From Nalini Singh’s Weblog: Silver Silence

Yay!  I was hoping Silver would get the next book.  If the Architect of the Consortium manages to take out her grandmother, then Silver will be the new matriarch of the Mercants.  Whether or not the plot succeeds, he/she will incur the clan’s enmity.  And Silver’s.  As for her man, the first person to pop in my head was Malachi.

Other candidates:  Remi would be fun.  A lot of people are suggesting Bo, which would be interesting, but I really think he will end  up with Miane.    And I think Tanique will be with be with the girl they rescued in Allegiance of Honor.  Can’t remember her name off the top of my head.

Source: Nalini Singh’s Weblog: Silver Silence

July Reads 2016

The Tiger and Wolf by Adrian Tchaikovsky turned out to be an interesting read, if a bit long. The revelation about Maniye’s mother, the Tiger Queen, I saw coming a mile away, the one about her father, however, shocked the hell out of me. Still didn’t like him. At first, I rooted fervently for the Tigers to make a come back and kick some serious Wolf ass, but, after I met the Tigers, I hoped someone would show up and defeat them both. I think I’d prefer to be a Serpent, a Bear, or a Horse. I don’t know if I’ll follow Maniye and her companions to the Sun River Nation in The Bear and the Serpent or not.

Next was Once a Soldier, the first book in Mary Jo Putney’s Rogue’s Redeemed series. This is a spin-off of her Lost Lords. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. The secondary romance in this book was more interesting the primary one. The tiny kingdom of San Gabriel, between Portugal and Spain, fictitious though it is, does sound like a place I’d like to visit.

After that, I read the first three books in Stephanie Rowe’s Order of the Blade series. In this series, the Order is a group of elite, immortal warriors of the Caledon people (I’m still not entirely clear on what a Caledon is) formed to combat rogue Caledons. See, Caledons are fated to go rogue when they meet their fated mates, so the Order kills either them or, if it’s a member of the Order, their mate. Not sure if I’ll continue with this series.

Lisa Kleypas’s Marrying Winterbourne, book two of the Ravenels, was fun. I’ll go back and read the first one Cold-Hearted Rake, sometime before the third book, Devil in Spring comes out in February.

I tried to read Against the Wind by Kat Martin, but only got a couple of chapters in before I tossed it. Boring. Same with Cathy Maxwell’s The Fairest of Them All. That one was just plain stupid.

Next up, Rock Wedding. This is not my favorite of Nalini Singh’s series, but they don’t completely such. However, this one left something to be desired. It just didn’t have the charisma, that’s the best word I can think of to describe it, of Singh’s other novels.

Things improved with Eloisa James’s My American Duchess. I’m hoping for a sequel about Cedric. I also had fun with the first two books of Isabella Bradford’s Breconridge Brothers trilogy, A Wicked Pursuit and A Sinful Deception.

When I find the time, I’ll start Amulya Malladi’s new book, A House for Happy Mothers which will, probably, be followed by Amy E. Reichert’s Luck, Love & Lemon Pie.

How about y’all. Anything good?

June Reads 2016

Allegiance_SinghJune was a slow reading month for me. I started off with what I think of as waiting room reads The Forgotten Child and A Baby and a Wedding by Lorhainne Eckhart. I picked them because they were free on Amazon, and, frankly, they weren’t particularly memorable. Sitting here, typing this, I can’t really remember what they were about except that it involved an autistic child, a doormat, and what I’ve seen another blogger aptly refer to as an Alpha-hole.  I’m just left with the overall impression that they sucked.

After that, I dived heart first into Allegiance of Honor and loved every moment of it. It was awesome! I could wish we’d Sighs_Robertsspent more time with the wolves, though, because for a book with an ensemble cast, it was definitely cat-centric.  Read my full review:  Allegiance of Honor by Nalini Singh.

Then there was a quick re-read of Stars of Fortune by Nora Roberts before I picked up her latest, Bay of Sighs. It was fine. This isn’t shaping up to be my favorite of her trilogies, but it was interesting. Mostly, I think, due to the mermaid. That’s new. The rest of the cast, not to mention the overall plot, is kinda deja vu.

