Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Resurrectionist by E B Hudspeth

Want to take a walk through a crazy man's brain?  Here's a chance!

Quirk 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.

This is not the type of book I usually read, but the author held my attention.  Much of the story is done in letters written by the doctor; you can see him going downhill in his own words.  

Dr. Spencer Black's father was a grave robber. At first, Dr. Black intended to be a medical doctor.  Then he found oddities of the body called to him.  Eventually he found himself following a travelling show and offering the curiosities that people pay to see.  In time, he wanted to go even further than that with his research. When he starts trying to graft wings on people and the like, you know he's gone over the edge.

Even more chilling are the drawings shown in the back of the book.  Purported to be the work of anatomy done by Dr. Black, there are monsters there I haven't seen anywhere before (and have no wish to either).

If you like odd books and crazy people, you won't want to miss this book.  It's interesting even if it isn't your cup of tea.

Happy reading.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Doll Bones by Holly Black read by Nick Podehl

Zack was just a regular boy.  He played sports, hung out with the guys, and enjoyed time with his Mom.  He also imagined great adventures with two neighbor girls after school.  They each had action figures and they negotiated the game as they went along.  That is, until his Dad came back home and decided to live with them again.  He threw out Zack's action figures.  That was the first part of Zach's troubles...

Random House/Listening Library sent me an audio CD book to listen to for review (thank you).  This has been published, so buy it where it wherever audio books are sold.

This author understands children feelings and their confusion about life.  There are times when you feel afraid of everything and that's the journey these three children are going to take.

Nick Podehl is the reader and he's amazing.  He can do both girls and boys voices, instills anger and fear in the voices, and keeps you listening for nuances as the story goes on.

At the center of the story is the "Queen", an antique doll that was made with some of the hair and ashes from the maker's girl's body.  The ghost of that girl is still in the doll, and she sends Zach and the girls on a final quest to return her doll body to the grave.

They sneak off in the middle of the night to go on the trip to graveyard, but they have no idea what they are going to encounter and how dangerous the trip can be...

I enjoyed how innovative the children were and how Zach's Dad came to realize that his actions were uncalled for; the past doesn't have to be repeated in the present.  It's an exciting story and comes in both print and audio book form.  It was written for young adults, but it's very readable by older folks, too.

Happy reading/listening.

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Savage Fortress by Sarwat Chadda read by Bruce Mann

Ash is on vacation in India and looking forward to returning home.  He certainly didn't expect to get involved with gods, rakshasas (shapeshifters) and a man seeking immortality.  Now he's not even sure he'll live long enough to get back to England...

Random House/Listening Library sent me a copy of the audio book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check wherever you buy audio books to get a copy now.

This is written for middle graders but I'd be a bit cautious about that guideline.  The story includes death and horrific attacks by monsters.  It's very exciting but it could also give you nightmares.  Consider yourself warned.

When Ash finds a gold arrowhead and takes it with him, he has no idea what he has set in motion.  Lord Savage wants his Uncle to translate a very old language for him; when the Uncle refuses, he kills him and his wife.  The children escape, but Ash isn't prepared to fight monsters.  Nor is he sure how to protect Lucky, his little sister.  He's taken in by an old man with powers who puts them a safe house; but Ash doesn't want to stay there.

This is a good read with a history lesson about the legends of India.  Mr. Mann does an excellent job with all the various voices and I love his English accent.  Mr. Chadda makes Ash a well intentioned young man who makes mistakes, just like real people do.  Instead of surrendering the gold arrowhead, he fights back.

If you're looking for an action packed story that will keep you reading (or listening), look no further.  This one will do it for you.

Happy reading.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Brixen Witch by Stacy DeKeyser

He never would have picked up that golden coin if he'd known it belonged to a witch...

Margaret K. McElderry Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this ebook for review (thank you).  It was just published yesterday, so head on down to your local bookstore to get a copy.

Rudi lived in a small village in the mountains where times were hard.  No one had much and every penny was treasured.  When he found a gold coin, all he thought of was how much his family needed it.  His grandmother knew better and made him return it.  His problems got worse when he falls on the mountain and loses the coin...

Despite returning the coin, he continues to have bad dreams.  His grandmother tells him he'll have to return to the mountain and find the coin and really return it to the witch to get rid of his bad dreams.  The only problem is that he has to wait for the weather to get better.  Before that can happen, the village gets infested by rats...

