Monday, September 25, 2017

The Big Book of Rogues and Villains by Otto Penzler

Otto Penzler always does a wonderful job of picking out stories for his anthologies.  He has it done again with these stories.  There are 72 stories and it's 928 pages long.  Took me almost three days to read this one but it was worth it.

Vintage Crime/Black Lizard and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this books (thank you).  It will be published October 24th.

With body snatchers, Dracula, the Cisco Kid and more starring in these stories, it holds your attention.  The early stories had more shock value.  The ones that always appeal to me are the ironic endings.  I'm not looking for perfect endings, I just enjoy justice winning once in a while.

Here's a list of the stories that seemed special to me as I read them:

The Unpublished Memoirs by ASW Rosenbach.
The Gray Seal by Frank L. Packard
A Retrieved Reformation by O. Henry -- excellent read!
The Burglar by John Russell
After Dinner Story by William Irish
The Cat Woman by Erle Stanley Gardner
The Theft from an Empty Room by Edward D. Hoch
Quarry's Luck by Max Allen Collins
Keller on the Spot by Lawrence Block

Many of those authors are old friends that I've been reading for years.  It's always fun to read stories you know will enjoy.  Give it a read and see which stories talk to you!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne

This fantasy world holds all kinds of creatures and has political ploys, spies, corrupt officials and more, just like earth.  Our animals are a bit tamer but the game playing is the same.  In this story, if you didn't plan well, you could very well end up dead.

Del Ray and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 17th.

The author uses a bard to tell the tales of the various cities and their history.  He has magic that can make him look like the character telling the tale.  When he gets on his platform and begins speaking, everyone gathers around to hear his tales.  They are not all good stories but they are the truth.  That leads to having assassins looking for the bard.  He's assigned a professor to write his tales down and keep him company.  They put the bard in a different safe house each evening and he's not told where.  That almost ended up with him dead but the guards stopped them.

You meet a lot of different clans, it seems like almost everybody dies, and there's a new magic found.  A few people can communicate with animals and they can use them as weapons against the enemy.  The mariners can remove the water from your brain.  The lavamakers can burn you up.  Giants can squish you.  Danger is very prominent in this world.

This book was 640 pages long and I wasn't bored at all.  The story is vibrant and interesting.  I was anticipating a whopping ending and then found out it was a cliff hanger.  We'll have to read the next book to find out more.  That disappointed me a bit.  I like the books to end with an opening for a future volumes.  This one didn't feel like it was done.  But this world feels real and I'm sure there will be more fighting in the future.  It began with a volcano going off and the tension has continued since then...

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

Polly loves the little bakery she owns where she creates beautiful pastries and breads.  She's got a steady boyfriend, is living in a lighthouse and life is good.  It's true the lighthouse is not as warm as it could be but it has the most spectacular views.  All it takes is her girlfriend having a night out and the world she lives in falls apart...

William Morrow and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 10th.

When her girlfriend went out partying, she woke up in a motel room with a man sleeping next to her.  She escaped as fast as she could.  She also just barely got home before her husband shows up and she hides what she's been up to.  The problem is that she's pregnant now.  And she's not sure whose baby she's having...

If that wasn't enough drama and tension for everyone, Polly finds her father is in the hospital.  She has never seen him or knew him at all.  The woman calling is his wife.  And then Polly finds out he was married before he met her mother and had her.  No wonder he wasn't around.

With lots of tension and drama already crowding the pages, Polly's boyfriend finds out she didn't share this knowledge with him and he thinks their relationship is not what he thought it was.  He goes to stay with friends.

Despite all these obstacles, things smooth out and there's even a surprise for Christmas...

Happy Birthday! by Mamoru Suzuki

This is a really sweet picture book about the birth of baby and his first birthday.  It has simple text and beautiful graphics.

Museyon and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 1st.

There is a short version of the baby's birth, the author even mentions the baby's beginning life which is filled with food, sleep and poop (!) and then moves on to when he begins to crawl and eventually walks.  By his birthday, he's running.  Mom even predicts him flying away when he gets older and she makes sure that he knows he'll always be loved and that home will be waiting for him.

