The Sunday Post AKA What’s on my (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand 9-20-15

Sunday Post

This is giveaway week. The Stuck in a Good Book Giveaway Hop started this morning, and it will still be going strong when the Rockin’ Reads Giveaway Hop stars on Wednesday. This is the end of summer/chilly enough to curl up with a good book giveaway season. Enjoy!

This was a damn good week for reviews. I obviously got very lucky. It’s seldom when every book in the week is a grade A winner. Hopefully next week will be just as good.

Current Giveaways:

StuckinaGoodBook Hop 2015$10 Gift Card or $10 Book in the Stuck in a Good Book Giveaway Hop

Winner Announcements:

The winner of Paris Time Capsule is Megan B.

rebel queen by michelle moranBlog Recap:

A- Review: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher
A- Review: Penric’s Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold
A Review: Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran
A- Review: Leaving Orbit by Margaret Lazarus Dean
A- Guest Review: How to Clone a Mammoth by Beth Shapiro
Stacking the Shelves (153)
Stuck in a Good Book Giveaway Hop

Rockin Reads Giveaway HopComing Next Week:

Gold Coast Blues by Marc Krulewitch (blog tour review)
The Race for Paris by Meg Waite Clayton (review)
Rockin’ Reads Giveaway Hop
Marcus by Anna Hackett (review)
Jade Dragon Mountain by Elsa Hart (review)

Stuck in a Good Book Giveaway Hop

StuckinaGoodBook Hop 2015

It’s that time again!

Welcome to the Stuck in a Good Book Giveaway Hop, hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Stuck In Books!

What book have you been stuck in recently?

Last year, for me, it was Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon. Whenever there is a new Outlander book, I am so there.

This year, it’s been more science fiction. There is something about the worlds created in Ian Tregillis’ The Mechanical (review), Max Gladstone’s Craft Sequence (see review of the latest, Last First Snow) and Seth Dickinson’s first novel, The Traitor Baru Cormorant (review at The Book Pushers) that just keeps my mind churning over all the implications of all the strange new ways of viewing the universe.

And there are always old favorites. I love the world of Robin D. Owen’s Celta series, even when I don’t adore an individual volume, like last year’s Heart Fire (review at The Book Pushers). But I got an eARC of Heart Legacy, and I’m pleased to say that she’s back on form. This installment was marvelous. And Celta seems like a relatively liveable place – I wouldn’t mind being stuck there for real. And that makes me think of all the ways that the society works and doesn’t, and what makes it seem like such a great place.

So, what book or books have you been stuck in recently? Answer the question in the rafflecopter for a chance at either a $10 Gift Card or the book of your choice (up to $10).

a Rafflecopter giveaway
And for more chances for more great bookish prizes, be sure to check out the other stops on the hop!

Review: Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran

rebel queen by michelle moranFormat read: hardcover provided by the publisher
Formats available: hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook
Genre: historical fiction
Length: 355 pages
Publisher: Touchstone
Date Released: March 3, 2015
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository

When the British Empire sets its sights on India in the 1850s, it expects a quick and easy conquest. After all, India is not even a country, but a collection of kingdoms on the subcontinent. But when the British arrive in the Kingdom of Jhansi, expecting its queen to forfeit her crown, they are met with a surprise. Instead of surrendering, Queen Lakshmi raises two armies—one male, one female—and rides into battle like Joan of Arc. Although her soldiers are little match against superior British weaponry and training, Lakshmi fights against an empire determined to take away the land she loves.

Told from the perspective of Sita, one of the guards in Lakshmi’s all-female army and the queen’s most trusted warrior, The Last Queen of India traces the astonishing tale of a fearless ruler making her way in a world dominated by men. In the tradition of her bestselling novel Nefertiti, which Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander series, called “a heroic story with a very human heart,” Michelle Moran once again brings a time and place rarely explored in historical fiction to rich, vibrant life.