With a touch of magic, a witch, and a witch's apprentice that wants her power, this is a lively tale with several twists in it.  I especially liked the young girl who helps Rudi beat the evil apprentice.

This is written for ages 8-12, but I'm buying myself a copy for my library.  I enjoyed the tale and will have fun reading it again.  Why don't you give it a try and see what you think?

Happy reading.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Shrapnel by Stephanie Lawton

Can you imagine being able to hear cannon fire from the past?  Foreseeing your brother's death?  Being overcome by the overload of emotions of other people?  No?  Well, meet the three young teens in this story and you have all these "talents" and more in one place.

As part of Evernight Teen’s Summer Kick-off Blog Hop, the author shared an ebook of her story with me (thank you).  You can find it now at at the usual sites (Amazon, B&N, AllRomance ebooks) and the website

Dylan is young woman who carries a chip on her shoulder.  Her father left her mother when he found her with another woman, and now the whole school thinks Dylan is a lesbian, too.  Hearing and seeing things she doesn't want to experience makes her even more odd.  This TV show special is supposed to help her learn how to deal with her skills and help her get rid of the ghost occupying her bedroom.

Jake is an emotional mess if he gets into a crowd or a high stress situation.  He also is a healer.  He needs to be able to protect himself somehow. Ashley saw her brother's death but was too scared to tell anyone about it.  Now she's carrying a good-sized guilt complex and is still is fearful of what else she might see.

The show hosts intend to show them how to see the ghosts around them and how to deal with them.  They also show them how to create a shield around themselves.  But they weren't aware of how just dangerous the ghost in the home they are occupying for the weekend could be.  Or that there could be more than one...

I was impressed by the way this author presented the story.  It's fantasy but she's makes it believable.  She also twists the tale enough that you can't be sure what's going to happen.  I found myself rooting for one character and then changing to another one.  Everyone in this book has their challenges to deal with and I empathized with them all due to the author's talent.

If you'd like to win a copy of this ebook, please leave a comment on my blog with an email address to contact you and we'll pick a winner from the entrants in a few days.  Here's the blog list if you'd like to check out the other reviews and enter more than one contest: Blog List  I hope you win!

Happy reading.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Best of Connie Willis: Award-Winning Stories by Connie Willis

This is an esoteric collection of science fiction stories by Ms. Willis that includes several of her Hugo and Nebula award winners.  They are all a bit strange; none of them are boring.  Are you ready to take a walk in a future world?

Del Ray and Edelweiss allowed me to download a copy of this ebook for review (thank you).  It will available to buy on July 9th, so check with your local bookstore then.

Most of these stories are a bit quirky; they are not the normal run-of-the mill science fiction stories.  They can make you shudder, make you wonder, and make you glad some of this won't happen.  There is nothing ambivalent about these stories.

Here are some examples for you:

The Last of the Winnebagos:  They are banned from most highways now and the sole remaining one is a tourist attraction.

The Winds of Marble Arch:  The tube holds some surprises as he rides it by himself; he can hear and smell the past.  What does it mean?

And, for purely female reasons, this one:

Even the Queen:  Now you don't have to have periods anymore...

The stories can be quaint or futuristic, they can be funny or sad, but they leave an imprint on you.  I like it when an author can do that.  There has to be a story for everyone here, why not read it and see what you think?

 Happy reading!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Ennara and the Fallen Druid by Angela Myron

Ennara was caulborn and is thought to have special powers.  Her parents have kept her hidden to protect her from those who would like to control her powers.  It's a bit boring growing up at home and not being allowed to go anywhere.  Then she's attacked by a shadowspawn...

Goddess Fish Blog Tour and the author allowed me to read an ebook of this story.  You can buy the book in the following places:  Amazon , Barnes & Noble , and Smashwords .

Her family requests the local wizard to come and see if he can help them with the shadow demons hiding in the woods.  When he arrives, he brings them bad news.  The shadow demons are everywhere.  His only hope is to cross the ocean and visit a city buried under the sea.  And he need to take Ennara with him.

I really enjoyed this fantasy tale.  Ennara is young and inexperienced.  She finds herself in impossible situations but, with the help of her friends and some luck, she gets out of trouble.  Even when the wizard is hurt and they must go on without him, she doesn't hesitate and does what she must.

The author makes her characters strong, brave enough to face their fears, and dedicated to each other.  That resonated with me.  She also adds one little twist to the end of the story that I really liked, it made me smile.

Whether you are old or young, this a good fantasy adventure I think you'll enjoy it. 

