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It’s Monday! What are you reading? (26) November 12, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in Book talk.
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First off! Happy Veterans Day a day late! Thanks to all the past and present men and women who have preserved the freedoms our country has so often taken for granted. I read a funny tweet yesterday. It went something like this, “Hug a veteran. They may think you’re crazy but they’ll go to bed with a smile on their face.” Okay it wasn’t that funny, but the sentiment was sweet.

So go forth and hug a veteran on my behalf! 😉

On to our regular business!

This Monday meme is held by the The Book Journey. Feel free to join in and tell us what you’re reading!

Title: Duchess of the Shallows

Author: Neil McGarry and Daniel Ravipnto

Available at: Kindle Barnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

A game is played in the fog-shrouded city of Rodaas, and every citizen, from the nameless of the Shallows to the noblest of the Garden, is a player or a pawn. And no one is as he appears.

Not Minette, brothel-keeper and obsessive collector of secrets. Not Uncle Cornelius, fearsome chief of the gang of brutes and murderers known as the Red. Not the cults of Death, Wisdom, and Illumination, eternally scheming and plotting along the Godswalk.

And certainly not the orphaned bread girl known as Duchess.

Yet armed with nothing more than her wits, her good friend Lysander and a brass mark of dubious origin Duchess will dare to play that game for the most coveted of prizes: initiation into a secret society of thieves, spies and rumormongers who stand supreme in a city where corruption and lies are common coin.

The Grey.

Can you say reading slump? I know everyone is probably tired of hearing about this book. The difference this time is that instead of saying that I’m going to read this book, I actually am reading this book. I like it too. It’s just that I really am in a reading slump. I’m having a hard time concentrating and I’m easily distracted. It might be because I haven’t been getting enough sleep. I’ve also started painting again. That seems to have taken my focus away from reading. Hopefully this week will be a better reading week.

Title: Days of Blood and Starlight

Author: Laini Taylor

Available at: Amazon Kindle Barnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster’s apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

I’ll be reading this after The Duchess of the Shallows and if there’s any book that can pull be out of my reading slump, it’s this book. I really can’t wait to read it. Karou is one of my favorite characters. I love how she so easily adapts to each situation and she’s just such a strong person. She has her vulnerable moments but that makes her all the more appealing.

Need. To. Read. This. Book.

I just need to get out of this stinky reading slump first. Has anyone else been in a slump like this before? What have you done to pull out of it?

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Stacking the Shelves (22) November 10, 2012

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by TyngaReviews.com and is a book haul post to show off everything you purchased or received for review

.

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

Gravity (The Taking) by Melissa West

Shadowland by C. M. Gray

The Steel Queen by Karen Azinger

This week I got the much awaited Days of Blood and Starlight, the second book in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. I loved the first book, Daughter of Smoke and Bone. You can read my review here. I can’t wait to read the second book. I didn’t even bother to see what it was about. I want to go in completely blind.

The next two books I got were free. Gravity is a science fiction book about a girl who breaks a pact with “Ancients”.  that leads her on a path of adventure and thrills. Shadowland is a King Arthur book. I like King Arthur books. They’re like fairy tale retellings. It’ll be interesting to see which direction this author takes.

The Steel Queen is a book submission. I read a sample and I quickly became engrossed. Some of the reviewers likened the book to a G. R.R. Martin book. I’ve never read Martin so I won’t be able to make that comparison. I still look forward to reading it.

One last thing, R. T. Kaelin is compiling an anthology of short stories. The proceeds of the sales will go to the survivors of Superstorm Sandy. While the authors are working on the stories, they’ve set up a site at IndieGoGo to gather donations. Hopefully he’ll email me when the compilation is complete, in the meantime you can pre-order the compilation at that site.

That’s it for me! Have a great weekend! See you next Saturday for Stacking the shelves!

Throwback Thursday (19) November 8, 2012

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Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books.

