Ray Vecchio

First Books of April

Here are my first three books of April. Two of them I managed to find squares for in my book bingo card from ljbookbingo
My card and list are HERE.

I love that I can count on the Daisy Dalrymple series to be a good well paced cozy mystery. I always enjoy the story and can sit back and relax and not be too worried because I know that Ms. Dunn will write a satisfying tale. In this story all of the suspects...I mean guests are brought together for a wedding only to end up trapped together after two of their number are murdered. Then it's up to Daisy and Alec to figure out whodunnit. Overall I enjoyed it and look forward to the next one!

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad's dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph's reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she'd imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It's an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid's life as retribution for the many lives he's stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?
~Goodreads Description

I love retellings of myths or fairy tales and the tale of Shahrzad is one of my favorites to read about. This book has an interesting take on how Shahrzad becomes married to the Caliph and how their relationship develops. It definitely held my attention, the reason behind why the Caliph acts as he does is an intriguing twist. There was two things that I kind of irked me first one of the side characters were kind of annoying and secondly its ends on a massive cliffhanger. I tend to like books in a series that wraps up a large chunk of the conflict with some loose ends that you know will have to be dealt with later in the sequel, but that is a personal preference. I am looking forward to reading the next one for sure.
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The Last of the Books for March

Here are the last of the books for March. I am really looking forward to a few I have my eye on for April!

In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet’s word is law, Immanuelle Moore’s very existence is blasphemy. Her mother’s union with an outsider of a different race cast her once-proud family into disgrace, so Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol, and lead a life of submission, devotion, and absolute conformity, like all the other women in the settlement.

But a mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood surrounding Bethel, where the first prophet once chased and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still lurking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the journal of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood.

Fascinated by the secrets in the diary, Immanuelle finds herself struggling to understand how her mother could have consorted with the witches. But when she begins to learn grim truths about the Church and its history, she realizes the true threat to Bethel is its own darkness. And she starts to understand that if Bethel is to change, it must begin with her.
~Goodreads Description

I was very excited to get my hands on this book as I had heard such good things about it. It definitely lived up to the hype. Immanuelle was such a good central character and I loved getting her pov as she navigates the puritanical world she inhabits. The town of Bethel is strictly control by the prophet and his apostles, plus it is isolated from everywhere else, in fact it is a sin to leave under the penalty of death by burning on the pyre. It is also very patriarchal, misogynistic, racist, and xenophobic. Immanuelle lives on the outskirts of Bethel with her family near the Dark Woods, which are haunted by witches. This is a complex book but at the same time the author crafts such a well written story that it pulls you along to the very intense riveting conclusion. I highly recommend. Warning: for domestic violence, talk of underage rape, and general violence against women.

You are about to travel to Edgecombe St. Mary, a small village in the English countryside filled with rolling hills, thatched cottages, and a cast of characters both hilariously original and as familiar as the members of your own family. Among them is Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired), the unlikely hero of Helen Simonson's wondrous debut. Wry, courtly, opinionated, and completely endearing, Major Pettigrew is one of the most indelible characters in contemporary fiction, and from the very first page of this remarkable novel he will steal your heart.

The Major leads a quiet life valuing the proper things that Englishmen have lived by for generations: honor, duty, decorum, and a properly brewed cup of tea. But then his brother's death sparks an unexpected friendship with Mrs. Jasmina Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper from the village. Drawn together by their shared love of literature and the loss of their respective spouses, the Major and Mrs. Ali soon find their friendship blossoming into something more. But village society insists on embracing him as the quintessential local and her as the permanent foreigner. Can their relationship survive the risks one takes when pursuing happiness in the face of culture and tradition?
~Goodreads Descriptionn

This is definitely a character driven story and I loved all the characters that are within it. Especially Mrs. Ali and Major Pettigrew, which is appropriate as they are the main protagonists. Major Pettigrew's pov is just so compelling especially his turn of phrase and dry humor. I love the way their relationship grows it is just so full of warmth and very sweet. The village that serves as the backdrop to this story is almost a character all by itself. In all a very delightful novel.
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It has been a weird couple of weeks but I was able to get a fair amount of reading in.  

