Sunday, January 31, 2016
Book I have Read on the cruise. Cruise is four months long and goes around the world.
I am on a cruise ship with limited and expensive internet so I am not doing that many blog posts. I am reading and catching up on my TBR pile. I am enjoying reading but am finding it strange to no do a review of what I have read. I decided that I would at least do a list, compose an email off line so it will send when I log on so they at least get a mention.
Here is a current list:
Rogue with a Brogue
Sweetest Scoundrel by Elizabeth Hoyt
The Late Great Benjamin Bale by John Joseph Doody
Return of the Crimson Witch by John Joseph Doody
On a Barbarian World: A phoenix Adventure Sci-Fi romance by Anna Hacket
Journey Between Worlds by Sylvia Engdahl
Some I received to review and will post reviews later:
Marked in Flesh by Ann Bishop
Graveyard by William Dietz
Hard Rain by B.J. Daniels
Beyond the Red by Ava Jae's
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
The New York Times-bestselling author returns with another installment in the wildly popular Iron Druid Chronicles—a fantasy adventure that’s Harry Dresden meets American Gods.
This hilarious and action-packed urban fantasy series is set in a modern world in which all the gods of every pantheon are alive and well, as in American Gods; its hero is a smart-mouthed, butt kicking magician, like Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden. But it’s told in a smart, witty, unforgettable voice that’s all Kevin Hearne—a star in the fantasy world. This addictive and wildly imaginative series stars hero Atticus O’Sullivan: a handsome, tattooed Irishman who looks like a young rock star, but is in actuality a 2,000-year-old Druid with extraordinary magic powers. In Staked, Atticus has his final confrontation with the clan of vampires who have been bent on destroying him—including Leif, his former best friend and now enemy.
Staked continues finding Atticus in danger. Atticus, Owen, and Granuaile are on individual journeys and the chapters skip among the three. It is not until the end of the book that all three come together. As you might expect from the title, Staked, when they all get together it is to fight vampires.
The vampires are still trying to rid the world of Druids and Atticus is fighting back. Loki has his mark on Granuaile and she is working to get if off and find a way to block her presence from other of the magical world. Owen is trying to adjust to the modern world and start a new Grove of Druids. The fight with the vampires impact all three.
I enjoyed seeing more of Owen and Granuaile. As usual both Oberon and Orlaith (Owen and Granuaile’s dogs) add humor to the story. Look for a big change for the two. The story moved at a brisk pace. There were surprises and some unexpected deaths. All this leads to changes for Atticus and friends.
Staked is a nice addition to the Iron Druid series. Be warned that there is a novella, A Prelude to War that fits between Shattered and Staked. It was published in a ebook mini-anthology, Three Slices. As a result Staked does not start where you might expect.
Del Rey published Staked by Kevin Hearne in 2016.
I received an ARC of Staked from Amazon Vine in return for an honest review.
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
With nothing but rumors to lead her, Lynn Harmony has trekked across a nightmare landscape to find one man—a mysterious, damaged legend who protects the weak and leads the strong. He’s more than muscle and firepower—and in post-plague L.A., he’s her only hope. As the one woman who could cure the disease, Lynn is the single most volatile—and vulnerable—creature in this new and ruthless world. But face to face with Jax Mercury…
Danger has never looked quite so delicious.
There is a lot to like in Mercury Striking. Both Lynn Harmony and Jax Mercury are very strong main characters and an equally strong cast of secondary characters supports them. The plot revolves around a plague that has killed many and changed those that survived. There is no cure but there is a supplement that keeps the illness at bay.
This is a romance. The interaction between Mercury and Lynn is used to do both the world building and tell the back story. The plot features the struggle to stay alive and to keep Lynn safe. She is on the run from a man from her past who will go to any lengths to get her back under his control.
There is the hint of a solution to the illness and the hooks for future stories and romances in the series. While Mercury and Lynn get their HEA there are still many problems left as the book ends. Mercury Striking is a interesting start to a new series full of interesting possibilities for future books.
Zebra Published Mercury Striking by Rebecca Zanetti in 2016.
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
In the deepest reaches of the galaxy there are places and beings that aren’t impossible, just very, very improbable.