Albion_TampkeFinally, I read Ilka Tampke’s debut novel, Skin, which for some unknown reason was re-titled Daughter of Albion here in the States. Skin, in my opinion, is much more apt. I enjoyed this one immensely and am eagerly awaiting the sequel. Historically speaking, we know what happens, but how do the characters cope with it?  Here’s my full review:  Daughter of Albion by Ilka Tampke.

After I finished it, my reader’s palette was still feeling a little atavistic so, instead of picking up Britt-Marie Was Here like I’d intended, I reached for The Tiger and the Wolf by new-to-me author Adrian Tchaikovsky. So far, it’s good.

What have you been reading?

Allegiance of Honor by Nalini Singh

There may be a few minor spoilers, be warned.

Allegiance_SinghThe pacing was quite different from the other books in the series, so it took me a chapter or two to get into the rhythm, but after that, Allegiance of Honor was a treat for heart for all of us devoted to the characters of this series.  Ms. Singh describes this book as an ensemble cast, and it is, but there’s also a focus, though a soft one, on Lucas and Sascha.  On Naya.

But, as promised, there were scenes with just about everybody.  We got to meet the pupcubs and see Xavier reunited with his Nina.  Annie and Kaleb, finally, meet.  We see more of BlackSea, and of Faith’s brother.  I smell a romance there.  I’m also getting that vibe from certain members of BlackSea and the Alliance.  We’ll see. And, of course, there’s Anthony and Nikita.  Just what is going on there will be used to torture us for many books to come, I think.  The fun kind.

And, then there’s the Architect.  Who, by the way, I still think is Shoshana.  She’s been way too quiet for way too long not to be up to her neck in the Consortium.  And, as always, her overweening ambition is going come back and bite her in the ass.  The Architect has a rather long and bloody list of assassinations in their long range plans for world domination and, leaving aside the Changelings on that list, on the Psy will put her on the bad side of a particular powerful Clan and its extremely ruthless and cunning matriarch.  In the end, that final epic showdown, I think it might end up, at the heart, being Shoshona against Nikita.  There will be other players, of course, but they’ll be the epicenter.  Also, whether of not Shoshona is or is not the Architect, I have a feeling the Alliance chips are going to play into her Queen Bee delusion.  And isn’t it interesting that the Architect has so much respect for, and was so observant of, Zee Zen?  Truthfully, that part was just enough to poke a small hole in my Shoshona = Architect conviction.

I love this series and can’t wait for Wild Embrace in August.

Rating:  4.75 out of 5 stars

May Reads 2016

TangleofNeed_NaliniSinghThis month has, mostly, been occupied by my Psy-Changeling reread and am more than ready for Allegiance of Honor. Even after this third time reading Tangle of Need, I still think Adria got gypped. That one continues to irritate me.

Between visits with the leopards, the wolves, and the Psy (oh my!), I read a few other things.  I really enjoyed the latest in Lorraine Heath’s Hellions of Havisham series, The Earl Takes All.  Although, I do think Julia was way less pissed than she should have been.  She forgave Edward too easily.  Earl-Takes_HeathOnly Beloved, the last book in Mary Balogh’s Survivors Club, was another good one, and I also enjoyed her novella, Another Dream, in Once Upon a Dream.  Wulfric Bedwyn continues to be one of my favorite fictional gentlemen.  Less enjoyable was Eva Leigh’s The Temptations of a Wallflower, the third installment in her Wicked Quills of London series. I almost choked on some of the purple prose spouted by The Lady of Dubious Quality.Beloved_Balogh

Next was Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld. It didn’t take two chapters before things started going down hill. Sittenfeld’s Lizzie Bennett is, obviously an idiot, a condition to which I vehemently object in that character. I managed to stick it out until chapter 38 when Jasper’s last name was revealed. It kind of dashed my last hopes for Liz’s intelligence. However, on the bright side, Sittenfeld’s Mr. Bennett made me laugh every bit as much as his Austenian counterpart, but, alas, this was not enough to induce me to continue.