Angela will be awarding to a randomly drawn commenter during each week on the tour, a wall calendar print from (Items can be exchanged for other equal or lesser value items from Ennara Swag on Cafepress.), and will award a t-shirt from to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour (US ONLY). 

Here is where to enter the contests:  T-shirt  &  Calendar

Happy reading.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Bone Quill by John Barrowman, Carole E. Barrowman

Matt and Emily are Animare; they can draw a picture and make it come to life.  It's a magic power and it can be both exciting and dangerous...

Alladin and Edelweiss allowed me to download an ebook of this story for review.  It will be published July 9th, so check with your local bookstore for a copy then.

Long, long ago an old Monk told the tale of good versus evil by writing it in The Book of Beasts with a bone quill.  The magical children have descended from him and must recover these artifacts to keep the world as it is.  While the evil was sent into the Hollow Earth, it is still trying to escape.  The power hidden within tempts the twins' father.  He is "bound" to stop him from using the twin's power when they are three.  His father and wife do it because they must; the father's too dangerous.

When the twins travel through time, they set events into place for change in history.  Trying to fix the problems, they create more.  And when they get separated, Matt sets his Dad free to save Emily.  How will all this turn out?

This was an interesting read with some different concepts being explored.  I found it intriguing but was a bit disappointed to see that you have to read the next book to see how it all works out.  There is lots of action.  I liked Emily better than Matt; Matt tended to be a bit self-centered.  The chase at the end had me sitting on the edge of my chair.  

Are you ready to on a dangerous adventure through time and back again?  Then you'd better get this book!

Happy reading.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

More Bitter Than Death by Camilla Grebe

Their only witness is a small girl who was under the kitchen table, hidden by the tablecloth, drawing.  She only saw the man's feet, but she understood he was doing something bad to her mother...

Edelweiss and Simon & Schuster allowed me download and read an ebook of this story (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

This is the first book I've read by this author.  The story is set in Stockholm.  Her main character is Siri and there was an earlier book in the series.  This book can be read as a stand alone.  There is enough reference to the past to give you the background needed.

Siri is back at work and counseling couples again.  She's still a bit fragile from her own past experiences, but she's getting better every day.  When she's offered a new job with her work partner, she's willing to take it on.  There was no way to know just how bad it was going to get...

This is a really good look at the psychology of love.  The women they are counseling have been the victims of domestic violence.  Love is entwined with fear; the victim begins to feel they deserve it and they aren't worth anything; and it can take something extreme to free them.  One lady in the group is not what she seems; her words are often lies, but no one sees it. In the midst of this turmoil, Siri gets pregnant.  Now she has even more reason for emotional turmoil. She also gets a little too close to some of her patients.

This is not a pleasant tale.  Watching broken people try to put themselves back together again is hard to do.  Some never make it.  It seems those counseling had as many problems or more than those they were counseling.

What I couldn't believe was the revelation in the last few pages that someone had orchestrated that woman's death and escaped unscathed.  Everyone else is in jail, but she's free and happy.  And crazy...

Happy reading.

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Whizz Pop Chocolate Shop by Kate Saunders read by Jayne Entwistle

The Spoffards have inherited an old chocolate shop with living quarters from an Uncle they thought had died long ago.  They anticipated selling it, but found it much larger and nicer than the house they currently lived in.  So they sold that one instead and moved in...

Random House/Listening Library sent me a copy of this audio book for review (thank you).  It is being sold now anywhere you can purchase audio books.

Your first clue that things might not be normal is when Lily finds a lovely cat meeting them on the sidewalk.  She pets her and talks to her and is thrilled; she'd been asking for a cat.  Unfortunately, her parents can't see her and Oz wasn't looking.  Little does Lily suspect that soon she and Oz, her twin, would be off on a great adventure.

I found this audio version of the book lovely.  Ms. Entwistle does a nice light English accent and has a nice variety of tone and accents that make it great fun to listen to.  The cat is vain and has airs; she makes her sound like a fretful Queen of England.  The talking rat, Spike, sounds like a cocky little fella, plus he likes to smoke.  The author even adds in an invisible elephant.  What's not to like?

There's good action, magic, gold masks, witches, and more in this tale.  Middle graders to young adults would like it.  I really enjoyed it and I'm no youngster.  Why not get a copy and see what you think?

