Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Daring Exploits of a Runaway Heiress (Millworth Manor #5) by Victoria Alexander

The Daring Exploits of a Runaway Heiress (Millworth Manor, #5)Historical Romance
From Goodreads:

Swim naked in the moonlight
Play in a high stakes card game
Ride an elephant
Be painted sans clothing.
Take a lover…

Lucy Merryweather has inherited a fortune—and her great-aunt’s list of unfulfilled wishes. What better way to honor her memory than by accomplishing as many of them as possible? And with Lucy’s family an ocean away in New York, nothing stands in her way—if one ignores the private investigator hired to spy on her.

Yet Cameron Effington is infuriatingly difficult to ignore…

As a reporter, Cameron is always looking for a good story. An American heiress running rampant between Millworth Manor and Mayfair is the perfect subject. Not to mention captivating. And extremely kissable. And if Lucy believes he’s a detective? Well, the truth should never get in the way of a good story—or hinder delicious, impetuous passion.

This is another fun romance from Alexander.  I loved the characters.  Lucy has always done what expected but for now she is free to do the unexpected.  That leads to some really great laugh out loud moments. 

Cameron Effington is just trying to prove himself to his father.  It was fun to watch him dig himself into a very deep hole.  His action added to those laugh out loud moments.

Lucy’s adventures and Cameron’s actions fuel the plot.  The tension in the story revolves around the actions of both Lucy and Cameron.  Wondering what both would do next kept me reading and laughing.

The Daring Exploits of a Runaway Heiress is a fun addition to the Millworth Manor series.  If you are a Historical Romance fan and like humor in your stories check this one out. 

The Daring Exploits of a Runaway Heiress is part of a series but works well as a stand-alone.

Kensington published The Daring Exploits of a Runaway Heiress in 2015.
I received an ARC of The Daring Exploits of a Runaway Heiress from Netgalley in return for n honest review.

Hold Me ( Fools Gold #16) by Susan Mallery

Hold Me (Fool's Gold, #16)Contemporary Romance

From Goodreads:

New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery's classic blend of lighthearted humor and intense emotional conflict works its magic on two newcomers to the California town of Fool's Gold, which Library Journal calls "a setting so real and appealing readers will want to start scoping out real estate."
Destiny Mills believes passion has its place—like in the lyrics of the country songs that made her parents famous. After a childhood full of drama and heartache, she wants a life that's calm. Safe. Everything that Kipling Gilmore isn't. Her temporary assignment with the Fool's Gold search and rescue team puts her in delicious proximity to the former world-class skier every day. Part of her aches to let go for once…the rest is terrified what'll happen if she does.

Though an accident ended his career, Kipling still lives for thrills—and a hot fling with a gorgeous redhead like Destiny would be a welcome diversion. Yet beneath his new coworker's cool facade is a woman who needs more than he's ever given. With her, he's ready to take the risk. But love, like skiing, is all about trust—and before you soar, you have to be willing to fall.

Hold Me features two more easy to like characters who have to work hard to find their HEA’s.  One is new to Fools Gold and one has been a side character in previous books.  Destiny Mills has things in her past that make her think that love is only an excuse for bad behavior.  Kipling Gilmore does not believe in love at all.

It is fun to watch them interact and finally get together.  Some of the previous characters appear in Hold Me.  As the series gets longer and longer fewer and fewer previous characters show up.  There are several side problems that are a part of the story and add interest to the plot.

Once Again Susan Mallery had written a nice interesting romance set in a place we all would love to live.

HQN published Hold Me by Susan Mallery in 2015.

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

What Else I Read in April 2015


Prudence by Gail Carrier - I love the Parasol and Finishing School books and was really excited when I saw that Prudence had been released. Carriger had promised that we would return to the world she created with a series that featured Alexia and Lord Maccon's daughter Prudence. Now Prudence is off on her on in a story that promises adventure and danger. There was some adventure and some danger but it did not manage to carry the book. Everything moved very slowly with so many descriptions of clothing, tea and the territory they were in that the danger and adventure took a back seat. Part of the problem may be that the book is aimed at the YA crowd and I am way past that age. However there are other YA books that I have read and really enjoyed.

