Tuesday, April 27, 2021

43. Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare

#1 The Last Hours - Shadowhunters
listened on Libby/borrowed from library
narrated by Finty Williams
Unabridged audio (21:22)
592 pgs.
YA Fantasy
Finished 4/27/2021
Goodreads rating: 4.47 - 53,658 ratings
My rating: 5
Setting: turn-of-the century London

First line/s: "Lucie Herondale was then years old when she first met the boy in the forest."

My comments: Twenty hours listening to the mesmerizing happenings in the Shadowhunters' world, where a new group of 16 to 18 year olds use their newly honed Shadowhunter skills to fight demons and learn more about downworlders.  Cordelia Carstairs and her brother, Alastair, arrive in London to join their Shadowhunter family of cousins, aunts, and uncles who live there.  James and Lucie Herondale, children of Tessa a Will, along with Cordelia, are the protagonists in this story.  Because Tessa is half demon, James and Lucie are adapting to living with the quarter demon blood they have, untried and untested because no other half demons have ever had children.  Matthew Fairchild is James's best friend and parabati, brother to Charles, who is now engaged to Grace, James's long time love - although it is a magical attachment that he is unaware of.  Christopher and Thomas Lightwood, cousins, round out the group of friends.  Characters are really well done and memorable, and the only questions you have about them are questions that have been left intentionally unanswered by the author.  So much will happen in book two!  I really, really liked this.

Goodreads synopsis:  Chain of Gold, a Shadowhunters novel, is the first novel in a brand-new trilogy where evil hides in plain sight and love cuts deeper than any blade. .
          Cordelia Carstairs is a Shadowhunter, a warrior trained since childhood to battle demons. When her father is accused of a terrible crime, she and her brother travel to London in hopes of preventing the family’s ruin. Cordelia’s mother wants to marry her off, but Cordelia is determined to be a hero rather than a bride. Soon Cordelia encounters childhood friends James and Lucie Herondale and is drawn into their world of glittering ballrooms, secret assignations, and supernatural salons, where vampires and warlocks mingle with mermaids and magicians. All the while, she must hide her secret love for James, who is sworn to marry someone else.
          But Cordelia’s new life is blown apart when a shocking series of demon attacks devastate London. These monsters are nothing like those Shadowhunters have fought before—these demons walk in daylight, strike down the unwary with incurable poison, and seem impossible to kill. London is immediately quarantined. Trapped in the city, Cordelia and her friends discover that their own connection to a dark legacy has gifted them with incredible powers—and forced a brutal choice that will reveal the true cruel price of being a hero

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Favorite ADULT Poems

Before You Can by Naomi Shi

Conjuring Nana by Barbara Quick

Everything in Our World Did Not Seem to Fit by Naomi Shihab Nye

For C. W. B. by Elizabeth Bishop

How To Be A Poet by Wendell Berry

I Opened a Book by Julia Donaldson

Neighbor by Jack Merrill (about Ashley Bryan)

Overload by The Only Cin

Prayer in My Boot by Naomi Shihab Nye

The Traveling Onion by Naomi Shihab Nye

Yellow Glove by Naomi Shihab Nye

Poem: Conjuring Nana by Barbara Quick

My wonderful Oz/Maine/Tucson friend, Sheila, sent me a lovely card and a wonderful poem for my upcoming birthday.  I'm sharing them both so they're firmly set in my memory.

                   Conjuring Nana

I learned how to make Nana's chicken soup
by shadowing her steps in the kitchen,
taking notes on a white paper napkin.

A cauldron of sorts is required, as well as a
once-animate chicken submerged above
the stove's blue flame.

"You put in the onions," Nana said,
her Russian accent as fresh as the breeze
must have felt on her face when she debarked
at Ellis Island in 1916 or so.

"How much salt?" I wanted to know --
and when she shrugged I could see
a palimpsest of the girl she was at my age.
The water boiled and the air filled with steam.
Not offering an answer in words,
she poured salt into her upturned palm
and tipped it out into the pot.

