lady Treborne had made many enemies through her vicious gossip column, so there’s no shortage of suspects.

Supported by a cadre of professional police officers, the Mayfair women launch their investigation, but there’s much more to this case than meets the eye. As they venture into a world that lays bare London high life at its lowest, the team soon begins to comprehend the danger at hand–and how this tangled web of treachery could ensnare anyone who gets too close. 

Short stories that “…explore the Black experience through fantasy, science fiction and magic.”

A Phoenix First must Burn

Edited by Patrice Caldwell

Series: None

Published by Vikings Books for Young Readers

Genre: YA Fantasy & Science Fiction Short Stories

368 pages

Synopsis: Sixteen tales by bestselling and award-winning authors that explore the Black experience through fantasy, science fiction, and magic.

Evoking Beyoncé’s Lemonade for a teen audience, these authors who are truly Octavia Butler’s heirs, have woven worlds to create a stunning narrative that centers Black women and gender nonconforming individuals. A Phoenix First Must Burn will take you on a journey from folktales retold to futuristic societies and everything in between. Filled with stories of love and betrayal, strength and resistance, this collection contains an array of complex and true-to-life characters in which you cannot help but see yourself reflected. Witches and scientists, sisters and lovers, priestesses and rebels: the heroines of A Phoenix First Must Burn shine brightly. You will never forget them.

Authors include Elizabeth Acevedo, Amerie, Dhonielle Clayton, Jalissa Corrie, Somaiya Daud, Charlotte Davis, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Justina Ireland, Danny Lore, L.L. McKinney, Danielle Paige, Rebecca Roanhorse, Karen Strong, Ashley Woodfolk, and Ibi Zoboi.

Another science fiction–the Coast Guard is trying to prevent the first lunar war.

Sixteenth Watch

by Myke Cole

Series: Unknown

Published by Angry Robot

Genre: Science Fiction

317 pages

Synopsis: The Coast Guard must prevent the first lunar war in history. A lifelong Search-and-Rescue woman, Coast Guard Captain Jane Oliver is ready for a peaceful retirement. But when tragedy strikes, Oliver loses her husband and her plans for the future, and finds herself thrust into a role she’s not prepared for. Suddenly at the helm of the Coast Guard’s elite SAR-1 lunar unit, Oliver is the only woman who can prevent the first lunar war in history, a conflict that will surely consume not only the moon, but earth as well. 

I just discovered this series and haven’t read any of the previous books yet, but the setting in Arkansas found in the first three books is one I don’t find very often.

Below the Surface

by Cynthia A. Graham

Series: Hick Blackburn #4

Published by Blank Slate Press

Genre: Mystery

250 pages

Synopsis: Hick Blackburn is falling apart. Last year, the world had been full of hope and promise after solving a murder and corruption case in nearby Broken Creek. Attorney Carol Quinn’s uncle, the head of the Civil Rights Section of the Justice Department, had offered both Hick and Carol jobs in DC. Hick had a wife, two boys, and a baby on the way. Now, everything is different. It’s as if hope and promise no longer exist. And then Quinn shows up again. This time, it’s with a new case to solve and when Hick finds out his friend Father Grant is in the hospital and his church has been torched, he can’t say no. But this time, corruption is the least of his problems.

March 12

I love the cover and the name of this series–Mercenary Librarians! I have to try this.

Deal with the Devil

by Kit Rocha

Series: Mercenary Librarians #1

Published by Tor Books

Genre: Fantasy Romance

416 pages

Synopsis: The United States went belly up 45 years ago when our power grid was wiped out. Too few live in well-protected isolation while the rest of us scrape by on the margins. The only thing that matters is survival. By any means. At any cost.

Nina is an information broker with a mission: to bring hope to the darkest corners of Atlanta. She and her team of mercenary librarians use their knowledge to help those in need. But altruism doesn’t pay the bills—raiding vaults and collecting sensitive data is where the real money is.

Knox is a bitter, battle-weary supersoldier who leads the Silver Devils, an elite strike squad that chose to go AWOL rather than slaughter innocents. Before the Devils leave town for good, they need a biochem hacker to stabilize the experimental implants that grant their superhuman abilities.

The problem? Their hacker’s been kidnapped. And the ransom for her return is Nina. Knox has the perfect bait for a perfect trap: a lost Library of Congress server. The data could set Nina and her team up for years…

If they live that long.

March 17

Another great cover and it sounds like a fun book.

The House in the Cerulean Sea

by T.J. Klune

Series: Unknown

Published by Tor Books

Genre: Fantasy

352 pages

Synopsis: A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

Historical mystery set in Cracow, Poland in 1893. It sounds fascinating.

