Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Fever Dream by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

These two authors never fail to please me. They write fast moving, suspenseful, and dramatic fiction. This book is no different...

Special Agent Pendergrast has had a hard time dealing with his wife's death while hunting big game with her in Africa. She'd missed the lion and it killed her. It had been years before, but it still nagged at him. And then he finds out that it wasn't that she missed her shot - someone had tampered with her rifle filled it with blanks!

He returns to Africa to ask questions and determine exactly how this could have happened. He also takes Lt. Vincent D'Agosta with him for backup.

The mystery gets larger as he digs through the past trying to determine just exactly WHO his wife was, why she married him, and who wanted her dead. The other players in the mystery are determined to keep him from finding the truth. And his dead wife just keeps becoming more of mystery to him...

This is a rapid read (you won't want to put it down). The trail to the truth is twisted, many of the people involved are dead, both investigators are in danger, the motive for the murder was unusual. I really enjoyed it!

If you'd like my copy of this ARC, leave a comment here on the blog and then email at info @ (take the spaces out) telling me why you'd like to read it and giving me your name and address for shipping.

Talking Tails by Ann Love and Jane Drake

Subtitle: The Incredible Connection Between People and Their Pets. Illustrated by Bill Slavin. Published by Tundra Books.

This book is a wonderful resource for parents and children both to help them determine the type of pet they might get. There are all the usual pets and some very different ones offered, too.

It's filled with facts, stories about animals, and discussion of how each animal connects with its human as well as what the animals needs. Some require more work than others. Some need a lot of attention, some don't.

The illustrations are fun, and children will enjoy them.

Both you and your children will learn something new about animals if you read this book!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Still Midnight by Denise Mina

Detective Inspector Alex Morrow is an up-and-coming cop, with a few personal problems. Her married life is shaky since the death of her baby, and her half-brother is making a name for himself on the other side of the law. She attempts to keep her relationship with him a secret and works extra hard to avoid time at home. But no matter what she does, she is going to have deal with the crime and the consequences of a house raid and kidnapping.

She immediately realizes that not much is making sense about this kidnapping, so she begins digging. And the deeper she digs the more complicated it gets.

Trying to avoid her brother and police force politics and her husband can only work for so long.

When the story climaxes, you will be amazed at how each piece fits in the puzzle and you'll be waiting for the next book in this series...

Little Brown is the publisher of this book, and it's available for sale now. This one will keep you reading!

Clay Man The Golem of Prague by Irene N Watts

This book is illustrated by Kathryn E Shoemaker, and her illustrations really give the story life. It's a retelling of an old tale, and Ms. Watts does an excellent job with it. Sometimes the story line can be a bit dry, but Irene makes her characters vibrant and real.

He's a giant man of clay to save the Jews from persecution, but he has no conscience and no soul...

This is a handsome book and would make a very nice gift. It's published by Tundra Books.

Teach your child about Jewish traditions and folklore. It's a very good read.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes

Grove/Atlantic sent me an ARC of this book for review. At the time I requested it, I didn't realize it was a novel about Vietnam. I lost friends and loved ones in the Vietnam war, and I tend to avoid the subject. So I started the novel with a bit of trepidation. That didn't last long!

This novel sucks you into it during the first chapter, and the pace doesn't slow down through the entire 566 pages.

It's written from the foot soldier's point of view. They're the ones on the ground, being asked to do impossible tasks with no weapons, no food, and no protection against the enemy. They're young, inexperienced, not particularly brave, and they are trying to follow orders - no matter how stupid they are.

It's like following a game of chess. The administration sits on the command post hill far from the action and sends direction to the troop commander. Sometimes they are given another impossible task as a punishment for not accomplishing the last one.

It's an ugly tale - but it's a very accurate portrayal of war and the effect it has on the people who are fighting it.

I was glued to this book all the way through. You actually feel like you're there.

