Friday, March 24, 2017

The Wingsnatchers: Carmer and Grit: Book One by Sarah Jean Horwitz

Carmer is a magician's apprentice and he enjoys his job and the people he works with.  When he attends a demonstration of a magical new power that can light lamps, he's fascinated.  When his magician is outshined by a performance by an unknown magician, he's amazed.  He's also curious.  Especially since he's noticed mechanical cats wandering around the streets of the city.  Where did they come from?

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

Carmer wants them to win the magician's contest because they are out of money and can't continue without an infusion of cash.  It's not looking good, though.  Then he meets a fairy that has only one wing.  Grit doesn't want to have anything to do with him but she needs human help to figure out where all the fairies are going.

With magic, fairy unrest, and despicable characters the story is entertaining and a bit different from most.  A touch of steampunk, an unusual friendship and a fairy queen who isn't easy to get along with all add to the storyline.

Both Carmer and Grit are in danger and almost die along the way.  The ending is a bit upbeat and a bit sad, but when the queen tells Grit she should get some more worldly experience you can see another book coming.  I wonder what adventures they will share next?


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Death in the Abstract: A Katherine Sullivan Mystery by Emily Barnes

She's living in New Mexico now that she's retired and she loves it.  She paints at an artist colony that she has reserved a home in and life is good.  Then a phone call comes in from a friend's office saying that he's missing and hasn't shown up for work...

Crooked Lane Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published May 9th.

Nathan Walker is an old friend and someone she's even thinking of romantically since they are widow and widower now.  She doesn't want to lose him so she heads back to where she was police chief before and starts searching for him.

As they try to follow his movements, they eventually locate his car but it doesn't tell them anything.  Even his cell phone doesn't help much.  But his security company and Katherine don't give up, they just keep digging.

The police chief is a bit distracted because a woman was murdered and they found a dead man who had been run over.  A missing case doesn't take priority with him.  So Kathleen is free to snoop on her own.

When she finds Nathan (who looks like Denzel), he's not in the best shape but he's OK.  The mystery isn't over yet.  There's bad stuff going on in town and it takes them to run it down.

This was an interesting mystery and I like the two main characters. All Nathan's employees are "different" and I enjoyed that, too.   I hope to read another in this series.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan by Patricia Bailey

Life in a mining town is never easy, but Kit has more to feel guilty about than most.  She got too busy watching the people in the dance hall and didn't get the doctor in time for her mother.  When she dies from her cold, Kit wishes she'd died instead.  As she and her father struggle on, he gets hurt in a mining accident.  She wants to tell everyone about the unsafe mining conditions, so she tells the newspaper reporter about it.  He prints it.  Then the mine owner kills her father.  Everyone said it was self-defense, but she knew it wasn't.  How can she prove that?

Albert Whitman and Company and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 25th.

Kit moves in with the next door widow lady, gets a job at the newspaper by pretending to be a boy, and starts trying to gather information.  The mine owner has almost everybody in town in his corner.  He buys loyalty.  But not everyone is sold on him.

Kit is determined to get at the truth and she will do anything necessary to ferret it out.  While she does all this, she grows up along the way.  The new friend she found is handsome and nice and she has a crush on him, so she's hurt when he likes someone else.

I enjoyed how Kit developed and how she accomplished her goal.  She also made friends along the way and has a new "family" that she has gathered together of all types of people.  I felt her sorrow and guilt and I also felt her jubilation at vindicating her father.  She walked a sad road but she came out happy at the end.  You'll even learn a bit about gold mining on the way.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray

Noemi is seventeen and is getting ready to die.  She's going to be one of the suicide squad breaking up the gate (worm hole) from her world to earth and other planets.  It's a sacrifice required for the greater good.  By blocking the gate it will give her country more time to build weapons to defend themselves.  But the war starts early...

Little Brown Books for Young Readers and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 4th.

When enemy ships come through gate while they are practicing their approach, she's suddenly fighting for her life early.  What's even worse is that her friend who is observing the action is hit.  She tries to save her and ends up on a deserted space ship from the past.  The first thing that happens is that the mech on board tries to kill her.  Abel looks like a man but he's a machine.  Once she says the right thing, he becomes her aide and protector.  Unfortunately, the other girl won't survive because she chooses to die instead of accepting synthetic parts.  Now Noemi and Abel will have to decide what to do next.

Noemi wants to go back to Genesis and close the gate.  Abel agrees to help her.  The adventure while doing so is space opera.  There's theft, disguises, false identities and more used to gain the equipment they need to use.  They are being pursued.  Abel's creator wants him back.  And, without either one of them realizing it, they're falling in love...

I'm going to be watching for the next book in this series.  I can't wait to see where the author takes this story.  Just make it a happy ending, OK, Ms. Gray?

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Night the Lights Went Out by Karen White

She's newly divorced and she and her children are going to make a fresh start.  She's moved to a small house near the woods, right behind the big house of her landlord.  She's a bit hesitant but it's cheaper and not far from her ex so visitations won't be a hassle.  But she's got a sore heart and isn't ready to enter the dating world or even the "mom" world at school.  Sometimes you just don't have any choice.

Berkley and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 11th.

Merilee finds her new landlord, Sugar, to be old and irascible.  She wants nothing to do with them.  Yet, she keeps showing up with baked goods and tries to get them to eat better meals.  In time, a dubious friendship grows.

