Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Downfall: A Brady Novel of Suspense by J. A. Jance

Joanna's plate is pretty full.  She's pregnant, burying her mother and her step-father, sending her oldest off the college, worrying a bit about the election in the fall, and now they have two dead bodies at the bottom of Geronimo's Peak.  She goes off to check on the bodies.  There's no way to know that the killer is as close to her as he is...

William Morrow and Edelweiss allowed to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 6th.

What Joanna sees are two dead women.  They are laying on top of each other.  Only one had been camping up there.  Did they fight and then fall?  Were they lovers?  Was there someone else with them?

The more she digs into the case, the stranger it gets.  One girl was doing a study on cactus that only grew in certain areas.  She believed she found a new specimen that could make her thesis shine.  The other was a teacher who was married to a reverend of an oddball church.

It seems the teacher was offering private lessons to some of the boy students.  Lessons that made her a predator.  Talking to the students is what gave them this clue.  The informant was as guilty as the boy he was accusing but that doesn't come out until they search her home and find the letters from the boys.  As bad as those actions were, that wasn't what got her killed.  She's pregnant and her husband had a vasectomy.  Who's the father?

This is a well written police procedural with plenty of drama.  The killer was too close to home to make Joanna feel vindicated.  Others died that shouldn't have.  But there was no way to know.  I like to hate killers, this one just made me sad.

I'm already waiting for the next adventure with Joanna and her family.  Ms. Jance is a great author. 

Monsters Go Night-Night by Aaron Zenz

This is a fun book to read but I'm not sure it's a good bedtime book.  Your child will be laughing too hard to settle down easily...

Abrams Appleseed sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It has been published so you can get a copy now.

This is a bit like the word games where they give you several words and say, "Which one doesn't fit?"

Monsters don't act like humans.  They don't eat the same things (obviously) and you spend your time snickering while you watch what they do choose.

My very favorite was what they took baths with.  They take baths with chocolate pudding!  Can you imagine?

The whole book has fun ideas and contrasts that your children will think are silly and funny.  Just tell them not to try any of them at home...

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Snowfall on Haven Point by RaeAnne Thayne

Andrea is perfectly happy with her new life in Haven Point.  She has a nice house, her children are happy, she's friends with most in the community and life is good.  She's widowed and she's survived a stalker and she's fine on her own.  She misses her husband but she's not looking for a new man.  She sure never expected to find one next door...

HQN Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 27th.

When she gets a call from her neighbor about the fact that her brother is now staying at the house because his leg has been badly broken, she sympathizes.  It doesn't take long until she's committed to taking him some meals and checking on to see if he's taking his medicine or needs anything else.  She's not happy about it, but she's a kind a person.  It appears he's not...

He's crabby, grouchy and in a bad mood generally.  Someone set him up and tried to kill him.  He was just lucky he jumped fast enough to the side.  He knows it had to be someone from his department but who could it be?  Just like who could have stolen money from the evidence room?  He's busy worrying about that and doesn't need a busybody over at his door or bringing him food.  The food tastes good but he could always order take out or eat something out of the refrigerator.  She won't go away, though.  And then he meets her kids.

This is a tale of two people who are guarding their hearts and aren't interested in a new relationship.  That's always when you find someone.

She tells him he's a grouch, feeds him anyway, and her children want to do up a Christmas tree for him.  He tries to tell them no but they are so excited he can't.  They make him homemade ornaments to go with the ones his owned.  It does brighten his house and even his spirits.

Besides the work problems, he has another one to overcome.  The young man living with his grandparents next door is evidently his from a one night fling long ago.  He's afraid to tell the boy but Andrea tells him he must.

It's hard journey this Christmas season but all turns out well.  This is very pleasant read to get you ready for your Christmas season this year.

Jak Barley, Private Inquisitor and the Case of One Damned Thing After Another by Dan Ehl

Jak calls himself a Private Inquisitor.  That's like a private eye in our day and age.  His acquaintances call him the ferret.  I don't think that's so bad.  After all, he does ferret things out.  But he hates it!

Mr. Ehl graciously sent me a copy of his book so I could read it for review.  It's been published, so you can get a copy now.  

I've read this whole series and always enjoy reading the next one he's conjured.  His writing is fantastical, with creatures out of this world, and Jak just barely getting away from one crisis to another.  The story keeps you glued to the pages, there are puns, jokes, and more in his stories.  I enjoy seeing characters he's met in the past come back to see Jak again.  He needs all the help he can get.

He's got a girlfriend.  She's the witch's daughter and that's dangerous for him.  Lorenzo is around and Jak really needs his skills.  Other characters from the past show up at the right times to keep Jak alive.  What more could you want?

How about vampires who are trying to take over the world?  Or wizard warriors fighting with witches?  How about his girlfriend's mother and father trying to kill each other?  It's all here and it's a good read.

If you like fantasy and enjoy a good fight, you'll love this series.  I've enjoyed each book I've read and look forward to Jak's next adventure.  He just wants an easy life looking for missing persons or proving whose husband is errant but it's not to be.  Poor Jak... 

Monday, August 29, 2016

A Sister's Wish: The Charmed Amish Life, Book Three by Shelley Shepard Gray

Amelia has had a crush on him for years.  She's younger and beautiful but he couldn't live at home anymore.  His parents were abusive.  His older brother and his sister had both left home as soon as they could.  He was following them.  She didn't understand but she knew she had to let him go.  She just didn't expect him to return...

