Monday, October 31, 2016

Beignets, Brides and Bodies by J. R. Ripley

Maggie is working on her new business and thinking up ways to bring more people into her store.  It's hard when there is another business right across the street that offers coffee and muffins.  She offer beignets but they are not popular in Arizona yet.  More people are discovering them and her shop but not enough yet.  Then Clive from next door comes over and asks for a favor.  Will she give him a ride to the cake shop downtown to deliver some fabric swatches for a wedding.  She borrows her brother's pickup without telling him.  That's a bad move...

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

She takes Clive downtown and when he comes out he's panicked!  He found a dead body at the foot of the stairs.  Maggie calls it in.  Unfortunately, Clive says enough to get taken in.  Maggie knows he didn't kill her, but that doesn't matter.  Then they impound her brother's pickup.  What else could go wrong?  Her brother came to pick up her up and her mother knows all about it.  Oh my...

Trying to determine who the killer is becomes important after Clive is jailed.  Maggie tries to work on the case but not by doing anything legally.  She comes up with all kinds of hairball ideas and gets her friends to help her.  The dead woman's brother comes to town the next day but he was in a neighboring town for two nights before he arrived.  Did he do it?

She finds lots of dirt but nothing that says who the killer is.  When she finds out, it's almost too late for her. There's more than one killer.

I like this cozy mystery and am amused by the relationship between Maggie and the cop.  The cop has a girlfriend but that doesn't stop her fantasies.  And, in the meantime, she has a journalist trying to date her.  It will be interesting to see where her romantic interests go.  In the meantime, have a beignet (a square piece of dough, fried and covered with powdered sugar).

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman

What happens when you get Alzheimer's or dementia?  This is a look from the inside out.  We know what it looks like from our side.  Here's an imagined patient with the disease...

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

Grandpa and Noah sit on a park bench and talk each day.  As Grandpa's world gets smaller and his memory starts wandering, Noah sits and listens.  He can even help finish the tale if Grandpa's mind shuts down.  He assures his Grandpa that he will be his living memory.  Grandpa believes when he dies, he's going to go to space.  He's now hoping it might be heaven because that's where Grandma is and he'd like to see her again.  To help reassure him that he will float away towards space (and maybe heaven), Noah gives him a balloon.  The balloon will remind him of his final destination.

This is a sad story because it's watching someone's mind deteriorate.  But it's also a sweet story because Noah doesn't get upset and he spends time with his Grandpa.

My grandmother had memory loss.  She never knew exactly who I was, sometimes called me by her girl's names.  She also told me everyone's Christmas presents and when I told her I didn't want to know what Jo Ann was getting, she said:  "Don't you like her?"  It did no good to tell her who I was, she didn't remember.  She always greeted me with a smile and was happy to see me.  I just accepted that.  She talked about the past like it was a current event.  She was happy and content with her life.  If we could all be so, it would be a good world.

This is just a taste of what you might encounter with age whether it's you or a family member.  Just remember to keep loving them.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

There Was a Crooked Man: A Cat DeLuca Mystery by K.J. Larsen

Cat starts out trying to get a kidnapped dog back.  When she finds out it ties back to an incident her father and his friend investigated with no results, she tries to find out more.  All she finds is closed doors.  Neither man will discuss the case or even admit what happened.  But she's an investigator and she digs.  What she finds isn't good...

Poisoned Pen Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published November 1st.

I love this series.  Cat is a fearless woman who's willing to take on anyone.  She has her cop family around, a computer geek, her boyfriend and more.  She calls them when she needs them.  They make a great team but it's not good when you're investigating your own family.

The story flows fast and furious and between discovering police corruption and learning who the driver of the hit and run van was, Cat is also being herded by her mother into a boat trip where she's brought the priest along.  She's trying to get her to marry her boyfriend.

The other interesting note is that her sister decides to play private eye with her.  Her regular assistant is on vacation.  But her sister is dangerous.  When she comes out of the closet swinging, the person she hits is Cat and the bad guy gets away.