As if living in a strange town isn't bad enough, there's an anonymous blogger that knows about her past and the gossip going around town.  She's trying to maintain a low profile but folks talk anyway.  She tries to make friends but doesn't have as much success as she would like.  She's happy the most popular and beautiful woman in town as taken her under her wing.  She's even buying things for her as a friend.  That would quirk my worry button.  Nobody ever does stuff like that without wanting something in return.

When she goes to a fancy party at Heather and Dan's house, she does whatever Heather asks her to do.  Finding Dan drowned at the end of the dock is more than she can take.  Then they try to charge her with murder.  It's a good thing she has Sugar and Wade on her side.

The ending is dramatic and you're not sure who is going to be alive when the fight is over.  Old wrongs sometimes rise up in the present.  Karma is a bitch. Merilee had carried guilt since high school over an incident but she didn't expect it to try to kill her...

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Curiosity House: The Fearsome Firebird by Lauren Oliver, H. C. Chester

In this odd museum, you have all kinds of oddities.  There's a flea circus, genetically altered children who have strange abilities, a cowboy, a pilot, and more.  There are regularly scheduled performances and spontaneous performances.  The whole group is living happily together.  Then someone poisons the fleas.  After the funeral, the General goes to brace the character selling flea poison out in front of their business.  He's sure he's involved.

HarperCollins and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 11th.

When the police show up to arrest the General for the murder of the flea spray seller, everybody knows he didn't do it.  But how can they prove it?

The professor asks a private eye to help.  She does but she doesn't accept the circumstantial evidence the children have found.  She's looking for solid evidence to show a judge.  Of course, then the children decide to solve it themselves...

These stories are a bit overboard in fantasy but they are great fun to read.  This is my most favorite one in this series but I'm sure there will be more.

How can you not like a story has a Phoenix in it?  Or strong men?  Or a dirigible?

It's exciting and fun.  I really enjoyed it.  Give it a try!

Thomas Haftmann, Private Eye: The Short Stories by Robb White

This collection is full of stories about walking around on the dark side of town.  No cozy mysteries here.  Everything is tense, mean, and dangerous.  And Mr. White's character, Thomas Haftmann, walks in fearlessly and with his gun.  He's an ex-cop now a PI, and he's willing to do what he has to if it pays well.

Mr. White sent me a copy of his book for me to read and review (thank you).  It has been published and you can get a copy now either in ebook or print.

These are stories you won't easily forget.  The Kneeling Woman is grotesque story about of a survivor who meets her enemy in her new land.  A missing person case turns into a female murderer who doesn't want to give up her new found enjoyment.  Mr. Haftmann is judge and jury on her case.  

The pace doesn't slow down throughout the fifteen short stories.  None of the stories are nice but they hit you in the solar plex and fill your brain with thoughts with you'd rather not have.  After reading this book, I'm glad I live where I do and don't have to fend my way through the characters in the stories!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Song of the Lion by Anne Hillerman

Bernie is at the big basketball game in Shiprock watching the current players playing the alumni.  She suddenly feels the earth shake a bit and goes outside to see what's going on.  A car in the lot has been blown up.  She's not on duty, but she takes charge and calls in help.  When the scene finally settles down, there's a young man close to the car who dies from his injuries.  Was he the bomber or an innocent person just walking by?

Harper and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 11th.

The car belonged to a mediator who is working with the Indians and the developers about a plan to develop a big resort at the Grand Canyon.  While the developers are all for it, the rest of the crowd is all against it.  It seems that someone opposing the development might have done it but they aren't finding the tie to it they need.  Then they found out the name of the boy who died.  And it ties back to the mediator.

This is not only a story about environmental and sacred grounds concern but of a family that fell apart.  With everyone estranged, the mediator has no idea who might be after him.  They find him, though.

Even Bernie almost dies.  She gets an up close and personal visit with a mountain lion but she sings to him and he leaves her alone.  The next person he meets isn't so lucky.

It's another exciting read in this series with lots of Indian culture in the tale.  When I read these stories it's like visiting old friends.  I enjoyed it.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Souls of Men (An Elaine Hope Mystery #1) by A.R. Ashworth

Elaine Hope and her superior investigate a case were a young woman was brutally beaten to death.  They find her on the cameras to the point where she exited the bus.  A guy with a hoodie on followed after her.  Once they identify him, Benson believes they've found their killer.  Elaine is not so sure.

Crooked Lane Books sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published April 11th.

They question Peter, check his statements and Benson is positive he did it.  He gets so worked up about it he suffers a heart attack.  They promote Elaine to his position.  She's been working a long time hoping to be promoted and thanks them.  Then when she finds Peter's story does hold together, she's forced to let him go.  None of her new supervisors are happy.  Especially since she doesn't have anybody to replace him as the guilty party.

The rest of the story is about dedicated police work: talking to anyone around the area, following certain people, looking into the business where she was murdered and more.  What they find leads them into very dangerous territory.  The people she's dealing with think nothing of murder.  And she and her female detective friend met the killer inadvertently and he wants them both.  If he gets them, they won't be alive either...

This was a good police procedural with a lot of misdirection.  Elaine has one cop that hates her and intends to get even.  She's also traumatized by the case because the killer got too close.  

I'd be interested in reading the next in this series.  Mr. Ashworth writes a good tale.  

The Prince and the Porker by Peter Bently

Pignatius Pig loves good food and when he sees ten buns cooling on the windowsill, he's sure he can steal one and no one will notice.  But once he has one, he eats them all!

Abrams shared a copy of this book with me for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can grab a copy now.

