Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Where All The Dead Lie by J. T. Ellison

Taylor had been shot in the head on her last case and was recovering from a brain injury, but that didn't explain why she was seeing ghosts and being so confused...

I got my copy of this book from Edelweiss and Mira for review (thank you).  It will be published in October, so add it to your TBR list.  If you've read others in this series, I know you must be waiting impatiently for this story.

Taylor is still angry with Baldwin for not telling her he had a son.  He might not have been aware of it at the first, but when he didn't tell her right away, she took offense.  She can't discuss it with him now because her voice isn't working.  The doctor insists she's OK physically, so it must be a mental block.

This mistrust is driving a wedge between them and Taylor doesn't know how to stop it.  When Memphis calls and offers her the use of his castle in Scotland (he will be working), she decides to go.  It might not be the smartest thing to put herself around a man who wants her, but she feels she needs some time alone to get herself back together.  Besides, there is psychologist there who can continue her treatment and help her get her voice back again.

I was very impressed by how this author wove his story.  He takes two separate events and weaves them into a final confrontation that will send chills up and down your spine.  There is a dark horse in this group of characters that is pure evil.

The words flow well and I read the book in one evening.  I had to know how it was going to end!  If you want a good thriller with psychological manipulation, this is the book for you.  It's a very good read.

Happy reading. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bad Intentions by Karin Fossum

When you were in your early twenties, could you and two other friends keep silent about a deadly secret?  How do you think that would affect you psychologically?

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt published this book at the first part of August and I got my review copy from them and Net Galley (thank you).  You can grab of copy of it at your local bookstore now.

I enjoy reading stories set in lands across the pond.  They have a different culture, view things in a new way (to me), and they deal with crime differently.  Most of their detectives are intelligent, hard working, and refuse to give up on crimes with no evidence.  Ms. Fossum's Inspector Sejer is also like that.

Three young men have grown up together and are the best of friends.  They have shared a life changing event and it effects each of them differently.  It also makes them analyze their own relationships with each other.  

More than anything, this story is a psychological study on how disaster affects people.  Some are strong, some are weak, some are in between.  Ms. Fossum also adds the mothers to the "picture" she's drawing of this awful event, which I found was a nice touch.  It gives the story depth and adds to authenticity.

This was a good read.  The ending was totally unexpected to me.  I like being surprised.  When you read as much as I do, it's hard to surprise me.  How about you get a copy of this book and read it, too.  I bet you won't guess the ending...

Happy reading.

Monday, August 29, 2011

An Edible Alphabet by Carol Watterson

If you're a city dweller, why not take your young one on a tour of a working farm where they can learn about the animals and plants grown there?

Tricycle Press has published this children's picture book and sent me a copy for review.  Michela Sorrentino is the illustrator, and her drawings make the animals leap from the pages.  You can get a copy of this book at your local bookstore now.

This is a unique look at the alphabet.  Each letter has an animal or a plant highlighted and the use of alliteration makes the reading fun!  Besides introducing a child to country living on a farm, they will also learn animal facts and farm lore.

This is a great educational book presented in a fun way.  Why not share a copy with those you love?

Happy reading. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Goliath by Scott Westerfeld

The Leviathan is a living, breathing air ship that has a combination of metal and biological weapons.  It's big and fast, but when you are at war, there's always danger...

Simon & Schuster sent me an egalley to review (thank you). This book will be available on September 20th.  I'd previously read a book in this series and was anxious to see how Mr. Westerfeld chose to end his trilogy.  I was not disappointed!

Keith Thompson is the illustrator and his drawings really bring the characters to life.  They add to the flavor of the story and help you envision the characters.

Alek and Deryn are pretty much the best of friends, even if they are on opposite sides of the war.  However, Deryn has a deep secret she hasn't told Alek that will probably destroy their relationship.  She knows their journey together will be over soon enough so she holds on to her secret and hopes to slip away in the crowd when the Leviathan's tour is over.

Alek may be a prince, but he's pretty useless on an air ship.  He feels like he's just taking up space.  As long as Deryn is around and they can buddy up together, he's happy.  He doesn't even mind taking chances with him.  Deryn always seems to know what to do in times of danger.

Mr. Westerfeld writes a busy story:  lots of action, lots of danger, and lots of plot twists.  They are a fast read for me because I have to know what's going to happen next!  He tells a "wide" tale.  It covers many countries, history, an interesting look at warfare, and he shows an amazing insight into character development.