It’s the nature of book blogging to focus mainly on new releases, but there are thousands of great books out there that haven’t seen the “New Releases” shelf in years. We hope to be able to bring attention to some older titles that may not be at the top of the current bestseller list, but still deserve a spot in your To-Be-Read pile.

You don’t have to be a book blogger to participate! You can put up a Throwback Thursday post on your non-bookish blog; or if you don’t have a blog at all, just use the comments to tell us about a book you remember fondly.

Here’s how it works:
1. Pick any book released more than 5 years ago. Adult, YA, Children’s; doesn’t matter. Any great book will do.
2. Write up a short summary of the book (include the title, author, and cover art) and an explanation of why you love it. Make sure to link back to The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books in your post.
3. Link up your post at The Housework Can Wait or Never Too Fond of Books.
4. Visit as many blogs as you can, reminisce about books you loved, and discover some “new” books for your TBR list!

Title: Dragonflight

Author: Anne McCaffery

Original Publication Date: 1968

Available at: Amazon Kindle Barnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

HOW CAN ONE GIRL SAVE AN ENTIRE WORLD?

To the nobles who live in Benden Weyr, Lessa is nothing but a ragged kitchen girl. For most of her life she has survived by serving those who betrayed her father and took over his lands. Now the time has come for Lessa to shed her disguise—and take back her stolen birthright.

But everything changes when she meets a queen dragon. The bond they share will be deep and last forever. It will protect them when, for the first time in centuries, Lessa’s world is threatened by Thread, an evil substance that falls like rain and destroys everything it touches. Dragons and their Riders once protected the planet from Thread, but there are very few of them left these days. Now brave Lessa must risk her life, and the life of her beloved dragon, to save her beautiful world. . . .

Dragonflight is the first book in Anne McCaffery’s epic Pern series which spanned decades. It was one of the first fantasy books I read with a female protagonist. I didn’t have much experience with them so I didn’t think much of the faults that I would later reflect on when I reread it, which I did earlier this year. You can read my review here.

What I didn’t like about the book was the misogynistic roles the women had, but what I probably should take into account when I read this book is when this book was written. Feminism was a radical extremist group in 1968 and McCaffery may not have wanted to turn readers away. I can’t say for sure what her motives were but women’s rights weren’t a given. It was a relatively new thing.

Taking all that into consideration this is a very good book. It has dragons with a symbiotic relationship with humans. They are the  saviors of the planet! How much sweeter could it get? And Lessa? She ends up saving them all. So she does end up with much more power then she originally had. I think it’s McCaffery’s sneaky way of giving women their due.

When I read this in January I hadn’t reflected on all this to this extent. If I had I would have given it a much higher rating. I might have to go back and edit my review!

And now for this important message… November 7, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in News.
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*Image  courtesy of Terrill Welch

It had to happen sooner or later.  All the bloggers get it sooner or later. It’s the dreaded burn out. So I’ve come to decision. I’m not going to stop blogging entirely. I’m just going to stop blogging reviews for awhile. I’ll have other goodies blogged instead.

I’m not sure how long this hiatus will be. It all depends on how I feel. Feelings are so darned persnickety! Hopefully it won’t be more then a couple of weeks, but it could be a month or two.

I’ll still be reading! I couldn’t stop reading if my life depended on it. I’ll probably write rough drafts of reviews. Nothing near polished enough to post to the blog.

With the holidays coming up. My painting has taken a backburner and I need to rectify that. I also have another project that take up a lot of my energy. It’s all gotten a bit overwhelming for me.

I hope you’ll have patience with me during my hiatus! Mahalo for your understanding!

Aloha pumehana!

It's Monday! What are you reading? November 5, 2012

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This Monday meme is held by the The Book Journey. Feel free to join in and tell us what you’re reading!

Title: The Portal

Author: Alan Zendall

Available at: Kindle Barnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

Harry Middleton is born in an America staggered by a century of decline, a time of medical and technological marvels beyond the reach of most people in a shattered economy. Pessimism and despair are more common than optimism and hope, and a desperate government bets the future on space.  The lunar and Martian colonies have not provided the hoped-for salvation, so despite an angry, disillusioned public, the first star mission will soon be launched.

