Sunday, January 31, 2016

Dear Clementina by Colin Burke

This is an especially cute story done in the form of letters from one border terrier pup to another.  Stanley is so excited to find another pup in his breed in the park, he sends her letters to stay in touch.  They sound just like they've been written by a dog, too!

Publishing Push and the author shared a copy of this book with me for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can get a copy of the ebook or print on Amazon.

This man has obviously owned dogs.  Anyone who has a pet will recognize the uniqueness of their animals.  Each one is different, even siblings from the same family.  (Kind of like family, isn't it?)  They all have attributes that make you smile and a few that irritate you.

This pretty puppy finds his owner's sock and the man is happy to see it because it was lost.  When he finds socks that aren't missing, the man is not so happy.  I love that it is written from the puppy's point-of-view.  He's not sure why the man gets so excited about some things.  After all, he did it before and it was OK, what's wrong now?

You get to go for walks with him.  You see how deserted he feels when he's left with a sitter while they go on vacation.  He tells you how they go out to have a drink and leave him home.  He always welcomes them home enthusiastically, even if they weren't gone long.  He also tells you about his vet visits and the dog behavior people who attempt to train him.

If you enjoy animals, you'll enjoy this read.  It's different, is filled with humor and makes you smile.  To me, that's a keeper.
 

When Bunnies Go Bad: A Pru Marlowe Pet Noir by Clea Simon

Pru and Jim are out to dinner when they hear the couple next to them have an argument.  The sugar daddy thinks he's mister big bucks and he orders his girlfriend around and insults her.  When she talks back, they leave but they've ruined dinner for the other two.  Pru decides he's just bad tempered and she'll just avoid him in the future.  That doesn't even work out for a day.  However, the next time she sees him he's quiet.  He's also dead.

Poisoned Pen Press 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.

Pru is still hiding her ability to communicate with animals from Jim.  She doesn't want to end up in a crazy ward again or to drive him off because she's so strange.  That's pretty hard to do in this adventure.

She finds the dead body because there is a dog barking in the room.  Otherwise the body is alone.  When Jim shows up at the scene he tells her to stay out of it.  But the dog talks to her.

I enjoy the interaction between the animals and Pru.  She tries to help them all and works to calm them down.  Some of those same techniques work well on people, too.  There is a bunny she's working with that isn't responding to her.  I figured out why before Pru did.  Will you?

The ski bunny that was hanging out with the sugar daddy didn't murder him but there's something going on.  Even the Mafia seems to be involved.  Pru sure gets into some interesting cases.  She sees an old friend from the past in this case, too.  They are both careful around each other and she knows he's deadly but he's helped her in the past.  He helps her in this case, too.  And she helps Jim even if he doesn't know it.

Taking a walk with Growler, trying to talk to Henry the rabbit, and trying to get the ski bunny to open up keeps Pru busy in this story.  It was a good read.
 

Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Extincts by Veronica Cossanteli

He needs a job.  His bike was stolen, his Mom can't pay the bills so she can't buy him a new one.  He is NOT going to ride the old pink single speed bike from the back of the garage.  So his only choice is to earn enough money to buy another bike.  When he sees an ad for help on a farm and taking care of animals, he thinks he's found the perfect spot.  He has, but not for the reason he thinks...

Macmillan Children's Publishing Group and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published February 9th.

When George applies for the job, he notices that some of the animals are a bit odd.  After all, the lady's chicken (who is actually a dodo) tries to peck his hand off when he reaches into the nest.  But money is money and he'll work for it.

It seems each visit he finds some other odd beast wandering around the farm.  When the owner gets bit by one of the beasts, he realizes that they can really be dangerous.  He also realizes that these beasts haven't been present in the world for a long time.  She has created a sanctuary for animals that were thought to be extinct.

He was doing okay until a young school girl joins him on the farm.  He doesn't want her there, but she notices the unicorn and gets along with the dragon, so what's he to do?

The biggest problem is the girl's stepmother.  She wants to win a taxidermist contest and needs some unique being to stuff so she will qualify.  She'll do anything to get it.  She's not a nice lady, as you can guess.

They have a final showdown at the farm and it's quite the battle with all the unusual animals.  I liked the ending.  It was just what everyone deserved.  This is a fun little read for anyone with imagination.  (I have a lot.)

Friday, January 29, 2016

Gifted Thief by Helen Harper

She's an orphan.  She has been taken in by the "bull" of the Sidhe and is almost treated like a servant.  She hates it but she has no other options.  When she's been insulted again and it's almost too much for her to stand, she notices the doorman is gone and she runs away.  She doesn't want anything to do with the Sidhe.  They have magics, lots of charm and beauty, riches and power.  She has nothing and likes it that way.

HarperFire and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It is being published today.

As she's walking down the road on the other side of Sidhe barrier, a human stops and offers her a ride.  He seems nice, but she's wary.  She also knows what to do if he gets out of hand, so she says fine.  Time goes by and she's now working for the man who picked her up.  She's also an excellent thief.  She intends to go on one last job and then get out of thieving and do some search and rescue work.  She climbs well, isn't afraid of heights and hopes to save some people who are in dangerous situations.  She knows something is wrong when she gets to the latest heist's jewel and it's already gone.  Who took it?  Probably the Sidhe that sent her a summons to return to court.  She wasn't going but now she's going to have to save her boss.

