Friday, September 30, 2016

Inheriting Edith by Zoe Fishman

Maggie cleaned houses for a living.  She's a single mom with a little girl and it pays better than working in an office.  It's also an outlet for her obsessive/compulsive behavior.  It's not bad but whenever she can't sleep or settle herself, she cleans.  This way she gets paid for it.  When she gets a call from a lawyer's office and he tells her that she has an inheritance, she doesn't understand it.  No one related to her has died.  It turns out it's a friend from her past.  This friend left her a house and grounds with no mortgage.  The only catch is that she inherits her mother, too...

William Morrow and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 18th.

Maggie is not sure about this.  Having a home that's paid for and enough money to keep her going sounds very attractive but she's not sure about taking care of an eighty-two year old woman with Alzheimer's.  It's a take it or leave it, though, so she takes it.  She could just see Lucy being excited by the sea.

Someone not excited by it is the mother.  Edith is rude and crabby.  Maggie is short tempered.  It takes them a while to get used to each other and settle down a bit.  Edith wants to be independent but sometimes she gets lost.  Maggie doesn't want to be too controlling but she does want to help her.  It takes a few dances before they get the steps down.

What I liked about this story is that both women grew by their association with each other.  They found they had similar characteristics and similar reactions to situations.  They also found out they had secrets.  Even Edith grows up a bit in this story.

Women's fiction isn't bad if it's written well.  This is well written.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Pablo Finds a Treasure by Andrée Poulin

Pablo and his family live in poverty. They are happy and they do what they can to make money.  All the families there visit the landfill site to pick up recyclables and anything else they can find that might help them in their lives or provide a bit of money for food.  They even eat the food they find that isn't too spoiled, like old carrots.

Annick Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 11th.

There's a big dark man that comes out and takes the goods the people have scraped up.  That's bullying at its best when you steal from the poor.  Pablo and his sister hide from him when they see him.

This has been a particularly good day, Pablo got one blue boot and found some interesting things.  So here comes the bad man and there go their goods even the blue boot.  He might not have noticed them but Pablo got excited by a treasure he found and shouted.  Now he's going home with nothing.  Or at least it seems that way.  Until he opens his mouth...

While this tale is a bit sad, it shows that if you use your head, you can still win even in bad situations.  Pablo's family is really happy with his find. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Dive! World War II Stories of Sailors & Submarines in the Pacific by Deborah Hopkinson

This is an anthology of war stories told by the survivors for the most part.  Some survive, some don't make it.  This is non-fiction and it's war so there is no happy ever after for many of them.  My father fought in WWII, so these stories brought it home to me.  He was not a sailor but it was the same war.

Scholastic Press sent me an ARC of the book to read for review (thank you).  It was published yesterday so you can grab a copy now.

Besides my father being a reminder of this war, I found other connections as I read.  In the introduction, the author mentions visiting the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) and seeing the submarine on display there.  I did that with a convention group before I moved.  My husband and I vacationed in Hawaii and took a trip out in the harbor to tour the Arizona monument.  I got to see big pictures of the damage done up close and personal.  In addition, we have Highway-70, through Southern New Mexico that was renamed the Bataan Memorial Highway.  Also a statue of American and Filipino Bataan survivors resides at Veterans Memorial Park, in Las Cruces, New Mexico.  The war might have been long ago but the memories are still alive.

The stories are heartbreaking in some instances.  There are a lot of facts on the boats and submarines used, lots of pictures, places to visit for more info or pictures on the web, a large bibliography at the back and an index to go to any particular reference.  This would be a good resource for writing a paper on the war for school.

I was pleased to see that many of them survived and managed to lead long lives despite the conditions they had endured.  I will say this:  Once you've read this book, you might find yourself ducking at the sound of low planes or any booms you might hear.  You really feel like you're there. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Vanishing Year by Kate Moretti

Zoe is living a lucky life.  She got into trouble after her mother's death and found Mick, her mom's boyfriend, was not only selling drugs but was into using young girls as prostitutes.  She turns he and his partner in.  The cops offer a witness protection program.  The offenders beat her up and she just takes off.  She lived in California.  Now she's living in New York.  And she has a life everyone will envy...

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

She's married to a Wall Street tycoon named Henry.  He's very handsome, spoils her with jewelry, clothing, shoes and special treats and impulsive outstanding vacations.  She loves it and she loves him.  It was love at first sight.  But was it?

The first thing I noticed was that he wanted to control her life.  He didn't want her to continue working.  He pretty much dictated what she wore.  He didn't like it if she talked to other men.  She got so she was sneaking around to avoid confrontations.

She is part of a non-profit group and arranged a fund raiser for them.  When the reporter comes to write up the story, she tells him that she doesn't want her picture in the paper.  She doesn't want the men after to find her.  Henry gets upset because she was talking to the journalist.  She tells him he has nothing to worry about.

The story keeps increasing in intensity the more you read.  She knows she was adopted so she goes to find her real mother.  That makes Henry angry.  He wants to be her everything, she doesn't need anyone else.  When she finds her, she learns that she was part of a pair of twins.  She never knew she had a sister...

