Thursday, December 31, 2015

Calico Spy by Margaret Brownley

Katie is sent out on a new case.  She's a Pinkerton detective and there have been two murders at the Harvey House she is infiltrating.  She's no waitress but she's going to have to learn fast.  Working on the inside should give her a better chance at identifying the killer.  The sheriff isn't impressed.  He thinks she's putting herself in danger.

Barbour Publishing and Net Galley gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published tomorrow and there are others in this series, too.  They are all good reads.

You can tell that Katie and the sheriff will most likely be a couple before the story ends.  They have a ways to go before that happens, though.

The sheriff has a son but he's a widower.  Katie's love only used her to get close to her older sister.  They both aren't interested in new commitments.  But they do have to work together to try to identify the killer.

In addition to the murder mystery, there's an abused wife hiding from her husband and the return of the sheriff's boy's father.  His mother said he was dead.  No he'd just run off.  And now he wants "his" son and the inheritance that comes with him.  All these things climax at the same time the mystery is being solved.

The strange older woman in the story wasn't loosing her mind, it did involve someone from Harvey House, and the killer was someone I didn't suspect.  This is a good read set in the old west days and the author writes a smooth satisfying story.  Give it a read.  I'd recommend reading the whole series.

Bellwyn the Witch Stories by J.A. Pak

Bellwyn is an unusual witch.  She's a bit absent minded, forgets how to do simple spells, and doesn't pay attention to the town gossip.  She does have a warrior who loves her.  And she's not a bad witch.  But she's not necessarily a good witch either.  She's just there - mostly...

I've read work by Ms. Pak before and she writes good fantasies.  Her muse takes her all kinds of places and she articulates these mind journeys in a clear voice.  I bought this book on Amazon and enjoyed reading it.  Check it out.

Bellwyn has been "possessed" which means she could be taken to the witch graveyard and bound with a tree but instead of it making her worse, it made her stronger.  She's long-lived so you see her in the beginning as a young maiden and then many years later in the more modern world.

The chapters almost like a series of short stories strung together and that might sound strange, but I really liked it.  They moved on with the story and kept the pace up.  I preferred the beginning of the story because I enjoyed the older simpler times.  That's more a reflection on me than the story. The ending is one I can envision if the world keeps going on as it is now.  Maybe that's why the earlier part of the tale was more enjoyable for me.  I prefer pure fantasy to reality.

If you want to have fun with witches, you need to read this novella.  It will amuse and entertain you.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Professor Challenger: New Worlds, Lost Places by J. R. Campbell, Charles Prepolec

Professor Challenger is a big man with a big brain.  He's into adventure, seeks knowledge anywhere and has no fear of what he faces.  Even if it is a journey to another world, he's game.

Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can pick up a copy now on Amazon.

I hadn't read about Professor Challenger before.  If I see more about his antics, I'll be reading them.  These short stories were way out and lots of fun.  There's a taste of Jules Verne, H G Wells, and even references to Holmes and Dr. Moreau.  They're written as classic stories with a kick.

The authors include:  Guy Adams & James Goss, Lawrence C. Connolly, Mark Morris, Josh Reynolds, John Takis, Simon Kurt Unsworth, Stephen Volk, Wendy N. Wagner, Andrew J. Wilson and J. R. Campbell. With an introduction by Christopher Roden.

The very first story in the book is HIND AND HORN by Wendy N. Wagner and the Professor is going to have a look at the bog mummy that's been found.  A bog mummy?  I knew I'd love it.  The other stories are all entertaining.  They are a bit dry to read but there's enough insanity to keep you going.

Why not get a copy and taste these stories?  Each one is unusual, well written and entertaining.

Shadow Wrack: The Eldritch Manor Series by Kim Thompson

There are dark spots appearing again in Willa's life.  She doesn't want any visitors from the other side so she's worried about them.  Why are they there?  Who's bringing them?  Can she stop them?

Dundurn and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 9th.

This is an adventure with different magical animals that help or hinder Willa in her quest.  She's trying to keep them safe, trying to stop any infighting, and trying to figure out why the black holes are coming back.

There's good action, some fighting (can you imagine a fight between a dragon and a griffin?) and Willa discovers she has a power to call the magic animals with telepathy.  Unfortunately, that causes some problems in this story.

The part that struck me as important was that the black holes are created by anger.  If you could calm down and get over it, they stopped growing.  That's a very interesting concept.  It's got the ring of truth to it.

The dwarves were my favorites.  They are rebuilding the house that was burnt to the ground and, when they're not fighting with fairies, they are doing some other special things, too.  When the others find out, they're thankful.  They need the supplies the dwarves give them to fight that  battle at the end.

This may not be Willa's final battle but it's a good read and will provide plenty of excitement for your middle reader.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Redeeming Cade by Susan Crawford

Cade is an ex-con who found God and is changing his life.  He's now an assistant director at the local gospel rescue mission.  He's found his calling in life.  He loves his job and the people there.  He's still a bit of a rule breaker, but he's got a good heart.  That's why he gets upset when he finds out there is new development going on and they are going to tear down the mission and use the land for the project...

