Sunday, June 30, 2019

The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins

Sarah Dove has had books talk to her for years.  They ask her to read them or tell her who shoild.  She's the librarian now and having that skill is handy.  The Dove's have always had a touch of magic bur they don't brag about it.  Right now, she's a bit worried about her town.  Vendors have been leaving and the town populace has been dwindling.  They've got to revitalize the town or it's going to die.

Gallery Books and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published July 30th.

When the town clerk retires and hires a new woman in town to take her place, an old journal tells Sarah she's the one that can save the town.  Sarah doubts it but visits with her.  It seems she only plans on staying one year.  Her foster mother is having memory problems and this is her home town.  Grace is hoping being here will help her.  Grace is also raising her sister's girl.  Hannah overdosed and Daisy needs a Mom.  If only she knew how to be one.

One of Grace's first challenges is to plan the apple festival.  She attempts to shuck the duties off on another committee member but then she finds there is almost no money to allot to that budget.  She goes to give them the bad news and finds herself chairing the group again.  She asks them for time to do research on the festival.  When she shares what she found, she also comes in with new ideas and assignments for each committee member.  There's mumbling and grumbling but they get it done.

While she's trying to save the town, her foster mom wanders at night.  One evening she gets a call from her next door neighbor telling her she's in his house making spaghetti...

Mom gets lost one day and the whole town turns out to find her and the little one.  And mixed in with all that is her romantic interest in the next door neighbor.  She tries to deny it, but it keeps growing.  He's interested, too.

She might have only come for a year, but the town doesn't know that...

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Lady in the Lake by Laura Lippman

Maddie has decided she wants to do something big and important, not just be a housewife and mother.  So she walks away from her marriage, rents an apartment, and starts trying to find a job.  She feels a little regret but she also wants to make her mark in life, not just be invisible.  But finding a job is hard with no work experience and at almost 40...

William Morrow and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published July 23.

When a young woman doesn't come one night, it becomes a missing case.  After so many days, she's assumed dead, but no body has been found.  Maddie and her friend are walking home when Maddie takes on another path.  It was where she used to go with boys when she was younger.  She and her friend find the body everyone is looking for and they call the police.  They try to remain anonymous but their names get out.  When a reporter questions Maddie, she suddenly thinks maybe that would be a good job for her.

She visits him at work and asks if he can help her get a job.  She does get a job, but it's as a helper with the man that handles consumer complaints.  She asks why no one has looked for the other missing woman.  It's because she was black.  She decides to look for her.  Maybe this could be her big story.

She talks to her family members, her boss, and to anyone who knew her.  The closer to the truth she gets, the more dangerous it is.

When she opens a letter about burnt out lights at a fountain in town, she call the public works department and asks them to replace them.  They do and they find the dead Negro girl.  That's two dead bodies she's located now.

She does solve the murder mystery but she almost dies as she gets the story.

This was a well written story showing racial prejudice and lack of good police work because nobody cared if a black woman died.  Not that they were doing a great job finding the white girl's killer either.  This is one that makes you think.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Imagine That: A Hoot & Olive Story by Jonathan D. Voss

Hoot, Olive's stuffed owl has lost his imagination...

Henry Holt Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published July 16th.

While they look for Hoot's imagination, Olive uses hers to relate fantastic stories of big adventure.  Mr. Voss' illustrations are beautiful and really add to the story.  You will be amazed at where Hoot finds his imagination.

I've been using my imagination my whole life so I had to read this book.  Share this with your little one and maybe they will use their imagination to tell you a story.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Bark of Night by David Rosenfelt

When he takes his dog to the vet, the vet asks him to come to his office.  He's reassured it's not about his dog, she's well, this is something else.  It seems someone brought a French bulldog in and wanted it euthanized.  There's nothing wrong with the dog, must he do that?  The lawyer says no.  Then they find out the man who brought him in is not the owner.  The owner doesn't answer his phone.  That's because he's dead...

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

Andy is a PI as well as a lawyer, and this case catches his attention.  Especially when they arrest a young man who has no record.  He's being framed but the cops don't think so. 

There's lot of good detective work done by Andy.  There's smuggling, homeless men dying, gangs involved and before the story is over the Feds get involved, too.

I enjoyed this read and I especially liked the fact that the French bulldog got a new forever home.  I like happy endings.


Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Window on the Bay by Debbie Macomber

Jenna's children are in college now and the house is too quiet.  What is she going to do with herself now?

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

When Jenna talks to her best friend, Maureen, she suggests they take that trip to Paris they had planned so long ago.  Jenna thinks that's a great idea and they begin planning.

Both women are single.  They are divorced and they are very cautious with men.  They use the same colors as a traffic light to rate them.  Most dates start out yellow and then change to red.  But that's about to change.

Soon, they each have a boyfriend and they are in love.  Jenna, a nurse, meets her mother's doctor and falls in love.  She was never going to date a doctor, but they click.  Maureen talks to a library patron and starts dating him.  He's not her imagined type of date either.

Then misunderstandings arise and the women pull back.  They still feel the burn from previous husbands but they don't have the full story and won't listen.  Will they get back together or are these loves lost?  If you regularly read Ms. Macomber's books, I bet you can guess...

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Peacock Bottle by Angela Rigley

This story has been written in two time periods.  There is the story of the house's original family occupants mixed with the current family occupants.  Pay attention as you read or you'll confuse yourself.

