Saturday, January 31, 2015

I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

Skylar is getting out of Creek View.  She's worked hard at her grades and her job and she's won a scholarship.  She's going to college and is going to make herself a new life.  And then her mom loses her job and starts drinking...

Macmillan Children's Publishing Group and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published February 3rd, so you can pick it up then.

Josh is back from war, less one leg.  He's having chats with in his head with his dead buddies.  His head is messed up from being in the war (no one goes and comes back the same) and he even thinks of suicide.  It might be best for everyone, including him.

I had a friend who went into the Vietnam war.  They made him a sniper.  When he got out, went through his counseling and came home, he drove the wrong way down the freeway and killed himself, along with some other folks.  This did not make his family happy; it made them feel guilty and terribly sad for all.  Suicide helps no one.

When Sky and Josh work together at the old motel, they find themselves becoming friends.  It could easily turn into more than that.  But Sky wants to go to college and Josh thinks he's damaged goods.  To add to the drama, Sky's mother has taken up with a guy that Sky hates.  It's a good thing she can use a room at the hotel for a haven.  Home has become a battle zone.

While Sky and Josh try to come to terms with their lives and what they want their future to be, there are things said and done that will take time to be forgiven.  

I found this story to be quite truthful about both main characters.  The author must have known a wounded warrior because Josh's reactions and feelings are quite authentic.  Graduating from school can be quite traumatic if you don't know what's coming next.  Both characters had a bit of growing up to do and they got a lot of it done in this story.  Ms. Demetrios certainly draws you in and makes you interested in her characters.  Try it and tell me what you think about it.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Ruffleclaw by Cornelia Funke

Ruffleclaw is an earth monster and lives under the shed.  However, he does like clean soft clothes to sleep on and enjoys the food from the fridge.  But somehow, sneaking in the house just isn't doing it.  He decides he's going to move in.

Random House Children's Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this for review (thank you).  This review is early because the copy I downloaded will expire soon.  It will be in stores on November 10, 2015.  You might want to pre-order this one.

Ruffleclaw sneaks in the house and goes straight up to Tommy's room.  He's a boy so he's not as scary as an adult.  Tommy is sleeping, so he crawls in next to him.  When he starts snoring and Tommy wakes up, Ruffleclaw gets a rude awakening and finds out nobody in the household is happy about him joining them.

Just because he smells, eats constantly, spits, and drinks shampoo is no reason to be upset.  He thinks they should be charmed.  Tommy decides he likes him, but there's a long way to go before Mom and Dad might.

This is a cute story for young ones and I like how Ms. Funke solved the problems in this story.  It's fantasy and her imagination is out of this world.  I enjoy reading her books and this one was no exception. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

If You Find This by Matthew Baker

Nicholas is not a normal boy.  He's a math whiz who also has a musical talent but he's not a big people person.  I mean, how many people do you know who eat their lunch in a stall in the bathroom?  That's not normal!

Little Brown Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 17th, so watch for it.

Nicholas' father lost his job and has had to move to where he can find work.  His mother works, too, but can't afford the house payment.  She tells him they will have to sell it and move to something cheaper.  Nicholas is devastated!  His little brother was born prematurely and didn't make it.  They planted a tree in the backyard in his memory.  He talks to the tree with his music and his brother talks back to him with his leaves.  He can't leave him...

When he comes home one day and finds a strange man in the house, his mother tells him that's his grandfather on her side.  He confronts her with the statement:  "You said he was dead!"  Yes, she had.  He was in prison, she doubted he'd ever get out so it was easier to say he was dead than go through why he was in prison.

Grandfather's mind is going but he remembers having heirlooms from his family and he wants to find them to help with the house.  Nicholas is willing to help but Grandpa doesn't know where he hid them.

Here's the part that is really amusing:  Nicholas kidnaps his Grandpa from the nursing home and when he looks behind, there's another old man and grandson right behind them.  They go to the Ghost House, which is where Grandpa used to live long ago.  Before long, there's another kid involved.  They get involved with older bullies, the Grandpa's live in the old broken down house and eat canned peas (ugh!) and the search for the heirlooms commences.

It's a bit scary, a bit funny, a bit odd, and Nicholas gets his first kiss.  There's a lot in this book that could lead to other discussion with your child.  Each boy has his own problems.  Talking about what they are and how they dealt with them might lead to more discussion about other problems or offer solutions to similar situations in your child's life.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Walking on Trampolines by Frances Whiting

They weren't the least bit alike.  So how did they become best friends?

Gallery Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published February 3rd, so look for a copy then.

This story reminds me of a train wreck.  The problems build up over time and when the train hits, you know you know you'll never be the same again.

The troubles begin when the two girls with the odd mothers and unusual home environments become very close and then add a boy to their inner circle.  He's an item with Lulu and everyone knows that.  But when he betrays her with Annabelle, Lulu is never the same again.

