Kathy Martin's First Post-Retirement List.
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Here is January through June 5 - my last year as a school librarian/media specialist.
Now onto retirement reading.
1. Ticker by Lisa Mantchev (273 p.) -- Steampunk mystery/romance. Penny Farthing has an artificial heart which is failing. Her doctor is on trial for mass murder for experimenting on and killing many people to improve the heart and other augmentations. When her parents are kidnapped for scientific plans they have, Penny, her brother Nic, her best friend Violet, and friend Sebastian go on the hunt for them. Also hunting is Marcus Kingsley who is in charge of the police. The story is filled with steampunk gadgets, lots of adventure, a dastardly villain, and a nice romance.
2. Delia's Shadow by Jaime Lee Moyer (336 p.) -- Historical mystery set in San Francisco. Delia Martin fled to get away from the ghosts who were haunting her but when she is haunted by a persistent ghost in her new location she returns to San Francisco to deal with her. She finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation. Gabe Ryan is the police lieutenant in charge. He believes that it is the same killer his father investigated 30 years earlier. Gabe and Delia work together and fall in love. Nice romance and creepy serial killer.
3. Battle Magic by Tamora Pierce (440 p.) -- Rosethorn, Briar and Evvy are traveling and find themselves caught up in a war when an evil emperor decides to conquer a country that holds the original temple of Rosethorn's religion. They turn their usually peaceful talents into talents that are useful in battle. I liked the story and thought it made a good conclusion to the series.
4. UNSUB by Meg Gardiner (384 p.) -- Fast-paced thriller with intriguing characters. Caitlin Hendrix is a detective who is pulled into the same case that destroyed her police detective father's life when the serial killer reemerges. This time he is performing for and targeting Caitlin. Caitlin needs to figure out what the killer's plans are without allowing the case to become an obsession. I liked the side characters in this one too. Her boyfriend Sean is a federal agent who specialty is tracking down explosives. He tries to help her balance her life. Excellent thriller.
5. City of Angels by Kristi Belcamino (288 p.) -- Historical mystery set in Los Angeles 1992. Runaway Nikki searches for a 12-year-old she rescued when escaping the "boyfriend" who wanted her to make child porn. Rain is drug addicted and being groomed by a child predator who wants her to star in a snuff film. The characters are stereotypes but the mystery is well done.
6. The Waking Land by Callie Bates (400 p.) -- Great epic fantasy debut. Nice world building. Great characters. Elanna was taken captive as a guarantee for her parents' good behavior when she was 5. Fourteen years later she treats her captor as a foster father and has been indoctrinated with his views. When he is poisoned, she has to flee or be killed as his murderer. She doesn't want to go back home and become a rebel until she becomes convinced that her foster father has lied to her for years. There is also magic that makes her really valuable to country which is rebelling against her foster father's rule. There is a romance too. All in all, a good fantasy.
7. Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine (302 p.) -- Excellent thriller told by the wife of a serial killer who was arrested as an accomplice, acquitted and fled with her children to protect them from those who think she was guilty or who are just angry at her husband's actions. They have run and changed identities a number of times but have now come to Stillhouse Lake where Gwen hopes they can stay. But then someone begins recreating her husband's murders and she becomes a person of interest to the police again which exposes her children to all sorts of danger from internet harassers to the real murderer. This was extremely tense and told from a seldom heard from point of view. Gwen and her kids were as much a victim of her husband as any of the women he murdered but the court of public opinion doesn't see it that way. Cliffhanger ending has me eager to read more.
8. The Reluctant Queen by Sarah Beth Durst (358 p.) -- Excellent fantasy; wonderful characters. 2nd book in trilogy. When Queen Daleina is diagnosed with a fatal disease, the hunt is on to find her an heir. Dying without an heir will free the spirits to ravage the land and kill the people. Ven finds Naelin but she isn't interested in the job. She wants to have a quiet life protecting her two beloved children. Convinced that she can protect them best by getting trained to use her very strong powers, she comes to the queen. Meanwhile a neighboring country is planning to invade and it is learned that the queen was poisoned with a poison that mimics the fatal disease.
9. A Panicked Premonition by Victoria Laurie (320 p.) -- Engaging mystery with touches of humor in a nicely twisty plot. This is the 15th book in the Psychic Eye series but the first I've read. Abby is a psychic, her partner is Candice a private investigator, both are married the FBI agents who have a side business in personal security and building safe rooms. When one of their partners goes missing, Abby has a bad feeling about it. The feeling worsens when two of the men's clients are brutally murdered in their new panic room and it looks like their missing partner is the murderer. There are lots of suspects and lots of banter between Abby and the other characters.
10. The Hypnotists by Gordon Korman (323 p.) -- Fun middle grade story about Jax, a boy with a gift for hypnotism, who is exploited by a man who runs an institute. The man has hypnotized a variety of people and one of them is a candidate for President of the United States. He uses Jax to send a hypnotic suggestion to voters to pick his candidate. When Jax says he won't because it is unethical, the man plants a suggestion in Jax's parents that will cause them to die if Jax doesn't cooperate. Fortunately there is an offbeat group that is opposed to the institute and they help Jax. The story was filled with adventure and excitement. Jax was a great character. This is the first of a 3 book series.
11. A Wrinkle in Time: the Graphic Novel by Hope Larson (392 p.) -- Graphic novel version of Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time. Hit the main plot points and added nicely done illustrations done with a palette of blue, black and white.
12. Bannerless by Carrie Vaughn (352 p.) -- Dystopian mystery. Enid of Haven is a new Investigator called to Pasadan to look into the death of Sero. Called in by one of the governing committee, they soon find that most don't want the investigators there. The victim, Sero, was a bannerless loner. She and her enforcer/mentor Tomas soon find that the seemingly perfect Pasadan is hiding a number of secrets. Enid's investigation is disrupted by the presence of Dak who was her first love. The book has great world building and the mystery was also done well.
13. Some Kind of Hero by Suzanne Brockmann (352 p.) -- Excellent romantic suspense; 19th in Troubleshooters series. Shayla is a writer of romantic suspense novels currently going through a bout of writer's block. Pete is a Navy SEAL who has recently become a full-time father when his daughter's mother dies. Maddie is the daughter who is 15, grieving, not eager to be with the father she doesn't know, and on the run from a drug dealer who thinks she stole his money. In fact, it was her "friend" Fiona who set Maddie up. Shayla picks up Pete on the side of the road when he flags her down to follow the car that he saw Maddie enter. They don't find her but begin to work together with other friends from Troubleshooters to track down Maddie. I loved the relationship between Shayla and Pete since both were wary and not looking for a relationship but love happens. I teared up and laughed so hard I couldn't see the print on the page in this emotional roller coaster.
14. Ash and Quill by Rachel Caine (368 p.) -- 3rd book in Great Library series; cliffhanger ending. Jess and his companions find themselves in Philadelphia in the hands of the Burners. Philadelphia is under siege by forces from the Library giving them enemies on two sides. They need to survive, escape Philadelphia and bring their war to the head of the Library of Alexandria. Meanwhile, Thomas builds a printing press for the head of the Burners and Morgan overuses her powers and just about self-destructs. Their only way back to Europe puts them back into the hands of the smugglers and Jess's father who has his own plans for them all. Jess needs to out think and out plot a serious bunch of plotters who have lots more resources than his small band.
15. Murder in Mayfair by D. M. Quincy (304 p.) -- Regency mystery. Atlas Catesby rescues a woman being sold by her husband then has to solve the mystery of who killed the husband because he's the prime suspect. Lots of period detail. Interesting characters and a nicely twisty mystery.
16. What Goes Up by Katie Kennedy (368 p.) -- Great science fiction story about kids trying out for a secret NASA program. Rosa is the daughter of scientists. Eddie is on his own after the death of his grandmother. He also has a father in prison. They start in a group of 200 knowing that only 2 will be chosen. Rosa is a conventional thinker and Eddie thinks outside the box but together they make a great team. This one has lots of adventure, space flights and aliens.
17. Shallow Grave by Brian Thiem (320 p.) -- Police procedural. Matt Sinclair has to find out who killed a former partner of his and buried him in a shallow grave. This one has lots of twists and turns with motorcycle gangs, corrupt politicians, a Russian mobster, a potentially corrupt Chief of Police, and lots of different federal investigators all involved in the plot. Meanwhile, Matt has to deal with the father he hates having a heart attack, a new relationship, and getting put on administrative leave in the middle of his investigation.
18. Amid Stars and Darkness by Chani Lynn Feener (355 p.) -- Harks back to old-fashioned science fiction romances. Delany is kidnapped by aliens and forced to impersonate a missing princess to keep two countries from going to war. The only one she can trust is the bodyguard who kidnapped her. There are all sorts of assassination attempts and a fiance who hates the princess as much as the princess hates him. They are supposed to marry as part of the peace settlement.
19. The Emperor of Mars by Patrick Samphire (355 p.) -- Middle Grade steampunk/science fiction/alternate history. Edward and his family are settled in Lunae City on British Mars but the villains of the first book makes a reappearance. Dr. Blood is plotting to become the new Emperor of Mars but he needs some things. Among them are Edward's younger sister Putty's dragon's egg. With all sorts of mysterious characters and villains after Edward and his family, this story is filled with adventure, gadgets and sea monsters. Lots of fun.
20. Midnight Curse by Melissa F. Olson (294 p.) -- Scarlett Bernard is back. When her old roommate Molly calls asking for help, Scarlett finds that she has killed her roommates and gorged on their blood but she says she was coerced. With the annual Trials coming up, Scarlett has to prove what really happened or Molly will be condemned to death. Though she is living with werewolf Eli, she calls on Jesse to help her because Eli is too protective and hates when she puts herself in danger. Jesse is at a low point in his life having just gone through a divorce. Together they investigate in an action-packed story.
21. Blood Gamble by Melissa F. Olson (300 p.) -- Scarlett finds herself in Las Vegas investigating a stage show put on by vampire celebrities Arthur and Lucy Holmwood which Dashiell believes is exposing vampires to humans. Scarlett also learns that vampires are disappearing too. She reconnects with old friend/love interest Jameson who is working with the Holmwoods. Scarlett is their without her support network - Shadow and Jesse. There is intrigue, danger and heartbreak in this one. Great story.
22. The Hunting Grounds by Katee Robert (218 p.) -- Nice romantic suspense. Maggie is a park ranger at Glacier but was a former FBI agent. When a body is found in the park, the FBI is called in. Vic Sutherland, Maggie's former partner, comes because this is the 3rd body found in national parks. Soon more bodies are found and Vic and Maggie need to find the killer. Multiple viewpoints. Romance blossoms between Vic and Maggie.