This was an excellent read.  She calls herself Integrity and she's a smart defiant Sidhe who doesn't want to get involved with the clan wars.  She's a necessary component because she's the only one left of her clan and the magic is dying.  It's bad enough being among enemies but it's even worse when someone is trying to kill her.  

There's romance, magic, treachery, hatred, and stubbornness all wound up in this story.  It ends with her going one way and her potential love going the other but this is a series and that romance isn't over yet.  Neither is the danger to Integrity... 

Unreasonable Doubt: A Constable Molly Smith Novel by Vicki Delany

He always claimed he was innocent of the crime he was jailed for.  Now, after 25 years, his case has been turned over and he's set free.  Despite advice from his attorney, he goes home.  More realistically, he goes to the village he used to live in.  No one is very welcoming and most people still think he's guilty.  Even the cops aren't sure...

Poisoned Pen Press and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published February 2nd.  

Molly doesn't know what to think but she does know if the case was thrown out, he must be innocent.  That means someone else in town was the killer.

This homecoming and a reopened crime file is further complicated by an attempted rape.  The people in the village are trying to blame that on Walter.  He didn't do it but they don't want to believe that.  The only thing Walter wants to know is why someone framed him for the original murder.  When he gets beaten up by the remaining family members of the girl, he still hangs around.  He wants answers.  The problem is that there are more questions than answers and trying to work a cold case 25 years later is tough.

The plot was interesting and a bit twisted in nature.  I like Molly and her police techniques and this book made John Winter shine.  He's another excellent cop.  It's not a perfect ending but it is a realistic one.  Even Walter has some hope at the end.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Jennifer Brown and the Dagger (Fairyhand) by Hamish Adourian

Jennifer is having a hard time at school and with her parents.  She's not able to read or write well and it's giving her bad grades and hard times with her teachers and parents both.  She never dreams when she sees a strange lady on the street with a dog that she will get a message carried by a hamster.  Not that it does her any good since she can't read it...

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

This is a fantasy that is also a grand adventure.  Your imagination is required but I had no trouble envisioning everything discussed in the book.  Even the little tunnels they walked through were with me when reading.

When Jennifer heads for home after school, the local girls bully her as usual.  The only good thing is that the woman she saw saves her from more kicks and insults.  She gives her a gift and says she'll be in touch again.  The gift she got was a ruby.  A magical ruby that won't stay hidden away and transforms into a living being.  She knows no one will believe them if she tells them.

Her parents take her camping for a change of scenery and attitude on everyone's part.  Someone stole the ruby and they're still after her.  Nobody else thinks there is any danger.

The young ones have their own tent and Jennifer, her sister and her cousin are trying to sleep when someone comes into camp with evil intentions.  Jennifer is going after the woman she recognizes and her sister and cousin come, too.  Not good.  They end up falling through a portal into a world that has fairies...

I love fairies.  You might be able to tell that from my business name, Book Faerie.  I've read a lot of fairy tales with magic but this was especially good.  There's good and evil, Jennifer has to reach inside herself and find her courage, and she and her cousin actually become friends by the end of the story.  I liked this one a lot and am looking forward to reading the next one in the series.  While written for young readers, this older reader highly recommends it if you love fantasy or a good adventure no matter what your age.

Baker's Magic by Diane Zahler

Bee is an orphan.  She's tired of being hungry and abused, so she runs away.  She doesn't know where she's going or what she'll do but it has to be better than where she was before.  She's so hungry after not eating for a couple of days, she follows her nose to the bakery.  When she goes inside, she spots a bun close enough to grab.  Grab it she does, but she doesn't get far.  What will this big baker man do to her?

Capstone Young Readers and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published February 1st.

After the baker has expressed his anger, he tells her she has to come and work her debt off in his bakery.  She agrees.  He looks her over and gives her another bun.  Then he puts her to work.  He also takes her in when he hears of her circumstances.  It works well for him.  He's suddenly much busier than he used to be.  That's when Bee finds out she has a special talent.  Her moods affect her baking.  When she's in a good mood, so is everyone that eats a bakery item she's made.  It goes the other way, too.

This is a very good fantasy tale that has a princess, a blacksmith's son, and Bee all having the adventures of their life.  The princess is an orphan, too.  The mage in the castle isn't treating the princess well, so Bee decides they'll go see the Mage Council and get them to remove him from their village.  That doesn't turn out well, but it's not the end of the story.

There lots of adventure, it's a busy tale with all sorts of action and danger, and it ends well.  There's even an ecological lesson in it.  I liked it!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Rustler's Moon by Jodi Thomas

Angela's father is found dead in the alley in back of his work place.  It appears he was mugged and his weak heart gave out on him.  But when Angela finds a hidden message from him that says to run and hide, she wonders if it was just a mugging or something else.  When her home is ransacked, she takes her father's advice...

Harlequin and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published today.

Angela gets to the small town in Texas where she will be the museum curator and finds the sheriff there shortly after she arrives.  She's afraid her Uncle has already set the police on her.  What she finds is that he knew she was coming and is greeting her and showing her the building.  The town is happy to have her and she fits right in.  But she has the feeling someone is watching her.  When someone ransacks her new cabin home, she knows she's not alone.  But she has people watching over her now and she's not isolated.

Wilkes owns a ranch near the town and he's friendly.  He got a Dear John letter while he was in the service, so he's off women.  Anyway, she's not his type.  He wouldn't mind a friend with benefits, but she's not going there.  Fine, they'd just be friends.  We all know how that goes, right?

