Monday, December 28, 2015

Judging by the Cover #2 - Kinuko Y. Craft

Welcome to Judging by the Cover, where I showcase artists that I've discovered through book cover art. 






Kinuko Y. Craft has a unique and enchanting style of art that is immediately recognizable. Her work is so detailed, from ringlets and delicate tendrils in hair, to braiding on clothing and flower petals, there is an ethereal quality to her paintings that is hers alone. 




I am mostly familiar with her from the covers of Patricia McKillip novels which I've shown here, but she has also been commissioned to work for Time, National Geographic and The New York Times. Other book covers include Stephen King, Andre Norton and Isaac Asimov, just to name a few.

In addition to those lofty credits, she has illustrated quite a few fairytale retellings, the newest is Beauty and the Beast through Harper Collins which should be out in 2016.

You can look at one of her paintings many times and always find a new detail that you had not noticed before. 

Visit Kinuko Craft's Website for more details on her life and work.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Wishlist Wednesday #12 - Rook by Sharon Cameron

Wishlist Wednesday is a book blog hop where we will post about one book per week that has been on our wishlist for some time, or just added (it's entirely up to you), that we can't wait to get off the wishlist and onto our wonderful shelves.

It is hosted by Pen to Paper, just click on the button to the left if you'd like to join us!


From Goodreads:

History has a way of repeating itself. In the Sunken City that was once Paris, all who oppose the new revolution are being put to the blade. Except for those who disappear from their prison cells, a red-tipped rook feather left in their place. Is the mysterious Red Rook a savior of the innocent or a criminal?

Meanwhile, across the sea in the Commonwealth, Sophia Bellamy’s arranged marriage to the wealthy René Hasard is the last chance to save her family from ruin. But when the search for the Red Rook comes straight to her doorstep, Sophia discovers that her fiancé is not all he seems. Which is only fair, because neither is she.

As the Red Rook grows bolder and the stakes grow higher, Sophia and René find themselves locked in a tantalizing game of cat and mouse.

I really enjoyed listening to Sharon Cameron's The Dark Unwinding and I'm looking forward to the next one as well.  This is a stand alone that also sounds interesting!

What books are on your wishlist?  

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Holiday Grind (Coffeehouse Mystery #8) - Cleo Coyle

From the back:

When Village Blend manager and head barista Clare Cosi finds a red-suited body in the snow, she adds solving Santa's slaying to her coffeehouse menu.

Clare's grown very fond of Alfred Glockner, the part-time comic and genuinely jolly charity Santa who's been using her coffeehouse as a place to warm his mittens. When she finds him gunned down in a nearby alley, a few subtle clues convince her that Alfred's death was something more than the tragic result of a random mugging -- the conclusion of the police.

With Clare's boyfriend, NYPD detective Mike Quinn, distracted by a cold case of his own, and ex-husband Matt "investigating" this year's holiday lingerie catalogs (an annual event), Clare charges ahead solo and discovers this Santa had a list that he was checking twice -- and the folks on it were not very nice. Then someone tries to ice Clare, and she really gets steamed...


This is a fun series. You can always count on Clare to get herself into trouble while piecing together who-done-it. This installment also includes around 80 pages of recipes and coffee facts.  Things get a bit rocky for Clare and Quinn, and her ex, Matt, seems to be the one coming to her rescue every time she's in a fix.  Clare's ex-mother-in-law, Madame, is force to be reckoned with, and always has something up her sleeve and connections to everyone.  She is always so tickled to get involved in helping Clare investigate! The coffee house setting makes me wish I had a Village Blend nearby and coffee trade facts that are included are interesting, fleshing out the theme, and making it more immersive than just knowing it is the setting.  I really wish some of the Fa-la-la-la Latte flavors they came up with were real!


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Wishlist Wednesday #11 - The Gospel of Loki by Joanne M. Harris

Wishlist Wednesday is a book blog hop where we will post about one book per week that has been on our wishlist for some time, or just added (it's entirely up to you), that we can't wait to get off the wishlist and onto our wonderful shelves.

It is hosted by Pen to Paper, just click on the button to the left if you'd like to join us!


