Friday, December 2, 2016

Friday Memes: Enemy Games by Marcella Burnard

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:
The communications panel trilled, echoing the call in the confines of the tiny cockpit. Damen entered the unlock code.
Friday 56:
"Two things," she said into the weighted quiet. "First, Queen's Rhapsody, do you have a quarantine advisory for this vessel? The flag would have come across the alliance pipeline. Second, does the Kawl Fergus have the capacity in initiate teleport as well as receive?"
This week I am reading Enemy Games by Marcella Burnard. This is a science fiction romance that has been sitting on my TBR mountain since July 2013. Here is the description from Amazon:
Kidnapped while combating a plague, Jayleia Durante fights to resist the attractive Major Damen Sindrivik, an officer from a rival government's spy corps. But with her father missing, and mercenaries on her trail, Jayleia must join forces with the magnetic major-for the good of the empire.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Book Review: Dragonheart by Todd McCaffrey

Dragonheart
Author: Todd McCaffrey
Series: Dragonriders of Pern (Book 21)
Publication: Del Rey; Reprint edition (October 27, 2009)

Description: The specter of sickness looms over the Weyrs of Pern, felling fire-lizards and threatening their dragon cousins, Pern’s sole defense against the deadly phenomenon that is Thread. Fiona, the young rider of queen dragon Talenth, is about to assume the duties of a Weyrwoman when word spreads that dragons have begun succumbing to the new contagion. As more dragons sicken and die, Weyrleader B’Nik and queen rider Lorana comb Fort Weyr’s archives in a desperate search for clues from the past that may hold the solution to the plague. But could the past itself prove the pathway to salvation for Pern’s imperiled dragons? Guided by a mysterious ally from a wholly unexpected place, and trusting in the dragon gift for transcending time, Fiona will join a risky expedition with far-reaching consequences for both Pern’s future and her personal destiny.

My Thoughts: This is another story from the early days of Pern. Fiona, who is the Lord Holder's only surviving child after plague ravaged the population, impresses a queen dragon Talenth and her life changes. Now she is the youngest of three weyrwomen at Fort Weyr. While she spent her life in the Holds, now she has to change her thinking. Luckily, the skills she learned as a Lord Holder's daughter translate nicely to that of a weyrwoman who cares for the needs of the dragons, dragonriders and other people of the weyr.

Fiona love her bond with Talenth and loves being able to care for her. Those around her notice that she and the others who impressed dragons at the latest hatching are different. They seem overly sleepy and dreamy. No one is quite sure why.

Thread is soon to begin falling in its 50 year cycle and dragons are getting sick. Everyone is rushing to try to find old records to see if there are any clues to what might be ailing them and what can be done to cure them. Between injuries from threadfall and the illness that is killing dragons, the dragonriders are quickly seeing that something has to be done or Pern will be lost.

Fiona, Talenth, the weyrlings, and the wounded dragonriders are led back some years into the past by a mysterious woman riding a queen dragon. This will give the injured a chance to heal and the wyrlings and Fiona a chance to grow so that they can be ready to fight thread when they return. They will be spending three years in the past but will return only three days after they left.

What was most interesting to me was the way Fiona comes into her own as a strong leader. I also liked how she met and worked with people she knew in the present. I liked the way she forged a new relationship with the traders who travel Pern.

While I'm not usually a big fan of stories involving time travel, and I have some questions about this one, I think it worked pretty well.

Favorite Quote:
"My father raised me well."

"You mean, your father will raise you well," Azeez corrected her, smiling.

"I think I might prefer is raising me well," Fiona countered, smiling back.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Book Review: Apprentice in Death by J. D. Robb

Apprentice in Death
Author: J. D. Robb
Series: In Death (Book 43)
Publication: Berkley (September 6, 2016)

Description: Lieutenant Eve Dallas returns in a fast-paced new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author J. D. Robb.

Nature versus nurture...