Mrs. Mohr Goes Missing

by Maryla Szymiczkowa

Series: Zofia Turbotyńska Mystery #1

Published by Houghton Mifflin

Genre: Historical Mystery, Poland

368 pages

Cracow, 1893. Zofia Turbotyńska–professor’s wife and socialite–is bored at home, with little to do but plan a charity auction sponsored by the wealthy residents of a local nursing home and the nuns who work there.

But when one of those residents is found dead, Zofia finds a calling: solving crimes. Ridiculed by the police, who have declared the deaths of natural cause, she starts her own murder investigation, unbeknownst to anyone but her loyal cook Franciszka and one reluctant nun. With her husband blissfully unaware of her secret, Zofia remakes herself into Cracow’s greatest–or at the very least, most surprising–amateur detective.

Full of period character and charm, Mrs. Mohr Goes Missing proves that everyone is capable of finding their passion in life, however unlikely it may seem.

March 24

As many of you know by now I’m a sucker for books with dogs on the cover–especially K-9 dogs or other working dogs.

The K Team

by David Rosenfelt

Series: The K Team #1

Published by Minotaur Books

Genre: Mystery

304 pages

Synopsis: In David Rosenfelt’s newest series – a spinoff of the much beloved Andy Carpenter mysteries – Andy’s wife forms an investigative team with a former detective and his German shepard partner.

Andy Carpenter’s wife, Laurie, was a cop, a good one. Now she helps out on Andy’s cases while also raising Ricky, their son. But she’s been chafing to jump back into investigating on her own, and when her former partner and his German shepard K-9 partner come to her with a proposal, she’s in.

And another dog book with a puppy on the cover this time! I want to find out more about that puppy.

Who Rescued Who

by Victoria Schade

Series: Unknown

Published by Berkley

Genre: Contemporary Romance

336 pages

Synopsis: A few rough breaks lead a woman at the end of her leash to journey across the pond to fetch a suprise inheritance–but the dogs she rescues along the way have other ideas.

The plan was simple: Elizabeth would suffer through a quick trip to her late father’s family homestead in the English countryside, try not to think about how she was unjustly fired from her dream job, claim her inheritance, and hop on the next flight back to Silicon Valley where she can get her life back on track.

The plan does not include rescuing an abandoned black and white puppy. Or bonding with her long-lost aunt and uncle, their Border Collie, and their two very opinionated sheep. Or falling for the handsome local who runs the town’s craft brewery. As Elizabeth’s brief visit to Fargrove turns into an extended stay, she discovers that she has more in common with the new puppy than she realized. 

I’m ashamed to admit that I own several books by N.K. Jemisin, but I haven’t read any books by her yet. I really need to read some this spring.

The City We Became

by N.K. Jemisin

Series: Great Cities #1

Published by Orbit

Genre: Fantasy

437 pages

Synopsis: Every city has a soul. Some are as ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York City? She’s got five.

But every city also has a dark side. A roiling, ancient evil stirs beneath the earth, threatening to destroy the city and her five protectors unless they can come together and stop it once and for all.

A very interesting cover and it sounds so good!

The Empress of Salt and Fortune

by Nghi Vo

Series: Unknown

Published by Tor.com

Genre: Fantasy Novella

112 pages

Synopsis: With the heart of an Atwood tale and the visuals of a classic Asian period drama The Empress of Salt and Fortune is a tightly and lushly written narrative about empire, storytelling, and the anger of women.

A young royal from the far north is sent south for a political marriage. Alone and sometimes reviled, she has only her servants on her side. This evocative debut chronicles her rise to power through the eyes of her handmaiden, at once feminist high fantasy and a thrilling indictment of monarchy. 

What books are you excited about this month?

Can’t Wait Wednesday: The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar

Two girls create rival henna businesses at their school & one of the girls comes out to her Muslim family

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings. This is a weekly meme to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. The books I choose aren’t released yet and usually won’t be published for at least two or three months. So I have a while to wait!

I love finding out about books set to publish in future months and I like to share my excitement about the books. I also like to find out about new books on other people’s blogs and hope they’ll sometimes find something to look forward to on my blog.

I’m excited to read . . .

The Henna Wars

by Adiba Jaigirdar

Series: None

Publishing date: May 12

Genre: YA Contemporary, Romance, LGBT

400 pages

Synopsis: When Dimple Met Rishi meets Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda in this rom com about two teen girls with rival henna businesses.