Avon Inspire and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 27th.  

Amelia has heard the stories about Simon during his time away from their Amish village.  She also know he has repented and been forgiven and rejoined the church.  She still her eye on him.  He's also got his eye on her.  But her older brother tells Simon he's not a good match because his past will reflect on Amelia.  He tells her he won't pursue a relationship with her because he's had such a bad time in his past.  She's disappointed.  She's also angry that her whole family is trying to tell her what to do when she's in her twenties and she wants to live her own life.

Having had an accident where her leg got broken, she now can't do anything.  The relatives pitch in and help but it doesn't lift Amelia's spirits.  The family finally realizes they did the wrong thing and they let Simon know he's allowed to court Amelia.  He's happy but then she tells him he must tell her everything or she won't let him court her.  He's not ready to do that and leaves.

Growing up can be hard.  Most of us come with some wounds and baggage later in life.  It's all about how you handle it and if you can move on.  Simon did, but he doesn't want to burden her with it.  She tells him he has to trust her.

Not only are Simon and Amelia trying to patch things up, other family members on both sides are coming back home.  Whether they left for good or bad reasons, it looks like the big families will be whole again.  Being honest and open and talking about it makes relationships better.  Everybody learns a lesson in this story.

The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz, Hatem Aly (Illustrated by)

Sit down, clear your mind of all notions, and commence reading a tale that combines magic, religion and more.  This tale is not like any you've read before.  After all, have you read a tale about a dangerous farting dragon?

Dutton Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 27th.

We begin with a baby that is left with a dogsitter.  A greyhound is left to protect the baby.  The dog kills a deadly snake.  The parents think the blood is the baby's and they kill the dog.  The baby is safe, the snake is dead, and the parents regret their action.  They bury the dog and soon it's got a reputation of being holy.  That's not the end of the story about the dog.

The girl has fits and sees the future.  The boy can heal with natural ingredients and his prayers.  The young monk has extraordinary strength. When soldiers come after them because of their magic talents, they run.  As they run, they band together and learn about each other.

This tale is told in pieces.  One person tells their part, then the next takes over.  As the tale goes along, the children get closer to the tavern where the tale is being shared.  Once they arrive, they want the books they left on the donkey.  Then they head for a haven that they might be safe in and they are saving the books so the King can't burn them.  What they don't know is that now they have a killer in their midst.

With talk about saints and holiness, the issue of Christians vs Jews, an African American monk, and dog that rose from the dead, there's plenty to wonder at and you have to learn to accept the impossible to read this book.  It's busy and it will keep you reading.  I'm not so sure about you believing the story.  But that's what fiction is for:  To take you away from your present world and entertain you in a new one.  This book does that.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Dandelion Dead: A Natural Remedies Mystery by Chrystle Fiedler

Willow is a holistic doctor who owns a pet food store and runs a restaurant within it.  They cater and it's a big wine tasting event that has them scheduled today.  It doesn't look good when one of the guests drops dead after eating one of their hors devores.  Who would have killed Amy?  Or was it David they were trying to kill?

Pocket Books and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 27th.

Willow and her partner Jackson, who is an ex-cop, know the drill.  They touch nothing, answer the police officer's questions and wait to see what killed her.  The man running the event is Willow's old boyfriend, Simon, who is just a friend now.  Since it happened when everyone was trying to win the prestigious first prize in a wine tasting contest, he asks Willow and Jackson to help him find the murderer.  

The fish was served with dandelion greens on it to add a special flavor and make it attractive.  Someone had added a bit of hemlock to the one Amy was eating.  David almost ate one also but didn't.  David is the one with the new wine concept and either someone doesn't want him to win or jealousy might have reared its ugly head.  He's a womanizer.  Willow is astonished when they arrest her young assistant.  It seems she was one of David's conquests while they were getting ready to do this event.

The number of enemies David could have is overwhelming.  Even his father and brother were angry with him.  Most any of the other wineries were willing to do whatever was necessary to win.  There was a cash prize and most of them needed it.  Willow and Jackson check out what they can.  Simon does the same thing on his end. As suspected, the killer is in their midst and several more had their hands in part of the trouble.

This is a cozy mystery with lots of nature talk, some romance and a mixed up bunch of people.  Despite a couple of deaths, it has a sweet ending.  Read this one and you'll learn about herbal remedies as well as wine making.

The Marvelous Magic of Miss Mabel by Natasha Lowe

Nora hears a noise on the front porch and goes out to see what it was.  What she finds is a baby in her planter.  She doesn't know who left her.  Her first thought is that she would turn her over to the authorities but as soon as she picks her up and the baby snuggles, she's lost that thought.  She never had children.  She'll raise this one and name her after her mother, Mabel.

Paula Wiseman Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published August 30th.

Mabel is a typical little girl with a magical touch.  Nora hires a nanny so she'll have all the care she needs when the maid is busy and she's working in the greenhouse.  The nanny is nasty.  She deprives Mabel of food, makes her do embroidery for hours and whacks her with her umbrella.  She tries to tell her mother about it but she only sees the nanny smile and be nice.   Even the maid is not happy because if Mabel doesn't eat her porridge, the nanny saves it and feeds it to her the next day.  Ugh!

