Monday, January 31, 2011

What I Read In January of 2011

To see my rating on any of the books click Goodreads shelf on the right side of the blog.


Mystery:


Busy Body by M. C. Beaton
Deadly Santuary by Sylvia Nobel
The Reeve's Tale by Margaret Frazer
Edge of Evil by J.A. Jance (as an audio book)
Web of Evil by J.A. Jance


Science Fiction:


Echo by Jack McDevitt
The Noise Within by Ian Whates


Fantasy:


The Ruling Sea by Robert V.S. Redick


Steampunk:


Like Clockwork by Bonnie Dee


Time Travel:


A Twist in Time by Susan Squires


Romance:


Rule's Bride by Kate Martin
Against the Wind by Kate Martin
The Surgeon's Lady by Carla Kelly


Paranormal:


The Native Star by M.K. Hobson

Sunday, January 30, 2011

What I Purchased in January of 2011

From Sams Club:


The Lady Most Likely by Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, and Connie Brockway


 From Barnes and Noble:


Against the Wind by Kat Martin


I did not buy many books this month.  I am trying to get my TBR pile down before I buy many more books.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Noise Within by Ian Whates


Science Fiction

The Noise Within is filled with intriguing elements and characters.   The Noise Within is a rogue AI controlled starship turned pirate.  Kaufman Industries developed the starship that reappeared after a 20-year absence.  Mal/Malcolm Kaufman the developer of the starship is a partial, a computer generated presence left after Mal died.  Philip Kaufman is his son who is developing a working AI/Human melding.  Jim Leyton is an eyegee, an augmented human with an intelligent gun.  Then there are the humans The Noise Within recruited as crew, an isolated space station waiting for something to appear and the aliens.  Each and every one has a part in the story.

The Noise Within is great Space Opera that does not go in a straight line. Ian Whates has created an exciting universe overflowing with possibilities.   The scenes in the book jump between places and characters.  Most of the characters and events come together near the end of the book but don’t expect any resolution. The Noise Within is a very good read but be warned the book ends with a lot unresolved and much up in the air.  I was left with more questions than answers.  I went on Ian Whates website to see if there was a sequel in the works.  According to the website The Noise Within has been published with other books in the series still to come but no release date or working titles are mentioned.  However, when I went to Solaris's website I found The Noise Revealed will be out in May of 2011.  I am putting it on the list of books I am looking forward to in 2011.  There are a lot of questions I want answered.

Solaris published The Noise Within by Ian Whates in 2010.

I purchased The Noise Within from Amazon.
 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tracato; A Trial of Blood and Steel by Joel Shepherd and The Ruling Sea; A Chathrand Voyage Book by Robert Redick



Fantasy

I’m reading both of these fantasy series and have previous posts about both.  (Click on the link for my post on Sasha and my post on The Red Wolf Conspiracy.)  I just finished reading the latest book in both and felt that both warranted another recommendation.  Although the story lines are very different there are some similarities between the two.  Both have intricate and complicated plots with a large and well-developed cast of characters.  Both authors have created an imaginative world with more details added in each book.  To understand what is going on you must read both series from the beginning. I expected one thing at the end of each book but got a resolution that left everything up in the air.  After finishing both I wanted to read the next book in each series but of course neither has been released yet. 

I think anyone who likes larger than life fantasy series should give both of these a try.
 
PYR published Tracato by Joel Shepherd in 2010.
DelRey published The Ruling Sea by Robert Redick in 2010.

I purchased Tracato from Amazon and checked The Ruling Sea out from the Rogers, AR Public Library.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Like Clockwork by Bonnie Dee


Steampunk

As Like Clockwork starts London is filling up with automatons that are taking over many of the jobs that people used to do.  Victoria Waters is one member of a group of scientists who helped develop the automatons.  She is very concerned about the many uses these untested units are being put to.   On her way to voice her concerns to the Commission for Animatronic Affairs she is kidnapped by Dash, a member of a group that opposes the wide spread use of the automatons.  The two are from totally different social classes but find they share similar views about how the automatons are being used.   Add a group of murders by the Southwark Slasher, the secret actions of the Commission for Animatronic Affairs and you have a set up for danger and suspense.  Of course there is also the attraction between Dash and Victoria to add spice to the story.

Like Clockwork is a novella of 90 pages but Bonnie Dee has used each page to great advantage producing a well-rounded and complete story.  Dash and Victoria are well thought out fully developed characters.  The story has a great pace and moves smoothly from start to finish.   Like Clockwork is a very good short read and I hope Bonnie Dee writes more of the same. 