I picked up the much anticipated by me Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman and the very interesting sounding Daughter of Albion by Ilka Tampke, but I haven’t found the time to dive into them, yet.  That’s for June.

What have y’all been reading and loving lately?

April Reads 2016

Debutante-Ruin_JordanAfter finishing Because of Miss Bridgerton last month, I entered a Regency groove. Lord knows I have enough of them on my TBR pile/USB.  First, I did a quick re-read of Quinn’s The Viscount Who Loved Me for no other reason than Pal Mal and the Mallet of Death. Then, with breaks for The Beast and The Obsession, I devoured the following series: Sophie Jordan’s Debutante Files, Lorraine Heath’s Hellions of Havisham and her Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James, Eva Leigh’s Wicked Quills of London.  Earl_LeighThey were all great fun.

Then I started on Sabrina Jeffries’ Sinful Suitors series.  The first book and the follow-up novella were pretty good, but I did not finish the second book, The Study of Seduction. Ethan and Clarissa were discussing their fake “secret” engagement after she was accosted by that French guy, and I just could not make myself read any further. Such convoluted idiocy. And, with that, my historical romance spree was broken.

Beast_WardThe Beast was surprisingly good. Assail didn’t bore me, for once. For the last several books, I’ve done a lot of skimming over his scenes. Especially Lover At Last. He got way too much page time in that book, and Quinn and Blay not nearly enough. But Assail’s scenes in this one. OMG! For one shining moment, I had hope that the whole Assail/Sola thing was dead and we could move on to something more interesting.  But, then, came the Cincinnati signing and all my hopes on that score were dashed. Unless the Warden plans on writing a menage HEA. I would be okay with that if it fit the story, but I know many would not. And, with what she revealed about Lassiter at the signing, the next book, The Chosen immediately went on my most anticipated list for 2017.

The Obsession was okay, but not awesome. The identity of the copy-cat killer was rather obvious. I’d pegged him for what he was shortly after he made his appearance earlier in the book.  When he made that lame attempt at blackmail.

Pompeii_Quinn-KaneAfter the romance, I was still in the mood for something historical, so I dug around/scrolled and found A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii by Stephanie Dray, Ben Kane, E. Knight, Sophie Perinot, Kate Quinn, and Vicky Alvear Shecter. It provided a nice visit with Quinn’s Diana Cornelia and Senator Norbanus. I also really enjoyed Shecter’s contribution, “The Son,” from the point-of-view of Pliny the Younger and Knight’s “The Mother” almost made me cry it was so sad.

The end of the month saw the beginning of my Psy-Changeling re-read.  And I started the new Eva Leigh, Temptations of a Wallflower, and Lorraine Heath, The Earl Takes All.

Written in Blood by Anne Bishop

I really liked this book.  The world Ms. Bishop has created is a fascinating one.  Leaving aside, of course, the YA-ish place names.  I found Tess and the Elementals especially interesting.  Tess is not someone, or something, I would ever want to meet.  The sensation I imagined with the phrase “raining inside her head” was really unsettling.  Freaky.  Creepy.

Written_BishopMy only real problems with this book revolve around the monumentally idiotic character of Asia Crane.  The sheer stupidity of this woman really irritated me.  Sure, she’s clever, but, when it comes to dealing with the Others, she was consistently stupid.

But she had never heard of Others named Ponygard, which meant the stupid ponies were just animals. They would be a distraction, a way to stir things up, nothing but collateral damage in the overall scheme.

The utter and complete idiocy of that left me gaping at the screen. Horses are prey. Would there be any horses working, calmly, among Wolves if they weren’t some sort of Other? And, later, after the exile scene with Simon, she’s more afraid of her “backer” and “the benefactor” than she is of the Others.