They first notice her magic when Mabel floats in the sky.  Nora gets afraid for her and starts looking for answers.  When Mabel visits a fortune teller who says she is full of great magic, Nora decides to send her to witch school.  The only problem is that she doesn't want to do the things they teach.  And they won't let her experiment with magic; that only causes trouble.  She does her best to get along but one girl bullies her continually.  When she steals her magic idea for the exhibit and locks Mabel in the attic, trouble is coming.

Mabel is an independent free thinker and she doesn't fit in well with the establishment.  But it's her experiments and determination that save the day.

This was a fun read with enough silliness to make you laugh and enough antics to keep you reading.  Everything turns out well in the end.  Give it a read, you'll like it.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd: A Flavia de Luce Novel by Alan Bradley

Flavia is twelve and dauntless.  She's been thrown out of school because she's not a good fit, her family doesn't like her, and she likes finding dead bodies.  I love reading her stories.  In this one, she runs an errand for the vicar's wife.  When she reaches the house, there's no answer at the door.  She goes in to find the man the message is for.  What she finds is a dead body suspended on the back of the bedroom door.  What she has opened is a can of worms...

Delacorte Press and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 20th.

They have no idea what he's doing hanging like an upside crucifixion with his arms and legs stretched out in an X.  They don't even know who visited him last.  But Flavia makes it her business to find out.  After all, when she returned to England from her school, she found out her father was in the hospital.  They won't let her visit him.  So she might as well keep busy.

What she finds is from the past but it ties to the present day.  Now if she can just put it all together.  What she didn't expect was that someone was in the present day that she knows is insane.

This is a good mystery with lots of ticks and ties.  The ending is a bit sad all around but it's just setting the scene for the next book.  Flavia is relentless in her search for the truth and I admire the fact that she will ride Gladys (her bike) through inclement weather to get where she needs to be.  How can you not admire a tough girl?  I can't wait until her next adventure.

Fishbone's Song by Gary Paulsen

Fishbone is the nickname of the old man who is raising an orphan boy.  He tells tales.  There are three or four about how he got his name just like there are three or four stories about how the boy first appeared.  He doesn't really know how to raise a child, so he just tells him stories about the past.  The stories are sometimes fantasy, sometimes fact, and most always have a lesson.

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 27th.

Mr. Paulsen has never written a bad book.  He first captured me with his book, Hatchet, and I've been reading his work since then.  This one is at least as good as Hatchet and that's saying something.

Fishbone is an odd old fellow who eats what they catch or find in the woods for greens, drinks moonshine on the porch, and talks or sings to the boy and the dog.  He has a lot of common sense, a lot of experience (including a war) and he teaches the boy by telling him how things are done.  If you kill something, you eat it.  If you make a bow, you need to make it out of the right wood.  If you're hungry, go hunting.  Nobody is happier than Fishbone if you bring home a good fish or a fat rabbit.

It reads like how life must have been almost a hundred years ago.  I recognize some of the life lessons and I grew up in a family where we ate what we hunted or fished or butchered and we grew our own vegetables and fruit and canned things.  These are old skills from the past that have practically died out now.  Life used to be simpler and I think that was a good thing.  You can rest assured they did not have wifi at their cabin near the woods.

Go back to a simpler time and learn about surviving.  You can watch the young man grow up and see when he realizes the time will come when he will have to move on and find his place in the world.  He's scared thinking about it, but no one lives forever and Fishbone is old.  He's going to be content with Fishbone for now, though.  He'll be ready when he needs to go.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Hocus Pocus, It's Fall! by Anne Sibley O'Brien, Susan Gal

Hocus Pocus, what a beautiful book!  Ms. Gal's illustrations are rich and warm.  The story is sweet and the gatefold pages make it unique.

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

Gatefold means that the interior pages have a two page illustration and then open up to another full page illustration.  It really shows off the artwork and makes it fun to look at.  The rhyming text flows smoothly and offers a rhyme that feels good.

Here is unique way to see the beauty of fall for your little one.  I bet it will become one of their favorite books.

The Ominous Eye: The Nocturnals Book 2 by Tracey Hecht, Kate Liebman

The Nocturnal Brigade has a new quest:  To stop the deadly beast who is trying to take over their land.  When they meet a strange new animal that has a third eye and says she can see the future through it, they're not sure what to do...

Fabled Films Press and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 20th.

The fox is cool, the pangolin could use a bit more self-confidence, and the flying squirrel has an elephant sized ego!  He's always going to save everybody.  When danger shows up, you don't see him anymore.  He's in love with the fox and is always complimenting her and making a nuisance of himself.  But when he meets this new animal, he's flirting with her.  He's silly!

There's an earth movement with ashfall and the Brigade doesn't know what is happening.  They do find a big hole that they check out and it looks like there's a huge beast in there.  The new animal tells them that they must evacuate the area because that beast is coming and he wants it all for his own.  She acts a bit shifty and she wants all the birds gone.  The kiwis can stay because they don't fly.

The fox follows her and finds out that she visits a tower.  The new animal has a secret, but what is it?

There's lot of action, new creatures to learn about, and conflicts everywhere.  You'll be glad to know that everything settles down by the end of the story.  I wonder what their next adventure will be?

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Miss Seeton Cracks the Case by Hamilton Crane

The gossipy old ladies have won a trip and are off on a bus ride.  When the bus is stopped much in the same manner as the coaches by the highway men in the past and their valuable are stolen, they know they'll be in the paper and on the news and will have their fifteen minutes of fame.  But it doesn't work out that way and they're sure Miss Seeton must have made that happen.  After all, she's the most suspicious person living in the village...

