Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Mary Blair Treasury of Golden Books

This is a delightful book full of old fashioned and gentle illustrations of several Little Golden Books and even more wonders to be found on these pages.

Random House Kids sent me this treasury to review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

It begins with Baby's House, I Can Fly, The Golden Book of Verses and The Up and Down Book.  These are all sweet Golden Books and I'm pleased to see them gathered together in one volume.

What really pleases me about this book, though, are the songs.  I remember singing almost everyone of the songs featured in grade school.  Maybe you will, too.

There are some from The New Golden Song Book, Nursery Songs, Singing Games, Hymns and Carols, Cradle Songs, Folk Songs, Rounds and Patriotic Songs.

These are old songs and they may not be shared in school anymore.  Why not grab a copy of this book and teach your little ones how sing our favorite songs?

Happy reading.

Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin

Alex and Darla survived the ashfall.  They even made it to his Uncle's home and he got reunited with his sister.  But his parents weren't there; they'd gone back for him...

Tanglewood and Net Galley let me download an ebook of this story for review (thank you).  It will be published on October 14th, so make a note on your TBR list.  If you haven't read Ashfall yet, grab that one now and get ready for the second book in the series.

Alex is determined to go after his parents.  He knows what the world is like out there, and he fears for their lives.  He's right to worry.

The people in this disaster-racked world are not nice.  Some of them are cannibals, some are power mongers, and some are just plain greedy.  The vegetables are gone, the ashfall killed them.  Seeds now have value but money doesn't. Women have become commodities.  It's an ugly world that Alex has to travel through.

What really makes this series for me is the relationship between Alex and Darla.  They were thrown together in the first book and all their relationship does is grow stronger.  I'm especially impressed with her mechanical ability.  My high school test said I could be a secretary or a mechanic; I became a finance director.  I can empathize with Darla's abilities and trying to make something out of what's left on the farms.

These books won't bore you.  Some of the tale is grotesque, but it fits the story line.  Their story is not done yet.  There has to be at least one more book.  I'll be watching for it.

Happy reading.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Cecil The Pet Glacier by Matthea Harvey

This is the story of a very unique family.  I guess you could say they were a bit odd...

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

How such unique parents could have such a boring child is beyond me.  Her father is a topiary gardener and her mother likes to wear tiaras.  They embarrass Ruby. Ruby is a conservative young woman who has three dolls that look just like her and she's tries to ignore her parents for the most part.

When they decide to go on vacation, her father suggests an exotic location and Ruby says:  "No way!"  The next thing that happens is that she ends up in Norway!

The best part of this story is when she gets adopted by baby glacier that just won't leave her alone.  It even follows her to school (how mortifying).  When it saves one of her dolls, she finally begins to see it differently...

We should all celebrate our differences and not be afraid to be unique in our own way.  That's what makes us interesting.

Happy reading.

Once Upon a Time Machine by Lee Nordling, Jason Rodriguez, Tara Alexander

Are you ready for futuristic fairy tales?  This is what we have here.

Dark Horse Comics and Net Galley allowed me download an ebook of these graphic tales for review.  The book will be available for sale on October 10th.

I found this to be a most fascinating read.  I sell books and am familiar with almost all classic fairy tales, but this collection presents them in science fiction/fantasy form.  The traditional illustrations are no where to be seen.  The story even changes a bit in most cases.  I enjoyed seeing what these artists did to bring new life to old classics.  Even if your young ones have no interest in fairy tales, I think this book will grab their interest anyway.

My favorite story in the book is "Rikki Tikki Tavi".  This version is just as impressive as the one in the Jungle Book.  It's also a very interesting story.

Why not get a copy of this and see which fairy tales speak to you?  I really like the job the illustrators and story tellers did with this book.

Happy reading.

Friday, September 28, 2012

I Like Old Clothes by Mary Ann Hoberman

I lived with a lot of hand-me-downs as a child.  Our families shared clothing items between each other.  I was never real fond of it until I got a pair of cut offs that were already broken in...

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

I just love Patrice Barton's illustrations.  They are so whimsical and colorful they make me smile.  Add Ms. Hoberman's easy rhyming text to it and you have a marvelous book.

This is tale of a little girl and her brother and the adventures they have by wearing the new "old" clothes or imagining who else has worn them.  It's charming tale and I highly recommend it.

