Monday, August 31, 2015

Drift & Dagger by Kendall Kulper

Mal loved Essie and never expected her to betray him.  Tempers get out of hand and mean things can be said.  That was what happened the day she told the village he was a "blank".  He had no magic.  And soon he had no home either...

Little Brown Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).   It will be published September 8th.

Mal drifts along through life finally finding a friend in Boone, an older boy.  Together they steal magical relics and important charms and potions and sell them.  They work again when they need to.  Mal is content with his lot in life and tells Boone his latest quest is nuts, but Boone talks him into it.  When that one is futile, another bigger quest comes to light.  That one is a bad one, too, but Boone is only looking at the money.

Mal's heart is hard against Essie and Boone tries to manipulate him into stealing her magic.  After he sees her again, he'd like to steal her away from the island she's bound to.  She can't go, so Boone sets things in motion to make what he wants happen.

This is fast slick story with Mal not quite realizing how manipulative Boone can be until it's almost too late.  I enjoyed reading this adventure and I was hoping for a happier ending, but that isn't how it goes it sometimes.  The ending is appropriate.  After all, one shouldn't fall in love with a Roe witch...

The Hanging Girl: A Department Q Novel by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Carl is not the world's most ambitious policeman.  He'd prefer to take a nap at his desk.  So when a cop from another city calls about a crime and asks for his help, he says no.  After all, it's a cold case, happened twenty years ago, and they think it was an accident.  Why dig into it now?  When the cop kills himself at his retirement in front of everyone, Carl doesn't think much about it.  But Rose tells him it's his fault and they must investigate...
Dutton and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 8th.

This is the second book by this author that I've read.  He writes with great detail about all his characters and happenings in their lives.  He writes a good story and makes you care about his characters but I could live with fewer words.  It takes me two days to finish a book he's written and it would take most folks a week or longer.  I don't need a bare bones book but I think this one could lose some weight.

Despite that, the story is intriguing.  It has a religious overtones since the suspected murderer lives in a compound and teaches spiritual well-being lessons.  He was sleeping with the victim at the time of her death.  I thought I knew who the murderer was.  Twice I was sure.  The actual murderer was someone else entirely!  I love it when authors can fool me.

This charmed man slept with everyone in town.  His beliefs were unusual and so were his followers.  He has one woman who manipulates everyone to make sure she's his number one gal in his life now.  The families left behind when he moved on have fallen apart because of damage done while he was there.  There's a lot of psychological analysis in this story.

The ending was a blow out.  I couldn't believe what happened; I liked it.  Did you identify the murderer?  Did you like the ending?  I'm wondering how it affects other people.  I can tell you it's not boring and it's worth a read.  Just have some time set aside when you start it because you won't want to stop reading.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Summer at Hideaway Key by Barbara Davis

This story reminds me a quote: "'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." (Alfred Lord Tennyson)  Lily Mae spent her life protecting the people she loved.  The problem was that left her with no one to love her.  But there was someone who did...

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

The tale begins with the present day Lily coming home for her father's funeral.  She and her mother get along as they usually do, not at all.   It's only when the will is read that her mother shows any emotion.  She does not want Lily to get the seaside cottage at Hideaway Key.  Her father willed it to her.  Her mother forbids her from accepting it.  That works just like it usually does.  Lily leaves right away to go to the forbidden cottage.  It's hers and her mother can't tell her what to do.

What she finds is a dilapidated run-down cottage by the sea.  The location is breath taking, the sea is calming.  However, she can't hardly get in the house; it's filled with boxes.  Why on earth would there be so many boxes left behind?  She knew that the house had belonged to her mother's older sister.  Her mother won't even allow her name to be said around her.  Why is there such hate?  What is the family secret that's so awful?  Then she finds the diaries.  They're from Lily Mae.  And what they tell is devastating.

Lily Mae and her little sister, Caroline, were taken to the poor farm and dropped off by their mother.  Their father was dead.  Her mother said she'd be back, but take care of Caroline.  Lily Mae did that, at deep personal cost.

This is heavy emotional read with sadness all over for Lily Mae.  She gives up everything to keep people safe.  What the present Lily can't understand is how her mother could know all this about her sister and not want to talk about her.

Lily is going places in life, she's a fashion designer.  She has no time for love or even really for friends but she finds both at the cottage.  Will she keep throwing her opportunities away or will she stop and follow her own dreams?  She looks at her aunt's and her mother's choices and works on making her own.

This would make a good Lifetime movie.  There's drama, love, tears, ugly secrets and a child in the middle of it all.  The story kept me reading.  The ending is bitter sweet.  Try it and tell me what you think.

The Kingdom of the Sun and Moon by Lowell H. Press

Reminiscent of Watership Down, this is a tale of mice.  They, too, have warriors, a King, and can be called into a life of service.  Sommer and his brother Nesbit would prefer not to.  But when you're summoned you have no choice.

Parker Mills Publishing and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 10th, so you can grab a copy then.

The story begins with the guard coming for more mice for their army.  They pick Sommer, who is older and stronger.  Nesbit gets a bit too mouthy and is asking to many personal questions, so he's to be sent to the Forest of Lost Life.  As soon as the guards leave, another mouse attacks their father and becomes the new leader of Long Meadow.  A cat carries the mouse body away with him so the new leader is going to blame the death on the cat.  That's not the only evil afoot.

The King is talking about pending war and keeps sending mice into the kitchen on a quest for the highly desired cheese.  That will stop the pending war.  What is actually doing is taking out any potential leaders in the various mousegroups.  This King doesn't care if the other mice starve.  He just wants anything he can hoard and he takes most of their food.  He wants no retaliation.  He also has a huge mouse that can defend him.  

Nesbit finds out there is no pending war; it's a lie.  He wants to find his brother and share that news.  But his brother is on the quest for the cheese and the odds aren't good for survival.

I liked the story.  It takes teamwork to make a difference and they managed to create an odd one.  Desperation will do that to people as well as with mice.  It's a fight to the end but it has a happy ending.  Are you ready to be a mouse?

