Wednesday, April 30, 2014

What Else I Read in April, 2014

These are books I read but didn't review on the blog.  All had short reviewes on Amazon and Goodreads and those reviews are posted here.

Deep in the Valley by Robyn Carr - I love all of Robyn Carr's series. I read Deep in the Valley after reading both the Thunder Point and Virgin River series. This is not up to the quality of either of those but it has its own charm. I felt like it was a practice for the other two. The story was a not as smooth, the writing not as good but I did love the characters. This series follows one main character and one main romance. If you like Robyn Carr I think you will over look the short coming and keep reading.

Just Over the Mountain by Robyn Carr The writing here was much better than in book one. Still the same main character, June, the doctor in Grace Valley. There is a mix of other characters but June and her romance is still the focus of the book. Still not up to the same standard as the Virgin River and Thunder Point books but this one was written first. One nice thing, the some of the characters carry over as side characters in the Virgin River series.

Down By the River by Robyn Carr - This finishes June and Jim's story. Their romance is the focus of this trilogy. The book has too many pages of explanation and backstory. All of that really slowed the book down. I still looked at this book and the other in the series as practice for Robyn Carr's Virgin River and Thunder Points books. I did like the characters and was sad to leave Grace Valley. I read this after finishing Virgin River and now want to go back and re-read the Virgin River books so I can keep up with June and everyone in Grace Valley. They show up as side characters in some of the Virgin River books so they are not entirely gone.

Bluebonnets for Elly by Sandra Nachlinger - Two thing captured my attention when I saw this book.  One - bluebonnets and two the author.  Both Sandra and I have a Texas connection and both of us love bluebonnets.  I often go back in the spring just to see them bloom.  Sandra is a fellow blogger and I enjoy seeing what she reads.  Bluebonnets for Elly is a sweet romance.  The journey for Elly and Derick is filled with romance, a little mystery, and some strange twists in turns.  I loved the fact that Derick's past is different and it adds a nice touch to the story.  This is a easy to read story.  The romance is sweet and gentle with just the right amount of the physical.  I did not have to skim like I often do with pages and pages of sex.  

The Great Escape by Susan Elizabeth Phillips - I have read the entire series leading up to The Great Escape.  I wondered what happened to Lucy Jorik after she ran away from her wedding minutes before walking down the aisle.  Now I know.  It is a good story with some twists and turns and it seems to end this group of stories.  I usually laugh a lot during a Susan Elizabeth Phillips books but with this on I just smiled several time.  Lucy and Panda both have some serious problems and so do several of the other characters.  There is a HEA for everyone and I did enjoy the book.  I just felt it was a little different from previous books.   

The Clockwork Scarab (Stoker and Holmes #1) by Colleen Gleason - I picked The Clockwork Scarab up in the YA section of my public library.  It is one of several books loosely based on the Sherlock Holmes books.  The two main characters are Mina Holmes (niece of Sherlock) and Evaline Stoker (daughter of Bram Stoker).  They are recruited by Irene Adler to find out why young women are disappearing.  Add Dylan (a male that arrived from the future and is looking for a way to get home), Pip (a man from the other side of town) and Inspector Greyling (a police inspector who keeps arriving on the scene) and you have the main cast.  It was a fun book that spend much of its time world and character building.  The mystery is almost solved but it does leave loose threads for future books.

Task Force Ombra: Grunt Life by Weston Ochse - I really like Military Science Fiction and have read several that I really liked in the last few months.  The theme in Grunt Life is different.  Everyone in Task Force Ombra is a veteran suffering from PTS and has tried to kill themselves.  They are offered another chance to make a difference by becoming part of a unit that will fight off an alien invasion.  It sounds interesting and they do have to fight.  What I found was that I could put the book down after reading a few chapters and not pick it up again for several days.  It took me over a month to finish.  It does feature the lives of the ordinary soldier and they do a lot of fighting.  Even so for me it was a very slow paced read.  This is book one and the ending was just a set up for future books.  If you are a Military Science Fiction fan give it a try.  You may find it more exciting than I did.