23. The Danger Gang and the Pirates of Borneo! by Stephen Bramucci (380 p.) -- Over-the-top middle grade adventure. Ronald Zupan, his pet cobra, his butler Jeeves, and his fencing rival Julianne take off to rescue his parents from pirates when they fail to come home for his eleventh birthday. They have all sorts of adventures and Ronald tells us all about them with Jeeves making corrections at the end of each chapter. The story is action-packed but is also a story about friendship and making good choices.
24. The Countdown Conspiracy by Katie Slivensky (336 p.) -- Fast-paced, action-packed science fiction as six kids are selected to train for the first mission to Mars. There is a fragile peace after a major war, not everyone wants the mission to succeed. Miranda, from the US, is a target of assassination attempts. She is finds that she isn't the smartest kid in the room and starts to think that her appointment was more based on politics than her ability. However, she is very talented at engineering and is willing to work hard to be part of the mission. She has made her own robot and best friend Ruby who has a key role in the story. When a training flight goes wrong, the six kids have to find their way back to Earth, rescue stranded astronauts at the ISS, and keep the world from going back to war.
25. A Wedding Tail by Casey Griffin (350 p.) -- A humorous romantic suspense title that tried too hard for humor and missed. Zoe Plum is an OCD wedding planner who has had no use for romance since her fiance left her at the altar. Now someone is trying to wreck her business and possibly kill her. She meets Levi who wants a romance when all she wants is sex without commitment if she can just get him to go away. She rescues a hyper dachshund named Freddy. Book was packed with action and plot threads but I didn't like Zoe very much. Too many sex toys and not enough dachshunds.
26. Just Friends by Tiffany Pitcock (302 p.) -- Engaging contemporary romance in which top-of-the-class Jenny is partnered with bad-boy Chance for an assignment. They do a dialog telling people that they have been best friends since childhood and the lie becomes real. Each has something the other needs. Chance gives Jenny the chance to experience the normal high school things that she's been curious about. Jenny gives Chance the opportunity to have a friend and confidant and to see what a normal family is like. They try to keep it as just friends but they are lying since each is falling for the other.
27. In Some Other Life by Jessica Brody (452 p.) -- Kennedy Rhodes made a decision when she was in between 8th and 9th grade: accept enrollment at the prestigious Windsor Academy or take a change on a boy she had a crush on. She took the boy and, while she still wondered about Windsor Academy, she didn't regret her decision. At least not until she caught the boy and her best friend kissing and found out they had been seeing each other, behind her back, for three months. She rushes to Windsor Academy to see if she can still get in, has an accident and when she wakes up finds out that she is a student at Windsor and has been since she was in 9th grade. She's the only one who remembers her other past. She sees all sorts of changes made by this decision including the lives of her parents, the high-pressure of the school, and new friends. This was an entertaining look at two different paths resulting in choices Kennedy made.
28. Hunting Hour by Margaret Mizushima (320 p. ) -- Mattie and Robo get involved in the case of a junior high student found dead on Smoker's Hill. She has been meeting high school boys for sex and a number of them were suspects. Mattie also suspects her father of abusing her mostly because of her own history which she is still dealing with. When Cole's daughter Sophie goes missing, everyone fears it is the same killer and the rush is on to find her before it's too late. There are a variety of suspects from convicted sex offenders who are in town for a fishing trip to a mentally ill man who has brought his animals to Cole's veterinary practice. This was fast-paced and entertaining.
29. Dead Man's Bridge by Robert J. Mrazek (288 p.) -- Jake Cantrell is a wrongly court-martialed army officer working as a security guard at the college where he graduated when he discovers the body of a prominent alumnus hanging from a bridge. He thinks it's murder; his boss wants to cover it up as a suicide because murder would be bad publicity during alumni week. But then a second body is also found hanging. Jake is investigating the deaths and an attempt to blackmail his friend who is the college president. Jake was an interesting character who is at loose ends after his army career ends, is depressed, and is dealing with the cancer diagnosis of his dog Bug who has been with him since Afghanistan. The story was fast-paced and engaging.
30. Bad Blood by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (384 p.) -- Conclusion of Naturals series. Cassie and her fellow naturals are on the trail of a cult of serial killers who are holding Cassie's mother captive. Great characters and tension-filled plot.
31. Among the Dead by J. R. Backlund (304 p.) -- Rachel has quit the North Carolina SBI because she didn't like how a case was handled. When an old friend calls her to rural North Carolina to help with another case, she's reluctant be needs the money. At first, her role is to assist rookie investigators but soon one murder becomes two and then three and she is swept into the investigation. I liked that we got the viewpoint of the mastermind and the killer along with Rachel's. Fast-paced story and interesting main character.
32. To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough (304 p.) -- Nice mystery. Erin is obsessed with finding out about her past. She was found as a toddler by the body of her mother. Her mother's killer has never been found. She is living with her mother's best friend who doesn't tell her anything about her mother or her past. She learns about forensics so that she can do her own investigation when she grows up. Her high school biology teacher encourages her but then she is murdered too. Now Erin needs to solve a current murder too. Her crush Journey is first a suspect and then a fellow investigator. There are a number of possible suspects including the Chief of Police and the high school principal who both grew up with Erin's mother. Assisting is Erin's uncle Vincent who is a forensics expert FBI agent.
33. Come Sundown by Nora Roberts (466 p.) -- Not her best. Bodine Longbow is running the family resort when Cal comes back from California. She had a crush on him when she was a girl but he was her brother's best friend. They are just getting to know each other as adults when a few murders take place. One of the Sheriff's deputies really wants Cal to be guilty since he has hated Cal since childhood. Meanwhile, in flashbacks, we get the story of Bodine's Aunt Alice who was kidnapped, raped, brutalized and brainwashed and who, at the halfway of this book, escapes after about 25 years in captivity. Alice's story adds considerable grit to what would otherwise be a pretty normal Roberts book.
34. Heart of the Storm by Michael Buckley (304 p.) -- Action-packed conclusion to the Undertow series sees Lyric trying to unite former enemies in a war against an overwhelming force of invaders who want to wipe all life off land.
35. The Case of the Left-Handed Lady by Nancy Springer (234 p.) -- 2nd Enola Holmes mystery has her looking for Lady Cecily who has disappeared from her home and also has her trying to avoid being located by her brother Sherlock. Wonderfully detailed Victorian setting and mindset in this mystery that also has lots of action.
36. Iron Lake by William Kent Krueger (464 p.) -- First Cork O'Connor mystery. Great setting, nicely troubled main character, nicely twisty plot.
37. The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets by Nancy Springer (170 p.) -- 3rd Enola Holmes middle grade mystery. This time Enola has to find a missing Dr. Watson while staying away from her brothers Sherlock and Mycroft. The language of flowers plays a major role. Enola also comes to better terms with her mother's abandonment.
38. White Hot by Ilona Andrews (368 p.) -- 2nd Hidden Legacy book. Nevada takes a case investigating the death of a man's wife and runs into a major House cover-up and political wrangling between houses that is threatening to turn into open warfare. Her romance with Rogan heats up a lot. She needs to decide if she wants to declare her family a House because her Prime power is in danger of being outed and her evil grandmother will force her to use her powers in order to keep her family safe. Fast-paced action, political intrigue and a really hot romance in a fascinating urban fantasy world.
39. The Pearl Wars (Skyship Academy) by Nick James (376 p.) -- Science fiction dystopia. Jesse is a student at skyship academy which trains agents to oppose the evil ground based government. Cassius is a student at an earth-based school also training to be an agent. They meet, touch each other, and find both their lives changed. Their society is powered by pearls which fall from space. Each side wants all the pearls it can get. Jesse develops the ability to call pearls to himself, explode them, and release the people inside them. Cassius develops the ability to explode spewing fire all around him. Then the boys learn that they are aliens like the ones in the pearls. Exciting science fiction with well-developed characters. I liked Jesse more because Cassius seemed to care less about carelessly killing people.
40. Snowspelled by Stephanie Burgis (189 p.) -- Novella starts a new series. Cassandra struggled to be allowed to be a magician but over-reached and now can't use magic or she'll die. She jilted her fiance because she didn't want to be a burden. Now she finds herself at a house party during an unnatural snowstorm. Among the party is her ex-fiance. She is out searching for a lost guest when she runs into an elf lord who tricks her into a seemingly impossible promise. She has to find the magician behind the storm or put herself at the mercy of the elf lord. A treaty between humans and elves is also at risk. Great story.
41. Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller (384 p.) -- Poor orphan and one of the few survivors of her people, Sallet Leon gets a chance to finally get revenge on those who killed her country when he gets a chance to try out for the Queen's Left Hand - spies and assassins who work in the Queen's service. The most interesting part is that Sal is gender fluid. Otherwise, this hits a lot of the fantasy tropes. Poor orphan turned thief seeks revenge. The characters were all interesting and well-developed.
42. A Conspiracy in Belgravia by Sherry Thomas (336 p.) -- Second Charlotte Holmes mystery starts with a search for a missing person but quickly gets lots more complex with murders and spies and unrequited romance and a marriage proposal among the complications. Excellent story with an absolutely fascinating main character.
43. The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan by Nancy Springer (183 p.) -- Enola needs to help her friend Lady Cecily her aunts who want to force her into an arranged marriage with her loathsome cousin. The story has codes, disguises, and run-ins with her brother Sherlock.
44. The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline by Nancy Springer (160 p.) -- Enola must investigate the kidnapping of her landlady Mrs. Tupper in a case that has its seeds in the Crimean War. Florence Nightingale may hold the key to her disappearance. The story has codes, disguises, daring deeds, and all sorts of adventures.
45. The Case of the Gypsy Goodbye by Nancy Springer (166 p.) -- The final Enola Holmes mystery has Enola finding out what happened to her mother and forging a better relationship with her brothers while she hunts for a missing Duchess. There are ciphers, disguises, and adventures aplenty. The setting is well-done and the mores of the time, especially the treatment of upper class women, feature prominently in the current case.
46. Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton (518 p.) -- Middle book in an epic fantasy trilogy. Amani finds herself in a revolution and captured by the Sultan. with her magic crippled and confined to the harem, she needs to find a way to escape and carry on the revolution. This story has great characters, interesting magic, and an action-packed plot.
47. The Bronze Skies by Catherine Asaro (368 p.) -- Second Major Bhaajan mystery. Excellent science fiction for the hard science fan. But enough for people-centered science fiction readers too. A Jagernaut committing a murder in front of the Ruby Pharaoh is impossible but it happened. Now Bhaaj has to find the Jagernaut. Meanwhile things are going weird in the Undercity both as an aftermath of the war between drug cartels in the previous book and because of the influence of a malign EI affecting the large percentage of psions in the Undercity.
