Monday, January 31, 2011

Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis

Kat is an independent, hard-headed twelve-year-old who is going to stop her oldest sister from marrying an old man she doesn't love for the "good" of the family.  So he's got money, he's evil!

Antheneum, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, will be publishing this book in hardcover or as an eBook at the first of April.  They sent me an eGalley for review (thank you).  

Ms. Burgis does an excellent job of creating a character that I could easily love.  Kat is untraditional, works around any "no's" she gets, and is determined to protect her family.  So much so, she cut her short hair like a boy and tried to run away from home so she could get a job and save her oldest sister from marriage.  It didn't work; her middle sister caught her.  But that's not the end of her adventures and plans.

This delightful story has magic, evil, witches, a highway man, and misplaced love spread through it.  Kat has a power she didn't know she had - and she's not sure she wants to be a "Guardian" even if that is her calling.

The story is fast paced and has humor throughout.  This is the first in a series and I can tell you I will be watching for it when it comes out in April and for the future books in the series.  I just love this character!  She reminds me of me when I was little, but I didn't have any special powers, drat.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Altar of Bones by Philip Carter

"They didn't have to kill him…He never drank from the altar of bones."

This book is being published by Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.  I was provided an eGalley for review (thank you).  The hardcover edition will be coming out in March.

I see I'm not the first person who thinks this book has the flavor of Dan Brown.  All Simon & Schuster says is that it is a pseudonym for an internationally known author.  My curiosity makes me want to scream:  "Yeah, but which one???"

This is a very interesting mix of folk lore secrets, "magical" people, spies, and the mafia.  The story starts out with a chase and murder and never slows down.  The adventure goes from state side to international, people die along the way, and the main characters have to be versatile, smart, brave, and willing to take chances if they wish to stay alive.

The story is a mix of old US history about some incidents that many feel have never really been resolved, a generally unknown old folk lore from Siberia, and a hunt for immortality.  Is any of it true?  Probably not, but it's a very good read.

The first few pages suck you into the story and then the race is on.  The book is 464 pages, but I read it in two evenings.  It was too good to let sit there.

Pick up a copy at your local bookstore in March - it's a wild ride.

Red Glove by Holly Black

Cassel can trust no one in this world, not even his mother.  So when his brother is killed, he has no end of suspects...

This book is being published by Margaret K McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, in April.  Thank you for the opportunity to review the eGalley.  Subtitle on the book is The Curse Workers No. 2. 

I hadn't read the first book in the series, but as soon as I started this book, I was grabbed by the intensity of the story.  The Curse Workers have powers, a variety of powers.  Almost all are dangerous.  Most can be used for nefarious gain.  Everyone wears gloves so their touch doesn't influence people unintentionally.

Cassel's Mom is a con-woman.  She's just got out of jail, and she's still out looking for her next mark.  Cassel's summer vacation gets spent in Atlantic City helping her with her scams.  Soon, it's time to go back to school.  And then, as impossible as it seems, his life becomes even more complicated.

This is written for 14 years old and up, but it easily kept my attention.  The pace is fast, the people involved are deadly, and even your family would kill you.  There will be one more written in this series and I'm very interested to see future developments in this story.  It sure doesn't like it's going to be happily ever after...

Friday, January 28, 2011

Gossip From the Girl's Room: A Blogtastic! Novel by Rose Cooper

Make sure you check for feet in the stalls before you gossip...

Delacourte Press published this book in hardcover in mid-January and sent me an ARC for review (thank you).  

This is a "tween" read and the main character is a Blogtastic Blogger who likes to post gossip she hears in the girl's room on her blog without identifying the students it concerns.  It's fun to do, she likes hearing the others talk about it and she's secure in the knowledge that they don't know who the anonymous blogger can be.

It's silly, light-hearted, and all fun, until she hears something that could hurt the most popular girl in her class.  It's cool to spy and pick up gossip, but is that the most important?

The lesson this story teaches is that "getting the dirt is not as important as who it hurts."

Written for young ones in the sixth to eighth grade, it's an enjoyable modern story that will have them giggling and reading to see what happens next.

Visit your local bookstore and grab yourself a copy.

Or you can enter the contest to win my ARC:  Leave a comment here on my blog and email me at info @ (take the spaces out) with your name and ADDRESS and tell me why you'd like to read it or gift it to someone.  I'll pick a winner in about a week.

Happy reading.

Big Bunny by Betseygail Rand and Colleen Rand

This little bunny just grew and grew and grew...