It gets even more sinister when she finds out that the wife Henry lost to a car accident was that sister.  What's going on?  Nothing good...

You'll keep flipping pages until you get to the end.  Henry was more than a Wall Street tycoon.  And she'll be lucky to get out alive.

The Tea Planter's Wife by Dinah Jefferies

She's nineteen and traveling by boat to Ceylon, where her new husband awaits her.  He runs a tea plantation and went home early.  She's been waiting in London for her girlfriend to join her for the trip.  When she puts her off again, Gwen makes the trip by herself.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review (thank you).  It has been published and you can buy a copy now.

This story has the atmosphere of the past.  The people of Ceylon are varied and each group has its place.  The field workers are separate from the household help.  They have their own "doctor" and they get little food.  The general manager thinks they injure themselves on purpose trying to get sick pay.  Gwen is scandalized.  She helps one man whose foot was injured and makes the general manager and her husband both angry at her.  She has a lot to learn but so do they.  Even being the meek wife, she's able to make a difference and cause some changes.

What she discovers as the new wife is that he's very busy and doesn't even sleep in the same bed she does most times.  He lost a wife and child and that still bothers him.  He doesn't want to talk about it, though.  He's got an old girlfriend that would like to still be bedding him and a sister that doesn't want to share him.  She's insecure and lonely.  But she's determined to fight for him.

She's happy when she gets pregnant and so is he.  The problem comes with delivery.  She has twins:  one white and one dark.  She's afraid a friend of hers might have taken advantage of her while she was drunk.  She has the ayah find another place for the black girl and says she only had the one baby.  She loves her boy but misses her daughter.  She's afraid to tell Laurence, he might not want her anymore.

While the two of them work on their personal issues, the plantation is hitting rough times.  It appears someone else is going to try to beat them into the international market.  The investments they made have plummeted.  And they have to lay off staff.

They are living through a tumultuous time in history and their marriage is fragile but I'm happy to say that in this story love conquers all.  They have a lot to think about and recover from but they'll make it.

I really enjoyed the historical content and the gentile feel of plantation life.  You can see the future coming.  Gwen was a fighter on the side of good and right and I liked that.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Marcel by Eda Akaltun

Marcel is a happy little dog.  He lives in New York but he's in the more urban area, not uptown.  So they have parks and greens and he can see forever.  He has his human and he's content.  Then his human gets a boyfriend...

Flying Eye Books sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It was published September 20th, so you can grab a copy now.

Marcel doesn't need two humans.  And he sure doesn't need this human taking his human's attention away from him.  But he won't go away.  Soon they're engaged.  And now we're visiting uptown more than they used to.  He's not sure what to think.

When the man takes him out by himself, he's afraid of what might happen.  Not to worry, Marcel.  Marcel always had a secret desire to visit the natural history museum (think of all the bones!) and that's where they go.  He gets to take his time and check everything out.  Once that happens, he decides maybe he can stay...

This is a cute book about a french bulldog with illustrations that show you how big New York is, especially to a small dog.  It's a fun read with a likable character.

Hilda and the Stone Forest by Luke Pearson

Hilda tells her mother she's visiting friends but Mom finds out she isn't.  She's just running around wild having adventures of her own.  Her mother tells her it's dangerous and grounds her.  Then she gets in trouble again and becomes housebound.  Does that keep her home?  Noooo....

Flying Eye Books sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published October 4th, so you can grab a copy then.

This time, when Hilda tries to leave her Mom grabs her hand and goes along.  The bad news?  They have no idea where they are and they have lost the friend they had with them.  How will they get back home?

They meet stone trolls, get lost in the mountain caves and run as far away as they can only to find themselves back where they started.  It doesn't look like they'll get out alive.  But something usual happens.  The troll with the little baby feeds them, let's them rest and then leads them out of the caves. They find their way home and all is well again.  At least until the next morning...

I wonder what adventures Hilda will have in her next book?  There's more to this story than first seemed.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

At the Beach & Shapes Are Fun by Katja Spitzer


Here are two mini books from Flying Eye Books that will teach your child about shapes and what's at the beach.  They're tough enough for small hands and they offer clear illustrations to help your child learn.

Flying Eye Books sent me copies of these two books to read for review (thank you).  They have been published so you can find a copy now.

Shapes is a bit repetitive but that will help your child retain the right name for the shape.  There are also pictures where you can look for the shape and identify it as you go along.

At the Beach was my favorite.  It might be because I love the beach but it's mostly because the items are identified on each page and then you get an overall scene where you can name them all.  It's  a bit different from the other form and makes both books work well, together.

Here's an easy fun way to get your child to understand shapes and know the names of beach items.

Solstice HC by Steven T. Seagle, Moritat

Russell Waterhouse has an obsession. He wants to find the Fountain of Youth.  He'll do anything to acquire it, even prostitute his son...

Image Comics let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 5th.

