Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Nakano Thrift Shop by Hiromi Kawakami

This story is set in a thrift shop in Japan but it doesn't center on the items being sold or their story.  It's about the four people who work in the shop:  The owner and his sister and the young man and woman he hired.  They all have secrets and most of them aren't really secrets...

Europa Editions and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 6th.

The thrift shop owner is married but has mistresses.  His sister is fifty and living with a man and he wants her to stop it.  Like he can say anything about it!  So he sends his female helper to chat with her.  The sister knows he doesn't like it and tells her to tell him she doesn't care what he thinks.

The young female helper is fond of the young man.  They date a bit, even make love once, but he's very reserved and lets the relationship die.  She tries to pretend she doesn't love him but it doesn't work out well.

Then Mr. Nakano shuts down his store and decides he'll try another adventure in life.  The girl gets temporary jobs and stays there until it ends.  Her next job brings her back into the fold of the friends she had at the shop.

This is an interesting look at a slice of life in Japan.  These characters are not important people and don't hold any power.  They are just trying to make it in life.  Since time has passed and the young ones are older now, I think things may work out for them.  You get a lot of life drama in this story.

The Last Death Worm of the Apocalypse (Kelly Driscoll #3) by Nina Post

Kelly is still acting as an interim manager.  Her boss is gone, she should be getting promoted, but nothing is happening.  When something does, it's almost bigger than she can handle!

Curiosity Quills Press and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It's being published May 2nd.

This series is so much fun to read.  The stories are outrageous, monsters abound, demons are bound to the building, and everyone has their own agenda.  It's like trying to hold an uncensored war zone together with toothpicks!

She's being audited by a nasty woman, has an angel of destruction for her boyfriend, and has a mess of trouble.  She has a Zombie invasion, is building a Death Worm lap pool, and the board members are planning to escape their bondage.

The story is busy and exciting.  I liked the part where, during the Death Worm show, the judge demanded to check their genitals.  He couldn't find them in the hair so went to get clippers.  The Death Worm took exception to that and ate him.  (Haven't you had a doctor you'd like to do that to?)

With mayhem everywhere and her boyfriend off trying to get back his $5,000 he spent on a mantra that didn't work, everything is helter skelter.  The boyfriend has his own set of troubles...

Despite all this chaos, things turn out well.  Of course, it will take a bit to get the building back together but that's how it goes when you have a demon opening at the base.  I enjoyed reading these, laughing here and there, and it has a smashing ending.  If you haven't read it yet, you have a treat to look forward to.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Independence Cake : A Revolutionary Confection Inspired by Amelia Simmons, Whose True History Is Unfortunately Unknown by Deborah Hopkinson

Amelia Simmons is the woman who wrote America's first cookbook.  No one knows anything about her but this story imagines her life...

Provato Marketing sent me a galley of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published May 9th.

When Amelia is orphaned she's taken in by a woman who has six small boys.  She's exhausted from trying to keep up with them.  Amelia takes over many duties and keeps herself busy and the boys fed.  All is going well until she gets bored.  Then she decides to take up baking.  Oh my! The boys love "testing" her new pastries.  Even the neighbors are willing to help out.

She experiments with corn meal and an herb-like baking powder to make new dishes with American ingredients.  She even bakes a cake for the new president, George Washington who says it's delicious.  You get her recipe for it in this story but I don't think you'll want to make it since it made up thirteen cakes...

This is a fun way to learn about history and imagine what life was like in the early days of America.

Friday, April 28, 2017

A Letter to my Teacher by Deborah Hopkinson

Did you ever have a teacher who brought out the best in you?  I've had several but the one I remember most was my first grade teacher.  She sent me a graduation card and complimented me for being an honor student.  She told me that she could tell when I was in her class I would go far.  I couldn't believe she'd even noticed me!  In this story, it's the student that notices the teacher...

Provato Marketing send me a galley of this book to read for review (thank you).  It has been published.

The story is written from a child's point of view and mentions how she used to tug on the teacher's shirt and whisper in her ear.  Time has passed and now she's writing her a letter.  This is a tribute to her best second grade teacher and it's sweet.  The little girl shows how trying she could be and how the teacher always saw the positive side of it.  The graphics are done by Nancy Carpenter.  They have a secret depth to them.  Do you see the scissors poking out of her backpack?   

This would be an excellent gift for Teacher Appreciation Day or a goodbye gift when moving up to another grade.  Share the positive wherever you can.  There's too much negative in the world today.  Keep your head up, a smile on your face, and learn as you go along.  Maybe you should write a thank you letter to your teacher, too.


Thursday, April 27, 2017

A Reference to Murder by Kym Roberts

There's a big fundraiser going on to benefit the retired cowboys' home.  There are a lot of bull riders and rodeo stars living there.  Prize money doesn't last long when you're young.  There's going to be a big rodeo event with the current title holders, too.  But when one of the stars goes missing overnight, it turns into a hunt for a body...

Kensington Books/Lyrical Underground let me read this ebook for review (thank you).  It will be published May 16th.