BooksGoSocial and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can get a copy now.

The story begins with a house fire that takes the life of the husband.  The stepmother and child survive and find the child has inherited another house.  They move and find the house has been vacant for a while.  There's a lot of cleaning and fix up to do.  They work on it day by day.  The daughter found a secret garden and she's attempting to clean that up, too.  They also meet two cousins they didn't know they had.

In between this tale comes an older story of how the family became what they are.  There is a sad part in this tale, too.  The historical account is very well done and was even more attention grabbing than the current tale.

But stepmom and daughter have some more obstacles to get over before the book ends.

This is a fascinating character study that was a good read. 

The Second-Worst Restaurant in France: A Paul Stuart Novel (2) by Alexander McCall Smith

Paul is working on a book but he can't find peace and quiet to do it.  His apartment has been invaded by his girlfriend's two cats.  Her he doesn't mind but the cats love pestering him.  His aunt offers him an apartment that should be quiet enough to write.  He accepts but the folks upstairs play loud music.  Then his aunt invites him to come to France with her.  She's renting a house.  It will be quiet...

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

He goes and gets a good chunk of the beginning of his book done.  They hear that the local restaurant is bad.  Lots of folks eat there though so they decide to try it.  They have mussels.  Paul gets very sick.  He won't eat there again.

They get caught up in the local gossip and with the family they rent from.  There's a girl staying in another cottage who is pregnant.  Once she has the baby, a boy, the father wants it.  So she moves in with the aunt and Paul "temporarily".  Then his aunt asks Paul to teach the man at the restaurant to cook.  He doesn't want to learn.

Life for Paul is complex.  He decides to trash his book and write another about the restaurant.   He's teaching the nephew to cook.  He is not only is good at it and willing to learn, he has other recipes to contribute.  Maybe all is not lost...

Mr Smith always writes about the people in depth, but that's what makes things work or not.  His writing is always entertaining.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Ripe for Vengeance by Wendy Tyson

Megan's boyfriend's classmates from college are coming to town.  They want to get together with him and Megan agrees to go with him.  She'll have regrets later...

Henery Press and Edelweiss allowed me to read  this book for review (thank you).  It will be published July 16th.

Chase is negative and nasty.  Martine can't keep her eyes off Denver, Megan's boyfriend.  They are all a bit weird.  

They are in town because they are going to go camping with students from a special needs school.  They intend to mentor them.  But that plan goes astray when Chase is murdered the first day.  Even worse, they think the boy that Denver's aunt is raising killed him.  Megan and Denver don't believe it but how can they prove someone else did it?

This is a good mystery with several factors at play.  It takes a lot of work to get the background on everyone and figure out who the killer is.  The ending is tense and keeps you glued to your chair.

I enjoyed this tale and I was rooting for Dillon, the special needs boy.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

The Bird Boys by Lisa Sandlin

Delpha was working when a man comes in to ask a question and then tries to kill her.  She breaks a bottle and ends up killing him instead, but she's knifed and goes to the hospital.  The police intend to charge her for murder.  It's a good thing she works for a PI...

Cinco Puntos Press and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published July 16th.

He visits her in the hospital and gets her a good attorney.  Since it was self defense, charges are dropped and she's set free.

The next case isn't any easier.An old man comes in and wants them to locate his younger brother.  He says the brother moves a lot and uses fake names.  Not much to go on but they take what information he can give them and take the case.  Then they discover as they begin investigating, the name he gave them was false, too.

Along with that case, they get another.  A wife is worried about where her husband is getting his money and worries about the evenings spent away from home.  He takes on that case, too.

Both cases are dangerous and there are mean men involved.  He makes a deal with the police.  He will guide them to smuggling activity if they let the husband go.  Since his uncle is chief, he gets that.

The other tale is sadder but it's not unexpected.  This mystery keeps the detecting team and the reader busy.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

The Stories You Tell by Kristen Lepionka

When Roxane gets a phone call in the middle of the night, she's not expecting good news.  It's her little brother and he's worried about a young woman who came to visit and borrow his phone.  She makes one phone call and then bolts again.  He  tries to stop her and gets his face scratched.  He used to work with her and he's concerned about her.  Can his sister, the PI, help him.  She's willing to try.

Minotaur Books and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published July 9th.

While Roxane tries to track her down she finds nothing.  Friends she lives with don't know where she went.  When she checks out a dating site one  of the girls mentioned she finds she has several contacts there.  One thing she notices is that the girl is a bit reserved on her Facebook page.  Not so on the dating site.  She also finds out she's been hustling money in exchange for her pictures.

This is a confusing mystery where a cop gets killed, lives are ruined and anyone touched by the mystery won't be the same anymore.  With so much going on in the story and it developing slowly, I had no idea who was manipulating everyone.  But Roxane figures it out.  And almost dies trying to apprehend the law breaker.

It's a convoluted story with several nuances that will hold your attention and keep you reading.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Knife: A New Harry Hole Novel by Jo Nesbo

Harry Hole is back to drinking.  His wife has thrown him out and he still loves her.  She's his life and he hopes she might let him come back.  He knows his drinking isn't helping but it kills the hurt.

Knopf and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published July 9th.