Why not share it with your child?  It's sure to make them look at their clothes in a different way.

P.S.  I still buy clothes at thrift stores... 

Happy reading.

Comet's Tale: How the Dog I Rescued Saved My Life by Steven Wolf, Lynette Padwa

All my rescue animals (and my Bengal cats) are very precious to me.  I've rescued many through the years.  But I never tried to turn one into a service dog...

Algonquin Books and Edelweiss allowed me to download an ebook for this story for review (thank you).  It will come out in hardcover on October 9th.

Steven Wolf is easy to empathize with.  He has a degenerative back disease that has put him on the sidelines.  A very active, very physical man suddenly finds himself unable to walk, in constant pain, and very very depressed.  He also finds himself alone because he must live in a dry climate (Sedona, AZ) and his family stays in the east.  His children are in school, his wife works, and they can't leave without disrupting the rest of their life.

It doesn't take long until he's in bad enough shape that he needs help.  He never expected it to come in the form of a greyhound.

When he compliments a lady who owns a greyhound, she talks to him about rescuing one.  He's not enthused.  When he gets a call closer to home he finally agrees to visit just to get away from the phone conversation. What he never imagined was that a greyhound would choose him...

This is a life story filled with sadness and gladness.  Learning to accept disability is very hard to do and strains marriages.  No one expected an abused rescue dog to rescue her new owner.  That's what makes it a very good read.

Happy reading.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Dog Loves Drawing by Louise Yates

Do you have a budding artist in your family?  Here is a picture book for them.

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

This is a delightful book that begins with a dog who loves to read.  When he gets a birthday gift that is a journal, he decides to learn to draw.

The best part is that the things he draws come to life and they help draw!  The story goes on page by page in the journal and the drawings do resemble a young one's art.

Why not give your child this book with a journal and some colored pencils for Halloween?  It sure beats candy that will be gone in day.  Leave them with a fun memory of a unique Halloween "treat".

Happy reading.

Path of Beasts by Lian Tanner

I've read the two previous books in this series, The Keepers, and I enjoyed them both.  I was very pleased to see that the final book is being published on October 9th.

Random House and Edelweiss allowed me to download an ebook of this story for review (thank you).  You can buy it in ebook form on Kindle or as an audio book at your local bookstore.

When Goldie, Toadspit, Bonnie, and Mouse head home from being at sea, they find that conditions there are even worse than they were when they left.  Guardians and militia wander the city and their mortal enemy is now the Protector...

This series has been a fascinating read.  The author writes a good story full of adventure and danger with a touch of magic.  The children that fill her stories are strong, determined to do right, and brave beyond their age.  It's very easy to empathize with them.

Goldie is better person that I am.  I'd be tempted to kill the people who tried to kill me, but she manages to control her inner wolf.

This story doesn't end happily ever after for everyone, but that's because it's realistic and good and evil don't do well side by side.

My favorite animal in the story is the little white dog that fluffs around playfully and loves everybody but can change into a black beast when it needs to.  What a great secret weapon!

I was very pleased with this entire series.  If you haven't read the earlier books, I'd suggest beginning there.  Otherwise the story will be over too soon to satisfy you.

Happy reading.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Princess Like Me by Matthew Reinhart

Do you have a little princess at home?  Here's a book for her.

Robin Corey Books sent me a copy of this softcover pop-up book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

She's a typical princess, dressed in pink, and she's excited about having a birthday party.  This story is about her day.  There are pop-ups, pull-tabs, and lift-the-flaps, so it's great fun to find her crown, her dresses, and her unicorn.

This is good way to teach children some early motor functions with a combination of how handle to the pop-ups, etc.  The illustrations are colorful and add to the story.

Here's a great story for a girly-girl.  Why not share this with your little one?

Happy reading.

Into the Woods: Tales from the Hollows and Beyond by Kim Harrison

Want to take a walk on the wild side?  This is the book for you...

Harper Voyager and Edelweiss allowed me to download an ebook of this anthology for review (thank you).  The book will be available at your local bookstore on October 9th.

Vampires, witches, dryads, and pixies abound in this anthology.  Ms. Harrison is very well versed in this fantasy world and has written several books on the subject.  The Hallows is one of her most popular series.  I have not read any of her work before.  This anthology is like a prequel to her other stories and I decided this was a good way to "taste" this author.