No measuring cups for my Nana.
"A little this, a little that" she'd say,
cocking her head, adding a pinch of black pepper
and copious piles of carrots and celery.

I thought about the chestnut-colored braid
my other showed me, wrapped in a piece of sea-green silk.
Nana was beautiful when she was young.  
Everyone said so.

Cleaning a leek, she told me, "I don't know
what it's called, but it makes the soup good."

Sixty-four now and all my elders dead,
I add a parsnip as well, just as I watched Nana do,
and I feel the velvet touch of her hands on my forehead.

All the old people I knew 
spoke English with sounds borrowed
from Russian and Polish, Yiddish and Romanian.
I assumed, as a girl, that I would speak like that, too,
when my hair turned gray and the pads of my thumbs
grew soft and pillowy.

Gathering parsley for the soup from my garden,
I seem to hear Nana saying my name
made rich with her guttural R's and broad A's.
"Bahbra, dahlink!" the birds are singing today.

I boil Manischewitz noodles, only adding them
to the bowl when I ladle out Nana's love.

Golden and gleaming with fat,
as bejeweled as the star-filled sky must have looked
when, shipboard, she tipped her kerchiefed head back
and filled her eyes
with all the dazzling possibilities,
and all the dangers, of a new place,
a new language, a new land.  Her favorite brother
waiting for her with his Romanian wife.
The brother-in-law she'd marry. 

Twenty-seven years following the end
of Nana's life, her love fills me up
and restores me.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Picture Book - The Forest Man: The True Story of Jadav Payeng by Anne Matheson

Illustrated by Kay Widdowson 
found at Amelia Givin Library
2020 FlowerPot Press
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  3.80 - 60 ratings
My rating:  4
Endpapers:  Simple.  White with one-inch yellow grid lines.

1st line/s:  "Jadev Payeng loves trees."

My comments:  Someone called this "a treat for the eyes" and I agree.  How one person took two hours traveling back and forth for forty years to replant and recreate a decimated forest island in India.  The last six pages told of animals, easy-to-follow further facts, and a great glossary.  Perfect for younger classes learning about biomes, or for any age that cares about making the world a better place, and growing trees.
Jadav Payeng

Goodreads:  After years of harsh monsoon seasons, a forest on the river island of Majuli is in danger of being slowly washed away. Jadav, a boy living on the island, is determined to save the forest he loves.
          This is the true story of how one young boy dedicated his life to creating and cultivating an expansive forest that continues to grow to this day. In a world impacted by climate change, Jadav Payeng's inspirational story shows how one person's contributions can make a difference in helping to save our environment.
          Featuring a beautiful arlin paper cover with foil text enhancements and educational back matter including a glossary, fun facts, and resources for further reading, this book introduces a new understanding of our planet and encourages mindfulness and action when it comes to caring for the environment.
          In partnership with Trees for the Future (TREES), each book sold plants a tree.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

42. Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley

A Reese Witherspoon YA Pick
listened on Audible (didn't want to wait for library WL)
narrated by Isabella Star LaBlanc -  Fantastic narrator - whether it be a male voice, a female, Native American inflections, Native American language.  Just wonderful!
Unabridged audio (14:13)
496 pgs.
Finished 4/20/2021
Goodreads rating: 4.48 - 6582 ratings
My rating: 5
Setting: Contemporary shores of Lake Superior, Michigan, on an island and on the mainland

First line/s: "I am a frozen statue of a girl in the woods.  Only my eyes moving, darting from the gun to their startled expression."

My comments: Fantastic narrator, and wow, fantastic story.  Definitely a mystery, definitely a story of family and relationships, great insight into indigenous American thinking both spiritual and historical, and thoughtful, teeth-clenching glimpses into the greed and ravages of methamphetamine.  Incredibly well-told story a bout a super-smart, savvy female athlete advocate for her Ojibwa people. And this Angeline Boulley's DEBUT novel!