Inn at Last Chance by Hope Ramsay –I hadn’t read anything by Hope Ramsay so when Netgalley offered it as a read now I picked it up.  Last Chance is a small town in South Carolina and Inn at Last Chance is part of the series set in the town.  Inn At Last Chance worked well as a stand alone so don’t worry if you have not read any of the other books.   This is Gabriel Raintree’s and Jenny Carpenter’s story.  There is a touch of the paranormal in the story.  Jenny is a caretaker who has had horrible luck with men.  Gabriel is a writer who comes back to work on his latest novel.  Both have issues to work out and both have to deal with a ghost who just will not move on.  There is enough danger, tension and romance to keep the story interesting. 

An Unwilling Husband by Tera Shanley - Both Margaret Flemming (Maggie when she arrives out west) and Garret Shaw are interesting characters.  Their childhood friendship should have continued when Maggie returns but it does not.  Garret just knows that Maggie will not stick around.  It is a nice story with two separate elements that provide the needed tension.  First is the threat to Garret's land and the second is the relationship between Maggie and Garret.  That relationship is not working.  Maggie tries very hard and Garret is a closed door.  This is a familiar theme with some new twists.  It makes for a nice easy to read romance.

Up to the Challenge (An Anchor Island Novel) by Terri Osburn - I am trying a Amazon Prime membership this year and Up to the Challenge is the first book I have checked out using the membership.  

Both Lucas Dempsey and Sid Navarro are side characters in Meant to Be, Book One, of the Anchor Island Series. I love Sid who everyone thinks and treats as just one of the guys. Who would know under the shapeless clothes she has on sexy under ware and has a very girl friendly house. Lucas on the other hand just wants to stay away from Anchor Island and has done that for years. Sid's crush on Lucas comes face to face with reality when the two volunteer to run the Dempsey restaurant while Tom Dempsey recovers from a heart attack. The tension between Sid and Lucas keeps the story going. I loved both Sid and Lucas. Seeing Beth and Joe from the first book was great. Both Sid and Lucas said they were just having a summer fling even as their hearts said they were really starting a serious relationship.

There are some great lines between Sid and Lucas. This is a fun romance filled with tension, wonderful characters and a romantic journey to the HEA. Sometimes the second book in a series disappoints but not Up to the Challenge. It is a wonderful read.

Waiting on Wednesday - April 30, 2014


 Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature sponsored by Breaking the Spine.  It is a great way to share upcoming releases.

I am waiting on Tabula Rasa: A Crime Novel of the Roman Empire (Gaius Petreius Ruso #6) by Ruth Downie.  I love both Ruso and Tilla and have been waiting for the next book for over a year.  I still have to wait a little longer as the book will not be released until August.

From Goodreads:

"The medicus Ruso and his wife Tilla are back in the borderlands of Britannia, this time helping to tend the builders of Hadrian's Great Wall. Having been forced to move off their land, the Britons are distinctly on edge and are still smarting from the failure of a recent rebellion that claimed many lives.

Then Ruso's recently arrived clerk, Candidus, goes missing. A native boy thinks he sees a body being hidden inside the wall's half-finished stonework, and a worrying rumor begins to spread. When the soldiers ransack the nearby farms looking for Candidus, Tilla's tentative friendship with a local family turns to anger and disappointment. It's clear that the sacred rites to bless her marriage to Ruso will have to wait. Tensions only increase when Branan, the family's youngest son, also vanishes. He was last seen in the company of a lone and unidentified soldier who claimed he was taking the boy to see Tilla.

As Ruso and Tilla try to solve the mystery of the two disappearances - while at the same time struggling to keep the peace between the Britons and the Romans - an intricate scheme involving slavery, changed identities, and fur trappers emerges, and it becomes imperative that Ruso find Branan before it's too late.(less)"

Sea Without a Shore (Lt Leary #10) by David Drake

Science Fiction/ Space Opera

From Goodreads:


#10 in the nationally best-selling Republic of Cinnabar Navy space adventure series. 

Cinnabar's chief spymaster is a mother also--and her son is determined to search for treasure in the midst of a civil war. Who better to hold the boy's hand—and to take the blows directed at him—than Captain Daniel Leary, the Republic of Cinnabar Navy's troubleshooter, and his friend the cyberspy Adele Mundy?

