Saturday, February 28, 2015

Stacking The Shelves - February 28, 2015

Books Stacked on My Shelves

Most of my books came from the library this week.  I got two nonfiction that I had on my wish list for a long time; Neanderthal Man: In Search of Lost Genomes by Svante Paabo and A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson.

Peacemaker by Marianne De Pierres and The Daedalus Incident by Michael J. Martinez are also two that have been on my wish list for awhile.  Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop is a reread of The Others Series.  Never Too Late by Robyn Carr is one of her older books that I had not seen before.

I did buy two ebooks.  Mercenary Courage by Ruby Lionsdrake.  This is the tastes book in the Mandrake Company Science Fiction Romance series.  Baer Truth by Jocie McKade is a Contemporary Western Romance that was recommended in an email I received.  It is suppose to have a lot of laugh out loud moments and I can never get enough of those.  Amazon has one author listed of this and Goodreads has another.  I used the Amazon author.

On last book is G-1 (the Guardians of Earth book 1) by Rigel Carson.  I got it from a contest Amazon has.  You vote for your favorites and if your pick wins you get a free copy and the author gets his book published.

I am a little lazy today so there are no covers just links to Goodreads.

What Else I Read in February 2015


The Viscount Who Lived Down the Lane by Elizabeth Boyle - Once again Boyle has come up with a really fun romance.  Louisa Tempest fits her name.  At least where Viscount Wakefield is concerned.  He has come home from the war and retired to his house to drink and sleep.  All of that changes when Hannibal, Louisa's cat runs into the wrong house, the one belonging to Viscount Wakefield.  I love Hannibal.  He is such a cat.  From there it is a really fun tempest leading to a great HEA.  Louisa has a twin so we will see more of these great characters in the next book.

Chosen by Nina Croft - Chosen is the first in a series and as it ended I was reminded of the old time serials where the end was a cliff hanger.  You are left with a what happens next feeling.  Since this is short (only 75 pages) it does not take you long to get  to that point.  What Croft did in 75 pages was establish the two main characters, introduce side characters,  fill in part of the back story, and do the world building.  I found it a very satisfying read and will be looking for the next installment.

Cowboy Heaven by Cheryl Brooks - I liked the characters in Cowboy Heaven. All of the cowboys were really hot and fun. Angela McClure has some really great fantasies and then gets to live some of them out. This is erotica so if you don't like a lot of sex don't pick this up. What starts out as just a need for love and sex story changes as the book progresses. It seems someone is targeting anyone who shows an interest in Angela. It was not that hard to guess who but it was hard to know why. A nice fun read. At the end one of the cowboys and Angela are a couple. I wonder if the next books in the series will feature each of the others.

Never Too Late by Robyn Carr - This is one of her early books.  I saw it at the library and picked it up out of curiosity.  While it is a good story the writing is not up to her later standards.  Still enjoyable for a quick short read.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Book Beginnings and The Friday 56

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

The Beginning:

Late on night in 1996 , just as I had dozed off in bed, my phone rang. The caller was Matthiaas Krigs, a graduate student in my laboratory at the Zoological Institute of the University of Munich. All he said was, "It's not human."

Page 56:

"As we were painstakingly developing methods to detect and eliminate contamination, we were frustrated by flashy publication in Nature and Science whose authors, on the surface of things, were much more successful than we were and whose accomplishments dwarfed the scant products of our cumbersome efforts to retrieve DNA sequences :only" a few tens of thousands of years old."

This is from Neanderthal Man: In Search of Lost Genomes by Svante Paabo. I don't read that much non-fiction but this one sounded interesting and it has been on my wish list for awhile. The first time I checked my library did not have a copy but on my last trip I found it had been added and was on the shelf. It is interesting but as you can see from the page 56 quote it has some very long sentences.

Wild Horses (The Montana Hamiltons #1) by B.J. Daniels

Contemporary Western Romance

From Goodreads:

It took only one impulsive moment on an empty two-lane highway to cost her everything.