Redbud Press allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so you can grab a copy now.

When he finds out they're holding a public hearing on it, he attends the meeting.  The young woman talking is the up and coming council member who tells everyone how much the improved building and commerce will help the area.  They won't let him ask any questions but he braces her as she's leaving the stage.  To stop an argument from ensuing, she agrees to come to the shelter and tour it.  Once she has, a little girl adopts her as a special friend and displacing the shelter people becomes a little harder...

There's a good message in this book about following your heart and living your dream.  It also has a lot of "God talk".  Both main characters have issues to work through but it ends happily ever after.  That's the kind of ending I like.

Plain Dead by Emma Miller

Rachel is happily running a bed and breakfast and chairing a winter festival for the Amish to show off their arts and crafts.  When the local newspaper man hints he will print something nasty in the paper about her, she loses her temper and shouts at him.  He's already hurt an Amish family with his gossip column.  She doesn't want her past to ruin her future.  That becomes another worry for her.  It's even worse when he's found dead the next day...

Kensington Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It is being published today so you can grab a copy now.

I enjoy reading books about Amish people.  I admire their lifestyle and their way of life.  I wouldn't want to live it but I appreciate the style and find it appealing.

Rachel is engaged to Evan.  He's the local cop.  Since she has left the Amish, it's a bit uncomfortable when she goes home to visit but she's trying to introduce Evan to her family.  She hasn't mentioned her engagement and that she plans on marrying him yet.  It's probably just as well since she goes on the suspects list for the murder.  That drives a wedge between her and her beloved.  She can't believe he'd do that.  He tells her he knows she didn't do it, but she had that argument with the man, went to his house that night, and even has a key to his house.  Nobody broke in to kill him; they must have had a key.

While Rachel and Evan are arguing, they are both searching for the murderer.  I had absolutely no idea who the murderer was.  The ending was shocking and sad for the Amish community.  Several people had come under suspicion, so it will take a while to mend hurt feelings and for life to settle down again.  In cases like this, it's good that the community will support the family that is left after the tragedy.  He's going to need them.


Monday, December 28, 2015

Guaranteed to Bleed by Julie Mulhern

She and her daughter are back home again after spending some time in France.  After finding her husband murdered and taking care of his funeral, she needed some time away.  Especially since he was two-timing her and she needed to adjust to her muted grief and the shame of folks taking about her.  She's back now, attending the local football game, and refreshing her lipstick when she drops the tube.  It was a very expensive French lipstick, so she goes down behind the bleachers to get it back.  What she finds is young man who is bleeding and on his way out...

The author and Goddess Fish Blog Tours gave me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It has been published, so you can grab a copy now.

This was an interesting mystery with all sorts of odd touches.  Ellison has two romance interests.  One is a cop and the other is a lawyer type that knows how to get around the law. She has a girlfriend that is always setting her up on blind dates.  Little does she know the place they are going is for cross dressers and their dates go there in dress regularly.  There is a totally controlling stepfather that is obnoxious all the way around.  A drunk mother over there.  And she has the dying boy's final words ringing in her ear:  "Tell her I love her."  Tell who?

I liked how the author ended the story.  Ellison is finding out what is important to her.

Julie Mulhern will be awarding $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Encourage your readers to follow the tour and comment; the more they comment, the better their chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here

Happy reading and good luck! 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Song for the Brokenhearted: A Breen and Tozer Mystery by William Shaw

Breen has been shot in the line of duty and is staying at Tozer's parent's house.  She's trying to keep him quiet so he will heal.  He's not a good patient.  When she tells him of her sister's murder which has never been solved, he finally has something he can look into to keep himself busy.  He'll wish he hadn't taken it on...

Mulholland Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 19th, so you can grab a copy then.

Breen is a very persistent cop.  He keeps kicking up the leaves and looking at the dirt under them.  The dead girl was only 16.  She knew her way around sexually and she liked the power it gave her with men.  If she'd stuck with boys her age, it might have worked out better.

The men in the case were partly cops, partly land owners.  They had been in a war in Africa and saw and did terrible things there.  How that can tie to a young girl's death in London is unknown.

Breen has another problem.  He's attracted to Tozer.  He's slept with her once and manages to do so again while at the house.  He met her while she was a cop; now she helps her parents on the farm.   He thinks he might be in love with her.  She's standoffish and wants nothing to do with marriage.

He's trying to deal with Helen, find the killer, and help the Tozer family with a young girl they have taken in.  She got involved with drugs and now she's helping them farm and getting healthier and happier by the day.  She's also taking the place of the daughter that died and making most of the family happy again.  Helen isn't happy but she doesn't seem to be ever.  She's an interesting creature.