Farrago and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published today, so you can grab a copy now.

Not only are there the bus robberies, a group of people help elders get their packages home and then drug them and steal their goods.  One man got drugged enough to die, so it's become a more vital case now.  The police ask Miss Seeton to try to sketch the people one of the witnesses has seen.  She draws a pirate and then a WW1 scene.  Is she lost in the past or is she trying to tell them something?

Then there's the new couple in town.  They're cleaning up their yard and remove the brambles from an old bunker.  There's a rumor there's a body in the bunker so they are selling chances for who gets to open the door on the day of discovery.

Miss Seeton wanders right through the midst of the scams, even gets approached by them but manages to get away by chance.  She also sketches a new picture with the two groups joined together as one but no one knows what that means.  Eventually, they find some other clues and manage to put the case together but it took Miss Seeton to set everything off.  As usual...

Death in Profile by Guy Fraser-Sampson

They're looking for a serial killer but they're looking in the wrong place...

Urbane Publications sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It has been published so you can pick the book up now.

This was a very interesting read.  The killer was a twist I didn't see coming.  There's also a psychologist who pulls back into a fantasy world to deal with the how the case is going and because he's losing his girlfriend.  There is more than one mentally off person in this book.

The case has been ongoing for some time, so a new lead detective is sent in.  The one that previously headed the case is determined to investigate on his own.  That causes some difficulty.  They also have someone feeding the newspapers.  Then they find out the first man arrested who died in prison was NOT guilty.  This is when the psychologist feels he's responsible and moves into Dorothy Sayers world.  He thinks he's Lord Peter Wimsey.  This is where it starts to become a bit surreal.

Between the psych games the police are playing to bring the psychologist back to the present day and finding more circumstantial evidence, they come up with another potential killer.  He denies it.  They're ready to push on and then they get the surprise of their life.  The killer is someone else entirely...

With a mix and match of old and new techniques, they were getting mixed results.  I'm not sure where this series is going but there could easily be further books in this series.  Will the gal leave her lover for another?  Will the man who headed the crime unit and attempted to charge two innocent men keep his job?  Will the cop who was taken off the case be content with his new role?

One thing you can easily say about this read:  It makes you think. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Reader by Traci Chee

Sefia was living the typical life of a child until she comes home from playing at the neighbor's house and finds her father tortured and dead on the kitchen floor.  She knows the plan and has practiced it enough she doesn't even have to think.  She grabs her supplies and opens the secret door and heads out to what she hopes is safety.  It takes her back to the berry patch and she goes to Aunt Nin for help.

G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 13th.

Sefia learns to fend for herself in the woods with Aunt Nin teaching her.  They avoid towns for the most part, only going in to sell furs.  They are on their way to the port to find a boat to take them further away from those who after them.  Sefia takes the furs in and trades them for money.  When she returns, Nin has been captured.  She knows she should go, but Nin is all she has left in her life.  She goes after her instead.

She has a secret treasure with her.  It's a book that the powers to be would kill for.  They already have, that's why her father died.  She doesn't know why it's so important.  She decides to try to make some sense of it and eventually learns to read.  She reads the stories in it thinking they are fictional.  They're not...

When she finds a young boy being kept in a cage, she knows he was stolen from his family and has now become part of their fighting team.  She helps him escape.  Now she has two groups of people who want to find her.  Not good.

This story is long but there's plenty happening.  You see the past of Sephia and her friend.  You watch her develop powers she had no idea she had.  And you get to meet the ship captain she was reading about.  She hasn't read about the future yet, but it's most likely in that book also.

When this segment of the story ends, there's still much more to the tale so there will be sequels.  This is the Sea of Ink and Gold series and it's quite impressive if a bit bloodthirsty.  The next book should be even more interesting.

Fuzzy by Tom Angleberger, Paul Dellinger

Imagine a robot that can feel emotions.  It doesn't seem real, does it?  In this story, it's possible.

Amulet Books sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It's been published and you can grab a copy now.

They are sending this robot to school.  It's to teach him interactions with humans, to use his own logic to program himself to respond in the appropriate manner, and to finish his training period.  He's named Fuzzy because he uses fuzzy logic.  (After reading about it, I think I do, too.)

He has one student assigned to him as a mentor and she's happy to do that.  The problem is the computer at the school is out to get her.  She's getting bad grades on tests she's studied hard for and thought she had right.  She gets demerits for being late when a teacher held her up.  Sometimes the school blocks her so she's late!  Her parents are mad at her.  She may get kicked out of school.  But when Fuzzy goes to class with her, he can see her test and he knows she only missed one question.  Something about this school stinks.

Fuzzy likes his new friends, going to school and visiting the homes of other students.  He doesn't want to complete his mission he was designed for.  When they talk about rebooting his brain, he knows he has to do something.  What he does is try to save Max from the school computer's wrath for being different.  It turns out to be quite the battle!

I was really feeling for Fuzzy and hated to see the end of the book coming up but the authors were heroes and came up with a happy ending.

