Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Small Bunny's Blue Blanket by Tatyana Feeney

Did you have a favorite blanket as a child?  I did.  I had respiratory problems as a child and spent a lot of time inside with a humidifier and medicine.  I developed an attachment to a tiger print blanket.  It spent time on my bed, on the couch with me, and outside under the pear tree when I read.  (I still have it.)  I can relate to Small Bunny and his blue blanket.

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

Small Bunny uses his blue blanket for everything.  It helps him swing higher, paint better and even read harder words.  When his mother wants to wash it, he doesn't want her to.  He likes it the way it is!  Clean, it's just not the same.  But when he drags it around with him to play, it goes right back to being "perfect."

This is a very cute board book with simple text and illustrations.  If your child has a blanket, you need to get this book for them.  They'll love it!

Stolen Remains (Lady of Ashes #2) by Christine Trent

Being a female undertaker is a bit odd but it was totally unheard of in Victorian times.  Violet Harper had taken over her dead husband's business and she's doing very well at it.  However, when the Queen asks her to keep the body of the dead Viscount at his house for an unusual amount of time, it's not easy to keep the body from smelling.  We have refrigerated morgues; not so back then.

Kensington Books sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  This book is coming out now, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.  This series starts with Lady of Ashes, so you might want to grab them both.  This book can be read as a stand-alone.

Violet really doesn't want to do the Queen's request but you can't turn a Queen down.  It also helps her status as an undertaker so, like it or not, she will do what she's requested.  The Queen has her own agenda and this isn't going to help Violet. When the housekeeper is found hung and the Viscount's body disappears, Violet has no choice but to jump in and try to solve the case.  After all, she's being blamed for losing the body.

This story is steeped in Victorian times and customs of those days.  There are rich relatives who will inherit, an odd ex-soldier guy hanging around and no end of suspects.  This author amazed me with the "who dunnit" part of the story.  I won't give away the ending but I can say: "Things are not what they seem."

The story moves right along, the mystery is a good one, and Violet's life is still changing.  She has a nice new husband and they work well together.  He's doing his thing, she's doing hers.  Sounds just like hubby and I.  I'm sure the next book will be just as entertaining.  Why not give the Lady of Ashes a chance and read her story now?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Rock-A-Bye Room by Susan Meyers

Need a new bedtime book?  Take a look at this!

Abrams Books for Young Readers 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 mother has created a Rock-A-Bye room for her young one.  She loves her rocking horse and then they put a blanket on him for bedtime, her dolls are in bed and her blocks go back in the box for bedtime.  The whole story is very soothing rhyme with gracious illustrations by Amy Bates.

The illustrations show the cradle hanging from the tree branch with the little girl and her bear cuddling together.  Mom is sitting in a rocker and playing her guitar and singing.  It almost makes me want to nap.

Why not make this mellow tale your rock-a-bye book for bedtime?

Walking Contradiction by Nancy Jane Moore

Here is a look at the future you won't forget...

Library Thing and Book View Cafe gave me a copy of this ebook to read for review (thank you).  Check with Book View Cafe to get a copy.

I really liked this series of short stories about the future.  It's sci fi and fantasy and includes differently sexed people, pirates, soldiers, love and death all in little bites of stories. There are a lot strong women here and I liked seeing that.  Being strong doesn't mean you're happy, though.

The story that impressed me most was a woman on the run trying to maintain a low profile who meets a man during a fight; he's fighting with her, she's trying to get out of the bar.  Turns out he has a ship and he needs a hand.  She signs on; they become a couple.  All goes well until times get desperate and they go out on another mission without her having any knowledge of what they're transporting.  When she finds out it's a human and her lover plans to sell him to her enemies, it turns into a life and death fight.  Even when she kills him she's crying and saying:  "But I loved him..."  That's the thing.  There's love and there's principles.

The other stories aren't as harsh, but the one I featured mattered to me.  She wouldn't accept human trafficking.  If more people were like her maybe the world wouldn't be such a bad place.

Why not go hang out in space and see what you find out there?  Maybe one of the stories in this batch will touch you, too.  Give it a try.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Count on the Subway by Paul Dubois Jacobs, Jennifer Swender

I think this could actually be fun.  Subway rides can get monotonous if you go the same way each day.  Why not find things you can count and turn it into a game?

Random House Children's Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It will be published May 13th, so check for a copy then.

Dan Yaccarino does the illustrations and they are bright colored and feel like New York.  The text is simple and easy to follow, and it rhymes, too.  If you live in a bigger city and travel by bus, train or subway, this would be a great book for your young one.  We used to watch for different license plates and whoever got the most variety won.  This is a game of numbers, too, but you don't have to watch for traffic like we did in a car.