Another bit of stupidity that bothered me was Meg’s reaction to Asia. She kept getting tingles around Asia, but it never occurred to her that those tingles might be warnings.  Hell, everyone seemed to be getting tingles and “feelings” about Asia Crane and everyone shrugged them off.  When Meg, finally, put it together enough to have the Sugar Prophecy, I nearly shouted “Hallelujah!”  And did mumble “About, freakin’ time!”

Wonder if “the benefactor” realizes he’s a walking dead man with a life just waiting to be harvested?

I enjoyed this book very much and will definitely be reading Murder of Crows very soon.

Rating:  4.5 out of 5 stars

Guild Hunter Q

Nalini Singh, one of my favorite authors, has recently been answering questions at Goodreads.  In her answers, she has revealed, and mercilessly teased and tortured us with, several things about the Guild Hunter series.

The next book, Archangel’s Heart, will be another Raphael and Elena novel and will expand on certain things Elena learned about her ancestry earlier in the series.  I know there’s a vampire in there somewhere.  And wouldn’t it be a kick in the pants if it was Dmitri?  Doubtful given Marguerite’s Moroccan ancestry, but the very idea makes me grin.  I’m now going to have to re-read the series, feverishly mining it for information about Elena’s family.  Archangel’s Heart will also delve into how the world will deal with having eleven Archangels Awake instead of the usual Ten of the Cadre.

When asked if angels can have children with other species, she replied:

GRQ_NSingh Now, in the comments, she implies she’s referring to Naasir, but the cryptic way she worded the update makes me wonder if she’s actually talking about something else entirely.

In answer to another question, she says there’ll be at least two more books in the series after Archangel’s Heart.  There may be more after that, depending on the story and the characters.

About the rest of the Seven.  She says that they’ll get their own books “only if it feels natural.”  Aodhan’s story will be told when he’s ready.  Now, whether or not that’ll be in his own book is a different question all together.

Most Anticipated Books of 2016, Part 1

Happy New Year, y’all. Here’s to hoping this new year is better than the last.

Now that we’ve said a farewell to 2015, and remembered, with nostalgia and/or exasperation all the books we experienced during it, we can, now, anticipate all the lovely voyages-by-page we’ll take in 2016. Here are a few of mine:

Only the Stones Survive by Morgan Llywelyn
Release Date: January 5, 2016

Ireland is an enchanted place where history and magic meet and meld to create wonderful stories and tales for winter nights before a fire, or in a pub with friends. And no one weaves Irish history into a tale quite like Morgan Llywelyn. Her Lion of Ireland is among my favorite books. As is her Etruscans. Both stories combine magic and mythology, legend and history, to make a spellbinding, wild ride for the imagination. I look forward to seeing what Ms. Llywelyn does with the Faere Folk and their history.

The Blurb:
Stones-Survive_Llywelyn
A novel of the untold history of the Túatha Dé Danann, the ancient gods and goddesses of Irish myth and legend.

For centuries the Túatha Dé Danann lived in peace on an island where time flowed more slowly and the seasons were gentle – until that peace was shattered by the arrival of invaders. The Gaels, the Children of Milesios, came looking for easy riches and conquest, following the story of an island to the west where their every desire could be granted. They had not anticipated that it would already be home to others, and against the advice of their druids, they begin to exterminate the Túatha Dé Danann.

After a happy and innocent childhood, Joss was on the cusp of becoming a man when the Gaels slaughtered the kings and queens of the Túatha Dé Danann. Left without a mother and father, he must find a way to unite what is left of his people and lead them into hiding. But even broken and scattered, Joss and his people are not without strange powers.

Morgan Llywelyn weaves Irish mythology, historical elements, and ancient places in the Irish landscape to create a riveting tale of migration, loss, and transformation.

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Other Broken Things by Christa Desir
Release Date: January 12, 2016

Desir is a new for me author, but the blurb sounds really good.

The Blurb:

Broken_DesirNat’s not an alcoholic. She doesn’t have a problem. Everybody parties, everybody does stupid things, like get in their car when they can barely see. Still, with six months of court-ordered AA meetings required, her days of vodka-filled water bottles are over.