With a threat from the past, Wilkes old girlfriend in town, and Uncle Vern trying to court her, this is an amusing tale that has an interesting outcome.  Not only do you get the adults actions but you pick up on the young adults problems and anxieties, too.  These are family oriented stories and I enjoy that.

This was another good read in this series.  I wonder who the author is going to match up next...

The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton

Yasmin is coming to Alaska to have a showdown with her husband.  He's dared kiss another woman there and told her about it and now she's going to discuss it with him.  He can come home or he can stay away but there will be no other choice.  Since there is no one to keep their child, she brings Ruby with her.  She doesn't understand how important it is until later...

Crown Books and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  I found it on Blogging for Books.  It will be published February 16th.

Ruby is deaf.  It doesn't really bother her but it makes her life difficult in some ways.  Her father is much better to get along with because he doesn't keep asking her to speak.  She doesn't like talking when she can't hear herself.  Her mother doesn't want her to sign all the time so she will be able to get along in the talking world.  This creates a conflict.

If you're looking for a suspenseful scary read, this is it.  Ruby's father is in an Eskimo village in the middle of nowhere.  There isn't any way to get there except by air.  Unless you're desperate enough to try to drive a truck there, and no one is.  They'll be lucky to get to the nearest town.  But Yasmin is determined to go.  Especially when the policeman tells her husband is dead.  He can't be dead, he called her.  He lost connection immediately but she knows it was him.  The cop thinks she's in denial.  When they leave the airport behind them, they're on a mission.  They are going to find Matt and he isn't dead!

The worst part is that there is another factor here that nothing to do with the Eskimos or the naturalist.  But it's hidden.  When the whole village dies, they burn it to remove the evidence.  But Yasmin and Ruby won't quit trying to find Matt and it turns into a matter of life and death.

As they make their journey north, Yasmin realizes her husband was telling the truth and she still loves him.  She also sees that she has been hampering Ruby.  Long silent times in the cold gives you time for reflection.

This was an excellent read.  The only thing I didn't like was the ending.  It was a bit unresolved.  I guess that allows you to choose your own ending.  If the author meant something else, I'm still going to believe it ended happily ever after.  It could, you know.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Oldenglen by Robin Mason and Michael Mason

Jax has no desire to move from his life in England to the US.  Even worse, they are living in the middle of nowhere.  There nearest neighbors are quite a ways down the road.  He has no friends, knows no one, and the only thing interesting is the woods.  The woods lead to the glen.  It's better than staying in the house and doing nothing, so he walks the woods and glen.

The author and Goddess Fish Blog Tours gave the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  You can buy it as an ebook or a print book on Amazon.

Jax is an interesting boy.  The longer he hangs about in the woods, the more it seems the animals are talking about him or talking to him.  It's not until he sits upon a certain rock in the woods that he realizes they really ARE talking to him.

This may sound silly to you but I've visited the Alamogordo Zoo and they have a Chihuahuan Raven there.  He was trying to talk to me so I stood there and listened.  I finally understood he was telling me his name was Eduardo.  When I asked him if that was what he was doing, he had a fit!  He was so excited some dumb human finally understood.  Animals will talk to you, not only in English, you just have to listen.

When the animals talk about the intruders in the glen, Jax decides to scope it out and see what's going on.  He's lucky enough to meet Sarah, the granddaughter of his neighbors, and to learn that she also loves the glen.  The only problem is that Sarah's grandfather intends to develop the land.  How can Jax and Sarah stop him?  Don't forget the animals...

This is a middle grade fantasy that is fun to read.  If your child loves animals, they'll love reading this book.  I'm grandma age and I still enjoyed it.  You can tell there will be more to this series and I'm interested in seeing more interaction between the two youngsters and the animals.  I'll be watching for it.

Robin Mason and Michael Mason will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.  Enter HERE.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the your their chances of winning. The tour dates can be found HERE.

Good luck and happy reading!

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Good Liar by Nicholas Searle

What you do when you are young may come back to haunt to you.

Harper sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published February 2nd.

The story begins with two older people who have met online and decide to meet and chat.  Eventually, he moves in.  They are companions, not lovers.  And they are each playing a part...

I had the feeling both of them were setting the other one up.  They each had some money.  I began to believe they were both thieves.  That wasn't exactly what was going on; there was more to it then that.

The book then segued into to the past.  The author talks about the end of WWII and what people had to do to survive then.  A young German teen turns in a family that he says is Jewish.  They have the suspected ugly outcome of the charge, even though it isn't true.  All of the family dies except one.  And that one already had a good reason to hate the young German.

This tale mixes the past and the future together.  The chapters have dates so you know what time period you're in but it took me a while to figure out how the characters from the past were related to the ones in the future.

The young man from Germany was very very good at telling lies.  But the truth comes back to bite him in the butt.  While reading the book was a bit tense, the ending was perfect.  I liked this book.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Lost Canyon by Nina Revoyr

The only thing they have in common is their trainer from the gym.  They're only going to be gone for a few days, they should be able to get along for that long.  Sounds good, doesn't it?

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

The trainer is going to take them up to see Lost Canyon.  They are going because work and life are not making them happy right now and they think a backpack trip might relieve the stress and give them a chance for reflection.  When they find out there is a fire on their trail and they can't go where they originally planned, the trainer doesn't want to go home.  She finds them another trail.  It hasn't been used in a long time but it's still there.  The problem is that someone else has found that trail...