The shots came quickly, silently, and with deadly accuracy. Within seconds, three people were dead at Central Park’s ice-skating rink. The victims: a talented young skater, a doctor, and a teacher. As random as random can be.

Eve Dallas has seen a lot of killers during her time with the NYPSD but never one like this. A review of the security videos reveals that the victims were killed with a tactical laser rifle fired by a sniper, who could have been miles away when the trigger was pulled. And though the list of locations where the shooter could have set up seems endless, the number of people with that particular skill set is finite: police, military, professional killer.

Eve’s husband, Roarke, has unlimited resources—and genius—at his disposal. And when his computer program leads Eve to the location of the sniper, she learns a shocking fact: There were two—one older, one younger. Someone is being trained by an expert in the science of killing, and they have an agenda. Central Park was just a warm-up. And as another sniper attack shakes the city to its core, Eve realizes that though we’re all shaped by the people around us, there are those who are just born evil...

My Thoughts: This 42nd Eve Dallas futuristic mystery/romance has Eve working the case of a long distance serial killer. The first three victims were picked off at a skating rink. Eve and her team try to find some connection between the three or find out which might have attracted a serial killer. A second shooting in Times Square has five victims. And, again, Eve and her team try to find connections.

Roarke helps by developing a software program that enables them to track the shots back to their origin. It is soon plain that the killer must be someone with extensive practice as a sniper. Soon Eve, Roarke, and the team know who the sniper was but now have to track them down before the next shooting happen.

Meanwhile, Eve is stressing over attending a birthday party for Mavis's one-year-old daughter Bella. She is also choosing the design for her new home office since she has outgrown the one Roarke first provided for her which was a copy of the office in the apartment she lived in before she met Roarke.

I really like the strong relationships in this series. Eve has moved from being a loner to a woman who is deeply loved and who deeply loves and who can expand and deepen her friendships. Despite feeling sometimes that she now has too many friends, Eve has a much richer life than before she met and married Roarke.

This book also explores the conflict between nature and nurture as Eve sees some of herself in the killer that she is tracking. She sees someone she could have been had she made different choices in her life. This also explores the variety of mentors in her life and in Roarke's and the way they helped shape the people Eve and Roarke have become.

This is a series that never gets old for me. I move each new book to the top of my reading stack and look forward greatly to the next.

Favorite Quote:
He knew how thin her defenses were when she worked herself into exhaustion.

At least she'd get a get hours' sleep in her own bed, he thought as he drove through the gates. And he'd see she ate a decent breakfast in the morning.

He, too, did what he must, and the most important must for him was Eve.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: Dragonheart by Todd McCaffrey

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books and a Beat. 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 10% into a book I just started):
Kentai raised his hands in defeat, saying to Fiona, "Once you've learned as much Boll wisdom as this one is willing to teach you, feel free to find me."
This week I am reading Dragonheart by Todd McCaffrey. This one is from my TBR mountain. I am trying to finish this long-running series. Here is the description from Amazon:
The specter of sickness looms over the Weyrs of Pern, felling fire-lizards and threatening their dragon cousins, Pern’s sole defense against the deadly phenomenon that is Thread. Fiona, the young rider of queen dragon Talenth, is about to assume the duties of a Weyrwoman when word spreads that dragons have begun succumbing to the new contagion. As more dragons sicken and die, Weyrleader B’Nik and queen rider Lorana comb Fort Weyr’s archives in a desperate search for clues from the past that may hold the solution to the plague. But could the past itself prove the pathway to salvation for Pern’s imperiled dragons? Guided by a mysterious ally from a wholly unexpected place, and trusting in the dragon gift for transcending time, Fiona will join a risky expedition with far-reaching consequences for both Pern’s future and her personal destiny.

Monday, November 28, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Nov. 28, 2016)

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... 

