Monday, April 30, 2012

Musing Mondays, April 30, 2012

This week’s musing asks…
Do you listen to audiobooks? If not, why not? And, if so, what has been one of your favorites, so far?

I do listen to audio books.  I like to listen when I am driving and I keep one going in my car all the time.  There are two audio books in my post today listing what else I read/listened to in April.  I can't say I have one favorite.  While I listen to authors I know I also use audio books to explore new authors.  One that comes to mind is A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.  That one was a long book and I listened to it when I was making frequent trips to stay with my Mother during her last illness.  I just finished listening to the Jacob's Ladder trilogy by Elizabeth Bear.  I stated in my review that while I enjoyed listening to all three I would never have finished them in book form.

I usually check audio books out at my local library.  When I am traveling and not near a library I have rented audio books from Cracker Barrel restaurant.  You purchase for full price and if you finish in the rental period you turn it in at any other Cracker Barrel and get a refund for most of the price. 

What Else I Read/Listened To in April, 2012


 Just Down the Road by Jodi Thomas - This is the latest Harmony novel.  I love the town and the characters.  Reading the book was like a visit to catch up with old friends.  Some old friends finally get together but there are still loose ends that can be tired together in new books.  I hope there will be more books to come.

Salt Bride: A Georgian History  by Lucinda Brant - This was a nice story.  The Earl of Salt Hendon and Jane Despard fell in love four years ago but someone did not want them to be together.  Each thought the other had betrayed their love. Now they are forced to marry and must leave to trust and love again.  This was a free book from Amazon.

Ruined by Rumor  by Alyssa Everett - This should be Alyssa's second book but because A Tryst with Trouble (Look for my comments on the book next Sunday) is caught up in Dorchester's closing this is her first published book.   I like the book.  The story was good and the characters interesting.  Because I read A Tryst with Trouble first and loved it I started Ruined by Rumor with very high expectations.  It is a nice story it just is not the book that will break Alyssa out of the pack.  I think the book to do that is A Tryst with Trouble.


Celebrity in Death by J.D. Robb - Another great Eve Dallas and Rourke mystery.  This time the murder happens at a party where Eve is a guest along with the cast of the film featuring a case Eve solved.  We get to visit with most of the previous characters.  Eve does not get hurt in this book but she does find more that she expected once she starts to investigate.   

Science Fiction/ Science Fiction Romance/ Space Opera

Wreck of the Nebula Dream by Veronica Scott - Based loosely on the Titanic disaster this is a fast paced, danger filled story of a new Space Ship Luxury Liner, the Wreck of the Nebula Dream, that is suppose to set a new speed record.  As it turns out, corners have been cut, things go wrong, the ship takes a short cut and hits a asteroid, the main crew leaves and our heroes have to save the day.  Once you get past the asteroid hit the story is nothing like what happened to the Titanic.  It is however a exciting read.  I would have liked to know more about the universe Veronica Scott built for the story.  There is plenty of room to write more in this setting so maybe there will be future stories in this setting.

Paranormal Romance:

Devil's Punch by Ann Aguirre - I love this series but I have to say I don't know what to think about this one.  I found it to be strange, strange, strange.  It left me wondering.  It was not my favorite so I hope the next one does not leave me where this one did.  

Paranormal and /or Science Fiction Audio Book

Firestorm: The Caretaker Trilogy - I enjoyed listening to this book.  Jack ends up on the run for this life after he runs for too many yards in his last high school football game and is featured on TV.  It turns out he is not who he thinks he is, he is the from the future and is the hope for the future.  It was a little preachy but still a good story.  Wish the library had the other tow as audio books.  

Poltergeist by Kat Richardson - This is the second book in the Greywalker series.  I listened to book one several months ago and said I was not sure I would continue with the series.  I'm glad I went ahead and picked this on up.  With all the backstory established in the first book this one moved much faster.   Harper is still learning what she can do with her ability to walk in the grey.  When a group create a ghost that turns evil she has her hands full. A good next story to continue the series.  I plan to listen to book three. 

What else did you read and not review in April?  Leave a comment and a link to your post if you would like to share.


Sunday, April 29, 2012

In My Mail Box, April 29, 2012

In My Mail Box is hosted by The Story Siren and is an opportunity to share the books I get each week.

I need to read some of the books I have stacked all over my house so I am trying skip getting more and adding to my TBR pile.   I did get one ARC from Amazon Vine this week.  I can choose two each time a catalog comes out but I managed to choose only one.  So drum roll .....

Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas
Redshirts:  A Novel With Three Codas  by John Scalzi

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal (The Duke’s Daughters, #2) (Windham #5) by Grace Burrowes

Historical Romance
I love this series, read the first four and interviewed Grace Burrowes so when I saw Lady Maggie's Secret Scandal on NetGalley I immediately put in a request.  The book is scheduled for release on May 1, 2012. 
Let’s start with what Goodreads has to say:
Maggie Windham, oldest of the Windham sisters and a by-blow from His Grace’s pre-marital wild oats, finds herself in desperate needs of an investigator to help her retrieve a missing reticule. Benjamin Hazlit knows the Windham family secrets, and can be trusted to keep them to himself, so Maggie turns to Benjamin, though it means ignoring his too-broad shoulders, his too-knowing smile… and his too-skilled kisses.

As Benjamin starts the search for Maggie’s missing purse, he realizes two things: First, whatever was in that purse, its loss has Maggie not just rattled, but terrified. Second, Benjamin will go to any lengths to see Maggie’s peace of mind restored, even if it means he must keep himself in very close proximity to the shy, secretive lady who says she wants nothing to do with him,
Characters:  In each of the books we learn a little more about the Windham family.  Maggie Windham was just mentioned in the previous books.  In Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal we learn a lot more about her and see just a little about her 3 younger sisters.  Maggie is a very strong woman who has spent her life protecting her family.  Like her sister Sophie she has put her life on hold.  We saw Benjamin Hazlet in the previous books and he is more fully fleshed out this time.  The two together make an explosive couple.
Plot:  This is familiar.  Maggie knows a secret that she thinks will destroy her family.   She turns to someone she can trust to help her when someone threatens to use the secret.  Grace Burrows puts fresh spin on this plot device and it makes for enjoyable reading.
Writing:  The book is very well written and everything flows to a very satisfactory conclusion.
Tension:  There is internal tension between the two main characters, Maggie has more internal tension because of the secret and there is the external tension generated by all the action required to solve Maggie’s problem.
I enjoyed reading about Maggie and Benjamin.  This was a book I read almost non-stop.  I started it on afternoon and finished it the next morning.  The only thing I did not like about the book is the cover.  You can decide how if you feel the same.  You can read Lady Maggie's Secret Scandal as a stand alone but I recommend the entire series. 
Source Books Casablanca published Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal by Grace Burrowes in 2012.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Letter From Elizabeth Loupas

I got this lovely letter and book mark from Elizabeth Loupas.  Both are too nice to keep to myself so wanted to share with all of my readers.  Here are the letter and the bookmark.

Dear Jo,

Enclosed please find bookmark # 25 of 36, of the signed and numbered, limited edition Flower Reader pressed-flower bookmarks,  I’m so pleased to be able to send it to you! 
The Flowers used in the bookmark are, from the top:

Wild Rose
Coral Bells
Rose Bud
…with ivy leaves scattered throughout

The meaning of the flowers are:

Wild Rose: bracing and bittersweet.
Daisy:  divination, answers to questions.
Verbena; the holy herb, protect from evil.
Cora bells: rising to the challenge.
Marigold:  comfort for the heart and spirit.
Rose Bud: blossoming passion, not necessarily romantic.
Cornflower: enduring love.
Buttercup: love of riches and rich food.
Ivy:  good fortune and constancy, promises kept.

I hope you enjoy The Flower Reader, and may you bookmark many many wonderful books!

Best regards, Elizabeth Loupas

Book Beginnings on Friday, April 27, 2012

Book Beginnings on Friday is a meme hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader. Anyone can participate; just share the opening sentence of your current read, making sure that you include  include the title and author so others know what you're reading.

" I hated the queen, hated her down to the deepest marrow of my bones."

This is the first sentence of The Flower Reader by Elizabeth Loupas.  The queen in this sentence is Mary of Guise, queen regent of Scotland and as the book begins she is dying.  That first sentence hooked me and I immediately kept reading.  This is a book beginning and a recommendation so lets start with what Goodreads has to say.

Rinette Leslie of Granmuir has the ancient gift of divining the future in flowers, but her gift cannot prepare her for the turmoil that comes when the dying queen regent entrusts her with a casket full of Scotland's darkest secrets. On the very day she means to deliver it to newly crowned Mary, Queen of Scots, Rinette's husband is brutally assassinated.

Devastated, Rinette demands justice before she will surrender the casket, but she is surrounded by ruthless men who will do anything to possess it. In the end, the flowers are all she can trust-and only the flowers will lead her safely home to Granmuir.

I loved this book and recommend it to anyone who loves historical fiction.  Elizabeth Loupas did a lot of research to keep the historical facts correct while inserting fictional characters.  Rinette is a strong woman but still has to fight to keep from being controlled by the men around her.  She does not always win.  This is also a look at Queen Mary as a young 18 year old new to ruling.  Being able to read the flowers is something new to me.  I was not sure what to expect when I saw that was part of the story but I loved the way it was used to move the plot along. This was a book I had trouble   putting down and I stayed up late to finish.

For a full review visit Kristin at her blog Always With a Book.

