Thursday, October 31, 2013

Little Ghost Party by Jacques Duquennoy

It's Halloween!  How about a party?  How about a party with ghosts?

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

This book just tickles me.  If I had received it as a child, I'd have played with it for hours and hours.  It's a good pick me up anytime book that has an interactive component that makes it a winner.

The first page of this book says "Join the dance circle...and watch Little Ghost shake it!  The ghost is within the book page and has a little chain attached to it on both sides.  The author has illustrations on either side of the ghost that show how you can make the ghost dance by moving the book in certain directions.  I know I spent five minutes on the first page myself.  My husband even thinks this is a neat book and he's not big on books.

You've got the worm dance, a cat's tail to move and my favorite page:  The ghost takes his hat off and you get to move his hair around!

If you need a Halloween treat that will make a child laugh and play, this book is it.  I like it so much I'm going to add it to my personal library.  I'll play with it again...

If you think you're not sold, look at this YouTube video and tell me it's not cute:  Little Ghost Party

Happy reading.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Where's Boo? by Salina Yoon

How about a Halloween treat that doesn't have calories?

Random House Children's Books sent me copy of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so this could go in your children's treat basket.  It won't disappear in five minutes like candy does.

Boo is a black cat with white feet and he's hiding.  Your little one can open the board book pages to see what is behind certain objects.   The hiding creatures and items all have what looks like a black tail sticking out.  It's not until the last page that they find Boo, out on the front porch with other trick or treaters.

Boo's head is fuzzy on the front cover and it's fun to look for him in the pictures.  Do you have a Boo at your house?

Happy reading.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Miss Mousie's Blind Date by Tim Beiser

He was a handsome looking rat and she was just a mouse but if she dropped her hanky,  he'd pick it up for her, wouldn't he?

Tundra 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.

The rat doesn't pick up the hanky.  He insults her by referring to her as "fat".  She runs home in shame and doesn't want to ever leave her house again...

When she gets an offer to go on a blind date, she almost doesn't take it.  Then she gets the idea to dress up in a costume so no one will recognize her.  She looks great dressed up!

Unfortunately, she falls in a thistle thicket and by the time she escapes it, she's lost half her costume.

The next part of this story is the charming part.  The mole that runs the tea shop has a crush on her and has tried to make himself up to look like a rat for this blind date.  That's sweet, but he's pretty blind without his glasses and he knocks his rat mustache off and almost pours tea on the floor before Miss Mousie tells him to put his glasses on.

Together they determine they can only be who they are and that's just fine with them.  It's a successful first date!

This a very lovely picture book with a charming story, a good lesson, and beautiful illustrations by Rachel Berman.  I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it.  You could even drag out some old jewelry and a dress or blouse your child could wear and let them dress up like Miss Mousie did.  It's a fun story.

Happy reading.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Alex Finch: Monster Hunter by Cate Dean

Alex is working on a school project with Misty, one of the most popular girls in the school and a total airhead.  So it stands to reason that Misty would lose her backpack that had all Alex's notes in it.  The worst part is that someone moved it from the bus stop into the yard of an abandoned house...

Goddess Fish Blog Tours and the author shared an ebook of this story with me for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with the following stores to get a copy: 

This book is a great book for Halloween!  You see, the abandoned house isn't vacant; there's a monster inside.  Who seems to have a taste for humans and is much bigger than the girls.  They get the backpack but not without scaring themselves to death and being rescued by Sam.  Alex has had a crush on Sam forever but she's not in his league.  She's just an odd student and he's another popular, wealthy kid.  Being saved by Sam is great but that monster is still out there.  Even worse, there's more than one of them...

I enjoyed the tale of the hunt for the monsters.  They have to go underground and it's dark, damp, and dangerous.  All my worst fears are right there.  The characters are brave, determined and willing to do what they must to save their town.  Watching Alex discover Misty does have a brain and Sam does care for her was a pleasure.

The ending doesn't please me, but there will be a sequel.  Maybe the author will make me happier with the next book.  I'll just have to read it and see.

This is written for young adults but I'd be careful about that.  These monsters aren't nice, make sure your child won't get nightmares from it.

The author will be awarding signed bookmarks or pins to a randomly drawn commenter at every stop. A grand prize of a swag bag, with exclusive merchandise related to the book, will be awarded to one commenter during the tour. (US ONLY)

Rafflecopter grand prize entry link

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

Happy reading and good luck!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Midnight Frost: A Mythos Academy Novel 5 by Jennifer Estep

Since Gwen has been proclaimed the Nike's champion and just barely survived a murderous attack, she has all kinds of body guards.  There are those outside, the ones inside, and someone is always traveling with her.  Yet, as she takes a break on the second balcony of the library, she sees a student add something to the bottles of water she and the librarian are drinking.  She tries to stop the librarian from drinking any and chases the Reaper, who commits suicide.  Unfortunately, the librarian had a drink and is now poisoned...