Harry is a special child, smart, precocious, his only confidante an embittered grandfather.  When the old man dies, Harry is lost, until he meets Lorrie.  At thirteen, they bond, certain they’ll spend their lives together, but a year later, she disappears, and Harry is desolate.

With help from his friend Carlos, Harry begins a quest to find her, but he quickly learns how powerless he is.  Even the police lack the resources to help.  Harry and Carlos can only depend on themselves and each other.  An unlikely duo, Harry is an academic prodigy while Carlos is a stud athlete.  Realizing that school and baseball are their  tickets out of the morass they’re caught in, they inspire each other to greatness in both.

Trying to move on with his life, Harry has a college sweetheart, but as long as Lorrie haunts him, he knows the relationship is doomed.  He gains celebrity and wealth, but the thing Harry wants most, finding and saving Lorrie from whatever fate took her from him remains beyond his reach.  And always, in the background, are the deteriorating state of the country and the coming star missions.

And of course, there’s the Portal.

I’m still reading this book because I didn’t get much reading time last week. I had a hard time reading the last book so it took me awhile to get through it. I’m really enjoying this one though! It’s got baseball in it. Futuristic baseball! I’m a huge baseball fan. I watch nearly all the Angels games during the season. The writing is smooth and easy as well. It’s easy to get into this book.

Title: Duchess of the Shallows

Author: Neil McGarry & Daniel Ravipinto

Available at: Kindle Barnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

A game is played in the fog-shrouded city of Rodaas, and every citizen, from the nameless of the Shallows to the noblest of the Garden, is a player or a pawn. And no one is as he appears.

Not Minette, brothel-keeper and obsessive collector of secrets. Not Uncle Cornelius, fearsome chief of the gang of brutes and murderers known as the Red. Not the cults of Death, Wisdom, and Illumination, eternally scheming and plotting along the Godswalk.

And certainly not the orphaned bread girl known as Duchess.

Yet armed with nothing more than her wits, her good friend Lysander and a brass mark of dubious origin Duchess will dare to play that game for the most coveted of prizes: initiation into a secret society of thieves, spies and rumormongers who stand supreme in a city where corruption and lies are common coin.

The Grey.

I’m really hoping I can get to this book this week. I didn’t have time last week.

That’s what I’m reading this week! I hesitate to put a third book up. I don’t have much reading time this week. I’m going to be spending some time with my mother!

It’s Monday! What are you reading? November 5, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in Book talk.
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This Monday meme is held by the The Book Journey. Feel free to join in and tell us what you’re reading!

Title: The Portal

Author: Alan Zendall

Available at: Kindle Barnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

Harry Middleton is born in an America staggered by a century of decline, a time of medical and technological marvels beyond the reach of most people in a shattered economy. Pessimism and despair are more common than optimism and hope, and a desperate government bets the future on space.  The lunar and Martian colonies have not provided the hoped-for salvation, so despite an angry, disillusioned public, the first star mission will soon be launched.

Harry is a special child, smart, precocious, his only confidante an embittered grandfather.  When the old man dies, Harry is lost, until he meets Lorrie.  At thirteen, they bond, certain they’ll spend their lives together, but a year later, she disappears, and Harry is desolate.

With help from his friend Carlos, Harry begins a quest to find her, but he quickly learns how powerless he is.  Even the police lack the resources to help.  Harry and Carlos can only depend on themselves and each other.  An unlikely duo, Harry is an academic prodigy while Carlos is a stud athlete.  Realizing that school and baseball are their  tickets out of the morass they’re caught in, they inspire each other to greatness in both.

Trying to move on with his life, Harry has a college sweetheart, but as long as Lorrie haunts him, he knows the relationship is doomed.  He gains celebrity and wealth, but the thing Harry wants most, finding and saving Lorrie from whatever fate took her from him remains beyond his reach.  And always, in the background, are the deteriorating state of the country and the coming star missions.