A man's responsible for his own prosperity—especially if he's Cooper Burnett, the most determined cowboy in the West. No one knows what he sacrificed to claim a piece of Beartooth, Montana, for himself and his beautiful fiancĂ©e, Livie. No one knows what he's willing to do for love…until a stranger's twisted vendetta threatens the happy ending they should've had long ago.

One fateful mistake isn't the only secret Livie Hamilton is keeping from her fiancĂ©. Victimized during a treacherous blizzard by a man she thought she could trust, she's pregnant…but unsure who the father is. With an unknown blackmailer threatening to expose her, she must confess to Cooper and trust he'll still protect her. But when the truth falls into place, she may lose the only man she's ever loved—or worse.

I don’t pass up a B.J. Daniels book.  She writes some really heart stopping stories that keep the adrenalin pumping as I read.  For me Wild Horses was a little of a disappointment.  The mystery just did not catch me like previous books.  That said it is not a book I would want to miss.

Wild Horses is the first story about the Montana Hamiltons.  Much of the book introduces the new characters while getting Livie Hamilton and Cooper Burnett together.  Like the previous series this is set in Beartooth, Montana and characters form that series are part of the story.  In fact, there is closure for one of the main characters in that series. Another reason to not miss Wild Horses.

While I didn’t think this was one of Daniels best stories it was still very well written with an interesting plot and characters.  I still will not miss one of her books and will be looking for future books about The Montana Hamiltons.

Harlequin published Wild Horses by B.J. Daniel in 2015.

I received an ARC of Wild Horses from Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

One Wish (Thunder Point #7) by Robyn Carr

Contemporary Romance

From Goodreads:

Grace Dillon was a champion figure skater until she moved to Thunder Point to escape the ruthless world of fame and competition. And though she's proud of the quiet, self-sufficient life she's created running a successful flower shop, she knows something is missing. Her life could use a little excitement. 

In a community where there are few eligible singles, high school teacher Troy Headly appoints himself Grace's fun coach. When he suggests a little companionship with no strings attached, Grace is eager to take him up on his offer, and the two enjoy…getting to know each other. 

But things get complicated when Grace's past catches up with her, and she knows that's not what Troy signed up for. Faced with losing her, Troy realizes Grace is more than just a friend with benefits. He's determined to help her fight for the life she always wished for but never believed she could have—and maybe they can find real love along the way.

One Wish is the latest in the Thunder Point series.  Like the previous books it features the romance between two main characters, visits from characters in previous books and the introduction of new character that will probably be featured in future books in the series.

One Wish is a great set up for Troy and Grace’s story.  It does not take them long to see that they belong together.  If that was all the book was about it would be a novella not a novel.  Instead it quickly becomes about Grace’s past and how Troy reacts to it.  Throw in a new female character, the wedding of one of the featured couples from a previous books, and visits with some old favorites and you have another great story in the Thunder Point saga.

Harlequin published One Wish by Robyn Carr in 2015.

I received an ARC of One Wish from Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Teaser Tuesday - February 24, 2015

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. 

The Teaser:

"I said I quit," she said.
"You have a contract," said the principal.
"Sue me,"she said turning to leave.
Page 110

From Never Too Late by Robyn Carr.  I saw Never Too Late at the library and picked it up.  I like Carr's books and had not seen this one before.  I haven't started it so don't know if it is a hit or a miss.

At Wolf Ranch (Montana Men #1) by Jennifer Ryan

Contemporary Western Romance/Thriller

From Goodreads:

After years on the rodeo circuit, Gabe Bowden wants nothing more than land of his own and a woman who will claim his heart for more than one night. When he has the chance to buy the enormous Wolf Ranch spread, he snaps up the incredible deal. Everything is set, until Gabe rescues a woman on the deserted, snowy road leading to the property, and the half-frozen beauty changes everything.

Ella Wolf rushes to her family's abandoned Montana ranch after her twin sister is murdered. She knows she's next . . . unless she can uncover a secret hidden somewhere at Wolf Ranch. The last thing Ella expects is to be rescued by a rugged rancher with his own agenda. A man who almost makes her forget how dangerous love can be.