The killer is unusual, the case is complex and the killings are brutal.  The investigations has many layers and when new people start dying with the same MO, the case spikes in importance.  The ending is tense and thrilling.  You'll be thinking about this story for a while. 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Where It Hurts by Reed Farrel Coleman

Gus had a good life.  Happy marriage, two kids, he's a retired cop and everything is going his way.  Then his son goes out to play basketball with friends and dies on the court.  He had a heart defect that no one knew about.  Life as Gus knew goes down the toilet...

G P Putnam's Sons and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 26th.

It's been a couple of years now since the death, but Gus still isn't over grieving.  He and his wife aren't good together anymore, his daughter is acting out, and Gus is just living.  He works for a crummy hotel, picks up people at the airport and helps with trouble in the bar.  He just stays to himself.  

When a guy he helped put in jail comes and asks him for help finding out who killed his son, he asks him why he doesn't talk to the police.  He says he has.  They aren't doing anything.  He doesn't want to help and kicks him out of the hotel.  After asking a few questions and thinking about it, he decides to visit the guy and apologize.  He almost gets killed for being in the area and finds the con dead.  Now he can't apologize.  He also finds he wants to know what's going on now.

What he finds is corrupt cops, drug dealers, and killers of all kinds.  He's almost killed several times but he does have some back up from the hotel.  One of the workers there has a past that you don't want to know about.

This story is mean, explosive, and unforgiving.  A lot of people die but I'm afraid they deserve it.  This is a story about righting wrongs and there are a lot to take care of.  It's not uplifting but it is a well told tale.

Friday, December 25, 2015

The Secret of the Blue Glass by Tomiko Inui

What if you had a family of little people living with you?  What if they needed milk each day to stay alive?  And what if there was no milk to have?

Pushkin Children's Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 26th.  

I read about the Littles growing up, have met brownies and other creatures in stories, but this is the first time I've heard of about little people in Japan.  That caught my interest so I had to read this story.

This family of little people is not as independent as the Littles I read about as a youth.  They need shelter where they will be safe and they need the milk for nourishment.  They use a blue glass bottle to hold their milk.

While this story is fantasy, there's also discussion of WWII and it's impact on this Japanese family.  The father is incarcerated for thinking and saying he didn't think they needed to go to war.  The oldest son dies in the war.  The family is separated.  And milk is short.  

The little people's children have begun venturing out on the roof and into the great outdoors.  They ride on the back of a bird.  When the girl can't get them more milk, they move on to live with another small person who is a whirlwind.  The girl finally wins them back but life has changed.  The war is over.  Now everyone has to go home and start over.  

While the story has sad parts, it's the hope for the future that counts.  Even the little people are making life changes.

The Tale of Rescue by Michael J. Rosen

They're vacationing in a cabin in the Appalachians.  They're townies and don't understand how quickly the weather can turn.  That's dangerous in the mountains.

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

When they get turned around in the woods because of a white out, there's nothing they can do except try to take shelter from the storm.  They're dressed warmly but there's wind and dampness in the air and they may not make it through the night.

The father calls and whistles but no one hears him.  No one except the dog on a farm adjacent to the cabins.  He goes to find who's calling and helps warm them up again, but he leaves to go find help.  When he barks and gets the farmer's attention, it's all for not.  Since the dog can't speak, the farmer checks his own stock, tells him to quiet down and goes back inside.  It's up to the dog to try to help.

The dog is a cattle dog and is used to herd cows.  What he does now is herd some cows out to the spot where the people are so they can tramp down the snow.  Then he herds the people and the cows back to the farm.

Our cats herd us in the kitchen when it's time to cook dinner and back to bed when it's time for that.  They even wake us up in the morning like alarm clocks.  I can believe that dog would do this.  It's a good thing he did or the couple and their child might not have survived the night.

If you love dogs, you'll love this tale.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

River Road by Carol Goodman

She had a little too much to drink but she was fine for driving home.  The ice and snow added more difficulty.  Then she hit something.  She was sure it was a deer but she couldn't find it.  She gives up and heads home for bed.  She can't imagine why someone is knocking on her door in the morning.  Finding a policeman on her stoop is a shock.  It's even more of a shock when he tells her one of her students has been hit by a car and is dead.  And it gets worse as he suggests she was the one that hit her...

Touchstone and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 19th.

Nan Lewis is a tortured woman.  She took her eyes off her child for a minute and the girl wandered into the roadway below and was run over.  She lost her child, her husband, and almost her mind.  She went on but as a matter of habit rather than a will to live.  That's where she started drinking to forget.  She knows she hit a deer but she couldn't find it.  They also find some evidence that may tie her to the human accident.  Suddenly, she needs a lawyer.

This is a tension filled story of a woman trying to survive.  She has been hiding behind alcohol but she can't do that anymore.  She has to face life straight forward and she has to figure out who did kill the girl.  Watching her go from despair to a survivor mode is amazing.  