My Review:

The Rebel Queen is the very best kind of historical fiction. Even though it is more than possible to find out how the story ends, the reader still hopes against hope that the protagonist will succeed. But history has already been written, and the ending is all too clear.

The story of the Rani of Jhansi is one where it is obvious that history is written by the victors. Because this is a story of the dark side of British colonialism and British imperialism. Their paternalistic treatment of any culture other than their own, and their firm belief that the world belonged to them, rode roughshod over the peoples and the beliefs that they ground under their conquering heel.

There is an underlying story here of economic conquest, native suppression and political storytelling spin that surprisingly echoes the completely fictional story in The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson (reviewed at The Book Pushers)

The ways of empire are universal. And often fairly disgusting.

In The Rebel Queen we see the years leading up the Indian Rebellion of 1857 (sometimes called The Sepoy Rebellion) through the eyes of Sati, one of the female bodyguards of the Rani Lakshmi of Jhani. The Rani’s female guard contingent really did exist, and their function was as described, to protect the Rani and to keep her entertained.

Rani of Jhansi
Rani of Jhansi

The Rani was also as portrayed in the novel. Her husband left the governance of his province to her, while he spent outrageous sums of money to fund his never-ending desire to act in the theater, always taking the women’s parts and appearing more as a woman than a man. Their role reversal was outrageous for the time, and yet her governance of the province was respected.

Whether the Raja was gay or trans is a question that contemporary readers will ask, but the answer is not known. What is clear is that the Rani had to go to extraordinary measures to finally bear an heir to the province. This was necessary because the British had enacted a law, and had the force to make it stick, than any province with no male heir became part of the British protectorate. Considering that England at the time was ruled by Queen Victoria because there had been no male heirs to that throne, this was fairly blatant hypocrisy – but the British East India Company had the soldiers to make their decrees law.

When the heir to Jhani died, and his father the Raja followed not long after, the Rani found herself in the position of appealing to Queen Victoria to keep her throne. In the midst of the British desire to become an empire, with India as the “jewel in the crown”, the Rani’s pleas were doomed to failure.

And as we see in the story, the overthrow of Jhansi was part of a deliberate campaign on the part of the British to foment a rebellion in India, so that they could swoop in and claim that their military campaign was to restore order. The political spin was masterful.

In the middle of this story of increasing tension and the drive for war, we have the contrast of an enlightened court that recognized the intelligence and perspicacity of not just one exceptional woman, but all the women that she gathered around herself. In the story, this is contrasted by the life of the guard Sita in her home village before she came to court, and the tyranny of her grandmother over her life in purdah.

Some parts of her culture favored Sita, especially after she became a Rani’s guard, but many parts did not. Even so, we are left with the question of whether the British had the right to break her country and attempt to remake it to their own ends.

Some of the atrocities committed by both sides in the Rebellion will chill readers. But the story provides a context that the official histories have frequently lacked. In the end, as the story concludes with Sita many years later reflecting on the past, we see the cost to her and to the life and people that she loved.

Escape Rating A: This was an amazing story, which carried all the more resonance because it is so firmly based in history. And even though you know what’s coming, you still hope for a better ending than history gave these women.

I liked the way that the author used the character of Sita to relate events, rather than the perspective of the Rani. Sita is an outsider, from a small village, and comes to the court with fresh eyes. She is educated but has no experience of the court, so she sees both its beauty and the sometimes rotten heart within.

By using Sita as the point of view, we are also able to see into the barracks and inner workings of the guardswomen. We also get to observe the petty behaviors, jealous rivalries and the disruptive prejudices among this group of women who have to work together, but have nothing in common and often despise each other for reasons of caste or background.

Occasionally, the small-minded and extremely petty snits and slights feel like they take away from the story, but in the end, the small things mirror much larger concerns. While it sometimes feels like the nastiness of a fictional schoolroom, it also shows that while the Rani may have planned on keeping her friends close and her enemies close, she often confused proximity for friendship and mistook which was which. She trusted the wrong people, and they betrayed her.

