Quote 4/11

Adrecht ducked through the flap. Even in the dim lantern light, there was no mistaking the huge bruise that purpled his cheek and nearly closed one eye. A shallow cut above his eyebrow was dark with scabbed blood.

“Saints and martyrs,” Marcus swore. “What happened to you?”

“Mor,” Adrecht said, with an exaggerated wince. “Do you mind if I sit?”

Marcus nodded, and Adrecht folded his lanky form up beside the camp table. Marcus waved at his trunk.

“Do you want a drink? I think I’ve got something . . .”

“No,” Adrecht said. His expression was thoughtful. “No, I don’t think so.”

“So what happened? Mor just jumped you?”

“After a manner of speaking,” Adrecht said. “He came into my tent and told me that he’d had it with me, and that Marcus was a better friend than I deserved.” He smiled slightly. “With more swearing, of course. Then he picked me up and tossed me into a tent pole. Snapped it in half, as a matter of fact.”

The Thousand Names by Django Wexler

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2 YA Retellings

I’m actually getting a little burned out on Napoleon right now, so I switched things up by finishing 2 YA retellings of classic books. The first was A Blade So Black by L L McKinney, and the second was Pride by Ibi Zoboi.

I’ve heard some negative things about A Blade So Black, some of it focused on the author, some of it on the writing style. But I love Alice in Wonderland, especially when it is a really new look at such a well used tale. Alice is a Black teenager who has recently lost her dad when she meets Hatta battling a Nightmare on our world. She is unusually gifted and he recruits her help. But the line separating our world from Wonderland is unstable and Alice has to fight to keep the world safe while dealing with school and an overprotective mom.

I really liked this one, with so much Lewis Carroll-goodness in here, but at the same time I wanted to shake Alice for trying to keep too many secrets. I liked the style and the characters. I didn’t realize this had a planned sequel until almost at the end, and now I have to wait until September for book 2.

My second read wasn’t as good. Pride by Ibi Zoboi was a retelling of Pride And Prejudice by Jane Austen. Zuri Benitez lives in Brooklyn with her four sisters and her parents all crowded into a small apartment. Her neighborhood is a mix of the old and familiar and the new gentrification. When a new family moved into the newly renovated building across the street, Zuri already had some doubts. But when she meets the Darcy brothers, it gets even worse.

I loved the setting and the altered family dynamic. I even loved the vibrant poetry Zuri writes. I think what I struggled with us that keeping the characters the same age as in the original (the sisters, anyway)  forced some other elements into the book that I didn’t like as much. I think I would have enjoyed this a lot more of I were younger.

There you have it! I’m recommending both books, but the are definitely for readers who enjoy YA.

Read These Soon!

I mentioned a little while back that I’ve started a new shelf on Good Reads called “Read Soon.” My TBR is so long — just under 2000 books – that the onces I’m most excited about get lost in there and my memory is so bad I can’t remember the titles when I’m at the library or bookstore. Today I thought I would share what’s on this shelf.

A Black So Black by LL McKinney.  A new YA take on the Alice in Wonderland story with a fierce Black protagonist. Found it on Good Reads. Need to buy.

Den of Wolves by Juliet Marillier, Grim & Blackstone book 3. I’m loving this Adult Fantasy series with a super slow burn romance and a hero to die for. Owned in print.

The Dry by Jane Harper. Mystery set in Australia. So much buzz for this one, but I haven’t gotten a copy yet.

Early Riser by Jasper Fforde. Brand new book (Stand alone? New series?) by a favorite author. Might do audio on this one.

The Lord of Opium by Nancy Farmer. OK, this one is a little embarrassing. I’ve owned it on Kindle forever, but I still haven’t read it! It’s a sequel to House of the Scorpion. Children’s/YA dystopian fiction.

Let me know in the comments what books are on your list to read soon or if you’ve read any of these and what you thought.