From Goodreads:

The novel is a brilliant first-person narrative of the rise and fall of the Norse gods - retold from the point of view of the world's ultimate trickster, Loki. It tells the story of Loki's recruitment from the underworld of Chaos, his many exploits on behalf of his one-eyed master, Odin, through to his eventual betrayal of the gods and the fall of Asgard itself. Using her life-long passion for the Norse myths, Joanne Harris has created a vibrant and powerful fantasy novel.

Loki, that’s me.

Loki, the Light-Bringer, the misunderstood, the elusive, the handsome and modest hero of this particular tissue of lies. Take it with a pinch of salt, but it’s at least as true as the official version, and, dare I say it, more entertaining.

So far, history, such as it is, has cast me in a rather unflattering role.

Now it’s my turn to take the stage.

With his notorious reputation for trickery and deception, and an ability to cause as many problems as he solves, Loki is a Norse god like no other. Demon-born, he is viewed with deepest suspicion by his fellow gods who will never accept him as one of their own and for this he vows to take his revenge.

From his recruitment by Odin from the realm of Chaos, through his years as the go-to man of Asgard, to his fall from grace in the build-up to Ragnarok, this is the unofficial history of the world’s ultimate trickster.

I have not read anything by this author yet, but have several friends that have and enjoyed her.  I think this is a bit different from her usual maybe, I'm not sure.  But it's Loki!  I'm sure I'll be picturing Tom Hiddleston as I read, unless the voice is just too different.  I like reading established mythologies or legends from the point of view of the villain, Morgan Le Fay, Mordred, etc.  I guess I just have a soft spot for them!

What books are on your wishlist?  

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Doctor Who: The Drosten's Curse by A. L. Kennedy

From the Back:

"I shall make you the jewel at the heart of the universe."

Something distinctly odd is going on in Arbroath. It could be to do with golfers being dragged down into the bunkers at the Fetch Brothers’ Golf Spa Hotel, never to be seen again. It might be related to the strange twin grandchildren of the equally strange Mrs Fetch--owner of the hotel and fascinated with octopuses. It could be the fact that people in the surrounding area suddenly know what others are thinking, without anyone saying a word.

Whatever it is, the Doctor is most at home when faced with the distinctly odd. With the help of Fetch Brothers' Junior Receptionist Bryony, he'll get to the bottom of things.  Just so long as he does so in time to save Bryony from quite literally losing her mind, and the entire world from destruction.

Because something huge, ancient, and alien lies hidden beneath the ground, and it's starting to wake up...


The Celtic knotwork on the cover caught my eye, that it was Doctor Who, an interesting premise and that it was the 4th Doctor, who was my first, all led me to choose this one from Blogging for Books. A. L. Kennedy really delivered for me, because having finished it, I now want to go watch all of the 4th Doctor episodes! Usually what that means is that the book characterization and feel really worked for me and I'm not ready to be done yet! But alas I have finished it and it's time for me to tell you how fun it was.  It was super FUN!

The feel of what I consider the trademark of Doctor Who for me was portrayed very well, that he's such an intense entity that it's difficult for him to stay serious for long, because that's just too much, too painful and too dangerous.  That way lies madness.  So the pressure is relieved through ridiculousness, but very intelligent silliness, and sometimes he's difficult to follow because his mind is just working too quickly and too deeply to keep up with.  He's also pretty impatient of us poor slow humans, and other aliens, but pretty fond of us all too.

Bryony and Putta remind me a bit of Eleven's companions Amy and Rory, and are a cute, bumbling addition to the Doctor's team.  The Tardis is also portrayed as having a mind of its own and how Bryony and Putta were getting different feelings from it just speaks well for the author's characterization in my opinion. 

Doctor Who is a great combo of fun, action and a message, in this case love conquering hate and fear, and Kennedy does a fantastic job of capturing that spirit in this novel.  I enjoyed it, and definitely recommend it to Doctor Who fans.


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Aunt Dimity's Christmas (Aunt Dimity #5) by Nancy Atherton

From the back cover:

Lori Shepherd can hardly wait to celebrate Christmas this year with her husband, Bill, and their twin sons in the beautiful cottage willed to her by Aunt Dimity. But then Lori makes a disturbing discovery beneath the cottage's snow-covered lilac bushes -- the body of a mysterious stranger, barely alive. Lori puts her plans on hold to team up with Julian Bright -- a devilishly attractive Roman Catholic priest -- and seek out the tramp's identity. Their adventure takes Lori and Julian from abandoned World War II airfields to homeless shelters -- places where the Christmas star shines dimly, if at all. With Aunt Dimity's ghostly guidance, Lori unveils the tragic secret that led the stranger to her door, and must confront painful truths about herself and the true meaning of a perfect family Christmas.