This is an excellent read with lots of excitement for everyone.  Why not get a copy and read it for yourself.  And, if you haven't read the others in the series, I'd recommend you buy the complete set.  It's a great series and you can then re-read them at your leisure.  These books are keepers.

Happy reading.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Deviant by Adrian McKinty

Danny just wished he'd behaved himself at his old school because this new school he was attending was weird!

Amulet Books, an imprint of Abrams, sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It will be published in October, so make a note on your TBR list under the category:  Horror/Psychological Suspense.

Danny's misbehavior at school ends up with his parents moving and requiring him to attend a very rigid, strict school.  The way this school teaches is different: chattering isn't allowed and the rules are followed to the letter. As in any new school, it takes a Danny a while to make friends.  It didn't take him any time at all to make some enemies...

Someone is killing cats in Colorado Springs.  The animals are left where their owners can find them.  When the killer begins removing their hearts, it becomes an even stranger case.  Danny and a girl he likes each have a cat, so he makes up his mind he's going to determine who's doing this terrible crime.  He doesn't know exactly what he's walking into; the cats are only preparation for a larger sacrifice...

The story moves fast, there's a taste of occult in it, and the criminal in the story isn't disclosed until the last few pages.  Danny works hard to find the truth but, when he does, will he survive?

If you would like my copy of this ARC, please leave a comment here on my blog and email me at info at with your name AND ADDRESS, telling me why you'd like to read it.  I'll pick a winner in about a week.

Happy reading.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Double Play by Betsy Franco

Jill and Jake are two monkeys who will teach little ones about numbers by watching them play at recess.

Tricycle Press published this book and sent me a copy for review (thank you).  The subtitle is:  Monkeying Around With Addition.  The illustrations were done by Doug Cushman.

I really liked the way Ms. Franco presented this lesson on numbers.  It's simple, it makes sense, and the monkeys make it fun!  The text rhymes, the illustrations are colorful, and children will have great fun counting out loud to prove the numbers add up to that.

This is a very simple way to help your child learn to count in a silly fun way with delightful characters.  Why not grab a copy for the little one in your life?

Happy reading.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Low Town by Daniel Polansky

The Warden is very, very cynical and has a very good reason to be that way.  His life is bleak, he sells drugs, and he tries to live and let live, but he's not beyond killing if he needs to.  His life changes when someone starts murdering young children on the streets he controls...

Doubleday published this book August 16th and sent me a copy for review (thank you).  You can snag a copy at your local bookstore now.

This is a debut novel from Mr. Polansky and I hope he will be writing more.  This is a heavy story, but there's strength in the main character (even if he's tried to drug itself out of him).  The Warden saw more than he should during the war and ended up a disgraced intelligence agent.  He walks the fine line between the Black House (intelligence agency) and the power men of the mean streets.  He prefers to be left alone to ply his trade, to make a few bucks, and to be able to sink into a drug-induced sleep each night.  However, his friends won't let him occupy that role once a child dies.

He's smart enough to think he's smarter than he is, and that gets him in trouble.  He has old friends and old enemies; there's magic involved; and those he trusts and loves aren't free from the mess of life in Low Town.

This is an excellent read.  It's dark, morbid, and almost without hope, but it's an excellent story.  The words flow well, the story isn't so far out it's not believable and I was anxious to work my way through to the end.  The best part was that the ending was completely unexpected on my part.  I love ironic endings!

Get yourself a copy and dig in.  I don't think you'll be disappointed by this fantasy tale.

Happy reading.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Big-Ass Book of Home Decor by Mark Montano

The best part about this book is that the crafts Mr. Montano shows you aren't difficult.  You can do most of them at home with supplies you already have in stock.  And he offers you some real special creative ideas that can give your home a face lift for very little cost!

The author sent me a copy of his book for review and giveaway (thank you).  The book is currently available at your local bookstore.  And even greater news:  Vol. 2 of this series will be coming out in October.

Mr. Montano makes a list of supplies for you and then walks you through, step by step, to create a unique and unusual way of dressing up humdrum items.  Some of the projects are very simple, some are more complex.  You can start small and work your way up or begin with a bigger project and scale back.  He can look at something plain and give you a great idea for how to add color or texture to make it more attractive.

My favorite part of his book is that you don't have to use expensive supplies.  Once you begin "seeing" like he does, you'll most likely substitute some of the supplies he uses for supplies of your choice.  If you're not that creative, his choices are pretty and look great.

So, are you ready to "Make messes and be crafty!"  I have one signed copy of this book for giveaway.