This book was well worth the read and I'll be reading it again.  I enjoyed it a lot.  Why not share an exciting fun tale with your young one?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Killer Punch: A Killer Wasps Mystery by Amy Korman

Kristin is looking forward to summer and hanging out with her best buds.  At the moment, the tomato festival is coming up and everyone around is helping out.  The famous TV chef bursts in on the scene and says he'll do the cooking and banishes the other cook.  Then a famous painting disappears off the wall.  The painting is worth six digits, so the owner wants it back.  Kristin knows the local cop isn't going to be much good at locating it, so she calls on her friends.  What they learn is that even their small local town can be a hotbed of cheating and double-dealing.

Witness Impulse and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It is being published today.  There are more in the series so if you like to begin with the first book, check it out.

This is light cozy with odd characters.  There are the very rich, the economically challenged, some Italian mafia, a divorce going on that is going to be a fight to the finish, and Kristin's challenged love life.

One of the ladies is sneaking in tomatoes grown in New Jersey, who has better soil.  (That's against the rules.)  The famous chef is trying to bed a young waitress.  Kristin's boyfriend is out of town at a veterinarian education class and the guy with the hot kisses is on the site of the festival.  Then her boyfriend's ex comes to town and she's worried about her.  It's like the picture is a small problem in this world.  But find it they must.  Not only do they find the picture, they also find out that the major new development in town is a breach of contract.  They fumble right along, everyone doing their part and somehow it comes out OK at the end of the story.

Wonder what trouble they'll find in the next book?  And will Sophie ever get all her shoes back?

All My Treasures: A Book of Joy By Jo Witek

When she gets a real pretty porcelain box from her grandmother, this little one wants to fill it with treasures.  But which ones?

Abram Appleseed shared this book with me for review (thank you).  It is being published today so you can grab a copy now.

This is a casebound board book.  That means it looks like a regular oversized picture book but the pages are thicker inside.  The best touch are all the little flaps. With little fingers carefully opening up the flaps they will find treasures to go in the box!

She thinks of adding raindrops, bubbles she blows, treasured memories and more.  All things that give her joy and make her life special.  

Why not think about what you would save?  I have a memory box.  It's just a fancier cardboard box that I have kept things like a post card grandpa drew a stamp on,  a poem my mom wrote for a package one year, ticket stubs and other memories.  When I open and go back through what's in there it makes me smile.  What would save in your box?

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Adventurer's Guide to Successful Escapes by Wade Albert White

This is not a nice orphanage.  The orphans have chores to do, some work in the coal mines, and they only get enough to eat to keep them alive.  When they turn thirteen, they're ejected from the school.  If they are lucky, they can be accepted into a quest academy and begin training.   If not, they go away to another work crew, who knows where.  They don't have much but it's better than nothing.  Anne has Penelope as a friend and they are determined to go on an adventure.  Boy, do they!

Little Brown Book for Children sent me an ARC of this story to read for review (thank you).  It will be published September 13th.

This is a fantastic adventure with lots of action, plenty of good versus evil, robots, animated knight's armor and dragons.  With some magic, a riddle and good brain power, Anne gets closer and closer to the truth of who she is.  She has yellow eyes, doesn't remember her parents and doesn't even know what tier she's come from.  She wants to find out who she is but she also is longing for adventure.

When she runs after dog, who got away, she falls off one tier down to another.  The lady she meets there tells her she's come to get her for a quest.  When she asks if she can bring others, the lady says the more the merrier.  She returns to get Pen and gets caught by the matron, who takes the gauntlet she was given and throws her in the dungeon.  Pen gets her out, she retrieves the gauntlet and the book she was reading, and she's ready to go when the gauntlet attaches itself to her hand and attracts a medallion.  This is when all the fun begins!

It's a mighty quest, a brave adventure and new challenges come up every few pages.  I really enjoyed reading this one and can't wait for the next book.  She's in her rightful place now but it doesn't mean the challenge is over...

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Family Tree by Susan Wiggs

Annie's dream was to have a cooking show.  She was an excellent cook, incorporated new ingredients to make special taste sensations, and she was taking classes in California to reach her dream.  She's amazed when she does a video of another chef who runs a small cooking stand and the video goes viral.  It's even more amazing when they want her to actually do a show!

William Morrow sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published September 9th.

Annie doesn't realize that the other chef, who she ends up marrying, is actually undermining her position on the show.  When she finds out she's pregnant, she goes to the set to tell her husband the wonderful news.  The fact that he's in bed with the co-star of the show kills her happy rush and sends her storming out of the trailer.  The next time she wakes up, she's in the hospital.  And she doesn't remember anything.

This would be like one of my worst nightmares.  I don't want to forget the past or lose part of my learning from life experiences.  She doesn't even know what to mourn until she's been through weeks of rehab and brought to her parent's home for recovery.  She's been in a coma for a year...

Her husband has divorced her.  She's lost the baby.  And she doesn't remember that.  When she does, it's almost as bad as if it was happening all over again.

There's an old romantic tie that has never died at home.  He's single again, with a son.  He's also interested in her.  She has to decide whether she should follow her dream of a TV show or whether she should follow her heart.  It's a tough decision.  The author keeps you on your toes until the last few pages.  There's lots of family drama but it's good read.

How Three Brothers Saved the Navy: The Kare Kids Adventures #3 by Charles A. Salter

Their dad is a Captain in the US Navy so the three boys spend their spare time pretending to be part of the Navy, too.  Twelve year old Matt is a Force Recon Marine in his mind with his siblings holding lesser roles.  One is a soccer player, one is good at judo, and the youngest is a good actor.  Those skills will keep them alive...

Outskirts Press sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so you can grab a copy now.