Ms. Harrison's words are fluid and her characters are distinctive.  She makes you care about these strange creatures and you sympathize with their problems.  All of these stories carry a bit of the dark within them and horror leaks into the pages here and there.

My favorite tales were about the pixies.  The idea of small creatures living in the garden or forest has always appealed to me.

If you enjoy dark fantasy, this book will be a favorite of yours.  It's also a great way to try a new author and see if her characters and writing appeal to you.  I'm not fond of vampires, but I did find some characters within these pages that I will be looking in her other books.  I want to know more about them.

Happy reading.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Dinosaurs: In Your Face by Dr. Robert T Bakker

Another dinosaur book:  This one is 3D and has three books in one!

Random House Childrens Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

I've seen the original softcover books and was impressed by the knowledge that Dr. Bakker shared.  This edition is even more impressive because it's hardcover, offers you all three books in the series, and it has 3D glasses to make the experience unique.

This one is for a child that can read text easily and understand it.  The author offers pronunciations and explains the lives (and deaths) of the dinosaurs.  This would make a really resource for home schooling.  Why not take a look at it?  Have some fun while teaching your children.

Happy reading.

Rumble! Roar! Dinosaurs! by Matthew Reinhart

Here is a cool pop-up book about dinosaurs!

Robin Corey Books sent me a copy of this children's book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so you can find a copy at your local bookstore now.

Not only are the pop-ups colorful and fun to expose, there is a reference in the back to help them learn how to pronounce the names.  The author has also included a couple of dinosaurs to color.

An interactive book like this can be much more fun than just reading the words.  Here is an easy way to teach your young one about dinosaurs without it being apparent it's educational.  Who knows, you might learn something, too.

Happy reading.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Fox and Crow Are NOT Friends by Melissa Wiley

It all started over a piece of cheese...

Random House Kids Books sent me this Step Into Reading softcover to review (thank you).  This is a Level 3 book, for grades 1-3.  It is available now, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

Fox is devious and when he sees Crow with a nice piece of cheese, he compliments him until Crow drops the cheese.  Then he eats it!  Thus begins the war between the two animals. Each animal is smart, so the tricks get more and more interesting.

My favorite part is the ending.  Gilbert & Sullivan penned "To let the punishment fit the crime..." and that's what happens here.  I love it!

Happy reading. 

Behind the Bookcase by Mark Steensland

Sarah's parents have inherited Grandma's house; they intend to clean it out and then sell it.  The house looks haunted.  It's very old, not well maintained and it has doors into the attic.  It even has secret passageways.

Delacorte Press and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read an ebook of this story.  It will be published October 9th, so make a note to grab a copy at your local bookstore.

This story reminds me of an Alice in Wonderland and Labyrinth mix with a touch of Swiss Family Robinson.  When Sarah finds the bookcase opens and ventures in to see where it takes her, she finds secret passages, other worlds, and more danger than she can cope with.

There are ghosts, a boy with only half of his face, a river from the moon and a river from the sun, sentinels, a prisoner from the 1800's and a demon in this story.  It's written for young adults and they won't have time to get bored.  Sarah and her brother Billy have a big challenge to overcome if they want to survive.

There is a lesson here:  Be sure you know what's behind the door before you open it...

Happy reading.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Railroad Hank by Lisa Moser

Railroad Hank must be related to Amelia Bedelia.  They're both long and lean and they both take everything literally...

Random House Children's Books sent me a copy of this picture book for review (thank you).  It will be published on Tuesday, so make a note to pick up a copy for your child's library.

I really liked this story.  It's pretty corny and you'll have to listen to your children singing the train song:  "Chugga, Chugga, Chugga, Chugga, Woo, Woo, Woo!  Show them how to play a train and send them outside to save your ears.

Granny Bett is depressed, so Railroad Hank tells the folks on his route that he's going to stop to see her and try to cheer her up.  One of the neighbors offers to send some eggs to her.  And that's where the trouble begins.  When Hank asked where the eggs come from, Missy May says "From my hens, of course."  So Railroad Hank takes some chickens!

The story goes on up the route with misinterpretations all along way and the train is pretty full when it arrives.  It also brings the rest of the neighbors on the route to Granny's house to retrieve their goodies.  It turns into a great big party!

What a cute way to teach children how to be sure they understand what they are told, how to share, and how to have a good time.  Why not share this cute story with your little one?

