Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Twisted Threads by Lea Wait


Angie has been called home by her grandmother.  After all this time, her mother has been found.  Unfortunately, she's dead and has been for a long time...

Kensington Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 6th, so you can grab a copy then.  This is the first book in a new cozy series.

Angie knows her mother was murdered and, based on where the body was hidden, everyone assumes the murderer is the dead storage unit owner.  Angie is not sure she agrees but how do you find evidence so long after the fact?

While she's working on that, she finds that her grandmother has started a needlepoint business and the man who was promoting their goods has not paid them for months.  She's a private eye, so she's ready to go track him down.

Before the story is over, there are two murders, child abuse in the past is revealed, her grandmother is getting married and Angie has to make sense of it all.  It was an interesting tale and the members of the needlepoint club are fascinating.  This was a busy mystery with some odd pieces that eventually fit together.  I'll be watching for the next in the series and will see where Ms. Wait takes Angie then.  I'm just glad Angie has found some friends.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Queen's Mare: Michael Rhineheart, P.I. by John Birkett

All he's supposed to do is exchange the ransom money to get the horse and her foal back.  It's not really a PI job, but it should be easy enough to do.  Should be...

Witness Impulse and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published tomorrow, so you can grab a copy then.

The matriarch of the family has asked Michael to do the transaction for her.  Since she's the "Grand Dame of Kentucky Racing", the money is good and may lead to other jobs.  The only problem is that the missing horse and foal belong to the Queen of England.  She'll be here in a week to visit and see the new foal.  That doesn't give him a lot of time to accomplish this.  There are also a few ghosts in the closet that no one bothers to tell him about.

What started as a simple kidnapping turns into a deadly case of revenge.  No one has bothered to mention the death threats until the younger daughter asks him to work as her body guard.  He declines because he's working for her mother and he now has some new questions to ask her.  Then the daughter ends up dead.  They need to take those death threats seriously!

Michael has a hard time trying to match the puzzle pieces together and finding out who is after them.  It all started about twenty years ago and something that was of no big significance to the monied family destroyed another less fortunate one.  They don't call it revenge; they call it justice.  Can Michael stop them in time?

Monday, December 29, 2014

Shooting at the Stars The Christmas Truce of 1914 by John Hendrix

This is the story of a Christmas miracle in the middle of war...

Abram's Book for Young Readers sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore now.

While it sounds like make believe, this is a true incident during World War I.  It's told from the perspective of a British soldier.  The Allied Forces are on one side in trenches and the Germans are on the other.  They've been trying to kill each other for days.  Then it's Christmas Day and the German's have Christmas trees lit on the other side.  A sudden peace takes over the land and all the soldiers find themselves mingling.  They share goods, trade for items of interest, and enjoy trying to chat with each other.  The commanding officer has a fit and makes them all go back to their trenches.  He threatens them with court martial if they don't go back to shooting at each other.  So both sides commence firing.  However their guns are pointed at the stars above, not the soldiers.

The moment doesn't last and the war began in earnest the next day.  But it let the soldiers know that each side was the same:  young, unsure, cold and hungry and just plain human.  

Here we are a hundred years later and we still are fighting wars.  It seems we don't learn much from history.  There are good and bad people all around the world but most are just humans trying to live their own lives.  Wars don't solve differences; they just kill people.  All I can do is pray for peace.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Last Private Eye: Michael Rhineheart, P.I. by John Birkett

This book tastes a lot like the classic noir of the past.  Michael Rhineheart doesn't like someone telling him what to do, so he works for himself.  He has a mentor, who is now old and basically retired, that trained him in the PI business.  He also has a secretary that doesn't type very well and wants to be a PI, too.  He drinks bourbon, is willing to fight back with force and he's going to do the job he was hired for whether he gets paid or not.  When a journalist asks him to look for a missing person who had a big story about the Kentucky Derby, he does.  That was a bad choice...

Witness Impulse and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published December 30th, so you don't have long to wait before you can grab it.

Michael is an interesting man.  He was married once and lost his young wife and the child she was carrying in a freeway accident.  He doesn't even talk about her now.  The little lady he's hired as his secretary is tiny and not much of secretary but she gives him tit-for-tat and keeps asking to go along on his investigating trips.  Most she can't because of the danger, but he does have her do data searches and other errands.

When he begins to look for the missing stable hand, he finds himself getting deep in the politics of horse racing.  To him, it feels like he's stepping in horse shit.  Is the guy just missing, or is he dead?  What happened to his wife?  And why do the two competing owners seem to be friendlier than they ought to be?