Look for different things to count on your trips.  And be sure you participate, too.  Make it a family fun game.  Little ones don't forget things like that and family memories are precious.

Happy reading.

The Accidental Book Club by Jennifer Scott

When Jean's husband died from cancer, she was set adrift.  Wayne had been her anchor; the person she could depend on and who would help her handle anything.  Now he was gone and she was here alone.  She does like to read, though.  When her racy older neighbor suggests they get together and discuss a book they've read and cook some gourmet dishes to go with it, they both look for friends to ask and the book club is born.

The Penguin Group sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published May 6th, so you can pick up a copy then.

There's a lot of drama in this story.  Jean's daughter is an alcoholic and won't admit it.  The son-in-law has moved out because he can't handle her lies and her troubles.  She won't stay in rehab to get help.  The granddaughter feels like she's invisible.  Her father is ghost because he's never there and doesn't see her when he is.  Her mother talks about her in disparaging terms when she's sitting in the same room.  She's tired of trying to take care of her mother.  She's angry and she's acting out.  They refer to her as "out of control".  When Laura ends up in the hospital, Jean finds herself bringing Bailey home with her.  Bailey is still out of control and Jean ends up avoiding her to stop having problems.  Then Laura moves in and the troubles escalate.

The only saving grace is the book club.  Those women are her friends and support her as best they can.  Loretta is an old lady that reads romance novels and talks vividly about sex.  The others are more sedate but each is strong in their own way.

When Laura and Bailey go back home and Curt calls again, Jean assumes Laura is back in the hospital.  No, this time it's Bailey.  When she listens the two argue in Bailey's hospital room, Jean finally loses her temper and let's them know what she thinks.  

The ending isn't happy ever after, but it does have hope for the future.  That's really all any of us can ask for, isn't it? 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Dog Loves Counting by Louise Yates

Dog loves reading but he knows he has to put his book down and go to sleep.  He's not sleepy, though.  Counting sheep doesn't work.  Maybe if he checked his books he could find another animal to count...

Random House Children's Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It's been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.  There are two other Dog Loves... books out that you might want to look at, also.  He's a cutie who likes learning.

Dog starts with an egg.  It's just one egg.  When it hatches and it's a dodo, he calls it Number One.  He's Number Two because he has two legs, a sloth becomes Number Three because he has three claws and so on.  Your child will meet all kinds of animals in this book and learn to count forward and backward.  The illustrations are bright and colorful.

This is a fun way to learn and I enjoyed all the animals shown.  The dog is my favorite, though.  All those books around his bed just made me smile.

Happy reading.

Chestnut Street by Maeve Binchy

This is the last book from Ms. Binchy.  It's a series of short stories about folks living on a street in Dublin that she wrote in between things and stuck in a desk drawer.  It features some of the characters she's introduced you to in other novels living near each other and living regular domestic lives.  It reminded me a bit of her book "The Lilac Bus", which I loved.  Each chapter was devoted to a bus rider.  Everyone had opinions about everyone else but the rider's stories had nothing to do with assumptions.  That's how life is.

Alfred A Knopf sent me an ARC of the book for review (thank you).  It will be published May 6th, so make a note to grab a copy then.  Ms. Binchy's death has ended her writing, so be sure to get the book and a cup of tea and see what happens behind closed doors on Chestnut Street.

Each chapter is about another household.  Many of the characters know the others on the street and they are part of their stories.  I imagine this is a lot like any street.  You have happy people, sad people, distraught people, and life and death on a personal level here.

Ms. Binchy writes about real people.  They're just down-to-earth, homey people who are trying to survive.  Some are trying to climb up the ladder and leave Chestnut Street, some are happy right there, and others are just transients here temporarily.  They have normal human problems and I found a couple of stories where I questioned the author's endings.  Having the straying husband "die" did end that problem, but he wasn't ill.  He was also fairly young.  Then I wondered if his sweet wife knew and might have helped him along.  There's no real answer in that story.  She sometimes leaves things open in a story and that's part of her writing charm.

Here's your chance to walk down Chestnut Street in Dublin and see what common everyday life is like there.  Why not take a tour with Ms. Binchy?

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Fraidyzoo by Thrya Heder

Little T is afraid to go to the zoo, but can't remember why.  Her family is very understanding and tries to help her out by dressing up as animals!

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

This story teaches you the alphabet but does it in a way that is totally unique.  They pick an animal for every letter of the alphabet and then they dress up and act it out.  She keeps saying no, that's not it.  The story is amusing and fun and I can see little ones wanting to dress up, too.

In this story, mom and dad are a good sport and have fun acting out the animals along the other siblings in the family.  When Little T decides she's brave enough to go, they head on down to the zoo.  The laugh-out-loud thing is that the ticket lady scares her sister!  Little T is still there and her sister is out the gate heading down the road!  Oh my goodness...