Kensington Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  You can purchase it now at your local bookstore.  This is the fifth book in this series and you should read the others first to understand who Gwen's enemies are and why she and Logan are estranged.

Even though Gwen and her protectors know the flower that will cure the Librarian is found in just one place and the Reapers will be waiting for them there, they are willing to fight to save a member of Mythos Academy.

This book was more about relationships and had a bit less action than previous stories.  That actually made me like it more.  I enjoyed getting to know the characters and watching Gwen turn into a warrior of her own.

I'm already wondering where the next book will go and looking forward to reading it.  Gwen and Logan aren't done yet.

Happy reading.  

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Compound Fractures (Alan Gregory #20) by Stephen White

Alan is standing in his office, talking to his wife, when his partner's wife walks up behind her and shoots her in the back.  He has no idea why and is in shock when the medics take his wife to the hospital.  How could this have happened?

Dutton Books sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It was published in August, so you can grab a copy now.  This is the twentieth in the series and the first one I've read by Stephen White.

Alan finds himself reassessing his life.  What he thought was true and what is are different.  Even those he loved and trusted the most were not trustworthy.  He and his police friend have a secret from the past that has come to life again.  No matter how far you bury things, they somehow don't stay hidden.

Not only does Alan have those problems, he finds out his wife had an affair with his partner, apparently for years.  He's got the DA going after his butt, even attempting to pin his wife's murder on him when he was a victim.  There are other players from the past, more murders, and the tension keeps ratcheting up.

Mr. White does a nice job of tying it all up at the end of this story.  There are still some secrets bubbling in the background, but blackmail will take care of that.

All in all, this is a big batch of dysfunctional characters that sound like people I've met before.  Who knows what's behind that confident posture and brave words?  These characters have their share of secrets.  Read it, you won't be bored.

Happy reading. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Final Cut (A Brit in the FBI #1) by Catherine Coulter, J.T. Ellison

The Fox is a thief.  A thief with a lot of patience...

Putnam sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  The book was published in September, so you can find a copy at your local bookstore now.

Ms. Coulter always writes good books.  She adds a lot of action, intrigue, and a touch of romance to hold your interest.  This book introduces a new character:  Nicholas Drummond, who's a Brit.  He's a very interesting character with all kinds of story possibilities.  We'll see more of him, I know.

He initially gets involved in the case because one of his agents who is at the museum on guard duty is found dead.  They tell him Elaine must have committed suicide, but he doesn't buy it.  He also can't imagine why someone would murder her, but he's determined to do his own investigation.

He has an "in" because his Uncle is the head of the security team there, but he doesn't know exactly what he's walking into.  It seems the Koh-i-Noor diamond has been stolen from the Queen Mother's crown.

You know the story is going to be intense when you find out that the diamond wasn't stolen yet.  It gets stolen while Nick is in the building with all the security guards.  And the person who stole it had worked there for two years...

This is a complex story with two or three double-crossers and multiple plans on who gets the diamond and why.  I was amazed at the ending and enjoyed the read.  Not only did we meet a new character, Sherlock and Savich are there, too.  

You might think you know the plot but Coulter & Ellison will lead you down some dark paths in other directions.  I like that in a book.  Why don't you give a read and see what you think?

Happy reading.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Sugar Cookie Sweetheart Swap by Donna Kauffman, Kate Angell, Kimberly Kincaid

Some people shouldn't be allowed in the kitchen.  Every time Clara tries to bake cookies, she sets something on fire!

Kensington Books sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It was published this month, so you can grab a copy at your local bookstore now.

This anthology has three stories in it and they will make you smile.  They are "sweetheart" stories and while the attempt at romance is amusing, everybody gets a beau by Christmas.  The stories contain sex, but the stories are so much fun you hardly notice.

Where There's Smoke by Donna Kauffman

Clara is trying to learn to bake so she can write a column about cookies.  Unfortunately, she's no cook.  Fortunately, the fact that she has a fire means she and a lost love from college find each other again.  And those flames are still alive, too.

The Gingerbread Man by Kate Angell

Imagine getting a gingerbread man at the bake sale and finding out he's anatomically correct?  She uses pieces of peppermint sticks to emphasize that.  And it's such a shock to the man who bid on her box of goods that he drives off the road and almost freezes to death.  It's a good thing Abby finds him as she drives home from the sale.

Sugar And Spice by Kimberly Kincaid

Lily is determined to win the cookie bake off so she can use the money to shore up her business.  The problem is that Pete is competing, too, and he's a very good chef.  The even bigger problem is that the judges pair them up on some cooking adventures and they don't cook the same!

I found all these stories fun and a good read.  This would be a good book for in between cooking or present wrapping.  Read a story, do some work, read another story.  It won't seem like you're working at all.  And have a cookie while you're doing it.

