Thursday, August 31, 2017

Just Another Viscount in Love (Season's Original #3.5) by Vivienne Lorret

She's been shamed out of society many times now due to her father's bad reputation.  He's a conman and a thief and his name is not honored by anyone.  Too bad that's her last name, too.  Her aunt takes her out to the country to be able to travel in peace and get away from scorn.  She certainly didn't intend to have her meet the Viscount of a certain estate while she was cooling her feet in the pond on his property, but she's not unhappy about it...

Goddess Fish Blog Tours and the author allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can buy a copy now.

Sam knows he should get married to make his parents happy.  He might even make himself happy but he needs to find someone who has similar interests and who won't choose another instead of him.  He was almost there with a couple of women but they had other interests.  That's how life goes but he's wary around women now.  He does enjoy his chat with the young lady at the pond and he intends to see her again.  He does and he has fun with both her and her aunt.  He invites them to a party he's having.  They agree to come.  But when they get there, she finds her name has preceded her.  They shun her.  Then they set up her up as a thief, like her father, so that she won't be in contention.  

This is a sweet romance with some spice thrown in at the end.  I liked the story and the characters (except the snobby women) and the give and take between Gemma and Sam is fun to read.  I enjoyed it, why don't you give it a try?

Vivienne will be awarding a digital copy of Just Another Viscount to 3 randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour.  Enter HERE.

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

Happy reading and good luck! 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Embers of Destruction by J. Scott Savage


This is the third and final book in the Mysteries of Cove series.  After seeing what happened in Seattle, a group of six young explorers are flying their mechanical dragons to San Francisco with hopes of finding Kallista's missing father and any other Seattleites that might have survived.  What they find is beyond their worst nightmares...

Shadow Mountain Publishing and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 26th.  That gives you time to read the first two books in the series if you haven't already.

They are trying to kill the dragons that attack them as they travel.  Now they attempt to create a plan for attack in the morning on the ones that got away just ahead of them.  More than one idea emerges.  No one person is the leader but they need one or they'll be picked off by getting too far away from the others.  They choose Trenton as their leader but he's not comfortable with it.  It's a good thing the other team members can help him.

As they go over the mountains to get the dragons, they see a big city below them.  The people invite them to land.  When they do, dragons start coming out of the towers.  They just barely escape.  The dragons kill humans.  Why would these humans help the dragons?

They land on Alcatraz and find Kallista's father.  She's very happy.  Trenton is not so sure.  He's right to have his suspicions.  The white dragon in tower in San Francisco is using mind control on the humans, including Kallista's father.

You learn where the dragons originated, how they evolved, and how they set themselves up as superior beings.  There's lot of deaths and destruction before this story is over.  It's exciting enough I almost forgot to breath as I was nearing the end.  I liked this series.  Why don't you give it a try?

The Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti

She's different from the other students.  She has almost white hair, wears a Goth look in black clothing, and she really doesn't fit in anywhere.  She tries, half-heartedly, but she gets rejected by everyone she thought was kind.  It's no wonder things worked out like they did.  No one understood her...

Atria Books and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 26th.

Her family has fallen apart.  Her mother left, then her father left, her brother uses drugs and is abusive, so she stays in the old paper mill.  She has an affinity with blackbirds.  If only she got along better with people.

She does have two teachers who care about her.  One cares about all his students, maybe a little too much.  One is woman who has her class keep journals and she reads them as part of their grade.  The things she reads in the girl's notebook make her wonder what is going on in her head and what the comments mean.

Her grades go down, she starts missing school, and we all know something has happened.  She's been betrayed by her so-called "friends."  Then her friendly teacher refuses to help her.  She was raped by his star player and they taped her saying yes (she was drunk, perhaps fed a roofie and she did say yes, but she meant yes, let me go home) so the teacher takes the stand that she gave him permission.  To get even, she says that the teacher was the one who slept with her.

It's a small town and gossip travels fast.  The whole town implodes from assumptions, suspicions, jealousy, and other emotions.  

It starts as a poor girl tries to make friends and it just keeps worse.  The victim becomes a victim again.  I was hoping for a happier ending but life doesn't always go the way we planned...
 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

99 Red Balloons by Elisabeth Carpenter

Grace was coming home from school with her friends.  They stopped at the sweet shop for a treat.  Grace went in and came out but she never made it back home...