Leave a comment here on my blog and then email me at info at with your name and ADDRESS and tell me why you'd like to win the book.  I'll be picking a winner in about a week.

Get crafty, folks!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Vault by Ruth Rendell

Inspector Wexford is retired now, but somehow he finds himself helping on another case...

Simon and Schuster shared an egalley of this book with me for review (thank you).  The book will be published mid-September, so make a note on your TBR list to remember to pick up a copy.

Ms. Rendell has written several Inspector Wexford stories.  He's a bit of a plodder, but he gets the job done.  Dora usually helps him decipher his clues.  So I was expecting another good "who done it" mystery.  What I didn't expect was for Wexford's daughter to get stabbed in the middle of the tale.  The daughter and her children move in with the retired parents and patience disintegrates on both sides.

The case involves a coal bin that is covered by a manhole cover and hasn't been used in years and four bodies at the bottom of the hole.  Not all the bodies were killed at the same time; three older ones and one more recent death adds to the mystery...

It is hard to ferret out the tangled tale that leads to truth.  Wexford finds it hard to concentrate on the case with his daughter in the hospital and then home in his house.  Dora is distracted and frustrated by the situation.  The lead detective doesn't seem to be very impressed by Wexford's conclusions, but Wexford pushes on.

This a typical good read written by Rendell.  You won't regret following Wexford off on another of his adventures.  Get a copy and keep the old boy working!

Happy reading.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ghost on Black Mountain by Ann Hite

This story is filled with ghosts of the past.  You hear the voices of five women talk about one man's influence on their lives...

Simon and Schuster will be publishing this book in mid-September.  I grabbed an egalley for review (thank you).  Check with your local bookstore to grab a copy.

The heart of this story is set in the Appalachian hills during the depression.  Everyone is struggling.  Nellie is working in a soup kitchen with her mother when she sees Hobb.  She falls immediately and madly in love with him.  He marries her and takes her home.  Her mother tells her she sees death in her tea leaves and begs her not to go, but she's in love...

One of the main points this author seemed to be making was that you should not love a man so completely, you don't save any love for yourself.  That will eventually destroy you.

Hobb was not a good man.  He was an even worse husband.  And while he was the catalyst for the tragedy that happened, he's not the most important part of this story.  The important parts are the women who were involved.

Each woman has her own segment of the book and tells her unique story of the life she's led.  These stories merge together to make a complete life circle around Nellie and Hobb's relationship.  I found this a fascinating way to present the story and I enjoyed reading this book.  It's not a cheery book by any means, but it's about life as it is, not a fairy tale.  The ghosts just add to the flavor of the story and the mystery of Black Mountain.

This story has stuck with me after I finished reading it.  It makes you think.  Why not get a copy for yourself and see if it does that to you?

Happy reading.

Sylvia & Aki by Winifred Conkling

Sylvia and Aki cannot attend the same school because Sylvia is Mexican.  This story is based on a true court case and Sylvia and Aki are still friends after all these years...

Tricycle Press has published this book and sent me a copy for review (thank you).  You can get a copy at your local bookstore.

Sylvia's father knows his daughter is as good as the other girls and the teaching is much better at the "forbidden" school, so he decides to fight them in court.

Growing up female, my father told me he would not pay for college for me because I was "just going to get married and have babies".  So I know how Sylvia felt when the principal told her she wouldn't be going to school much longer anyway.

Throughout the fight to right this wrong, the two girls remained friends and continued their schooling.  They are still friends, which is pretty remarkable.

Sylvia's father was successful in his quest to stop segregated schools for the Hispanics.  

This isn't just a story about Hispanics, though.  Aki was relocated to a Japanese internment camp in Arizona and had to adjust to living in the desert and leaving her crops on the farm behind before she came to California.  I'm sure some people thought it odd that a Hispanic girl and a Japanese girl would become such good friends.  It doesn't surprise me at all.  They needed a good friend and they found one.

This is a good history lesson for the young ones that don't remember what it was like at that time in US history.  It's poignant and heartwarming to see that good can overcome fear and distrust.

Happy reading.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Breaking Silence by Linda Castillo

Everyone in the barn is dead, apparently from methane gas asphyxiation.  But how did they end up in the cesspool?

Crime Headquarters sent me this book which was published in June by Minotaur Books.  (I won a contest, thank you.)  This is a haunting Amish mystery and a very good read.