Tricycle Press published this hardcover children's picture book in mid-January and sent me a copy for review (thank you).  It's written by a mother-daughter team, and is appropriate for ages 3-5.

This is a very unique Easter story of a bunny who loved being big until she found out she wasn't able to participate in making baskets and coloring eggs; her paws were just too big and uncoordinated for that.  She goes off to hide in the woods and feel bad.  The other bunnies brainstorm to find out how to include her.

The author has a website that crafts and activities for young ones to do just like the bunnies.  Let them get inspired for Easter.  Here's the link: .

After reading this story, your young ones will know how the Easter bunny gets to all those houses in one night!

This is a charming story that will fascinate little ones.  Why not pick up a copy as an Easter gift at your local bookstore?

Happy reading!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Deadly by Julie Chibbaro

When entire households are struck by a deadly fever, doctors and scientists look for a cause...

Simon & Schuster provided me with eGalley of this book which will be issued near the end of February in hardcover (thank you).  It is written for young adults, age 12+.  Subtitle is:  How do you catch an invisible killer?

I was quite impressed by the fact that Ms. Chibbaro looks at this scientific challenge through the eyes of a young lady who has an interest in Gray's Anatomy and the chemistry of our bodies.  She builds a character who is young and naive but smart and determined and strong enough to bounce back from the obstacles she encounters.

This is the story of Typhoid Mary, but Prudence is there every step of the way.  She's torn between worrying about the rights of Mary while worrying about the fact it appears Mary may be a carrier of the disease.

It reads like a mystery and Prudence has some personal issues she must take care of along the way.  It has a nice flow and could very well lead the reader into doing more research on the subject.

Mark it on your TBR list and watch for it at your local bookstore in February.

Happy reading!

Against the Law by Kat Martin

Dev felt bored and unfulfilled, maybe he should come out of retirement and go back to work...

Net Galley provided me with eGalley of this book that will be published by Mira, an imprint of Harlequin, in February (thank you both).  This the third book in this series:  The Raines of Wind Canyon.  I have reviewed them all so check the blog archive for others if you have an interest.

Ms. Martin makes her male characters strong, virile, and deadly in a fight.  They also are real fond of sex, but aren't necessarily looking for love.  With his other two brothers married, I figured it was time for Dev to find out that love wasn't all that bad, too.

When one of Dev's old Ranger buddies sent him a pretty lady who needed help finding her niece who had been adopted as a baby, he was glad for the diversion.  And he made a vow he would not mix work and pleasure.

Ms. Martin does a very nice job with the action/adventure part of her stories.  The storyline is plausible, the danger real, and the sexual tension is palpable.

This story is a combination rough & tough and erotic sex.  Why not get a copy at your local bookstore and go along on the ride?

Happy reading.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern

If you could see what was going to happen tomorrow, would you try to change it?

HarperCollins has published this in hardcover this week, and it's available at your local bookstore right now.  (Thank you for the review copy.)  Ms. Ahern's last novel was P.S. I Love You, but I had not read her work before.  I was pleasantly surprised by her writing style and imagination.

This is an intriguing story.  It's set in a tiny village in Ireland and Tamara and her mother have moved in with her mother's brother and his wife.  They are living  in the gatehouse to a fallen down castle.  

Tamara loved Dublin and her life there and hates this change.  But when she finds the travelling library and checks out a journal, her life changes...

Ms. Ahern has a way of bringing characters to life.  Her descriptions of their appearance and their emotions makes it easy to relate to them.  She also is good at creating "odd" people who hide secrets.

Her Tamara is full of teenage anguish because her life has changed so dramatically, but she's also an opinionated, strong individual.  The little touch of magic she has is enough to open doors to secrets long concealed.

You'll keep reading this book to see what is going to happen next, but I doubt anyone could foresee the ending...

If you would like to win my ARC, please leave a comment here on my blog and email me at info @ (take the spaces out) with your name and ADDRESS and why you would like to read the book.  I'll pick a winner in about a week.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Momma Guide by Traci Davis and Vicki Holleman-Perez

If you're going to be a new mother or are having some problems in deciding how to raise your children, this book is for you.

AuthorHouse publishes this book and it is available now for purchase.  The author's graciously sent me a copy for review (thank you).  It's 471 pages of practical advise for Mom's (and Dad's).

Both authors are mothers and the information presented in the book comes from their own experience.  Subtitle to the book is"  (P.S.- Dad's you should read this too).

