So Many Books...So Little Time!

Reading is my first love. I'll read almost anything. If I make it past the first 50 pages, it's all good. If not, no problem, Mount TBR looms large and I work constantly to keep it in check! I am first and foremost a READER. I enjoy sharing my thoughts on books.I am not a professional reviewer, nor am I any kind of literary critic. Just honest opinions, that's what I'm about. If I liked what I read, I'll let you know what I liked. If I didn't like what I read, I will also let you know why not. Please send me recommendations and let me know what you've been reading. I love to hear from fellow book lovers!

Game of Patience - Susanne Alleyn Aristide Ravel is a police spy in France post-revolution though he prefers to to look on his work as investigation rather than spying. Citizen Ravel is asked to look a pair of shootings by Commissaire Brasseur when the bodies of a young woman and a man are found dead in his apartment.

This was a very interesting look at a time period that I am not all that familiar with. Post-revolutionary France was very strange, with their own calendar, a different way of addressing people (Citizen or Citizeness), and a very suspicious population. I enjoyed learning more about this era and will definitely look for more of this series.
The Silvered - Tanya Huff It seems like this is going to be a good series. I have read other Tanya Huff books and like them. This one has a very interesting world where mages and werewolves are on one side of a conflict and technology is on the other. The Emperor who leads the tech side is crazy and has decided that the mages and their werewolf consorts are "abominations" and therefore not human. While practicing magic is bad, the Emperor uses Soothsayers prophecies to guide his decision to capture all the high-level mages and then experiment on them.

Our heroine, Mirian, is mage who flunked her university courses and has no "mage marks" in here eyes, even though she tested high for mage power. Tomas is the younger brother of the Pack Leader, and the last survivor of the battle to hold their border against the Emperor. They find themselves thrown together when each of them sets off to save the captured mages and they themselves are captured by a very determined army captain, Captain Reiter.

The beginning of this was a little slow but it picked up and never stopped after about the first quarter of the book. Lots of action, not too much political intrigue, and a villain you have no problem hating made this a thoroughly enjoyable read.
The Lost Ones (A Quinn Colson Novel) - Ace Atkins Quinn Colson is one tough dude but he sure doesn't know women.

I am really liking this series and I think I need to find Atkin's other series because he sure can write purty... lol!
A Hint of Frost - Hailey Edwards I gave up. The main character made absolutely no sense to me, she was supposed to an aggressive warrior and yet she was so wishy-washy with her brand new husband. The spider thing had me ick-ed out and I couldn't really figure out what these people were. Ugh. No thanks.
Burden Kansas - Alan Ryker Pretty good story... I can see the survivor becoming a one-man vigilante if the author decides to make this a series.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer I read several other reviews and recurring through many of them were the words "wonderful", "charming", and "delightful". I have to say that I agree with that assessment! Loved it!
The Cloud Roads - Martha Wells What a great story! This had a really interesting world setting and the people of this world were so varied and diverse! I loved the dragons, or Raksura, as they are called in this world.

Short description: Moon is a wanderer, a shape-shifter with no family. The only family he recalls having are his mother and his four siblings but they were all killed when Moon was still a child by vicious monsters called the Fell. He learns to hide his dragon form from the other "groundlings" and manages to assimilate enough to survive wandering from group to group for several years. He eventually ends up living with a group of Cordans until one night his shape shifting secret is discovered and the Cordans turn against him and stake him out in the forest for the beast to kill. He is saved unexpectedly by someone who appears to be of his same shape shifter tribe. But Moon knows next to nothing about his people and he desperately wants to find a place where he truly belongs. So Moon agrees to accompany his rescuer, Stone, to the Indigo Cloud court where a tribe of his people are living but are being threatened by the same monsters that killed Moon's family.

I believe this is a series so I am going to track down the next one this weekend. Please library, have the second book!
The Diviners - Libba Bray Evie O'Neill is a seventeen year old girl, raised in America's heartland, by upstanding, church-going parents in small-town Indiana. The problem with this idyllic setting is that Evie is WAY bigger than her town and when problems arise due to Evie's "special gift" and the influence of boot-leg alcohol, her parent's suggest she leave home for a while. She ends up in NYC, living with her mother's brother, Uncle Will, and his young assistant, Jericho. This is a dream come true for aspiring flapper, Evie! However, things are not as they seem with quiet Uncle Will, and Evie is surprised when Will's services are requested by NYPD to assist with investigations of a series of gruesome murders.

This was really long but it was a great start to what I anticipate to be a good series. This book has most of the player on board, and few left on the periphery where I expect they will be brought into the fold int he next book. Looking forward to it!
The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien Fantastic! Nothing more needs to be said.
Lure of the Dead (The Last Apprentice / Wardstone Chronicles, #10) - Joseph Delaney, Patrick  Arrasmith This series is a favorite of mine but I sort of feel that this book really didn't do much to further the story. The events that occurred could easily have filled the first chapters of the next book. I felt like this was just a placeholder or filler. My son liked it better than I and we both are looking forward to the next book in this series. As we understand it, there will only be a few more before the series is complete and we anticipate some major events in the next book.
Portlandtown: A Tale of the Oregon Wyldes - Rob DeBorde This was really fun! A mixture of western and the supernatural, and yes, zombies! I really hope this will be a series about the Oregon Wyldes and their friends and family. The world is interesting and I'm sure people from Portland will enjoy it simply for the setting. If you like genre-bending and enjoy westerns and zombies, give this one a go, you will like it!
Dies the Fire - S.M. Stirling On an afternoon in early March, the world gets hit with some kind of phenomenon that causes all energy sources to stop functioning. Basically all forms of combustion stop working the way they used, even steam power doesn't work. Bullets no longer fire, explosives have no effect. It's like the properties of physics are instantly "Changed". Suddenly modern society must survive as they did in the ages before modern science and technology.

