Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Everything She Forgot by Lisa Ballantyne

She loves her father, has a good marriage and two children and has a good job.  But after she's in a deadly accident, she's not feeling comfortable any more.  It's like something has disrupted her life, but she doesn't know what.

William Morrow and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 6th.

Margaret is trapped in her car and unable to get out.  Then it catches on fire.  When she's about resigned herself to death, a stranger comes up and tries to open it, unsuccessfully.  Finally he uses his fist and breaks the side window and pulls her out.  She thanks him for saving her and he walks off.  He was very disfigured but she felt she owed him for her rescue.  When she asks about him, nobody knows where he went or who he was.  But she tracks him down at the hospital by being persistent.  He's in an induced coma due to a head injury.  She sits with him for a while anyway.

This is a tale filled with sadistic people.  From the nun who enjoys belting hands, to a father that kills without thought and a journalist that is determined to break this story and his family, there's a lot of negative.  However, there's a young man who couldn't even read when Margaret started teaching him and now he's looking at college.  There's also Margaret's family.  If only she could remember why that man seemed familiar?

This is also a story of PTSD.  Margaret first had it at age seven, then again after the accident.  When Margaret gets a box of records out of the attic that her deceased mother had stored there, the past begins to open up for her.

It's a sad story but the man who wanted to have someone love him finally found one.  And Margaret finally understands her feelings and gets some closure to past events.  It was an interesting story and one that will stick with me for a while.  Why don't you give it try?

Buffalo Trail: A Novel of the American West by Jeff Guinn

Cash is on the run.  He stole some money from his former father-in-law (his wife committed suicide) and has headed out to make a new start.  Having a killer after him trying to recover the money makes him move faster.  He just wants to start over...

G P Putnam and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 6th.  

Cash falls in with some buffalo hunters.  They prefer to be called hide men.  What they really are is killers who wasted the buffalo.  All they wanted was the hide; they let the rest rot.  But it paid some and Cash had dreams.  He'd given up the woman he loved to marry one that should have set him up for life.  Instead, she died and he lost his original woman.  He's determined to win her back.

This is historical fiction but it reads like actual history.  Mr. Guinn is like a story teller.  He takes you back to the era and walks you into another world.

Quanah is the Comanche chief and he's trying to unite the Indians to drive the white men away.  He knows they'll keep coming but he wants to keep some of the rich land and buffalo for his people.  He hopes a big victory will send a message to the white man.  The other Indians have fought long enough and lost enough people they don't want to fight.  He has to barter, use his medicine man ramblings and more to get some support.

Much of what you read in this story is cruel.  Sometimes life is.  While it may be hard to read, the atrocities happened on both sides.  No one person was right or wrong; it was just a clash of cultures.  It's still going on in the world today.

This is an informative look at how life was back in the days of Indians and hide hunters.  The story flows well, the author gives his characters interesting personalities, and even though I'm not fond of history, this was easy to read.  Would you like to walk a mile in Quanah's moccasins?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Free Country: A Tale of The Children's Crusade by Neil Gaiman

I remember reading about the Pied Piper.  He agrees to rid the village of their rats for so many coins.  Once he's done it, they reneg on the deal, telling him they don't have that much money.  So he takes their children.  The version I read said they went into the side of a mountain and never returned.  This book has a slightly different version of the tale.

Vertigo and Edelweiss allowed me to read this graphic novel for review (thank you).  It is being published today, so you grab a copy now.

Neil does the introduction the story and tells you how the authors and illustrators got involved.  There's a combination of various stories and artwork here and they all fit well.

When children disappear, they go to "Free Country".  No adult interference, no school, no required bedtime or morning time.  What more could a child want?  

The problem is that everyone here is not nice.  Someone has big plans for the children, big plans they won't like.

I found bits and pieces of this story confusing.  You almost have to let go of logic and go with the flow.  There are a couple of ghosts, a big jack rabbit (reminiscent of Alice), strange beings from other worlds, and more.  The story floats from present to past to in between.  All you can do is hold on to your seat and keep reading.  It all comes together at the end.

This was an interesting story that made me look at graphic novels differently.  They say less but mean more.

Swords and Scoundrels (Duelist's Trilogy #1) by Julia Knight

She and her brother were duelists and very good at what they did.  When he kills a priest he was meant to guard, they are suddenly on the run.  They have to leave the city they grew up in and they can't hire out as duelists anymore.  So they turn into highway men...