When the buns are gone, he sneaks into the kitchen.  Before he can do much damage, the cook finds him.  He runs into the castle to escape her.  With various servants after him, he hides in a bedroom.  There's a dress-up chest in there with clothes and wigs.  He dresses up and tries to escape again.  But it's not to be.  He gets caught.  Imagine how he feels when they think he's the prince!  Now he's really in hog heaven.  And, boy, does he eat!

Now imagine his despair when the real prince shows up...

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Dream Magic by Joshua Khan

When Lily uses the magic she's learned to save Thorn from death, her whole castle turns against her.  There's an old tale about women having magic that started all the trouble through the ages.  It doesn't help when the trolls on their way, people in villages have been disappearing and the undead are walking.  What's worse is when they are going to autopsy a couple of dead villagers, they erupt.  They were full of crystal spiders...

Disney Hyperion and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 11th.  This book is even better than the first book and I liked that a lot.

Lily finds out that the original crystal spiders came from a cave in a small town.  She and Thorn go on a trip to the town to see it and see if that is where they are coming from.  Lily finds a dangerous ghost at the cave that tries to burn her up.  When she finds her old lady in waiting in the town, she finds out the history of the ghost and the spiders.  The worst part is that she learns her father was involved.  He's dead now but she wishes she could ask him about.

Spiders are one of my worst nightmares so I shuddered as I read the description of how they blew out of the sky down on the unsuspecting people.  As the story goes on, they get even stronger and more of them.

What Lily discovers is that she has a half-brother.  She wants to make peace with him but he's for of revenge.  The ghost in the cave was his mother who was burned to death.  No matter what she offers he refuses.  She has one last desperate attempt to save her land and her people.  Thorn tells her no, all her friends tell her no, but she uses the spider venom to enter the dream world...

This is an exciting busy story with lots of detail and adventures.  I enjoyed reading it (despite the spiders) and the ending is dramatic.  Give it a try!

Burials: A Faye Longchamp Mystery #10 by Mary Anna Evans

Faye and her husband, Joe, are going back to his home town for his father's sake.  He wants to spread his wife's ashes from years ago and is going to have an informal gathering to do it.  Joe is just barely getting along with his father and this isn't a convenient time but he needs to go.  Faye goes along and signs on for a temporary archeologist job in the same town.  She's going to be sorry she did.

Poisoned Pen Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published so you can get a copy now.

What Faye and the other employees find is a buried body from almost 30 years ago.  The missing woman isn't missing anymore.  But her killer must be one of those in that small circle of people looking at her body.  Even Joe's father comes under suspicion.

It's hard to look back thirty years and find the truth.  It's also hard to fathom anyone in that small circle of friends could be a killer.  It gets weirder as it goes along.  They get shot at on site, the police woman left as a guard is murdered.  The artifacts are stolen.  Suddenly two of the workers get shot at when they're at home.  Another one ends up dead.

With sexual lust and jealousy at the base of the problem, it kept growing up and out.  Everyone has secrets.  When she finally thinks she may have some answers, she finds herself at a stand off between two men with an innocent man in the middle.  How do you diffuse that?

There's local Indian history woven into this story and it makes it fascinating.  Joe and Faye love each other dearly but they have limits on trust and other issues.  This case bordered on breaking them up but they survived.  I'm looking forward to reading another in this series.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Dead Man's Rapids by William Durbin; Barbara Durbin

He's thirteen and working with his best friend and his dad on the wanigan (the floating cook shack).  All is going well, his father is a good cook, and he's having fun even if it is a lot of work.  Then his father fell in love and decides to quit the job; he's staying.  Ben and Never go to work as cooking assistants.  They'll be grabbing a new cook shortly...

University of Minnesota Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 11th.

The old fashioned ways of logging are part my personal history.  Washington state was full of big trees, lots of logging and there was a lot history you could still view.  Huge stumps, waterways coming down the mountain to the river and more.  The story of two young boys going on their portage to Canada sounded good to me.

This is a very authentic tale of what it's like to control a group of logs.  The rivers has wide and narrow spots, there are rapids, and it's easy to get caught in the logs.  The boys discover this truth when they practice on the logs.  The water is cold and they got several baths before they got better at it.

The new cook is dirty, ugly, and only cooks stew.  Fish stew, chicken stew, beef stew.  Whatever comes on board goes in the soup pot.  The men don't like it but they're hungry so they eat it.  Then the cook meets a German widow and decides to stay with her and quits.  That leaves the two apprentice cooks in charge of meals.  They manage to do it but it's a lot of work!

As you follow them along the river and learn about the difficulties of log work, you'll begin to care about them and the men they work with.  The boys' friendship manages to stay in place even after a bout of poison ivy.  People were tougher then.  We could use some of that these days, too.

The Crane Girl by Curtis Manley, Lin Wong

A young Japanese boy helps a crane escape a trap.  Her leg was caught but he was able to free her and pet her a bit before she leaves.  He is surprised to find a young girl at his door a days later but he takes her in to meet his father.  She's looking for a place to stay and offers to clean and work around the house.  The father tells her as long as she works, she can stay.

Shen's Books and Edelweiss allowed me to read this story for review (thank you).  It is being published today, so you can grab a copy now.

When the father bemoans the fact that no one is buying what he is selling lately, he mentions silk is selling for good money.  She tells him she will weave him silk cloth if he stays out of the room that she works in.  He and the boy agree and she makes them beautiful cloth.  The problem is that the father begins living a life of leisure, eating and drinking all day.  He begins demanding more silk.  When she's worn and tired and can't make it as soon as he likes, he shoves her in the room and tells to make more.  When she takes too long, he opens the door and they find that the girl is actually the crane, who is using her feathers to make the silk.  She runs away, the boy follows.