Happy reading.

The Hiding Place by David Bell

It's the 25th anniversary of the death of her baby brother.  A journalist wants an interview, which Janet gives her.  Doing so brings back the memory of that sunny morning and seeing her brother run into the woods.  It also makes her wonder if she actually saw what she said she saw...

NAL and Net Galley allowed me to download an ebook of this story for review (thank you).  This book will be published on October 2nd, so watch for it's arrival at your local bookstore.

This is an interesting plot with lots of nuances that became apparent after all this time as passed.  Janet was playing with Michael while she and Justin were at the park.  When her brother wanders into the adjacent woods, he disappears.  So begins a nightmare that affects two families.

This is a very detailed story as layer upon layer of buried facts start coming to light.  When the black man accused of the murder is released from jail since he had served his time, a question forms in more than one mind:  Was he really guilty, or was he just convenient?

The plot was interesting enough to keep me reading, but I found the story a little too wordy.  I also thought some minor players in the story should have had a bit more character build up; they seemed to be an almost unnecessary addition to the main plot.  Keep in mind I am fan of short stories, so that might influence this perception.

It wasn't until the end that I started to have some suspicions about the killer.  Justin's murder at four affected everyone involved in dramatically different ways.  The author does a very good job of showing human reactions to an impossible situation.  No one came out unmarked.  They still have a long road to healing but it's beginning to start.

Happy reading.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Monkey Play by Alyssa Satin Capucilli

Do you have a little monkey around your house that's preschool or kindergarten age?  Here's a book for them!

Random House Step into Reading division sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

This is a silly little story about monkeys, how they act, and how much trouble they can get in.  (Sound familiar anyone?)  Ms. Pang's illustrations are cute and very colorful to please the little one's eyes.

Ms. Capucilla writes a simple story with fun monkey antics that will make a child laugh.  Why not share this story with one of your loved ones?

Happy reading.

The Dogs of Winter by Bobbie Pyron

This is a very chilling story about abandoned children in post-Soviet Russia who grow up on the streets.  What makes it even more chilling is the fact that it is based on a true story...

Arthur A Levine Books, a division of Scholastic, and Net Galley allowed me to download an ebook of this story for review (thank you).  It will be published October 1st, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

First Ivan's grandmother dies.  His mother has a hard time dealing with her grief and eventually brings home a man.  That makes things even worse for Ivan.  When his mother goes missing, he's pretty sure she's dead.  The man won't answer him about it and tells him he's taking him to an orphanage, but Ivan gets away.  Ivan's not going to an orphanage; he's going to wait for his mother to come and get him, even if he's in a different city now.  It takes a while before he gives up hope.

He attempts living on the street but if finds it better to be with a pack of children that stick together and beg money for the leader, Rudy.  One day, he notices some dogs traveling together on the train.  They get off at a particular stop and head to their home.  He finds himself interested in them and where they stay and how they survive.  When the streets become too dangerous to live on in the winter months, Ivan's solution is to join the dogs.

How he lives and what he does is similar to Mowgli being raised by wolves in the jungle, but this is Ivan in the snow and ice of a Russian winter with no easily available food.

I have read about the tough times for children in the UK, but this was the first time I read a book that focused on Russia.  The story isn't much different regardless of country it takes place in, but ice and snow would be a killer for me.  Ivan sleeps with the pack so he doesn't get hypothermia.  And he eats things I'd only eat if I were starving.  Of course, he was, so I should be more understanding.

The interplay with the dogs is realistic.  They do consider a human part of their pack and they will share food with you.

This is a story of survival.  When everyone else has turned their backs on you and you have no one who cares if you live or die, who would you turn to?

Friday, September 21, 2012

MINE! by Shutta Crum

If you haven't read this book yet, you're in for a real treat.

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

I have reviewed the story as a picture book, so I knew it would be precious in this form.  Ms. Crum writes the cutest story and Patrice Barton's illustrations are heartwarming.

This is the tale of two young children and a dog.  One sister is about three and the youngest is still a baby.  The three year old has become possessive; all the toys are "Mine!"  Little sister just watches her.

Then the puppy steals one and dumps it in his water dish.  The three year old gets a twinkle in her eye and dumps them ALL into the water dish.

This is my favorite part:  The baby heads straight to her sister and grabs her around the middle and yells:  Mine!