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Dance of the Bones: A J. P. Beaumont and Brandon Walker Novel by J. A. Jance

It was a murder many years ago, but it is still tied with current events.  People will do anything for money...

William Morrow and Edelweiss gave the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 8th, so you don't have long to wait.

I've been reading Ms. Jance's books for a long time.  She writes a good mystery, I like the Indian traditions she shares and she really makes her characters feel like long time friends.  Anything she writes is well worth reading.

This is really a tale of an avarice-filled female who is beautiful and knows it.  Her web of deceit has victims everywhere.  An older man, his partner, a boyfriend, a border patrolman and Indian children are all impacted by her.  Some deserved it, some were just in the way.

It takes several people to untangle this web of deceit and people are dying as time passes by.  The story is fast paced, there's action on almost every page, and the Indian history that is interwoven was fascinating.  Story telling is a tradition among Native Americans and this story is almost parallel to the tales being woven.  I felt bad for all those that died but I was happy about the ones who survived.  Now they just have to live with the awful experiences they've been through.

Mister Max: The Book of Kings: Mister Max 3 by Cynthia Voigt, Iacopo Bruno (Illustrated by)

Mister Max has determined where his parents are located and that they need help.  But how can a boy of twelve help a King and Queen of a foreign country?

Knopf Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 8th, so watch for a copy then.

This whole series has been fun to read.  Max's parents are part of a theatrical group.  They are also spies.  Max dresses up as an older boy to run his solution business.  That way he makes some extra money to help his grandmother.  He's also learning to paint.  But he always seems to be saving someone in each book in this series.

This time he uses subterfuge to pretend he's a painter.  He wants to sneak in the palace and meet the King.  He borrows a dog, which is an attractive nuisance for other people.  The King's children are quite taken with the dog and Max gets commissioned to teach the oldest girl to draw.  He does get his audience with the King.  And the King even decides to support the idea.  Max's friend who is a Baron will go along with Max.  They fill out their group with his grandmother (as cook) and a business man who is going to share economic development ideas with them.  At the last minute, the painter jumps aboard.  He might not have invited but he's going too.  Anything to get away from the lady who wants to marry him!

This is an exciting adventure with lots of action, danger and fast thinking on Max's part.  He even has to play dead at one point.  There are some surprises in this book.  I think it's Max's best adventure yet.  Why don't you give a read and tell me what you think?

Friday, August 28, 2015

Smoked by Mari Mancusi

Emmy is being held captive in a government lab.  She's not alone, Scarlet is there with her.  But Trinity wants her dragon back, so they mount a rescue attempt.

Sourcebooks Fire and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 1st, so all you who are waiting for the final book in the series can grab it then.  If you haven't been reading the series, you can still enjoy this book.  I did.

Connor and Caleb are twins, but they are not always on the same side.  They also are both in love with Trinity.  When you add a dragon war to that combo, it gets tense real fast.

When Emmy is rescued, she has a secret.  She hides away for a couple of months before she returns home.  No one knows why she hid away except Scarlet.  Emmy had two eggs hatch in the cave.  She makes Scarlet promise to kill them.  She does, so Emmy will go away.  Then she hides the babies in a far away outbuilding.

When Caleb and Scarlet planned an impromptu meeting of the babies and Mom during a public filming of Emmy's birthday party, it goes way wrong.  Connor turns into the dragon hunter again and goes after the babies.  He kills one, the other one gets away.  And he's suddenly facing a whole building of enemies.

This is a complex story with time travel, a Nether world, dragons and hybrids, and evil as well as good people.  I feared the ending would not be happy but it mostly is.  It's a very interesting finale to a high stress series.  I doubt anyone who reads it will be disappointed.

If you'd like to win a copy of this book, make a comment here on my blog and email me at info at with your name and address.  I'll pick a winner in about a week.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Resist (Resistance, #2) by Tracy Lawson

Tommy and Careen are on the run.  They've found out the truth about the antidote and they don't want to take it anymore.  When they meet members of the Resistance, they're more than willing to join them.

PR by the Book sent me an ebook of this story for review (thank you).  It has been published so you can grab a copy now.  This is the second book in the series.

Careen is eighteen and hasn't met as many disillusioned and apathetic people as I have.  She thinks she's helping when says things but many of them backfire.  After all, she has price on her head now for murder, even though she never murdered anyone.  And she thinks that helping the people with food will be a benefit.  It was until the food warehouses were shut down.  While she's despairing with how her attempts to help are received, she also finds out the members of the Resistance don't mind if people die.  That means those in control are losing control.  All she can think of is the dead people; they are looking at the cost of war.

Tommy has fallen in love with her.  Unfortunately, one of the Resistance men has, too.  It creates a conflict at home.  Tommy gets jealous of how much time she spends with other Resistance members.  And Careen doesn't know how to handle the conflict that she feels when two men want her for their own.

Soon she will have bigger problems and less to worry about.  Especially if they begin drugging her again...

This is an exciting busy series about a world out of control with an insane manager.  You won't be bored when you read about it.

Counteract (Resistance, #1) by Tracy Lawson

Careen is good responsible student who does what she's told.  She's also living in a world I never want to see here.  Big Brother has nothing over the "god who would be", a man who believes he can run the country and control the people and have everything he wants...

PR by the Book sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It has been published so you can get a copy now.

The Office of Civilian Safety and Defense is "protecting" the public.  They are doing this by shutting down concerts, sporting events, social media, no cash transactions, no driver's licenses or travel, and they have also shut down grocery stores.  After all they could be targets for terrorists.  You'll get your groceries from the OCSD, use your debit card so they can track you, and you will do what you are told.  To ensure that, they announce airborne chemical weapons and give you a tube with a liquid that will protect you.  You only need to take it when it is announced as time and you only use three drops.  Their famous saying is that:  "It's a small price to pay."

Suddenly everyone goes lackadaisical.  No one is working; no one is going to school. It suddenly looks like everyone has "taken a trip but never left the farm" as one of the songs I listened to growing up said.  There's a good reason for that.  The "god who would be" is drugging them with hallucinogens. 