When Nishat comes out to her parents, they say she can be anyone she wants—as long as she isn’t herself. Because Muslim girls aren’t lesbians. Nishat doesn’t want to hide who she is, but she also doesn’t want to lose her relationship with her family. And her life only gets harder once a childhood friend walks back into her life.

Flávia is beautiful and charismatic and Nishat falls for her instantly. But when a school competition invites students to create their own businesses, both Flávia and Nishat choose to do henna, even though Flávia is appropriating Nishat’s culture. Amidst sabotage and school stress, their lives get more tangled—but Nishat can’t quite get rid of her crush on Flávia, and realizes there might be more to her than she realized. 

………………………….

My daughter and I have had henna done so I’m interested to find out more about the history and culture of henna.

And I love the cover of this book! I don’t read many contemporary young adult books, but this sounds so good and so different from books I usually read. Plus I’m trying to read more diverse books this year.

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?

January 2020 books on my list

Books published in January 2020 I might read — What books have I missed?

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 might not know about!

January 1

The beginning of a new series and it’s an author I haven’t read before as well as a police procedural!

Lost Hills

by Lee Goldberg

Series: Eve Ronin #1

Published by Thomas Mercer

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

237 pages

Synopsis: A video of Deputy Eve Ronin’s off-duty arrest of an abusive movie star goes viral, turning her into a popular hero at a time when the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is plagued by scandal. The sheriff, desperate for more positive press, makes Eve the youngest female homicide detective in the department’s history.

Now Eve, with a lot to learn and resented by her colleagues, has to justify her new badge. Her chance comes when she and her burned-out, soon-to-retire partner are called to the blood-splattered home of a missing single mother and her two kids. The horrific carnage screams multiple murder—but there are no corpses.

January 7

I’ve read a number of books by Jenny Colgan and I really like her writing. Plus the cover is very cute!

Where Have All the Boys Gone?

by Jenny Colgan

Series: None

Published by William Morrow

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

368 pages

Synopsis: Faced with the harsh reality that there are 25,000 more women than men in London, Katie’s dating prospects are at an all-time low. While she’s glad it’s not a man’s world anymore, it wouldn’t hurt if there were more eligible bachelors.  

More likely to get murdered than married, according to gleeful media reports, Katie resigns herself to the fact that there’s no sex in the city for her and decides to head for the hills—or the Scottish Highlands to be exact. Despite the fact she’s never been one for muddy rain boats—and Fairlish is in the middle of nowhere—the tiny town does have one major draw: men. LOTS of them!

But while Katie relishes the chance to do battle with armies of admirers, she’s not excited about going head to head with her shady new boss, Harry. At least there’s the local eye-candy to distract her, including gorgeous newshound Iain. But he is at loggerheads with Harry, and she can’t afford to get on Harry’s bad side any more than she already has.

January 14

I liked the first book in this series a lot. Gunnie Rose is a very memorable character.

A Longer Fall

by Charlaine Harris

Series: Gunnie Rose #2

Published by Gallery / Saga Press

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Alternate History

304 pages

Synopsis: In this second thrilling installment of the Gunnie Rose series, Lizbeth Rose is hired onto a new crew for a seemingly easy protection job, transporting a crate into Dixie, just about the last part of the former United States of America she wants to visit. But what seemed like a straight-forward job turns into a massacre as the crate is stolen. Up against a wall in Dixie, where social norms have stepped back into the last century, Lizbeth has to go undercover with an old friend to retrieve the crate as what’s inside can spark a rebellion, if she can get it back in time.

This is a new author to me, but it has a beautiful cover and this historical mystery series sounds really good.

The Hollows

by Jess Montgomery

Series: Kinship #2

Published by Minotaur Books

Genre: Historical Mystery (Ohio, 1926)

352 pages

Synopsis: Ohio, 1926: For many years, the underground railroad track in Moonvale Tunnel has been used as a short cut through the Appalachian hills. When an elderly woman is killed walking along the tracks, the brakeman tells tales of seeing a ghostly female figure dressed all in white.

Newly elected Sheriff Lily Ross is called on to the case to dispel the myths, but Lily does not believe that an old woman would wander out of the hills onto the tracks. In a county where everyone knows everyone, how can someone have disappeared, when nobody knew they were missing? As ghost stories and rumors settle into the consciousness of Moonvale Hollow, Lily tries to search for any real clues to the woman’s identity.

With the help of her friend Marvena Whitcomb, Lily follows the woman’s trail to The Hollows—an asylum is northern Antioch County—and they begin to expose secrets long-hidden by time and the mountains. 

A great title and dogs and cats are in the story so this sounds like fun! But the dog mentioned in this synopsis is a bulldog and I think this is a Boston terrier? Why is he on the cover?