What a great way to teach them to share.  And the minimal text means they can read this one themselves at a young age.  I love the characters and the message.  Why not share this story with your loved little ones?

Happy reading.

Ironskin by Tina Connolly

During the war with the fae, Jane lost her brother and got injured by fae warfare.  Wearing an iron mask protects her from her curse, but it also identifies her as touched by the fae.  People mistrust her.  Jobs are hard to come by.  When she finds a job advertisement for a governess of a child touched by the fae, she thinks she can help because of her experiences.  Nothing prepared her for the the new role she would play...

Tor/Forge and Net Galley let me download a copy of this ebook for review (thank you).  The book will be published October 2nd, so watch for it at your local bookstore.

I like things fae, magic, and sweetly romantic.  This story has all of those and more.  Fae are often darker than they are light.  They lie to get what they want.  And they have no emotional ties, they are users more than lovers.

Jane just wants a way to survive.  She also hopes she can help this child who has been touched by fae.  She doesn't realize the child has magic powers...

This is a Gothic romance novel written for young adults.  I found myself entranced by the world Ms. Connolly created.  Jane is attracted to Edward, but he's changing women into beautiful creatures that captivate their husbands and other men they meet.  He's secretive about it and his customers give up no details.  She knows it's not normal.

This young woman has a real challenge trying to help the child she's governing.  She's also not getting a lot of cooperation from the others in the household because of who she is.  She persists, but has no idea of the danger that is ahead of her.

I really liked the setting for the story, the Gothic romance, and the bittersweet ending of this book.  This one is a keeper to me.  I'll be buying a copy for my library.  If there is a bit of romance in your soul and you like a touch of magic, this story will grab your interest and you'll find yourself walking with Jane and ready to brave everything she does.  A strong female character can add a lot to a story.

Here's the trailer to tweak your interest:  Ironskin

Happy reading.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver

One morning, when Liza wakes up, her brother isn't her brother anymore.  He's changed.  She's sure someone has stolen his soul, but no one believes her.  So it's up to her to hunt his soul down and get it back...

HarperCollins Children's Books sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 2nd, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

When I saw the publicity on this book, it tweaked my soul and made me ask for a copy to review.  I'm very glad I did.  I enjoyed the story so much I'm keeping this ARC for my personal library.

Liza is willing to do what she must to recover the "real" Patrick.  He was a pain, but he was her brother and the thing living in his place is not.  She trusts a rat (that turns out badly), she encounters any number of dangerous creatures and must pass tests to move on towards the Spindlers who have stolen him.  The monsters are ugly, the tests aren't easy, and she gets betrayed, so it's uncertain if she will accomplish her quest.

This story has a bit of the flavor of Labyrinth.  One was a stolen young brother; the other is to obtain recovery of Liza's brother's soul.  Dangers abound on all sides and she can't trust anybody.  Who would you trust in this unknown world?  And how would you escape?

I really enjoyed this and believe young adults (and fantasy readers) will, too.

Happy reading.

Afraid to Die by Lisa Jackson

Someone is freezing women to death and sculpting the ice that covers them.  The most chilling part is that the victims are all wearing a piece of Selena's jewelry...

Zebra, a division of Kensington, sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so you can find a copy at your local bookstore now.

Ms. Jackson has created two strong female cops.  They are very different in personalities and each has a romanic interest that they are trying to ignore.  Having a man is a good thing, but they aren't sure they want commitment.  Soon, they won't have time to worry about that.

As the missing women turn into murder victims, the hunt becomes more aggressive.  Serena can think of no reason why someone would be that angry at her and want to kill her.  The person who threatened her was still in jail.  But someone sure wants to hurt her.  Add in a son she hasn't seen since birth and Selena's own mental anguish when she wants to make love and you have a very interesting subplot.  

Both of these female cops are intense and determined to find the killer.  This is a tense, suspenseful tale of death and destruction that features more than one bad guy.  It'll keep you in your seat as you keep reading to see who wins in this game of cat and mouse...

Happy reading.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Clockwork Sky by Madeleine Rosca

Ms. Rosca has written this story as a prequel to the Hollow Fields series.  I have not read them but enjoy graphic novels, so I asked for this one.  Her artwork style is Manga, and it was fascinating to read.  Enter the future here...