Trust me, you won't be bored if you read this story.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Murder Underground: A British Library Crime Classic by Mavis Doriel Hay

She was on her way to the dentist when she died.  Someone strangled her.  She was a wealthy woman.  Who didn't want to wait for their money?

Poisoned Pen Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published November 1st.

"Pongle" as she was called, was not a particularly nice lady.  Every time she got angry at her nephew, she changed her will.  She has a dog she makes other people walk.  She hides things in her room.  She is just generally difficult.  But who would murder her?  Most just barely tolerated her!

It's long drawn out investigation in which several things come to light.  The nephew pawned her pearls to get some funds and he's trying to hide that.  The niece's boyfriend walked the same stairwell she died in.  One of the underground workers got caught up in a burglary and had a broach he had given his girl.  Pongle found out about it and confiscated it.  It was in her pocket book and Bob gets accused of the murder.

While all this dirty laundry is dug out and flashed about, the cops are on the wrong track.  There's another snake in the grass that no one suspects.

This is a bit like a cozy mystery.  You get very involved in everyone's life and see them with warts and all.  They band together, even lie for each other and despite that, the crime gets solved.  This was an entertaining read with a hard mystery at its core.

Friday, October 28, 2016

A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas

She has plans for her life and they don't include marriage.  When she shares this news with her father, he agrees if she waits for a few years to come of age, he'll pay for her college so she can become a school administrator.  Then he changes his mind...

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

Since he won't honor his promise to her, she takes things into her own hands.  She gets another woman's husband to sleep with her and make her no long suitable for marriage.  She didn't expect to get caught by his wife and mother in the act but that just made sure everyone would know about it.  Her family is scandalized.  They plan to send her to an old cottage they own in the country where she can suffer in silence.  She beats that by leaving early and surviving on her own.  She doesn't have much money but she has plans.  Unfortunately, most of them go to pieces when they find out who she really is and the scandal she hid.

I enjoyed the detective work she does by creating an entity known as Sherlock Holmes and taking cases by mail and then appointments.  You also learn why she doesn't wish to marry.  The man she's in love with is married to someone else.

There are three deaths that appear to be related to each other but the causes of death are different and it's almost impossible to find the connection.  The police work is interesting.  They can't press too hard because important people are involved.  This was a very unusual case with repercussions from the past haunting the story.

I like reading stories set in Victorian times but I'm even more appreciative about not living in that time period.  I understand Charlotte's frustration with trying to lead her own life.  I'm also ready to read more in this series.  I wonder if she will ever get the man she really loves? 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Useless Bay by M J Beaufrand

There's a little boy missing and he usually went to the house next door to visit when he was bored.  But the quintuplets tell his family he's not there.  They do volunteer to help search for him.

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

The quintuplets are giants to the little boy.  They're all over six foot tall.  They each have their skills and work well together.  But they are fearful of what might have happened to the boy.

Pixie notices something is attached to the buoy in the bay and she swims out to check it out.  She finds a body but it's not the boys.  It's his mother!  She swims around still searching for the boy (or his body) but what she finds is a deadly jellyfish and she goes into shock and starts swelling.  It's a good thing Frank always carries a first aid with him.

While she is on the beach flirting with death, the lady of the sea comes for the murdered women's soul.  She even has a mystic moment with Pixie but leaves her alive.

There's more death while they try to get to the bottom of the case.  Even the FBI gets involved.  The truth they are searching for isn't far away, but it looked benign until the monster came to life.

This story is set on Whidbey Island.  I've been there and with the fog and ocean sounds you really feel like there are ghosts and spirits about.  I find it easy to believe that Pixie might have been visited the lady of sea while lying at death's door.  The fact is that she should have been worried about the humans around her, not the ghosts.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

An Amish Family Christmas by Shelley Shepard Gray

Julia was young when she got involved with a man who projected one side of his personality to the public and another to her.  She even went so far as to get engaged.  And then she let him take her virginity.  But when she got pregnant, she knew she couldn't marry him.  He was abusive and controlling.  He hit her when she told him she was pregnant.  She knew if she told her parents they would make her marry him.  So she ran...

Avon and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can get a copy now.