When I was young, my boy cousins liked to play war.  I was never fond of it but I also got bored easily if you wouldn't let me read, so I played with them.  That ended when one of them had to get stitches (his brother jumped on him with a stick).  I could recognize the enthusiasm these boys had for a Recon game.  They were practicing for the future.  They just didn't know the future would come so soon!

They see things happening on the abandoned airbase that shouldn't be.  When they go in to see what's going on, they get close to being caught.  When they think they've escaped, they haven't.

This is written for middle grades and has plenty of action as well as a good plot line.  I especially liked reading about the boys using the skills they had to outfox the bad guys.  At least the good guys didn't get hurt like my cousin did.  They managed to complete their Recon with no stitches.

Boys should love this book.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness by David Casarett

Ladarat Patalung is a nurse ethicist.  She checks to see if everyone is doing all that they need to do for the patients.  It's a bit like being an auditor.  She pays attention to treatments, makes sure the patient's emotions are taken into consideration and she watches for discrepancies.  She never expect to be asked to do detective work...

Redhook and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 13th.

This story was set in Thailand and that was a real treat for me.  I enjoyed reading about the differences between Americans and Asians.  The culture there is much different from how I was brought up and their food sounded dreadful to me, but the main character really enjoyed it.  I can imagine what she would think of the food I cook!

Ladarat begins by looking into a woman who brought her dead husband to the hospital in the middle of night to get a death certificate.  It seems someone there had heard of her before and the situation was the same.  As the detective and Ladarat visit, they decide if it wasn't revenge, it must be the insurance the woman is interested in.  The detective points out she might just be a serial killer but since her victims all have the same name, you wonder.

As she is trying to find out more about that case, she finds that there is an odd man in the visitor's waiting room that is not the usual type.  He's a hillman, he speaks to no one, and when questioned he can't say who he is waiting for.  But he's waiting and won't leave.  In time, she finds out why.

Alexander McCall Smith writes about Africa.  Mr. Casarett does a comparable job in his story about Thailand.  The people go about things in a round about way so they don't embarrass anyone or lose face.  They are deliberate, polite and painstaking.  And they will continue until the job is done.

This was a wonderful introduction to this country and to the characters in this book.  Both Ladarat and her assistant seem to have a romantic interest before the end of the story.  I can't wait to read about her next adventure and see how her story continues.  I like her as a character.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Jack Death by M.L. Windsor

Jack and Nadine are neighbors and go to the same school.  They both have big secrets they can't tell.  Jack would prefer to be independent but since he gets bullied all the time it's nice to have a friend around.  Even if she is a girl.

Creston Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 13th.

This is a far out tale of imaginary creatures and a war between good and evil.  There are Blacks and Goldens, there are fixers, and everyone in this world seems to be mixed with some magical or evil being.  The bloodlines have been mixed for years.  The purebred goblins and other carnivorous beings are in a "reserve" where they are separated from the public.  But there is a diabolical plot being carried out and the rock wall that keeps them in is detonated and horror is let loose upon the town.

There's lot of action, lots of unusual characters and you learn Jack and Nadine's secrets.  There will be more to this story.  Jack has no idea what his role in life is to be and Nadine hasn't found out just what magical being she is yet.  I'm sure there will be another book in this series to help flesh all that out.

This is a great story for middle graders because it's a busy story and you don't have time to feel sorry for the folks being eaten.  You find yourself just waiting for the next development...

God Gave Us Thankful Hearts by Lisa Tawn Bergren and David Hohn

Little Pup is feeling sad that summer is coming to an end and hibernating season will begin.  He loses many of his friends to hibernation, the weather isn't as nice, and it's just depressing.  His mother takes him for a walk and has a talk.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review (thank you).  It will be published August 23rd, so you don't have long to wait.

My favorite part of this book is this sentence:  "The trick to having a thankful heart is thinking about the things that make us happy, rather than the things that don't."  That's so very true.

His mother talks about God and all the things He gives us.  Little Pup also finds that he has a lot of good things in his life if he thinks about it.  By the end of the story he's feeling good and no longer worried about winter.  He's even telling his parents about the good things in life they didn't think of.

There is so much bad and sad about the world.  Focus on what brings you joy.  In my case, that's reading.  My husband likes having a project to do.  If it's baking or swimming or playing with your siblings or spending time with your parents, think about those times and plan for them.  Take time to smell the flowers.  Take a nature walk like Little Pup did.  After all, a thankful heart thinks about things that make us happy.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Changelings by Christina Soontornvat

Izzy is just a regular kid who is unhappy with where they have moved.  It's a house her father inherited and she wishes he hadn't.  It's in the woods, they have no neighbors to speak of and it doesn't even have many stores.  What fun is that?

Sourcebooks Jabberwocky and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 6th.

The man at the convenience store tells them they are living next door to a witch.  Izzy wants to know more but hasn't got time to find much out.  She decides to sneak over and watch her to see if she acts like a witch.  Unfortunately, her little sister follows her.  The woman hears them and invites them in.  They spook and run.  Staying away would be a good thing but curiosity gets to Henrietta.  She's heading back through the woods when she hears a tune and follows it.  Izzy follows her but loses her.  She asks the potential witch for help.  She tells her to stay there and heads out in the woods.  Izzy follows, of course.  And that's how she found the entry way to fairy world...