It's a very precious look at a baby's life and the graphics make the story more real.  The author did a very nice job with this simple picture book.

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Shanghai Incident (Master Diplexito and Mr. Scant #2) by Bryan Methods

The boy and his butler are on a mission to find his uncle's missing daughter.  When his uncle goes missing, too, it becomes an even more dangerous mission.  Where could he have gone and why would he go alone?

The author sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published October 1st.

This is the second book in this series and it's just as exciting as the first one.  The tale starts in Paris, where the boy gives a homeless boy some chocolates.  After that, the younger boy has attached himself to him and he's trying to tell him something.  It's in French though and he doesn't understand enough of that.  Mr. Scant tells him he's trying to find Julian, his older brother.  It just so happens that middle aged boys have been disappearing around Paris.  Now they have three persons to search for.

You learn about the various power groups of China, find that some of their allies are really their enemies, and it's up to them to stop a plot to kill the young boy who is the current emperor.  There's plenty of action, Mr. Scant's strength is needed, and Master Diplexito mind is called into action.  They don't have an easy time trying to save the emperor and one of the allies is poisoned.  It's a good thing this team is so resilient.

This was another exciting read and I see there's another book coming next year.  That's a long time to wait but it will be another deadly adventure, I'm sure. 


Jorie and the River of Fire by A H Richardson

Jorie misses Rufus.  She's got plenty to do but they had a great adventure together and she wouldn't mind doing more adventuring.  She gets even more anxious when the white cat comes out of the tarn and tells her the good wizard needs her help.  He can turn into a dragon but not when he's confined in a small space and starved.  Luckily, Rufus will be home in a couple of days.

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

I read the earlier book in this series and enjoyed it.  This one is even better.  

The first thing Jorie does when they use the tarn to get to the other world is visit the wizard's castle and get the magic stones.  She takes them with her because they warn her of danger and can even give her special powers to fight it.

Trying to find the wizard means they must go to the most dangerous place in this world and find a way across a burning fire river without burning up.  They also have to avoid the hunters the bad wizard uses.  The bad wizard is on guard for them himself, so they try to stay hidden as best they can.

There are new revelations, new characters, and a lot of danger in this story.  It kept me glued to the book as I worried if Jorie and Rufus would both live through the quest.  I also enjoyed the budding romance between Rufus' grandfather and Jorie's aunt.  

With all the odd characters this author has created, you certainly won't be bored!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

A Lot Like Christmas: Stories by Connie Willis

I was looking for a pleasant romantic set of Christmas stories when I found this book.  I forgot that Connie Willis is a science fiction/fantasy author.  These are Christmas stories alright but have you imagined sharing it with aliens?

Del Ray Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 10th.

I enjoyed the story of the aliens that have come to visit.  The only thing they respond to is Christmas music and only to some songs.  The officials won't listen to the person who is figuring it.  So she steals them and sets up a performance with a music teacher and his choirs to try to prove that humans deserve to live...

There was also a story of Christmas celebrations in the future.  You picked a theme, the company supplies all the decorations, food, etc.  But when you have a woman changing her mind every five minute and someone else who picks no theme but wants one done, it becomes quite a challenge.

The story about the best Christmas movie is amusing, especially with a spirit trying to help.

These may not be the traditional stories but some sound like it and they do eat roasted chestnuts.  This is an entertaining read.

A Surprise for Mrs. Tortoise by Paula Merlán, Sonja Wimmer

Mrs. Tortoise is disillusioned one morning when she gets up to get a drink and sees her reflection in the pond.  She looks old...

NubeOcho and Edelweiss let me read this picture book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 10th.

The illustrations in this story are precious.  They focus on the turtle and her friend, Birdy, and are fanciful and heartwarming.