Carrie Hatchett is a low-achieving daydreamer, and the last person on Earth who should be resolving disputes for the Transgalactic Council. After providing a good home for her butt-ugly dog and psychotic cat, her biggest challenge in life is to avoid being fired, again.
But a strange green mist sucks her beneath her kitchen sink, and an unusual clerical error leads to an offer she foolishly doesn’t refuse.
In settling a conflict between the mechanical placktoids and the mysterious oootoon, Carrie reveals a threat to the entire galaxy.
Mission Improbable is Book One in the light-hearted, fast-paced Carrie Hatchett Space Adventures series.
Carrie Hatchett is a fun main character. She runs a ad in a dating site that reads like a ad to work for the Transgalactic Council. She is one of those people who just seem to drift through life. When she get sent on a real life mission to solve the problem between two very different species all kind of things happen.
In spite of her lack of background she manages to see things that the other characters do not. It is fun to watch what seems to be done wrong turn out to be just what is needed. In this adventure she has three very different supporting characters who she plays off of very well.
Mission Improbable is just that. Carrie should never succeed. This is a short easy to read story that is filled with improbable circumstances. In the end all works out and Carrie is left wondering if she wants to take another mission. Of course we know she will as this is adventure #1 for her.
I am looking forward to her next mission and how she manages to turn to tables and see what others do not.
Infinite Book published Mission Improbable by J.J. Green in 2015.
I received an ARC of Mission Improbable from Netgalley in return for an honest review.
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Now a celebrated war hero, Captain Kat Falcone is back at the helm of HMS Lightning…and up against near-impossible odds. After an ill-timed outburst almost ends her career, Kat is handed command of a deep-strike mission into enemy space. The objective is to gather intelligence and distract the hostile Theocracy while the Commonwealth prepares its counteroffensive.
The chances for success are slim—and for survival even slimmer.
Armed with a ragtag fleet of outdated starships, a few loyal officers, and a skeleton crew of refugees, Kat knows the Royal Navy expects her to fail. But failure almost certainly means death—or worse, as the Theocracy does not treat prisoners kindly. Pitted against the enemy defenses of her old nemesis Admiral Junayd, there is no room for error. And with a spy hidden aboard her ship, Kat will need more than her wits to survive. Can Kat enter the lion’s den, strike a blow for the Commonwealth, and escape with her life?
While Falcone Strike follows a familiar pattern it tells a very good story in the process. I met Kat Falcone in book one of the series and enjoyed how she handled a very bad situation. Now she is back and has put herself at risk by tell a blowhard with powerful friends just what is and is not. As a result she is sent behind enemy lines to make as much trouble as she can with a less than stellar fleet to do it with.
The plot flowed smoothly and the action matched the problems that Kat faced. The bad guys are really bad and the good guys are shades of grey. It was fun to see how Kat would solve the problems with a less than excellent fleet of ships. The world building is set to allow some very interesting plot development in future books. All in all a fun Space Opera series. I am looking forward to meeting Kat in future books.
47 North published Falcone Strike by Christopher Nuttall in 2016.
I received an ARC of Falcone Strike from Netgalley in return for an honest review.
Friday, January 15, 2016
The engaging follow up to the urban fantasy series set in Charleston, South Carolina.
Someone very powerful is trying to destroy Sorren and everyone he cares about. That puts Cassidy, Teag and Trifles and Folly in the cross-hairs, against an unknown enemy with strong magic and significant resources.
Sorren has spent centuries shutting down the plans of powerful immortals, dark warlocks and supernatural creatures, and now he’s got to figure out which of those many enemies is out to get him before they pick off his friends one by one and come after him to finish an immortal vendetta.
Deadly Curiosities Vendetta is a super story filled with great characters. This is book two in the series and Martin has added to the world building and the character development. The magic and the people in Charleston come more alive as the story progresses.
An old enemy of Sorren’s is back and is trying to destroy all that Sorren loves. That includes people and Charleston, South Carolina. There is danger, loss, and tensions as the all of the characters come together to defeat evil. I enjoyed following Caassidy Teag and the gang as they fight off all of the attacks.
Part of the fun for me is trying to decide what is really exists in Charleston and what Martin makes up to keep the story going. Charleston, South Carolina is a great setting for Deadly Curiosities Vendetta and Martin makes the most of the history and setting for this old southern city.
