Thursday, September 21, 2017

A Lot Like Christmas: Stories by Connie Willis

I was looking for a pleasant romantic set of Christmas stories when I found this book.  I forgot that Connie Willis is a science fiction/fantasy author.  These are Christmas stories alright but have you imagined sharing it with aliens?

Del Ray Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 10th.

I enjoyed the story of the aliens that have come to visit.  The only thing they respond to is Christmas music and only to some songs.  The officials won't listen to the person who is figuring it.  So she steals them and sets up a performance with a music teacher and his choirs to try to prove that humans deserve to live...

There was also a story of Christmas celebrations in the future.  You picked a theme, the company supplies all the decorations, food, etc.  But when you have a woman changing her mind every five minute and someone else who picks no theme but wants one done, it becomes quite a challenge.

The story about the best Christmas movie is amusing, especially with a spirit trying to help.

These may not be the traditional stories but some sound like it and they do eat roasted chestnuts.  This is an entertaining read.

A Surprise for Mrs. Tortoise by Paula Merlán, Sonja Wimmer

Mrs. Tortoise is disillusioned one morning when she gets up to get a drink and sees her reflection in the pond.  She looks old...

NubeOcho and Edelweiss let me read this picture book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 10th.

The illustrations in this story are precious.  They focus on the turtle and her friend, Birdy, and are fanciful and heartwarming.

She tells Birdy her troubles and Birdy decides to fix her up.  She suggests stars.  They're very pretty but they keep her awake at night.  Then she suggests flowers.  That was nice but the falling petals made a mess.  Clouds didn't work either.  Mrs. Tortoise loses her patience and scolds Birdy, then falls asleep in the woods.

Birdy visits with the earth and wind elements and comes up with an idea.  Mrs. Tortoise likes it and apologizes to Birdy for being mean.  

Find yourself a good friend and stick close to them.  Helping each other is the best way to get through life.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Desert Remains by Steven Cooper

Finding a dead body in the desert is never pleasant.  This one is in a cave and has been stabbed so many times it's hard to look at.  So is the drawing that is left behind...

Seventh Street Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 10th.

Mills is the lead cop on the case and he's not finding many clues.  He decides to ask his psychic friend to help.  This was an interesting touch in the mystery.  Gus sees the upcoming murders but he can't see the exact location or the killer.  He even takes Mills out to a kill and finds an old decomposing body, not the current kill.  As time goes on, they begin to realize there's a serial killer in their area.  But the clues are still missing.

The team assigned to Mills includes an ex-FBI agent.  He wants to lay the blame on the boyfriend of one of the victims but why would he have killed the others?  Also he was just a temporary visitor to area.

Gus finally gives Mills something to focus on:  A fire in the past in a certain area.  Mills finds there was a woman who killed her husband by fire.  Her son was missing but he was not a fire victim.  Maybe the mother is the killer, she just got out of jail.  Or her son.  But who can find her son?

There's lots of suspense and tension in the final chapters of the book.  As the truth is weeded out, they find the killer is closer than they would have liked.  This is a twisted story that ends with a final ironic twist at the end.  This was a good read.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A Strange Scottish Shore by Juliana Gray

It all starts with call to her boss about a mysterious object found at an old castle.  He goes to see what it is and asks her to follow him with paperwork.  As she's getting on the train, she sees a man following her.  She knows she's in danger.  Then a friend from her past shows up, saying the duke sent him for her protection.  She's a bit worried about her heart needing protection but what can she say?  When the man tailing her gets off the train in mid-trip, she's hoping it's over.  No, it's just beginning...

Berkley sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It is being published today.

This is a very interesting time travel tale.  Truelove's present time was in 1906.  When Lord Silverton goes missing, she wants to travel back in time to find him.  She manages that but then she can't figure out how to get back.  The man who follows her like a bad penny is from the future.  And when the past and the future collide, it produces very interesting results.

One thing I especially loved about this book is that the relationships were all real love.  There's no farce, no half-heartedness about it at all.  That's what carries the story and helps right wrongs.  This was a fascinating read and I really enjoyed it.

I'd tell you more but it might spoil the story.  There's an old legend involved.  And I'm not sure that they've seen the last of Haywood, her boss.  But we'll just have to see what the next book brings.

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Hunter Maiden by Ethel Johnston Phelps, Suki Boynton, Renée Watson

This is a collection of fairy tales from around the world.  These women are not forlorn weak females waiting for the white knight to ride to their rescue.  These women rescue themselves and do a good job at it!

The Feminist Press at CUNY and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 10th.

I enjoyed reading this because these women were nothing special, they just didn't give up.  If someone wronged them or they ran into a demon or a wizard, they didn't back down.  They figured out how to get around them or defeat them.

Some of them sounded familiar but most of them were new tales to me.  I sell and read a lot of fairy tales so it was unusual to find new ones.  I enjoyed them all.  Give the book a read and tell me what you thought of it.

Mystery of the Bear Cub by Carl DiRocco, Tamra Wight

The boys are back at the campground doing their chores for spending money.  They're excited to see Roy arrive but he's in a really bad mood and won't talk to them.  He's also a bit snarly when he does talk...

Island Port Press and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 10th.

When they find a mysterious old building on their island, the park ranger tells them it belonged to an old inn that was there back in stage coach days.  They suddenly decide they might try looking for leftover bottles and goods that might be worth money.  After all, Cooper already found a bottle dump.  Who knows what they might find in the privy.  There are rumors of a money box...

As they dig, they don't find much.  They do find out there's a bear in the vicinity.  In the midst of all this excitement, the Mayor wants Cooper to come to the council meeting.  He's going introduce a recycling plan that will make their trash accumulation in town much less.  Cooper wrote it up for school, and he wants him to support the issue.  What no one counts on is the fact that the Mayor won't let the businesses use it.  Also, he closes down the transfer station for "improvements".  Yeah, sure...

When they find garbage dumped on their property, Cooper and boys know they have a problem.  But they want to find out who's doing it first.  With garbage, Roy's problem, digging in an old privy, and trying to save a cub as well as trying to avoid the full-sized bears, they have their work cut out for them...

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Nail's Crossing by Kris Lackey

Finding dead bodies is no fun and when they've been really abused before death it's worse.  Bill has seen dead before but this young woman's death is disturbing.  What would be more disturbing would be why she died...

Blackstone Publishing and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 10th.  

Bill is involved because she was found on the Indian Reservation.  He and the county deputy search the area for clues.  He finds the knife but he also knows it was left in a fairly obvious place.  She was last seen dancing with a meth dealer and he has a knife like that.  But Bill doubts he would have dropped it there.

Bill and Hannah meet a lot of bad people on their way to truth.  The more they learn, the worse it looks.  It appears there's a politician involved and that will bring big trouble for them both unless they have absolute proof.  They work on gathering that and trying to stay alive while they are doing it.  After all, half the relatives they talked to about the meth dealer have been killed.  Then the killer takes Bill's girlfriend.  Things get real serious from here on out.

The interesting part of the story for me was seeing how all the agencies worked together (or didn't).  More than one reservation was involved, there were different police jurisdictions and not all of them wanted to disturb the mud.  It didn't matter.  Bill and Hannah stirred it up just fine.

This was a good read.  There was some good police work done here.