Monday, October 31, 2011

Musing Monday (October 31, 2011)

This week’s musing asks…
Would you say that you read about the same amount now as when you were younger? More? Less? Why?

You can find each weeks question at Should Be Reading.

I have always read a lot.  Reading was my escape when I was a child, my way to have adventure as a teenager and young adult, and always an enjoyment.  I am retired now and have more time to read.  I no longer have the need to escape but I still like to have some of the adventures that I can find only in books.  I can now read and am taking advantage of all the time I can just read without letting other important things slide.  In fact my TBR pile is so high my children have threatened to do an intervention.   I just plan to keep reading and keep buying.  There are worse obsessions.

What Else I Read in October of 2011

Science Fiction Romance:

Born of Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon - This is one of her first published books and is books one of a three book League series.  The series has just been re-released.  I wanted to see if I liked the series.  I found the book to be OK.  A lot of romance but not much realism in the science part. 

Sparks in the Cosmic Dust by Robert Appleton - This was a great disappointment.  I loved the start and the characters but it went downhill from there.  By the end of the book I didn't care if all the main character were killed.  For me there was no spark anywhere cosmic dust or not.  This was a free ebook from Net Gallery.

Queenie's Brigade by Heather Massey - Heather sent me a ebook copy of her book.  I liked the action and the theme.  This is listed as erotica but most of the book is action and adventure. Captain Michael Drake has the last space ship left after trying to defend the Earth.  He makes a jump that lands him at a Earth prison planet where Queenie is the boss.  He must convince the former convicts to trust him and join in his quest to free the Earth.  This is a SFR worth purchasing and reading.


Motor City Wolf  by Cindy Pape - A good addition to this series.  Someone is killing werewolves and Greg Novak must find out who.  Fianna Meadow has been exiled from the Seelie Court and is now part of Greg's world.  The two must work together to find Beowulf, an werewolf-assassin.  This is a good action/romance/adventure and worth the read.  This was a free ebook from Net Gallery.

Gambler's Moon by Debra Doggett - I loved The Prize, a SFR by Debra so when I saw Gambler's Moon I purchased it.  It was a good love story set in New Mexico.   Gates McHenry has been attracted to Ave for over 80 year.  However there are big problems. He is a vampire and she is a werewolf.  Can they work together when both are threatened?  


A Texas Christmas by Jodi Thomas, Linda Broday, Phyllis Miranda and DeWanna Pace - This is another book of novellas, one by each author and all set at Christmas in the same Texas town in the same year.  All are good stories but as usual I liked Jodi Thomas' best.

By Grace Possessed by Jennifer Blake - The second in the Three Graces of Graydon series.  Lady Catherine Milton knows that the curse is real.  Anyone who tries to marry her without love will die.  When King Henry VII decides she must marry Ross Dunbar she fears for his safety.  Another good romance with a well-researched historical background.

A Darn Good Cowboy Christmas by Carolyn Brown - Liz is a carnie and her wish every Christmas if for a house without wheels and a sexy cowboy of her own.  Then her uncle offers here a house without wheels and there is Raylen, a sexy cowboy living next door.  Can a carnie change where she get her wish?


A Death in Norfolk by Ashley Gardner - The latest Captain Lacey mystery.  I still love the series and am again waiting for the next book to come out.  Good as a stand-alone but better if you start this series from the beginning.  The price is still right at $2.99 for the ebook.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

In My Mailbox October 30, 2011

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted b. 
In my Mail Box is hosted by The Story Siren
and is an opportunity to share the books
I get each week.  Click on this link to see what books other bloggers received this week.

Free From Amazon Vine - Two ARCS

A Lady Awakened by Cecilia Grant
She Can Run by Melinda Leigh

Purchased From Amazon - Two Science Fiction and Four Romances:

The Clone Redemption by Steven L. Kent
Kris Longknife - Daring by Mike Shepherd
A Winter Scandal by Candace Camp
Never Love a Highlander by Maya Banks
Virtuose by Grace Burrowes
The Famous Heroine and The Plumed Bonnet by Mary Balogh

Friday, October 28, 2011

Books Beginnings on Friday October 28, 2011

Book Beginnings on Friday is a meme hosted by Katy from A Few More Pages. Anyone can participate; just share the opening sentence of your current read, making sure that you include the title and author so others know what you're reading.