Thirteen-year-old Sik wants a simple life going to school and helping at his parents' deli in the evenings. But all that is blown to smithereens when Nergal comes looking for him, thinking that Sik holds the secret to eternal life.Turns out Sik is immortal but doesn't know it, and that's about to get him and the entire city into deep, deep trouble.

Sik's not in this alone. He's got Belet, the adopted daughter of Ishtar, the goddess of love and war, on his side, and a former hero named Gilgamesh, who has taken up gardening in Central Park. Now all they have to do is retrieve the Flower of Immortality to save Manhattan from being wiped out by disease. To succeed, they'll have to conquer sly demons, treacherous gods, and their own darkest nightmares.
~Goodreads Description

This was such a great book. Mr. Chadda does such a good job drawing us in with the main character Sik. Sik is a sweetheart and is a very earnest young man just trying to do his best. I love learning about the mythology and the plot was very apropos for today. I honestly didn't want to put it down when it was time to go to bed. I highly recommend it!

In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon. But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place. As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection...because one wrong move could lead to her death. ~Goodreads Description

Mirage was such a well written story. I loved Amani she is a very sympathetic character and you can't help but feel for her as her whole life is uprooted all because she looks like the princess. The princess Maram is a piece of work who takes her fear and anger out on everyone else and her new favorite target is Amani. The journey Amani goes on to become the perfect doppelganger for Maram is a harsh one but there is hope at the end of this book. I can't wait to read the next one.
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    For some reason DW is not letting me cross post it keeps giving me an error message that I have exceed login failure, thankfully manually posting isn't too difficult and hopefully it was only a temporary glitch.

    Multiverse travel is finally possible, but there’s just one catch: No one can visit a world where their counterpart is still alive. Enter Cara, whose parallel selves happen to be exceptionally good at dying—from disease, turf wars, or vendettas they couldn’t outrun. Cara’s life has been cut short on 372 worlds in total.

    On this Earth, however, Cara has survived. Identified as an outlier and therefore a perfect candidate for multiverse travel, Cara is plucked from the dirt of the wastelands. Now she has a nice apartment on the lower levels of the wealthy and walled-off Wiley City. She works—and shamelessly flirts—with her enticing yet aloof handler, Dell, as the two women collect off-world data for the Eldridge Institute. She even occasionally leaves the city to visit her family in the wastes, though she struggles to feel at home in either place. So long as she can keep her head down and avoid trouble, Cara is on a sure path to citizenship and security.

    But trouble finds Cara when one of her eight remaining doppelgängers dies under mysterious circumstances, plunging her into a new world with an old secret. What she discovers will connect her past and her future in ways she could have never imagined—and reveal her own role in a plot that endangers not just her world, but the entire multiverse.
    ~Goodreads Description

    I really loved this book. Cara was such a dynamic character. The journey she goes on not only between worlds but also within herself is so intriguing and well written. By the end of the book her goals, how she sees herself, and who she wants to be have completely changed from the beginning. I highly recommend it!

    Singapore 1910--Desperate for a fresh start and to distance herself from her tragic past, Harriet Gordon finds herself in Singapore at the height of colonial rule. Hoping to gain some financial independence, she advertises her services as a personal secretary. It is unfortunate that she should discover her first client, Sir Oswald Newbold--explorer, mine magnate and president of the exclusive Explorers and Geographers' Club--dead with a knife in his throat.

    When Inspector Robert Curran is put on the case, he realizes that he has an unusual witness in Harriet. Harriet's keen eye for detail and strong sense of duty interests him, as does her distrust of the police and her traumatic past, which she is at pains to keep secret from the gossips of Singapore society.