Unfortunately her old friends want the party girl or nothing. Even her up-for-anything ex seems more interested in rehashing the past than actually helping Nat.

But then a recovering alcoholic named Joe inserts himself into Nat’s life and things start looking up. Joe is funny, smart, and calls her out in a way no one ever has.

He’s also older. A lot older.

Nat’s connection to Joe is overwhelming but so are her attempts to fit back into her old world, all while battling the constant urge to crack a bottle and blur that one thing she’s been desperate to forget.

Now in order to make a different kind of life, Natalie must pull together her broken parts and learn to fight for herself.

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We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
Release Date: January 19, 2016

Another new to me author.  The title’s what caught my attention.  It sounds quirky and unusual.  Just the thing that perks up my interest.  I loved The Bees, remember.  Then I read the blurb at Goodreads and promptly clicked “want to read.”

The Blurb:

Ants_HutchinsonHenry Denton doesn’t know why the aliens chose to abduct him when he was thirteen, and he doesn’t know why they continue to steal him from his bed and take him aboard their ship. He doesn’t know why the world is going to end or why the aliens have offered him the opportunity to avert the impending disaster by pressing a big red button.

But they have. And they’ve only given him 144 days to make up his mind.

Since the suicide of his boyfriend, Jesse, Henry has been adrift. He’s become estranged from his best friend, started hooking up with his sworn enemy, and his family is oblivious to everything that’s going on around them. As far as Henry is concerned, a world without Jesse is a world he isn’t sure is worth saving. Until he meets Diego Vega, an artist with a secret past who forces Henry to question his beliefs, his place in the universe, and whether any of it really matters. But before Henry can save the world, he’s got to figure out how to save himself, and the aliens haven’t given him a button for that.

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The Golden Son by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
Release Date: January 26, 2015

When I first saw this on Amazon, I let out a loud gasp and did a little happy dance in my chair. I loved, completely and absolutely loved, Secret Daughter. It made it onto my best reads list for 2013. I’ll be eagerly awaiting this one, with plans to read it with a cup of cardamom tea and a box of tissues.

The Blurb:

Golden_Gowda
From the beloved author of Secret Daughter comes a moving new novel of a young man at the crossroads of life
Anil is the cherished son of a large family in rural India. As the eldest boy, he is expected to inherit the role of leader of his clan and arbiter of its disputes, dispensing wisdom and good advice. Leena is his closest companion, a fiercely brave girl who loves nothing more than the wild terrain they inhabit and her close-knit family. As childhood friends, they are inseparable-but as adulthood approaches, they grow apart.

Anil is the first person in his family to leave India, the first to attend college, the first to become a doctor. Half a world away in Dallas, Texas, he is caught up in his new life, experiencing all the freedoms and temptations of American culture: he tastes alcohol for the first time, falls in love, and learns firsthand about his adopted country’s alluring, dangerous contradictions. Though his work in a gritty urban hospital is grueling, Anil is determined to carve out his own life in America.

At home, Leena dreams of marriage, a strong and true love like the one shared by her parents, and leaves her beloved home to join her new husband’s family in a distant village.

Then things start to go wrong: Anil makes a medical mistake with tragic results, his first love begins to fray and a devastating event makes him question his worth as a doctor and as a friend. On a visit home, Anil rekindles a friendship with the woman who seems to understand him better than anyone else. But their relationship is complicated by a fateful decision made years earlier.

As the two old friends discover each other again, they must also weigh the choice between responsibility and freedom, and between loyalty and love.

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That Other Me by Maha Gargash
Release Date: January 26, 2016

I’m always interested in being introduced to new cultures when I read and this is one I’ve never read about.  And the plot sounds fascinating.

The Blurb:

Other_GargashFrom the #1 internationally bestselling author of The Sand Fish, Maha Gargash’s second novel is set in mid-1990s Dubai and Cairo and tells the story of how secrets and betrayals consume three members—an authoritarian father, a rebellious abandoned daughter, and a vulnerable niece—of a prominent Emirati family.

