Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Bookish Thoughts: The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman

The London air was full of smog and filth. ~ Opening of The Masked City

The Masked City (The Invisible Library #2) by Genevieve Cogman
Tor, 2015
Fantasy; 352 pgs
Source: E-copy provided by publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.

[I did my best to avoid any major spoilers of the first book in the series in writing this review.]

The Invisible Library series is becoming a fast favorite. I love how cool under pressure Irene is, not to mention resourceful. If ever there was a heroine I would like to have on my side, I would ask for Irene in a heartbeat--especially seeing her in action in The Masked City, the second in the series. Heck, I wouldn't mind being Irene.

Irene is a Librarian attached to a Library whose doorways lead into multiple dimensions. She is one of many whose job it is to protect and preserve books, in part to protect humanity and help maintain the balance between Order and Chaos. Recently assigned as a Librarian-in-Residence, she is happy to settle down roots for a change. 

When Irene's apprentice and friend, Kai, is kidnapped by the fae in the alternate London they have been calling home most recently, she must piece together what happened and where he's gone. To fail could mean war between two powerful and magical species, putting at risk many innocent lives. With such high stakes, the Library isn't willing to intervene to save Kai, but they won't stop Irene from trying.

With the help of the not so trustworthy fae Lord Silver, Irene travels to an alternate Venice where the Carnival never ends. It is deep in chaos and controlled by the fae. Author Genevieve Cogman's world has many nuances to it, and I especially enjoyed exploring the history and hierarchy of the fae in this installment in the series. If I had any complaints about this novel, it would be that I wish I could have spent more time with Aunt Isra and the other students Irene met in her travels.

I enjoyed The Invisible Library so much that I jumped right into The Masked City, a book I ended up liking even more. Dragons, the fae, magic, mystery, and the Library . . . what more could I ask for in a fantasy novel? Irene is no damsel in distress. She can take care of herself. And I'm quite fond of characters Kai and Private Investigator Vale too. The Masked City an adventure, light and fun, and a great way to spend some time. I cannot wait to dive into the third book in the series.

To learn more about Genevieve Cogman and her work, please visit the author's website. You can also find her on Twitter and Goodreads  

© 2016, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Bookish Thoughts: The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Irene passed the mop across the stone floor in smooth, careful strokes, idly admiring the gleam of wet flagstones in the lantern light. ~ Opening from The Invisible Library

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
Roc, 2015
Fantasy (Crime Fiction, Urban); 352 pgs
Source: E-copy provided by publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.

Goodreads Synopsis: 
Irene must be at the top of her game or she'll be off the case - permanently . . .  
Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she's posted to an alternative London. Their mission - to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it's already been stolen. London's underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book. 
Adding to the jeopardy, this world is chaos-infested - the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic. Irene's new assistant is also hiding secrets of his own.  
Soon, she's up to her eyebrows in a heady mix of danger, clues and secret societies. Yet failure is not an option - the nature of reality itself is at stake.

What a fun book! A couple people mentioned to me when I was starting this one that it got off to a slow start for them, but I did not find that at all. There was a bit of a slow down when Irene returns to the Library after the book's opening mission that had me trying to work out just what sort of "world" this Library was exactly, but once Irene, joined by her new apprentice Kai, steps into the alternate reality of their latest mission, I was definitely right there with them. 

There is so much to this world Genevieve Cogman has created! The Library itself is an amazing place. People do not age there and it seems endless, taking days and sometimes weeks or months to travel from one place to another. You can travel for days within the Library and not see a single soul. And then the many alternate realities outside the walls of the library--imagine all the directions Cogman can go with the series if she chose to. The Library's purpose seems a bit vague--meaning I think there is more to it than what our main protagonist Irene knows herself. Irene is one of many Librarians sent out on missions to retrieve books from various alternate realities. The Library helps maintain the balance in the world, trying to stave off chaos and help maintain order. 

Generally Librarians are chosen from various realities and bound to the Library and its mission--like Kai, an apprentice not yet Librarian, who was once a ruffian running and stealing with criminals and thugs. Very rare, is someone like Irene, who was born to two Librarians, and spent part of her growing up years in the Library itself. Her entire life has been spent in the service of the Library. She is very dedicated to her work and extremely capable. She has limited, but powerful, magical abilities, which she draws out using a special language only known to Librarians.

The reality Kai and Irene step into has a sort of Steampunk Victorian feel to it. There are Zeppelins flying overhead, vampires, werewolves, and the fae. The fae are a particularly chaotic force, making this version of London unbalanced--and dangerous. There's even a famous private detective who lives on Baker Street who Irene and Kai will have to decide to trust or not. 

This is a busy book in terms of the amount of action and events taking place. The analogy of a roller-coaster comes to mind, given all the ups and downs and the fast pacing. In search for the book, Irene and Kai encounter a number of obstacles, including the glamorous fae, Lord Silver, who also has an interest in the missing book. It seems a lot of people do, actually. I had a lot of fun reading The Invisible Library and getting to know the mysterious Kai, the well-read Librarian spy Irene, and Vale, the tenacious master of deduction. This will not be my last visit to the Library.

