Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Little Red Wolf by Amelie Flechais

This is a twist on The Little Red Riding Hood tale.  I like it a lot.  The little wolf loves to wear red and his mother sends him out to take his grandmother a rabbit...

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

The illustrations are delightful.  Lots of color, big woods, and a trail he's supposed to follow.  

Being young, he chases small animals and butterflies and moths and ends up off the trail.  As he tries to find his way back, he manages to snack on the rabbit until there's nothing left.  He might as well go back home but he still can't find his path.  Then he finds a young girl who says she will take him home with her and feed him.   She sings a song that her family taught her.  It's about how her mother was killed by wolves.  She locks the little Red Wolf in a room in the cabin and waits for her father to come home.

Her father returns and brings his big gun in.  It looks like it's all over for little Red Wolf.  But his father comes to his rescue.  On the way home, he sings the song he learned from the girl and his father says the wolves have a similar song but it has a different ending.  Then you learn the truth about what happened to the little girl's mother.

This story will stick with me because it's so true about life.  Your point of view might be 180 or 360 degrees different than the one of the person you're speaking with.  This story demonstrates that.

The Girl Who Saved Christmas by Matt Haig

She's working as a chimney sweep, just like her mother used to.  Her mother is ill.  Last Christmas she wanted gifts and she got them.  This year she just asks for help for her mother.  The problem is that Santa never shows up and her mother dies.  Then she's stuck in a workhouse and that's all she gets to do.   It's hard to keep hope alive under continual work and punishment.

Knopf Books for Young Readers and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 31st.

Santa is having his own problems.  The toys were ready, he was ready to head out for Christmas and the whole village came under a troll attack!  They'd signed a peace agreement three years ago but it didn't seem to make much difference.  They even destroyed the sleigh!

Now no one believes in Christmas and he's still trying to recover from the troll attack.  His magic isn't working.  And there's a traitor in the village...

You find yourself worrying about Amelia and Santa both.  It's a good thing Santa has Blitzen to help him.  I found this an enjoyable read with lots of excitement for young readers.  Why not read about how Christmas started before the big day?

Friday, September 29, 2017

The Graphic Canon of Crime and Mystery, Vol. 1 by Russ Kick

This is an unusual presentation for crime and mystery stories but I like it!  Most of them are highlights of the story and quickly read.  Some I spend more time looking at the graphics then I did the text.  There's also a mix of artistry and styles in the graphics, so even as you read it, the book changes.

Seven Stories Press and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  it will be published October 31st.

What caught my attention was how well The Adventure of the Speckled Band presented itself in graphic form.  Since I have read the story before many times, I almost didn't want to see it in that form but it was done discretely and read well.

Another thing that caught my eye was a story I remember from the bible and still quote today when I think it applies.  I never imagined finding Jesus as a character in these tales.

The stories are from all over and they are unique in presentation.  It's very nicely done look at older stories that never had any graphics in the past.  I found it enjoyable to read.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Lead Law by John Russell Fearn

Clyde was building himself a ranch and had big plans for his land.  Then the railroad came close enough to his land for them to create a spark while laying the line and he lost his property value in one big fire.  Summerville didn't care and refused to take responsibility for it.  Bad blood between them results in a battle to the end...

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

Clyde does things lawfully and refuses to shoot anyone except in a fair fight or defending himself.  Sommerville buys his way along and doesn't care who dies on the way.  He sets up a bank robbery and blames it on Clyde.  Then he buys the Mayor of the town and works on getting Clyde hung.

Clyde's girlfriend breaks him out and then they are both on the run from Sommerville.  The good marshall gets murdered by Summerville, that way he can't testify.  It looks like Clyde might not be able to escape the noose...

Sommerville knows all the dirty tricks and no matter how much money he has he wants more.  At least justice finally gets him in the end...

The Empress by S. J. Kincaid

Tyrus and Nemesis are ascending to the recently vacated throne.  It's still touch and go in their life.  The danger seems to have subsided but it's just hidden under the politics.  Life is not going smooth and it isn't going to get better.  They made it this far but it's going to be tough from here on out.

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 31st.

While it says it's for young readers, there's so much death and torture I'd recommend they be a mature reader.  Some things that happened offended me.

She and Tyrus go to find their equivalent of God.  He's snug in space on the edges of a black hole and they really find him by accident.  They visit, find that Tyrus' ideas of the future development of the kingdom agree with the long ago leader's ideas and he offers to send help.  But they can only travel during the periods the black hole is open so it will be three years in the future.