When he finds out a man he imprisoned years ago has been set free he has more to worry about.  Without knowing it, Harry killed his son in the past and this man has threatened Harry's family.  He puts a hidden camera on a tree at his wife's house so he can see if he's sneaking around the house.

The next thing he finds out is that his wife has been murdered.  He wants to be on the case, but they put him on leave.  So he investigates independently.  The more he learns, the more disappointments he finds.  All his suspects couldn't have done it.  Then parts of his blacked out memory return in bits and pieces.  When he finds the murder weapon hidden among his record albums, he wonders if he did it when he was blind drunk?  He starts looking for clues and finds more that prove he was there.  He begins thinking of suicide.  When he's ready he goes to kill himself in his car.  He'll have a traffic accident.  But at the last minute, he realizes something and changes his mind.  Unfortunately, his car fishtails and goes off the road into the frozen river.  Now it looks like he might drown...

Mr. Nesbo doesn't write nice books.  The crimes are awful, Harry walks  outside the police regulations, and justice is done, but not through the courts.  He kept me glued to the story from beginning to end and it's well worth the read.  I will watch for the next in this series.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Killer in the Carriage House: A Victorian Village Mystery by Sheila Connolly

She'd moved away long ago but when her best friend calls her and says the little town she grew up in is dying, she goes back with an idea of how to revitalize it.  Part of the town is enthused, the other part isn't sure.  She's got a big job ahead of her and she's not being paid.  Maybe later...

Minotaur Books and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published July 9th.

She thinks they can remove the worn, falling down exteriors and restore them to original.  She wants to make the main part of town Victorian so it will be a tourist attraction.  But it will take money and the townfolks don't have any.  She understands this and starts pulling in other resources and people to help.

There is the Barton mansion which is a tribute to Victorian times.  Mr. Barton spent a lot of money on that.  Right now, she wants to get all the old papers out of the attic.  They already had a find in them in the past, some papers from Clara Barton.  Who knows what else might be there?

She takes the papers to the library and lets the expert she called in look them over.  Nothing much there.  So where were his work papers?

In the meantime, a young man wants to come in the library but she tells him it's closed and he'll need to talk to city administration to seek a visit.  The next  time she sees him, he's dead in the library.  Who killed him and why?

This was an entertaining read with lots of unknown connections coming together at the end.  The town might get revitalized yet! 

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe: A Novel in Recipes by Jenny Colgan

Issy's grandfather had owned three bakeries and he taught her how to bake.  When she gets caught in a company cutback, she takes her severance pay and puts money down on a little out-of-the-way shop.  She's going to make it a cupcake shop.

Sourcebooks Landmark and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published July 2nd.

She asks a woman she met at a class her old company sent her to if she would like to work with her.  She's good at paperwork and has good ideas at marketing.  She says yes and they work on setting it up.  Once they are open, the customers are few.

Issy is also having romantic problems.  The boyfriend she had at the old company has disappeared.  She likes the bank loan officer but feels like it would be a conflict of interest if she started dating him.  What to do?

She begins sharing her cupcakes with people on the streets and at the bus stop.  It gets her a few customers.  The banker sends her a few more.  Then the woman that wanted the shop before she did comes in and asks for work.  She has all her clubs come in.  They even hold meetings there.  Just as everything is picking up, her old boyfriend shows up again and invites her to move in.   She should be suspicious but she's not.  He even introduces her to his mother, who doesn't like her.  She finally breaks up with him but he has evil plans.  He intends to buy the whole block her store is on to turn it into apartments.

Can she stop a huge company from taking over her lease?  Who will she decide to love?

This was a warm fuzzy kind of book that makes you feel good while you read it. You'll end with a smile on your face. Issy finally grows up.

 There are a lot of good recipes in the book, too.
 

Annalisa tells her story: A life in the country with animal friends by Ute Endler Anderson

Annalisa is a long haired chihuahua that was adopted by a loving family.  She felt bad about leaving her family but she finds an even bigger family on the farm.

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

There are photographs of all the animals on the farm.  From cats, dogs, goats and more there are plenty of animals to play with.  She doesn't have time to be bored.

This is a pleasant picture book .  It's about the life of a dog and the pictures are a pleasure to look at.  Annalise got a good deal when this family took her home!

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Captain Ginger by Stuart Moore, June Brigman, Roy Richardson

This is Volume One of Captain Ginger.  Ge's piloting a starship full of cats.  Their world has been destroyed along with their previous leaders.  Noe they are traveling space looking for another place to settle.  It's becoming necessary because they are still breeding and their population is soaring.

Ahoy Comics and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It is being published today.

This is a graphic novel and it's well illustrated.  It adds to the story line.

The starship isn't in the best shape and a fight with the aliens makes it worse.  He threatens the aliens and they believe him.  Then he hits them in their most vulnerable place and escapes.  They find an old space station and take refuge on that.  After all there are rats there and it's been a long time since they had fresh food.  The Captain says they can't stay there but the whole crew wants to, so he lets it go for a while.

My favorite parts were the fights between him and his second in command Sergeant Mittens.  They've been frenemies for a long time.  The other oddity was that they had feral cats on the ship.  How can cats have feral cats?

This was a fun adventure with more to come.  Watch out for those aliens!