Goodreads synopsis:  As a biracial, unenrolled tribal member and the product of a scandal, eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. Daunis dreams of studying medicine, but when her family is struck by tragedy, she puts her future on hold to care for her fragile mother.
          The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother Levi’s hockey team. Yet even as Daunis falls for Jamie, certain details don’t add up and she senses the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into the heart of a criminal investigation.
          Reluctantly, Daunis agrees to go undercover, but secretly pursues her own investigation, tracking down the criminals with her knowledge of chemistry and traditional medicine. But the deceptions—and deaths—keep piling up and soon the threat strikes too close to home.
          Now, Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she'll go to protect her community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Sunday Drive and Colonel Denning State Park

What an incredibly gorgeous SPRING morning!  For a day that was supposed to be overcast, I received a wonderful surprise and decided to take advantage and hit the road for a morning ride..

I headed north on 233 from Newville on Doubling Gap Road.  Farms and homes, some particularly large and beautiful, dotted the landscape.  And then, out of nowhere, I saw signs for Colonel Denning State Park.  I don't think, in all my wanderings, I've been here before!
  • Really nice campground.  
  • No cabins.  
  • Super clean, newish bathroom facilities (no wifi, though)..
  • Beach and great  picnicking.
  • Babbling streams.
  • Waterfall beside the beach.
  • Wifi near park office.
  • In and surrounded by Tuscarora National Forest..
From there I continued along 533, passing through Landisburg, Alinda, Dromgold, and Sherman's Dale before hitting the rotary that leads to Carlisle Springs.
Blue skies, fluffy white clouds, absolutely gorgeous and perfect!!

Saturday, April 17, 2021

41. Shadow Sands by Robert Bryndza

#2 Kate Marshall
listened on Audible
narrated by Kristin Atherton
Unabridged audio (9:46)
384 pgs.
Adult Mystery - Series
Finished 4/17/21
Goodreads rating: 4.30 - 4521 ratings
My rating: 4
Setting: Dartmoor, southern coast of England

First line/s: "Simon gasped and choked on the brackish, freezing water as he swam for his life."

My comments: Kate Marshall and her research assistant, Tristan Harper, set out to find out what happened to an Italian lecturer, Magdalena, who disappeared on Sunday near Shadow Sands Reservoir, where Kater and her son, Jake, had discovered the body of a drowned young man while scuba diving a few months before.  A good followup to the Nine Elms start of the series.  NOTE:  Jake decides to meet his father, the Nine Elms Cannibal, much to his mother's distress.

Goodreads synopsis:  The internationally bestselling author of Nine Elms and The Girl in the Ice is back with a nail-biting new Kate Marshall case, a woman with a dark secret and a powerful sense of justice.
          When Kate Marshall finds the bloated body of a young man floating in the Shadow Sands reservoir, the authorities label it a tragic accident.
          But the details don't add up: why was the victim there, in the middle of the night? If he was such a strong swimmer, how did he drown?
          Kate is certain there is more to this case than meets the eye. As she and her research assistant Tristan Harper dig deeper, they discover a bloody trail that points towards an active serial killer hiding in plain sight. People have been silently disappearing for years, and when another woman is taken, Kate and Tristan have a matter of days to save her from meeting the same fate.

Friday, April 16, 2021

40. A Chance Inheritance by Carolyn Brown

listened on Audible Original
narrated by Brittany Pressley
Unabridged audio (1:51)
100 pgs. (guessing, only on audio)
Adult romance - clean, if I remember correctly...
Finished 4/16/2021
Goodreads rating: 3.50 - 317 ratings
My rating: 3.5
Setting: Pleasant River fishing area, Texas

My comments: A very sweet story about three female cousins and the recently deceased grandmother they all adored.  She had left them equal shares in her baitshop/general store on Pleasant River in Texas.  This story tells about how they gather together after Lizzie's death and decided, together, how to go on while grievine her death together.  There was a fourth major character, a love interest for the eldest cousing named CHRIS ADAMS!!!!

