I’m way behind on my Netgalley reviewing. So I’m going to jump in with some long and some shorts. All these books came off Netgalley.
I’ll start with the book I finished most recently, called A Jury of One by Charlie Cochrane. This is a British police procedural combined with romantic elements as it follows the developing relationship between the detective, Robin and his lover, Adam. They met in the previous book in this series and at this point, they are newly living together.
I really enjoyed this book. It feels very realistic and the mystery and love story elements were both well written. The mystery wasn’t easy to see through, which I like, and there were a lot of possible ways for the investigations to go. There are several crimes that overlap and end up weaving together nicely. The romance between the two men suffers from the problems of new relationships, the uncertainties of each man, a certain amount of jealousy. I thought it was well done.
The only drawback for me, and it wasn’t entirely a drawback, was the extensive use of British slang. Police are known as rozzers, bad guys are scrotes, voicemail is answerphone. A lot of these were easy to figure out in context. Where I stumbled was when I couldn’t sort out the meaning. I thought these words gave a lot of reality to the world, I just wish there weren’t quite so many. Or a glossary. I like a good glossary. So I’d recommend this one. It comes out March 21st.
Another book I finished recently was a romance called Catching Summer by L.P. Dover. It’s contemporary about a woman, Summer, who two years ago witnessed her husband’s murder. She’s now come out of her grief with the help of counseling. A former nurse, she helps run a restaurant with her sister and former brother-in-law. A lot of football players from the local NFL team frequent the restaurant and one, Evan Townsend, has fallen for Summer. He’s not made any moves on her because of her past trauma. So that’s the set up.
I didn’t find this book that successful. I liked Evan and Summer and most of the time I liked their interactions, particularly because they didn’t get stupid for ridiculous reasons. That was a huge plus. What did bother me was the constant use of ‘fuck’ to describe their sexual activities. Not romantic, at least to me. Then there was the schtick where Summer goes back for ‘certification’ to keep her nursing license. She works two weeks with the team doing medical things including relearning CPR and it just seemed completely ridiculous that this would keep her nursing license current. Another thing that bothered me was the beginning which started 2 years previously and then leaped forward. I didn’t find it all that useful and it was really more a distraction.
In the end, while I did want to finish, I kept getting put off and out of the story and it didn’t work as well as I hoped it would for me.
The next book is Love the Witch, Hate the Craft by Nora Lee. This is the first of a series. It’s got a little bit of the feel of a cozy mystery, with magic. The heart of the story is really about a Rowan who’s come home to her town that she swore never to return to, in order to help save the Elder Tree, which is dying. Should it die, so will the town. Stir in the fact that she’s just broken up with her boyfriend and a local warlock has decided he wants to marry her in order to become the head of the coven, and also the fact that her friend’s kid has uncontrollable magic. Rowan is going to be busy.
In general, I liked the story. Rowan is supposed to be taking over the coven at some point because of her family, and she has to want to come back. She gets to see the town and her friends and family with new eyes and of course, everything turns out all right. This is a fairly fluffy book, as you can tell from the cover. It’s a quick read and pretty fun.
This next one is Winter’s Fairytale by Maxine Morrey. This one was fluffy like the last book, and also a romance. Not a great deal of depth, though I enjoyed the interactions between Izzy and Rob. She was jilted by his best friend, and Rob’s been in love with her for long before that. They were friends also, but she’s been unwilling to see him since the wedding, since he got to deliver the bad news and she punched him. She’s embarrassed.
The story begins with a snowstorm that keeps her from getting home to her shady sort of flat where a guy lives who is portrayed as a potential rapist, and at one point he does grab her. She runs into Rob and he takes her home where she stays through the storm and they connect.
Things roll forward and they figure out they’re in love. This is a Christmas story, so the holidays are the backdrop, and the other cast of characters are delightful. Izzy is a wedding dress designer and ends up helping Rob’s sister with her dress last minute.
This book is light reading and fun and a good Christmas story.
I have more to review, so there will be another roundup soon.
I spent the morning doing a lot of outlining work for a short story I’m working on. It’s set in Faith Hunter’s Rogue Mage world (awesome books, btw, if you’ve not read them), and so this requires me to do a lot of research in the world and making sure that I can write the story I want and that I stay within the already designed confines of the world. I figured out a lot of great stuff today and I have a strong idea of most of the story. I hope to write many words tomorrow.
Have you ever gone shopping and bought clothing that you had to take back because it smelled? I bought these jeans that I really liked. But they had a chemical smell to them. I washed them twice, and the smell didn’t even abate a little. That meant I had to take them back today. I suppose it’s good shorts weather is almost here.