The tale is mostly about Lulu.  How her job and her boss become her life.  How her mother improves.  How she avoids the world travelers.  And how she hides the emptiness inside.  Then her friends come home and get married and she goes to the wedding.  Wrong move, she should have stayed away.

She tries hiding, she fights off the advances from a new man in her life, and she tries to make sense out of her life.  It's a hard row to hoe and I wasn't sure she was ever going to make it, but she does come to terms with her life, her actions and her future.  May we all be so lucky...

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Love Volume 1: The Tiger Federico Bertolucci

What you have here is a tale of a day in a tiger's life that is gloriously illustrated.  I love tigers and I enjoy graphic novels, so this was a perfect read for me.

Diamond Book Distributors and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published February 10th, so make a note to grab it then.

This is true nature, not a fairy tale.  Be prepared for death.  The tiger is hungry and looking for food.  He's not having much luck.  His prey escapes him, monkeys taunt him, jaguars attack him and he ends up in a fight with an elephant.  He finds food but that's going to cause him trouble, too, in time.

All these animals are shown in graphic perfection and the detail in the pictures really takes you into the jungle.  Mr. Bertolucci also includes a section at the back to show you how his illustrations start.

I enjoyed every page of this graphic novel.  There are no words and yet the story pulls you in.  Take a look at it; I bet you'll leave with it. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Night Before Christmas by Clement C Moore, illustrated by Barbara Reid

While this is a classic tale, this edition has some extra special artwork that looks like 3-D!

Albert Whitman & Company sent me a copy of this book to look over (thank you).  It has been published and it's lovely.  Check with your local bookstore for a copy.

Ms. Reid is not an illustrator I've met before, but I will be watching for her work in the future.  She does whimsical illustrations that are very detailed and totally unique.  She uses Plasticine to create depth and it's really something to see.

I love this rhyme and think it's an excellent Christmas Eve read.  Why not get a copy of this lusciously illustrated edition and make it a new tradition in your home?  You're also allowed to get a copy and save in your personal Christmas books, I won't tell.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

How good your life is depends on the color of your blood.  If you're a Silver, life is good.  If you're a Red, your life is disposable and unimportant.  You deserve the squalor you live in.  Not everybody agrees...

Harper Teen and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  This is the first book in a new series and will be published February 10th.  

Mare Barrow is a thief.  She's a Red who can't get a job and her family needs some income.  The problem facing her is that in a few short months, she's facing the war.  Anyone not working becomes a soldier and goes to the front lines.  She knows she'll die there, but she has no choice.  There are not enough jobs for the young people.

This is not a kind story.  If you thought Cinderella's stepmother was mean, wait until you meet the Queen.  She's the personification of evil.  And, quite by accident, Mare becomes her future daughter-in-law.

Mare meets one of the princes without realizing it.  He's been in the local tavern.  She tries to steal a coin from him, but he catches her.  He tosses a bigger coin than she expected, they visit a bit, and he gives her an even bigger coin for her family and departs.  The next day, she's taken as a servant to work in the palace.

When she finds that she has a special power, she's serving the king and his guests.  They have to cover for her so it doesn't work to their disadvantage.  Things were bad before, but now it gets worse.  No one is telling her the truth.  Enemies are everywhere.  Retribution is swift and ugly.  What's Mare to do?

This is a grand adventure with magical forces, extreme evil, and impossible situations.  It reads fast and keeps you glued to the pages.  Mare has a good reason to hate by the end of this story and you know that's going to help build the storyline in the next book.  I'm already waiting for it.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly, Skottie Young (Illustrated by)

Kymera dearly loves her father.  He's made her what she is today.  When she died, he brought her back from death and gave her special features and abilities.  He trusts her instincts to keep her safe.  And he doesn't let her go the city or wander far.  But when he asks Kymera to save the girls of Byrne, she's ready to answer his bidding.  After all, saving the girls is a good thing, isn't it?

HarperCollins and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published February 10th, so grab a copy then.

Kymera has different colored arms and legs, wings, and a tale to sting when she needs it.  The sting puts people to sleep and erases their memories of the event.  She's proud of her skills. Since she's alone so much, she sits down by the river.  One day, the rock she's sitting on moves.  She frightened to see that it's not a rock, it's a dragon: the last dragon.  He makes her his blood sister and they spend time together talking.  She doesn't tell her father about him.  She wants to, but the dragon blood she shared during the bonding won't let her.

As she sneaks in the city at night and removes the children from their prison, she sees a young man out also.  There's a curfew; he shouldn't be out.  She becomes curious about him and befriends him and that's how she finds out the things her father tells her are lies.