Once again I must sing Nancy Atheron's praises with her Aunt Dimity series. The way she crafts a mystery, it's so much more than just figuring out the answer, it's the journey of self-discovery at the same time. In this case a reminder of the true spirit of Christmas, which we ALL need as we run that race to get it all done in time.

Lori wants to uphold all the traditions that makes it feel like the holidays to her, but instead finds herself involved in discovering the identity of the tramp, after a little prodding from Aunt Dimity.  The village Nativity Play seems like a ship out of control as well when Lori's father-in-law must step in to fill Bill's place while he is gone and everyone has their own interpretation of how things should go.  Personalities clash, and the worst comes out in everyone, until they are reminded of what's really important, not the trappings of the season, but the spirit of giving and love. Then, like most of us when shown how selfish we were being without even realizing it, they step up to the plate in a big way, and somehow everything works out.  We also get to meet another of Reginald's "cousins" which is always a poignant treat.

I can't recommend this series enough, I feel like Finch is just right around the corner and waiting for me to visit!  Check out the Aunt Dimity's World Website for more info.  I'm so glad I have so many more books to look forward to!

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Wishlist Wednesday #10 - The Conjuror's Riddle (The Inventor's Secret #2) by Andrea Cremer

Wishlist Wednesday is a book blog hop where we will post about one book per week that has been on our wishlist for some time, or just added (it's entirely up to you), that we can't wait to get off the wishlist and onto our wonderful shelves.

It is hosted by Pen to Paper, just click on the button to the left if you'd like to join us!


From Goodreads:

The Revolution is beginning–and Charlotte may be on the wrong side.

In this sequel to The Inventor's Secret, Charlotte and her companions escape the British Empire, but they haven't left danger behind. In fact, if they go against the revolutionaries, they face even greater peril.

Charlotte leads her group of exiles west, plunging into a wild world of shady merchants and surly rivermen on the way to New Orleans. But as Charlotte learns more about the revolution she has championed, she wonders if she's on the right side after all. Charlotte and her friends get to know the mystical New Orleans bayou and deep into the shadowy tunnels below the city–the den of criminals, assassins and pirates–Charlotte must decide if the revolution's goals justify their means, or if some things, like the lives of her friends, are too sacred to sacrifice.

This alternate-history adventure series asks the questions: What would have happened if America had lost the Revolutionary War? And what would people be willing to do to finally taste freedom?

I must have found The Inventor's Secret not long after it came out because it seems like I've been waiting for a long time for #2.  But it's finally here just back in November, so hopefully I'll get to it soon!  I like alternate history stories.

What books are on your wishlist?  

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Rest You Merry (Peter Shandy #1) by Charlotte MacLeod




From Goodreads:

Professor Peter Shandy finally succumbs to Jemima Ames, Chairperson for Balaclava Agricultural College's major fundraiser, the Grand Illumination. He buries his small brick house under an avalanche of tawdry plastic and escapes on a sea cruise. But he returns to find Jemima dead on his living room floor and a murder to solve.


Poor Peter, he thought he'd pulled a fast one on the overbearing wife of his good friend when he finally caves to her demands of Christmas decorating, goes completely overboard, and then skips town for the holidays before he can be discovered. Only nothing works out as he planned, and his little joke ends up with him being responsible for solving her murder. I really enjoyed Peter's character, he's a smidge curmudgeon, but also unexpectedly mischevious. I kept imagining a middle aged aged Ian McKellan or Peter O'Toole, even though the character is not British, it was that twinkle they get when they're up to no good that made me smile in imagining.  There is also a dash of romance for our scholarly bachelor, if he can keep out of trouble long enough!

This is my first Charlotte MacLeod read and I give it a definite recommend for holiday reading and cozy mystery lovers.  I'm looking forward to seeing what trouble Peter gets into next!

Saturday, December 05, 2015

My To Be Read List - December 2015 - Here There Be Dragons!