These questions and more will be answered before the end of the story.  This is a rough and tough story with victims all around.  Michael feels like he failed but his old mentor tells him that happens often in life.  You just have to get over it and move on.  Sounds like good advice to me.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Cold Betrayal: An Ali Reynolds Novel by J.A. Jance

She's pregnant and has been hit by a car.  Sister Anselm is an advocate for the ill and she takes this young woman under her wing.  When she learns she's running from polygamous marriage, she remembers another young girl that fled and then disappeared.  She's ready to defend her.

Touchstone and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 10th, so watch for it then.

Ali is enjoying married life and would like to have more time with her husband.  The problem is that she's a cop and she's often gone.  His job takes him all over, too.  Right now, she has this young pregnant woman to help (Sister A makes sure of that) and her new daughter-in-law is asking for help for her grandmother.  Someone is trying to make Betsy look unstable so she can put in a nursing home.

The past and present merge together through this story and it's pretty brutal.  The head of the farm of the polygamous family rules like a god, and he's greedy and insane.  When you find out how he's made all his money and what his plans are for the future, it will make your blood run cold.

I think adding the nun and Ali's husband makes for a very touch.  She's able to do more with her husband's aid and that's a good thing.

If you're not familiar with J A Jance, she writes good books.  This is one of her newer characters.  Find some of her old books and try them while you're waiting for this one to be published.  I don't think you'll be disappointed you did.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman

If the author's name is Neil Gaiman, you can be pretty sure I'll be reading the book.  Some of his stories give me more pleasure than others but you can't ever say he doesn't entertain you.  This collection of stories and thoughts entertains very well.

William Morrow and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published February 3rd, so grab a copy then.

Neil begins by talking about a trigger warning is, then gives you a brief overview of the stories within.  I like the breadth and width of his stories (as well as his imagination) and this a good sampling of various types of writing.  There are different styles, different presentations and even some pieces of his life included.

The ones I liked best were a bit odd.  My favorite is the about a djinn who can't get the woman to use her wishes.  I also enjoyed the interrogation where a girl answers written questions about what happened.  He has a couple of old fairy tales retold in a much smoother and more complete story line.  He throws in a statue that I found interesting (and reflects on wife's life) and Dr. Who tale for those who like him.

There's something here for everyone.  Why not jump in the dark cave of Neil Gaiman's mind?

Inspector Hobbes and the Gold Diggers unhuman III (humorous mystery) by Wilkie Martin

Inspector Hobbes is back in his greatest adventure yet!

The Witcherley Book Company and Net Galley gave me the opportunity to read this book (thank you).  It has been published, so you can grab a copy now.  This is the third in the series, so check the other two out.

This is best one yet!  Hobbes takes Andy camping.  Andy should have known better, but it sounded like fun.  He finds sleeping on the ground isn't very comfortable but they have food and drink and the sights are beautiful, so he's content.  At least he is until he finds the dead body...

This is not a new dead body and the police are ready to write it off as an accident, but Inspector Hobbes isn't buying that.  He believes it was murder, so he begins to investigate.

Andy has no clue what's going on as usual.  Even when Hobbes gives him clues, it doesn't help.  He just bumbles along through the story being there for Hobbes.

This particular novel is enlightening because we finally get to find out what/who Hobbes is.  He's not human as such but he does have a background.  When the bank manager is a vampire, you know this book is enlivened with weird characters.

There's supposedly a gold mine going back into operation, there's murder and there's a bank robbery.  It's a busy story and it's good fun to read.  I enjoy how silly everything is.  It reminds me a bit of watching the Three Stooges.  Have a read, see what you think.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

For the Love of Pete by Debby Mayne

Bethany is a widow who has lost her spirit.  Her house is cluttered with all sorts of collectables she's inherited.  Her husband is gone.  She mostly stays home and keeps to herself.  But that's going to change.  The Garden Club has decided to make her their project!

B & H Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 15th, so make a note to pick it up then.

This story amused me.  Bethany likes Pete and they've been friends for years.  They even went to school together.  Since Pete helps everyone who needs it, he helps Bethany with repairs and errands, too.  They like each other but they're not brave enough to try for something more.  The older ladies in their lives aren't going to let them get away that!

When the Garden Club ladies stick Bethany under their wings and get ready to do a fundraiser, they also plan to help her weed out the clutter in her home.  Bethany resents it, then begins to get into it, and the sale moves forward.  

If that's not enough to keep your attention, there's a parrot in the story, too.  He's famous for being able to escape his cage and it creates a mob riot and he does.

This a nice cozy read with silly situations and lots of friendship and the new bloom of love to keep you reading and smiling.  Give it a try.

Little Hawk and the Lone Wolf: A Memoir by Raymond Kaquatosh

Little Hawk grew up in Wisconsin on an Indian Reservation.  This is his memoir about his life then and now.  I have Indian relatives who live in Yakima, Washington, but they don't live on a reservation.  This is a nice look at life in another state with a different background.

