Monday, July 27, 2015

Musing Monday - July 27, 2015

MusingMondays-ADailyRhythmMusing Mondays is a weekly meme sponsored by A Daily Rhythm that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:
  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Have you ever made a new friend because of a book? (or books)?

I have met new people because of a book or books.  Most were just people I had something in common.  I consider them casual friends but not the good friends I would share most things with.  I guess book friends is a good label.  Some of you are book friends even though I have never met any of you in person.  Book friends are why I started blogging.  I wanted to share what I read and this was the best way.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Mandala Maneuver by Christine Pope

Science Fiction Romance

From Goodreads:

Alexa Craig is well aware she’s known as “The Ice Queen” -- and not out of admiration -- but her reputation has served her well in her diplomatic career. Alien ambassador Lirzhan understands his people are viewed with suspicion and curiosity by the members of the Gaian Consortium, but the Zhore do not casually reveal themselves to outsiders -- not even to someone as intriguing as Alexa Craig.

But after their ship is attacked during a routine flight, the two strangers must rely on each other to survive on the supposedly uninhabited world where their escape pod has crashed. When Alexa and Lirzhan discover the secret hidden behind Mandala’s wild beauty, they must put duty before desire and risk everything to warn the Galactic Council of a conspiracy that could endanger their lives, their worlds, and the future they have begun to imagine together.

The Mandala Maneuver is the fourth book in The Gaian Consortium series and the second I have read.  Both it and Breath of Life, book one in the series, feature one of the more secretive races in the Consortium, the Zhore.

While Breath of Life is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast set in a Science Fiction world The Mandala Maneuver is exciting Space Opera.

Alexa and Lirzhan are both interesting characters who have to carry the story.  There are several familiar tropes in the story but they are very well used and fit both the characters and the plot.  I loved the tension in the story.  The danger and the discovery made by Alexa and Lirzhan was very believable.  While their escape from the danger did provide some of the tension the pressure put on Alexa after they were rescued really ramped the tension up.

The Mandala Maneuver provides both  SFR and Space Opera.  It is a combination that I love and I found it very well done.

Dark Valentine Press published The Mandala Maneuver by Christine Pope in 2014.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Book Beginnings and The Friday 56

I'm linking up with Rose City Reader for Book Beginnings and Freda's Voice for Page 56. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Pick the closest book on your book stack and join the fun.

The Beginning:

"Thief!" a heavy voice shouted from the door. That's rich one of them calling me thief, Veranaiz Calbert thought."

Page 56:

"He grabbed the cloak and pulled it out of the sack. As soon as he touched it, he had a heady giddy feeling."

From The Thorn of Dentonhill, A Novel of Maradaine by Marshall Ryan Maresca. I loved A Murder of Mages by the same author. The two are set in the same city but each follows a different group. I have high hopes for this one.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Ether and Elephants (Gaslight Chronicles #8) by Cindy Spencer Pape


From Goodreads:

A Gaslight Chronicles Novel

Sir Thomas Devere and Eleanor Hadrian have loved each other most of their lives—but sometimes love doesn't conquer all.

Their chance at happiness was ruined by Tom's hasty marriage to someone else. Heartbroken, Nell left home, finding a new life as a teacher at a school for the blind. But when one of her supernaturally gifted students, Charlie, is kidnapped, Tom reappears and her worlds collide.

Tom claims he hasn't seen his wife since the day of their marriage…yet he fears the missing student could be his son.

The deeper they dig, the more Tom and Nell discover: a deadly alchemist, more missing gifted children and long-suppressed feelings neither of them is ready for. A race on airship across England and India may lead them to answers—including a second chance at love—but only if all of British Society isn't destroyed first.

With Tom and Nell’s story Ether & Elephants puts the Gaslight Chronicles to bed.  While this is primarily Tom and Nell’s story there is a gathering where we get to see most of the previous characters and find out how they are getting along. 

Tom and Nell’s have a back story and it comes out as the book begins.  It plays a big role in how the plot progresses.  There is danger and tension as they have to work together to solve a mystery and get rid of a villain once and for all.

Both have always been interesting characters and as the story progresses we see how much they both have grown and changed.  Tom because of a rash action that broke Nell’s heart and Nell as she left family and friends behind to live on her own.  Tom becomes much more focused and Nell much stronger.

Ether & Elephants wraps up a mystery that started in previous books while allowing us to see the characters one last time.  A very nice ending to the series.

Carina Press published Ether & Elephants by Cindy Spencer Pape in 2015.

I received an ARC of Ether & Elephants from Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Contract of Defiance (Spectras Arise Trilogy 31) by Tammy Salyer

Science Fiction/Space Opera

From Goodreads:

In a few hundred years, the Algol system becomes humanity's new home. The question is: Is it a better one? When a crew of arms smugglers botches their latest job, Corps-deserter and crewmember, Aly Erikson, is separated from her brother, the only person she can trust, and left behind to fight for her life. In the aftermath, as she tries to piece together what happened, a crew of roughneck settlers pressgang her into a dangerous mission in the heart of Corps territory. With her enemies closing in, time is running out to get back everything she's lost: her crew, her brother, and her options. But no one is taking her gun.