St. Francis Society for Wayward Pets

by Annie England Noblin

Series: None

Published by William Morrow

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Animals

382 pages

Synopsis: Laid off, cheated on, mugged: what else can go wrong in Maeve Stephens’ life? So when she learns her birth mother has left her a house, a vintage VW Beetle, and a marauding cat, in the small town of Timber Creek, Washington, she packs up to discover the truth about her past.

She arrives to the sight of a cheerful bulldog abandoned on her front porch, a reclusive but tempting author living next door, and a set of ready-made friends at the St. Francis Society for Wayward Pets, where women knit colorful sweaters for the dogs and cats in their care. But there’s also an undercurrent of something that doesn’t sit right with Maeve. What’s the secret (besides her!) that her mother had hidden?

January 21

I like reading books set in Montana plus this is a mystery and about a military veteran who sustained a traumatic brain injury.

The Blaze

by Chad Dundas

Series: Unknown

Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

384 pages

Synopsis: One man knows the connection between two extraordinary acts of arson, fifteen years apart, in his Montana hometown–if only he could remember it.

Having lost much of his memory from a traumatic brain injury sustained in Iraq, army veteran Matthew Rose is called back to Montana after his father’s death to settle his affairs, and hopefully to settle the past as well. It’s not only a blank to him, but a mystery. Why as a teen did he suddenly become sullen and vacant, abandoning the activities and people that had meant most to him? How did he, the son of hippy activists, wind up enlisting in the first place?

Then on his first night back, Matthew sees a house go up in flames, and it turns out a local college student has died inside. And this event sparks a memory of a different fire, an unsolved crime from long ago, a part of Matthew’s past that might lead to all the answers he’s been searching for. What he finds will connect the old fire and the new, a series of long-unsolved mysteries, and a ruthless act of murder. 

I read the first book in this series and liked it a lot plus I’ve read the Linesman series also by Dunstall which was excellent.

Stars Beyond

by S.K. Dunstall

Series: Stars Uncharted #2

Published by Ace

Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera

400 pages

Synopsis: An engineer with a fondness for weapons. A captain with no memory. An obsessive genemodder who loves to tinker. Meet the crew of Another Road.

Josune, Roystan, and Nika have escaped the company thugs trying to kill them. They’ve gotten a new spaceship to replace The Road (after it was blown up underneath them). And their new ship is armed to the teeth with dangerous weapons, courtesy of Josune. All that’s left to do before they head out to find the legendary lode of transurides is to restore Roystan’s memory. To do that, they need to collect the genemod machine Nika has ordered.

But first, they have to shake off the Justice Department agent and the Companies tracking them.

It should be easy. They’ve done it before. What could possibly go wrong?

January 28

My husband has read several of Eoin Colfer’s books, but I haven’t. I like that this is an adult fantasy about dragons and that it takes place in the modern world!

Highfire

by Eoin Colfer

Series: Unknown

Published by HarperCollins

Genre: Fantasy, Dragons

384 pages

Synopsis: In the days of yore, he flew the skies and scorched angry mobs—now he hides from swamp tour boats and rises only with the greatest reluctance from his Laz-Z-Boy recliner. Laying low in the bayou, this once-magnificent fire breather has been reduced to lighting Marlboros with nose sparks, swilling Absolut in a Flashdance T-shirt, and binging Netflix in a fishing shack. For centuries, he struck fear in hearts far and wide as Wyvern, Lord Highfire of the Highfire Eyrie—now he goes by Vern. However…he has survived, unlike the rest. He is the last of his kind, the last dragon. Still, no amount of vodka can drown the loneliness in his molten core. Vern’s glory days are long gone. Or are they?

A canny Cajun swamp rat, young Everett “Squib” Moreau does what he can to survive, trying not to break the heart of his saintly single mother. He’s finally decided to work for a shady smuggler—but on his first night, he witnesses his boss murdered by a crooked constable.

Another new author to me plus a mystery and a police procedural. Yes!

A Dredging in Swann

by Tim Garvin

Series: Seb Creek Mysteries #1

Published by Blackstone

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

304 pages

Synopsis: Two investigations start at the same time in Swann County, North Carolina, one by the FBI, the other by the sheriff. The feds want to know who stole three Stinger missiles during a helicopter crash. The sheriff wants to know who hung a black ex-con in a well.

Seb Creek, a sheriff’s detective, gets involved in both investigations and fights through lies, secrets, and murder to find the killer. The trail involves a long-ago ax murder, the ravages of combat, an outdoor gas chamber, a mystery at the bottom of a well, and finally a last killing and an ancient testament.