Goodreads synopsis:  What do a runaway bride, a free spirit, and a corporate exec have in common? Besides all being down on their luck, Lainie, Jodi, and Becky are Lizzie Cornell's granddaughters. Upon inheriting their grandmother's home and family bait shop, the three cousins return to Catfish, Texas, grieving Lizzie's passing and hoping to find the fresh start they all need.
          Turns out cohabitating together and running the Catfish Fisherman's Hut isn't at all like the idyllic summers they spent as children on the banks of the Red River. The days are long and hot, the tourists demanding and rude. And then there's Chris, a local river guide who seems to have eyes only for Becky.
          But Lizzie's death has set in motion a chain of events that will cause a new generation of Cornell women to come together. And thanks to this chance inheritance, some local fishermen, and the love of their Granny Lizzie, the Cornell cousins discover that sometimes an ending is really the beginning of a brand-new happily ever after.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

39. Pause by Kylie Scott

listened on Audible/Original
narrated by Andy Arndt
Unabridged audio (6:17)
only on audio - guessing around 225
Adult Romance of the Steamy Variety
Finished 4/15/2021
Goodreads rating: 3.90 - 679 ratings
My rating: 4
Setting: Contemporary USA

My comments: The book cover is deceiving.  This is not how I picture Leif at all - yes, he has long hair and tattoos.....
     Another too-good-to-be-true romance, but particularly well done, I think.  Leif, the male protagonist, was absolutely perfect: wonderful, smart, funny, articulate, built, and handsome.  The way their relationship began,, him rescuing her from a car crash that put her in a coma for seven months, was unusual and a great differenct to most of the silly romances heavy on the steamy parts.  Up to the point of the accident, Anna's marriage has been okay.  But while she's in a coma her husband has an affair with her best friend...yada yada yada...HEA.  Feel good kind of story.  It was narrated by Andy Arndt, one of my very favorite narrators.  Steam factor quite high in places.

Goodreads synopsis:  An unpauseable new romance from New York Times bestselling, Audie Award winning author Kylie Scott!
          When Anna wakes up from a coma after a car crash, she discovers life has gone on without her. Her husband has been unfaithful—with her best friend—and she’s been long since replaced at work. While her old life is a distant memory, her new life feels like an empty shell. Then she meets the stranger who saved her life during the crash, and he changes everything.
          Leif Larsen—tattooist, joker, and player—has his own scars thanks to the crash that put Anna in a coma. Helping her move on from her failed marriage, and create a new life, sounds like a perfect distraction. So when he needs a new roommate, he invites Anna to begin her new life with him.
          Although their lives may have been put on pause, together they just might find a way to heal.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

38. The Letters by Suzanne Woods Fisher

#1 Inn at Eagle Hill
listened on Audible
narrated beautifully by Amy McFadden
Unabridged audio (8:55)
316 pgs.
Adult Amish Romance
Finished 4/13/2021
Goodreads rating: 4.27 - 2420 ratings
My rating: 4
Setting: small town Amish community, PA

First line/s: "The air had the sweet burn of frost.  Long out of habit, even in the winter months, Rose Schrock woke before dawn to carve out a little time for herself before the day began."

My comments: Rose Schrok, the widowed mother of Bethany, Mim, Luke, and Sammy, lives with her crotchety mother-in-law, Vera, next door to a helpful, doting neighbor named Galen King and his sister Naomi.  When she decides to open up a large room in her basement as a bed and breakfast, a woman named Naomi becomes her first customer and stays for awhile. All of these characters live interesting, full lives in the Amish community.  Yes, there's a lot of talk about their relationships with God, but not a lot about the church or the bishop (who in this case seems to be a pretty decent guy) and the very clean love aspects are really quite sweet.  It's a good story with a whole lot more modernism attributed to the Amish community than I have read about before.  And it's supposed to be Old Order Amish, too.  Interesting.  Wonderful characterizations, I really felt I knew all these people quite well.  Beautifully read.