As an unlikely partnership sparks into something so much more, and a killer closes in, can Ella and Gabe learn to trust one another before it's too late?

At Wolf Ranch is a thriller as well as a romance.  As I read parts of the book my heart rate speeded up and I had to stop before I could go on.  It really took some time for the entire story to unfold.  I loved how Ella had the presence of mind to run first when she realized how much danger she was in.

When Gabe rescued her she found the person who would help her find the solution to her sister’s murder.

 The two were a great match but because they were from very different worlds they had a rough road to their HEA. 

The tension level in At Wolf Ranch kept me reading.  There were surprises scattered throughout the book and of course a nice buildup to a romance.  At Wolf Ranch is a great start to a new series by Ryan.  It is very well written with a great plot and characters.  Pick it up for a really fun and interesting read.

Avon published At Wolf Ranch by Jennifer Ryan in 2015.

I received an ARC of At Wolf Ranch from Edelweiss in return for an honest review.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Musing Monday's - February 23, 2015

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme from Should Be Reading that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:
  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…
THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Do you enjoy debating / discussing the books that others are currently reading? Why, or why not?
I do enjoy the discussion/debate on books I have read.  That is why I belong to a book club that features the type of books I like.  I do have a few friends and family members who I discuss book with.  Hearing what others think opens new windows on the book.  They often look at things differently or pick up something that I miss.  It really adds to my enjoyment of the book.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Mantle of Malice (The Tudor Enigma #3) by April Taylor

Alternate History

From Goodreads:

England’s infant heir has been kidnapped, and there’s only one man who can find him.

Luke Ballard has dedicated his talents—and his life—to protecting the throne. As Henry IX’s Privy Inquirer and Dominus Elemancer, his loyalty is no longer in question. But when Queen Madeline’s coronation is interrupted with the news that Arthur, the baby Prince of Wales, has been abducted, Luke is given an ultimatum: retrieve the royal heir and prevent future threats to the royal family or lose his head.

That the young prince has been taken by dark forces is clear. The evil sorcerers of Custodes Tenebris will not rest until they hold power in England with Catholic Mary as a puppet Queen. Luke has bested them before, but he’s never needed to defeat evil while falling in love—Arthur’s nursemaid, the beautiful Blanche Oliver, has won him over with her seductive charms.

As Luke’s investigation leads into the dark recesses of his own family’s past, Blanche’s hold on him deepens. With the fate of the Tudors hanging in the balance, Luke will need to draw upon untested strength and sort truth from feminine fiction…for the enemy’s reach is long and time is running out.

Book three of The Tudor Enigma

Once again Luke is called on to solve a mystery.  The price if he does not could be his head.  There is a new plot and new characters who want to get rid of Henry the IX and his Mother Ann.  What is different this time is that it is obvious that Luke is under some kind of spell.  Everyone around him sees it but he refuses to listen.  It takes time, travel and many hurt feelings before he comes to his senses and solves the mystery.

Look for new directions for some of the side characters.  There is also additional world building for this history where Ann does not lose her head and gives Henry XIII a son. 

I am enjoying this series.  I like that it features someone outside the court as the main character and adds magic to the mix.  Mantle of Malice can be read as a stand alone but like any series is better if you have read the first two books.

Carina Press published Mantle ofMalice by April Taylor in 2015.

I received an ARC of Mantle of Malice from Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Stacking The Shelves - February 21, 2015

Books Stacked on My Shelves

For Review:

Total Surrender by Rebecca Zanetti - This is the last book in the
Sin Brothers series.  I love the series and was thrilled to get a review copy.  There are just four books in the series so pick up book one and see if you are hooked.

The Diamond Conspiracy by Philippa Ballantine and Tee Morris - Another series I like.  This is Steampunk and romance with a twist.  The romance is between the same two characters and while each book can stand-alone it is better to start at the beginning.  Again this is not a long series so easy to catch up.