Solaris published Deadly CuriositiesVendetta by Gail Z. Martin in 2016.
I received an ARC of Deadly Curiosities Vendetta from Netgalley in return for an honest review.
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Far from home . . .
Fiona Russell has been snatched from Earth, imprisoned and used as slave labor, but nothing about her abduction makes sense. When she’s rescued by the Grih, she realizes there’s a much bigger game in play than she could ever have imagined, and she’s right in the middle of it.
Far from safe . . .
Battleship captain Hal Vakeri is chasing down pirates when he stumbles across a woman abducted from Earth. She’s the second one the Grih have found in two months, and her presence is potentially explosive in the Grih’s ongoing negotiations with their enemies, the Tecran. The Tecran and the Grih are on the cusp of war, and Fiona might just tip the balance.
Far from done . . .
Fiona has had to bide her time while she’s been a prisoner, pretending to be less than she is, but when the chance comes for her to forge her own destiny in this new world, she grabs it with both hands. After all, actions speak louder than words.
I loved Dark Horse the first book in the Class 5 series. In fact I liked it so much it was one of my Hugo Nominees this year. That left me fearful before I started reading Dark Deeds. Sometimes when I love the first book in a new series the second is a disappointment. Dark Deeds held up my expectations with an unexpected twist.
Fiona Russell is a great main character and Hal Vakeri does a good job of being her alien support. Small spoiler – I knew that there was an AI in Dark Horse so I expected one in Dark Deeds. There was on, just not where I expected. I liked how Fiona moved from slave labor to someone of power as the story progressed. She needs that strength when she finally meets Eazi, the AI in the story. Hal also changes as the story progresses. When he first meets Fiona he feels sorry for her but as the action progresses he begins to see her for the strong person she is. That brings their relationship to a new level.
The plot in Dark Deeds is very well planned. The characters, both main and secondary, are well drawn and do a good job keeping the story moving. There is some additional back story and world building that helps add depth to the Class 5 world.
The action keeps the tension building on several levels. There is the danger to Fiona from the group that abducted her, the dangerous move to save the class 5 ship, the slow going attraction between Fiona and Hal, and the trouble it causes with some of Hal’s officers. All of this is very skillfully woven into a fun character driven story. There is also a hook for the next story in the Class 5 series.
You can read Dark Deeds as a stand alone but it will be much better if you start with Dark Horse. If you are a Science Fiction Romance fan you do not want to miss either book. Same for a Science Fiction fans.
Eclipse published Dark Deeds by Michelle Diener in 2016.
I received an ARC of Dark Deeds from Nethalley in return for an honest review.
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
With the whole of human history altered, Denny Younger may be the last rewinder in existence–and the last person on earth with a chaser unit capable of time travel. While caring for his ailing sister, Denny must discover a way to recharge his device before he’s left with no defense against a past that wants him dead.
Before long, Denny notices a mysterious stranger following him–keeping tabs on Denny, his family, and his friends. Is Denny just paranoid? Or maybe he isn’t alone in this new reality after all.…
When his chaser is stolen and his girlfriend is kidnapped, Denny risks everything to get both of them back. Launched into a high-stakes chase that spans continents and millennia, Denny’s responsibility to save our future isn’t over yet. It will take all of his cunning to stop a threat capable of steering the fate of the human race into disaster.
When we left Denny Younger at the end of Rewinder (see review here) it seemed that he was the last rewinder and was through changing history. Not so. In Destroyer someone from his past reappears and is set to do major danger. The title says it all.
That someone is determined to make Denny watch as the world is changed in ways that destroy severyone Denny loves. I love how Denny keep fighting in spite of the odds against success. This time the trips hit major tripping points in time and each time Denny fails to stop the changes.
Don’t look for a happy ending in Destroyer. We leave with Denny hurt in a world he does not recognize. The ending is a true cliffhanger.
The action is great, the characters interesting, the history fun and the plot intense. Great second book in the Rewinder series. Book three needs to arrive soon so I can see what happens to Denny and the history of the world next.
47 North published Destroyer by Brett Battles in 2016.
I received an ARC of Destroyer from Netgalley in return for an honest heview.