There are 44 chapters that cover raising a child from A-Z.  It doesn't appear to me that they've missed anything!  One thing I really like about it is that most of it is done in short paragraphs, almost bullet like, that makes the information jump out at you and will be easy for you to remember.  There are even quizzes at the end of each chapter.  This book could even be used as a textbook in a parenting class.

I was very impressed by the amount of subjects covered and the very practical advice from these two mothers.  They cover the gamut of raising a child, including those who may have behavioral problems.

Ask for the book at your local bookstore.  I'm sure you'll use this fantastic parent resource book often.

Happy reading.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Devon Kinch Interview about Pretty Penny

Meet author Devon Kinch:
She has a new book just published by Random House Books for Young Readers that teaches children how to handle money, including how to save it.  I had the pleasure of asking her some questions about her writing for this blog post.  Here are her answers:

1.    Why does she have a pig for a pet?

There are a few reasons Iggy is Penny’s beloved pet. For starters, I have always wanted a pet pig and here was my one and only chance to realize a dream!  I also wanted Penny to have a sidekick that was a bit out of the ordinary. Pigs are not exactly your everyday pet, but they are smart, adorable, and fun - and Penny is all about fun.  Lastly, there is an underlying connection between a piggy bank and saving money. Although it wasn’t my primary reason for inventing Iggy, I thought the subtle money message was appropriate.

2.    What made you choose a wardrobe of pink and black?

Penny is a headstrong little girl with a spunky and independent personality. I wanted her style to reflect that spirit. Black and pink (I’d say it’s a bit more magenta than pink) is a strong color combination. It’s bold, like Penny, and I thought it was a perfect fit.

3.    What did Penny look like when you were first imagining her?  Was the change drastic?

Oh yes!  Penny had many incarnations before she became the girl she is today. Penny started off a bit shy-looking, but as I developed the character, she became more colorful and confident.

4.    How did you decide how Grandma Bunny should look?

Bunny is named after my 94 year-old grandmother Bunny (affectionally known as “Bunster” to the younger generations in our family). The character is actually a hybrid of my two grandmothers, Bunny and Meme, from whom I borrowed characteristics to create Penny’s grandmother.

5.    Is it hard to decide how to draw your characters or do you instantly have an image in mind?

It’s so much fun to create characters. Once I had Penny, I got to work inventing her world of friends. Some characters came out of my imagination and others I created based on childhood friends or family members.

6.    Have you been drawing all your life?

I have always loved to draw. I used to draw maps of imaginary towns and sell them on the school playground for a dime. I can’t remember if I made any sales, but I know I tried! I filled notebooks with illustrations, stories, and characters. I went on to study art in college and then design in graduate school. Drawing has always been an important part of my life.

7.    Any advice for children who may wish to be an illustrator when they get older?

I think the best advice is to follow your passion. Be brave and don’t get discouraged. Being creative is hard work!

I like the answer to question seven.  The reason I'm a bookseller and reviewer is because I love books and want to share that magic with everyone.  Another way to phrase it would be follow your heart.  Do what you love and you'll be a success.

How would like to see the various reincarnations of Pretty Penny?  Here you go:

You can just see her evolve, can't you?

I'm just the first stop on this blog tour.  Each of us is doing something different so check them out:

Tuesday, January 25
Teaching Books

Wednesday, January 26
Family Finance

Thursday, January 27
The Children’s Book Review

Friday, January 28
Booking Mama

Saturday, January 29
Two Writing Teachers            

Sunday, January 30
A Frugal Friend      

Monday, January 31
Random Acts of Reading

And just so you will know which book to look for at your local bookstore, here's a photo of the cover for you:

Happy reading!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Seventh Blessing by Melissa Buell

Fairy gifts have always been a problem.  They are in this story, too.

Ms. Buell sent me a copy of her book for review (thank you).  I'm really glad she did.  This one is going in my personal library and I'll be watching for the others in the series.

This is the first book in the Tales of Gymandrol and I really liked it.

Samantha gets blessed by fairies since she's a princess, but not exactly like it was supposed to go.  Two male fairies are talking about the skills a boy would need to ascend to the throne, and the magic book wrote them down for Sam.  Her fairy godmother added one final one to try to offset the others, then hides the book.  New fairy wishes are written down and Samantha does her best to live up to them.  But she's very much a tomboy and enjoys it.  She doesn't want to simper and giggle around men...

With fairies, knights, and a romance in her life, Sam's sure someone is going to find out her secret.