But my comment about the schoolroom bullying atmosphere of the guards’ barracks is one small quibble of what was overall a marvelous book. The story of The Rebel Queen illuminates a piece of history that we sort of think we know in a way that tells a marvelous story and shines a glaring light on the dark shadows of the making of empire.

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money or borrowed from a public library and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

The Sunday Post AKA What’s on my (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand 9-13-15

Sunday Post

Last week’s schedule fell completely to bits by the end. Hopefully this week will hew a little closer to my intentions from this end of the lens. But sometimes, no matter my best inentions, a book just doesn’t do anything for me, and I drop it. Sometimes the feeling is temporary (I loved both Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh and Heartmate by Robin D. Owens on the second go around, but felt very ‘meh’ about both of them on my first try). But sometimes its permanent, and I can never make myself go back. And of course, sometimes it’s not me, it’s the book. Either it turns out not to be for me, or just plain awful. Not that I haven’t occasionally finished some of those when I think it’s going to make a scathingly funny review.

And sometimes I bounce off of one book because there’s a different one calling my name so loudly that I can’t get a stray thought in until I read it. Has this ever happened to you?

paris time capsule by ella careyCurrent Giveaways:

Paris Time Capsule by Ella Carey (paperback)

Winner Announcements:

The winner of Wildest Dreams by Robin Carr is Anita Y.

autobiography of james t kirk by david goodmanBlog Recap:

Labor Day 2015
B+ Review: Paris Time Capsule by Ella Carey + Giveaway
C- Review: Circling the Sun by Paula McLain
D+ Review: Ryker by Sawyer Bennett
B+ Review: The Autobiography of James T. Kirk by David A. Goodman
Stacking the Shelves (152)



rebel queen by michelle moranComing Next Week:

The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher (review)
Leaving Orbit by Margaret Lazarus Dean (review)
Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran (review)
Sisters in Law by Linda Hirshman (review)
Penric’s Demon (World of the Five Gods #3.5) by Lois McMaster Bujold (review)

Review: Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

circling the sun by paula mclainFormat read: ebook provided by the publisher via NetGalley
Formats available: hardcover, ebook, large print, audiobook
Genre: historical fiction
Length: 384 pages
Publisher: Ballantine
Date Released: July 28, 2015
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository

Paula McLain, author of the phenomenal bestseller The Paris Wife, now returns with her keenly anticipated new novel, transporting readers to colonial Kenya in the 1920s. Circling the Sun brings to life a fearless and captivating woman—Beryl Markham, a record-setting aviator caught up in a passionate love triangle with safari hunter Denys Finch Hatton and Karen Blixen, who as Isak Dinesen wrote the classic memoir Out of Africa.

Brought to Kenya from England as a child and then abandoned by her mother, Beryl is raised by both her father and the native Kipsigis tribe who share his estate. Her unconventional upbringing transforms Beryl into a bold young woman with a fierce love of all things wild and an inherent understanding of nature’s delicate balance. But even the wild child must grow up, and when everything Beryl knows and trusts dissolves, she is catapulted into a string of disastrous relationships.

Beryl forges her own path as a horse trainer, and her uncommon style attracts the eye of the Happy Valley set, a decadent, bohemian community of European expats who also live and love by their own set of rules. But it’s the ruggedly charismatic Denys Finch Hatton who ultimately helps Beryl navigate the uncharted territory of her own heart. The intensity of their love reveals Beryl’s truest self and her fate: to fly.

Set against the majestic landscape of early-twentieth-century Africa, McLain’s powerful tale reveals the extraordinary adventures of a woman before her time, the exhilaration of freedom and its cost, and the tenacity of the human spirit.

My Review:

“Are you married or do you live in Kenya?” was a common saying about the European colony in Kenya during the early 20th century.