Here is my book beginning only mine is the first few sentences:

From The Black Lung Captain by Chris Wooding:

"Darian Frey was a man who understood the value of a tactical retreat.  It was a gambler's instinct, a keen appreciation of the odds that told him when to take a risk and when to bail out."

This caught me as soon as I read it.  I found The Black Lung Captain at The Tattered Cover on my last trip to Denver and had to give it a try.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Unsympathetic Magic by Laura Resnick

Paranormal Mystery/Romance

Poor Esther, even when she gets a good role something bad happens.  While she is playing a hooker on The Dirty Thirty TV show zombies, angry spirits and a voodoo curse threaten everything.  Enter Esther’s sometime boyfriend Connor Lopez, a New York City detective and Dr. Maximilian Zadok , a 350 year old sorcerer whose day job is to protect New York City.  Again this is a set up for disaster.  Connor does not believe in magic and Esther is right in the middle of a plot full of good and bad magic.  Will these two ever get together?

This is the third book in the Esther Diamond series.  I found it to be slow going at first but once the pace picked up it was filled with fun and humor.  Unsympathetic Magic can be read as a stand-alone but I recommend starting with the first book.  The other two books in the series are Disappearing Nightly and Doppelgangster.

Unsympathetic Magic was my Tuesday Teaser several weeks ago.  You can look back and read the quote.

DAW Books published Unsympathetic Magic by Laura Resnick in 2010.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

I have to wait until November 1st for the latest book about Harmony, TX by Jody Thomas.  I have it on pre-order so it should arrive about the time it is released.

"In Harmony, Texas, twenty-year-old Reagan Truman has found her place, and found her family.
But with her uncle taken ill and her friend Noah lost and disheartened with his life, Reagan is afraid of ending up alone again, and she's not the only one. When a terrible storms threatens the town, the residents of Harmony are forced to think about what they really want.
Because making the connections they so desperately desire means putting their hearts at risk..."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Teaser Tuesday October 25, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. 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 & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers.

  • Here is this weeks teaser:
"It was familiar now, the way his skin went tense in a waiting kind of expectation at the touch of her gaze.  They hadn't made physical contact again since that walk in the garden, but Noel was discovering that doubts about her true nature or not, his body was no longer averse to the idea of intimacy."

Page 41; Nalini Singh'a Angel's Wolf novella in Angels of Darkness by Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, Meljean Brook and Sharon Shinn.

This contains stories by some of my favorite authors.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Musing Mondays

This week’s musing asks…
Do you listen to audiobooks? Why, or why not?

You can find each weeks question at Should Be Reading.

I keep an audio book going in my car all the time.  I drive a lot and I use audio books to check out new authors.  There are times I don't want to arrive at my destination because I am so into the action in the book.  I check the audiobooks I listen too out at my public library.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Hardest Thing to Do by Penelope Wilcock

Christian Historical Fiction

I received The Hardest Thing to Do from Amazon Vine and I really did not know what type of book I was receiving; for some reason I thought the book was a historical mystery.  It is historical but it is not a mystery.  This is the fourth book set in the world of The Hawk and The Dove.  As I had not read the first three I was often confused when I started the book.  There is a large cast of characters and while the author provides a guide assumes that the reader has read the first three books.  As a result it took me awhile to get into the story.

I did enjoy the story.  It is set in a medieval monastery in England.  Father John has just returned as Abbot of the monastery when an old adversary comes asking to join.  Prior William has never been popular and now his priory has been burned to the ground and he has no place else to go.  This is a story of love and forgiveness told over the forty-five days of Lent. 

It was interesting following the flow of a monk’s day.  I do wonder if it was as calm, serene, and spiritual an existence as depicted in the book.

The next book in the series is The Hour Before Dawn and is due out in January of 2012.