The Amish are a very close knit group and do not talk to Englishers.  Not even to investigators.  So trying to find out about any conflict, enemies, or if anyone saw anything comes to a dead end real soon.

There are hate crimes going on, but no one will tell anyone who it was.  And then they find out that the father who died had a head bruise he would not have gotten from falling in the cess pool.  Now they were looking for a murderer.  Could the hate crimes be related?

The investigator is very good, but he has to rely on Kate Burkholder's knowledge of Amish life to try to solve this mystery.  This is a very dark crime for a group of plain folk who work very hard at maintaining  a peaceful existence.  

The author grabs your attention right at the beginning of this book and I had no idea where she was going with the story until the very end.  It kept me reading and the words have a nice flow to them.  I really enjoyed reading this Amish mystery.

Here's the book's trailer to entice you even more:  Breaking Silence

If you would like my copy of this ARC, please leave a comment here on my blog and then email me at info at with your name and ADDRESS to be entered into the drawing.  I'll pick a winner in about a week.

Happy reading.

My Dog Needs Surgery by Steve Hockensmith

Corny as it sounds, the reason Mr. Hockensmith published this ebook is really because his dog needs veterinarian care.  Now if that isn't enough to motivate you to buy this collection of short stories and essays, I'll guess I'll just have to tell you how much I liked reading it and about my favorite story...

The author sent me a copy of his book for review (thank you).  You can get your copy at Smashwords or Amazon for 99 cents.

This is a mix of fiction and fact.  Mr. Hockensmith shares his thoughts about writing, shares some of his previously published stories, and throws in quite a mix of fiction.

My favorite story was a western titled:  Burl Lockhart's in Town.  It's short, mean and ironic.  That type of story appeals to me.

You'll also get to sample a Holmes on the Range mystery (I really loved that book!) as well as others.  The author uses a style of writing that appeals to me and there's always a little extra kick to his tales.  You can tell he thought about the stories a bit before writing them.

How can you go wrong?  For less than a buck you can get a copy of this ebook and sample his work.  I bet you'll find yourself picking up more of his books.  And it's all for a good cause.   Don't you have an animal you love?

Happy reading.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Dog Who Knew Too Much by Spencer Quinn

Chet and Bernie are looking for a missing boy, but the case has a dark side...

Simon and Schuster allowed me to download an egalley of this book for review (thank you).  It will be published the first week in September so if you've been waiting to visit with this duo, you'll get a new fix real soon.

This book sounded very interesting to me because it's written from the dog's point of view.  If you've owned a dog (or a dog has owned you), you know they view the world differently and are often disappointed by their human's lack of understanding.  Chet and Bernie have been together long enough to have a silent communication thing going on, but it's still difficult when things get complicated.

Bernie didn't want to take the case, but decided he needed the money.  He sure didn't expect to be framed for murder.  Or to have someone making a good effort to kill him.  But he's not about to give up.  And Chet is working real on hard on the case with him.

Just to read the dog's perspective makes this story worth reading.  Bernie's a good guy, but there are times Chet is the one with the brains.  How could you not enjoy a doggone good tale like this?

Happy reading.

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

Alex is turning thirteen and this is the year he learns his fate.  He will either be a wanted, a necessary or an unwanted.  Those who are unwanted die...

Simon and Schuster shared an egalley of this story with me (thank you).  The book will be published at the end of this month and it's well worth reading.  Watch for a copy at your local bookstore.

Magic is outlawed and said to be evil.  The unwanteds leave on a bus without any tears and the parents don't even wave goodbye.  This is how life here is.  You can't be artistic or creative and survive in the city.

Alex most regrets leaving his twin brother behind.  They've been very close and can almost read one another's thoughts.  However, Aaron is a wanted.

When Alex arrives at the locked facility that means the end of his life, he walks through the gates ready to accept his fate.  Imagine his surprise when he finds he's not facing death; he's facing a wonderful new life with magic, art, and love.

What creates the largest conflict in the story is the twin's connection.  Alex wants Aaron to join him in this wonderful new world.  Aaron is enthralled with the power he holds in the old world and has no desire to join him.  Instead, he wants to end their world and kill them like they should have been in the first place...

I really enjoyed reading this.  Ms. McMann does an excellent job of drawing a picture of both worlds in your mind and showing you the twin's conflict.  The battle is big and formidable.  The outcome is unexpected.  She has given you a well thought out plot with lots of detail to support it.