Happy reading.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Aces Wild by Erica Perl read by Abigail Revasch

Did you read When Life Gives You OJ?  If not, you might want to start with that book.  Zelly wanted a dog so badly that her Grandpa made her up an imaginary dog from an orange juice gallon plastic container.  She had to take it for walks, feed it, take it outside to do its business, and, in short, prove she could care for a dog.  She did and they found her one at the pound that was just perfect.  Well, other than the fact that he was a puppy...

Random House/Listening Library sent me a copy of this audio book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check wherever you buy your audio books for a copy.

Zelly named her dog Ace, after her grandfather.  After all, she could call him Grandpa and her grandparents would be traveling.  Then her grandmother died and Grandpa took over their basement.  He also demanded everyone call him Ace.  They had such confusion in the house when someone yelled "Ace!"  Which Ace was in trouble?  Since both Ace's were like a wild card, you couldn't be sure.

Ms. Revasch has a very nice reading voice and can speak Yiddish fluently.  Seeing the words on paper doesn't help me pronounce them, so I really enjoyed this oral read.  She has a small voice she uses for little brother Sam, a raspy old man's voice for Grandpa Ace, Zelly is a bit more soprano than Mom and Dad sounds almost middle-aged.  

This story is about training Ace, the dog.  Grandpa Ace could use some training, too.  He's started dating and it bothers Zelly.  With an embarrassing dog and Grandpa, Zelly has her work cut out for her.

There is discussion at the end of the story on how to train a dog.  It's mostly done with treats and kind words and lots of patience.  If you have a child begging for a dog, this would be a good book for them to listen to.  It shows how much work it is and how things don't go as smoothly as you wish they did.

My animals are part of my family.  They sometimes disappoint me and sometimes need to be retrained, but so does my husband.  That's just life.  Enjoy your pets and enjoy your books, too.

Happy reading.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Beholding Bee by Kimberley Newton Fusco read by Ariadne Meyers

Bee is an orphan with a birth mark on her face.  She works and lives with Pauline; they do the hotdog stand and travel with the circus.  But the owner keeps eyeballing Bee; he wants her to become a roadside attraction within his show.

Random House/Listening Library sent me a copy of this audio book for review.  It has been published and you can pick up a copy now.

It amazes me how different a story can sound when it's read aloud.  I reviewed the book and really liked it, but this audio read is even better.  Ms. Meyers does an excellent job with the voices and instills Bee's fear in you.  Ellis is an evil man (in Bee's view) and she's afraid to be around him.  She's also afraid to be alone.  When Pauline meets a young man who dates her and spends some money on her, she thinks she's fallen in love.  When Ellis splits up the act and creates one that stays in one location permanently with the rest on the road, Pauline goes with her lover.  Poor Bea finds herself alone, except for a dog she was not allowed to have but smuggled around quietly.

Bea is young and inexperienced, but she has good instincts.  She knows Ellis is going to ask her to become part of the show, she has lost Bobby (her one piece of security left) because he's going to another job, and so she takes her dog and sets out on her own.

This is a fantasy tale with ghosts from the past helping Bee get through her present.  It's well done, will make you laugh and cry both, and there's hope for the future at the end.  I'd love to read more about Bee and her life.  Maybe we'll be lucky enough Ms. Fusco might bring her back.

Happy reading.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Tell-Tale Start by Gordon McAlpine read by Arte Johnson

This is Book One of The Misadventures of Edgar & Allan Poe series.  And what a start it is!

Listening Library and Random House sent me a copy of the audio book for review (thank you).  It has been published and will keep you busy for three hours.  This is appropriate for middle schoolers and older.

Audio books (CD's in this case) remind me of the old radio programs.  You don't have to suffer through commercials here, though.  Mr. Johnson has an enthusiasm in his voice that excites you as a listener.  He adopts different voices very easily and some of the written word become even more entertaining than reading would be as he plays the parts.

Edgar and Allan Poe are identical twins; they are so close they can read other's mind and they think exactly the same.  They can quickly adjust to situations, have learned more in school than other of the other students, and they will need all those skills to stay alive.  Their parents have already been killed, so it's just them (and their aunt and uncle) against the evil forces after them.

The story is a cross between silly, scary, and funny and I enjoyed hearing it.  The last part of the book sets up the premise for the next in the series.  I'll be watching for that one, too.

Happy listening!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Tristis Manor by J. R. Wagner

This is a dark tale filled with despair until the end.  There is no sweetness and light in this story; it's mean all the way through.  If that hasn't scared you off, go ahead and read it.  I bet you won't forget it.