Crossway published The Hardest Thing To Do by Penelope Wilcock in 2011.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, December 2011 Issue

Science Fiction

The December issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact is out and it contains several very good stories.  As I have said before I purchase an issue when one of my favorite authors has a story.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch is one of my favorites and she has a story in the December issue.  The Impossibles is set in the Disappeared Universe.  Kerrie is an attorney working off her student loans on Luna in the InterSpecies Court where you never win a case.  She is over worked and living for the day when her two-year stint is over.  Then her boss asks her to take a case that has a promise of a win.  Of course there is more to it than meets the eye.

There is a new novel in the Disappeared series coming out soon.  I wonder if Kerrie is a character in that new story.   It may be that The Impossibles is a side story explaining Kerrie’s background.

There are other good stories in the December issue.   It is available as an eBook at Fictionwise or you can buy a paper copy.

Analog Science Fiction and Fact published The Impossibles by Kristine Kathryn Rusch in 2011.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

I have to wait until December for the latest Kitty Kat adventure.

Alien Super-Being Exterminator Kitty Katt is expecting her first baby. But the alien attacks are getting more dangerous, and now Kitty and her Alpha Centaurion husband, Jeff, have to find out who's behind the conspiracy to kill Kitty's secret agent mom and what caused Kitty's transformation into a superhuman-and they've got to do it all before the baby shower...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Teaser Tuesday October 18, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. 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 & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Here is this weeks teaser:

"He shrugged, "It didn't feel like an illusion.  It felt as real as you and me sitting here. When I walked onto the sand, it felt like a kind of crossover passage only..."

Page 99.  From Serpent's Kiss by Thea Harrison, Book Three of The Elder Races series.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Interview with Grace Burrowes

I sent the following email to Grace Burrowes.  She sent her answers in the form of a letter. I loved the way it flowed so I have attached it just as she sent it to me.  

I have read The Soldier and The Heir (I read them out of order) and loved the both.  I just finished reading Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish.  I was puzzled as I read because it looked like I missed a book.  I knew I had The Virtuoso on pre-order but that was the one it looked like I had missed.  That left me with a question.  On my blog, Mixed Book Bag, I like to do short interviews with authors so I decided to see if you had time to answer four questions?

1.  Do you know why Sourcebooks decided to published Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish and The Virtuoso out of order?

2.  I am fascinated by the different approaches authors take to writing.   I see you are a practicing attorney. Since you have another job what is you typical writing day like?

3.  How do you structure your stories?

4.   When you are not busy working or writing what are some of your hobbies?

I have also attached this as a word file so if you have time you can answer either way.

Jo Jones


Greetings Jo,

Thanks very much for your interest in my books--and you're appreciation for the first two. I can understand your confusion and I do apologize for it. Lord Valentine warned me this would happen, but even his charm isn't sufficient to overcome the entire weight of the publishing house's schedule. I'll answer your questions in order herein, mostly because my old clunker can't open docx files, and doing the conversion on line would take longer than just replying.

The explanation for why Val came out after Sophie has to do with my inexperience as an author. Valentine was already part of the Fall 2011 line up when I was given the opportunity to write a Christmas book for 2011 as well. Yay, yippee, lucky me! Except it never occurred to me a "fall" book might come out as late as November or December, and a "Christmas" book might hit the shelves as early as September (and in fact, Bookscan did pick up several hundred sales of "Lady Sophie" in September). So I merrily scribbled off Sophie's tale, without realizing it might come out before Valentine's.

My mistake, for which I do apologize, but I think I'm safe in saying there are no revelations in Sophie's book that would spoil "The Virtuoso." Valentine IS married in Sophie's book, but honestly, is that a plot spoiler? His lady wife certainly hopes not!

My writing day usually starts very early. I come downstairs, brew the tea (I like to start with one cup of jasmine green tea), sort out the companion animals, and get to work. If it's a go-to-the-office day, I write for a few hours, then suit up, and head to town. If it's my best, most favorite kind of day, I write until my imagination's buffers are cleared, then work on the "other stuff," associated with publishing books. That includes blogging, facebooking, tweeting, reading and researching, occasionally meeting writer buddies for lunch, getting material ready for my website, and generally frolicking around on the internet. In the evening, I always try to save reading the day's words for the last thing before I turn in. I want those words composting in my subconscious so I'll wake up with another scene or two ready to go. 