Carina Press published Like Clockwork by Bonnie Dee in 2010.

For a limited time Carina Press offered Like Clockwork as a free ebook and I downloaded it during that time. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Deadly Sanctuary by Sylvia Nobel



Mystery

Deadly Sanctuary was the free ebook at Barnes and Noble on the first Friday in January.  It is also the first book in the Kendall O’Dell Series.  Giving away the first book in a series is a good way to hook readers and it worked on me.  

After losing her job at the Philadelphia Inquirer and being dumped by her fiancĂ©e, Kendall O’Dell takes a job in Castle Valley, AZ.   She is looking for not only a job but also a change to a drier climate to help her asthma. 

The Castle Valley Sun is a small paper and Kendal is taking the place of a reporter who disappeared several months ago and has not been heard of since.  Her new boss thinks that the disappearance is linked to a story the reporter was working on and he wants Kendall to look into what really happened.  The Arizona setting is great and the descriptions are wonderful.  There are enough interesting characters to keep the story going and the clues to the mystery surrounding the reporter’s disappearance are subtle enough to hold the readers attention and keep the plot moving.   All in all this is a great introduction the Kendall O’Dell Series.  
  
Nite Owl Book published Deadly Sanctuary by Sylvia Nobel in 1998, The eBook was released in 2009.

I got Deadly Sanctuary free from Barnes and Noble.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Scoundrel by Zoe Archer


Paranormal Romance

Scoundrel is the second book in the Blade of the Rose series, Because Zoe Archer did not have to include as much world building in Scoundrel I think it is even better than the Warrior, the first book.  (Follow the link to see my post on Warrior.)

Bennett Day is a love them and leave them guy.  He is also a Blade of The Rose, a group sworn to keep ancient magical relics out of the hand of the Heirs who will use them for world domination. London Harcourt is the daughter of one of the leaders of the Heirs.  She knows nothing of the Heirs or their mission but because she is the only one who can read a dialect of ancient Greek that will lead to a relic her Father brings her to Greece to help with the mission.

Bennett and London meet by chance on the streets of Athens and feel an instant attraction.   Even though they should be on different sides they join forces and are pulled into a quest full of adventure and danger.   The Greek Islands lend a great background for the story.   Like Warrior, Scoundrel is filled with wonderful fully developed characters and a plot that keeps you reading.  Bennett and London make a great team and both find something very unexpected as they work together.

There are four books in the series;   Rebel and Stranger have been published and are the last two.

Zebra published Scoundrel by Zoe Archer in 2010.

I purchased Scoundrel from Borders.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Busy Body: An Agatha Raisin Mystery by M.C. Beaton


Mystery

I still love Agatha Raisin.  (See my previous posts about the series.) In Busy Body, the latest in the Agatha Raisin series, it takes over a year to solve the mystery.  I don’t want to give anything away so here are some teaser questions.

1.  What new romance is Agatha working to     break up?
     2.  What do Christmas lights have to do with murder?  
     3.  Why does Toni feel guilty
     4.  Is James Lacey having second thought about Agatha?
     5.  What backfires on Charles?
     6.  What does Roy Silver try that almost gets him killed?

These and other question can be answered by reading Busy Body.  While Busy Body can be read as a standalone it is more fun if you have read the series starting with book one, The Quiche of Death.

Minotaur Books published Busy Body; An Agatha Raisin Mystery by M.C. Beaton in 2010.

I checked Busy Body out from the Rogers, AR Public Library.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

How I Stretch My Book Budget – Part 4

  

                                           Free eBooks

If you read my post on Marry Me you may have noticed that I downloaded it free on Barnes and Noble.  Free is a great way to stretch my budget.  I find free books several places.  I found Marry Me when I checked the list of free books on the Amazon Kindle web site.  The top 100 free books are listed on the side of the page.  If something is free at Amazon it is usually free at Barnes and Noble so I checked and downloaded it to my Nook.  I really lucked out with Marry Me.  It was a new release and only available for a few days.  Usually the free books are older issues.   There are several other places I find free ebooks.  I belong to the AllRomance Ebooks site and they frequently have promotions offering free ebooks.  I try to visit Barnes and Noble every Friday. If you are in the store they offer one book as a free download to your Nook.   I also follow several other blogs that sometimes list free ebook offering.   Keep your eyes open and you can come up with some good free reads.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Echo by Jack McDevitt


Science Fiction

Echo is the fifth Alex Benedict novel.  The series is set in the distant future where for thousands of years humans have spread through the Orion Arm of the Milky Way and have found only one other alien race.  Alex Benedict deals in rare and unusual antiques.  His pilot Chase Kolpath assists him in his work.   In previous books they have made unusual discoveries in very dangerous situation.