Orbit and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 6th.

This is a new series with sword play, politics, sorcerers and more.  There are two different political factions vying for power.  The leader of Duelists Guild is playing his own game.  And all Kacha and her brother Vacho are trying to do is stay live and make some money. That does work out very well when they capture a carriage and steal all the valuables of the men inside.  Especially when the trunk they grab was owned by a sorcerer...

The plot is complicated and so are the characters.  My favorite is Kacha.  She was falling love when she found out he was only was only using her, so she won't have anything to do with him now.  As time goes on though, she finds everyone was lying to her, even her own brother.  The one she loves is almost as stubborn and determined as she is so there may be hope for this romance in the future.

In this book, it's a challenge to stay alive.  The action is nonstop, most of it is death defying, and they lose their beliefs, their innocence, and some hide on the journey.  But they still have self-confidence and hope.  They haven't given up.  And there is more to come... 

Monday, September 28, 2015

We'll Never Be Apart by Emiko Jean

Alice is in a mental facility.  She can't remember the incident that landed her there.  She knows she should but it's like her mind is protecting her.  The doctor tells her until she can open up and deal with the issues, she'll stay there.  She doesn't participate in much and won't talk about it.  She's afraid to.

HMH Books for Young Readers and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 6th and you grab a copy then.

Mental health is a fragile thing.  Alice and her twin found their grandfather dead at the bottom of the stairs when they were four.  All they had to eat was birthday cake.  It took four days before someone noticed they were by themselves.  That experience alone would be mind boggling.

Alice and her twin are in and out of foster homes in the ensuing years.  They meet Jason and fall in love with him.  The bad thing that happened was when Jason and Alice tried to run away.  Her twin set the barn on fire.  Eventually Alice remembers that Jason died.

Going to Jason's funeral, dealing with a new boy who cares about her at the home, and writing in the journal is helping Alice figure things out.  She's trying to get her mind straight.  The bad part is that what she finds out is even more horrible than she thought what she remembered was.

Alice still has a ways to go to mental health.  But Chase is there now and he will help.  He's also patient and kind.  Everyone has secrets.  Some are just harder to handle than others.

A Tale of Highly Unusual Magic by Lisa Papademetriou

Kai is living with her great aunt in Georgia while her mother looks for work.  It's boring and weird so she decides to look for a book in the library.  Anything to keep her occupied.  She finds one named The Exquisite Corpse and decides a murder mystery might work.  But when she opens the book, it only says it's the property of some boy.  There's nothing more written.  Kai is irritated, so she adds a line below his name and shuts the book.  The next time she opens it, there's more written...

HarperCollins and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 6th, so you can grab a copy then.

Leila is living in Pakistan with her Uncle and his family.  It's her opportunity to learn more about her father's culture.  It's more like culture shock for her.  It's a good thing she's found a book to read titled The Exquisite Corpse.  When she opens it and finds only a couple of lines written in it, she adds her own line.  And the story comes alive, in bits and pieces.

It's a story from long, long ago when a young woman became the heiress to a big casket business.  Her guardian is trying to kill her.  She finds a young man she loves, but there's no way she can marry him and stay in the states.  She must get away from her guardian.

There is magic in this story.  The magic of love, two lonely girls who learn about the couple and about butterflies, and more.  The great aunt and the Pakistan people help make the story interesting and believable.  The fantasy of the tale is fun.  Most young ones, especially girls, will enjoy this story.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Edgewater by Courtney Sheinmel

Lorrie has always had lots of money to spend on clothes, a horse and horse training, a private school and more.  Then comes the day when the horse barn informs her she's going to have to leave and take her horse with her because her fees haven't been paid.  She tries to call her aunt and remind her about the payment but she won't answer her phone.  Her only recourse is to head home.

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

When Lorrie gets on the road, all she has is $8.  She's hungry and needs gas for her car, so stops at the gas station.  And finds she can eat or buy enough gas to get home.  The guy won't give her credit or trust her for the money.  But the good looking young man in line behind her pays for her tab.  She won't take it as a gift, she tells him she'll pay him back.  He tells her she doesn't have to.  But in Lorrie's mind, she does.  It's only later that she realizes he's the senator's son.