Her father is very angry when he finds she's been visiting with a boy.  That's just the beginning of his anger.

This is a full bodied story that emphasizes being different is hard and you have to choose your friends carefully.  It's also a grand tale that will stick in your mind.  The final battle is huge and my favorite characters don't survive.  But it's a fitting and just ending with a touch of magic living on.

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Last Dragon Charmer #1: Villain Keeper by Laurie McKay

Caden has been waiting his turn to go on a dragon quest.  That's how you prove your maturity and your worth so you can be a palidan.  All his brothers have done that; he's next in line.  But why would his father send him out in the middle of the night?  All his other brothers left in the daytime with cheering crowds.  He's sent to sneak out.  What's going on?

HarperCollins and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book (thank you).  It goes on sale February 3rd, so grab a copy then.

When Caden finds his dragon, he's charging him on his horse when he and his horse fall through a magic hole and find themselves in the modern world.  It's a good thing that Caden has grown up as a prince because he has good manners, knows when to hold his tongue, and he has self-belief.  The problem with that is when he explains what he was doing (a dragon quest) and tells them his father is the king, they decide he's crazy.

Luckily the cop takes him to a foster home instead of putting him in a mental unit.  There Caden makes a present day friend.  He also finds he must go to school.  Unfortunately, the school is a haven for all the evil people ejected from his world.  Caden's life just got worse:  His math teacher is his biggest enemy...

This is a busy story with a lot action and interesting characters.  I enjoyed this first book of the series and will be watching for more.  This story is just getting started.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Plain Killing by Emma Miller

It was a hot day, so a buggy of Amish girls went to the quarry to go swimming and have a picnic.  When they find a dead body, their picnic is ruined...

Kensington Books sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  This book has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

Rachel has left the Amish and runs a bed & breakfast in town.  She'd spent her time away, but found her home called to her.  She can visit the Amish but she's a guest now, not a family member.  She can live with that.

When she and her cousin find the drowned woman, they wonder why she was wearing Amish clothing.  Normally you don't swim with your clothes on but you also don't wear Amish clothes when you've been shunned for leaving the religion after you've been baptized.  She's a vision from the past.  No one knows where she's been, why she came back or how she ended up in the quarry.

Rachel is attempting to find things out while her boyfriend, Evan the cop, is telling her to stay out of it.  Dealing with Amish and trying to find the other missing girls is something she's good at.  It works on her emotions, too.  She's left the Amish and is happy with it, but she also misses the camaraderie and feeling of protection that's present there.  She's determined to see if she can find someone who left and make sure they're not in danger.  She manages that, but she's still a long way from the truth. There is danger far away and close at home both.  Rachel ends up getting in the middle and almost dies for her efforts.

The way the story ended was appropriate but it made me cry.  Sometimes even innocent actions can go wrong and the consequences become bigger than you can handle.

You won't forget this story quickly.  I'm ready to read the next one.  Evan has asked Rachel to let him court her.  She won't say yes.  I want to shake her and say do it!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Secrets of Life and Death by Rebecca Alexander

This book is mix of medieval and contemporary times.  Ages have passed since the first sorcery was used but the evil still lives.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

I found this book a bit odd and hard to read.  Each chapter goes back and forth from historical reference to present day. Some chapters are only a few pages long.  It made the reading a bit choppy.  I also wasn't sure about the story line.  However, I persisted in reading it and it was challenging and thought inducing.  Not really my cup of tea, but worth a read.

There is magic, sorcery, evil, angels, demons and elementals.   Girls are turning up dead in contemporary times with odd sigils on their bodies and no blood.  Occult Professor Felix gets involved and bites off more than he can chew.

In the past, a King is trying to keep his wife alive so she may bear him children, preferably a son.  She comes from a very strange background, but is a beautiful woman.  As the witches work to keep her alive, she becomes more than a person:  she turns into a living demon.  She's also alive in contemporary times but wearing a different face.

There's actual history here, along with hocus pocus magic and blood letting.  This one might very well make you hear noises at night.  I'm sure it'll not allow you to sleep well while you're reading it.  There are things in the world that are beyond understanding, but I sure hope the things discussed in this book aren't it!

Mrs. McKeiver's Secrets by Margaret Morgan

Mrs. McKeiver is a midwife.  She uses herbs for her doctoring, listens to the women's troubles and helps where she can.  She also helps the Parish Poor Relief.  Times are not good in England in 1799.

The Publishing Push team sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  Check with your local bookstore for a copy.

This is a very detailed look at life in England during the late 1700's.  The cross-slice Ms. Morgan shows you is authentic and not all pleasant.  With their land being taken away from them and the new landlords only bettering themselves, it's tough.  Women had no voice.  Men took what they wanted and walked away if someone got pregnant.  Mrs. McKeiver is in the middle trying to help the women and their new babies.