She first lived with an elderly couple that ran an old motel.  She cleaned the rooms, they let her stay in one.  And they loved her new baby, Penny.  She stayed as long as she could but they retired and sold the motel so she moved on.

She found a new job, a small house she could afford and she spent a lot of time with Penny.  She didn't socialize or contact her family.  She was still trying to keep her child and herself safe.  Then she locks the door to her house and forgets to take the key.  She's scrambling around trying to find a rock to break a window when her neighbor, Levi comes home and offers to help.

She doesn't want to invite him in but her daughter is taken with his attention and it's easier than standing in his way.  Both Levi and Julia have hurts from the past they need to move past, so it's not an easy romance.  But they do both find themselves attracted to their personalities and kindness.

The romance is slowly moving along and then Penny gets ill.  He takes them to the hospital for treatment and the nurse that fills out the paperwork points out the child has a different name from the mother.  That's when Levi finds out she's not a widow; it's an illegitimate child.  He's staggered.  She's ashamed.  And then when things couldn't get worse, Luther shows up.  He intends to take her home with him and torture her some more.

I didn't like having Luther in the story.  I know these things happen everywhere but I hate stalkers or abusers.  However, the romance between Julie and Levi was sweet and nice and this Christmas time story ends well.  That's what counts to me. 

Teddy & Co. by Cynthia Voigt

Teddy hopes it doesn't rain.  He really, really hopes it doesn't rain.  He can't go outside when it rains and he loves exploring.  It's too bad his friends don't feel the same way...

Knopf's Books for Young Readers and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published November 1st.

Teddy has a house he shares with an elephant.  Teddy has no legs.  The elephant has stitches from being patched.  Everyone is this community is a toy and almost all have been damaged in some way.  That doesn't stop them from having fun.  They take walks together, picnic together and help each other out when someone needs it.  They get along just fine.  But Teddy has big plans, if he can just talk them into it. He wants to go further than they've gone before.  He wants to explore.

After a while he gets a group that will go exploring with him.  He can't go anywhere without the elephant because he has to travel in a wagon and he must be pushed.  However, the elephant is a real good cook and makes muffins.  That increases the number of participants.  The exploration is successful.  They find they live on an island. That takes care of part of Teddy's burning desire for knowledge but he finds another quest to dream about shortly.  

In the meantime, a fancy doll shows up.  She tells them she's the queen and they are her subjects and starts creating rules.  She also tells them to build her a palace.  They do, but they're already beginning to revolt.

This is a sweet tale for young ones that is full of fanciful ideas and interesting characters.  There's a ceramic pig that is painted with little flowers.  She lives with another bigger pig that is stuffed.  The penguin is made of wood.  If they can get along, we all ought to be able to get along, too.  The illustrations are precious.  Take a look; I bet you'll take it home.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

And Then She Was Gone: A Detective Jack Stratton Novel by Christopher Greyson

Stacy Shaw was happy.  She had a nice home, a loving husband, a good new job, and she'd just found out that she was pregnant.  Life was good.  Then her car wouldn't start.  Her husband is out of town, she has no one local who could help.  She'll just leave the car there and take a short cut across the park to get home.  She doesn't realize someone is waiting for her...

Greyson Media Associates and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can get a copy now.

This is the start of a new series that fascinates me.  It's the story of a boy raised in foster homes who is friends with those he met there.  His first caretaker is a black woman who is an Aunt to anyone who comes in her home.  She's still taking in foster children.  She asks Jack for a favor.  He has plans to become a cop after he's spent his time in the service and gets money for college through the GI Bill.  He fancies himself a detective.  So she asks him to check out a young black man that is taking the fall for murdering the missing woman.  She and his mother don't think he did it.

This not a good thing for Jack.  He searches all right.  He gets sideways with the cops, finds the woman's dead body, gets accused of murdering her himself, and almost ends up in jail because he's interfering in the police investigation.  He makes assumptions about the police that aren't true.  He also goes in lots of dangerous places and talks to dangerous people in his quest to prove who the real killer is.

There's lots of confusion, lies and fear involved in this case.  Jack keeps chasing the facts and then he attempts to bait the killer.  He almost loses his life.