She messes in the investigation, almost gets killed, finds a new love, and helps solve the case.  The story is suspenseful, full of surprises and full of a look at how fast people will desert you when you find trouble.  It's not boring!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Goblin's Puzzle: Being the Adventures of a Boy with No Name and Two Girls Called Alice by Andrew Chilton

He's a slave.  He has no life of his own.  He takes care of the plants and grounds as ordered.  When he's ordered to go on a trip with the young master, he goes.  When he sees the other slave kill the young master, he's forsaken.  Even though he had nothing to do with it, he'll be killed for not stopping it.  So he runs, right into more trouble.

Knopf Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 19th.

The boy has no name.  That will be his saving grace in this story.  There are two girls named Alice.  One is a princess and one is not but a dragon can't tell between them; he only sees their name.  This strange grouping turns into an adventure tale that keeps your attention all the way through.  I kept expecting the slave to die but he keeps fighting all the way to the end.

The boy is a slave but he "saves" a goblin from the man who kept him imprisoned.  The goblin tells more lies than truth, but he makes the boy think.  That's a good thing because it's his wits that keep him alive in the end.

This book's message is don't get messed up with a goblin.  You might get a lot more trouble than luck if you do.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Harvest Moon by Sharon Struth

He's a recovering addict.  She's still trying to get over being raped years ago.  There's an attraction between them but neither one is looking for anything permanent.  That's too bad...

Lyrical Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It's coming out today, so you can grab a copy now.

Trent is working with his brother on the vineyard he's established.  He has some family problems to overcome yet because of his past actions but he's on the straight and narrow now.  He likes being sober.  Now if he can just mend the past.

Veronica has been carrying guilt with her for years.  She's learned to keep it to herself, not to invest too much in a relationship, and to just get on with life.  Unfortunately, this doesn't mean living life to it's fullest.

There is a lot of drama, confrontations, and magical moments all woven together here.  The truth finally comes out on both sides and their affection grows.  The author does a nice job of talking about uncomfortable moments and personal strength.  

I enjoyed this read.  It flows well, is busy, and made me smile at the end.  They manage to conquer their demons.  If only it went that well for everyone.

Oona Finds an Egg (The Oodlethunks #1) by Adele Griffin, Mike Wu (Illustrated by)

Oona is a typical cave girl.  Her only problem is that she gets lost.  She's lost when she tries to cross a bridge to go home and the bridge breaks!  She manages to reach the ground on the other side and rolls to a stop right next to this rock.  Oh, it's not a rock; it's an egg!

Scholastic and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 5th, so you can grab a copy then.

The Oodlethunks are an interesting family.  Mom works and Dad creates gourmet recipes in the kitchen.  When they go to the market to sell them, they don't sell well but they sell enough to get the things they need.  Personally, I don't think I'd eat anything he cooked either...

When Oona comes home with the egg, they let her keep it.  She anxious to see what hatches.  So are her folks but for a different reason.  It's a big egg and they hope it won't be a predator.  Oona won't let her little brother take the egg for show and tell, so he gets mad at her.  She tries to ignore him but then she finds her egg missing.  Who could have taken it?

Little brothers can be a pain and this one has traded her egg for something he wanted.  Now she has to figure out how to get it back.

This is written for young ones and has lots of silly moments in the story.  The interesting part is that the story is partially based on historical fact.  The area the author is writing about did have the people and the animals mentioned in the story.  That made it more interesting to me.  

I wonder what Oona will be doing next.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Doodletopia: Cartoons by Christopher Hart

Does someone in your family like to draw?  This book is simple, practical, and offers you not only the guidelines but space to practice your skills.  It's great introduction to cartoons.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.  It has been published so you can get a copy now.

Each chapter takes you through a different exercise in drawing.  I'm not very talented in that department but I think the instructions are easy enough to follow and I might even be able to create some art.  Even if you aren't exact, you can pretend you meant to do that on purpose, you see...

The chapters are as follows:

Introduction Warm Up
Fill in the Silhouette
Draw the Other Half
Select Different Expressions
Choose and Design the Animals
Dress Up Your Cartoons
Finish the Funny Couples
Write in Cartoon Calligraphy
Draw Ridiculous Inventions
Complete the Cartoons

My favorite part is that there are blank pages in the book for you to draw.  You just need a pencil.

There are all  kinds of characters in this book, something for everyone.  Why not surprise your young one with an activity book like this?

The Cat Who Came In off the Roof by Annie M.G. Schmidt, David Colmer (Translated by)

He's a reporter who can never find anything to write about.  He writes about cats because he sees them around town, owns one himself, and they're always into something.  His editor tells him he has to get a better story, one with real news, or he'll be fired...

Delacorte Press and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It's being published January 19th.

This is delightful story for anyone who loves cats.  I grew up with a cat.  It even slept in the crib with me.  So it's a given that I would like this story.

When he's visiting with a neighbor on the street, he sees something go by.  It's very fast, very sneaky and it climbs a tree quickly.  He can't see what it was but he chases away the dog and finds a woman in the tree.  He helps her down and takes her home with him.  She's a bit odd but she's very pretty.  What's strange are her cat-like habits.