Solomon Caw Publishing and Net Galley allowed me to download and read an ebook of this story for review (thank you).  It was published in March, so you can get a copy of the ebook now from any vendor who offers them.

Margaret's father travels for his work and is gone months at a time.  Her mother is abusive and angry all the time.  Margaret has even been abused by her mother's male friend.  Her only solace is to cause herself enough pain that she can forget the horror...

Her father is a loving man and he can tell that something is wrong, but he will be going away again.  She can't tell him; it's bad enough when he's gone now and it would get worse.  She's right.  When it all comes to a head, it's a horrific ending.

This is part of the Never Chronicles.  There will be a sequel to this story I'm sure; the ending gives you a suggestion why.  I found this tale almost too dark for me.  I was waiting for redemption and love to save Margaret but that was false hope.  She does have a chance for a new beginning and I guess I'll have to be happy with that.

If you're someone who can read anything and it doesn't bother you, I still think this book will stick in your memory and make you think about it.  Go ahead, read it, and tell me what you think about it.  I'd be interested in hearing.

Happy reading.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Plum Deadly by Ellie Grant

First she was accused of embezzlement.  Now she's accused of murder!

Gallery Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this ebook for review (thank you).  It will be published in September and is the start of a new cozy mystery series, so make a note to pick it up at your local bookstore.

Maggie lost her apartment, all her belongings and most of her life when she got accused of embezzlement.  She was innocent, but no one believed her.  So she heads home to North Carolina and her aunt's pie shop.  Her aunt raised her and she worked in the pie shop in her youth, but she loved her new life.  "Loved" being the right tense for that life because it was over.  Now she just wants to calm down, think about who might have framed her, and to get back into the game again.

It looks like she might have a chance at that when her ex-boss shows up and says he's having a news conference the next morning and will disclose the name of the real embezzler.  He won't tell her who it is because he like grandstanding and taking all the credit.  It gets even worse when she finds him dead at shop's back door when they get ready to close in the evening.  The local police think she poisoned him!

This is a pretty good mystery and with a bit romance thrown in.  The story flows well and the killer was surprise to me.  I especially like the last few lines in the book that set up the premise for the next story.  She presents it well and hooks your interest.  I'll be watching for it.

Happy reading.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Bat: The First Inspector Harry Hole Novel by Jo Nesbo

Harry Hole is sent to Australia to help investigate a young Norwegian woman's murder there.  It's also to help him recover from the car accident that killed his partner and made him an alcoholic.  This is the first Harry Hole mystery Mr. Nesbo wrote.

Edelweiss and Black Lizard allowed me to download an ebook and read it for review (thank you).  The book will be published the second of July, so make a note to pick it up now.  If you've read any of Mr. Nesbo's books, you will certainly want to read this one.

Harry is a very complex character.  He's a good cop, a faithful friend and he believes in right and wrong.  The fact that he's often in the wrong doesn't bother him a lot.  There's the right way, the wrong way, and Harry's way.

I was amazed to find that Harry's love life is doomed even from the first book.  He's not a hard man to love, he just has a problem keeping his women.  Somehow, they all slip away from him.

This mystery is complex and odd.  The killer is not who I suspected, the motive was strange, and the ending is very ironic.  The killer got his due at the end.

You won't be bored.  As the bodies stack up and the pace intensifies, you'll turn the pages faster.  Harry makes some wrong guesses in the beginning, but he finally homes in on the killer.  You'll be running as fast as he is to catch him.  

Check it out; these books always fascinate me and make me want to read more.  Mr. Nesbo's work captures me and fascinates me to the end of the story.  Why not give him a try?

Happy reading.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Monsters University by Barbara Bazaldua

Mike, the one eyed monster, sets his life goal at first grade:  He's going to be a scarer!  The fact that he's the smallest in school has nothing to do with it.  He KNOWS he's going to be a scarer.

Golden Books/Random House 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 never saw the movie, so I had great fun meeting all the monsters that the Disney Pixar team created.  My favorite was Sully.  He's big, fluffy, and likes to bend the rules a bit.  Mike's team for competition is the one least likely to succeed.  They start awful, begin to do better, and when Mike does the final scary moment, they win.  Then Mike finds out Sully cheated so Mike would pass the scream test...

This story is done tastefully and with a good message for children.  It's a delight to read and Monster fans should be happy to see them again.  Give it a try.

Happy reading.