    When a second body is dragged from the canal, Harriet feels compelled to help with the case. She and Curran are soon drawn into a complex web of stolen gemstones and a mysterious gang of thieves who have no qualms about killing again to protect their secrets.
    ~Goodreads Description

    I really enjoyed this book. I liked the main character Harriet and the overall mystery was a good one. I thought the setting was nicely written and interesting. Harriet was a smart and pragmatic character and I enjoyed her pov. I am glad there was no romance between Harriet and Curran the lead detective. I think they did have chemistry and maybe that is where the author is going in future books but it wouldn't have felt right in this one. I will probably continue on in the series.
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    Black cat


    I have been having a really good streak of luck when it comes to books lately. I really enjoyed all three of these and highly recommend them!

    I really enjoyed this biography. I have been intrigued with the ballet since I was little. I watched the Nutcracker soooooo many times as a kid. Since then I have tried to catch any ballet I could on the television. I first heard of Maria Tallchief on the Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast. So I went looking for a book about her and found one that she had helped write. Mrs. Tallchief does a really good job of giving her life story in a very engaging way. I loved getting to read about how she became America's first prima ballerina and about all the ins and outs of the ballet world. She lead a very interesting life which was a delight to read about. Here is a video that shows off her dancing beautifully:

    The last thing Melody expects when she accepts a dream job offer is to run into her college one-night stand again. Not only does the hunky blast from her past work at the same aerospace company where she's just started in the IT department, he's the CEO's son. Jeremy's got a girlfriend and a reputation as a bad boy, so Melody resolves to keep her distance and focus on building a new life for herself in Los Angeles. But despite her good intentions, she can't seem to stay away from the heavenly-smelling paragon of hotness. As the two begin to forge an unlikely friendship, Melody's attraction to Jeremy grows deeper than she's ready to admit. Can the woman who always plays it safe take a risk on the man who's all wrong for her in all the right ways? ~Goodreads Description

    I actually really really enjoyed this book. I haven't read a rom-com in awhile and so it was kind of on a whim that I picked it up and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. Melody is a great pov character, she is funny without being ridiculous and I liked her chemistry with Jeremy. Although it is a romance the author doesn't exclusively focus on it she also explores Melody's move to L.A. and starting her new job while trying to make friends. I liked that Melody's life did not evolve around Jeremy instead their relationship happened gradually. All in all a good book and I will probably read more by this author.

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    I hope everyone has a great week!  </div> This entry was originally posted at https://under-the-silk-tree.dreamwidth.org/78839.html
    Ray Vecchio

    More Books

    The first half of this month has been a bit on the rough side but I have gotten a fair amount of reading done.

    After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus. A flying demon feeding on human energies. A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down. And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.

    The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.

    She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets—and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight.
    ~Goodreads Description

    This book was so so so good. I really loved this story. The protagonist Bree was such an intriguing well written character, who is also going through so much not only with the loss of her mother but also with learning about a past that has been hidden from her until now. The plot has depth and hooks you almost right away. I loved the way the author weaved the Arthurian legend in surprising and new ways into Bree's story. I can't wait for the next book in the series!

    1936 in the Crown Colony of Singapore, and the British abdication crisis and rising Japanese threat seem very far away. When the Irish nanny looking after Acting Governor Palin's daughter dies suddenly - and in mysterious circumstances - mission school-educated local girl SuLin - an aspiring journalist trying to escape an arranged marriage - is invited to take her place. But then another murder at the residence occurs and it seems very likely that a killer is stalking the corridors of Government House. It now takes all SuLin's traditional skills and intelligence to help British-born Chief Inspector Thomas LeFroy solve the murders - and escape with her own life. ~Goodreads Description

    I enjoyed this book. The main protagonist Su Lin was well written and I loved getting to read about 1930's Singapore. The mystery was well done and I hadn't worked it out until near the end. The only negative would be sometimes the writing felt uneven but other then that it was good. Warnings for ableism/racism from some of the characters.

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    Three More...