Careen knows a boy (or thinks she does) and tries to get him to help her.   She just wants to feel safe.  It will be a long time before she feels safe...

This is the first book in this series.  I will be reviewing the second book next.  Things don't get better for Careen...

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn

Veronica chases butterflies.  Don't laugh.  She's traveled all over the world and is good enough at it she gets paid for her specimens.  She's come home to care for her aunt, who was in declining health.  As she attends the funeral, she's already planning her next trip.  That all goes awry when she finds someone destroying the house.  She tries to fight him off, he tries to abduct her, and it's only when the strange man at the funeral comes to her rescue that things right themselves.  When the man says she needs to go to London with him, she's OK with that.  She was already packed after all.

Penguin Books sent me a copy of this book to review (thank you).  It will be published September 1st, so you don't have to wait long to get a copy.

Ms. Raybourn has created a great character.  Veronica Speedwell is smart, fiesty, and unafraid.  She even has the gall to consider herself smarter and better than most men.  She's already had some sexual encounters in her travels so she's hard to intimidate.  She likes being independent and pursuing her own goals; she needs no one else.

When the strange man tells her he knew her mother, she's anxious to get some details.  She grew up with two "aunts" who were really just caretakers.  She has no idea about her past and would like to learn more.  Unfortunately, the man who offered to tell her more later delivers her to a friend of his and says he'll be back the next day.  He doesn't even survive that night.

The man he has settled her with is big and strong and as opinionated as she is.  He didn't want her there but he owed the man.  So he lets her in.  He's a taxidermist and he's working on an elephant at the moment.  When they find out that the man has been killed, they go on the run.

This is an exciting and fascinating tale.  Neither character is traditional; neither one trusts the other.  But to stay alive, they keep on the move and take shelter where they can.  No one is telling the truth.  No one is really on their side.  They have to learn to trust each other.

The mystery at the core of this story was unusual.  I wasn't expecting the political upper class to get involved.  I really liked how the two odd characters became a team by the end of the story.  I also see more potential for future stories, and I can't wait.  I want to read more about this feisty couple.

The Paris Key by Juliet Blackwell

What if you've lost all direction in your life and you're not sure you even like who you are now?  How do you start over?

Penguin Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 1st.

When Genevieve found out her husband was having an affair, her marriage was over.  She had to admit it was really over a long time ago but they were both still going through the motions.  She was in a boring job, had a boring life and now she had nothing.  What was she to do?  She had one opportunity:  She could go to Paris and take over her Uncle's locksmith business. She had spent a lovely summer with her Uncle Dave and his wife.  He'd taught her how to pick locks, how to clean them up, the inner workings and even how to make keys.  If she didn't continue the business, she could at least finish up the jobs he had going.  She packs up and heads out after talking to her cousin.

She can't speak much French, doesn't know anyone, and is just barely getting settled in when people being to call.  They're curious, they need her help, and it isn't long until they like her.  She has no chance to sleep in, any job turns into almost all day event, she's learning to eat and drink new things, and she's enjoying herself for the first time in a long time. However, Paris holds some secrets for her and when she digs deep enough she finds them.  Now she has to decide how to handle that knowledge.

This reads almost like a cozy.  There are alternative chapters where our main character is telling her story and where her mother is telling hers.  They're identified by year, so it wasn't hard to tell which character is which.  The story is mellow with touches of red for danger in the era her mother was here.  What happened in Paris stayed in Paris, but it also touched life in America.  Now Paris is touching an American...

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Secret Mission of William Tuck by Eric Pierpoint

William couldn't believe it.  The British marched his brother over to tree and killed him right in front of his family.  He memorized the face of the man that gave the order and made the decision that he would right this wrong.   Even though he knew his parents would grieve for him, too, he left a message and took the drum he had and set out to join the patriots.  If they could kill his brother for his war activities, then he'd take war to them, too.  He's 12 but he's not going to let that stop him!

Sourcebooks Jabberwocky and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 1st, so you don't have long to wait.

William chases after the patriots until they catch him.  When he offers his drum service, they decide to take him with them.  He has no idea that he will find himself in the middle of battle and find a man who is dying who gives him a quest.  He has a secret coded message that needs to get Washington.  How can William do that, he doesn't even have a horse!

This is an exciting tale based on historical fact.  William perseveres.  It's hard, lonely, dangerous and he can't really trust anybody.  Even those who are going to help him are liars and keep handing him to the British.  The safe spots aren't anymore.  Those who aided the couriers have been hung.  He's getting very desperate before he runs into Rebecca.  She's a very determined young woman who is going after her father.  He has been imprisoned on prison ship in the harbor.  She's going in William's direction, so she has him cut her hair, dresses as a boy and off they go.  Things are still bad, but they're both inventive.  Even when they get separated they don't give up.

All wars are ugly and this one was, too.  The two young ones trying to do the right thing are a breath of fresh air even if you had to hold your breath once in a while.  Give it a read; you'll be rooting for William and Rebecca. 

LOVE volume 2: THE FOX by Frederic Brremaud

This graphic comic series has the best illustrations!  I read The Tiger and was pleased to find another issue was out.  It's especially touching because there are no words.  Even with no words, the message comes across...

Magnetic Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published November 10th.  Make a note on your TBR list and pick up the first one in the series if you haven't read it yet.

These are nature stories.  The first book was set in the jungle; this one is set further north where polar bears and orca whales exist.  It's a tale of a natural disaster and the animal's reaction to it.  It has a bit of warning about global warming in the story, too.

You see all the various animals of the sea.  The orcas try to capture the polar bear as he swims to the mainland but aren't successful.  However, the polar bear scares the seals and they hit the water to become victims of the killer whales.  Then the polar runs into a grizzly because the volcano is driving all the animals down from the mountains.  Everyone is running away except this small fox.  She's running around and through the fire heading for a safe place.  As you watch the disaster unfold, you visually see how scary lava and fire can be for animals.  Federico Bertolucci's illustrations leave no doubt in your mind.  It was a mother's love driving that fox.  She had to get to her pup who was living under a tree.