Majed, the head of the eminent Naseemy family, is proud to have risen into the upper echelons of Emirati society. As one of the richest businessmen in Dubai, he’s used to being catered to and respected—never mind that he acquired his wealth by cheating his brother out of his own company and depriving his niece, Mariam, of her rights.

Not one to dwell on the past—he sent Mariam to school in Egypt, what more could she want from him?—Majed spends his days berating his wife and staff and cavorting with friends at a private apartment. But he’s suddenly plagued by nightmares that continue to haunt him during the day, and he feels his control further slipping away with the discovery that his niece and his daughter are defying his orders.

Mariam despises Majed, and although she blames him for her father’s death, hers is a strictly-organized, dutiful existence. But when she falls for a brash, mischievous fellow student named Adel, he might just prove to be her downfall.

Largely abandoned by Majed as the daughter of a second, secret marriage, the vivacious Dalal has a lot to prove. The runner-up on “Nights of Dubai,” an American Idol-type reality show for Arab talent, Dalal is committed to being a singer despite the fact that it’s a disreputable career. When her efforts to become a celebrity finally begin to pay off, she attracts the attention of her father, who is determined to subdue Dalal to protect the family name. As Majed increasingly exerts his control over both Dalal and Mariam, both girls resist, with explosive consequences.

An exhilarating look at the little-known Khaleeji (Gulf-Arab) culture, That Other Me explores the ways social mores contribute to the collapse of one family.

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Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
Release Date: March 29, 2016

The Bridgertons are back! That’s all I need to know to put this book, solidly, in the “must have” column.

The Blurb:

Bridgerton_QuinnSometimes you find love in the most unexpected of places…

This is not one of those times.

Everyone expects Billie Bridgerton to marry one of the Rokesby brothers. The two families have been neighbors for centuries, and as a child the tomboyish Billie ran wild with Edward and Andrew. Either one would make a perfect husband… someday.

Sometimes you fall in love with exactly the person you think you should…

Or not.

There is only one Rokesby Billie absolutely cannot tolerate, and that is George. He may be the eldest heir to the earldom, but he’s arrogant, annoying, and she’s absolutely certain he detests her. Which is perfectly convenient, as she can’t stand the sight of him, either.

But sometimes fate has a wicked sense of humor…

Because when Billie and George are quite literally thrown together, a whole new sort of sparks begins to fly. And when these lifelong adversaries finally kiss, they just might discover that the one person they can’t abide is the one person they can’t live without…

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A House for Happy Mothers by Amulya Malladi
Release Date: May 3, 2016

I’ve read and loved all five of her books. A Breath of Fresh Air is an especial favorite. It makes me cry every time I read it. So I was thrilled when Amulya Malladi announced the publication of this sixth novel on her blog.

The Blurb:

Mothers_MalladiA stunning new novel—full of wit and warmth—from the bestselling author of The Mango Season.

In trendy Silicon Valley, Priya has everything she needs—a loving husband, a career, and a home—but the one thing she wants most is the child she’s unable to have. In a Southern Indian village, Asha doesn’t have much—raising two children in a tiny hut, she and her husband can barely keep a tin roof over their heads—but she wants a better education for her gifted son. Pressured by her family, Asha reluctantly checks into the Happy Mothers House: a baby farm where she can rent her only asset—her womb—to a childless couple overseas. To the dismay of friends and family, Priya places her faith in a woman she’s never met to make her dreams of motherhood come true.

Together, the two women discover the best and the worst that India’s rising surrogacy industry has to offer, bridging continents and cultures to bring a new life into the world—and renewed hope to each other.

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Britt Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman
Release Date: May 10, 2016

A sequel to My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, which I adored.  Sign me up.

The Blurb:

Britt-Marie_BlackmanFrom the bestselling author of the “charming debut” (People) A Man Called Ove and My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, a heartwarming and hilarious story of a reluctant outsider who transforms a tiny village and a woman who finds love and second chances in the unlikeliest of places.

