Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Whisper of Legends by Barbara Fradkin

This is an Inspector Green mystery.  I hadn't tasted this author's work before, so I was looking forward to this read.  It's a good one.

Edelweiss and Dundurn allowed me to download this ebook and read it for review (thank you).  The book will be published in April, 2013, so make a note on your TBR list.

Inspector Green is a divorced man who has re-married and is in the process of raising a new family.  He dearly loves his daughter, Hannah, and misses her since she moved back with her mother.  He's beginning to worry about her since she went on a white water canoe trip in the Northwest territories.  When he calls his ex-wife to get an update, he finds out she started at the headwaters; that's more dangerous yet.  And then he finds out she didn't go with a guide...

Both his father instincts and his cop instincts awake at that knowledge.  His daughter has lied to him.  Not directly, but she knows he wouldn't have liked what she was doing.  When she doesn't return as scheduled, he goes up after her.  He can't ask the RCMP's to help because it's in the park, but he does take his cop friend with him. 

The park rangers aren't concerned.  If someone needs help, there are lots of way to signal.  The party has a satellite phone with them, they probably just decided to explore.  Green's concerns are brushed aside.  At least until they find they first body...

This is a well told tale set in the wilderness and populated with greedy characters who do not hesitate to kill.  The plot is fascinating, some of the tale is explained in old letters, and the protagonist isn't identified until the end.  There's plenty of action, plenty of danger, and it will keep you glued to the story.

This was my first visit with Inspector Green, but it will not be my last.  I enjoyed reading a mystery set in Canada and I enjoyed the story Ms. Fradkin wove.  Why not get a copy yourself and give it a try?  You can always start with her earlier books while you wait for this one to come out.

Happy reading.     

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fitz by Mick Cochrane

Fitz has never met his father.  He's decided he's going to change that.

Knopf Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss allowed me to download an ebook of this story for review (thank you).  The book is scheduled to be published on November 13th.

I found this to be an intriguing story.  Fitz is not unhappy with his life or his mom, he just wonders why his dad never cared to meet him.  He pays support on him but never has attempted to visit him.  When he finds out his father lives near him, he starts checking him out.

One day it all comes to a head and Fitz kidnaps him.  He's going to use this day to find out why his dad hasn't approached him, what the history is between his parents, and other facts he thinks someone his age should know about his parents.  There's one thing he'd especially like to know:  Does his father love him?

The silly part is that I could see something like this happening.  A young couple just starting out in life, opposing parents, an unexpected pregnancy and misunderstandings and confusion get involved.  So does a lack of personal integrity.  But Fitz isn't willing to let it die there, and that's what makes this an interesting story.  I enjoyed looking at from the child's point-of-view; it was different.

Happy reading.   

Monday, October 29, 2012

Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill

Julia knows how life is going to turn out.  She has it all planned out.  She follows all the rules, gets A's in her classes and even knows who her MTB is.

Delacorte Press and Edelweiss allowed me to download the book of this story for review (thank you).  It's scheduled to be published November 13th, so make a note on your TBR list to pick it up then.

Julia reminds me a bit of myself in high school.  I got straight A's, followed all the rules, never skipped classes, didn't date until I was 16, and I already had all my children's name's picked out.  All boys, by the way.  My life didn't stay on track any better than hers did in this story...

Julia got "married" at five and she sees no reason to change her proposed spouse.  He's perfect, even if he doesn't know it yet.  After all her parents had a perfect relationship until her father's death.  Now she's going to London on a school trip and she'll get to achieve some of her life goals in that trip.  That'll be perfect, too.  Then she gets stuck with the class clown, Jason, as her partner on the trip.  What could be worse?  She'll find out before the story is over.

This is a charming story with lots of mistakes, misunderstandings, and miscomprehensions.  I enjoy watching Jason and Julia trying to get along on their study periods.  I also enjoyed watching Julia savor the feeling that she had not one man on her string, but perhaps three.  The story is amusing and ends well.

Why not go to London with Julia and find out a little bit about what love is and how it does and doesn't work?

Happy reading.     