If you've never backpacked, you won't understand about how much a pack weighs, how your feet feel, or how exhausted you can get.  Nothing in this story is exaggerated; it's all fact.  I once ate nothing except dehydrated chicken noodle soup for a week because we weren't able to access the lake we were going to fish.  It's not pleasant but you survive.  These hikers ran into even more trouble.

There are bears in the area.  That's scary enough but it's not the ultimate problem.  The real problem is other humans doing illegal activities that they will kill for.

This is not boring.  It is gut wrenching and nail biting time.  As I learned long ago, if you put people in a stress situation, they change.  Some for the better, some for worst.  This happens with this group, too.

I especially enjoyed the woman who started with a minimal belief in herself and became the savior of the group.  Her little trip in the mountains changed her life.  It all has to do with perspective and personal strength.   You can do more than you think you can.  Especially when backpacking.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Fortunes of Olaf Shorthand by Thomas Owen

Olaf is a Viking.  He's proud of his battles, his riches he's acquired and his family.  But these fortunes are about to come to an end...

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

I've read a few of Mr. Owen's books and I have to say that this one is my favorite so far.  Viking tales appeal to me and this one has the flavor of mythology and vengeance in it.  I was surprised to see it was one of his first published tales.  Some tales are just better than others and this one appealed to me.

Olaf is waiting for his son and his new wife to arrive for the wedding feast.  Instead, one of the wedding party stumbles in the door and says they were attacked by a big bear on the pass.  When the rescue party arrives, everyone is dead.  Instead of joy, Olaf is filled with sorrow and he vows revenge upon the bear.

They head out the next day with death on their minds but the bear wins the battle and leaves few alive.  Olaf will not give up, though.  He's so determined he even brings a witch in to find the bear.  She tells him where it will be and he takes the remaining men with him.  There is no bear.  But when he gets back to his home, he finds where the bear was...

This is a tale of sorrow that grabs your soul.  The ending is very ironic and exactly what was needed to satisfy Viking blood.  You won't forget this one easily, give it a try.

Dreamers by Donna Glee Williams

She's the Dreamer.  She tells the scribe about her dreams, he writes them down, and then the Chief Interpreter translates their meaning.  Of course, his translations favor him and his own plans but he doesn't mention that.  Now she's having trouble sleeping...

Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be exclusive to Kindle from February 15th through May 8th.  On May 9th, you can get a copy wherever ebooks are sold.

She's been removed from her family, has lost her name, and has almost lost herself.  She's been doing this for three years now and there is a system in place for how the Dreamer lives.  She has ladies who follow her everywhere, dress her, bring her food and bathe her.  She's only allowed to go out a little way.  She's not allowed to talk freely but she does make friends with a weaver.  And thus begins her downfall...

There's a boy in town that wears bright colors.  He's the water-bearer and takes water to everyone who's working or walking.  That's his job.  But he's different from the other men and she notices him.  He notices her, too.

I really liked this story.  It's a good fantasy story with several elements of danger in it.  The Chief Interpreter decides she's through as a dreamer.  He intends to kill her.  Her scribe is almost like a father to her and he wants to save her but cannot.  The young man asks her to run away with him.  But they lock the Dreamer and the scribe in the dream chamber and they can't get out.

It's an exciting story, the story flows well, and besides having someone to hate, you also have a smart young woman and young man and the story ends well.  I'd like to see more in this series.  This chapter of her life is over but there's more to be told.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Mama Loved to Worry by Maryann Weidt, Rachael Balsaitis (Illustrated by)

Mama is so good at worrying, she takes the blue ribbon at the local fair.  That tells you something!

Minnesota Historical Society Press and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April lst.

This is a tall tale with Mama at the center of the story.  She has a young son that keeps taking off and getting in trouble.  She worries about, saves him, and does all sorts of needlework or cooking to calm down.  She knits up scarves and hats for the all barnyard animals.  Makes pounds of food and shares it with everyone.  She even manages to keep her son out of trouble, most of the time.

It's a cute tale with lots of nonsense and some very good advice about worrying.  Sometimes you just have to stop...

My favorite part is when Mama and her son roll into the river and start playing with each other.  What could be better?

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Doll's House: A Detective Helen Grace Thriller by M. J. Arlidge

Helen Grace's career has had extraordinary cases with serial killers.  She's excelled at bringing them down.  Not everyone is happy with that.  Her supervisors don't like her stealing the lime light...

Berkley Publishing Company and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published February 2nd.

Helen has her own baggage.  She's a masochist.  She feels guilt from her childhood and that's the only thing that calms her down and makes her let the past go.  You can imagine how well that would be received at the cop shop.  That's her darkest secret.

Her other personal quest is to find her sister's son and check on him.  This one becomes a factor in this story and it's how she's set up for a fall.

The story begins with a missing person.  Ruby knows she's not at home but has no idea where she is.  Her captor calls her Summer and plans to keep her captive as his companion.  Ruby's terrified.

Helen, on the other hand, is looking for bodies on the beach.  When two young boys scare themselves to death by excavating in the sand and finding a body, Helen catches the case.  It soon looks like there might be more bodies there.

I think this author must hate Helen.  Helen is mostly a good person and works hard to take down the bad people in the world.  In the meantime, she gets set upon by upper management, her personal relationships take a dive, and she feels guilt about some of her activities.  Poor thing.  It doesn't slow her police work down, though.