She tells Birdy her troubles and Birdy decides to fix her up.  She suggests stars.  They're very pretty but they keep her awake at night.  Then she suggests flowers.  That was nice but the falling petals made a mess.  Clouds didn't work either.  Mrs. Tortoise loses her patience and scolds Birdy, then falls asleep in the woods.

Birdy visits with the earth and wind elements and comes up with an idea.  Mrs. Tortoise likes it and apologizes to Birdy for being mean.  

Find yourself a good friend and stick close to them.  Helping each other is the best way to get through life.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Desert Remains by Steven Cooper

Finding a dead body in the desert is never pleasant.  This one is in a cave and has been stabbed so many times it's hard to look at.  So is the drawing that is left behind...

Seventh Street Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 10th.

Mills is the lead cop on the case and he's not finding many clues.  He decides to ask his psychic friend to help.  This was an interesting touch in the mystery.  Gus sees the upcoming murders but he can't see the exact location or the killer.  He even takes Mills out to a kill and finds an old decomposing body, not the current kill.  As time goes on, they begin to realize there's a serial killer in their area.  But the clues are still missing.

The team assigned to Mills includes an ex-FBI agent.  He wants to lay the blame on the boyfriend of one of the victims but why would he have killed the others?  Also he was just a temporary visitor to area.

Gus finally gives Mills something to focus on:  A fire in the past in a certain area.  Mills finds there was a woman who killed her husband by fire.  Her son was missing but he was not a fire victim.  Maybe the mother is the killer, she just got out of jail.  Or her son.  But who can find her son?

There's lots of suspense and tension in the final chapters of the book.  As the truth is weeded out, they find the killer is closer than they would have liked.  This is a twisted story that ends with a final ironic twist at the end.  This was a good read.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A Strange Scottish Shore by Juliana Gray

It all starts with call to her boss about a mysterious object found at an old castle.  He goes to see what it is and asks her to follow him with paperwork.  As she's getting on the train, she sees a man following her.  She knows she's in danger.  Then a friend from her past shows up, saying the duke sent him for her protection.  She's a bit worried about her heart needing protection but what can she say?  When the man tailing her gets off the train in mid-trip, she's hoping it's over.  No, it's just beginning...

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

This is a very interesting time travel tale.  Truelove's present time was in 1906.  When Lord Silverton goes missing, she wants to travel back in time to find him.  She manages that but then she can't figure out how to get back.  The man who follows her like a bad penny is from the future.  And when the past and the future collide, it produces very interesting results.

One thing I especially loved about this book is that the relationships were all real love.  There's no farce, no half-heartedness about it at all.  That's what carries the story and helps right wrongs.  This was a fascinating read and I really enjoyed it.

I'd tell you more but it might spoil the story.  There's an old legend involved.  And I'm not sure that they've seen the last of Haywood, her boss.  But we'll just have to see what the next book brings.

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Emerald Circus by Jane Yolen, Holly Black

You know those fairy tales we're all familiar with, like Wizard of Oz or Alice in Wonderland?  This anthology will take those tales and twist them around into something else...

Tachyon and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published on November 14th.

I read a lot of Jane Yolen and she never disappoints you.  Sometimes the tale she tells doesn't go the way I might want it to but it's always a good story.  (I also believe in making up my own ending if it makes me feel better.)

There are a variety of tales, most are short, a few fairly long.  It's pure fantasy with a touch of whimsy by a polished author.  Even Emily Dickinson makes an appearance here.

I enjoyed this collection.  Grab yourself a cup of coffee or tea (or whatever you drink), find a comfy chair, and visit different lands with different dreams and familiar characters who do things differently.  My favorite is the tale about when Alice gets old and goes down the rabbit hole again...

The Hunter Maiden by Ethel Johnston Phelps, Suki Boynton, Renée Watson

This is a collection of fairy tales from around the world.  These women are not forlorn weak females waiting for the white knight to ride to their rescue.  These women rescue themselves and do a good job at it!

The Feminist Press at CUNY and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 10th.

I enjoyed reading this because these women were nothing special, they just didn't give up.  If someone wronged them or they ran into a demon or a wizard, they didn't back down.  They figured out how to get around them or defeat them.