I won't forget this story quickly and can't wait to see the next one in this series.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Hunter by Mercedes Lackey

Monsters.  The things from myth and imagination arrived after the Diseray.  It was an apocalypse that didn't take; it turned in the Diseray.  To be safe, you had to be in a place that was fortified.  You needed defenders and that's how the Hunters came to be.  They trained for it, were tough, and they fought the monsters from the Otherworld.

Disney Hyperion and Net Galley allowed to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 1st, so you'll want to snag a copy then.

Joy was orphaned early in life and her Uncle brought her to the Monastery to be brought up and taught skills.  She learned to be a Hunter.  When she's summoned to Apex and her Uncle, she has visions of having a home where she belongs and her Uncle in her life again.  It was not to be.  She almost gets killed on the train carrying to her Apex.  She survives by using her own quick wits and then she finds out that every Hunter is on video and gets points for their kills.  She's never heard of such a thing.  Her Uncle is warm and welcoming but reserved.  He tells her through a secret code they are being watched and just to act normal and fit in.  That's great advice, but she's never been in a city this size or has any idea how to fit in.  

One of my favorite parts of this character is that she speaks honestly and she believes in truth and goodness and loyalty.  It's her duty to protect the citizens of the city.  But when she finds that those who don't have jobs are sent outside the city perimeters to the outside, it almost seems like they are out there as bait.  There are other discrepancies in things she's being told.  As if that isn't enough to concern her, she's also made a deadly enemy of the other young hunter in the group.  He's been #1 and intends to stay there.  When her ultimate test comes up, she's pitted against him.  Will she make it?

There are sad parts when the monsters win but the Hunters make sure they don't have another chance.  Joy finds a friend and even perhaps a romance.  But her challenge isn't over at the end of this book.  There will be more in this series. 

Jade Dragon Mountain by Elsa Hart

Li Du was in exile.  He'd been a librarian and was unfortunate enough to be friendly with a man the Emperor disciplined.  Since then, he was exiled and spent most his time in the mountains and forest.  The peace he found there was worth the cost of leaving his job behind.  When he drops in to visit his cousin on way to a new location, he gets asked to stay.  The Emperor is coming and his cousin needs help dealing with the arriving diplomats.  He agrees.  He never ended to get involved with murder...

St. Martin's Press and Net Galley gave me the opportunity read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 1st.

I enjoyed the location of this story and the way the characters worked things out in a slower style with lots of traditions and taboos about what could and couldn't be asked.  Li Du was an unassuming man, but he was upset over the Jesuit father's death.  He knew he was poisoned.  And he set about proving it.  The problem was that even with that proof, he didn't know why he was killed or by whom.  When he presses too long, his cousin tells him he can investigate it and gives him a few days to do it in.  If he doesn't find the killer, he may end up accused himself.

The village has swollen in size as people gather to see the Emperor.  It's elbow to elbow in the streets.  How do you find a suspect in that mess?  Then there's the issues of politics, trade, and past history.  Which one influenced this death?  Is this the only death planned?  

I really enjoyed this read.  I like reading about other cultures, especially old cultures.   Part of how they act has to do with heritage.  There are nuances you can't see.  This story had more than one conspiracy going on.  Li Du will be happy to go back the forest, I'm sure.  Although he has another option at the end of the story.

Anyone with an interest in Asian history or just likes to read a good mystery will like this book.  I did.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

Zacharias had never wanted to be the Sorcerer to the King.  Of course, he hadn't wanted Stephen to die either.  He doesn't like being in the public eye, he knows the fact that he is a freed slave is also detrimental to him, and he doesn't like most of the politicians he has to work with.  The problem is that Stephen was Sorcerer before him and he's inherited this position, along with the staff that grants him power.  What's he to do?

Penguin Group and Net Galley gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 1st, so look for a copy then.

It's indicative of Zacharias' nature that when another gentleman has been asked to speak at the girl's school, he talks Zacharias into doing it for him.  Zacharias has never held the view that most other men do about women and magic.  They think the women shouldn't be allowed to use any, they are lesser beings.  He's not sure about that but it might be because he's a black man.  When he finds Prunella dealing with two students who are throwing magical spells at each other and she's throwing the spells away, he's impressed.  He becomes more determined to teach women how to use their skills.

His main quest is to get the fairy world to let some magic seep into his world.  It seems the hole has been plugged and less magic is available.  Prunella doesn't seem to have a problem with that but most folks aren't as powerful as she is.  When her school mistress kicks her out of school, Prunella follows Zacharias.  It isn't long until she's involved in his problems.  She's also making him more problems!

You have characters of every kind in this story:  Dragons, mermaids, witches, fairies, and more.  Zacharias is in the middle until he finds out Prunella is an even greater sorcerer than he is.  Then he has a fighting chance.  I enjoyed this story and especially liked the ending.  I'm glad to see that there will be more in this series.  It will be fun to find out what the two of them do next.

The Dogs by Allan Stratton

Cameron is tired of running.  His mom moves him from one house to another, all miles away from each other, to keep them away from his dad.  He didn't think his dad was that bad, but his mother is still scared to death of him.  Cameron's dad says one thing, his mother another.  Who's telling the truth?

Sourcebooks Fire and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 1st, so check for a copy then.

This is a scary story.  There's a ghost, a story from the past, evidence in the locked coal room in the basement, and howling dogs at night.  Cameron is already having trouble with reality, this just makes it worse.  His mother hears none of it.  When he tries to explain, she thinks he's losing his mind.  When he loses his temper and acts out, she thinks he's turning into his father...

With only some clues from the ghost and a few newspaper story, Cameron tries to find out what had happened to the house and the people in the past.