The killer has no real connection to the missing women who turn up dead.  The only real connection is in his mind, so he's hard to find.  But find him, she will.  And then hang on to your seat...

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Rufus and The Flying Carpet: Book One - "The Beginning" by Pauli Murphy

Here's a cute tale with simple easy to read text and fun illustrations.  Rufus is a very nice bunny who is learning about magic in the world of rabbits.  This book is just the start so you know there will be more to come in the future.  C'mon, grab Rufus' paw and lets go...

The author and Publishing Push gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published so you can order a copy now on Amazon.

Rufus has noticed his guardian fairy and her friends but doesn't pay a lot of attention to them.  When he suddenly realizes he can make sense of what they say, he's amazed.  He's even more amazed at what he finds half-buried in the dirt.  It's a carpet and it needs to be washed.  Even before he gets it clean he finds there is a special power in it.  It can fly!

It's great fun to watch Rufus and his friends learn the nuances of a flying carpet.  You don't want to go too fast.  You want to ask it to return from another dimension slowly or it will knock you flat.  There's much to learn and lots of fun.

This story will leave you with a taste in your mouth for the next.  I wonder what new adventures Rufus will have?

Red Moon Rising by K. A. Holt

Rae Darling is part of a space farming family.  Her mother is dead.  Her father is religious to his own gods, and she's told angels bring them water.  She works hard, loves her family and  she protects her little sister.  If she wasn't quite so protective, things might have turned out differently.

Margaret K. McElderry Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 23rd.  

There's enmity between the humans and the aliens.  There are also two sides to the story.  The humans call them cheese but they don't look like cheese.

When Rae's papa goes up to talk to a cheese and leaves she and her sister behind to wait, it looks like the dactyl the cheese was riding is attacking her father.  She goes to the rescue, kills the dactyl and hits the cheese and her father is mad at her!  Why?  She was rescuing him.  He should have mentioned that he was friends with this cheese and they were trying to work together for peace.  Now it's too late...

Rae ends up paying for her transgressions in the worst possible way.  She and her sister are captured by the cheesers.  She expects death and time in their camp is hard while she learns their ways, but it's not what she's been told.  She finds that the humans are more of a problem than previously mentioned.  She also begins to adjust to life in this camp with the family that claimed her.  But her worries are far from over.

This is a full-bodied story with an excellent plot and it would make a great movie.  It's also science fiction for middle graders but I truly enjoyed this read.  The cheese are just different, have different gods and beliefs, and there should be peace between the groups.  We can't even solve that here on earth, who believes they can do it on another planet?  I do.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Cat Shout for Joy: A Joe Grey Mystery by Shirley Rousseau Murphy

Joe Grey is a special cat:  He can speak.  He hides that ability but he's proud of the work he can do by sneaking about listening or sniffing out evidence to help the police.  He calls them on a cell phone so it can't be traced back to his owner.  He'll need all his wits about him for this case.  He's also going to be facing some life changes in his personal relationships.

William Morrow and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published February 23rd.

One of the cat friends in this story is succumbing to cancer, Dulcie is about to have kittens and Kit and Pan have gone off on an adventure.  When someone starts knocking old people down all over town, the police begin looking into it.  There aren't any witnesses.  Nobody is stealing anything.  Why would they bother?

As time goes on, more than one victim dies.  Suddenly it looks like it could be murder and the others are just decoys.  The tie to the murderer is hidden and takes a while to ferret out.  

I found this story sad.  The cats generally amuse me and make me laugh but that's hard to do when one of them is dying.  Then a close friend of the humans is killed.  And the ending was just a bit too convenient for me.  They should have been brought to justice.  Justice did prevail but it wasn't through the arm of the law.  It wasn't a bad read but it wasn't Ms. Murphy's best either.  Read it and see what you think. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Pilfer Academy: A School So Bad It's Criminal by Lauren Magaziner

George isn't really a bad kid.  He just finds it easier to take his older brother's comics and another brother's money than to work for his own.  But when he's just barely being allowed out of his room for bad behavior and then goes right back to acting badly, it causes real trouble.

Dial Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published February 16th.

This is written for middle graders and is a fun book to read.  It's silly, has all sorts of oddities and characters like you've never seen before.  After all, how many schools kidnap students?  And how many teach them to live a life of crime?  They're going to make George into a thief.  It sounds like fun and a good idea until they make him steal a teddy bear from a two year old.  That's cold...

As is usual in a new school, he finds a friend and makes an enemy almost the first day of school.  When he starts doing well in class, he's proud of his progress.  But the more he learns about the school and about the teachers, the more he worries.  He even finds himself missing his family.  That teddy bear still bothers him, too.

One thing you can say about George, he's a catalyst.  However things were, they'll change when George is around.  Sometimes they even change for the better...

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Lady Pendragon Volume 1 by Matt Hawkins Art By: Ron Adrian, Hector Gomez, John Stinsma

Have you ever seen the movie Camelot?  Maybe you're read about Sir Arthur and the Knight's Round Table?  If not, this graphic novel will fill you in on some of the plot of that story.  If you did, you won't recognize the women.  They're all long, lean, and full of vigor.  The warrior women in this story are all beautiful and partially clad.

Image Comics let me read this graphic novel for review (thank you).  It has just been published and you can grab a copy HERE.  

I like hard hitting graphic novels and strong women characters.  You've got both in this collection.  This is a mix of past and present and gods and man and good and evil.  There's war going on, one country is always trying to conquer another, and there are traitors in the midst.

