Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Star Catcher by Molly Dean

The boys and their father were in a car accident.  When Hawke wakes up, he's paralyzed from the waist down and his father has run away from the family.  He couldn't deal with the aftermath of the accident.  Hawke is having a bad time at that, too.

Goddess Fish Blog Tour invited me to participate in this event (thank you).  The book has been published, so check for a copy now.

This is a fantasy that has an unusual story line.  Hawke is despairing about the loss of his legs and doesn't like being incarcerated in his room.  He went from being an active young man to being bedridden.  His way of escape is to take his medication and dream.  He goes to an island and he can run and jump and climb and live the life he wants he backs.  The only bad thing about it is that it suddenly becomes real!

He finds himself in water and when he surfaces, there's beautiful mermaid there.  She asks him if he's the Star Catcher.  He says no, he's Hawke, but she doesn't believe him.  She tells him he need to go to the manor on the hill, they've been waiting for him.  Once he gets in the manor, the story gets even stranger.  There's professor who has yellow eyes and claws, a stiff manservant that is almost robot-like, a lady confined to bed upstairs, and a young girl who serves as a kitchen servant.  He's given a room and then he's given a quest.

The quest is a big one.  He needs to get to the falling stars before anyone else does.  The Shrikers have taken over the island and are evil.  He can't let them get them first!

With the help of Emma, an old farmer and a crow he's got better odds.  He even gets his brother and Becky from the real world to help a bit.  But it's really up to Hawke...

Molly will be awarding a $40 Amazon Gift Card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.  Here's where to enter:  ENTER HERE

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

There is lots of excitement and magic in this story, why not give it a read?

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Possible Police by Wylde Scott

This book is colored with dreams and positive thoughts.  Has anyone ever said no to your dreams?

Wylde Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 15th, so be sure to grab a copy then.

The story is done in rhyme and pictures a young child in bed thinking about what to do tomorrow or with the rest of his life.  In march these big policemen all in blue and official looking and forbidding.  They say the child cannot do what he's dreaming about.

I have actually had this happen to me in life.  I got a lot of you won't be any good at that because you're a girl (versus being a boy, a much more important being).  My father told me he wouldn't pay for me to go to college because I'd just get married and have babies anyway.  I finished my college degree at 40 years of age, retired from a career as finance director, and never had any children.  I did get married, though.  Never let anyone tell you that you can't do it.  All that does is make me try harder.

This author expresses that concept in a more laid back dream environment written for small ones.  It's done a non-confrontational manner.  The boy ignores the naysayers and follows his dreams.  That's what we all need to do in life.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Goodnight, You by Geneviève Côté

Piggy and Bunny are camping out for the first time.  Do you remember the first time you went camping?  All the funny noises; how dark it was?

Kids Can Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so you can grab a copy now.

This is a sweet simple book for young ones.  Piggy and Bunny make fun of the dangers of camping out by teasing each other.  As they are getting ready for bed, Piggy tells Bunny about his secret fear.  Bunny doesn't make fun of him and promises him he will take care of him.  It's a good thing to have friends who listen and will help you conquer your fears.  

This is a good basic message for children.  It also demonstrates how sharing a fear makes it be less.  It's easy to read so young ones can enjoy it.  I like this series.  Simple illustrations and simple messages with good common sense.  Give them a try with your young one.

The Ghost and Max Monroe Case #1: The Magic Box by L. M. Falcone

Max is hanging out in his grandfather's backyard, snooping around for something to do.  He's amazed to see an old detective agency back there.  When he goes in and starts looking around, he's in for another surprise.  His great uncle's ghost is there!

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

This is a great book for children who are reluctant readers.  The sentences are short and simple, the graphics are fun to look at, and with a ghost and mystery it's busy.

Max wants to be a detective.  He's a little young for it but he wants to practice now.  He gets his chance when a birthday party he attends loses the main attraction.  They were playing a party game and the birthday girl has disappeared.  Where could she be?  Did someone kidnap her?

Max and his great uncle go through the information available and look for clues.  Everyone is panicking because they have to find her before her mother comes home.  It's an odd plot, but it sounds like something kids would do.

As you follow Max and Larry on their quest it will make you think about what you know and look for your own clues.  Since this is Max's first case, I bet there will be more to this series.  Max and Larry are fun, I'd like to read more about them in the future.  How about you?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Simon’s Cat in Kitten Chaos by Simon Tofield

Oh boy, another Simon's Cat book!  And this one has that cute little kitten in it.  I love Mr. Tofield's cat comics!

Akashic sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It's been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.  If you haven't met Simon's cat yet, you're in for a real treat.