This is a tantalizing tale of a ghost that means well and is looking for peace and a young man caught between his parents.  He persists in solving this long forgotten mystery.  It's hard and unpleasant, but he continues digging.  Before the end of the story he knows what happened there and he knows which of his parents he should believe.  The story was a bit sad, but it was intriguing and it ends well.  Cameron does a good job despite the odds. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The White Shepherd: A Canine Mystery Set in Oxford by Annie Dalton

Anna Hopkins is walking her dog in the park.  When Bonnie takes off and begins to whine, she runs after her to see what the dog has found.  It's a dead woman...

Severn House and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 1st.

The dead woman was the one Anna was waiting to meet.  She said she had some real exciting information to share with her.  What could that have been?  Two other dog walkers come to join her and they all wait for the police.  Since Anna can identify her, it isn't long before the body is moved.  Everyone needs to go the station and give them a statement.  That chills Anna.

Anna has had tragedy in her life.  She came home after being out as a teenager and found her family dead.  She even got attacked herself.  Somehow, the cops viewed her as a suspect for a while.  No one wanted to have anything to do with her.  The same inspector is the one talking to her today.  That doesn't make it easier.

One thing that begins after this murder is friendship.  Anna hasn't had a friend in years.  She's not sure she wants these ladies in her life.  They do have a connection, though, because of the murder.

Anna has two men in her life.  I had my suspicions about one of them from the get go, but Anna doesn't.  I preferred the guy who had previously owned her rescue dog, even if he lived across the pond.

This was a good story.  Bonnie is a good dog and protects those loves.  Anna is beginning to get her life back.  She's even talking about the old tragedy, which she'd never done before.  I enjoyed this book and hope to find more books in this series.

Recalled to Death: A Martha Gunn Police Procedural by Priscilla Masters

There's a dead man in the basement of an abandoned building that is open to visitors.  He looks homeless and is dirty as most are.  The only unusual thing about him is that his throat has been cut...

Severn House and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 1st.

The man is a mystery man.  He has no ID on him and nothing that gives any clues on who he might be.  Every place he's been, he's maintained a low profile and not stayed too long.  No one ever knew his name.  He's made a few cryptic remarks but they don't make sense.  Like saying he already died once?  The police are having an awful time trying to identify him.  How are they going to find their killer?

This police procedural takes you through the painstaking process of detecting with very little information to go on.  They brainstorm, try anything they can, and keep hunting throughout the story.  When they get a piece of information about him, doors begin to open.  They are pretty sure they know who the killer is.  But how to prove it?

Martha is very good with a bluff.  It takes all her skills to break this case open.  And she's still interested in Alex Randall.  However, he's still married.  I think that might change in future books in this series.  I'll just have to keep reading and see.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Threads of Evidence by Lea Wait

"Aurora" has been sitting vacant for twenty-five years.  When a famous actress wants to restore it to its natural beauty, she hires the local antique shop owner and the needlepoint business to help her clean and save what can be restored.  Angie thought it was all about needlepoint until someone tried to kill the actress...

Kensington Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published August 25th, so you can grab a copy in a few days.

Angie is actually a bit over head in this book.  She wants to do a good job taking over the needlepoint business, her grandmother is getting married, and the actress and her son want Angie's help in solving a 45 year old murder from the past.  She did dabble in the private investigator's field for a while, but she's no homicide detective.  The actress is sure that the young girl that was her friend was murdered. It's a little late to prove it.  Unfortunately, asking questions proves the killer is still alive.

Angie and the actress are both asking questions and snooping back through history but when the carriage house where the actress was staying is set on fire with her in it, the police finally get interested.  It gets even more interesting when they find pieces of hair woven in with the thread on the needlepoint pictures.  When it's analyzed, it turns out that the hair is moose and it has arsenic on it.  Since that was used to try to kill the actress and the rumor was that was what killed the young girl so many years ago, this could be a significant clue.

This is a mystery tied to the past and the present both.  The victim was a young girl who had money and an ego to match it.  She had a lover at home and in the city.  She was also pregnant at the time of her death.  Was the father of her child the killer?

I enjoyed this mystery.  I also have an opinion over which man I think Angie should get involved with.  But I'll have to read more in this series to see if it happens...

Cancans, Croissants, and Caskets by Mary McHugh

They have an opportunity to dance on a dinner boat in France.  Who doesn't want to go to Paris?  These hoofers aren't going to miss chance to perform in France and sight-see during the day!

Kensington Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you.) It will be published August 25th, so you can grab a copy then.

Reading this teaches you a bit about Paris, gives you French recipes and serves up a helping of murder, too.  

The ladies are excited to see the sights and look forward to dancing.  They're all attractive, so they love being ogled by the French men.  There's even an American there who is very sexy.  What they didn't expect was for the male owner of the dinner boat to get killed on the upper floor while they were doing their show.

This is not just a tale of murder.  This is a discussion of personalities, relationships, good food and amazing sights.  When another body is found, the police get even more persistent in their questioning.  The female police captain has her eye on one of the girls in the group and while the group reminds Pat of the woman waiting for her at home, she's still going out to dinner with her friend.

It's not until they almost kill the most beautiful member of the dance group that they have any clue who killer is.  But the killer is clever and covers his tracks and says she must have hallucinated the event.  After all, he just put her to bed because she passed out from her drink and she let herself out sometime in the night.  He had an answer for everything.  So how do you prove it otherwise?

It was a good mystery with several side plots.  There were lots of greedy people involved, just like usual.  I'm glad the girls are going home.  Maybe this trip settled some relationship quandaries, you never know.  Only the next book will tell us.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Ransom Canyon by Jodi Thomas

Staten has his ranch and his wounded heart, and that's all he needs.  When things overwhelm him, he goes to visit Quinn.  She listens, doesn't judge and she's willing to sleep with him.  As long as he can control when he visits and doesn't have any ties to her, he thinks he's safe.  He's not...

HQN Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published August 25th, so you an grab a copy then.

This is a bit like a cozy western.  We have several developing romances, there are ex-cons in town planning a scheme, and the old folks in town are still telling people what to do.