So, Christmas happened, and all the lead up to Christmas, and because Christmas was happening, reading wasn't happening. I'm a little over halfway in His Majesty's Dragon, and I do love it! The dragon reminds me of a cross between Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon, and Tom Hiddleston. LOL! Because he can talk, and he's with the British. He's super polite, and wants to please his Captain, but does occasionally assert his own independence when questions of duty or service come up. King and Country don't come first for him, no matter what Laurence (his captain) says. I have no doubt I will continue to love it, so I'll post a full review when I'm finally done! In the meantime, I do highly recommend it if you like dragons mixed in with your history!

****************
 And the winner by 70%/30%/0% is....


I've been looking forward to these for awhile and I had predicted to myself that's how this vote would go, but I didn't expect it to be by quite so much, and with poor De LeSangre not getting any love!  It's okay, I'll still read him someday. ;)  But for now, dragons to the ready!  We fly at dawn! :D

*****************

Welcome to my December 2015 edition of My To Be Read List, hosted by Michelle @ Because Reading. This is a monthly meme where we offer up 3 choices from our TBR pile for our readers to pick from to help us make the super hard decision of "what do I read next?" a little easier and to whittle away at the ever growing TBR Mountain! 

Theme: Here There Be Dragons! Feel free to leave me a comment and tell me what you chose and why.

The poll will stay open through Friday 12/11 , and I'll update this post with the winning book on Saturday 12/12, then post a review on the last Saturday of the month, 12/26.

If you think this sounds fun and would like to join (the more the merrier, because we love voting!) please head on over to Because Reading where Michelle lays out the rules for us!

And the choices are...





From Goodreads:

Here, at last, are the confessions of one Peter DelaSangre, who tells of his life on an island off the coast of Miami...of his lonely balancing act between the worlds of humans and dragons...and of the overwhelming need that gives his life purpose: To find a woman of his own kind...



From Goodreads:

Set in a world where dragons--the source of all magic--are fading from existence, this is the story of Jaylor, a journeyman wizard, and Brevelan, a young witchwoman. Faced with a seemingly impossible task, Jaylor and Brevelan must find out who is behind the attempt to destroy the dragons before all magic is forever drained from their homeland.
From Goodreads:

Aerial combat brings a thrilling new dimension to the Napoleonic Wars as valiant warriors ride mighty fighting dragons, bred for size or speed. When HMS Reliant captures a French frigate and seizes the precious cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, fate sweeps Captain Will Laurence from his seafaring life into an uncertain future – and an unexpected kinship with a most extraordinary creature.

Thrust into the rarified world of the Aerial Corps as master of the dragon Temeraire, he will face a crash course in the daring tactics of airborne battle. For as France’s own dragon-borne forces rally to breach British soil in Bonaparte’s boldest gambit, Laurence and Temeraire must soar into their own baptism of fire.


#MyTBRL

Thursday, December 03, 2015

2016 New Release Challenge



I love the ideas of reading challenges, but have discovered that the specific ones for genre, or series, etc. are generally too much for me. I'm a mood reader, and a bit contrary, and as soon as I feel like I HAVE to read something, it becomes the thing I want to read the least.  I'll be sticking to the Goodreads challenge, and giving myself a low number, that worked out really well in 2015. I felt like I enjoyed my reading more than I had in a couple years, with no pressure.

I'm also going to give this 2016 New Release Challenge a go, because I want to try and stay up with some new books, as well as working on series that I'm way behind on.  Since this isn't specific and I'm already looking forward to some new releases in series that I am caught up on, plus some new starts, I think it will be perfect!

If this sounds good to you and you'd like to join up, head on over to (un)Conventional Book Views to see all the details!

I will stick with level 1, New Release Newbie, and try for one new release per month.

Here are a few that I'm looking forward to, but I always reserve the right to change my mind!


1/5/2016
1/26/2016
2/16/2016
2/23/2016
3/1/2016
4/5/2016
4/5/2016
4/26/2016
5/3/2016

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Wishlist Wednesday #9 - Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Wishlist Wednesday is a book blog hop where we will post about one book per week that has been on our wishlist for some time, or just added (it's entirely up to you), that we can't wait to get off the wishlist and onto our wonderful shelves.

It is hosted by Pen to Paper, just click on the button to the left if you'd like to join us!


From Goodreads:

On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery”, a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

I've been reading Susan's Something Strange and Deadly series and really enjoying it, so I'm looking forward to this new series of hers!

