Monday, April 30, 2012

McGrave by Lee Goldberg

Mr. Goldberg has done it again; written a story that kept me glued to my seat and turning pages to see what his quirky character would do now...

He sent me this novella for review (thank you) and it is available on Amazon now.  If you have Amazon Prime, it's free.  Even at full price, it's a bargain.

If you enjoy stories about rough cops or PI's with their own agenda and their own ways of doing things, you'll enjoy the McGrave character.  His nickname is "Tidal Wave".  Before the story ends, you'll well understand why.

McGrave accidentally gets caught up in a heist of millions of dollars of rare art and collectibles and foils it.  Unfortunately, all the bad guys/gals don't die.  The one left kills his bulldog and threatens his family.  McGrave doesn't take that threat idly and follows the criminal to Berlin.  He may not be a cop anymore, but he still has his mission; nobody threatens his family. What he gets up to in Berlin is dangerous and humorous at the same time.

This story is a wild ride and great fun to read.  Lots of action, lots of character flaws, and you're rooting for McGrave to win.  Why don't you buy a copy of this tale and see how it all turned out for him?  I bet you'll be watching for another story about "Tidal Wave".

Happy reading.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Lingering Dead by J N Duncan

I don't usually read vampire stories but this one intrigued me.  Ghosts, vampires, a former FBI agent and a monster fill out the character list.  How could this not be an interesting read?

Kensington Publishing sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It was published this month, so check with your local bookstore for this urban fantasy tale.

After Jackie's partner gets killed in her last assignment, Jackie is relieved of her post with the FBI.  In turn, she goes into business in a special investigative unit that is funded by a vampire.  Just normal business, right?

The group (more vampires and Jackie's dead partner who occupies her here and there) are going through cold case files looking for something interesting enough to investigate.  They find it:  a small town that has about 35 ghosts wandering around it.  After death, they should go on.  These are lingering because they have lost their identities and don't know where to go.

The paranormal influences are interesting, the characters complex, and unbounded fantasy reigns.  It was a very interesting read, and my favorite character is the monster.  He's very powerful, very strong, and has plans for Jackie.  Sure hope they are good plans...

There is part of the Deadworld series and I enjoyed reading it.  Why not get a copy of this (and maybe the other books, too) and visit a world of paranormal creatures with power and a desire to make things right?

If you'd like to win the ARC I was given to read, leave a comment here on my blog and email me at info at with your name and address and why you'd like to read the book.  I will pick a winner in about a week.

Happy reading.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Never See Them Again by M William Phelps

It's a typical summer day in Houston, Texas, only her friend Tiffany is not answering her phone.  Brittney and her boyfriend decide to drive over and see what's going on.  What Brittany finds is four people dead in the house.  This is a true crime novel, and the horror of it all is very real.

Kensington Books sent me a copy of the ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It was published in March and you can find a copy of it at your local bookstore.

What makes this book a bit different from other true crime is that the investigators had a lot of evidence and documentation for this case so the author had plenty to work with.  He had to weed out what to use and what not to use.  I imagine that made writing this story a bit more difficult than having just a sketch of a crime where you flesh it out.  This was a whale of a crime that he had to get down the bones.

The victims were young men and women that had been involved with drugs, so that connection was immediately suspect.  One girl had recently moved out of her parent's house in with Tiffany and the familial relationships were scrutinized.  All the families were cross-examined.  All their friends were questioned.

While the investigation went on, one investigator retired.  Time marched on and they were getting no closer to the killer.  Until out of the blue they get a break.  No one ever would have thought the killer was who it was...

If you'd like my copy of this ARC, leave a comment here on my blog and send me an email at info at with your name, address, and why you'd like to read this book.  I will give it away in about a week.

Happy reading.

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Astro Cowboy by David A Kelly

Have you ever visited the Nasa Space Center?  You should, it's a fantastic place to visit.  Here's some information on it:  Space Center .  The cousins in this story visit there and it is where this mystery begins...

This is a Random House Stepping Stone Book that was shared with me for review (thank you).  It has been published and is the fourth in the Ballpark Mysteries series,  so you can choose from several.  Check them out at your local bookstore.