Here's an easy way to teach your child the alphabet.  Maybe you could both work on coming up with other animals whose names begin with "B" and other letters of the alphabet.  I'll let you skip the "X", OK?

Happy reading.

The Girl with the Windup Heart by Kady Cross

The world of steampunk is back.  This is the fourth and final book in this series and it made me both happy and sad to read it.  I enjoyed seeing how things worked out with the characters but I'm sorry to let them go...

Harlequin Teen and Net Galley allowed to download and read this ebook for review (thank you).  It will be published May 27th, so make a note to grab it then.  And, if you haven't read the others in the series, get those and start there.  This is a great adventure with lots of challenges in London in 1897.  It takes special powers to survive.

Finley and Griffin are back together again and life is good.  At least it is until The Machinist rises from the Aether and grabs Griffin from her.  The Machinist was "dead" but he wasn't at rest.  He's attempting to take Griffin King's power and take over the Aether.  If he does that Finley Jane and her friends will never be safe again.  Some things just can't be killed.

While Finley is trying to find Griffin in the Aether by "dying" and then being revived, she runs into her old nemesis from earth who also refuses to move on.  She has to kill him to get to Griffin.  In the meantime, the Machinist is draining off Griffin's life force.

As if this wasn't enough of a nail biter, Mila has fallen in love with Jack Dandy.  He only wants to be her protector, she wants him to be her lover.  She may be mostly machine but she has human emotions and human skin and human desires.  When he tells her no after a kiss that sears him, she says:  "Goodbye, Jack."  She waits until he's gone and then moves out.  Jack is frantically trying to find her and his father is trying to make her his doxy.  Mila might be innocent but she knows Jack's father is a bad man.

The story is fast and furious and I worried about my friends, the characters.  I was happy to see everything work out for the best and everyone settle down by the story's end.  Still, I will be sad not to read any more about them.  I may need to buy this series so I can visit it again one day in the future.  This was a wonderful steampunk adventure with paranormal characters and I really liked it.  Why not give it a try?

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Girl Who Wouldn't Brush Her Hair by Kate Bernheimer

She has long thick dark hair and she doesn't brush it.  It's "just her way."  She washed it, she just didn't brush it.  We all know what happens when you don't brush it; it tangles.  In this case, something even more interesting happens.

Random House Children's Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published so you can buy a copy now.  Jake Parker is the illustrator and his artwork is full of bright colors.

She wakes up one morning with a mouse in her hair.  She's not scared of it; it seems to be a nice mouse.  One mouse might be, but suddenly the whole condominium is moving in!

When they object to her bathing, she stops.  But that has bad results at school.  The crowning touch is when the teacher tells her she must leave her doll at home because each child is allowed one toy and she has a head full of them.  She doesn't want to leave Baby home.  So something has to change, and change it does.

If you have a young one that's not fond of brushing or combing their hair, here's a story that might help.  Instead of asking if they brushed their hair, you can ask:  "Have you seen any mice yet?"  Laughing about it might help get the job done.

Happy reading.

The Dirty Book Murder, A Rare Book Mystery by Thomas Shawver

Auctions aren't something that a small local bookstore owner normally attends.  They don't usually have a lot of capital to invest and an auction environment might make them bid higher than they want to for the item.  However, this ad mentioned erotica and that sometimes brought in some good money...

Alibi and Net Galley let me download an ebook of this story and read it for review (thank you).  The book will be published May 6th, so you can grab a copy then.

When Michael gets to the auction, he only has a few minutes to look at what's for sale.  His competitors are there also.  When they see Japanese Shunga scrolls and a first edition of a novel by French author Colette with an inscription by Ernest Hemingway, they know the bidding is going up.  A unknown man arrives and begins bidding on the same books.  He's outdoing every bid put up no matter how high it goes.  He also takes the whole lot with him in one bulk price.  Who is he?

The plot in this story is a bit odd.  It's not just murder, there's porn, a mutiny, a father-daughter conflict, and a movie cast involved.  Michael is an interesting character.  He's not perfect but he's trying to do the right thing.  The problem is that killer is too close to him for him to see it.

This story will keep you reading and wondering just what is going to happen next.  It will be interesting to see what the author does next with Michael.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Runaway Hug by Nick Bland

When Lucy has finished getting ready for bed, she asks her Mom for a hug.  Her Mom says OK, but mentions it's her last hug so Lucy will have to give it back to her.

Random House Children's Books sent me a copy of this book for review.  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

This is very cute picture book that Freya Blackwood's illustrations makes lovely.  They're a bit whimsical and they make you feel the family love in their house.  My Mom was always ready with a hug, any time and anywhere.  This story reminded me of her but it's a unique tale, too.