This story is told from the perspective of two very different people. Mike Havel is former soldier and pilot who now makes his living as a bush pilot in the American West, shuttling wealthy families to their ski lodges and remote ranches during the holidays and summer. When the Change hits, he is high above the wilds of Idaho with the Larssen family, Ken and Mary, their 18 year old twins, Eric and Signe, and their youngest child, 14 year old Astrid. Mike manages to crash land the small plane on a river in the forest but they barely make it out alive and Mary Larssen is severely injured.

Meanwhile, back in the Oregon town of Corvallis, Juniper Mackenzie and her 13 year old daughter, Eilir, are at a local pub where Juniper is performing. Junie is a folk singer and a High Priestess for a local Wiccan coven. She and Eilir are performing at her friend Dennis's pub, then heading to Eugene where they were to meet others from their coven for a celebration. Juniper is in the middle of her set at Dennis's when the Change occurs. The lights go out across the city, cars just stop running, planes fall out of the sky, and fires erupt when they start hitting the city. Chaos ensues and mob mentality takes little time to emerge, especially once the mob realizes that the cops can't shoot them; guns don't fire anymore. Juniper is, what is called in the Craft, a healing witch so she and Dennis and Eilir head out to help in whatever way they can. They soon realize that the safest place to be will be far from the cities and make their way quickly to Juniper's old cabin on family land up in the hills.

Thus begins the struggle to survive in a new reality. The two groups do what they must to protect themselves and their families. They form two very different types of communities and the way they manage to survive and even thrive is very interesting. This is the first in a series and was a little slow going through the first of the book but the second part was fairly quick reading and action packed. I will be looking for the next one in the series.
Pronto  - Elmore Leonard What took me so long to read Elmore Leonard? This was fantastic, loved it from start to finish. Raylan Givens is a great character, so good I might even watch the TV show that features him. Headed to the library to get the next one...
The Drowned Cities - Paolo Bacigalupi Set in the same fallen world as "Ship Breakers", this book follows the story of Mahlia, a young girl left to survive on her own after the Chinese peacekeepers abandon their efforts to stop the fighting in what is left of the eastern seaboard of the USA, now called the Drowned Cities. Mahlia is what the call a cast-off, a child of a Chinese peackeeper and a resident of the Drowned Cities. When her father is evacuated back to China, she and her mother are targeted by fanatical "patriots" for collaborating with the Chinese. Her mother is killed and Mahlia is left to survive by her own wits.

At some point she falls in the path of The Army of God, who capture her and cut off her right hand. They are about to do the same to her left when a disturbance distracts them and Mahlia escapes. The disturbance was created by a young boy called Mouse. Mouse's family members had been either killed or conscripted into whatever army attacked them. Mouse was the only survivor. He couldn't bear to see Mahlia being attacked without at least trying to save her. They end up together in a village called Banyan Tree, under the care of Dr. Mahfouz, a trained medical doctor and one of the last educated people in the crumbling remains of America.

All of the above just sets the scene for what happens to Mahlia and Mouse. I absolutely devoured this book. It was excellent, even better than Ship Breakers, in my opinion. I wonder if there will be other books set in this world?
The Likeness - Tana French Second in series. Told from the perspective of Cassie Maddox.

The disaster of Operation Vestal still keeps Cassie awake at night and although she has transferred to the Domestic Violence team, she is still haunted by the mistakes of her previous case and the loss she feels with the dissolution of her partnership with Rob Ryan. She has been trying to put the past behind her and move forward. She has even gotten further involved with Sam O'Neill, another detective from the Murder Squad. One day Sam calls her in a panic and asks Cassie to meet him in a village and to try to avoid telling anyone where she's going or being seen in the area once she arrives. Intrigued, Cassie heads out. To her surprise, Frank, her old boss from her days undercover, is there waiting with Sam. They lead her through the fields to a tumble-down cottage that now shelters a body, that of one Lexie Madison. The kicker is Lexie Madison was the alias that Cassie used on her last undercover case and this Lexie looks just like Cassie, a near exact likeness.

I was glad to read about Cassie's feelings toward Rob and how she tries to work through her grief and loss. I felt like this was totally overlooked at the end of the first book and one of the reasons I wasn't satisfied with the ending of that book. The mystery in this one was pretty good and tracking Lexie back to her original roots was interesting.
Last Noel - Michael Malone This one was either cheap or free from B&N. I had liked another Michael Malone I read recently so I picked this one up, too.

Noni and Kaye grow up together in the small town of Moors, North Carolina. Noni is the "princess" of Heaven's Hill, her family's estate. Kaye is the grandson of Aunt Ma, the housekeeper at Heaven's Hill. Aunt Ma has lived at Heaven's Hill her whole life as her family has done for nearly 200 years when her great-grandmother was brought there as slave. The two children become fast friends from the moment they meet when Kaye climbs into Noni's bedroom on Christmas Eve to see if she wants to go ride that new sled she got on the newly fallen snow. They are both seven years old, though Noni is a couple of hours older, having been born on Christmas Eve while Kaye was born early on Christmas morning.

Over the years the two bond and become best friends despite the difficult race relations of the 60's and 70's. Each chapter finds Noni and Kaye on Christmas Eve, celebrating their respective birthdays and catching us up on what has happened during the intervening years. We see Noni grow into a beautiful woman living a difficult life, while Kaye goes on to become a heart surgeon. They end up on different paths but come together year after year at Heaven's Hill for their birthdays.

Although somewhat predictable, the ending had me in tears. Very touching and a real love story with a unique telling.

Currently reading

The Curse of the Mistwraith (Wars of Light & Shadow, #1; Arc 1, #1)
Janny Wurts