Wisconsin Historical Society Press and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book (thank you).  It has been published, so you can get a copy now.

Raymond does a nice job of telling his tale with no remorse.  Life is life and you take what you get.  I especially liked reading about his younger years.  He had a pet wolf, he made friends while he was away at school and his teachers practically adopted him.  He was away from his family but he still managed to be happy.

His war years reminded me of my family of veterans and their tales.  I was amazed by how long his wolf lived.  I was also amused by his stories of love and the potential for marriage.  I was about to fret for him in the romance department, but he finally found the right woman.

This is not a boring tale.  His sense of humor comes through, he deals with his losses as a man should and he's had a good life.  Why don't you take a little walk in the Indian life?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Dark Screams: Volume One Edited by Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar

Ready for some chills?  Here is anthology of short stories by masters of the horror craft.  There's even one by Stephen King.

Hydra and Net Galley allowed me to read this for review (thank you).  It has been published, so you can find a copy at your local bookstore now.

King does his usual job of making me wish I really hadn't read that.  He can take an odd concept that couldn't possibly be true and still make you shudder.  

Here's a list of the stories:

THE WEEDS by Stephen King

When a meteorite lands on his property, Jordy Verrill envisions an easy payday. Unfortunately for Jordy, this is no ordinary rock—and the uncompromising force inside has found its first target.

THE PRICE YOU PAY by Kelley Armstrong

Never pay more than you owe. Sounds like easy advice to follow. But for Kara and her childhood friend Ingrid, some debts can never be repaid . . . especially those tendered in blood.

MAGIC EYES by Bill Pronzini

Edward James Tolliver has found a weary sort of asylum among the insane. He knows he’s not one of them—but how can he tell anyone about the invaders without sounding that way?

MURDER IN CHAINS by Simon Clark

Imagine awaking to find yourself in an underground vault, chained by the neck to a murderous lunatic, a grunting goliath who seems more animal than man. What would you do to save yourself?

THE WATCHED by Ramsey Campbell

Little Jimmy gets a glimpse of the cold truth when he finds out that it’s not always what you see that can get you into trouble; it’s who knows what you see.

All these stories are quirky and odd.  It's a very good sampling of what makes horror and how little it takes to make goosebumps appear.  

I dare you to read this book and tell me it didn't scare you and you didn't think about any the stories after you set it down.  If you do, I'm not sure I'll believe you... 

Captive by Aimée Carter

Kitty is being forced to appear as Lila, the Prime Minister's niece.  Her looks have been altered, she has a fake fiance, and she's basically a captive in the her "Uncle's" home.  She's not content and she's looking for a way out.  She never imagined what it would take for her to escape.

Harlequin Teen and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so you can grab a copy now.  You also might want to pick up the first in the series to give you background on the story line.

As Lila, she has duties and she's supposed to suck up to those politically important.  She has problems doing that, mostly because they are old bores, snobs and lechers.  In desperation, she decides to go see her old rebel friends and see if they can help her escape.  Unfortunately, they tell her she must stay; she's more important there.  She decides to steal information and escape with her love.  She almost makes it...

Now she's incarcerated in a prison where everyone has a job and no one trusts each other.  It's a cold hard world where people die daily.  Some just disappear.  Some are executed in a cage where everyone can watch.  Kitty doesn't understand all she sees or hears.  She's still working on the revolution.  And she's still mourning the loss of her love.  

This is a complex tale with various subplots.  Parts of it are repulsive but revolution has a price.  Absolute power corrupts.  I found the end intriguing and can't wait to see what happens in the next book in this series.  Kitty is a strong young woman, and she needs that strength to survive.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Dragons at Crumbling Castle: And Other Tales by Terry Pratchett, Mark Beech (Illustrated by)

How about some short tales about dragons?

Clarion Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book (thank you).  It will be published February 3rd, so keep an eye out for it.
 
I couldn't resist reading this anthology since it's about dragons.  It was even more fun because it's the author's early writing.  Mr. Pratchett wrote these stories when he was a young journalist for a local paper.  They're for young adults, but I enjoyed reading them, too.  His humor and tongue-in-cheek style make this a fun read.

There are fumbling wizards, turtles, dragons and more in these pages.  Some of the stories have the feeling that he quickly created a way to end the story so he didn't exceed his word count.  Or maybe that was because he was just so young at the time.  None of the stories are bad and some are more amusing than others.

This would be a good read aloud story book.  He has enough odd characters you could read it in different voices and make the story even more fun.

I was happy to see a book by Mr. Pratchett and I sure enjoyed visiting this part of his past.  Give it a try, I bet you'll like it, too.