Charli has come home and is working in the Book Barn with her father.  Her girlfriend, Scarlet, has a crush on Dalton and is very upset that he is missing.  Charli tries to convince Scarlet he might not be the best boyfriend but she's not listening.  She asks for Charli's help in finding Dalton.

Charli gets attacked outside her business by a cowboy with a branding iron.  He doesn't get her face with it but he does burn off a good hunk of hair.  After Scarlet fixes her hair, they go to Scarlet's trailer and look in Dalton's backpack.  They find his phone and they track his Ipad.  When they find his location, they head out.  What they find are two dead bodies.  One was from the past and the other was from the present.  They think it's Dalton.

This first body was Dalton's older brother, who disappeared seven years ago.  The present day body has been so badly damaged they have to wait for DNA evidence.  The killer isn't going to go down easily and the story gets wicked before the end.  Luckily, Charli and Scarlet get out alive.

Lies that Bind: A Cotswold murder mystery by Stella Cameron

Alex has hired a young boy to be a bus boy for her pub.  He works hard, does what he's asked to do, and helps wherever he can.  He responsible and trustworthy.  When his younger brother busts through the kitchen door to tell Scoot he found a dead body, Alex listens carefully.  Kyle is only thirteen and she asks them where their father is.  He's a long haul driver is on the road.  Come to find out, the boys are on their own a lot.  He's trying to earn enough money to send them to college.  But right now, he's gone and they need help...

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

This turns into a mix of more than one crime.  Murder is one, the other is illegal trafficking.  As Alex and Tony try to keep the boys safe and taken care of, they are also trying to figure out where the father is and why he is gone so much and who killed the woman.  There are no easy answers.  Then someone kidnaps the younger boy while he's at work at Tony's veterinarian shop!

It seems there one more crime that was shoved under the rug in the past.  When another young boy turns up dead, they're afraid it was Kyle but it wasn't.  Who killed this young one and why?

The ending on this story is abrupt and alarming.  There's no closure after the shocking ending and I'm not sure I liked that.  It did get my attention, though.  Tell me what you think about it...

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Uniformly Dead by Greta McKennan

Daria has a successful wedding gown business but she's going to expand to historical sewing.  Her first assignment is to create a civil war uniform jacket for the Colonel.  She has to use the right cloth and the right stitches to make it authentic.  She decides to visit the Civil War Museum in town to see the uniforms on display there.  She certainly didn't expect to be there during a robbery!

Kensington/Lyrical Underground and Net Galley allowed me to read this ebook for review (thank you).  The book will be published May 16th.

Daria's brother has just turned up after a seven year absence.  He admits part of the time he was in jail and that he'd had a drug problem for a while.  He swears he's clean but he still has hoods after him for the money he owes the drug lord.  Daria believes in her brother but wishes he hadn't brought his problems with him.

She takes the Colonel his new jacket which he puts on and then tries to short her on payment.  She refuses to back down.  He still is short $20 in payment but she's willing to let that go.  The problem is that she forgot to pick up her tape measure.  When she goes back for that, she finds the Colonel dead on the floor, run through with a bayonet and Chris, another friend, holding the bayonet.  He says he found the Colonel like that and she believes him but the cops don't.

As if all this wasn't enough, she now has two men dating her and she's not sure about either one of them.  Too bad she jumped the wrong way...

This cozy is busy with personal drama, murders and theft, and action.  Somehow it all gets straightened out by the end of story.  I enjoyed this read. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Though This Be Madness by Penny Richards

Lily Long is back again.  She has a new assignment.  The only problem is that she has to partner with Cade and they don't like each other.  But an assignment is an assignment.  Posing as a married couple will be difficult but they will do it.

Kensington Books and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It is being published today.

I enjoyed the first novel I read about Lily.  She's an interesting character.  After her husband left her and stole all her money she has no desire to have anything more to do with men.  But she's a pretty good actress and she'll act like she and Cade have a relationship.  

He's not any happier about it than she is.  If he hadn't gotten drunk and in a bar fight, he'd be allowed to work alone.  But he's still on probation and Lily needs more training.  It's his burden to live with.  As if that's not enough, a young boy he befriended comes along on the trip following and he has to take care of him, too.

What they are investigating is whether the wife of the household is really crazy or if she is just being put away to remove her from her money.  What they find is a hot bed of problems.  As they start talking to the servants and members of the family, they notice that the attorney is a sexual predator.  The doctor isn't really a doctor.  And most of the men aren't what they seem.

It's a dangerous game being played in the name of greed and not everyone gets out alive.  This story was also a very good read and Cade and Lily are finding they enjoy working together.  Even the young boy helps with the case.  This isn't a conventional story and I like it!

One Good Thing (Ten Beach Road #5) by Wendy Wax

Each evening they go out and sit on the deck and watch the sunset go down.  They have a drink, talk about their days and, as their mother requests, they each pick out a good thing that came from that day.  When there's emotional trauma and disasters everywhere, it's hard to find that good thing...

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

From financial disaster to a husband who walked off with a younger woman and took all her money with him to a young man defying his father and driving his love off to a popular singer who is having a comeback and wants their mother to travel with him, there's plenty of strife, emotional trauma and troubled times in this household.  Some things get solved, some don't.  What stays the same is the fact that they are there for each other, they're still fighting and they are still moving forward.