The first ex-con that comes to town isn't planning on staying.  When the old folks come out to trim a tree and almost kill themselves, he comes to the rescue.  All of sudden, he finds himself with a job.  They agree to pay him for upkeep of their old cabins.  They also feed him, give him clothes, and even give him love.  He feels wanted, needed and like he's a good person, for the first time in his life.  Maybe he won't leave town yet.

The sheriff's daughter is getting real fond of Lucas, a young man who will be going to college soon.  Her father doesn't want her dating anybody but they spend some quiet time together and their friendship grows.

Quinn discovers she's pregnant and Staten freaks.  Yancy, the ex-con, has found a woman he likes but is too afraid to approach her.  However when his enemies from prison target a friend of his, he has to make a decision.  Will he help them or will he turn them in?

Ms. Thomas makes you care about her characters.  She's turning this into a series, so I think we'll be seeing more of these three couples in the future books.  I'm also sure you'll see more of those old folks.  They managed to beat up a BMW and get a few whacks in on the owner who thought he'd take his former rape victim on his tour.  They protect their own.  The sheriff didn't see a thing and he must have tripped on the steps to break his nose like that.  How can you not like these old folks?

I'll be watching for the next one in this series.

Max the Brave by Ed Vere

Max knows his job is to catch mice.  His problem is that he doesn't know what they look like...

Sourcebooks Jabberwocky and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review.  It will be published September 1st.  

The illustrations in this book are striking:  Prime colors, simple lines, and a focus on the character on that page.  They add to the charm of this fun story.

Since Max knows not what a mouse looks like, he asks the other animals.  They tell him no, they are not a mouse, but they saw one scurry by.  When he finally finds the mouse, the mouse tells him he's a monster and points out the monster as a mouse...

It's cute story full of smiles for you.  I can see children pretending to be Max, the mouse or the monster.  This is a great read for young ones.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Mystery of the Zorse's Mask by Linda Joy Singleton

The animal sanctuary has a zorse; that's part Zebra/part horse.  Becca has grown very attached to it and hopes she'll be able to keep him.  Unfortunately, someone says he has the paperwork to prove it belongs to his mother and he'll be up to collect it.  Becca is heartbroken...

Albert Whitman & Company and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 1st, so you can grab a copy then.

Leo and Kelsey feel bad for her but don't know how to stop him from claiming the zorse if he legally owns it.  Becca is afraid he's the one who beat the zorse before they rescued it.  After they meet the man, no one is sure of anything anymore.  He's very glib and smooth and has answers for everything.  But are they the truth?

This is dangerous case.  The man is evil and he's determined to take the zorse and the fly mask it wore.  The mask is lost but they recover it.  Then it's lost again.  At the last minute Kelsey speaks to the sister of the man and finds out what they suspected is true.  He is mean with the animals he tries to tame.  How can they stop him?  Even worse, she can't get hold of anyone.  So Kelsey is the one trying to stop the inevitable...

Another exciting adventure with some fun kids learning about friendship and life.  This is a very nice series for middle graders.  I enjoy reading them, too.

The Curious Cat Spy Club by Linda Joy Singleton

She's sure she can hear kittens meowing.  Where could they be?  She's in an alley and doesn't see them anywhere.  Then she realizes they are in the dumpster...

Albert Whitman and Company and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so you can find a copy now.

This is written for middle graders and manages to cover a lot of issues besides rescuing pets.  Kelsey's father is unemployed.  Becca's Mom runs an animal sanctuary and is dating a boy that is a bully.  Leo is geeky and his parents are getting divorced.  But they have each other and their club.  They're going to go after the person that dumped those kittens!

The story moves well and is easy to read.  It's interesting and exciting all the way to the end.  It won't take them long to read it.  You better buy the next book in the series, too.

They trace down who has koi fish in ponds because that was part of the food purchased on the sales slip in the bag the kittens were in.  Then they begin spying.  Each person has his or her technique of doing the investigation and it's quite a hoot watching how it all works.  It takes a lot of effort but they do finally solve their case.  Now they're ready to take on another case...

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Muirwood: The Lost Abbey #1 by Jeff Wheeler, Matt Sturges, Dave Justus, Alex Sheikman

Maia is back again in this new telling of her tale.  This one is done in graphic form and it's lovely.  It eliminates the excessive words, simplifies the story and tells the story graphically.  I was thinking it would make a great movie while I was reading the book and this graphic series will give you an idea of how that would work.  I like it a lot.

Jet City Comics and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published August 26th, and is the first of five comics in this series.  I want to read them all!

I've read the book so my view might be a little skewed because I know the story line, but I really appreciated the brevity and the graphic quality.  The only problem I had is that they are dishing this out in five installments.  I wanted it ALL now!

You see the barren room Maia is confined in at the castle.  You meet her father.  You also meet her "guard" who happens to be an assassin.  Life as Maia knew it has changed.  It's about to change again.   Her father orders her on a quest to find the lost abbey and get some information to help him win his war.  She doesn't want to, but she has no choice.  It's almost an impossible task but anything is better than being locked in the tower. Maia knows she has a power, but she doesn't know how much or what it will do to her.  She'll find out.

I really like graphic novels.  I admit that they don't give you as much information as a story would, but the pictures tell you a lot and express emotions much better than text does.  And there will be more...

The Banished of Muirwood Covenant of Muirwood (Book 1) by Jeff Wheeler

She has powers but she doesn't know how much or how dangerous they are.  Even when she finds out, there's not much she can do about it...

47 North and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It is being published today, so you can get a copy now.

This is a tale of death and destruction with Maia, the banished princess, in the middle of all of it.  She has an assassin companion and her personal quest is to find her mother.  When her powers overtake her, she gets consumed by a Mystic One that won't let go of her.  Her only hope is to find a seer who can evict it from her body.  Otherwise, she'll lose herself and the other one will take over her body.  This makes the journey much more important to move quickly and those searching for her are getting more desperate to catch her.

Maia is a good person but her father is not.  He wanted sons, so he banished his wife.  Then he wanted to adopt his sons with his new consort, so he banishes Maia.  The assassin traveling with her has orders to kill her himself before she gets handed over to a kingdom that could use her talents against him.  Like I said, not a nice guy.