Echo continues their quest to find and understand an unusual artifact.  Chase answers an ad for a free stone tablet with unusual symbols.  When she arrives someone else has taken the tablet.  Alex is intrigued by the symbols and starts a search for information on the tablet’s origin and meaning. What follows is a tense, gripping story filled with unexpected danger for Alex and Chase.  The search for the tablet and its origin also becomes a test of their relationship and the ability to work together. 

 Jack McDevitt is a master storyteller and has produced a story that I could not put down.  The pacing in Echo is excellent allowing the tension to build in just the right places.   You can read Echo as a stand-alone but don’t miss the rest of this series.

In a previous post I said that in spite of what someone wrote you could write a story with both a male and female main character and not have it lead to romance.  I cited David Drake and his Lt. Leary series.  Jack McDevitt has done the same with this series.  While Alex and Chase both have romantic interests there is no romance between the two of them.

ACE released Echo by Jack McDevitt in 2010.

I checked out Echo from the Rogers Public Library.

Friday, January 14, 2011

How I Stretch My Book Budget – Part 3


The third way I supplement my book budget requires some time on my part.  I am retired so I have the time.  If you have a very busy life with work and family this may not work for you.

I love doing surveys and belong to several online survey sites.  Most offer some type of reward for doing a survey.  One common reward is a certain number of points after you complete a survey.  After I take enough surveys and collect enough points I can exchange those points for Amazon.com gift cards.  This is not a fast process.  Surveys take a lot of time and are spread over many weeks and months.  For most sites it takes six months to a year to get a gift card but if you have the time it is a good way to get books without spending any of your hard to come by cash.  There are also a few survey sites that pay cash to PayPal.  I usually have a little money from taking surveys in my PayPal account and use it when I find a ebook that looks interesting.  Many times that is a book I would not have tried without having survey money in PayPal.

If you think you would like to try your hand at taking surveys you can do an online search for survey sites.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

How I Stretch My Book Budget – Part 2




I wrote about Borders Rewards Plus in the first post on how I supplement my book budget.  I love gift cards and here is the way I get some without paying any money.

The first way is through My Points, a shopping web site.  I collect points that can be exchanged for gift cards several ways.  The first way is by clicking on emails sent by My Points advertising different merchants.  If you click on the email you earn 5 points.  The second way is by purchasing online through My Points.  As an example:  When I buy a book from Barnes and Noble I go first to My Points.  While I am on that web site I click on Barnes and Noble.  When I purchase going to My Points first I earn points for each dollar spent.  In the case of Barnes and Noble I earn 10 points for each dollar spent.  I do the same when I order from Borders.  When I order anything online I check to see if the merchant is listed on My Points.  If they are there I go to their web site through My Points.  When I get enough points I exchange them for gift cards from Barnes and Noble or Borders. 

The second way is by using my Discover Card.  When I have $20.00 is cash back I can exchange it for a $25.00 gift card from one of the big chain bookstores.  This only stretches you book budget if you pay the card off each month. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Why Pre-order?




You see authors urging you to pre-order their next release.  Why should you go to that trouble?  Why not just wait for the book to get to your nearest book store?  There is a very good reason authors want us to pre-order.  All of those pre-orders count as first day and first week sales.  Publishers look very closely at first day sales.  They are also the sales that help put a book on the bestseller list.  If you love an authors’ books and know you are going to buy the next one coming out go ahead and pre-order.   It is a extra way to support your favorite authors.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

How I Stretch My Book Budget - Part 1



If you read my posts you see that I buy a lot of books.  I have several ways I stretch and even add to my book budget.  I thought that the first of the year would be a good time to share some of the ways I use to buy more books.  This is the first of four posts.  


One of the first ways I do that is to use in my Borders Rewards account.  I started with the free Borders Reward account.  With that account every few days I would get email coupons that gave me between 25 and 50% off one book.  Since I went by Borders on a regular basis I would print my coupon and use it when I book I wanted came out.  I also got Borders Bucks to spend when I spent a certain amount each year.  Last year Borders started offering a Borders Reward Plus Account for $20.00.  With that account I got an addition 10% off of any purchase and free shipping on any book I ordered from Border.com.  I purchased The Plus account for the free shipping.  Before I often ordered from Amazon but had to buy $25.00 before I got free shipping.  That meant that I would not order until I had books totaling $25.00 and I seldom pre-ordered.  Now if I see one book that I want and it is not in the store I can order and not pay shipping.  The downside is that Borders is not as good as Amazon in getting some books shipped out.  You read what happened with Alien Tango.  I had another book that traveled the country before it finally arrived at my house.  Even with those problems I will still keep the Plus Account and still pre-order.  