 

 

 

Top 10 Tuesday

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I don’t do memes very much, but I’d like to get into them as I think I might get more readers over here. This week’s them is Favorite Couples in Books. It’s hosted by That Arty Girl. Although it isn’t specified, for this list I’m going with couples in the romantic sense. These are in no particular order.

Princess Sarene and Prince Raoden, Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

elantris What happens to a society when their gods become monsters? 

I love the slow way that this romance develops. They become allies first, then friends, then more. Individually they are such strong, caring people, but as a couple they are so much more powerful. Knowing he is cursed, Raoden wants to hold back from loving her and revealing his identity, but Sarene just won’t give up. And I love Raoden’s determination to find a way to live instead of just existing. This book is a stand alone, (except for a short story), so if you’ve been wanting to try Sanderson’s writing, this is a good place to start.

Steris Harms and Lord Waxilium Ladrian, Mistborn Adventures, by Brandon Sanderson

24357485 I swear I do read other authors besides Sanderson! But this couple just grew on me so much. It’s meant to be a political match. He’s got the money; she’s got the influence. But they grow on you! I felt like I just didn’t get Steris at first. I kept expecting they would split up. But Sanderson does the unexpected, and instead of putting them with someone more suitable, he revealed the way they really were meant for each other. Steris grows so much over the series that you almost can’t believe she’s the same woman! I love her so much. And Wax learns to let go of his guilt and betrayal over his first wife’s death and realize that he can’t picture life without Steris. It’s just so perfect! Hard ship, right here.

 

Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase, Percy Jackson series, by Rick Riordan

Going in a totally different direction here, but I mean, come on, you can’t  help loving these two. Percy is a little slower to get there, but when he does, he is 100% on Annabeth’s side. They went through Hell for each other, literally, and if every a young couple deserved a chance to settle down and build a new life, it is these two. All the hearts.

Sir Percy Blakeney and Marguerite St. Just, The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Orczy

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So swoon-worthy! I love the book and the movie version of this couple. Marguerite is passionate and fiery, Percy is daring and brave, and they have to overcome all these obstacles to find true love! The book and the movie have different ending, but each one has Percy rescuing Marguerite from the French Revolution. And they both look fabulous the whole time!

Annis Wychwood and Oliver Carleton, Lady of Quality by Georgette Heyer

I had to put a book by Georgette Heyer in here, as she is my favorite romance writer of all time. Finally I chose these two. Annis lives in Regency Bath with a companion. As a lady in her late twenties, she’s obviously a spinster, doomed to a life as a single woman. (How times have changed!) Oliver is a gentleman with reputation as being rude and unconventional. It is, if not quite love at first sight, a definite attraction. They share the same sardonic sense of humor, and that’s kind of my thing, because anyone who makes me laugh has already stolen half my heart. These guys are made for each other.

Amaranthe Lokdon and Sicarius, Emperor’s Edge series by Lindsay Buroker

Trigger warning for attempted sexual assault and torture.

She’s in the Imperial law force. He’s an assassin. She’s sent to bring him in. But it turns out, they both want the same thing – to protect the Emperor. This is definitely a slow burn. Sicarius has a really dark past and he’s very slow to trust. But Amaranthe just won’t give up on him.  I love this series, and it needs more love. If you like found family stories, with lots of humor and plenty of heist action (plus a little steampunk-y goodness), you should totally check it out.

The Entire Cast of Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

OMG OMG OMG. I loved these ships so damn much. Wylan and Jesper, Nina and Matthias (my heart!), and especially Kaz and Inej. What makes these work is that each of them is broken in their own way, but they become someone better when they’re together. I don’t need to elaborate too much on this one, because so many people have read these books. If you have, then you know what I mean! Love these guys.

Scarlet Benoit and Wolf Kesley, the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

This one was hard, because I also love Thorn and Cressida, but I think Scarlet and Wolf are a teeny bit better. Scarlet is so feisty and so protective of her family. Once she decides that Wolf is part of her family, they become an unbeatable team. And poor Wolf – he’s been through so much, never dared to hope for anything better. Once he finds it though, he would do anything for Scarlet.