The dog on the cover of this book is so cute plus it’s nonfiction and it sounds heart-wrenching (Gabby is 8 years old and has never been outside??) I think I need to read this. (I am glad to see the dog on this cover seems to match Gabby as described here.)

Gabby: The Little Dog that Had to Learn to Bark

by Barby Keel

Series: None

Published by Citadel Press

Genre: Nonfiction, Animals

256 pages

Synopsis: Baby seagulls, mischievous ferrets, strutting peacocks…in the decades that Barby Keel has run her animal sanctuary in the English countryside, she has seen all manner of creatures. Thousands of cats and dogs have come through her doors and, with the aid of Barby and her dedicated staff, found loving forever homes. But Gabby, a small terrier with solemn, terrified eyes, is like no case Barby has ever encountered before.

Gabby has spent all eight years of her life indoors. She has no idea how to play with a toy or chew a treat. She has never dug in the dirt or rolled happily in the grass. Strangest of all, Gabby does not know how to bark. Barby can tell that the little golden-haired dog is bright and curious beneath her paralyzing fear, but coaxing out Gabby’s true spirit will be a daunting task.

Yet sometimes, a dog and a human fit together like two puzzle pieces, and so it is with Gabby and Barby. And Barby, who believes passionately in animals’ ability to help and heal those they love, will find her faith in Gabby repaid just when she, and her sanctuary, need it most . . .

I’m several books behind in this series, but I really like the ones I’ve read so I’d like to catch up so I can read this one!

Death Comes to the Nursery

by Catherine Lloyd

Series: Kurland St. Mary’s Mystery #7

Published by Kensington

Genre: Historical Mystery

304 pages

Synopsis: Delighted by the quiet uproar of raising their newborn, Lady Lucy and Major Sir Robert Kurland could not be more pleased at the prospect of welcoming another into their home. But their preparations are soon overshadowed by a baffling case of murder . . .

Once known to all in her village as the rector’s daughter, Lucy is now a mother herself—to a wonderful eighteen-month-old son, Ned. Upon discovering that she is expecting a second child, Lucy and Robert are delighted. In anticipation of the new arrival, Lucy is set on expanding her nursery staff. When Agnes, her current nurse, recommends her cousin, it seems like the perfect solution.

But trouble arrives along with the new nursery maid from London. Polly’s flirtations provoke fisticuffs in the servants’ hall and tumult in the village tavern, and on her afternoon off, she fails to return to the Kurland Estate. When a farmer finds her lifeless body in a drainage ditch, Lucy and Robert fear foul play.

This dog looks a lot like my daughter’s black lab so I had to include this book! However, the only dog mentioned in the synopsis is a poodle so who is the black lab??

Cold Nose, Warm Heart

by Mara Wells

Series: Fur Haven Dog Park #1

Published by Sourcebook Casablanca

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Dogs

384 pages

Synopsis: All Caleb Donovan has to do to redeem his family name is take a rundown Miami Beach apartment building and turn it into luxury condos. Easy, right?

Unfortunately, that would also turn the local dog park into a parking lot and the neighbors aren’t having it. Caleb is faced with outright revolt, led by smart, beautiful building manager Riley Carson and her poodle, LouLou.

For Caleb, this project should have been a slam dunk. But even more challenging than the neighborhood resistance is the mutual attraction between him and Riley. It would be so much easier just to stay enemies.

What books are you excited about this month?

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?

My favorite books with dog characters

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 is a freebie so I chose to write about My favorite books with dog characters.

All the books have links to either Goodreads or to my review if I’ve reviewed the book.

Mysteries

Fractured Truth by Susan Furlong

This is the second book in the Bone Gap Travelers series. Both books are very good. They take place in the Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee, but the main character and her dog are both military veterans. Both she and her K-9 partner were injured by an IED and both have PTSD. I like the way the author doesn’t sugarcoat the difficulties they both have from their military service.

Killing Trail by Margaret Mizushima

This is the first book in the Timber Creek K-9 Mystery series about a young police officer in a small town in the Colorado Rockies. She’s partnered with a K-9 police dog named Robo and is still learning to trust that Robo knows what he’s doing. He’s trained as a search-and-rescue dog as well as a drug sniffing dog and he’s very capable. I like seeing the growth of trust between the two partners as the series continues.

Dead Stop by Barbara Nickless

Another book with ties to the military. Both Sydney and Clyde were stationed in Iraq, but Clyde’s handler (who was also Sydney’s boyfriend) was killed in Iraq. Sydney was able to bring Clyde back to the U.S. and adopt him. Sydney is now a railroad cop and Clyde is her K-9 partner.