There's lots of drama, lots of love, and a sense of family and undying loyalty.  There's a bit of sad along with a lot of happy and you feel the women will come out on the top.  Their story isn't done yet, so watch for the next book in this series.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Magick & Mayhem by Sharon Pape

She was a witch in training when tragedy struck and took both her mother and her grandmother.  Now she owns the magic shop but doesn't have all the skills she needs yet to be a sorceress.  When she goes to her lawyer's office to sign the final papers on the shop, she finds him dead...

Kensington Books/Lyrical Underground and Net Galley allowed me to read this ebook for review (thank you).  It will be published May 2nd.

The magic was low key until Kailyn does the spell to find her familiar.  Her other relatives have cat familiars but hers is unexpected.  She summoned Merlin!  As you can guess, this spices up the story.  Her aunt takes him in and spoils him with food and modern conveniences.  He spouts magic here and there and creates even more problems for Kailyn.

The cops eventually arrest the lawyer's wife for murder.  She's Kailyn's friend and she knows she didn't do it.  It looks like she's going to have to prove that, though.  Not only is she unskilled in magic, she's not the best private eye either.

When she finally identifies the killer, she's got another problem.  He finds her first and covers all three of them with a gun.  He plans to kill them, too...

I enjoyed the touch of magic, Kailyn's crazy aunt, Merlin, and the cats.  This was a fun book to read and I'll be looking for more in this series.  Give it a try, it's a very good cozy.

The Door in the Alley (The Explorers #1) by Adrienne Kress


The story starts with a pig out by itself wearing a small black cap.  You don't usually see a pig in the city and you never see one wearing a hat.  While Sebastian is still trying to figure it out, a man comes out to capture it and somehow Sebastian gets involved.  It gets even worse when he goes in the door that says:  The Explorers.

Delacorte Press sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published April 25th.

This is a nonsensical story with footnotes, illustrations and strange situations all the way through it.  Middle graders will love it.  I found it great fun to read and can't wait for the next book to come out.

Sebastian finds a young girl who is on the run in the alley the Explorer's club is on.  She's been ejected from the club and is crying.  She wants to find her grandfather but the clue she needs is in the club.  Sebastian takes her home with him and agrees to help her.  He's a math and science genius and he needs his brain skills to figure out the key.  They end up in big danger, each saving the other from destruction, and the story gets more exciting the further you go.

There's cliff hanger ending which makes you look forward to the next book in the series.  You can tell your kids they won't be bored reading it!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

What the Dead Leave Behind by Rosemary Simpson

When her father marries again, she's not really surprised.  He's still young enough to want a woman in his life.  But why did he pick the one he did?

Kensington Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 25th.

Prudence has her wedding coming up and is looking forward to being married.  She might not love him but he is her friend and has been since childhood.  When a blizzard shows up and he dies in the storm, she's stunned.  Her father died earlier.  The doctor says it was heart failure.  She's suspects her new stepmother may have helped that long.  After all, she's been doctoring Prudence with laudanum.  What did she use on her father?

This story moves along slowly and gave me more detail than I needed.  When she finds that her future husband died with a card in his hand it means nothing to her.  But it means a lot to his best friend.  It means it was no accident.  Together, they work on the case.  Prudence learned a lot from her father and Geoffrey used to be a Pinkerton agent.  They are making progress but Prudence is finding things out about her father that she wishes she didn't know.  He was bought off on a few cases because he needed the money to care for her mother whom he loved deeply.  He quit after her death.

Prudence has to sneak around to look for evidence.  Doors are locked and she has to find hidden keys.  The Judge has left her clues hidden in secret places.  All the old help has been let go and anyone who helps her gets hurt or dies.  Prudence is in danger but she refuses to give up.

I found it fitting that those who flaunted the law and didn't abide by it were killed by men following the same rules.  Things were covered too well to prove murder but murder was done.  And now the murderers have paid...

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Solomon's Bell (Genie Chronicles #2) by Michelle Lowery Combs

Ginn's enemies have moved away from town but that doesn't mean they are gone.  She's been doing a lot of reading in the library in the lamp and with that the sudden instant boy girlfriend issue with her brother, she thinks she knows what she will have to do to save her family.  Having a golem in town isn't a good thing.

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

In this story, Ginn, her boyfriend, and her new foster sister go back to 16th century Prague.  Unfortunately, nothing is settled there either.  There is conflict in the city between those with magic and those without.  A magician has created a fake bell and is trying to steal the Emporer's real bell.  Ginn needs the bell to save her family.  

Things get complicated fast.  Her new foster sister gives her up as a djinn.  The guardian from the lamp is there as a young man and doesn't know her at all.  She's going to have to figure out how to get them out of this mess and restore her lamp and save her family.  No stress at all.