Tor Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It was published September 1st, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

This book contains two types of media I like:  Manga artwork and a steampunk story.  I really enjoyed reading this.

Sally is a tomboy with adventuress ideas.  When she gets into too much trouble, her parents ship her to her uncle, and she gets confined to her room.  She has a nasty robot taking of her, her uncle never comes to visit her, and she's bored.  That's not much of a problem if you have lockpicks...

The top robot in this story is Sky, the ultimate creation of robotics.  The only problem is that he has dreams; robots don't dream, but he does.  When Sally escapes, they send Sky after her.  When they hook up, they end up in a deadly situation where they learn something they wish they never knew about.

There will be more in this series, and I'll be watching for them.  Sally reminds me of when I was a kid (no, I didn't have lockpicks).  I'm anxious to see what happens next, but I know it won't be good...

Here's a trailer that gives you an example of the artwork and a sample of the story: Artwork Sample.

Happy reading.

Underdog by Laurie Berenson

Melanie Travis is back, along with her poodle pup, her son, her mother and her boyfriend.  She's now getting ready to show her dog, which is no job for wimps.

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

Melanie has the misfortune of having a mother who is professional breeder of show dogs.  That's who she got her puppy from, and Mom has high expectations of what Melanie and her pup will do at the show. The competition between dog owners is fierce and not all of them are graceful losers.  

When her trainer dies the day after she visited Melanie's home, Melanie refuses to believe it was suicide.  Trying to solve the murder means she has to talk to all the competitors and sort out who may have a reason to kill her.  The more she finds out, the more confusing it gets.  It doesn't take long until the murderer decides to shut her up, too.

This is an enjoyable cozy with a good mystery.  The trail to the murderer is strewn with clues, some of which have nothing to do with the murder.  Sorting the threads to get to the cloth of the mystery takes a bit of doing.  Why not settle into a comfortable chair and see if you can pick out the killer before Melanie does?

Happy reading.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

War Paint: Tattoo Culture & The Armed Forces by Kyle Cassidy

There is a military culture that creates an atmosphere for tattoos.  Whether it was an important event, a milestone, or just camaraderie tattoos seem to bloom on veterans.

Schiffer Publishing and Net Galley allowed me to download this book for review (thank you).  It was published in June, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

I've followed Mr. Cassidy on Twitter and have admired his photographic artwork.  I was sure that seeing a book of his photographs would be impressive.  This book is indeed a work of art.

Kyle sees contrasts, lines, form and the people as one when he photographs.  He creates portrait photography that is unusual and attractive.  You see happy people, people that are proud, and people who still have pain in their eyes.  They come in all colors, all types and none of them are ashamed of their "paint".  Several mourn the fact that the dyes have lightened with time, but none of them want them redone.

There are short biographies of each person's story about their tattoo.  Some are poignant, some are stories of drunken nights, some are tributes to those who have died, and others were done on a whim.  The stories touch you.   

This combination of beautiful photography and sincere tales of the memories surrounding the tattoos will stay with you.  It almost imprints on you.

Check this book out.  It's a great way to pay tribute to the war veterans and the photographer who wanted to give them something back.

Happy reading.

Death of a Neighborhood Witch by Laura Levine

Jaine has a really quirky neighbor.  She's an old woman who once starred in a Zombie movie and is now thought of as a witch.  If only her cat, Prozac, hadn't gotten out of her yard and scared Cryptessa's bird to death.  Now the old witch thinks she owes her...

Kensington Books sent me an ARC of this story for review (thank you).  It's being published this month so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

Jaine Austen is quite the character.  I've never heard of anybody naming their cat Prozac before.  Her eating habits leave something to be desired.  Her house is no cleaner than it needs to be.  But she's really a good person.  She may be a bit desperate to find a man, would like to lose some weight, but she sure wouldn't kill anybody.  So who swiped her ape suit during the Halloween party and did?

Lance, her neighbor is gay.  He's got his eye on the new neighbor in town, Peter.  So does Jaine.  Watching these two fight over Peter is a hoot.  Unfortunately, the party was at Peter's, so Jaine has to prove she wasn't the killer.  If she didn't, she wouldn't have time to develop a relationship with the new hunk in the neighborhood.

This author fills her story with humor, talk of good food (of the sweets variety), and an interesting plot.  It's a good cozy mystery.  There are more in this series, but this was the first one I read.  It's a stand alone story if you want to start here.  I'm sure all the books in the series would be enjoyable.