This was an exciting read.  Not only did his Aunt believe in him, the author made me believe in him, too.  He made some mistakes along the way but he got more right than he got wrong.  I can't wait to see what case he takes on in the next book.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Whizbang Machine by Danielle A Vann

She hasn't seen her grandfather for years, so she's thrilled he's returning home.  After her father's death, he sold everything and took off traveling.  She felt alone despite what her mother did for her.  She has no idea that Jack is bringing her a present that will be one of their lives biggest challenges...

Waldorf Publishing and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published November 15th.

What Elizabeth learns is that the typewriter he has given her is called a Whizbang Machine.  Nobody knows how it works and what it does.  It's a manual typewriter but it gives her fingers electrical burns.  It types its own messages.  And it expects her to right a wrong.  It tells her history is wrong and she needs to correct it.

When the machine almost kills Jack, she decides they better take it literally and try to do what it wants.  The problem is that nobody knows her family's history.  So she and Jack try to make a family tree.  The records they find are in a foreign language, so they head to the library for help.  They get help but they don't get smarter.  They get confused.

As they try to straighten out the story of ancestry, they find out about an ancient curse.  Can they stop the curse before it kills her mother?  Elizabeth should be worried if she'll live long to try.

This is an exciting, compelling story with a magical typewriter that's dangerous.  It's fast flowing and unusual and it kept my attention.  My only complaint was the ending.  I turned the page to find out what happened and it was the end of the book.  This made for a very edge of the cliff hanger.  I hate those.  It's like the paragraph hasn't been completed.  You need not give the plot of the next book away but some closure would make me feel better.  If you like cliff hangers, this has a really good one for you!

The Rachel Alexander and Dash Mysteries: This Dog for Hire, The Dog Who Knew Too Much, and A Hell of a Dog by Carol Lea Benjamin

This is a collection of the first three books in this series.  My favorite characters in these stories are the dogs.  They really steal the show from the humans!

Open Road Integrated Media and Net Galley allowed me to read these for review (thank you).  It will be published tomorrow.

This Dog for Hire is about an artist who got run down on a pier on the ocean front.  Cars weren't allowed there but someone didn't care.  Rachel gets hired to do find the dog he had and figure out who would have killed the artist.  He was down there for a gay rendezvous with someone.  Was the murderer another boyfriend?  Someone who wanted to profit from the artwork?  Someone who hated the artist?  Rachel has her work cut out for her.

Her dog, Dash, is a pit bull with black mark around his eye.  He follows her commands competently and he's willing to protect her.  She needs him.  She's always getting in trouble.

The Dog Who Knew Too Much was Lisa's Akita.  Rachel was hired by Lisa's parents to find out why she would have jumped from a window and committed suicide, leaving her dog behind.  She knows the dog saw something but she can't talk.  The more questions she asks, the less reason she has for believing it was suicide.  She was moving to China, following her life's dream.  She had tickets so she wouldn't have jumped.  So who pushed her?

In A Hell of a Dog you have a conference of dog trainers explaining their tactics.  Not many of the participants see eye-to-eye, but they should able to get along for a week.  It's not to be.  Two men in the group die.  It appears to be natural but it's not.  And when the third man dies, Rachel finally remembers something from years ago.  The killer was a surprise in this one.

Each book was a little better than the last one.  I hadn't read any of these before and appreciate the opportunity to sample them.  If you have an interest in dogs, you'll meet one in these stories you'll like.  Here's a good way to pick them up in one volume.  And there's more in the series for later.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Ruler of the Night by David Morrell

In the Victorian age, riding a train to your destination was a new thing.  You got there quicker, you didn't have to suffer a carriage ride over rutted lanes, and you could even sleep if traveling at night.  You certainly never expected to get murdered...

Mulholland Books and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published November 15th.

The Opium Eater is back again.  He's addicted to laudanum but he has a brilliant brain.  He often sees things others don't.  Scotland Yard has used him before, at the Queen's request, and he'll be involved in this case also.  You see, he and Emily were on the same train and some of the blood splashed through the train windows and got on his face.  However, trying to investigate is hard because the train must stay on schedule and clear the tracks for the next train using it.  He and his daughter stay with the body until the constables can get there.  They have to fight off wild dogs and they almost get hit by a train but they do protect it.

