Monday, January 23, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Jan. 23, 2017)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.  It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.

Other Than Reading...

This was a messed up week at school. We had an early release on Monday because of impending ice and a day off on Tuesday when the ice arrived. The last week of the semester is not a good time to miss school! We have had ice problems all week. On Friday three of our buses slid off rural roads due to icy conditions. Only one of the buses had students on it. The rescue bus which had gone to get them was the third one to go off the road. The paved roads were in good condition but the gravel roads iced over. We have also had rain, fog and dense fog all week. This is weird weather for Minnesota in January.

On the plus side, the extra time off did allow me to do some planning for the second semester. I also have all my report cards finished and can use our work day on Monday to get ready for semester two. I also have to begin the day at the clinic for blood work before my annual physical and leave early to meet a plumber at my house to fix a slow leak in my heating system. After that, I need to run into town and pick up a prescription that I'm out of but that the insurance company wouldn't let my pharmacy fill until Monday.

I really want some normal days to happen soon. All this extra stuff is stressful.
Read Last Week
Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop is the fifth book in the excellent The Others fantasy series. I really enjoyed this episode. My review will be posted on March 2 for this March 7 release.

Currently
I just started The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco.

Next Week
Next up are two cozies from my review stack.
Reviews Posted
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?

All Kindle books this week.

To see what Young Adult books I have been reading and plan to read, check out Ms. Martin Teaches Media - my other blog.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Book Review: Archangel's Heart by Nalini Singh

Archangel's Heart
Author: Nalini Singh
Series: A Guild Hunter Novel (Book 9)
Publication: Berkley (November 1, 2016)

Description: One of the most vicious archangels in the world has disappeared. No one knows if Lijuan is dead or has chosen to Sleep the long sleep of an immortal. But with her lands falling into chaos under a rising tide of vampiric bloodlust, a mysterious and ancient order of angels known as the Luminata calls the entire Cadre together to discuss the fate of her territory.

Accompanying her archangelic lover Raphael to the Luminata compound, guild hunter-turned-angel Elena senses that all is not as it seems. Secrets echo from within the stone walls of the compound, and the deeper Elena goes, the uglier the darkness. But neither Raphael nor Elena is ready for the brutal truths hidden within—truths that will change everything Elena thinks she knows about who she is…

Nothing will ever be the same again.

My Thoughts: Elena and her archangel lover Raphael are both on tenterhooks during a period of calm since the last cascade fearing that another cascade could happen at any time. they are also keeping a close eye on Lijuan who seems to be losing her mind and isn't going to go mad with causing major damage and destruction. Things are happening in Lijuan's China that leads the archangels to the conclusion that she is either dead or has chosen to sleep. This leaves a power vacuum in the area. Something must be done. The Luminata call a meeting in their stronghold in Morocco to decide what to do about China. Each archangel can bring two seconds to the meeting.

The Luminata are supposed to be a monklike group of angels who are searching for enlightenment. Raphael and Elena know that something is off when they arrive. The atmosphere sets off Elena's senses. She feels that she is being spied upon and she feels that Gian who leads the Luminata is too focused on her. Elena has a secondary reason for going to Morocco. She is trying to track down her mother's family. Her mother was orphaned at age 5 when her mother left her in the care of a kindly nun promising to return but never did. Elena has unique coloring that she feels is inherited. She hopes someone will have known her grandmother.

Her visit with some of the other seconds to a nearby town only ramp up her feeling that something is really wrong. The people there are all very frightened of angels. Also, the only people who live in the town are humans. Usually even the smallest town has some vampires too. Asking about her mother frightens the older people even more.

This was an entertaining episode in the Guild Hunter series. I love seeing Elena and Raphael's love grow stronger as they get to know each other better. I also like seeing more of the other angels who owe fealty to Raphael. This one gave readers a chance to learn more about Aodhan who is recovering from an abuse filled captivity. I also enjoyed seeing more of Raphael's mother who is an awesomely powerful archangel.

Favorite Quote:
Elena nodded. She might only be a "baby" angel, but she'd learned lessons in her mortal life that stood her in good stead in the immortal world. One of those lessons was that, sometimes, the worst dangers wore a pretty or "trustworthy" face. Slater Patalis had been as handsome as sin.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Friday Memes: Archangel's Heart by Nalini Singh

Happy Friday everybody!
Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Rose City ReaderThe Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Beginning:
She was tired.

Not old in years. Just tired. While her vocation called to her as powerfully as it had always done, the reality was a relentless workload that offered little time for the life of study and reflection that she craved.
Friday 56:
Elena spoke the words of love in her grandmother's language, felt Raphael's response in the look he gave her. It was blue fire and it was furious tenderness.
This week I'm taking a break in my reviewing schedule to read a recent arrival in one of my favorite series. Archangel's Heart by Nalini Singh is the ninth Guild Hunter novel. Here is the description from Amazon:
One of the most vicious archangels in the world has disappeared. No one knows if Lijuan is dead or has chosen to Sleep the long sleep of an immortal. But with her lands falling into chaos under a rising tide of vampiric bloodlust, a mysterious and ancient order of angels known as the Luminata calls the entire Cadre together to discuss the fate of her territory.

Accompanying her archangelic lover Raphael to the Luminata compound, guild hunter-turned-angel Elena senses that all is not as it seems. Secrets echo from within the stone walls of the compound, and the deeper Elena goes, the uglier the darkness. But neither Raphael nor Elena is ready for the brutal truths hidden within—truths that will change everything Elena thinks she knows about who she is…

Nothing will ever be the same again.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

ARC Review: Southern Gothic by Dale Wiley

Southern Gothic
Author: Dale Wiley
Publication: Vesuvian Books (January 24, 2017)

Description: Aspiring author Meredith Harper owns the hottest bookstore in Savannah.