It seems she's a cat that has turned human from eating garbage outside an industry.  She purrs, swats like a cat, rubs against you, and sleeps in a box.  Not only that, she goes out on the roof at night.  He's willing to accept all that because she's good company.  She also is helping him write his news stories.  After all, cats are everywhere and they pick up all kinds of good gossip.  It's lucky she can still talk cat or he'd still be a clueless reporter.

He gets less shy with her as company, they expose an evil man and the little girl in the story takes photos for evidence.  Now the woman must decide if she wants to go back to being a cat or stay human.  Which do you think she chooses?

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Case of the Fickle Mermaid: A Brothers Grimm Mystery by P. J. Brackston

Gretel has been hired to find a mermaid.  She's pretty enthused because it means she gets to do a sea cruise.  What fun!  It's also all paid for by the Captain of the ship.  What could be better?  A bigger ship, maybe?

Pegasus and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be on sale January 25th.

This whole series is a hoot.  Gretel always has Hansel along, mostly because it's not safe to leave him alone.  He has a love affair with food and is embarrassing.  There are times in these stories that the author makes me laugh out loud.  They're a touch silly but they are a great joy to read.

In this case, Gretel knows the Captain looks familiar but can't figure out why.  She's ready to begin investigating but before she even gets started she finds out her nemesis on board.  She doesn't need the widowed lady in her life again.  She's after Hansel and trying to keep the two apart is a full time job.  She's already got a job; Hansel will have to deal with it himself.

She has her suspects.  She also finds a murdered chef.  (Good thing Hans can cook; he fills in.)  And, before she's done, she finds the mermaid.

This is another romp through the absurd and a good read.  I'll be watching for the next one. 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Lizzie and the Lost Baby by Cheryl Blackford

Lizzie and her brother are uprooted and sent away because of the war.  Bombs are dropping, home is unsafe, and it's better that they go stay with another family in a safer place.  Safer maybe but not better if you're the one that has to leave home...

HMH Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you.)  It will be published January 12th.

Living with people you don't know is tough.  Especially when the lady that takes you in is in a deep depression.  Her sister lives next door and makes sure they get fed or it would be worse.  Lizzie just wants to go home badly.  So does her little brother.

When a young gypsy boy is forced to leave his baby sister alone by blackmail from an adult, she wakes up and cries.  Lizzie and her brother hear her, and take her to the adults.  The woman they live with thinks the baby is the one is the one she lost.  Her family and the colonel tell Lizzie to keep quiet about the baby.  When she learns who lost the baby, she tries to get them to listen.  They just tell her that the gypsies have too many children and the woman who lost her baby needs it more.

I really admire Lizzie for being brave enough to work against the adults and get the baby back to her family.  She was taught not to lie and the others weren't respecting that.  She's going to have quite a tale to put in her next letter to her family.  I really enjoyed this read.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Hour of the Wolf: An Inspector Van Veeteren Mystery by Hakan Nesser

It all started when he drank a bit too much and decided to drive himself home anyway.  It was raining, dark, and he needed windshield wipers.  When he suddenly hits something, he stops to check it out.  It was a young man who hit the culvert with his head; he's dead.  He can do nothing for him, so he leaves him there and goes home quickly.  He's safe, no one saw him.  Oh, yes, they did...

Pantheon and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 12th.

When he gets a blackmail letter, he decides he might as well stop this by murdering another person.  Only problem is that the man who picks up the money is only an errand boy.  And, when he kills him, it changes the whole picture.  The man was the son of Inspector Van Veeterern.  The Inspector may be retired but his staff isn't.  They use everything they can to find the killer.

This killer is very elusive and had no connection to the people he killed.  He's not someone you would suspect of murder.  They keep looking and come up with nothing.  Then there's another murder...

The story is full of suspense and tension from the manhunt and the killer's escalating panic.  It started as an accident and then it wasn't.  There's no going back and there's no going forward either.  I almost felt some sympathy for the killer.  If he'd just done the right thing in the beginning it wouldn't have turned out like this.  He's too cold-hearted to worry about.

I was impressed with the lead cop on the case.  He never gave up.  He got discouraged but he kept digging up information until he finally came up with the link he needed.  This is a very good police procedural.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente

She's the daughter of a Crow Indian woman with a white man for a father.  Her mother dies giving her birth and she never sees her father.  He's busy hunting for silver and other mining activities.  However, he does use some of his money to entertain her.  She's fine with that.  The house is big, she likes her private circus and zoo, and she doesn't mind being alone.  Then he marries again...

Saga Press and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can pick up a copy now.

This is an odd little story.  There's really no connection between the original snow white fairy tale and this one.  This one is a girl who knows how to shoot, learns how to take care of herself, and fights for her freedom.  

She is mistreated by her wicked stepmother so she runs away.  The rest of the story is about her fight to survive with nothing but her wits and a few bullets.  She has a good horse and is surviving fine but then a bounty hunter comes after her.  