When Simon brings a new kitten home as a rescue, his cat is not impressed.  His cat does his best to ignore it, all to no avail.

Here are a few of my favorite comics from this book:

Simon's cat notices the kitten sleeping in a sunny spot on the carpet while it's outside.  It slides a planter over in front of the window and blocks the sun from the kitten.

Simon is sick in bed.  The cats come to check on him and then sleep with him to make him better.  It's true that cats will try to heal you.

The dog and the kitten are playing in the rain with no worries.  Simon's cat is under a bush trying to get the kitten to join him.  When it doesn't, Simon's cat grabs a Frisbee and uses that as an umbrella.  As he walks out into the rain, the dog sees him.  Zip, the Frisbee is gone and Simon's cat is getting wet!

Cats do pick on each other and play.  What I like best about Simon's cat is that he's a cat owner and many of his ideas come from living with cats.   He just happens to have a talent at drawing and that makes fun reading for us.  Take a peek at the book.  I bet you'll buy it.

Blanche on the Lam by Barbara Neely

Blanche is a fun character to follow through a tale.  She's black, works as a housekeeper for the monied folk of North Carolina and she knows her place.  She also knows she's not stupid, they're no better than she is (just a bit more money is all) and she takes no crap off anybody.  Even Blanche appreciates the irony of her name, Blanche White.  It's a good thing she has friends because she's going to need them before the end of this story!

Brash Books generously shared a copy of this book with me for a review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your bookstore for a copy.

Blanche's troubles begin when she writes checks for her utility services and her customers don't pay her on time.  The checks bounce.  She's anticipating explaining that to the judge and getting some time to make them good.  The judge isn't listening and she's facing jail time.  She asks to use the bathroom, then hightails it out of the courthouse and heads for parts unknown.  She knows she can't go home.  So she finds another home to work in and stays with them as a servant.  That's all well and fine until she cottons on to the fact that there is something funny going on.

It takes a bit for the story to develop its bones and start making sense.  It moves from a domestic situation to murder.  And when they try to pin it on Blanche, she starts calling in favors and chatting with gossips.  It takes her personal knowledge of how people work to put it all together and find the guilty party.

This is the first Blanche book I've read.  It's like a cozy mystery and I enjoyed it.  I'll be watching for more.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Legacy of the Claw (Animas Book One) by C. R. Grey

This is a brand new adventure that is destined to go far.  There's a battle between good and evil, a lost child and a found one, and kinship with animals.  Welcome to a new wondrous world that is going through growing pains...

Disney Book Group and Net Galley allowed me to download and read this book (thank you).  It is due to be published October 28th, so watch for it at your local bookstore.

There are two stories being woven together in this story.  Gwen lives with the Elder who has brought her in off the street.  She was a pickpocket, now she's his apprentice.  He has an old Owl for his companion and kin.  These two will end up in Bailey's life before the end of this book.

Bailey was adopted and has not found his Animas bond yet.  He's being sent to Fairmont Academy to help him with that.  He's got three good friends and a few enemies after he's been there a bit, but he still has no kin.

Things begin to get more dangerous when the Dominion takes over Parliament and control goes to a madwoman.  Especially since she is trying to kill her competition and she thinks Bailey is part of it.  Nothing is quite what it seems and as the author drops the seeds of the story, you start reading faster.  Who will survive and how?  Who is one of the main players but has no knowledge of his heritage?  And Bailey may have been an orphan, but he finds his people.  They will help him when he needs it.

My main question is:  What's going to happen in the next book???  I enjoyed this read a lot.  It's an action-packed fantasy with lots of characters and kin mixed in.  I'll be watching for the next in the series.  You need to read it, too.  It's good!

Blue Mountain by Martine Leavitt

Tuk is a young bighorn sheep who has seen the blue mountain.  With that vision in his head, he sees the future of his herd taking another direction.  But not everyone agrees...

Macmillan Children's Publishing Group and Net Galley allowed to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 28th, so look for a copy then.

This is non-fiction based story on bighorn sheep and their challenges in life.  They have lots of enemies in the low lands, man is an enemy everywhere, and food is getting scarce with development.  

The matriarch of the herd leads them; the rams follow along.  They don't do a lot with the herd except at breeding time.  The big head clashes with their horns is part of that ritual.  

I enjoyed the fact that the author had her animals talk to each other.  It made the story easier to read and more interesting.  Tuk came along when the herd needed him and he does lead them to a new area where they could graze in safety.