48. On the Chase by Katie Ruggle (416 p.) -- Kaylee is on the run from a criminal mastermind and finds herself in Monroe, Colorado, where she catches the attention of Officer Hugh Murdoch who is on leave because of a gunshot wound and bored. There are a number of murder attempts against them which could be Kaylee's crook or someone who wants Hugh and his drug-sniffing dog out of the way. The romance is hot and the story is filled with action.
49. Her Dark Half by Paige Tyler (352 p.) -- Paranormal romantic suspense and 8th book in series. Alina is former CIA and brought in to DCO because her boss thinks her new partner is a traitor and he wants her to spy on him. Trevor Maxwell is a coyote shifter who is only staying on at the organization until he finds out who murdered his former boss. Naturally, they don't trust each other but are attracted to each other. They learn to trust each other and fall in love while finding proof that the man Trevor suspects did arrange his boss's murder which is only the tip of the iceberg in his evil plans. Spicy romance, lots of action, and cameos from people from earlier in the series.
50. Shelby Holmes Meets Her Match by Elizabeth Eulberg (232 p.) -- Shelby Holmes is a 9-year-old crime solving genius. John Watson is her 11-year-old friend, assistant, and the one who writes about her exploits on his online journal. This case has them investing a new teacher who seems suspicious. It leads Shelby to meet and almost be out-detectived by her new nemesis Moira who is a 6th grader at a private school that heavily recruited Shelby. Nice characters, age appropriate mystery.
51. Scout's Progress by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (320 p.) -- REREAD; Aelliana Caylon wins a spaceship in a card game. Since she is abused by the nadelm of her clan, she sees this as her chance to escape Liad. Only she has to learn to fly and learn to survive in the greater world. Daav yos'Phelium, Delm Korval, has a need to marry and have a child. He chooses a contract marriage but is dissatisfied. He goes to his friends at Binjali's space yard to work out his problems. He meets Aelliana. He assists her in her goals of learning to fly and learning about the world and also falls in love with her. They have adventures before they find their way to happiness.
52. Mouse and Dragon by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (352 p.) -- REREAD; I was so glad when I downloaded this ARC to my Kindle. I have missed spending time with Daav and Aelliana. The book grabbed hold of me immediately and I could do nothing until I finished it. I tried to read slowly to savor the experience. This tells of the problems that Daav and Aelliana have after the ending events of Scout's Progress. Aelliana has left the clan where she was not protected or cherished and has taken refuge with Korval and Daav. But the clan she left is not eager to let her go now that she has something the clan wants -- her ship and her skill as a pilot. She and Daav also have to adjust to the lifemate bond which causes both of them joy and distress. I knew how this book had to end because it fits into the middle of an on-going series but I still cried as I read it. Now I am feeling the almost overwhelming need to read the rest of the books in the Liaden Universe.
53. Necessity's Child by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (336 p.) -- REREAD; Young Syl Vor is at loose ends now that his clan has moved to Surebleak. His older cousins have left for their apprenticeships, his young cousins have a nurse to care for their needs, his mother and aunts and uncles are too busy to spend time with him. He wants to be of use.
Syl Vor persuades his mother to let him attend the local school where he will meet and mix with Surebleak's kids.
Kezzi is Bedel. Her tribe has been on Surebleak hidden and keeping separate from the rest of the citizens for a long time. She is the apprentice to the head woman of the tribe. When she is caught running loose on the street, she is brought to the school where she reluctantly becomes friends with Syl Vor.
Rys Lin pen'Chala fell afoul of Surebleak toughs was found outside the Bedel stronghold near death. He is nursed back to health and finds much to admire among the Bedel.
They come together at the new consolidated school where Rys has to defeat his programming and Syl Vor has to defend the school in a way far too old for him.
54. Dragon in Exile by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (384 p.) -- REREAD; 18th Liaden novel. This one is filled with changes and told from multiple viewpoints. Korval is trying to fit in on Surebleak which is suffering growing pains because of Korval's presence. Fans of the "good old days" would like to oust Korval so that they could have power again. Korval is also trying to finish off the Department of the Interior to eliminate that threat. Many characters from earlier books have roles in this one. There is just a hint of what is going on with Theo, Daav and Aelliana though Daav and Aelliana's changes are epic. We learn more about the Bedel and their culture. Great story!
55. The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F. C. Lee (368 p.) -- Fun epic fantasy romance based on Chinese mythology. Genie Lo is highly motivated to get out of her small California town and into an Ivy League college. She doesn't have time to fight demons. When Quentin Sun comes to her school and tells her that he is Sun Wukong the Monkey King and that she is his famous weapon reincarnated, she isn't pleased. When demons who broke out of the Chinese Hell start targeting them, she has to embrace her powers and not let her GPA fall.
56. Alliance of Equals by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (368 p.) -- REREAD; This most recent addition to the Liaden Universe takes placemostly in space on the Dutiful Passage following Padi's adventures, following the adventures of Tocohol, Tolly, and Hazenthull Explorer as they try to socialize a new AI, and following Dav and Aelliana aboard the Uncle's ship and going through big changes of their own. I enjoyed this one very much.
57. The Gathering Edge by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (368 p.) -- REREAD; This story is centered on Theo and Bechimo. She, Win Ton, Clarence, and Kara are with Bechimo in one of his safe places trying to figure out their next course of action. Korval has called them home to Surebleak but, besides Korval's enemies, they are also trying to avoid Bechimo's enemies which want to confiscate him as Old Tech. Their safe place is seeing an incursion of flotsom from the wreckage of the old world including Cantra yos'Phelium's old ship with a tree like Korval's tree in the pilot's seat and a cluster of wreckage that has two survivors - Yxtrang who are way out of their time and on a serious and secret mission.
58. Fledgling by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (384p.) -- REREAD; Theo Waitley has lived all her young life on Delgado, a Safe World that is home to one of the galaxy's premier institutions of higher learning. Both Theo's mother, Kamele, and Kamele's onagrata Jen Sar Kiladi, are professors at the university, and they all live comfortably together, just like they have for all of Theo's life, in Jen Sar's house at the outskirts of town. Suddenly, though, Theo's life changes. Kamele leaves Jen Sar and moves herself and Theo back into faculty housing, which is not what Theo is used to. Once settled back inside the Wall, Kamele becomes embroiled in faculty politics, and is appointed sub-chair of her department. Meanwhile, Theo, who has a notation in her file indicating that she is 'physically challenged' has a series of misadventures, including pulling her best friend down on the belt-ride to class, and hurting a team mate during a scavage game. With notes piling up in her file, Theo only wants to go “home,” to the house in the suburbs, and have everything just like it used to be. Then, Kamele uncovers evidence of possible dishonest scholarship inside of her department. In order to clear the department, she and a team of senior professors must go off-world to perform a forensic document search. Theo hopes this will mean that she'll be left in the care of the man she calls “Father,” Professor Kiladi, and is horrified to learn that Kamele means to bring Theo with her! This was an excellent coming of age story that I first read in rough draft when the authors were posting a section a week on the web.
59. Saltation by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (324 p.) -- REREAD; This is Theo Waitley's coming of age story. She goes to piloting school on Eylot. Her single-minded focus on piloting makes her somewhat of an outcast at school at a time when the school and planet are developing a prejudice against outsiders. After being forced to leave the school she learns more piloting and earns her first class as an employee of Huglelans. She also keeps seeing a ghost ship and her friend Win Ton sends her a gift that leads to lots of problems which she takes to the Delm of Korval.
60. Nyxia by Scott Reintgen (384 p.) -- Start of science fiction trilogy has ten poor kids competing for a chance to win lifelong riches by exploring an alien planet. They are being trained by a shady corporation who is keeping secrets from them. Emmett, poor and black from Detroit, is the main character. He signed up to help his mother get a much needed kidney transplant. There is a lot of action, friendships made and lost, as Emmett resists turning into the killer his trainers seem to want him to be.
61. Ghost Ship by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (328 p.) -- Next episode in the Liaden Universe sees Korval transplanted on Surebleak and adjusting it to their Necessities. Theo Waitley has come to the Delm of Korval to solve her problems. She needs help with the Old Tech ship whose captain's key she wears around her neck and with her damaged friend Win Ton. Meanwhile the Department of the Interior suffered a blow but is still determined to wipe Korval from the universe. Theo meets all sorts of family and we get a chance to meet characters we know from the series. Wonderful book that will be published on Aug. 2, 2011.
62. Dragon Ship by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (384 p.) -- REREAD; Theo, Clarence and Bechimo are off trying to explore a trade loop for Shan but run into all sorts of problems because Theo is a nexus of violence, Korval isn't very popular, Bechimo is Old Tech, and the Department of Interior isn't going to go away. This is a busy book that gives glimpses of Daav, Val Con and Miri while concentrating on Theo's relationship with Bechimo.
63. Body on Baker Street by Vicki Delany (304 p.) -- 2nd Gemma Doyle mystery has her using her Sherlock Holmes-like abilities to find out who killed best selling author Renalta Van Markoff while she was doing a signing at Gemma's Sherlock Holmes bookstore. There are lots of suspects and all are quirky. I especially liked the fan who dresses like the author and is the head of her New England fan club. The story had lots of nice twists and turns as Gemma and her sidekick Jayne uncover the real murderer.
65. Penric's Fox by Lois McMaster Bujold (113 p.) -- Penric solves the mystery of who killed the sorcerer and what happened to her demon when he accompanies his patroness to a christening. I love the relationship between Penric and his demon Desdemona. I also love Penric's curiosity and desire to learn everything.
66. All the Secret Places by Anna Carlisle (304 p.) -- 2nd Gin Sullivan mystery. Jake has has business issues when one of his high end homes burns down. It is arson and Jake is the prime suspect. It gets worse when a body is discovered on the property that might be that of a civil war soldier. Protestors want the site declared a historical site which would throw Jake into bankruptcy. Despite the fact the Gin has money and would be willing to give it to him, Jake won't take it and withdraws from Gin. She has to solve the two crimes in order to keep her relationship. It gets harder when she feels attracted to the new Chief of Police who is also attracted to her. Exciting. Gin gets into all sorts of dangerous situations in the course of her investigation.
67. The Exact Location of Home by Kate Messner (250 p.) -- Middle grade story. Zig lives with his mother and constantly waiting for his father to visit. His father makes promises and keeps breaking them. When he and his mother become homeless, Zig feels that he needs to find his father. A rummage sale GPS and geocaching have him and his friends following clues. His obsession with finding his father and the disruption homelessness brings causes him to have dropping grades and less interest in school. He learns that everyone has secrets and home isn't necessarily a place.
68. Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones (304 p.) -- Historical mystery with magic. Annis Whitworth, her aunt, and her maid need to survive after the death of her father leaves them penniless. He was a spy for England. When Annis deciphers one of his messages, she takes it to the War Office with the intention of being a spy herself. Turned down, she discovers that she can sew glamours that can change people's appearances. She decides to remake the family's fortune by assuming the identity of a French dressmaker using her skills at glamour. But she hasn't given up her goal of becoming a spy. This one was entertaining.
69. The Last Move by Mary Burton (336 p.) -- Great romantic suspense title. FBI profiler Kate is called back to San Antonio when it looks like a copycat is committing crimes just like ones she investigated. Only she caught the killer. Detective Theo Mazur, new to San Antonio, catches the case. When a second murder is committed also mimicking one of Kate's closed cases, the two learn that it is Kate's old ex-boyfriend, the one who killed her father and almost killed her, who wants to rekindle his romance with Kate or punish her for not loving him. Creepy villains, fast-pace, and a nice romance too.
70. Sleep Like a Baby by Charlaine Harris (288 p.) -- Nice cozy mystery. Aurora Teagarden has to solve the mystery of a missing babysitter and a body in her backyard while dealing with a new baby and a nasty case of the flu.
71. Archangel's Viper by Nalini Singh (400 p.) -- Holly and Venom's story. Holly was forcibly made by the mad archangel Uram right before Raphael killed him. She is a strange hybrid creature with vampire traits and some archangel traits who is afraid she is going mad only to find out that Uram left a remnant inside her that is trying to take her over. When a bounty is placed on her head, Holly and Venom have to investigate which leads to a confrontation in Michaela's territory. The romance between Holly and Venom goes from flirting to serious in the course of the book. I liked getting to know more about Venom who has been a frequently appearing character in other Guild Hunter books.
72. A Poison Dark and Drowning by Jessica Cluess (432 p.) -- Slowly paced middle book in a trilogy. Henrietta and her fellow sorcerers need to defeat Rh'lem and other Ancients before they take over England. In this book they are losing ground. Henrietta, who is thought to be the Chosen one who will win the war but isn't, uses her magician heritage to discover a cache of weapons and along the way meets Maria, who is secretly a powerful witch and the actual Chosen One. This has a love quadrangle: Henrietta loves Rook who is slowly turning evil, Magnus loves Henrietta but she rebuffs him, Blackwood loves Henrietta and is sort of creepy about getting her to agree to marry him. Henrietta learns secrets about her past that test her loyalties.
73. Stolen Secrets by L. B. Schulman (304 p.) -- Contemporary fiction about a teen dragged across country by her mother to learn that her mother was going to care for the grandmother Livvy didn't know she had. The grandmother Adelle and Livvy's mother Gretchen were estranged. Adelle has Alzheimers. Caring for her makes Gretchen start drinking again. Livvy wants to get to know her grandmother because some of the things she says makes it seem like she had been in a concentration camp and knew Anne Frank. I liked Livvy's new friend Franklin D. who helped her solve the clues about her grandmother and who helped her stop hiding who she really was.
74. Find Me by Tiffany Snow (290 p.) -- This episode has China trying to find out who shot the president and who wants her two boyfriends dead. She is also juggling the boyfriends trying to decide which if either is right for her. Jackson is the tech billionaire who has proposed. Clark is her ex-partner who is Special Forces with a mysterious past. China is great character - a genius who is also a major geek and who depends on her daily routine. This was action packed and fast paced. We also learn a secret about China's past that helps explain why she can't quite believe that anyone would love her.
75. The Hunt by Chloe Neill (336 p.) -- When Liam is accused of murdering Containment Agent Broussard, Claire needs to go into the bayous to find him and warn him. Liam left to deal with his new magic. Finding Liam and investigating Broussard's death lead Claire and her colleagues to a much larger conspiracy that could destroy New Orleans and restart a war human won't necessarily win. Claire learns that her father lied to her about her mother and meets her to discover that she is one of the major villains in the story. Fast-paced and with great world building.
76. Midnight Jewel by Richelle Mead (416 p.) -- Mira's story. She is a refugee facing prejudice in her new country when she joins the Glittering Court to be educated, transported to the new world, and married to a wealthy man. She wants to go to the new world mostly because she wants to rescue her brother who also went there and is a bond servant. She meets Grant who is a spy searching out a dangerous conspiracy and Tom who is a land pirate who steals from the rich and gives at least some to the poor. She falls in love with Grant which threatens to derail her plans and, with him, exposes and unmasks those involved in the conspiracy. Takes place at the same time as The Glittering Court but focuses on what Mira does rather than Adelaide.
77. Buried Heart by Kate Elliott (464 p.) -- Great conclusion to Court of Fives trilogy. I loved the worldbuilding and Jessamy's difficulty in decided if her loyalties with with her Patron father or her Efean mother. She has lots of difficulties as she is separated from her Patron love Kalliarkos who has problems of his own when he becomes king and tries to change the evils his forebears have done.
78. Enigma by Catherine Coulter (496 p.) -- A kidnapped baby, an escaped bank robber, a murdered girlfriend, and a mad scientist come together in this 21st Sherlock and Savich mystery. I like the way the various plot threads wove together. I liked being introduced to new characters and catching up on other favorite characters from earlier books.
79. Her Last Goodbye by Melinda Leigh (334 p.) -- 2nd Morgan Dane mystery. Morgan and Lance need to find a young mother who disappeared on her way to a girls' night out. Hired by the husband, they investigate her work, his work, and come up with a pool of suspects including a level 3 sex offender. Chapters from the kidnappers points of view are chilly and add to the creepiness of the story. I liked that the romance was realistic. Morgan, a widow, has three young daughters and an aging grandfather who fill up her time. Lance has a mother who suffers from anxiety and only leaves the house for her therapy appointments.
80. Secrets in Death by J. D. Robb (384 p.) -- 45th In Death; A despised gossip columnist dies in Eve's arms. Despite learning that Larinda Mars was a blackmailer who had tried to blackmail Roarke and others in Eve's tight circle, Eve investigates to find who who killed her. The pool of potential murderers is huge. This is a book about secrets; Mars' secrets, her victims' secrets, and a long buried secret about Roarke is revealed. Excellent. I love Eve's dedication to justice, her strong relationship with Roarke, and her unique take on idioms.
81. Devils & Thieves by Jennifer Rush (336 p.) -- Begins YA urban fantasy series. Jemmie is a part of the magical world but doesn't use her magic because it makes her sick. Also, she has the unique and disconcerting ability to see, smell, and taste magic used by others. Love triangle in that Jemmie loves Crowe and Darek loves Jemmie. Crowe is the new leader of his kindled motorcycle gang. Darek in a potential member of his rival gang. When people start disappearing, Jemmie and Crowe need to work together to find them and rescue them. Slow build up to the action but once it start it was good.
82. Satellite by Nick Lake (464 p.) -- Science fiction story about a boy born on a space station and coming to Earth at age fifteen. Leo, Orion, and Libra were all born on Moon 2 and have spent all their life there. Now ages 15 and 16 they are brought to Earth. Adults are keeping things from the kids including that they were born as the result of an experiment and that some on Earth are opposed to their existence. Leo tells the story. He has a distant astronaut mother and a loving astronaut grandfather who is now a rancher in California. The kids all had big dreams about what they would do on Earth but their physical limits (low bone density, low lung capacity, and inability to deal with the gravity) ruin those dreams. The story is lyrical and poetic and both informative and emotionally intense.
83. El Deafo by Cece Bell (240 p.) -- Newbery Honor book. Graphic novel biography of Cece Bell who lost her hearing when she was four. It tells about her elementary years as she deals with deafness and searches for a friend.
84. The Wicked Billionaire by Jackie Ashenden (352 p.) -- Intense romantic suspense where the main characters needed therapy more than a relationship. Lucas Tate is guarding Grace whose husband made a deal with illegal arms dealers but died before delivering what he sold. Lucas is a SEAL sniper who was adopted by a billionaire. He was taught to bury his emotions and not make connections with others. Control is his main focus. Grace is an artist preparing for her first show. She is determined to succeed to prove that she can despite the years of belittling by her failed artist father. First half of story dragged and the sex scenes were a little too close to rape for my taste but the story improved in the second half when Lucas shared his life story with Grace which made him a more sympathetic character.
85. Osiris by Eric C. Anderson (212 p.) -- Tom Clancy-like military thriller about chaos in the Middle East. Unlike Clancy, there is no Jack Ryan character to focus on. The story is told from multiple viewpoints in multiple Middle East countries. The American Embassy in Bagdad is attacked with truck bombs filled with nuclear debris in the goal of getting the United States out of Iraq so that the jihadists can have a clear shot at taking over the country. Very complex and filled with acronyms. I discovered the glossary at the back after I finished the book but could have used it much sooner.
86. The Great Shelby Holmes by Elizabeth Eulberg (224 p.) -- Middle grade mystery. Shelby Holmes is a 9-year-old genius with no social skills who is a detective. John Watson is an 11-year-old diabetic who has just moved into the same apartment building in NYC where Shelby lives. After spending his life on Army bases, John knows about moving and making new friends but Shelby is quite a challenge. She is on a dognapping case and reluctantly includes John in her investigation. Great story about friendship and the mystery was good too.
87. A Cajun Christmas Killer by Ellen Byron (304 p.) -- 3rd Maggie Crozat mystery has the bed and breakfast facing a plague of bad review probably instigated by the man who wants to take over her uncle's business. When Maggie finds him dead in the parlor of a rival plantation, the suspects multiply including Maggie, her family, her boyfriend and a number of her work colleagues. It doesn't help that her ex-boyfriend shows up working for the murder victim and wanting Maggie back. Engaging cozy romance complete with cajun recipes.
88. Death Overdue by Allison Brook (336 p.) -- Cozy mystery. Carrie gets a job as events coordinator at the library in the town she visited as a child. The first guest speaker is a retired police officer who is talking about a fifteen year old murder. He thinks he has solved the crime but eats a poisoned cookie and dies before he names the murderer. After knowing him for less than 15 minutes, Carrie decides to solve the mystery of his death and the original mystery too. Lots of suspects including the first victim's family and secret lover. Carrie teams up with the 1st victim's youngest son to investigate and the ghost of a former library worker and also has a crush on her mysterious new landlord. First book with some pedestrian prose but the series has possibilities.