The father doesn't care what it costs or where it takes them, he's determined to find this mysterious fountain.  He has more than one kind of a cancer.  Only this might help him live longer.  He's not even concerned about the people who die on his expeditions; they're just collateral damage.

The son would like to go to college, maybe do some artwork and get married to his pregnant girlfriend.  His dad could care less.  Off they go on another trek.  By that time, the son isn't sure getting killed would be a bad thing.

This graphic novel was full of action, moved back and forth from present to past, and they faced incredible dangers.  What I found impressive was the ending.  This mean, hard man who was so obsessed with his goal he would let no one stop him had an ulterior motive that was totally unexpected.  It didn't make me like him better but it did have some redeeming qualities.  The ending will surprise you.


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Hold a Scorpion: A Diana Poole Thriller by Melodie Johnson-Howe

When Diana goes out her front door to do some errands, she sees a lady on the other side of the freeway.  She's waving at her.  Diana has no idea who she is.  As she watches a black SUV pulls up.  The person in it scares her and she runs across the freeway.  She's hit and killed.  The cops want to know who she is.  Diana can't answer that question...

Pegasus Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 25th.

If you want to read a story with unconventional characters, this book is for you.  Diana is an actress, following in her mother's footsteps.  Her neighbor is an oddball writer that has developed a new girlfriend who has ulterior motives.  The health rehabilitation center where the victim lived is strange.  So are the employees.  Add in Diane's old boyfriend, a scorpion bracelet that used to belong to her mother and another actress that competes with her for parts.  If that's not enough for you, her dead mother is still alive.  See what I meant?

It was interesting read, kept my attention and kept me going.  I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out but it ended better than I expected.  Trust me, you won't be bored if you have a good imagination.

Mirror: The Mountain TP by Emma Ríos, Art by Hwei Lim

This graphic novel is like a dark fairy tale.  The artwork by Hwei Lim draws you in and makes you wonder about what you're being shown.  The story seduces you and keeps you reading...

Image Comics allowed me to read a copy of this novel for review (thank you).  It has been published, so you can get a copy now.

A colony of humans was looking for a new world to live on.  The one they found had sentient animals.  The people have a mage with them, even if he's undeveloped.  What they don't realize is that there is something else there.

Humans, being humans, capture the animals and run experiments on them.  They don't care that they are sentient.  Even the Guardians are not safe.  But it's the alien being that has settled in the squad leader that causes the problem.

The animals storm their walls.  The humans kill them in massive amounts.  No one is having a good time living there.  But how can they leave?  There's a way but it has a cost.

I was impressed by the ending.  I was beginning to think there was no hope for humans or animals.  Then someone makes the ultimate human sacrifice...

Here's your chance to visit an alien world and get out safely.  Why not give it a shot?

Friday, September 23, 2016

Journey's End by Rachel Hawkins

Her parents are getting divorced, so she goes to stay with her father in Scotland for the summer.  She can't believe he lives in a town that only has a few over four hundred people in it.  It's like it's lost.  Maybe that's why it's named Journey's End.  There's no place to go once you get there...

G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 25th.

The first thing Nolie notices is a young boy walking on the beach by the sea.  When she mentions it to her dad, he tells her people walk the beach all the time.  They fish, do boat tours and visit the caves as everyday activities.

When she visits the gift shop, she comes upon a display of photos.  When she asks the girl about them, she tells her they are the ones the fog claimed.  It sounds crazy to her but Bea tells her that if you went into the fog, you didn't return.  The fog is what her scientist father is studying so there may be something to it but it's odd.  It's even odder when she sees the boy on the beach in one of the photos.  It couldn't be him, he disappeared a hundred years ago.  But she's sure it is.

When she and Bea search the beach, all they find is a rowboat.  They do see some footprints, but they decide it must have been local kids.  It wasn't...

Mysterious fog, a witch, a curse and a ghost make this story interesting.  No one talks about the fog or the missing people but they also don't mess with the fog.  The problem starts when the fog moves closer and closer.  Suddenly more people are missing.  And the boy from the past and the two girls from present time decide to act on it.  When they set out, they don't know if they'll be able to return.  But both their fathers and Bea's brother were some of the ones taken, so they're going to try even if it means they are stuck forever in the fog.

There's mystery, imagination and a pretty good story here.  It's suspenseful all the way through with some silly spots.  Wait'll the boy from the past meets ice cream!

I enjoyed this read.  Why don't you give it a try?

Brian and Wendy Froud's The Pressed Fairy Journal of Madeline Cottington by Brian Froud, Wendy Froud

She sees things out of the corner of her eye.  We all do at times but hers seem to resemble fairies.  Could it be true?

Abrams allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 27th, so you can grab a copy then.

I read Lady Cottington's book so this was a natural choice for me.  I liked it even better than the first book.

When Maddie mentions what she's seeing, her father gets very angry and tells her he doesn't want to hear about it.  He won't tell her anything about his parents or grandparents or where he grew up.  It's like he's hiding his past.