Avon Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 26th.

The tale of the present missing girl is very similar to another case that happened twenty-five years ago.  Another family lost a little girl who was kidnapped.  While it seems impossible, these two cases are related to each other.

There's no end of trauma and heartbreak involved in this case.  Losing a child is one of the worst things that can happen to parent.  As time goes on, secrets come out that cause more problems.  Friends and family grow further apart.  And the child still hasn't been found.

The story started with a mother who wanted to replace the child she lost in an accident.  She was willing to pay for her.  As life goes on, what she has done puts two separate families in trouble. Not everything was her fault but most of it was.  In the end, the survivors will have to work on getting their lives back and moving on.  It does sound like they'll make it.  I hope so, no one deserves that sorrow in their lives.

Blood and Stars: Legend of Rhyme Series Volume 1 Book 5 by Jaime Lee Mann

Ariana awakens at home but she finds her twin missing.  She really wants to find him but the queen of their land is in a coma and may not recover.  She's next in line for queen, so she has to stay home and out of trouble.  At least that was how it was supposed to work out...

Blue Moon Publishers and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 12th.

This series is all fantasy.  There are sprites, fairies, mermaids, octopuses, and more mixed in the magical people's world.  

One mermaid is trying to contain a certain family so she can use their powers for her gain.  She's also insane which becomes apparent as the story goes along.

Elora, who was turned into stone, comes to life again when Ariana makes a wish.  She's asking them to trust her but she had turned into a dark one and betrayed them before.  Can they really trust her now?  She does save her sister, the queen.  Maybe they could trust her?

The frog is bartering for his human life.  The ice dragons are coming again.  Will Ariana's twin get to come home?  Who will be left alive at the end of this book?  Read it and see.  This writer's books get better the more she writes.  Give it a try.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Sugar Pine Trail by RaeAnne Thayne

Julia is the local librarian.  She's living in the family home now.  Both her parents are dead.  Her life is steady, quiet and almost boring.  She decides she should change that.  But she never envisioned a renter that would shake up her life and two boys who would change her life...

HQN and Edelweiss let me read a copy of this book for review (thank you).   It will be published September 26th.

When her friend suggests she rent out the upstairs apartment, she thinks that would be a good idea.  She could use the money to pay off her new furnace.  What she doesn't expect to get is a man who is waiting for his new condo to be finished.  He's just a temporary renter.  But Jamie has a big reputation of being a ladies man who likes to love 'em and leave 'em.  Just what she doesn't need.

Then she notices two boys who spend their time at the library until closing.  They walk home, they keep to themselves and they don't appear to be eating well.  She gives them a ride home and then finds they are living alone.  Their mother has PTSD and she went for a doctor's appointment and never came back.  Julia calls Child Protective Services and the boys are collected.  She requests they stay together wherever they are sent.  When she finds out they are going to separated, she says she will take them temporarily.  Now she has three men in her life to worry about.

She and Jamie each have their own sad histories and the boys have their own.  It's a good thing she has a big house.  Jamie ends up helping her with the boys because he came from a big family.  Before long, she's fallen in love with them all.  But she can't keep the boys, an aunt and uncle come to claim them.  Can she keep Jamie or not?

This has a sweet ending and it's nice to see happier times in life coming for all.  It's a very pleasant romance read.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Indigo Girl by Natasha Boyd

Her father has been called back to war.  Her brothers are still going to school in England and will have to do their service time, too.  She's sixteen but has been running the household and working with her father.  She even has had some good ideas for plantation improvements.  He puts her in charge of his three plantations in South Carolina and heads off on the next boat.  She has challenges ahead of her.

Blackstone Publishing and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 26th.

This is a fictional story based on historical facts.  There was such a woman.  The general circumstances fit the history and it's pretty amazing.

She's a young woman who is directing the caretakers on the plantations in what she wants them to raise and how much.  One man is good and manages to do more than she asked; the other is bad, beats his slaves, and ignores her requests.  She asks the man who is watching over her (one of her neighbors) to go with her when she visits with him but it doesn't go well.