Beryl Markham almost seems to embody the phrase. She was “the other woman” in Karen Blixen’s famous relationship with adventurer Denys Finch Hatton (remember Out of Africa?). But Finch Hatton was “the other man” in Karen Blixen’s marriage to Baron Bror Blixen. Who in turn had another woman whom he married the minute his divorce to Karen was final.

Denys Finch Hatton
Denys Finch Hatton

Finch Hatton was infamously single. He seems to have cut a wide swath through the females of the European colony, whether they were married or not. And Finch Hatton almost seems to be the central figure of Circling the Sun. The story purports to be a fictionalized autobiography of Markham, but reads more like a recitation of her terrible choices in men and her continual angst about Finch Hatton.

Even though the Circling the Sun title refers to Markham’s famous solo flight from England to North America, the first woman to solo west across the Atlantic, I don’t think it is a coincidence that Finch Hatton’s biography is titled Too Close to the Sun. He seems to have been the sun around which Markham (and Karen Blixen) circled from the time they met until his untimely death in an airplane crash.

I read Markham’s own autobiography, West with the Night, several years ago, but it still feels like a much more complete picture of her fascinating and adventurous life than Circling the Sun. For one thing, West with the Night continues her story after her iconic flight.

Circling the Sun reads more like a recitation of Beryl’s many and usually disastrous love affairs. She seems to have continuously leaped before she looked, and ended up in hot water every time.

She was undoubtedly a trail blazer. She was a famous and well-respected horse race trainer, and was the first woman to receive a trainer’s license in the colony. Unlike Karen Blixen, who came to Africa as an adult, Beryl Markham and her family transplanted to Kenya when she was a small child. And even though her mother left Kenya, Beryl’s father and Beryl when Beryl was still a small child. Beryl’s experience of Africa is of growing up without much supervision except from the nearby villagers. Her father was too busy trying to keep his farm financially afloat.

But as Beryl grows up, she goes from one absolutely disastrous relationship to another. I felt a certain amount of irony. On the one hand, she feels like a modern woman, someone who would be more at home in today’s society, where women do not have to marry to have a financial identity or to be considered adults. But on that other hand, because she was a woman in the early 20th century and not the 21st, she kept marrying the wrong man in order to have someone, because Finch Hatton was unavailable.

The flight that cemented Markham’s fame is used in this book as a framing story. We don’t see nearly enough of her preparation for the flight, her decision to undertake it, and absolutely nothing of what happened after.

west with the night by beryl markhamEscape Rating C-: Beryl Markham led an absolutely fascinating life in a time and place that is utterly gone. This version of her story reduces all of her achievements and tragedies to a chronicle of her angst over her catastrophically bad choices in men and relationships.

There were bits of this story I liked, especially the parts about her childhood in Africa, but the deeper the story got into her romantic angst, the less I liked it. If you’re truly interested in this amazing woman, just read West with the Night.

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money or borrowed from a public library and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

Review: Paris Time Capsule by Ella Carey + Giveaway

paris time capsule by ella careyFormat read: ebook provided by the publisher via NetGalley
Formats available: paperback, ebook, audiobook
Genre: historical fiction, women’s fiction
Length: 290 pages
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Date Released: May 26, 2015
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

New York–based photographer Cat Jordan is ready to begin a new life with her successful, button-down boyfriend. But when she learns that she’s inherited the estate of a complete stranger—a woman named Isabelle de Florian—her life is turned upside down.

Cat arrives in Paris to find that she is now the owner of a perfectly preserved Belle Époque apartment in the ninth arrondissement, and that the Frenchwoman’s family knew nothing about this secret estate. Amid these strange developments, Cat is left with burning questions: Who was Isabelle de Florian? And why did she leave the inheritance to Cat instead of her own family?

As Cat travels France in search of answers, she feels her grasp on her New York life starting to slip. With long-buried secrets coming to light and an attraction to Isabelle de Florian’s grandson growing too intense to ignore, Cat will have to decide what to let go of, and what to claim as her own.