89. Berserker by Emmy Laybourne (340 p.) -- 1883 Norway and Montana. Steig, Hanne, Knut and Sissel are descendants of Viking who have Nytte powers. Hanne is a Berserker who killed men who were attacking her father. Since Steig was already set to emigrate to the United States, all of them go just ahead of the law and a baron who is collecting Nytte. They are looking for an uncle in Montana and hire cowboy Owen Bennett to be their guide. Owen is down on his luck and needs the money to pursue his dream of training cattle dogs. The kids have lots of adventures in Montana as they try to stay away from the law and the baron's deputies. Meanwhile Hanne needs to come to terms with a gift that she hates and feels guilty about when she uses it.
90. The Painted Queen by Elizabeth Peters and Joan Hess (554 p.) -- 1912; Amelia and Emerson are in Egypt and excavating at Amarna because the one who has the firmin has disappeared with a bust of Nefertiti. When located he is in distress suffering from some sort of psychotic breakdown. Amelia and Ramses have been target by the Godwin brothers who want to assassinate them in revenge for the death of their brother who was briefly married to Nefret. Ramses and David search all over Cairo for the bust of Nefertiti and find a number of forgeries. Sethos appears to rescue Amelia at various points and to assist Ramses and David. As usual, Amelia puts herself in lots of danger because she sees herself as invincible. I love her relationship with Emerson.
91. The Innocence Treatment by Arie Goelman (264 p.) -- Near future dystopia about a girl who discovers a major government conspiracy after having an operation. Told in her diaries, interview notes by her psychologist, and medical reports. Edited by her older sister ten years later because she wants to get the truth out. Fascinating and fairly plausible.
92. Best-Laid Plants by Marty Wingate (300 p.?) -- Pru and Christopher are in the Cotswolds. Pru is there to assess a neglected Arts and Crafts garden and Christopher is along for a vacation. It isn't long before the garden's designer is found murdered and Christopher and Pru are involved in solving the crime. To do so, they need to untangle some very complicated relationships. Christopher also runs into an old girlfriend which incites some jealousy in Pru. Nice mystery.
93. Rituals by Kelley Armstrong (496 p.) -- Great conclusion to Cainsville series. Liv learns that there is a third sort of fae who wants to convince her to support them. Unlike the other two sorts of fae, these are using intimidation and threats to convince her. Liv, Gabriel, and Ricky have decided to forge their own paths rather than recreate the errors of their previous iterations. Meanwhile, Liv and Gabriel are still working on the appeals to get her serial killer parents out of prison. Gabriel's abusive mother reappears after disappearing from his life when he was fifteen and sows the same sort of chaos she did when he was a child. Liv and Gabriel also finally admit that they love each other and start a relationship.
94. Last Chance by Gregg Hurwitz (380 p.) -- Action-packed alien invasion story told by Chance Rain who, along with his brother, are supposed to be the saviors of the world. The aliens released a spore which turned everyone over 18 to a sort of zombie. They are capturing kids and using them as incubators for the next generation of invaders. A small group of kids has taken refuge in a school but one of those kids is a bully who hates Patrick and endangers everyone's survival. Loved the relationship between Patrick and Chance and their relationship with Alex, a girl who loves them both, and is loved by both of them.
95. Golden by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (256 p.) -- Lissy moves from California to Oklahoma, finds her new high school divided between Goldens and Nons, and discovers that her math teacher is evil. Like all the women in her family, Lissy has a psychic gift. She could always see auras but now the Sight is growing and she sees the connections between people. Along with her new friends Audra and Dylan, she has to find a way to defeat the math teacher before he kills mean girl Tracy.
96. Fate by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (368 p.) -- Sequel to TATTOO. Only Bailey had retained her magical powers. She spends each night as one of the three Fates and her days as a high school senior. She is being pressured to choose one of the faerie courts and decide to live in faerie. She is already worried that graduation will change her tight friendship with Delia, Zo, and Annabelle but she has to choose or Earth with be open to faerie mischief. Great story about friendship and changes.
97. Mind Game by Iris Johansen (352 p.) -- 22nd Eve Duncan novel brings a number of plot threads to a close. Cira's treasure is found. New mystery has Jane having visions about a girl in trouble and needs to rescue her. Turns out she's Seth Caleb's sister and someone wants to use her to pressure Seth to do something for them. She's rescued but Jane is kidnapped. Lots of thrills and chills and lots about what makes a family.
98. Blade Bound by Chloe Neill (361 p.) -- Final Chicagoland Vampire series starts at Merit and Ethan's wedding by a return of Sorcha messes up plans for their honeymoon. Instead they are trying to protect Chicago from Sorcha and the magical dragon she makes. Meanwhile both Merit and Ethan are thinking about the prophecy that they will have the first vampire child in history.
99. Make It Count by Tamar Sloan (361 p.) -- YA Paranormal romance - Casey can see the number of days left in a life if she touches someone. She saw her little sister's end date, tried to save her, and failed. She has reacted by refusing to leave the house, being homeschooled, and not touching anyone except those in her family. Her little brother is also still suffering the loss of his twin. When Casey meets PJ things begin to change for both of them. But once she touches PJ things get tense again because she sees he only has 21 days to live. The story was lyrical and touching and funny too.
100. In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan (432 p.) -- Different twist on a contemporary fantasy. Elliot is given a chance to move to a magic land but he isn't the hero type. He is sarcastic, complaining, and doesn't know how to interact with other kids. Abandoned by his mother and ignored by his father, he has learned to hurt someone first before they hurt him. And any attention, even negative, is better than being ignored. He meets and immediately falling in love with Serene, an elf maiden, and reluctantly becomes friends with Luke Sunborn who is the land's golden boy with a loving family and apparently charmed life. This story tells about their four years at the battle camp where Elliot learns to write treaties and Luke and Serene become excellent warriors. I liked the other people Elliot meets including elves, dryads, harpies, trolls, and his favorite - mermaids. I liked that Elliot eventually finds someone who loves him for himself - though he is still waiting to be abandoned.
101. Much Ado About Murder by Elizabeth J. Duncan (194 p.) -- 3rd Shakespeare in the Catskills mystery. Charlotte has to solve the case of a murdered director and has lots of suspects including the lead actress, her sister, the new director, and assorted other suspects. This was a nice cozy with interesting characters.
102. The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress (440 p.) -- Steampunk, girl power and a mystery. Cora, Nellie, and Michiko get together in 1900 London to solve a mystery and save London from a scientist who wants to hold the city for blackmail or destroy it.
103. Unholy City by Carrie Smith (287 p.) -- 3rd Claire Codella mystery. She investigates the murder of a church vestryman and uncovers all sorts of secrets at St. Paul's Episcopal Church. Told from a variety of viewpoints. Codella is an intriguing, complex character.
104. Long Way Home by Katie McGarry (410 p.) -- Violet and Chevy's romance. Emotionally intense. Chevy has to choose between his loyalty to the Terror or his loyalty to his mother and Violet. Violet has to betray the Terror in order to keep her family safe. Chevy learns more about his father who died before he was born.
105. A Spoonful of Magic by Irene Radford (304 p.) -- Nice start to urban fantasy series. Daffy is a kitchen witch who divorces G who is Sheriff for an organization of wizards when she sees pictures of him being unfaithful to her. They have three kids who are all developing their own magical gifts which they will need because G's first wife - an insane magician - is determined to use her son, whom Daffy adopted as an infant, to replace the eyes she destroyed. Lots of twisty plot points and a nice system of magic.
106. Fragments of the Lost by Megan Miranda (384 p.) -- Jessa is devastated by the death of her ex-boyfriend. But when Caleb's mother calls her in to pack up his room, Jessa begins to think that he isn't dead. She discovers so many things that she never knew about him. Her search answers her questions but puts her in lots of danger along the way.
107. City of Lies by Victoria Thompson (304 p.) -- Fun historical mystery where grifter Lizzy needs to infiltrate an woman's suffrage picket to get away from a mark who wants revenge. They are arrested and jailed and suffer horrors. She gets to know Mrs. Bates and Anna Vanderslice and gets taken home with them when Anna's brother David and Mrs. Bates' son Gideon get them out of jail. But her mark knows where she is and she has to run an even bigger con to save her life. She gets engaged to David but falls in love with Gideon but doesn't think a grifter can find a future with an honest man.
108. Twisted Truth by Melinda Leigh (110 p.) -- First Rogue Justice novella. Seth is called to the scene of a double homicide and finds a small child chained in the basement. He calls Carly to take care of the child while he tries to find out who he is and who murdered the two people. Someone ones the child and tries to kidnap him from the hospital where Carly brings him to be checked out. Carly is already dealing with trauma from an earlier case and this triggers a panic attack. Luckily they are at the child psychiatrist when it happens. Meanwhile Seth investigates and learns the boy's name and that he was present when his mother was killed and his father disappeared with $10 million. When they take the boy home, the bad guys are present and there is a gun battle. Very intense. A lot packed into 110 pages. Hanging plot threads that should be tied when the companion novella comes out.
109. Into the Bright Unknown by Rae Carson (348 p.) -- Conclusion of Gold Seer Trilogy takes place in rough and ready San Francisco. Their enemy Hardwick is gathering gold illegally by exploiting everyone and buying those in charge. Leah and her friends plan a big con to ruin his reputation and his plans. Lots of great historical detail.
110. Austenland by Shannon Hale (194 p.) -- Jane is obsessed with Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice and none of her real-life boyfriends measure up. She is given a three week vacation to Austenland which is an immersive Regency experience including actors who recreate Austen's characters. Jane is witty and has trouble immersing herself in the experience though she is fascinated by Mr. Nobley (the Darcy equivalent) and has a quick romance with gardener Martin. Through the experience she gets a better idea of what she wants from her life and romances.
111. Breath of Fire by Amanda Bouchet (432 p.) -- 2nd book in trilogy. Cat and Griffin travel to the Ice Plains to recruit magical allies and to Tarvan to take part in a tournament. Cat develops more magical abilities. Great world building. Cat is a wonderful complex character. Great romance too.
112. The Truth of Valor by Tanya Huff (339 p.) -- Excellent space opera. With the ending of a war manipulated by sentient plastic aliens, Torin Kerr has mustered out of the Marines and is building a new life with her independent scavenger Craig Ryder. When pirates capture a hoard that needs a scavenger to unlock, Craig is kidnapped and Torin is left for dead. Torin recruits some other ex-Marines and heads off to rescue him. Adventure ensues. Fast paced and with a great main character. I enjoyed this space opera which is the 5th of a five book story arc.
113. An Ancient Peace by Tanya Huff (336 p.) -- Another Torin Kerr adventure. Torin and her crew are hired by the Wardens to act when speed is needed. They are assigned a mission by the Justice Department because someone is dealing H'san grave goods looted from the planet where the H'san archived all their weapons when they chose peace. The weapons could start a new war and cause the Elder Races to go through with their plan to sequester the Younger Races. This was exciting and filled with action. It also had lots of moral dilemmas for Torin to wrestle with.