Well, my Thanksgiving plans were derailed this week. After three years of remission, I had a Crohn's flare up. I spent 6 hours in the Emergency Room on Monday and then rested at home the rest of the week. I saw my gastroenterologist on Friday and have begun a course of steroids to try to put the disease into remission again. I have twelve weeks of the steroid and then more tests in March. If this treatment doesn't work, we'll have to reassess.

On the positive side, I got a lot of reading done both in waiting rooms and at home. This week I should finish my whole 2016 calendar since the books I'm planning to read will show up on my blogs late in December.

We finally had our first measurable snowfall this past week but warm temperatures have melted it away. Our ground is bare as I'm writing this. We are even expecting a couple of sunny days and warmer than average temperatures for the next few days. I am not a big fan of winter driving and appreciate any snow-free day we manage to have. Winter in Minnesota is long enough even without snow in November.

Read Last Week
At What Cost by James L'Etoile was a fast-paced thriller pitting Detective Penley against someone killing people for their organs. This case hits home for him because his son is waiting for a kidney transplant and the killer knows it. My review will be posted on December 8.

A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn is the second Veronica Speedwell mystery. I love the Victorian setting and the unconventional Miss Speedwell. My review will be posted on January 12.
Time of Death by Lucy Kerr has a woman coming back to her small town to take care of her sister. Frankie is an ER nurse who ran from her small town as soon as she could leaving behind a family business and a fiance who wanted to stay. She needs to investigate the hospital to save her license when she's accused of negligence in caring for a man having a heart attack who subsequently died. My review will be posted on December 10.

Forgotten City by Carrie Smith is the second mystery starring cancer survivor and police detective Claire Codella. This time she's investigating the unexpected death of former Broadway star Lucy Merchant who was in a posh nursing home suffering from Alzheimer's. This was an excellent mystery with well-developed characters. My review will be posted on December 15.
Ill Met by Murder by Elizabeth J. Duncan was a cozy set in the Catskills. The sleuth is a theatrical costume designer with a cute corgi companion. This one features dognapping and shade real estate deals. My review will be posted on Dec. 17.

Currently
I am currently reading Coffin Road by Peter May. This is also a review book.

Next Week
Next week I'm hoping to squeeze in Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen before I go back to reading review books.

I have The Golden Gate by Robert Buettner and Midnight Obsession by Melinda Leigh from my review stack. Both of these will be released on January 3.

Reviews Posted
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?
Two Kindle Deals caught my eye this week:
Two more got added to my review stack 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, November 26, 2016

Book Review: The Elizabeth Papers by Jenetta James

The Elizabeth Papers
Author: Jenetta James
Publication: Meryton Press (June 14, 2016)

Description: "It is settled between us already, that we are to be the happiest couple in the world," said Elizabeth Bennet at the conclusion of Pride & Prejudice--but was it true?

Charlie Haywood is a London-based private investigator who has made his own fortune--on his own terms. Charming, cynical, and promiscuous, he never expected to be attracted to Evie Pemberton, an independent-minded artist living with the aftermath of tragedy. But when he is hired to investigate her claims to a one hundred fifty-year-old trust belonging to the eminent Darcy family, he is captivated.

Together they become entwined in a Regency tale of love, loss, and mystery tracing back to the grand estate of Pemberley, home to Evie's nineteenth century ancestors, Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy. As if travelling back in time, another story unfolds within theirs. All was not as it seemed in the private lives of Mr. and Mrs. Darcy, but how can they ever uncover the whole truth?

How could they know that in 1817 Elizabeth Darcy began a secret journal? What started as an account of a blissful life came to reflect a growing unease. Was the Darcy marriage perfect, or was there betrayal and deception at its heart?

Can Evie and Charlie unearth the truth in the letters of Fitzwilliam Darcy or within the walls of present-day Pemberley? What are the elusive "Elizabeth papers," and why did Elizabeth herself want them destroyed?

The Elizabeth Papers is a tale of romance and intrigue, spanning the Regency and modern eras, reminding us how the passions of the past may inspire those in the present.