Some of them sounded familiar but most of them were new tales to me.  I sell and read a lot of fairy tales so it was unusual to find new ones.  I enjoyed them all.  Give the book a read and tell me what you thought of it.

Mystery of the Bear Cub by Carl DiRocco, Tamra Wight

The boys are back at the campground doing their chores for spending money.  They're excited to see Roy arrive but he's in a really bad mood and won't talk to them.  He's also a bit snarly when he does talk...

Island Port Press and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 10th.

When they find a mysterious old building on their island, the park ranger tells them it belonged to an old inn that was there back in stage coach days.  They suddenly decide they might try looking for leftover bottles and goods that might be worth money.  After all, Cooper already found a bottle dump.  Who knows what they might find in the privy.  There are rumors of a money box...

As they dig, they don't find much.  They do find out there's a bear in the vicinity.  In the midst of all this excitement, the Mayor wants Cooper to come to the council meeting.  He's going introduce a recycling plan that will make their trash accumulation in town much less.  Cooper wrote it up for school, and he wants him to support the issue.  What no one counts on is the fact that the Mayor won't let the businesses use it.  Also, he closes down the transfer station for "improvements".  Yeah, sure...

When they find garbage dumped on their property, Cooper and boys know they have a problem.  But they want to find out who's doing it first.  With garbage, Roy's problem, digging in an old privy, and trying to save a cub as well as trying to avoid the full-sized bears, they have their work cut out for them...

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Nail's Crossing by Kris Lackey

Finding dead bodies is no fun and when they've been really abused before death it's worse.  Bill has seen dead before but this young woman's death is disturbing.  What would be more disturbing would be why she died...

Blackstone Publishing and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 10th.  

Bill is involved because she was found on the Indian Reservation.  He and the county deputy search the area for clues.  He finds the knife but he also knows it was left in a fairly obvious place.  She was last seen dancing with a meth dealer and he has a knife like that.  But Bill doubts he would have dropped it there.

Bill and Hannah meet a lot of bad people on their way to truth.  The more they learn, the worse it looks.  It appears there's a politician involved and that will bring big trouble for them both unless they have absolute proof.  They work on gathering that and trying to stay alive while they are doing it.  After all, half the relatives they talked to about the meth dealer have been killed.  Then the killer takes Bill's girlfriend.  Things get real serious from here on out.

The interesting part of the story for me was seeing how all the agencies worked together (or didn't).  More than one reservation was involved, there were different police jurisdictions and not all of them wanted to disturb the mud.  It didn't matter.  Bill and Hannah stirred it up just fine.

This was a good read.  There was some good police work done here.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Son of a Witch edited by Trysh Thompson

This book is great fun to read.  It's about young witches learning spells and managing to mess them up.  Most are hoping for love, but what they get is not what they really wanted...

World Weaver Press sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published October 3rd.

You get six humorous contemporary fantasy stories of magic spells gone wrong by Laura VanArendonk Baugh, Sara Dobie Bauer, Lissa Marie Redmond, Frances Pauli, Mara Malins, and Adam Millard.  All of them are a hoot in one form or another.

Everyone knows you need to be very careful when creating a spell.  You have to believe in it.  And you have to ask for exactly what you want.  The one thing they forgot to consider was just what the results would be.  

My two favorite is the one where she wishes she'd be the date of his dreams, his perfect match and the one where she meant to charm her neighbor and got an unexpected love instead.  

All in all, I found this read very enjoyable and a lot of fun.  Give it a try!

Grandpa's Ghost Stories by James Flora, Irwin Chusid

This is a reprint of a book that was published in 1978.  The stories are a bit scary but more amusing than anything.  Why not get into your favorite chair and put your little one in your lap for a read-aloud session?

Feral House and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 10th.

The illustrations in the story make this book.  The tales are good but your young one will probably have a better time looking at the pictures.  There are skeletons, bugs, spiders and more on and around the pages of the story.  The witch is particularly witchy.  You're going to wonder if the boy will ever get home...