114. A Peace Divided by Tanya Huff (374 p.) -- Warden Torin Kerr and her team along with a team from the Primacy need to go to an empty planet to rescue some scientists who are being held captive. The scientists sent a report that indicated to someone who saw it that they found destroyed plastic, This individual wants the scientists to locate the weapon that destroyed the plastic. There is a lot of politics here as the team is made up of former enemies who are as eager to get information about their former enemies to take back home with them. I like the variety of aliens in this series and like how they all get along on Torin's team.
115. Truth Be Told by Kendra Elliot (92 p.) -- Focusing on Stevie and Zane this continues the story begun in Twisted Truth by Melinda Leigh. Solitude is cut off by high waters and flooded bridges but a murderer is still inside. Liam who was rescued in the first story is missing again along with his uncle Marcus leaving behind two dead FBI agents. Terry Reece is in custody but new in town is Dawn Hazelwood who also has something to do with the mystery of a missing ten million dollars and secrets that could bring down businesses. Exciting and fast-paced.
116. Haven by Mary Lindsey (371 p.) -- Urban Fantasy. Rain Ryland comes to a small Texas hill country town after the overdose death of his mother and finds himself in the middle of a conspiracy. He falls in love with Freddie who is supposed to be the next alpha of her werewolf pack put someone killed her father and is trying to sabotage her. Rain and Freddie try to unravel the conspiracy, decide who killed Freddie's father, and secure Freddie's position in the pack. Nice world building.
117. Rosemarked by Livia Blackburne (400 p.) -- First book of new epic fantasy trilogy. Zivah, a healer who survived the Rose plague but is still contagious, and Dineas, a soldier from a rebel group survived the Rose plague and is not contagious, are sent by their groups to infiltrate the empire and find out what plans the emperor has for them. Great characters; great world building. There is a romance that starts in this one but it isn't the focus.
118. The Human Division by John Scalzi (361 p.) -- Old Man's War Book 5. Written as 13 serialized episodes gathered together as a novel. Tells about the Colonial Union trying to make things up with Earth and the Conclave being concerned with the Colonial Union. Most of the chapters deal with a diplomatic group among whom are Lt. Harry Wilson, a CDF tech adviser, Hart Schmidt, whose family is a big deal in the Union, and various other diplomats.
119. The End of All Things by John Scalzi (380 p.) -- 4 novellas that finish the Old Man's War series. Viewpoint characters - a brain in a box, the Premier of the Conclave, a CDF Lieutenant, and Lieutenant Harry Wilson. The main focus here is to bring the Equilibrium out of hiding and defeat it without destroying the Conclave, the Colonial Union, or Earth. Also forging a better relationship between the Colonial Union and its member planets, the Conclave, and Earth is necessary to make the risk of war smaller. Great characters and world building.
120. Lure of Oblivion by Suzanne Wright (333 p.) -- Urban fantasy/paranormal romance. Gwen is being harassed by a wealthy family whose son assaulted a lone shifter female. Despite escalating harassment Gwen isn't going to back down and intends to tell the truth when the Shifter Council tries Brandt Moore. Zander Devlin comes to Gwen's B&B for the reading of his uncle's will where he has his own problems. His uncle has disinherited Zander's twin brother who has always been a thorn in Zander's side. His parents favored his twin and his twin feels entitled to whatever Zander has. Zander falls for Gwen despite the fact the he is a shifter and she is human and is determined to protect her. Both suffered abusive childhoods which make them not at all ready to be emotionally vulnerable to the other. Lots of steamy sex scenes. Interesting world building.
121. Pathways (Valdemar) by Mercedes Lackey (368 p.) -- 11th Valdemar anthology. Stories take place from one end of Valdemar to the other. All were entertaining and well written. I like the ones with Companions the best but also enjoyed the one with the woman who has settled with her people in Valdemar and finds a way to make money. The one about the stolen cobblestones was fun too.
122. The Door in the Alley (The Explorers) by Adrienne Kress (305 p.) -- Middle grade adventure. Rule-following Sebastian and orphan Evie are chased by dastardly villains as they try to find a missing key and the grandfather Evie thought was dead. The adventure centers around The Explorers Society which a a building filled with mysterious rooms, artifacts, and mysterious people. Fun story with cliffhanger ending.
123. Prisoners in the Palace by Michaela MacColl (367 p.) -- Liza Hastings becomes Princess Victoria's maid after the death of her parents and helps Victoria outwit her mother and Sir John Conroy who are attempting to make her a shadow queen once her uncle the King dies. Sir John also seduced the previous maid in Liza's job and threw her out of the palace to survive on the streets. Liza makes friends with and falls in love with Will Fulton who is an ambitious young newspaper publisher. Great historical detail and a fast-paced plot.
124. Albert Einstein (Giants of Science) by Kathleen Krull (141 p.) -- Middle grade biography of Einstein that tries to explain his theories and also talk about some of the interesting aspects of his life - his pacifism, his womanizing, his family.
125. Charles Darwin (Giants of Science) by Kathleen Krull (144 p.) -- Fascinating biography of Charles Darwin that discusses his scientific work and his personal and family life. I liked the way I got to know Darwin who, by all accounts, was a nice man who hated confrontations. His theory of evolution was definitely controversial but revolutionized science.
126. No Place Like You by Emma Douglas (304 p.) -- Nice romance. Rock star Zach leaves Leah behind when he goes off to follow his musical dream. Ten years later, he's back home to make his first solo album and Leah is his producer. They begin a "no-strings" affair but fall in love anyway. Things are threatened when Zach gets a chance to work with his dream producer and (temporarily) leaves Leah behind again before he gets his priorities straight. Not too graphic sex scenes but emotionally intense story.
127. A Case of Syrah, Syrah by Nancy J. Parra (320 p.) -- Cozy mystery. Taylor O'brian has moved back to Sonoma county to live with her aunt who had a health scare. She starts a new business doing tours of off the beaten track attractions. The first tour is for a group of yoga instructors including the instructor Taylor has had an argument with. When that instructor - Laura - is found dead with a corkscrew as the murder weapon, Taylor becomes the prime suspect. Taylor needs to find the real killer to regain her reputation and save her business and embarks on a reckless crusade to find the real killer. Things get even more complicated when she is the one who discovers the second body. Taylor is impulsive, reckless, and incapable of following the directions of her lawyer or the sheriff. Annoying main character but well-written story.
128. Bury the Past by James L'Etoile (320 p.) -- Great police procedural. Paula Newberry finds herself being framed for a number of crimes as a result of an investigation she did when she was in Internal Affairs. The main problem is that the prime suspect is already in a mental illness section of prison. The tension keeps building and building in this one. It was a fast-paced and exciting story.
129. A Murder for the Books by Victoria Gilbert (336 p.) -- Librarian Amy discovers the body of a local resident who was murdered in the library archive. She had dementia but she also held a secret someone was afraid she would disclose. Meanwhile, Amy is helping her sexy new neighbor research a family mystery. His great-uncle Paul helped a young woman accused of poisoning her husband gain acquittal in 1925 but then she disappeared. While researching they fall in love but also discover another mystery having to do with an orphanage on his land where the cook and a number of kids died of poisoning supposedly when the cook added poisonous mushrooms to their food. This happened in 1956. In the present, they mayor and some other town big wigs are in the process of selling some land to a developer despite community oppositions. All of these cases come together as family secrets are exposed. Entertaining mystery with great characters and great romance.
130. Almost to Die For by Tate Hallaway (241 p.) -- Ana Parker is torn between her mother - a True Witch - and her father when she discovers that her father is a vampire king. She is also torn between two boys - vampire Elias and Coven member and trainee vampire slayer Nikolai. Ana has to decide which path to follow while receiving lots of pressure from her mother to choose the witch side. St. Paul setting and great main character make this one a winner. First of a trilogy.
131. Almost Final Curtain by Tate Hallaway (273 p.) -- In this episode Ana needs to juggle tryouts for the Spring musical (with music rewritten by her rock star/vampire slayer boyfriend) and finding and destroying a talisman that could, in the hands of the witches like her mother, kill or enslave all the vampires again. Elias goes against the vampire king in his attempt to locate the talisman and is banished. Great characters, St. Paul setting, and nice world building.
132. Almost Everything by Tate Hallaway (305 p.) -- Finale to Vampire Princess of St. Paul. Ana has to find a way to change the hunt that feeds vampires but requires witch blood. She also has to make an alliance with the Southern Realm which will cost her Elias, her vampire boyfriend. However, she is still juggling witch/vampire slayer/rock star Nik and Thompson, a mundane who treats her like a princess. Great ending to series.
133. Killman Creek by Rachel Caine (348 p.) -- Excellent conclusion to the story begun in STILLHOUSE LAKE. Gwen is going hunting for her ex-husband serial killer Melvin Royal who has escaped from prison. Her one goal is to protect her children from his evil. She also is tracking down Absalom which is a group of hackers who have been systematically harassing her since her husband's crimes were discovered. Along with Sam Cade, whose sister was Melvin's final victim, she finds herself traveling the country tracking down Absalom and getting ever closer to her husband. The story is told in alternating chapters by Gwen, Sam, Gwen's daughter Lanny, and Gwen's son Connor. Excellent.
134. Heartstone by Elle Katharine White (336 p.) -- Excellent epic fantasy romance based on PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. Aliza Bentaine is the heroine. Alistair Daired is the hero. He is a dragon rider called in when Aliza's home is being invaded by gryphons. She immediately takes a dislike to him when he begins by kicking her hobgoblin friend Tobble. She finds him rude and arrogant. She meets him again when she goes to visit her pregnant friend where she begins to see another side of him. And meets him a third time when she goes with an aunt and uncle to doctor an ailing elderly relative. I liked Aliza who was brave and level-headed but a little quick to jump to conclusions. I liked the magical creatures - dragons, wyverns, and hobgoblins who were friendly to humans and the gryphons and lamia and lindworms that were not. Great worldbuilding and a nice romance.
135. Prince in Disguise by Stephanie Kate Strohm (320 p.) -- YA Romantic Comedy. Dylan is in Scotland for her sister Dusty's destination wedding to a laird. Since Dusty met Ronan on a reality TV show, the show is doing the wedding and all the leads up to it too. Dylan doesn't want to be on reality TV but her new romance with the geeky, gawky Jamie is quickly becoming a major plot thread. The humor comes from the situation and some of the characters primarily the over-the-top best man. The romance is sweet but almost derailed by Jamie's secret. I liked the Dylan knows herself and is a strong character.