This is another fascinating look at magic and mythology from the past.  Ginn uses what she knows, what she guesses at and the help of friends to fix things.  Both books in this series are good reads and younger readers may be meeting djinns (genies) and golems (mud people) for the first time.  They expand your imagination and are enjoyable reading.  What more could you want? 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Heir to the Lamp (Genie Chronicles #1) by Michelle Lowery Combs

All she wants to do is win her basketball game.  She's been fouled and has the opportunity to make her free throws and win.  But her last throw doesn't go in the basket.  She goes back to the locker room full of despair but mumbles on the way in that she wished they'd won the game.  Everyone coming in the door after her tells her how marvelous her game was and how happy they are they won.  They won?  But they lost!

World Weaver Press sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can get a copy now.

The main character is a thirteen year old adopted girl.  She has great parents, siblings of all races, and life is good.  But nothing this fantastic has happened to her before.  It's a good thing she has a grandma that is willing to fill her in.  It seems her parents were a bit different.  Her mother was djinn.  There's a magic lamp and a journal her mother wrote.  She has much to learn about her heritage.  The problem is that there are new people in town and they are after her.  Having a djinn as a slave is real handy.  You can command them to use their magic for your purposes.  It's a good thing she has a secret weapon.  She has the guardian of the lamp as an ally.

There's action, adventure, and new worlds to explore in this story.  The words flow well, the story is interesting and it was fun to watch the magic.  Even more, she learns if her new "almost" boyfriend is a friend or foe.

I'm looking forward to reading the next book in this series.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Make Me: Book Four of The Demon Underground Series by Parker Blue

Val made the mistake of falling in love with Shade.  She slept with him and lost not only her virginity but her powers.  Now all she has left is Lola, the part of her that is a Succubus.  She can control male vampires with that but not female.  She's called the Slayer and she's feared but she isn't what she was before...

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

Since Val works with both vampires and demons, the chances of her getting killed are good.  Especially since she's trying to create peace between not only them but humans, too.  She's also got two books which has spells she can use to help but Jack isn't teaching much and he's not teaching her fast.  He was the keeper of the books in the past and he hates to give them up.  Then there's the fact that everyone else wants them...

In the battle over the spell books, Micah and Gwen get kidnapped and a mage demon demands the books.  As they try to find time to create a counter play, Shade ends up being taken as hostage by the female vampire leader.  Val just isn't having any luck.  How can she save everybody without someone ending up dead?  She can't...

I don't normally read vampire or demon stories but Val and her antics really appeal to me.  She's only 18, doesn't know enough about the immortal enemies she's fighting to be successful but she never gives up.  She protects those she loves.  The ending in this book wasn't very satisfying so I hope I get to read the next in the series.  It may not be possible in the world of vampire and demons but I still like "happy ever after" endings.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Frontier Grit: The Unlikely True Stories of Daring Pioneer Women by Marianne Monson

This is a very nice compilation of the stories of twelve pioneer women that refused to give up.  The odds aren't good, they've lost everything dear to them, but they have the grit and determination to keep on going when it would be easier to give up and die.  Here are twelve women you can admire.

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

This is the type of history book I would have died for back in school.  It's like living history and I couldn't wait to read the next story.

A black slave gets married, has children and is living happily every after until her owner dies.  Then the family is all sold separately.  She never gives up on finding her daughter and they finally reunite sixty years later!

I was amazed to see that a Native American woman made speaking out politically her life's mission.  She'd probably be at Standing Rock right now.

The most intriguing to me was the girl who dressed as a man became the most daring stagecoach driver of the time.  She could handle more horses, was fearless against outlaws and got her freight and people through without mishap.  It wasn't until she died that they learned she was female.  That's amazing.

There are more stories and none of these women were shrinking violets.  They learned to stand up for themselves, fight against the establishment, and achieve their goals.  These things are helpful in life.  


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton

William Johnson was a Yale student who joined a hunt for dinosaur bones because of a bet.  He and another schoolmate got in argument and the other student declared him not brave enough to make the trip.  He added that he would pay him a thousand dollars if he did it.  That was enough incentive for Johnson.  He went down asked to sign up.  And was told no...

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

Johnson pesters the professor until he agrees to let him come if he's a photographer.  He lies and says he is and then works harder than he worked in school to get proficient and be able to fulfill his duties.  He starts his journey as a young naive too-trusting man.  His professor won't tell him where they are going or anything about the journey.  He questions him about anyone he speaks to.  He tells tales about another professor who does the same kind of work.  And then he deserts him in one town and goes on by himself with the rest of the crew.

While he's sitting in the restaurant feeling sorry for himself, he's told that the professor would like to speak to him.  It's the other professor.  And he'd be happy to take Johnson on his expedition.  Johnson agrees.  What other choice does he have?  The problem is that this professor is no more honest than the other one.

Johnson finds himself in Indian country.  They make friends with the local Crow Indians but the Sioux will be going through and they hate white men.  He almost succeeds in getting out with the crew but he and two more are sent back to get more boxes.  By that time, the Sioux have arrived.  They get the boxes, his crew mate is killed as they escape and his guide dies a few days later.  He arrives in Deadwood and plans to send a telegraph to his father.  There's no telegraph.  There's not even a sheriff.  (The last one got killed.)

This is a fictional account that reads almost like a western but the people were real.  Johnson learns about how easy it is to get killed by a gunman, almost gets hoodwinked by a woman, and has more trouble with both professors.