If you'd 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 and why you'd like to read the book.  I'll pick a winner in about a week.

Happy reading.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Into the Pumpkin by Linda Franklin

Here is an absolutely beautiful children's picture book that will be just right for Halloween.

Schiffer Publishing and Net Galley allowed me to download an ebook of this story for review (thank you).  It has been published at the end of August so you can purchase a copy of this book now.

The illustrations in this book are pastel, foggy and full of autumn.  The characters are cloudy, faded, and whimsical.  They are all gorgeous and children will enjoy reading and rereading this wonderful book.

The text rhymes and almost has a sing-song flavor to it.  The story is fun and charming.  No horror here, just clean honest fun.

Why not share this with your loved ones instead of candy?  It will last a lot longer and can be shared more easily.  It would also make a good read aloud for a slumber party.

I'm going to buy a copy for my picture book collection.  I'm not young, but I still love those books.  The illustrations grab me.

Happy reading.

Lady Gone Bad by Sabine Starr

She just wants to find the bandits that killed her parents and stole the horse they were breeding for stud.  He's a Texas Ranger who knows she's wanted by the law and he's going to take her in.  She says she's not guilty, but they all say that, right?

Brava, a division of Kensington, sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It is being published this month, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

Lady hangs out in bars, sings, and whispers in the cowboys' ears about her missing horse.  She figures when she finds the horse, she will have found her killers.  When the ranger wanders in the bar and tells her he's going to arrest her, she burns the saloon down and escapes out the back dressed as a boy.  The first clue that things are going awry is when she sees the men from the tavern hanging the ranger.  That wasn't what she wanted to see happen to him, she just wanted to escape.  So she rescues him.

She's saved him, he still wants to handcuff her and take her to jail, and the sexual attraction between just heats up the tension between them.  Neither one of them wants to give an inch and arguments between them are entertaining.

This is a good western story with a spicy romance.  The odds are not good for a ranger in bandit country.  Even the Indians aren't his friend.  And with a spitfire companion, it's hard to look inconspicuous.  Add some enemies on both sides and it turns into a real challenge to stay alive.

The author gave us a beautiful woman who could sing that also could be a bad ass cowgirl getting revenge.  I liked that touch.

If you'd 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 and why you'd like to read the book.  I'll pick a winner in about a week.

Happy reading.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

How to Lose a Demon in 10 Days by Saranna DeWylde

Grace summoned a demon to help get her son back.  She didn't expect him to look so hot.  She knew she'd have  to bargain with him for the deal.  Imagine her surprise when he wants sex in return...

Brava, a division of Kensington Publishing, sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  The book will be published this month, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

I enjoy reading about demons.  I think it's because they have magical powers and are a mix between bad and good boys.  Like those guys your mother didn't want you to date. In this case, Grace is a witch, so the mix is even more challenging.  

The plot is most interesting.  Grace wants to recover her son that her ex has stolen from her at birth.  However, there is no son.  She never had that baby; her husband had messed with her mind.  He's trying to make her despair and commit suicide.  Then he can trade her soul to become a demon.  Nice guy, huh?

With witches, demons, sex, and lies all about, the story keeps you reading.  I found it an amusing tale.  Even the devil shows up, how can that be boring?  Why not give it a try if you like spicy sex and demons everywhere?

If you'd like my ARC, 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 read it.  I'll pick a winner in about a week.

Happy reading.

A Christmas Carol: The Night That Changed the Life of Eliza Scrooge by Rod Espinosa

Here's a classic story remade with a brand new character...

Dark Horse Books and Net Galley allowed me download an ebook of this story (thank you).  It will be published October 3rd in hardcover, so check with your local bookstore to get a copy.

Mr. Espinosa's art is exquisite.  His graphics make the characters speak to you and express the story nicely.

I especially liked the fact that this Scrooge is female.  I didn't realize it until I started reading the story and that brought a smile to my face.  She wasn't any nicer or kinder than the original Scrooge, but it changes the story somehow when the charactor is a "Miss" instead of a "Mr". The same three ghosts come to visit, she also has a major change of heart and her own life becomes more joyful as do the lives of those around her.

If nothing else, this is worth buying for the artwork and for the unique version of A Christmas Carol.  Why not read something different to the family this year?