Monday, June 17, 2019

Heart of Barkness by Spencer Quinn

Chet and Bernie are back again.  I enjoy this series because the dog narrates the story.  Chet thinks Bernie is the smartest human around and he loves helping him on his cases.  You can just imagine how helpful he is...

Forge Books and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published July 2nd.

When Bernie gets complimentary tickets to a country music performance, he goes even if the tavern it's in is a dive.  He remembers the singer and wants to see her again.  He never expected someone to steal his tip out of the tip jar.  And Chet never had anyone else slither out of their pants and run away half nude either.  Bernie gets the tip back and added to the tip jar.  Then another man collects the money in the tip jar.  He says he's her manager.

Soon Bernie finds himself looking into her life trying to figure out what happened in the past that affected her life and the life of her daughter.  When her  manager is found dead in her bed, she's charged with murder.  Bernie doesn't believe it so he continues asking questions.  

Her story is more and more complicated.  Her lover who died of drug overdose was actually shot to death.  So her story has been created by other people.  She blacked out.  She believed what they told her.  Just like she's confessed to this latest murder.

Wen Bernie gets shot at, he gets serious about the case.  What he finds out is is surprising and close to home.  People are not always what they seem.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Strangers in the Storm: Love and Survival on Mount Rainier by Jared Rund & Diane McKenney

They are hiking Mt. Rainier.  Just the notion sends chills down my spine.  Washington weather changes constantly and the mountain is tall enough it makes some of its own weather.  They pick what they think is a good day and a group of them head out.  They go at night so the glaciers will be frozen and easier to walk on.  As they go, several members of the party turn back. 

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

One climber's new wife doesn't want to go on, so they return to camp.  One man is sick, so he heads back to camp.  Another is to worn to continue, so he he goes back.  Before long, it's just Jared and Diane but they intend to climb to the summit.  Then it begins to snow...

They make the summit but they lose the trail.  This is a story of survival against all the odds.  Especially since they can see no markers for the trail.  It's a whiteout and they're traveling without a guide.  They left their cellphones in camp so they had a light load.  They only have one sleeping bag and no real food, just a few snacks.  He can't remember her name.  Trying to get down is a real chore.  They think they see people but when they get there, they are big rocks.  It's hard to remain positive when you experience so much failure.

They have to go across numerous crevices.  It's a good thing they have the right equipment and Jared was an experienced mountain climber.

This book will hold your attention until the end.  It was a good read that's filled with danger.  If you're not familiar with Mt. Rainier, here is the Wikipedia info on it with several pictures:  click HERE.

It does have a happy ending.

The Liar in the Library by Simon Brett

A best selling author has come to talk about his book at the local library.  He thinks all women desire him and they don't.  He still tries to persuade them by touching and being familiar but he has no success.  He gets in an argument with one man and shuts another man down during the questions after his talk was over.  He's leaving at the same time as Jude so he offers her a ride home since it's raining.  She says OK but then he misbehaves in the car and she gets and walks home.  The next day he's found dead in the car in the parking lot and Jude becomes a suspect.

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

This author always writes good mysteries.  This is another that was a treat to read.

His ex-wife tells the cops that Jude had an affair with the dead man and that was what ended their marriage.  It's not true but the cops aren't sure they believe her.  He was allergic to walnuts and that's what killed him.  The problem is that he didn't eat anything at the library, he just had a glass of wine.  Was that poisoned with walnuts?  The bottle was dropped and broke so no one else could drink any.  How did he encounter the walnuts?

Jude finds herself becoming a high suspect on the list so she starts her own search for the killer.  That ends up getting her a talk from the police about compromising witnesses.  So she asks her next door neighbor to take over.   They'd worked on other cases together.  They also find the answer before the cops do.  The motive for the killing is unusual.

Give Mr. Brett a try, you might be surprised.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

The Ghost Clause by Howard Norman

They fell in love with the house and purchased it.  The woman selling it was a widow.  In that state old houses had a special clause in the contract that if a ghost bothered them, the seller would have to buy it back.  They just thought it was funny.  After all, the owner knew of no ghosts.  So they married and moved in.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published July 2nd.

What no one knows is that Simon, the dead husband, still lives there in ghost form.He watches the young couple and their cat, reads books in their library, and sets their burglar alarm off.  He figures he won't be there for forever but he's enjoying this time he's been granted.

The burglar alarm company is losing patience with them, they've got normal marital adjustments to make, and the previous owner visits quite often.  Her husband enjoys those visits.

The kids eventually realize Simon is there but they don't fear him.  

This is really a tale of two marriages.  It's almost mundane but the ghost adds flavor.  The ending was surprising but appropriate.  It's a nice, easy read. 

Friday, June 14, 2019

No Ocean Too Wide by Carrie Turansky

They are a close family working together to survive.  Their father died from injuries in a railroad accident so their mother works at sewing,  The oldest daughter has gone to be a lady's maid.  The twins have separate duties.  The boy works for the butcher, the girl takes care of the household and the youngest daughter.  When their mother gets very ill and must go the hospital, they almost despair.  They don't have money for the rent, there's no food in the apartment, and now there will be a hospital bill.  But it gets worse...

Multnomah and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 25th.

When Garth tries to steal a loaf of bread to feed his family, he's caught.  When the policeman brings him home and finds out there is no adult in the household, he takes them all to an orphanage.  The girls go in one and the boy in another.  They worry about their mother and Kati frets because Garth has been separated from them.  They try to explain why they are there but the matron doesn't listen.