Here's a chance to read an old classic story in a brand new edition that shows the story off well.  Let me know if you and your little one like it.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Cici's Journal: The Adventures of a Writer-in-Training by Joris Chamblain

Cici has an insatiable curiosity.  When something is a mystery to her, she goes after the answer.  This causes some problems with her Mom and her girlfriends.  It's all part of growing up...

First Second Books and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published November 7th.

The story itself is partly Cici's journal and the rest of it graphic novel.  It's an interesting combo.  Her handwriting is a bit hard to read and she doodles so the journal is entertaining.

The first adventure she gets into is trying to follow an old man who has come through the woods.  He's carrying paint cans and has paint all over him.  When it comes right down to it, she's the one who is brave enough to go over the wall and see what's on the other side.  It's an old abandoned zoo.  But the animals have all been painted and they look alive...

In the next story, an old woman keeps checking out the same library book.  Cici finally asks her why.  Her husband went to war and when he came home, he never spoke again.  She knows he loved her and it's his book that she checks out.  Suddenly, Cici realizes the numbers in his book match the Dewey Decimal Numbers used on the library books...

The mysteries were good, Cici has to apologize to all the people in her life for taking them for granted and being less than honest with her Mom.  She gets a lot of praise for her good works.  And I'm sure she'll be snooping again.

Death Overdue: A Haunted Library Mystery by Allison Brook

Carrie is living with her aunt and uncle and working at the local library.  She loves her family but her job is boring and she's thinking of moving on.  Then she's offered a permanent position in the library.  She's not sure but she agrees to try it for her aunt and uncle.  She doesn't know there is a resident ghost there that will be making her acquaintance...

Crooked Lane Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 10th.

One of the first programs she puts on is a presentation by a former cop about a cold case of murder.  He says he knows who did it and will reveal it that night.  Someone doesn't like that idea and poisons him during the meeting.  Carrie is upset it happened in the middle of her event and that he's dead.  She really liked him.  The worst part is that the police have no idea who the killer is. It might have been the person that killed Laura, the unsolved case that Al was working on.

She decides to work with Laura's youngest son to try to solve the case.  He's good looking and charming enough but he's a bit immature.  They work together and the more she searches through relationships and possible killers, the more confusing it gets.  It doesn't help when she's being bullied at the library and getting threats from the killer.

This was a very good read.  I enjoyed the ghostly help, like Carrie's new boyfriend, and am glad she's decided to stay in town.  I'll be looking forward to reading her next adventure.

The Woman Who Knew Too Much: A Nora Baron Thriller by Tom Savage

I almost didn't read this one.  Spies are not my favorite thing but this author writes an excellent tale.  He draws you in, spoon feeds you hints, and makes you worry about the characters.  Everyone is in danger.  You don't play around with Russia...

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

Nora is asked to do a special job by her husband's employer.  He knows she has acting skills so he sends her to meet a Russian actress who is trying to defect.  She and her team, no actual agents, will pretend to be a TV show who wants to feature this new play and artist.

The first thing you learn is that everybody is a spy or part of the underground.  They're in Venice and even the boatman is on the plan. As they play their parts, they find out things that make the defecting woman's story look false.  She lies to them to start with.  Then they find out she has stolen money.  She's not what she seems.

Nora plays along, learns what she can, and then asks to see if her suspicions are confirmed.  They are.  When her husband gets stabbed, she understands just how dangerous the Russians are.

The ending is very ironic and very fitting.  The users get used and good wins over evil.  Also, Nora's husband survives.  All is well in Nora's world.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Monster Hunter Files (Monster Hunter International) by Larry Correia

If you like stories about alien killers and things that go bump in the night, this book is for you.  If you like mercenary soldiers, you'll probably like it too.  When I started reading it, I couldn't put it down until I was done!

Baen Books and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 3rd.

