Review: The Secret She Keeps

The Secret She Keeps by HelenKay Dimon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dimon's latest features the snappy dialogue and tense situations that are the hallmark of her writing, and this was a perfect airplane read. Great characters, fun secondary characters, a strong heroine and the hero who gets where she's coming from. I've really enjoyed these connected stories and look forward to the next one.

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Review: The Wicked King

The Wicked King by Holly Black
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Middle books of trilogies are often where the really, really bad stuff happens, setting up for the third, concluding book. THE WICKED KING brings the angst, pain, and drama, and I was left wanting more. Jude's complicated relationship with King Carden continues to evolve, but where before she was seen as a largely unthreatening human, now she's got a target on her back as the king's seneschal. Everyone is out to use her or remove her, preferably by killing her.

I'm looking forward to reading THE QUEEN OF NOTHING, though at this point if I were Jude I'd be wondering if being accepted by Faerie and living in their land is really the HEA she's been longing for.

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Review: Into the Fire

Into the Fire by Gregg Hurwitz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Orphan X books just keep getting better and better. As Evan Smoak's circle of friends and dependents expands, his life becomes more complicated. Each one is a hostage to fortune, and while he's no longer a lone Orphan, this ramps up the stakes on his missions.

This was a roller-coaster ride of excitement where just when you think Evan's life can't become more complicated and is. Characters who are reader favorites return (including the Home Owners' Association, where Evan is tasked with bringing the nibbles to their meeting--not an assignment the world's deadliest former assassin is prepared for), as well as more interaction with the snarky, messy teen who's Robin to his Batman.

I love the Orphan X books and I nearly missed two appointments because all I wanted to do was stay home, keep turning the pages, and find out what happens next. That's some of the highest praise…

Review: An Easy Death

An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My catnip is short, kickass heroines (and anyone who knows me would know why.[g]) I loved this first in a new series set in an alternate history North America and featuring Lizbeth "Gunnie" Rose, a gun for hire who works in the old US Southwest escorting people and cargo through dangerous terrain.

US history as we know it ends in the 1930s with the assassination of newly elected president Franklin Roosevelt and the country devolves into chaos with White Russians taking over the west coast (and they have magic to assist them), Britain regaining its 13 colonies minus Georgia, the Old South forming a new country called "Dixie" and so on. Oh, and the native Americans and Mexico have seized back much of their land in the west.

Liz is young, but not naive, and has secrets of her own to keep as she takes on new, mysterious Russian clients. I loved the roller coaster ride of violence, a little romance, d…

Review: A Modest Independence

A Modest Independence by Mimi Matthews
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

This was a wonderfully researched Victorian-era road romance with the kind of beta hero I adore--a quiet, unassuming guy who gets things done. Matthews takes us on the long voyage from Britain to India in 1860 as the heroine searches for proof of life for her cousin, who also happened to be her first crush.

I'm enjoying the Parish Orphans of Devon series and look forward to more from @Mimi Matthews

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Boskone57, or "Explain to me again why I'm leaving Florida for Boston in February???"

Yes, it's that time of year. I'll be winging my way (weather permitting) up to Boston for New England's Longest-Running Science Fiction Convention, Boskone57. Despite having to dig out my seldom worn snow boots, I do love visiting my friends and meeting other fans.

I'll also be on a few panels, so here's my schedule. Where you see the "M" next to my name, I'm the moderator:

Journalism in Speculative Fiction*
Format: Panel
14 Feb 2020, Friday 17:00 - 17:50, Marina 2 (Westin)

From Wells and Orwell to Neil Gaiman, Cory Doctorow, and Annalee Newitz, there’s a long tradition of reporters becoming writers of SF/F/H. Our veteran newshounds report on what a background in journalism can bring to genre work. Are you already accustomed to research, deadlines, and low wages? Does the drive to get the facts mean it’s harder to make stuff up? Can reporters be written as good genre characters? While pounding out a hot story, must you wear a fedora?

Darlene Marshall …