Lucy shares that hug with her Dad and then asks for it back.  She manages to share it with all family members and gets it back from all until she hugs the dog.  The dog takes off and Lucy can't catch her.  She's sitting on the floor disillusioned when the dog attacks her with a  wet tongue and a big hug!

My favorite part is the last line of the story:  Lucy asks her Mom if she can have a kiss.  Mom says, yes, she has plenty of those...

Earthman Jack vs. The Ghost Planet by Matthew Kadish

Jack doesn't realize just how much trouble having a crush on Anna is going to bring him.  I think even if he did, he wouldn't have acted any differently.

Privateer Press and Net Galley allowed to read this ebook for review (thank you).  It was published April 11th, and you should be able to find a copy at your local bookstore now.

This is a wild sci fi/fantasy read that is out of this world.  This is written for middle graders, but it works for all ages.  I enjoyed it.  It reminded me a bit of a movie I saw long ago titled:  The Last Starfighter.  A young man playing video games on a machine is asked to save the world.

Jack finds himself fighting REAL Deathlords instead of those in a video game.  It's a good thing he spent all those hours practicing techniques on the video games to go up levels.  Now he needs to reach the ultimate level or he'll die.

Mr. Kadish writes strong characters.  I liked all the "good" characters we met, no matter what world they were from.  They were strong, willing to fight, and Jack made a good rag tag team out of what he had left.  One was even a robot.

Once the action starts, it never stops.  Even at the end of the book, it's like the intermission between plays.  There will be another book and the Deathlords will be back again...

I grieved when characters died and when earth blew up but there's hope in the future that they may be able to bring them to life again.  I'll be watching for the next book.

One note:  this book is long.  It's right up there with the Harry Potter series for the number of words.  I think it could have been done a bit more concisely and wouldn't lose the flavor of the story.  However, I read the whole thing, so it was done well enough.  Just set some time aside or you'll be in agony waiting to get back to it.  When I got into it, I didn't want to quit reading.  Let me know if it did that you, OK?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Little Frog's Tadpole Trouble by Tatyana Feeney

Little Frog has Mom and Dad and they make three.  He's perfectly happy with that and isn't thrilled when his parents tell him they are having nine tadpoles.  What can tadpoles do???

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

I was the oldest sibling in my family and I sure didn't want my little brother.  I couldn't understand what I'd done wrong that made them want another child.  And if they wanted one, I either wanted a younger sister or an older brother.  Too bad Mom wouldn't cooperate.

If you are expecting, this is nice picture book that shows how tadpoles were boring when young and then how much fun they had together when they turned into frogs.  Even little brothers grow up some day.

I liked the use of colors in the illustrations.  It's mainly green, with little pink touches here and there.  That simple color use made them stand out.  The story is easy to read, topical for new parents, and suitable for all young readers.  Maybe the new baby idea is someone else in the family or in your circle of friends.  It also teaches the child about how tadpoles turn into frogs.

I have to admit, I found frogs much more interesting than tadpoles, too.  How about you?

The Garden Plot by Marty Wingate

Pru has left Texas and her job and gone to her "roots"; she's living in London and has a year long lease on a house.  Her plan is to find the perfect job and stay in London.  Her job search isn't going that well, though.  And then she finds a murdered man!

Alibi and Net Galley let me read this story for review (thank you).  It will be published May 6th.  If you like cozy mysteries, you won't want to miss the start of this new series.

Another thing Pru left behind was her old "sort of" boyfriend.  She doesn't miss the job or the fella but her goal is to get a permanent job so she can afford to live in London.  She keeps getting rejection letters and her spirits are down.  When she takes on a local job and there is a buried mosaic inside the shed, she's interested in the history behind it.  So are a lot of other people.  Some of them want it for personal gain.

The only good part about being involved in the murder is that she meets the police inspector.  He's attractive and single.  He's also always lecturing her about her questions meddling in his case.  He keeps telling her it's dangerous for her to be involved.  She's so sure who isn't the killer, she doesn't pay attention to who might be.  That's a very bad move on her part.

The gardening knowledge shared is interesting and accurate, the plot holds your attention, and a romance develops between Pru and Christopher, the police inspector.  Every chance they have to go on a date, something comes up and they have to cancel.  Pru decides she'll have to go back to the states since her lease is running out and she has no regular job.

One of my fun things in this read was Pru learning the English's nicknames vs American nicknames.  Also, I loved how the author ended this story.  It was a last minute happy ever after and it made such an impression on me I have pre-ordered this ebook as the very first ebook to be a "keeper" on my hand-me-down Kindle.  I'll reread this story and take a bit more time to savor it later.