When Lady Pendragon takes command, the soldier who wanted the position works with her opposition.  The priest is not who he appears to be.  Lancelot keeps returning to life in other times and dying again.  Mordred is still on the loose.

This is busy series with times mixing together and the legends of the past coming alive again.  It was an interesting read with luscious looking women and buckets of blood.  Graphic novels are just that but they're fun to read.  Give it a try.

No Shred of Evidence: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery by Charles Todd

Ian suspicions he won't like the task he's being sent out on when he has to report to his chief.  He was right...

William Morrow and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published February 16th.

This mother-son team writes very good mysteries.  I've been following this series since I found them and they put Ian in some very precarious situations.  This is another one.

He's going down to replace an inspector who died of natural causes while on the job.  It's a village he's familiar with and close to the site where he lost a woman he admired.  It's also where he freed the woman he had hoped to marry one day.  The war changed everyone, some more than others.  Some never made it back.

It seems four girls were rowing on the river when they saw a young man whose dingy was sinking.  They have some argument about going back, another girl takes the oars and when they get there, they have trouble getting him in the boat.  There's an oar offered for help that hurts the girls arms and the only thing that saves the man is another man who can swim and has come to their aid.  That was a blessing until he says they were trying to kill the young man.  The older man refuses to change his statement; he says he saw what he saw and he doesn't care if all four girls hang.

There are old grievances, the problems of social order, apathy, and a real killer in the midst of all this.  Two cases end up meeting each other in the middle.  Ian is hard put to keep tabs on all the involved people.  He has to travel, other people are being badly beaten or killed, and he's always a step behind.

The ending is complicated and not quite handled in a lawful way but it was just.  And Ian finds his interest stirred by Kate, the younger sister of the woman he almost married.  She was in love with him once.  Might she be again?

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Widow by Fiona Barton

This is a story of a woman who marries young.  Her husband is a controlling man.  They have a good life together.  For a while...

Berkley Publishing and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published February 16th.

When Jean's husband dies, her life changes.  She's glad to be free of him but also misses his companionship.  He was accused of a crime and now the police are trying to convince her to tell them what she knows about the incident.  She remains silent.  She keeps telling them he wouldn't have hurt a child.  They both love children, they just couldn't have any.  

More than anything, this is psychological study of a woman who's personality has been developed by her husband.  She's lived to please him, lets things go that bother her, and now it's almost like she's been misplaced.

The young girl that is missing is a continual worry.  The mother is constantly in the news trying to get her child back.  Jean thinks another family kidnapped her and took her home to another country with them.  But the cops won't go away.

I wasn't sure where this story was going and I found it a bit sad overall.  Life can be like that.  But some secrets come out whether you want them to or not.

Jean was a victim in her own way but she finally bit back. 

The Adventures of Basil and Moebius Volume 3: Secret of the Ancients by Ryan Schifrin, Larry Hama

Basil and Moebius are trying to find a way to end the curse the Collector has forced on them.  They have to do his bidding or end up as the Undead, but they want to be free to live their own lives.  It seems they might have a chance, so they giving it their all.  They'll need to...

Diamond Book Distributors and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 16th.

I have read this entire series and I enjoy it.  The graphics are eye catching and colorful.  There are beautiful women, monsters, warriors of all sorts and the boy's gadgets.  It's like a comic James Bond adventure.  This issue is the most exciting yet.

Trying to find the last piece of info they need to be free turns out to be a disaster.  They are captured by even more of the monsters from the past.  Even the supposed allies have an enemy within.  They don't know who to trust.  And they may have killed the wrong monster.  But it's an action packed, fast moving story that kept me reading until the end.  

There will be more in this series.  I wonder who has survived besides the bad boys of the series.  I bet we find out in the next edition.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Bitter Poison: An English village cosy featuring The Colonel by Margaret Mayhew

They're getting ready to put on another performance by their little theater group in the village.  This year they are going to do something different:  They'll do a fairy tale.  The forceful lady scheduling the event thinks she's adding a bit of class to the performance.  She doesn't know she's adding murder...

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

They have some new people in town.  The man is on TV and his wife used to be a model.  The play is the Snow Queen and they decide his wife would be a good choice for that lead.  The difficulty is that she doesn't want to do it.  She gets convinced by her husband and friends to do it.  The Colonel is asked to make the sledge she will ride on.  He's not sure he can but his neighbor offers him the wood and a suggestion on how to accomplish it.  He'll try.

Reading about the village's odd characters and knowing how small town plays work makes reading this book fun.  This murder is actually revenge over something that happened in the past.  I was a bit dissatisfied with the ending because the murderer gets away.  There's no proof to show the police.  It just shows you how dangerous someone you never even notice can be.

Red Sonja / Conan by Victor Gischler

Conan is like an old friend.  I read about him in my teens and seeing a graphic novel about Conan AND Red Sonja was not something I could miss.  When the man organizing the mercenary soldiers says that they will fight to the death to pick a leader, Red Sonja comes forward.  So does Conan.  They agree to mutually lead the group of soldiers.  When a group of five or six men challenge them, they do what they do best.  Then they lead the remaining solders into battle.

Diamond Book Distributors and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published February 16th.

This is a tale of war and death but seeing Conan and Red Sonja in action is amazing, especially Red Sonja.  How can you not admire someone who wears almost no clothes but never gets a scratch on her?