If you read this book, you'll look at those bighorn sheep with a new sense of wonder.  They're smart and family oriented, and they accept life and death as fate.  I'd love to see a young one!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Mystery of the Missing Lion by Alexander McCall Smith

I love Mr. Smith's Precious Ramotswe character.  I've read all the books in that adult series, so I had to check out his children's book to see how he writes about her then.

Knopf Doubleday Publishing and Net Galley allowed to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 21st, so you can grab a copy then.

In this book of his children's series, Mr. Smith has Precious visit her aunt.  While she's there, they have a group who are coming to film a documentary.  As she and a friend stand watching, they are soon invited to help with the set.  They even get to mimic bird noises to draw the tame lion's attention.

Precious is enjoying herself and everything is going well until the lion escapes.  She and her friend go to look for it and find a pride it has joined.  The man who owns the lion goes out to capture it again and almost gets hurt in the attempt.  Precious has a serious talk with him about the lion and captivity.  I like how the story ends and you will, too.

This is easy way to learn something about Africa.  It may lead your child to read more on the subject.  And Precious may make them look at things a bit more carefully, too.  What she observes helps her solve her mysteries.  Big or small, I like Precious Ramotswe.

Centaur Rising by Jane Yolen

Jane Yolen has written some very good books, so I had to see what she did with a centaur in her story.

Macmillan Children's Publishing Group and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 21st, so you can grab a copy then.

This book covers more than one subject.  The youngest, a son, has birth defects from a medicine that was used to help control morning sickness at the time of his mother's pregnancy.  Mother and daughter love him dearly and work to protect him from other people's nasty comments.  The father left after his birth.  So divorce has raised its ugly head in their household.

Not only do they have a deformed boy, now a pony that hasn't been bred is pregnant.  Ari saw a falling star during the Perseid meteor shower and thinks magic might be involved.  Her little brother is need of a miracle to keep his spirits up and give him some joy in his life.  When the pony has a centaur, he's thrilled.  The rest of the household is scared;  scared of who will see him and what will happen.

The centaur grows fast and soon is no longer a secret.  I like how they find a way to for her brother to ride him and then open that up to other handicapped children.  The storyline is handled nicely.  The ending is a bit much for me but it's appropriate for the age group the book is geared for and it fits well.  Just suspend your belief system for a bit and read a good fantasy about a make believe animal that's half-human.  You'll enjoy it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Nancy Knows by Cybele Young

Nancy is an elephant drawn in a simple black outline...

Random House of Canada and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore to grab a copy.

Nancy shows what she knows and remembers inside the black lines of her body.  It's an unusual way to present a story and I like it.  The story demonstrates what's different, what's the same, and how affects you.  And all the way through, Nancy is trying to remember what she forgot.  I can relate to that.  How often do you walk into a room and then forget what you were going there for?

Nancy is big and her body is full of colors.  The graphics are fun to look at and discover what Nancy is remembering now.  She also finally remembers what she forgot.

I like this one because it's different from most picture books.  A simple design that expresses itself well is a joy to read.  Check it out for yourself, I think it's pretty.

Maverick Sheriff by Delores Fossen

They're not enemies, but they're not friends either.  And when she's in an accident and her son needs a blood transfusion, Cooper is the only one around with his blood type...

Harlequin Intrigue and Net Galley allowed to read this book for review (thank you).  It was published in August so you can get a copy now at your local bookstore.

Cooper and his brothers live at the ranch with his father.  Cooper had been married and lost his wife and son in a big storm.  It's taken him a long time to recover.  Then he suddenly realizes there might be a reason this boy has his same blood type.  Maybe his son didn't drown like Mom did.  

When Jessa realizes what he's thinking, she immediately becomes protective and defensive.  She adopted the boy and he's hers.  When Cooper asks her some questions, she gives him answers about who she adopted from and how she adopted him.  When she finds out it was an illegal adoption, her world is shattered.  It gets even worse when someone starts trying to kidnap her son.

Jessa has resurrected an old case that implicates Cooper's mother.  She walked out on him and his brothers when they were little, so there's no big love lost between them.  He probably wouldn't have cared about her fate.  But Jessa found the evidence tampered with and she accuses the family of doing it.  Since they are all in law enforcement now, it was pretty far-fetched but someone messed with it.  Now that her case is getting close to going to court, Mom and her family are the ranch, too.  There are two more cops in that batch.  The person trying to snatch the boy has some good competition.