The only thing certain in the struggle for control of the mining planet Corcyra is that the rival parties are more dangerous to their own allies than to their opponents. Daniel and Adele face kidnappers, hijackers, pirates and a death squad—even before they can get to their real business of ending the war on Corcyra. Only with planetary peace can the boy they're escorting get on with his mission.

The boy thinks the treasure he's looking for is a thousand years old. Daniel and Adele know that it's probably a dream—

But if the treasure is real, it just might be tens of thousands of years older than anyone imagines, and incalculably more valuable!"

Adele Mundy and Daniel Leary are back together again in another exciting adventure.  This time they each have a separate mission but instead of going their separate ways their mission takes them both to Corcyra, a planet in trouble.  Daniel is helping out Mistress Sand by accompanying her son to look for a treasure and Adele is doing a favor for Daniel’s sister and the Leary family. 

This is a much more laid back book.  There are no space battles, their space ship is a freighter instead of a war ship and there are only 20 of the regular crew on the voyage.  We do see a lot more of Adele in this book and continue to get additional insights into her character.   Both Daniel and Adele have to work to outsmart their enemies and in many cases turn them into allies.

David Drake does try to write each book in the series to stand-alone but I recommend starting at the beginning with book one.  You will have a much better grip on the characters and the story.

Baen published Sea Without a Shore by David Drake in 2014.

I received an ARC of Sea Without a Shore from Netgalley.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Guest Post by Jael Wye - Author of Ladder to the Red Star

I was fascinated by the characters in Ladder to the Red Star and asked Jael Wye, the author,  to do a post on how she developed her characters.  But before we get to her post I want to thank her for taking the time to do the post and also tell you a little about  her.

Jael Wye grew up on the American Great Plains, went to school in the Midwest, and now lives in beautiful New England with her family and her enormous collection of houseplants. For more of Jael’s unique blend of futurism and fairy tale, don’t miss her ongoing series Once Upon A Red World.

Building Character with Science Fiction Fairy Tales

Fairy tale characters are memorable because they are exquisitely simple. The princess is beautiful and good, the prince is handsome and brave, and the ogre is greedy and cruel. But archetypes in their primal form just won’t do when the fairy tale takes the form of a modern day science fiction romance novel.

My book, Ladder to the Red Star, is based on the tale of Jack and the beanstalk. The hero, Jacques, travels up the space elevator cable to a space station in orbit above the Earth to steal a valuable item from the station’s powerful owner. This action follows the map of the classic tale, but for Jacques and his quest to become real and immediate to the reader, the narrative needs to show that Jacques’s own unique backstory, personal emotions and ambitions are what motivate him to enact this mythic story. Jacques is driven to steal from his enemy out of a desperate need to find a medical cure for himself and his mother--reasons specific to him that make him sympathetic and believable to the reader.

But small touches matter almost as much as these broader strokes when it comes to writing a plausible inner life for a character. For example, Jacques is fond of watching soap operas, and this detail adds a quirky, approachable dimension to him that might otherwise be lacking.

Fully realized personality, history and motivation are the foundations of believable characters, but physical descriptions are also important to ground them firmly in the reader’s mind. For example, with Devi, the heroine, I went into detail about her coloring and the shapes of her body and face when she was first introduced, and then I scattered little reminders of her physical attributes throughout the book. These descriptive passages give her distinction just as much as the unfolding of her character.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a digital copy of Ice Red, book one, in the Once Upon a Red World Series.  Click on the title to see my review of Ice Red.  Be sure to leave yours email in the post so you can be notified if you win.  Visit the other blog hosts for additional chances to win.  You can read my review of Ladder to a Red Star if you scroll down to my next post.


 Twitter -- @jaelwye

Ladder to the Red Star (Once Upon a Red World #2) by Jael Wye

Science Fiction Romance

From Goodreads:

Once upon a ruined Earth 300 years in the future…

Jacques Tallinn, biotech smuggler and thief, is after the cure for a brain disorder he's suffered since childhood—a disorder inflicted by a powerful tyrant. To get the cure, Jacques will need to climb the space elevator to the new Zenith space station hovering above Earth and go undercover in the lab where it's produced.