You don't read these for literary value.  You read them because they're savages who fight and win and it makes a good story.

In this story, a nemesis from the past rises again.  He's come back and is determined to get even with Conan.  Watching how this all turns out was a good tale.  I'd read more graphic novels about Conan, the big barbarian. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Soft Summer Blood by Peter Helton

He's a man jogging on his own property.  Then he's a dead man...

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

When the police begin their investigation, Lusky thought it would be easy.  The dead man was rich and has only a son to leave the money to.  The old adage is follow the money.  But the son has an alibi.  It gets worse when other members of the painting set die.

He warns the last man but gets blown off.  He thinks he's safe enough.  He's not.  Who would have wanted to kill them all and why?

The crime is old and mostly forgotten.  There's a relative they don't know about.  It looks like the murderer may get away.

Lusky keeps digging.  While he's doing that, others in the office are pursuing a missing person case, reluctantly.  Feeling left out of the more important investigation, she does a good job of looking but finds another dead body instead of the person she was seeking.  This case is a bit odd, too.

There's plenty of police action to keep it interesting, the murders are tied to revenge and money, and the ending is shocking.  Mr. Helton doesn't hold back anything.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Curtains for Miss Plym: A canine mystery by Kathleen Delaney

Mary is getting ready for a big rummage sale so she goes down early to open up, do a final check on how it looks and make some coffee.  She didn't expect to find a dead body...

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

Mary calls Dan, the local police chief, and reports the murder.  The victim is a little old lady who lives in another world in her mind.  She gets lost and can't find her home, forgets what she was talking about, and doesn't understand most of what she's told.  Why would anyone want to kill her?

This is a small town mystery, where the gossip outruns the facts.  Soon everyone knows all about it and everybody has a theory.  Dan's trying to stick to the facts but sometimes the gossip has some truth in it, so he listens.  So does Mary.

The old woman's relatives were staying with her and getting her ready to go in a home.  She had caretakers but they had their own apartment on the property and weren't with her all the time.  There's missing money involved and both Mary and Dan think that's the prime motivator for murder.  It shuts down the source of the money but enough has been withdrawn to make it worthwhile.

However, when Gloria, a nurse who does home care, is killed, too, it complicates the case.  What did she know?  Was it the same killer?

I like Mary as a character and her dog, Millie is cute.  Dan ends up with a dog before the end of the story.  I thought I knew where the money was; I was wrong.  I didn't suspect the killer.  And if the mystery itself doesn't entice you enough, there's a komodo dragon involved too...

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Bears Make the Best Reading Buddies by Carmen Oliver

Everyone needs a reading partner in class.  One little girl tells the teacher she already has one.  When she shows them the bear, it's a big bear.  Even the teacher is a bit scared.  So the girl explains why he's good to read with.

Capstone Books for Young Readers 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.

Since I'm an avid reader, I had to read this book.  I have cats that sit with me when I read.  I also own teddy bears.  But this big bear is even better.  She can sit in his lap.  Sometimes she reads to him, sometimes he reads to her.  He'll hold the book so they both can see it.  He's a kind friend that likes books, too.  That makes a perfect kind of person to read with.  

My Mom and I read together when I was growing up.  Later in life, she'd come to visit and we'd both sit and read our books together.  Drove my Dad nuts but we were happy.  Being together was good and reading was fun.  Do you read with your children?

Monday, January 11, 2016

Shutter Man by Richard Montanari

Billy's a cold-blooded killer.  He also has a neurological condition that makes him not recognize faces.  His brother helps him find his victims and he carries pictures of them inside his jacket so he can check to see if they match.  It helps if the brother puts them in the clothes they were wearing in the picture...

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

Mr. Montanri writes complex tales with a lot of characters in them.  I enjoy reading them because I'm not sure what kind of story he is building and he always throws in complications on the cop's side, too.

The story is set on the wrong side of town, where the immigrants did what they could to make money.  They stole what they couldn't afford.  From that background, some turned out good and some turned out bad.  The problems began when a young girl was killed.  The boys accused a confused man of killing her.  He denied it and ran.  They chased him down and someone shot him.  The man that died belonged to a family of killers.  Without even knowing it, they have created a war.

When people start showing up dead, the cops get involved.  The cop that was part of that group is on the case.  The people have nothing in common that they can see, but they are shot, their faces are taken off and their birth certificates are stolen.  No one knows why.  As the cops put the case together, they have more victims.  Clues finally start tying together.  Once they know who the killer is, they have to find him.

This is a tense, suspenseful read with a twist at the end.  There are a lot of surprises and no end of odd characters.  This author keeps you reading.  

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Breaking Wild by Diane Les Becquets

Amy is an independent female who knows how to take care of herself in the wilderness and loves hunting.  She heads out on her own with her compound bow.  The men she's with have already shot their elk.  Now she's going to get hers.

Berkley Publishing Group and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published February 9th.

Amy shoots her elk but doesn't hit him in a vital part.  She tracks him, shoots him, and dresses him.  He's too heavy for her to carry so she takes a piece of him and caches the rest.  Then she heads back.  It has started snowing again, so her tracks are covered.  She's sure she can find her back with no problem.  Not true.  Everything looks different in the snow.  When she falls and breaks her ankle, she knows that someone will have to find her now.

This is story of survival and self-analysis.  As Amy sits in her cave and eats what she can find, she looks back over her life.  The longer she sits and waits, the more she realizes she may never get out.