To add to the problems of life, Mrs. McKeiver has a son who has lost use of his body from the waist down.  She's having problems lifting him and worries about caring for him in the future.  The Reverend has a wife who is disabled.  He loves her tremendously but that doesn't make her well.

This author is very open about bodily processes.  If someone pisses themself, she tells you.  A newly wed wonders if she's too wanton because she desires her husband so much.  A man murders the baby a girl has because he doesn't want it.  She pulls no punches.

It was an engrossing, interesting look at life in this time period.  I would have kept reading because I wanted to know how things worked out, but I'll have to wait until the next book comes out.

If you're interested in history and politics of this time period you'll really enjoy reading this book.  I know I did.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Cane and Abe by James Grippando

When a body is found in the Everglades and he's asked to monitor the case, Abe had no idea how much it was going to shake up his life.  It seemed like another routine case.  Not so...

HarperCollins sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  It is being published this month, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

Abe lost his first wife to cancer.  He loved her with all his heart but he wasn't meant to be a widower.  He takes back up with an old flame and marries her.  You should never do things on the rebound.

Life starts getting difficult right after he looks at that first body.  His brother-in-law from his first marriage is in trouble with the law and has mental problems.  He spends a lot of time living in his old home trying to settle him down.  This offends his wife and makes her feel unloved.

The case has him busy looking for clues.  When he finds out he knows one of the victims, he lies about how long it's been since he's seen her because he knows how it would look.  He should have thought about how looks when he lied.  Pretty soon, they're investigating him to see if he's the killer.

Then his wife disappears.  He's frantic because she's gone.  The cops know they were fighting and think he may have killed her.  As bad as all this is, there is one more final blow before the end of the book.  I'm surprised Abe is still standing.  

The best part of the story is the ending.  I won't give it away, but I think Abe has some more to worry about...

Monday, January 19, 2015

Top Dog The Story of Marine Hero Lucca by Maria Goodavage

War dogs are amazing.  They are very well trained, bonded to their human partner, and show no fear in the field.  How they are taught and the skills they gain add to their own natural intelligence.  This is the story of one of those dogs.

Dutton Books sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  It has been published, so you can find a copy at your local bookstore now.

I almost didn't read this one.  I love dogs, but I hate war.  My grandfather was in WW1, my father was in WW2, my uncle was in the Korean war and I lost classmates in the Vietnam war.  When it's non-fiction, there's no way to avoid the loss and hurt that goes with it.  I cried through this whole book.  But I also learned a lot about the dogs and their handlers and how important they are to the patrols they are traveling with.

Lucca is a big dog who became one of the most skilled war dogs.  She found guns, mortars, ieds, and even humans hiding.  She did it all fearlessly.  She would follow her human's vocal commands as she'd been taught.  And she continued to be the point after her original trainer changed his job to spend more time with his family.

Another thing I learned about these dogs:  They like Kong toys.  These are hard plastic toys that most dogs can't destroy.  I say this because there is one dog in this book who can shred one.  Keep your leg away from him!

The biggest redeeming factor about this story is that even though Lucca gets hurt by ied, she has a home to go to.  Her original handler adopts her and she's having a good life with her family now.

While I cried a lot, I smiled a lot too.  There's much to like about this story about a heroic dog who worked with heroic handlers.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Get ready to go for a walk in the woods.  The woods where people don't return.  The woods hold monsters...

Little Brown Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book (thank you).  It has just been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

This is a story of dark fae, promises made in desperation, and a young prince in a glass coffin in the woods.  This is also a blend of magic and myth that creates an interesting fantasy tale with lots of danger mixed in.

Hazel is in love with a changling; Ben, her brother, is in love with the prince.  Hazel also owes the King of Fae a debt.  She asked for a favor and got it, but she owes him seven years of her life.  The fact that she did it for Ben and he refused the gift doesn't matter.  

Hazel and Ben imagined themselves to be monster slayers.  They had been successful at it until Ben's music was silenced.  Now they're going to be in the biggest battle of their life with the King of Fae as their enemy.

It's fast paced, there's plenty of scary parts, and the story does end happily ever after.  What more could you want?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Gretel and the Case of the Missing Frog Prints: A Brothers Grimm Mystery by P. J. Brackston

I've read more than one version of Hansel and Gretel but I've never found one where she was a private detective.  Now I have!

Pegasus and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published tomorrow, so check for it the next time you visit your local bookstore.

This author has a sense of humor.  Gretel loves food, especially sweets.  She has the figure to attest to that.  The only one fatter than she is her brother, Hans.  She's successfully solved one case, so she's happy to be presented with another.  The bad part is that the messenger dies in her hallway after delivering it.  The local kingsman wants to arrest her for murder.  He knows she didn't do it but he's mad about the earlier case.  What Gretel does is sneak off before they can arrest her...