Britt-Marie can’t stand mess. She eats dinner at precisely the right time and starts her day at six in the morning because only lunatics wake up later than that. And she is not passive-aggressive. Not in the least. It’s just that sometimes people interpret her helpful suggestions as criticisms, which is certainly not her intention.

But at sixty-three, Britt-Marie has had enough. She finally walks out on her loveless forty-year marriage and finds a job in the only place she can: Borg, a small, derelict town devastated by the financial crisis. For the fastidious Britt-Marie, this new world of noisy children, muddy floors, and a roommate who is a rat (literally), is a hard adjustment.

As for the citizens of Borg, with everything that they know crumbling around them, the only thing that they have left to hold onto is something Britt-Marie absolutely loathes: their love of soccer. When the village’s youth team becomes desperate for a coach, they set their sights on her. She’s the least likely candidate, but their need is obvious and there is no one else to do it.

Thus begins a beautiful and unlikely partnership. In her new role as reluctant mentor to these lost young boys and girls, Britt-Marie soon finds herself becoming increasingly vital to the community. And even more surprisingly, she is the object of romantic desire for a friendly and handsome local policeman named Sven. In this world of oddballs and misfits, can Britt-Marie finally find a place where she belongs?

Zany and full-of-heart, Britt-Marie Was Here is a novel about love and second chances, and about the unexpected friendships we make that teach us who we really are and the things we are capable of doing.

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The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin
Release Date: May 24, 2015

Finally, the third and final book in Cronin’s The Passage Trilogy.  Testimony to just how awesome The Passage was, because I continue to anticipate The City of Mirrors even though The Twelve sucked.

The Blurb:

Mirrors_CroninIn life I was a scientist called Fanning.

Then, in a jungle in Bolivia, I died.

I died, and then I was brought back to life…

Prompted by a voice that lives in her blood, the fearsome warrior known as Alicia of Blades is drawn towards to one of the great cities of The Time Before. The ruined city of New York. Ruined but not empty. For this is the final refuge of Zero, the first and last of The Twelve. The one who must be destroyed if mankind is to have a future.

What she finds is not what she’s expecting.

A journey into the past.

To find out how it all began.

And an opponent at once deadlier and more human than she could ever have imagined.

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Allegiance of Honor by Nalini Singh
Release Date: June 14, 2015

All I really needed to be seized with an avid desire to read this was the word “pupcubs”, which Ms. Singh uttered in relation to this book during the Google Hangout she had back in October of last year. Sold! Everything, and everyone, else is icing.

The Blurb:

Allegiance_SinghThe “unparalleled romantic adventure”* of Nalini Singh’s New York Times bestselling series continues as a new dawn begins for the Psy-Changeling world…

The Psy-Changeling world has undergone a staggering transformation and now stands at a crossroads. The Trinity Accord promises a new era of cooperation between disparate races and groups. It is a beacon of hope held together by many hands: Old enemies. New allies. Wary loners.

But a century of distrust and suspicion can’t be so easily forgotten and threatens to shatter Trinity from within at any moment. As rival members vie for dominance, chaos and evil gather in the shadows and a kidnapped woman’s cry for help washes up in San Francisco, while the Consortium turns its murderous gaze toward a child who is the embodiment of change, of love, of piercing hope: A child who is both Psy…and changeling.

To find the lost, protect the vulnerable—and save Trinity—no one can stand alone. This is a time of loyalty across divisions, of bonds woven into the heart and the soul, of heroes known and unknown standing back to back and holding the line. But is an allegiance of honor even possible with traitors lurking in their midst?

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2015: Reading Year in Review

Watchman_LeeFor once, I agree with my fellow readers at Goodreads.  Without a doubt, the best book I read in 2015 was Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman.  It really resonated with me emotionally.  I sat there and sobbed through the entirety of Chapter 8.  It’s like I was Jean Louise, in those moments, drowning in a storm of grief and rage.  I still get a little steamed when I think about it.