Duck and Goose Find a Pumpkin by Tad Hills

Wow, a friend of theirs goes by with a really nice pumpkin and duck and goose decide they'll get themselves one too...

Schwartz & Wade sent me a copy of this board book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so why not grab a copy at your local bookstore and add it your little one's treats?

I have to admit I always love Tad Hills books.  His artwork is wonderful, the stories are written for the very young, and they make everyone who reads them smile.  What's not to like?

Duck and goose are both a bit simple.  They get all enthused about ideas, but don't think how to complete them.  In this story, they are running around trying to find a pumpkin.  That is, everywhere but where a pumpkin would be.

This is a large board book that would be good for reading in a group.  No need to worry about the pages giving up if you share it with little ones.  Why not give your child a copy for either Halloween or Thanksgiving and let them chuckle over duck and goose's antics?

Happy reading.  

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Bomb Built in Hell: Wesley's Story, Andrew Vachss

Andrew Vachss is an enigma.  He can write about men who have no soul, no conscience and are psychopaths and sound like it's from personal experience.  He's actually a lawyer who represents abused children and has seen some of the worst things in life already.  But he's nice man.  So how can he write about hellacious men who do terrible things with such a sense of accuracy?

Vintage Crime/Black Lizard and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity read this ebook for review (thank you).  It will be published November 13th, and you can grab a copy then if you're brave enough.

I've read Mr. Vachss books in the past.  His words keep my eyes glued to the story.  The stories make me uncomfortable, some horrify me, but I keep reading.  He has such a sense of authenticity in his writing that I keep reading to ensure something like this wouldn't happen to me.

Wesley had a brief appearance in one of this novels.  This is a prequel for him.  You learn how he developed into just what he is.  It's not a pleasant tale.  He's not been treated well, gets mentored by a Mafia bigwig in jail, and he carries on with the job he was hired for when he gets out.  There's no escape from death, but he doesn't really care.

Don't read this if you hate ugly death.  It is an interesting look at what the dark side considers honor and morals, though.  And, as much as I not want it to be, I think this story is real close to the truth in some circles.  If you want to read about life on the mean streets, this is a book for you.

Happy reading.    

Bedtime for Boo by Mickie Matheis

Here's a great Halloween book for a young one that doesn't want to be scared.  It's about ghosts, but they're a family just like us...

Random House Kids shared this Golden Book picture book with me for review (thank you).  The book has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy to go in your Halloween basket for your little one.

Boo is all excited because this is the first Halloween he gets to go out with the family and yell:  "Boo!"  He has a great time and even scares an owl, but it's all too soon to go home.  After all the excitement, he's having trouble going to sleep.  His Mom comes up to calm him down and get him to sleep.

This author takes all the strange noises of an old house and works it into this tale as comforting sounds to the ghost family.  That's a cute touch and may remove some fears that you don't even know your child has.

Here's a nice Halloween story for bedtime and I bet it won't be long before your child can say some of the rhymes.

Happy reading.   

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Mischief and Mistletoe

How about a little Christmas cheer with a touch of romance?

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

This is an anthology of eight novellas, all related to the holiday season.  The romances are gentle, the stories varied, and all are an enjoyable read.  They vary in time settings, but most are in Victorian times.

My three favorite reads were:  She Stoops to Wenchdom,  Wench in Wonderland, and The Mistletoe Bride.  I found it amusing that two of the stories used the word Wench in them.

None of the stories will disappoint and they are just right for picking up and putting down.  You could read a story, then wrap a few gifts, then read another...  Or you could find a comfy chair like I did and read it straight through from front to back.  It's up to you.

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

Happy reading.    

Ready for Pumpkins by Kate Duke

Miss MacGuffey teaches first grade class and has a class guinea pig.  His name is Hercules, but he goes by Herky.

Alfred A Knopf sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published and would make a nice gift for Halloween.  After all, when do you have a pumpkin in the house?

Herky has it made.  He has lots of food, fresh water, and lots of attention.  What impresses him the most, though, is when the students plant and grow fresh green beans.  Imagine, you plant this little seed and you get these luscious greens!  He decides to take a few seeds with him when he goes to his summer home.  Herky becomes friends with Daisy, a bunny.  Together they work on growing some pumpkin seeds. 