It's a lot like an old western but many things were unclear to me.  The author makes her main character a lost soul that's wandering with no real goal.  The magic mirror had a boy in it and he comes alive but he's not her brother or her love.  He's not even all human.

The ending could go more than one way and the author tells you that.  Her ending left me a bit unsatisfied.  I wasn't sure what I thought of the book when I started it and now that I'm done, I'm still unsure.  It was interesting.  If you're looking for something different, this is it.

The Pirate's Tempting Stowaway by Erica Ridley

Clara has been told she has consumption.  She's sent her daughter away, even the postman won't come to her door.  She's just waiting to die...

The author graciously gave me a copy of this ebook to read for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can grab a copy now.

Clara has a surprise coming.  A man comes to her door and isn't even afraid of the gun she has.  She tells him she's sick and he doesn't care.  He's come to take her to England.  He's being paid to do it but she doesn't know that.  That's where her daughter is and it's just too tempting.  She has nothing to lose.

Ms. Ridley always writes sweet romances.  This one is no exception.  

Captain Blackheart loves the sea.  He's a pirate but he has rules.  No killing, take only what they can spare, behave like gentlemen.  He still has a reputation.  Clara is amazed when she finds out that's who she's got passage with.  She's more amazed when she finds out she has to share his cabin on board.  

They have nothing in common.  He loves the sea, she loves the land.  But they have lots to talk about, laugh about and tease about.  They're falling in love with each other.  It's impossible.  Their main interests are too different.

It's a good thing she spent some time on board the ship.  The crew finally gets Captain Blackheart's attention and tells him what to do. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Lady Who Lived Again by Thomasine Rappold

Madeline was good friends with the other young women her age.  They flirted, danced, and had fun together.  In one unfortunate moment, all that changed...

Lyrical Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It was published December 8th.

When lightening struck, the horse on the wagon was scared and took off.  All the young women died, even Madeline.  However, Madeline woke back up.  Now the whole town thinks she was possessed by a demon.  Normal people don't rise again.  She also killed all those other girls.  She becomes a pariah in her own hometown.

She doesn't leave because her grandfather is there.  He needs her and she needs him.  What she does do is try only to go into town when she has to.  Otherwise she stays in her own prison.

When a new doctor comes to town, she first meets him when he's hunting on her land.  He's shot a deer.  She removes his arrow and heals the deer.  This is a new ability she developed after nearly dying.  She tells no one about it.  And she lies to the doctor about the deer.  It was an odd first meeting.  He knows he had a kill shot and he suspicions she's not telling him the whole truth, but he lets it go.

Her best friend has asked her to be in her wedding.  She doesn't want to but she'll do it for her.  When her ex-fiance taunts her in the dress shop, she tells him she'll be at the wedding with her fiance.  Then she visits the doctor and asks him to play the part of fiance.  He agrees if she'll tell him how she managed to recover from her almost fatal accident.  She agrees to work for him in the office doing paperwork and clean up.  She also does some healing when he's not looking.  After all, he doesn't believe in any of that hocus pocus stuff.

There's a bit more sex in this story than I like but the story itself was well written and a good tale.  He's is not marrying because he's a doctor; she's not marrying because of her secret.  Sometimes things change.  There's lots of drama and a happy ending, so all is not lost.

Arvor’s Schooldays By Jonathan Ferrier

Arvor is a young dragon.  When his father says it's time for him to start school, he's ready.  But is the school?

The author and Publishing Push gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can get a copy at Barnes and Noble, Amazon.co.uk, Waterstones, Amazon.com, or Google Books.

Arvor is smaller than most dragons, can't fly, and isn't very athletic.  That sets him apart from the main crowd.  He makes his own friends, though, so it's not all bad.

I found this amusing and fun to read.  Arvor is always getting in trouble and it's not all his fault.  He's just unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time or, because he's clumsy, he creates an all new problem.

Each chapter is another Arvor adventure.  From being bullied, falling through a window, and saving the prize egg, Arvor is busy in this book.  He even gets accused of cheating.  Everything works out and you find yourself rooting for Arvor as time goes on.  He might not do everything right, but he's a good friend and he usually triumphantly comes out on top despite the odds.

This story lets your child know it's not possible to be best at everything and problems can be overcome.  There are parts that will make them laugh.  Why not share it with them?   

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Night Parade by Kathryn Tanquary

She doesn't want to go hang out at Grandmother's house.  Everyone else is home and doing wonderful things in the city.  There is NOTHING to do in the country.  Absolutely NOTHING.  And the internet connection there is impossible, too.

Sourcebooks Jabberwocky and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 5th.

This is like an Asian fairy tale but it's a bigger tale.  There's myth, legend and fantasy woven together here.  The author does a very nice job of making the impossible believable.

Saki is a young girl who has some growing up to do.  She lets folks bully her, believes lies, and doesn't stand up for herself.  At the end of the summer, she will have changed.  At least she will if she wants to stay alive!