Happy reading.    

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Milkshakes, Mermaids, and Murder by Sara Rosett

Ellie is going on vacation.  She and the kids will go to Florida and her husband will join them later.  It should have been fun in the sun and very relaxing.  Who would have guessed that getting the wrong purse in a purchase on eBay would turn into such a fiasco?

Kensington Books sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check for a copy at your local bookstore.  This is the eighth book in this series, so grab some earlier stories while you're at it.

It's a good thing Ellie is around relatives because the lady she's meeting to exchange the purse with is found dead, floating in a pool.  Ellie tries to give the purse to the cops, but they think Angela committed suicide and the purse isn't evidence in their case.  She didn't commit suicide and someone wants that purse badly, even if the cops didn't.

When Ellie finds there are incriminating pictures hidden in the lining of the purse, she understands why Angela died.  But who killed her?

There's lot of action, blackmail, murder, kidnapping, and more in this story.  I wasn't sure who was killing whom until near the end.  There are overlying criminal intents within the story.  It was busy and kept me reading.  Why not give it a try?

By the way, there are organizational tips in the book, too.

Happy reading.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sister Betty Says I Do by Pat G'Orge-Walker

Sister Betty has never married.  Now that she's in her "golden years", she's pleasantly surprised when Freddie asks her to marry him.  She knows the church people will want to interfere but she has no idea how far out of hand it will get...

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

Betty is a patient, prayerful woman.  She takes everyone under her wing and helps them out.  Not everyone in the church appreciates that.

This author gives you a story with tongue-in-cheek humor and a bit of Christianity thrown in.  Every church has some competing senior women.  You may not see them, but they're there.  And they don't intend to let anyone get ahead of them or get more attention than they do.  So when they decide to do Betty's wedding reception, you know it's going to be a disaster.

Freddie gets sick and is staying with Betty, sleeping in the spare room.  They sneak over and try to catch them in bed together.  When Freddie gets a bit distant, Betty is afraid he's having second thoughts.  Freddie is afraid Betty doesn't really want to get married.  They both are trying to get advice from their preacher, but he's having his own troubles.  He's been waiting for the right opportunity to marry and now he has two women going after him!

I found it to be a silly, funny story that was very enjoyable to read.  Watching Sister Betty and Trustee Freddie trying to have a nice quiet wedding is a hoot!

Happy reading. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Big Chihuahua: A Barking Detective Mystery #3 by Waverly Curtis

Pepe is back in another adventure and this time the group of believers they are investigating believe that he is able to channel Dogawana, their "god".  Can things get weirder?  Yes, people start dying...

Kensington Books sent me an ARC of this story for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.  There were two earlier books in this series if you want to start at the beginning.  This book is easily read as a stand-alone if you don't.

Ms. Curtis writes light cozy mysteries.  There's enough plot and tension to keep you reading and they're a pleasant read.  I like to read them between "heavy" stories or non-fiction.  They entertain me and Pepe makes me smile.

In this story, a man reports his wife is missing and she's taken his money.  When Geri finds she has joined a religious group at a retreat, she signs up to go for a weekend tour as a potential new client.  What happens is the female "big enchilada" of the group picks Pepe as a good replacement dog for her show.  Pepe likes the attention but he doesn't want to leave Geri.

It seems that people are buying their way through the levels of power and leadership in the group.  Does that sound like a scam to you?  It gets worse when someone tries to get their money back; they end up dead.

Mix in Geri's boyfriend, a pair of wolves, and more than one devious plan being carried out and you have the basis for this story.  Ms. Curtis somehow ties all this altogether to make a complete tale.  Why not settle down in your reading chair with a cup of coffee or tea and see how Pepe handled this new adventure?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

OMG... Am I A Witch?! by Talia Aikens-Nuñez

Here's a perfect book for a favored child's Halloween basket.  It's written for ages 8-12 and little girls will love what these girls think of their brothers.

Pinwheel Books and Edelweiss let me download a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It will be published on Halloween Day so you may need to share a coupon for one book in your Halloween treat basket.

April's brother just annoys her to death.  He likes to tease her, to embarrass her in the public, and he won't shut up.  He's never nice to her.  So she gets on the internet and looks up spells on Google.  She finds a perfect one, she's going to turn her brother into a dog.  The only problem she has is that it really works!

This is a silly, humorous story that will make middle graders laugh and keep them reading to see if April manages to change her brother back.  She enlists the aid of her best friend and a new girl at school.  She has to manage this change soon, before her mother figures out what she has done.  The first spell doesn't work; will the second?  And is April a witch???

Happy reading.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Inherit the Dead by Lee Child, C. J. Box, Charlaine Harris, John Connolly, Mary Higgins Clark

Searching for a missing person is not high on Perry's list of things he wants to do.  However, since he's been thrown off the police force and has no other jobs, it's better than nothing.  And Mom appears to have big bucks, so he should have no trouble getting paid.