Mike and Kate visit the Houston Space Center and meet a real astronaut before they go to the Astros game.  They plan to hook up later with Commander Rice at the game, but he doesn't show up to do opening throw.  Commander Rice is not the only missing thing; the moon rock he was carrying is gone, too!

This is written for ages 6-9 and it's a simple mystery that the children solve themselves.  They are clever and smart, which helps a lot.  Why not see if your child can figure out where the moon rock is hidden before you do?

Happy reading.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Stone Garden by J A Pak

Just who is the lovely lady in the old stone garden?

Ms. Pak shared a free copy of her ebook with me (thank you).  It is on Amazon and is free today, too, so if I entice your interest, you should grab a copy.

I enjoy this author's writing.  Her words dance across the page and create visual pictures that look lush and draw your interest.  She also always make me think.  I like to read stories that stick with me after I have read them.

Poppy is a young girl who has no friends and no parent around to care for her.  The grounds are huge and there are many gardens.  When she finds an old one not kept up and crumbling with age, she stops for a while to admire the flowers.  That was a dangerous thing to do.

This is a short story and it won't take long to read, but I savored every page.  And after I read this story, I began to wonder if I would have ended it differently.  I still haven't decided.  Why not give it a read and see what you think?

Happy reading.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The House at the End of Ladybug Lane by Elise Primavera

Imagine if your fairy godmother was a ladybug and she didn't hear well; be careful what you wish for!

Robin Corey Books shared this picture book with me for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

Ms. Primavera has created another really cute tale of a little girl who moves to a house at the end of the lane.  It's charming little home that's clean and tidy and her parents want to keep it that way.  Angelina just wants to be a normal little girl, not a neatnik. Her parents get irritated when she plays outside and brings mud in on her shoes.  She really and truly wants a pet.  No, a pet makes a mess.  So when the fairy ladybug shows up, she asks for a pet.  What she gets is a PEST!

The rest of the story is full of equally silly misunderstandings and Ms. Docampo illustrations are just wonderful and show you the strange creatures the fairy ladybug is giving for gifts.

This is a most beautifully illustrated picture book with a really cute tale.  I know children will want to read it again and again.  Why not get a copy and share it with your loved little one?

Happy reading.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Winter Pony by Iain Lawrence

Who will survive the race to the South Pole?  Two explorers are on their way there.  One is using dogs to carry supplies, the other one is using horses.  It's a long, cold, hard trip.

Delacorte Press sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can get a  copy at your local bookstore now.

This is a story told in the voice of one of the ponies chosen to make this journey.  What breaks my heart is what happens to the horses making the trip.  I understand the men really didn't have any other choice, but don't read this if you're a big animal lover; it will make you cry.

The horses are transported by boat the first part of the journey and just traveling the seas was rugged enough.  Then they get to the snow and ice of the Antarctica and things get worse.

The truly amazing part of this story is that the pony who is taking us on this journey was abused from birth.  He was used as a workhorse and got hit, whipped, abused from carrying heavy loads, and was in a pen of broken down horses to be sold or slaughtered.  He was saved from that destiny by a horseman that was on the team to go the South Pole.  He got named James Pigg and he learned not all men were bad.

This is a good story, but the death of the horses saddened me.  Unfortunately, this isn't fiction, it's fact.  Such is life.    They did get a second chance at life, though, and they enjoyed working with the men.

Happy reading.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Once Upon a List by Robin Gold

Clara Black had everything she wanted:  a nice house, her dream job, and her potential husband, Sebastian.  Now all she had to do was have her wedding and she'd be on to life happily ever after.  All it took was one big truck out of control and her life fell apart; Sebastian was dead...

Avon Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to review this book (thank you).  It was published April 18th, so you can grab a copy now.

This is a charming story even though it is tinted with sadness.  Ms. Gold precisely describes how sorrow can grab your soul and you care about nothing anymore.  Not even about getting up in the morning.

The story begins with Clara taking a leave of absence from her job and moving home to try to recover.  It's been months since Sebastian's death but she's still in deep despair.  Then she finds a letter waiting for her at home from a teacher she had in the past.  It's the list of things she wanted to accomplish by age 35 that she put in a time capsule in fifth grade.  And it's just the thing to get her moving again. She decides to do the things on her list.