And of course, there’s the Portal.

I’m still reading this book because I didn’t get much reading time last week. I had a hard time reading the last book so it took me awhile to get through it. I’m really enjoying this one though! It’s got baseball in it. Futuristic baseball! I’m a huge baseball fan. I watch nearly all the Angels games during the season. The writing is smooth and easy as well. It’s easy to get into this book.

Title: Duchess of the Shallows

Author: Neil McGarry & Daniel Ravipinto

Available at: Kindle Barnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

A game is played in the fog-shrouded city of Rodaas, and every citizen, from the nameless of the Shallows to the noblest of the Garden, is a player or a pawn. And no one is as he appears.

Not Minette, brothel-keeper and obsessive collector of secrets. Not Uncle Cornelius, fearsome chief of the gang of brutes and murderers known as the Red. Not the cults of Death, Wisdom, and Illumination, eternally scheming and plotting along the Godswalk.

And certainly not the orphaned bread girl known as Duchess.

Yet armed with nothing more than her wits, her good friend Lysander and a brass mark of dubious origin Duchess will dare to play that game for the most coveted of prizes: initiation into a secret society of thieves, spies and rumormongers who stand supreme in a city where corruption and lies are common coin.

The Grey.

I’m really hoping I can get to this book this week. I didn’t have time last week.

That’s what I’m reading this week! I hesitate to put a third book up. I don’t have much reading time this week. I’m going to be spending some time with my mother!

Stacking the Shelves (21) November 3, 2012

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by TyngaReviews.com and is a book haul post to show off everything you purchased or received for review.


 

The Scourge by A.G. Henley

Robin: Lady of Legend by R.M. Arcejaeger

Iced by Karen Marie Moning

Hide Me Among the Graves by Tim Powers

Demon High by Lori Devoti

Rest for the Wicked by Cate Dean

I got a lot of free books this week and I bought a few, some were on sale, one was a preorder. The Scourge was a freebie and it looks really good. It’s about a blind girl who is treasured by her culture. It’s about how she falls in love with someone she’s not supposed to and about the strange creatures, called The Scourge that her community has to face.

Robin: Lady of Legend is actually a tale about Robin Hood. Only it supposes that Robin Hood is a woman. I was intrigued by this supposition so I immediately downloaded it. Hopefully the writing doesn’t disappoint me.

Iced is the book I preordered. There are Unseelie Fae in it and I love tales about the Fae! Hide Me Among the Graves is a vampire novel set in supernatural Victorian London. That’s another love of mine, Victorian London. I have many loves.

Demon High is about a girl who has a talent for demon calling. She’s forced to use that talent even though it drove her mother into Hell.  Rest for the Wicked is a novella about a witch. She gets involved with a man who she finds out is controlled by someone that is out to get her. There’s a Djinn and a demon in it so it should be fun.

Those are the books I got this week! See you next week for Stacking the Shelves!

Guest Post – Chris Strange November 2, 2012

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We’re going to switch things up a little with a guest post. I’m delighted to have Chris Strange, the author of The Man Who Crossed Worlds and Don’t Be a Hero doing the honors.

Pop Culture and the Superhero

by Chris Strange

In the early hours of June 18th, 1938, a young magazine vendor somewhere in America stacked his newsstand shelves with the first issue of a new comic book from National Periodical Publications. In Europe, war was rumbling on the horizon. The shadow of the Great Depression still lingered throughout the world. Like many, the young magazine vendor was looking for hope. He didn’t find it in the newspapers, so he turned to the new comic book he was putting on the shelf.

This new book was reminiscent of the pulps, but it was unlike anything he’d seen before. On the cover was a man dressed in tights like a circus strongman, a red cape billowing behind him. This caped man was effortlessly holding a car above his head, smashing it against a boulder. Around him, other men ran screaming, driven mad by the sight of this tights-wearing car-smasher. Who was this caped man, and what did he have against cars? There was nothing to indicate whether the man was a hero or a villain. The screaming men carried no weapons or bags of loot to indicate they were mobsters. The caped man’s expression was neither gleeful villainy nor a heroic grin, just a look of determination. Aside from the date and the issue number, the only text on the cover was the title of the series, Action Comics, and an “S” emblazoned on the caped man’s chest. This striking image was the world’s first look at Superman.