My Review:

The premise of this story is fascinating and even more amazing because it is true.

Just as in the story, in 2010 the Paris apartment of Madame Marthe de Florian was discovered completely untouched since World War II. Marthe de Florian had been a famous, or infamous, courtesan during France’s Belle Epoque, a period of change that encompassed the final decades of the 19th century, including the period in America known as “the Gay Nineties”, and ended with a bang at the outbreak of World War I. Marthe de Florian was one of the queens of that tumultuous era, and entertained artists and especially statesmen who kept her in grand style.

But she died in 1939, and her apartment was inherited by her son and granddaughter. And that’s where things get interesting, because sometime during the war Marthe’s granddaughter closed up the apartment and left Paris. She never returned to her grandmother’s apartment, but kept it untouched until her death in 2010.

Marthe de Florian by Giovanni Boldini (1888)
Marthe de Florian by Giovanni Boldini (1888)

When the apartment was opened, it was discovered to be a treasure-trove of life in Paris during the Belle Epoque, including a undiscovered masterpiece by Giovanni Boldini, a painting of Marthe de Florian in her gorgeous prime.

The apartment was called the “Parisian Time Capsule” in many articles about its discovery and its secrets.

The author of the novel Paris Time Capsule has taken the story of the discovery and woven a fantastic tapestry of a story, as the young American woman who inherits the apartment from her grandmother’s best friend undertakes a journey to discover why this unlooked for legacy has come to her, and not gone to the descendants of the owner. As Cat Jordan follows the trail of clues to her grandmother’s past, she uncovers secrets that have remained hidden since the dark days of Paris’ occupation in World War II. And through her journey, she finally learns to listen to the secrets of her own heart.

Escape Rating B+: I had a love/hate relationships with this book. I absolutely adored the premise, and would have whether it was true or not.

In fiction, Cat’s free-spirited grandmother Virginia was the best friend of Isabelle de Florian, Marthe’s fictional granddaughter. But whatever happened in Paris between Isabelle and Virginia, Virginia never spoke about it after the war. Cat has no idea who Isabelle de Florian was, or why she left this dusty jewel-box of an apartment to Virginia’s descendants rather than her own.

Cat’s first surprise is her inheritance. Cat has always had a love of period designs and period clothing, and the apartment is an absolute treat for her. She just can’t understand how it came to her in the first place. Especially since the second person she meets on her Parisian trip is the grandson of Isabelle de Florian. Neither Loic Archer nor his mother Sylvie had any idea that the apartment existed, but they are more than willing to abide by their matriarch’s wishes and let Cat have it.

But they share with Cat a desire to understand what happened, and why Isabelle never told them of the apartment or its secrets, not in the long years when money was very tight and the sale of the apartment would have saved Isabelle and Sylvie from poverty. Something doesn’t make sense to any of them.

And this is where we get into the part that drove me absolutely bonkers. It is to be expected in a story that is set up as we have seen so far that Loic and Cat would fall in love as they search for Isabelle de Florian’s secrets. It is even not an unexpected part of this journey that Cat would discover that the life she has been leading in New York, including her brand-new fiance, would turn out not to be right for her after all.

But what drove me absolutely nuts was the way that this part of the story was handled. Or perhaps a better description would be the way that the character of Cat’s fiance Christian was portrayed. It is obvious from our first meeting with Christian that he isn’t the right person for Cat. Not because Loic is better (he hasn’t even entered the picture yet) or even because Christian and his family are extremely wealthy and Cat is scraping by in a job she hates.

No, the problem is that Christian takes every opportunity to subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) undermine Cat, her opinions, her decisions, her tastes and her ideas. He doesn’t want the Cat who actually exists, he wants a doll that he can dress up and parade around who will never challenge him because she is so grateful for his largesse. When he wants Cat’s attention, he tracks her down by GPS. When she wants his attention, he’s always busy working.