Some of the items are easy, some are tough and some seem impossible, but she begins and starts marking them off.  This was my favorite part of the book.  I especially liked the way the story ended.  It was very ironic and just the touch needed to make you sigh and go, "Alright then."

Why not grab this book, find a comfortable chair, and read about Clara's journey back to life?

Happy reading.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Precious Bones by Mika Ashley-Hollinger

Bones is ten and she and her family live in the Florida swamps in the 50's.  Have you ever taken a jet boat ride through the swamps?  If you do, you'll never forget it.  This is a story about the swamp before when times were simpler and big business hadn't moved in yet.  I won't forget this story either.

Delacorte Press and Edelweiss allowed me to download a digital galley of this book for review (thank you).  It will be published May 8th.

Bones father is an Miccosukee Indian and her mother is a white woman.  They live in the swamp in a cabin that has no electricity and hardly any amenities, but they're happy there.  They fish for food, trade goods, share their crops and animals, and they get along.  Her Dad sometimes sells bootleg whiskey and recycles other people's belongings, but they don't talk about that. Life is simple and easy, Bones has lots of friends, and everyone is happy.  

That is, until they find a Yankee her Dad argued with buried at the edge of their acreage and her Dad can't explain to the sheriff where he was that night.  That's when Bones learned that her Dad hadn't told her the truth about where he'd been that evening and it creates a hole in her heart.  Especially since there's another death shortly after that is unexplained.

This is a very authentic look at swamp people and their lives.  The author works in the way Indians live, swamp folklore, discrimination, murder, how strange old people can be to the young, how mean some people can be, and how kind other people are.

Ms. Ashley-Hollinger has written a story of depth that brings to life the 50's and the issues of that time.  This would be a good read aloud story with discussion about the things happening.  Not everything is pleasant, but it's how life was.  This historically accurate story is engaging and educational.

Happy reading.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Green Lantern Vol. 1: Sinestro (The New 52) by Geoff Johns

I've always loved comics.  I used to read them as a child and always got teased about reading them instead of a book.  I persisted, though.  And I'm now happy to see that they have become "in vogue" and even adults can read them without shame now. 

DC Comics and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book in digital form for review (thank you).  The hardcover will be published May 22nd so if you're a comic fan, make a note on your TBR list.

The Green Lantern has been around forever.  I read about him at Grandma's house.  There was a little bitty book done in comic form there featuring him there.  Plastic Man was there, too.  So I grabbed this when I saw it for review.  It was like going home.

The graphics are sharper and more detailed than they used to be and they have added some tricks to the Green Lantern's talent, but you can easily tell who the "bad guy" is.  Only Sinestro is not as bad as he used to be.

This includes the first six issues of the The Green Lantern and I read it in one sitting.  Comics are fun and keep me going.  It takes the six issues to fill the story out well enough to make a satisfying read.  I used to remember reading a comic I brought home from the store and being frustrated because I had to wait another month for a new issue continuing the story.  Reading this 1-6 volume issue is much better!

Why not check out this comic and the other ones available nowadays?  They're still a good read!

Happy reading.                       

Friday, April 20, 2012

Red Cat, Blue Cat by Jenni Desmond

This is the tale of two cats who don't get along.  They have totally different personalities and colors.

Frontlist and Edelweiss allowed me to download a copy of this picture book for review (thank you).  The book will be published September 11th, so add it to your TBR list.

The author writes a cute little story about cats and their differences.  They tend to ignore each other.  The fun part of this story is when they decide they'd like to change their color.  The red one tries to be blue; the blue one tries to change to red.  It's silly and fun.  Somehow, while all this is going on, they develop a friendship.

Now, you'd think that would be that.  But, no.  A yellow cat moves into the neighborhood!

Happy reading.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Sound of a Scream by John Manning

Point Woebegone is a long way from the nunnery where Daphne May grew up.  She's gone there to work as a governance  for the eight year old son of Mr. Witherspoon.  The house is huge, the occupants are strange, and she has a terrible feeling of foreboding.  She should listen to her feelings...

Kensington Publishing sent me an ARC of this book for review.  The book has been published, so check with your local bookstore to get a copy.

