Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Peculiar Pets of Miss Pleasance by Delilah S. Dawson

Frannie has no family left in the world.  Her brother was killed in a duel trying to defend her honor and now all she has is her business and her secure building where she hides from the world.  It's her habit of taking home small, wounded things and caring for them that makes her take Casper home with her.  That and his offer of decent coin for a room...

Pocket Star and Edelweiss allowed me to download an ebook of this story for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with the stores that sell ebooks for a copy.  I snagged mine on Barnes & Noble.

The title caught my eye on this one.  I'm fond of animals and I wanted to know why her pets were peculiar.  I found out that not only were some of the animals strange, some of the people she meets or knows are a bit strange, too.

Once she takes Casper home, she starts having trouble.  Someone tries to burn her house down.  The best part of that trouble is that she meets a fireman who is named Thom and is Scottish.  He continues to hang around a bit and helps find her animals that have escaped in the confusion of the fire.  

When he finds someone mailed her a viper in an attempt to killer her, Thom gets even more protective.  Casper gets jealous and tries to charm Frannie, but she has no interest in him as a boyfriend.  He's too volatile and flighty.  

There are daemons and other creatures in this world.  Just like people, some good and some are bad.  When she goes to a performance by Casper (he's a master piano player), someone shoots an arrow at her in his box while she watches.  Thom saves her again and their friendship flourishes into something more.

I really enjoyed the romance between these two characters.  Both have suffered loss in the past and very cautious about the future.  The romance is tentative and sweet.  Before the story was over, I wanted a Thom, too, even if he wears a kilt.

This story impressed me enough to purchase a copy so I can read it again.  It was an interesting, fun read and I want to visit with them again.

There are more books in this series, but this one can be read alone.  Why not read it and see if it hooks you, too?

Happy reading.      

Monday, April 29, 2013

Hidden Mercies by Serena B Miller

Claire is an Amish widow who is glad to be alone with her children.  Her deceased husband was a good man, but he was also a hard man.  Now, she just wants to enjoy her family and keep her household running.  She certainly never planned to take in a Marine that collapses on her front porch!

Howard Books and Edelweiss allowed me to download an ebook to read for review (thank you).  The book will be published on April 9th, so make a note to pick it up then.

Tom is a helicopter pilot and is recovering from war injuries.  He has not only these injuries, but damages from the past he is trying to overcome.  This area is home for him, but he's changed his name and his previous lifestyle and no one recognizes him after 27 years.

He's always loved Claire but she was engaged to his brother.  When he's involved in an accident that kills his brother, he leaves the area in shame and is banned from the Amish.

Claire enjoys her conversations with him and gets fond of him.  Then he gets called back to duty; this time it's to fly the president around.  He can't ignore his duty.  It doesn't take long, though, until he realizes that Claire and her family have made a place in his heart and he is no longer the ruthless pilot he used to be.

This is a sweet slow story that calms you as you read it.  I could feel the love between these two and I enjoyed watching Tom slowly earn the love and respect of the people he had once deserted in shame.

If you like Amish stories, you'll enjoy this one.  Why not pick up a copy and settle down for a good read?

Happy reading.     

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Bookstore by Deborah Meyler

She's a young naive English woman here on a scholarship to study art.  Her boyfriend is from a wealthy family and has some problems with relationships.  What turns her life upside down is to find out she's pregnant...

Gallery Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to download an ebook of this story for review (thank you).  It will be on sale August 20th, so you will want to make a note on TBR list to pick it up later.

The title was what drew me into this book.  I thought it would be a tale of working at the local used bookstore and her relationships with those people she worked with and met there.  It was, but it was much more about her innocence and lack of experience with men.  It should have been titled "Innocence Lost".

Esme enjoys being loved, especially by someone as handsome as Mitchell.  When she discovers she's pregnant, she's anxious to tell him and see what he thinks.  She's hoping he will be excited.  When she attempts to tell him, he breaks up with her.  He never even listened to what she wanted to tell him.  That should have been her first clue.

She decides to keep the baby and goes on with her life.  The bookstore staff support her and care about her welfare, so she's not alone.  Then Mitchell shows up again.  She hasn't learned from his first break up with her, even though he said cruel things to her.  I was as innocent as that once, but I got smarter a lot quicker than Esme does.