Laura comes to see her mother and finds the children gone.  After spending some time with her mother, she goes to the children's home to visit with them and get them back home.  The matron tells her she'll have to pay for the meals they've eaten, the clothing they gave them and bed rent.  She doesn't have the money.  But she does know a young attorney who may help.  Unfortunately he's not in and the young man who is is lustful.  She manages to get away but now she's on her own.

When she finds out her family had been sent to Canada, she applies for a job at the home, using a false name.  She gets sent to Canada on the next trip and she tries to find her siblings.  Her lawyer friend came over on the same boat, so he and his partner are willing to help.  

The ending is both happy and sad.  The good news is there will be another book in this series and that one should have a happy ending. 

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Adopting a Dinosaur by José Carlos Andrés, Ana Sanfelippo

She really, really wants a pet.  She goes through a whole list of them but her parents say no...

NubeOcho and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review(thank you).  It will be published June 25th.

She finds a big egg and sneaks it home.  It's great fun to watch her try to hide it!  Then the egg hatches and she has a baby dinosaur.

Then she goes out and asks her parents if she could have a baby dinosaur for a pet.  They think that's hysterically funny and when they quit laughing, they tell her yes thinking she will never find one.  Does she have a surprise for them!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The Tell Tail Heart by Cate Conte

Maddie is remodeling her grandfather's house into a bigger cafe during the winter months.  She has cats in the cafe and the customers often end up adopting them.  She gets them from the animal rescue group.  Right now she has a very quiet customer who sits in the cafe, orders coffee and a pastry and then writes.  He also pets the cat on his lap.  She lets him do his writing.  Then her sister comes in and tells her he's an author of some renown.  While Maddie is taking that in a lady comes in and the first thing she does is try to claim her cat.  She says it's hers, but she doesn't live on the island and Maddie is not going to give him up.  She asks the lady to leave...

Minotaur and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 25th.

When she goes to visit her sister at the Yacht Club, she's stopped by the police.  She can't go there because they've found a man in the water.   They won't tell her if he's alive or dead.  When he's identified it turns out to be the writer that used her cafe and he was murdered.  She starts snooping about.  Her grandfather is a retired police chief, so he gets in on the action but he tells her nothing except to stay out of it.

The ex-wife the writer was divorcing shows up for his belongings, the writer he had done some books with showed up looking for his manuscript, and the crazy cat lady knew him, too.  Who would have murdered him?  Some of the town members have secrets, too.

This was a good cozy mystery with a few cats and a romance thrown in.  I enjoyed the read.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim

Natalie Tan is finally going home.  Her mother died unexpectedly and she has to pick up the pieces.  She finds she has inherited her grandmother's restaurant as well as her mother's apartment above it.  She left home because she wanted to take cooking classes and her mother wanted her to go to college.  Now she has an opportunity to open a restaurant and she's going to do it.  But the whole street is gray and lifeless.  Where did the customers go?  Why are the businesses failing?

Berkley Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (Thank you).  This book is being published today.

She visits with the shop owners and listens to their tales of woe.  Then she's given her grandmother's cookbook.  Not only does it have good recipes, it has suggestions for what it will fix.  Eat one dish and develop courage.  Eat another and renew love in a relationship.  She starts feeding the neighbors.  It works for a while but then one falls and breaks his leg, the couple starts arguing again and it looks like it was all for naught. There is a very aggressive realtor trying to talk them into selling.

Natalie also finds a new love interest.  She's still trying to hold the neighborhood together.  And then her restaurant catches fire and burns...

She talks about walking away from the mess and her boyfriend knows that will mean leaving him, so he goes.  You will be amazed about who steps in to help.  Now can she get her love back?

I enjoyed the read.  It has history, romance, and some crotchety old people in it.  What more could you want? 

Monday, June 10, 2019

A Tale Magnolious by Suzanne Nelson

She's an orphan and she hates the home she lives in.  She sneaks out to go town whenever she can.  On this trip she finds they intend to hang an elephant for the death of her trainer.  She knows the elephant isn't guilty, she just knows it.  So she goes up to visit with it and it's kind.  They escape together and run as far as they can in one evening.  They stop to sleep in a barn...

Knopf Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 18th.

The old man who finds them in the barn isn't very welcoming but he lets them stay.  She sleeps in the barn with the elephant.  She also offers to help him farm.  She has some seeds she stole from the tinker she can plant.  The old man says the dust storms have killed all the other plants.  He rigs up a harness for the elephant and it plows the field.  Then it makes little holes for her to plant her seeds.  The plants grow, she makes a friend from a neighboring farm and they soon discover the Mayor is the one creating the wind storms.  He's a hard man to defeat because everybody in town owes him money (except the old man she lives with) and he can take their farms away from them.

The Mayor is an evil man with plans for the town, his own plans, not from the people who live there.

It comes to a showdown between the Mayor and Nitty, but she has more people on her side than he imagined.

The ending is very exciting and the whole read was fun.  I never knew stealing an elephant could be fun and rewarding!

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Whispering in the Wind by Alan Marshall, Shane Maloney, Jack Newnham

Peter lives in a bush hut with Crooked Mick, who is an excellent horseman.  One day, Peter decides to go out and find a princess and rescue her from a dragon.   Mick's OK with that.  He gives Peter a whip that makes a lot of noise if you do it right and that will call Mick if Peter gets in trouble.