Owen is in most of the stories and he's a bad ass monster killer.  Even if they look like cacti.  I also admire his wife who became a monster killer at fifteen.  This whole book is filled with impossible things that are hard to kill.  Some even come back to life.  While it's a bit horrible, it's also exciting and it keeps you reading.

Here is the list of stories:

Larry Correia “Thistle” -Owen and the MHI team take on a new monster in Arizona.

Jim Butcher “Small Problems” - MHI's janitorial staff has to handle some "small problems".


Mike Kuparii “Darkness Under The Mountain” - Cooper quits and takes a freelance hunting gig in Afghanistan for a Chinese mining company.

 
Jessica Day George “A Knight Of the Enchanted Forest” - Trailer park elves vs. Gnomes TURF WAR.


John C. Wright “The Manticore Sanction” - Cold War Era betrayal and espionage with Britain's equivalent to STFU. 


Maurice Broaddus “The Dead Yard” - Trip attends to to some family business in Jamaica, voodoo ensues. 


Brad Torgersen “The Bride” - Benjamin Franklin cut deals with other things besides Franks. 


Faith Hunter “She Bitch, Killer of Kits” - Jane Yellowrock teams up with MHI to take care of some werewolves in the Appalachians.


Jody Lynn Nye "Mr. Natural" - an STFU unit has to deal with hippies and plant monsters in the 1970s.


Quincy J Allen “Sons Of The Father” - Two brothers find out about what their dad used to do for a living, and kill a whole lot of monsters in the process.


Alex Shvartsman “The Troll Factory” - Heather Kerkonen needs a favor from an MHI recruit when a mission in Russia goes sideways.


Kim May “Keep Kaiju Weird” - Just because a Kitsune has earned her PUFF exemption doesn't mean she is going to let some monster wreck Portland.


Steve Diamond “The Gift” - The Vatican's Hunters from the Blessed Order of St. Hubert the Protector deal with Old Ones in Mexico. 


John Ringo “The Case of the Ghastly Specter” - Chad Gardnier recounts one of his missions from the 1980s. 


Bryan Thomas Schmidt & Julie Frost “Huffman Strikes Back” - Cecil Huffman had a brother, and he's got a grudge to settle against Owen Pitt. 


Sarah A. Hoyt “Hunter Born” - Remember when we mentioned that monster hunting screwed up Julie Shackleford's junior prom? 


Jonathan Maberry “Hitler’s Dog” - In WW2, Agent Franks really hated Nazis, dealing with Golem of Prague doesn't improve his disposition either.


My favorite was "Small Problems" by Jim Butcher.  Seeing his name as one of the authors drew me to read this book and he doesn't disappoint.

The stories were all good.  Try it.  If you like action and adventure, you'll find it here. 
 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Hide and Seek M.J. Arlidge

Helen Grace is now sitting in jail waiting for her trial.  She didn't commit the crime but she was framed for it.  The worst part is that it's her dead sister's son who framed her.  She can't do anything while incarcerated except try to stay alive...

First to Read allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published so you can grab a copy now.

I've been reading this whole series and knew I had to read this one to see if she was able to prove her innocence.  She has a real problem with that because she had lied to the cops in the past.  Now no one wants to believe her except one person.  What can one person do?  Not only that:  there's a killer in the prison.

There's a sadist prison guard, gang members, and more to deal with while you live in a cell.  The food is bad and might have a cockroach in it (or worse).  There's a disabled person in a wheelchair who sells drugs.  And now, there's someone in the cells who is a killer.  Of course, Grace is the first one they think might have done it.

Her cop friend is searching for the nephew and skirting a line between losing only her job but her husband.  She's spending too much time on it and it has now been declared a closed case.  She's not willing to give up.

When the first dead body turns up pregnant, that adds another flavor to the murder.  Who is sleeping with the prisoners and why?

As is usual, there's plenty going on and the action doesn't slow down until the end.  There are unpleasant subjects covered but it's reality.  One thing about it, you can't second guess this author.