Martian head tech Devi Chandra is immediately intrigued by her sexy new lab assistant. Though she insists on keeping things professional, she finds herself charmed by Jacques. Until he betrays her trust, kidnapping her and spiriting her off to Earth.

All Jacques needed to do was steal the biotech and get back home. But when things go wrong, he can't bring himself to leave Devi behind. Now she's injured and a simple caper has become an intergalactic cause, endangering his life and the lives of millions of others. But the hardest part? Winning back Devi's trust.

Ladder to the Red Star is in many ways different from Ice Red (click to see my review)  book one in the Once Upon a Red World series.  Different however does not make it worse; in fact I enjoyed Ladder to the Red Star just as much as Ice Red.

Set in space and on Earth the only thing Martian in the story are some of the characters and one of the corporations that holds joint ownership in the new Earth space elevator.

Ladder to the Red Star is a character driven story.  The two main characters are Devi Chandra and Jacques Tallinn.  I found both to be fascinating.

Jacques (from Earth) was used as a test subject as a young boy and left unable to feel any thing physical.  While he could not feel anything physical (pain, taste, etc.) he had enormous emotional feeling that almost overwhelmed him.  However if asked he would not recognize how many emotions he had.

Devi (from Mars) on the other hand had a wealth of physical experiences.  What she lacked were any strong emotional ties.  She had floated through life never bonding to anyone.  She felt restless but did not know why.

Before they met Jacques planned to use Devi to obtain the Correction process that would heal his inability to feel physical experiences and to cure his mother of cancer.  Not all of that plan worked.  All of that emotion that Jacques felt got in the way of using Devi and leaving her behind.

There was a very bad guy in the story.  He wanted to process Devi and was willing to go to any lengths to get her.  I did feel that he was a little over the top in badness but he provided a lot of the external tension in the story.

The internal tension was the interaction between Jacques and Devi.  Between the two Ladder to the Red Star was a very interesting story. 

I really like the fact that Jael Wye does not rush the attraction between Jacques and Devi.  I could see the attraction and loved watching it build as the story progresses.

There is world building folded into the story.  The space elevator and the conditions on Earth are part of the plot and are developed as the story progresses.  Some of the characters from Ice Red are side characters.  Only one plays an important part and only near the end of the story. 

Ladder to the Red Star works well as a stand-alone but like most books in a series reading Ice Red first will add to the enjoyment of the story.  If you have not read Ice Red leave a comment on today's guest post by Jael Wye for a chance to win an digital copy.

Carina Press released Ladder to the Red Star by Jael Wye in 2014.

I received an ARC of Ladder to the Red Star from Netgalley.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Musing Mondays, April 28, 2014

TC is in the sun musing about the chipmunk she sees out the window.
Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…Musing Mondays is sponsored by Should Be Reading.
• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it! 
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

I just saw Peacemaker by C.J. Cherryh in an email from Amazon.  It is the 15th book in the Foreigner series.  I have the entire series in hardback and am facing a decision.  Do I purchase the hardback for $19.68 or the ebook for 10.99.  I am having a hard time committing either way.  

It is a sunny day here so I am of to work in my yard while I decide.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days (An American Heiress In London #2) by Laura Lee Guhrke

Historical Romance

From Goodreads:

They had a deal...

From the moment she met the devil-may-care Duke of Margrave, Edie knew he could change her life. And when he agreed to her outrageous proposal of a marriage of convenience, she was transformed from ruined American heiress to English duchess. Five years later, she's delighted with their arrangement, especially since her husband is living on another continent.

But deals are made to be broken...

By marrying an heiress, Stuart was able to pay his family's enormous debts, and Edie's terms that he leave England forever seemed a small price to pay. But when a brush with death impels him home, he decides it's time for a real marriage with his luscious American bride, and he proposes a bold new bargain: ten days to win her willing kiss. But is ten days enough to win her heart?

If you read book one in the series you know that Edie was not upset that her husband left for Africa one month after the wedding.  In fact that was the deal.  They would marry, she would use her money to save his estate and he would leave for Africa to stay for good.