This about growing up and coming of age.  Lorrie's mother made a mistake in the past.  Lorrie's father isn't around.  And the money they were being paid wasn't coming from a trust...

Things are bad at home.  There's nothing to eat, the electricity and water get shut off, there's no money to access in the bank, and even Aunt Gigi doesn't have any answers.  She won't even take any questions, she just keeps changing the subject.

What Lorrie learns about her financial position and her mother changes her life.  Old mistakes can rest on the shoulders of the youth that come behind.  This tale has a happy ending, though.  Life hasn't ended for Lorrie; it's just beginning.

Chicago Noir edited by Joe Meno

I've always enjoyed reading noir.  Dark, ironic mysteries are a good read to me.  Since this collection includes old classics as well as some new stories, I knew it would be good.

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

This book contains classic reprints from: Harry Stephen Keeler, Sherwood Anderson, Max Allan Collins, Richard Wright, Nelson Algren, Fredric Brown, Patricia Highsmith, Barry Gifford, Stuart M. Kaminsky, Libby Fischer Hellmann, Sara Paretsky, Percy Spurlark Parker, Sandra Cisneros, Hugh Holton, and Stuart Dybek.

I wasn't disappointed by any of the stories.  I did find a few old favorites and met a few new (to me) authors.  My favorites were:   I'll Cut Your Throat Again, Kathleen by Fredric Brown (an old favorite author of mine), Skin Deep by Sara Paretsky (another favorite), and The Whole World is Watching by Libby Fischer Hellman (a fairly new author for me).

The first story deals with a loss of memory and temporary insanity; the second deals with the common greed of man; and the third sounds a lot like the streets of big cities now.  The first and the last made the biggest impressions on me.  They gave me something to think about.

Read the stories.  They'll give you something to think about, too.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Brilliant by Roddy Doyle

No one is happy anymore.  Something has stolen Dublin's funny bone...

Amulet Books sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published so you can find a copy now.

It seems the wind blew in a very dark cloud that turned into a big black dog on the streets at night.  You could hardly see it, but it went around stealing laughter and harmony from all the people living there.  The adults really got affected.  The children decided to do something about it.

A sister and brother lead the pack.  They're worried about their Uncle Ben and they are going to fix his depression.  The sister discovers if she uses the word "brilliant", it gives them light for a little while.  As they follow the dog, they meet more children.  It's a scary quest with no one except children involved.  They do have an older boy in the group.  He thinks he's a vampire, so he's a bit odd but he's a good egg and helps them.

This book brings up a good subject.  Depression is prevalent in this day and age.  I call it a blue cloud hanging over me.  This author chose a black dog.  He reinforces that if it happens to you, you need to get help.  It can practically permeate your soul if you let it.

With help, you can shake the depression off.  Just like the children got the dog to cough up Dublin's funny bone...  

Young-hee and the Pullocho by Mark James Russell

Young-hee has a responsibility.  She has to watch over her younger brother.  That gets a lot harder when a nasty goblin captures him by offering him a tasty treat and binds him for a year as a slave.  What's she going to tell her mother?

Tuttle Publishing and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book (thank you).  It has been published, so you can get a copy now.

This is a Korean fairy tale with several mini fairy tales told along the way.  All the mythical creatures appear, none of them are terribly honest or terribly nice, but Young-hee is determined to get the pullocho root the goblin wants so she can set her brother free and go home.

One thing that I've seen before that never ceases to amaze me is that all fairy tales seem to be common, no matter what country is telling the tale.  Some of the story might be different but they have the same general theme.  The classics seem to be everywhere, no matter what the culture or beliefs may be.

Young-hee has many tests along the way and keeps persevering even though she's tired, sore, and scared.  She dares to do what most would not.  And she does get her brother back, but not like she thought she would.

This tale is told well and you'll learn more than one fairy tale reading it.  Young-hee should just be grateful that the time passed different in the real world than it did in the strange world.  Or she would have been in a lot more trouble...

Friday, September 25, 2015

Jim Butcher's Dresden Files: Down Town by Jim Butcher, Mark Powers

It was just a normal day at the pawnshop until the monster arrived and killed him...

Dynamite Entertainment and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 13th.  You'll want to get a copy then.  I just found this author and he writes mean tales with supernatural elements and lots of excitement.  You won't want to miss it.