50 Way to Ruin a Rake by Jade Lee - I like her romances so picked this one up from Netgalley.  It does not come out until May so it is way down my TBR list.

From the Library:  

Written in Red by Anne Bishop - This is a re-read.  I just finished an ARC of Vision in Silver, book 3, and felt a need to go back to the first book in the series to see again how it all started.  When I re-read it means I really love something and I love this series.

Raging Heat (Audio Book )by Richard Castle - I watch Castle on TV all the time but have never read any of the books so I picked this up to listen to in the car.  So far so good.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Book Beginning and The Friday 56 - February 20, 2015

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

The Beginning:

"Half blinded by the storm, she stumbled into the opening between two building. Hoping to hide rom whomever was hunting for her as well as get some relief from the snow and wind, she followed an angled wall and ducked around the corner."

Page 56:

"How could anyone look into those eyes and not understand that a predator was looking back at you? Monty though as he took the last steps to the counter. How could you not know that there was nothing human behind those eyes?"

From the first book in Anne Bishop's new series Written in Red, a Novel of the Others. I just finished an ARC of the third book Vision in Silver and found that I wanted to re-read the beginning. I pick it up at my local library and stayed up late last night to read. I did not finish and ended up going back to bed to finish it this morning. Now I wish I had checked out Murder of Crows while I was there so I could stay a little longer in this world.

Click here to see my review of Written in Red on Goodreads and here to see Vision in Silver on Goodreads.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Shadow Study ( Soulfinders #1) by Maria V. Snyder


From Goodreads:

New York Times bestselling author Maria V. Snyder wowed readers with Poison Study, the unforgettable story of poison taster Yelena. Now she's back with a new tale of intrigue.

Once, only her own life hung in the balance.

Oddly enough, when Yelena was a poison taster, her life was simpler. But she'd survived to become a vital part of the balance of power between rival countries Ixia and Sitia. Now she uses her magic to keep the peace in both lands and protect her relationship with Valek.

Suddenly, though, they are beset on all sides by those vying for power through politics and intrigue. Valek's job - and his life - are in danger. As Yelena tries to uncover the scope of these plots, she faces a new challenge: her magic is blocked. She must keep that a secret - or her enemies will discover just how vulnerable she really is - while searching for who or what is responsible for neutralizing her powers.

Yes, the days of tasting poisons were much simpler. And certainly not as dangerous,

"Doing full justice to the plot of this original and entertaining epic fantasy is impossible. Suffice it to say that the action is nonstop. The many characters leap to life, particularly Yelena, whose first-person narrative is riveting."

It was great to step into the world of Valek and Yelena again.  This is book one in a new series featuring the two and it is off to a great start.  All of the characters from the previous series are here as the stage is set of future stories.  While there is action and danger throughout the story I found that betrayal is at the heart of the story.  Don’t look for things to be solved in Shadow Study.  Instead, everything is put in place for the series to continue.  Sometimes when that happens in a book I am disappointed.  Not this time.  Snyder has produced a well written story that left me wanting more while knowing that what I just finished reading was just right.

Mira published Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder in 2015.

I received an ARC of Shadow Study in return for an honest review.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Impulse: The Lightship Chronicles by Dave Bara

Science Fiction/Military Science Fiction

From Goodreads:

Lieutenant Peter Cochrane of the Quantar Royal Navy believes he has his future clearly mapped out. It begins with his new assignment as an officer on Her Majesty’s Spaceship Starbound, a Lightship bound for deep space voyages of exploration.

But everything changes when Peter is summoned to the office of his father, Grand Admiral Nathan Cochrane, and given devastating news: the death of a loved one. In a distant solar system, a mysterious and unprovoked attack upon Lightship Impulse resulted in the deaths of Peter’s former girlfriend and many of her shipmates.

Now Peter's plans are torn asunder as he is transferred to a Unified Space Navy ship under foreign command, en route to an unexpected destination, and surrounded almost entirely by strangers. To top it off, his superiors have given him secret orders that might force him to become a mutineer.