This is a complicated tale with the past and present tied together.  It's also the start of a new series.  I enjoyed reading about Jessa and Cooper even though they were in danger throughout the book.  They have a happy ending.  I bet the other brothers are featured in future books.  What do you think?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Peter Puck and the Runaway Zamboni Machine by Brian McFarlane

Peter Puck has legs and can talk, so he's a bit abnormal for a puck.  Of course, you have a talking zamboni machine named Tony, so anything can happen in this adventure.

Random House of Canada and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 14th, so watch for it then.

Peter is complimenting Tony on what a great job he does smoothing the ice and making it great to play on.  Tony is bored.  Same old stuff every day; no big challenges or changes.  He wants to run away.  Peter talks him down by telling him how important his job is.  But when it's time to prep the ice, Tony is nowhere to be found...

This a cute tale about a zamboni machine having a tour around the city.  As he travels along he sees other jobs that are even more boring.  He also manages to get in a car race.  The other contestants are cheating, but Pete and Tony outsmart them.

It's an easy to read, fun book for young ones.  Even if you're not a hockey fan, this book will amuse you.

The Doll People Set Sail by Ann M. Martin, Laura Godwin

Have you ever felt like your dolls or toys might come to life at night while you were sleeping?  You play during the day; they play at night.  This is a fantasy tale about a family of dolls who are willing to take risks to save family members.

Disney Book Group and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 14th, so you can snag a copy then.

One doll family is porcelain and fragile.  The other is plastic.  They both have doll houses and they visit each other at night.  At the moment, the children are grounded because of their last adventure.  Anabelle hates it, but she has to do what her parents tell her.

Then their whole lives get disrupted.  The girl who owns them tells them they're going to be packed up for storage while the girl's bedrooms are renovated.  They were afraid they'd be stored permanently or given away, so this is good news.  The bad news is the box they are in gets put in the wrong pile and they are on their way overseas to Europe to be given to children without toys.  Oh my, what will they do now?

It gets even worse:  The father plastic doll and his son and the nanny fall out of the box while it's being transported to the ship.  They aren't sure where they fell or how they are going to save them, but they're going to try.

I've always enjoyed tales about little people and the challenges they face when dealing with human sized objects.  This is another example of how teamwork and determination makes the difference.  It's an exciting adventure, there's lots of action, and there are near-brushes with death.  Why not get a copy of this book and follow the doll people on their journey across the sea?

You can also get more books in this series.  This is the fourth book.  So grab the first three now and you'll be ready for the fourth adventure when it comes out.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Good, the Bad & the Beagle by Catherine Lloyd Burns

Veronica Morgan wants a dog.  She wants the caramel colored beagle at the pet store, but her parents aren't excited about getting a dog.  When she goes to the pet store after school and finds the dog gone, she has a panic attack and can't even tell her parents what's wrong!

Macmillan Children's Publishing Group and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 14th, so you can find a copy at the bookstore then.

This is the tale of a girl changing schools and trying to make friends in a new environment.  She's not sure who's in and who isn't, who she would like best, and what parties she's supposed to attend.  She's doing okay, but she sure needs her beagle time.  Petting him and holding him is the best thing in her life right now.

When the dog comes up missing, she comes home in tears.  Her parents think the worst and are very concerned about her.  Then Veronica sees the dog.  They bought it for her!

What comes next is a spoiler.  If you don't want to know more at this point, stop reading and go on about your business.  I feel a need to disclose major story components so people realize what kind of book it is.  Here goes:

Cadbury is the perfect dog for her.  She walks him and the little upstairs dog no one else can stand and does her pooper scooper duties as she should.  Life is good.  Until Cadbury slows down and doesn't seem to have any energy anymore.  Poor boy has an oversized heart and won't survive.

Veronica spends all her time with him.  Forget parties, school, and life otherwise.  It does no good in the long run, but she's devoted to her dog.  Once he's gone, her parents encourage her to engage life again until she finally has no choice.  She goes to visit one of the school girls and they aren't sympathetic to her loss.  In revenge, she cuts up the girl's cashmere sweaters.  No good will come of this.

She has much to learn about life but by the end of the book, she's doing better.  Especially when she finds out the upstairs neighbor's dogs had puppies...

The Mutts Diaries by Patrick McDonnell

I love reading the Mutt's comics each day.  When I had a chance to read a collection of them, I jumped in!

Andrew McMeel Publishing and Net Galley gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 7th, so check with your bookstore for a copy then.

Mutt and Mooch are two sweet characters.  Mooch speaks with a lisp and is a typical cat.  Mutt lives for pets by his master.  They have all kinds of other animal characters for friends.

I really like how this book is put together.  You have a diary of jokes from everyone.  Even Crabby has own segment!

