The Temptation of Forgiveness – Donna Leon

Temptation of ForgivenessCommissario Guido Brunetti is sympathetic when his wife’s friend comes to him. She is afraid that her son is using drugs, needs someone to listen to her fears, and hopes that someone can help. Unfortunately, Brunetti must tell her that there is nothing he can do. But when the husband of the friend is found at the foot of a bridge with a head injury leaving him in a coma, Brunetti investigates the possibility that drugs could be involved. As far as I’m concerned the mystery takes second place to the descriptions of life in Venice. It’s so laid back, with long lunches at home, walks by the canals, conversations with family. The characters feel real. They are flawed, vulnerable, muddling along as best they can. As are we all. I thoroughly enjoy these books and they don’t need to be read in sequence.

eGalley review                                               Publication date 3.20.18

Posted in adult, mystery, Uncategorized | Tagged ,

The Bishop’s Pawn – Steve Berry

Bishop's PawnThis story starts 18 years ago, when Cotton Malone was a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy, Judge Advocate General’s Corps, in Mayport Florida, a lawyer. Predictably, it starts with Cotton in deep trouble and predictably he is bailed out by a stranger, a woman named Stephanie Nelle. So begins Cotton’s first job for Magellan Billet. It was to be simple. Retrieve a case containing a rare coin worth millions from a sunken ship. Not a problem. But he soon learns that he hasn’t been told the whole story, a story with more twists and turns than a mountain road. A story about a conspiracy, a conspiracy surrounding the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. I love the Cotton Malone books. The history is accurate (mostly) and the locales are beautifully described. The action is non-stop. That is true of this one. So I can’t understand why it didn’t wow me as usual. It is still a good read, and I still enjoyed it. Just not quite as much.

eGalley review                             Publication date 3.20.18

Posted in adult, mystery, Uncategorized | Tagged ,

Disappointment River: Finding and Losing the Northwest Passage – Brian Castner

Disappointment RiverThe indigenous people in the upper middle basin know it as Deh Cho. Those of the lower interior bush, the Nagwichoonjik, the Inut at the river’s end, the Kuukpak. All are a variation of Big River. It is the second longest in North America, eleven hundred miles. Today we call it the Mackenzie. The Northwest Passage, the water route through North America. It just had to be there, and the one who finally found it would be rich and famous. Alexander Mackenzie was very sure that the river described by the Red Knife Indians was the one. It was reported to be enormous and went forever into the setting sun. So the North West Company sent Mackenzie to lead an expedition. This is a fascinating book, for Brian Castner sets out to follow Mackenzie’s route in a two man canoe, and the chapters about Mackenzie are interspersed with descriptions of Castner’s trip. It’s a fine biography of Alexander Mackenzie, carefully researched and full of detail and it’s a great tale of adventure on an unforgiving river. Two books for the price of one . . . can’t beat that.

eGalley review                                       Publication date 3.13.18

Posted in adult, adventure, biography, nonfiction, Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

To Kill A Kingdom – Alexandra Christo

To Kill A KingdomFrom the publisher, “Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most–a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen and or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby–it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good–But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?” 

This is not a twist of the traditional Little Mermaid as I have read in comments by others.  There are mermaids and sirens, and a prince that is to be killed but that’s about all the stories have in common.  The brutal undersea kingdom of the sirens is exquisitely described by the author.  The sirens don’t just drown sailors.  The goal is to kill the victim while the heart is still beating, torn from the chest by sharp fingernails.  The story is told in alternating voices of Lira, siren turned human, and Prince Elian.  This technique allows the reader to better understand each character, particularly Lira’s dilemma. It’s difficult to not like them both and root for a happy ending.  To Kill a Kingdom is a well-crafted story:  brisk pace, action, adventure, violence and a bit of romance.  I look forward to more from this author.  Highly recommend.

eGalley review                                                      Publication date 3.6.18

Posted in fantasy, highly recommend, Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

The Eight Mountains – Paolo Cognetti

The Eight MountainsPietro’s father loves the mountains as an escape from Milan. So one summer the family rents a little house in the village of Grana in the Dolomites. There his father would go into the mountains like a man on a mission, climbing headlong, racing uphill. Stopping was forbidden, as were complaints about hunger or cold. Yet Pietro longed to climb with him, to win his approval. But it just wasn’t to be. Pietro had altitude sickness. So Pietro became friends with another lonely boy, a local boy, a cowherd. The family returns every year and the boys develop a close friendship, become brothers . As the years pass we get glimpses of the boys growing up, becoming men. Even as their paths diverge, Pietro living all over the world, Bruno staying in the mountains, their friendship remains strong. This is a beautiful book with descriptive, lyrical writing. A simple story, yet moving. It is the winner Italy’s 2017 Strega Prize. I enjoyed it very much.

eGalley review                          Publication date 3.20.18

Posted in adult, fiction, Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

Honor Among Thieves – Rachel Caine and Anne Aguirre

Honor Among ThievesFrom the publisher, “Petty criminal Zara Cole has a painful past that’s made her stronger than most, which is why she chose life in New Detroit instead moving with her family to Mars. In her eyes, living inside a dome isn’t much better than a prison cell.

Still, when Zara commits a crime that has her running scared, jail might be exactly where she’s headed. Instead Zara is recruited into the Honors, an elite team of humans selected by the Leviathan—a race of sentient alien ships—to explore the outer reaches of the universe as their passengers.

Zara seizes the chance to flee Earth’s dangers, but when she meets Nadim, the alien ship she’s assigned, Zara starts to feel at home for the first time. But nothing could have prepared her for the dark, ominous truths that lurk behind the alluring glitter of starlight.”

I enjoyed this science fiction romp.  I would have preferred a bit less time at the beginning because I was eager for them to get to space and explore the galaxy.  But we did get to know Zara and part of why she was chosen to be an Honor and travel with Nadim, a young Leviathan.  Zara and Nadim connect quickly and that close bond was well written.  The reader is kept guessing about the true motive behind the Leviathan partnering with humans.  While the idea of traveling inside a living being is not new, this is a fine addition to this particular subgenre.  An engaging, enjoying ride into the depths of the galaxies.

eGalley review                                         Publication date 2.13.18

Posted in adventure, science fiction, Uncategorized

Winterfolk – Janel Kolby

WinterfolkAt one time, when Rain was a little child, she had a home and a mother.  Then she and her father lived in a car.  Now, they live in a tent in the woods outside of Seattle where they have been for several years.  Rain has learned to stay quiet and hidden to not bring attention to herself and the others who live in the woods.  One day, the city puts up notices that everyone will be banned from the woods and Rain’s future is more unsettled than ever.

The author focuses on one day in Rain’s life.  King, who protects and provides for Rain, takes Rain into Seattle for a shower, laundry, and food.  She experiences riding a bus for the first time and a visit to the public library.  All does not go as planned.  The two are chased and separated.  Rain runs from those that would help her.  The author guides the reader into seeing the world through the very sheltered and unaware life of teenager Rain.  It is a quick read but good and tells a story worth telling.

eGalley review                                           Publication date 2.6.18

Posted in gentle reader, realistic fiction, Uncategorized | Tagged