The superhero had been born.

The superhero, born from the pulp magazines of the twenties and thirties, was more than human. He was brave, powerful, often gruff, but most importantly, he was good. No one could have predicted how successful this new type of hero would become. Superman’s creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, certainly didn’t. They sold the rights for Superman to Action Comics for a mere $130. But Superman was so successful that he soon got his own self-titled comic book. More heroes followed. Less than a year later, the hero known as “The Bat-Man” graced the cover of Detective Comics #27, another comic book from the same company. The immense success of these early superheroes bred hundreds of imitators. Soon, comic books were filled with these strange, cape-wearing heroes. America was enthralled.  Other Western countries soon caught superhero fever as well.

The early heroes were not without their faults; looking back now it is easy to see the influence of a culture that embraced the idea of a masculine white male upholding Western values. But in spite of this—or perhaps because of it—the heroes thrived. Though the comics were for children, these were truly heroes for the working man living in the shadow of the Great Depression. The heroes were always ready to root out corrupt politicians and take down criminals who preyed on hard-working citizens. But the world was about to change, and the heroes were needed elsewhere.

In 1939, the world went to war again. People were no longer  afraid of gangsters and corrupt politicians. They were afraid of armies marching through their homelands and bombs flattening their cities. As they would do time and again throughout their long history, superheroes went to fight what society feared the most. Characters like Superman shipped out for Europe and the Pacific, fighting the Axis powers (or at least their racist caricatures). New wartime heroes appeared, Captain America among them. Patriotism was the new cultural zeitgeist, and the heroes led the way. The scene in the new Captain America movie where Cap sings and dances to sell war bonds isn’t too far from the reality of those wartime comics.

When the war was over and the heroes came home, they found a new challenge waiting for them. With a generation of children raised without fathers, the  world had become fearful again, and the new horrors were juvenile delinquency and sexual deviancy. To save itself from the fire-and-pitchfork wielding mob, the comics industry adopted the now infamous Comics Code. Statutes of the code included:

“Crimes shall never be presented in such a way as to create sympathy for the criminal, to promote distrust of the forces of law and justice, or to inspire others with a desire to imitate criminals.”

“Inclusion of stories dealing with evil shall be used or shall be published only where the intent is to illustrate a moral issue and in no case shall evil be presented alluringly, nor so as to injure the sensibilities of the reader.”

And of course: “Sex perversion or any inference to same is strictly forbidden.”

With the new restrictions, the popularity of the superhero dropped sharply. To stay in business while remaining completely inoffensive, superhero stories became increasingly silly. Luckily, the psychedelic sixties were fast approaching, and some superheroes found a new way to reflect culture. The rise of the atomic age brought along a new wave of heroes with powers derived from science and radiation: the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man, the X-Men. This was also the age of the Adam West Batman TV show, which many modern superhero lovers accuse of betraying Batman’s grim nature. But the TV show’s popularity carried the Dark Knight through a time when superheroes were at risk of becoming no more than a cultural footnote, and without it Batman wouldn’t be the pop culture phenomenon he is today.

Like Batman, Superman weathered the hard times and remained part of popular culture, even starring in several movies that hit it big in the box office. Other heroes were not so lucky. As the decades rolled on and the Comics Code lost its teeth, the other superheroes began the long climb back into the public consciousness.  As society became more cynical again, so did the hero. More and more anti-heroes began to emerge, including the Punisher, Wolverine, and the freshly de-camped Batman. And at the height of the Regan Era, Alan Moore’s genre-changing Watchmen came onto the scene. The heroes in the Watchmen universe were the very antithesis of the Comics Code: sociopathic, violent, antisocial, and sexually depraved. The superhero had become what everyone feared he would.