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

When Peter starts his journey, a tree talks to him and tells him where the princess lives.  There's danger along the way.  He meets a witch and finds out about a magic leaf.  When he finds it, he gives her one and she changes.  She no longer wants to eat him.  The leaf saves him from a lot of trouble.

He's traveling with a kangaroo who can talk and has a magic pouch.  She can pull anything out of it.  Want dinner?  Want a rope or a sleeping bag?  I'd like to have a pouch like that!

He meets a giant who captures humans and puts them in boxes imprisoning them.  It takes some doing, but he finally gives him the leaf and he lets his prisoners go.

This was first published in 1969 and I enjoy reading the classic stories with no cursing or sex thrown in.

Peter has many more obstacles to conquer before he can save the princess and it's great fun watching him do it.

I really enjoyed reading this one.  With magic, a talking kangaroo, and a magic whip everything finally falls into place and the story ends happily. 

Read it and see what you think.  I loved it.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

The Root of Magic by Kathleen Benner Duble

Willow knows her brother is sick and the doctors don't know why but she still wishes her mom hadn't started for home in a snow storm.  It's hard to see and it's slick.  Soon they are in trouble.  They've slid right up to the edge of the bridge and their car is about to topple over the edge...

Delacorte Press and Edelweiss allowed me to rad this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 11th.

Luckily, a husband and wife team in a tow truck show up and help them evacuate the car.  It was just in time, too.  The car fell in the river as soon as they backed away.  They take them to a gated community, where they are welcomed at the bed and breakfast.  It's like she knew they were coming.  She's already set a roll-away bed for Wisp in the same room mom and Willow will be sleeping in.

As time goes on, more coincidences happen until Willow begins to believe something else is going on.  When she asks questions, she's told to ask her mom.

When she finds out where the magic comes from, she's amazed.  She even tries it once but decides she doesn't want to live that way.  Neither does Wisp.  But can they get away?  And where will they go?

I enjoyed this read.  There was just enough magic to make it mysterious and deciding to stay or leave was heartrending.  I'll remember this book.

Isabella at the Library by Kate Mahoney-Veitch

Isabella is great storyteller.  She goes to library to sing once a week and then she sits and tells her stuffed animals stories.

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

They are rowing their boat just like the song she just sung but when they get to the island they see a big lion and can't stop there.  Next they see a crocodile!

Isabella has a great imagination, doesn't she?  Soon, her mother and little brother come and get her to take her home.

With more illustrations by Sarah-Leigh Wills, this is a fun book to read, too.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Death in a Budapest Butterfly by Julia Buckley

They are serving high tea to Hungarian women in their tea house.  Almost all the women are elderly and polite.  What she notices is that the special teacup she has on display is being used by one of the women.  She doesn't know why.  Then the woman drinking the tea walks quickly back to the bathroom.  When she checks to see how she's doing, she finds her on the floor against the wall dead!

Berkley and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published July 30th.

When the emergency personnel and police show up, the tea party ends.  Everybody has to remain to speak to the police.  The detective asks Hana, her mother and her grandmother to sit in on the questioning and interpret the Hungarian the ladies throw into the conversations.  They do but they can't believe one of these guests would commit murder.

Hana finds herself attracted to the detective.  She helps him with the investigation and then discovers he's attracted to her, too.

Together they work on piecing the facts together.  Hana is the biggest help.  When the killer is identified, everyone is shocked.

I really enjoyed the detective and Hana team action and I hope there will be future cases with this team.

Isabella and the Magic Umbrella by Kate Mahoney-Veitch

Isabella is having a tea party outside and it starts to rain.  She runs in for an umbrella.

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

When she opens the umbrella, the rain stops.  When she closes it, it starts raining again.  After testing it several times, she leaves it open and they all have their tea party.  I need one of those umbrellas!

They decide it's magic and a beautiful rainbow blossoms in the sky.

Sarah-Leigh Wills has done the illustrations.  This is another in the Isabella series and they are all charming.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Penne Dreadful by Catherine Bruns

Tessa is still grieving her husband's death.  He died in a car accident. When her cop cousin tells her his car had been tampered with, her grief turns to anger.  The cops aren't having luck finding the killer, so she's going to see what she can find out...

Poisoned Pen Press and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published July 30th.

She starts her investigation by going to work at a pizza shop he did the books for and hung out a lot.  There's no end of suspects there.  She finds some illegal drugs by accident but by the time she goes back for them, they are gone.

As she gets closer to the truth, she gets fired.  She decides to go back and snoop after hours with her girl cousin.  Instead they are kidnapped and almost die.

I was very surprised by the killer.  You just never know...

Isabella and the Woodland Walk by Kate Mahoney-Veitch

Isabella gathers up her favorite stuffed animals and goes for a walk with her mother and little brother and grandfather.  She's leading the dog and having a good time.

The author graciously shared more of this series with me for reviews (thank you).  This book has been published and you can grab a copy now.