The story moves along fluidly, the characters are well developed and there's more to the plot than you would expect.  The story line sounds a bit familiar, but the fresh new voice of this author is well worth reading.

I will watch for the next book in this series.  It's a fun read for young adults or adults.  Get yourself a copy in paperback or ebook editions on Amazon.

Happy reading!

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

Time travel with a twist...

Random House Children's Books sent me a trade paperback copy of this, which was first issued in hardcover in 2009.  Thank you for the opportunity to review it.  

The story is set in New York in the late '70s, and Miranda is a sixth-grade latchkey kid.  Miranda has grown up in an apartment and her next door neighbor's son, Sal, is her best friend.  But one day, Sal doesn't want to be friends anymore and her world falls apart.

Ms. Stead does a good job of letting us see Miranda's anguish and uncertainty about life and how to do things all on her own instead of with Sal.  She also introduces some odd characters and mysterious notes to make the story even more interesting.  It's not until the end of the story that it all begins to fall into place for Miranda and the reader.

This book won the Newbery Medal and is now available in trade paperback.  Check with your local bookstore to get a copy.  It has a bit of the taste of A Wrinkle in Time, so I'm sure your child will enjoy it.

Happy reading!

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Affair of the Wooden Boy by Ian Doyle

James Stark attracts dark things which means he lives in a world of danger...

The author sent me a review copy of this book (thank you).  It is available on Amazon as an ebook and soon will be offered as print copies also.

James and Mina Stark have a talent for solving occult problems in the Victorian age.  I found Mr. Doyle's varied "hooks" to draw you through the story very satisfying and the plot is very different and ingenious in its execution.

Simon, a young boy, has had his body stolen from him and he's now occupying a wooden boy that he used to play with as a child.  He asks James and Mina to help him get his body back...

The story is well-paced, has lots of action, and a few surprises along the way.

As I read this tale, I couldn't help thinking it would make a really animated tale. Or even a graphic novel.  It just has that sort of feel.

I really enjoyed reading this novelette and hope there will be more James and Mina mysteries.  Get yourself a copy and check it out!

Where Do Giggles Come From by Diane Muldrow

Does your little one like to laugh?  This story will tickle them!

A new Little Golden Books hardcover is coming out this month and I was sent a copy for review (thank you).  I knew I'd love it.  All the Little Golden Books are special to me.  This one did not disappoint me.

Anne Kennedy illustrated the book and her drawings are sweet and colorful for the little ones.  Ms. Muldrow has written the story for children ages 2-5.  She shows you what makes someone laugh, in all it's varieties, with animal children and their parents.  Seeing the happy faces on the animals and watching them giggle should be enough to make your own child smile and laugh.

Why not get a copy of this cute little story to share with your young one.  We can all use a good smile or laugh in life, can't we?

Happy reading!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Against the Fire by Kat Martin

Gabe's business is refurbishing old buildings and returning them to their natural beauty for new uses.  He has no enemies.  So why is someone torching all his projects?

Mira Books will be publishing this book in February, and Net Galley provided me with eGalley for review (thank you both).  This is the second book in this mini-series about the Raines brothers.  (There is a third one I have on my list to read and review.)

This story has a very solid plot.  Gabe is trying to find out who the arsonist is, and Mattie wants to know the same thing because her rehabilitated student was badly beaten for asking questions.  So they tentatively agree to work together on the case.

The interplay between her two main characters who are gun-shy about relationships is expressed well.  Both of Ms. Martin's characters are strong individuals with their own opinion and the give and take of the relationship reads true.

Ms. Martin also builds other characters into the story, adds some psychological drama, and you're off turning the pages to see how the story comes out.

The romance is rated "R", there are graphic sex scenes described.

There is one more brother to get settled down in this family and I'm going to read and review that book also.  Watch for for it in the future.  And, in the meantime, you might want to visit your local bookstore and check out Ms. Martin's work.  She's published several different books for you to peruse.  Check them out - you may take home a pile!

Happy reading.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Book of Sleep by Il Sung Na

This beautifully illustrated board book would make a great bedtime story.

Borzoi Books, a division of Alfred A Knopf, sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It's being published this month and is the first American board book edition.

I was unfamiliar with Il Sung Na, but these illustrations really drew my attention.  Upon visiting Na's website, I see there are other books done in this definitive illustration style, and they all look lovely.

The owl takes you for a tour of sleeping animals, showing how and where they sleep.  When morning arrives, the owl closes his eyes for sleep.