When she follows the woman down, she finds it's almost a mirror to the woods above but it's a lot older and has other developments.  They visit a house and get attacked by cobwebs.  Izzie escapes, the woman doesn't.

As she wanders on the trail and wonders where to go and what to do, she finds a mossy rock that seems to be crying.  She soon finds out that it's a changeling.  It's caught by a silver snare and Izzy finally gets it loose.  Just as she does the bad ones are arriving and they have to run!

The story is fast paced, flows well and has very interesting characters.  Besides fairies, there are changelings that can shapeshift, wyverns, goblins and more.  Izzy won't give up on finding her little sister and has to face several fearful things and situations to gain her.  It looked like she wouldn't live through it but she has a secret, too.

I really enjoyed reading this one.  If someone in your house likes fantasy, this is an excellent choice. 

An Obvious Fact by Craig Johnson

Walt's on a new case.  He's out of his jurisdiction so he says he's on vacation but it's a working vacation.  And it's even more dangerous than the cases he has at home.  Imagine trying to investigate a case during the Sturgis motorcycle rally...

First to Read sent me an ebook of this story to read for review (thank you).  It will be published September 13th.

I've read the Longmire series now for a long time and the books just keep getting better.  There's always pain and suffering and a few people dead in them but the determination to solve the case and the banter that goes on with the characters keep me reading.

The young man who was riding the motorcycle has a serious head injury.  Someone hit him to knock him off the road and he unfortunately hit a culvert on the way down.  Walt decides to find out who hit him.  It looks like it could have been his own mother but she said everybody in the motorcycle gang used her car.  So who was driving that night?

Things are much more complicated than it originally looked.  The boy's mother is Henry's old girlfriend and the boy might be his child.  There's a gang member bothering them and it turns out he's a federal agent who ends up dead.  There's a very rich man with a very spoiled daughter who stand out in the small community.  Vic even ends up in a shooting contest with "Mr. Snob".  She beats him, too.

The answers to the problems are messy, will have good and bad consequences for the town, and most of the time the other law enforcement folks are trying not to look at what Walt and Henry are doing.  

It's a good read and I enjoyed it.  Can't wait to see them back in action again.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Lady Cop Makes Trouble by Amy Stewart

Constance likes being a deputy.  It's not a traditional post for a woman but she likes the challenges and the chance to make things right.  She likes helping the victims and seeks justice for the wrongdoer.  So she's very disappointed when the Sheriff has to demote her to jail matron because of politics.  He's working to get her reinstated but she's bored being a matron.  She learns some things there, too.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 6th.  

I really like this character.  She's proud, determined and willing to put her life on the line to accomplish her goals and succeed on the job.  I didn't do anything that dangerous but I worked as hard as she did when I was working.  It made me able to relate to Constance, even her weaknesses.

Constance has the ability to speak several foreign languages, so the Sheriff takes her with him to pick up a female suspect.  From the very beginning, Constance has the feeling she didn't murder the man that's the victim.  But the suspect lies a bit.  One of the deputies says the gunshot was heard at a different time.  It takes until the end of the book before that gets squared away.

What really devastates Constance and makes her unsure she will keep her job is when she's at the hospital watching over a sick prisoner.  There was a disaster and the hospital is very busy.  When the lights go out the nurses start dropping trays.  She leaves the room for a short period of time and returns to hold the doorknob and secure the prisoner.  When the Sheriff arrives, she opens the door and finds she's guarding the wrong room, it's one door down.  And that room is empty, too.

If that wasn't bad enough, now it appears the Sheriff might be jailed for the prisoner escape.  All Constance can do is try to find the missing man.  The Sheriff and his deputies haven't had any success.  It's good thing that Constance has her sisters to talk to.  They give her some ideas on what to check and she starts her own hunt.

Ms. Stewart writes a fast paced story with a very interesting character.  I really enjoyed this story and will be anxious to read the next Constance story.  She got me hooked.

Painted Trillium by Robert Brandt

The Civil War impacted families in different ways.  It devastated families, caused brothers to fight on opposite sides and made people do unconventional things in order to survive and remain sane.  This author gives you an inside look at what it would be like to live at that time.  Carrie is a young woman who lost her fiance during the war.  Now she intends to teach school and be an independent woman.  But plans don't always work out...

Wandering in the Words Press sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It has been published so you can pick up a copy now.

Mr. Brandt writes well.  You feel like you're living in the Civil War days.  I found it very easy to understand his characters and their motivation.  This was almost like sitting at the kitchen table and listening to someone tell a tale.  It flows well and goes down smoothly.  He doesn't sugar coat anything, which is refreshing.

Carrie lost her father and her brother and fiance to the war.  She's helping her mother run the household and doing a lot of the chores herself.  The days of maids and cooks are gone.  She watches her girlfriends raise children by themselves, others marry men who have children but are a widower, and Carrie stays at home.

Even staying home is not safe.  When she travels to visit a friend and returns home, she meets a General.  He's kind and nice to her.  When she tells him the tale of their three pigs being carted off by soldiers, he assigns as officer to look into it.  The officer visits and finds her company enjoyable.  They chat a lot, both of them love reading, and she loans books to the officer to read while back at camp. The war is still going on around them but they've carved a quiet niche for the two of them.

War takes its toll again and Carrie is alone again.  She's a strong independent woman and doesn't give up.  It's a good thing that she's takes her joy where she can find it.  Despite the sadness and loss life has given her, she still has hope.  Her hope is rewarded and that made me happy.