It was  nearly a decade until superheroes found their idealistic origins again. As Batman’s popularity continued to rise with the success of Tim Burton’s movies and the Batman Animated Series, the public once again embraced the brightly colored spandex-wearing heroes who weren’t afraid to stand up for what was right. After years of deconstruction, creators were reconstructing the hero, creating new universes such as Kurt Busiek’s Astro City. The superhero exploded out of comics and into movies and TV shows. Their images were plastered across T-shirts, lunchboxes, video games. The Internet gave the superhero a new way to spread through the culture, reaching people who would never pick up a comic book.

Now thousands of people each year attend Comic-Cons dressed up as their favorite superheroes. Incredibly, Marvel’s The Avengers has grossed $1.5 billion internationally at the box office. For a superhero movie to become one of the highest grossing films of all time was unthinkable just a few decades ago. Somehow, against the odds, the superhero has emerged as one of the strongest pop culture icons of our time. And he doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.

Something about the superhero enchants us, crossing lines of nationality, age, and gender. Perhaps it is the power fantasy, or perhaps  the desire for protection and security in an uncertain world. Perhaps we just like watching living gods beat the snot out of each other. Or maybe we’re not that different from that magazine vendor back in 1938. Maybe all we’re looking for is a little hope, a little reassurance that no matter how dark it gets, there will always be someone there to carry us through.

Maybe we simply want someone to fight for truth, justice, and all that other stuff.

Thanks to Chris Strange for being on the blog! Please visit him on

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Buy Don’t Be a Hero at:

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Throwback Thursday (18) November 1, 2012

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Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books.

It’s the nature of book blogging to focus mainly on new releases, but there are thousands of great books out there that haven’t seen the “New Releases” shelf in years. We hope to be able to bring attention to some older titles that may not be at the top of the current bestseller list, but still deserve a spot in your To-Be-Read pile.

You don’t have to be a book blogger to participate! You can put up a Throwback Thursday post on your non-bookish blog; or if you don’t have a blog at all, just use the comments to tell us about a book you remember fondly.

Here’s how it works:
1. Pick any book released more than 5 years ago. Adult, YA, Children’s; doesn’t matter. Any great book will do.
2. Write up a short summary of the book (include the title, author, and cover art) and an explanation of why you love it. Make sure to link back to The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books in your post.
3. Link up your post at The Housework Can Wait or Never Too Fond of Books.
4. Visit as many blogs as you can, reminisce about books you loved, and discover some “new” books for your TBR list!

Title: Desert Heat

Author: J.A. Jance

Original Publication Date:  1993

Available at: Amazon Kindle Barnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

Life is good for Joanna Brady in the small desert community of Bisbee. She has Jenny, her adored nine-year-old daughter, and solid, honest, and loving husband, Andy, a local lawman who’s running for Sheriff of Cochise County. But her good life explodes when a bullet destroys Andy Brady’s future and leaves him dying beneath the blistering Arizona sun.

The police brass claim that Andy was dirty — up to his neck in drugs and smuggling — and that the shooting was a suicide attempt. Joanna knows a cover-up when she hears one…and murder when she sees it. But her determined efforts to track down an assassin and clear her husband’s name are placing herself and her Jenny in serious jeopardy. Because, in the desert, the truth can be far more lethal than a rattler’s bite.

This is another book that my Mother turned me onto. I’m so glad she did because it has such a likable female protagonist. Jance balances vulnerability and strength well in Joanna Brady. Not only is Joanna grieving the loss of her husband, she’s fighting to clear his good name. As she does so, she ends up having to also fight to save the lives of both herself and her daughter.

The characters I also really appreciated were the parents of Andy. They were truly salt of the earth people. Grounded and comforting, they provided Joanna and Jenny with a lot of support throughout the series. As the books went on I grew to love them more and more.

This is one of those series that gets better as the books go on. If you like mysteries with strong heroines then don’t let this one pass you by!