Her father is robbing the plantations of their wealth in land by borrowing against them so he can complete his duties overseas.  They are not doing well enough in seasonal crops to keep up.  She knows they pay big money for indigo dye.  The French make it and sell it for top dollar.  The slaves know how.  She decides to try a venture in that.  

Her first seeds don't make it.  They have to plant later.  When she gets a really good crop, she asks her father to send someone over who is knowledgeable about harvesting it and getting the dye from the plants.  He does but the man doesn't want to help her.  He wants to marry her and own the plantation himself.  When she refuses, he ruins her crop.

This woman was smart, extremely strong, and refused to give up.  She lost her first love, her family left her, and it was just by fate that she found a husband she loved.

There is mini-biography about her at the end of the book.  I bet she would have been real interesting to talk to.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Miss Seeton Quilts the Village (Miss Seeton #23) by Hamilton Crane, Heron Carvic

Miss Seeton returns from vacation to find the policemen have been looking for her.  They need her help again...

Farrago sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published September 7th.

I love Miss Seeton.  She's not your typical detective but somehow she sees more than what is shown.  She instinctively picks up on the nuances:  Things felt but not seen.  And doing that has helped the Oracle solve several cases.  His current case seems almost like he's being set up to fail, so he hopes she can help him escape that trap.  For some reason he doesn't seem to trust the high mucky-mucks and the lack of information he's getting.  He's investigating a death but it's not what it seems.

A secret agent appears to have committed suicide but nobody thinks it was suicide.  They think he was drugged and hit the tree under the influence of the drug.  They worry that British secrets might be leaked to other countries.  Not that they say so directly.

There are refugees in one home.  They are quiet, stay to themselves, and don't drive on the right side of the road.  Even Miss Seeton gets run off the run on her bicycle once.  But they don't seem to be involved in the spying business.

When they figure out who is, they're amazed.  One thing about it, when Nigel got married to Louise and their new home was being remodeled, they had no idea what kind of discoveries the builders would find.

This is another fun read with Miss Seeton creating pictures that make no sense to her and sometimes not the most sense to the Oracle, but he does solve the case.  I can't wait to read the next one.


Invictus by Ryan Graudin

His whole life's goal was to become a certified time traveler.  He's excelled at everything.  He just has his final exam to ace to achieve it.  But someone has sabotaged his sim and he fails.  He can't fail but he did.  Now he has no hope of being a legal time traveler.  But he gets a note about a second chance...

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published September 26th.

His second chance is to become a time traveler in the black market trade. You travel back to the past and retrieve artifacts that were destroyed by an event just before the event happens.  He agrees because his mother was lost on a time travel expedition and he wants to find her if it's possible.  The money he will be paid for facing the dangers to get the treasure will give him the opportunity to look.

This is the first book I've read by this author and she has certainly caught my attention.  She weaves a tale so successfully that I didn't want to put the book down and didn't want the story to end.  That's a good author!

He soon has a team he trusts and a woman he loves.  But time travel can be confusing and difficult.  It doesn't help when you run into another time traveler who's after the same item you are.  She also has some secrets she's not telling him.  

There's tension, insecurity, lost love, and more all intertwined in this story.  The movement between the past and the present continues swifter than ever.  Even discounting the human factor and that they want him dead, he also has to worry about the way times and places are disappearing.  It's called the fold and it eats everything in its path.  To overcome that, they will have to do something that has never been done before.  It's fascinating and it has a great ending.  From great despair, hope arises.

Friday, August 25, 2017

The Alchemical Detective by Kirsten Weiss

Riga has lost her magic powers so she's staying at Lake Tahoe and is trying to find them again.  She's not having any luck.  When she starts reading about another form of magic, the cops show up at her door.  Somehow she's become a murder suspect...

The author shared a free copy of her book with me for a review (thank you).  It has been published and you can pick up a copy now.

It seems there is a killer in the midst of Tahoe.  If that wasn't enough to keep Riga busy (they are killing everyone who has magic talents and she might be a future victim herself), she's hired to look for the monster in the lake.  That turns into quite an adventure.

As the body count grows, Riga is pretty sure there is a demon loose in town but who is it?

I enjoyed the romance between Riga and her fella.  She needs him in her life to keep her safe.  He needs her to keep him safe.  In the meantime, Riga is sending souls on their way, exorcising demons, and trying to solve a murder.