Outrage at Blanco, An Ellie Taine Thriller by Bill Crider

Ellie was coming home from picking up supplies at Blanco.  She and her husband had a small ranch and while they weren't making much, they were doing okay.  These supplies would carry them through for several months.  When the cowboys stopped to ask how far away town was, she stopped her wagon and told them.  There wasn't much else she could do but she didn't know how evil they were.  They didn't care about who they hurt or killed and she became a victim.

Brash Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

When Ellie comes home late and won't talk to her husband, he knows something happened.  When he finally gets her to speak, he gets his gun belt and goes to town.  He's going after the men that assaulted her.  All they do is kill him as they are coming out of a bank robbery.  Now Ellie has even less.

Ellie is no spring chicken, no beauty, and wanted only to be left in peace.  However, when those men raped her and killed her husband, the same inner strength that helped her work the farm makes her go after them.  

This is a tale of murder and grief on all sides.  The only shining star is Ellie which is a bit unusual in a western.  Mr. Crider does a good job of depicting life in that era and talking about the struggles everyone was going through.  I'll be watching for another book in this series.  Ellie is no victim anymore.

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Map to Everywhere by Carrie Ryan, John Parke Davis

Fin has been told that the map will lead him to his mother.  He's a boy everyone forgets right after they've met him.  He's not sure why but it's a real handy skill when you're a thief.  Marrill is just out for a walk with her cat when a vacant Arizona parking lot suddenly has water in and she's a ship bearing down on her.  Where did that come from?

Little Brown Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

This is first in a new adventure series and it's a very good read.  Fin is very good at thieving but trying to get a piece of the map or removing the key to the map is a very dangerous task.  He's small.  The pirates on board are huge and they aren't all human.

Marrill ends up on board the ship she sees and she meets a strange wizard and a young man who is the captain of the ship.  They're older than they appear and they tell her she's now on the pirate stream.  The "water" moves in time and across nations.  She can't go home until they complete the Map to Everywhere.  Then they will know how to get her back home.

This is grand adventure with impossible tasks, strange plants and creatures, and plenty of bad guys to go around.  It kept me in my chair reading until I finished the story.  I enjoyed both the characters and the tale.  I'm glad to see there will be more in the series because while this journey was over for now, I can tell there's a lot more to the story.

Get your favorite drink, find a comfortable chair, and then open the book and get ready to go on a grand adventure...

Izzy & Oscar by Tracy Dockray (Illustrated by), Dan Stark, Allison Estes

Izzy is a lot like I was as a child.  I could imagine myself as a beautiful princess, a circus performer, or a pirate captain.  I had a dog and a cat, but I also adopted caterpillars, potato bugs, and anything else that was small.  I even had a parakeet and a duck once.  I sure never saw an octopus around or I might have adopted him, too!

Sourcebooks Jaberwocky and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 7, 2015.  (I'm reviewing it now because it has a short expiration date for reading.  Besides, I couldn't wait until then!)

Izzy is strutting about as a pirate captain when she happens to run across a light purple octopus.  She names him Oscar, puts a leash on him and treats him like a dog.  He's got no neck for a collar and the leash falls off his tentacles.  What's she do?

He just doesn't fit any of the traditional pet roles.  He's not a good parrot and he doesn't make a good pony either.  What he is good at it is giving hugs.  That's when Izzy decides all you can be is who you are and that's just fine.  I never did have a pony or an octopus for a pet growing up.  But I'm just me and I like me fine.  Why don't you try being what you want to be and not what other people expect you to be?  You'll be happier.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Paw and Order by Diane Kelly

Megan is a K-9 officer and Brigit is her dog.  They're celebrities because of the last case they worked on, so the chief sends her to the local fair for more promotion of the police department and its officers.  Megan isn't enthused about the job but gets that way not long after she enters the fairgrounds.

St. Martin's Press and Net Galley gave me the opportunity to read this book (thank you).  It will be published December 30th, so take your Christmas money down and get a copy.  This is the second in the series, so pick up the first one while you wait.

Megan had a relationship with Seth from the bomb squad.  Seth has some problems and he backed off.  Now he wants to get together again but he doesn't want to talk about his family and those problems.  Megan says talk or forget it.  He's willing to try.

In the meantime, someone is stealing money from folks at the fair.  They're robbing them in the restrooms.  Even with descriptions from the victims, she's having trouble finding them.  While she's working on solving that problem, she's got a guy flirting with her there.  Like she needed more trouble.

I like stories that have an animal in them and Brigit is a delightful character.  Megan is her own person and she's not secure in the romance field.  I wanted to shove her in the right direction but she'll have to find it on her own.  That's how life is too, right?