This story has the taste of a gothic romance novel:  huge old mansion, family members waiting for the old man to die, and murder in the shadows.  Daphne is very innocent when she arrives but that changes quickly.  She must figure out what is going on before it kills her.

Mr. Manning's plot is devious and well thought out.  Daphne is seeing ghosts, or so they tell her.  The deaths are real enough, though.  I got so involved with Daphne and her problems, I never guessed who the killer was.  That was a nice surprise.

If you would like to get my ARC, leave a comment here on my blog and then send me an email at info at with your name and address and why you'd like to read it.  I'll pick a winner in about a week.

This is a very good read with bits of horror, light romance, and a lot of warped characters.  What more do you need?

Happy reading.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris

Life, as she knew it, ended with the pickup truck slammed into her and killed her.  Even when Ben Michaels brings her back to life and heals her, her life has changed irrevocably.

Balzer & Bray and Edelweiss allowed me to download and read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 24th, so add it to your TBR list and pick it up then.

Janelle didn't even remember Ben from school.  He was a quiet student who didn't mix well.  Now she wants to know more because no one can do what he did.  On the other hand, she's a bit scared of him for the same reason.  

This is a fantasy novel that includes other earths and portals between them, extraterrestrial police officers, and a count-down to the end of the world.  The author's main character, Janelle, is just a junior in a high school and is trying to figure out the mystery, but she needs help understanding how the portals work and where the danger comes from.

There are some very sad parts in this story.  They are realistic enough, but they made me feel bad.  Make sure your child is old enough to deal with that.  Otherwise, it's an entertaining look at alternate worlds and why people from opposite worlds need to stay in their universe.  Or do they?

I believe there will be a sequel to this book that will answer that question.  In the meantime, why not read this story and see what you think of it?

Happy reading. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Falcon by Tim Jessell

Birds have always had a fascination for me.  My parents and grandparents pointed out different types and showed me how to identify them.  I still check them out and use a bird book to be sure I'm identifying them properly.  Reading a picture book about falcons is right up my alley.

Random House Children's Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  The book has been published and you can find a copy at your local bookstore.

With simple text and eye swelling illustrations, your child will feel like he/she is flying along with the bird as the falcon travels cross country.  Mr. Jessell's illustrations are magnificent.  I'd be happy to put a few on my wall as prints.

Falcons are strong, beautiful in flight, and they will fly for miles looking for prey.  Most times you only get a glimpse of them, but this book lets you take a good look at one.

Why not share some bird knowledge with your child?

Happy reading.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Midnight in Peking by Paul French

The Subtitle of this book is: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China.  This is a nonfiction story about a nineteen year old woman murdered in Peking.  The murder was never really resolved.  The various politics and bribes kept the case from going forward.  No one cared about her then, and I'm sure she'd be surprised to find that someone has written a book about her now.

Penguin and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this ebook for review (thank you).  The book will be published April 24th, so add it to your TBR list now.

Mr. French has analyzed the time period (1937), the various countries involved, how much pressure was brought upon the detectives, and how ineffectual the police really were.  What started as a horrific murder looked like it would be easy to solve as soon as they found the source of the blood, but that was never located.  There were missing witnesses, orders not to talk to certain individuals, pay-offs and other bad behavior by the police themselves, and the case was closed as unsolvable.

What really stood out to me was that her adoptive father, who was 70 at her death, continued on in his quest to find her killer.  He had lived in China for years and could speak their language, he had some money, and he paid for information.  That allowed him to go further than the police.

This was a time of terrific turmoil in the city.  They had Russian immigrants, poor Chinese farmers being run into the city to get away from the war on their land, Japanese moving in, British influence and more than one faction of China warlords trying to grab Peking.  It was not a good time to try to resolve the crime and it was very easy for the British detective to offend someone because he did not understand their culture.

It's a very detailed story that drew me in and kept me reading.  I was astonished at what her father was able to discover.  I was also sorry that Pamela died so young (19).  She was no angel but she died because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Just a few more days and she wouldn't have been in Peking any longer.  Unfortunately, she didn't make it.  She's going to be in my thoughts for a while.  She's not a ghost but Mr. French's words are going to haunt me.