Monday, January 10, 2011

Marry Me by Jo Goodman and The Sergeant’s Lady by Susanna Fraser




Marry Me by Jo Goodman

Romance


Marry Me by Jo Goodman is set in the same town with some of the same characters as Never Love a Lawman

Dr Cole Monroe arrives in Reidsville, CO after his sixteen year old sister Whitney answers an advertisement for a town doctor in Cole’s name and the committee writes to tell him he is the best match offers him the position of town doctor.  One of his first patients is Rhyne Abbot; know as Runt and also thought to be male.  Marry Me is their story.  It is a fantastic story filled with wonderful characters, a great setting, several secrets, love, discovery and forgiveness. 

Zebra Books published Marry Me by Jo Goodman in 2010.

I downloaded Marry Me from Barnes and Noble when it was offered as a free ebook.  I loved Never Love a Lawman and was thrilled and surprised when I found out Marry Me was being offered free for a limited time. 


The Sergeant’s Lady by Susanna Fraser

Romance

Anna Arrington, a highborn lady, is a heiress who is married to a officer serving in the Peninsular Wars.  Although she is following him there is no love lost between the two.   She meets Sergeant Will Atkins when he is trying to deliver a baby and needs help.  After her husband is killed she and Will are thrown together when the enemy captures them.  The attraction that follows leads to their becoming secret lovers.  There does not seen to be any way to bridge the social distance between the two and they part both hoping that there will be some way they can be together.

I really loved this story because the two main characters are from very different backgrounds.  Unlike many period romances The Sergeant’s Lady was set away from the parties and glitter of the aristocracy and focused on the every day life of the army and the people who were a part of the war.  Susanna Fraser has written a love story with wonderful characters, a great historical setting and a fascinating plot.  I hope she writes more stories like The Sergeant’s Lady.

Carina Press published The Sergeant’s Lady by Susanna Fraser in 2010.

I purchased The Sergeant’s Lady as an ebook from Carina Press.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Alien Tango by Gini Koch


Science Fiction Romance

I love Alien Tango by Gini Koch.  I don’t want to give away any of the plot but look at the following teaser questions and then read Alien Tango to find the answers.

Does Kitty win over Jeff’s parents?  
Can anyone or anything come between Jeff and Kitty?  
What is Chuckie’s big secret or should that be what are Chuckie’s big secrets?  
What came home with the 3 astronauts?  
Does A-C policy on mixed marriage change?  
What music helps Kitty concentrate?   
How does an alligator figure in a SFR book?  
Can a character go from evil to good in a few pages?
How many former boyfriends does Kitty have?  

Those are just a few of the interesting questions that are answered in Alien Tango

Gini Koch has written another fun adventure filled with imaginative problems for Kitty and Jeff.  Katherine “Kitty” Katt continuers to be a take-charge heroin who is the first to know what is happening and always knows the best way handle each situation.  Jeff is still a hunk who allows Kitty to be herself.  Jeff and Kitty are still on a new and exciting journey that does not end with Alien Tango.  Look for Alien in the Family in April of 2011.

DAW published Alien Tango by Gini Koch in 2010.

Gini was here on December 9th to do a interview.  If you missed it  click here on Gini's name to hear what she had to say.

I purchased Alien Tango from Borders.  

As the saying goes “The best laid plans of mice and men often go..”.  My recommendation of Alien Tango certainly suffered that fate.  I pre-ordered from Borders who said they shipped the book on December 6th.   I kept waiting and checking my mailbox but Alien Tango did not arrive so I checked the tracking information.  There was no record that the book had been picked up much less shipped.  I emailed Borders asking what was going on.  Three days later the book finally shipped and arrived at my house on December 19th.  That was the day I found out my Mother had fallen and needed my help.  I left the next day and drove the 200 miles to her house where I found that I had my e-readers but no paper books.  Alien Tango was at home.  I did not arrive back home for two weeks.  Understand, I had this all planned.  Gini was doing an interview with me on December 9th.  I expected Alien Tango to arrive on the release date so I would have the recommendation up right after the interview.   Better late than never is another saying for this recommendation.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Problems with First Generation Nooks