This is written for young adults and should be very popular with them.  Since the Harry Potter series has ended, this might be a good place for your young reader to begin a new fantasy journey.  There may even be a sequel to this book, you never know.  And I can tell you that this adult sure enjoyed reading it.

Happy reading!

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Husband She Couldn't Remember by Maggie Shayne

If you woke up out of a coma and had no idea who you were or where you were, what would you do?  If you found an address in the lining of coat, would you be brave enough to go there to see what you would find?

Harlequin Treasury is reprinting books first issued in the 1990's.  They are offering them on Net Galley and that's where I snagged my copy for review (thank you both).  Ms. Shayne's books have always sold well for me (as a bookseller) so I expected this would be a good read.  It certainly was.

The author picked an unusual disease to inflict on her main character.  It's a terminal disease that offers no hope.  So when Ben found Penny had died in an auto accident that probably wasn't any accident, he tried to accept that.  All he could focus on was the fact that he had lost her and his heart would never been the same.

When the woman in the coma awakens and finds the doctor and nurse are not telling her the whole truth, she sets out to find out who she is and why no one come to visit while she was in the hospital.

Ben recognizes her as she observes him from afar, but his family is trying hard not to treat him as if he's crazy since they've never seen her.  They all know she's dead.  Then he finds Penny at her grave site.  And she doesn't have the faintest idea who he is; or who Penny is for that matter.  He's attractive, but she feels no emotional tie to him.

They both have some obstacles to overcome before the relationship can go back to normal.  Peggy needs to discover who she is now.  Ben needs to adjust to the fact that this Peggy is different from the woman he married.  If that wasn't enough, someone is after Penny and she's in danger...

This story flows well, tells an interesting tale, and has plenty of excitement go around.  It reads up pretty fast.  Not to worry, there are a lot more Maggie Shayne books can read if you want more.  Why not start with Penny and Ben and then venture into some more of her stories?  They're a great beach read.

Happy reading.

It All Began with a Bean by Katie McKy

Have you ever sat down and thought about how many kinds of food make you fart?  This author obviously has!

Tanglewood published this book in paperback in April and I got my review copy from Net Galley (thank you both).  Ms. McKy has a great sense of humor and that's apparent in this goofy story about farts.

The illustrations will make you laugh all by themselves.  And as you watch all these various people and animals eat food stuffs that will make them fart, you wait to see just what happens.  Just be glad this isn't a scratch and sniff book!

This is a silly story that will probably lead to young one's farts but, hey, it's fun!  Why not grab a copy at your local bookstore and make your little one laugh.  It'll make you all feel better.

Happy reading.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Cheshire Cheese Cat by Carmen Agra Deedy and Randall Wright

Skilley really wants to live in the comfort of an old, venerable London public house that serves cheese.  He has this secret, you see...

Peachtree Publishers will be offering this book on the first of October.  Net Galley and Peachtree offered me the book for review (thank you).  The illustrations are done by Barry Moser and they add to the charm of the story.

I have to admit I love books about animals.  They just fascinate more than many tales because the author imbibes enough of the animal's characteristics to make it seem like a real story.

Skilley doesn't like eating mice, but he's not adverse about eating cheese.  So he strikes a deal with Pip.  The mice provide him cheese for his meals and he protects them from the other cat that gets added to menagerie.

Add into this mix Charles Dickens; he sits and writes in the pub while having a meal and a brew.  He sees the mice and protects them in his own way, so he and Skilley are buddies.

Somehow, even the British Monarchy comes into this tale, but you'll have to read the book to see how that works in.  All in all, it's rollicking good tale that will keep your young adult reading.  I liked it well enough, I'm adding my copy of it to my library, so you'll need to put it on your TBR list and pick it up at your local bookstore.

Happy reading.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Case of the Lost Boy by Dori Hillestad Butler

Do you like dog stories?  You'll love this story then!

Open Road, an imprint of Albert Whitman and Company, and Net Galley offered me an ebook of this story for review (thank you all).  It's currently available wherever you may purchase ebooks.

Jeremy Tugeau used his golden lab as his model when he drew these illustrations.  They make the story even more special!

The author has written several dog stories featuring King and Kayla, but this story has King left behind at home and eventually ending up in the pound.  I was beginning to worry about him but he got adopted.  And his new family lives right by where his old family lived.  His new owners are calling him Buddy right now, but he's still trying to find Kayla.  And then he loses his new boy.  Oh no!  How will he help Mom find her?

This author knows her dogs and makes her tales short and full of excitement.  This is written for younger readers and I'm sure they'd love the whole series.  Why not buy them a good dog story today?