Why not get a copy for you and watch how this story unfolds.  You'll need to keep reminding yourself this is non-fiction; it just doesn't feel like it.

Happy reading.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Araby is seventeen and has never been kissed.  Wearing a mask to breath to keep her safe from the plague has eliminated that possibility.  She's so bored she's willing to take drugs to find oblivion.  And she has no idea how much danger she is in...

Green Willow Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 24th, so put it on your TBR list for the future.

This is a dystopian fantasy with an interesting romantic twist to it.  The plague is a virus and it has killed a majority of the population.  The survivors are doing just that, surviving as best they can.  Those in power have hidden themselves away from the disease and there is more than one rebellion going on now.

Araby's father has made the masks that protect people from the virus.  More than one faction wants that knowledge.  Ms. Griffin has made Araby innocent and naive but that will change as she faces her personal challenges.  She also will get kissed by two boys before the end of the story.  Coming of age is hard in normal times, but now it's almost impossible.

Come visit a world of the future where politics and power rule the times and three young adventurers are trying to find a way out.  This is the first of two books and can stand alone.  However, the author has grabbed my interest and I want to see what they find and who Araby chooses as her love.  I'll be watching for it.  Why not read this one and see if you want to write your own ending or get the next book yourself?

Happy reading.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Green Man by Michael Bedard

This is a fascinating story that was a joy to read as an adult even though it's written for younger readers.  It has a mix of past and present, a bookstore, the mythical Green Man and a ghost.  What more could you want?

Tundra Books and Net Galley shared a copy of this ebook with me (thank you).  It was published on the tenth, so you can grab a copy now at your local bookstore.

The Green Man has always fascinated me.  I've seen odd things in the woods and often fancied there might be something or someone else besides me.  My Mom said to watch for fairies.  So why not watch for the Green Man, too?

Ophelia wishes to be called "O" and nothing else.  She and her Dad are doing well together after her mother's death, but when he has to travel again for work she lets him go alone.  His last plane trip that she accompanied him on went through bad turbulence and scared her.  So she goes to stay with her aunt at the Green Man bookstore.

Her aunt is a bit odd and has some secrets she doesn't want to share with O.  Unfortunately, O gets involved anyway.

This author blends real with unreal and does it so smoothly, it's hard to discern which is which.  It also makes a very good read.  I truly enjoy reading about O and hope Mr. Bedard will write another story about her and the young poet she discovered.  The question remains:  Was he the Green Man, who can take many forms?

Happy reading.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Cuts Like a Knife by M K Gilroy

Kristen is a good cop just like her deceased Dad.  But something about this case has her confused and she is even beginning to question herself.

Worthy Publishing and Net Galley gave me the opportunity to read and review this book (thank you).  It was published April 3rd in paperback, so check with your local bookstore to snag a copy.

Kristen has a nice guy from the church trying to marry her.  She doesn't want to marry, but he doesn't want to take no for an answer.  On the other side, her Mom and her sister think she ought to marry him.  If that isn't enough to keep her emotions boiling, she now has a serial killer in town and needs to find him.  He likes using a knife on his victims.

Her unit soon has other agencies involved in the current murders since the killer has been out there for a while.  She clashes with the female psychologist, is a little too interested in the good looking male FBI agent, and has a feeling these murders are leading up to harming her.  The answer to that is no, but the victim that is chosen scares her even more. 

This is a chilling tour of a maniac's mind.  He enjoys the murders, they give him a rush.  He's very, very dangerous.  And more than one of the folks involved with Kristin will be hurt by him.  

Why not get a copy and see if you can figure out who the killer is before the end.  He's disguised well and the author allows him to hide in the shadows.  You might want to check the shadows around you before you start reading this one...

Happy reading.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Enchantment by Charlotte Abel

Channie (short for Enchantment) is part of a magical family.  It's real hard to hide your talent when you're living in town and going to a public school full of "empties".  People without magic find magic fearful.  And Channie doesn't want to be noticed...

This is part of Bestseller for the Day promotion and you have a chance to win a Kindle by participating in the sale.  Read the details about it here:  BFAD  Enchantment is also on sale at Amazon today for 99 cents.  Here is a good read at a good price!