The two detectives that each have a crush on Emily get involved in the case, too.  The murdered man is a high level attorney that knows lots of secrets.  Which one got him killed?

Mr. Morrell's stories are always complex with many factors coming together that must be resolved.  This story talks about the Opium Eater's past, a lost friend found now, and a war with Russia.  The murderer was no one I suspected.

As I've seen in other Victorian tales, the people with money are not always nice.  In this case, the past came back to haunt the woman he just currently found.  It's sobering look at life in that era.

This says it is the final in the trilogy.  That leaves Emily's potential romance up in the air.  I wouldn't mind seeing her return in her own series.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Goblin Crown by Robert Hewitt Wolfe, Tom Fowler

Billy is starting another new school and he knows he won't fit in.  He never does.  When one attractive girl talks to him, he's almost rude trying to get away.  As he's going through the lunch line, he finds her right next to him.  He practically runs away and manages to hit a jock and spill and his lunch all over everything.  Great start at the new school or what?  Things can get worse...

Turner and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published November 15th.

When Billy and Lexi leave after school, they find Kurt (the jock) waiting with his friends.  Lexi doesn't want to back down so the exchange escalates until she decides it's time to run.  They go in a culvert but Kurt follows.  Billy loses Lexi but when he falls down, he gets up to look for her again.  She has also fallen, but she has a broken leg.  Then Kurt finds them!  All Billy can think to do is wish they were anywhere else but here. He gets his wish.

He's transported himself into a war zone where goblins are fighting humans.  The good news is that the first goblin they run across is friendly.  The bad news is that the goblins are looking for a king.  When the goblin crown is on the head of the leader, the ruby in it glows.  They decide to have Kurt try for the crown and become the new king.  That would make them safe again.  Except the ruby doesn't glow and now the goblins are all over them!

There's magic of various kinds, the humans here don't speak English (neither do the goblins), and the goblin that wants to be king wants to kill them badly.  This is a rough and tough world where survival is doubtful, even for the goblins.

This is also a grand adventure that was great fun to read.  I liked this one a lot and will be looking for the next book in the series.  Billy has a lot of challenges ahead of him.

Saddle Up For Murder by Leigh Hearon

Annie is worried about the dead sheep being found in her area.  She thinks it must be a predator.  Then one of her own sheep is a victim and it gets more personal  When she finds out they are dying from being shot with a slingshot using a deadly shot, she's even more concerned.  What if it hit a client or a horse?

Kensington Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  This book will be published October 25th.  This is the second in the series.  Reading the first book would fill in some blanks for you.  I read this one as a standalone and it was fine that way, too.

While she's worrying about her sheep and taking care of her horses, she's approached by a young lady looking for a job.  She needs help but she can't afford to pay someone, so she puts her off.  She certainly never expected to find her hanging in her hay barn dead.  It gets even more off putting when it's determined it's not suicide.  Who was there and did such a thing?

When an old lady is found dead at home and she's taken pills that aren't prescribed for her and aren't in her house either, it appears that was also murder.  The young woman had cared for her while she was alive.  Did she kill her?  Or were they both victims?

This was an odd tale with a twisted mystery.  I enjoyed the characters.  There's a nice collection of strong women, a determined sheriff, and a distanced boyfriend who will be returning.  The killer is not obvious.

Annie is almost too late to save her half-sister.  She's never been fond of her and thinks she needs to grow up but the near loss makes her realize she really does care for her.  I'd read another in this series.  Especially since her boyfriend just made it back in town!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Ghost Town by S J Bounds

Phil was a cop, a good cop.  The fact that he couldn't be bought off was an admirable trait but one that almost got him killed.  He turned in his badge and went back to school.  After learning how to be a dentist, he heads out west.  He's just traveling through when the widow who owns the local restaurant catches his eye. There's not much left of the old mining town but there are plenty of vacant buildings.  He decides to stay.

Endeavor Press/Pioneering Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published.