Capt. Cordelia Naismith and Admiral Adal Vorkosigan, Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold

Trigger warning for attempted sexual assault.

Cordelia, you badass. They are both amazing characters, but I love that Bujold really gives Cordelia a chance to shine. They’re not a traditional couple – she’s a career officer and he’s the Butcher of Barrayar. But once they decide they love each other, Cordelia especially will let nothing stand in her way of getting a life with the man she loves. Sure, there’s some fun sci-fi stuff in here, but it’s this relationship that makes the book worth reading.

Sarah Agnes Prine and Captain Jack Elliott, These Is My Words by Nancy E. Turner

Trigger warning for sexual assault, death of a child

It’s been a while since I’ve read this one, but they were so amazing that I have to give them some space here. Sarah and her family are on their way to new home when their wagon train is attacked by Indians and her father is killed. This is not a spoiler, it’s literally in chapter one. That’s your warning right there that this book is not going to be an easy ride. Stuff happens, and it’s hard reading sometimes. What makes it worth it is watching the relationship grow between Sarah and Captain Jack. It was so sweet and tender, and  he was so patient and kind. I just love this series so, so much.



So what do you think? Do we share any favorites? Who’s on your list? Let me know in the comments.

Quick Reviews

I’m in the middle of making dinner, but I have a few minutes to check in with you all. I thought I would add some mini reviews here.

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Where Eagles Dare by Alistair MacLean

Written by a former WWII sailor, this one has a group of British secret service agents fly into Switzerland disguised as Alpenkorps soldiers and infiltrate a Nazi stronghold. This is a reread and while it was fun, I think this time around I was really struck by how theatrical it all was. Not surprising, since this was written for a movie coming out starring the author’s friend, Richard Burton. Very macho (read: sexist) stuff, but very suspenseful. Not worth another reread but it was fun.

 

sto The Storyspinner (Keeper’s Chronicles #1) by Becky Wallace

“Drama and danger abound in this fantasy realm where dukes play a game for the throne, magical warriors race to find the missing heir, and romance blossoms where it is least expected.”

This one has a complex plot that’s tough to summarize, but I really enjoyed the characters and the story in this one. First in a duology, and I can’t wait to read the sequel. It ends on a cliffhanger, so if you pick it up, be prepared with book 2. This is a YA book but I think it would be fun for younger and older readers as well.

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Glimpse by Jonathan Maberry

A stand alone horror. Rain, a former junkie now 3 years sober, puts on a borrowed pair of glasses and catches a glimpse of a young boy. Or did she? She becomes haunted by shadowy images, all revolving around her image of the son she gave up for adoption 10 years ago. Time is running out if she wants to find her way to him and save him from the horrible monsters that want to destroy him. I couldn’t help comparing this one to NOS4A2 by Joe Hill which I read recently. I liked this one so much better.  There was plenty of menace but not as much gore. The threat is implied rather than described, and all the more compelling.

 

Encore Review

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Pexels.com

I read this one a while back, but I haven’t shared this review before.

Title:

Synopsis:
Lara McClintoch owns a Toronto antiquities store and is obsessed with finding rare artifacts. The murder of an expert in Mayan history brings Lara to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula where mysteries from the Mayan past and Mexico’s present political problems lure Lara on a perilous journey.
Review:
I liked this mystery, but as late as halfway through I was still unclear about the date until it specifically says that it’s set in the 1990s. I think that was because of the prevalent “Had I But Known” vibe that was almost overpowering the book. For those who don’t know, that was a technique common to mysteries in the 1930s by authors like Mary Roberts Rinehart and then the 1980s in Gothic mysteries by Phyllis A. Whitney and E. X. Ferrars. It features lots of foreshadowing, a heroine in trouble, and two romantic rivals. The heroine almost always picks the wrong one right up until the last minute.
Come to think of it, I’ve basically given you the whole plot of the book right there. Lara is recovering from a divorce, heads off to visit a former colleague, and gets caught up in political intrigue and theft. It was still kind of fun, but you have to be in the right mood for it. 2.5 stars

Murder at the Mill: a review

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Iris Grey needs a quiet place to work on her art and decide what to do about her failing marriage. She finds just what she needs in Mill Cottage, deep in Hampshire and even featuring a picturesque stream nearby. Things are going pretty well until Christmas time. That’s when the neighbors plan a big holiday party that ends with a body being found floating in the previously mentioned stream.