Touchstone and Edelweiss allowed me to download this ebook for review (thank you).  It was published the first part of this month, so you can find a copy at your local bookstore now.

This type of novel always fascinates me.  Each author does a chapter and the story evolves as it goes along.  This type of cooperative story telling seems like it would have bumps and chunks that don't quite fit together.  It never turns out that way.  Each chapter fits together nicely and the story turns out to be more interesting because of the different author tastes it is enhanced with.

Angel is a beautiful sexy young woman who is used to getting her way.  Everyone is mesmerized by her, even Perry.  He knows better, but she's a package any man would like to open.  The problem is she's no real angel...

This story had an usual twist at the end and I liked that.  It made the story make sense in an odd way and it showed Angel's true nature.

Why not take a step from stone to stone (one chapter to another) and see how well these various authors tell their tales?  If you love mysteries and family drama, you'll find it here.

Happy reading.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell

Sophie was found floating in a cello case in the English channel after the ship has gone down.  She says she remembers her mother waving at her, but she was only one and no other female survivors were found.  Charlie tells her she's probably not really remembering but just wishing.  But Charlie has an interesting outlook on life:  Almost impossible means still possible...

Simon and Schuster's Books for Young Readers and Net Galley allowed me to download a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It was published at the end of September, so you can grab a copy now at your local bookstore.

This story has all the flavor of an old classic tale for young readers.  Charlie, her guardian, is not a normal dad.  He thinks it's OK to write on walls and since Sophie tends to break dishes, they eat off paper.  Sophie doesn't go to school, she reads all of Charlie's books and they discuss matters of the world and what she's read.  They eat what they like.  And they're happy.  But the welfare agency isn't.  As Sophie grows older, they are going to take her away for placement.

Charles and Sophie don't want to be separated, but Charlie knows he can't fight government.  When Sophie finds an address on her cello case, she suggests they go to France and see if they can locate her mother.  As Charlie looks at her in dismay, she reminds him that it's still possible.

Their time in Paris is the stuff of fairytales.  She meets a boy who lives on rooftops.  After she's proved herself, she meets more who live "above".  And while she's on the rooftop, she hears the tune that she can play on the cello; the one that reminds her of her mother.  Can it really be?

This is a grand adventure with two of the most adorable characters you can imagine.  Charlie was unmarried, not used to children and yet he took in Sophie.  Sophie loved him, he loved her, and he'd do anything for her.  Together, they accomplish the impossible.  

I highly recommend reading this one.  It's a heart-pleasing tale with lots of adventure.  Young or old should enjoy this story.

Happy reading.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Iron Traitor - The Iron Fey, Call of the Forgotten by Julie Kagawa

It's best never to fall in love with a fairy.  Somehow the fae always seem to take more than they give...

Harlequin Teen and Net Galley have given me the opportunity to read this ebook for review (thank you).  The book will be published October 29th, so why not pre-order it now?

I've been following this series since the beginning and I never know what Ms. Kagawa will do next.  Her plots are well thought out and devious.  Her words excite me and offend me both.  I normally want to rewrite part of her story; she's merciless with her characters.  Yet each time a new book comes out, I read it.

This book is about Ethan and his nephew, Keirran.  Keirran's girlfriend is a fairy that is fading away and he's willing to do anything to keep her alive, even if it means he dies sooner himself.

Ethan has found a love interest of his own, his sister wants him to find Keirran and have him come home so they can deal with this problem together, and Keirran is only interested in saving his love.  The fact that he might be beginning a fairy war means nothing to him.

I hate the ending of this book.  I really do.  I'm sure the next book will probably "fix" this ending, but I don't like cliff hangers on the last pages of a story.  Leave possibilities, don't slam the door on your way out.  It's shocking to say the least.  It's not against fae nature, it's just nasty.

Why don't you read it and tell me what you think?  Did this story gut you or was it just "ho hum" storytelling to you?

Happy reading.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch

He's a thief, a very good thief.  And he'd already met his love even though he was only a child.  He can't steal her heart, he has to win it...

Del Ray Spectra and Net Galley allowed me to read this ebook for review (thank you).  The book has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

This story contains two tales:  one of Lock Lamora as an orphaned child being trained to thievery and one of Lock with his partner Jean later in life.  They are still into trickery and thieving but do it at a higher level now.

I hate stealing.  Taking someone else's money or goods is no way to live.  But I sure relish reading stories about thieves.  I enjoy reading about their sneaky ways, acting ability, and the subtle way they can change opinions in a crowd just by acting in a particular way.  Misdirecting people, pretending to be what you are not, and escaping at the last minute is exciting reading, you know.