What was fascinating to me was that they found brontosaurus teeth in their dig.  The year was 1876 and I didn't realize we had paleontologists around the states then.

You learn about excavating fossils, Indian wars and white man's wrongs and how wild and wicked some western "towns" were.  This was an interesting look back at history and it wasn't boring in the least.  It was a very good read.

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Big Bad Fox by Benjamin Renner

This graphic novel reminded me of the Wiley Coyote series.  The fox in this story has the same kind of luck.  No matter how hard he tries to get a chicken out of the barnyard for a meal, he ends up eating turnips instead.  You actually start to feel sorry for him even if you don't want him eating the chickens...

First Second Books and Net Galley gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 20th.

The wolf gets shot at every time he tries to get in so he trains the fox in how to growl, act aggressively and fight for what he wants.  The problem is that every time he does that, nobody cares.  The chickens still beat him up!  So the wolf comes up with another idea.  Let's steal some eggs and raise the chicks until they are big enough for a snack.  The fox manages that by leaving the hen with some small turnips.  Then he finds out he has to hatch the eggs by sitting on them and keeping them warm.  He's always screaming no, he won't do it.  And he always ends up doing it.

Can you guess what happens next?  The chicks call him Mommy.  He tells them he's not, he's a big bad fox.  They think he's joking.  You won't believe what happens next.

This is a very cute book with precious water color illustrations and I know you'll end up rooting for the fox before you're done.  He'll do anything to save his chicks!

Murder in the Dark: Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries #16 by Kerry Greenwood

Phryne isn't sure she wants to go to a big party at Christmas but when she gets a note warning her not to come, she makes up her mind.  She's going!

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

She knows the "golden" couple who are hosting the event.  They've rented a house, have a big blowout planned with lots of booze and drugs, and lots of people.  Once she's arrived, she starts getting notes left where she can find them with riddles on them.  She has to figure out where the next note will be be.  She knows she may be in danger but she doesn't back off.

This is an intriguing tale.  The guest are all outrageous in their behavior.  Phryne adds another conquest to her list.  Two children are missing.  There is more than one threatening party.  Murder is within reach.  And the only one who can stop it is Phryne.

She finds one missing child and keep searching for the second.  She also searching for the potential murderer.  The problem is that he is searching for her, too...

There's lot of action, plenty of misunderstandings and confusion and when it gets settled at the end it's amazing, but everything works out.  I was also amazed by who ordered the killing.  Ms. Greenwood is very inventive and I like it.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Chester Raccoon and the Almost Perfect Sleepover by Audrey Penn

Chester Raccoon is the sweetest little fella.  He loves his Mama dearly and even though he's going for a play day and a sleepover, he can't leave until she gives his hand a kiss.

Tanglewood Publishing and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published May 16th.

This is a wonderful series for little ones.  Chester has a great day playing with all his friends but when it comes time to go to bed, he can't sleep.  The mother opossum finds him an adult to walk him home and he feels so much better when his Mom welcomes him home and he can get into his own bed for the night.  

Sometimes the first sleep away from home is hard.  I'm glad Chester was close enough to home to return.  This is a fun story to share at bedtime.  Just tuck your little one in with a kiss like Chester's Mom did.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Moon Shadow by Erin Downing

Lucia has never learned to stand up for herself or to say what she really feels.  She gets bullied by a girl at school, loses her boyfriend to her, and is afraid to audition for the play.  But all that is about to change...

Aladdin and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published May 16th.

When she goes to a party with her new friends, she intends to spend the night on the roof and to watch the eclipse.  What happens is she gets lost in the house and ends up on the wrong side of house away from her friends.  As the moon is moving close to the eclipse, she falls and goes into a dream world.  She was born during the moon's last eclipse and her mother gave her a moon stone to use as a worry stone.  When she wakes up again, there's black streak in the white moon stone.

She also finds out she's been unlike herself.  If she goes to sleep with her moonstone near, she starts doing things the way she wants to without hesitation.  She likes it but she worries about it.  She's not sure it's the right thing to say or do.  But she knows more people are being friendly and the bully is leaving her alone a bit more.

After research done by her and her friends, she finds that the dark streak is probably part of her shadow.  It gives her strength.  But there's more to it than that.

This like a coming of age story with magic.  It was an entertaining read and it has a good ending.  If you have a good imagination, you'll like this one.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Charlotte Sometimes by Penelope Farmer

What if you went to sleep in your bed at the boarding school and woke up forty years earlier?  Same bed, same school, but everything else is different.  Could you adjust?

NYRB Kids and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published May 9th.

Charlotte isn't sure what to do or how to do it.  She finds she has a sister just like she does in the present but now she's being called Clare instead of Charlotte.  It seems she and Clare have traded places.  As she begins to adjust and tries to fit in, she finds that they trade places several times.  She's planning on returning and staying when they move the two girls out of the boarding school to a home so they have more room for the sick.  Now the opportunity to return is gone...

She tries to sneak in the building one night so she can return to her time but she's foiled by too many folks moving around.  She's beginning to despair but she likes Emily, her sister in this world.  At last, she finally gets back to her time.