Happy reading.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Snakebite by Jonathan Mary-Todd

The world has become an unknown factor in a new life for the children.  They were just staying at the motel on their way to other places.  Then electricity died, fuel ran out, and their parents died.  Now they were on their own and the new world was not a friendly place.

Darby Creek (Lerner Publishing Group) and Net Galley allowed me to download an ebook of this story for review (thank you).  It will be published October 1st in paperback and ebook form.  Check with your local bookstore for a copy.

I almost didn't request this one.  I hate snakes.  I'm not real sure why.  Spiders and snakes are high on my list.  But I couldn't miss reading about a dystopian world and seeing how these children would handle life.

Snakes aside, this story still gave me the creeps.  The five children set out alone after all the adults have died.  They really have no idea where they are going.  They know cities are dangerous, they have to watch for animals and even humans are dangerous.  The reason they can survive is because they have a mountaineers' handbook that gives them guidance on survival techniques.  Even so, it's not enough to save them from other predators.

First, Hector gets bit by a snake.  It's not life threatening, but it does scar him.  Then they run into an adult who has a group of kids working as his gang.  They kill Martin, steal the smallest and injure the others.They go after Emma with no real hope she'll still be alive.  What they find is even more scary.

I found myself glued to this story.  The premise of the story is realistic; what they did for survival is believable.  And this story is not done, it's just beginning.  I'm going to watch for the next book in this series, After the Dust Settles.  It fascinates me.

Happy reading. 

Popped Off by Jeffrey Allen

He's a dad that does a bit of private investigating on the side.  Not a lot, just enough to keep his hand in it and make a bit of spending money.  He sure never expected to get messed up in a crime this complex...

Kensington Books sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It's being published this month and is part of the Stay at Home Dad mysteries series.  They've all been fun to read, so I was glad to have the opportunity to read this one.

Dad hasn't gotten any smarter about which cases to take and which ones to let go by.  Besides, he had a special interest in this one.  The soccer teams were bankrupt because someone stole all their league money and the games were going to stop.  His little girl would definitely not like that.  So what was Dad to do?

He sure never intended to get involved with the casino enforcers, sorority girls, or a church pastor.  And he had to do some serious finagling to try to make everything work out.  You've heard of robbing Peter to pay Paul?  It's a bit like that.

In the meantime, his wife wants another baby and has a schedule for their love making.  That doesn't make him happy, but she's nice enough to want him even on days that aren't green on her calendar so it's not too bad.

Victor is still around and his short stature makes some interesting moments around the sorority girls.  He and his wife even have a child now and he's reluctantly taking advice from Dad.  Not graciously, though.

Here is another bungling adventure that turns out all right at the end.  It also has a few laughs along the way.  This cozy mystery will make you smile and shake your head a few times.  It's a fun read.

If you'd like my ARC of this story, leave a comment here on my blog and 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.

Happy reading.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Petronella & The Trogot by Cheryl Bentley

Petronella had a slight green tint to her skin color and a nose with a wart, which made her look like a witch.  She wasn't a witch.  She wasn't even bad tempered.  But she found it easier to live away from other people and their comments.  No one could have suspected she would be the Chosen One...

Sparkling Books and Net Galley allowed me to download an ebook of this story for review (thank you).  It will be published October 1st, so make a note on your TBR list.

This is a cross between fantasy, horror and mythology.  It reads like a fairy tale and I liked it.

Petronella and her cat are living in her cottage and doing well without the other villagers.  Being a bit odd, she has a snail garden.  And, one day, she notices a big black tree that she can't recall having been there before.  She doesn't know it's going to play an important part in her life.

Her cat is the one that starts it all.  He digs up a skull and some bones and takes them home with him.  When the villagers find some other bones in the same vicinity, they dig them up, too.  They think they've found a missing family and that Petronella is the killer.  When the bones come back to life and they find themselves confronted with people who died long, long ago, the villagers get concerned.  Especially since the murdered peasants are reclaiming their homes and land...

The Hooded Horseman (another peasant from the past) visits Petronella and tells her that she is the chosen one and has a quest to do to help the peasants and right the wrongs of the land and people long dead.  Petronella is willing, even if it means visiting the equivalent of hell.  

The author does a nice job of writing a tale that is unique and interesting to read.  I couldn't stop reading until I found out how it all ended.  I bet you won't be able to either.

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...