Thursday, January 7, 2016
Science Fiction/Space Opera
The Traanskei Coalition’s greatest weapon is the Q bomb, and after years of failure, the Democracy has come up with a defense against it. The problem is that they killed most of the team that created it. The sole survivor, Edgar Nmumba, was kidnapped by the Coalition. Only Nmumba can duplicate the work fast enough to prevent the loss of another dozen populated planets.
Nathan Pretorius and his team of Dead Enders will require all their skills and cunning to rescue him, sane and in one piece, from the Coalition’s best-hidden and best-guarded prison, somewhere in the Antares sector. But in a game of cross and double-cross, can they find him before it's too late?
The Prison in Antares is another fun Space Opera from Resnick. The Dead Enders are back and expected to do the almost impossible. There is one new character added to the group. Most expect Nathan Pretorius to succeed while bring everyone back alive. Small spoiler. Not all survive this time.
The mission is not the expected success on the first try. It does take two times to get into the prison and rescue Nmumba.
The Prison in Antares has all of the trademark Resnick elements. There is snappy dialog along with a fast moving plot. As always there are interesting characters add to the enjoyment. Finally like many of Resnick’s books The Prison in Antares is set in the Birthright Universe. If this is your first trip to that Universe you can find out more about it in a short essay at the end of the book.
Don’t worry if you have not read the first book in the series. The Prison in Antaries works well as a stand-alone. You will want to read The Fortress in Orion book on in the series after finishing this book.
Pry published The Prison in Antares by Mike Resnick in 2015.
Wednesday, January 6, 2016
by Libby Fischer Hellmann
Hired to produce a candyfloss profile of Chicago-based aviation giant, Delcroft, Ellie is dismayed when company VP Charlotte Hollander, the architect of a new anti-drone system for Delcroft, trashes the production and cancels the project. Ellie believes Hollander was spooked by shots of a specific man in the video footage. But when Ellie arranges to meet the man to find out why, he’s killed by a subway train.In the confusion, she finds a seemingly abandoned pack of cigarettes with a flash drive inside that belonged to the now dead man.
Ellie has the drive’s contents decrypted, but before long she discovers she’s under surveillance and thrown into the middle of a situation filled with drones, hacking, and Chinese spies that put her life and those she loves in mortal danger.
Ellie has the drive’s contents decrypted, but before long she discovers she’s under surveillance and thrown into the middle of a situation filled with drones, hacking, and Chinese spies that put her life and those she loves in mortal danger.
The sun winked off the frozen surface of Lake Michigan the next morning as I drove south to McCormick Place. During one of the most brutal Chicago winters in decades, the smudge of purple clouds tinged with pink and gold hinted that the fury of winter might—just might—have peaked. I parked in the overpriced lot, bought half a dozen cups of overpriced coffee, and carried them into the massive exhibit hall.
The crew was setting up lights and shades, and Mac was behind the camera framing shots. MacArthur J. Kendall III owns a production studio in Northbrook. He started out shooting sweet sixteens, bar mitzvahs, and weddings, but parlayed that into corporate videos. We’ve worked together for nearly twenty years, from the days of two-inch video, to one-inch, three-quarter, and now digital.
Mac’s name, salt-and-pepper hair, button-down shirts, and penny loafers scream WASP, but the nasty scar running down his left cheek saves him from total Episcopalian infamy. He tells people he was attacked by a Mexican drug lord and made me swear never to reveal it was from a car accident.
I went up to him. “What do you need me to do?”
“You have the shot list?”
I nodded and pulled it out of the canvas bag that doubles as my purse. We went over it. He gestured to the main area of the Delcroft booth, which featured a large projection screen with the company logo on both sides, and about twenty chairs arranged theater-style.
“What time’s the first presentation?”
Teresa Basso Gold, our client contact, had told us to be prepared for a series of short remarks by Delcroft executives touting the company’s latest innovations.
I checked my watch. Barely six thirty. “The doors don’t open until nine, and Teresa said not to expect anyone until ten. But you can get some establishing shots, if you want.”