The crisis at hand becomes a gateway to something much more when the ship’s Historian leads Peter and his shipmates into a galaxy of the unknown -- of ancient technologies, age-old rivalries, new cultures, and unexpected romance. It’s an overwhelming responsibility for Peter, and one false step could plunge humanity into an apocalyptic interstellar war.

If you are a fan of military science fiction you might give this one a try.  It was easy reading.  There was a lot of world building and back story scattered throughout the book. For me the weakness in the book were the characters and their action.  The action drove the characters instead of the characters driving the action.  As a result some things just did not ring true.  As a result it is not one of my favorites.  It just rates an OK.

It will be interesting to see where Bara goes with the series.  I really want to know more about the Earth Historians.   They play a big part in the story but their back story is sketchy at best.

There were some interesting new concepts in Impulse.  It is an action filled book that uses some of the old and some of the new to tell an story filled with adventure.

Del Rey published Impulse by Dave Bara in 2015.

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

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Heart of Steel by Elizabeth Einspanier Book Tour and Giveaway

Congratulations to Elizabeth Einspanier on the release today of HEART OF STEEL, a Science Fiction Romance. Elizabeth is giving away a $20 gift certificate to Steampunk Emporium. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

When reclusive cyborg Alistair Mechanus meets his captive, ER doctor Julia Parker, it is love at first sight--for him. While he eagerly drops his plans for World Conquest to woo her, ten years of solitude have left his social skills badly rusted. When his misguided act of kindness spirals out of control, however, Julia is forced to trust the mad genius with her life, and she discovers the vulnerable side under his armored plating. She has the skills he needs to unlock his forgotten past, but learning who he used to be may come at the cost of his remaining sanity.
My Review: 

Heart of Steel has a very different hero.  Alistair Mechanus has been out of contact with people for years.  When Julia Parker is captured and ends up on Alistair’s island he just keeps doing the wrong thing for the right reasons.  I really did not know how he was to become a love interest but Einspanier keeps twisting the story until it makes sense.  I do wonder how Julia will react to what he does at the ending of Heart of Steel.

If you want SFR with a twist Heart of Steel delivers.  Pick it up for what turns out to be a very fun read.

Enjoy an excerpt:

She advanced cautiously, trying to get a look at the subject of his study in the next room. Before she could, however, the tall man in the hall with her spoke.

“Greetings, Julia,” he said in the baritone she’d heard from the speaker. She turned, and saw to her shock that a significant portion of the left half of his face, now revealed to her, was crafted of overlapping segments of unpolished metal, apparently riveted through the flesh and into the skull and jaw. His left eye was a mechanical lens that turned and focused in perfect coordination with its biological counterpart as he regarded her, its iris dilating as he offered her a welcoming smile. “I am, as you have probably guessed, Dr. Mechanus. I welcome you to my humble lair.” He sketched a bow to her, and she either heard or imagined the sound of countless motors whirring within him.

At first her thoughts were consumed by a single horrified thought—what the hell what the hell what the hell—repeated over and over again until her mind filled with what the hell from top to bottom and side to side. She felt light-headed, and braced herself against the edge of the observation window to avoid falling, but some persistently reasonable corner of her mind gently informed her that now simply was not a good time for her to faint or throw up.

Stay frosty, Julia, the voice advised her, in a familiar-sounding voice that Julia couldn’t immediately identify. Think of this like your first car crash in the ER. Sure, it looks horrible, but you can get through this. Just breathe. Get through this, and find out what’s happened to Jim. You’re okay.

About the Author:

Elizabeth Einspanier is the self-published author of the Weird Western novella Sheep’s Clothing and the upcoming sci-fi romance novel Heart of Steel. Her short stories have been published in Down in the Dirt and Dark Fire Fiction. She is a member of the St. Louis Writer’s Guild and an associate member of the Horror Writers of America. She lives in St. Louis, but frequently spends extended periods in worlds of her own creation.

Amazon Author Page:
                                          Goodreads:     steel

a Rafflecopter giveaway