I purchased one of the first generation Nooks last February and I love it.  When I was in Barnes and Noble in December one of the clerks looked at my Nook and realized it was one of the first generation.  She told me they had had trouble with the buttons that changed the pages on many of the first generation Nooks.  I looked and realized that there were small cracks on the buttons on both sides.  The clerk told me call 1-800-THE-BOOK.  I called that day.  Barnes and Noble is overrun with calls from all of the people who purchased or received Nooks this holiday season.    I held for 30 + minutes only to be transferred to another person where I held another 30 + minutes.  When I finally got to the correct person I was only on the phone another 10 minutes.  I ordered my Nook online so it was easy to check my purchase date. The representative took my information and told me I would receive a free replacement for my defective Nook within the next two weeks.  I would then ship the defective Nook back postage paid.  I got an email that day with the instructions for printing out the postage paid label. .  When I asked he admitted there was a problem with all of the early Nooks and if you call in the first year after purchase Barnes and Noble was replacing them free of charge.  If you have a first generation Nook take a careful look around the page turning buttons.  If you have any cracks call before the first year is up.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Song of Scarabaeus by Sara Creasy


Science Fiction/Space Opera

Song of Scarabaeus is a very interesting book.  I had seen it recommended as a Science Fiction Romance but I found it more Science Fiction/Space Opera.  Song of Scarabaeus is full of very well drawn characters, a lot of imaginative interesting science, very good world building, and a plot filled with dangerous twists and turns. 

Edie is one of the best at what she does.  She works for the Crib empire and uses advanced biocyph seed technology to terraform alien worlds for human use; a technology that the Crib uses to bleed the Fringe populations.   She is kidnapped by mercenaries who want to sell her talent to the Fringe worlds and to protect her they tie her to Finn, a former freedom fighter.  To insure that Finn does his job to the best of his ability the tie that is implanted means that if Edie dies so does Finn and if he gets to far from Edie the result will be the same, he will die.  All of this happens in the first few pages of the book and while it sounds like a set up for romance what follows is a lot of action and adventure.  While Song of Scarabaeus ends with some problems resolved there is still a lot of story left untold.  A second book Children of Scarabaeus is due out March of 2011.

I missed Song of Scarabaeus by Sara Creasy when it was released in May of 2010.   It was even on my January list of books to read in 2010 and when I looked back on the list this January it was one of two books on the list I had missed.   I am sorry I missed it when it first came out but glad I found it when I looked back.  Sara Creasy has written a very good story and I am looking forward to her next book Children of Scarabaeus set in this same universe.

EOS published Song of Scarabaeus by Sara Creasy in 2010.

I purchased Song of Scarabaeus from Borders.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Science Fiction Book Club Reading List for 2011

Here are the books we choose to read in our Science Fiction Book Club during 2011.

January:   Forbidden the Stars by Valmore Daniels
February:  Children No More (Jon and Lobo) by Mark L. Van Name
March:  The Golden Age by John C. Wright
April:  The Complete Bolo by Keith Laumer
May:  Blade Dancer by S.I. Viehl
June:  The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
July:  The Warrior's Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold
August:  Storm Front: Dresden Files Book 1 by Jim Butcher
September:  The City and The City by China Mieville
October:  Steal Across the Sky by Nancy Kress
November:  Blindsight by Peter Watts
December:  The Thousand Orcs by R.A. Salvatore

We all nominate books and then vote for 12.  We also spend some time at the meeting where we vote to lobby for our books.  I wanted Children No More and Steal across the Sky because I thought both would lend themselves to really good discussions.  I have posts on both here on the blog.  Check out the posts, read the books, and see what you think.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Releases I Plan to Read in 2011

Here are some of the books I am waiting for in 2011.  

Rising Tides: Destroyermen by Taylor Anderson

Betrayer: Foreigner # 12 by C.J. Cherry

Haven (A Trial of Blood and Steel) by Joel Shepherd

Where Shadows Dance: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery by C. S. Harris

Kiss of Snow: Psy-Changeling by Nalini Singh

Alien in th Family by Gini Koch

Heartless: An Alexia Tarabotti Novel by Gail Carriger

Heart of Steel: The Iron Seas by Meljean Brook

Wild Cat Bride: the Quinter Brides by Lauri Robinson


Enemy Games by Marcella Burnard


War Cry by Elizabeth Vaughn


Across the Universe by Beth Revis

I am hoping that the new book that follows Tangled in Time by Pauline Baird Jones and the new book that follows Heart’s Blood by Gail Dayton will be released in 2011. 




I did a similar post in January of 2010.  Somehow I missed two of the books on that list.  I will have to go back and pick them up.  I may have missed them because my TBR pile just keeps getting bigger.