The best part is that Pru will be back again.  You can watch for more from Ms. Wingate.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Poem Mobiles: Crazy Car Poems by J. Patrick Lewis and Douglas Florian

You've seen the odd cars that companies make:  the Cube, the Mini Cooper, big four wheel drive pickups and SUVs and the even smaller electric cars.  That's in the here and now.  Wait until you see the cars and trucks in this book!

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

The authors have all sorts of silly ideas about vehicles of the future and express it in rhyme.  Jeremy Holmes is the illustrator and he depicts each odd auto in a funky graphic.  They have a dragon wagon (is that related to the Dodge Power Wagon?), an eel-ectric car, a high heel car and many more.  They're all fun to look at.

There are also little hidden things in the illustrations.  See if you child can find the Royal Throne; it's in plain sight.  Another fun thing to do would be to look at the cover after you've read the book and see if you can name all the cars on there.  Which car is your favorite?  I think the love car is mine.

Tales from High Hallack, Volume 2: the collected short stories of Andre Norton

I've always loved Andre Norton's work.  She had a marvelously rich imagination and she loved cats and added them to her stories.  She could write about anything and make it interesting.  Her sci fi stories are always a pleasure to read.

Premier Digital Publishing and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published May 20th, so make a note to grab it then.

High fantasy, fables, science fiction, coming of age stories, and more are included in Norton's work.  Many of these stories came from Witch World.  The stories range from the 1930s forward.  They haven't lost any charm with age and are still a joy to read.

I started reading this one evening and didn't stop until I was done.  Magical worlds grab me, nice flowing words speak to me, and Ms. Norton's tales amuse me.  Her women are strong, her cats are smart and sometimes deadly, and there's hints of romance here and there.  These stories are my "cup of tea" and I'm thankful I had the chance to read her work again.

If you haven't met Andre's writing yet, try this sample of her style and her way of getting her point across.  I bet you'll get hooked, too.

Monday, April 21, 2014

West of the Moon by Margi Preus

When Astri's father immigrates to America, he leaves them with their aunt.  He promises to send money and news, but she and her sister never see any.  When the goatman comes to get a new goat girl, the aunt gives him Astri.

Amulet Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It was published the first of this month, so you can find a copy at your local bookstore now.

This concept for this book is interesting:  Mix an old fairytale while telling a new one and give the reader twice as much pleasure.

The goatman is not a nice man.  He lives in a hovel, he keeps some outbuildings locked and he barely shares any food with her.  When he starts to push her to marry him, she knows she has to leave.  When she escapes, she takes the young girl she found incarcerated in one of those outbuildings.  She also gets her little sister, Greta.  She's bound and determined to get to America.

The original tale is Norwegian.  The two fairytales are similar and it enhances the current story being told.  Astri and Greta have quite a journey ahead of them.  Even travel on the boat isn't safe.

What made the story entertaining was how Ms. Preus wove her two tales together.  Life was not easy for these girls, but it's not easy for anyone trying to immigrate.  Even more interesting is the fact that the reason the author wrote this story is because it came from a few lines in her great-great-grandmother's diary.  She includes a picture from long ago and a copy of a page of the diary.  The story is fictional; the circumstances are authentic.

I liked it.  Why don't you give it a try?

Cupcake Cousins by Kate Hannigan

This story is filled with calamities.  First they are expected to wear bubble gum colored dresses and be flower girls at the wedding.  Then their access to the kitchen is limited so they can't show off their baking prowess.  And the little brother and the dog create a bigger mess by eating specialty items the new cook has made.  How can they save this wedding?

Disney Book Group and Net Galley gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published May 13th, so check with your local bookstore then to get a copy.

This is a cute story about two young cousins who want to prove they would be a bigger help by cooking desserts than by wearing those ugly dresses.  They had plans but we all know how that goes.  There's a new cook who doesn't want them in her kitchen.  Their dog loves bacon and destroys one whole tray of hors d'oeuvres before it even gets served.  The brother eats a specialty tart.  The cook is getting crabby and the wedding date is closing in...

The wedding day arrives and the girls find the kitchen empty.  The wedding cake is a mess, the cook is nowhere to be found and it looks like disaster has struck big time.

This story is delightful.  Mysteries unravel, they help save the cake and they get through the mortification of wearing those horrible pink dresses for the event.  The end of this story is "happy ever after" in more than way.

This sounds just like the type of family I grew up in.  The story will make you laugh and you'll appreciate the cousin's ideas for dressing the cake up...

Happy reading.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

This little girl has a canine companion.  They do everything together and look real cute doing it.  But then the girl has an inspirational moment:  She's going to make the most magnificent thing!