If you would like my copy of this ARC, please leave a comment here on my blog and then email me at info @ (take the spaces out) and tell me your name and address and why you'd like to read it. I'll pick a winner in about a week.

So Close by Natalia Colombo

This children's picture book is striking. The illustrations are simple by design and they go well with the story line. Tundra Books has done an excellent job of printing and binding once again.

There is a very simple message in this book that could change your child's life.

Mr. Duck and Mr. Rabbit go to work everyday - traveling the same route. They don't really even see each other and if they do, they don't say anything.

The point of the story is that if they had just said "hello", they could have done things together instead of being all alone... Things are more fun with a friend.

This book is for ages 4-7. Some younger ones may be understand the story, too. Help your child understand that it's OK to be friendly - if done in the right way.

The Fortress of Kaspar Snit by Cary Fagan

This is the first book of Fagan's that I have read. He does a very good job of writing about subject matter that will appeal to young readers. It's a bit silly, and some of it is pretty fantastic - and that's what will make it so attractive for the reader.

Seven year old Solly dresses as a superhero known as Googoo-man, his sister wants to learn to fly and someone is stealing all the great fountains of the world. It's up to Googoo-man's family to stop this evil person!

This would be a fun read for young ones. Reading it aloud would give the reader lots of options for voice changes and for acting out the scenes it as it goes along.

Tundra Books graciously gave me this copy for review and I've already got a young one in mind for my copy. Pick yourself up a copy and share some fun and laughter with an intermediate reader.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Worst Case by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

Little Brown provided a copy of this book for review. I enjoy most of Patterson's work, but this one is special.

The murderer is a madman. He's on his last mission in life, and he intends to make his point, even if it takes death to do it.

He kidnaps children of big executives and then doesn't ransom them. He asks them questions. And for each question they answer incorrectly, he punishes them. Failing the exam means they die.

Michael Bennett can't understand how someone can kill children. Nor can he find any reason why it's those children or who could be the killer. But he doesn't give up looking.

Agent Emily Parker is sent to help him and it takes their special skills and knowledge to get close to the killer.

It's a twisting mystery with a good plot and lots of action. It was also a very good read.

Brothers by Michael Mazo

This is hardcover picture book published by Tundra. It is illustrated by Michael Soloviov.

The illustrations are great. The animals don't look like typical dogs and have several human characteristics - which makes the story all the more likable.

Did you have a little brother? I did. And this story is very accurate about how the siblings are different in many ways, but alike in others. They bicker and fight. And join forces to defy the sitter, who tries to separate them.

If there is a new little brother or sister in the family and the older sibling isn't sure about this new addition to the family, this tale will help them see that it will be OK. Sometimes those younger siblings are even someone to love and be proud of.

This would be a good read aloud book with time for discussion of sibling relationships.

Or it can just be a fun book to read and laugh at all things the younger puppy is experiencing!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven by Susan Jane Gilman

This memoir was sent to me by Grand Central Publishing.

Two young women who have just graduated from college decide to take a year off and go backpacking around the globe - beginning in the People's Republic of China.

They speak no Chinese, China had just recently opened up to tourists, and they had no idea where they were going. They were just going to experience new things, new foods, and meet new people.

However, when they end up in Shanghai, it's not quite as charming as the concept had been. They have communal toilets, cockroaches in the rooms, more fish than any other food (and one girl HATES fish), and the Chinese staff doesn't understand English.

They get drawn into the politics of the country, get very sick from the diseases there, and have no one to rely on except themselves. And, soon, they don't even like each other very much anymore.

This is a very authentic look at travel and times in 1986, and you wonder how two young women could feel they could travel safely alone. But we were all young once...

The memoir moves along at a nice pace and has lots of "action" to keep you reading. Try it, I think you'd enjoy it!

The Golden Quest by David Delisle

The Golden Quest is a graphic novel about a young boy who embarks on a Hero’s Journey with his dog Shelby to discover the Golden Rules of Mo...