Lock is an interesting creature.  He doesn't remember anything about his family.  His family now is Jean.  He's searching for Sabetha and he's been poisoned and will most likely die.  What no one expected was that a mage would attempt to heal him magically.  Her price is to ensure who wins the election.  Surely bringing in new voters and bribing those on the fence to vote on their side shouldn't be too hard to do, right?  That's true, but Sabetha is on the other side; this turns into competition.  He still wants to express his love and get closer to her.  They are both trying hard to win.

This is a very complex story with several subplots.  It will keep you reading for a while and keep you thinking about it longer.  There will be another in this series.  Locke hasn't found his niche yet.

Happy reading.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Faceless One by Mark Onspaugh

Jimmy is an old man now, living in a nursing home.  When he was small, his uncle took him to a deserted cave on the Alaskan coast that contained a shaman secret.  He was in training to become a shaman, so he needed this information.  All it did was scare him to death and he never ventured there again.  Unfortunately, someone else found that cave.

Hydra and Net Galley gave me the opportunity to read this ebook for review (thank you).  October 28th is publication date, so make a note for your next bookstore visit.

The Tlingit Indians originally migrated to the north from Asia, when land connected the two countries.  When they left their land, the gods grew angry with them and sent a terrible monster after them.  The Tlingits used their shaman and all the natural forces they could to make a mask that would contain this demon.  All was well until someone stole the mask...  

Jimmy no longer lived in Alaska, he was settled in Washington.  When the white raven comes to visit him again, he knows he has to go on the quest his early training was preparing him for.  He's old now and doesn't want to, but he has no choice.

This evil spirit/demon is enough to turn your hair white if it isn't already.  It's wicked, it finds death humorous, and it wants to control the world.  Everyone who touches the mask dies an ugly death.  And the mask is on the move.  If the man who carries it tries to disobey, he will be killed and a new delivery person will be chosen.  The worst part is that it is going after a small boy, who contains a lot of power but doesn't know it.

This is not a book you read casually.  The story line grabs you around the throat and keeps your eyes on the book.  You turn page after page, hoping things will get better, but pretty sure they won't.  You won't be bored.

Are you ready to go on a road trip with a demon?  Get a copy and dig in.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Outcasts by Kathleen Kent

She's a prostitute; he's a new Texas Ranger.  Their stories are separate, but they intertwine.  This is not a love story.

Little Brown and Company and Edelweiss allowed me to read this ebook for review.  It was published at the end of September, so you can pick up at your local bookstore now.

Lucinda has fits.  She was incarcerated in a mental asylum earlier in life, but she escaped.  The fact that her next stop was at a boarding house that served as a brothel was still an improvement.

Nate is young and has plans to do the right thing and keep everyone safe.  The two older marshalls he's working with have decided that, in some cases, it's best to take the direct route to justice.  This bothers Nate.

When Lucinda meets a man that isn't afraid when she has a fit, she thinks he's the man for her.  He's really a man not fit for anyone, but it's nice to have hope for a change.

Nate finds his marshall friends may have a point when they are travelling across country with no friends and plenty of enemies.  Sometimes swift justice comes from the end of a gun.  Nate also discovers the two lawmen have a connection to each other that's not apparent.  The more he learns, the more complex the case becomes.  

The end of the book has an even more ironic twist.  It's the perfect tie to the end of a story filled with life and death.  Life goes on...

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Operation Bunny by Sally Gardner

She was an orphan, found deserted in the train station.  They were rich and wanted children; she'd be perfect!

Macmillan Children's Publishing Group and Net Galley allowed me to download a copy of this book for  review.  You can buy a copy of it at your local bookstore now.

Emily grows into a nice young lady but she's kept home for home schooling.  The only home schooling she gets is housework.  And when "Mom" finally gets pregnant and has triplets, guess who gets to take care of them?

When Emily meets the old lady living next door, she's treated nicely for the first time in her life.  She doesn't know that this meeting is going to change her life...

There's nasty witch, a human sized cat that can talk, lots of bunnies and a hunt for fairy wings.  Talk about a fantasy adventure, this is a good one!  Middle grade children will really enjoy this one.  I'm already looking forward to the next book in the series.  This one ends satisfactorily, but you know there must be more to the story.  Read it and see what you think.

Happy reading.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Thicket by Joe R. Lansdale

When a sickness hits town and his parents die, Jack knows he'll have to take care of his little sister and move on, but he doesn't know how.  His grandpa tells him to gather his things up, he'll get the wagon and take them to their aunt's house up north.  He doesn't even remember his aunt, but he does what he's told.  However there is more trouble coming...

Mulholland Books and Net Galley allowed me to download an ebook of this story for review (thank you).  It was published September 10th, so you can grab a copy now.

This not a pleasant story.  It's authentic, mean, and a bit twisted.  Nobody is all good or all bad; they're just men trying to survive.  The bandits don't care about anyone, they just use them and kill them.  