This novel was a bit too wordy for me.  The plot was good but it could have been expressed more succinctly.  We spent too much time with descriptions of areas and past history.  I found it a bit hard to keep it all straight, and it took a long time to get interested in the plot.  I prefer concise stories.

That said, the story (once it got moving) was exciting.  Her killer at her side is a formidable enemy against the other troops.  The man she chooses as a guide has a huge dog and they are both her friends.  She even finds a love interest before the tale is over.  But she has a long road ahead of her yet.  At the end, I really had no clue where the author is going next with this story.  It will be interesting to see which path he takes...

Monday, August 17, 2015

Candy Corn Murder by Leslie Meier

Lucy Stone is back and finds herself forced to try to solve a murder.  After all, they've arrested her husband for the crime!

Kensington and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published August 25th, so watch to grab a copy then.

I've been reading about Lucy Stone for a while but this one is the best so far in my opinion.  It's a unique blend of a story from the past and a murder covered up then that merges into a current murder.  The murderers are not the same and motive for the murder is not the same, but there's a family connection.

Lucy knows Bill didn't kill anybody but the murder weapon was found in the back of his pickup.  To her, that means someone was setting him up.  Her life is already tied up with her job as a journalist, she's taking care of her grandson for four months, and her oldest daughter at home has hooked up with a young man she likes but she's not sure she wants her daughter getting serious about.  Now throw a murder in there and it's too much at once.

The Halloween event is new and she's writing articles about the events.  Someone is sabotaging the events.  The police try to say it's vandals, but Lucy isn't buying that.  Who wants to stop the Halloween festivities and why?

It's a good mystery and has a good ending.  I wonder if Lucy will still have her grandson in the next book.  He's a cute little tyke and he says what he thinks.  I like kids like that.

Thoreau in Phantom Bog by B. B. Oak

Julia is in love with Adam, has been her whole life.  When his grandmother tells them they are cousins, she goes away to grieve over her lost love.  When she marries a kind man she met aboard the ship, she finds he's not a kind man.  He is also a slaver.  So she runs again, this time back to the states.  And it doesn't take long until she finds herself in Adam's arms again.  She finds out he's not really her cousin, his father was from another family.  She can't marry him because she's already married but she's still seeing him.  She never expected her husband to come to America from France to retrieve her...

Kensington Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published August 25th.

Thoreau is working with the Underground Railroad to help slaves get to freedom.  Julia talks to him about it because she has a big house and believes she conceal them for a night or two.  By pure chance, she leads a family to safety in the next town.  Adam gets very upset.  Thoreau tells him to calm down, he'll keep her safe.

When a conductor is killed transporting a slave, everyone goes out to the bog and searches for her body.  She didn't fall in the bog.  She also didn't show up at the next safe house.  Where could she be?

The slave's owner loves her and comes after her.  He's even sold his big bay horse he loved like a child to do so.  He's looking for her; so are other people.  There's a fake Quaker in town and a traveling photographer.  The policeman is useless.  So Thoreau, Julia, and Adam try to figure out what's going on.  There are three different plots here and it keeps the story exciting.

Thoreau is a laid back character who knows odd facts and how to handle almost anything.  My favorite characters are Julia and Adam.  They are facing impossible odds and now she's pregnant with his child but they aren't giving up.  I admire people like that.  This was enjoyable read.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Anton and Cecil, Book 2: Cats on Track by Lisa Martin, Valerie Martin, Kelly Murphy (Illustrated by)

Anton and Cecil are glad to be back home, enjoying the seaside and visiting with their Mom and more family.  But when a couple of mice search them out and give them a message from Hieronymus, Anton has no choice.  Hieronymus saved his life.  If he needs help, Anton must respond.  Cecil isn't excited until he finds out they need to get there by taking the train.  That's a new adventure!

Algonquin Young Readers and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published August 25th, so you can grab a copy then.

I really like this series.  The cats meet all kinds of animal friends on their journey and the warnings they get from them are what keep them safe during this journey.  Cecil gets separated from Anton again and both animals have big adventures trying to find each other.

They meet up with prairie dogs, ferrets, buffalo, a rattlesnake, coyotes and even a mountain lion.  They're having a hard time staying alive.  They even have to let some humans help them.  It's a fun read and I spent most of time rooting for Anton and Cecil.  After all, I want to read about their next adventure.

Kill by Numbers: In the Wake of the Templars Book Two by Loren Rhoads

She keeps dreaming.  They are almost nightmares.  Some are of the past, some are of a past that never happened, and she keeps killing Gavin in all of them.  That never happened.  Is she losing her mind?

Nightshade Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book (thank you).  It will be published September 1st, so you can grab a copy then.

Raena was an assassin in the past but she's free now and should be thinking of the future, not dwelling in the past.

The airship she's on has all kinds of aliens making up the crew.  I enjoyed reading about how they looked, how they talked and what their positions were for work.  There's a lizard, octopus, and a cat-like creature among the crew.  There's even a human captain.  She knows these people and likes them but she's a weapon.  When the dreams won't stop, she asks them to lock her in her room so she doesn't harm someone by accident.

I found the dream sequences a bit confusing.  They seemed to go over the same thing again and again with a different result.  She had never killed Gavin so why does she keep doing it over and over again in her dreams?

They take on a job moving a journalist off planet.  He wore out his welcome by reporting on subjects no one talked about.  While they go to pick him up, there's an attack on his safe place and Raena has to use her skills to keep him safe.  She finally decides she has to find out what happened to Gavin.  What she finds out doesn't really make things clearer.

There's to be another book in this series.  I will have to check it out and see where Mr. Rhoads is going with this story.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Girl in the Glass: A McCabe and Savage Thriller by James Hayman

A young woman's death mimics her grandmother's.  Who would have killed her like that and why?

Witness Impulse and Edelweiss gave the me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published August 25th.