The illustrations alone are a good reason to buy this book.  They are luscious, rich, and intriguing.  The owl is hiding in a good many of the pictures.  Let your little one find him.

Why not add this treasure to your child's library?  I'm sure you'll both enjoy reading it.

Happy reading!

I'm Not by Pam Smallcomb

This children's picture shows that opposites attract...

Schwartz & Wade Books sent me a copy of this fun children's picture book for review (thank you).  Robert Weinstock is the illustrator and two small crocodiles are the characters.  You can currently purchase a copy at your local bookstore.

Ms. Smallcomb talks about friendship and self-esteem.  The shyer crocodile admires her friend and says that everything Evelyn is good at, she's not.  But Evelyn is a good sort and shows her how many things she's good at and Evelyn isn't.

Help your child learn that each of us has different talents and working together is what makes life more fun.  It would work well for a read-a-loud story, too.  Let the little ones act out the roles and it will make more of an impression on them.

The story flows well, is fun to read and will make both you and your child smile.  Stop by your local bookstore and take a look for yourself!

Happy reading.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

I reviewed this book last year and really enjoyed reading it.  Here's a link that to that review:  Review .  See what the book is about and why it appealed to me.

Here is a quote from that review:  "They make up their minds to make their mother do what their father asked the mother to do - tell them the whole story. And what a fairy tale it is..."

 Here is a link to an excerpt of WINTER GARDEN: Excerpt so you can read a bit for yourself and see how you like the "taste" of this author.

The best part is that this book is now available in trade paperback and available at your local bookstore right now.  And to enhance your reading enjoyment there are more resources available at this time.  They are shown below.

-A discussion guide for WINTER GARDEN: Discussion Guide Please note that this discussion guide includes a spoiler.

-Book groups can sign up for a chance to have Kristin speak to them via speakerphone: Speak to Kristin

-Here are discussion themes and ideas for WINTER GARDEN: Discussion Themes and Ideas

-Readers can watch Kristin discuss WINTER GARDEN: Video

-Readers can “like” Kristin’s Facebook page: Facebook

Now that I have your attention, here's the best part:  I have two trade paperbacks from the publisher to offer for giveaway!  Just leave a comment here on my blog and send me an email at info @ (take out spaces) with your name and ADDRESS and tell me why you would like to read this book.  I'll send two lucky folks names in for the books in about a week.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Against the Wind by Kat Martin

Sarah is running from trouble, but trouble is following her....

This is a new series being published by Mira Books this month.  I got my eGalley from Net Galley for review (thanks to both of you). 

The Raines of Wind Canyon are proud, virile and vital men.  In this story, Sarah Allen runs for "home" to hide from the bad men her deceased husband worked with in LA.  She forgot the old saying:  You can run, but you can't hide.

Looking for an inexpensive place to stay that would be off the beaten track, she takes a cabin on a ranch - and meets Jackson.  None of the Raine boys are looking for long term relationships and Jackson makes sure she knows that.  Of course, he might be willing to share her bed otherwise.  But Sarah will have none of that.  She's just become a widow and has no urge to enter another relationship.  Especially since the last one was abusive.

This story is cat and mouse all the way through and will keep your attention.  Sarah's husband was playing illegal games with the bad boys and he was planning on bailing right before he got killed.  They are looking for a USB flash drive that her husband had - she has no idea where it is.  They don't believe her.

The world Ms. Martin portrays in her story is very real and truly dangerous.  As Jackson tried to protect Sarah and Holly, her child, the game just keeps tougher and more dangerous.

I enjoyed reading this story.  It's "R" rated, there are explicit sex scenes.  The suspense in the story is vivid and makes your heart race.  The secret revealed at the end is well hidden throughout the story. 

The reader is left wondering where Jackson got all his money, and why he and his brothers could have a gun battle in the mountains and not have trouble with the police, but these details don't affect the romance. 

This story moves along well and was a fun read.  I have the next book in the series already for me to read already!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Vixen by Jillian Larkin

Booze,jazz, men, dancing - what more could a flapper want?  Gloria may be seventeen and engaged, but is that what she wants?

Delacourte Press, a Division of Random House, sent an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It was published in hardcover in December and is now available at your local bookstore for purchase.

This is the first book in the Flapper series, and I was impressed by it.  I've always been fascinated about the flapper era, and Ms. Larkin paints a verbal picture of those days that rings authentic.