Contract of Defiance is good Space Opera.  It features Aly Erikson as the main character.  She has a fascinating past history, a brother she will do anything for and works with an interesting cast of characters, some good, some bad, and some shades of grey. 

The world building and back-story come together in a way that keeps the plot moving.  This is a first person story so we see everything through Aly’s eyes.  That does limit the development of other characters and keeps the motivation of  the other characters a mystery. 

The plot is simple and complex.  Aly just wants to save her brother but while she does that she must also stop a plot to kill millions.  There is a lot of action and the tension ramps up as the story progresses.  While two problems are solved some things are left hanging.  That gives a hint of what will be the focus of the next book.

Contract of Defiance tells a good story with all the elements needed in space opera.  It is somewhat one dimensional because of the point of view but that does not take away from tension and action in the story.  If you like space opera give Contract of Defiance a try.

Contract of Defiance by Tammy Salyer was published in 2013.

I received an ARC of Contract of Defiance from Netgalley in return for an honest review.

The next two books in the series have already been published so there is no wait to continue on with the story.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Shadows by Stella Barcelona Virtual Tour and Giveaway

Stella will be awarding a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during this tour and the Review Only tour,

by Stella Barcelona



Cataclysm. Now. Run.

A cryptic, urgent text message turns the peaceful life Skye Barrows has created for herself and her sister into chaos. She must follow her father’s instructions to the letter, but Sebastian Connelly is blocking her way. Telling Sebastian what she must do is not an option.

What He Doesn’t Know Will Get Them All Killed

When a prison break in the midst of a security system upgrade threatens to destroy the reputation of Sebastian’s company, Black Raven Private Security Contractors, he goes on the hunt for escaped prisoner Richard Barrows – a delusional and paranoid computer software genius.

Sebastian’s mission: find Richard Barrows and return him to prison, but stonewalled by Skye, who refuses to give him answers, and with the added complication of her special needs sister, Sebastian finds himself always a step or two behind vicious killers.

Nothing About This Case is Normal

For Sebastian, it should be simple, but this case will test him in ways he never imagined. As probing interrogation becomes urgent protection, the search for Barrows forces Sebastian and Skye into a murky world of shadows and illusions.


EXCERPTS (Exclusive Excerpt):

Pretending to be prison guards, yet not allowing him to know where they were taking him, had been leading indicators of a problem. The lab where they ordered him to work was exactly the type of place that made him feel safe and comfortable. It was too perfect, though. The tech was too state-of-the-art, the lighting at exactly his specified lumens, the temperature at precisely his preferred working temperature of sixty-two degrees. They’d copied his personal work environment at BY Laboratories, right down to the ergonomic keyboard he used with an integrated palm rest and a footrest under his desk at precisely his favored height.

Peripherally he was aware of other technicians and analysts working in the lab. From their sweat despite the cool temperature, hair-pulling frustration, pacing when they weren’t typing, and furtive glances at him, he deduced that their frustration level matched his fear. If their extreme dedication to work wasn’t odd enough, the six black-clad men with weapons, strategically positioned around the room, confirmed that this was no legitimate endeavor. There was one piece of good news, and for that he was elated. My encryption program is working. These men were running state of the art decryption programs and they hadn’t broken through the bag of tricks he’d employed in protecting Shadow Technology.

A man approached and stood at his side. Richard glanced into the lead analyst’s light brown eyes. The man pushed his horn-rimmed glasses up his nose. “You haven’t typed anything in ten minutes.”

“I have to think it through. This takes time,” he lied. Richard knew the commands the characters prompted. What was taking so long was thinking through an alternate command that would prompt an invisible data purge, because his gut told him his captors weren’t the government agents they claimed to be. For that reason, he wasn’t giving them a damn thing. What he could destroy, he would.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Stella Barcelona has always had an active imagination, a tendency to daydream, and a passion for reading romance, mysteries, and thrillers.  She has found an outlet for all of these aspects of herself by writing romantic thrillers.

In her day-to-day life, Stella is a lawyer and works for a court in New Orleans. She lives minutes from the French Quarter, with her husband of seventeen years and two adorable papillons who believe they are princesses. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Southern Louisiana Chapter of the Romance Writers of America. Her first novel, DECEIVED, was inspired by New Orleans, its unique citizens, and the city’s World War II-era history.

Her third novel, JIGSAW, a Black Raven novel, will be released in 2016.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to visit the other blogs on the tour for additional chances to win.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Musing Mondays - July 20, 2015

MusingMondays-ADailyRhythmMusing Mondays is a weekly meme sponsored by A Daily Rhythm that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:
  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…
THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Are you able to read while in a vehicle (in motion)? Have you always been this way?

Good question!!  I am unable to read in a car in motion.  I have been that way since I was a child.  I always had to sit in the backseat and even without reading was often car sick.  If I tried to read as soon as I lifted my head I was sick.  Since I am doing most of the driving today I do not try to read.  What I do is listen to audio books in the car.  They do not make me sick.