Strange Lands: YA Otherworldly Fantasy Adventure (Heroes of Distant Planets Book 1) by Anderson Atlas

Allan won the swimming competition and set a new record.  Then he got to watch it all go down the drain when his math teacher tells everyone he got an "F" on the last test.  On the way home, he gets lectured about his future, how long he'll be grounded and then everything goes black.  When he reawakens in the hospital, both his parents are dead and his legs don't work anymore...

Synesthesia 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 is written for young readers but it spoke to me, too.  Allan feels guilty for his parent's deaths and thinks he's responsible.  He has no hope for athletics anymore.  And he doesn't want to go anywhere or see anyone.  No one seems to know how to act around him.  His own uncle didn't want to take him on because he's not sure how to care for him.  He's not in a good place.  He'll realize it wasn't so bad later...

When his uncle takes him fishing, he's not thrilled.  What neither one of them anticipated was a freak flood that took out their camp and moved them downstream.  Allan can't get his uncle loose from the rock that has him pinned.  He's unconscious.  Allan manages to put rocks all around him to keep him out of the water.  Then he tries to crawl up to the road to get help.  On the way, he finds this odd plant.  When he touches it, it sprays him with pollen and spikes.  And, soon, he's no longer by the river...

This is a new world, with new dangers and new enemies.  Some of the friendlies aren't really.  Lots of things would like to eat you.  And Allan can't even walk...

The journey he takes in this world makes him accept what has happened in his life.  He begins to understand it wasn't all his fault.  And if he wants to get back to his world and save his uncle, he's going to have to save this world, too.

This was a very entertaining read and I can't wait to see where the author takes the story next.  He has friends in the other world and they've made him a promise...

The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O'Neill

This is a sweet tale done in chapter book form of a missing tea dragon and a little girl who finds new friends...

Oni Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 31st.

The graphics are magical, some of the characters are creatures instead of people, and there's a lost little girl who is very shy and has memory loss.  When the main character returns the tea dragon to its home, she meets the The Tea Dragon Society.  At the moment, it only has two members.  But that's about to change.

As she learns about the tea dragons, shares their tea and visits the remaining members, she learns a lot, makes a new friend with the shy girl, and even gets to have her own tea dragon.  What fun!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Haunted Nights by Lisa Morton, Ellen Datlow

Don't look for anyone nice in these stories.  They are wicked, mean and scary stories.  And I read every one...

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

If you're looking for a book that will get you in the mood for a scary Halloween, this one will do it.  These stories chill and might even make you a bit ill.  This is the dark side of horror.

Here's the list of stories:

“With Graveyard Weeds and Wolfbane Seeds” by Seanan McGuire
“Dirtmouth” by Stephen Graham Jones“
”A Small Taste of the Old Country“ by Jonathan Maberry
”Wick’s End“ by Joanna Parypinski
”The Seventeen Year Itch“ by Garth Nix
”A Flicker of Light on Devil’s Night“ by Kate Jonez
”Witch-Hazel“ by Jeffrey Ford
”Nos Galen Gaeaf“ by Kelley Armstrong
”We’re Never Inviting Amber Again“ by S. P. Miskowski
”Sisters“ by Brian Evenson
”All Through the Night“ by Elise Forier Edie
”A Kingdom of Sugar Skulls and Marigolds“ by Eric J. Guignard
”The Turn“ by Paul Kane
”Jack“ by Pat Cadigan
”Lost in the Dark“ by John Langan
”The First Lunar Halloween" by John R. Little


The one that haunted me the most was "All Through the Night" by Elise Forier Edie.  You have to feel sorry for the pregnant widow.  The story about the man who made a deal with the devil and then fooled him was also very good.  But he should have remembered a deal is a deal...

I'll be remembering these stories for a long time.  They're the kind that pop into your mind here and there.  If you enjoy ghosts, devils and evil beings, this is the book for you!

The Ninja's Illusion: A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery by Gigi Pandian

Jaya is going to Japan to support her friend who does a magic act.  She's also going to see if she can find some information about a dutch ship that sunk with cargo.  She has no idea both of those goals are putting her in danger.