Edie is busy and seems to be happy.  She never wants a man in her life.  She never wants to return to America.  Marriage for her is a shield.  Stuart wanted the adventure he found in Africa until he is almost killed.  Then he wants to come home to his wife, have a normal marriage and start a family.  There is only one problem with that.  He must convince Edie.  That is where the title and the problem come in.  That is not what Edie wants. 

I loved Edie.  She has made a life for herself but is just realizing how lonely she really is.  She has to work to overcome something in her past to move on to the future.
Stuart is just the person to help.  He has always been attracted to her but left without ever saying so.  He is just what she needs.  He is kind and willing to work for the kind of marriage he wants.

This is a well-written book with a great plot.  I loved how everything unfolded.  There was time to get to know the characters and how they felt.  The tension between them was there and it helped move the story and keep my attention. It also deals with a very difficult subject (rape) and how it affects the woman in a very touching and realistic manner.  I am looking forward to more of the same in the next book in the series.

Avon published How to Lose A Dukein Ten Days by Laura Lee Guhrke in 2014.

I received an ARC of How to Lose A Duke in Ten Days from Edelweiss.

Friday, April 25, 2014

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
Come Join us!

The Beginning:

"Sid Navarro considered calling a nurse to remove the stick of righteous indignation from Lucas Dempsey's ass. If he tensed up any more, the thing would snap off and put an eye out."

Page 56:

"And as Will put it, he'd be out of her system. She could get on with her life without this unrequited thing hanging over her head."
45% on my Kindle

The book is Up to the Challenge (Anchor Island #2) by Terri Osburn. My post yesterday was Meant to Be (Anchor Island #1).

I am trying an Amazon Prime Membership and used the membership to check out Up to the Challenge. I am still liking this series.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Meant to Be (Anchor Island #1) by Terri Osburn

Contemporary Romance

From Goodreads:

Lifelong people-pleaser Beth Chandler will do anything to make a good impression on her future in-laws, including defy her fear of boats to make the ferry crossing required to meet them. Lucky for her, a lovable mutt and his tall, sexy, blue-eyed owner provide enough distraction to subdue her paralyzing panic attack. But Beth’s human tranquilizer turns out to be her future brother-in-law, Joe Dempsey, and their instant attraction is both unwelcome and undeniable.

Joe expects his brother’s fiancé to follow the materialistic, blonde-bimbo stereotype that is Lucas’ usual fare. Wild-haired, sweet-natured Beth doesn’t fit the part, but she does fit Joe and his island better than any woman he’s ever met. Though the men haven’t been close for years, Joe would never put the moves on his brother’s fiancé. That means Beth is off limits, no matter how much he wants her.

When a demanding case pulls Lucas back to the city, Beth realizes her fiancé is already married – to his work. Are solitary nights and mind-numbing dinner parties really what she wants? Torn between loyalty to Lucas and her growing feelings for Joe, Beth rethinks her choices and contemplates a future different from the one laid out before her. One that includes an island, a dog, and a man she can never have.

I have become hooked on what I call destination romances.  Those are romances set in places like Fools Gold, Thunder Point, and Whiskey Creek.  I am adding Anchor Island to the list.  All of these places have books and characters that I love.

Terri Osburn has written a sweet romance filled with great characters..  Anchor Island is a great setting for the story.  While it does not really exist it is like some of the islands in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. There is sexual tension but not much sex and that is just how I like a story to be written.

Beth and Joe are the two with all the tension.  However there is a problem – Beth is Joe’s stepbrother Lucas’s fiancée.    Some really great side characters aid the story.  Joe’s partner Sid, a female, has some great scenes with Beth.  Tom and Patty are great as the parents and stepparents of Joe and Lucas.  There are the other residents of the island who add spice to the story.  Then there is Joe’s former fiancée, Cassandra Walker who just keeps causing trouble.    Oh, and let’s not forget Dozer, Joe’s dog, who has great taste in women.

I received the copy of Meant to Be from Amazon Vine.  It was published in May of 2013 and was the Last Harvest list.  Up to the Challenge came out in Oct. of 2013 and Home to Stay will be out on May 1, 2014.  I am off to read more of Anchor Island.