These are the same silly sweet jokes you get in a daily email all compiled in a collection for you.  You can't go wrong.  If you have never met Mutt or Mooch yet, you have a real treat coming.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo and SunNeko Lee

Many years ago, I read comics that were of classic stories.  They cost a bit more, but I collected them because they made reading the old classics so much better.  You didn't get bogged down in the words and the graphics helped with visualization.  So when I saw this manga on Les Miserables, I didn't hesitate to grab a copy to read.

Diamond Book Distributors and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so you can grab a copy at your local bookstore now.

I thought I had read this back in Literature class in high school a hundred years ago, but if I did, I sure don't remember it.  Only one part seemed familiar.

Jean Valjean was imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread.  He stole it alright, but it was to feed starving children he know.  It made no difference, he was still sentenced to jail.  He manages to escape but no one will employ him or even let him sleep in their barn.  They don't want a convict working for them.  He also has Inspector Javert on his tail trying to return him to jail.

The part of the story stuck in my mind from 48 years ago was his stay at the priest's house.  He gets up early in the morning and steals the silverware.  When the police bring him back to the priest, he says he gave him the silverware and adds two candlesticks to it.  Then he tells him to do good instead of evil and these goods should give him the money to get started.

He does succeed and he shares his money and jobs with a city and people that had nothing.  In time, he becomes the Mayor.  He always keeps to himself, though.  Underneath, he has a soft heart even if he has a hard face.  When he finds a woman in trouble on the street, he defends her and finds she had to leave her child behind.  He ends up adopting the child as his own and raises it.

Trying to survive during the French Revolution was not easy.  This more of a story of tragedy than anything else, but love is there, too.  

I have to say this was a lot more fun to read than written text.  The manga graphics are lovely.  If you haven't read this classic tale, try this way first.  If the story grabs you enough, read the entire book in classic form.  The story will make your emotions stir.

To Die Fur (Whiskey, Tango & Foxtrot Mystery #2) by Dixie Lyle

Foxtrot is back.  She's the major problem solver for Zelda and sorts all her guests out and keeps them calm.  Her main goal in life is to solve problems.  She has no idea of the size of her next "problem", though...

St. Martin's Paperbacks allowed to read this book for review (thank you).  It was published in August, so you can grab a copy now.

This is a paranormal animal story.  Yes, you read that right.  Foxtrot can talk to ghosts, lives next to an animal graveyard, and even has a ghost pet or two.  Her boss raises money for charities.  This time Zelda has acquired a white liger.  That's a mix between a lion and a tiger and they happen very seldom.  She's soon got a lineup of people who want the animal.  Some have donated to foundations she likes to "buy" a ticket into the group of people being considered.  She thinks this makes them more sincere.  Sorry, Zelda, to me it just means they have a lot of money to throw around.

When someone poisons the big cat by putting antifreeze in his pool, they know it has to be someone staying there that did it.  The cameras show nothing.  Who did it and how?

This is an odd little mystery with lots of different cultural beliefs, a gangster, a jewel thief and more involved.  In the meantime, King Lion and the Queen Tiger are both fighting over who gets the liger's soul.  He has to choose and he's taking his time.  Foxtrot and her friends are trying to avoid a battle that will tear up our world while it's going on, and the liger misses his bear friend.

It was an interesting story and kept me reading but the Gods of Cats theme was a bit strange.  I like Foxtrot and her crush, Ben.  The animals are amusing and so is the way they interact with the humans.

If you like ghosts and animals, you need to read this series.  It's a cozy that is good company on a quiet day.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Horse Raid The Making of a Warrior by Paul Goble

Mr. Goble has written several books for middle grade readers that are about Indians.  He does his research, presents his glossary and facts at the back of the book, and makes the characters sound vibrant and alive.  In his books, the Indians from the past live again.

Wisdom Tales and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  The book has been published, so you can grab a copy now.

Lone Bull is fourteen.  He wants to go with his father on the horse raid, but he's left behind.  Or so he thinks.  It seems Grandpa thinks he's old enough to go and gives him a horse and supplies.  He and his best friend trail behind the men for a few days until they catch up.  When they find they are near, they wonder how to join them.  While they sit around the fire thinking, the rest of the tribe joins them.  They knew they were following them! Lone Bull is thrilled to help with the raid and he's well on his way to being a man.

This is a great way to teach young ones about Indian life.  There is a bibliography at the end giving a list of books that cover this subject in greater detail.  The more you read, the more you learn.

Neil Gaiman's The Last Temptation 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition by Neil Gaiman, Alice Cooper, Michael Zulli and Dave McKean

Like graphic novels?  Like Neil Gaiman's writing?  This one is for you!