Clare was not as good a student as Charlotte was, so she has to do damage control there to catch her grades back up.  She also begins to wonder if Clare and Emily are still alive.  What would you do if you experienced such a thing?  Would you look for answers or hide from them?  Charlotte looks...

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Thirst by Jo Nesbo

Harry is teaching a police course at college now.  He's married, has a stepson, and has quit drinking.  Then an unusual murder happens and the police chief asks him to come back and work on the case.  He won't be a cop but he wants to catch this murderer.  He reminds him of a case long ago.  He agrees.  It will cause him heartache.

Knopf Books and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published May 9th.

Harry caught and convicted the man who did this type of crime in the past.  He's still in jail.  So who is this new horror?

The man (or men, or woman) attacks the women and bites them with steel teeth.  He also appears to drink some of the blood.  They want to call him a vampire but he's not.  He's definitely not normal, though.

Mr. Nesbo always writes complex mysteries with all kinds of ugly human behavior.  This book is the same.  While Harry is driven by the case, his wife goes into a coma.  He can't imagine living without her but he also can't give up on the case.  His stepson gets very angry at him.  With no family to support him and not much police support, Harry is really on his own.  Harry on his own is dangerous.  And when folks around him start dying, he's getting in trouble, too.

You find out who the killer is but you don't find out how it's all related until the end of the book.  The story keeps you on your toes.  Someday Harry is going to bite off more than he can chew but it hasn't happened yet.  

Boo by Ben Newman

Are you easy to scare?  This book will show you that everyone has fears but you won't guess who scares the last creature in this book!

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

The limited text and vibrant graphics make this picture book come alive.  Each animal scares the next one who's telling how brave they are.  At the end, the story comes full circle when the mouse shows up again and scares a huge animal.  What fun!

Little ones will enjoy making animal noises and pretending to be big scary as they read this.  Read it with them and then let them scare you at the end...

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Afternoon of the Elves by Janet Taylor Lisle

This was not what I expected.  I thought it'd be a fun fantasy read with mellow characters and a bit of silliness.  Instead, this is the story of a young girl and her mother who have fallen through the cracks of social aid.  It's a bit sad and what's worse is it is true things like this happen...

Antheneum Books and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published May 16th.

Hillary is pretty much a loner at school.  She has casual friends, is good at her studies and doesn't attract much attention.  When a new student appears, she's wearing men's work shoes and clothes that hang on her.  She's not looking for friends.  But she lives right next door to Hillary.

When she offers to show Hillary an elf village, she can't say no.  She does say she doesn't believe in elves, but Sara-Kate does.  When she sees the small town and how things are put together, she's quite impressed.  She'd like to see an elf, too, but Sara-Kate says they've been hiding from humans for years and they're not about to be seen now.

As time goes on, Hillary helps repair the village after bad weather and she even begins to believe in elves.  She thinks maybe Sara-Kate is part elf.  But when she stays too long at their house, her mother comes to retrieve her and finds out what the situation is like at Sara-Kate's home.  Then everything falls apart.  The girls kept the secret but the Mom is "helping" them.

This story tugged at my heartstrings.  How do you know what's right for others?  When should you intercede?  And, if you do, you shouldn't desert the ones you're trying to help.  This story disturbed me.  I'll be thinking about it for a while.

Jay-Jay and his Island Adventure by Sue Wickstead

Jay-Jay is a double decker bus that was rehabilitated into a children's play room.  There are toys, books, and lots of games and things to do.  It's like bringing a playground in a bus.  Children love it!

The author sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It has been published now and you can get this and a copy of her first book about Jay-Jay.  This is based on a true story:  There was such a bus.

Jay-Jay learns he's going to an island to meet the children there.  He's excited about that but he's not sure about riding the ferry there.  He has no time to worry, next thing he knows they are on their way.  Poor Jay-Jay bumps his butt getting on the ferry.  The movement makes his diesel splish splash back and forth and he's not feeling real well.  But as soon as they land the children arrive and all is well.  He has a good time entertaining the children and is glad there aren't any real pirates out there anymore.

This is an easy reader for young readers with whimsical look back at the history of an old double decker bus.  I've ridden in one in Canada on the top deck.  You can see everywhere!  That makes lots of room for the children to play...

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Beyond the Wild River by Sarah Maine

Evelyn grew up in Scotland on her father's estate.  She's nineteen, has been well protected and she's not had much contact with other men.  Now she's going to the world's fair in Chicago and they will go fishing in Canada.  She hasn't fished with him in a long time so that should be interesting.  What she doesn't know is about her father's other plans...

Atria sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published April 18th.

Evelyn and her father have a secret.  Something happened years ago that neither have talked about.  She lost a good friend and she's not sure if her father was all she thought he was.  When they get to the river to go fishing, she sees the friend she lost.  He's grown into a man now.  But he won't talk to her.  Her father keeps her away from him.  He's also kept her away from the truth.  This fishing trip is an opportunity to get at the truth.

In the meantime, while her father was traveling ahead and she was traveling with another couple, they suddenly meet up with a young man they all know from home.  He starts traveling with them and flirting with Evelyn.  It isn't until later that she sees his true colors.