What books are on your wishlist?  

Monday, November 30, 2015

COYER Reading Challenge - Going Back to Basics - Dec. 19th, 2015 through Mar. 4th, 2016


Because Reading is better than real life


I'm just as guilty of grabbing those Kindle freebies as everyone else, so the COYER Challenge (Clean Out Your E-Reader) is a great time to actually get some of those read and reviewed (because if you're getting it for free, a review is a good way to give back).

The Challenge begins December 19th and runs through March 4th.  Click on the picture above to be taken to the sign up post and see all the details!  Come join us, the more the merrier!

TBR:

 

Currently Reading:



Finished:

 

Updates:

1/20/16: I've been a lazy COYER participant this time! I have finished two books, but not written any reviews yet, so I still need to do that!

2/10/16: I have now finished 3 books, and written the review for Claus: Legend of the Fat Man!  I hope to catch up on reviews soon, I really enjoyed my other two reads, Nefertiti's Heart and Traitor's Masque, and plan to do a giveaway for Traitor's Masque, so stay tuned!

2/11/16: Traitor's Masque review and giveaway are live!

Judging by the Cover #1 - Artist: Scott M. Fischer

Welcome to my new feature, Judging by the Cover, where I will showcase some of my favorite artists that I've discovered through book cover art.
 
For my very first edition, I'd like to introduce you to Scott M. Fischer.  I discovered a favorite new author thanks to his cover art drawing my eye. That book was Grimspace by Ann Aguirre and his portrayal of Sirantha Jax, wild hair, desparate, crazed, broken but still trying expression, became how I pictured her in my mind as I read. I love the color contrasts he chooses, and the circular elements in the background, it all fits together to make the piece seem in motion to me. Killbox was another great cover in that series, really I loved them all, but those two are the ones that depicted the Sirantha Jax that I saw as I read Ann's fantastic story.

Scott's also done some Middle Grade and Children's books, as well as working with some well known clients we all know and love!  You can follow him on Facebook where he's been sharing some of his recent work, comic book covers for Dark Horse's Angel and Faith series, and also some beautiful paintings on metal.  Check out his official website HERE.

Let me know what you think!  Do you have favorite artists? Have you discovered authors by the cover art for their novels? 




Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Line (Witching Savannah #1) by J. D. Horn

From Goodreads:


Mercy Taylor, the youngest member of Savannah’s preeminent witching family, was born without the gift of magic. She is accustomed to coming in a distant second to the minutes older, exquisite and gifted twin she adores. Hopelessly in love with her sister’s boyfriend, she goes to a Hoodoo root doctor for a love spell. A spell that will turn her heart to another man, the best friend who has loved her since childhood.

Aunt Ginny, the family’s matriarch, would not approve. But Mercy has more to worry about than a love triangle when Aunt Ginny is brutally murdered. Ginny was the Taylor family’s high commander in the defense of the bewitched line that separates humankind from the demons who once ruled our realm.

A demon invasion looms now that the line is compromised. Worse yet, some within the witching world stand to gain from a demon takeover. Mercy, entangled in the dark magic of her love spell, fighting for her sister’s trust, and hopelessly without magic, must tap the strength born from being an outcast to protect the line she doesn’t feel a part of...



I'll be honest, I was ready to not like this. The reason is because part of the blurb that I didn't copy above turned me way off.

"Move over, Sookie Stackhouse—the witches of Savannah are the new talk of the South. Bold, flirty, and with a touch of darkness, debut author J.D. Horn spins a mesmerizing tale of a family of witches . . . and the problem that can arise from being so powerful. As Charlaine Harris’ series winds down—and as Deborah Harkness’ series heats up—Witching Savannah is new contemporary fantasy that will be sure to enchant new readers."

I'm sorry, but to me that's as pretentious as all get out, and it made me steer away from this one for a long time. It's riding on others coat tails. Maybe it gets the job done, the attention paid, but it makes me angry. Maybe the author had no say in that description, that's possible, I don't really know how that works. At any rate, I tried it out because I decided to try Kindle Prime and was having a hard time finding things that were on it that I wanted to read. The Line was available however, so I decided to give it a try, in spite of my ire at the blurb.