Karen MemoryKaren Memory by Elizabeth Bear - This is a different take on a Jack the Ripper type killer.  The killings lead to a much bigger plot.  I loved that most of the main characters were female and not you usual type of female either.  Karen Memery (her spelling is different from the book title) tells the story from her point of view.  The story is a steampunk set in the late 1800's and she uses the language that was common during the time period.  This is a stand-alone book with a great plot and a satisfying ending.

My Steadfast Heart by Jo Goodman - This is book one in the Thorne brothers trilogy and was free on Amazon this month.  I like Goodman's writing so decided to give this on a try.  Colin Thorn and Mercedes Leydon are thrown together when Colin wins a bet from her uncle.  It is a familiar plot line but works very well in the context of the story.  My Steadfast Heart is a book for early in Goodman's career.  It does ramble more that later books (the plot is not as tightly woven) but still tells a good story.

One True Heart by Jodi Thomas - This is the latest Harmony Novel and once again Thomas delivers a feel good story.  There are three couples and three romances this time.  Milline McAllen finds where she can call home, Johnny Wheeler meets his faire who believes in him when no one else does, and Beau Yates comes back and once again finds Trouble.  Not everything is solved but things are looking good for all three couples.

Audio Books:

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson - If you have read or listened to The Way of Kings you know why there is only one audio book this month.  This is a very long books with a lot of description, characters, world building, back-story and action.  I listened on a 2000 mile trip and still had to finish after I got home.  This is a very complex story line that is very slow moving.  At the end there were no answers but there many questions left for the next book.  I think I will read that one as I am not planning another long trip anytime soon.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Angles of Attack by Marko Kloos

Angles of Attack (Frontlines #3)Science Fiction/Space Opera

From Goodreads:

The alien forces known as the Lankies are gathering on the solar system’s edge, consolidating their conquest of Mars and setting their sights on Earth. The far-off colony of New Svalbard, cut off from the rest of the galaxy by the Lanky blockade, teeters on the verge of starvation and collapse. The forces of the two Earth alliances have won minor skirmishes but are in danger of losing the war. For battle-weary staff sergeant Andrew Grayson and the ragged forces of the North American Commonwealth, the fight for survival is entering a catastrophic new phase.

Forging an uneasy alliance with their Sino-Russian enemies, the NAC launches a hybrid task force on a long shot: a stealth mission to breach the Lanky blockade and reestablish supply lines with Earth. Plunging into combat against a merciless alien species that outguns, outmaneuvers, and outfights them at every turn, Andrew and his fellow troopers could end up cornered on their home turf, with no way out and no hope for reinforcement. And this time, the struggle for humanity’s future can only end in either victory or annihilation.

Angles of Attack is book three of the Frontlines series and it continues in the manner as the first two books.  It is fun Space Opera.  The plot is the same.  Earth is still in danger from the Lankies; aliens who are almost impossible to defeat.

There is enough back-story scattered in the book to remind everyone about what has gone before.  In fact it is enough to help the book stand-alone.  Like most series it would be more fun to read if you had read the first two books.

The main characters are easy to like and fit the military space opera world where Angles of Attack is set.  There are several themes that repeat throughout the series.  Those themes help with the development of the characters. 

The book ends with some things accomplished.  But several of the main characters face big decisions so I hope that means the series will continue.

47 North published Angles of Attack by Marko Kloos in 2015.

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

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Teaser Tuesday - April 28, 2015

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhyme 
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:

"Beau didn't like what he heard.  He wanted the wild girl in the ponytail, not the banker."

From One True Heart (A Harmony Novel) by Jodi Thomas.  I purchased it yesterday and have just started reading.  It looks like another feel good novel, something that Jodi Thomas is a master at writing.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Musing Mondays - April 27, 2015

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme sponsored by A Daily Rhythm 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 prefer Hardcover, Trade Paperback, or Mass Market Paperback? Why?
What I prefer depends on the size of the book.  Many large books are uncomfortable to read in a Mass Market Paperback.  For those I like hardcover or trade paper back.  Other than that I don't really have a choice.  Mass  Market and Trade Paperbacks are easier to carry but Hardcover are often easier to read because of print size. As I said it depends.