I generally do not write from an outline, I do not have word counts or written goals, and I do not meet with critique partners--for now. I'm sure there's book lurking out there which I will not be able to write without a detailed outline, and so forth. They mess with us, the books do.

This is how I structure my stories: I realize I'm getting to the end of a manuscript and I panic about what book will come next. When I have been in a royal, incoherent tumult over this for far too long, a Meet will pop into my head, or a single line. The single line I'm working on now has to do with a man who has been dead to passion for several years noticing the nape of Genevieve Windham's neck. I have not the clue where this will go, but I figure I can get a few hundred words out of such a scene at least--that only leaves 100,000 to go, more or less. If ALL else fails (and it usually does) then I jump in the truck and drive from DC to San Diego and back to pop in on the folks. Halfway across Kansas, by God, your mind wanders into some interesting corners. North Dakota has a lot of potential in this regard too. And I got a whole trilogy out of Texas, though one of my heroes ended up wearing a cowboy hat.

Some of my hobbies.... I hope reading still counts as a hobby, even if I'm reading with a writer's eye. There are so many talented people writing romance! Jennifer Ashley is my new keeper, Carolyn Jewel is a genius, Loretta Chase, Mary Balogh, Julie Ann Long, Meredith Duran, Sophia Nash, JR Ward, Joanna Bourne... I owe these women my sanity, because when the day job is taking too big a toll, their books will always restore me.
When I can afford it, I travel to the UK, and every time I go, the list of places I MUST visit gets longer, not shorter. Fortunately, this all qualifies as research, right?

I also love animals, and have found a great deal of peace and joy on the back of a horse.  

Hope that suffices. Cut or edit at will. 

Thanks again,

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish by Grace Burrowes

Regency Romance

Grace Burrowes’ Regency Romances start with the Duke’s Obsession trilogy featuring the three Windham sons.  Book one is The Heir, book two is The Soldier and Book Three, The Virtuoso, has not been released.  Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish is the first book about the five Windham sisters. 

Sophie is the oldest daughter, the one who never causes her parents’ problems and the one who takes care of everyone.  Sophie is dreading Christmas.  Even in the middle of her family she feels alone so she delays leaving London to join her family in the country.  Then Sophie who knows nothing about taking care of babies is left in a public tavern holding an abandoned crying baby.  Enter Vim Charpentier who like Sophie sees nothing festive about Christmas.  His offer of help may fulfill a Christmas wish.

Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish is another glimpse into the Windham family.  Most of us know someone like Sophie.  They are the ones who are always ready to help.  They keep a family together but sometimes the family will unwilling take advantage.   In Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish we see a family realize how valuable Sophie is and work to make her dreams come true.  Filled with wonderful characters, great dialogue, a fun plot and of course romance Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish is another worthwhile addition to this series about the Windham family.

Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish takes place after the events in The Virtuoso. Look for my interview with Grace Burrowes tomorrow to find out how what looks like a mix-up happened.

Sourcebook published Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish by Grace Burrowes in 2011.

(Follow this link to see my recommendation for The Heir and The Soldier.)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Burial at Sea by Charles Finch

Historical Mystery

A Burial At Sea is set in 1873.  This is a time of great tension between France and England and war is a possibility.  Both England and France have spies everywhere.  Somewhere England has a leak and several of their spies in France have been found dead.  Charles Lenox, a former detective and now a Member of Parliament, is sent on a secret mission to visit the newly dug Suez Canal to meet with a French official who has information about the leak.  He sails on the Lucy and when one of the crew is found murdered he is asked to use his skills to find the killer.  He must balance his two missions; one as a diplomat and the other as a detective.

A Burial at Sea is the fifth book in the Charles Lenox mystery series and is the first one I have read.  I never felt lost.  The characters and the story have no trouble as a stand-alone. 

I like history and enjoyed how Charles Finch used facts from the period to add to and develop the story.  It was fascinating to read about life aboard a ship that is part sail and part steam.  The book brought that part of history to life.   If you are like me and enjoy historical mysteries I think this would be a good series to read. 