The illustrations are magical, the tale one that has been retold in various ways but this is the first time I came across this version.  It has a happy ending and it's a good story.  I really enjoyed it.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Bridge Across The Ocean by Susan Meissner

This story begins during WW1.  The Queen Mary is taking war brides to the states to reunite with their husbands.  Not everyone on the boat is what they seem...

Berkley Books allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It is being published today.

The story is a bit broken up at the beginning because you are getting the back story of the two main characters of that era.  You can piece it together, though and it smooths out as you read further.

Three women are roommates on this trip and they become friends on the trip over.  At the end, they go on with their lives.  All but one.  One committed suicide.  Except a person from the present day doesn't believe it was suicide...

Brette can see ghosts.  She's rather not and tries to fight it but the ability is there.  When a friend from high school asks her to visit the Queen Mary and see if the ghost of his wife is there, she says no.  But his little daughter believes she is and won't go home willingly.  She finally says yes.  But the ghost she finds is not the girl's mother.  For the first time, Brette feels like she needs to help this ghost to put it at peace.  It's not easy to do.

You learn about the ugly price of war, it's toll on women, and what women will do to survive.  You also learn about friendship:  What true friendship is and how fulfilling it might not make you happy.

The story ties together and the child is satisfied.  Brette is still adjusting to her talent but she feels much better about it at the end.  This one will keep you reading.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Kill Devil Falls by Brian Klingborg

Helen is a US Marshall and she's been sent to pick up a fugitive.  While in route, she gets a call that tells her she has a new destination.  It's a small jail in Kill Devil Falls.  When she arrives, she finds it's a ghost town with very few residents.  She also knows someone sabotaged her tire at the restaurant she stopped at.  The only thing she can figure is that it must have been her fugitive's boyfriend.  So she's on the watch for him.  She should be on the watch for the town residents...

Midnight Ink and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 8th.

Everybody in town is strange and a bit crazy, as well as dangerous.  She intends to grab her fugitive and get back on the road, but her car won't start.  So now she has to sit and wait for the sheriff.

In the meantime, the lights go out and she has to visit the odd guys in the trailer who do jobs around town.  They also grow pot.  While she's doing that, the prisoner gets away and someone cut her throat.  That's just the beginning of trouble...

Everybody is trying to kill her.  They don't want their secrets to go public.  As people start dropping like flies, she's trying to piece together what they were doing and who's killing who.  There's a lot of tension in this story.  Adrenaline only lasts so long.  She loses her gun along the way.  They run through mining tunnels.  It'll wear you out before you get to the end.

I liked the way the author ended it.  It was the best way for it all to come out.  You won't be bored if you read this one. 

Red Cloud: A Lakota Story of War and Surrender by S.D. Nelson

Indian history always fascinates me.  It's sad, it's a clash of cultures, and differences still exist today.  But it's American History and I hope we can learn from it.

Abrams Young Reader's sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published tomorrow.

This book has the look of a journal and includes photographs and paintings.  It's a story of people fighting for their land and their way of life.  It's also full of soldiers who think they are less than human and consider them savages.  The Indians did get nasty as the war kept going on.  They had the mistaken impression that by scalping the men and breaking their arms and legs so their spirits wouldn't wander would put off the soldiers.  It just made the soldiers meaner.

Even when the Indians' surrendered, the promises the white men gave them were broken.  Often they didn't have enough food, they got white men's diseases, and they got introduced to whiskey which by itself killed a lot of Indians.

Red Cloud planned his fights well, had lots of victories but he could also read the writing on the wall.  No matter how many soldiers they killed, more came to replace them.  The white swarm was moving across North America and no one could stop it.  The only way to live was peacefully.  At least as peacefully as you could get at that time.

Here's a look back at the past for young readers.  The quotations in the book are haunting.  Even today, cultures clash.  Let's work on peace.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Called to Justice: A Quaker Midwife Mystery #2 by Edith Maxwell

Rose is enjoying the evening fireworks with her boyfriend when the evening is ruined by the death of young lady.  Her boyfriend is a doctor so he goes to her aid and finds she has been shot.  There is no sign of a gun so she didn't shoot herself.  Who did?  Rose knew she was pregnant and the father would have nothing to do with the child nor would he marry her.  But she didn't know who he was.

Midnight Ink and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 8th.

When the mill manager says he witnessed a local free slave shoot her, the police take his word for it.  Her friend ends up in jail and she's determined to find the real killer.  She knows he wouldn't do that.  It's harder than you'd think.  In the dark with fireworks going off, no one saw anything.  She believes the mill manager is lying but he's a pillar of the community and that's hard to fight.  

In the meantime, she's delivering babies and counseling young girls and thinking of marrying her boyfriend.  But her proposed mother-in-law tries to break them up, one child is born blind due to gonorrhea, the mill manager tries to run her over, and the killer is still out there.

It comes down to a stand off and I worried about Rose and her friends.  I was surprised by the identity of the killer.  Did you figure it out before the end?

I wonder what mystery Rose will encounter next? 

No Way Home: A Zoe Chambers Mystery by Annette Dashofy

Zoe is going on a ride with clients using her horses.  When everyone gets saddled up and ready to go, a horse comes back to the stables, riderless.  She cancels the ride and goes out to find the rider.  She finds him, dead.

Henery Press and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 14th.