Henery Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 3rd.

This story is complex with lots of characters, lots of different agendas and people who will kill to get what they want.

Jaya is torn between two men.  She loves them both and she's good friends with both of them but does she want to share her life with one of them?  

When the main magician is killed, they find the diary he used for this rope trick is missing.  Was that the motive?

Pay close attention to all the spider webs moving from one character to another.  Only Jaya and her close friends are telling the whole truth.

I have to admit I didn't suspect the real criminal.  He seemed benign to me but not when he has a samurai sword!

The mystery is solved and Jaya finds out who her heart loves most...

Monday, September 11, 2017

Merry and Bright by Debbie Macomber

He grew up being shuffled back and forth between his divorced parents and spending a lot of time in boarding schools.  He's good looking, smart and totally focused on his career.  He might spend a night with a woman but he's not looking for anything permanent.  So how does a young woman who is his emotional opposite suddenly become attractive to him?

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

Merry works fulltime and takes care of her family.  Her mother is disabled and her brother has autism.  When she has to work overtime, it becomes even more of a chore to keep everything going.  When her boss reprimands her twice, once for eating at her desk and the next time for decorating for Christmas, she decides she really doesn't like him.  But when her mother and brother set her up on a dating site, she meets a guy she does like.  She eventually even agrees to meet him.

Looks like everything is working out, doesn't it?  It is, until she sees her boss sitting there waiting for her.  She doesn't even say hi, she goes on home.  He's irritated at being stood up until her little brother writes to him.  Then he texts her again and they eventually talk some more.

There are more trials and tribulations to go but it does end happily ever after.  After all, it's Christmas...

Kuma-Kuma Chan's Travels by Kazue Takahashi

This picture book has pastel graphics that are understated but work real well with the story line.  I enjoy their simplicity.

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

Kuma-Kuma travels a lot.  Usually in his mind but he sees wonderful things and has fun on his trips.  I grew up in the country and stayed home by myself a lot until my brother was born, so I learned to have trips in my mind, too.

He even listens to the stars and watches the birds fly for hints.  When his mind isn't fertile enough for new adventures, he lays on his roof and watches the clouds and the birds and communes with nature.

For not having many friends around, he has a good time.  He's even learning to write his own tales...

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Halloween Carnival Volume 1 by Robert Mccammon, Kevin Lucia, John Little, Lisa Morton

This is an anthology of short stories that focus on Halloween.  They are light horror and read up easily and fast.  Especially in the daytime.  I'd suggest reading them in the daytime...

Hydra and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 3rd.

Here's the list of stories:

STRANGE CANDY by Robert McCammon

Chocolate bars and sour suckers are trick-or-treat staples, but beware the odd sweet at the bottom of your bag. You never know who it’s from—or what it might do to you.


THE RAGE OF ACHILLES by Kevin Lucia

Father Ward should have heeded the warnings about hearing confession on All Hallow’s Eve. Because a man is about to tell him a secret more haunting than any he has heard before.


DEMON AIR by John R. Little

Fear of flying is not uncommon. But on this transpacific airline, the real danger isn’t the flight itself. It’s whoever—or whatever—is up in the air with you.


LA HACIENDA DE LOS MUERTOS by Lisa Morton

Trick McGrew, former cowboy star of the silver screen, has never believed in tall tales. But down in Mexico, the land of La Llorona, he’s about to find out just how real urban legends can be.


#MAKEHALLOWEENSCARYAGAIN by Mark Allan Gunnells

Some people will go to any lengths to rack up retweets, likes, and follows on social media, no matter who they end up hurting . . . or even killing


My favorite story was:  LA HACIENDA DE LOS MUERTOS by Lisa Morton.  It has to do with a legend I've heard here in New Mexico about the wailing woman who is searching the river for her children.  This version has a different twist to the ending and I like it.

They were all entertaining.  The last one was a bit weird but Halloween brings that out in people.  What do you do for Halloween?