The main plot is about how dsyfunctional Mitchell is and how destructive his relationship with Esme is.  There is a lot of good book information and camaraderie that offsets the emotional trauma somewhat, but it reminded me of a lifetime movie more than a documentary about a bookstore.

It was an interesting read.  I found myself wanting to yell at Esme:  "Don't do that!  Are you stupid?"  Some women set themselves up to be hurt; that's life.  I prefer stronger characters but this might be very well be your cup of tea.  We all have different reading interests and that's what makes the world go 'round.

Why not grab a copy in August and see what you think?

Happy reading!     

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Deadly Stakes by J.A. Jance

Ali Reynolds is an academy trained police applicant, but the job never materialized.  She's also an ex-journalist.  When a woman she met casually asks her to help prove her innocence in the death of her boyfriend's ex-wife, she decides to take the job.

Touchstone Books and Net Galley let me download the ebook of this story for review (thank you).  The book is already available at your local bookstore, so check with them for a copy.

I've read J A Jance for years and have followed her characters through highs and lows.  It's been a while, though, so when I saw this one I had an urge to see if her writing had changed; I knew her characters had in this book.

There are two stories intertwined in this mystery.  The murdered victim was not alone; there was another body in close proximity.  The only thing relating them is the young boy who found the murdered woman and texted for help and the fact that he is the son of the murdered man.  The man and woman did not know each other.

This is a mix of a dysfunctional family, a con man going straight, greed, love, and honor.  The story is a bit convoluted, but it all ties together at the end.  Ms. Jance keeps your mind busy and releases her clues piece by piece.  

Why not see if you can figure out who murdered whom?

Happy reading.    

Friday, April 26, 2013

Curse of the Ice Dragon by Tara West

He was born with a hunter's mark on his face and that set his fate...

The author and Goddess Blog Fish Tour gave me a copy of the ebook to read for review and to be part of this tour (thank you).  You can pick up a copy of this book at any place selling ebooks now.  It's written for young adults, but I really enjoyed it.  I won't tell if an adult happens to buy a copy for themselves and I know the author won't either.

Markus is the great hunter and has no problem killing his prey with little effort.  His father is determined he will not be emotional or compassionate.  He will be a formidable warrior, but no more.  Markus has an older brother, Alec, who is weak and has trouble breathing and he is the scapegoat for punishment in the family.  Even if it was Marcus who was at fault, Alec gets punished.

The first big problem in Markus' life is that he cannot stand up to his bullying father.  He stays away from him as much as he can and tries to ignore most of what he says.  That makes him feel like a coward.  And when one of the women in the village exposes how the father treats Alec and shames him even more, that problem turns into a monster.

The prophet says if he continues overkilling and hurting the animals, the ice dragon will rise.  Not only that, each time he kills something one of his family will die.  Markus finds that when he mistreated a rabbit, his mother dies in the same way.  And then the ice dragon shows up.  And he thought he had problems before...

This is a big adventure for Markus.  He leaves the village to escape the dragon and keep it after him instead of killing everyone in the village.  While defending himself against the dragon, he falls and finds himself in a new world under the ice.  He falls in love there, but he has to save his village and his love from the witch who wants only power.  It sounds like an impossible quest and how it turns out is amazing.

This is just the first book in this series.  It can be read as a standalone, but I bet it'll hook you enough to see how the tale proceeds in this book. 

Why not hang out with Markus and see if you can tame a dragon and help him with a plan to kill the witch?

Tara will be awarding an e-book in her YA paranormal Whispers series, Visions of the Witch to a randomly drawn commenter at every stop during the tour, and a $25 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

Happy reading.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Mortal Lock by Andrew Vachss

Andrew Vachss writes mean, vicious stories.  He's a lawyer who represents children and most of his stories come from things he's seen in his work.  They aren't stories with happy endings for the most part, but his warriors defending those children make sure the men hurting them feel their pain.  I found this book and noticed it was some of his unpublished earlier works and I wanted to see how he started...