Pru is on the search and rescue team with her dog.  They find her hat, they find the rest of the elk, but they don't find her.  Pru keeps searching even after the official search is called off.  If she can't find her alive, she'd like to find the body to give the husband and the children closure.  

This book is scary to me because I fear being lost in the woods.  Amy doesn't give up but I'm not sure I'd be so resolute.  

The situations in this book are realistic and awful at the same time.  It's only because Amy has done these things with her father that she manages to do what she does.  The story makes you relate to the characters and it's a real nail biter to read.  Once you start, you won't stop.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Little Cat's Luck by Marion Dane Bauer, Jennifer A. Bell (Illustrated by)

Little Cat is feeling discontent.  She can't find a special place just for her in the house.  She's searched but nothing works.  When she watches a leaf fall off the tree outside and jumps on the screen, she finds herself outside.  Surely she can find a special place there?

Simon & Schuster's Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published February 9th.

She spends the day looking for the "right" place, but has no luck.  She's found out that the dog has kibble and water by his dog house but he's a big dog with a big bark and he even scares the people walking by.  A mouse tells her he sleeps on the back porch at night, so it might be safe to sneak in then and get something to eat.  She'd go home but she was following the yellow leaf and doesn't know where home is.  She decides to sleep in the doghouse.

That night reveals why she was looking for a special place.  She's having kittens!  She thinks she's very sick and calls for help.  The dog shows up and watches her family be born.  Now he thinks the kittens are his!

The interesting part about this story is that the author could have stopped in several places, but she continues the story.  This makes it a more interesting read and gives an imaginative child an opportunity to write their own chapters if they wish.  Who knows how many more adventures the cat and the dog can have?

Friday, January 8, 2016

Nickerbacher, The Funniest Dragon By Terry John Barto

His dad has him guarding the princess in her castle but he really wants to be a comedian.  After all, the princess thinks he's really funny.  She tells him he should do what makes him happy...

The author graciously shared a copy of this book and his activity kit with me for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can find a copy HERE and the activity kit is HERE.

The story is fun to read and talks about following your dreams and beliefs.  I did that, that's why I'm reviewing books and selling them, too.  Books are precious to me.

This little dragon loves telling jokes and finds that once he breaks the ice with humans, they like hearing his jokes, too.

Kim Sponaugle has done sweet, whimsical illustrations that are very colorful and fun to examine.  The activity kit gives your child several activities to do based on the story.  There's a maze, you can draw your own map, there's a word scramble, and there's even door hangers for their rooms.  That's a nice touch.  There's a "put in order" page where they decide the order of the events in the book.  The last page is for coloring and with the bright colors shown in the book you can tell that will be fun.

This is a great present for the little one in your life.  Nothing is so much as fun as reading a book to them or letting them read it to you.  If you're nice, they might even let you color with them.

The Killing Forest by Sara Blaedel

Sune is excited.  He's finally turning fifteen and is old enough to be initiated into the inner circle of men in his town.  They'll be blood brothers and they keep their secrets forever.  When they want him to become a man by laying with a prostitute, he refuses and runs.  They'll be after him for that but it gets even worse when all the men gang rape her and she dies.  They just bury her and go on with their lives.  Sune keeps hiding...

Grand Central Publishing and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  The book is being published February 2nd.  If you missed the first in this series, you should read The Forgotten Girls.  It will help in understanding this story.

This author always scares me with her stories.  They are deadly and mean but they are also real.  This group of men follow the old laws and traditions and explain the murders they do by saying it's a blood right and part of their code.  To me, it's because they are mean, sadistic bullies and they do whatever makes them feel good.

I feel for Louise.  She's back in her hometown area searching for the missing boy and then working on the murders she finds.  She remembers the death of her husband vividly, despite trying to forget it.  As she investigates this secret society she also finds out secrets from the past as well as the present that make her angry and sad.  She has a lot to deal with.

It takes Louise's special skills to unweave the spider web and get to the truth of the matter.  When she finds it, she's no happier.  The only good news is that it's over.  I'm glad she has a cop boyfriend who can help her deal with the truth she's found.  Everybody needs a friend at bad times.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

A MUDDIED MURDER: A Greenhouse Mystery by Wendy Tyson

Megan has come home.  She's left her lawyer's job and the stress of the work and the city and come back to the farm. After all, her grandmother is getting up in age and the farm takes a lot of work.  It's a good thing she has a plan in mind for creating a new business where she can sell farm produce since the farm needs some repair.  It's too bad not everyone is as enthusiastic about it as she is.  Especially not the Zoning man who is holding up her permits...

Henery Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 29th.

Megan is a smart young woman and she's determined to do what it takes to get the chance to open her business.  She even tells him that in the middle of her store with witnesses.  Of course, she never expected to find him dead in the barn that belongs to her the next day...

With the local police asking her tons of questions again and again, it doesn't get easier to get ready for her opening.  She gets annoyed and decides to start sleuthing herself.  The problem is that when they've already killed once, there is no hesitation about killing again.

My favorite part of this story was the budding romance between Megan and the local vet.  He's a Scot, takes care of her animals and he gives her one for protection since someone is still hanging around the farm.  She'll need the dog.  And she needs the vet, too.

This was a pleasant cozy with a well thought out plot.  There are enough unusual events and people to keep your interest and I'm ready for the next adventure Wendy has.  She's an interesting character.