Happy reading.

The Bravest Woman In America by Marissa Moss

She loved to go out on the sea with her father, the lightkeeper, and he let her row...

Tricycle Press always has the most marvelous picture books for young children.  I was very pleased to get a copy of this one for review (thank you).  You can find a copy of this book at your local bookstore now.

This is the story of Ida Lewis.   Her father became the official keeper of Lime Rock Lighthouse in Newport, Rhode Island.  She loved living on the island, taking care of the lighthouse and going rowing with her father.  What Ida didn't anticipate was that as time went on and her father grew older, she would become the lightkeeper.  

She truly was dubbed "the Bravest Woman in America" and got the Congressional Life Saving Medal and the American Cross of Honor.  Here is a story about a woman who did what she wanted to in life and didn't worry about what was "appropriate" for her.

The illustrations by Andrea U'Ren are beautiful and really express the magic and danger of the sea.  This is a great way to introduce your child to biographies.

Happy reading.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Guys Read Thrillers by Jon Sciezka

Do you have a reluctant reader in your household?  How about sharing these odd, scary tales with them, I'm sure they'll hold their interest!

HarperCollins is publishing this book at the end of the month and I got my ebook copy from Net Galley (thank you both).  This is an anthology of stories written primarily for boys.  (But this girl liked them, too.)

Mr. Schiezka has a very nice idea here.  He is working on a series of books with catchy stories that will entice a younger reader's attention and draw him or her into the story.  Many of the stories are open-ended and the reader could write their own finish to the story.  They also would work well for read aloud and discussion after each story.

If your child hasn't been grabbed by the magic of the written word yet, here's a great way to get them involved in reading.  The stories are short, interesting, and have been written by experienced writers.  Why not take a walk on the dark side and see if the stories scare you?

Happy reading.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Secrets, Monsters and Magic Mirrors edited by Donald Lemke

How about a look at some good old classic fairy tales done in a new format?  

Stone Arch Books, an imprint of Capstone, and Net Galley gave me ebook to review for you (thank you).  The book has just been published and will be available at your local bookstore.  This is the second in their fairy tale series.

The are several contributors to this collection and their individual graphic art skills add to the flavor of this new collection.  The tales have been retold and have a fresh look, too.

Meet Rapunzel, Thumbelina, Snow White, Beauty & the Beast, and The Princess and the Pea in their new form.  I really enjoyed reading this book.  It reads quickly, but I'm sure any child will read it again and again.

Anyone who likes graphic novels would enjoy this book.  It's written for the young, but this old one enjoyed the tales, too.  Why not pick up a copy for yourself and check it out?

Happy reading.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Return to Exile by E J Patten

When Sky's mentor disappears, he tries to find him again.  Unfortunately, that's not who he finds...

Simon & Schuster sent me an egalley of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published the first of September, so put it on your TBR list and check with your local bookstore to get a copy.

This story is a bit Harry Potterish.  There is magic, danger, shape shifters, and evil in this book.  I found it a fascinating read and enjoyed every bit of it.  It's so intense I had to set it down and take a break from it every so often.  Otherwise my heart rate got a bit higher than I liked it...

Sky has a special purpose in life, but no one has told him what it is.  All the people around him are just working hard to keep him alive.

The part I enjoyed the most was when he met up with some cool characters who were his age, in his classes at school, and who were trying to kill the monsters that were stealing children.  Sky has read enough and learned enough to know that all strange beings are not necessarily mean.  They may look like monsters and they may be dangerous if cornered, but some have no interest in humans.  His friends tell him he's wrong, so he has to determine what's happening on his own.

I was amazed to find that the author envisioned his characters as based on fairy tale characters.  I sure didn't see the similarities.  Here's a quote from author's background on this story: "To flesh out the characters, I thought long and hard and decided to base each of the core monster hunters—Sky, Crystal, T-Bone, Hands, and Andrew—on a fairy tale so that I could work in specific themes. Sky was Hansel and Gretel following breadcrumbs. Crystal was Pinocchio, a broken girl full of lies, struggling to become real. T-Bone’s family came from the nursery rhyme “There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.” Hands, like Little Red Riding Hood, visited his grandpa at the old folks home on Riding and First, a home “run by wolves.” And finally, Cinderella inspired Andrew, as is most apparent in his two wicked stepsisters who speak like characters from a Jane Austen novel (Is there anything more wicked than this?). Many of these fairy tale origins slipped into the background as I developed the characters, but you can still see them if you look closely. Return to Exile is filled with hidden things."

