Monday, February 28, 2011

Almost an Outlaw by Patricia Preston

She remembers him alright.  Just one quick kiss long ago and she hasn't seen him since.  Why is he back?

Carina Press and Net Galley provided me an ebook for review (thank you).  

Darcy is a young widow when Austin Cade rides back into town.  He's there looking for the James-Younger gang.  She's a relative to them and most likely knows where they are hanging out.  But she also has two Pinkerton agents shadowing her every move.

Darcy is riddled with guilt over the death of her husband.  She was the cause and has never forgiven herself for it.  He's a seasoned killer now travelling on the right side of the law. Ms. Preston does a very nice job of making both of characters believable and human.

The flow of the story is good, the plot is reasonable and the romance adds to flavor.

I enjoyed reading this book.  It's a bit of the old west brought back to life.

Get yourself a copy and check it out!

Happy reading.

The Poison Eaters by Holly Black

If you like short stories about odd creatures, dark fantasy, and even a bit horror this collection is for you.

Simon & Schuster will be releasing this book on March 22nd and sent me an eGalley for review.  I had previously read The Red Glove, so I was looking forward to reading this anthology of short stories.  I was not disappointed.

The story are succinct and full of dark fantasy.  Ms. Black writes well and imbues her characters with life.  She always writes on the dark side, but I find the story lines original and the challenge of trying to figure where she might be going next challenging.

The stories are unique.  You never know what paranormal creature will turn up next.  And nobody exactly lives happily ever after.  But you'll keep reading it until you reach the end because the stories are too good to stop.

Happy reading!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Map Across Time by C S Lakin

This an amazing tale of time travel and a search for the cure of an ancient curse...

Living Ink Books will be publishing this book in March and sent me an ARC for review (thank you).  I had read the Wolf of Tebron and loved it, so I was anxious to see where the next book in the series would take me.

First the queen dies from some mysterious disease and then the King starts acting weird.  The King's teenage twins, Adin and Aletha, know there is something evil going on.  The kingdom is falling into disrepair and the people are close to revolting and the councillor is gaining too much power.

Ms. Lakin does a wonderful job of making her story move right along with no wasted motions and no unanswered questions.  Her characters are filled with life and you feel like you are there travelling with them.  You also empathize with Adin, who has some physical deformities and his father's scorn for defective.

The King has become a collector.  He wants the best, the most uncommon, the hardest to find objects.  So when he finds out there is a firebird in the forest, he wants to acquire it for his collection.  Adin decides he will try to capture the bird and see if he can win the King's favor.  But his adventure in the forest eventually leads him into the past...

The author's accounting of time travel gets a bit complex, but is a great read.  Adin's sister, Aletha, follows him back in time and there are tough choices to be made about how to save their world and how to accomplish it.

I really like this author's work and highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good fantasy read.  My very favorite character is Winston, the pig.

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

Nosh, Schlep, Schluff BabYiddish by Laurel Snider

Do you know Yiddish words?  You might and not even realize it!

Random House Books for Young Readers sent me a copy of this board book for review (thank you).  It was distributed for sale in January, so you can get a copy at your local bookstore now.

This is a fun story that is written in rhyme and includes Yiddish words.  The meaning of the words is explained in the text.  And I found it amazing that I knew almost every one one of these words and how they were used before I started reading this book.  

I hadn't realized how many Jewish words were in common use in the English language.  Although I shouldn't be surprised.  My Grandparents were immigrants and spoke Czech.  My husband's Grandparents were immigrants and spoke Finnish.  We have remnants of most of the European countries languages in English so why not Yiddish, too?

Children will enjoy the colorful illustrations and the fun rhymes as they read along.  They will also enjoy learning new words they can add to their vocabulary!

It's a perfect gift for Hanukkah, but why wait that long?  Pick up a copy now and share a good read with new words that are fun to say.

Happy reading!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Dead Man Face of Evil by Lee Goldberg and William Rabkin

He thought his life was over when his young wife died from cancer.  Then he got caught in an avalanche and really knew it was done.  But then he woke up...

Lee Goldberg provided me with an ePub to review this story (thank you).

This is the first in a series of horror stories that will have you sitting up straight in your chair as you read along.  Matt is just a normal young man who has lost his wife and his way in the world.

He hesitantly starts dating again and agrees to go skiing with Rachel.  She's an excellent skiier and he enjoys watching her form and skill.  Unfortunately, he is not as good as it as she is, so when the avalanche breaks loose, he's lost...