Second muse:  I just finished The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson.  I listened to it on CD and it was 36 CD's long.  I was on a very long trip (2000 miles) and still did not finish the entire thing until after I got home.  It was not the size of the book but the ending that upset me.  There was not a conclusion.  It ended with so much still up in the air and the characters still in a very unsettled place.  Now I have to read the next very long book in the series and I suspect that it will end much the same.  Please authors!  Don't do this to your readers.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Footsteps in the Sky by Greg Keyes

Science Fiction

From Goodreads:

The pueblo people who landed on the Fifth World found it Earthlike, empty, and ready for colonization . . . but a century later, they are about to meet the planet’s owners

One hundred years ago, Sand’s ancestors made the long, one-way trip to the Fifth World, ready to work ceaselessly to terraform the planet. Descendants of native peoples like the Hopi and Zuni, they wanted to return to the way of life of their forebears, who honored the Kachina spirits.

Now, though, many of the planet’s inhabitants have begun to resent their grandparents’ decision to strand them in this harsh and forbidding place, and some have turned away from the customs of the Well-Behaved People. Sand has her doubts, but she longs to believe that the Kachina live on beyond the stars and have been readying a new domain for her people.

She may be right. Humans have discovered nine habitable worlds, all with life that shares a genetic code entirely alien to any on Earth. Someone has been seeding planets, bringing life to them. But no other sign of the ancient farmers has ever been discovered—until one day they return to the Fifth World. They do not like what they find.

The title, Footsteps in the Sky, comes from the Hopi legend where the people heard footsteps in the sky and left one world for another.  In this case the world is one someone else started to change but have never come back to live on.  The Hopi come and make small changes so the world fits humans.  They call it the Fifth World and this time they get on space ships to go from the Forth World to the Fifth.

This started out as little strange and then took a hard right and became another trope about humans and aliens.  I liked the change and Sand, the main character.  She is in pain from her Mother’s death and that drives her actions.  While Sand has the main POV other characters are also featured.  I thought that made for a stronger story. 

I like the mixture of modern science and Hopi tradition.  It kept the story and plot more interesting.  Foot Steps in the Sky is a good addition to anyone’s SciFi library. 

This is the first time I have read a book by Keyes.  A search did not turn up a web site for Keyes but did have several sites that list his books.  I noticed that he writes series.  This could be book one or it could be a stand-alone.  Only time will tell.

Amazon Digital Services published Footsteps in the Sky by Grey Keyes in 2015.

I received a free ARC of Footsteps in the Sky from Amazon Vine in return for an honest review.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Stacking The Shelves - April 25, 2015

Books Stacked on My Shelves
Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books I added to my shelves this week. They may it be physical or virtual. I include books I buy in a physical store or online, books I borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!  Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews.  Follow the link to see what others have on their shelves. 

From Netgalley for Review

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Emergency: Dave vs. the Monsters by John Birmingham           

Spider’s Trap by Jennifer Estep           

His Blushing Bride by Dani Collins           

Ghost Fleet by P.W. Singer and August Cole

Knight’s Shadow by Sebastien de Castell

Free From Amazon

Mortal Enchantment by Stacey O’Neale

Collapse (New America #1) by Richard Stephenson

Emergence (David Hooper, #1)
Mortal Enchantment (Mortal Enchantment, #1)Collapse (New America, #1)My Steadfast Heart (Thorne Brothers, #1)
Spider's Trap (Elemental Assassin, #13)
His Blushing BrideKnight's Shadow (Greatcoats, #2)Uprooted
Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War

Friday, April 24, 2015

Eternal Sacrifice by Stacey O'Neale Cover Reveal and Giveaway

Author Stacey O’Neale is sponsoring a cover reveal and giveaway for her new book in the Mortal Enchantment series.  At the same time she is putting the first two books up for free on Amazon.  Here are the details:

 If you're new to the series, this is the BEST TIME to check it out!!!

THE SHADOW PRINCE & MORTAL ENCHANTMENT are currently available for FREE on Amazon from April 24th through April 28th. I promise, this the ONE AND ONLY TIME I will do this, so pick up your copies NOW!!!

And now, here is the cover of the last book in the series, ETERNAL SACRIFICE!!!
Drum roll, please...
As promised, here is the Gift Card CONTEST!!!
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Book Beginnings and The Friday 56 - April 24, 2014

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:

Silver Borne (Mercy Thompson, #5)"The starter complained as it turned over the old Buick's heavy engine. I felt a lot of sympathy for it since fighting outside my weight class was something I was intimately familiar with."

Page 56: 

"Showing me his weakness was a sign of trust. Under normal circumstance, that trust would mean I was safer with him."

From Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs. This is book 5 in the Mercy Thompson series. I started reading the Charles and Anna spin off from this series and then went over and read the current Mercy books. Now I am still going back and reading the first five that I missed. Sometimes this does not work well but with this series it is keeping my interest and making me want to go back and re-read the latest books.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Cold Burn of Magic (Black Blade #1) by Jennifer Estep

Cold Burn of Magic (Black Blade #1)YA Paranormal
From Goodreads:

There Be Monsters Here. . .
It's not as great as you'd think, living in a tourist town that's known as "the most magical place in America." Same boring high school, just twice as many monsters under the bridges and rival Families killing each other for power. 

I try to keep out of it. I've got my mom's bloodiron sword and my slightly illegal home in the basement of the municipal library. And a couple of Talents I try to keep quiet, including very light fingers and a way with a lock pick.

But then some nasty characters bring their Family feud into my friend's pawn shop, and I have to make a call--get involved, or watch a cute guy die because I didn't. I guess I made the wrong choice, because now I'm stuck putting everything on the line for Devon Sinclair. My mom was murdered because of the Families, and it looks like I'm going to end up just like her.

World Building:  As the book started I expected it to be set in a magical middle ages kingdom.  That changed after a few pages.  This is set in the US with everything just like today except for the magic, monsters, and town that does not exist.  The first few chapters lay out the description of the town and the rules for the monsters and the magic.  It flows without really slowing out the story.

Plot:  It was familiar.  The girl from the streets who has to protect the son of one of the main families in the town.  It is well written and easy to read and the even though it followed a familiar theme it was a satisfying read.

Characters:  I found it easy to get into the head of the characters.  Some were very well developed and some were more of a sketch than a person.  Even so all worked well in the context of the story.

Writing:  The story was well-written and again very easy to read.  The world building, plot and characters development allowed the reader to enjoy the story without anything pulling you out of the book.

All in all this is a good start to a new YA series and I will be looking for the next book in the series.  While one problem is solved there is a much bigger problem for future books.

Kensington published A Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep in 2015.

I received an ARC of A Cold Burn of Magic from Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Leviathan Chronicles by James Mascia Virtual Tour and Giveaway

James Mascia is awarding 5 copies of the ebook in either mobi or epub formats to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.  Visit all the participating blogs for additional chances to win.

The Leviathan Chronicles: The Last Stand at Aeprion
by James Mascia

Welcome to the Virtual Tour for The Leviathan Chronicles by James Mascia.  I asked James to comment on how he does his world building.  I hope you will enjoy his post as much a I have.  Now here is James.

How I Did My World Building

The Leviathan Chronicles is like a classic pulp science fiction story. So, in order to build the world for it, I essentially started from the bottom floor and build level after level on top of it. Through the fifteen years since I started the project and finally published one of the stories, it has actually had a number of versions.

When I started on The Leviathan Chronicles, it was originally intended as a Star Wars fan fiction. It was set in the Star Wars universe, yet included none of the traditional characters from the movies or books. This idea quickly fell away, to be replaced with a story, set in our galaxy, but in which Earth is a distant memory and humans are a minority. Then, it changed yet again, to include Earth, but an Earth unlike the one we know today, where thousands of years ago colony ships were sent out thousands of years ago in the hopes of averting the extinction of the human race, and then forgotten and humanity miraculously survived back on Earth. It is in this last version of my world that the current stories are set.
So, the question remains, how did I build my world? The answer to that is easy. I didn’t.

I know it sounds strange, but hear me out. I start with several ideas. 

In The Last Stand at Aeprion, I started with the idea of a man searching for a fabled living planet. Even when I wrote this story fifteen years ago, that was all I started with, this simple idea. I thought it would be fun to have a character that was like Indiana Jones in space. So, I started the story (even as I rewrote it recently for publishing) with essentially a blank canvas. That canvas quickly got filled in. My character, Joel, was from Earth, which is still thriving, but overcrowded, so he wanted to leave. He travels with his wife, who convinces him to search for this godlike living planet, and in the process they come across an alien hunter, who then becomes obsessed with having them as trophies on his wall.
So, yes, I suppose I did build my world, but I did so as I was writing the story, filling it in with the essentials as I went. This is definitely not the traditional way of doing things (or so I’m told), especially for science fiction. Many authors have things plotted out piece by piece. Some authors have whole maps with details of planets and peoples on different worlds before they even put pen to paper. Now, I do have things like that, however, I add them to my journal as I come up with them.