Phil finds plenty of strange characters in town and lots of competition for the woman he has his eye on.  Alice, a strange woman whose husband left her, is busy trying to protect the widow.  She tells her men are no good.  Mary-Jane listens but doesn't necessarily take her advice.

The two major players in town are a rancher and a mine owner.  The mine owner intends to buy up the whole town.  He's got info a railroad is coming near and it will make the land worth money.  He's also determined to get Mary-Jane into his bed.  

When the local town folk start getting riled up, they ask Phil to be their sheriff.  He has no real desire to do so, but he's had a few run-ins with the crews of the big landowners and he agrees.  Now things really heat up!

This is a good old-fashioned western where most things are settled with a gun and, if you're lucky, you're the one still standing at the end.

The last paragraph is the one I enjoyed the most.  Let me know what you think when you read it.

The Rootlets: Trouble at Plantasy Land By Vicki Marquez

The Rootlets were all vegetables.  They look like children but the green hair and other odd characteristics give them away.  In the previous book, they found out that they had super powers.  Everyone's is different.  

The author and PR by the Book sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  The book is being released this fall.

The Rootlets are being raised by Yammy Grammy and have veggie sounding names.  It's fun to read because of the silly names and the general theme of eating healthy.  They are going to a vegetable equivalent of Disneyland.  It's called Plantasy Land.  And things are not well there...

The artwork is done by Jeremy Russnak and the illustrations are vibrant and almost talk to you.  Lots of color, odd characters, super powers here and there:  how can you not have a good time reading it?

Things are going wrong at Plantasy Land.  The vegetable stand has nothing for sale.  All his fresh plants from the morning have died already.  The rides are falling apart.  The manager has no idea what to do.  The only change was a new magician.  Could The Great Zucchini be the one doing all the damage?

They find him just as the roller coaster starts to topple.  Can they save him?  Do they want to?

There's enough going on here to hold your child's attention and keep them turning the pages.  They show vegetables in action and they also teach them a bit about nutrition.  How could you go wrong? 



Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Secrets of Hexbridge Castle by Gabrielle Kent

Alfie is just a normal kid.  His mom died, he and his dad get along fine and he has a very good female friend his age.  He's not looking forward to summer.  His friend is going on vacation and he'll be stuck at home with his inventor dad.  He knows he will be bored.  Boy, is he wrong!

Scholastic Books and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 25th.

Alfie gets an odd letter and shows it to his dad.  His dad doesn't act real surprised and tells him they must go visit the lawyer as requested.  Go, they do, and Alfie's life changes totally.  He finds out he has inherited a castle that used to belong to a druid.  He also finds out he was born 600 years ago.  That would be a shock, wouldn't it?

It seems that time travel works for him.  He had been almost hit by a car at home and he moved through time to escape it.  That got the lawyer's attention.  Now he has to inhabit the castle.  It's been renovated.  When he sees it, his mouth drops open!

As time goes on, he begins to understand that he has some magic abilities.  The castle is full of secrets.  His teachers are a menace and don't like him at all.  He finds a bear rug that flies.  And he knows the animals disappearing on the night of the full moon are being eaten by a dragon.  He's seen it.  Now he just has to figure out how all this fits together.

I liked this one.  There's plenty of action, some injuries, and enough mysteries to keep you entertained.  A good imagination is needed to accept all the concepts of the story.  I have one.  Do you?

Spence at the Blue Bazaar by Michael Allen

Thana goes back to her home town years later.  She's going to ramp up her blackmail efforts.  When she finds a journal hidden in the dresser in her room at the Blue Bazaar, she decides she's going to get more than that.  Now she has a whole new source of blackmail material.

Endeavor Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It's already been published, so you can grab a copy now.

Thana catches everyone's attention because she's wearing a see-through blouse with no bra and a skirt that's slit so far up the side you can tell she's not wearing panties.  They're all scandalized and no one wants to be seen with her.  She doesn't let that bother her.

When the locals go to see her strip tease act at the Blue Bazaar they have to admit that she has a lot of talent and grace.  She's a beautiful woman and knows it.  But she's not a very nice person.