Graphic novels are still like a secret pleasure for me.  I always read comics, but they were so short.  Now publishers are bringing several out in one edition so you can take in the whole story at once.  That's so much better.

Harry Dresden is training Molly.  When he gets called out on the pawn shop owner's death, she goes along.  It's an ugly death.  And the evidence looks like slime.  What could it be?

You have a nasty lady cop, a former friend of Harry's who now provides protection for others and more in this story.  I lusted over Thomas, Harry's half-brother who is a vampire.  He and Harry just chat but I'd love to see more of him.  Sorry, Harry love, my heart has been taken.

I really enjoy what Molly can do and how she grows more confident in her abilities during these stories.  I also enjoyed their magical dog.  And, Harry, wasn't too bad himself.  If you ever find yourself in a bind, he's the kind of guy that would good to have on your side.

Read it; you won't be bored.  The graphics are great, too.  Mr. Butcher and Mr. Powers make a great team.

Westly: A Spider's Tale by Bryan Beus

Westly is really excited.  It's time for the cocoons to hatch and he'll be a beautiful Monarch butterfly like his father the king.  He can then take on his princely duties and ready himself for his upcoming kingship.  That's all ruined when the cocoon cracks open and he suddenly has eight legs and no wings...

Shadow Mountain and Edelweiss gave the me the opportunity to read this book (thank you).  It will be published September 29th so you can get a copy then.

This is tale of friendship, lessons learned, and disaster, too.  Poor Westly doesn't even know what he is, he just knows that he's not a butterfly.  They eject him from the butterfly haven because he's different.  He's black, he's not like them, and they don't want him around.  Not even his father...

The animals on the ground refuse to let him join them unless he works for the common good.  The first day is a disaster and they don't feed him.  The more he tries to help, the worse it gets.  So he wanders off and pouts in a far away corner.  Then someone starts talking to him.  It's a raven.  The raven informs him he's a spider.  He even shows him how to use his cobweb.  Soon he's getting along better with the others because he's discovered his talent.  But all is not sweetness and light.  The raven has an ulterior motive.

This is an exciting story with a wonderful ending.  Well, not for the raven, but so?  I enjoyed reading this story and I believe most children will, too.  A happy insect kingdom is a wonderful thing.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Seaside by Wylde Scott

Every child wants a pet and usually has one.  But who makes friends with a baby octopus?

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

The story begins with Bobby, who desperately wants to be one of Blackbeard's Boys.  He's taken on the challenge to swim to the lighthouse, but he's not going to make it.  When he finds himself on the island, he's amazed.  The old lighthouse keeper takes him in, warms up and feeds him, tells him stories and then helps him get home.  He doesn't know why he survived but he's glad he did.

The overbearing fishing captain is after the big catch.  He wants to prove himself as the BEST.  When he captures a full grown octopus, he knows he'll garner that title.  He's pleased.

Little Walter isn't happy that the fisherman took his mother and he's determined to get her back.  He gets a pelican to help him.  And then he asks for Bobby's help.

There are a lot of adventures in this story and it's all good reading.  This story should go over well with boys and girls.  It would also be a good chapter book to read each night before bedtime.  You might want to start a little early though because the child might want to read the whole thing...

Fuzz McFlops by Eva Furnari, Alison Entrekin

Fuzz has one ear shorter than the other.  He just stays home and writes poetry and some children's books.  He doesn't want to go out in public.

Pushkin Children's Books and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be available October 13th.

When Fuzz gets a fancy letter with a bow on it, he decides to read it.  At first he's pleased, it appears to be a fan letter.  Then she has the gall to tell him she thinks it's depressing and here's how he should write it!  He's angry at the criticism.  But then he starts to think about what she said...

This is a cute tale about sharing some letters and a post card and her trying to get him to visit.  It's not until he thinks she's in danger that he gets brave enough to go.  And the only reason it sounded like that was because part of the print washed away.  But it does result in a visit and that visit turns into a very good thing.

Besides the story, this book has several new terms to learn.  Things like what a postcard or a telegram or a letter are.  Anything that might sound unusual to a first time reader.  I liked that touch.  This is not just a cute story; it's also a learning tool.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Searcher by Simon Toyne

He doesn't know who he is, why he's here and why he's running. He's barefoot, the road is hot from the sun, and when he looks back all he sees is a crashed plane burning.  How did he get here?