My Thoughts: THE ELIZABETH PAPERS was an excellent story that defies classification. It is a mystery in that private investigator Charlie Hayworth needs to track down evidence that the youngest of Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy's daughter was illegitimate. It is two romances. Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth in the 1800s and Charlie and Evie in 2014. It is historical fiction about an alternate history where Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy were people outside of Jane Austen's imagination.

Charlie Hayworth is a self-made man who has risen from his humble roots to become a very successful private investigator in modern day London. He is handsome and not averse to lying to help his clients. He is brought a case by Cressida Carter who wants him to discover if Victoria Darcy was, in fact, the legitimate daughter of Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy because, if she was not, her descendants are no longer eligible to receive funds from the Darcy Trust which provides a substantial yearly income to those who qualify.

Charlie puts his researchers on the case and learns that the only descendants of Victoria are sisters Evangeline and Clementine Pemberton. He contrives to meet Evie who is an artist and her sister Clemmie who is a quadriplegic injured in the same accident that killed their parents. Man-about-town Charlie is immediately attracted to Evie who is much more wary.

When he learns that Evie and Clemmie need the money from the trust to survive, he tells Cressida that there is no way to prove her case and drops her as a client. He determines to find these hidden Elizabeth Papers and destroy them if that is what it takes to keep Evie and Clemmie in the trust.

I loved the way this book interwove the story of Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy, who are going through a bit of a rough patch in their marriage, and Charlie and Evie who are building a more modern relationship. The writing was excellent and the characters wonderfully well-rounded. Even readers, like me, who haven't read PRIDE AND PREJUDICE will find an excellent story here.

Favorite Quote:
Then he thought about that treasure trove of Darcy's letters he had sent to her, and he knew that she would be stupid to just let it drop. Somehow, he knew that, to protect Evie, he would have to beat Cressida to it, find whatever they were looking for, and get rid of it. He couldn't leave Evie to face this thing on her own. 
I got this one from the author in exchange for an honest review. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Friday Memes: The Elizabeth Papers by Jenetta James

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:
December 25, 1817, Pemberley

It is Christmas night, and I have been looking forward to this moment all day. My mind has been racing, and my fingers have been itching to pick up my pen and write.
Friday 56:
He concurs with the story and recalls that Hannah, who was delirious at the time, pleading with him to assist in "getting rid of it for Mrs. Darcy." 
This week I am reading The Elizabeth Papers by Jenetta James. I received this one from the author. Here is the description from Amazon:
"It is settled between us already, that we are to be the happiest couple in the world," said Elizabeth Bennet at the conclusion of Pride & Prejudice--but was it true?

Charlie Haywood is a London-based private investigator who has made his own fortune--on his own terms. Charming, cynical, and promiscuous, he never expected to be attracted to Evie Pemberton, an independent-minded artist living with the aftermath of tragedy. But when he is hired to investigate her claims to a one hundred fifty-year-old trust belonging to the eminent Darcy family, he is captivated.

Together they become entwined in a Regency tale of love, loss, and mystery tracing back to the grand estate of Pemberley, home to Evie's nineteenth century ancestors, Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy. As if travelling back in time, another story unfolds within theirs. All was not as it seemed in the private lives of Mr. and Mrs. Darcy, but how can they ever uncover the whole truth?

How could they know that in 1817 Elizabeth Darcy began a secret journal? What started as an account of a blissful life came to reflect a growing unease. Was the Darcy marriage perfect, or was there betrayal and deception at its heart?

Can Evie and Charlie unearth the truth in the letters of Fitzwilliam Darcy or within the walls of present-day Pemberley? What are the elusive "Elizabeth papers," and why did Elizabeth herself want them destroyed?

The Elizabeth Papers is a tale of romance and intrigue, spanning the Regency and modern eras, reminding us how the passions of the past may inspire those in the present.