This is a cozy mystery set amongst the farm animals and rodeo.  I could almost smell the cotton candy and corn dogs.  I enjoyed this read.  Why don't you taste it? 

Reindeer Dust by Kate Dwyer

What if Santa can't see through the clouds to land?

Smith Publicity and Net Galley gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published and would be a very special Christmas gift under your tree.

The illustrations are sweet and colorful.  It's a cloudy, cloudy day and one little boy knows that if he can't see the stars, Santa is not going to be able to find him.  Instead of pouting about that, he conjures up some glitter dust that shines.  He's pretty sure the reindeer's sharp eyes will be able to see it despite the clouds.

When he explains his plan to his friends, they create a big circle of glitter dust in the snow and then draw the way to their houses.  It looks like the spokes on a wheel.  Sure enough, Santa finds them and the presents come through so they all have a wonderful Christmas morning.  

It's a fun, uplifting tale that will make everyone smile.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Moonlit Door: a contemporary British village mystery by Deryn Lake

Reverend Nick Lawrence is organizing a Medieval Fair for his small village.  He hopes to bring tourists in and help the local businesses.  It's also a fun event for all the goers.  What he never expected was to see the devil's work when the fair closed down for the day...

Severn House and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 1st, so look for a copy then.

An orphaned school boy is found pinned to the maypole by an arrow with the ribbons draped all over him.  Nick works with Detective Inspector Tennant to determine who would have killed the boy.  It's harder because there were so many people at the fair.

They question all the archers that were in the competition.  They look at the Grimm Morris Dancers because they are odd and there's a chance they are doing Satan worshiping.  They find they will cavort in the woods in the nude and have sex with willing women, but nothing to indicate they are killers.

I liked visiting this village and learning about the people here.  Like all small towns, you get to meet lots of eccentric characters.  There's also the beginning of a romance for Nick.  

I was taken aback by the killer.  Out of all the suspects, that was one that I never even had any suspicion about.  This author has a devious mind and pulls no punches.  This is not a cozy mystery; it's a hard story about mental illness and death.  I enjoyed the Reverend and the Inspector and look forward to seeing them again.  I hope the next book they are in has a softer plot line; this one almost made me cry.

Friday, December 19, 2014

False Impression: A Bea Abbot British Murder Mystery by Veronica Heley


Bea liked Leon a lot.  In fact, Leon Holland was becoming very dear to her.  She wasn't ready to commit to anything yet, but she didn't want to lose him.  When he asks her for an alibi, she's willing but she wants to know why.  Soon she's going to be sorry she even knew the Holland family...

Severn House and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published the first of March, 2015, so look for a copy then.

I really enjoyed Bea.  She's a good woman who helps anyone who needs it and she cares about her friends and family.  Leon is a rock.  He's a big strong man who has a soft spot for Bea.  Unfortunately, he also has family troubles.

Leon's brother is in ill health.  He has divided his company and has given Leon a segment to manage and own.  He's doing that but finds his brother is accusing him of treacherous acts.  Then Leon almost gets run over by a van as he's crossing the road.  He's also lured to a car park to meet a missing accountant and finds two people who have been killed in their cars.  Neither one is the accountant.  Next, Bea's office gets hit by a virus impacting all of her computers.  She also finds out her house is bugged and someone is watching the porch by a remote camera.  Where's all this coming from and how does it tie back to Leon?  Or does it?

I enjoyed watching the various characters in Bea's home go from despair over breakups to budding new love.  Bea and Leon make a mean team in handling the threats and finding the killer.  It's a layered plot with lots going on and several deaths.  The story keeps your attention and keeps you reading.  It even makes you laugh in a few spots.  I enjoyed reading about Bea and Leon and hope they will be back again.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Explorer: The Hidden Doors (Explorer #3) by Kazu Kibuishi

This is a collection of work by various artists with a single theme:  What do you find when you open the hidden door?

Amulet Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published so grab a copy now.  This is the third in the series, so check the other two out.  This one is a very well done graphic novel and I'm sure the others are also.

I like to see what creative people with the same theme.  I did a creative writing class and this book is very like what my teacher would have had us do.  I have no artist talents so mine was just text.  This is the best of both worlds:  a story with wonderful illustrations!

I found trolls, a giant, ice cliffs, an Egyptian mummy and more.  The stories focus on personal attributes all of us should aspire for such as friendship, self-confidence, survival and even dealing with bullies. The stories were almost too short but you understand the point the author is trying to make and it will keep even reluctant readers turning the pages.