Survival Skills: Stories by Jean Ryan

What do a young greyhound who has refused to run and a young woman who's hiding from life have in common?  The one who loves them both.

Library Thing and Ashland Creek Press shared this ebook with me for review.  It has been published and you can get it at any place that carries ebooks. 

If you like raw, gritty stories, this short story anthology is for you.  This author understands how fragile relationships can be and how wounded people can attach themselves to animals or a function just to remain sane.  Most of her characters are lesbian if that should matter to you.

I like her plain talk and her insight.  These are not cheery stories, but they are believable life stories.  My favorite story was the very first in the book, Greyhound.  If you have done any work with feral or abused animals, you'll recognize the small steps it took to develop the animals trust.  Sometimes those same techniques work with humans.

Happy reading.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Flame in the Mist by Kit Grindstaff

She lives in a world of mist and never sees the sunshine.  She's not even sure what it looks like...

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

Anglavia is a dark place, in more ways than one.  Jemma has always felt like she didn't really fit in there and not just because she had red hair.  They rejoiced in evil and she could not make herself find pleasure there.  When she decides to leave before her birthday, she begins to find the depth of their evil.  They had plans to make her the next sacrifice at their festival.  They had bones hidden in secret passages.  They had secrets she didn't want to know.

When she steals her mother's pendant and finds her way out of the castle, she learns the mist can confuse her and mislead her.  Getting away is not easy.  Fearing the hunters and their dogs, she does what she must to stay alive.

This story is action packed, has a lovely young heroine who wants to save the land and the people (if she lives long enough) and ghosts and magic are involved.  I enjoyed this fantastic fantasy tale; it's not just for young adults.  

If you want to take a walk on the dark side of the world and don't mind a few dead people, this is a good read for you.  It's also a battle between good and evil and you don't know which way it's going to go until the end of the story.  Are you brave enough to read this?

Here's the link to the trailer for the book:  Flame in the Mist
That should tweak your interest!

Happy reading.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Alvin Ho Allergic to Babies, Burglars, and Other Bumps in the Night by Lenore Look

Alvin the nervous is back again.  Alvin is afraid of almost anything, but especially change.

Schwartz & Wade sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check it out at your local bookstore.  There are others in this same series, so take a look at those, too.

Alvin has survived school, camping, birthday parties and even finding a dead body, but this is too much.  His mother is having a baby!  He doesn't want or need a baby in his life, but he has no choice.  It's coming and he had better prepare!

Alvin always makes me laugh.  He gets so concerned about things.  I was a bit like that as a child and I think that's why it amuses me.  He overreacts to most things and when it's all over and done, he's surprised about how it worked out and how it wasn't so bad.

Why not find out how Alvin tries to plan for this and how his best laid plans fall apart?  It's worth a read.

Happy reading.

Lunch Lady and the Video Game Villian by Jarrett J Krosoczka

The Lunch Lady is back again and fighting crime once more!

Knopf sent me a copy of this new graphic novel to review (thank you).  The book has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

The thefts began slowly; a lost phone here and a misplaced video game there.  Soon, no one in school could hold to any electronic device.  Where were they all going?  Why would anyone need that many?  And who at the school was stealing them?  Watch out, Lunch Lady is on the hunt!

This series is easy to read, full of action and adventure, done in graphic form which makes it a short read.  It's a bit punny and funny, but that adds to its charm.  There are more of this series, so if this book is a hit, buy some of the back issues for your reader.  Several children collect these, so it's a popular series.

Happy reading.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Rump, The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff

Here's a tale of Rumplestiltskin that you haven't heard before and won't forget!

Knopf Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so race down to your local bookstore and get a copy; this one will go fast.

Everybody's name defines their lives in this fairy tale world.  When his mother dies giving him birth and only gets the word out "Rump", the lady raising him knew it would give him trouble.  She was right.  He was small for his age and got bullied all the time.

Rump is now 12 and since he spends a lot of time alone, he's messing about in the yard and finds an old wood pile to snoop through.  Imagine his surprise when he spots an old spinning wheel in it.  He never expected his "grandma" to get so upset!

There are pixies, trolls, poison apples, an evil queen and even Little Red Riding Hood in the story.  Red warns that using magic makes the user pay a toll and Rump finds out the hard way.  

All in all, this was a wondrous read and I loved this book; so much so, it's going in my library.  It's a keeper. If you like fantasy, you'll enjoy this story!

Happy reading.

Zigzag Zoom by Patricia Reilly Giff

The Zigzag school kids are back again and this time they're going to have a race!