Channie is sixteen and wants to be kissed.  She's never had the opportunity and her parents don't want her to mess with the non-magical kids, but Channie isn't listening.  She kisses a young man she met at the park one night and he thought she'd tasered him, so it wasn't starting out well...

Channie's father is on the run, her mother has dug up the Book of Death, and the other magical clan wants to kill them, so Channie doesn't really have time to pursue a romance, but she really feels that she and Josh connect in a way that's beyond friendship or lust.  Will she live long enough to find out?

This is a fastpaced tale with lots of excitement, spells gone wrong, and high hormones.  There are contradictions in the magical rhymes and sacrifices made along the way to the end of the story.  It kept me reading and has me waiting for the next story.

Why not grab a copy at 99 cents and see if it hooks your interest, too?

Happy reading. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Cooking the Books by Bonnie S Calhoun

Sloane never wanted her aunt's bookstore.  She enjoyed visiting and doing computer work but knew nothing about books.  However, when her aunt dies, she inherits it and the trouble that comes with it.

Abingdon Press and Net Galley let me read this in ebook form for review (thank you).  It was published in print April 2nd, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

Sloane has no "book" experience and is relying on her store manager to help her as she tries to learn a new trade.  She has an ex who doesn't want to be an ex, a book two professors want to own desperately, a new Greek suitor, and a pesky real estate developer who wants to buy her shop.  That ought to be enough for anyone.  It gets worse when she realizes that her aunt may not have died of natural causes and someone might want to shorten her life, too.

This is an interesting tale with a mild Christian theme.  The author writes a good story with multiple characters all playing a part.  I enjoyed reading it.

One of my favorite parts is when Sloane finds out the geriatric group that comes for book club night is actually a gun group who practice at the range and are accurate with their weapons!  Be careful with old people, they might surprise you...

Why not visit Sloane's bookstore and follow along a tale of mystery and speculation?

Happy reading.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Presents Flush Fiction

The subtitle of this book is:  88 Short-Short Stories You Can Read in a Single Sitting.  Now if that didn't make you moan enough, you need to know that several of these stories are based on bodily functions.  That said, they are a fun little collection to read with stories of all types.

Portable Press, a division of Baker & Taylor Publishing and Net Galley allowed me to download a copy of this book for review (thank you).  This was issued in paperback form the first of April.  Check your local bookstore for a copy.

These stories range from mysteries, horror, fantasy, and humor into almost any other genre you can think of.  Each story was entertaining and interesting.  Some made me laugh, some made me shake my head, some scared me.  But I was never bored.

If you enjoy short stories, you'll enjoy this book.  And, if you're like my brother and like to read while in the bathroom, this will work for you, too.  Why not get a copy and see what you think of it?

Happy reading.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Growing Pains by K P Smith

Eighth grade is always a bit hard to handle.  You're just beginning to grow up, you will be leaving behind the school you're familiar with, and you will meet new students and teachers.  When family life at home is stressed, it's even worse.

I am participating in a blog tour for this book and the author sent me a digital copy for review (thank you).  You can buy a copy at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other vendors who carry ebooks.  Print books are also available.

This truly is a tale of growing pains.  Kendra wants her parents to get along (they are fighting over money), she develops a crush or two during the school year, her friendships with her girlfriends change, and the uncertainty is bothering her.

Kendra has a good attitude, tries to look for the good in life instead of dwelling on the negative, and she falls back on her faith to help her deal with changes.

No one's life goes as smoothly as we would like.  There are always ups and downs.  The author does a good job of realistically showing life in the eighth grade and makes Kendra a young girl you care about.

There will be more in this series and your child will probably want to continue Kendra's story.  After all, she's just getting ready to go to high school...

Happy reading.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Kali's Song by Jeanette Winter

Kali is sent out to hunt, like the other men in his family.  But he finds a new use for his bow...

Schwartz & Wade sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can find a copy at your local bookstore.

Kali is a musician, not a hunter.  While the others hunt mammoths and other prey, he sits on a hill in the moonlight and "plays" his bow.  His music is so pretty the stars come closer for a look.

This is a sweet story filled with beautiful illustrations.  I especially like the artist's use of handmade paper to make the illustrations look 3D.