As Jack and Lula get on the ferry with Grandpa, men ride up on horses and demand the same passage.  When Grandpa talks back, the man shoots him.  If that wasn't a bad enough loss, the boat is hit by a water spout that tosses everyone around.  When Jack wakes up, he realizes that he's on the opposite shore from his sister and the bandits have ridden off with her.  She's very young and he fears for her.  No one wants to go against those bandits.

He finds two men brave enough for such an adventure.  He has his property to barter with and that seems enough incentive.  The fact that one is a big black man who has a pet wild hog and the other one is a midget doesn't bother Jack.  It's their bravery and spirit that matter to him.

Mr. Lansdale puts some interesting twists in this story.  I could have never anticipated the ending.  This is a tale that holds your interest and makes you wonder what's going to happen next.  There is graphic death portrayed in the story, so don't read it if that bothers you.  I found enough other good points to keep reading and hoping that it would all work out.

Just remember, it's dangerous in the thicket.  You don't want to go in there.

Happy reading.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Queen and the Nobody Boy, A Tale of Fontania by Barbara Else

Hodie does maintenance work around the castle.  Nobody sees him so he's a nobody boy.  He's lucky if he gets a few scraps from the kitchen.  He waits on the back stoop hoping for handouts each day.  He sleeps in an old shed.  And he's content with that until someone steals the bag that contains the only goods he owns from his mother.  Then he's determined to get them back!

Gekko Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this ebook for review (thank you).  It was published October 1st, so you can grab a copy now.

Hodie is only in the grand hall of the castle to steal food.  He crawls under the table and takes what falls to the floor.  When the princess sees him under there, she sneaks food to him.  The best thing they do is not eat the special pudding the other king has provided.  It puts everyone to sleep!

Hodie discovers they have taken his mementos of his mother, who died when he was young, and he's going after them.  He doesn't get far before the princess has joined him.  He tries to get rid of her, but you know how girls are.  She's going and he needs her.  He thinks not, but he's glad she's with him as the story progresses.

There's lots of adventure, they get involved with the revolutionaries, the other princess aids them, and it makes a great fantasy tale.

There was an earlier book in this series, The Travelling Restaurant, which I haven't read.  Ms. Else writes a good story and I'm going to look for that one and it to my TBR file.  I enjoy well thought out tales.

Happy reading.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Christmas at Cardwell Ranch by B.J. Daniels

Tag Caldwell is going home for Christmas.  He doesn't bother to warn his father he's coming.  He just wants to try to develop a relationship with him after all the years of separation.  However, he didn't expect to get turned away from the door or to see a woman's leather jacket laying on the back of the couch.  Dad has a girlfriend?

Harlequin Intrigue and Net Galley allowed me to download a copy of this ebook for review (thank you).  It will be published October 22nd, so look for a copy then.

This is a modern day western.  The men wear cowboy hats and cowboy boots, but they drive SUV's and pickups and live in houses.  The only horse they really use is a snowmobile.

Tag goes out with his cousin to get a Christmas tree and finds a dead body.  It's not the greatest way to start his holiday; it gets worse.  He sees his Dad hand off what looks like a pay off to the sheriff.  He knows both his Dad and his uncle were up in the hills on their snowmobiles and he recognizes the leather jacket.  Could his relatives and friends be involved in this murder?  After all, he saw that cocktail waitress flirting his Dad at the tavern.

While Tag is worrying about them, Lily is temporary help at the tavern her brother owns and she's worrying about the fact that one waitress is dead and the other one is missing.  She knows her brother isn't involved.  Will she be next?

There's an interesting little twist in this story that is related to the past books in the series.  I haven't read them and had no trouble understanding what was going on.  If you want more background, you can read the previous books.  Or you can read this one as a stand alone.  

I found the story entertaining, the romance wasn't overwhelming and I was worried about some of the characters.  It's amazing how much you can about them in such a short time.  Ms. Daniels is a good author and just draws you into the story.  If you want a little excitement for Christmas, read this book.

Happy reading.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Law of the Desert Born by Louis L'Amour, Beau L'Amour, Kathy Nolan

Louis L'Amour has written over a hundred books, mostly westerns.  His western writing is authentic and mean.  His cowboys were not romanticized; they were hard men and they were quick with their guns.  Otherwise, they were dead.  This story is a perfect example of how tenuous life was in the days of the old west and how friends can become enemies, then become friends again.

Bantam Dell and Net Galley gave me the opportunity to read and review this ebook (thank you).  It was published October 8th, so check with wherever ebooks are sold for a copy.

I enjoy a western every now and again and I love graphic novels, so I was anxious to read this story.  It is adapted by Charles Santino and illustrated by Thomas Yeates.  The illustrations are wonderful.  It's almost like reading a movie in a book.  