I was pleasantly surprised and found myself genuinely interested in the characters and what happened to them.  There were some twists I wasn't expecting and some I saw coming after big hints.  It could use more polish, some of the jumps between chapters seemed a little abrupt, or like we'd missed some time in between, I can't really explain why they seemed bigger than other books I've read.  As a debut, I think it was good.

All in all I did enjoy it.  I give it a 3.5/5 and would recommend it to fans of paranormal/witch stories, but do not expect Sookie Stackhouse, because it's not.  I haven't read the Deborah Harkness series yet, so I can't speak for that one, but to me, if they had left all reference to the other books out, that would have peaked my interest rather than irritated me because I wouldn't have felt like they were trying to capitalize on a reputation they hadn't earned.

I do really like the cover, the detail is neat and I like the style.  I look forward to seeing where the story goes next.  You can connect with J. D. Horn on his facebook page.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Final Catcall by Sofie Kelly

From Goodreads:

Small-town librarian Kathleen Paulson gets plenty of entertainment from her extraordinary cats, Owen and Hercules. But when a theatre troupe stumbles into more tragedy than it bargained for, it’s up to Kathleen to play detective....

With her sort-of boyfriend Marcus calling it quits and her ex-boyfriend Andrew showing up out of the blue, Kathleen has more than enough drama to deal with—and that’s before a local theatre festival relocates to Mayville Heights. Now the town is buzzing with theatre folk, and many of them have their own private dramas with the director, Hugh Davis.

When Davis is found shot to death by the marina, he leaves behind evidence of blackmail and fraud, as well as an ensemble of suspects. Now Kathleen, with a little help from her feline friends Owen and Hercules, will have to catch the real killer before another victim takes a final curtain call.

Sofie, you're killing me! I really want to know more about how or why Owen and Hercules have their special abilities, and there's still nothing in this 5th installment of the Magical Cat mysteries! Our adorable feline sleuths are their usual precocious selves, using their furry wiles to uncover clues to the murder. Kathleen has a bit of a rocky start in this one, having just been injured in the last episode, and being in a rough patch with Marcus. The two of them find out they're a lot alike when the tables are turned and Marcus is the one with loved ones involved. In the meantime Kathleen's previous life before Mayville comes to call, one invited and one not. We're all prepared to dislike Andrew because of how he treated Kathleen before she came to our lovely little town, but strangely he's not a half bad guy. How much of that is real and how much is an act is hard to tell, but he seems to get roped into doing a lot of work for the festival, so I felt kind of bad for him that he was swimming upstream in his efforts to get Kathleen back to Boston. I did really like Kathleen's mother, Thea.  I kind of picture her like the mother in the Castle TV show, sweeping in all perfect and glamorous, but totally lovable.

While I still don't have any answers about our fuzzy boys, there was definite progress in Kathleen's life, decisions were made, and I really love the town of Mayville Heights.  It's small, but very artsy, with a Carnegie library and a great core group of residents that I've come to care about, plus there always seem to be lots of brownies and desserts and muffins and such floating around all the time! Who wouldn't love that?!

The next book in the series is holiday themed I think, so not sure if I'll squeeze it in this season or next, or if I'll be able to wait (Christmas in July maybe?) because I'm still holding out hope to learn more about our magical cats from Wysteria Hill!  Give these a try if you love cozies and cats, libraries and artistic communities, it's all there!



Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wishlist Wednesday #8 - Seven Black Diamonds by Melissa Marr

Wishlist Wednesday is a book blog hop where we will post about one book per week that has been on our wishlist for some time, or just added (it's entirely up to you), that we can't wait to get off the wishlist and onto our wonderful shelves.

It is hosted by Pen to Paper, just click on the button to the left if you'd like to join us!


From Goodreads:

Lilywhite Abernathy is a criminal—she’s half human, half fae, and since the time before she was born, a war has been raging between humans and faeries. The Queen of Blood and Rage, ruler of the fae courts, wants to avenge the tragic death of her heir due to the actions of reckless humans.

Lily’s father has always shielded her, but when she’s sent to the prestigious St. Columba’s school, she’s delivered straight into the arms of a fae sleeper cell—the Black Diamonds. The Diamonds are planted in the human world as the sons and daughters of the most influential families and tasked with destroying it from within. Against her will, Lilywhite’s been chosen to join them...and even the romantic attention of the fae rock singer Creed Morrison isn’t enough to keep Lily from wanting to run back to the familiar world she knows.