Tomorrow I also plan to start some seeds. I haven’t prepared the garden yet, so I’ll get the seeds started now and plant in the ground in a couple weeks.
I came back from the writing retreat having written 32, 281 words in basically 3.5 days. I am completely stunned. I have never written that much in that little time, ever. I worked on the sequel to The Incubus Job (comes out in just six days!!). It’s what you might call a zero draft. That means that I tried to just write story and not worry about the research elements, or making up names for particular people or things, and so on. I just put and asterisk and described what should go there. I’ll be able to search asterisks and fix those, though I’ll probably just end up combing through the whole thing when it’s done and revise and catch them that way.
I never write like that. Devon Monk encouraged me to try and it was kind of freeing. I’m going to use that technique in the next couple days to write an anthology story I have due soon. I doubt I can do 10,000 words a day since I’ve got obligations here that I didn’t have in the rainforest, but I think I could get at least 4 or 5K. If I don’t get bogged down in doing stuff on the net. I’m thinking of getting the Antisocial app, but I’m wondering if there’s a free sort of thing out there that works the same way.
The writers retreat is at The Rainforest Resort Village which sounds a lot less rustic than it actually is. We got to stay in a cabin with a back sliding glass window and deck overlooking a very babbley creek and beyond that, the lake. Geese flew in and out and it was absolutely lovely, even raining most of the time. We had a fire going in the cabin and a little kitchenette, and we hunkered down and wrote like fiends. It was fabulous. I love doing this retreat and plan to go next year, crossing my fingers I register before they sell out.
Once I got back, I had to finish the copy edits on Whisper of Shadows, the next Diamond City Magic book, which will be out April 15. Got that done, then worked on the tax receipts. I always have the best intentions of inputting those receipts into my spreadsheet throughout the year, and I always have to do it right at the end. They were all in one place. I keep a file bin hanging on my wall in my office to stuff them into.
I also went out and bought some manure and worm castings for the garden, along with three plants for the rock garden we hope to put in shortly (we need to create better drainage in that location before we can.) My peonies are all in bloom and so are some other flowers. Plus the crocuses are up and so many. The former owners had planted them and this year some came up where they hadn’t before. I guess the wet this year really helped them.
I’m just about on schedule with my reading for this year. Trying to read at least six books a month, not including my own. Need to finish the one I’m reading–a British police procedural–to get my 12 for the year. I tend to let reading slip when I’m tired or really busy and just veg in front of the TV. I’m trying hard to avoid that and read, which most of the time I enjoy a lot more. A lot of them I get from Netgalley, which lets me discover a wider range of authors than I might ordinarily encounter, and a wider range of topics. So that’s been very nice.
Tomorrow I will head off to the Rainforest Writers Village in the Olympic Rainforest. I’ve done some really good words done the last couple of years there. I’m hoping this one goes even better. My back has been giving me serious pain the last couple of weeks, so I hope it does okay. I see the chiro before I leave tomorrow. Let’s hope that does me really well. I plan to take an ice pack just in case. And ibuprofen.
In the meantime, I’ll remind you to read some good books and eat some good chocolate. Or cake. Or both. And pie. Cherry pie with ice cream.
The connectivity at the retreat is exceedingly bad, so I probably won’t post until I get back. Oh, and I finish the copy edits for Whisper of Shadows. So look for me next week.
Also, I sent a newsletter out last night. If you didn’t get yours, let me know. And check your spam filter.
I’m pleased to announce that Open Road is going to re-release my Path books as ebooks. I don’t know the timetable as of yet, but I will let you know as soon as I do. I will hopefully be able to also put together a print version for those who might want one.
I’m getting nervous, but the good news is that as of today, preorder links are up at Smashwords and Kobo. I’m hoping to have Nook and iBooks up within a few days. Go to the Incubus page for direct links.
I had a good writing day. My back and neck and head are finally starting to improve, thanks to the chiropractor. Though she’s having a hard time with my back because it’s so tight. Tomorrow I will have a massage in order to loosen it enough to adjust. Or so’s my hope.
Anyhow, the good writing day. It was fun. I like it when writing is fun. I was working on the fourth Diamond City Magic book (the third–Whisper of Shadows–will be out in April).
And here’s a little snippet for you from The Incubus Job to whet your appetite:
“Did you know something like that could fit inside such a little skin?” I asked Law, backing up some more. I shoved more energy into my shields and reached down to fiddle with the chain on the nearest goat. I was hoping that once freed, they’d be able to escape.