136. Crimson Death by Laurell K. Hamilton (720 p.) -- Interesting story that could have used lots of editing. Anita is called by Ted Forester to come to Ireland which has just developed a vampire problem. He asks her to bring some of her crew. Ireland is accepting of many supernaturals but hesitates about Anita because of her powers as a necromancer and her penchant for violent solutions. Anita brings Damian despite the fact that he has only recently escaped from the vampire who controls Ireland. Anita and Jean Claude are feeling some guilt because they feel Ireland might be having problems because they killed the Mother of All Darkness who did control European vampires. Anita inherited some of her powers which she is still getting used to. I liked this one despite feeling it could be a couple of hundred pages shorter.
137. Sweet Shadows by Tera Lynn Childs (328 p.) -- 2nd book in trilogy. Triplets Greer, Grace and Gretchen need to rescue their mentors and find a way to defeat two armies that want them dead. They also have to decide if they are going to open the portal that keeps mythological creatures from Earth, seal the portal which will kill the creatures, or open the portal to restore balance by acting as guardians. Chapters alternate between the sisters.
138. Sweet Legacy by Tera Lynn Childs (384 p.) -- Conclusion of YA urban fantasy trilogy gives each girl a chance to star. They need to rescue mentors and boyfriends, solve a riddle, open a door and fight off the monsters and Greek gods who don't want them to succeed. I liked the friendship between the girls and the way that each of them grew through the books. I liked the romance. I liked the mythological creatures.
This is a time of year when I as a non-American ponder over what I am thankful for.
I am thankful for this group and its ability to keep me sane during topsy-turvy times.
I am thankful that you are part of this group.
I am thankful for this opportunity to say thank you.
139. Black Star Renegades by Michael Moreci (352 p.) -- 1st book in space opera series that is a homage to STAR WARS and comic books. Cade Sura accidentally becomes the Paragon, wielding a powerful weapon, and who is supposed to bring peace to the universe. His enemy is Ga Halle who is the insane ruler of the Praxis empire and who feels she deserves the powerful weapon. Cade has a motley crew of fellow revolutionaries and an impossible mission. Cade is used to being an underachieving screwup but needs to make stupid and suicidal plans work if he and his crew are going to bring peace to the galaxy. Very visual, action-packed, and with little character development, this is a comic book in prose.
140. Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins (416 p.) -- Excellent romance and a story of a woman who is making some big life changes. Nora Stuart returns to the island she fled for college and medical school after an accident, a cheating boyfriend, and another trauma make her want to reevaluate. Back home she encounters a sullen niece trying to get used to living with her grandmother while her mother, Nora's estranged sister Lily, is in prison. She also has to deal with the mystery of her father's disappearance when she was in 5th grade and her distant mother. She runs into the man she beat for the scholarship that let her leave Scupper Island who still resents and blames her for the lack of success in his life and the brother he injured in a car accident who becomes Nora's new love interest. Great characters, lots of relationships, humor and heart.
141. The House on Tradd Street by Karen White (329 p.) -- Lush, atmospheric mystery with ghosts. Melanie Middleton is a practical, down to earth realtor who hates old houses even though selling them is a specialty of hers. When she inherits a historic Charleston home from a man she met only once, she gains not only a money pit but two mysteries. What happened to Louisa Vanderhorst in 1930 that caused her to leave her beloved husband and son and never return? What happened to some Confederate diamonds? Jack Trenholm, a writer whose books look into historic mysteries, and Marc Longo, a businessman interested in historic real estate, are love interests though Melanie isn't really looking for a relationship. Benevolent and malevolent ghosts both inhabit Melanie's new house. Melanie also has parent problems including a father who is an alcoholic and who has been named trustee for Melanie's inheritance and the mother who abandoned the family when Mellie was seven and is now looking to come back. Excellent mystery.
142. Firebrand by A. J. Hartley (342p.) -- Excellent sequel to STEEPLEJACK. Ang is a fascinating character in this fantasy based on 19th century South Africa. She's a minority, exiled from her home, and working for a member of Parliament. She needs to find the stolen plans for a new machine gun and her search leads her to an exclusive club whose members are planning treason. Great characters, great world building. an intriguing mystery.
143. A Soupcon of Poison by Jennifer Ashley (128 p.) -- Kat Holloway is a cook for a disagreeable gentleman but the job gives her lots of time to spend with her daughter. When the gentleman is found stabbed with one of Kat's knives, she is arrested and spends a night in Newgate before Daniel McAdam manages to free her. He tells her that the gentleman actually died of arsenic poison as did one of his two dinner guests. Kat determines to find out who poisoned him to save her own reputation as a cook. She also has lots of questions about Daniel who is quite a mysterious character. She could fall for him but doesn't know who he is or if he be trusted. Nice novella.
144. Death Below Stairs by Jennifer Ashley (336 p.) -- Entertaining historical mystery about a cook in a Victorian kitchen who stumbles onto the body of her assistant and is swept into a mystery reaching the throne. Kat Holloway is a young woman, a talented cook, and very curious. Despite having just met her assistant, she quickly calls in her mysterious friend Daniel McAdam to investigate only to learn that he is already investigating the household. It is believed that Kat's employer Lord Rankin is somehow involved in financing the Fenians who want a free Ireland. Clues lead Kat, Daniel, and company to a town near Cornwall where the Fenians plan to blow up a bridge just as Queen Victoria's train will be passing over it. I liked the characters. I liked that Kat was practical and had good common sense which kept her from falling in love with the mysterious Daniel - or, at least, admitting that she was falling in love. I'm curious to know who Daniel is actually working for. I'll be eager to read more books in this series as they are written.
145. Venturess by Betsy Cornwell (311 p.)-- Sequel to Mechanica. Nicolette is establishing herself as a business woman/inventor in Esting but war fever is growing. She, Fin, and Caro travel to Faerie in hopes of making a treaty to avoid the war but forces at home including a man who wants power and religious fanatics are working against them. Lots of wonderful steampunk details in airships, Nicolette's inventions and her companions including Jules her mechanical horse. She learns some world shattering things and grows. I liked her relationship with Fin and Caro. I liked the Fey and the Mermen.
146. Dragon Blood by Eileen Wilks (336 p.) -- Saved from the battle on Dis by Gan, Lily, Cynna, Rule, and Grandmother find themselves separated and on Dragonhome, the legendary birth world of the dragons. They have arrived before the children they were trying to rescue were kidnapped and so have some time to get together, outwit the dragon spawn in control, find a way to rescue their children, defeat the Great Bitch's current plan to conquer the Earth, and get home to Earth. Cynna and Lily find themselves in the capitol city which is under direct control of the dragon spawn while Gan, Grandmother, and a severely injured Rule are far from the capitol and need to find a way to get there. I liked the world building and the characters. The book was action-packed but not a good place for beginners to start the series.
147. A Wedding at Two Love Lane by Kieran Kramer (352 p.) -- Greer is a matchmaker who is waiting for true love. Ford is an artist looking for a subject for his next painting. Greer sees a wedding dress at an auction but loses out to Pierre, who is a failed client of the matchmakers and wants revenge. Pierre comes up with a contest to give publicity to his new wedding business by giving away the wedding dress, Greer enters despite not having a fiance. She asks Ford to be her partner in the contest. In return, she'll pose for him. Both have issues including his ex-fiance who might be pregnant with his child and the man she turned down when he proposed and his new fiance entering the same contest. More depth and detail than most romances.
148. Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (336 p.) -- Two kids - Amelia and Jules - themselves on Gaia searching alien runes for technology that can make Amelia lots of money and answers that Jules can use to justify his imprisoned father's beliefs. They are unlikely allies but band together to escape others looking to cash in on alien tech. Together they travel to a remote temple where Jules believes he'll find his answers. They have to solve alien puzzles and avoid traps to get to the information. They are captured by other scavengers and learn that they were both misinformed about the way they got to the planet. The story had adventure, danger, romance and great worldbuilding. It also had a cliffhanger ending.
149. A Mortal Likeness by Laura Joh Rowland (304 p.) -- Nice Victorian mystery, 2nd in a series. Photographer Sarah Bain and disgraced Lord Hugh Staunton have formed an investigations agency but are struggling to find clients and get paid. While following an adulterer for the wife, they take a photo that might give a clue to the biggest case of the time - the kidnapping of infant Robin Mariner whose rich father has offered a substantial reward. They find themselves hired by Sir Gerald Mariner and installed in his home to investigate because Sir Gerald thinks it was an inside job. There are lots of potential suspects and some trigger issues of the detectives. Sarah's father disappeared when she was a child perhaps because he raped and murdered a neighbor's young daughter. Hugh's homosexuality leads him to fall in love with Sir Gerald's son who might be returning his interest just to distract Hugh from his guilt. Lots of twists and turns in this nice mystery.
150. The Turncoat's Gambit by Andrea Cremer (324 p.) -- Alternate History and steampunk combine in this adventure in the Americans lost the American revolution and are still fighting the might of the British Empire. Charlotte wants to rescue her friend Grave from being used by either side of the fight but is a magnet for British interests. A traitor is unmasked, a romance grows, and a revolution is fought again with steampunk weapons. Great characters and world building.
151. The English Wife by Lauren Willig (384 p.) -- Excellent historical mystery which explores the secrets of the upper crust in NYC in 1899. Bay Van Duyvil met Annabelle in London, fell in love with her, married her and brought her home. Annabelle who might really have been the illegitimate half sister Georgie was on the run from her cousin Giles Lacey who either wants to marry Annabelle for her fortune or accuse Georgie of killing her. In New York, Bay and Annabelle have to deal with Bay's overbearing mother who rules her family with an iron first. When Bay is found murdered and Annabelle disappears, Bay's overlooked sister Janie determines to get to the bottom of the mystery and enlisted newspaper reporter James Burke to assist. This one is filled with secrets, jealousy, fear,and finally murder. The tale has so many twists and turns. Excellent and extremely engaging novel.
152. What Doesn't Kill You by Aimee Hix (255 p.) -- Debut mystery. Willa has left the police force and is training to be a PI. She is grieving the loss of her best friend Michael in Afghanistan. She is asked to help a young woman gather her stuff and move away from her abusive boyfriend. When she arrives to help the woman is gone and the boyfriend is dead on the kitchen floor. She needs to prove the woman innocent but the case quickly gets more interesting when she learns the BF was part of a major gun theft which might have ties to neo-Nazis. It gets even more complicated when Michael's brother Seth gets involved as an ATF agent on the hunt for the weapons and weapon thieves. Willa has long had a crush on Seth but Michael was against them having a relationship. Now they need each other and feelings come to the forefront. I loved Willa's strength and smart mouth.