Dynamite Entertainment and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published November 11th, so watch for a copy then.

It's night on a cool fall day and the young men are out.  Boys, just being boys, dare the smallest and youngest to go into an old movie house.  After all it's abandoned, what could happen?

The odd Master of Ceremonies invites him in.  There are things in the shadows, a pretty girl, and lots of crazy things going on.  What's real and what isn't?  And why does the Master wish him to stay forever?  Can he escape?   When and if he does, will he really be safe?

This is a trip into a fantasy world you don't want to live in.  It's odd, ugly, and has evil at its heart.  Will the temptation be too much for him?

This would make a nice creepy belated present for Halloween.  After all, it won't go away as quick as candy and you won't forget it after you read it...

Friday, September 19, 2014

ARRGH! Stacey R. Campbell

Since today is National Talk Like a Pirate Day, I thought this would be a good day to review this book.  You feel like going on a pirate cruise with me?

Gemelli Press and Net Galley gave the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It is coming out today, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

Christopher has lost his parents and is hoping to escape from the orphanage they placed him in.  All they do is make pickled herring and it stinks and doesn't taste good.  When he finds an opportunity to scoot, he does.  He has the worst luck, though.  He gets nabbed by a couple of pirates.

The pirates are on board of a regular trade goods ship and they have heard there might be a gun load going out on it.  The Captain tries to get out of transporting the guns, but the Admiral makes him take them.  The pirates introduce Christopher as the nephew of one of them.  Then they put him to work and don't feed him.  It's a good thing he meets this mouse.  It just so happens that mouse is a human guide and he can talk to Christopher.  He brings him cheese, an apple and some bread.  You see, there's a monkey in the kitchen and he can supply the mouse with food.

With these characters and Captain's daughter, this book caught my heart.  Christopher is smart and manages to make the most of being stuck on "deserted" island.  He and the Captain's daughter are safe and doing fine until they find out the pirates are on the other side of the island.  How can she, he, a monkey and a mouse save the Captain and his men?  By being inventive and trying hard is how.

This is a fast read with lots of action and lots of fun despite the pirates.  Here's nice addition to any middle school library.

Arrgh!  Get a copy now!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Vengeance at Sundown by Larry D Sweazy

Lucas was framed for a murder and imprisoned.  He hadn't killed John Barlow.  He might have wanted to, but he didn't kill him.  Now people in the prison were trying to kill him.

Mr. Sweazy sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  I've read several books by him and I've enjoyed every one.  This is another western that is set at the end of the civil war.

While Lucas is fighting for his life, the Negroes on the black side of the prison get out.  Suddenly it's not just Lucas' fight, it's a black and white fight.  Even more amazing, a black man says he can help him get out.  Is that another trap or an opportunity?  Turns out to be a bit of both...

Mr. Sweazy always makes his characters strong, determined, and willing to do whatever it takes for survival.  Even if that means killing another man, they'll do it.  The Civil War and slavery figure prominently in this story.  As you follow Lucas and Zeke on their run away from the prison, you get a touch of what life was like for the blacks.  It's not pleasant but they make the most of what they have.

The "dead" man is alive.  He's a diabolical man who has no regard for anyone except himself.  He acquires his wealth by causing others' deaths.  He had his hands cut off to frame Lucas and now he's attempting to get all the land and property that belonged to Lucas, too.  He's going to set himself in business and live as an important landowner.  He has Charlotte, too, even if she doesn't want him.

This is a study in personalities and what bad times can do to any man.  Some shine and get to be better men.  Some go the other way. It seems impossible that Lucas would be able to better Barstow, who has Chinese henchmen, but he has to give it a try.

The only drawback in reading a western by Mr. Sweazy is that the men never end up happily ever after.  They may have a love, but the west is no place to keep one.  What he writes is more authentic than what I might like to see.  But, just once, I'd like someone to keep the girl!

All in all, if you like a good western with tough characters, this is one for you.  And Lucas Fume will be back again...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Countablock by Christopher Franceschelli

Here's a great way to teach your child numbers!  It's a board book with cut-outs.

Abrams Appleseed 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 would make a nice treat for a young one for Halloween.

Each number is cut-out and in bright colors so it is easy to see.  Peskimo is the artist and the colors are vibrant.  Not only do you have a number, you have an example of how many it takes to get to that total.  It goes all the way to 100, but not all are done in the cut-out fashion.

It's a fun book to read, little hands won't hurt it, and they won't even realize they are learning.  This would be a nice addition to any daycare site as well as any home with small ones.  Grab a copy before they're all gone.