This is a tense story with dangers of varying degrees.  The only one who really knows all the facts is her father.  What he's trying to get to is the truth, and that's hard because he needs a confession.

I enjoyed the history and the plot.  The characters were strong and determined.  I also liked the way it ended.  Sometimes too much money and freedom turns people bad.  Justice won this time.

Porridge the Tartan Cat and the Bash-Crash-Ding by Alan Dapré and Yuliya Somina

This is a fun, nonsensical story about a cat that has fur colored like a tartan.  He lives with his family and tries to keep them safe and well informed.  It would work a lot better if they understood his meows...

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

You can tell when you begin to read this story that it's written by someone with a sense of humor.  After all, the cat lives by Loch Loch with the quirky McFun family: Gadget Grandad, Groovy Gran, Dino Dad, Mini Mum and the twins, Roaring Ross and Invisible Isla.  With a family like that, how could you not have fun?

Mom and Dad go on a trip and leave the kids and cat with Groovy Gran.  She's odd enough in her own way but when she talks of the band she joined years ago, it's with nostalgia.  She doesn't know where the band members are but the kids decide to put up posters and notices and do interviews to get the word out about a reunion.

But someone is taking the posters down.  Someone is trying to sabotage the plans.  How can that be?

It gets sillier the further you go but it's a fun read.  All's well that ends well.  Come have some fun at the concert!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Soupy Leaves Home by Cecil Castellucci, Jose Pimienta

She's a young girl living a normal life at home with her parents.  Then her mother dies.  Her father is full of anger and grief and he takes it out on her.  When he hits her hard enough to give her a black eye, she asks her grandmother if she can move in with her.  The answer is no.  Grandma thinks she must have done something to make him angry.  Being rejected by her family and not wanting to be hit anymore, she leaves home...

Dark Horse Books and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published May 2nd.

This story is set in the era where hobos were common.  Many men rode the rails from one part of the country to follow the good weather or go where the jobs were.  We lived next to railroad tracks at home and they would knock on our back door and ask for food.  Mom would give them a bologna sandwich and an apple and let them sit on the back porch to eat it.  Once the railroad was gone, so were the hobos.

Pearl cuts her hair, wears boy's clothes and calls herself Soupy.  She's lucky enough to meet up with another roamer who introduces her to hobo life.  She spends a lot of time hungry and has to be cautious about where she goes and who she talks to.  But she learns to be stronger, more self-assured, and willing to stand up for herself.

She lives through a court hearing to clear a innocent man, spends her hobo friend's final days with him, shares what he had left with his family and she finally makes it home.  But things aren't like they were before.  She's able to take care of herself and she knows it.

I liked the graphics, the hobo tale is quite authentic, and while there is sadness the story ends in a good way.  Hobos have always fascinated me.  Just because they traveled around the country and rode trains didn't mean they were stupid.  They just had feet that wouldn't stay in one spot.

Duels & Deception by Cindy Anstey


She's her father's only heir but she also has a guardian.  He drinks too much, he refuses to listen to her, and he's running them in the red.  He doesn't care about the crops, he just wants money for his own use.  She wants to keep her home intact and functioning as it used to so her mother and other family members have a home.  She decides to talk to her lawyer about it.  But the man who shows up to talk to her is a young man.  He's an apprentice to the older lawyer.  He's also not bad looking...

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

Lydia is sure that she knows how her life will work out.  She'll marry the man her father chose and be a dutiful wife and mother in the future.  She has too many opinions to make that work with the milktoast man her father assigned her.  She also doesn't love him.  But she's working on a marriage contract anyway.

Then her life gets much more exciting.  She's interested in Robert and makes excuses to see him.  She and he get kidnapped and have to figure out how to escape.  Then she gets nailed with gossip and scandal about them spending the night together.  The fact that she was in the barn and he was on the outside can't be disclosed because that's just as damning.

Duels are illegal but there are two of them in this story.  I especially liked the weapons used in the last duel.  There's also attempted bigamy to get money from Lydia.  Lydia also has another surprise before the end.

This is a light-hearted romance with plenty of action in between.  I don't think Lydia's life is ever going to be boring.  I really enjoyed this read.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda

What if a friend you knew really well wasn't who you thought she was?  It happens quite a bit but most people don't adopt a false name or create their own "past".  Just who was Emmy?

Simon & Schuster let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published May 16th.

Leah had to walk away from her last job as a journalist.  What she printed was true but she could give no witness names.  The article made the man singled out commit suicide.  The paper wants her gone before they have to face a huge lawsuit.  

Her mother is unhappy with her, her boyfriend was the one who got her in trouble at the paper, and she moves far away to live with a college roommate from the past.  No one will know her in the new small town and no one will know about her shame.  She signs up as a schoolteacher and a different trouble emerges.  The coach starts hitting on her.  He's married but he doesn't care.  She's not interested but he's not listening.  She tries ignoring him.

Emmy didn't come home as she should have.  After several days, she reports her missing.  That's when she realizes most of what she knew about Emmy was a lie...

The cops begin to take it more seriously when they find a dead woman in the woods.  The woman looks a bit like Leah.  She's not Emmy.  But why would she be killed near Leah's house?  Was the coach the killer?