Aimee is just graduating from high school as valedictorian and she's having a great time at the big party her father threw for her.  Her stepsister is there, too, but Aimee knows she's his favorite and she's dressed to match the large painting he's acquired of her grandmother.  She makes a grand entrance and is on top of the world.  She's young, beautiful and has money.  She's having an affair with a teacher but she plans to turn that into more.  He's got other plans.  He's cutting off the affair and will go home to be with his family.  It doesn't matter who had what planned.  Neither live beyond that night...

When McCabe and Savage begin digging, they find family history has an impact on the present case.  They eliminate who they can and then wonder about what they haven't found.  Their one witness gets killed before she can talk to the police, almost on Maggie's doorstep.  When Maggie goes after the killer, she ends up in the hospital lucky to be alive.  They're getting closer, but will they survive it?

There's another murder before things are over.  I didn't guess who the killer was.  McCabe would like to date Maggie but she's met the security guard from the monied family and is out with him.  Maybe the case isn't the only thing that's over.  I'll have to read the next book to find out.

Aoleon The Martian Girl Part 1: First Contact by Brent LeVasseur

Gilbert has been having bad dreams.  Not only that, but his nightmares repeat themselves.  Why is he even dreaming such odd dreams and what do they mean?

Aoleon Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  This is a story told in five parts.  This first book has been published and you can start the series now.

Gilbert can't sleep because his parents are fighting, so he gets up to look out his telescope.  He's looking at the stars until he realizes the movement he's seeing in the sky is not a falling star.  What could it be?

This tale is part serious, part humorous, and part silly so it's just right for middle graders.  You know those crop circles?  They really are done by aliens...

The story is exciting.  They have the local farmer shooting his shotgun at them, various fighter planes coming after them, and even more dangers to face when they get to Aoleon's planet.  They also find out they have a quest.  Just because they never heard of it before doesn't mean anything.  After all, they're young.  So they don't know each other very well.  It sounds like that's all going to change real soon.

The graphics reminded me a bit of Toy Story.  They're very colorful and add to the picture of another planet.  This read up quickly.  I can see the younger reader asking for the next one in the series as soon as they finish this one.  Be prepared!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Forgotten Voices: A Rina Martin British Mystery by Jane A. Adams

Why would anyone want to kill Ellen?  She was a widow, had two children, and was washing dishes when someone she knew came up to the window in the back and shot her to death with a shotgun.  Who could have hated her that much?

Severn House and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 1st, so make a note on your TBR list.

The core of this story is related to past family history.  You have a half mad matriarch, a desire to keep old secrets hidden, and a huge sense of entitlement of the land by family ties.  There are enough other strange characters in this small town to muddy up the story.  No one is quite what they seem.  There's another victim before the story is over.  And Rina, a woman with a bed and breakfast no one leaves after they move in, is the one who has to filter through all the facts and lies to find the truth.

I wasn't sure who the killer was which was a nice touch.  Most times I have an idea.  I couldn't believe how many vindictive old ladies there were in this story.  This is set across the pond so I learned some new things about English history.  The pace of the story was a bit slow but you almost needed that to put the appropriate facts together.  It isn't until the very end the murderers are uncovered and neither of the deaths was necessary.  The motives for the deaths was different.  All in all, it was a good analytical study of death for greed or secrecy.  I'm just glad I don't live in that village.

The Great Snapping Turtle Adventure by Susan Yaruta-Young

How often does someone offer you a snapping turtle for free?  And how often do you later visit an old graveyard and find the old woman's headstone already in the ground?  Was she a ghost?

Secant Publishing and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It was published July 1st, so you can get a copy now.

This is a sweet story of a stepdad taking his boys out to do some crabbing.  Fred is nice, has patience with the boys, and is willing to explore things most people wouldn't.  What more could a father do?

Max and Charles are fascinated by the turtle but soon enough decide they'd rather let her go instead of selling her for turtle soup.  After all, she's about to lay eggs for the next generation...  But how to do that?

The Inn they stay at has a resident ghost.  The boys hear the rocking chair at night while trying to rescue the turtle and get scared.  I think maybe it was the owner of the Inn toying with them, but who knows? They eat at a secret restaurant that has wonderful food.  Where did it come from?  They also visit a button factory that was an interesting side trip.

As I read the story, I didn't know if it was all true or a figment of imagination.  What I do know is that they all had fun and went home with fresh crab to eat.  After all, that's what the trip was about, wasn't it?

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Murderer's Daughter by Jonathan Kellerman

Grace Blades was a super intelligent unloved child.  She went through several foster homes after her parents died.  She was aloof, worked ahead in her schoolwork, and touched no one and no one touched her.  After another dramatic death in her life, she's taken in by the woman's brother in law.  He and his wife are kind and love her in their own way.  Intelligence speaks to intelligence.  She studies hard and is going far.  Until one night the past comes back to touch her again...

Ballantine Books and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published August 18th, so you can grab a copy then.

Mr. Kellerman was a clinical psychologist and his books always have a touch of that in them.  That makes a good suspense novel and gives you insight into characters you might not have seen without his help.  He never disappoints me with his work even if I might be shaking my head in some spots.  I've read about Alex  Delaware several times but this is a new character for him.  She's very interesting.

Grace is still not touchy-feely and she's still a loner.  She has become a master psychologist and helps people deal with traumatic circumstances.  She has a secret, though.  She does crazy things at night or on her days off.  Like driving at excessive speed and then closing her eyes for moments while she hopes her memory will hold her on the road.  Or picking some guy up at the bar for a random sexual encounter.  She likes the rush it brings her.

When one of those random couplings shows up in her therapy room, it's difficult.  They're both embarrassed, he doesn't want to share his problems with her and leaves.  He has her business card with him, so when he shows up dead the next day, the cops are asking her questions.  When she finds out his name was a lie (so was the one he gave her when they had their brief encounter), she begins to wonder just who he is.  When she finds out, her life is in danger.  The past is coming after her...

It's hard to feel sorry for Grace.  She's independent, self-sufficient and functioning well despite her daredevil side.  Her early years were awful and she's still compensating for that.  This may be Mr. Kellerman's new character.  We'll just have to see what comes next.

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...