Kids Can Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It was published the first of April so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

This is a cute story about a child trying hard to make something "just right".  I laughed when she takes all these various things she plans to use for her creation right out in the middle of the sidewalk, where she has lots of room and won't bother anybody.  Never mind about the pedestrians...

She creates and creates and creates and nothing is quite right.  She gets mad, she fumes and then she goes for a walk with her dog to think about it.  She finally sees that each had something right about it and if she melds these parts she will have her marvelous thing.  While she's creating that, all those odd things she made are being claimed by the people walking by.  They think they are magnificent and will do something just right for them.

The best part is what she actually made.  It's very special and it will make you and your young one smile.

Happy reading.

Ladder to the Red Star by Jael Wye

Martian Head Tech is Devi, a beautiful smart woman who sees your DNA like music.  She can tell when the notes aren't playing right and can adjust your body to correct it.  This correction is free on the moon; it's not free on Earth...

Carina Press and Net Galley allowed to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 28th, so grab a copy then.  Be sure to read the first in this series, Ice Red.  It will set the stage for book two.

Two people are coming to Mars with plans for the correction units:  A selfish business man who can only see how much money he can make with it, and a young man who wants to fix his own trouble and save his mother from cancer.

The story is complex and interesting.  Besides the two men after the big prize, there are terrorists on board.  Some are suicide bombers.  The business man wants Devi for his wife.  He intends to take the sass out of her and make her fear his touch because that makes him feel powerful and full of lust.  (Sick man, I know.)

When Devi finds out Jack can't feel any pain or sensations, she runs him through the corrector and it rehabilitates him.  Imagine not feeling anything and then having your body come alive...

Things go bad and Jack must go now or he will be dead.  He has a space shuttle ready and forces Devi to go with him.  He needs her to save his mother.  When she finds out he's not who he said he was, she's willing to save his mother but doesn't like him very much.

I enjoyed both these stories.  The main characters are strong and fight for what they believe in.  The stories are fast and full of challenges and near death.  I just wish there wasn't as much sex in the stories.  Give me a good story without graphic sex scenes and I'm happier.  For those that like a little erotic stuff in their stories, these two books will do that for you.

All in all, I did enjoy reading them and watching the girls find love.Why don't you jump on the shuttle and see what you think?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur by Linda Bailey

Does your child have a good imagination?  Then you need to buy this book for them!

Random House of Canada Limited and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published May 13th, so check with your local bookstore for a copy then.

This book made me laugh out loud!  Ms. Bailey has a marvelous imagination and Mr. Jack's illustrations are outrageous, colorful and perfectly depict the story the text is telling.  It's perfect.

There are uses for dinosaurs here that are just wonderful:  A can opener, a nutcracker, an umbrella, how about a pillow?  I just kept reading to see what would he would use his dinosaur for next and enjoyed each page.  I'm sure your young one will, too.

The best part?  At the end, the question is what would you do with a Kangaroo?  Time to make up your own story!

Sharing your imagination with a child is very important thing.  A child with an imagination is never bored.

Yoshiko and the Gift of Charms (The Land of Dragor) by Julia Suzuki

A long time ago in a land far away, there were humans, dinosaurs and and dragons.  There were even dragsaurs, a mix of dinosaur and dragon mating.  Then war came and when the dust calmed down, the humans were in one area and the dragons in another.  The dinosaurs and dragsaurs were gone.  And the dragons hid their world...

Ms. Suzuki sent me a copy of her book for review (thank you).  You can buy a copy now on Amazon.  This book is written for middle graders and the tale has a message about life.

When Yoshiko is born, his shell reflects several iridescent colors.  His parents notice but don't care; their baby is perfect.  The Hudrah dragon attending the birth brings her black basket up intending to take their child away, but Yoshiko's father convinces her that his son his normal with a nice cash payment.  It's an unusual beginning for an unusual dragon.

The dragons are all different breeds, are various sizes, and have different skills.  When Yoshiko is sent to dragon school, he's excited about learning how to use fire, how to fly and how to handle heat and all the other skills they learn.  The problem is that he is small in size and one of the larger dragon boys loves to make fun of him and ridicule him.  He almost lets that get to him.

One day when he flies away to think, he finds a dragon who has become a hermit.  That dragon tells him there's a quest for a special dragon and what those tests will be.  Yoshiko wants to fulfill that quest but he'll have to get stronger and in better shape first.  

As Yoshiko trains in his spare time between classes and bedtime, he also finds that he is having trouble containing his color.  At the worst moments, his color will reflect another breed.  He's different.  Can he prove that being different isn't bad?

I enjoyed this tale.  Younger readers will have no trouble with the text and the dragon world is fun to read about.  Why not get a copy and share it with your fantasy reader?  They might even want to draw some dragons for you.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Maggie Malone and the Mostly Magical Boots by Jenna McCarthy, Olivia Swann

Maggie always looked forward to her present from Aunt Fi, but this one is way weird.  Why would she send her an old pair of scruffy cowboy boots?