The story starts with murder.  The cowboy walks up to the door, knocks, and says:  "He died, Jud." and kills the man standing before him.  Then he rides away from the life he'd known and the sheriff he knows will be following him.

Before this point, he put his Mexican friend in jail as the person who stole the cattle from the rancher next door.  It was the usual fight over water and grasslands.  He decided to even up the deal by stealing a few cattle.  But when he's discovered, he tosses the Mex in as the lone bad guy instead of his helper.

When it's time to chase the killer, the Mex talks his way out of jail into the posse by telling them about his tracking skills.  The regular guy is drunk, so the sheriff agrees.

After a long chase, the sheriff and the Mex are the only two still hunting the killer.  The Mex talks the sheriff into going home and goes after the man who wronged him.  He eventually finds him and they are both near death because there's not much water in the desert lands.  The ending is what I expected.  What would you expect?

I enjoyed this graphic novel and suggest if you haven't tried them yet, you should.  They're a fun read no matter what age you are.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Nantucket Christmas by Nancy Thayer

All Nicole wanted was a nice Christmas with family surrounding her.  Her new husband's previous family is not welcoming her to their inner circle, but she hopes this holiday will make it better.

Ballentine Books and Net Galley gave me the opportunity to read this ebook for review (thank you).  It will be published October 29th, so you can pick up a copy at your local bookstore then.

When Nicole finds out the ex-wife never had a tree in the home in Nantucket, she just has to go find a big one that will make the house more Christmasy.  She buys lot of presents, lots of food, and prepares everything she can ahead so she'll have an opportunity to meet her new step-daughter and her family.  

Maddox is young and loves everybody.  The son-in-law is very pleasant and appears to be easy to like.  The step-daughter immediately complains because a piece of furniture has been removed from the entry way and plants her body on the living room couch.  She demands Nicole serves her and cleans up after her.  Nicole is trying to be nice, but it's beginning to be difficult.  Kennedy is not lovable.

Kennedy wants her father and mother to get back together again.  She doesn't believe they don't have any interest in each other anymore, she just thinks Nicole is in the way.  So she begins a campaign to make her father see how "bad" Nicole is.  She's pregnant, so she can get away with a lot.

There's a lot of conflict in the story and it doesn't get better when Mom shows up on the doorstep because she's had a big fight with her live-in boyfriend.  Especially not on Christmas Eve...

Despite all the drama, the conclusion of the story is calm and all works out well.  Just like most family Christmases do.

Happy reading.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Rocket Robinson and the Pharaoh's Fortune by Sean O’Neill

Ronald "Rocket" Robinson is getting real tired of traveling around with his Dad.  They keep moving from one foreign country to another; he loses all his friends; and then he has to learn where to go and what to do all over again.  His only comfort is his pet monkey.  

Boiler Room Studios and Net Galley allowed me to download this graphic novel and do a review (thank you).  It has been published on October 1st, so you can grab a copy of it now.

They are on their way to Cairo right now and Rocket is whining a bit about having move to again, so his Dad tosses him a coin and tells him to go buy something to eat or drink before they arrive.  All was going well until Screech lands on a guy's head in the lounge area.  He rants and raves until he's escorted away and Rocket is sneaking back to his seat when he sees a piece of paper lying on the floor.  He retrieves it and tries to tell his Dad all about it.  His Dad thinks it's a tall tale and doesn't want to hear about it.  Thus, Rocket is on his way to the adventure of his lifetime...

The graphics are great, you really feel like your are in Egypt.  There's history and fiction mixed, hieroglyphics and cyphers, treasure and danger, and even a gypsy girl mixed in.  It's a first rate adventure that should keep young ones glued to it.  Why not give it a try?

Happy reading. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Truly, Madly, Deadly by Hannah Jayne

This book is about a young woman in an abusive relationship.  She thinks no one else knows about it.  When her boyfriend dies in a car accident, she's relieved.  Now she can straighten out her life.  But then she gets a note:  You're welcome. 

This ebook is out now and you can grab a copy at wherever ebooks are sold. 

I always wonder why an author chooses a subject and how they can be so accurate about it.  Here is Hannah Jayne's story:  


I never thought I’d be a teenage statistic. Even when it was happening to me, I wasn’t part of that group of those people. My situation was different because I was different and I wasn’t the kind of person they were talking about anyway. Those people had really bad abusive relationships. Mine wasn’t that bad. There was blood and tears and threats of death in theirs and…and then there was blood and tears and threats of death in mine. I was one of those people. I was a teenage statistic.