Super-Cyborg Gadget Glove by "Science Bob" Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith

Somebody has plans to sabotage the museum's grand opening.  Who can it be?

Quirk Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 7th, so you can grab a copy then.

This is a fun series with science experiments that children can do at home with adult supervision.  The project this time is a cyborg hand and it's by far the best and most intriguing one yet.  I'm almost tempted to make one of these for myself.  Imagine if you wore it at Halloween...

The same silly patter goes in on in this book as in the others.  Uncle Newt and his female friend Hiroko are putting an exhibit together of famous men in history.  Unfortunately, everything goes south just before the museum opens to the public.  How did it happen and why did it happen?  Who wanted to ruin it?

The kids are supposed to be helping their Uncle and staying out of trouble, but you know how that goes.  Uncle Newt is so scatter-brained he can barely keep track of himself.  They take off to try to find out what's going on and meet the security guard who calls them punks.  The more they sniff out, the more confused they get.

It's full of comedy that resembles the Three Stooges, has plenty of action, and lots of odd characters to make it a fun read with a challenging project.  Any child who has read this series in the past will want this new one.  It's the best yet.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Peter Pan Must Die by John Verdon

He's retired.  Ha, ha!  No matter how much his wife tries to make him believe that, he still seems to get drawn back into cases...

Crown Books and Blogging for Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can grab a copy now at your local bookstore.

Mr. Verdon writes stories that keep you on the seat of your chair.  They are fast paced, full of tension, and have unusual characters.  You have a good cop and a bad cop, a very expensive serial killer, a woman in prison and lots of unexplained things.  It isn't until the very end that he tells you how things relate together.

The story begins with a boy who is being sexually abused.  It ends with a carnival and great irony all around.  In between, you have two retired cops trying to track down the real killer of a man at a funeral.  His wife has been accused, but she's been framed by a bad cop.  Can they find anything to get her out of prison?  Can they prove who actually killed him?

This is a dance among crazy people on all sides with a sniper who also knows bombs.  When the lawyer goes on a popular talk show and tells everyone what scumball they are looking for, he disappears shortly thereafter.  They find his body, but they don't find his head...

When someone can shoot your incoming electrical and phone lines in half from a long distance away, you know you are dealing with a very dangerous person.  Dave knows that.  But he's still trying to figure out who ordered the hit and why.

The ending is amazing.  It's karma for the killer and for the person ordering the hit.  It couldn't be better.

Read it, you won't be bored.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Haze (The Rephaim #2) by Paula Weston

Gaby can't remember anything from the past to speak of.  She remembers Rafa and Jude.  She's been told Jude is dead and she can remember the car crash and how he became decapitated, but she's not sure it's true.  Rafa wants to go after him right away, but she's holding back a bit.  What if he doesn't remember her?  Or what if it's true he's dead?  Or what if he doesn't like her anymore?  He's her twin, but will he remember that?

Tundra Books asked me to participate in this blog tour and sent me a copy of the book to read (thank you).  The book was published September 9th, so you can get a copy now at your local bookstore.

This story is filled with angels, half-angels, demons, and other hell-raisers.  Gaby is half-angel but doesn't remember any of her skills, beliefs, or who she trusts or dislikes.  This makes it hard for her to go on with her life.  Jude's loss is a huge void.  She's both drawn to and repulsed by Rafa.  She's not sure where she is in life or where she's going.  What she does know is that she wants Rafa close and she wants Maggie, her roommate, safe.

It doesn't take long until she ends up in a fight situation with Rafa.  He's not one to back down from a challenge.  He also wants to test her abilities.  After all, she didn't even recognize her weapon from the past.  Somehow, she still knows how to use it and can fight if she needs to.  She'll need to. You have a major demon after her, Nathaniel and the Outcasts have been opposite sides for years and now must reconcile or die, and she knows you can't really trust anybody in that world.

There are a lot of characters in this story and it takes a bit to keep track of them.  They are all unique enough you can do that, but it can get confusing at points.  I like the way they can instantly transport themselves to another place.  There are times that would be a handy skill in my life.  I also like the loyalty and caring they have for each other.  They're a tough bunch that's even a bit mean, but there's a softer side to them, too.  Gaby does find her brother.  However, the last big battle at the end causes her even more grief.

I HAVE TO READ THE NEXT BOOK!  I need to know how the tale goes and I'm hoping for a happy ending.  Ms. Weston has me addicted to this series and I want more.  Do you feel the same way?