To learn more about Genevieve Cogman and her work, please visit the author's website. You can also find her on Twitter and Goodreads.

© 2016, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Bookish Thoughts: A Black Sail by Rich Zahradnik

The NYPD Harbor Launch Patrolman Crane thudded over the waves toward the Brooklyn docks. ~ Opening of A Black Sail

A Black Sail (Coleridge Taylor Mystery #3) by Rich Zahradnik
Camel Press, 2016
Crime Fiction (Historical); 264 pgs
Source: E-copy provided by publisher for an honest review.

Reporter Coleridge Taylor would much rather be on the crime beat, but with the country's attention on the upcoming U.S. Bicentennial, his time and attention is focused on the ships and vessels coming into the New York Harbor. While on assignment on a Harbor Patrol boat, the body of a housewife is found in the harbor, drugs strapped to her body. Taylor's interest is piqued. Especially as rumors surface of a possible drug war between the Italian Mafia and the Chinese Tong. Taylor has a way of finding trouble . . . and the truth.

It was good to see Samantha Callahan, Taylor's girlfriend, again, who in introduced in the second book of the series, Drop Dead Punk. She's more likely to be found coming to his rescue than he to hers. She is smart and a good influence on Taylor.

Zahradnik does an amazing job of setting the scene for A Black Sail, capturing the tone and atmosphere of New York during July of 1976. This is one of the aspects I like most about Rich Zahradnik's books. He never fails to make me feel as if I am a part of the story and history he writes about. The author uses words to paint a clear picture of the time period, a time of celebration and excitement, one of hope for the future. But the crime and grit is still there, underneath. New York City is a city barely saved from the brink of ruin. Taylor knows that all too well as he struggles with figuring out what to do with his career, feeling stuck but wanting more. 

A Black Sail is the third book in the Coleridge Taylor series by Rich Zahradnik, and can be read as a stand alone. Taylor continues to be one of my favorite series' characters with his strong sense of doing the right thing and finding the truth even as he strives to get the story. I have enjoyed this series from book one, and Zahradnik continues to deliver with each installment.

Last Words (Coleridge Taylor Mystery #1)
Drop Dead Punk (Coleridge Taylor Mystery #2)

To learn more about Rich Zahradnik, and his work, please visit the author's website.

© 2016, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Bookish Thoughts: Blame It On the Cowboy by Delores Fossen

Every Tuesday Diane from Bibliophile By the Sea First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where participants share the first paragraph (or a few) of a book they are reading or thinking about reading soon. It is also where I share my first impressions about the book I am sharing.

Logan McCord hated two things: clowns and liars. Tonight, he saw both right in front of him on the antique desk in Langford's Interior Designs, and he knew his life had changed forever. He would never look at a red squeaky nose the same way again.

Every Tuesday, Jenn from Books And A Beat hosts Teaser Tuesdays at which time participants grab their current read, open to a random page, and share two (2) "teaser" sentences from that page while avoiding any spoilers.

Teaser from 4% (much longer than usual because I couldn't resist):
"What about an address?" Logan kept trying.
"I'm not really supposed to give that out--"
"She left something very expensive in the room, and I know she'll want it back."
The guy hemmed and hawed a little, but he finally rattled off, "221B Baker Street, London, England."
That was Sherlock Holmes's address.
Logan groaned and cursed. He didn't bother asking for a phone number because the one she left was probably for Hogwarts. 
What do you think? Would you keep reading?

My Review:

Blame It On the Cowboy (The McCord Brothers #3) by Delores Fossen
HQN, 2016
Romance; 384 pgs

One night stand scenarios that turn into love are not my favorite romance trope, but Delores Fossen won me over pretty quickly. Both rancher Logan McCord and chef Reese Stephens are both in crisis: Logan from finding his girlfriend having sex with another man just as he was hoping to propose to her, and Reese is fulfilling an item on her bucket list (to have sex with a "hot cowboy"), having just been diagnosed with a brain tumor, her death being imminent. The two meet in a bar and fall into bed shortly thereafter. No names are exchanged, not even identifying details. The morning after, Logan sees Reese slip something into his pocket. It turns out to be an antique pocket watch.

Months pass before their paths cross again. Reese's diagnosis had been a mistake, and she is as healthy as can be. She's slowly getting her life back together. The watch means everything to her, having once been her grandfather's. She sets out to find the "Hot Cowboy" based on very few clues. Logan is suspicious when he sees Reese again, sure she is up to no good. The two do not exactly get off to a good second start. He's from money. She's got a shady background and comes from the wrong side of the tracks. Neither of them are looking for love, but the attraction between them is undeniable. 

While Blame It On a Cowboy may appear to be a straight forward cowboy romance, Delores Fossen takes it to another level, adding intrigue and suspense that had me turning pages late into the night. I just had to know what was going to happen next. Reese's past catches up with her, and it's lucky she is in the small town of Spring Hill, Texas.