There are ugly things, odd things, goblins, spirits and more in the story.  By joining in a game with other local kids, she ends up with a curse on her.  She has called forth the dark forces and the only way to stop them is to participate in the Night Parade and ask for help.  She has a limited amount of time and each evening it gets more dangerous.  I ended up worrying about her because it looked like it would never work.

You'll keep reading to see how it ends and because you'll begin to care about Saki and her problems.  She's basically a good kid and that is what helps her on her quest.  She's also pretty brave.  I don't know if I could handle the Night Parade...

Monday, December 14, 2015

Private Eye Deluxe Edition by Brian K Vaughan

Can you imagine what life would be like without the internet?  How about what it would be like if all your information you had hidden in a cloud became common knowledge to all?  No more secrets, all your personal thoughts are public.  Would you hide behind a mask?  These people do.

Image Comics and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published tomorrow, so you can grab it then.

This is a graphic novel set in the future.  The main character is a man that uses a false name and acts as a private investigator for certain private people.  He doesn't want to be noticed and his services aren't cheap.  He does good, though.  In a land that has no secrets, what privacy you can create is welcome.

One thing that confused me a bit was the back story being thrown in with the present day story.  He's fighting battles and trying to stay alive and then we go back to his childhood.  It seemed a bit incongruous at times.

The thing that scared me is that the premise of this series is almost too realistic.  We do depend too much on the internet, social media, and the like.  Something like this could happen.

If you've read George Orwell's 1984, you'll see some comparisons in this tale.  Big brother is watching.  The TV is your enemy.  And one major player could take over the world...

Mouse Scouts by Sarah Dillard

Violet and Tigerlily were so excited!  They're leaving the Buttercups behind and moving on to be Acorn mouse scouts.

Yearling and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 5th.

This little chapter book is a charming read with lots of little mouse characters.  Violet and Tigerlily are friends and work together most of the time.  This new level of scouts means they have to start earning their merit badges.  The first project they are given is raising a garden.

The story is fun, with lots of mouse challenges to do the same things that humans do when gardening.  They use plastic utensils and a comb to dig and plant and rake the ground.  They find some seeds in a shed and plant them.  Then they learn how much more work a garden is.

If you've never had a garden, you might want to plant a small container with a vegetable you like and let your child experience gardening, too.  You have the instructions in the book to get it done.  All I'd add is that if your soil isn't very rich, you might want to add some fertilizer.  Growing a garden can be very rewarding but you do have to watch out for the pests.

Can you and your child earn your merit badges?

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Camp Midnight by Steven T. Seagle

Skye's parents are divorced.  Summer is here and she's spending it with her father and her "step monster".  At least she thinks she is.  Then she finds out they plan to send her to camp...

Image Comics and Net Galley gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 12th.

I like to read graphic novels so I watch for those who entice me to read them.  Being a stepmom myself, how could I not read about Skye's "step monster"?  She's really not so bad but she's not so nice either.  She's more than happy to send Skye to camp so she doesn't have to put up with her pouting and complaining.  The problem is that Skye's dad can't remember which camp they were sending her to.  With most of the buses full, she just gets on one that has space.  It's the Camp Midnight bus.

When she arrives, she finds herself in a camp for monsters, real monsters.  Werewolves, snakes, witches, ghouls, you name it and it's there.  She's the only human.  They just think she's good at keeping secrets.  She has to be, who knows what they would do to her if they found she wasn't a monster.  The only good thing is that she has made a friend with another girl and is interested in one of the boys.  She'll need her friends by end of the story.

I liked the fact that this story has a message.  You need to be yourself, not be afraid to let people in and make friends, and that personal integrity can get you through a lot of situations.  I enjoyed this graphic novel a lot.  Why don't you give it a try?

A Murderous Mind: A Naomi Blake British Mystery by Jane A. Adams

A student is found murdered in her bedroom at the dorm.  No one heard anything.  The killing was brutal.  How did the killer get in?  Why kill her?

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

The cast of characters in this story is varied.  There are several cops, some retired cops, students, and a couple of assassins.  Most of the characters have baggage from their past.  A dead cop comes back to haunt them.  There's lots of drama and it's an interesting story.

The dead girl appears to be a random victim.  It's not until an older cop points out the similarity between this case and an old one that they realize they have a serial killer on their hands.

The killer is smart even if he is insane.  He picks those who look at him and recognize him as dangerous.  I'd be in trouble if I met him.  The worst part is that he is almost untouchable.  They can't prove anything.

The author lets you know who the killer is about half way through the book.  I wondered about at that at the time but it sets things up for the ending.  Ms. Adams does a great job of story telling and the ending is a killer.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Ninth Life by Clea Simon

He's drowning and he's not going to make it.  Then someone grabs him and helps him on to land.  She's a young human with pink hair and is skinny, but she's his friend now.

Severn House and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 1st.

This is a new series about a cat named Blackie that is helping his human solve a mystery.  Who killed her friend and mentor who was investigating a case?  And why?