The ending is sensational and made me say:  Wow!  I enjoyed this read and will be looking for more in this series.  It was a good read.

The Long Trail by Onias Bondo

Buffalo is on the trail of the man who killed his wife.  He loved her, she was pregnant with his baby, and he still grieves for her.  When he checks with the sheriff in the next town he comes into, he finds out the man he's searching for robbed the bank there.  The sheriff suggests he become his new deputy because they killed his other two deputies.  He's going after the same man, why not work together?  Buffalo declines.  But before he can get out of the office, a fiery Mexican gal comes in yells at the sheriff.  He invites her to take a meal with him but she blows him off...

Pioneering 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 sheriff asks the young woman to ask Buffalo to be the deputy.  He knows he can't take down that gang alone.  She does, he says no, she calls him a coward, and he takes the job.

The first man he runs across in town is the one that has been trying to court the young woman.  He warns him off.  Buffalo listens and then takes out the two gunmen with him in a fist fight.  This won't be their last fight.

The smartest thing Buffalo did was to hire the Indian in town after the sheriff is shot.  The Apache is good at tracking and sneakie enough to overhear conversations.  They make a good team.  Justice is done the old fashioned way.    

This is a good western and I enjoyed seeing a back man and an Apache dispense justice evenly and appropriately.  Love at first sight was a bit of a stretch for me but it does have a happy ever after ending.  Give it a try.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

H.A.L.F.: ORIGINS (H.A.L.F. #3) by Natalie Wright

What would you do if aliens came to earth and spread a virus across the land?  The politicians decide to lie and call it a terrorist attack.  Not that that's better but at least it won't cause world panic.  However, it's time for the world to panic.  Life as we know may be over if someone doesn't stop them...

The author shared a copy of this book with me for review (thank you).  It is being published today.  If you haven't read the others in this series, you should.  It will explain some references in the story.

Everyone is still on the run.  Tex and Erika are together in one location and Jack and Anna in another.  Tex and Erika don't get along as well as they could because they both like to give orders, not take them.  After some ugly experiences in escaping, they head for Erika's aunt's home.  She's a park ranger that lives in New Mexico and maybe they can hide there.  When they get there, Tex gets very ill.  Her aunt takes him to an Indian shaman and the tribe works on helping him heal.  It's frustrating to wait and see if he survives.  He does but her aunt has brought in the sheriff and some feds because she thinks Tex is dangerous.  How dangerous, she doesn't know.  They negotiate for some time.  Tex is on a mission to save the world.

In the meantime, Jack is trying to take down the "Makers".  They are using genetic breeding to bring better citizens into their world. They have a built a city below ground and intend to hide there from the aliens.  

Between the fights on earth, two groups of aliens coming to earth, and only one hope for a savior, it's still a fight to the end over the fate of earth.  The ending ties things together but it made me a bit sad.  Earth will survive but there a lot of pieces to pick up after this alien war.

The Devil's Triangle (A Brit in the FBI #4) by Catherine Coulter, J.T. Ellison

FBI Special Agents Nicholas Drummond and Michaela Caine are in a new position now.  They are good partners and they head the Covert Eyes division.  They're discrete, stay under cover, and take care of difficult situations.  They do what it takes to stop criminals in their tracks.  When they get a call from a thief they've met before, they get permission to help.  She's the best thief around and she has stolen an important artifact from a place that was totally secure.  Her customers take the artifact and then try to kill her...

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

This book is 517 pages long but you won't want to set it down.  The action is fierce, you can feel the danger, and the characters are resourceful.  You can feel the characters and their beliefs.  It doesn't take long until you're hooked on the story.

The thief, Fox, is married and when they don't succeed in killing her, they grab her husband.  She called the FBI agents because they caught her in the past and let her go after a trade of goods they were trying to recover.  They come in to help and find it's much more difficult than they thought it would be.

The scary part is that people have learned how to control the weather.  One family in particular has used that knowledge to make a lot of money.  It's unfortunate that the grandchildren of this family want to control the world.  They don't want to hear the word "no" again.  And they are old enough to do it.