There are many hidden things in this story.  And Sky's adventure may have ended for the moment, but it's not done by a long shot.  Why not get a copy of this book and memorize it and see how many things you discover as you re-read it again and again?  Then you'll be ready for the author's sequel, should he write one.  If not, write one of your own!

Happy reading.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Alien Snow by Michael Dahl

What would you do if YOU were captured in a snow globe by an alien?  

Stone Arch Books, an imprint of Capstone, offered an ebook on Net Galley for review (thanks to you both).  The book is available in both hardcover and softcover in your local bookstore now.

This is a graphic novel with two different stories in it.  One is red, the other story is blue.  You can read one at a time, both together, or switch the sequence and read them one at a time again.  Each time, you will see something new and look at the story differently.

There are questions at the back of the book to make you analyze the stories even more.  This is fiction and a fantasy story, but it will make your young one think.  Why not buy a copy and see what you both think of how the story was presented and how you each answer the questions...

Happy reading.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Shaman's Blood by Anne C Petty

If you don't like snakes, you don't want to read this book!

Library Thing and JournalStone sent me a copy of this ebook for review (thank you).  It will be available for purchase this month.

The story begins with a young boy trying to escape his mother and get away from her strange beliefs.  His father is dead.  The local Reverend takes him in for a few days and then Ned runs, trying to escape his past.  You can't escape your future, though.

He came from a family that played with snakes, but he sees other land in his nightmares.  His life seems predestined. There is an interesting mix of Cajun voodoo in Louisiana and Australian Aborigine dream time in the story.

The tale covers myth and legend and shows how bloodlines matter in a family, even if the parental knowledge isn't shared.  It's full of nightmares, horrors, and a reality that we've never seen.

Once you start reading it, you'll keep reading.  It takes a while to put the pieces together and see exactly what's going on and it will scare you on the way.   Why not get a copy for yourself and see what you think?

Happy reading. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Northwest Angle by William Kent Krueger

Cork takes his family on vacation with him, hoping to heal the family core after the death of his wife.  He wasn't expecting hurricane force winds to race through the islands and threaten them!

Simon & Schuster will be publishing this book at the end of the month in both hardcover and ebook form.  They sent me a galley for review(thank you).  

I'd hadn't read Mr. Krueger's work before.  His writing style is precise and intense and he does an excellent job with both male and female characters.  His dialogue between the characters is authentic.  He truly understands male and female emotions and motives.

His main character is an ex-cop who swore off guns.  But when Cork and his daughter end up on an unoccupied island after their boat is destroyed in the gale and an armed man comes after them, he's ready to pick one up again.

Jenny is the first to find the cabin.  She also finds a dead Indian girl in it.  And she hears a baby crying.  She rescues the baby, but the baby's cries carry in the quiet and the man hunting them can use the noise as a guide.  It doesn't help their case when the cabin and the dead girl are burned to get rid of the evidence.

The author has created an interesting setting for the crime.  Imagine several small islands dotting the lake.  They are mostly unoccupied.  Some have historical significance to the Indians.  There is a small population, no real police presence, and it appears there is some smuggling going on.  But that's not all...

Everyone knows everyone else; they all have secrets.  And they will do what it takes to shut Cork and his family up.  Just like Cork will do what it takes to keep his family safe.

Be careful about what you find in the woods; it might be looking for you...

This was a very interesting read and I enjoyed meeting Cork and his family and learning a bit more about Indian culture.  I'll be watching for the next story about this interesting character.  He's well worth a read.

Happy reading.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Woodcutter by Reginald Hill

He has everything he could possibly want and life is lovely.  So how did he end up in jail?

HarperCollins is publishing the US edition of this book and sent me an ARC for review.  It is in your local bookstore now, so check with them for a copy.

This is a very complex story covering 519 pages of words that toy with you.  This the first time I've read Mr. Hill's work and I'm impressed with how much of everyone's lives he manages to insert in his work.  This is all a no nonsense account of how Wolf finds himself accused of being a pedophile, with lots of evidence to support it.  Wolf declares his innocence; no one listens, not even his wife.  An abortive attempt at escape puts him in the hospital in a coma and years pass before he wakes again.

Wolf is a very complex character.  He's a dangerous man to cross.  He has friends in high places and his position is secure.  Or maybe it isn't...