William Morrow and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 6th.

When the cops arrive they take him into custody.  They ask him if his name is Solomon Creed.  He can only tell them he might be; it sounds familiar.  It seems that name the book was in the book he was carrying.  All he knows is that he has to save a man in that town.  Unfortunately, they had his funeral that morning.

This is tale of greed and power.  There's a Mexican drug cartel involved, politicians, and killers of all kinds.  Solomon is trying to save the wife of the man that died.  He gets involved in a mix of fire, gunfire, double-crosses and triple-crosses and lots of death and dying.  He survives by using skills he didn't know he had.  

This is mix of mythology with present day drug dealers.  History from the past is catching up to the present day town occupants.  The only thing really left standing in town is the church.  And Solomon heads out, towards his next quest.  I can't imagine what he will do next.

Heirs and Assigns: A new British country house murder mystery series by Marjorie Eccles

Pen's 60th birthday is coming up but he has a family dinner ahead of that celebration so he can tell them he is planning to marry again.  Not everyone is surprised but the majority of them are.  And the majority that are thought they'd be inheriting from Pen.  When Pen is found dead in bed in the morning, everyone thinks it was his heart.  No, it was murder...

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

The police find that while it's a little town, gossip spreads fast.  The most viable suspects are those who are in the will.  That included almost everyone at the dinner.  Some are more desperate than others but were they willing to kill for the money?

If that wasn't enough to keep them busy, they suddenly have another death.  It's the bookseller in town.  He sold collectible books to Pen.  He also wasn't Pen's killer.  So why would someone kill him?

Power and money and land ownership created tensions and fights within the family units.  There are also personal problems.  Trying to sort all this out is slow going for the police.  It's not until there is one final death that they cotton to the cause of the trouble.

This was one that kept me in the dark as well as the police.  I wouldn't have guessed this ending.  I liked how Ms. Eccles tied up the pieces and even got two people who should be together finally there.  This was a satisfying read.

North Woods Girl by Aimee Bissonette, Claudia Mcgehee

Her grandmother was different.  She didn't bake cookies or cakes or wear white aprons.  She wore flannel shirts and jeans and walked in the woods...

The Minnesota Historical Society and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published.  It's a 32 page picture book.

The illustrations are strong, done in prime colors and show the North Woods and the animals within.  Grandmother is always happy to see her granddaughter.  When she stays, they go on walks in the woods.  She sees the ducks and some of the animals of the forest.  They sit on a log by the lake that Grandfather had cut and placed there as a resting spot.  

This story gives you a feeling of peace and comfort.  There's no cell phones around.  It's just two people communicating with nature and feeling content.  Camping does that for me.  Have you been to the woods lately?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Unforgiving: A Henry Christie thriller by Nick Oldham

What happened to the missing cop?  Where's the car?  That's the first mystery in this story but it's not the last...

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

The title says this book is a thriller and it is.  It's a constant adrenaline run reading this.  There is monster taking young women for his own needs.  There's a thief that's back in town for his next haul and will be escaping to his safe haven when he's done.  Henry and Jake have old enemies and new.

The characters in this story take a lot of punishment.  Henry gets hit with a crowbar.  Jake gets his jaw broken.  This all happens while they are pursuing active cases and is realistic enough.  It's just a bit rough to read.

The kidnapper/murderer is one of the local community.  The thief gets killed in a robbery but his brother is still alive.  There is nonstop action, lots of trauma, drama, and some relationship issues.  Henry is asked to retire early.  Jake has an affair and almost loses his family.  With danger all around, I wasn't sure who was going to survive.

My hero in this story is Emma.  She's 14 and she has her shit together.  She survives things that would put an adult person down and she doesn't stop until it's over.  I admire her character and her toughness.

And, as a final thought, I want Mr. Oldham to know if he lets that sniper kill Henry in the next book, I won't like him anymore. 

Death on Demand: A Shaw and Valentine police procedural by Jim Kelly

It's supposed to be her 100th birthday party, but the birthday girl has been strangled...

Severn House and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published November 1st, so you can grab a copy then.

When they begin investigating the old woman's death, they discover she's not the only one.  Several older people in the neighborhood have passed on.  One doctor seems to have signed off on those deaths.  Of course, by the time they discover that, they've also found that doctor dead.  Who is killing these old people before it's their time to go?