Her character, Gloria, is conflicted.  She's engaged and he would bring wealth to her family.  But she's attracted to the jazz music and wants to sing.  Sebastian would not approve, so she sneaks out of the house at night and goes on her own, meeting friends there.  Once she gets a taste of night life, booze, and the danger of speakeasies, she doesn't want to give it up to live a stead, boring married life.

Her best friend is also her worst enemy, but she doesn't realize that.  Her cousin who moves in with Gloria and her mother seems all prim and proper - but something is not quite right there.  Even Sebastian has some secrets that he's not willing to share.

All Ms. Larkin's characters are strong in their own way and each has their own challenges.  As you read the story, it's very plausible and believable, and you find yourself rooting for Grace.

The ending is only a beginning.  There's a lot of story left in each of these characters.  I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series.  After all, not everyone has Al Capone after them...

Get yourself a copy and settle down for a good read about the 20's. 

If you'd like my ARC, leave a comment here on the blog about the book and then write me at info @ (take the spaces out) with your name and ADDRESS and tell me why you'd like to win the copy.  Please note:  This ARC has come unglued and is only a reading copy.  I had no problem reading it and doubt that you will, but wanted you to know.  I'll pick a winner in about a week.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thanks for the Memories by Cecelia Ahern eBook Special Offer

THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES is being offered at $1.99 through all major retailers, and it includes an excerpt from the new book.  The price goes back up to $9.99 on 1/25.

Here's the description of the story line:

How can you know someone you’ve never met?

Joyce Conway remembers things she shouldn’t. She knows about tiny cobbled streets in Paris, which she has never visited. And every night she dreams about an unknown little girl with blonde hair.

Justin Hitchcock is divorced, lonely and restless. He arrives in Dublin to give a lecture on art and meets an attractive doctor, who persuades him to donate blood. It’s the first thing to come straight from his heart in a long time.

When Joyce leaves hospital after a terrible accident, with her life and her marriage in pieces, she moves back in with her elderly father. All the while, a strong sense of déjà vu is overwhelming her and she can’t figure out why …

Does this sound enticing?  Better grab a copy soon because the sale is over on the 25th!

I have her new one on order and will posting a review of that later, but you don't have to wait.  Get a copy of this one and read it now.

Shortcut Man by P G Sturges

Forget legal.  You want something done quick, just call the Shortcut Man. He'll take care of it for you...

Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster, provided me with an eGalley of this book for review (thank you).  The hardcover version of the book will be published in February.  If you like hardboiled pulp fiction, you'll enjoy this book.

Dick Henry (who is appropriately named, you'll find out why when you read the story) is a clean up man.  He cleans up messes.  You have a client that is taking advantage of the law and quit paying rent and knows you can't evict him?  Send Dick and his friend to talk to him...

Mr. Sturges has created a character that would have fit right in during Mike Hammer's era.  Dick is strong, smart enough to stay out of most trouble (but not all) and has good friends.  But he also has an eye for women...

He's got a hot one currently, her name is Lynette.  She blows in and out of his life, but when she's around she's ready, willing, and able.  And he's willing to put up with her absences because she's so delightful when she shows up.

In the meantime, he's hired to find out if a rich man's wife is sleeping around.  He's not fond of those cases, but it's paying real good money.  Imagine how he feels when he finds out Lynette is not Lynette and she's the wife of this hood?

This all happens in the first few chapters, and the story explodes into action with this revelation.  Dick is playing a game that is out of control, and he's caught in the middle.

The ending of the story is totally ironic.  I'm tempted to rewrite it in my own way, it could have gone in a very different direction.  But the ending is very appropriate for this story.

Every character is a player trying to get ahead - it holds your attention.  Why not visit your local bookstore in February and pick yourself up a copy?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fatal Error by J A Jance

She's the oldest person at the police academy, but she's determined to succeed.  And succeed she does.  But she also loses her job before she even starts it; budget cuts mean no money for her position...

Touchstone, a division of Simon & Schuster, has provided me with eGalley of this book which will be published in hardcover next month (thank you).

Ms. Jance does a very nice job of developing Ali's character and letting you see how smart and strong she is, even if the men don't expect it.

The story gets off to slow start and I found a couple of repetitions in the early chapters (just a sentence or two).  Ms. Jance usually writes fast paced stories with strong characters.  It took a bit for me to get into the story and follow her plot - the characters didn't seem to have a lot in common in the beginning.