This turns into an international crisis with unneeded and unheeded death.  The Covert Eyes are busy and everyone faces personal danger.  At the end, all you can do is keep reading and keep hoping the good characters make it.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Thornhill by Pam Smy

This is a different story.  It has a ghost from the past and a little girl who's almost a ghost in the present.  The author does a great job of drawing you into the story.  The illustrations are done in black and white and they make you feel ghostly.  It's an abandoned house next door that abuts the garden below that draws Ella in...

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

Ella can see Mary and she wants to make friends with her.  Mary is shy and elusive but Ella keeps trying.

Mary's story is sad and shows how badly bullying can affect someone.  Ella is home alone a lot because her mother is dead and her father is working.  She decides to try to figure out Mary's story.  There's a diary she can read to let her know what happened.  All except the ending.  Ella should have left the diary alone...

Compostela (Tesseracts Twenty) edited by Spider Robinson and James Alan Gardner

This anthology of sci fi/fantasy stories contains some real oddities.  Stories that don't go far enough, stories that scare you, and stories that can be a challenge to read.  It was interesting and felt good to read a collection of stories that didn't do exactly what you wanted.  It kept it intriguing.

Hades Publications sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can buy a copy now.

There are poems interspersed in the book which changes the pace for you.  The writers are:  Alan Bao, John Bell, Chantal Boudreau, Leslie Brown, Tanya Bryan, J. R. Campbell, Eric Choi, David Clink, paulo da costa, Miki Dare, Robert Dawson, Linda DeMeulemeester, Steve Fahnestalk, Jacob Fletcher, Catherine Girczyc, R. Gregory, Mary-Jean Harris, Geoffrey Hart, Michaela Hiebert, Matthew Hughes, Guy Immega, Garnet Johnson-Koehn, Michael Johnstone, Cate McBride, Lisa Ann McLean, Rati Mehrotra, Derryl Murphy, Brent Nichols, Susan Pieters, Alexandra Renwick, Rhea Rose, Robert J. Sawyer, Thea van Diepen, Nancy SM Waldman.  They are all from Canada.  Maybe that's why the stories tasted different to me.

I especially liked the following stories:

The Shoulders of Giants by Robert J Sawyer.  They've been a space ship forever.  When they reach their destination, they find others got there first...

No Others Like Us by Nancy SM Waldman.  What if the planet you went to changed your DNA?

The Shadowed Forest by Rati Mehrota.  Imagine being connected 24/7 and never having any secrets.  Is that a good thing or a bad thing?  She must decide...  (Reminded me of 1984 by George Orwell.)

Why don't you read it and tell me which ones you liked?

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Dam Keeper by Robert Kondo; Dice Tsutsumi

This story is a bit sci fi and all fantasy.  A young pig is the Dam Keeper now, since his father went into the unknown.  There is a fog that approaches the city and only their windmill can hold it back with the help of the dam.  He does what he learned.  But then the fog changes...

First Second Books and Net Galley let me read this graphic novel for review (thank you).  It will be published September 26th.

Pig is alone.  His mother died, his father went insane, and he has almost no friends at school.  Fox is nice to him but she's friends with Hippo who is not.  When Fox comes to visit and brings Hippo, he's not happy but he tries to be nice.  Suddenly the fog is moving when it shouldn't be and the dam breaches!  They run from the falling structures and find themselves outside the walls...

There is plenty of adventure, odd creatures, and another city there.  They just want to go home but they're not sure how to get there.  Perhaps someone in the city will help them.

This is the first in a series and it's interesting enough to keep me reading.  I want to know if Pig finds his father and how he, Fox, and Hippo survive.  Wouldn't you?

The Best Tailor in Pinbauê by Eymard Toledo

He loves to help his Uncle sew.  He can cut pieces, tack them, and do all kinds of odds and ends.  His Uncle tells him stories while he does it.  And they make such colorful clothes.  Everybody loves his work!  Then the factory comes to town...

Triangle Square and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 26th.

Once the factory has arrived, all his Uncle's business is from the factory.  He makes grey uniforms for them.  It's not much fun but it is a source of income.  Then the factory buys the uniforms from another company far away and gets them cheaper.  What are they to do?

The nephew comes up with an idea on how to improve sales and it works.  This is a sweet family story about a Brazilian family and how they adjusted to change.  The illustrations use paper to make almost 3-D graphics.  They even use some of the pretty material for the graphics.  The story is simple and the book is special.