She locates an old journal that gives her hints about the past, but he confiscates it.  They are in England because he has a new job there, so she snoops as much as she can.  She's seeing more fairies.  She knows something is going on.  When she finally finds a reference to their old home, she makes up her mind to go see it.  After all, the fairies are helping her.  They want to go.

What she finds is a partially burnt down building.  She finds a place to make her own and worries a bit about food but somehow she finds food in the kitchen each day.  She begins to explore...

She finds correspondence from the past and a secret portal.  She also finds that you can get stuck in the fairy world.  She's preparing carefully so she can go but she'll be able to get back home again.  But will it work?

There are illustrations of pressed fairies, photographs of people, the letters are handwritten in a fancy text, the typewritten letters look like they're from an old manual Royal typewriter, and you never know just what you're going to find on the next page.  You could spend a few hours just admiring the illustrations.

This is a fun read for fairy lovers, and you know I'm one of them.  Give it a try.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Mistletoe Murder: And Other Stories by P. D. James

P D James has always written good mysteries so this opportunity to read some of her short stories ws just too good to be missed.

Knopf and Edelweiss gave me the chance to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 25th.

The story I found most intriguing was her memory of a family Christmas where someone died.  This was not fiction.  She thought she knew who had done it but found out years later she was wrong.  It's interesting that she had been around a murder in her real life.

You have a few stories about Adam Dalgliesh, too.  I think the one I like best is the one that reads like an Agatha Christie novel.  I like her work, too.  This is when Adam was young and he's not as seasoned as he was in later books.

I like many books written about simpler times where it took brains to find the culprit.  I appreciate the fact that DNA can prove so much and technology has helped police procedures but they just don't have the charm for me.

These were light stories with tangled facts to keep your attention and make you wonder about how she will end the story.  I liked reading it.  I wonder which story will appeal to you the most? 

The Singing Bones by Shaun Tan

Who hasn't heard of the Brothers Grimm and their fairy tales?  They died long ago but their tales are still being rehashed, reprinted and admired.  This book is a tribute to them of sorts and the sculpture shown within really adds to the themes and concepts of the stories.

Arthur A Levine Books and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 11th.

There is a bit of history of the brothers and their publishing successes and failures.  Then the book moves into the fairy tales.  There's a synopsis of each story and, in most cases, a photo of a sculpture that highlights the story line.  As you can see from the cover, the artwork is striking.

I've been reading Grimms' tales for years and I still found a couple mentioned that I didn't recognize.  Think you know them all?  Check out this book and see.

If you collect Grimm books, you need to get this one.  It is a quick reference book as well as a different way to view the stories.  It's a worthwhile look at work that has existed long beyond the authors.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Smoke and Mirrors by Elly Griffiths


Max is in town, performing in a pantomime.  Edgar is doing his policeman thing and doesn't have much time to visit.  Even what time he had, he loses when two children come up missing.  The whole force is out there looking for them but they are afraid of what they will find.  It's snowing and the weather is bad.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 18th.

A dog walker finds the children far away from where they were last seen and dead.  But not dead from the cold.  They've been strangled.  They've also been buried with candy.

They had said they were going to the candy store but the store owner said they never made it.  One of the detectives thinks he's guilty, but he's the only one.  As they try to find the killer, they have trouble developing a motive.  It wasn't a sexual assault.  Why kill them?

Max believes the candy was a misdirection to throw them off.  Edgar keeps that thought in mind and pretty much agrees with it but he knows he's missing something.  It isn't until Ruby comes to visit and tries a magic trick on him that he remembers what he missed.

Ruby is Max's daughter but they just met a bit ago and don't know each other well.  Max is nice to her but standoffish.  Edgar is in love with her but doesn't talk about with Max.  And the new detective on the force is female and has a big crush on Edgar.  She blows Ruby off like she's a piece of fluff.  It should be fun to see how that develops in the next book.

The killer was a surprise and more than one family is broken by the disaster.  Edgar ends up being a hero but that wasn't what he wanted.  He just wanted to save the third child that was kidnapped.

There's plenty of action, interesting detail about pantomimes and performers, and I'm ready to read the next book in this series.  These people lead interesting lives.

Hamster Princess: Ratpunzel by Ursula Vernon

The Hamster Princess is back.  Are you ready for another dangerous romp through the woods?  Climb on your quail and let's go!

Dial Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 18th.

This series is full of puns and silly antics.  Harriet is volunteered by Wilbur to recover the Hydra's egg.  She's not invincible anymore but she's more brave than scared.  Off they go to find the only person who they know might have it.  Wilbur's mother told her good friend how well the Hydra cooks and that she had an egg.  Perhaps that person stole it.

It turns out the thief is a witch.  She also has a tall tower.  She even has "Ratpunzel" in the tower.  The rat lowers her tail and the witch climbs it to enter the tower.  When the witch goes away the next day, they ask Ratpunzel to let them up.  She does.  They also discover the egg.  It's a close escape that day but they aren't going to give up.  They HAVE to get the egg back!