The farther the story goes, however, you see how they all tie together.  The killer is a totally heartless guilt-free person who is sadistic and enjoys watching them die.  Ali sees a connection between murders in different counties and states, and tries to tie the information together in a form that the police will accept as evidence.  She becomes friends with a cop who can get information she can't and they work together.  He's a wounded warrior because his wife has just left him, and he's not sure this "wannabe" cop knows as much as she thinks she does.

This is a much different story line than I have read by Ms. Jance before.  I liked it after I got into it.  I hope the next one reads a bit smoother, but you can be sure I'll watch for it.  It will be fun to watch her two mis-matched characters grow into the people they can be.

Check your local bookstore for a copy in February.  It's a good read.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Want to Win a Message from Judy Blume?

Listening Library has officially launched the Judy Blume Journal Contest! We’re asking kids and parents alike to share their favorite moments and memories from reading Judy’s classic novels for a chance to win an iPod Touch, audiobook collection, and a personal message from Judy herself.

You can check out all the details at and I hope you’ll enter by writing in the journal and voting on your favorites! The five entries with the most votes will be named finalists and Ms. Blume will select the grand prize entry.

We’ve already got some really great memories, but I hope you’ll help us spread the word to your readers to invite even more to participate. Additional details are below, and complete rules are posted on the contest website. If you have any additional questions about the contest or any of our Listening Library titles, let me know, I’m happy to help.

Katherine Fleming
Random House Audio • Listening Library • Living Language
1745 Broadway, 16th floor (MD: 16-1)
New York, NY 10019
(212) 782-9464

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Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Brush of Darkness by Allison Pang

Remember that song from Lou Reed in the '70s that invited you to:  "Take a walk on the wild side?"  This book could use that as theme song...

Simon & Schuster provided me with an eGalley of this book that will be coming out from Pocket Book as a paperback in February (thank you).  If you like action packed fantasy with danger and love intermixed, you'll love this book.

Abby is a Touchstone and has contracted with a faery.  She runs a bookstore in the normal world and the back side of the store touches the otherworld - where she runs an apothecary shop for otherworld creatures.  Neither shop is "normal" but she's happy enough doing her jobs.  The only problem she has is that her faery seems to be missing...

Then a daemon shows up in the normal world bookstore, looking for Moira.  He's an incubus, which makes it even more interesting.  While he is inquiring about Moira, he gets close enough to her to share his seductive power, and she has a seizure.  And suddenly she's his Touchstone, too - with no contract!

It doesn't take long until Abby is having problems with faeries, daemons, angels, and even a unicorn.  She wants to find Moira, and her "boyfriend" wants to find his sister.  It seems angels and faeries are disappearing.  And those found are dead...

There are life and death battles in her world and the otherworld (she travels between the worlds), she finds powers she didn't know she had, and most everyone is lying.  It may simply be not the entire truth, but it makes her quest to find her boss even more dangerous.  She's in a relationship she shouldn't be, her friends are getting hurt, and they're trying to kill her.  Could it get worse?  Yep...

I'm sure there will be a sequel to this book.  There are too many unanswered questions and Abby is still evolving.  Besides, it was a really good adventure and the story can't be done yet.

If you like fantasy, you need to get a copy of this book.  It's a keeper.  I read it in one evening because I didn't want to set it down.  See if you can set it and walk away - I bet not...

Happy reading!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Theodosia and the Last Pharaoh by R. L. LaFevers

Theo goes back to Egypt with her mother and her cat, hoping to return the Emerald Table to a place safe from the Serpents of Chaos.  She soon finds the Serpents aren't the only ones after her...

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will be publishing this book for young adults in hardcover in April.  I reviewed an eGalley found on Net Galley (thank you).  Yoko Tanaka does the illustrations, which are lovely and make Theodosia come alive.

Theodosia has the power to see magic, both good and bad.  Egypt is corrupt with the magic of old and present.  Theo has to learn how to recognize each spell or spirit for what it is and determine if it's good or evil.  She also has to figure out how to return the secret talismans that have been stolen in the past.

In the meantime, she meets a donkey boy who has a monkey for a pet, has to do excavations with her mother, and has secret meetings with various factions involved in her quest.  She's a busy girl!

The author keeps the story moving fast, makes the magic both amazing and fun, and creates characters bigger than life.  This is the fourth book in this series and it never gets boring.  I'm ready to go on the next adventure with Theo, and I bet you will be, too.

Visit your local bookstore and pick up some earlier editions of Theo's adventures.  Then you'll be all primed for this one in April.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Battle of Nashville by Benson Bobrick

Subtitle:  General George H. Thomas & The Most Decisive Battle of the Civil War.