Goodreads synopsis:  Rose Schrock is a plain woman with a simple plan. Determined to find a way to support her family and pay off her late husband's debts, she sets to work to convert the basement of her Amish farmhouse into an inn. While her family, especially her cranky mother-in-law, is unhappy with Rose's big idea, her friend and neighbor, Galen King, supports the decision and he helps with the conversion. As Rose finalizes preparations for visitors, she prays. She asks God to bless each guest who stays at the Inn at Eagle Hill. As the first guest arrives and settles in, Rose is surprised to discover that her entire family is the one who receives the blessings, in the most unexpected ways. And she's even more surprised when that guest decides to play matchmaker for Galen King.
          With her signature plot twists combined with gentle Amish romance, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites readers back to Stoney Ridge for fresh stories of simple pleasures despite the complexity of life. Fisher's tale of God's providence and provision will delight her fans and create many new ones. Welcome to the Inn at Eagle Hill.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

37. Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

listened on Libby/borrowed from the Library
narrated by Helen Duff - wonderful (three different accents, male, female, child seamlessly)
Unabridged audio (10:12)
359 pgs.
Adult Mystery/Thriller
Finished 4/11/2021
Goodreads rating: 4.04 - 266,495 ratings
My rating: 4.5
Setting: contemporary America

First line/s: "Those months, the months before she disappeared, were the best months.  Really.  Just the best."

My comments: Even though you knew pretty much exactly what had happened from very near the beginning of the book, I did enjoy listening to the story unfold in its various voices.  Yes, very sad story for everyone involved, but watching Laurel move through this decade of heartbreak from her point of view was particularly well done, I think.  The only character I didn't feel was as completely created as the rest was that of Floyd, and his part in the story didn't quite make sense to me.  I couldn't put this down.  Wonderful reader who could switch accents from British to Irish to American seamlessly, as well as adjusting voice to male, female, child.

Goodreads synopsis:  THEN
          She was fifteen, her mother's golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her. And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone.
          It’s been ten years since Ellie disappeared, but Laurel has never given up hope of finding her daughter.
          And then one day a charming and charismatic stranger called Floyd walks into a cafĂ© and sweeps Laurel off her feet.
          Before too long she’s staying the night at this house and being introduced to his nine year old daughter.
          Poppy is precocious and pretty - and meeting her completely takes Laurel's breath away.
          Because Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie when she was that age. And now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back.
          What happened to Ellie? Where did she go?
          Who still has secrets to hide?

Saturday, April 10, 2021

36. Highland Shifter by Catherine Bybee

#4 MacCoinnich Time Travels
listened on Audible freebie
narrated by David Monteath
Unabridged audio (9:17)
296 pgs.
Adult time travel
Finished 4/10/2021
Goodreads rating: 4.25 - 1616 ratings
My rating: 3.5
Setting: Contemporary America/medieval Scotland
First line/s
: "Energy buzzed down Helen's spine until she shivered with the electrical current her gift created."

My comments: Two years have gone by in contemporary America, yet 15 or 16 years have gone by in medieval Scotland.  Simon is now 30 and each set of married couples has three or four kids to add the the melee.  And then Helen arrives from contemporary California because of a necklace that whe wears, purchased at an antique shop years before.  She works as an antiques appraiser, and travels to contemporary Scotland where we ends up time traveling and landing in Simon's path.  Of course it's practically instalove.  I like the story of this episode, but I never really became enamored with Helen for some reason.  She was kind and interesting, but I weirdly never connected with her character, so that was disappointing.  The physical attraction between Simon and Helen worked - she had grown up on the streets and had a bit of non-virginal background and was much more real than two of the three previous virginal female protagonists.  There's one more in the series to go, but I've read the reviews and I find that she has left that fifth book with a huge cliffhanger, and that was eight years ago....and she's not even hinted at a sequel.  I've also read a few spoilers that show Ms. Bybee has gone in a different direction, with a different feel, than the previous four books.  I think I will just leave it for now and not ready number five, at least at this time.