The Right Side by Spencer Quinn

I really liked this book and wish that Spencer Quinn would write another one about LeAnne Hogan. She’s another military veteran who was wounded in Afghanistan. Half her face is badly scarred and she lost an eye. She’s struggling to find a reason to live when a stray dog adopts her. When she discover’s a dead friend’s daughter is missing she needs to help find her.

Young Adult

Doggirl by Robin Brande

I loved this book about a high schooler who is more at home with animals than with people. Animals seem to know that she understands them, too. She was laughed at and bullied at her last school and so at her new school she hasn’t wanted to make friends. However, when she sees an advertisement that the school theater department needs a dog for a play she has to bring one of her dogs to show them what she and her dog can do. It’s great to see the acceptance she finally finds among the theater kids.

Women’s Fiction/Romance

What the Dog Ate by Jakie Bouchard

This was poignant at times, but also laugh-out-loud funny! And there’s some romance.

Crazy for You by Jennifer Crusie

I read this book about 15 years ago. It’s about a high school teacher who has always done the “right” thing and is bored with her life. She suddenly breaks free from that mold when she adopts a stray dog which all her friends and family think is a mistake. I’ve read just about everything Jennifer Crusie wrote and lots of her books have funny, quirky dogs in them. Unfortunately, she’s not writing much anymore.

Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts by Lucy Dillon

I loved this book. I read it earlier this year and reading about all the dogs in the book put a smile on my face–plus there’s a really nice romance!

Science Fiction/Post Apocalyptic

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

In some ways this is a heartbreaking story, but in other ways it’s a story of the trust and love we’ve had ever since the first dogs trusted people to protect them–and vice versa. It’s the story of a boy who will do nearly anything to get his dog back.

Nonfiction

Soldier Dogs by Marie Goodavage

I’m in awe of the working dogs that save soldier and civilian lives by finding IEDs. In the military dogs have been used to find weapons, drugs, explosives and do a myriad of other things through the years. In Iraq and Afghanistan dogs are mostly used to find IEDs and search houses for explosives. But they also help boost the morale of the unit and there’s a great bond between the dog and handler. These dogs are heroes and should have more recognition.

………………………………

Did you write something this week for Top Ten Tuesday? What did you write? Do you like books about dogs or about other animals? Do you have favorites?

Review: Heartstone by Elle Katharine White

Heartstone by Elle Katharine White

Series: Heartstone #1

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Dragons

Source: Ebook, Library

Publishing Date: 2017

352 pages

Synopsis: A debut historical fantasy that recasts Jane Austen’s beloved Pride & Prejudice in an imaginative world of wyverns, dragons, and the warriors who fight alongside them against the monsters that threaten the kingdom: gryphons, direwolves, lamias, banshees, and lindworms.

They say a Rider in possession of a good blade must be in want of a monster to slay—and Merybourne Manor has plenty of monsters.

Passionate, headstrong Aliza Bentaine knows this all too well; she’s already lost one sister to the invading gryphons. So when Lord Merybourne hires a band of Riders to hunt down the horde, Aliza is relieved her home will soon be safe again.

Her relief is short-lived. With the arrival of the haughty and handsome dragonrider, Alastair Daired, Aliza expects a battle; what she doesn’t expect is a romantic clash of wills, pitting words and wit against the pride of an ancient house. Nor does she anticipate the mystery that follows them from Merybourne Manor, its roots running deep as the foundations of the kingdom itself, where something old and dreadful slumbers . . . something far more sinister than gryphons.

It’s a war Aliza is ill-prepared to wage, on a battlefield she’s never known before: one spanning kingdoms, class lines, and the curious nature of her own heart.

My thoughts

I saw this book on Goodreads and I was intrigued since I haven’t read a romantic fantasy for a while. This is the author’s debut book and it’s patterned after Pride and Prejudice. That was easy to see and for the most part I thought it worked well. I enjoyed the fantasy world created by the author.

I would have liked more backstory about this world and its creatures–about why they were together on this world. Did they all evolve there or did some of them–perhaps the humans–arrive from somewhere else? Since there are more books in this series perhaps some of these questions are answered.

I liked reading about the dragons, wyverns, gryphons, direwolves and all the other creatures in this world as well as the humans. This is a medieval type world with horses, carriages, fortresses, great estates and prominent people. Aliza Bentaine, Alastair Dared, Akarra and so many others are great fun to read about. I thought the ending was a little rushed, but it’s a satisfying ending and there are more books in the series.

My Rating: B

Have you read any books by this author?