Michael Black is her favorite writer—long thought dead—until he mysteriously approaches Meredith with a new manuscript, and a most unusual offer. Meredith can keep the manuscript to herself, or publish it under her own name.

Her decision results in a bestseller, but the novel contains a coded secret; one that will put her on trial for murder and in hiding from “the blood stalker,” proving too late that making a deal with the devil comes at a heavy price.

My Thoughts: This scary story is a novel within a novel. Meredith Harper has always wanted to be a writer like her hero Michael Black. She is divorced and has started a successful book store in Savannah. She has written a manuscript and sent it around to publishers but has had no offers to publish it.

Michael disappeared five years earlier under suspicion that he had killed his much younger girlfriend Quinn. Harassed by Quinn's father, he chooses to disappear. Meredith has started an online bulletin board to defend Michael.

One day she receives and email and some rather frightening phone calls that turn out to be from her home phone number. She brings her shop assistant home with her to check the place out. No one is there but a red ribbon - reminiscent of the book she wrote but could never find a publisher for - is hanging on a knob.

Soon Michael appears with her re-written novel which is told in alternate chapters in the first part of this story. Because he is in hiding, he offers to let her publish the book under her name. She accepts even though she knows it is wrong and begins an intense physical relationship with Michael.

The book becomes an instant best seller and Michael's behavior gets more and more strange. Personally, I think it was strange from the beginning. He stalked her, spied on her, make himself at home in her house when she wasn't there. When Meredith tries to break off with him, he threatens to expose her deception about the book.

Worse yet, the beginning of the newly rewritten book has clues that lead to Quinn's buried body. Meredith is accused of first degree murder but still refuses to tell what she knows about Michael for fear of being outed as a plagiarist and losing her new-found fame.

Things spiral deeper and deeper into the strange before the stunning conclusion. I thought this novel was intensely creepy. I thought Meredith made bad choice after bad choice in the story. Fans of scary stories will enjoy this one.

Favorite Quote:
They say that vertigo is not the fear of falling but the fear of jumping, and there was a minute when I was on that proverbial roof, almost ready to take the ride.
I got this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

WoW: Heartstone by Elle Katharine White

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. She has a linky widget at her site each week for your post and to make it easy to find posts by other people.

The purpose of the meme is to spotlight books that we are eagerly anticipating. It is fun to take a look at what others are waiting for. I have noticed that it has expanded my wishlist though. Be warned!

Elle Katharine White
Jan.17, 2017
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.

Elle Katharine White infuses elements of Austen’s beloved novel with her own brand of magic, crafting a modern epic fantasy that conjures a familiar yet wondrously unique new world.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: Southern Gothic by Dale Wiley

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by The Purple Booker. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Teaser (from the 10% mark of the eARC):
Would I have done something different if I had know it would only last for less than a year? Or that a different location might well provide a different outcome? I can't answer that. Grief is a never-ending series of what-ifs.
This week I am reading Southern Gothic by Dale Wiley. I received this eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Here is the description from Amazon:
Aspiring author Meredith Harper owns the hottest bookstore in Savannah.

Michael Black is her favorite writer—long thought dead—until he mysteriously approaches Meredith with a new manuscript, and a most unusual offer. Meredith can keep the manuscript to herself, or publish it under her own name.

Her decision results in a bestseller, but the novel contains a coded secret; one that will put her on trial for murder and in hiding from “the blood stalker,” proving too late that making a deal with the devil comes at a heavy price.

Monday, January 16, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Jan. 16, 2017)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.  It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.

Other Than Reading...

I have felt like a prophet of doom all week as I have been constantly reminding my students that the end of the semester is coming and they have missing work. Our semester ends this Friday. Monday is a work day/inservice day and then the second semester begins. I will be seeing a whole new bunch of students. I'm saying goodbye to my fifth, third and second graders and hello to Kindergartners, first graders, fourth graders and sixth graders. I'm also saying goodbye to my half-time schedule and going to full time for the first time since the 2014-2015 school year. This week will be filled with meetings and report cards (upwards of 240 of them).

After a (relatively) warm and sunny weekend, we are supposed to begin the coming week with a "wintry mix." We still haven't lost the ice from the last time. Freezing rain on Monday and Tuesday ought to make the driving miserable. I'm forever grateful that my longest commute is 3/4 of a mile.

I bought myself a present this week - a paper shredder- and have gleefully been going through my file drawers in my quest to be more organized and have less stuff in 2017. I searched online to see how long I should be keeping papers. I was pretty sure I didn't need my first pay stub from 1976 but didn't want to get rid of it prematurely.

Read Last Week
Beauty and the Wiener by Casey Griffin was a cute romantic suspense title with cute dogs. My review will be posted on Feb. 4.

I See You by Clare Mackintosh was a chilling suspense novel, told from multiple viewpoints, that kept me up reading late into the night. My review will be posted on Feb. 16.

Currently
Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop has finally reached to top of my Review stack. I got the eARC on Nov. 9 and had a hard time waiting for it to have its turn.

Next Week
Next are two more from my review stack:
Reviews Posted
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?
For my review stack:

Just because:
  • Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly (Kindle)
  • The Burning Page by Genevieve Cogman (Print - It's joining the first two books in the series on TBR mountain.)
To see what Young Adult books I have been reading and plan to read, check out Ms. Martin Teaches Media - my other blog.