The authors are skilled "horror writers" and tell you just enough to make you read more, and faster.  The ideas they use are not ones you come up with while sitting around drinking tea and eating cucumber sandwiches.  I'd enjoy meeting Mr. Goldberg and seeing if he looks as warped as his mind.  And if Mr. Rabkin came along, that'd be even more fun!

This is definitely not a boring read.  You race through the story waiting to see what evil what will pop up next and the words flow well.  I don't read a lot of horror stories, but I sure enjoyed this one.  And I want to see where the story goes from here.  It's just beginning...

The ebook is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwoods. Soon it will be available in the iPad store and, next week, in trade paperback as well.  I'm sure this novella will make your heart beat a bit faster.  Why not pick up a copy and get involved in this new series?

Happy reading!

Winter Wishes by Rogers, Moira; Andrews, Vivi; Arend, Vivian

Transforming cougars, Lucifer's stepson, and a witch and a werewolf.  What more could you want in your novellas?

Carina Press and Net Galley provided me an eBook to review (thank you).  The book is has been published in Mobipocket Reader and Adobe Reader forms.

Tangled Tinsel by Vivian Arend is the first story offered.  She has created very headstrong characters who are attracted to each other in a unique way.  They are both cats.  Cougars to be exact.  She's a cop who takes him into custody to protect him.  But their sexual attraction is overwhelming.  There's ribald sex, family problems and a plot underfoot to stop transformations.  It's a fast paced, fun read with graphic sex.

No Angel by Vivi Andrews was a very entertaining read.  How often do you find a nice guy at the library who suddenly gets sucked back into hell through a fiery vortex in your apartment?  And even if you love him, do you want to go to hell to find him?  Especially after you find out he lied to you - or at least didn't tell the whole truth.  Both her characters are extraordinary and partly paranormal.  I enjoyed the banter between characters and the imaginary world of hell she created.

Freeze Line by Moira Rogers also has a relationship killer.  She's a witch and must stay south to draw strength from the earth.  He's a werewolf and must stay north to keep the wolf's bloodlust under control.  He's out snowmobiling when he runs across Nadia, almost dead from her escape from scientists.  He takes her to his cabin and nurses to health, but finds out she has to head south.  These characters are both bruised from life, but find an attraction to each other.  The problem is that their natures can't live in the same in the same environment.  What to do?

I enjoyed all these stories.  While the first one was more graphic than I prefer, it had a great story line.  As did the other two.

Why not grab yourself a copy and have a good romantic read?  

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Disappearing Man by Doug Peterson

Do you think you'd ever want to escape so badly that you would put yourself in a small box and have yourself shipped away?

Bay Forest Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  I had a particular interest in it because I had run across an article about this man's escape and I just couldn't imagine doing such a thing.  Yet he did and it's a fact.

This is a fictional account of his life, but the historical fact remains:  Henry "Box" Brown did what he could to become free and reunite himself with his wife and children.  You can read his account here:

How anyone could confine himself in a box that is 3 feet long and 2 feet wide is almost beyond my comprehension.  On the other hand, if that's the only way out, you do what you need to do...

I was very interested in seeing how Mr. Peterson expanded this story and how he envisioned Henry's life.  He has done an excellent job of portraying slave life during the day's of the Underground Railroad.  The slave owners are nothing to admire and some of the overseers were malicious and enjoyed whipping the slaves for any excuse, even fictitious ones.

Henry's life was tough, but he was happy to keep a low profile and do what he needed to do to keep his family safe.  He'd had promises broken by white men before, but when they sell his family away from him he had no more hope.

The story of his journey by box to Philadelphia contains fact and fiction both, but it makes very good reading.  I could feel Henry's pain.

This is an excellent read and a very good account of how Henry managed to escape by mail.  Visit your local bookstore and pick up a copy.  I know you'll keep reading until you've finished it.  It's well written.

Happy reading!

A Dazzling Display of Dogs by Betsy Franco

If you've ever owned a dog, you know what kind of characters they can be...

This children's picture book was published in January and Tricycle Press graciously sent me a copy for review (thank you).   Michael Wertz is the illustrator and he uses big bold bright colors for his pictures.  Children will be drawn to the bright colors.  It is recommended for ages 8-12, but I think younger readers would enjoy it, too.