Review: Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts by Lucy Dillon

Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts by Lucy Dillon

Series: None

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

Setting: England

Source: Ebook, purchased

Publishing Date: 2009

449 pages

Synopsis: Thirty-nine year old Rachel is having a really bad year. After losing her job and breaking up with her boyfriend, Rachel has inherited her late aunt’s house, her beloved border collie, and a crowded rescue kennel, despite the fact that she knows almost nothing about dogs. Still, considering her limited options, she gamely takes up the challenge of running the kennel. And as Rachel starts finding new homes for the abandoned strays, it turns out that it might not just be the dogs that need rescuing.

Opening sentences:

When February started, Rachel Fielding had a middling-to-glamorous career doing PR for Internet companies, a boyfriend who regularly bought her flowers and dressed better than she did, a cleaner, and a skin-age three years younger than her actual age, which was thirty-nine.

By the second week, however, she had, in one simple maneuver, managed to lose the love of her life, her Chiswick flat and her job.

My thoughts

This is an author whom Barb @ Booker T’s Farm recommended. I grabbed this book when it was on sale and I’m so glad I did. I love it–the rescue dogs, the setting in England and interesting, fun characters (including dogs). I wanted to meet these people and dogs and have them for friends!  The book has Rachel’s POV, but also several other people’s POVs. I enjoyed learning more about these characters and how they interact with Rachel’s world and the dogs’ worlds.

They Call It Puppy Love Challenge

I’m participating in “They Call It Puppy Love” Challenge during February. The challenge is hosted by Barb @ Booker T’s Farm. I was so happy to sign up for this challenge since I’m enjoying reading books about dogs. I’ve saved some books for this challenge so you’ll see me reading lots of dog books this month!

Rachel

Rachel lost her boyfriend, apartment and job all at the same time and is distraught–especially about her ex-boyfriend of ten years. At about the same time she learns she’s the executor of her Aunt Dot’s estate and that she has inherited her aunt’s house, land, border collie and rescue kennel. That’s overwhelming for Rachel along with everything else. She’s never had a dog and knows nothing about dogs let alone a rescue kennel. Rachel’s from London and she’s not a “dog person!” However, Rachel tries to fulfill her obligations. She loved her aunt, but discovers she really didn’t know a lot about her after she moves into the house.

Rachel also finds out the kennel needs to take in some money and can’t survive with just rescue dogs. The vet–George–who is quite gruff and plainspoken tells her the kennels are also meant to have paying customers who board their dogs. Rachel slowly learns more about dogs and about rescue dogs. And about walking dogs and cleaning kennels and feeding dogs. Slowly some of the rescue dogs are given permanent homes. Rachel begins making friends including Natalie who is a marketing pro. Together Natalie and Rachel begin working on plans for the rescue dogs and to make the kennels profitable. I really like that we get  stories of other people in this book, too.

Gem

Gem is a wonderful dog. When I was younger I always wanted a collie especially after I read the Albert Payson Terhune books about his collies. (I read lots of dog books when I was a teenager!) I found a copy of Lad: A Dog–the first book in the series at a used bookstore a few months ago and plan to read it again one of these days. Anyway, Gem was Aunt Dot’s dog and is missing Dot, but he’s a typical intelligent herding dog who helps during dog walks by herding the rescue dogs who don’t know about walking on a leash. He also provides solace to Rachel when Rachel takes him for solitary walks and indulges in her once a day crying. He is just what Rachel needs even if she doesn’t know it.

Romance

There are relationships at various stages of romance in this book. I like that the romances don’t take over the story. I like romances that are part of the daily life people live. I love that Rachel starts out a mess and grows and changes during this book.

Rescue dogs

We meet so many wonderful rescue dogs in this book. We learn about the heartbreak these dogs suffer if they’re abandoned by their owners. It’s especially bad when the dog is just abandoned on a street or out in the country. They sometimes doesn’t survive that. We get to know the quirks and characters of the rescue dogs and meet some of the people who adopt them.

Bottom line

A really good book especially if you like dogs!

My Rating: A-

Have you read any books by this author?

Awards

Romantic Novel of the Year (RoNa’s) Award (2010)

Reading Challenges

  • The Backlist Reader Challenge hosted by Lark @ The Bookwyrm’s Hoard
  • Review Writing Challenge hosted by Shari @ Delighted Reader blog
  • They Call It Puppy Love Challenge hosted by Barb @ Booker T’s Farm (February challenge)

My favorite 2018 new-to-me authors

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. This is a fun meme with specific topics each week. If you like to make lists be sure to check it out. I haven’t joined in too much lately, but plan to participate more this year.