Monday, August 21, 2017

An Echo of Murder by Anne Perry

Monk is facing an awful case.  Someone is killing Hungarian immigrants.  They are single or windowed males and they are being killed with great anger and in the same way each time.  Since he doesn't speak Hungarian, it makes the case even more difficult.  It's like they don't want to talk to him since he's police.  He has trouble picking up the nuances in their conversations, too.  There's fear on both sides in this neighborhood.

Ballantine and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 19th.

The Hungarian doctor helps with translation but for some reason, Monk distrusts him.  So does his partner.  Neither can put a finger on why.

There's another doctor that can speak Hungarian but he's damaged from the war he was in.  He loses his place when he enters his mind and the past events.  He can't sleep at night because of the nightmares.  And then people see him with blood on his clothes.  It was from a childbirth he assisted with but they think he's the killer. Charlotte is friends with the damaged doctor and she stands up for him.  But he's ready to give up.  Monk doesn't think he's guilty, but he could be.

This case is a tangled mess with wrongs from the past mixing with the present.  It has a surprise ending that I never imagined.  Watching Monk and Charlotte negotiate another tough case was a joy.  The deaths were awful but the teamwork was amazing.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Falcon Wild by Terry Lynn Johnson

Karma found a falcon that had been raised by a human but was lost.  She saved it from death and then worked on training it.  She was very proud of it and used it at demonstrations on how the birds of prey are not as dangerous as they look.  Life was going well and she was hoping to train it to hunt for her when it suddenly injures her during a demonstration.  The worst part is that the previous owner has contacted the family and wants his bird back.  After the injury, her parents decide the bird's going back...

Charlesbridge and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 19th.

Karma is very upset but she knows she can't keep someone else's bird.  She has plans to plead for it when they get there.  Her father and little brother head out with her for the Canadian border.  It's a boring, long trip and she sleeps a bit on the way.  When they stop for gas and some munchies, she sees a young hitchhiker.  She asks her father to stop and pick him up.  He doesn't act like normal and her father soon stops and tells him they aren't going his way.  To make it real, he turns at the next road.  It should connect with the highway he wants.  Unfortunately, their van blows a tire and they end up upside down in the ditch.  Her father is pinned, her brother has to stay to care for him, so Karma sets out for the highway where she will be able to get help.

What do you do when you've run out of food and water, aren't sure where you are and just keep walking hoping to find the highway?  She's lucky enough to have her bird friend with her and then she meets up with the hitchhiker again.  I admire birds of prey and learned more about them in this read.

This is tale of survival and redemption both.  It's busy, heart-wrenching and all the children involved learn they can survive on their own.  Help is always welcome, though.  And friendships can last forever.

Park Bench by Christophe Chabouté

This graphic novel is unique.  It's the story of a park bench.  There are no words, only emotions on people's faces tell their story.  We see benches everywhere.  Do you see who sits on them?

Gallery 13 and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 19th.

I liked the simplicity of the story and was amazed to see how much could be conveyed by actions and expressions.  This is a tribute to the bench's life and I enjoyed reading it.

It starts with a young couple, still in grade school.  He's carving a heart in the bench saying he loves her.  One man sits on it and plays music trying to make some money.  An older couple comes and sits on it and shares a pastry dessert.  A homeless man tries to sleep on it but the cop keeps running off.  Love dies and love grows all on this bench.

Reading this story is like seeing a slice of life.  Most people don't slow down enough to do that but if you did, it'd be a lot like this.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Crows of Beara by Julie Christine Johnson

She has just gone through rehab for drinking and is working hard on not falling back into the same rut.  Then she does something stupid and her husband finds out about it.  It's the straw that broke the camel's back.  Their marriage is ending, she's moving out, and now her job is on the hook.  Will she be able to do this promotion or will she lose her job?  What happens is she finds her soul...

Ashland Creek Press and the author sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published September 15th.

The story is set along a windswept coast in Ireland.  You can feel the atmosphere, the wet and cold, and the mysticism of the land.  There's a lot of history here and some of it still talks to you.