While they are investigating, Valentine is trying to determine what he's going to do for his health issue.  The doctor tells him he has lung cancer and doesn't have long to live.  He wants to start with surgery.  Valentine is wavering back and forth:  Surgery or not?  He says yes, he says no, he says he doesn't know.  It's hard to worry about himself when he has an active case.  However, the woman he is living with tells him if he opts out of surgery, she's going to have to leave.  She can't watch him die, her deceased husband was enough pain and suffering to watch.

Shaw is talking to a number of people and every little tidbit he gets suddenly starts to build a picture.  Even knowing why doesn't tell him who.  But he has his suspicions.

The story plods a bit.  It's not as exciting to follow people who urge people into the afterlife for their money as it is to catch a monster.  The greedy folks who are coveting the money are monsters, yes.  But seemingly tame monsters compared to a psychopath.

The author creates an interesting ending.  He tucks all the little strings back in their places and people will get on with their life.  But they won't forget what happened.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Blessed Are Those Who Mourn: A Gabriella Giovanni Mystery by Kristi Belcamino

Gabriella is back again and I've missed her.  She's a kick ass mean mamma that protects those she loves fiercely.  She's a journalist, her man is a cop.  And they have created the most wonderful child in the world named Gracie.  She's hoping all the bad is behind her but it never is...

Witness Impulse and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It's latest in this series and if you haven't had the chance to read the others, I'd suggest you read them first.  This whole series is good.  This book will be out September 29th.

Gabriella and Donovan are very much in love, but they both have work that takes them away from each other.  Gabriella is not interested in getting married.  She's spent most of her life being scared of the man who killed her baby sister.  She's still very sensitive to the potential danger her daughter might be in.  Everyone seems like they might be a predator.  But she keeps her daughter close and her mother babysits her in a locked and gated community with security.  Still she worries.  And she should.

When her mother takes Gracie to the beach and ends up with a head injury and Gracie is nowhere to be seen, Gabriella goes nuts.  She and Donovan even start sniping at each other.  There have been deaths on the beach earlier and there have been biblical quotes left with them.  Just like the guy who killed her sister left.  Is he the one who got Gracie?

This is very tense read with little or no clues to who snagged the kid or where he might be hiding.  Gabriella knows the past history, was following the current crimes as a journalist, and has friends who also know things.  The worst part is thinking about what he might do to her child and being afraid that it's taking too long to find her.

Overall, it's a very fast paced story that has the sound of truth.  I've enjoyed this whole series and this one is the best one yet.

Second Skin by Michael Wiley

Lillian Turner is fond of one of her female students.  The young woman understands the nuances of poetry.  She's an articulate intelligent woman.  When she doesn't show up for school, Lillian worries about her.  When she finds out she's missing, she asks her husband, Johnny to look for her.  After all, he's a private eye.

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

This story is set in Jacksonville, Florida.  It's a small town with a big family living in it.  The family has been there for generations.  They are both black and white.  They are also very used to getting their own way and treating anyone anyway they like.  When the death of the young woman touches this family, the investigating gets tough.  So do the threats Lillian and Johnny get. This family has more than one dirty deadly secret.

Between odd activities and strange relationships, it's hard to pick who might be the murderer.  No one is really innocent.  Eventually, through several stressful encounters, you get the details of what happened long ago and how the two families are related.  A lot of the relationship is sorrow.

How do you stop a big powerful family that has money and politics on their side?  And what do you do when your brother (your big cop brother) works for them on the side?  The ending is very dramatic.  You aren't sure who is going shot whom.  Not all of them will be standing when it's over.  I'm not sure they'll be able to put all the pieces back together again...

Sunday, September 20, 2015

A Pattern of Lies: A Bess Crawford Mystery by Charles Todd

Bess was happy to run into one of her patients from the past.  He was doing well, had a smile for her, and invited her to come and see his mother again.  On the way there, the car gets egged and Bess realizes that life is not easy for him or his family.  When he explains why, it makes her wonder if she should have come...

William Morrow and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published so you can grab a copy now.  If you haven't had the opportunity to read anything by this team, you need to look up their other books, too.  This is a mother/son team and they write excellent mysteries set in the UK for the most part.  I've thoroughly enjoyed every one I've read.