Wendy Lamb Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for it.  This is a series, so check for the earlier books, too.  It's a great read for those moving into chapter books.

The children in this series are typical kids.  Some are uncoordinated, some can't sing or paint, and some aren't good at physical sports.  But they all can smile, work together and accomplish their goals.  All the talents they have merge into success for them.

This time, they are going to run a foot race.  The Zigzag Zebras have been challenged by the Timpanzi Tigers.  They have a few difficulties.  They have to walk to their practice field and are almost worn out when they get there.  They've picked the wrong person to be their lead "runner".  Gina sings, she doesn't run fast.  No one is listening when she tries to tell them who should hold that position.  

No matter how big a mess they get in, they somehow manage.  That's pretty much what life is like anyway, isn't it?  I have had fun reading this series.  Why not see if your young one likes it?

Happy reading.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Fierce Creatures by A.W. Hartoin

Matilda Whipplethorn is a fairy kindler.  She can make fire by magic and throw it with her hands.  This marvelous ability scares the people of her world.  Her classmates and their families will not live with her family anymore because she's dangerous.  It makes her very sad...

The author and Goddess Fish Blog Tours let me read a copy of the ebook of this story.  You can purchase a copy now at any place that has ebooks for sale.

Matilda was learning to be a healer, but her Grandmother died before she got much training.  Even so, she has access to her Grandmother's books and she uses them as a reference source.  When her teacher from school collapses and her lips turn blue while out on a walk, Matilda knows she has a challenge in trying to heal her.  She doesn't give up though.  Not even when she finds out she has to go back to the mall and barter with the same creatures who kidnapped her to get the herb that will help...

I really loved this story.  There are all kinds of fairies, some good and some bad, there are trolls, trees, and a huge variety of make believe creatures.  The mall is a war zone, with one side trying to keep it's ground and the other side trying to take it.  Matilda ends up with two love interests, making it more exciting.  And, the best part?  The story isn't over yet.  I could already see the groundwork being laid for the next novel.

I'm just sorry I missed the first story.  This one is fine read alone, but I think reading them both would better.  Why not buy them both and let me know what you think?  

I'll be watching for the next one.   I really enjoyed my visit in this world.  (The troll is cool, too.) 

The author will award  an ebook copy of either A Fairy's Guide to Disaster or It Started with a Whisper to a commenter at each tour stop, and a grand prize of $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter. 

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

Good luck and happy reading!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Extra Famous Calvin Coconut by Graham Salisbury

Calvin and Zombies?!?  Oh yeah!

Wendy Lamb Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookshop for a copy.  There are several in this series and it's a great one for both boys and girls.  Calvin is an interesting kid.

When Calvin sees an old friend from the past, he grabs his buddy and goes to check him out.  While chatting, Benny (a teller of tall tales) invited them to be extras in his Uncle's movie.  Calvin's willing even though his buddy thinks it's all just talk.  It's not; it's a Zombie movie!

I'm not wild about Zombies, but this book is really cute.  It's more about making the movie and how the children had to learn to act Zombie-like than Zombies and it's a fun read.

Why not follow along with Calvin and see how this new adventure works for him?

Happy reading.

Alice-Miranda Takes the Stage by Jacqueline Harvey

Alice-Miranda is back.  School is starting again and life is good.  So what there is an odd new student and stories of a witch in the woods.  Everything will be fine...

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

Alice-Miranda is like a cross between Pollyanna and Mary Poppins.  She's always positive and looking for a solution and she is from a rich family and can make things happen.  It's almost like magic.

In this story, the new girl is supposed to be sucking up to the rich kids so she and her mother will be invited to their parties and Mom can find a rich man better able to support her in the style she covets.  When, by accident, the mother finds the school building the boys are in can be had by default if any boy fails a class, she sends her daughter to "fix" tests.

Alice-Miranda takes a wrong turn in the woods and meets the "witch".  While she's making friends with the witch, the other evil is going on.  Of course, Alice-Miranda gets in the middle of fixing the problem and all comes out well.  

I find Alice-Miranda just a little good to be true.  She's always winning over her enemies.  Life doesn't work out that way.  However, this a very nice story for young girls who like happy endings.  It's an easy read and A-M is already for another adventure.

Happy reading.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Ball Park Mysteries 7: The San Francisco Splash by David A Kelly

Mike and Kate are at the game again, this time in San Francisco.  They are out there on the bay hoping to pick up a "splash ball".  Homeruns often get as far as the water.  What they end up saving is not a ball though; it's an ex-baseball player!