The subject this week is “New-to-Me Authors I read in 2018.” Every year I read books by new authors and love many of the books I read by them. In 2018 I read 35 books by “new-to-me” authors. These are my favorites:

Katherine Arden

I read The Bear and the Nightingale, the first book of the Winternight Trilogy. It’s a historical fantasy set in Russia and a fairytale retelling that’s so rich in detail that I felt I was in Russia when I listened to this audiobook.

W.R. Gingell

I read seven of W.R. Gingell’s fantasies in 2018. Ms. Gingell is a self-published author and many of her books are imaginative fairytale retellings with a dose of romance. She is the author I glommed the most during 2018!

Abir Mukherjee

A Rising Man takes place in India. It is a historical mystery about a former Scotland Yard detective arriving in  Calcutta, India to take a post in the local police force. The book details not only a murder and the mystery surrounding it, but all the politics of the Brits in India when the stability of the British Raj is slipping.

Sujata Massey

The Widows of Malabar Hill–another book which takes place in India is also a historical mystery taking place in 1921 Bombay. Perveen Mistry arrives back in India after graduating from law school at Oxford in England. She joins her father’s law firm as one of the first female lawyers in India. She’s a strong advocate for women’s rights, but learns she must tread lightly and though her father is proud of her he isn’t always willing or able to aid her legal career. The mystery and story in this book are very intriguing.

Anne Hillerman

After her father–Tony Hillerman–died, Anne Hillerman continued the Leaphorn & Chee series he wrote for years. Song of the Lion was the first book I read by her and I was so relieved when I read it. She does a great job with the characters and the mystery. I love the Leaphorn & Chee series which I’ve read since I was a teenager. I’m slowly working my way through this series. In some cases I’ve reread books, but in other cases I’m reading them for the first time since I stopped reading mysteries for a few years.

C.J. Cherryh

C.J. Cherryh is a classic science fiction author whom I never heard of when I first started reading science fiction. I only started hearing about her after the internet gave me access to more books, blogs, authors and all else dealing with reading. The Pride of Chanur, the first book in the Chanur series involves humans, but is written from the viewpoint of other alien races. Not something I’ve seen very often when a science fiction has humans in it.

Rebecca Roanhorse

Trail of Lightning is the first book by Ms. Roanhorse and it’s such a good book. It’s a distopian urban fantasy about Navajo Indians with lots of their mythology and stories. I loved it and the second book in the series–Storm of Locusts–is due to come out in April. It’s one of my most anticipated books of 2019.

Heather Gudenkauf

I was looking for a book to read by an Iowa author when I discovered Heather Gudenkauf. Not a Sound is such a good suspenseful mystery. It also has a wonderful therapy dog who helps the main character who is deaf. I want to read more books by Ms. Gudenkauf!

Jackie Bouchard

What the Dog Ate isn’t the type of book I read too often–women’s fiction with a little romance thrown in. Barb @ Booker T’s Farm wrote about Jackie Bouchard in one of her posts. I don’t remember which one, but she mentioned that Jackie Bouchard wrote about dogs. Reading good stories about dogs (not books where dogs die) has been one of my favorite themes of 2018. This book is funny, sad and very human. I want to read more books by Ms. Bouchard!

Jenny Colgan

Christmas on the Island was the best Christmas themed book I read this year. It takes place on a remote Scottish island and is the third book in a series. I haven’t read any of the other books in this series and could tell I was missing some of the fun of this book. I’m going to try to read the earlier books. This is another women’s fiction with a little romance and a lot about life on an island especially during the dark days of winter on a remote northern island and how they celebrate Christmas. There’s heartache and sadness, but also joy and Christmas happiness.

Lisa Preston

The Clincher is about a young woman who makes her living as a horseshoer. I was initially drawn to this book by the synopsis which says the book takes place in a fictional part of Central Oregon. Since I lived in Central Oregon at one time I immediately wanted to read this book! The fact it’s a mystery whose main character has an interesting occupation also helped. I really liked this first book a new series and hope another one comes soon.

Susan Furlong

Splintered Silence was my last book of 2018 and was a good book to end the year. The book featured Irish Travellers. We have enclaves of Irish Travellers in this country…who knew? They are also still in Ireland and in Ireland they were finally recognized in 2017 as an official ethnic group. In this book the main character comes back home to hostility from both her family, other Travellers and from the local town. She left to get away from all that as well as other problems, but an IED (improvised explosive device) ended both her Marine MP career and her K-9 partner’s career. Bodies turn up in this book and Brynn and her K-9 partner help solve the mystery.

Did you read new authors in 2018? Who were your favorites?