Sourcebooks Jabberwocky and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published May 1st, so keep an eye out for it then.

Maggie Malone is having a terrible life.  Her father has lost his job, and now she has to leave the private Catholic school and go to public school.  It's awful!  She'll leave everything she's familiar with, her best friend, and all her familiar classes.  It's even worse because it's mid-year.  How's she going to cope?

The first day at the new school is a disaster.  She gets a bottom locker and while she's trying to get into it, another girl steps on her sandwich for lunch.  She's late to class and has to get a note.  When she goes back later to exchange textbooks at her locker, someone drops a history book on her head and she ends up in the nurse's office.  And guess what, she's late for class again...

When she gets home, she tries on the boots.  They're not bad but they won't go with much.  She's debating over how they will look with an outfit when she's sees a man in the mirror!  She freaks and tries to defend herself but there's nobody there.  The only place she can see him is in the mirror.  Then he tells he's a genie.  Sure, dude, sure.

When her girlfriend comes to visit, she hides the boots.  She's not ready to talk about her genie yet.  And all her friend wants to talk about is the new hot pop star, Becca.  Once her friend has gone, she puts on the boots again and settles down on her bed.  As she daydreams about Becca, she wishes she had a life like that.  Uh oh...

I've always wished I could trade places with someone and live their life for a bit.  After reading about Maggie, I think I'll change my mind.  Poor girl...

The ending is the best part of this book.  Maggie learns several things from her experience as Becca and from her genie.  Her aunt's present has a special magic to help Maggie with life, and that makes it all worth while.

Happy reading.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Grudge Keeper by Mara Rockliff

Old Cornelius has a huge Victorian home which is good because he's the village's Grudge Keeper.  Any problems they have, they write them down and take them to him to hide away in his home.  Sounds good, doesn't it?

Peachtree Publishers and Net Galley allowed me read this book for review (thank you).  It was published April 1st, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

This is a lovely picture book.  Eliza Wheeler illustrates with her heart.  Her pictures are big and overflowing with soft colors and fun characters.  They really add to the text and make the story even more impressive.

Most of the grudges are pretty silly.  The text makes it even more fun by referring to them as tiffs and huffs and squabbles and quibbles and more.  Everyone in the village uses Cornelius' services and that keeps them all getting along.

So imagine what happens when there is really big wind and it blows all those grudges out the windows?  Squabbles were tangled with quibbles, low blows were on top and left handed compliments were on the right side.  Oh my!

The words used in this story are active and fluid and make you want to mimic the sounds.  I found that charming.  I also love how the story ends.  

Why not share a book with your little one that will teach them to forgive and forget the little things that happen in life and follow the natural way to happiness?  They'll be smiling when then they finish this picture book story - just like I was!

Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times by Emma Trevayne, Glenn Thomas (Illustrated by)

Jack is bored.  His mother is too busy being a social butterfly and shutting him away in his room.  His father is always working.  The housekeeper is nice and tries to entertain him but it's still not exciting.  It's not until this strange man shows up at his house to do magic tricks for his mother's friends that he sees a more interesting life.  He even hears the man offer to train him in the same field and gets a bit excited only to hear his mother say no.  But he wants to go...

Edelweiss and Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published May 13th.

If you have a young reader interested in steampunk, they'll enjoy this story.  It's full of action, good and bad things, and a big challenge for Jack.  It reads quickly, the story flows well and it's fun to see where the author's imagination has gone.

Jack finds a way to follow the stranger through an odd door between worlds.  Suddenly he's in the same city, but it's not; it's a parallel world.  Jack is very lucky to find friends who can help him.  He's amazed that the first one he found is a metal wind-up girl that has a soul.  She's kind and happy and he immediately likes her.  Add in a doctor and a scientist and you have Jack's new group of friends.

The doctor makes new limbs for people.  They're metal with a bit of magic.  Jack has a mechanical aptitude, so he helps.  He's happy to be here and happy to be useful.  But Lorcan is still looking him and he's willing to do anything to get Jack to come to him.  That includes hanging people...

The lady is a strange ruler that wants a perfect son.  Of course, once they become imperfect or get too old, they have to go.  Right now, Jack is exactly what she wants.

This whole story was an interesting concept.  Jack could now have anything he wanted. He had lots to do and his new mother loved him.  But was it better than home?  Jack has only one chance to get home.  Will he take it?