There is a nice interview with Elizabeth Loupas in the back of the book, a list of character with notes on who is real and who is fictional in the front and discussion question for books clubs to use.

I won a free copy of The Flower Reader along with a nice letter and a pressed flower book mark.  Be sure to read the letter and look at the  picture of the bookmark in the next post.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Proposal by Mary Balogh

Historical Romance

Finally Gwendoline, Lady Muir gets her story.  I have wondered about her since she first appeared in One Night For Love.  She has had bit parts in many of book that followed.  She has always been portrayed as happy with her life as a widow but there has been a bit of a mystery about her marriage and how it ended.  We find out the truth in The Proposal.

Mary Balogh has woven a story that touches on issues that are still important today and set them in a believable historical setting.  Hugo, Lord Trentham is a war hero who is still suffering for the effects of the Napoleonic wars. He is one of six veterans who healed together and meet once a year.  He is from a working class background his father having made a fortune and left it all to Hugo.  He does not like or trust the upper class.

Guin is from the upper class. She also has trauma in her past.  When they meet there is instant attraction but both feel it will not work because they come from different backgrounds. 

It is fun to see how they work around all of their problems and how they help each other continue to heal. 

If you have read all of the Simply and Slightly series you will see some of the previous protagonists make brief appearances in The Proposal.  I had to check out who some of them were as I did not remember their rank only their names.

This is not my favorite Mary Balogh book.  It did not catch me as some of the others have but it is still a good story.  That being said I was glad to finally get Gwen’s story.  This is the first book in a new seven book series titled The Survivors' Club Series.  The other six books will be about the other veterans who we meet in The Proposal.  That should keep us supplied with our Mary Balogh fix for the next several years. 

Delacorte Press published The Proposal by Mary Balogh in 2012.

I received an ARC of The Proposal from Amazon Vine.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (WOW) April 25, 2012

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

I am waiting for the latest Nalini Singh Psy/Changeling novel, Tangle of Need, due out May 29, 2012.  I have it on pre-order from Amazon.  

Here is what Goodreads has to say:

Adria, wolf changeling soldier, has made a break with a past asunpredictable in love as it was in war. Now comes a devastating new complication: Riaz, a SnowDancer whose lone-wolf appeal is beyond sexual. It’s primal. And it consumes them as completely as the impending cataclysmic Psy war—a battle that may alter the very fate of the world.  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Teaser Tuesday, April 24, 2012

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 is from The Silver Metal Lover by Tanith Lee.  This is a older books published in 1981.  It is an unusual Science Fiction Romance novel.  Here is my teaser: 

"Alas, my love, you do me wrong, to cast me off discourteously.  If passion's limit is a song, the lack will work hell with my circuitry."

Read what Goodreads says about The Silver Metal Lover:  

Love is made of more than mere flesh and blood....

Tanith Lee is one of the most thought-provoking and imaginative authors of our time. In this unforgettably poignant novel, Lee has created a classic tale--a beautiful, tragic, erotic, and ultimately triumphant love story of the future.

For sixteen-year-old Jane, life is a mystery she despairs of ever mastering. She and her friends are the idle, pampered children of the privileged class, living in luxury on an Earth remade by natural disaster. Until Jane's life is changed forever by a chance encounter with a robot minstrel with auburn hair and silver skin, whose songs ignite in her a desperate and inexplicable passion.

Jane is certain that Silver is more than just a machine built to please. And she will give up everything to prove it. So she escapes into the city's violent, decaying slums to embrace a love bordering on madness. Or is it something more? Has Jane glimpsed in Silver something no one else has dared to see--not even the robot or his creators? A love so perfect it must be destroyed, for no human could ever compete?


Monday, April 23, 2012

Musing Mondays, April 23, 2012

This week’s musing asks…
Other than working at a job, what is your biggest interruption to reading? What takes you away from your book(s)?   Since I am retired working at a job is not a factor in when or how long I read.  I do remember that the first nine months after I retired I read almost non-stop trying to catch up with all the books I had not had time to read while I worked.  So to today's questions!
There are several things that take me away from my books.  Most of them are things I choose to do.  I love to garden and this time of year I spend a lot of time outdoors planting, weeding, putting in new beds, and just enjoying being outdoors.  Of course I take time out to sided outside and read.
I live in an area with a lot of retirees and there are a lot of outside activities available.  I belong to several bridge groups that meet on a regular basis.  So there are times weekly and times monthly that I play bridge and don't read.
Sometimes I just hang out with friends;  eating out, going to movies, shopping, or visiting area attractions.  That takes me away from reading. 
I also volunteer on a regular basis and that takes me away from reading.
And finally, sometimes because I run this blog writing posts takes me away from reading.  If I get to far ahead and don't write the post I have to go back and do some re-reading so the book blog takes me away from my reading.