Ms. Fraco's poems are simple and carry a message about dog types and personalities.  She and the illustrator worked together to find the best illustration for the dog type and the text is worked into the graphics.  Anyone reading it will be turning the book from side to side to follow the text around the page, and that's a big part of its charm.  This book has style and is fun to read, too.  

I was amazed to find that the illustrator has a Dog Blog were he posted illustrations of 100 dogs in 100 days.  If you enjoy his illustrations in this book, then be sure to check out: . 

Visit your local bookstore to pick up a copy.  If you're thinking of acquiring a pup, this is good guide to how the different breeds act, too.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Zero Day by Mark Russinovich

Have you ever spent any time wondering how a cyber attack could effect us?  I have.  And apparently so has this author...

This book will be published by Thomas Dunne Books on March 15, 2011.  Phenix & Phenix sent me an ARC for review (thank you).  

Mr. Russinovich works for Microsoft and is a leading expert on cybersecurity.  That gives him an excellent background to weave a story of suspense about a hidden cyber code written by hackers and used by terrorists.

Three isolated incidents make those in the computer security world raise their heads and wonder how they are related.  An automated pilot program on a jetliner refuses to give up command of the plane and a crash looks eminent.  A tanker ship at sea finds the same problem when they attempt to regain control of the ship.  And a nuclear facility begins to heat up and won't obey commands to shut down.  What's going on and how is it happening?

This story is very technical and reads like non-fiction.  The potential for this type of attack is very real nowadays, and it sends chills down your spine as you follow the story and find out just how bad the threat is in Jeff's world.  He's already lost his love on 9-11 and he's determined not to let that happen again.  But can he stop it?

Mr. Russinovich's characters are strong, stubborn, and concerned.  The evil forces are heartless, determined, and will stop at nothing.  You'll keep turning pages to see just how this can end without losing everything...

If cyberterrorism is something that concerns, you'll be fascinated by this look at the inside of the computer world and how easily it can breached.  Put it on your TBR list and get a copy next month at your local bookstore.

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

Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit: A Book of Changing Seasons by Il Sung Na

The illustrations in this book lift you up and take you within them.  The detail and depth of the pictures make the story very impressive.

Alfred A Knopf Books for Young Readers sent me a copy of this children's picture book for review (thank you).  It hit the stores in January, so you can pick up a copy at your local bookstore now.

Not only are the illustrations fantastic, the author's lyrical words take you from winter to spring and teach your child about how animals survive the cold.  Most pages have a little rabbit hiding somewhere in the background.  Let your child find it for you and learn the skill of seeing beyond the obvious.

This book is for ages 1-5 and I would expect it to be read over and over again.  Even little ones will enjoy the magical illustrations.

Visit your local bookstore and pick up a copy for your favorite little one - they'll love you for it.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Oracle of Stamboul by Michael David Lukas

It's 1877, and a flock of purple and white hoopoes are roosting outside the house while a new mother is inside delivering a baby.  Why???

Harper, a division of HarperCollins Publishers, sent me an ARC of this book for review. (Thank you.)  The book was published February 8th, so you can get a copy at your local bookstore now.

This book is a mix of magic and history about the Ottoman Empire set in an exotic location much like Turkey.  Mr. Lukas uses words that float through the air and paint a picture of a country that has extreme poverty at the common residents level and an abundance of wealth for the high-born.  He can even make you smell the spices in the market place.  His vivid descriptions come from his personal work experiences in Turkey, Tel Aviv, and Tunisia.

His main character is the baby being born in the first chapter.  Her mother dies after delivery, and Eleanoro is raised primarily by her father.  Her aunt arrives shortly after her mother's death and marries her father, but she's never a mother to Eleanoro.  The friction between the two grows as time passes, but when Eleanoro learns to read she has a way to escape...

Mr. Lukas adds mystery, intrigue, spies, and political ploys to the story.  It's an intriguing read with a totally unanticipated ending. 

Buy yourself a copy of this book and visit another world, watch purple and white hoopoes following Elearnora around, and learn what prophecy she was meant to fulfill.  

Here is the list of those before and after my blog tour post.  Visit the sites to read more about the book and the author to entice you!

Friday, February 18th: Jen’s Book Thoughts
Friday, February 18th: Luxury Reading
Monday, February 21st: Chocolate & Croissants
Tuesday, February 22nd: Journey of a Bookseller
Tuesday, February 22nd: The Feminist Texan [Reads]
Wednesday, February 23rd: My Two Blessings
Wednesday, February 23rd: Man of La Book

I will be giving away my ARC as part of the blog tour, so leave a comment here on the blog and email me at info @ with your name and ADDRESS and tell me why you'd like to read it.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Priest by Gerard O'Donovan

He only got involved because he could speak Spanish...

Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster, will be publishing this book in March.  They graciously allowed me to read an eGalley for review (thank you).

The Inspector grew up in Ireland, but had just returned from Madrid, Spain.  He's in the drug enforcement unit and between major assignments at the moment.

When a Spanish teenage girl is sexually assaulted in Dublin, he's called in to translate.  It doesn't take long until he's caught up in the case.  Originally he's to be the liaison between the police and the Spanish Embassy.  But when the girl is snatched from the hospital and whisked back home with no warning, Inspector Mulcahy finds himself in a predicament.

And when another girl is hideously disfigured in the same way and almost dies, the investigation steps up its efforts to find the rapist.

It's a well-done tale of cat and mouse with various subplots and a taste of romance thrown in.  The evil in this book is palpable and the motivation for the sexual assaults is unknown.

The author does a very good job of setting the mood regarding life in Ireland vs. Spain.  He also gives you an insider's look at the political world of the Garda and the minor and major spats they have internally.

This is the author's first book and there will be more in this series.  That's good because he has created a fascinating complex character that is still evolving and I'd like to read more about him.

Watch for this book next month and grab a copy at your local bookstore.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Butterfly in Flame by Nicholas Kilmer

Fred is ostentatiously filling in at Stillton Academy as a teacher, but he's really there to find out what happened to the missing instructor and his student.  He also has another hidden goal that might even be worth more to him...

Poisoned Pen Press released this book in November and it's in hardcover, paperback, and large print.  I got my eBook from Net Galley for review (thank you both).

This story is steeped in academia.  Stillton is an art academy, but Fred is amazed to find there really isn't a lot of art taught there.  It's basic art and the students are almost unguided, so it's not hard to see why they are fighting to keep accreditation.  It doesn't help any when you lose a teacher somewhere and the major donor's daughter disappears at the same time.

As Fred tries to study the characters around him and determine exactly what happened and why, he's also looking for a piece of art that is rumored to be in the building.

Everything he finds seems to make the disappearances more of a question than ever.  And just something in general smells wrong.

Mr. Kilmer's story is filled with academic life, art knowledge, and murder.  It's very detailed and was a bit slow going for me, but I did enjoy the plot and the conclusion to the story.

Visit your local bookstore and pick up a copy for yourself.  And go back to school... 

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Union Quilters by Jennifer Chiaverini

The Civil War was a time of great conflict and war between family and friends.  While there are many stories about the soldiers and the battles fought, this novel focuses on the women and families left behind...

Dutton, part of the Penguin Group, sent me an ARC of this book for review.  The book will be published next week.  Check with your local bookstore to get a copy.

This book is part of a series but it's the first time I've had opportunity to read Ms. Chiaverini's work.  She writes in a fluid prose, with a well-thought-out plot.  Her male characters were almost secondary to her female characters.  The majority of the men were at war; the women were home trying to keep the farms going and occupy their minds with other duties so they didn't brood about the danger their loved ones were facing on the battlefields.  Her characters are astute, anguished and often at odds with each other.  

The women quilter's group decides to raise money and sew goods and bandages that can be sent to the front for the men.  It's a good idea, but they need more room.  Women can't own property, so they ask one of the remaining to purchase it for them.  However, there are other ownership issues to deal with.  There is also good and bad news coming back from the troops.

The author does a good job of depicting the time period and the issues of those who fought the war, whether they were on the line or waiting at home.

If you have an interest in the Civil War, quilting or the dynamics of female relationships, this book will talk to you.  Add this one to your TBR list.  It's well worth a read.

I'm giving away this ARC.  Leave a comment here on my blog and then email me at info @ (take the spaces out) and give your name and ADDRESS and tell me why you'd like to win it.  I'll pick a winner in about a week.

Jam & Honey by Melita Morales

To make jam you need berries.  But bees gather nectar for honeycomb from the same berry bushes...

Tricycle Press published this book in January and graciously shared a copy with me for review (thank you).  Laura J Bryant is the illustrator.

Ms. Morales chose an interesting way to write this story.  She does it in two parts, with different points of view.  First the little girl's, then the bee's point of view.  It's a unique way of looking at it and emphasizes the lesson being taught.