The story is set in the squalid underworld of the homeless children living on the streets.  You can feel the cold, the hunger and the terror of being small and hunted.  No one is your friend, everyone is using you.  Survival of the meanest works here.

Care, with the pink hair, wants to get away from the drugs and the gang but it's hard to do.  She was learning how to investigate but then her teacher is killed.  Can she find out who and why without getting killed herself?

This was a good read.  Care and Blackie will be back since this is the first book in a new series.  After all, some of the bad guys have been captured or are dead but the figure head at the top is still alive.  There's still danger out there...

Friday, December 11, 2015

Rat Queens Deluxe Edition Volume 1 (Rat Queens #1-10) by Kurtis J. Wiebe

Mercenaries, monsters, war, death, fights, love and more abound in this book.  There's even female mercenaries...

Image Comics allowed me to download this book for review (thank you).  It will be published December 15th, so you can grab a copy then.

This is graphic novel has lovely colorful illustrations (even if a lot of it is blood).  The main female characters are:  Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Hippy Smidgen Thief.  With a group like that, how can you not have fun?

This is definitely for mature audiences.  Constant death, lesbians and monsters galore roam these halls.  Despite the violence, I found the story line intriguing and I loved the characters.  

The mercenaries are sent out on jobs and, when they get there, they find out they've been set up.  There are several groups of missionaries and most come back almost decimated.  The girls don't like what happened and set out to find out why.  The story gets complex and a bit convoluted but it hangs together and the Rat Queens survive.

I'm glad it came as a collection.  One comic book just doesn't do it.  This way you get more of the story.  And you want more, too.

Skin Like Silver: A Tom Harper Victorian police procedural by Chris Nickson

His day starts with the announcement a dead baby has been found at the post office.  Someone mailed it to a bad address and it sat in the back, unclaimed, until it began to smell.  That night, there's a major fire and they lose a fireman who is helping fight it.  But that's not the only body found...

Severn House and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will published March 1st, so make a note to pick it up then.

This is a Victorian mystery and it reflects the period well.  There's the very poor, the super rich, and women had their place:  in the home, cooking and cleaning and raising a family.  Not all women were content with that, though.  And the dead body that was found was a suffragette that  had been knifed to death.

There's more than one story here.  They are investigating different crimes, not getting far with any of them, and everybody seems to have a secret.  I was surprised by the killer.  

This proved to be an interesting read with lots of nuances.  I enjoyed reading about the characters home lives.  Mr. Nickson makes them real people with problems of their own as well as their work difficulties.  I'd read more in this series.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Blood Tracks by Matt Hilton

Tess is a private investigator now.  She used to be a cop so she has skills.  When the local district attorney asks her to find a witness for a court case, she needs the money.  Saying yes will bring her close to a sadistic murderer.  It also introduces her to a man she doesn't want to love...

Severn House and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 1st.


They've lost an undercover cop to a monster that enjoys inflicting pain on people.  Tess needs to find the witness before the murderer.  Her brother, a cop himself, tells her to talk to Po.  He's from Louisiana and can help her in her search.  He looks like a young Clint Eastwood and he has skills she'd never seen.  He's an ex-con.  If you learn how to survive in prison, you're tough.

What should have been a fairly easy job quickly became deadly.  She meets Pinky, an odd black man who has influence in places he probably shouldn't.  He gets them on the scent of the witness and they start looking harder.  The bad thing is that someone has given the bad guys her name.  She's being followed and they beat her to the witness.

When she gets a location and goes to see what's waiting for her, it's his body.  Po instinctively knows someone is watching them but he can't see them.  They decide to get out while getting out is available.

The case just keeps getting nastier and the killer is having a good time with his victims.  It wasn't until the very end that I knew who was going to be left standing.  This is a tension filled drama with evil all the way through it.  Tess began the case a bit unsure of herself but she's back now.  I hope the next book doesn't have such a sadistic monster.  The story is good but the torture bothered me.  That said, I would read another in this series.  I like how Tess and Po work together.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Backhand Smash: A Percy Peach British police procedural by J.M. Gregson

Clyde is very tall, very fit and very black.  When the tennis club decides to open its doors to all ethnic groups, the lady who fills the ranks of players is determined that Clyde will join them.  Clyde doesn't want to but it's hard to say no to someone so determined...

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

This was a very good read.  Prejudice still exists, bad people abound, and Clyde and his boss try to take it in stride.  When the tennis club has a ball, everyone goes to the dance who's someone.  Unfortunately, not everyone makes it home.

The man who has been garroted is not a nice man.  As they investigate, they find almost everyone had a reason to hate him.  Many would liked to have killed him.  So who did?

I enjoyed the budding romance between Clyde and the young policewoman who is just learning her job.  They make a good couple. Percy finds out he's going to be a father.  While their personal lives are going well, the investigation is not. The ending surprised me.  I didn't suspect the right people.  There were just too many suspects with lots of motives.

This is the 19th book in this series and the first one I read.  I'll be watching for the next one.  I especially like Mr. Gregson's Clyde.