Reese and Logan are great characters. They both carry regret and guilt from their pasts, however misplaced. Reese doesn't imagine a guy like Logan could want anything to do with her, much less love her. She leads a transient lifestyle, moving from town to town, never settling down for long. I liked her resourcefulness. Reese is a strong woman, having had to overcome a lot, relying mostly on herself. She does have one friend who knows all about her sordid past, the sassy and beautiful Jimena. Although I imagine they look nothing alike, Jimena reminded me of Lula from Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series.

Logan definitely comes across as that hot cowboy, as Reese and Jimena call him. It was impossible not to feel terrible for him when he walks in on his girlfriend and the clown just at the moment he is about to propose. He's angry, upset and feeling betrayed. Running his family business has always been Logan's top priority next to his family, and he loses himself even more in his work after that incident. He doesn't trust anyone easily, but when he cares about someone, he will go to great lengths to protect them.

This novel has quite a few unexpected twists and turns. I admit to thinking there might have been too many as they just kept coming--but in the end, it worked, everyone getting what they deserved. Delores Fossen's novel has a little bit of everything: romance, suspense, comedy, a bit of action, and plenty of drama. Blame It On the Cowboy is the 3rd in the McCord series, and I will definitely be looking for the earlier books I've missed.

To learn more about Delores Fossen and her work, please visit the author's websiteShe can also be found on GoodreadsFacebook and Twitter.

I hope you will check out what others had to say about Blame It On the Cowboy on the TLC Book Tours route!

Many thanks to the TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to be a part of this book tour.  Review copy provided by publisher for an honest review.

© 2016, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Sunday Post: An Afternoon at Hogwarts

I had one of those weeks. On a particularly bad day, my husband texted me to ask if I needed anything from the store, and I replied, "A big bottle of wine." Which, says something since I do not drink alcohol. The evening continued to be a bad one. Mouse was in a mood, which did nothing to help mine. Then my husband came home and handed me the bottle--and it made everything better. Nothing cures a bad day like Martinelli's Sparkling Cider. 

New to My Shelves:

My October My Lit Box arrived in the mail late last week. It's another good one!

The Story of a Brief Marriage by Anuk Arudpragasam
QA A Day 5 Year Journal

What I Am Reading: I have barely cracked open my book all week (or last week for that matter), but I swear it wasn't the book's fault. I finally was able to finish Amy Stewart's Lady Cop Makes Trouble inside the mall of all places. I talked my husband and daughter into leaving me on a bench outside the Jump 'n Jammin play area while they went inside for some fun, where I could watch the bags (I swear my daughter goes through shoes and pants like there is no tomorrow--she really wears them out!) and read. This Sunday I plan to start A Dark and Stormy Murder by Julia Buckley, my October TBR List Poll winner.

What I Am Listening To: The week before last, I listened to Brownies and Broomsticks by Bailey Cates, narrated by Johanna Parker. It was the perfect selection for this time of year--light and funny, mixed with murder and magic in Savannah, Georgia.  I took a darker turn this past week and am now listening to a thriller, Tim Johnston's Descent, narrated by Xe Sands and R.C. Bray.

What's Going On Off the Blog: Work has been crazy busy. Some major changes came down last week that were quite unexpected, even for those directly involved. More changes are coming, but that's the name of the game. Nothing is ever static for long in my agency.

My absentee ballot came in the mail this past week. My husband and I are planning to sit down and vote. By the time you are reading this, maybe we already have. Now if only the political calls and ads would stop . . .

Mouse and I attended her school's Fall Festival the Friday before last. She had a blast. We ran into several of her school friends, which made her evening. We enjoyed games, snow cones, balloon animals, and arts and crafts.

My brother and his wife were visiting last week, and we had a nice time together. They recently suffered a big loss and this trip was much needed. They were able to see one of Mouse's soccer games and we spent an afternoon at Universal Studios in Hollywood. The park has grown so much since we were last there, some twenty years ago. We barely touched the surface of it. One thing we did make sure to do, however, was visit Hogsmeade. What fun! We had a wonderful time. Mouse even got to meet students from the Durmstrang Institute and Beauxbatons Academy of Magic. The Butterbeer was quite tasty. My brother and his wife each had two!

 Where are we headed next?

 Beauxbatons Academy of Magic Performers

 Durmstrang Institute Performers

Hogwarts Express 


 The Sorting Hat

Inside the Halls and Stairways of Hogwarts

The Past Two Weeks In Reading Mews:

Around the Blogosphere:

What are you up to this weekend? Are you reading anything you would recommend? 

I hope you all have a great week! Happy Reading!

The Sunday Post is hosted by the wonderful Kimba, the Caffeinated Book Reviewer, and gives us all a chance to recap our week, talk about what we are reading, share any new books that have come our way, and whatever else we want to talk about. 

© 2016, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.