I'm a fan of Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely series, so I'm excited to give her return to Faery a read!  I liked Graveminder a lot too, and hope there will be more in that world as well!

What books are on your wishlist?  

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Christmas Spirit Challenge (11/23-1/6) and Read-a-thon (11/23-11/29)


It's time to get our holiday reading going with The Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge (11/23-1/6) over at The Christmas Spirit,

kicked off with The Christmas Spirit Read-a-thon (11/23-11/29) over at Seasons of Reading.  Both blogs are run by Michelle the True Book Addict.

Come Join us!



I'm going to keep track of my progress for both here in this post. 

Christmas Spirit Read-a-thon (11/23-11/29)


Goals:

*Finish Holiday Grind by Cleo Coyle
*Finish Final Catcall by Sofie Kelly finished 11/28
*Start (and hopefully finish) Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball by Donita K. Paul - DNF'd at 60 pages
*Get farther in Doctor Who: The Drostan's Curse A.L. Kennedy

Christmas Spirit Challenge (11/23-1/6)

 Level: Mistletoe (2-4 Christmas books)

*Holiday Grind by Cleo Coyle finished 12/3/15

*Naughty or Nice by Kenyon, Ryan, Phillips and Smith
*Unwrapped by Bangs, Dain and Henke
*Claus: Legend of the Fat Man by Tony Bertauski- started 1/4/16

Bonus Level: Fa la la la films

*White Christmas - watched 12/20/15
*The Nightmare before Christmas - watched 12/20/15
*Love Actually - watched 12/20/15
*Kung Fu Panda Holiday - watched 12/20/15



Soulless (Parasol Protectorate #1) by Gail Carriger

Soulless by Gail Carriger

Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations.

First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire--and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?



This was delightful and I can see why so many of my friends have enjoyed it! Alexia reminds me of a young Amelia Peabody (from the Egyptian mystery series by Elizabeth Peters) if you put her into a supernatural setting, with her scientific interests and no nonsense attitude. I loved her curiosity of the biological processes during the romantic interludes. I loved Lord Akeldama, with his cultivated foppish personality and his entourage, embodying don't judge a book by it's cover. I can tell that Alexia and I will have a lot more fun together, in defense of the realm of course! Poor Lord Maccon!

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wishlist Wednesday #7 - The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters

Wishlist Wednesday is a book blog hop where we will post about one book per week that has been on our wishlist for some time, or just added (it's entirely up to you), that we can't wait to get off the wishlist and onto our wonderful shelves.

It is hosted by Pen to Paper, just click on the button to the left if you'd like to join us!


From Goodreads:

Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl—a suffragist—in an age that prefers its girls to be docile. It’s 1900 in Oregon, and Olivia’s father, concerned that she’s headed for trouble, convinces a stage mesmerist to try to hypnotize the rebellion out of her. But the hypnotist, an intriguing young man named Henri Reverie, gives her a terrible gift instead: she’s able to see people’s true natures, manifesting as visions of darkness and goodness, while also unable to speak her true thoughts out loud. These supernatural challenges only make Olivia more determined to speak her mind, and so she’s drawn into a dangerous relationship with the hypnotist and his mysterious motives, all while secretly fighting for the rights of women. Winters breathes new life into history once again with an atmospheric, vividly real story, including archival photos and art from the period throughout.

I recently read In the Shadow of Blackbirds when it was offered as one of the Big Library Reads and was completely engaged in the story.  I had heard of The Cure for Dreaming already, as other friends had read it, but now having read Blackbirds, I'm very interested in giving Dreaming a try!

What books are on your wishlist?  

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Heir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne

From Goodreads:

Luke Skywalker’s game-changing destruction of the Death Star has made him not only a hero of the Rebel Alliance but a valuable asset in the ongoing battle against the Empire. Though he’s a long way from mastering the power of the Force, there’s no denying his phenomenal skills as a pilot—and in the eyes of Rebel leaders Princess Leia Organa and Admiral Ackbar, there’s no one better qualified to carry out a daring rescue mission crucial to the Alliance cause.