Ms. Bryant's illustrations remind me a bit of the Strawberry Shortcake girl.  Cute, colorful and full of spirit, they help you see the hesitation and fearfulness both the girl and the bee have towards each other.

It's done in poetry form, which makes it even more fun to read.  Why not visit your local bookstore and buy a copy to help your child understand that a bumble bee is not dangerous as long you respect it and share the space with it?

It's a charming story that could be used in a read-a-loud group, too.  Have one child portray the girl and another read the part of the bee.  And don't forget to buzz...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

She's a part-time private investigator, but it's her other job that's interesting.  Very interesting...

St. Martin's Press sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  This book is being published this month, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

Ms. Jones has created a character you won't soon forget.  She's pretty, she's mouthy, and she's tough.  She also has a paranormal power that lets her see the ghosts of people who have been killed.  This is a really handy trait for her uncle, who is a homicide cop.  But not all ghosts know who killed them...

She also adds another tantalizing male character that has some power over her.  It might be scary but he's really sexy looking and she enjoys his attentions.

They both have their secrets.

Solving murders with talking ghosts sounds corny, but I sure enjoyed reading this story.  You have a mystery, hot sexual tension, smart-mouthed conversation - what more do you need?

This is the first book from this author and it's a good one.  I can also tell there will be another one.  And I'll be looking forward to reading that one, too.

Visit your local bookstore and nab a copy of this book.  If you like this type of read, you're going to real sorry if you miss it.

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

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Terror of Living by Urban Waite

Washington is a beautiful state.  Clear blue water rivers and lakes, mountains, it's a great state for backpacking and horseback riding.  But drug running?

Little Brown and Company of the Hachette Group provided me with an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  This book has been recently published in hardcover and is available for purchase at your local bookstore.

Mr. Waite's words bring to life the majestic mountains and other scenery of the North Cascades.  They also bring to life one of the most insane and nasty serial killers I hope I never meet.

A snoopy cop with baggage from his father finds an abandoned car on the North Cascades highway.  When no one returns to it, he decides to do a little exploring to see what happened to the driver.  What he finds instead is the beginning a long, deadly nightmare.

The killer is pure evil and has no conscience.  He just handles assignments.  When the deputy sheriff spoils a drug drop, he creates a situation where the monster is set loose to get the drugs back and take care of the damage.

No one is safe.  His characters are complex and multi-faceted, and the action begins rumbling in the first few pages and continues until the very last page.

I was amazed to see that this is the author's first book.  It's excellent.  I hope he's able to maintain the vision and style for future books.  He'll make your spine chill.  I highly recommend this book.

If you would like my ARC, please leave a comment here on my blog and then email me at info @ bookfaerie with your name and ADDRESS and the reason why you'd like to read it.  I'll pick a winner in about a week.

Twosomes: Love Poems from the Animal Kingdom by Marilyn Singer

Can you imagine two sharks sharing romantic poetry?  Marilyn Singer can!

This is a Borzoi Book published by Alfred A Knopf Books for Young Readers and they provided me with a copy for review (thank you).  Lee Wildish is the illustrator.  This book is currently available for sale at your local bookstore.

The author uses short, "punny" quips for her poetry about animal love.  The vibrantly colored illustrations make the animals stand out from the pages and express joy at life.  Your children will laugh out load over these silly rhymes.

An example to entice you:  "Nice to meetcha!  You smell delish!  Wanna share my water dish?"  Can you guess which animal that is?  You're right, it's a dog.

This would make a lovely Valentine's Day gift or how about a "You're special to me, child!" gift?

It's a charming little book that I'm going to have to keep for me, so it works for older folks, too.  Check it out at your local bookstore and grab  a copy.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Jerusalem Spring by Fares Aoun

Reading this story made me think.  The story begins in the 1960's in a prison that houses blacks.  Segregation was alive and well in that era.  The warden was white...

The author sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you.)  It is available on and at It is also available on the Kindle, Nook, and other e-readers.

Mr. Aoun bases his story on four main characters.  The warden, the longtime prisoner and informant, and two new prisoners.  There is an odd chemistry between the warden and the informant.  They have a fragile friendship, the warden gives him books to read, they enjoy their conversations, and the information trades information for cigarettes - which is commerce in the pen.  But the issue of black and white and trust still stands between them.

The story is interesting and the author's insights regarding this type of conflict make it a fascinating read.