Vintage Crime and Edelweiss allowed me to download a copy and read it for review (thank you).  It will be published May 7th, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

This book include 18 short stories and a screen play.  Theses stories are more tame than his later books.  They're ironic, unusual, and intriguing, but not as mean.  You have everything from assassins to disgruntled writers to supernatural forces.  I found all of them interesting.  None were totally outstanding but they do offer insight into an author whose life has influenced his writing.  It was well worth reading.

Why not get a copy and see what you think of his earlier work?

Happy reading.  

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Bat in the Belfry: A Home Repair Is Homicide Mystery by Sarah Graves

Jacobia "Jake" Tiptree is refurbishing an old house she bought.  She ends up doing other odds and ends for folks, but tries to limit that.  When the church steeple needs repair, she agrees to take a look at that.  So it hits home when a young girl is murdered up there that same night...

Random House and Net Galley allowed me to download an ebook to read for review (thank you).  It will be published April 30th, so be on the lookout for a copy at your local bookstore.

Jake and her friend can't remember if they locked the church door when they left and feel they may have contributed to the death of the young woman.  That guilt makes Jake keep her eyes out for how and why it happened.

This is a busy tale with people full of secrets.  Jake's son and his friend both have things they haven't shared with everyone.  The young woman's drunk father is determined to kill her killer.  The local bully/gang members are lurking around the edges and may have some involvement.  It's not a direct line to the killer.

The author will keep you reading and wondering until the end of the book.  I like books that do that.

Want to do a search in a small town with Jackie?  Just open the book and start reading.

Happy reading.     

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Deadly Harvest: A Detective Kubu Mystery by Michael Stanley

Detective Kubu is back and on the trail of a witch doctor this time.

Harper Paperbacks and Edelweiss allowed me download an ebook of this story (thank you).  It was published April 10th, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

This mystery is set in Botswana, and the pace there is a bit more laid back than in the states.  Many people are poor, AIDS is prevalent, and superstitions abound.  Kubu is a bit unusual because he cares about his cases.  He's methodical, thinks about them carefully and is determined to solve them.  In this case, however, he's looking for an invisible man...

To add to his concerns, a young woman constable has been added to the staff and she is investigating missing persons.  She has a personal interest in this as someone in her life went missing long ago.  When she begins to search for a missing young girl, she finds the police haven't done much of a search.  As she asks questions, she begins to wonder if the girl's body might have been used by a witch doctor to give his followers power in the form of "muti".  Kubu isn't sure how he feels about this.

Then another girl goes missing and her father loses control and kills a man.  Kubu is investigating that case and finds the politician had "muti" in his drawer and that was probably why he got elected.   Maybe this idea isn't so far off the wall after all.

Then an albino goes missing...

The author managed to keep me wondering who the murder could be.  He was always disguised by a mask and animal skin.  No one who talked to him knew who he was.  It's important for Kubu to figure out who he is before he becomes one of the victims.

Africa is a different county and I enjoyed learning about the culture and environment as much I enjoyed the mystery.  

Why don't you settle into a comfortable chair and follow Kubu on his quest to solve this mystery?

Happy reading.    

Monday, April 22, 2013

Jessie's War by Meggan Connors

Jessie's father was an inventor.  It was one of his inventions that helped create the air steamships they used in the Civil War.  That war took her brother and her lover and her father died in a mine accident.  Her mother was gone long ago.  Jessie is half-Indian and untrusted by all.  She's all alone and has no place to go...  

The author and Goddess Fish Blog sent me an ebook of this story for the tour (thank you).  You can purchase the book anywhere you buy ebooks now.

Jessie has holed up in her father's old cabin.  It looks rundown and ugly, but it has a unique defense system that keeps her safe.  When she gets a knock at the door, she imagines it will be the sheriff.  When she opens the door, she almost has a heart attack.  It's her "dead" lover, obviously alive.

Luke is back and wants her help.  She can't forgive him for letting her think he was dead and never writing to her once.  He's in the secret service and needs to use her to get his assignment done.  The problem he has is that he is still in love with her and doesn't want to lose her again...

This is an interesting story with unusual inventions, a continuing war and Indian myths.  Jessie's Grandfather is a shaman.  He handfasts her to Luke and tells her she's married to him.  She still hasn't even decided if she likes him anymore and now she's married to him!  Her Grandfather tells her Luke is a bridge but she doesn't understand what that means until later.