This is a Random House Stepping Stone Book that was sent to me for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can snag a copy at your local bookstore.  There are several more in this series, so check those out, too.  It's great for any baseball fan or for boys.

When Mike helps get the older man out of the water, he learns he's a famous player who has played in the world series.  Then they find his series ring is missing.  Did it fall in the bay or was it stolen?

These are easy to read chapter books that have a mystery to solve.  Even if your child is not wild about reading, these might entice them.  Why not give it a try?

Happy reading.

Odessa Again by Dana Reinhardt

Odessa doesn't want to move.  She really doesn't want to move, what's the matter with where they live now?  No one listens.  Then she finds a secret that the attic holds in the new house...

Wendy Lamb 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.

Have you ever said or done something that you wished you could do over?  Odessa had those moments; they made her feel bad.  When she gets angry over how one bad moment turned out, she jumps up on down on the floor of her attic bedroom.  Imagine her surprise when she's returned in time and can have a "do over".  It's magic!  And, at first, she uses it a lot.  Then she realizes it will probably not last forever and she should save it for important things.  The hard part is deciding what is important enough...

Have you ever wished you could do it over and react differently?  If you had the power, would you?  And how would you decide what to change and what to live with?

Why not read this book and see how Odessa handled it.  I'd say it was a mix of good and bad.  And if I had the chance to use that magic, I imagine that would be the average of my results, too.

Happy reading.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Vote by Gary Paulsen

Kevin has a chance to be class president.  The only problem is that he has to run against Cash, a very popular boy at school.

Wendy Lamb 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 love Kevin, he's such a typical boy.  He's brave, goes after what he wants and, after a few unfortunate experiences, he learns from his actions.  This book was even more fun than the others because he learned giving something up can be even better than winning.

Cash is very much in favor of winning because his of looks and his popularity.  Kevin can't even get a political team together.  His big inspiration is Tina again; he wants to impress her.  Funny how most of the hints on politics come from Cash's political leader.  There's a good lesson here; I like how Mr. Paulsen handled it.

If you have been following Kevin, you'll need to get this book.  He's his usual self.  If you haven't met him yet, check out the other books in the series.  Kevin is growing up.

Happy reading.

Crush by Gary Paulsen

Kevin has decided Tina is the girl for him.  The only problem is that makes him tongue-tied and clumsy.  That's not the best way to attract a girl.

Random House Kids sent me a trade paperback of this book for review (thank you).  It's now available at your local bookstore.

Kevin is a disaster walking.  He's a good kid, he has a good heart, but his implementation of his ideas for getting ahead or dating always seem to backfire on him somehow.

When the new kid at school decides Tina is cool, too, Kevin has a problem.  He can't let Cash get Tina!  So he decides love is based on chemistry and tries to prove that.  Poor Kevin...

This series is humorous and is great for middle school students.  It's puberty at it's finest, as Kevin fumbles about in the land of romance.  I found it a fun read and they should, too.

Happy reading.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Condor Song by Darryl Nyznyk

Crooked lawyers, environmentalists, a Disney-like developer, a condor and murder all combine in this story to make a suspense filled action novel.  It all starts when Buck Anderson's niece asks Sean to look into his death.  Sean needs the money, but didn't realize he'd be bucking his old law firm when he takes the case.

PR by the Book sent an ARC of this story for review (thank you).  It is being published this month, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

Uncle Atti wants to beat Disney's creation by making his project even bigger and better.  That means he's looking at developing an area in the Sierra Nevada Mountains into a ski lodge and more.  It just so happens that Buck died in the same area.  And his wasn't the only body there...

The reason Sean left his old law firm was because they were willing to ignore the type of business their clients had.  Even if it was mob related or done illegally, they didn't care.  He did and had to leave his job.  Now it appears they are involved in this case also.  Where they ignoring more illegal activity?

The author does a nice job describing the mountains and the weather conditions that can change so quickly there.  I found myself siding with Sean and hoping we could find out who was willing to murder for profit.

The story flows well, moves quickly, and kept my interest from beginning to end.  The story is feasible and it's not a happy ending for most.  Sometimes it takes a while before people get what's coming to them.

Here is a special opportunity for you:

**For every copy of the book purchased from Amazon on JULY 1st, Darryl will donate $1 to The Sierra Club.**

Why not help save your own "condor"?

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...