    I have been reading a bunch so I have three more books to review to wrap up January and begin February:

    Although Dr Watson is known for recording some sixty of his adventures with the celebrated Sherlock Holmes, he also wrote other reminiscences of their long friendship which were never intended for publication during their lifetimes. Rescued from oblivion by Rohase Piercy, two previously unknown stories about the great detective and his companion help to explain much which has puzzled some devotees. ~Goodreads Description

    I have been wanting to read this book since I heard about it. It was published in 1988 to a bit of an uproar as the author wrote Watson as being in love with Sherlock. It is two short stories both from Watson's pov. The first one is a missing person's case where Watson's seemingly unrequited love comes into play and you can't help but feel so so sorry for him as he struggles to hide his love from a man who notices everything. The second one is a retelling or missing scenes from the story "The Final Problem." It is such a well written book, the way the author writes the story is very reminiscent of Doyle's own works. There is a lot of understated angst that just hurts so good but in the end it pays off in a very believable way. I highly recommend it for anyone who has ever thought that in the original stories Holmes and Watson could have been in love with each other.

    Captain Eva Innocente and the crew of La Sirena Negra cruise the galaxy delivering small cargo for even smaller profits. When her sister Mari is kidnapped by The Fridge, a shadowy syndicate that holds people hostage in cryostasis, Eva must undergo a series of unpleasant, dangerous missions to pay the ransom.

    But Eva may lose her mind before she can raise the money. The ship’s hold is full of psychic cats, an amorous fish-faced emperor wants her dead after she rejects his advances, and her sweet engineer is giving her a pesky case of feelings. The worse things get, the more she lies, raising suspicions and testing her loyalty to her found family.
    ~Goodreads Description

    I really really enjoyed this story. Eva is such a great character. She is smart and funny and messy and well intentioned but has the worst luck in life and in family. But she has the best crew. I loved the found family feel of Eva and her crewmates as they eke out a living trying to stay on the right side of the law. I can't wait to read the next one!

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    Ray Vecchio


    Title: Interlude
    Fandom: Voyagers!
    Pairing: Gen
    Rating: PG
    Word Count: 3,358
    Warnings: N/A
    Summary: Bogg and Jeffrey are finally able to take a moment and catch their breath.    
    Notes: Thank you to my most excellent beta [personal profile] jdl71 .  Written for [community profile] smallfandomfest  prompt: H/C.  Also written for [community profile] hc_bingo prompt: comfort food, table here.  Tenth fic for [community profile] 100fandoms  prompt: swim, table here.  One line is from season 1, episode 7.  

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    The Librarians

    Next Three Books of 2021

    I have been tootling along on the reading front enjoying the various books and the reading challenges. Here are my next three:

    For a century the iconic Grand Raj Palace Hotel has welcomed the world's elite. From film stars to foreign dignitaries, anyone who is anyone stays at the Grand Raj.

    The last thing the venerable old hotel needs is a murder...

    When American billionaire Hollis Burbank is found dead - the day after buying India's most expensive painting - the authorities are keen to label it a suicide. But the man in charge of the investigation is not so sure. Chopra is called in - and discovers a hotel full of people with a reason to want Burbank dead. ~Goodreads Description

    This was another great addition to the Baby Ganesh Agency series. I am still loving Chopra and his dogged investigations in the face of many obstacles. Poppy had her own side investigation in this book and it is a bit silly but also has echoes of Chopra and Poppy's problems they were dealing with in this book. The mystery is a good one and one that has no shortage of suspects I was unsure who did it until almost the end. All in all a good book and I will definitely be continuing on.

    Hundreds of years ago, the fate of the world rested upon the shoulders of a clever priest and a clever librarian. On the day the pair drove the remnants of the Serpent Brotherhood from Ireland's shore—that is, until the grave of an ancient sorceress is dug up and her remains removed.

    Now, Baird and her team of plucky Librarians find themselves on a collision course with their longtime foes as they race to find a leprechaun's lost gold to prevent the Brotherhood's dark design from coming to fruition.
    ~Goodread Description

    I am sad that this is the last book in the series. I loved the show and so I ended up buying all of the books and spacing them out so I wouldn't finish them too fast. I have to say I think I liked this last one the best. The supernatural mystery that the Librarians find themselves involved in is intriguing and fun. It is a quick yet entertaining read. I just wish there was more!
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