Gretel talks to her client, stays with Hans and his friend Wolfie, meets a couple of hobgoblins and even visits with a mouse.  She even stumbles into a brothel and has to think of an excuse to stay there.  I liked how inventive she got with her proposed "job" and managed to keep herself from being ravaged.  All of these odd creatures, including the humans, are connected to the theft.  

There's a sausage contest, she gets to wear the princess' diamonds, she has a new love interest (that she always manages to look stupid around), and she even recovers the lost prints.  

This is part fairy tale, part farce, and fun to read.  I enjoyed this mystery and will watch for another in this series.

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Forgotten Girls by Sara Blaedel

Louise is looking for the identity of a dead woman.  She was found in the woods, at the bottom of a cliff, dead from internal injuries from the fall.  She must have been running at night because the cliff was apparent in the daylight.  But who was she running from and why?  And just who is she?

Grand Central Publishing and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published February 3rd, so watch for it then.

This story is set in New Zealand, which made it an interesting read for me.  I like reading mysteries based in other countries.  Each police force has it's own techniques.  Each village is different.  And there are always secrets...

No one has turned in a missing person's report on the dead woman.  No one is searching for her now.  She couldn't have popped up out of thin air.  In desperation, Louise publishes the info in the newspapers to see if someone recognizes her.  Someone does.  And it will send Louise down a path of despair and tragedy as she tries to find out just what was going on.  

The woman was in an asylum for the retarded.  They took care of them and discouraged parents from coming to see them.  They referred to them as being "forgotten".  I think most of them would rather be dead than stay there.

What's odd is that when they identify the woman, she was reported as dead thirty years ago.  So was her twin.  She obviously wasn't dead until recently.  Where is her twin now?  And who was hiding them?

The answers to these questions are ugly.  The evil stems from accident while a boy was six.  It has expanded and became uglier over time.  What people were willing to do to cover this problem was horrendous.  Ms. Blaedel understands what people feel and what they will do to hide their grief, sorrow, and shame.  This one will take a while to forget...

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Big Bad Detective Agency by Bruce Hale

It's just not fair.  Wolfgang might steal a few (or a lot) of chickens here and there but he didn't mess up the three little (not anymore) pig's houses.  He didn't!  But no one believes him...

Scholastic Papers and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 27th.

This is a fun little tale that not only has a mystery but pokes fun at several traditional fairytales.  Did you know Cinderella got rid of the prince?  She still has a small castle, though, and her stepsisters are now doing all the work.

Wolfgang is given until sundown to find out who did the crime if he didn't.  He's off, but he has no suspects.  It gets even worse when the smallest pig (#4) wants to join him.  He's desperate, so he says, OK.  Together they ask everyone near what they were doing the night before.  Some are polite and have alibis.  Some are just rude.

This is a cute tale for young ones and I bet there will be more in this series.  I'd read them.

Death of a Liar by M. C. Beaton

Hamish Macbeth is back and he's still no good with women.  He needs to take a class on how to act with females.  Especially the ones he's interested in.  Unfortunately, he seems to judge them all by looks.  And he likes to look.

Grand Central Publishing and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity read this book for review (thank you).  The book will be published February 3rd, so make a note to grab it then.

When Hamish gets a call to respond to a rape, he grabs his partner and heads out.  When he finds out that she has lied to him, he checks with others in town and discovers that's all she does.  Tell tales about trips and experiences and life events that are untrue.  He's determined not to let her bother him again.

Then she calls late at night and says there's someone pounding on her door, he tells her to stop lying and hang up.  He feels very guilty about that when he finds her behind her house, shot dead.  And it doesn't endear him with his supervisor either.

Hamish always seems to have misfortunes.  He tries to make the most of it.  Often when he muddling through he finds the answer on the way.  I always wonder if he's actually going to make it.

Two new people have moved to the village and when he calls on them, they're rude.  He decides to leave them to themselves.  After a few weeks no one sees them anymore and no one misses them.  Then a young boy comes up to Hamish and tells him there's a foot sticking out of some worked up ground behind the house.  He's sent out to find the missing husband and another detective is brought in to work his case.  He's not happy about that but he does what he's told.

What Hamish unearths is an international drug smuggling ring.  While he's sorting out the players and trying to find connections between the dead, he's also struggling with which woman he likes.  The frosty blonde he was going to marry is out of his life.  The new lady in forensics is pretty and nice.  But when he meets a model pretty chef, he knows she's the one.  He might know it, but she doesn't.

