Friday, June 24, 2016

The Memory of Lemon by Judith Fertig

The cake therapist is back but she's not having any luck figuring out the flavors for the monied wedding she's working on.  The daughter wants a hippie wedding, the mother is all pomp and circumstance and wants a very formal one.  How will she make them both happy?

Berkley sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can grab a copy now.

Claire is nicknamed Neely and she's an excellent pastry chef.  Her talent is being able to meet and talk to people and while they sample her goods, she picks up emotions that tell her what flavors will be their favorite.  But this mother/daughter combo send her no signals.  The only thing she picks up is some green when the mother tries to manipulate her daughter.

If that wasn't enough of a problem, her husband doesn't want to get divorced.  The fact that he ran around her and slept more with other women than with her doesn't matter.  She pushes, he pushes back.  She's got another male friend she'd like to date but she can't while she's still married because of a prenuptial agreement.  He could even take her store and her grandmother's house.  His lawyer is even taking pictures of her.

Grandma isn't doing well, her long-lost father is starting to write to her, and she still has to figure out how to do a wedding pie.  Life is complicated right now.

There's a lot of history thrown in here in between present day.  The past fascinates me and this story includes slaves as well as whites.  Some of the herbal talent goes way back.  As these memories start coming back to Neely, she learns more about her skill and about her father and family.

I like the mix of past and present and enjoyed this tale.  It also has a good ending, which very well could be a new beginning.  I'll be watching for another in this series.

Hogs of the Hedge by AC Michael

Horace's garden was infested by slugs.  He tried everything.  He even used a slingshot to send them far away but they were back every morning.  He tried salt.  They made a bridge of slugs to get across.  He only had one choice...

Publishing Push and the author allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can find a copy on Amazon.

The text rhymes, the illustrations look like they were done by a young one, and the story is a bit silly but fun to read.

Horace posts a big sign asking for help and that means the hogs will be coming shortly.  The slugs are terrified.  They've heard all these tales about how vicious they are and how they enjoy eating them.  But they still stay in the garden.  And the hogs arrive...

Turns out they are hedge hogs and they eat worms, not slugs.  But they do have an idea of how to help Horace and the slugs both.

His flowers grow well and so do his cabbages.  He might wish the slugs had gotten the cabbages...

Thursday, June 23, 2016

All Waiting Is Long by Barbara J. Taylor

Set in the 1930's, this is the story of two sisters and sacrifice.  The youngest got pregnant unexpectedly and the oldest goes with her to provide support while she finishes her pregnancy and gives the baby away for adoption.  It means Violet has to postpone her own wedding but she can't let her sister go alone; she's too young and irresponsible.  After all, she got pregnant...

Akashic Books sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published July 5th.

Violet is carrying guilt from the death of her older sister.  They were playing with fireworks and her sister's dress caught on fire.  She feels responsible even though her parents tell her she's not; it was an accident.  So when Lily is born, she takes care of her to make up for the past.  I'm not sure Lily was worth it.

When they are leaving the home for unwed mothers, Violet finds that Lily has left her birthday hat behind.  She goes back to retrieve it and finds the baby is being given to a mother who has lost her mind and that the nun is lying about how old she is.  Violet takes the baby in the hat box and joins her sister at the train depot.  Lily refuses to touch the baby, so Violet (who has learned that babies are precious while waiting for the birth) takes her in.  When Stanley meets her at the train, he assumes it's her baby and leaves her standing there without being able to say a word.  No marriage for her.

There is lots of drama, good and bad decisions and at the core of it all is Violet.  She stands strong, she tries to do what's right and she comes out well.  Her sister, not so much.  Violet even finds love.

This is not a book for sissies.  Bad things happen, some bounce back better than others, and some have more sense than others.  It's a story about family love and how that influences life.  It's also a story of love that rises from the depths to create happiness in an unforgiving world.  It's a good read.

Snake, Rattle, and Mole by AC Michael

Imagine a witch and a rattlesnake making music together and panhandling.  Think they would sound pretty?  No one else did either...

Publishing Push and the author let me read an ebook of this story.  It has been published, so you can grab a copy on Amazon.

The witch is sure it's the snake's fault so she tries to do magic on him.  All it does is make him bigger and take away his rattle.  He's not happy with that!  She just leaves him and goes away.