This was a very good read.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Crêpes of Wrath: A Pancake House Mystery by Sarah Fox

Marley is running Uncle Jimmy's Pancake House until he  recovers from pneumonia and can get back to work.  She's surprised when he calls and says he's getting out of the hospital early.  She's even more shocked to find him dead in rocks on the beach.  Who would kill an old man and what's going to happen with his business now?

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

Marley has met an old friend of hers from the past.  Brett is just as handsome as he used to be and he's still single.  Michael seems like a nice guy, too.  But with Jimmy's death, she has other things to work on.  She keeps the business going and starts asking questions.

She has a crusty old chef who can do wonders in the kitchen and a female waitress.  The sheriff accuses the waitress of the murder.  Marley knows she didn't do it so she has to help her prove it.  Then Marley finds stolen goods hidden in Jimmy's shed.  She knows he didn't steal the goods.  The sheriff is not so sure.

When she inherits the house and restaurant, Marley doesn't know what she wants to do.  She has a good job in the city to return to.  But she loves this small town and the people here.  When her neighbor tries to buy the house, she makes up her mind.  She won't sell.  More harassment follows that.  And Marley keeps asking questions.  She finally asks too many...

This was a good read with a blossoming romance.  The tale reads smoothly and is believable.  It's a great cozy.  Sit down with your cup of coffee or tea, have a cookie, and start a fun tale...

The Lost Expedition (Poptropica) by Mitch Krpata, Kory Merritt

Oliver, Mya and Jorge are off on another adventure.  They have the map that will take them anyplace they want to go and have managed to get a small boat.  The problem is that they aren't sure where to go.  They also have to worry about Octavian who wants the map.  And all those odd people with that odd tattoo that try to capture them...

Amulet Books sent me a copy of graphic novel to read for review (thank you).  It is being published today and you can grab a copy now.

This is an interesting series.  The three main characters seem to handle any crisis and stay alive even if they don't do it by planning.  It all looks accidental.  But it works, so who cares?

They don't necessarily want to go straight home, so they visit different places.  Somehow it's just not safe anywhere.  All Jorge wants to do is eat, so he picks a market that has lots of food.  They decide they need a bigger boat.  They end up in the Artic with a polar bear for company.  When they escape him, they find the boat alright.  It's frozen in the ice and the sailors aren't friendly.  One has that tattoo they fear, too, but they don't find that out until it's too late.

There's plenty of action, near misses, and they're in custody again.  I wonder how long it will take them to get away this time?

Monday, August 15, 2016

Henry Hunter and the Beast of Snagov: Henry Hunter Series #1 by John Matthews

Henry Hunter is almost a beast himself.  He decides to research things and just takes off to do it.  He takes his trusty sidekick, Dolf, with him.  As long as Henry is in charge, Dolf doesn't worry.  He should...

Sky Pony Press and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 6th and it is written for middle graders.

If you're going to read this book, you need to take off your common sense and logic and hang them on a tree somewhere.  This is a book of imagination that is great fun to read even if most of it is impossible.  Let's have some fun!

To begin with, you need to understand that Henry is very rich and can use all his parent's money and resources for his adventures.  They don't even live with him anymore.  They are doing their own research in another country.  We all grew up that way, right?

Dolf is just a common schoolboy with an uncommon friend but somehow he and Henry hit off and now they hunt for whatever has caught Henry's eye at the moment.  In this case, he's looking for a beast who is supposed to be worse than vampires.  Can you imagine?

Traveling to Transylvania is no problem, they'll just take Henry's private jet.  Henry has acquired a driver to take them to various castles that are famous for having vampires there.  It starts out as a simple tour but that changes quickly.  They have people following them and trying to kidnap them.  They run into a young girl who just happens to be a vampire.  And there's conspiracy underway in the same area they are searching.

It's action packed, very busy, and it's full of danger but Henry and Dolf survive.  This is apparently one of a series because at the end, they give you a hint of what the next story will be about.  I'd read more about Henry.  He's a funny sort of kid but Mr. Matthews' stories are great!

Lucy & Andy Neanderthal by Jeffrey Brown

Living in the time of Neanderthals is not easy.  Just ask Lucy and Andy.  This graphic novel shares some of their adventures and is an easy way to learn about the past and be entertained both!

Crown Books for Young Readers sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published August 30th.

The kids are a bit silly and get into trouble here and there, but they mean well.  Andy wants to go on a hunt so bad he can taste it and he tries to camouflage him and follow along but he's found out.  Lucy comes to join him and sneaks him through to where they can watch the kill.  Andy finds out it's not an easy job and it's not a quick kill.  Then they butcher the animal and he gets sick.  He can't even eat the meat after seeing his first hunt.  I don't think he'll be trying to go on a hunt anymore.

Poor Lucy is asked to make clothes for the family.  She's supposed to have help but the older girl lets her do all the work.  Her brother hates his outfit.  Her father isn't sure but it is comfortable.  When her feelings are hurt, she runs to hide in the woods.  There she finds some other children, who scare her to death.

It seems people have moved into their area.  They meet but no one knows if this a good or a bad thing.  The next book in this series will tell you more about that.

There are facts spread thoughout the book.  There's a little lesson at the end of each chapter and more information at the end of the book.  While this is in comic book form, it's also an easy way to learn about long ago.  I'd have loved learning like this instead of using the old textbooks!  Why not give a try with your young one?