It's another long, hard road for Hamish in this book and his romantic life isn't going anywhere.  He gets a new cop to assist him, though, and I'm anxious to read more about him.  He's another unique character.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Trash Mountain by Jane Yolen (Author), Chris Monroe (Illustrator)

Nutley wants to hang out with the gray squirrels.  He's a young red squirrel and his parents tell him to stay away.  They warn him they're dangerous.  But the call of hazel nuts is strong and he just wants to have someone to play with.  When they beat him up, he goes home to sulk.  But that's just the start of his troubles.

Lerner Publishing Group and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 1st, so make a note to look for it then.

I've read several books by Jane Yolen, so I had to take a look at this one.  I was not disappointed.

Nutley comes home one day to find their family tree under attack by the gray squirrels.  When they leave and he can approach the tree, he finds his parents didn't survive the attack.  Now what's he to do?

He takes refuge in the local landfill and soon learns he's in a new world.  First thing that happens is that the rat neighborhood warns him to stay out of their territory.  Then he finds a seagull that needs aid and helps her out.  He finds his own spot to hide and then all he needs is food.  He can find bits and pieces but the nuts across the street call him.  The only problem with that is that the gray squirrels are there, too, and come after him.

I liked the fact that the animals that Nutley had helped come to help him, too.  His new life is scary but he has friends.  And when they all work together, the gray squirrels get defeated.  That's a  good life lesson.

The Hangman's Song by James Oswald

It appears to be a simple suicide but Tony McLean thinks something is off.  His supervisor tells him to forget it and close the case, there's nothing to suggest anything else but suicide.  Tony has never been good at following directions.

Mariner Books and Edelwiess gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It has just been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

This story was unusual.  It mixes spirits in with a police procedural.  I'm not quite sure I liked it but it did make interesting reading.  When you settle in to read it, just loosen up your mind and go with the flow.

Tony is working two jobs.  He's on Vice (prostitution and the like) and still has a hand in murder investigations.  While he's been told to stay out of it, there are more hangings and there appears to be something in common with them.  The rope and the knots are all the same.  None of the victims have any hemp on their hands.  They couldn't have hung themselves without touching the rope.  The superintendent doesn't care.

On the Vice side, they are watching a ship that an informant has identified as a smuggler.  He's on stakeout and is looking for human trafficking.  What he finds is that they aren't bringing people in, they're shipping them out!  None of the women will tell the police anything.  Only one even speaks to him and she won't do it while the other cop is in the room.  When Tony tells his supervisor about it, she tells him she knows the cop is dirty but she needs him.  The budget is tight.  If he leaves, there will be no replacement.

Amidst all this trouble, Tony's girlfriend finally comes out of her coma from her ugly injuries in a fire.  There's only one problem: She doesn't remember him and she doesn't remember her past.  She's acting like a young child.  He doesn't desert her, but he has to find help to care for her.

Add in Madame Rose (who is actually male) who speaks to the spirits and you have a spider web of clues about the murders, about the spirits and about much more.  This tangled web brings you in and makes you feel sorry for those involved.  Part of justice is served, but this story isn't over yet.  I'm sure the killer will surface again in a future book.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Dappled Annie and the Tigrish by Mary McCallum

She knows there is something wrong when her father doesn't come on time.  He's the lighthouse caretaker but he never misses his time with her and her family.  She's too small to do much about it, but she goes to talk to the trees and bushes in the hedge about it.  Maybe they can help.

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

This is a modern day fairytale and it's a delightful story.  Annie and her little brother, Robbie, are quite a team.

When her mother asks her to play with Robbie outside so she can do some painting inside, she takes him down to meet her friends in the hedge.  When a big wind comes up, the bird nest in the trees is blown away!  They've never had any birds come to harm in their branches and they're bound and determined to get them back.  Robbie is willing to help; he's very good at finding things.  (He also eats a lot of what he finds...)

What Annie finds is a "tigrish".  It's a little bit like a real tiger and a little bit like a spirit but it's real enough for her to ride it.  Robbie joins her and they take off to find the nest.

It's quite the adventure with nice trees and shrubs, wicked ones, a bit of magic, and a whole lot of excitement.  I enjoyed the tale, the characters and the pace of the writing.  Ms. McCallum does a good job of telling the tale.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Finding Serendipity by Angelica Banks

Tuesday has always been her mom's biggest fan.  The books she writes are wonderful and Tuesday is looking forward to reading the last one in the Vivienne Small series.  She has the previous tales memorized.  What she doesn't plan on is going into her mom's writing room and finding the window open with no mom around.  Her dad tells her she'll be back in time for breakfast but Tuesday is worried.  What she does next will get her in trouble...

Macmillan Children's Publishing Group and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published February 3rd so make a note and grab it then.

This book intrigued me.  It's fantasy but it's about the art of writing, too.  

Tuesday starts to write her own story, trying to bring her mother home.  Instead her words turn into a silver string and float her into another world!  This is the world her mother visits to get her stories.  The only problem is that Tuesday is young and this fantasy world is as dangerous as the real world.