There are a lot of twist and turns in this story and it's fun to read.  Nothing goes exactly right but somehow it works out in the end.  One thing about it, if you hang out with the Hamster Princess, you won't be bored. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Gears of Revolution by J. Scott Savage

Trenton and Kallista are on the hunt for her father.  He left her some clues and a mechanical dragon to fly.  Now they need to find the next clue.

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

This is an interesting read.  It's set in a world in the future which has really regressed to simpler days.  There are dragons and they kill.  The world Trenton and Kallista live in is underground in tunnels.  It's the only way to protect themselves from the dragons.  But the dragons aren't giving up the fight.

When they are flying their mechanical dragon, they have to be very careful not to attract the attention of a dragon.  They're not always careful enough; dragons can be sneaky.

They do find another clue from her father, so they head up to Seattle.  They expect to find a city but find nothing but destroyed buildings.  They try to set down to explore but get caught by hooks that bring them down.  This is not a welcome committee.  Seattle is nothing like the city they left.  There's no food to speak of, they worship the dragons, and strangers are not welcome.  It gets worse before it gets better.

The story is action packed, there are plenty of dragons and there are a lot of traitors, too.  Poor Trenton and Kallista are definitely at a disadvantage because they don't understand the politics or the hierarchy in place.  They get conned.  They almost die.  You'll keep reading and hoping for better news as the story goes on.  

The ending is fitting and the two adventurers have another quest to undertake.  There will be another book in this series.  I'll be watching for it.   I enjoyed the steampunk influence and the two young characters.  This was an excellent read.

Frost by M.P. Kozlowsky

Frost is sixteen and alone.  She has her pet, a new creature that evolved after the world ended, and she has a robot guardian.  The robot is part robot and part her father.  He has embedded his brain in the robot.  The streets are filled with "eaters" and rogue robots.  There are also gangs to watch out for.  But her pet is sick and she's determined to find him medicine...

Scholastic Press and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 11th.

This book surprised me.  I've read a lot of dystopian tales and a lot about robots but this was a different take on the subject.  I was also surprised to see that the author is male.  There's a lot of emotion included in this story and I don't know many men who are in touch with that.  This tale is very intense but it was also a very good read.  I had places I had to stop and do something else and then come back and read more.  This is not a pleasant world.

Her pet is big, so the robot has to pull it along for her.  They manage to fight their way through the eaters and the men throwing rocks and parts of buildings from the roof and even got away from the current dictator's men.  It's when she meets a father and his son that her world starts to fall apart.  She's never seen another child and this one is a boy.  She's only imagined talking to one.  She doesn't know how to act.  

The father and son invite them to stay with them in the Zone.  She refuses because she's still looking for medicine.  Instead of taking her where she wants to go, the father takes her in and turns her over to the dictator.  She and her robot have some value.  He's traded his soul to save his son in the past and he'll do what he has to in order to survive.

From here on out the pace increases and the story intensifies.  Everybody had secrets, even her own father.  But Frost signifies hope to a young man.  Neither one gives up and there is hope for the future.  The war isn't over, but things are changing and will continue to change.

There are plenty of surprises in this story.  The author does a good job of springing them on you.  Give it a try.  If you like dystopian tales with a bit of robot/human mix, this is right up your alley.

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Highway Kind: Tales of Fast Cars, Desperate Drivers, and Dark Roads: Original Stories by Michael Connelly, George Pelecanos, C. J. Box, Diana Gabaldon, Ace Atkins & Others by Patrick Millikin

This is an anthology about fast cars, high road speeds, and the games some drivers play.  Sometimes it seems like you took the road to hell...

Mulholland Books and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 18th.

This is a nice collection with several good stories to keep you glued to your chair.  I enjoyed it but I am married to man who is a car collector and I know more about them than I want to.  There are a few stories in here that will appeal to a gearhead, so be warned.

The stories I liked were a bit odd with distinctive characters.  That appeals to me for some reason.

The first is Test Drive by Ben H. Winters.  He gives you a hot salesman who is ending his day with one final car sale.  The sale isn't final but it is the end of his days...

Next, Apache Youth by Ace Atkins.  We have Apache casinos in New Mexico so that attracted me.  He's transporting a vehicle from point A to point B but stops at a casino on the way.  He loses all his money and then begins betting other things to recover and move on.  He almost waits too long to move on...

My favorite is The Kill Switch by Willy Vlautin.  He's a contractor that bought a fast car that needs to be refurbished.  He has a little buddy that lives next door and he pays him for odd jobs.  The buddy has a bad older brother.  In this case, blood was not thicker than water...

There is seed for thought in these stories.  Sometimes I wonder if everything is really fiction or if the author had an experience in life that created these stories.  Either way, they are a good read.

Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles by Shari Green

Bailey is sent to live with a grandmother she hardly knows for the summer.  Her parents are going for counseling and deciding if they still can live together.  All Bailey can do is hope for miracles...

Pajama Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 12th so you can grab a copy then.