Alfred A Knopf Books for Young Readers sent me a copy of this hardcover for young adults for review (thank you).  The book is currently available at your local bookstore.

I've read many books about the civil war, visited Gettysburg (that will send chills down your spine) and wasn't sure what I might find new in this book.

The author does an excellent job of inserting a lot illustrations, maps, and photos to help keep young readers on their way through the story.  I have to admit his presentation of facts made me view the Civil War battles in a totally new way. 

We all know about Grant and his drinking problem and what a warrior he was at battle.  Grant's soldiers were tools - and no more than that.  He and Thomas had disagreements about how to treat the soldiers and how to fight the war.  But when it came right down it, General Thomas was the one that broke the back of the war effort from the south.

They will learn why the war was fought, about Lincoln's actions, and about the terrible toll it took on the land and the people of our country.  They also have Lincoln's first and second addresses and excerpts of constitutional amendments made during this time.

This was a very important time in US history, and this book is wonderfully designed to show it off in a format that is attractive to young ones and gives them enough facts to develop discussion and perhaps additional reading about the subject matter.

This is a great book for homeschoolers and teachers, as well as parents who wish to encourage learning.  I hated reading history when I was younger.  If I had a book like this, it would have been much more fun!  I highly recommend this book.

Visit your local bookstore and look it over.  It's so nicely done I'm sure you'll want to pick up a copy for a young one in your life.

Happy reading!

A Crazy Day with Cobras by Mary Pope Osborne Magic Tree House #45

Another adventure - this time in India!

Random House Books for Young Readers sent me a hardcover copy of this book along with the a trade paperback of Magic Tree House Research Guide #23:  Snakes and Other Reptiles for review (thank you).  They will be available in your local bookstore next week.  A Crazy Day with Cobras is also available as an audiobook or an ebook.

I, personally, don't like snakes.  They frighten me.  So I'm thinking "Cobras?  Oh no!"  I did enjoy reading the story.  Ms. Osborne always writes stories that are full of action and challenges and history.  Children learn facts about life in other countries as well as about the animals in the story.  These are a very useful tool for a teacher or homeschooler or a parent that wants to encourage learning.

Merlin's beloved penguin, Penny, has been turned to stone by accident.  Jack and Annie must go to India to get the objects necessary to break the spell.  They had no idea at the time they agreed that they would be dealing with wild elephants and cobras on the journey!

The nonfiction companion book that goes with this adventure is the best part of the set.  It is full of facts about snakes, has lots of photos and illustrations and teaches children which snakes are dangerous and which ones are not.  It's presented in an interesting form and, after reading the book, they'll want to know more about snakes.

Don't forget to visit the new website they have created with games, trivia, lesson plans, activities, teacher chat forum, author event listings and etc.  It's at .  It looks impressive, too, I've checked it out.

The Magic Tree House is an old favorite of mine and I love how it now has even stronger educational side, as well as the original adventure.

I highly recommend this series.  Visit your local bookstore and look over the other books in the series, too.  I bet you come home with more than one...

Happy reading!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Take Me Home by Brian Leung

She's a single woman living with her brother.  He's Chinese and a camp cook and longs to go home.  Their friendship is forbidden...

HarperCollins sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It was published in October, 2010, so you can purchase a copy at your local bookstore now.

This story really touched me.  Things were not pleasant for women in Wyoming in the 1880's during the mining days.  And the Chinese were hated no matter where they lived and worked, mostly for being different and having a different language.  Not to mention they took work away from the white men. 

Mr. Leung does an excellent job of describing the work environment, the hardships, and the will of Addie and Wing Lee to succeed at life against the many odds which is remarkable - and believable. 

The conflict between the white miners and the Chinese is factual even though this is a fictional account.  When Addie travels to find her brother after her father dies, she finds that she is actually viewed as his property, and if he wishes her to marry, she doesn't have much choice.  She refuses until he dies in a mining accident.  Then she has no choice...

You feel like you're there living that life, and the hardships and problems are your problems.  You watch the growing friendship between Addie and Wing Lee and know it's doomed.  But you hope it won't be...

This historical visit to the past will stay in your mind long after you put the book down.  The characters become real to you and you keep them close to your heart.

I enjoyed this historical romance and think you would, too.

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

Eeny Up Above! Jane Yolen, Kathryn Brown (Illustrated by)

Eeny is a mole.  Her sisters are very happy in their home but Eeny is more adventuress.  She goes up and samples all of the seasons of the y...