They go home, get ready to be married, and go through ugly ceremonies that have become the norm in their world.  Then, before the marriage is complete, everything goes to hell.  Nemesis gets away but Tyrus stays because she wasn't strong enough to take him too.  Then the ruling politicians force him to do drugs.

She escapes to the black hole again.  And can't return for three years.  She has plans, but all of them are thwarted.  She does finally get to marry Tyrus.

The ending in this story disappointed me.  It goes with the overall theme of the story but I just couldn't believe the author would do that.  Let me know what you think about it.  And leave drugs alone!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Give Me the Child by Mel McGrath

This story is thought provoking.  It's a nightmare come true.  What's worse, is it could be true...

HarperCollins and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 24th.

She's a doctor who helps children find their way.  She tries to guide them to their good side and give them hope without committing them to state facility.  In her first big case, she made a bad judgement call and a young woman was killed as a result.  She's moved past that and is in a new facility doing a slightly different job now.  That and the fact that she became unbalanced while pregnant are things her husband won't let her forget.  But he has his own secrets.

One day the doorbell rings and when she opens it, she finds a cop, a social worker and a little girl standing there.  It seems this little girl is her husband's daughter.  Her mother has died and she needs a new home.  Her grandmother won't take her.  The child is shy, lies, is sneaky and is doing bad things in the household and influencing her daughter's life in a negative way.  He refuses to give her up.

When she went to the girl's old home to get her some clothes, she notices some odd things.  Even chatting with the neighbor doesn't make her feel better.  There's something not quite right about the death.  What she doesn't know is that there is something not quite right about her husband, too.

What do you do when you find your married life was a lie?  It's a hard row to hoe but it's worse when you're married to a lying manipulator...

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Whiz Mob and the Grenadine Kid by Colin Meloy, Carson Ellis

He's just a lonely kid in a foreign country trying to amuse himself when another young man visits with him for a bit.  He's having a good chat when the boy tells him to look across the courtyard at the activity there.  When he does, the boy steals his pen.  He still has something in his fingers but it's a twig not a pen...

Balzer & Bray and Edelweiss gave the me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 24th.

I found this very interesting.  The Whiz Mob used their own terms for locations and methods of thieving.  If you got good enough, you could become a cannon and actually do the thefts.  You had people who distracted the marks, learned how to send their attention elsewhere, and learned to steal without notice.  Charlie wants to learn and they take him in.  He has friends for the first time in his life and he likes the adrenaline rush he gets during the operations.  He doesn't realize they aren't really his friends.

When Amir urges him to quit, he thinks he's nuts and continues.  Then he finds out it was a plan to steal a secret cypher from his father.  He can't tell his father what happened, he just has to figure out a way to get it back...

The story is exciting, interesting, and educational in the ways of thieving.  It also shows the very real dangers of it.  There's a glossary at the back of the book to explain the terms.

Charlie, who liked to drink Grenadine, becomes the Grenadine Kid during the story and the efforts he has to make to get the cypher make him use all his talents and more.  This is a well put-together story that had me almost despairing but Charlie came through.  Now he has to figure out how to explain it to his father...

The Future She Left Behind by Marin Thomas

This could have been a very depressing story.  Katelyn is forty, her children are getting ready to go to college, and she has the perfect home, family and life.  Then she gets papers served on her announcing her husband wants a divorce and she needs to vacate the house.  He's already arranged for his mother to move into an assisted living apartment.  Her whole life has gone down the tubes.  She's going to go home.  She hasn't visited her mother for a while.  But she doesn't expect the mother-in-law-from-Hell to go with her...

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

Shirley thinks Katelyn should update her hair style and wear some makeup.  It's pretty much anything Katelyn likes, Shirley doesn't.  Shirley thinks she should make up with her husband.  After all he has lots of money and so he had an affair.  Maybe if she spiffed up her looks and lost a little weight she might appeal to him.  Katelyn has no desire to appeal to him.  She's done with him and that life.

One thing Shirley doesn't understand is that Little Springs is a small town and the folks there protect their own.  With lots of sarcastic bantering between both moms and Katelyn, it's a bit uncomfortable at the beginning.  But as time goes on, things settle down.  That's good because her original love is back in town and he's just as luscious looking as he used to be.

It gets more exciting.  Katelyn's boss at the grocery store wants to date her, she's attracted to Jackson but doesn't want to commit again, and her mother-in-law is dating the local reverend.

The author does a good job of keeping you amused and reading and it all sorts itself out in the end.  I liked it. 

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.