When she meets the local ice cream man, he used to be a preacher and he still quotes things only he can see.  He tells her that a stranger from the sea will fix everything.  When she finds a piece of driftwood on the beach, she thinks it looks like a mermaid and is her fixer.

This is tale of hope when it's hopeless.  It's the story of a young girl growing up, two adults settling an old hurt, her parent's separation and her new friend on the beach having a debilitating disease.  She asks for miracles and gets one in disguise but she might not be able to make her parents happy with each other again.  

She finds a beached dolphin and gets the community to help her return it to the sea.  She guilts her grandmother into returning the chalice she wanted to memorialize her dead husband.  And she goes home with hope for the future and a desire to visit the beach again.  It's a lot of trials for a young one but life isn't usually easy.  She handles her problems with imagination and persistence. There's a lesson here.  Just keep going, don't give up.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil by Melina Marchetta

He's an older cop who is home on suspension because he lost his temper at work and threatened another cop.  He's OK with that.  He'll just have another drink and forget about it.  Then he gets a phone call that lets him know his daughter was on a tour bus that got bombed.  No one knows if she's alive or not.  He's on his way before the call is over.  He's lost his son to a rip tide, no one is going to take his daughter from him!

Mulholland Books and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 11th.

Bish is divorced, doesn't have the best relationship with his daughter and his life is a mess but he's determined to find why the bus was bombed and who the proposed victim was supposed to be.  His daughter is alive but in shock.  He's surprised to find that one of the passengers was the daughter of a family he met long ago.  Her mother admitted building the bomb that blew up several people.  Her father died in the blast.  They took her child from her when she was in jail and the girl is back in the local area.  He was the cop that took the baby.  He also knows she was seated where the bomb detonated every day during the tour until the day before.  Since she's from a notorious family, was she meant to be the victim?

With a mix of French and English detectives, secret service and more investigating it gets more confused than straightened out.  There's a language barrier, racism, and politics all mixed in.  Bish begins to suspect her mother was not guilty of the crime she's in jail for.  So he keeps trying to find the missing girl and begins sorting in the old case files.  The more he finds, the more holes there are to fill.  And the madman with the bomb is still on the loose.

This is an intense read with a lot of family dynamics involved.  It's also a long book but it kept my attention to the end.  The final thought I walked away with was:  Don't get between a father and their daughter.  It's dangerous.

Unbound: A Novel in Verse by Ann E. Burg

They are taking her up to the big house.  She's to work in the kitchen and do other duties as required.  She doesn't want to leave her mama.  Once she's up there, she'll have to stay and sleep there; no more family time.  It doesn't matter what she wants, they come to collect her and away she goes...

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

The author does this story in verse form and it fits the story line perfectly.  It only takes a few paragraphs before you fall in love with this little girl who is smart and can't understand why the world isn't fair.  While the subject matter is a bit sad, the story was a joy to read.  This was an excellent read.

Grace hasn't learned to be subservient yet, so when she mouths off and defies the lady of the house, they make the decision to sell her family as a lesson to her.  If Grace hadn't overheard them, she would have lost her entire family at the next auction.  As it is, she decides to run.

Uncle Jimmy and her mama aren't sure if they should run but they also don't want to lose their family.  Off they go, with dogs and bounty hunters after them.

Grace learns that some of the other black people she's met are part of an underground railroad system.  Nothing so fancy or so formal, but they help those who want to escape.  They don't go north, though.  They go into the Great Dismal Swamp.  Other than animals and a few escaped Negoes, there no one there.  The whites and bounty hunters avoid the area.

It's not long before they've developed another family member and have built themselves a new home.  As she works and plays and enjoys nature, Grace begins to understand the concept of freedom.  And she loves it...

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Counterpart by Hayley Stone

What do you do when part of the station is blown up and the witnesses say it was you that planted the bomb?  Rhona finds herself in front of the council trying to answer that question.  She has her own witness but since he's her bodyguard they aren't sure who to believe...

Hydra and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 11th.

 This series is an intense read.  When I was invited to read the next in the series, I thought about it.  I did want to know where the author was going to go next in the story, so I said yes.  I'm glad I did.  This one had me sitting on the edge of my chair all the way through and now I have to read the next book too.

Rhona finally figures out it must be another clone.  She's having a hard enough time adjusting to life after death, now she's got a doppleganger after her.  She manages to win the fight but I'm not sure I could kill someone who was my mirror image.  Rhona has no choice, though.  And that's just the beginning.  The machines got the pods and they are bringing the other clones to life.  They are also using them as weapons.

Life isn't worth much in this world.  Individuals die so the community can live.  Whenever Rhona has to leave someone behind, she grieves.  Others are more hardhearted and only look for the greater good.

Besides trying to protect their community, Rhona is trying to get her love life straight.  That's progressing but so is the danger.  And if the machines weren't bad enough, now the Russians are trying to sabotage them.  

This is a very dangerous world.  I can tell that Rhona will have even more challenges in the next book.