My other top 10 reads for the year are:

The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion – I loved these books. Don Tillman, professor of genetics, and all around brainiac finds social interaction and emotional situations difficult to say the least. But he has decided it’s time for him to find a wife. He chooses to go about this using logic. That is a list of criteria, some of which he’s willing to be slightly flexible about, but which don’t take into account the fact the woman may have her own set of criteria. Emotion fits nowhere in this search. That is until he meets Rosie. Then everything changes and he has to find ways to adapt. This is often both hilarious and painful to watch. Even after he wins Rosie, Don continues to struggle, especially when others are added to the equation.

Souls_HarufOur Souls at Night by Kent Haruf – Haruf’s final novel gives us a last, wonderful visit with our  friends in Holt, Colorado. This one is about two older people, widowed, who come together in friendship in order to alleviate their loneliness. But this somewhat unorthodox friendship gradually grows into something more. However, others do not approve and try to tear them apart. Add in a neglected little boy and a dog and you have an emotionally wrenching read. Though I remember being not wholly satisfied with the ending.

The Truth According To Us by Annie Barrows – A thoroughly enjoyable second adult novel from the coauthor of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, The Truth According To Us takes us to a small town in West Virginia during the Great Depression where things are not what they seem. I couldn’t help but like and loathe the villain at the same time. The resolution of the conflict is rather obvious from early on, but the telling of it is vastly entertaining.

Honey_GanesanAs Sweet as Honey by Indira Ganesan – This story is told by Meterling’s young niece, Mina, as Mina and her cousins, all children, try to puzzle out exactly what’s happening to their beloved aunt in the strange world of adults.  An unusually tall South Asian woman, Meterling finds love long after she was considered to be “on the shelf” with a short, slightly rotund Englishman who promptly drops dead during their first dance.  Amidst the scandal of a pregnancy and a courtship, Meterling tries to find her place within two very different societies.

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman – Elsa, a very intelligent almost-eight-year-old girl has been tasked with a difficult mission.  In a series of letters, her beloved Grandmother, who has recently died of cancer, asks her to apologize on her behalf to a number of people.  Grandma was, shall we say, unorthodox.  Some would say crazy.  My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry is a wonderfully sad, wonderfully hilarious read.

Upstairs_ZakariaThe Upstairs Wife: An Intimate History of Pakistan by Rafia Zakaria – This a story of separation. Of a marriage, and of a country. The Partition of India and Pakistan was a difficult, painful process that, in many ways, is ongoing. Then, when you add in the divorce between Pakistan and Bangladesh, it gets even more complicated. More messy. The joys and pains of these separations is mirrored in the marriage of Amina and Sohail. They don’t divorce, but he takes a second wife. Amina moves upstairs while the second wife takes the downstairs and Sohail splits his time between them in a weird kind of custody agreement with which no one is really happy or satisfied. The Upstairs Wife is a complex, emotional, story of a nation and a family.

2Y8M28N_RushdieTwo Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie – Based loosely on The Thousand and One Nights, Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights, is an epic ride from one of the masters of magical realism. With skill and imagination he tells us of the Strangenesses and the War of the Worlds which followed. How the Lightning Princess and the Grand Ifrits battled over the fate of our world while dead philosophers argued about faith and science, terrorism and logic in their graves. Dust arguing passionately with dust.

The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks – The story of David, shepherd, warrior, poet, and king as told by Pulitzer Prize winning author, Geraldine Brooks. And, I must say, she does it with style and skill. I wondered what happened next, even though I know very well what, according to the Bible, happened next. If that isn’t a sign of a good book, then I don’t know what is.Bourbon_Ward

I’d say the award, if you can call it that, for worst book would have to go to J. R. Ward’s The Bourbon Kings.  What does anyone see in that book?  I can’t say I like anyone in that family or that I really care what happens to them next.  I was also hugely disappointed in Jacquelyn Frank’s Nightwalker.  It just kind of fell flat.  The epic battle wasn’t all that epic and, as an ending to a series, or three, it was unsatisfying to say the least.

How about y’all.  Read anything awesome in 2015?  Or just plain horrible?