Her dog Baxterr is more in this world.  Tuesday meets the character she admires so much.  And she almost gets killed by bad pirate in the story.  Can she get back home? 

Ms. Banks writes a fun tale with enough adventure to keep anyone reading.  Give it a try.  I'll bet you'll like it, too.

Witherwood Reform School by Obert Skye

It all began as a nasty joke on their governess.  She was a big fat unpleasant person who had no desire to be friendly or nice to her charges.  When she punished Charlotte for nothing, Tobias decides to get even.  He puts a batch of tadpoles in the gravy boat.  She's so busy eating and yelling at him that she stuffs them in her mouth...

Macmillan Children's Publishing Group and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 3rd, so make a note to pick it up then.

This is creepy tale all the way around.  The governess quits, their father gets mad at and them and takes them out to the country.  He deserts them in front of a reform school, essentially washing his hands of them.  His wife has died and he doesn't know how to raise children, work and keep his sanity.  Of course, as soon as he gets home, he regrets his action and goes back after them.  In his speed to return, he has an accident.  When he awakens, he doesn't know who he is or how he got to the hospital or that he has children.

In the meantime, the two children have managed to get up to the school and out of the rain.  What they don't realize is that people within are not their friends either.  It's almost a case of out the frying pan into the fire.  Things were bad at home.  But things are worse here.

It's an odd school with strange instructors and brainwashed student.  Big creatures they've never seen before prowl the grounds at night.  And if you persist in trying to escape, you get to have your brain erased, too.  Sounds like a great place, right?

It's an interesting tale but it doesn't give you much closure.  When you reach the end of the book, you feel like you should put it down and pick up the next installment in the tale.  I found this disconcerting and a bit disappointing.  I have no problem with further adventures but this was more like an unfinished story.  It's all a matter of style and what you like to read.  This left me wanting but young ones may find it tantalizing and exciting to wait for the next book.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Kittens Can Kill A Pru Marlowe Pet Noir by Clea Simon

Pru is going to a new client's house to check out a newly acquired kitten.  When she gets there, the door is open and the cat's owner is dead.  Not again!

Poisoned Pen Press and Net Galley gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 3rd, so you can grab a copy then.  If you haven't read the others in this series, you can grab them to keep you busy until this one comes out.

This is my favorite one in this series.  It reads smoother and I enjoyed the continuing romance between Pru and the cop.  Pru always seems to be in the middle of his cases and keep pestering him for information but he won't tell her anything.  She doesn't always tell him what she's learned either.  Sounds pretty typical of any relationship.

Pru takes the kitten home and tries not to get attached to it.  Her older cat is not enthused.  So home life is bit tough for a while.  By having the kitten, she gets involved with the three daughters of the man who died.  The sisters themselves are squabbling about everything.  Good old dad seems to have pitted them against each other and there are some family secrets that aren't out yet.

The more questions Pru asks, the muddier the case gets.  Some info is good, some is misinformation, people are protecting other people and nobody is being totally honest.  Good thing she can talk to Wallis and the dog she walks.  They don't converse the way we do, but she does get an idea of what they mean.

Before the story is over, all the sins of the household will be known.  It's a good mystery with enough twists and turns to keep you going.  And I'm hoping Pru will finally settle down and confide in Jim.  They make a good pair and I think she's a little too hesitant.  Of course, there's no hurry.  The longer the dating, the more fun we'll have.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

My Uncle Gus the Garden Gnome by Jackie French

Tom has a happy family.  It's a bit different, but they don't mind.  His father is a bogeyman who wears a cape and makes horrendous noises to scare people.  His mother is a tooth fairy.  Uncle Gus is a garden gnome.  If you think that's strange, the pet next door is a sabre-toothed tiger!

Harper Collins and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published February 3rd, so make sure to grab a copy then.

This story is a hoot!  Tom is in love with a ghost but there's a girl at school that wants him to take her to a dance.  He knows he can't take his ghost friend so he doesn't want to go at all.  He's definitely not going to ask Grizella to go even if she is the best looking girl in school who gets everything she wants from her mom, a very powerful witch.  When he definitely says no, she sics her mom on him with a bad luck spell.

You won't believe what kind of bad luck happens.  For example, have you ever had chocolate chip cookies with bat droppings instead of chips?  There's much more that happens and it's all equally disgusting.  Young ones will love this, especially the boys.

Poor Tom.  What's he to do?  When Grizella tells him WHY she wants him to take her to the dance, he finally gets an idea.

