Friday, March 24, 2017

The Wingsnatchers: Carmer and Grit: Book One by Sarah Jean Horwitz

Carmer is a magician's apprentice and he enjoys his job and the people he works with.  When he attends a demonstration of a magical new power that can light lamps, he's fascinated.  When his magician is outshined by a performance by an unknown magician, he's amazed.  He's also curious.  Especially since he's noticed mechanical cats wandering around the streets of the city.  Where did they come from?

Algonquin Young Readers and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 25th.

Carmer wants them to win the magician's contest because they are out of money and can't continue without an infusion of cash.  It's not looking good, though.  Then he meets a fairy that has only one wing.  Grit doesn't want to have anything to do with him but she needs human help to figure out where all the fairies are going.

With magic, fairy unrest, and despicable characters the story is entertaining and a bit different from most.  A touch of steampunk, an unusual friendship and a fairy queen who isn't easy to get along with all add to the storyline.

Both Carmer and Grit are in danger and almost die along the way.  The ending is a bit upbeat and a bit sad, but when the queen tells Grit she should get some more worldly experience you can see another book coming.  I wonder what adventures they will share next?

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Death in the Abstract: A Katherine Sullivan Mystery by Emily Barnes

She's living in New Mexico now that she's retired and she loves it.  She paints at an artist colony that she has reserved a home in and life is good.  Then a phone call comes in from a friend's office saying that he's missing and hasn't shown up for work...

Crooked Lane Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published May 9th.

Nathan Walker is an old friend and someone she's even thinking of romantically since they are widow and widower now.  She doesn't want to lose him so she heads back to where she was police chief before and starts searching for him.

As they try to follow his movements, they eventually locate his car but it doesn't tell them anything.  Even his cell phone doesn't help much.  But his security company and Katherine don't give up, they just keep digging.

The police chief is a bit distracted because a woman was murdered and they found a dead man who had been run over.  A missing case doesn't take priority with him.  So Kathleen is free to snoop on her own.

When she finds Nathan (who looks like Denzel), he's not in the best shape but he's OK.  The mystery isn't over yet.  There's bad stuff going on in town and it takes them to run it down.

This was an interesting mystery and I like the two main characters. All Nathan's employees are "different" and I enjoyed that, too.   I hope to read another in this series.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan by Patricia Bailey

Life in a mining town is never easy, but Kit has more to feel guilty about than most.  She got too busy watching the people in the dance hall and didn't get the doctor in time for her mother.  When she dies from her cold, Kit wishes she'd died instead.  As she and her father struggle on, he gets hurt in a mining accident.  She wants to tell everyone about the unsafe mining conditions, so she tells the newspaper reporter about it.  He prints it.  Then the mine owner kills her father.  Everyone said it was self-defense, but she knew it wasn't.  How can she prove that?

Albert Whitman and Company and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 25th.

Kit moves in with the next door widow lady, gets a job at the newspaper by pretending to be a boy, and starts trying to gather information.  The mine owner has almost everybody in town in his corner.  He buys loyalty.  But not everyone is sold on him.

Kit is determined to get at the truth and she will do anything necessary to ferret it out.  While she does all this, she grows up along the way.  The new friend she found is handsome and nice and she has a crush on him, so she's hurt when he likes someone else.

I enjoyed how Kit developed and how she accomplished her goal.  She also made friends along the way and has a new "family" that she has gathered together of all types of people.  I felt her sorrow and guilt and I also felt her jubilation at vindicating her father.  She walked a sad road but she came out happy at the end.  You'll even learn a bit about gold mining on the way.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray

Noemi is seventeen and is getting ready to die.  She's going to be one of the suicide squad breaking up the gate (worm hole) from her world to earth and other planets.  It's a sacrifice required for the greater good.  By blocking the gate it will give her country more time to build weapons to defend themselves.  But the war starts early...

Little Brown Books for Young Readers and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 4th.

When enemy ships come through gate while they are practicing their approach, she's suddenly fighting for her life early.  What's even worse is that her friend who is observing the action is hit.  She tries to save her and ends up on a deserted space ship from the past.  The first thing that happens is that the mech on board tries to kill her.  Abel looks like a man but he's a machine.  Once she says the right thing, he becomes her aide and protector.  Unfortunately, the other girl won't survive because she chooses to die instead of accepting synthetic parts.  Now Noemi and Abel will have to decide what to do next.