I was impressed by this book.  It's pleasing to the eye, the stories are great, and it was a pleasure to read.  If anyone you know likes graphic novels, this is one to read!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Lives in Ruins by Marilyn Johnson

Archaeologists fascinate me.  To them, history is everything.  It's almost like a disease.  They don't worry about personal danger, they'll sneak around laws and local officials, and they usually get so busy doing their work they forget to eat.  I have to admire them even if I have no desire to do it myself.  An old piece of pottery or coin is interesting but it doesn't drive me like it does them.

Harper sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published so you can find a copy at your local bookstore now.  This would make a very nice Christmas gift for anyone who is interested in this subject or would just like to know more.

Ms. Johnson writes very clear readable text that fits well with the art of brushing earth and debris away to find the buried treasure.  She talks about going on digs and what she learned there.  She didn't find any masterpieces but she understands about the weather, lack of amenities, and how much work must be done to find even a point of beginning.  I'm constantly amazed by how many centuries of lives might be buried in one location.  If it was a nice place to live, usually more than one era had people there.  Wind, weather, the sea level, and type of construction had a lot to do with when the first development disappeared.  Many sunk into the ground and another group would build above them.  Look at Underground Seattle.  It didn't go far but there are portions built over the top of the old buildings that flooded and sunk.  It's an amazing place to visit.

What kept my interest in this book was the people we met.  You'll never find a group of folks more eccentric and esoteric than a well experienced archaeologist.  The author tells you of her conversations with these folks and I wish I'd been there having a cup of coffee and listening, too.

This is a truly good combination:  The mix of the art of archaeology and the characters that inhabit that world.  If I ever get a chance to visit with one, I will.  In the meantime, this book made a good substitute for me.  Give it read; I think you'll enjoy it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

When Remos Dreams by Keith Saye

It all started when Remos was kicking his foot through the dirt on the way to the fields.  He hit his foot on something metal and it hurt.  Then when he dug it out of his foot and tried to open it up, it blew up!  After that, he started dreaming.  He imagined lands and people he'd never seen before.  He couldn't let anyone know about those dreams.  His only friend was Sooni, and he was her protector.  He needed to hide it from her, too.  This was dangerous knowledge.

Publishing Push and the author provided me with a copy of this book for review (thank you).  Amazon carries both the eBook and a trade paperback so you can order a copy there.

This is written for young adults and is a cross between a dystopian novel and a mix of Star Wars, The Last Starfighter and more.  It starts out full of despair and then erupts into a full fledged space ship battle.  There's lots of action, Remos and Sooni are moving from friends into a more romantic relationship, all the space ship captains are extra courageous and willing to give their lives to help the children being held captive on this planet.

I liked how the author handled this story and his characters and the breadth and depth of the story. It kept me glued to it from beginning to end.  The survivors will make their own new world and it pleased me.

If you want a book that will grab your attention and keep you reading, this one is it.  Get a copy and check it out; you'll be glad you did.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Kin Seeker (Book One of Dragon Calling) by N.R. Eccles-Smith


When he awakens he doesn't know where he is or who he is.  That might be less confusing if everyone who sees him didn't run as soon as he emerges from his cave.  He knows he's an animal and he's big, but why is everyone so scared?

The author graciously gave me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can get a copy in either ebook or print form.

This is written for middle graders.  It has lots of action, a large variety of creatures, and lots of friendship and bravery abound.  It was the dragon that captured my attention but the way the story developed gave me much more to be happy about.

When he realizes he's a dragon and a ghost reminds him of his quest, he sets out on his way.  He runs into all kinds of fascinating creatures, including a unicorn.  She's helping him get to the land of his kin.  They are no longer alive but that's where his quest is sending him.  Along the way they meet monsters, make new friends and even find a flying tree.  This book makes you use your imagination and I found it great fun!

To give you an idea of just who you might meet reading this book, look at this trailer on YouTube.

This is the first book in the series and it's the beginning of a grand adventure.  His enemies have found out he's alive and they will be coming after him.  He might not remember the past but he's figuring out the future.  I'm wondering what the next book will bring...

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Paris Winter by Imogen Robertson

Maud has come to Paris to study art.  She loves to paint and is trying to improve her skill at it.  That means she has little money to spend on herself and she doesn't eat very much, but she's learning and that's all that's important to her.  When she's invited to be a lady's companion and receives room and board and a wage, she's elated.  Now she can concentrate on painting.  What she doesn't realize is that she has been caught in a spider web of deceit that could cost her life.

Reading Group Gold sent me a copy of this Advanced Readers' Edition of this story to read (thank you).  It has been published, so you can find a copy at your local bookstore now.

This is not the type of thing that I usually read, but I found it very fascinating.  I know things were tough for young women who didn't have a husband to support them, but I never thought about a couple using their companion as a scape goat for a con game.  That's a very unusual twist.