Goodreads synopsis:  A mysterious Druid book and Helen’s sixth sense send her to Scotland in search of a missing boy. After being attacked by strange men dressed in medieval garb, a handsome, desirable hero answering to the boy’s name rescues her. No one is more surprised than she to find herself in sixteenth century Scotland. Unable to deny the reality of time travel, Helen discovers smoldering passion with a man destined to leave her.
          Simon has lived his Druid life in two very different worlds, two vastly different times, and when Helen practically lands in his lap, he knows his life is about to change forever. There are enemies in California lying in wait for her, and an army in Scotland closing in on his family. Simon is the only person who can protect her. But when she learns his most guarded secret, will she still want him? Can Helen love a Highland Shifter?

Friday, April 9, 2021

35. Redeeming Vows by Catherine Bybee

#3 MacCoinnich Time Travels
listened on Kindle Unlimited Audio/Audible
narrated by David Monteath
Unabridged audio (9:42)
314 pgs.
Adult Time Travel/Romance
Finished 4/9/2021
Goodreads rating: 4.25 - 1781 ratings
My rating: 3.5/4
Setting: Contemporary LA and 16th century Scotland
First line/s
: "Liz snapped out of her daydream with Simon's voice ringing in her ears."

My comments: Most of my review was erased!!!  all that was left was: "they were able to return with the help of a modern-day druid and a lunar eclipse...."  This one was about Finn and Lizzie.

Goodreads synopsis:  For her own safety, modern day, single mom, Lizzy McAllister is forced to bow to the medieval men who surround her when she's thrust back in time to the sixteenth century against her will. When Lizzie finds herself trapped in time with Fin, the one man she finds both irresistible and maddening, she agrees to combine forces with him to rid Scotland of the evil witch, Grainna. Finlay MacCoinnich's attraction to Lizzie sizzles the very air they breathe. Tearing down the solid walls the woman has built around her won't be easy, but he's willing to do anything to keep her by his side. When a spell cast by their deadliest foe throws them forward in time, will they manage to find their way back in time to save their family from peril? And will Lizzy willingly stay in his time, or abandon him altogether?

Thursday, April 8, 2021

34. Silent Vows by Catherine Bybee

#2 MacCoinnich Time Travels
listened on Kindle Unlimited Audio/Audible
narrated by David Monteath with GREAT accents and voice tones
Unabridged audio (9:35)
302 pgs.
Adult Time Travel/Hist. Fiction
Finished 4/8/2021
Goodreads rating: 4.18 - 1924 ratings
My rating: 3.5
Setting: Contemporary LA/1570's Scotland
First line/s
:  "My life is over.  Myra MacCoinnich sat astride her horse, marching toward death, death of her life, as she knew it.  Why?"

My comments: The second installment focuses mainly on Myra, the 21-year-old Scottish sister of Duncan and Todd Blakely, the young, fit cop that she meets when she is sent back to the 21st century.  Tara and Duncan are still on the scene, but background characters.  Lizzie and Finn come to a little more proinence, as do Simon and Kieran and Amber, sibling of Myra, Duncan, and Finn.  Gwen, the bad "witch," ges stronger and stronger and viler and meaner.  HEA.  Book 3 to come will be good.  This romance was steamier than the first, could've done with a little less. I don't know how the narrator keeps all the different accents and tones of voice he uses separate, but he does a great job!