This is a nicely put together story that should touch the heart of any child who is musically inclined or artistic in any form.

Happy reading.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Fourth-Grade Disasters by Claudia Mills

Mason knows this is going to be a bad school year.  Look at what has happened in the past:  Basketball Disasters

Alfred A Knopf sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  This book has been published and is currently available at your local bookstore.

Mason wants to think fourth grade will be better, but then he finds out they do a big musical performance every year.  Mason hates to sing!  

This is a cute series because Mason is a pessimist and his friend, Brody, is an optimist.  Mason predicts doom and gloom; Brody sees a fun opportunity!  When Brody gets picked to sing solo, the only person happier is Mason.  After all, that means he won't get picked.

Ms. Mills adds a twist towards the end of the story that makes it perfect.  Mason is a good friend to have and proves it in this story.  (But we already knew that, right?)

Happy reading.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Kill Factor by Roger Vallon

Assassins aren't allowed to retire; especially not ones that have been genetically altered.

711 Press shared this book with me for review (thank you).  It has been published as an ebook, so you can find a copy now at their website or any of the other vendors who carry digital books.

The story begins on a farm where Hadrian is planting a spring crop and thinking of the upcoming farming season.  That thought abruptly leaves his mind as he sees a black SUV coming down his mile long driveway. He fights for his life and escapes, but his fight isn't over yet...

The organization wants him back or wants him dead.  He is no longer interested in the organization and their work and almost destroyed them with his departure.  He's not going back.

And so begins a story with genetically mutated soldiers of war who only follow orders and have no love for anyone.  These men and women have more invested in them than the Six Million Dollar Man did!

The author offers you a tale of enhanced athletic ability and geeky technology with a side of intrigue.  You'll begin to wonder if Hadrian can trust ANYONE and you'll wonder just how long he can last with the world's best assassins after him.

This is the first book in this series and I bet Hadrian is going to be around for a while.

Happy reading.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Dead Gentleman by Matthew Cody

This is a steampunk adventure story with chills and thrills.  I loved it!

Alfred A Knopf sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

Mr. Cody writes an action packed adventure with danger, time travel, ghosts from the past and more.  He sweeps you away in the story right from the beginning and adds some magical elements to the story to keep the pace tight. Any young reader will enjoy the various dystopian touches that make the story a bit scary and very interesting.  How do you stop a man who is already dead?

Tommy is nineteenth century youth who is "stuck" in time.  Jezebel is a young teen girl that meets him by chance in the basement.  He warns her of dangers.  Then when she has been surrounded by evil, he shows up out of nowhere to give her advice on how to fight them.  She grabs his hand and is taken back to the past on alternate world.  And that's just the beginning of their adventure together.

I enjoyed this story and hope there will be a sequel to it.  I'm sure Tommy's challenges aren't over and Jezebel is afraid of what's to come.  It would be great fun to head out on another adventure with these two intrepid explorers.

Happy reading.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Lacey Chronicles #2: The Queen's Lady by Eve Edwards

Lady Jane has married an older man to keep her father from handing her off to someone who brings him financial fortune.  She admires him and he's her best friend, but Jonas is dying and his sons want her money.  To avoid being bullied by her father or the sons, she goes into service for the queen.

Delacorte Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss gave me a digital copy of this story to read for review (thank you).  It's being published on the 10th of this month, so watch for a copy at your local bookstore.

This is set in England in 1584 so the customs and culture of this time period offer your young reader a chance to learn about the lack of control a young woman had over her life.  The romance is sweet and full of yearning, but their life situations have sent Jane and her beloved James in different directions.

As you follow James and Jane on their journey through a few months in this time period, it seems it takes longer than it does because everything moved so slowly then.  A ship's voyage took months.  Jane is a widow trying to avoid an arranged marriage by her father.  And James has finally made up his mind and is coming home to marry her, if he can.  

Take a trip down a historical lane with old-fashioned customs and controversy in good Ol' England.  Any girl interested in historical novels or a sweet romance will enjoy reading this book.

Happy reading.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Thunder and Rain by Charles Martin

He's a retired Texas Ranger.  Unfortunately he was a lawman long enough to cause his divorce.  But he hasn't lost his "something's wrong" antenna.