The next day, they find her dead in the bedroom she used at the Blue Bazaar.  Unfortunately, there were two windows open downstairs, so anyone could have gotten in.  Now they have to figure out who killed her.  The worst part is that appears to be the same unknown killer from before who killed a man and his ten year old son while they were sleeping.  They try to look back seventeen years and make a connection but it's not obvious.

There first real clue is when they find out that the beautiful strip teaser was really a man, not a woman.  That changes the focus of the crime and makes it even a bit more difficult to solve.

This was a good mystery with a murderer that wasn't obvious.  Everybody has their own dirty little secrets...

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Twelve Dogs of Christmas: An Andy Carpenter Mystery by David Rosenfelt

Andy is a lawyer but he doesn't want to be.  He avoids taking new cases.  But when a dear friend of his who rescues puppies by fostering them is accused of having too many animals, he can't let her down.  He couldn't say no but I bet he was wishing he could before the end.

Minotaur Books and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published so you can grab a copy now.

It seems someone is setting "Pups" up.  She is a widow and owns a lot of land in a lot of different places.  Her husband acquired it and he didn't want to sell, so she's not going to sell either.  Someone wants a piece of that land and will do anything to get it.  When the man who turned her in gets shot, she's accused of killing him.  They found the gun in her basement.  It's also the gun that killed her husband and the man he was talking to.  She says it's not hers.  The prosecutor doesn't believe her.

Andy has quite a job ahead of him.  Defending her for rescuing puppies is one thing; defending her on a murder charge is something else.

You have politicians, gang members, an assassin, and more all messed up in a big game of greed.  The man killed next to Pups' husband was a gang member.  His brother wants revenge.  Whenever big sums of money are around, you have greed to contend with.  Pups doesn't care about the money.  She's leaving it to rescue organizations.  Someone is willing to kill to keep that from happening.

Will Andy figure out who it is in time?  Pups has cancer and is dying, so he doesn't have much time.  He's going to try...

Dangling by a Thread by Lea Wait

Angie is out for a morning walk down by the docks when she sees a strange man come to shore in a rowboat.  He doesn't speak to anyone.  When she asks about him, nobody knows his name.  He lives alone on an island and only comes over the village in good weather when he needs supplies.  She sees him go in the post office and asks after him in there.   The postal worker tells her his name and that he comes to pick up his check and any other correspondence.  The island isn't served by any utilities.  Most refer to him as Mr. Solitary.

Kensington Books allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published on October 25th.

When Angie goes for dinner with Dave, she meets Mr. Solitary again.  Dave introduces her.  He's not gregarious but he will speak.  She gets to know him a bit better.

The next discovery she makes is that a man she had a crush on is back in town.  He got burnt rescuing his mother from a fire but he's completed rehabilitation and is just in therapy now.  He's hoping to get back into painting.  She's hoping she might have a chance at a relationship with him.  Her visit with him introduces her to the couple who are hoping to buy Mr. Solitary's island.  He doesn't want to sell, he's running a bird sanctuary.  Does that matter to the rich man that wants the land?  No...

Dave and Angie go to the island to warn him that they are bringing his brother in and plan to oust him from the island.  By accident, he shoots Dave with an arrow.  Angie takes him back to land and calls an ambulance.  The cops are now interested in the island man and intend to bring him in.  Angie talks the cop into taking her.  It's bad.  The island man is dead.  It's a good thing Angie and Dave have an excuse.

This is a cozy mystery with romance and I've been enjoying this series.  I didn't see the killer coming.  I'm also not sure where the romance is going.  She likes both Dave and the painter.  The painter is rich but Dave does needlepoint and lives next door.  Future stories should be interesting!

Six-gun Prodigal by A A Glynn

I've been looking for a good old fashioned western where the men were men and romance didn't take over the story.  This one fit the bill perfectly!  Lew had a difference with his brothers after his father was killed and he took off.  He was herding cattle when he heard that his brothers had been killed, too.  He finished his work and planned on returning home to see what had happened and who had ordered it.  He had his suspicions.  Before he got out of the tavern, he had a young buck try to outshoot him.  When he kills him, he finds out he's the son of an important local man and everyone is accusing him of murder.  His crew defends him but to no avail.  He heads out of town fast...