Minotaur Books published A Burial at Sea by Charles Finch in 2011.

I received an ARC of A Burial at Sea from Amazon Vine. I like the book and will go back and read the first books in the series. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Teaser Tuesday October 11, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. 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 & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
My Teaser:  The Moving Toyshop by Edmund Crispin

"Well," said Cadogan, "Was he telling the truth?"

"We might know," said Fen aggrievedly, as they pushed along the crowded pavement, "if you hadn't started off by behaving like something out of a mental home."  page 45

I was in Denver two weeks ago and visited The Tattered Cover.  The Moving Toyshop was labeled as a staff favorite and one of the best examples of the Golden Age of British Mystery.  I was intrigued and purchased it.  

It starts when Richard Cadogan goes to Oxford and finds an unlocked Toy Shop.  He goes in and finds a body but when he returns with the police the Toy Shop is gone and in its place is a Grocery Shop.  

Sounds like the start to a paranormal but it is just a fun old-fashion mystery.  P.D. James named it one of the five best mysteries of all times.  Set in 1938 The Moving Toyshop was published in 1946.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Leviathans of Jupiter by Ben Bova

Science Fiction/Space Opera

As a six-time winner of the Hugo Award just saying Ben Bova may be enough to recommend Leviathans of Jupiter but I will add more.  If you are a Science Fiction fan and have never read anything by Ben Bova you are in for a treat.  If you have read his books in the past you will not be disappointed.

Leviathans of Jupiter is part of the Grand Tour continuing series but if you have not read any of the series do not let that stop you.  While the background and some of the characters reappear in some of the stories each book in the series stands alone.  Grant Archer led an expedition to explore the depths of Jupiter in the book of the same name.  That expedition barely escaped death when their vessel malfunctioned.  They were saved when one of the city sized leviathans helped.  Grant is convinced that the leviathans are intelligent and 20 years later he is trying to launch a new mission to study the leviathans.  Not everyone wants the mission to succeed and therein lies the story.

Ben Bova knows how to tell a good story and with the knowledge from his PHD in physics he adds science in just the right amounts.  He uses dialog and action mixed with small amounts of description to keep the story moving.  I had trouble putting the story down and finished the 400-page book in record time.

I miss good old fashion Science Fiction and it was a real joy to find and read Leviathans of Jupiter.  I hope Ben Bova continues writing in this series.

TOR published Leviathans of Jupiter by Ben Bova in 2011.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Hounded by Kevin Hearne – The Iron Druid Chronicles

Hounded: The Iron Druid ChroniclesParanormal

Remember me saying I needed two books on that Amazon order.  Hounded has also been on my recommendations from Amazon and it is the other book I used to fill my order.  Let me start by saying that Hounded is a paranormal not a paranormal romance.  Don’t let that keep you from reading the book.  Hounded is a great story.

Kevin Hearne has created a world filled with Celtic mythology set in modern Arizona. When Atticus O’Sullivan is tells people he is 21 they think years, he means centuries.  Atticus is just the first of a large cast of wonderful characters.  There is a very angry Celtic god that wants a sword belonging to Atticus, a goddess of death, a vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a sexy bartender who shares her body with a Hindu witch and best of all is Oberon, Atticus’s Irish wolfhound, a dog that can communicate.

Filled with well-developed characters, a great story line, and fast paced action Hounded kept me reading.  This is the first of a series.  Books two and three, Hexed and Hammered, are on the list for my next order.  Book four, Tricked, will be out in April of 2012.

Ballantine/Del Rey published Hounded by Kevin Hearne in 2011. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Teaser Tuesday October 4, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. 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 & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
My Teaser:

"As she expected, the transport driver was gone when she 
returned to the landing bay"  

"Why did she have the feeling that she was trapped in the 
predator's den?"

Unraveled by C.J. Barry is Science Fiction Romance (SFR).

This is part of a series that has been out of print but has been picked up by Carina Press and all 4 books have just been re-released as eBooks.  I have them all in hardcover.