It seems the powder plant blew up.  Producing gun powder during a war means a lot of pressure to do it faster and produce more of it.  The soldier's father refused to make it unsafe for the workers.  But he was close to the plant when it blew and now he's being accused of setting the fire that finished the job.  He's not guilty but the townfolk are eager to blame someone for their losses.

There was one potential witness, so Bess goes back work and asks friends to see if they can find him.  They do; he refuses to testify.  He doesn't discuss what he did or didn't see; he won't talk at all.  Then shortly thereafter he gets killed.  When the fellows in the tank say it wasn't enemy fire that took him out, it makes it look like someone really didn't want him to talk.  

As Bess keeps investigating it gets more and more dangerous for her.  The father goes to jail because of a false witness against him.  Someone tries to kill Bess.  The locals try to burn down the father's house.  This is very busy story with someone buzzing around like a fly spreading gossip and innuendo about the family and their involvement in the fire of the powder plant.

I enjoy Bess' father and her other military friends.  Those contacts are part of what keeps her alive.  Her own skills help, too.  

This team writes books I love to read.  There is historical detail, you get glimpses of what life was like during war times, and you learn a bit about the countries the characters are in.  It's all interwoven with a good mystery.  I'll be reading more of their work.

Rules for Stealing Stars by Corey Ann Haydu

Remember the Grimm fairytale about the Twelve Dancing Princesses?  This story is lightly based on that tale with a touch of Narnia, too.  It's all pure fantasy.

Katherine Tegen Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 29th, so you don't have long to wait to grab a copy.

This story, in a way, is a new fairy tale.  It's the story of a man and woman and their four children.  Dad teaches in the local college about fairy tales.  Mom seems to be going mad and drinks a bit too much wine.  The twins are the oldest and do everything together.  Marla is the middle girl and Mom doesn't seem to like her much.  Priscilla (Silly) is the youngest and they are all to take care of her.

When they move into the old family home, their mother suddenly blocks them from her sewing room.  Even more strangely, she keeps sitting in closets.  The girls spend their time trying to stay out of her way and being very careful what they say.  Dad lives in his own little world.

Then they discover the wonder of the closets in that house.  They're magical.  You can go to other worlds, see answers to your questions or just enjoy the safety of the night sky and the stars.  There's also one that is bad.  It takes from you instead of giving.

The girls use the closets as an escape pod from their mother's moods and angry words.  They learn why she is the way she is.  They learn, by accident, just what might help.  They also learn to draw together and be a family, not just pieces of a family.  It's not a happy ever after ending but there's potential for one.  And that's what really matters.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Cinder Spires: the Aeronaut's Windlass by Jim Butcher

How do you fight an unknown enemy who can use others to come after you?  All you can do is try to survive!

Penguin Group allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be September 29th, so you can grab a copy then.

I have never read anything by Mr. Butcher before.  You may be assured I will now.  I intend to look for his previous books and fill in some gaps in my education of great sci fi authors.

Grimm is the captain of the Predator.  He's proud of his ship and what she can do.  He's more of a pirate than anything.  But when his ship gets battered, he has to go to port and work on getting her back in the air.  While he's there, he gets dragged into another adventure...

Two young women are there training to be guards.  When trouble comes to town, they end up in the middle of it.  Their facility is being penetrated by opposing forces.  They have to fight even when they really don't know how yet.  Good thing Benedict is there, too.  He's been there longer and is a warrior class.  Even better is Rowl; a cat guarding his person.

You have magic, extreme danger, silkweavers, mad people who see visions, and more in this story.  It's all action, very busy and keeps you glued to the pages.  Mr. Butcher knows how to write a tale and he keeps the odds going back and forth between the two forces fighting for power.  He even adds in Grimm's ex-wife.  There's trauma, tension, war and love, and a cat force to help things along.  Trust me, it's not boring.

A Shot in the Bark: A Dog Park Mystery by C.A. Newsome

Lia is an artist.  She takes her two dogs for a walk in the park everyday.  She has an on-again off-again boyfriend and she's decided that he's permanently off-again.  She sure never expected to find him parked near the park and dead.  He was a scumball, but who would have killed him?

Two Pup Press 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.