Maud has a few friends at the school and one of them took her to meet a woman who takes in the young women from the streets.  She gives them a place to live, regular meals and helps them find a suitable job.  When Maud asks her for a job recommendation, the woman tells her about a young man who is looking for someone to watch over his sister.  When she applies, they're happy to hire her.  And things go well for a while.  Until one day they turn on her and accuse her of using the drugs she had bought for his sister.  Not only that, they drug her and he dumps her in the river to drown!

As unlikely as it seems, Maud survives.  It takes a while to get well again but as she heals, she plots.  When she finds out they have soiled her character and accused her of theft, she's determined to get even.  If she can't pursue through the law (who would believe her?), then she'll do it by "haunting" him.

The result is very satisfying networking between the women and aimed at the evil couple.  All their plans go by wayside, he keeps seeing Maud in the crowd and then she's gone, and both of them are getting nervous.  The ending is very ironic and very climatic.

I enjoy Ms. Robertson's writing style.  The words flow well, the story is believable, and the era is accurately reported.  Evil didn't triumph in this story and I like that.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Woman with a Gun by Phillip Margolin

It all starts when an aspiring novelist is looking for something to motivate her writing.  She goes to a photography display and finds a picture that haunts her.  A young woman in a wedding gown is looking out at the sea with a pistol held in her hand behind her back.  What's she waiting for?  What's she done or is thinking about doing?  What a great way to find a background for her story!

Harper Collins sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

This seems like a fairly straightforward story.  It's an unsolved murder but asking enough questions will give her the information she needs to write her own conclusion.  However, there is a problem with this concept.  The killer doesn't want to be found.

The game of cat and mouse and interviews is fascinating.  Lots of questions are asked and answered, but are the answers the truth?  All Stacey wants to get is a good story.  Somehow, the more she finds out, the less she knows.

The investigation is interesting and the characters are fascinating.  Almost everyone involved has some problem.  The lawyer sleeps around, the photographer has a drug problem, the widow hides out.  Who's hiding what?

The answer was right there in front of them the whole time.  It just took a new set of eyes to find what the photograph was showing.

I found it a very interesting and intriguing read.  I was surprised at the identity of the killer.  Mr. Margolin writes a story that drags you in and keeps you reading until you look up at the end and say:  "Wow!"

Friday, December 12, 2014

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley

Flavia is back!  She's out of favor with her family, so she gets sent to a boarding school.  It just happens to be in Canada, so they've put an ocean between them.  She's tired, has hurt feelings and goes to bed in her new room with her clothes on.  Imagine her surprise when someone comes in and starts pounding on her!

Delacorte Press and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 6th, so watch for a copy then.  I've read the earlier book in this series and enjoyed it.  You could start with that one while you wait for this one to come out.

Flavia is an odd little duck.  Normal things bother her more than abnormal things.  When the girl beating on her stops long enough to realize that Flavia is the new student, she's mortified.  She thought she was someone else.  Of course, with all the noise, the head of the school comes to find out what's going on.  They aren't allowed out of their rooms at night, so Flavia hides the other girl in the chimney.  That's all well and good until the girl and a corpse fall back out of the chimney right in front of the mistress.

This is just the beginning of this tangled tale.  She knows the secret society is here but no one will acknowledge it.  She has no friends.  She's not sure what teachers to trust.  And no one seems to care about the corpse.  She's not going to ignore that dead woman.  After all, it was found in her room!

You get several subplots, Flavia uses her science and chemistry knowledge to determine cause of death, and it's not until the very end all the pieces tie together and show her what happened.

Mr. Bradley has done an excellent job of creating a character you can't forget.  Flavia is her own unique person and I love her.  Somehow life just doesn't work out well for her, but she loves the challenge.  I know the author must have something big planned for her down the line, but I'm quite content to follow along during her learning years.  She might be an embarrassment to her family, but I'd be happy to have her as a relative.  I can relate to her.  Can you?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

NUN TOO SOON A Giulia Driscoll Mystery #1 by Alice Loweecey

Giulia is an ex-nun.  She's married to a cop now and runs her own detective agency.  I went to a parochial grade school and was taught by nuns.  I couldn't miss reading this one!

Henery Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  The book has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

This story is rich with characters you won't forget.   Giulia is unique enough to carry the whole story herself, but her staff is even more fun.  We have a pregnant office administrator, a young man who's a computer geek, and a temporary girl in training to fill in during pregnancy leave who has tattoos and an odd haircut.  Their skills all complement each other and there's a lot of humor shared in the office.