As the reader, I felt bludgeoned by just how wrong Christian is for Cat. It felt as if the author was trying to draw a parallel between the way that Christian treated Cat and the way that Marthe was kept by her gentlemen admirers. I started to feel a bit beaten about the head with the all-too-obviously drawn parallel, but it isn’t until well after Loic starts asking her questions that Cat’s self-talk finally begins to see the clue-by-four that I’ve been hit with from the first scene. It’s not just that denial isn’t just a river in Egypt, it’s that Cat doesn’t even see that she’s paddling upstream and losing ground with every stroke.

Outside of the appalling business of Cat’s horrid choice in fiance, the rest of the story is an absolute gem. I sincerely mean that. Cat’s journey, with all of its twists and turns and dead ends, is a voyage back to the dark days at the beginning of the war. When Cat finally discovers the truth about the apartment and its seemingly unusual disposition, it all makes sense. A very sad and heartbreaking sense.

We know that Cat is the rightful heir after all, and we’re glad for her and sad for the reasons why it had to be.

And thank goodness that Cat finally gets a clue about her own love life before it is too late.

~~~~~~ GIVEAWAY ~~~~~~

I am giving away a paperback copy of Paris Time Capsule to one lucky U.S./Canadian commenter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post is part of a TLC book tour. Click on the logo for more reviews and features.
***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money or borrowed from a public library and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

The Sunday Post AKA What’s on my (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand 9-6-15

Sunday Post

There are just a few days left to get in on the awesome prize pack that Catherine Bybee is giving away. Who wouldn’t have a few dozen uses for a $100 Amazon Gift Card?

This is Labor Day weekend in the U.S. which means two things now that we are back in Atlanta. The number one thing is DragonCon! Downtown Atlanta has been taken over by aliens, superheroes and roving crews of spaceships from near and far. If you’ve never been, it’s fantastic. Also sometimes fantastically overwhelming.

The Decatur Book Festival also takes place this weekend. So our plan is to spend Friday and Saturday at DragonCon and Sunday at the DBF. Reality may turn out to be different, but we’ll have a blast no matter what.

And tomorrow we can recuperate and squee over all the stuff we picked up over the weekend. I really need to find something appropriately geeky to fill in the front license plate holder on my car. I wonder if anyone will be selling “My Other Car is a Starship” somewhere at DragonCon?

Current Giveaways:

$100 Amazon Gift Card (2) $20 Amazon Gift Cards and Weekday Brides Print Box Gift set from Catherine Bybee
Wildest Dreams by Robyn Carr (paperback)

Winner Announcements:

The winner of the paperback copy of If You Only Knew by Kristan Higgins is Lysette
The winner if the Nina Croft first in series ebook prize pack is Jennifer

return to dark earth by anna hackettBlog Recap:

B- Review: Keeper’s Reach by Carla Neggers
B+ Review: Sloe Ride by Rhys Ford
B- Review: Wildest Dreams by Robyn Carr + Giveaway
B+ Review: Treasured by Thursday by Catherine Bybee + Giveaway
A- Review: Return to Dark Earth by Anna Hackett
Stacking the Shelves (151)




circling the sun by paula mclainComing Next Week:

Paris Time Capsule by Ella Carey (blog tour review)
Circling the Sun by Paula McLain (review)
The State of Play by Daniel Goldberg and Linus Larsson (review)
After Snowden by Ronald Goldfarb (review)

Stacking the Shelves (151)

Stacking the Shelves

I couldn’t resist the Humble Bundle of Star Wars Audiobooks. It includes the original radio broadcasts, and should make our next driving trip fly by. If you’re interested, there’s still a few days left to get in on the bundle.