As he learns about the treachery around him and tries to take action to find out the truth, the agency he used to work comes to life and starts meddling in the affair.  It's not until the very end that you realize just how badly everyone has manipulated Wolf.

I didn't really like Wolf and the book seemed almost too long, but I think the author used that space to get his points across.  I know this isn't a book I will forget easily.  If you're ready for a dangerous ride, this is the book for you.

If you'd like to win my ARC, leave a comment here on my blog and email at info at with YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS and why you'd like to read the book.  I'll pick a winner in about a week.

Happy reading.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Deal's a Deal! Stephanie Blake

Not with Simon, it's not...

Random House Children's Books sent me a copy of this book for review.  It was published at the end of July so you can get a copy at your local bookstore now.

This is a "boy" book.  Trust me, it is.  Simon plays a gross trick on his friend and boys will just hoot when they read about it.  This picture book is for the very young and should be a popular book with all little ones.

Simon trades his three cars to get the red one his friend owns.  He wants it, he's willing to give more to get it.  So he trades.  And then it breaks...

When his friend won't give him his cars back, he resorts to telling him he found something in the car and he's going to keep it.  The friend trades back and finds out what the surprise in the car is.

If you want to know what lovely surprise Simon left for him, you're going to have to read the book.  And you're an adult so I don't want to hear you laughing...

Happy reading.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Witchlanders by Lena Coakley

His father has died, his mother is a bit mad, he has two sisters to raise and now the witches want them for their coven...

Antheneum Books for Young Readers, a Simon & Schuster imprint, gave me an egalley of this book for review.  It will be hitting the bookstores at the end of this month.  Add it to you TBR list so you don't miss it!

This is a very well written young adult novel that I found interesting, unusual, and intriguing to read.  It is the story of two warring nationalities:  The Witchlanders and the Baens.  It's also the story of two young men who find their families and friends are not all what they seem.  One is Baen and one is Witchlander, but they are drawn to each other and want to stop the bloodshed and trouble between their peoples.  It's hard to do, though, when you're sworn enemies, your own people lie to you, and neither one of you can find refuge.

The storyline is fresh, the secrets of the past are old, and life is very dangerous for Ryder and Falpion both.  The action, drama, and danger make the book a fast read because you don't want to set it down; you want to see what happens next!

The best part is that the story isn't over yet.  This book is finished, but I'm sure we'll see more of the main characters in at least one more book, if not more.  And I'll be watching for the next book in the series, too.  

Written for ages 12+, I found this a delightful read at my age.  Why not get a copy for yourself and see what you think?

Happy reading.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Cash is a white man raised by Indians.  His partner is a Negro who is a very fast draw.  They are both Marshalls and they both believe in justice.  But not all justice is found in court...

I won my copy of this ebook and just wanted to share my reading experience with you.  I grew up reading Zane Gray.  My grandparents gave me their "library", a beautiful old bookcase, with all the books.  I still have that bookcase and most of the books.  But westerns have always had a soft spot in my heart - if they are good.  Mr. Grainger does an excellent job of writing about the old rough and tough west and how some problems need to be resolved a bit outside the law...

This an anthology.  Each story has its own strengths.  A few have ironic endings.  And none will disappoint you.  Why not pick up a copy of this ebook and take a ride in the West with Cash and Gideon?  You won't be bored.

Anyone who enjoys a good western will enjoy this book.

Happy reading!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Honestly, Red Riding Hood Was Rotten! Trisha Speed Shaskan

Subtitle of the book:  The Story of Little Red Riding Hood as Told by the Wolf.  

First off, I want to point out I take issue with the first word of that title.  Honestly?  Really?  Are YOU on the wolf's side???

This is a Capstone Picture Window Books edition and I got my egalley from them and Net Galley.  This book was published at the first of the month and you can pick up a copy now at your local bookstore.  It's available in hardcover and paperback both.

Gerald Guerlais is the illustrator of this picture book and his wolf is quite the character.  He's pencil thin because it's winter and he's a vegetarian (sure thing) and the only reason he even gets involved with Little Red Riding Hood is because he's dying of starvation from lack of veggies and fruits...

The story is cute, the illustrations are colorful and bright, and it sure doesn't end like the usual fairy tale.  Which made it much more delightful for me to read.

Why not read one of the traditional fairy tales first, then read this one to show your child the difference and see which version they prefer?

I picked this for review because I had already read the real story about the three little pigs; you know, the story where the only problem was the wolf had a cold?  These revamped fairy tales amuse me.  How about giving one of them a try yourself?

Happy reading.

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...