My favorite part of this story is Daisy telling Herky to "Cool it!"  He's so impatient and wants his seeds to grow quickly.  When I was small, I always expected the seeds to sprout the next day.  When it took a week or longer it was so disappointing.  I understand how Herkie feels.

This is a cute tale.  Herkie leaves the farm for school again and the farmer brings in the pumpkins to share with the class.  How they got in his yard is a mystery but we know, don't we?  

Happy reading. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Mistletoe, Merriment and Murder by Sara Rosett

Ellie Avery's life is going smoothly.  She has a good job helping folks organize, a great family and a loving husband.  Then another organizer moves into town...

Kensington Books sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It was published the first part of October, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

Ellie gets pretty upset with Gabrielle.  Not because she set up shop in the same small town, but because she is sniping Ellie's established customers.  She decides to discuss it with her and let her know how she feels.  She never expected to find her dead on the floor in the room abutting the garage.  The fact that it was Gabrielle's sister, Jean, who was dead doesn't make it better.  Jean was wearing Gabrielle's clothes and Ellie had a fight with Gabrielle the night before at a party.  The cop knows she's murderer, she has cause and she was right there.  She even had blood on her shoe...

There is more than one mystery in this story.  This is set in a military town and everyone knows each other.  That's what makes murder surprising.  And Ellie wants to prove it WAS NOT her.  Trying to balance an extreme new job of organizing, hunt for the killer, and not lose all her business to her new competitor keeps Ellie busy.  But will she be able to prove the other party guilty?

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

Happy reading.   

Fiercely and Friends: The Sneaky Snow Fox by Patricia Reilly Giff

Are you looking forward to snow this year?  Here's a good read to get you primed for the snowy season.

Scholastic and Net Galley allowed me to download an ebook of this story for review (thank you).  It will go on sale November 1st, so make a note on your TBR list and pick it up at your local bookstore then.

This is a cute little story about a sister and brother who get excited about going out in the snow until they notice a fox playing out in the new snow.  How are they are going to go out to the bookstore and avoid the fox?

As they fret about that and prepare to go out and race to the store, you see glimpses of the fox.  When they finally get to the store, you see just what the fox is!

This is an easy to read story that little ones will enjoy reading over and over again.  Why not share it with them?

Happy reading.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Bookseller by Mark Pryor

Booksellers are interesting creatures.  Most are a bit odd, have an unearthly air about them, and follow their own drum.  I know.  After all, I am one.  When we have our heads in books all the time, it changes it.  But Max, the bookseller in this story, had books with secrets in them...

Seventh Street Books sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It sounded fascinating and I appreciated the opportunity to read it.  This book was published earlier in October, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

Max is an old man selling books from a stall.  Hugo Marston is his friend who sometimes buys a book from him, sometimes just chats.  Hugo is also head of security at the US Embassy in Paris.  When he sees Max abducted at gun point, he's determined to save him.  However, the police come up with several people who swear he left willingly and peacefully.

Hugo remembers one old woman who had been annoyed by a man while he was visiting with Max.  He goes to back to talk to her, but she's evasive.  He finally gets some facts.  And then she's dead, too.

This author takes a mix of ex-Nazi's, high crime, and crooked policemen and adds Hugo Americans view things differently from Parisians, at least those on the wrong side of the law.  The fact that Hugo is almost powerless as an Embassy employee in this case doesn't help.  But he finds some friends and investigate they do.

This story is fast paced, has a nice flow, and Mr. Pryor makes it interesting even with some facts thrown in.  He also takes that spider web he's created earlier in the book and wraps it down into a knot by the end.  I enjoyed this story.  Why not visit France and take a walk with Hugo by the river?  Be sure to hold his arm...

If you'd like to get my copy of this ARC, leave a comment here on my blog and then email me at info at with your name and address and why you'd like to win it.  I'll pick a name in about a week.

Happy reading.    

Tallulah Louise & The Terrible Sneeze by Shawda Blake

I could relate to the little girl in this book.  I wanted a pet really, really badly when I was a little girl.  My parents didn't want one (they knew who would end up taking care of it) and I was petless for a long time.  Then Uncle Bill came for my birthday and brought me a puppy.  Life was better...