Annie goes in believing it's just a standard promotion.  The proposed copper mines would bring jobs and better economy to the island.  But there's a conflict.  It's a nesting site for the Red-billed Chough, which is an endangered species.  It's like when they found the spotted owl in Washington forests.  Loggers want to log, and environmentalists wanted to save owls.  Nobody was completely happy.  This one looks like it's going to get the same results.

Annie starts out strong and does well with her presentation.  Then she finds out the company doesn't care about the birds, doesn't want to meet with public, and that they are hot trotting the permits through.  She's pretty sure they aren't meeting all the requirements.  Soon she's at odds with them.  She backs off to regroup.  She's not sure where she's going next or what she's going to do but she has found a new love.  They both have baggage and things to work through but love is there.  

You learn a bit about Ireland, a bit about corvids, and a bit about life in this story.  I could feel the call of Ireland and the mysticism of the isle.  Annie hasn't given up yet...

Friday, August 18, 2017

Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

When Emmett is called to the principal's office, he can't figure out what he did wrong.  Why would he want to see him?  The office has other people in it and they tell him it's like he's won the lottery:  He's been chosen to go to space and mine nyxia on a world called Eden.  He doesn't know how he could win when he didn't apply but the amount of money they are offering ends any questions...

Crown Books for Young Readers and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 12th.

There are ten students going and they come from all over the world.  They wear a mask that translates all languages to the one you understand.  They all are poor or broken in some way.  And only eight of the two ten will be allowed to go to the planet.  It's competition all the way there.  The tests are difficult, change all the time and they have to learn how to fight each other, swim well, stay alive on the river in a boat and more.

This would make a really good movie.  There is plenty of action, lots of emotion and plenty of other worldly effects.

Once they complete the trip to the Tower, they find out there is another team up there.  Both have been trained.  The best of the best will get to go to Eden.

Injuries keep you from gaining points.  One girl even gets killed.  But they are all trying hard to win.  It doesn't take long until you realize the company is not telling them the whole truth.  Nyxia is like gold used to be but more powerful.  They want to control it.  However, I don't think they are too worried about any human losses.  This is the first book in the series and they are just getting ready to land.  The next book should be even more revealing.  I hope Emmett survives...

Thursday, August 17, 2017

An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon

Living on a space ship is like living on island.  Those with money and power live in the best sections of the ship, those who are poorer are in the outlying sections.  Even in this imaginary world, there are race issues.  Those of darker color are treated like lesser beings.

Akashic and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 3rd.

Aster is a healer.  She's been working with the surgeon on patients and is learning techniques for healing.  She also learns from the women in the lower sections.  They've been healing themselves for years and they grow their own herbs to do so.  Her problem is she says what she thinks without filtering it or lying and she hates being humiliated.  Fighting with the guards gets her back lashed and for a bad enough offense, she's put in solitaire for eight days with no food or water.  This is not a nice place to live.

The Sovereign Authority is one man who acts as God in this world.  He's ill, the next one to be appointed is worse and is Aster's enemy, they kill a young girl in front of Aster to show her she's marked and vulnerable, and suddenly it looks like there will be a civil war aboard the ship.

If that's not enough, Aster is still looking for her mother who disappeared when she was a baby.  They tell her she committed suicide but she doesn't know if she believes it.  She's found her journals and she's reading them.  But it's her friend who shows her the entries are in code...

This is a tense dramatic read with lots of bad things happening.  Despite that, the oppressed still have hope.  I found this an interesting read with lots of nuances.  This author takes you to her world and immerses you in the turbulent times they are living... 

Castle in the Stars: The Space Race of 1869 by Alex Alice

His mother is an adventurer and she takes off in her air balloon in search of aether.  She finds it but she loses her life...

First Second Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this graphic novel for review (thank you).  It will be published September 15th.

He and his father are deeply saddened and move on with their lives but it's not the same.  They are still working with hot air balloons.  When someone asks them to meet them in another location to get the wife's logbook, they go.  Then they find out the Prussians are after them!

Escaping takes a lot of work but escape they do.  Then they go to the Prince's castle.  He's also interested in hot air balloons and gives them an assignment.  They recognize one of the Prussians who tried to detain them as a member of the household but they can't accuse him. There's no proof.  They do create false architectural designs to throw him off. Soon there's mutiny in the castle and the only way to get away is on the air balloon...

