Hey all, just a quick update to mention that The Warrior’s Seal, the prequel to Ronie Kendig’s Conspiracy of Silence (which I reviewed last month), is available to download for free on Noisetrade right now!
What’s on my night stand? (Or my audible player?):
I’m usually NOT a fan of fan fiction. In my opinion, it never really lives up to expectations set by the original. That said, I read such great reviews about Unequal Affections that I had to give it a try. Granted, Pride and Prejudice is my all time favorite book, so it has some big shoes to fill. This novel, a retelling of the second half of P&P told as if Elizabeth had accepted Darcy’s first proposal, does not meet the caliber of Austen’s original writing (but really, how could it?). It is however, delightful. I am finding myself thoroughly enjoying this foray into what-if.
Murder Is No Accident by A.H. Gabhart, captured my attention with it’s witty tagline: “If you like your small-town America sweet and quirky—with a dash of sinister—you’ll love going back to Hidden Springs to find out whodunit this time.”
The old Chandler place should be empty. The magnificent Victorian mansion is for sale, even if its aged owner Miss Fonda doesn’t realize it. But when real estate agent Geraldine Harper enters the house on a sunny October day, she’s not alone. Minutes later, there is a body at the bottom of the steep steps leading to the tower room.
Deputy sheriff Michael Keane is called in. At first blush, it looks like the death was a tragic accident, but clues point to foul play. And when a second body is discovered, the race is on to find the culprit . . . before someone else dies.
Overall, Murder is No Accident was a fun jaunt to a small town with all the characters that involves. Coming from a small town myself, there were definitely times I could relate, despite never having investigated a murder. Read more
Looking for a good thick book to get me through the darkest of winter, I selected Amor Towles’ A Gentleman in Moscow. I was intrigued by the historical Russian setting as I know little of Russia and the tagline got me: “He can’t leave. You won’t want to.”
In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery. Read more
Nikki Boyd is back in action in the third installment of The Nikki Boyd Files, Pursued by Lisa Harris.
Nikki Boyd’s flight into Nashville was routine–up until the crash landing at the airport. When the dust settles, Nikki discovers that the woman who had been seated next to her on the plane is missing–and no one will admit she was ever there. Erika Hamilton had been flying to Nashville with an air marshal as a key witness in an upcoming grand jury trial. When she flees from the crash, is she running from trouble or straight into it? Before Nikki can even see her family, she and her team are pulled into a missing persons case where the motives are as unclear as the suspects.
I will readily admit that I sometimes struggle with willing suspension of disbelief, but I do try. Pursued stretched my capability though. One of the major incidents within this novel could be fodder for an entire book, one after another is just too unrealistic. Plane crash? Held hostage? Targeted by a sniper? All in a few days work in Nikki’s life apparently. Read more
Conspiracy of Silence by Ronie Kendig piqued my interest with it’s promise of a suspenseful adventure and an intriguing take on modern events.
This Is the Way the World Ends.
Four years after a tragic mission decimated his team, Cole “Tox” Russell has been disavowed by the United States. And that’s fine–he just wants to be left alone. But when a dormant, centuries-old disease is unleashed, Tox is lured back into action.
The biggest struggle with this novel is that, although it is the first in a series, the reader comes into it almost expected to be familiar with past happenings in these characters’ lives. I learned later that Kendig released a prequel that it appears covers some of these events, which I think would have made following the story line of Conspiracy of Silence much easier. Read more
I enjoyed reading The Jazz Files by Fiona Veitch Smith last January, in part because it was the first novel I cracked open after my daughter’s birth (the name Fiona was coincidence) and in part because the foray into 1920s London was a lot of fun. So I snatched up the opportunity to read Smith’s second installment of the Poppy Denby Investigates series, The Kill Fee.
Poppy’s career is moving along with a permanent “beat” covering arts and entertainment at The Daily Globe. But in true Poppy Denby form, she stumbles into a mystery involving Russian aristocracy, priceless treasures, assassins and more. Will she be able to identify the murderer and find the missing Faberge Egg before anyone else gets hurt?
Poppy remains a likeable, root-for-able heroine. She continues to learn along the road of her adventures. And she may be stumbling through the mysteries that arise, but she has the curiosity of a cat and the loyalty of a best friend. Read more
What’s on my night stand? (Or my audible player?):
A Gentleman in Moscow
by Amor Towles
I am thoroughly enjoying making my way slowly through this tome. It’s a long one, and I’m a slow reader, but it is well worth savoring. I love how this NPR book review put it: “All of the verbal excess, the gently funny mock-epic digressions, the small capers and cast of colorful characters, add up to something undeniably mannered but also undeniably pleasant.” It may take me a few months to finish this one, but I know I will tackle his first novel, Rules of Civility, once I’m done.
The beauty of a one-year-old is that they don’t care if they are wearing mismatched clothes. They don’t care if they are covered in dog hair (after gleefully stealing the best spot in the house in the center of the dog bed). They don’t care if they have snot dried under their nose, or pizza sauce on their cheeks. It doesn’t matter. They aren’t self-conscious.
I had a choice yesterday to embrace the joy and freedom of that attitude, or shut down under the embarrassment and shame of our culture. While nursing, Fiona realized she could lift my camisole and see my belly. Oh, she thought this was the best thing ever. She could lift and lower my shirt, exposing and concealing the one part of me that still bears the signs of pregnancy. Squishier than it used to be, stretch marks marring my once-smooth skin. Delighted with her new game, she started poking my belly.
I had a choice — tell her no, pull my shirt back down, teach her to be ashamed of such things. Or, play back. Read more
“Godliness with contentment is great gain.”
It’s a verse I’ve heard since my youth, one I have often striven for to varying degrees. Contentment remains…elusive, though. In fact, I believe contentment looks different in varying phases of life. The lessons learned about contentment as a single 21-year-old are useful, but different than the lessons in contentment as a wife and mother in my 30s.
We have done a lot of growing, a lot of striving. We have purchased a house, moved up in our careers, made significant changes, renovated a home, had a baby, and so much more. While all of these are good things, they aren’t centered on contentment (though they are not inherently opposed to it either).
As I moved into this new year, as I continue to learn what it means to be a working mom, as I strive to balance my life and my career, I feel a call toward contentment. Read more