My high school boyfriend was the most passionate, romantic, intense guy I’d ever met and he was attracted to me! The first day he saw me he was carrying a roll of duct tape. He asked me to stand up against the wall so he could tape me up there because the ASB assigned him to “make that corridor beautiful.” I blushed and instantly fell madly in love. We spent every moment together. I started to back away from my friends because I wanted to spend my every waking moment with him. And he was right; a couple of my friends only ever wanted to hang out and troll for guys. Which I didn’t need to do because I had him! He was a little jealous which I found totally adorable; I’d never had a guy be so into me that he thought every other guy was looking at me. When I did hang with my “approved” friends, he called me every second – which was totally fine because I missed him, too. When it turned out to be just me and him, I really didn’t care – at first. But then it was my best friend’s birthday and I really wanted to be there. I went, and promised I’d call him before we went to bed and I totally forgot. The next day, he wouldn’t answer my calls. My stomach was in knots. I couldn’t believe I had hurt him so badly just by not calling. He accused me of cheating and lying to him, saying that Jen and I were out with a couple of guys. We weren’t, so I begged him to believe me. He screamed at me and said some pretty horrible things but finally he believed me – then he pulled me into his arms and apologized for calling me those awful names and whispered that he just loved me so much and couldn’t bear the thought of me leaving him. I promised him I never would. That happened a couple more times but I always understood – he was a passionate guy and so sensitive – and he loved me so much. I had never felt that way before so I knew exactly what he meant.

The first time he shoved me, I wasn’t even sure that it really happened. We were fighting about something and he was mad again – I must have talked to someone he didn’t like or maybe it was what I was wearing. But he was just trying to get by me and he kind of shoved me. I’m sure he didn’t mean it and I thought I felt his hands on me at first, but I was probably wrong. He was just wound up and so he shoved past me and I rolled over my own feet. He didn’t say anything about it because it was an accident and he didn’t help me up because he was mad. He was crazy about me; he wouldn’t deliberately hurt me.

When he grabbed my shirt – he grabbed the chest of my shirt and pulled me up toward him so we were nose-to-nose – he didn’t mean to rip it. Sometimes he just got really passionate. And he apologized immediately – especially when he saw the scratches on my chest and the little buds of blood that were bubbling up. He was just so terrified of losing me.

It got worse from there and I knew I couldn’t be in this relationship anymore. But I still loved him so much and really, he was broken. He only needed help. I could help him, right? Besides, it was easy to shrug off the scrapes and bruises. When he rear-ended my car because he thought I was flirting at a game (I was a cheerleader), well, that was harder to explain. I had to tell him. I had to tell him we couldn’t be together. 

We were at a party and we went into a bedroom. I told him that we had to stop seeing each other, that I wouldn’t let him hurt me. I remember his mouth dropping open and the pain in his eyes. It was like I could see his heartbreaking. I started to cry, but I wasn’t going to change my mind. He begged and pleaded. He told me he couldn’t live without me. But I couldn’t live that way. He told me he would die. That without me, his life wasn’t worth living. And in a heartbeat, he was on the balcony, climbing over the railing. He was going to jump. The tears were rolling over his face, over his lips and my heart was splintering. I couldn’t let him do that; I wouldn’t let him die. I begged. I pleaded. He walked closer to the edge and let one hand go. My heart was pounding in my throat and I rushed forward, grabbing his arm and pulling desperately. I wouldn’t leave him, I said. We would work through this together. He fell against me and I could smell the wind in his air as I listened to him cry and promise he would never hurt me again.

But he did. Again and again. Worse and worse. I was terrified to leave him because he’d kill himself. And I really did love him. Even with the constant anxiety and fear – because after that dissipated and he apologized and caught himself before it got really bad – I knew that he loved me. He said it over and over and got angry when I wouldn’t repeat it. Everything about me changed. I couldn’t leave him because by that time, all I had was him.

This went on for years until I finally was able to get away from him. And it was hard and humiliating because the police had to come and escort him away and I had to file a police report and write my name—my name—in a box that said VICTIM. It was awful, but I was finally free.

This is the first time I’ve gone public – very public! – with my experience, and it happened nearly twenty years ago. I kept quiet because of the humiliation, because I “shouldn’t have let that happen.” But then I realized what I was doing was keeping his dirty little secret, not mine.

So far, I’ve received nothing but support for going public and for putting a spotlight on teen dating violence in Truly, Madly, Deadly. I’m confident and strong now but I still occasionally wonder if people will think I was stupid or weak. And then I have to remind myself that recognizing, surviving, and getting out of an abusive situation made me anything but.

If you are or think you are experiencing relationship abuse, please get help. Talk to a friend or another person you trust. Contact the National Teen Dating Violence Abuse Helpline at 866-331-9474 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE or 800-799-7233

Never stay in an abusive relationship.  It may seem like there is no way out, but there is help out there.  Use the resources available to get a new start and be careful; don't fall into the same trap again.  It's better to be without a mate than live with an abusive one.

Ms. Jayne's story has her female character relieved her abusive boyfriend is gone, but now she's got a stalker who murders people.  Out of the frypan and into the fire, eh?

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...