Goodreads synopsis:  Myra, a medieval virgin druidess, flees five hundred years into the future to escape death at the hands of a cursed witch and lands in the arms of a handsome but cynical twenty-first century cop. Officer Todd Blakely knows Myra is hiding something, but can't resist her innocent charms. Destiny throws them both into a world of intrigue and mysticism. Can Todd be the true white knight she needs? Or will magic and the winds of time tear them apart?

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

33. Binding Vows by Catherine Bybee

#1 MacCoinnich Time Travels
listened on Audible Free
narrated by David Monteath
Unabridged audio (9:18)
292 pgs.
Adult Time Travel Romance
Finished 4/7/2021
Goodreads rating: 3.99 - 2869 ratings
My rating: 4
Setting: Contemporary California/1576 Scotland
First line/s
: "They weren't even at the county line and Tara McAllister already regretted getting in the car."

My comments:  Tara McAllister gets dragged to a Renaissance Fair by her best friend, Cassie, for a long weekend.  She doesn't want to, and is pretty miserable at the start.  Hiding in a dark corner to stay out of the way of drunken guys trying to get her to dance, Duncan sits on her without seeing that she's there.  Duncan and his brother, Finn, have traveled there from the late 1500s trying to thwart an evil witch.  Duncan and Finn are are Druids.  The first third of teh book...or maybe half?...takes place in this California Renaissance Fair setting, and then -- Spoiler Alert -- the remainder of the story takes place in 1576 Scotland.  It's a love story with quite a bit of steam in a couple of places.  Lots of fun.  The first in a series of what looks like four books.
     From a review:  "These books blend time travel, history, battles, humor, suspense, magic, and romance (and some sex) in just the right blend."  Perfectly said!

Goodreads synopsis:  Duncan MacCoinnich's task... Travel to the twenty-first century Renaissance Faire, deflower the Druid virgins, and go home. Only his job is not so easily accomplished with the virgin in question, Tara McAllister. Time is running out. The evil is closing in on them both. Tara finds Duncan irresistible after what was supposed to be a mock Hand-fasting binds them. When Duncan whisks her to his home in Scotland she could accept that. But, can she forgive him for taking away her modern life when she finds herself in the sixteenth century? And is it love they feel? Or something else?

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

32. The Legacy Human by Susan Kaye Quinn

#1 Singularity
listened on Chirp
narrated by Nick Podehl
Unabridged audio (10:05)
413 pgs.
YA Fantasy
Finished 4/6/2021
Goodreads rating: 3.93 - 1247 ratings
My rating: 4.5
Setting: Future/Fantasy America

First line/s:  "I want to ascend so badly, I can taste it.:

My comments: Eli/Elijah is a painter.  He's 17.  He's not even a great painter, except when he mysteriously disappears into what he calls a fugue state, where he crazily paints masterpieces although he can't remember any of it. He is a human, the extreme lower class of current world society.  He very badly want so become an ascender, and the only way that can happen is he he wins the artistic Olympics.  Most of the book is what takes place once he gets to Los Angeles and the current Olympics, the dancer he meets there, his best friend, Cyrus, and his devious sponsor Marcus.  The story ends abruptly as Eli is helping transport his very ill mother to a place that can perhaps cure her.  Oh yes, I'd like to read the sequel asap!  Note:  The Duality Bridge, book 2 in the series, is available in Chirp of $12.99.

Goodreads synopsis:  What would you give to live forever? Elijah Brighton wants to become an ascender—a post-Singularity human/machine hybrid—after all, they’re smarter, more enlightened, more compassionate, and above all, achingly beautiful. But Eli is a legacy human, preserved and cherished for his unaltered genetic code, just like the rainforest he paints. When a fugue state possesses him and creates great art, Eli miraculously lands a sponsor for the creative Olympics. If he could just master the fugue, he could take the gold and win the right to ascend, bringing everything he’s yearned for within reach… including his beautiful ascender patron. But once Eli arrives at the Games, he finds the ascenders are playing games of their own. Everything he knows about the ascenders and the legacies they keep starts to unravel… until he’s running for his life and wondering who he truly is.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

31. The Set Up by Falguni Kothari

listened on Audible Original
narrated by Soneela Nankani and Vikas Adam
Unabridged audio (1:54)
100 pgs. (?)
Adult short story/novella romance
Finished 4/3/2021
Goodreads rating:  3.64 - 646 ratings
My rating: 4
Setting: contemporary I-forget-where America

What I posted on Goodreads:  Very cute, a good breather in between heavier tomes...