Zoe feels an obligation to help with the investigation because the man died in her woods.  He's an important person in the fight over fracking.  Might that have been the reason he died?  After all, he'd been shot, not just injured in a fall from the horse.  She's looking forward to working with Pete, the local police chief and her boyfriend.  But she gets involved with a friend whose son is missing.  He had gone to New Mexico to stay with his girlfriend's parents but both he and he and she had been missing for days.  When they find her dead body, it's almost like the boy must be dead, too.  Rose refuses to give up hope and takes Zoe with her to New Mexico to try to get some answers.  With Pete home in Pennsylvania trying to solve his murder, Zoe is on her own.

With public meetings and arguments over fracking, a new drug problem in town and a murder with hundreds of suspects, Pete's plenty busy.

Zoe is trying to find some hope that Logan is still alive.  His sister Allison says she can find out, so they arrange to slip away together and go to talk to someone who has information.  It turns out that someone is an Indian.  He says he's safe but he won't tell them where he is.  They finally convince him to show them Logan.  He takes them out in the boonies and they find Logan alive and haunted by the killing of his girlfriend.

The murder here ties to the drug problems at home.  Wolf is a very dangerous drug dealer who'll kill anyone in his way.  Logan wouldn't transport drugs so he killed Logan's girlfriend to convince him he should.  Then he left him for dead.  

Trying to hide is no good; they find him and Zoe.  The cat and mouse chase scene is intense.  So is the ending.  I'd read more in this series.  It's written well and keeps your attention riveted.  Give it a try, you won't be disappointed.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Gone Without a Trace by Mary Torjussen

She goes away to a business conference for a day and when she returns her boyfriend isn't there.  Neither are any of his belongings.  After four years together, he disappears in a day without even saying goodbye?  All of her things are back where they used to be before he brought his stuff in.  Even the quilt that was on the bed when she left has been exchanged for an old one of hers.  It was his, you see...

Berkley and Net Galley gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It is being published April 11th.

Hannah can't believe Matt would do that so she decides to call him.  His number isn't on her phone anymore.  The photos she had have been deleted.  Any emails or texts to him have been deleted.  The same thing on her computer.  Then she finds out he's shut down all his social media.  When she calls his work, she finds out he wasn't there for the past week.  He quit.  She devastated, what's going on?

Her work suffers, her friendships suffer, and she becomes obsessed with finding him.  But when she does, things quickly spiral out of control.

This author takes you into the mind of Hannah and her desire to find Matt again.  He's the bad boy, the mean one, the one that left her.  It's a shock when you find out why.  Her other boyfriend left her for the same reason.  She has a temper she can't control and she conveniently forgets the damage she does as soon as she calms down.  Only this time she didn't calm down soon enough...

The most chilling part of the whole story is the ending.  The story isn't over.  It's just beginning again... 

Blood and Circuses Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries #6 by Kerry Greenwood

Phryne is bored.  When a person from her past knocks on the door and asks her to look into the various "accidents" at the circus, she's not sure she wants to.  He asks her if she'd bored, she says yes.  Then she says yes to going undercover at the circus.  It will be very different for her.  She's rich, has servants,  has beautiful cothes and a wonderful home.  She'll be transitioning to a life where she owns nothing, not even her name.  She's going to become a horseback rider in the circus...

Poisoned Pen Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published and is available now.

I found it fascinating to read about the circus life.  When a young man is killed in a boarding house, his murder seems impossible.  He's locked in his room and there is no way to access it except through the window.  The window is high and the police officer almost falls off when he tries to peep in the window.  The lady with him saves him.  She used to be an acrobat.  The cops decide she must have been the one to kill the man.  Then the man turns out to be part woman.  Mr. Christopher was in the circus, too.

Phryne's teacher was Mr. Christopher's love and she's mourning her loss.  She has no friends, no one around knows who or what she is.  Phryne has the morals of an alley cat.  It isn't long until she's sleeping with two of the men at the circus.  She needs them as friends, though.  She's heard too much and has figured out how the circus is being used.  When they capture her, it appears death is near.

With gangs in the city, hidden plans at the circus and lots of odd characters, you have plenty to take in and sort out.  The plot is complex and interesting.  This was a good mystery, even if Phryne has too many fellows. 

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Horror on the Links by Seabury Quinn

This is an anthology of horror stories that were published in Weird Tales magazine.  They were written in the 1920's.  There will be more compilations as this author contributed to most of their magazines.  Read this and you will get a blast of the past...

Night Shade Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 4th.

The French doctor reminds me a whole lot of Hercule Poirot.  He, too, uses his little grey matter to figure out what extraordinary thing is going on.  He tackles any case, no matter how strange.  Dr. Trowbridge, the American doctor, is the straight man in this friendship.  He doesn't really believe in supernatural things but he can't deny what his eyes can see.

With gorillas, werewolves, vampires, poison darts, and spirits everywhere it's almost like another version of The Island of Doctor Moreau.  You can't be sure what supernatural or paranormal thing will show up next.

The Frenchman has done some extensive traveling so he recognizes most of the symptoms and can help solve (apparently) any mystery.  These stories are written in the more reserved tone of the '20's but the themes still appear in today's writing.

Weird Tales always had stories like these and sold well for a number of years.  It's nice to see the old stories gathered up and being shared again.  Stories never die as long as there's still one storyteller left...

The Road Home by Katie Cotton, Sarah Jacoby (Illustrations)

This is a sweet book about animals.  The illustrations are pastel and peaceful.  It's always a long road home when you're away and this rhyme recognizes that.