¡hola! Let's Learn Spanish: Visit New Places and Make New Friends by Judy Martialay

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This book gives you an easy way to try out the Spanish language.  Spanish is spoken a lot in New Mexico, and I don't know any of it.  I did know some of the words introduced here and I learned some new ones also.  If your child hasn't tasted the language yet, this is a fun way to learn!

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

I enjoyed the presentation.  There was a mix of English and Spanish through out.  Some words were shown as illustrations.  You learn how to count to ten, common greetings and common items around the house.  You learn about Amigos, jumping beans, frijoles and more.

The story covers traveling to Mexico, hitting a pinata, playing together and more.  In just a few pages you get very good coverage of the basic beginning of the language and how to use it.  There's a vocabulary at the back of the book, too.

Why not practice with your child and see how you do?  The more languages you know, the better off you will be.  My grandfather from Czechoslovakia managed to become a US citizen because he fought in WWI with the US and could speak eight languages.  Who knows where your knowledge might take you?
    

Friday, September 16, 2016

A Killer Closet by Paula Paul

Irene is moving back home.  She doesn't want to.  She's an assistant district attorney in Manhatten, she has a reasonable apartment and she likes living in New York.  But her mother is 70 and getting more frail.  She wants her to come home...

Alibi and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 11th.

She won't find a job as an attorney in New Mexico.  She can run a business, though, and her mother has contacts and fashion knowledge that will help her acquire high end used clothing and sell it on consignment.  Offering a very expensive item for half-price goes over well.  Even finding a dead body in her closet at the store brings in business.  It's a bit upsetting to her, though.

First one friend of her mother and then another are murdered.Will they be after her mother next?  Not only that, the police chief takes her in as a person of interest.  She hardly knew the lady and if she killed her would she have called the police?

This is a well-woven tale of deception.  Her mother's friends knew more than they should about illegal activities and that made them victims.  Now Irene and her mother are walking in the same quicksand.  Will they get out alive?

The pace is quick, one of the bad guys was a surprise and I enjoyed the story.  I'll be watching for another mystery from this author.

The Evil Wizard Smallbone by Delia Sherman

Nick ran away because he was tired of being beaten by his uncle and bullied by his cousin.  It was a blizzard, he had no supplies and he had no idea where he was going but it had to be better, didn't it?

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

This is busy tale with lots going on and it will hold anybody's attention.  Nick finds a house and asks for aid but whoever was in the trailer slammed the door almost on his nose!  He finds another house and it's huge, it has to have an extra bedroom.  Unfortunately, it also has a wizard...

The wizard has set wards to keep the village safe but there are routines that must be continued for them to continue working.  As people neglected that, it gave the wolf wizard a chance to overthrow the other wizard.  The wolf was a wizard, too, you see.

With myth and fantasy and magic all mixed together, this is a fanciful tale that is fun to read.  Especially since Nick keeps acting out and ends up being a spider and a rat for a while.  It pays to listen to the wizard and not back mouth him.  He's got even more challenges when his cousin and then his uncle find him.  

More than once I held my breath and waited to see how things would work out.  I bet this story will do that to you, too.  This is my kind of fairy tale, I really enjoyed it.  Give it a try.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Foxheart by Claire Legrand, Jaime Zollars (Illustrated by)

She was young when her parents brought her to the orphanage and left her.  The nuns took over her care, taught her chores and she was continually getting punished.  She deserved the punishment and refused to take it seriously.  She was seriously thinking about running away when the Wolf King showed up and everything went sideways!

Greenwillow Books and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 4th.

They just call her Girl because she won't tell them her real name.  She manages to escape but she no longer thinks of the Wolf King as a savior.  He appears to be evil.  When she hits the next village, she's hungry.  So she decides to steal some food.  She's been a successful thief at the orphanage so she's sure she can do it.  The house looks empty but there's no food.  She does get threatened by a boy with a knife.  She betters him with a spatula.

The family is poor, his parents are sick, and he has no money to buy medicine for them.  She still has confidence in her thieving ability, so she says she'll steal him some medicine.  They go up on the roof of a nearby building so she can see the town.  Then she hears someone calling her name.  No one knows her name except her parents.  Might it be her mother?

This is where the story gets really interesting.  No, it's not her mother.  It's herself at a much older age.  The lady she's speaking with admits she's a witch.  When the Wolf King approaches the village, she moves the girl and her dog and the boy.  They go to another time.  But the older woman is not well.  She has so much to train her in the witching business but it's not to be.

The girl learns a few things, experiments on her own and loves her dog.  In this story they call them monsters but I'd say he was her familiar.  With his help, she manages to stay alive.

 The story is rich with detail, it flows well, and you even end up rooting for the Wolf King.  It's a fine, magical tale that is fun to read.  Settle down, open the book and head down the road with the girl.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Little Boy Blue by M.J. Arlidge

To Helen Grace, it was just another dead body.  It was in the Torture Rooms of a local S&M club and that was of note.  It wasn't until she removed the tape from his face that she saw it was Jake.  It shook her up so bad she went outside and vomited.  She'd been his customer for about three years.  Would the investigation expose her?  She hadn't been back for two years but any records kept wouldn't keep her secret.