While he's crying and wondering what to do, he feels the earth move and he meets a mole.  He sneaks down into the mole's den and then talks about his problem.  The mole says he has an idea how to get his rattles back.

This witch is pretty pathetic.  She's trying to do a spell on a mouse and all it does is change its colors.  The only way she'll agree to try to reverse the spell is by a trick the mole and snake play on her.

I liked the trick and I liked the lesson the witch learned.  The illustrations are simple and look like they could have been done a young artist.  I think you could say these characters qualified as curious.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Hatching by Ezekiel Boone

We worry about anthrax poisoning, bird flu, chemical warfare, loss of electricity and more in current times.  One thing that hasn't come up as a worry is spiders.  This story centers on the release of a sac of spiders from hell.  They are carnivorous...

Emily Bestler Books allowed me to read this ARC for review (thank you).  It will be published July 5th.

I hate spiders.  I don't mind daddy long legs but the others make me real nervous.  When I was offered this book, I knew it was about a subject I didn't like.  I made sure I read it during daylight hours.  The comfort here is that the spiders are treated like any other kind of epidemic.

The thing most chilling about this story is how easily these things spread.  They grow and die quickly but they do a lot of damage on the way.  People and shipments carry them and travel bring them from countries to other countries.  Once they are established, they go on reproducing.  It's a major problem that the US is not doing well at containing.  It's hard to study the spiders when you have several interruptions, problems and panic in your laboratory.  It worse when one of the graduate students has a spider burrow into him...

There is a lot research being done, the military is doing what they can, and not much progress is being made.  The real horror comes in the final paragraphs when the spider specialist tells the president it appears this scourge was just the first batch.  They are evolving and bigger ones will be coming.

Sure, there's going to be a sequel.  No, I'm not going to read it.  I faced my fears reading this one, I need no nightmares!  If you like being scared of out of your pants, this series will do it. 

Cleo by Sassafras de Bruyn

Cleo is not fond of the duties her life contains.  School is where people make fun of her glasses, she's always having to tidy things up, and she has no friends.  But she has a way of changing that...

Clavis Books and Net Galley gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published so you can grab a copy now.

This is a sweet story with lovely illustrations that takes you into the fantasy world of a young girl.  Her only real friend is her cat so when she sails away from the world she lives in, she will take him along.

Once she imagines the ship, she imagines a tour across the sea through a field of trees where she meets a boy.   They visit a mermaid cave, pick stars out of the sky, and fight sea monsters.  She's very brave in her imaginary world.

Did you take fantasy journeys in your childhood?  I would see somebody living in an unusual place and pretend I could change places with them for one day.  Then I would imagined what I would do and see while in that cabin by the river or in the castle I could see in the distance.

This little one is following her own dreams.  She knows what her magical life would be like.  (Please note there is no school.)

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

As Good as Gone by Larry Watson

He's desperate.  His wife needs surgery and is going to a hospital in another state.  His teenage daughter will be OK at home alone, but his son is only 11.  When the daughter is at work, his son will be unsupervised.  He decides to bite the bullet and ask his estranged father to stay with them.  He has no idea if he will or not...

Algonquin Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It is being published today.

Calvin is an old cowboy, living in a small trailer out on the prairie.  He's all by himself and he likes it that way.  He doesn't even have a dog.  When his son shows up out of the blue, he's suspicious.  When he finds out why, he wants to say no, so he has no idea why he says yes.

Calvin walked away from his family when his wife died in a car accident in France.  She had gone home to see her family and never made it back.  So the first thing the son does is get a promise he won't take off and leave his grandchildren alone.  He makes that promise.  The son is going to regret asking for it.

Calvin deals with problems just like he used to during his cowboy days.  He succeeds in one task he takes on (saving his granddaughter from a stalker) but he fails at another.  Part of that was his fault.  He assumed a set up he found at the garage was done by a man his son was evicting but it was actually his grandson that did it.

I was hoping for redemption, reconciliation, and a happy ending.  What I got was the tale of a man who has isolated himself and not changed since his prime.  There's no place for old cowboys today.  This book shows you why. It's an interesting look at how things change and how many remain the same.