The last third of the book has an interesting juxtaposition presented.  The author moves the story from the prison to another "prison" of sorts.  You are suddenly in Israel with the same characters and the same story line.  While this sounds strange, it actually makes a lot of sense.  There is still segregation and cultural unrest, and the prisoners still want their freedom.   The comparison of times and places holds up under scrutiny.

This was a very interesting read.  Check with your local bookstore for a copy.

I'm giving away the copy I was sent in a contest.  Just leave a comment here on the blog and then write to me at info @ (take the spaces out) with your name and ADDRESS and why you'd like to win the book.  I'll do the drawing in about a week.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Death Cloud by Andrew Lane

Two men are dead.  Both with big swollen blotches on their bodies.  Is this a new plague?

Farrar Straus Giroux is publishing this book stateside this month.  Macmillan Books published it first in Great Britain in 2010.  Thank you for the opportunity to review this tale.  This is the first teen series endorsed by the Arthur Conan Doyle Estate Ltd.

This story will captivate its reader.  It's action packed, filled with danger, and has an intriguing story line.

It begins with Sherlock getting out of school for the summer.  His older brother comes to collect him instead of his father, and he finds he has to spend the summer with an aunt and uncle he hardly knows.  Sherlock is naturally upset.  He knows no one, there's nothing to do, and he doesn't fit in well.  

Not to worry, his natural curiosity leads him into an attempt to solve the mystery of the men's unnatural deaths.  And that leads him directly into big trouble.

The author writes well, keeps the action moving, and the reader finds themselves trying to figure out the mystery just as fervently as Sherlock is.

This book would appeal to reluctant readers.  It's full of action, mystery, and secrets and keeps your fingers turning the pages.

I highly recommend this book for young adults or adults.  It's a good read!  Get yourself a copy at your local bookstore.

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

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Orchid Affair by Lauren Willig

Can a governess make a good spy?  It would help if she didn't fall in love with her employer...

Dutton, a division of the Penguin Group, sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you). It was published at the end of January, so you can get a copy of it at your local bookstore now.  Ms. Willig's previous book was The Secret History of the Pink Carnation.

I was pleasantly surprised by this author's writing style, the exciting plot, and the great use of historical detail to make this a very interesting and charming read.

The villains are ruthless and deadly, as well as sadistic and mean.  Set during the time of Bonaparte, the police are almost more dangerous than the criminals.  There is a plot underway to unseat Bonaparte and Laura Grey is to see what she can find out about it.  She becomes governess to Andre Jaouen, who is right hand man to minister of police.  But she's not sure exactly who he is loyal to...

Both Laura and Andre are very strong characters who are willing to do whatever they need to survive.  Delaroche will never forget their betrayal and wants their deaths - along with the children's deaths.

How they attempt to evade him will make you laugh.  Their budding romance will make you smile.  And you won't stop reading until you reach the end of the book. It's too well written to set down and come back to.  Get yourself a copy and have an exciting time during Bonaparte's days.

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

The Final Reckoning by Sam Bourne

There is a terrorist coming to the UN.  The security officer has a good description, is told when the man enters the grounds, and he does his job and kills him before he can kill the people that fill the facility.  But the "terrorist" is an old man and had no bomb...

HarperCollins Publishers sent me a copy of the ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It was published last December and is available at your local bookstore.  Sam Bourne is the literary pseudonym of Jonathan Freedland, a British journalist and broadcaster.

This story is fast-paced, full of intrigue, and has several secrets to be unveiled.  The "mixing pot" of history has created some unique hatreds that have been hidden by those involved.  However, the old man who was killed in the UN becomes the key to unlock many doors that others wish would never open.

It begins with the question of why the dead man was there and what he went there for.  The answer was even more complex.

It all began back in the days of World War II, when the Germans and Lithuanians and other nationalities were persecuting the Jews.  The Jews that survived remembered those days vividly and with great pain over the loss of their loved ones.  Those involved in the torture and killings tried to meld into society in other parts of the world.

We've seen Nazi's being prosecuted now for crimes in the past, so the story line is very credible.  Mr. Bourne writes in a style that makes the words float across the page and has you flipping to the next one to see what will happen. I can guarantee you won't be bored.  Get yourself a copy now and see what you're missing.

I'm giving away the ARC I received in a contest.  Leave a comment here on my blog, and then send an email to info @ (take the spaces out) with your name and ADDRESS and tell me why you'd like to win it.  I'll pick a winner in about a week.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Secrets to the Grave by Tami Hoag

"My daddy hurt my mommy..."