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

Winter is setting in and the animals are getting ready for it.  The birds fly south, the mice gather food and get ready to hunker down.  Even the wolves are catching prey so they can sleep away part of the winter.  There are more animals to visit with in the story.  Despite the wolves, the tone is calm and some of the words repeat so young ones should enjoy the read.  This would make a good bedtime story.  After all, their bed is "home", right?

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Straightshooter by Hank Madison

Floyd is a deputy, has a girl, and has a friend in jail.  When she pressures him to let Dave loose, he says no and they break up.  Now he has an injured heart, isn't sure about Dave's guilt, and a gang member in jail.  The rest of the gang will be trying to break him out.  Can he and the sheriff withstand them?

Pioneering Press sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  You can buy it now on Amazon as an ebook.

When Floyd goes back to his cabin, the gang is waiting for him.  They beat him badly but he won't breach the jail for them.  They leave him and grab the deputy that quit and force him to get the sheriff to open door.  Then they kill both the sheriff and the deputy and take their gang member and Dave both with them.

Floyd sets out first thing in the morning after them.  Before this adventure is through, he'll learn something about his friend, Dave, and his girlfriend will learn why Floyd upholds the law the way he does.  It's a cat and mouse hunt that ends up with most of the gang dead.

There's plenty of action, the guns speak often, and the true characters of people come out in this story.  It's a good western.

Romancing the Rogue by Erica Ridley

She lives in a castle that is filled with ghosts and she has become expert at bookkeeping and billiards.  Her guardian has forgotten she's even around.  She stays away from the servants.  And she enjoys her life.  Unfortunately, her guardian dies...

The author and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 21st.

Her new guardian wants her out of the castle and married by the end of the month.  She's not even dating but he doesn't care.  He tells she can choose or he will do it for her.

When the will is being read, an old love of hers comes to hear it.  He and his grandmother shamed her at a public event and she refuses to have anything to do with him.  He refuses to take no for an answer.  He wants to resume his friendship.  When she beats him badly at billiards, she intrigues him.  It's not appropriate for a woman to be good at math or billiards but she does it so well and he loves it.  Soon he realizes he loves her.  The fact that she's a no one doesn't matter to him.  But society won't accept it that well.  And she's not reciprocating his love yet.  But he doesn't give up.

A matter of compromise makes it work and it ends happily ever after.  I'm glad.  I like happy endings.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Magic in the City by Heather Dyer

Jake and Simon are not happy about having to leave their home in Canada and move to England.  Their cousin wasn't much fun when she came to visit and they'll be leaving all their friends behind.  But with their dad in prison and their mom unable to continue house payments they have no choice.  They're traveling resentfully and they're being crabby until they come out of train station and see a magician.  He's selling off the tools of his trade.  The boys have no money but they end up with three items anyway.  They have no idea what they have...

Kids Can Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 4th.

There's a lot of fantasy in this story, that's what makes it fun to read!  Jake wants to steal something valuable so he can buy their house back.  Having a magic carpet to ride might help that but Simon wants to meet the queen.  He does get a chance to meet the queen because he can stop time.  When he finds the queen, he takes her hand, stops time and then has a nice visit.  The queen keeps the clock so she can have some quiet time to herself when she wants it.

Jake and Hannah come after Simon and nearly get caught.  They take a photo of a picture and find themselves on a boat!  Before they get away from the past and back to the present, they end up with a cabin boy coming with them.  He takes the camera so he can go where he wants to go.

The magic carpet got wet and is useless now but Hannah hopes it will recover when it dries.

The ending is amazing.  It's worth reading the whole story just to get the ending.  It was a fun read with a great ending.

Miss Seeton's Finest Hour by Hamilton Crane, Heron Carvic


This story is a prequel to Miss Seeton's further adventures with the secret service.  She's an art teacher living with her mother and she has been making sketches of areas around London because they look interesting.  The secret service division thinks she's a spy.  Especially since her drawing are showing military secrets not shared with the public.  She draws more than she sees but she doesn't realize it...

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

It was fun to read about a younger Miss Seeton who really hadn't embraced her umbrella yet.  She gets involved in a secret mission to find out who is sabotaging the planes that are being made in a factory.  She doesn't know what she's even seeing since she's unfamiliar with planes, but she's willing to try.  Her female supervisor doesn't trust her and is in love with the boss.  The boss is an odd fellow but nice enough.  Her fellow workers are boarding where she is and she likes most of the girls working in the factory.  She also likes the Major she's working for.

Since it's wartime and everyone expects the German's to attack, everyone is on high alert.  No one gives away any secrets.  But when people start getting killed at the factory, it's apparent more than sabotage is going on.

Miss Seeton identifies enough things to give Major Haynes the clue he needs to ferret out the saboteur.  But it's wartime and the two men she likes get hurt.  One is hurt and the other is dead.  But she gets an umbrella with a knife in the handle for memorabilia and to protect herself.  She'll be back working for secret service before long, even if no one knows how she does it.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Forgetting Spell by Lauren Myracle

When you live in a magical town where wishes can come true, you need to be cautious about spells and wishes.  Darya is only six when she asks for her first spell...

Katherine Tegen Books and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 4th.

Darya really misses her mother and still doesn't know why she left.  Her older sister knows something about it but won't share.  Her younger one doesn't remember her much so she's not so sad.  As Darya feels her way through life, she gets womanly advice from her aunts.  But she's not happy or content.  And now her thirteenth birthday is coming and it's time for to make three wishes at the wishing tree.  This didn't work too well for her older sister and she's not sure what to wish for.