In the meantime, Hana—or So’la because, let’s face it, Hana was now just a skin suit on the carpet—swelled like one of those sponges that are the size of a postage stamp until you get them wet and they turn into a small car. Its skin was gun-barrel blue, and it appeared to be sheathed inside a thick layer of Vaseline. I was willing to bet that the goo would eat a person’s skin.
And football. The game has been less than interesting. The commercials not particularly funny or entertaining. The halftime show–the Boy of Size and I decided that the boys group was wearing clothes made of shiny plastic bags, and the girls group was wearing purses. I’m not sure which won the dance-off. Lady Gaga rocked the hell out of the national anthem. The nacho cheese dip we made was good, so that’s something. So instead I read. Well, while sort of watching. And now the cheese dip keeps repeating on me, and that is unpleasant. I want fruit salad. With blackberries and blueberries and raspberries. Oh, and fresh peaches. Can I have that please?
I did manage to take a walk in the sunshine today. We’re going to have a few days of it and I’m hoping to get outside and poke around in the garden beds. I’ve got some things blooming already outside–primroses and this other white flower. I love the Daphne bushes. The scent is so lovely.
My head continues to hurt. And weirdly a wrist. No idea what I did there. My head has been hurting for more than a week now. I went to the chiro, but I have to go back because I was too tight to fully adjust. I’m sore from that. I am uncertain if I it’s really the back, if I may be sick, or if my hormones or something are out of wack. I have a doctor’s appointment for next Friday, so if the chiro doesn’t help before, I should find out. I can tolerate a lot of pain. In fact my first back doc, upon seeing the MRI, wondered how come I was still walking around. Even childbirth wasn’t so bad. Though my second back explosion was pure hell. But when it comes to headaches, I’m a total wimp. WIMP. And no painkillers seem to have much impact. Well, it might help more if I actually took them more than once a day, but I don’t want to mask symptoms. If that makes sense. Probably not.
Wonder if Peyton Manning is going to retire.
Oh look, the game is almost over. and the end is foregone now.
I just finished the third book in Lisa Shearin’s SPI files. They are so fun. I read the first one, The Grendel Affair, when it first came out. I bought the second, The Dragon Conspiracy, and then somehow forgot about it. Then The Brimstone Deception came out last month and I realized I had some reading to do. The happy thing is that I had two to read back-to-back and that was so fabulous. The unhappy thing is that I don’t have another to chew through. Damn.
Anyhow, the SPI books take place in New York City and revolve around a supernatural non-official police force. There’s a lot of police procedure, adventure, snark, and a hint of romance. The character interactions are just so much fun. Smart and funny and serious and in the latest book, you get to meet the great great great . . . grandaughter of the witch who built Hansel’s and Gretel’s gingerbread house. Only Kitty’s not a child-eater. You’ve got a wide cast of characters, and a variety of cool stuff going on. I really recommend you just go get all three, stock up on some munchies and your drink of choice, and hunker down for a good long, lovely read. Really.
And then, because she’s just so much fun, watch Jeanne Robertson. A very fun, very clean comedian. You’ll laugh.
Actually two couches, but we have them! After a month without, we have them. And the dogs are so happy. Kids are too. And me too. It’s so very nice to actually have them instead of sitting in camp chairs. It’s like a little miracle!!!
Yeah, I know, lots of exclamation points, but I’m that happy. I can’t even tell you how happy the dogs are. They have us sitting farther back from the TV, which is kind of weird, but there’s a lot more open room on the floor for the dogs to wrestle around.
Couches look like leather, but are made from microfiber that apparently will clean up with soap and water. I’m hoping it holds up to kids and dogs. Also, boy of size has grown again. He’s almost 6’3″ I have no idea how that happened. And he’s still going up.
This is oh so cool and now I can make the announcement:
Have you read Faith Hunter‘s Rogue Mage series? If not, you should. It is an amazing trilogy. Except . . . There’s news. The trilogy is getting some extras and I get to be part of it!!!
Anthology Set in the World of Faith Hunter’s Rogue Mage Series
Charlotte, N.C., Feb. 1, 2016
Bella Rosa Books is pleased to announce two e-book anthologies and a trade paperback omnibus set in the world of Faith Hunter’s Rogue Mage series. Editor is Spike Y Jones. Writers contracted to write short stories for the anthologies are: Diana Pharaoh Francis, Lucienne Diver, Tamsin L. Silver, Ken Schrader, Lou J Berger, Christina Stiles, Spike Y Jones, Melissa McArthur, Jean Rabe, Misty Massey, and Faith Hunter.
The two ebooks are titled Trials and Tribulations, and the trade paperback omnibus is titled Triumphant. They will be published by a new line of original and reprinted spec fiction and fantasy, through Bella Rosa Books, called Lore Seekers Press.