This was a fun read.  Lots of silly stuff, plenty of action and excitement and a fun tale about life.  I'd read more in this series.  I love to laugh.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Doubleborn A Dragonborn Novel by Toby Forward

A cruel wizard named Ash has been locked away where she (who used to be a he) can do no harm. The problem is that she's creating beetle warriors and has an apprentice who can move around in the world...

Bloomsbury USA Children's Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has just been published, so you can pick up a copy at your local bookstore now.

Sam is the apprentice of the wizard who locked Ash in but  he's died now.  Sam doesn't know enough to stop her. Tamrin is a runaway wizard apprentice that doesn't even know who her parents are or where she came from.  What she does know is that she doesn't want to become property of the tailor.  The other member of this team is dragon that directly connected to Sam.  Not only are Sam and the dragon connected; there's more to this tale than that.

This is quite an adventure with everyone a bit magical and lots of action.  The dragon adds a special touch.  It would be great for middle grade readers but I enjoyed it, too.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Fine Summer's Day (Inspector Ian Rutledge #17) by Charles Todd

Ian has made up his mind.  He's in love and he's asked Jean to marry him.  He's not sure why the women in life (sister, aunts and friends) aren't as enthused about as he is, but he's sure she's the one he wants.  She has a father who has been in the military and thinks he ought to leave Scotland Yard and immerse himself in a job that would keep him more at home.  That doesn't sound like something Ian would willing to do to me.

William Morrow & Company and Edelweiss allowed me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It's being published January 6th, so you can find a copy now at your local bookstore.

Ian finds himself investigating cases where an usual death has been reported.  There appears to be no reason for these men to commit suicide.  Yet each of them appears to have drank poisoned milk willingly.  They have nothing in common except the mode of death.  Even more discouraging is the fact that his boss wants him to forget pursuing one of the deaths because the constable has arrested another man.  It's the wrong man, but his boss doesn't want to hear that.

There's a lot of information in this book.  It talks about the start of WWI and how the English lads thought it'd be a short war and they would be home by Christmas.  You learn about how Ian started as a young policeman and how he uses his own contacts to get more information.  You wonder how his future marriage will work out.  And you especially wonder about who is killing these men.

The real kicker is even when the killer is identified, there is nothing they can do to him.  The men drank the milk willingly.  The last murder wasn't successful but the killer is going into the service to skip the country.  No one can reach him.  Or can they?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Toured to Death by Hy Conrad

Amy is leading a tour that is also a mystery game.  This is a unique idea to me.  I've seen mystery performances at conferences with the attendees participating so it's not all that unusual.  The idea of planting clues and changing them for each team seems a bit challenging but Amy was up to it.  What she couldn't anticipate was that one of her customers would suddenly be murdered during her game!

Kensington Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 27th and is a new series.

Amy is upset about who they accuse of murder; she knows he couldn't have done it!  However, the police aren't looking at other possibilities.  They figure they have their murderer.  What can she do?

This is a cozy mystery with Amy's mom involved in her business and in her case.  Fanny is more outspoken and direct and she takes action immediately.  After all, the man who wrote the mystery game plot was killed, too.  Fanny views his apartment posing as a future tenant.  Amy has a fit!

The story is bit drawn out and Amy as a main character was not impressive.  I'd rather follow Fanny around, she's got guts.  However this is the first book in the series and Amy has a beginning romance.  The next book might offer her more character development and make the series read a little smoother.  It was an enjoyable read.  And you get good descriptions of the sights and places they travelled looking for clues.  Overall the author did a nice job.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Criminal Confections by Colette London

Hayden has a very interesting job.  She troubleshoots chocolate.  She'll help a company test their products and talk to them about what would make it taste better.  She can even taste the different beans used, the other ingredients and how they blend.  It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it, right?

Kensington Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published February 3rd, so make a note to pick it up then.

Hayden is very direct and outspoken.  She doesn't like big events and lots of people.  But when your current employer is hosting a major chocolate festival and bringing out a new line of chocolate, you go where you are requested.  What you don't expect is for the chocolate chef to drop dead during the event...

When they tell Hayden it was from an overdose, she knows the chef heart attack wasn't normal.  What she doesn't know was what hit her.  Was it from the highly intense chocolate?  Was it something in that green drink she'd shared with Hayden?  Hayden only had a swallow from hers.

This is a cozy mystery that is filled with chocolate facts.  They eat everything from breakfast to dinner with chocolate.  Reading it almost made me sick.  But here's the real bad news:  it also made me buy a box of chocolates.  After spending so much time in the chocolate world in fiction, I had to have some in my real world!

It takes Hayden to get to the bottom of the mystery and she almost dies in chocolate before she's done.  If you like chocolate or cozy mysteries, you'll enjoy this one.

The Golden Quest by David Delisle

The Golden Quest is a graphic novel about a young boy who embarks on a Hero’s Journey with his dog Shelby to discover the Golden Rules of Mo...