Berkley Publishing Group and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will published October 4th.

This author makes me uncomfortable.  Things like Torture Rooms don't exist in my life.  But the stories are written well enough I keep reading them.  This one has an awful ending but I know there will be more in this series.  It's not over yet.

Helen works the case and then there's another victim.  It's another man she used to take away her pain and they had a bad ending to their meeting.  When one more dead body is found and she knows them, she tells her boss about her connection.  He lets her continue with the case.

Helen has other problems.  She has two deputies that are trying to get ahead of each other.  They make some foolish decisions, arrest the wrong people and then get off track totally.  When they connect Helen with the case, one of them goes off on a tangent, investigating Helen.

The worst thing is that she doesn't realize what is going on.  It gets messier than ever and when Helen finally figures out who is doing the crime, she finds herself on the hook.  The killer set her up.  Is there any way out?

Archie Snufflekins Oliver Valentine Cupcake Tiberius Cat by Katie Harnett

The cat who lives on Blossom Street visits every house but one.  He has several names because he belongs to no one and they all have their own name for him.  But one day, he disappears...

Flying Eye Books sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It's already been published, so you can find a copy now.

The book just begs to be read aloud.  The text flows smoothly and rhymes a bit.  You can have a lot of fun saying all his names out loud, too!

When they all start talking to each other about the missing cat, they realize they all looking for the same one.  Since they are all together, there's only one place he could be:  At the house no one visits. They approach the door and knock.  And there's the old lady that lives within and the cat!

This is an excellent story because this older woman had no visitors and enjoyed the cat's company.  The neighbors then ask for permission to come over and visit the cat.  Soon the old woman has lots of visitors and the visitors are happy to chat with her and pet the cat.  This is a win win for all involved and great story with lovely illustrations.  This one would be fun in a classroom or daycare for the read aloud groups.  When I was a child, I would have treasured it.  I do now because I like the story.  Take a look at it and see what you think.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Neil Gaiman's Troll Bridge by Neil Gaiman, Colleen Doran (Illustrated by)

Neil Gaiman writes creepy stories.  Some I like, some I don't.  But I really have a thing for trolls and goblins and other magical creatures, so I had to read this one.  Especially since it was in graphic novel form.

Dark Horse Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 4th.

This is the story of a young boy growing up with no siblings.  He read a lot, had a good imagination, and loved to wander.  He reminded me a bit of myself; my brother didn't come along until I was six.  Luckily, I never met a troll...



He looks at the old abandoned house and imagines the things that must be within it.  He never goes in but he knows the night brings new horrors; the dark is like that.  Then he adventures down a path he hasn't seen before.  He walks under an old railway bridge and continues on for a bit, then he returns.  When he comes back, he meets the troll.  The troll is going to eat his life but he tells him how much he hasn't done in life and how he won't be a satisfying meal.  He promises to return later when he has more to offer.

The next time he sees the bridge, it's in a development.   He's walking with a girl he has a crush on and he's planning on kissing her and asking her out under the bridge.  Instead, he meets the troll again.  I was quite disappointed when he tried to give his new love to the troll instead of paying the price he'd offered in the past.  The troll decides to wait longer.  The new love ends before it started.

The young man grows up and turns into an adult that doesn't behave any better with a wife and child than he did with his girlfriend.  As his life falls to pieces, he returns to the troll.

The ending is different from what I expected but exactly what was needed.  We should all take note to behave better in life.  There is a hell...

The Boy with 17 Senses by Sheila Grau

If it isn't bad enough to live in a world where he sees colors, tastes letters, emotions have shapes and there are a lot more senses, then living next door to a bully whose father bought their farm out from under them is worse.  He also has animal pests in his garden that bite him.  You'd think things couldn't get worse, but the the nasty neighbor changes the river channel and they have no water for their crops...

Amulet Books sent me an ARC of this story to read for review (thank you).  It is being published today.

Yipsmix is one of the many worlds in this story.  When Jaq gets the runt of the litter of a pet he wanted, he works hard to keep it alive and it becomes his best friend.  When the crops fail because of lack of water, his mother tells him he must sell it.  He trades it for a key that opens a door that has lots of food behind it and it's always restocked.  Only people with the key can get in.  He knows she'll be happy about that.  The problem is that he was conned.  And now his pet belongs to the bully next door.  He's very unhappy.

Then he finds out that the key opens and there is a message in it.  That message is dangerous.  It's from a man wanting to be rescued and he is stuck on earth!  Jaq takes the portal to earth and finds out it's full of giants.  How will he find the man and get back home again safely?  It's good that Jaq has a couple of friends help him.

There's lots of action, odd animals and bullies on both worlds but Jaq won't give up.  Middle school students will enjoy this read.  I wonder if there will be more visits on these strange worlds?  I'll just have to wait and see.