153. Wake Up Missing by Kate Messner (248 p.) -- Middle Grade science fiction. 12-year old Cat is sent to I-CAN - a clinic which is supposed to heal her Post-Concussion Syndrome - only to find out that the doctor's have plans to cure the concussion and then alter the DNA of the kids there with the DNA of famous scientists in order to produce a new brain trust to develop a new weapon. Cat, Sarah, Quentin and Ben have to escape into the Florida Everglades, avoid poachers, drug runners, wildfires and wildlife while being chased by the scientist who wants to finish the experiment. Great adventure story, good character development.
154. A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn (352 p.) -- 3rd Veronica Speedwell mystery has she and Stoker investigating a mummy's curse, a missing man, and a missing crown. The missing man is Stoker's ex-best friend who ran away with his wife and married her after she sued Stoker for divorce. They ruined his reputation and this current disappearance is threatening to blacken his name even further. Exciting story with fires, balloon chases, and a chase through London's underground sewer system. This was also a chance to learn more about Stoker's past which he doesn't talk about but which still gives him nightmares. Veronica is and "original" who doesn't at all fit the mode of Victorian womanhood and is a fascinating character.
155. Vampire Academy: The Graphic Novel by Richelle Mead (144 p.)
156. Frostbite: The Graphic Novel by Richelle Mead (156 p.)
137. Shadow Kiss: The Graphic Novel by Richelle Mead (160p.)
These were nicely done graphic novels that hit the high points of the original novels. The illustrations were distinctive and the flow of the story on the page made it easy to follow. Like all graphic novels I've read, there was a lack of character development and all the subtleties of the story needed to be edited out to make the stories work in this format.
158. Year One by Nora Roberts (419 p.) -- Contemporary fantasy set in a near future Earth post-apocalypse. Magick unleashes a plague which kills 80% of humans on Earth leaving some who are immune humans and some who have magick - the Uncanny. This tells the story of some of them who manage to find their way to a town called New Hope where they hope to build a new life. However, not all survivors are into building or tolerant of those who have magick and peace and safety is fragile. Some characters we follow are Lana and Max-magick users from NYC; Arlys - human news reporter, her friend Fred--who is a faerie, and Chuck-human hacker who was Arlys's source' and Jonah-Uncanny paramedic, Rachel-human ER doctor and Katie-the human mother of Uncanny twins.
159. Deadly Summer by Denise Grover Swank (362 p.) -- Broke and about to be homeless, former teen star Summer Butler takes a job in a reality TV show where she pretends to be a private investigator back in her old hometown. Most of the show is scripted but the case of missing person Otto Olson leads her into danger as she deals with drug dealers and a murderer. She also has to deal with an old boyfriend who is now the Chief of Police and family drama with her grandmother and cousins. Nice fast-paced story with an interesting set of characters.
160. A Merciful Secret by Kendra Elliot (332 p.) -- 3rd Mercy Kilpatrick. This time Mercy gets involved in a case when she rescues a young girl from the side of the road who needs help with her dying grandmother. The mother has been slashed to death. So has a Portland area judge. She and Truman are involved but not primary in solving the mystery. Flashbacks to the past which connects the victim and viewpoint chapters from the female victims daughter add interest and background. Fast paced and intriguing because of Mercy's prepper past and current prepper actions. Loved the relationship with Truman.
161. Cast in Deception by Michelle Sagara (512 p.) -- Complex fantasy that focuses this time on the Barrani lost cohort who were sent as children to undergo a ceremony that would give them great power or kill them. They didn't die but were greatly changed and have been held in a hallione for millenia. Only Kaylin's friend Teela survived at the time of the ceremony. More recently two more were freed and have taken shelter in Kaylin's home Helen to learn to not be so dangerous. One of them has decided to take the Barrani Test of Name and reclaim his lost lands if he succeeds. The others are determined to come join him. Their existence in Elantra is causing massive political upheaval among the Barrani which would be enough plot for a book but it also appears that at least one Barrani Lord is making some sort of deal with Shadow - the ancient enemy of all life in Elantra.
162. Magic of the Moonlight by Ellen Schreiber (229 p.) -- So-so middle book in a trilogy. Celeste is torn between her old boyfriend and her new. Brandon is new to town, lives on the wrong side of the tracks, and has become a werewolf. The old BF Nash is jealous and petty and threatens to out Brandon is Celeste doesn't return to him. Celeste is a wimp who is afraid she'll lose her friends if she doesn't give up Brandon but she loves him and want to help him find a cure. Characters seemed more middle grade than high school in their actions.
163. Final Girls by Riley Sager (342 p.) -- Engaging thriller about a woman who survived a bloodbath and is trying to rebuild her life. Quincy doesn't remember the horror that killed five of her friends. She remembers the lead up to the camping trip and running into the arms of a police officer covered in blood. The hour in the middle is gone. She is dubbed a Final girl and joins the ranks of Lisa who survived a massacre at her sorority house and Sam who survived a massacre at the motel where she worked. Now Lisa is found dead. At first it looked like a suicide, but then it was declared murder. When Sam arrives at Quincy's, things begin to spiral out of control for her. She's already addicted to wine and Xanax but Sam eggs her on to commit acts of violence and demands that she remember that missing hour. There are lots of twists and turns; characters aren't who the reader thinks they are. I was totally engaged in this story.
164. The Last Girl on Earth by Alexandra Blogier (256 p.) -- YA science fiction about the last human girl on Earth. Saved and raised by an alien to pass, Li is now sixteen and needs to pass the tests for placement in her seven years of compulsory military service. She meets a new boy who has lived on many planets with his military father and who doesn't want to follow his father's footsteps. She has a rival in Braxon who wants to test high. Her best friend Mirabae also needs to test to a certain level to avoid the infantry. Her sister Zo starts a relationship with Braxon despite Li's warning that he isn't a nice person. Cliffhanger ending.
165. Baby, I'm Howling for You by Christine Warren (304 p.) -- Renny, wolf shifter, is on the run from a stalker who happens to be a coyote shifter. She flees to Alphaville which is supposed to be a sanctuary for troubled shifters. She runs right into the arms of Mick Fischer, wolf shifter, who is trying to deny that they have a mating bond because he has bonded before and lost his mate to violence. The two need to build their relationship while trying to eliminate the stalker and his henchmen. Great characters, great writing, loved the side characters too.
166. Final Siege by Scarlett Cole (320 p.) -- Nice romantic suspense. Mac and Delaney had a relationship until her brother died in an accident and she blamed Mac. Ten years later, she's an investigative journalist who was betrayed and calls on Mac when in hospital. He drops everything to rescue her and solve her problems which relates to a recent case his security firm investigated. I liked the chemistry between the two of them but thought 10 years was a long time to hold a grudge.
It is that time of year again, between Solstice and Christmas, just after Hanukkah, when our thoughts turn to wishing each other well in whatever language or image is meaningful to the recipient. So, whether I wish you Happy Solstice or Merry Christmas, know that what I really wish you, and for you, is this:
167. Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter (328 p.) -- Great heist story. This time Hale is the mark. When his grandmother dies, he inherits the Hale Company with the family lawyer as his guardian. But Kat learns that there may have been another will that distributed her wealth another way. Also the company is in trouble because an invention that will save the company may have some bugs. The story is filled with twists and turns and cons on top of cons.
168. Lake Silence by Anne Bishop (416 p.) -- Excellent fantasy set in the world of the Others. Vicki DeVine gets The Jumble in her divorce settlement with Yorink Dane. It is a resort on Lake Silence that is in need of restoration. She updates what she can afford and has her first lodger Aggie Crowe when Aggie discovers a body which begins a conspiracy by her ex and his business partners to evict Vicki and turn the resort into a high end resort. Unfortunately for them, the land is controlled by the Others who want Vicki there to act as a bridge between humans and Others. Wayne Grimshaw is the cop who is assigned to investigate and becomes involved with the town, the Others and the crime. I liked how clear it was that humans were not the apex predators here and smart ones knew it. Vicki's ex and his partners weren't smart.
169. Layover by Amy Andelson and Emily Meyer (272 p.) -- Contemporary YA story told from the viewpoint of Flynn, Amos, and Poppy who are siblings sort of because Flynn and Amos's parents married. Together they had Poppy. Now Flynn's mother has died and she's living full-time with her dad and stepmother. She and Amos are starting to have non-sibling like feelings for each other which confuses them both and causes Amos to run off to boarding school. Poppy has anxiety disorders and feels shunned at school. She is the one who hears that their parents are planning to divorce. They plan to tell the kids during a vacation trip to Bora Bora but when Poppy shares what she's heard, the kids don't make their new plane at Los Angeles and take off to spend what might be their last time as a family. It was enjoyable.
170. This Fallen Prey by Kelley Armstrong (368 p.) -- Things get even more dangerous in Rockton when the council drops off a serial killer for Casey and Eric to keep confined. Oliver Brady claims that his stepfather is setting him up and that he is innocent. He escapes taking a hostage because he recruits some sort of confederate in the town. Someone else wants him dead and makes a couple of attempts before his escape. Casey and Eric search for him running into settlers and hostiles along the way. Things get even more complicated when the stepfather shows up to "help." Exciting, twisty and filled with characters who are lying about something or another. Casey follows the clues and figures things out but the book ends on a cliffhanger. Can't wait for the next one.
171. Survive the Night by Katie Ruggle (352 p.) -- Sarah, on the run from her abusive brother and the Jovanovichs, finds herself in Monroe, Colorado, where she encounters police officer Otto Gunnersen, Viking ninja and rescuer of abused and abandoned animals. An awkward romance and heart-pounding action makes for a real roller coaster of a story. 3rd in a series made it nice to catch up with the two earlier couples. Loved all the cute animals and the cute romance too.
172. Look for Me by Lisa Gardner (400 p.) -- Excellent mystery starring D. D. Warren and Flora Dane which tells the story of a murder of a family and of a sixteen-year-old girl named Roxy who might be another victim or the killer. The hunt to find Roxy and/or the killer is interwoven with Roxy's essays about events when she was eleven and her mother lost custody leading her, her sister, and little brother to be put into foster care for a year. Roxy and her sister Lola got into a horrible situation filled will bullying and abuse. Great characters, heart-breaking story, but ultimately hopeful. D. D., Flora, and Roxy are all survivors.
173. The Greed by Scott Bergstrom (405 p.) -- Gritty espionage thriller. Gwen Bloom is on the run from the CIA who wants to use her and kill her former CIA father. She has a line on some money that she can claim but goes through all sorts of difficulties before she claims it and then has the Israelis steal it. She changes identities a number of times in this book and each time it seems to put her in more danger. The most graphic section of a very graphic book is when she spends four months as a captive in a black CIA op being experimented on through the use of a drug. I kept hoping she'd find a happy ending but, each time she tried, the CIA would get too close or the Mossad would make demands. It was a compelling read but very grim.
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