When she finds out her mother is back in town, she goes to visit her.  While she's there, her mother asks her to use one of her wishes for her.  Darya is angry.  They are HER wishes, why should she waste one trying to fix her mother's mistake.  Besides, what if Emily is dead?

As Darya begins to remember what the spell told her to forget, she gets more confused.  What's the right thing to do?  What does she really want to wish for?

One thing Darya learns is that no matter what you wish for, if you don't follow through on it, it probably won't happen.  What she wishes for and how she follows up on it is enlightening.  The author even gives you a clue about what the next book will be about.  Before you finish this series you'll be afraid to say:  "I wish..."

Police at the Station and They Don't Look Friendly (Detective Sean Duffy #6) by Adrian McKinty

Duffy can get in more trouble than a three year old.  He's always nosing around looking for answers even when he's been told to stop asking questions.

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

He's on vacation with his girlfriend and his child visiting his parents.  His father has a boat trip in mind when the police call and tell Duffy of a murder.  It's odd because the victim was shot with a crossbow.  He uses it as the perfect excuse to return to work and avoid the boat trip.  Even his father looks relieved.

There's been more than one attempt at murder with a crossbow.  As he and his squad work the case, they determine that the men used to belong to the "B" squad in earlier days during war patrol.  When he pursues it further, he finds that they were involved in an incident where a young boy and girl were killed.  They said it was because they were fleeing them instead of going properly through the road block.  Her mother said it was because she was raped...

The further he digs, the more dangerous it gets.  Even the IRA is involved.  It appears someone at the station is feeding info to the IRA.  When Duffy is accused of that, he asks his superior to help him.  He does.  But when the IRA gets him, they don't care what he has to say, they intend to kill him.

This is complex case which is normal Duffy fare.  He never does anything easy.  I'm just hoping he lives long enough to retire.  He has a family now, I'd like to see him enjoy them.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Wanted and Wired by Vivien Jackson

Mari is an assassin.  She always hits her target.  Her partner, Heron, sets up the hits, they share the money, and while they are always on the run, they're happy.  Until she's hired to take out a quad (a robot that looks human, often clone-like) and when the bullet hits him, blood spurts out.  Quads don't have blood; she just killed the man, not his clone.  And they are both in big trouble now...

Sourcebooks Casablanca and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 4th.

A woman assassin isn't common but she's from Texas and has had some bad experiences in her past, so she does what she needs to do and tries not to feel guilty about it.  It's hard when a mistake was made in her assignment.  What burns her is it was not her mistake.  Someone set them up for a fall.

This is an action packed story with lots of danger set in a future world where many of the humans have been augmented with nanos to increase their performances and skills.  She won't go there but her partner has been changed.  He's afraid to tell her how much.  She's not too concerned with that.  She's falling in love with him and wants him to love her, too.  He does but he won't admit it.  They are in the middle of a war and they don't need the distraction.  Of course, knowing better doesn't mean you don't do it.

Heron has an ability to plug in electronically and become the car, the helicopter, the building or the space ship.  While they were hiding in one of his buildings, they were tackled by a couple of gunmen who plugged Heron into a strange port.  Mari manages to kill both of them and remove the port but the damage has been done.  There are bugs in his system now, just like a virus in a computer.  He has to leave his body and go into the computer to see if he can isolate and kill them.  He only has so long to do it and the hours are counting down.  Mari goes back to Texas to shut down the source.  Heron is still in the computer.  It's very, very dangerous in Texas.

This futuristic novel was entertaining.  It's a bit spicy with the sex but the overall story was good to read.  This is not the end of this story, there will be more in this series.  It's not going to get nicer either.  War is on the horizon and Mari and Heron are in their sights.

Polar Distress (Dr. Critchlore's School for Minions #3) by Sheila Grau, Joe Sutphin (Illustrations)

Runt is still trying to figure out who cursed him.  When he gets a message about how to remove the black marks tethering him to the curse, he does it.  He's supposed to be nude but he wears his underpants.  That can't hurt, could it?

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

It removes most of the power but not all.  He has no time to worry about it, though.  He's off on a quest to find an illusive chemical that is created by the drop of a meteorite.  Of course, Rufus is still bullying him.  He has hardly any friends.  But he's making new ones and trying to get his best friend to forgive him for not telling her how her mother died.  She's not having anything to do with him, though.

Between fighting giant bunnies, facing a huge bird and a black dragon, trying to dodge a great white ice monster and more, Runt has his hands full.  It's a good thing he has friends.

This is a great fantasy read about young ones trying to do the right thing and getting thwarted more often than not.

With lots of adventures, mishaps, and more, they finally get back home.  When they do, the teacher mentions his "princehood" again.  Since he can't remember his parents or another home, he's not sure he's a prince.  Maybe he'll find out in the next book. 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Vicar's Daughter by Josi S. Kilpack

Cassie is ready to dress up, go to public functions and date.  Unfortunately, Lenora is ahead of her in age and her parents only allow the next child to debut after each girl gets married.  Lenora has already been available for three years but she only does the outings when she has to and she has no gentlemen callers.  Cassie has to do something!

Shadow Mountain Publishing and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 4th.

When a young man arrives from London to help his Uncle with his property, it presents a golden opportunity.  He's single, is coming into money, and he's attractive.  They meet him at public functions and he seems nice enough.  Cassie decides since Lenora seems to like him a bit, she'll speed things up by writing to him.  This action has some awful consequences.