Dutton sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  Tami Hoag has written 30 novels and manages to keep each new one as fresh and exciting as her first books were.  This book was published at the end of December, so you can find a copy at your local bookstore right now.

Vince Leon is an older cop who has recently married the love of his life.  He almost lost Anne at one point in his last big case and he's very protective of her.  Anne has a degree in child psychology and the victim's daughter has no one to else to care for her, so it was a natural thing for his wife and the girl to bond.  No one understood at the time how dangerous that was...

This book is full of action and psychological suspense.  Almost all the characters are damaged in some way.  Mental problems abound, family secrets are protected, and the poor little almost strangled four year old is the only witness.  The problem is that she identified the killer as her daddy.  She has no daddy and she calls all her mother's male friends "daddy".

While the police search for the killer and follow almost non-existent clues, Anne is having challenges herself with the little one who wakes at night screaming.

The plot is well thought out, the action never stops, and there is more than one killer in the story.  It'll keep you up at night reading to see how it ends.

Visit your local bookstore and pick up a copy.  If you haven't read Tami Hoag before, you'll find yourself buying more of her books after you read this one!

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

Monday, February 7, 2011

29 Days to Becoming a Great Listener and Communicator by Richard Fast

Would you like to be able to get your point across better while speaking?  Or learn how to listen better to what people are really saying?  Or maybe you're already good at it, but would like to learn to improve your skills.  No matter which it is, this book has something for you in it.

Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It's one a series written by this author and his wife, all based on a plan for action in 29 days that will change your life.  You can Lose Weight, Stop Smoking, achieve Financial Security, or learn Effective Communication by following well structured exercises and developing goals towards your desired improvement.

Mr. Fast's books are written in the mode of a professional speaker.  He uses quotations, writing exercises, stories about himself and other people, goal setting and more to help you move forward to your desired outcome.  He helps you pick goals you can meet rather than create goals that will defeat you.

These are self-help books, but they are not condescending or critical.  They walk you through the process and encourage you along the way.  There is also a free online coach you can use.

There are some very good suggestions on communication in this book, and I'm sure the author has done as well with the others.  After all, he worked his way out of smoking.  He gives you good, practical advice to reach your goals.  You'll also learn things about yourself that you never realized.  For example, how much of what you say is actually heard by the person you're talking to?  You'll find out in this book.  

Visit your local bookstore and check the series out.  It's like opening a door and finding a new you!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tupaia Captain Cook's Polynesian Navigator by Joan Druett

Everyone has heard the story of Captain Cook and his expedition adventures, but did you ever know he had a Polynesian navigator?

Praeger published this book in January in hardcover and graciously sent me an ARC for review (thank you).  Check with your local bookstore to locate a copy for your library.  This is a fascinating tale.

I've read about Captain Cook, have seen a piece of a leg bone made into a fish hook in a museum in Hawaii that was attributed to him, and was aware of the bad sexual habits of his crew.  But I had no idea that during his earlier travels, he had acquired a Polynesian navigator.

Ms. Druett does an excellent job of offering her well-researched facts in a nonfiction story that reads almost like fiction.  It's not the least bit boring (and I'm not fond of nonfiction, so that's saying something).  

Tupaia could be a legend himself.  He was man of importance in his own world, and his knowledge of navigation came from his own experience and the oral tales his tribesmen shared of their adventures.  He had learned astronomy, navigation and meteorology by watching the impact of weather on the islands and travelling between islands in canoes, as well as through oral history.  

The hierarchy and culture of the Polynesian people is very interesting.  The culture clash between Captain Cook and his men and the natives has been repeated many times over through the years in other times and environments, but it makes fascinating reading.

Tupaia was not only a navigator but almost an ambassador for Captain Cook.  He was a very important part of this exploratory voyage.  Yet his name is relatively unmentioned in historical accounts.  He also dies ignominiously with the cause of his death hidden so Cook's record will be unsullied.  He deserved much more.

Ms. Druett makes you care about this man as she shows him drawing out a map of Polynesian islands when he'd never visited them - and it's accurate.  He was very brilliant man and I'm glad she's written his tale for the world to see, even if it's many years late.

If you have an interest in history, Captain Cook, or just in interesting tales, this book will be a pleasure for you to read.  Check it out at your local bookstore.

Or, you can enter the contest to win my ARC by leaving a comment here on my blog and sending me an email at info @ (take out the spaces) 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...