A brilliant alien cryptographer renowned for her ability to breach even the most advanced communications systems is being detained by Imperial agents determined to exploit her exceptional talents for the Empire’s purposes. But the prospective spy’s sympathies lie with the Rebels, and she’s willing to join their effort in exchange for being reunited with her family. It’s an opportunity to gain a critical edge against the Empire that’s too precious to pass up. It’s also a job that demands the element of surprise. So Luke and the ever-resourceful droid R2-D2 swap their trusty X-wing fighter for a sleek space yacht piloted by brash recruit Nakari Kelen, daughter of a biotech mogul, who’s got a score of her own to settle with the Empire.

Challenged by ruthless Imperial bodyguards, death-dealing enemy battleships, merciless bounty hunters, and monstrous brain-eating parasites, Luke plunges head-on into a high-stakes espionage operation that will push his abilities as a Rebel fighter and would-be Jedi to the limit. If ever he needed the wisdom of Obi-Wan Kenobi to shepherd him through danger, it’s now. But Luke will have to rely on himself, his friends, and his own burgeoning relationship with the Force to survive.

I had been eagerly awaiting getting my hands on this from the library as soon as I learned it existed. I love Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid series so much that he's catapulted to one of my favorite authors.   What better combo could there be, a favorite author writing in one of the most iconic Sci-Fi worlds of our time, which I admittedly have not read many books set in, I think two previously to be honest.  So I was ready for greatness, but then the other reviews started rolling in, and they weren't all glowing.  Many were disappointed, I think basically expecting Iron Druid IN SPACE! and that wasn't what they got.

So I adjusted my sights, much like Armada in my previous review, and decided to appreciate it for what it was, because again, how could it possibly measure up to our expectations?  Here's why: Star Wars for crying out loud.  Like our expectations aren't already over the moon and out of the galaxy?  Especially with the Force Awakens looming on the horizon. Iron Druid is fabulous, because it's Kevin's world and he can do whatever he wants in it.  But Star Wars, whoa, not so fast.  Star Wars is this sacred, untouchable behemoth that must follow rules, with already established characters who must act a certain way.  Not only that, but this book is entirely from the point of view of one of the BIG THREE, Luke Skywalker.  I can only imagine Kevin's excitement and terror at writing this.  OMG Luke!  OMG What if I get it wrong?  Thinking about all of the constraints, Iron Druid isn't Sci-Fi by the way, it takes place on good ol' Earth, and also some meta physical planes, but NOT SPACE, I think he did a fine job and I really enjoyed it.  Luke seems a little goofy at times, but come on, he was goofy!  This takes place right after the first movie, when he's blown up the Death Star, but still has no real idea how to use The Force.  He's still young, and a strange mixture of seasoned from all the people he has lost, and the battles he's fought, but still naive in many ways. 

I actually listened to the audio read by Marc Thompson and it was a lot of fun!  He does the different voices very well and I look forward to listening to more Star Wars books read by him.  There was also ongoing background noise, of the space ports, of the battles, and also R2-D2, because he's such a character in his own right.  It was sometimes distracting, and silly, like the dramatic music playing during the noodle episode, but I overall I liked it and it helped add to the Star Wars atmosphere.

I think we have a tendency to judge too many books by their predecessors in other genre's or content that isn't fair, it's judging apples and oranges.  I am also admittedly not a stickler for following canon, or getting the image exactly right.  I just want a good story in a world I enjoy and that's what I got here.  So right on Kevin, *high five* to you for getting to write a Star Wars book, I'm excited for you that you did and for me that I got to share it with you!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Ho-Ho-Ho Read-a-thon - November 12th - 17th 2015

Ho-Ho-Ho Read-a-thon


I'm taking part in the Ho-Ho-Ho Read-a-thon, hosted by The Bookshelfery and The Caffeinated Book Reviewer. If you'd like to join us grab some holiday or wintery themed reads and head on over to the sign up! All the rules and deets are there! Come chat with us at #HoHoHoRAT!

Here is my TBR for the read-a-thon:

 

Progress:

11/12: 44 pages Holidays on Ice
11/13: 24 pages Holidays on Ice, 20 pages Aunt Dimity = 44 pages total
11/14: 56 pages Aunt Dimity, DNF'd Holidays on Ice
11/15: 104 pages Aunt Dimity
11/16: 34 pages Aunt Dimity (finished), 26 pages of Holiday Grind = 60 pages total
11/17: 36 pages Holiday Grind

Total Pages:  344, 57 pages per day
Books Finished: 1, Aunt Dimity's Christmas
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...