“Sounds like a plan,” Mac said and strolled over to confer with the crew.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Libby Fischer Hellmann left a career in broadcast news in Washington, DC and moved to Chicago 35 years ago, where she, naturally, began to write gritty crime fiction. Twelve novels and twenty short stories later, she claims they’ll take her out of the Windy City feet first. She has been nominated for many awards in the mystery and crime writing community and has even won a few. *
With the addition of Jump Cut in 2016, her novels include the now five-volume Ellie Foreman series, which she describes as a cross between “Desperate Housewives” and “24;” the hard-boiled 4-volume Georgia Davis PI series, and three stand-alone historical thrillers that Libby calls her “Revolution Trilogy.” Her latest release, The Incidental Spy, is a historical novella set during the early years of the Manhattan Project at the U of Chicago. Her short stories have been published in a dozen anthologies, the Saturday Evening Post, and Ed Gorman’s “25 Criminally Good Short Stories” collection.
More at http://libbyhellmann.com.
* She has been a finalist twice for the Anthony, twice for Foreword Magazines Book of the Year, the Agatha, the Shamus, the Daphne and has won the Lovey multiple times.
Author of Compulsively Readable Thrillers
The Incidental Spy, Sept. 2015:http://www.amazon.com/Incidental-Spy-Libby-Fischer-Hellmann/dp/1938733843/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1439437050&sr=1-1&keywords=the+incidental+spy+hellmann
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION: Libby will be awarding a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour
Tuesday, January 5, 2016
The first in an all-new futuristic fantasy series from Keri Arthur—the New York Times bestselling author of the Souls of Fire novels.
When the bombs that stopped the species war tore holes in the veil between this world and the next, they allowed entry to the Others—demons, wraiths, and death spirits who turned the shadows into their hunting grounds. Now, a hundred years later, humans and shifters alike live in artificially lit cities designed to keep the darkness at bay....
As a déchet—a breed of humanoid super-soldiers almost eradicated by the war—Tiger has spent her life in hiding. But when she risks her life to save a little girl on the outskirts of Central City, she discovers that the child is one of many abducted in broad daylight by a wraith-like being—an impossibility with dangerous implications for everyone on earth.
Because if the light is no longer enough to protect them, nowhere is safe.
City of Light is full of very interesting world building. This is a world like no other I have seen. There are shape shifters, but Arthur has given them a new twist. The same is true with the dechet, a created breed of super-soldiers. There are also ghosts, vampires and others.
Tiger is a dechet who has lived alone with the ghost of children she could not save. While I liked Tiger my favorites characters were Cat and Bear, two of the ghosts she protected. I did not like many of the other characters but they fit the story and kept the plot moving.
There is a lot of tension in the story. Tiger has trouble turning her back on any child in danger and that is used against her throughout out the story. She is the strongest character in the book and without her there would be no plot. The others cannot forget what she is and no matter what she does she stays in danger from those she is helping.
I loved the ending. Tiger makes sure everyone knows that she will do what even to protect her own. Great start to an interesting new series in a very different world.
Piatkus Books published City of Light by Keri Arthur in 2016.
I received an ARC of City of Light from Netgalley in return for an honest review.
Sunday, January 3, 2016
In the New York Times bestselling Kris Longknife novels, “fans of the Honor Harrington escapades will welcome the adventures of another strong female in outer space starring in a thrill-a-page military space opera” (Alternative Worlds).
The aliens attacking the planetary system of Alwa are an enemy unlike any Admiral Kris Longknife has ever encountered before. She doesn’t know who they are, only that they worship a being known as the Enlightened One and are unafraid to sacrifice themselves against her fleet.
But Kris faces more than just the fanatical behavior of an alien armada. A saboteur has infiltrated the military’s medical facility and unleashed an epidemic that has spread throughout the fleet without warning.
Seventy-two career military women are down with something not even the aliens could do to them—including Admiral Kris Longknife.
Once again Kris is behind the eight ball. The aliens are converging to wipe out life on Alwa and it is up to Kris to stop them.
Unrelenting is mostly a battle driven book. Not just one battle either. There are several before Alwa is safe for the moment. Most of the characters from the previous book return. Don’t look for a lot of character development. Do look for a lot of action.
There is a bit of a shocker. We see it in the first sentence in the book.
“Admiral Kris Longknife bent over the toilet and explosively lost her breakfast.”
What else could it be but morning sickness? Oh! She is supposed to have a birth control implant. Since she is not the only one with an unexpected pregnancy it seems there is a problem.
Uurelenting could be read as a stand-alone but is best if you have read the other 12 books.
ACE published Kris Longknife: Unrelenting by Mike Shepherd in 2015.