Their walk is pretty unremarkable except when the dog sees a squirrel and wants to give chase.  So when Isabella finds a downed tree to sit on, she tells her stuffed animals an exciting tale about another walk in the woods.  The most important thought in the story is how everyone needs to stick together so no one gets lost or in trouble'

The illustrations by Sarah-Leigh Wills add to the charm of the story and make it an enjoyable read.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

The Pawful Truth by Miranda James

Charlie Harris has decided to take a class on early medieval history.  He's only going to audit it. He's a bit uncomfortable with students half his age, but he meets another older student so it'not so bad.  He hears the teacher talk to her after class, asking her what the hell she's doing in his class.  Then she asks Charlie to be her study partner.  He declines since he is not a student.

Shortly after that he learns that she has been murdered...

Berkley and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published July16th.

When he tells the detective what he heard the teacher say, the teacher becomes a suspect.  As he picks up on the college gossip, it appears the teacher was having affairs.  More discussion leads to a suggestion that his wife, another teacher, might be doing the same.  Her husband sure hates having a French Canadian around her.  He's made public scenes with him twice.  Then he ends up dead.

Did the wife kill him or did one of the two men she was seeing to get info for her next book?

The cops are working hard to get an answer, but Charlie finds it first.  And he is suddenly attacked by the killer and almost dies.  I like who saved him and I bet you will, too. 

Croquette & Empanada by Ana Oncina

This was an interesting read.  It's pretty much all done in cartoon form.  You go on adventures with these two creatures and it's a fun read.

Andrews McMeel Publishing and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you).  It has just been published and you can pick up a copy now.

What I liked about it was it is so realistic.  They go to bed at night and one of them hogs the bed.  On another night, she has all the blankets and he has none.  (My husband accuses me of this but it's a lie.)  They go to choose a pet.  She wants a cat, he wants a dog.  They come home with the cat but on  his birthday, he gets the puppy.

I enjoyed reading about these two. Give it a try, I bet you will, too.


Tuesday, June 4, 2019

The Oddmire, Book 1: Changeling by William Ritter

A Goblin takes a Changeling to the house with the newborn.  He intends to trade him for the real baby.  Unfortunately, he gets distracted and the changeling has mimiced the baby.  He can't tell which is which, so he leaves them both there...

Algonquin Young Readers and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 19th.

Annie knows she only had one child but she's willing to take on two  and love them both equally.  As they grow, they get into a lot of mischief.  But reading a goblin note and then following his map into Oddmire is more than mischief.  They know one of them will die, only the changeling will survive.  They don't know which of them is the changeling, but neither one wants to live without the other.  They'll go together to see what happens. Little do they know their mother is not far behind them.

There's magic, a witch, a little girl who can shapeshift, odd creatures and lots of danger and adventure.  Annie never gives up and neither do the boys.

The ending was a real surprise to me and I loved it.  In fact, I loved this whole book.  I'll be watching for Book 2.

Turning Secrets by Brenda Chapman

A  dead body on a construction site is a young woman.  At first look it looks like suicide.  But Kala thinks it might be murder.

Soon she finds out the woman died some place else and was moved.  Her heart gave out on her from the drugs she took. 

No one saw anything, so this is going to be a hard case to solve.

Dundurn and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It is being published today.

They find she got cheap rent at her apartment because she traded sex for part of the rent.  She seemed to be doing prostitution on the side.  She has babysitters take care of her son while she's out.  Another tenant at another apartment owned by the same man has a similar arrangement.  He gets questioned hard by the cops but while he has sex with them, he swears he didn't kill her.

In the meantime one of her niece's schoolmates is seeing an older man and he's using her for sex and sharing her with others.  First Vanessa goes missing and then Dawn does, too.  Trying to solve a murder and find a missing child all at the same time adds up to no sleep.

What they find at the end is ugly and close to home.  I was surprised to find who was behind it.  This is a book that holds your attention.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Deep River by Karl Marlantes

The Russians are invading Finland and families there are losing loved ones.  Three Koski siblings escape to America.  They go to the wooded land near the Columbia River and begin logging.  They start chopping wood for the steam donkey but it doesn't take them long to move up.  There are a lot of casualties in the woods.  There were widow makers (broken branches way up in the tree that eventually come loose), broken cable lines they use to yard the trees, rolling trees, and falling trees.  Any of these connecting with a body can mean death.  When owners press for faster production, it gets even more dangerous.  Precautions go by the wayside.

Atlantic Monthly Press sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published on July 2nd.

The three siblings settle in a Finn community on the Washington coast.Their sister is an activist and immediately thinks the loggers are not paid enough.  She thinks they should strike but they just laugh at her.  More money would be nice but having a steady job is better.  She eventually gets involved with the Wobblies.  She's married by then and her husband isn't happy with all her travelling as she goes to the meetings and travels to demonstrations.  She even gets jailed.  But she wants the loggers to share more of the profit of their hard work and she won't give up.  People start calling her a red. And she eventually ends up divorced.

The brothers start building their own saw mills.  At first they work it with just the two of them.  When they have saved enough, they hire more help.

This is a story of hard work and sorrow.  Life was hard for them and a crooked banker doesn't help them, he steals their money.  They lose family members and friends.  But they are stubborn by nature and they keep persevering.  They do what they must.

Set in the early 1900's, it's a fascinating read.  Especially if you're married to third generation Finn.  My husband's father logged until he got enough money to buy a farm.  Reading this book was like visiting relatives in the past.