My comments: A very cute story about an Indian grandfather who begs his overworked new-doctor granddaughter to go on three different blind dates, just to please him, with guys he's chosen.  All three dates are actually with the same guy.  Although she is extremely negative about any kind of possibility and will only attempt the first date to please her grandfather, the meeting/s are clever and cte, though not particularly unexpected.  Lots of fun.  Great Indian accents for the older Indian characters.

Goodreads synopsis:  A perfect disaster - or a perfect match? Find out in this heartfelt rom-com novella....
          "Just three dates. That's all I'm asking. One boy shares your sense of humor. Another has similar interests and ideals. The third boy has a helpful heart like yours."
          When Aditi Gupta comes home late from work as a pediatric resident one night and her grandfather offers this pitch, she reluctantly agrees. She's far too busy with med school to be dating, and besides, she dreams of a love for the ages, like her parents, not an arranged marriage. And yet she finds herself agreeing to three dates because she loves her grandfather. All she has to do is make herself utterly ineligible and problem solved!
          And sure enough her first date with the disgustingly handsome and intriguing Krishna Lal goes exactly as planned: not well! But then the second date comes around and Aditi finds that there is more at stake than just three bad dates. Suddenly, her heart is on the line, and maybe her grandfather's, too.

Friday, April 2, 2021

30. Girl, Lost by Vikki Patis

listened on Chirp
narrated by Esther Wayne
Unabridged audio (7:19)
268 pgs.
Adult Mystery
Finished 4/2/2021
Goodreads rating: 
My rating: 3
Setting: contemporary somewhere-in-England

First line/s: "We all get what we deserve.  A favourite phrase of my mother's, whenever something bad would happen."

My comments: Two families living in a duplex in England, side-by-side.  Twin girls Imogen and Freya with their loving parents.  Next door, Emily and her brother Jamie with their mother and physically abusive father.  Until one night  when Freya and Emily disappear.  The story takes place five years later, from three points-of-view: Emily, Imogen, and a little bit of Freya.  And there's now four-year old Ella, who appears with Imogen, added to the mix.  And although we, the reader, pretty much can tell exactly what happened, we find out all the tiny bits and pieces that complete the story along with Imogen.  I do wish there had been a little more mystery, any kind of astute reader could pretty much figure out from the beginning what was going on.

Goodreads synopsis:  'Girl, Lost is a read that will stay with you... Patis is proving herself to be the queen of page turning reads.' - Tiffany McDaniel, author of The Summer That Melted Everything
          I was never missing. I just didn't want to be found.
          On a bright summer's day in 2013, Freya Rivers disappears, leaving twin sister Imogen behind. Did Freya leave to travel alone without telling anyone?
          When friend Emily also disappears three days later, Imogen knows there's something dark lurking beneath the surface.
          Five years later, Imogen is living in Australia, having searched the world for her sister. So, when her mother calls, she knows it's time to return home.
          Because Emily is back. And she has a child with her.
          Where has Emily been and why did she disappear?
          Does she know Freya’s whereabouts?
          Imogen is desperate to uncover the truth about her twin and the truth is closer to home than she ever imagined…
          A gripping and suspenseful psychological thriller by bestselling author Vikki Patis. Girl, Lost will appeal to fans of domestic noir, as well as to readers of authors like C.L. Taylor, Claire McGowan and B A Paris. Longlisted for the Not the Booker Prize 2020.