Noemi wants to go back to Genesis and close the gate.  Abel agrees to help her.  The adventure while doing so is space opera.  There's theft, disguises, false identities and more used to gain the equipment they need to use.  They are being pursued.  Abel's creator wants him back.  And, without either one of them realizing it, they're falling in love...

I'm going to be watching for the next book in this series.  I can't wait to see where the author takes this story.  Just make it a happy ending, OK, Ms. Gray?

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Night the Lights Went Out by Karen White

She's newly divorced and she and her children are going to make a fresh start.  She's moved to a small house near the woods, right behind the big house of her landlord.  She's a bit hesitant but it's cheaper and not far from her ex so visitations won't be a hassle.  But she's got a sore heart and isn't ready to enter the dating world or even the "mom" world at school.  Sometimes you just don't have any choice.

Berkley and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 11th.

Merilee finds her new landlord, Sugar, to be old and irascible.  She wants nothing to do with them.  Yet, she keeps showing up with baked goods and tries to get them to eat better meals.  In time, a dubious friendship grows.

As if living in a strange town isn't bad enough, there's an anonymous blogger that knows about her past and the gossip going around town.  She's trying to maintain a low profile but folks talk anyway.  She tries to make friends but doesn't have as much success as she would like.  She's happy the most popular and beautiful woman in town as taken her under her wing.  She's even buying things for her as a friend.  That would quirk my worry button.  Nobody ever does stuff like that without wanting something in return.

When she goes to a fancy party at Heather and Dan's house, she does whatever Heather asks her to do.  Finding Dan drowned at the end of the dock is more than she can take.  Then they try to charge her with murder.  It's a good thing she has Sugar and Wade on her side.

The ending is dramatic and you're not sure who is going to be alive when the fight is over.  Old wrongs sometimes rise up in the present.  Karma is a bitch. Merilee had carried guilt since high school over an incident but she didn't expect it to try to kill her...

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Curiosity House: The Fearsome Firebird by Lauren Oliver, H. C. Chester

In this odd museum, you have all kinds of oddities.  There's a flea circus, genetically altered children who have strange abilities, a cowboy, a pilot, and more.  There are regularly scheduled performances and spontaneous performances.  The whole group is living happily together.  Then someone poisons the fleas.  After the funeral, the General goes to brace the character selling flea poison out in front of their business.  He's sure he's involved.

HarperCollins and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 11th.

When the police show up to arrest the General for the murder of the flea spray seller, everybody knows he didn't do it.  But how can they prove it?

The professor asks a private eye to help.  She does but she doesn't accept the circumstantial evidence the children have found.  She's looking for solid evidence to show a judge.  Of course, then the children decide to solve it themselves...

These stories are a bit overboard in fantasy but they are great fun to read.  This is my most favorite one in this series but I'm sure there will be more.

How can you not like a story has a Phoenix in it?  Or strong men?  Or a dirigible?

It's exciting and fun.  I really enjoyed it.  Give it a try!

Thomas Haftmann, Private Eye: The Short Stories by Robb White

This collection is full of stories about walking around on the dark side of town.  No cozy mysteries here.  Everything is tense, mean, and dangerous.  And Mr. White's character, Thomas Haftmann, walks in fearlessly and with his gun.  He's an ex-cop now a PI, and he's willing to do what he has to if it pays well.

Mr. White sent me a copy of his book for me to read and review (thank you).  It has been published and you can get a copy now either in ebook or print.

These are stories you won't easily forget.  The Kneeling Woman is grotesque story about of a survivor who meets her enemy in her new land.  A missing person case turns into a female murderer who doesn't want to give up her new found enjoyment.  Mr. Haftmann is judge and jury on her case.  

The pace doesn't slow down throughout the fifteen short stories.  None of the stories are nice but they hit you in the solar plex and fill your brain with thoughts with you'd rather not have.  After reading this book, I'm glad I live where I do and don't have to fend my way through the characters in the stories!