Everyone in this story has baggage and troubles of their own.  Trying to piece the truth together will take its toll on Leah.  It also won't leave her with many of her own secrets.

What you do realize after reading this story is that trusting someone you don't know well can be a risk.  Do you want to take that risk?

Charlie & Mouse (Charlie & Mouse, #1) by Laurel Snyder

This is a beginners' chapter book that features short stories about two young boys.  Anybody who is around children will recognize these moments and smile.

The author sent me an ARC to read for review.  It will be published on April 11th.  Emily Hughes is the illustrator and I love her rendition of the boys.  They are cute little munchkins!

These are simple stories and easy to read.  The lumps are people sleeping in bed.  The party starts out as a family event and turns into a whole neighborhood party.  They want some money so they try to sell rocks.  Instead of selling any, they end up getting more rocks!  And the last story is a bit silly.  They decide they want a bedtime banana...

It's a fun way to get children started in reading.  I'm sure it would be a popular book at the daycare center, too.  Give it a try!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Where the Dead Lie (Sebastian St. Cyr #12) by C.S. Harris

Sebastian has had his challenges in life but he's still standing up for his beliefs and his sense of justice.  The problem is that the dead boys don't matter to politicians who are looking for greater wealth and power...

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

Someone is badly mistreating young boys and girls.  They been whipped, knifed, and raped.  The man who broke up the burial at the abandoned cemetery grounds said the man waiting for the boy who was digging was a gentleman.  Looking for a murder among the aristocrats is very dangerous.

It doesn't make things better when he starts finding facts.  It appears a foreign diplomat and a gentleman marrying his wife's younger sister are under suspicion.  The more questions he asks, the more warnings he gets.  He has to defend his own life more than once.  But he never gives up.

This story was a bit distasteful to me because of the abuse of children but Sebastian makes one of the killers pay.  The other one hasn't paid yet, but he will.  Sebastian never gives up.  I'm just glad he has his wife and child to calm him down and take him away from the bad he sees.  They're a good couple, each with their own strength.  

I'll be watching for the next book in this series.  Sebastian's mother-in-law has just died and being cynical like I am, I think her husband murdered her.  Now to see if I am right... 

Friday, April 7, 2017

The Empty Chair by Penny Goetjen

When they received a call telling them her mother had died, her father sends her over to make the arrangements needed to sell the house and bring her mother back for burial.  When she reaches the island and visits the police station, they know nothing of her mother's death.  They tell her to come back the next day and fill out a missing person report.

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

The mother was supposed to have drowned but even the Coast Guard know nothing about a boat accident.  Where's her mother and why is she gone?

Olivia has been to her mother's home on the island before.  She finds no clues there.  She met an interesting man at the airport and he's inviting her for drinks.  She asks him what he knows and doesn't find much out.  In the meantime, she keeps looking for her mother.

This story talks about island life and how things move slowly there.  It's hard to get a police investigation started.  She's an outsider and the residents don't want to help.  When she overhears a conversation, she decides to snoop and see what's going on.  She almost gets killed there.  Her mother's house is torched.  Her mother's car is tampered with.  Nobody wants her snooping around.  Then her father gets impatient and comes to "finish things up".  He just gets in the way.

I wish the main character had been portrayed as a stronger woman, but she did what she needed to do.

The last line of the book, though, makes you wonder if it's really all over...

Thursday, April 6, 2017

A Field Guide to Murder & Fly Fishing: Stories by Tim Weed

This is an eclectic collection of stories by Tim Weed.  You travel the world, meet odd people, and wonder about the implication of the story.  I found it to be an interesting read.  You might want to savor the stories a bit instead of a steady read through.

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

All of the stories are unique and impressive.  I have two I want to feature in this review because they really appealed to me.

The first is:  The Afternoon Client.  Have you ever had a customer who knew better than you did about everything and liked to lord it over you?  This fishing boat guide had an excellent idea for taking care of this situation...

The other is: Keepers.  Have you ever done something you knew was stupid?  Did you live through it?

These stories will make you think.  I enjoyed how well he portrayed people's emotions and reactions.  He's someone who has seen something of life.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Velvet Deluxe Hardcover by Ed Brubaker

She used to be special ops but when she was ordered to kill her husband because he was a traitor, she had a breakdown.  Now she's the secretary of the organization and she's very good at that.  Her problem is that when she was told one agent died on his mission, she knows he was too good to have that happen.  She decides to look into the case...

Image Comics let me read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published so you can grab a copy now.

I really liked this book.  James Bond had nothing on Velvet.  She grew into her position and while she's a bit rusty at it, she can still take care of herself.  It's a good thing.  When she starts snooping, they start setting her up.

There's lots of action, lots of tough stuff and plenty of death in this story.  Spies don't have it easy.  I enjoyed watching Velvet's different costumes and how she plays the men against each other.  When she finally finds the truth, it's not pleasant.  There's more killing to be done.  But she's up to the challenge.

I hope she comes back again.  I enjoyed watching her kick ass and setting things right.  I want to know what happens in the next segment of her life.