Something else I couldn’t resist was the opportunity to get the last two books in Candace Robb’s Owen Archer series. This is a terrific historical mystery series that I fell in love with a long time ago. The story takes place in York, England, during the mid-14th century, at the time that the awesomely beautiful York Minster was being built. While I was reading the early books in the series I was in York, and walking the same streets as the characters made the story resonate even more. I’m glad to see that the series is back.

Last but not least, I picked up the two historical romances by Eva Leigh after discovering that Eva Leigh is a new penname for one of my favorite authors, Zoe Archer. I can’t wait to see what she does with this new series.

For Review:
Forever Your Earl (Wicked Quills of London #1) by Eva Leigh
The Guilt of Innocents (Owen Archer #9) by Candace Robb
Lowcountry Bordello (Liz Talbot #4) by Susan M. Boyer
Moonlight over Paris by Jennifer Robson
Return to Dark Earth (Phoenix Adventures #7) by Anna Hackett (review)
Scandal Takes the Stage (Wicked Quills of London #2) by Eva Leigh
This Gulf of Time and Stars (Reunification #1) by Julie E Czerneda
A Vigil of Spies (Owen Archer #10) by Candace Robb

Purchased from Amazon:
Humble Bundle of Star Wars Audiobooks


Stacking the Shelves (149)

Stacking the Shelves

As you read this, we’re still at Worldcon. We still won’t know how the Hugos turn out, because the ceremony is Saturday night. I’m afraid that in the middle of the fight, an awards ceremony might break out. Or vice versa. Or it could be worse. Just because I can’t imagine worse at the moment doesn’t mean it won’t happen. The business meeting about trying to fix the mess will still be going on. It will still probably still be going on when we leave on Sunday. That is possibly more frightening.

IMG_20150820_200453In other news. I attended both the Baen and the Tor showcases of upcoming books. While I found the prevailing attitude in the Baen presentation to be more than a bit disturbing, I did pick up a marvelous t-shirt. And unfortunately for the state of my TBR pile, I found plenty of books I will want to read in both presentations. Is that the good news or the bad news?

And in other news, I managed to get an eARC of The Last Time I Saw Her from Netgalley, so I cancelled my preorder. I feel much better not having to pay money for a book I know is going to be a trainwreck, even if I can’t resist reading it. Review next week, because I have no patience to wait to read it.

So many books, so little time. As usual.

For Review:
Chapelwood (Borden Dispatches #2) by Cherie Priest
Idol of Glass (Looking Glass Gods #3) by Jane Kindred
The Last Time I Saw Her (Dr. Charlotte Stone #4) by Karen Robards
Silver on the Road (Devil’s West #1) by Laura Anne Gilman
Weighing Shadows by Lisa Goldstein

Stacking the Shelves (147)

Stacking the Shelves

I generally find books irresistible. As if you couldn’t tell. And once I get caught up in a series, I find it difficult to let go.

I’m saying this because I’m still surprised that I pre-ordered a copy of The Last Time I Saw Her by Karen Robards. I’ve read the whole series, but there have been eARCs before. Not this time. This particular series have been “train-wreck” books for me. They all strain the willing suspension of disbelief, and sometimes even the willing suspension of stupid. But they’re like crack. Or as I said, train-wreck. I know it’s going to be horrible, and I absolutely can’t turn my eyes away. Over and over and over. I laugh at myself for reading this series, but I can’t make myself stop.

For Review:
Game of the Red King (Once Upon a Red World #3) by Jael Wye
Here All Along (Kelly Brothers #7) by Crista McHugh
Lamp Black, Wolf Grey by Paula Brackston
Make Me (Broke and Beautiful #3) by Tessa Bailey
Once in a Great City by David Maraniss
Owl and the City of Angels (Adventures of Owl #2) by Kristi Charish
Sisters in Law by Linda Hirshman

Purchased from Amazon:
Commissioned in White (Art of Love #4) by Donna McDonald
The Last Time I Saw Her (Dr. Charlotte Stone #4) by Karen Robards
Long Upon the Land (Deborah Knott #20) by Margaret Maron
Penric’s Demon (World of the Five Gods #3.5) by Lois McMaster Bujold