This is first book in the series and it's entertaining.  I'll be watching for the next novel.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Bronze Skies by Catherine Asaro

Major Bhaajan is an anomaly.  She came from the Undercity, became part of the military, and has retired from that.  She is now a private eye.  She lives above in the City of Cries, but she regularly visits the Undercity.  She has a kid's club down there she's training in martial arts and her boyfriend lives there.  But the new case she picks up is going to take her places she's never been before...

Baen and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 5th.

This is new fantasy world set on another planet.  Earth people came there years ago and it seems there may be other beings, too.  The society that is established has evolved through the ages.  Most understand why things are what they are but they don't have to like it.  When Bhaajan is summoned by the Ruby Pharaoh and asked to find a Juggernaut, her adventures begin.  Juggernauts are not supposed to be able to kill the way this one did.  How did she do it without triggering the shut down?  And why would she kill that official?

You learn about the two cities, the underground aqueducts, the various groups in the society, and how the Pharaoh uses her mind and a computer interface to communicate in space and the powers out there.  You also find out that the Pharaoh and Bhaajan have some genetics in common.

This is full bodied story with lots of characters.  The author makes you care about them.  It's twisted tale from long ago meshed with the present.  It's good thing they have a strong leader.  And I'm glad Bhaajan survived the war.  She even admitted she loves her boyfriend.  What more could you want?


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding A Fiendish Arrangement by Alexandra Bracken

Prosperity has always been a bit different from the rest of his family, but he had no idea when he turned thirteen he'd suddenly be possessed by a fiend.  After all, the original contract was years and years ago.  He hadn't even known about it.  His relatives did though.

Disney-Hyperion and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published on September 9th.

When he and his twin sister are summoned to their grandmother's home for a family event, they have no idea how dangerous it is.  They are testing the two to find out which one the fiend is hiding in.  When they find out, they grab Prosperity and hold him down and cut his arm with a knife.  They would have cut more but an outsider grabs him and runs away with him.  He's thankful for being saved but he doesn't understand that there's danger there, too.

Family greed is not part of Prosperity's make up.  Alastor (the fiend) can't manipulate him like he did his ancestor.  He even finds himself helping him to do good and he finds that disgusting.

I enjoyed reading about Prosperity's night adventures while possessed.  Alastor likes eating pumpkins and spiders and other odd things as he wanders through the night.  When he finds a Hob, he takes him on as a servant.  However, things aren't at all like they seem.

Alastor's world has changed since he's been gone.  Another fiend has taken over his rightful throne.  He wants to get back desperately and take it back.  But his enemy there is the least one expected.

The ending is a cliff hanger.  The fiend and Prosperity will have to work as a team to solve the new problem.  And Prosperity is going to sign a contract to make him do so.  But then what will happen to Prosperity?

This is an exciting adventure with danger, disgusting things, and betrayers everywhere.  It's definitely not boring.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Forged in Blood by Michael Z. Williamson

If you listen hard, this sword will talk to you...

Baen and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 5th.

This is the story of sword who is almost alive.  It hungers for blood and war.  And those who use it as weapon always seem to be fighting a war of some kind.

These people wrote the stories in this anthology are:  

Contributors:
Zachary Hill
Larry Correia
Michael Massa
John F. Holmes
Rob Reed
Dale Flowers
Tom Kratman
Leo Champion
Peter Grant
Christopher L. Smith
Jason Cordova
Tony Daniel
Kacey Ezell
Michael Z. Williamson


The tale begins in ancient times in Asia.  The first story is about the wife of the ruler whose home is being invaded while the ruler is out of town.  She stands to fight with her warriors but when the enemy breaches the door and comes for her, she ends up alone before him.  She fights but he cuts her hand off.  She reaches behind her and comes up with an ancestor's weapon.  She wasn't supposed to touch but she calls on her ancestors and attacks him with it.  She wins...  This story is my favorite.

The other tales are about the wars we've faced and future wars we may face.  They talk of other worlds and other monsters.  Almost all the warriors who carry the sword end up dead.  But not before they've created a whole lot of death themselves.

The stories are savage and bloody but they kept my attention by continuing the story of the blade.  The sword has been changed through the years as it gets chipped or broken in the fighting.  By the end of the story it's almost indestructible.  Too bad you can't say that about the people wielding it...