I do it this way because I want things to be spontaneous. I can change the direction of my story in any way I want (and I usually do). So for me, having my world fixed until it is written on the paper doesn’t work with me. But once it’s written, it’s set in stone. For instance, when I revisit Aeprion in future stories (which I will), I will be using what I wrote for this story to build that world further.

Where will it take me, I don’t even know yet. But for me, that’s part of the fun of writing the story.  


Still reeling from his wife's murder, Joel tries to escape the alien hunter and fulfill a promise he made to her. Years of searching for the fabled planet, Aeprion, has left the space freighter captain torn between giving up the search or giving himself up to Kraxem, an alien hunter.

When Kraxem and his minions attack Joel's ship again, he is forced into the nebula, where he'll have to do repairs. Once there, his thoughts revert back to the final day of Kate's life and the promises that were made. Learning to come to terms with her loss and release the guilt that he feels will be a hard battle to fight, but giving up will prove to be even more difficult and, perhaps, deadly.

Steeling his resolve to forge on, Joel vows to find the fabled living planet before guilt devours his soul and all is lost.

My Thoughts On Leviathan Chronicles

I enjoyed the Leviathan Chronicles.  Often I do not like books with multiple flash backs but in Leviathan Chronicles it works really well.  This is action, adventure and loss than many of us can identify with.  It is not a long book.  The plot is real Space Opera with a touch of more. 


Joel ran from the cargo bay to make a beeline for the cockpit. “We’ll talk about this later.” Then he addressed the computer. “Wanderer, raise shields and start the engines.”

“Yes, Captain.”

Kate was two steps behind him. “What are you going to do?”

“Clean up your mess, as usual.” He jumped into the pilot’s seat and grabbed the controls. “Hold on!”

Through the viewport, Joel found himself staring down the barrel of a particularly nasty-looking plasma cannon. Behind that cannon stood a group of aliens with yellow, wrinkled skin over a wide-stretched head and bulbous eyes sticking out at each side.

One of these aliens, who appeared to be in command by the way he was barking orders at the others, wore a cape that flapped in the gusts being created by the revving engines. This particular alien glared at him with a piercing stare that seemed to bore into his skull.

“Would that be the other interested party?” He toggled some switches, helping the engines cycle up faster.

“Yeah, that’s him.”

“I think he really wants that rock.”

The ship shuddered again and the viewport filled with a blinding light as the cannon fire struck the shields. Alarms beeped rapidly on the console until Joel slammed his fist down on it.

“I take it back. He wants to kill us, and then he wants the rock.”

“Shields down to 60 percent,” Kate warned.

Another shot hit the shields, setting off another round of blaring alarms.

“35 percent.”

Joel stared at the alien. Having never encountered this particular species before, he wasn’t an expert at reading their facial expressions. But if he had to describe what he was looking at, he would have said it was unchained rage.

“Open the loading ramp and drop that stupid rock out.”

Kate glared at him in disbelief. “What? No!”

Joel spun in his chair to face her. “I’m assuming you’ve already scanned the hieroglyphs on it, right?”

Kate nodded, her bottom lip quivering, knowing what he was about to tell her.

“Then we don’t need it anymore. This guy obviously wants it, and is willing to do anything to get it. And since I don’t want to die today, let’s let him have it.”


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

He fights evil across the known universe and crushes them between his fingers (at least, he does this with his words). 

James Mascia is an accomplished writer with a bestselling series, High School Heroes, as well as a bestselling graphic novel, The Poe Murders. He has always been a fan of sci-fi, and is glad to be delving back into the galaxy once again.

James teaches in Maryland, where he also writes. He has a lovely wife and a tiny terror (a two-year-old) driving him mad, but making him laugh.

Check out some of his other work below:

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April 13: Long and Short Reviews
April 14: Lilac Reviews - review
April 15: Independent Authors
April 16: Lisa Haselton's Reviews and Interviews
April 17: Archaeolibrarian - I dig good books! - review
April 20: Straight from the Library
April 21: Unabridged Andra's
April 22: Mixed Book Bag - review
April 23: CBY Book Club
April 24: Kit 'N Kabookle