Hachette Book Groups sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It is being published today, so look for a copy at your local bookstore.

Tyler Steele is old fashioned.  He believes in right and wrong and being married forever and in his son and his ranch and his horses.  In his relentless pursuit of evil and righting wrongs, he somehow lost his wife.  Now he lives with his son on the ranch and visits his wife in the hospital where she's recovering from a drug addiction.  He's in the process of getting divorce papers signed when he heads home and finds a young woman and her child with a "dead" car.  Seems all it needs is gas, so he he adds some to her tank and she continues her journey.

He notices the woman at the next town and doesn't like what he sees.  She's willing to do anything to get more money and get back on the road.  He has to save her from herself.  He also gets to meet the reason she's running and that almost turns deadly.

Tyler rescues Sam and Hope and takes them home with him.  The more he learns about them, the more his heart gets involved.  But he still believes in honoring and loving his wife, even if she has had problems.  This emotional conflict is intense when he analyzes why his marriage failed; I wanted to slap him and tell he was wrong.  The problem was that he wasn't wrong; he was an honorable man.  The author does a real good job of making you care about the characters he builds.

This is a hard hitting story that might very well make you analyze some of the decisions in your life.  Tyler has his own demons to conquer.  You definitely won't be bored.

I liked this story so well, I'm putting this ARC in my personal library.  I know I'll want to read it again.  I'm also going to check out Mr. Martin's previous books.  He has a talent for telling a good story so I'm going to see what other stories I can find.

Happy reading.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Child of the Mountains by Marilyn Sue Shank

Appalachian mountain life isn't like city life.  Family is what is important and, as long as you have love, you have enough.  But Lydia's family suddenly falls apart...

Delacorte Books for Young Readers allowed me to read an egalley of this book (thank you).  It's being published April 10th, so you will be able to grab at your local bookstore soon.

This story touches your soul.  Lydia loves her Gran, her Mom and her brother, BJ.  They harvest their own food, live the simple life, sing, sew, and enjoy their cabin and life in general.  The first sign that things are changing is when Gran dies in her sleep.  Death is natural part of life but it's hard to accept when it's your loved one.

BJ has cystic fibrosis and it takes its toll on him.  Soon he needs to be hospitalized.  The doctor helps them find a hospital that will treat him for free to study the disease.  Mom has to sign the paperwork to get him in treatment but she doesn't understand all the words and they pressure her into signing.  When BJ gets near death, they bring him home to die in peace.  The real trouble begins when the hospital contract forbid that.  Mom goes to jail.

This is a honest look at mountain folk who live a simple life.  The author makes the pain and heartbreak Lydia feels authentic and memorable.  What's Lydia to do with no family?  How's she going to go on? The answer to this is part of our life lessons we learn as we mature.  The good news is that Lydia doesn't have to go alone.  She has family and friends that will help support her.

Lydia speaks in the voice patterns of the mountain folk which adds to the impact of the story.  The author made me care about Lydia.  This is a very good read; you ought to try it for yourself.

Happy reading.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Feline Charm by Kitty Wells

This is another in the Pocket Cats series.  How could you not like reading about miniature cats that come to life and help with problems?

David Fickling Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published so you can grab a copy now at your local bookstore.

I've been enjoying this series.  It's written for middle grades and Maddy learns a lesson in each story.  This time the tabby cat comes to life and he's not willing to tell her what his particular form of magic is...

Maddy and her best friend, Rachel, go to ballet together.  Rachel just can't relax when she does the routines.  She knows the technique perfectly, but her nervousness makes her look awkward.  Maddy wants to help her and, with the magic from her cat, she does.  But it doesn't turn out like she thought it would.  She loses the main position since Rachel dances beautifully now.  And she's jealous. Little 2" cats can be a big help but Maddy has learn to grow up herself.  

This is fun series for girls.  The illustrations are small, just like the cats, and they help the reader envision the moment they are reading about.  This would make a nice read-aloud story, too.  You could discuss why Maddy feels the way she does and if what she does is right or not so right.  Life is all about decisions.  Maybe Maddy can help your child make the right decisions in the future.

Happy reading.

The Golden Quest by David Delisle

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