By the way, I took a test and the author has informed me this is the character I would be in her book:
He's a solid laid back angel type that is good to have at your back during a fight.  I think the test is pretty accurate and like the character chosen.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Belches, Burps and Farts Oh My! by Artie Bennett

Mr. Bennett has no shame.  He'll write about anything that will grab a kid's attention.  He's also male.  That probably has something to do with his excitement about bodily gases...

The author sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It's now available in print, so look for a copy at your local bookstore.

At the front, there is a small discussion about belches and burps.  He talks about why we belch, what it means in some countries, and what foods contribute to it.  All of that is very good information.  He also tells you the more you belch, the less you will fart.  You can even keep a chart on it!

Part two on farts is much longer.  He tells you not to do it small enclosed places, that we average 14 toots a day, and that we always fart in bed.  He even talks about the SBD fart.  You know, silent but deadly...

I'm not sure about girls, but I know little boys will love this book.  They like to have belching contest and love playing tricks with farts.  Even adults have fun with farts.  I'd say Mr. Bennett has found his niche in life:  Writing about subjects that fascinate kids while the adults try to ignore it.

Why not see if you fart 14 times a day?  There are other fascinating facts at the back of the book that will add to your knowledge of burps and farts.  He even tells which animal does it the most...

To Fudge or Not to Fudge by Nancy Coco

Somehow Allie ends up in a reality TV show.  Part of it is her mentor teacher from the past and part of it is her staff.  What great free publicity and she gets paid for each episode she's in the show.  What could it hurt?

Kensington Books sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It's being published this month, so watch for it at your local bookstore.

Allie soon finds that being on the show is scripted.  Most of them aren't chefs and they have to show certain attitudes and the like to make the show more exciting.  This doesn't make her happy but she's a good cook and is well versed in fudge.  She manages to stay in the competition even if they short her on supplies.

I have to say that some of the recipes in this story didn't appeal to me.  I'm a fan of traditional, simple fudge.  These are more complex.  Some even mimic candy bars...

When one of the contestants dies in the bathroom after eating a piece of Allie's fudge, she's back in the cop shop again.  She was the last one out of the bathroom, how did that person get a piece of her fudge, and why did she kill her?  She doesn't know how she got the fudge and all the judges ate it and survived.  She didn't kill Cindy.  So who did?

Her little poodle has been busy finding bones in the mulch around town.  Who's bones are they?  And why was the victim killed that way?

In between murders, Allie is being courted by two men.  She has a cop she likes and she gets a kiss from him.  The rich local boy likes her, too, and she's going to a movie with him.  This is a nice cozy mystery and I'm looking forward to reading the next in the series.  I have no idea how she's going to choose which man she wants in her life...

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Edie's Ensembles by Ashley Spires

Edie is a clothes horse.  She absolutely loves her clothes and the outfits she can make with them.  Each day at school is a new adventure.  There's nothing wrong with that, right?

Tundra Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published in mid-October, so keep an eye out for it then.

There are marvelous illustrations and Edie and Andrew are cute characters.  Edie's fashion consciousness is harmless enough at first.  Then she gets obsessed.  She makes weirder and weirder costumes and is happy that folks are talking about her, even if it is sarcastic comments.

She gets so into it that she forgets about Andrew and is living in her own little world.  When she gets stuck in the school door and no one comes to rescue her, she realizes she's gone overboard.  She's lost not only herself in this costume wearing, but she's lost Andrew.  It's not too late; she can make things better.

It's a sweet story and it makes the point that the clothes don't make the person.  Who you are is more important than what you're wearing.

Bad News and Trouble by Maxine O'Callaghan

Somehow Delilah's cases never end up neat and tidy.  There's always some unknown factor that ends up twisting things around and threatening her.  But she's not about to give up...

Brash Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  You can buy a copy now so check with your local bookstore.

I would never have met this author if it weren't for Brash Books.  They have brought old books back to life in new editions.  Ms. O'Callaghan writes about a hard, almost harsh, female detective who will take on the world to solve her case.  This is walking, talking noir and there's not a lot of good noir left in the world.  I was happy to see more of her work published.  This is a collection of short stories and is the third book of her work I've read.

These stories are short and to the point:  Men trying to kill their wives, missing diamonds, the mob, and more.  I worked my way through them in short order and enjoyed each one.  My favorite one is the last story.  The woman thinks her husband or her best friend is trying to kill her by hiding her inhalant that is for emergency use that she carries in her purse.  It's a much more benign reason the inhalant disappeared.

For a blast of the past and to see how good stories can be written without a lot of words, you need to read Ms. O'Callaghan's work.  She's a master of this craft.

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...