As they write and get to know each other, they find themselves falling in love.  Cassie can't admit it's her that's written the letters.  She even confesses to her sister before she goes out on a carriage ride with him.  He's confused.  The woman is vibrant and lively in her letters but uncommunicative and shy on the ride.  All she says is yes and no.  What she says to him are questions and she never elaborates on them.  Why would she be one way and then not?

When he proposes to Lenora, Cassie goes to stay with her aunt.   She can't let him see her heartbreak.  The worst part is that he figures it out and braces her on her return.  She tells yes, she wrote the letters.  He can also see she loves him.  He cancels the engagement and goes back home.  The scandal is on everyone's lips.

Just when it seems there's no love or life left for anyone, the author starts making things happen that change the whole situation.  Misunderstandings are cleared up, the sisters are friends again, and love comes out on top.  This was an excellent read.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Dragon Hunters by James Russell

When Coco, the dog, is let outside to go play, the two boys see a dragon snap him up.  When they tell their mother, she says, "Oh, sure."  Then it's time for them to go to bed...

Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 1st.

Flynn and Paddy get up early the next morning, pack themselves a lunch and head out to find the dragon.  Their mother assumes they are going after the dog.  She has that half right.

You can access a live map and use an app to see the characters in action and hear various noises as you read the book.  I didn't have that but the book is fine as a standalone.

It's a cute story where the children fumble through their rescue attempt but they succeed.  The illustrations are lovely.  And Mom still doesn't believe in the dragon.  There will be more books in this series, though.  Maybe they'll convince her yet!

Friday, March 3, 2017

The Bounty Hunters (The Bounty Hunter Series Book 1) by Martyn C Marais

He was only planning a short visit to town until he found out there were two men there that had wanted posters on them.  When he was checking out the town, he finds a man he knows in the bar.  He's another bounty hunter.  But he's not after the men he is.  So who is he here for?

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

You don't last as a bounty hunter if you're not smart and or if you're slow with your gun.  Tidy is fast, both with his guns and his thoughts.  But having a rival bounty hunter in town is not a good thing.  Neither one is sharing information with the other.

When Tidy finds out a whore has been beaten up by a cowboy, he goes to visit.  By listening to her and being sympathetic, he finds who he's looking for and where they live.  He doesn't have to go to them, though.  They come to town.  When he insults the older brother, it turns into a gunfight.  He wins and collects the reward.  While he's cashing the chit the sheriff gave him, he notices a man checking out the bank.  His instincts tell him he's casing it out.

When he gets the other bounty hunter drunk, he checks his saddle bags and finds the wanted posters he's carrying.  One of them is the man he saw in the bank.

A gang is coming to town but they will be short one member when they arrive.  Tidy is off on another hunt and the drunk bounty hunter is going to have his hands full.  The story will be continued in the next book.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Murder at the Fortune Teller's Table by Janet Finsilver

Kelly manages the Redwood Cove Bed and Breakfast.  She loves her job and the town she lives in and she participates in all their events.  When a woman asks her to help her find and contact some people she knew in the past, she agrees.  The Silver Sentinels are always looking for something to do.  What she didn't know was that it would lead to murder...

Kensington Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this ebook for review (thank you).  It will be published March 14th.

They find the couple Summer was looking for.  She writes to them and no one responds so she asks Kelly to contact them.  She does and invites them for the weekend.  Things start going bad when someone finds Summer and the fortuneteller both dead.  The cops say it was suicide since they drank hemlock.  Everyone knows the fortuneteller had intimate knowledge of herbs and would not have made such a mistake.  It's a perfect case for the Silver Sentinels.

They find out that Summer's son is not hers.  He's her adopted son.  The couple she invited (who are now married to other people) are his natural parents.  He's ill and need medical care.  By the time the parents arrive, it's up to Kelly to continue Summer's quest.  She meets with them and it disrupts their world.  The father is big car dealership owner with a bad attitude.  There's concern about his new family being illegitimate because he was still married to his first wife.  Who will the inheritance go to now?

It doesn't take long until they figure out that the women who died were the witnesses to the first wedding.  The other witness was attacked.  Everyone is on high alert but someone is after Kelly...

This is a good mystery.  The Silver Sentinels are a hoot, all different types and all fearless.  The ending was a bit too sweet.  A tiger doesn't change it's stripes, especially not in 24 hours.  But it does make for a happy ending.  I'd read another in this series. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

As Dark As My Fur by Clea Simon

She found Blackie almost drowned and brought him back home to nurse him to wellness.  Her mentor had just died and she was lonely, a cat would help.  What she doesn't know is that the soul of her mentor is in the black cat...

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

When she gets a notice she will be evicted for nonpayment of rent, she's desperate and desolated.  How can she pay that when she has no money?  When an old man asks for her aid, she tells him she will help.  She finds his magnifying glasses and returns them to him.  Then another man approaches her and he wants her to find a missing employee.  She agrees to look for three days (thinking she can find him by then) and asks for half payment up front.  The man pays her.  She should have thought more about how he found her and why he wanted such a young one to do the work.  The money was just too attractive, though.  The first thing she did was buy food for both herself and Blackie.  Then she goes out on her quest.

This is a bit different theme than Ms. Simon usually uses.  It's set in Victorian times and the backstory is sad.  It's very good read and I really enjoyed watching the young girl upset the plans the bad man had in mind.  She's just starting out, so I look forward to reading more about her and Blackie.  They make a mean team.