Ms. Blake sent me an ebook of this story for review (thank you).  You can purchase a copy on Amazon now.

Emma Marie has begged for a pet for some time.  Her mother wants her to have a neat one that doesn't make any noise.  That's hard to find!  But Emma Marie keeps looking and asking.  She knows there must be one out there somewhere.

The illustrations are low key and simple and give you a homey feeling.  You need to pay attention to the small touches, though.  One of my favorite parts is the pet shop where squeaky wheels are sold along with another piece of equipment Mom complained about.  The illustrator has a sense of humor.

This is a cute, enjoyable book for a young one and will even give you an answer to what animal fits the bill for a "silent" pet.  You'll also learn why Mom can't hear it.

Give it a try.  It'll make you and your little one smile.

Happy reading.     

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Humbug Witch by Lorna Balian

Here is a nice sweet little story for Halloween that is suitable even for very little ones.  You've got to meet this witch!

Star Bright Books and Net Galley allowed me to download an ebook of this story and read it for review (thank you).  It was published August of 2004, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

This is the tale of a strange looking witch with lots of hair, a big nose and black clothes.  She's trying very hard to do magic spells and potions, but she's not having any luck at it.  When she finally gets frustrated, she removes her costume and then we can see she's just a normal little girl, who was all dressed up.

Your little ones will laugh at her antics and enjoy seeing her unveil her costume.   Maybe you could help them create their own costume and wear it for Halloween?  Think what fun they'd have dressing up and how they could take their costumes off piece by piece and micmic the little girl.  Homemade can be more fun than storebought.  Trust me, chidren's imaginations can come up with all kinds of wonderful ideas...

Happy reading. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Wrong Hill To Die On by Donis Casey

She and her husband were only going to Arizona to help her child get over her extremely bad cold.  She'd fit in a visit with her sister while there.  But she had no intention of taking a walk in the morning and finding a dead body in the drainage ditch.

Poisoned Pen Press and Net Galley allowed me download this ebook for review (thank you).  It will be published November 6th, so keep an eye out for it.

Alafair Tucker is a new character for me, so I enjoyed getting to know her in this book.  She's the Mom of a passel of children, loves her children and loves her family.  That why she and Sherm left the family in their oldest daughter's capable hands and came to the dry country with their sick one.

What she didn't expect to find was her sister in a funk.  Even she can see the marriage isn't on the firmest foundation, but she's not sure why.  When the murder happens, she has a whole new concern.  It had to be one of the people who attended their open house welcoming them to Arizona.  Which one of those friendly people could have been so mean?

The answers to those questions are intertwined in the tale and don't have simple answers.  Several of those people there that night were not what they seemed.  They were carrying hurts, secrets, and prejudices.  More bad would will come out before the town and families can start healing.

My favorite characters were Alafair and Shaw, the husband and wife.  They know each others strengths and weaknesses and they work together as a team.  The best part of the whole story is when they come home, but you'll have to read the book to get all the details.  It's worth it.  And I'm sure we'll hear more about this family.

Happy reading.    

Where's My Shoggoth? Ian Thomas

If you sit and read this book with your child, neither one of you will want to go out after dark...

Net Galley and Archaia Entertainment allowed me to download this ebook and review it (thank you).  It was published in September, so you can get a copy now.

I enjoyed reading this story without even understanding what the characters were.  The illustrator's artistic abilities show themselves off well in this dark story.  He begins with a simple illustration of a boy at home, getting ready for bed, who realizes he's missing his pet.  The illustrations have become vibrant when he goes out to hunt for him and he finds all kinds of monstrous looking things.  He just brushes them off because they're not what they are looking for.  But they sure make good Halloween monsters!

What they are is part of the Cthulhu Mythos and there's some legend that goes with them.  It's all imaginary and that's the best part of Halloween, isn't it: Scaring yourself and knowing it doesn't matter.

Just getting your little ones able to pronounce these names will be a challenge.  You can start with Shoggoth...

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...