Iris is right in the middle of events. She was present at the holiday party and has been drawn deep into the neighbors secrets. Now she has to figure out what’s going on before she dies too.

I liked this mystery, but from the description I was imagining a 1930s style house party with servants and sleuths and all. However, this is set in present day. The overall feel of the book is quite different as well. I think the description was rather misleading. I did enjoy this story and I quite like Iris. However the mystery wasn’t all that hard to solve and I’m not sure I would feel compelled to read another in this series.

*I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.*

Limelight: a review

Limelight by Emily Organ (Penny Green #1)

Synopsis

How did an actress die twice?

London, 1883. Actress Lizzie Dixie drowned in the River Thames, so how was she murdered five years later in Highgate Cemetery?

Intrepid Fleet Street reporter Penny Green was a friend of Lizzie’s and Scotland Yard needs her help. Does Penny unwittingly hold clues to Lizzie’s mysterious death? Penny must work with Inspector James Blakely to investigate the worlds of theatre, showmen and politicians in search of the truth.

But who is following her? And who is sending her threatening letters?

Penny is about to discover that Lizzie’s life was more complicated, and dangerous, than she could ever have imagined.

Review

I finished this one yesterday and found myself trying to figure out how I felt about the book. I mean, I didn’t HATE it, but I didn’t like it either. Penny, our MC, has an interesting back story, but I still thought her actions didn’t make a lot of sense.

In the end, I think it was just that writing was pretty – well, average. We only got to really know 2 characters in the book, and they were still a little flat. The pacing was off, all the action occurs in the beginning and the very end. There was a lot of telling, a lot of dialogue, but not much to hint at what characters were actually feeling.

I do enjoy this time period, and I admit to being intrigued by the female reporter angle. But really, there are better Victorian era mysteries out there. I would not recommend this one and I don’t plan on reading more by this author. However, it is a first novel, so it’s possible the series gets better as it goes on. I won’t be bothered to find out.

Burning Ridge – a review

Burning Ridge, Timber Creek K9 #4

By Margaret Mizushima

Mattie Cobb is a police detective with a K9 partner working on a small town in Colorado. Her latest case turns out to have a very personal connection and her past will hold the answers she needs to solve the crime.

This is the 4th book in the series, but I didn’t feel lost for long. I really liked Maggie’s relationship with her dog, Robo. That was the best part of the book. I would definitely read more in this series.

Murder on the Appian Way

Murder on the Appian Way (Roma Sub Rosa #5) by Stephen Saylor

colosseum coliseum flavian amphitheatre rome
Photo by Anastasia Zhenina on Pexels.com

I love a good historical fiction, and if there’s mystery or romance in there too, I am even more interested. This book is about Gordianus the Finder, neighbor of the orator Cicero, who becomes entangled in the hunt for a murderer.

Even in Rome, maybe especially in Rome, politicians did not get along. But this feud may have actually caused a murder. Soon each side is fighting in the streets and then actual riots break out. Gordian goes back to the scene of the crime to see if he can figure out who’s really guilty.

I loved the setting on this. The story is based on actual events, and it’s full of details, such as the local shrine of the Good Goddess, Hestia  I think, and the courtroom drama. It felt like I was really there.

The one thing I wasn’t crazy about was Gordianus. He comes a little too close to cheating on his wife for me to see him as a really good guy. But I did like the series enough to see if I can find the first book in the series. I like the audio version, but I think print would be fine too.