Happy reading.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Blessed Are The Dead by Kristi Belacamino

I've been given the opportunity to let you read an excerpt of this story to give you a preview of what it is like.  I've been reading and reviewing Witness Impulse books and they're good.  If you haven't found them yet, you're missing out.  Here's some info about the book and the author:

For her debut novel, BLESSED ARE THE DEAD (Witness, on sale 6/10/2014, $2.99, ISBN 13: 9780062338907), Kristi Belcamino relies on her knowledge gained from working as a crime reporter at newspapers in California, specifically in her experience with a serial killer who police and FBI agents liked to several kidnappings and murders. Belcamino’s personal past colors this smart, thrilling novel with a unique new voice.

BLESSED ARE THE DEAD offers chilling, authentic glimpses into the mind of a psychopath while also mining the psyche of an extremely likeable protagonist.  The novel sets up a new series featuring Gabriella Giovanni, an Italian-American Bay Area crime reporter.  BLESSED ARE THE MEEK, the second book in the series will be published in July.

Scroll down this page to get to the first two chapters:

Blessed Are the Dead 

If you're not sure you want to read the chapters, here's the synopsis to tempt you:

BLESSED ARE THE DEAD pits Italian-American Bay Area Crime reporter against a serial killer who preys on children. When they were little girls, Gabriella Giovanni’s sister was kidnapped and killed. Twenty years later, Gabriella spends her days on the crime beat flitting in and out of other people’s nightmares and then walking away unscathed. That changes when a little girl disappears and Gabriella’s quest for justice and a front-page story leads her to a convicted kidnapper who reels her in with tales of his exploits as a longtime serial killer and promises to reveal his secrets to her alone. Meanwhile, Gabriella’s passion for her job quickly spirals into obsession when she begins to suspect the kidnapper also killed her sister. Gabriella won’t hesitate to risk her life to garner justice for the dead.

Justice can be a prickly thing.  Why not give this book a read and see how it turns out for Gabriella?

Like Clockwork: A Clare Hart Mystery by Margie Orford

Clare Hart is writing about human trafficking and is disgusted by the subject matter.  The fact that her twin was one of their victims and is alive but spiritually wounded makes the crime hit home for her.  It gets even closer when murdered young girls are turning up in her neighborhood.  Is it because of what she is writing about or has that crime reached the shores of her hometown?

Witness Impulse and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 22nd.  Check your local bookstore for a copy.

This story is set in Cape Town and Kate lives near Sea Point, where abused young girls bodies are showing up.  She and her police friend are desperate to stop the abuse and the murders and they work diligently on the case.  The problem is that the men they think maybe involved are in the upper leagues of money and have political influence, too.  They have to be cautious about how they phrase their questions and they'll have to have good proof to take them down.

Human trafficking is an ugly thing.  Even reading about it bothers me.  Clare is working against the clock.  Another victim has been kidnapped and she only has a small window of time to find her.  When she determines where she thinks she's being held, she goes in after her.  It's through underground tunnels (one of my fears) and when a madman is at the other end, it's very very dangerous.

This isn't a happily ever after type story.  It's a hard look at men, women, sex, and perversions.  My favorite part of this story is an odd twist at the end when one of the victims gets even with her sexual predator.  It's very ironic and a fitting injury for someone who can't control his desires.

This is a complex police procedural with unsettling details.  It kept my attention to the end.  It also brings a face to human trafficking.  This one will make you think.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Black Lotus by K'wan

Detective James Wolf's nickname is Lone Wolf.  There's a reason for that.  He doesn't like having a partner, he follows his own path, bends the law once in a while and he's champion for justice.  None of that makes the Internal Affairs Bureau happy.  They're just waiting for him to go off on a lost cause; they have plans to nail him once and for all.  So why would his boss take him off Narcotics to work on Homicide?  He's not a homicide detective...

Akashic Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this novella (thank you).  It will available May 27th, so make a note.

This case begins with the death of a priest.  It's an ugly death.  The only clues left behind are a boy's baseball cap and a black lotus flower.  Marx thinks it's the Brotherhood of Assassins; they'll kill anybody for enough money.  Wolf has quit paying attention already.  He realizes the people of the congregation include the family of a young boy that went missing and was never found again.  That's an old case of his and this gives him a new opportunity to talk to them.  He'd like to see that case closed.  He'll also ask them about the priest while he's there.

This is not the type of book I usually read but I really enjoyed this.  The Lotus Flower is young woman who was abused in life as a child.  Now she's a weapon who fights back for the defenseless.  She's mean, efficient, and lethal as hell.  She talks to my dark self.  I take glee in each pedophile she kills.

This is a relatively short story with lots of action and hard-core justice.  You can run, but you can't hide.  Just when you think you're safe, you're dead.

The Lone Wolf is still alive at the end, mostly because he has a sense of justice.  But so's the Black Lotus.  

Be careful what you do out there, folks.  You're being watched...

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...