When Giulia takes on the Silk Tie Killer, she does it for justice.  The accused man says he's innocent and she's looking for a way to prove it.  It doesn't help when her client is someone she despises.  His friends aren't much better.  What she and her husband don't realize is just how dangerous this guy is.  He didn't kill his girlfriend but it doesn't mean he's innocent. I don't know many nuns that practice self-defense classes and learn Ninja-type skills, but it's good thing Giulia has.

This is the first of a new series and I really enjoyed this first book.  I'll be watching for the next one in the series.  I know Giulia will get in trouble again...

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Murder of Harriet Krohn by Karin Fossum

This is the story of a man who slipped off life's path.  He lost his job, his family, and his money to drugs.  He desperately wants to see his daughter again and he knows an old woman who has family heirlooms worth money.  He takes her flowers and then attempts to steal from her.  She may be old but she's still full of fight.  And then she's dead...

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It was published in November, so you can find a copy at your local bookstore now.

What this author analyzes in her story is how an accident can become a nightmare.  The psychological affect on the killer is almost more than he can handle.  He tries to justify his actions by saying she was old, didn't need the goods, and she shouldn't have fought back.  But it eats at his soul.

He buys his daughter a horse.  This man who had nothing can afford to buy a show horse for her.  He is working at the stable, but it still looks suspicious. When the police start questioning him, he has answers.  But the detective never quits asking his questions.

This is a sad tale with a predictable outcome.  I usually hate the killers in stories but I found myself feeling sorry for him.  He was a weak man that fell by the wayside.  Sometimes it's like that.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Boy with the Hidden Name by Skylar Dorset

Selkie saved Ben from the fairy prison, but can she save him from himself?

Sourcebooks Fire and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It was published December 2nd, so you can find a copy now at your local bookstore.

Ben is pure fairy.  Selkie is part fairy and part ogre.  Neither one of their mothers is a nice person.  Selkie knows she's fulfilling a prophecy to stop the Seelies from taking over the world but there's a bit at the end that says that Ben will betray her and then die.  She doesn't want the Seelie's messing with humans but she loves Ben...

There's lots of action and danger in this story.  You even get a Goblin King in on the quest.  Selkie's team loses a member in this war and it made me sad.  But so many other things went well and the ending is fantastic.  I saw no way out, but the author had an ace up her sleeve and plays it at the end of book.  Life changes but love lives.  How could I not like that?  I'm a romantic at heart even if I am realist about life.  This ends the way life should go and that's fine with me.

Both of the books about the Otherworld were a good read.  If you missed the first one, grab that one at the same time and then you'll be taken on an even greater journey.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Helsinki Noir edited by James Thompson

I love short stories.  They are succinct, stick to the facts and, with the right words, can mess with your head in just a few short pages.  That reasoning made me read Helsinki Noir.  I also leaned this way because my last name is Hakola and my husband probably has some relatives living in Helsinki.  I hope none of them are living the life of crime as many in these stories do!

Akashic Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

I was relieved to find that these stories were not as dark and mean as the Belfast Noir was.  They're still rough and live up to Noir standards (take no prisoners, leave no witnesses) but they have a lighter feel about them and several of the stories were about righting wrongs.  The Kiss of Santa by Leena Lehtolainen is a good example of that.

What impressed me most was how many of these stories had women as their lead characters.  The Finnish people I know here in the states believe a woman has a place and it's not at the head of the line.  Either Finland has gotten over this attitude or I haven't met enough Finns yet. I really enjoyed having both men and woman lead characters; it added to the stories.

This is a good collection of all kinds of stories.  They're very readable and while they give you some things to think about, they don't depress you.  This book was a bit like eating cookies:  Read one story, set it down and do something else.  Then come back and read another story and repeat.  That gives you time to savor the stories and you'll want to do that.  You can even have a cookie if you want to.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Whisper (Lakeview #2) by Stacey R. Campbell

They should have left the journal where it was hidden.  Reading it was dangerous...

Green Darner Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

This is a ghostly tale with a bit of Gothic romance thrown in.  It seems the daughter of the school superintendent drowned in the lake when she was on her way to talk to her father.  She had something important to tell him.

Leigh is acting as a big sister to Halle who is a new student and Leigh's friend's sister.  When Halle tells her she feels a presence in her room, she thinks it's her imagination.  At least she does until it visits her!  When they are helping clean the attic, Halle finds a hidden journal.  The ghostly presence gets more visible and more vocal once they start reading her diary.  She wants them to complete her quest and find the treasure she hid.

Halle invites Calum to help them find the treasure.  Leigh and Calum don't get along so Leigh is not excited about that.  I enjoyed watching the couple negotiate their relationship as they go along.  I also enjoyed the mix of ghostly adventure and romance. While this is written for young adults, I had a good time reading it.  It's a sweet story.  Why not give it a try?