Silver Batal and the Water Dragon Races by K. D. Halbrook, Ilse Gort

She is supposed to be good at jewelry making so she can carry on the family business.  But she daydreams about riding a dragon and loses her concentration.  Then she meets an old woman who helps her make a dragon riding outfit.  She intends to impress the greatest dragon rider around.  She fails and her father is very angry over her actions.  She goes to find the old woman again...

Henry Holt and Company Books For Young Readers and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 4th.

The old woman finds her in the desert and leads her to an oasis.  There she meets the dragon who has bonded with her.  She leads her down into a cavern and the young girl is amazed to find a baby dragon.  Especially sine he really likes her!  Then the old woman tells her he has bonded with her and that's now her dragon.  Hiyyan is both a water dragon and can fly.  His kind are thought to be dangerous and they all have been killed off except these two.

The mother is captured by the dragon champion and the young dragon is sad.  The old woman's health is declining due to the distance between and her dragon.  The young girl and her cousin are going to go to the dragon contest and she'll try to win on her dragon.  She wants him to steal away the old woman's dragon.  It's a good plan but...

With magic, an endangered species, a vindictive dragon champion after her, mean dragons that want to win the race and more, this is an exciting read that keeps your attention the whole way through.  I was rooting for her but the story is not over yet.  There will be more in this wonderful series.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Layover by David Bell

It all started during a layover at the airport.  He meets a pretty lady and wants to get to know her better but she won't tell him anything and keeps sneaking off.  He's supposed to be going on to a job but his dad is there at the meeting and he wants to find his elusive girl...

Berkley and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you),  It will be published July 2nd.

As he follows her and finds her here and there, he knows she's in trouble but she won't tell him what kind.  When he finally gets her to talk, he thinks it's the theft of a ring that has caused all the trouble.  It's more than that...

This starts as two different stories:  a police investigation and his search for his mysterious girl.  As you keep reading, the two stories merge into one.

This story is suspenseful and full of tension as the brother of the missing man gets involved.  He's a violent man. 

It's not until the end that you get the full story and it's complex and sad.  There were reasons for what happened but it doesn't make it better.

This author always holds my attention when I start reading his books.  He writes well.

Murder in Bel-Air by Cara Black

First, Aimée gets phone call from her child's school just as she's about to go on stage for a keynote address.  Her mother never came to pick up her daughter.  She excuses herself from speaking and goes after her daughter.  While she's there, she sees a dead woman being brought out of the convent grounds next door.  When she starts asking questions she finds her mother had befriended this homeless woman and she was the last person they had seen talking to her.  She knows her mother didn't kill her but where is she now?  Is she in trouble again?

Soho Crime and Edelweiss let me read this book for review(thank you).  It will be published on June 4th.

The cops have the dead woman's name and they search the areas she was found for any clues.  They don't find anything but Aimée does.  A bunch of money and a map.  All of a sudden she's in the middle of international intrigue.

Different agencies question her.  She's not sure what side they are on.  Since she's a PI, she finds people they cannot but she's not getting any answers to her questions.  She has to call in favors to learn what's going on.  What she finds is that a lot of people will die.

How can she stop them?  And where is her mother?

Saturday, June 1, 2019

I Really Love You by Tatsuya Miyanishi

Back in the days of dinosaurs, there were many varieties.  Some communicated well, some not at all.  In this story the Tyrannosaurus learns an important lesson:  Listen with your heart, not with your ears...

Museyon and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It's being published today.

A Tapejara offers to lead the Tyrannosaurus to the woods where he should be able to find some food.  It's a long walk and the Tyrannosaurus is getting weak, so the sneaky Tapejara tries to take a bite out of him.  He wasn't trying to help, he was wearing him down.  The Tyrannosaurus slaps him away and continues his food hunt.  He's amazed to see a forest ahead him and it rejuvenates him.

He finds three Homalocephale picking berries in the forest and he grabs them.  They barely make a mouthful and they manage to convince him by their actions to let them go.  They go find food for him and cuddle with him to make him feel better.  When an Albertosaurus shows up, he wants to eat them.  But their big new friend saves them.  Hearts can speak as loud as words.

I've been around people who don't speak the same language I do.  We still understand each other.  It's amazing.  

Liaden Universe Constellation IV by Sharon Lee, Steve Miller

This is a series I love.  Sharon and Steve write of a future world where danger hides and life is dangerous but love lives there anyway.  Most of these stories compliment the ones written before by giving you more insight and detail by explaining the past or present.

Baen and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 4th.

My favorite is the cook who shares his food with needy children and lives with a beautiful security guard.  She goes off on mission and he awaits her return.  When he finds a nearby bakery, she offers to team up with him.  He does some baking for there and gets 70% of the sale and access to cheaper baking supplies.  All is well until the rest of the team comes back without his lover.  They aren't sure she's dead, they just lost her in battle.  He assumes the worst and quits baking to grieve.  The kids he was training continue to bake but they can't do what he can.  When he goes to a meeting he doesn't want to attend, he finds his lover there.  She's recovering from injuries but he's so glad to have her home again.  You know he'll be back to baking soon.

Most stories are upbeat although there is one sad one in the bunch.

With four novelettes, two novellas, and two short stories, there's much to like in this collection.  These stories stand alone so if you're new to the series, I'm sure you'll still enjoy them if you're a sci fi/fantasy fan.