Endeavor Press/Pioneering Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so you can grab a copy now.

Lew stops to visit his only friendly neighbor left and gets the story about what all had happened.  They were bushwacked.  The largest landowner in the area claims they sold the ranch to him before their death.  Lew doesn't believe it, but he decides to keep his return secret.  It doesn't take long before his secret is out.

The Wyoming rancher that is taking over the valley is ruthless and mean.  He has power and money and he abuses both.  He's mining silver with Indians and Mexicans and he doesn't pay them much.  He stole that land, too.  There's not much to like about him.

Lew has a friend he doesn't know is his friend.  He met a gal at his ghost town he staying at and they are leaving each other alone so no one gets shot.  She has an ally, an Indian that knows how to use dynamite.  When she and her friends stand with him in a face off against the rancher and his hired guns, it could go either way.

The ending is ironic and appropriate.  And Lew finally notices she's an attractive girl.  I like those kind of stories!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig

Flynn gets a text from his girl asking him to meet her.  Since she started at a different school, they hadn't seen much of each other so he's anxious to catch up with her.  When they meet they to a place where they look at stars.  She doesn't want to do that, though.  She wants him to go into the old barn with her.  He does, they snuggle and then she suggests sex.  They had both agreed they'd wait, but she's changed her mind.  He says no, she tells him to get out.  He's a confused young man.  He tries to want to but can't.  He also can't admit why.  So he just leaves...

Feiwel and Friends sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can grab a copy now.

The next time he hears January's name is from the cops.  It seems that she has disappeared.  They ask when he saw her last and if anything unusual happened.  He says no.  She did want to make love but he wasn't going to mention that.  They know he's holding something back.

Things start going to pieces when they do a search and find her bloody clothing.  It's beginning to appear she may have come to harm.  It also opens another can of worms.  Her blood shows she was pregnant.  Flynn says it can't be true, she was a virgin.  DNA doesn't lie.  When he thinks back, he remembers she said she wanted him to be her first one.  So if she hadn't chosen to sleep with someone, he decides she must have been raped.

She's his very best friend and he doesn't want to give up hope.  He keeps looking and checking out the men in her life.  She seems to have been very confused herself.  She was bad talking everyone around her.  He meets a boy at the toy store she worked at that he thought might have been a competitor.  Kaz tells him no, he's gay.  And here's another complication in Flynn's life.

Then another young woman dies. Flynn had been talking to her and he knew what it meant.  But how to prove it?  And is January really dead?

This was interesting mystery with bad boys in more than one place.  The sex issues were mentioned but weren't overwhelming.  The ending is good even if there isn't the closure parents might have hoped for.  It looks like Flynn might have potential as an investigator!

The Fir Tree by Hans Christian Andersen

He's just a little fir tree that yearns to be bigger.  He doesn't like it when a bunny can jump over him.  He wants to be big and tall like the older trees.  He doesn't think past getting big.  He doesn't care where they go, he just wants to go with them.  He's not satisfied with growing up in the forest and having bird friends.  He's going to get his wish...

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

One of the reasons I wanted to read this book is because a new illustrator did the graphics.  Sanna Annukka does modern contemporary work and her illustrations are more of an art form than a picture of a tree.  Her artwork does add to the story and you might want to buy the book simply for the illustrations.

When the tree finally fills out and matures enough to make a lovely Christmas tree, it's cut down and transported.  Christmas is a wonderful event and it enjoys being the highlight of the day.  So he's a bit disappointed when all the ornaments and presents go away and he's stuffed in the attic.  He has lots of time to think about how nice the forest was and how much he misses his animal friends.  He wonders what will become of him; he doesn't have to wonder long.

The basic message in this story is be happy where you're planted.  Don't always wish for more because that might not make you happy.  These lessons apply to people as well as fir trees.

When we had Christmas trees, we always bought live ones and then replanted them around our home.  It cost a bit more but it added a tree instead of killed one.  I guess I'm a bit of a tree hugger.