This author broke my heart at one point in the story.  I just couldn't believe she'd do that.  I wasn't even sure I wanted to read anymore of the story.  I'm glad I did, though, because it all works out at the end.  She obviously drew me in and made me care about her characters or it wouldn't have affected me that much.  I wonder if it will do that to you...

Meggan will be awarding a silver pocket watch pendant and a cameo choker, and a signed paperback copy of The Marker, her historical romance to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. (US/CANADA ONLY)

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: 

Happy reading.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Badlands Bride by Adrianne Wood

As soon as he saw that flash of red, he should have high-tailed it out of that mining camp...

I won a copy of this book from a contest the author sponsored and I enjoyed it enough I'm going to do a review.  You can get a copy either in paperback or ebook form, whichever is your preference.

Mason is a burnt-out journalist who is trying to get the spark going again.  He has returned to this mining camp, where he has already done one article, in hopes of finding another article or just plain revitalizing his life.  He never had any intention of meeting Lily.

Lily is from a Boston family and has been living in Colorado for eight years.  She's at the camp with her grandfather and a potential beau.  It's time for her to consider getting wed but she's not overly taken with Cecil.  He would be a good match (her grandfather likes him), but does he really care for her?  Maybe she can get Mason to flirt with her and make him jealous.

Her wealthy grandfather has some secrets; so does Cecil.  Her flirtation with Mason becomes real.  Nothing in camp is what it seems and even Lily's life is not what she was told.  Her whole world turns upside down.

This is a good western story as well as a well-told romantic tale.  I enjoyed the read.  Why not get a copy and pull up a chair and visit a mining camp with Mason and Lily?

Happy reading.   

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Crypt Thief by Mark Pryor

He might have gotten away with it if he hadn't killed the two people walking in the cemetery at night...

Seventh Street Books sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It will be published for the 7th of May, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

This is the second Hugo Marston mystery.  Hugo is an interesting cop.  He's a dedicated cop, thinks outside the box, and doesn't do too well with female relationships.  He understands the lines of authority and power, but he doesn't always follow themWhen his opinion is that the murder of the Senator's son is incidental, there's more to the killer's motivation to that, he's stubborn enough to look beyond the two cemetery murders for more clues.

Mr. Pryor always creates unique bad guys.  He likes strange, off-the-wall characters that don't fit any type and are motivated by something unimaginable.  This character is stealing bones from graveyards.  No one know why or how he is getting there.  What could he be using them for?  When Hugo starts getting close, the murderer suddenly starts stalking him. 

The author draws you, wets your interest, and keeps you reading.  You won't be bored and your heart rate might increase in some of the conflict scenes.

Why not talk a walk with Hugo Marston through a cemetery one night and see what you find?

Happy reading.   

Friday, April 19, 2013

Shadow Dragon by Lance Horton

This is a horror story but it's even more horrifying because it could be real...

The author sent me a copy of his book for review (thank you).  It's available now, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

Kyle is an FBI agent who is trying to get on the team and prove his worthiness.  When he gets chosen to go on a case with another team member, he's thrilled to get his chance.  If he had any idea of what he was getting into, he probably would have resigned from the FBI instead.

Three men have been murdered in a cabin on Shadow Mountain.  There isn't much of the bodies left to identify and it's a grisly sight in the cabin and outdoors.  There is no evidence or clue left for the FBI to work worth.  Who or what killed them?

Then a skier disappears and the couple that owns the cabin is killed.  What kind of predator could be out there?

I was imagining Bigfoot but the actual predators are much worse.  When scientists begin manipulating genetics to create a weapon for war, a monster is born.

This is a story I would read and then set down and go do something else for a bit.  It's intense, ugly, and entirely possible.  You won't be bored, your heart will beat faster, and you'll be afraid the characters you like won't get out alive.  Not all of them do, but you'll keep reading until you get to the end. 

Want to chill your soul and perhaps have trouble sleeping at night?  Then read this book; it's right up your alley.

Happy reading.   

Eeny Up Above! Jane Yolen, Kathryn Brown (Illustrated by)

Eeny is a mole.  Her sisters are very happy in their home but Eeny is more adventuress.  She goes up and samples all of the seasons of the y...