People in the dog park are not what they seem.  Some are annoying, some offer advice not wanted, some are a bit solitary but someone has to be more than that.  It almost had to be someone in her circle of friends who has killed her old boyfriend.  But who?  Maybe the other lady who was sleeping with him?

This little clique of friends is an eclectic mix.  Rich or poor, extrovert or introvert, the thing they have in common are their dogs.  It's too bad the humans aren't as well mannered as the dogs.

While the author weaves you through the cobweb of truth and lies, the killer is manipulating the circumstances.  Lia is also falling love with the detective working the case.  The story has an ironic ending which I think will lead to future books.  I just hope my favorite characters stay alive!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Devoted in Death (In Death #41) by J.D. Robb

There are wicked people in the world.  This is the story of two young sadistic killers that get into a sexual frenzy from the torturing and death of their victims...

G. P. Putnam's Sons sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It was published September 15th, so you can grab a copy now.

Trying to find the unseen and unknown who grab random people as their victims is a very difficult job.  But Eve Dallas is very good investigator and she works on getting into their minds so she can anticipate their movements.

I've read a few stories here and there by Ms. Robb but didn't remember that they were set in the future.  In this book, she's happily married and has a huge home (courtesy of her husband) that has all the comforts of a fancy hotel and every electronic gizmo you could hope to own.  There's even a butler.  Sounds like a sweet deal to me!

The path to this couple is thin.  They're unknown for the most part, had no history of killing until it got set off as they were leaving town.  The cops begin looking for similar crimes and are surprised by the number that show up.  Following the trail of a killer is never fun, but following one that keeps escalating the number of victims is worse.  Eve's team is dedicated and tough and they keep digging.  It helps that she has Roarke as her husband and back up.  Some of things she can't access, he can.

This is a fearful tale of two kids from hell who feel no remorse or guilt over their victims.  They think they are soulmates and this way is the way you get to heaven.  That's not where they are going, though.

There's enough suspense and drama in the story to keep you turning pages and wishing it was over while at the same time you're wishing the story wouldn't end...

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Mapmaker's Children by Sarah McCoy

Sarah is from the past, during the days of the Underground Railroad.  Eden is from the present and is suffering from the knowledge she may never have her own children.  Yet, they both have things in common.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review (thank you).  It has been published so you can grab a copy now.

This book is written with two main characters, one from the past and one from the present.  That's part of what makes the tale interesting and really holds your attention.  Neither woman can bear a child.  How that affects their life is part of their story.

Sarah is determined to help the Underground Railroad.  She was in the beginning and this desire strengthened when they hung her father for his role in defending the Negroes.  Freddy is involved in the same endeavor and they fall in love with each other.  But she won't marry him because she can't give him a family.  He would have married her anyway, but you didn't talk about things like that in those days.  Sometimes it's hard to talk them now.

Eden is terribly disappointed that she has lost all the children she carried.  She wanted a family so badly.  She treats her husband badly and can't even see it.  It's a good thing he loves her because the ill feelings between them could have ended the marriage.  While Eden thinks about leaving and going back to work at the PR agency, her husband is waiting for her to finish grieving.  She gets angry when he brings a puppy home for her.  She doesn't want a dog; she wants her own child!

Sarah's story is not easy.  She loses friends, family and a chance at love to do what she can as a mapmaker for the safe routes for the railroad.

Eden's story is a tale of self-discovery.  With a little girl next door, an older lady at the antique shop, a porcelain doll's head and a dog, her life begins to change.

Both these women find their places in life even if they weren't what they wanted or expected.  I think life is like that for most people.  You can make plans for your life, but life is what happens.

Pills and Starships by Lydia Millet

Global warming is proven true in this story.  This family lives in an apartment and eats fake food and takes pills and pretends they are happy.  The adults remember the world before; they aren't really happy even if they are taking their pills.  So they sign a contract.  A contract to die...

Black Sheep Press (Akashic Books) sent me an ARC of this book to review (thank you).  It has been published, so you can grab a copy now.

This is a journal that was provided to the family members to document the last week of their parents lives.  Nat (short for Natalie) and Sam are not pleased their parents are giving up but they try to understand.  The only problem is that their final resort vacation/death location is Hawaii.  And things are not how they should be there.  They don't have to fear what falls from the sky like they did at home.  There are no birds left to fly over.  There are also areas that have not been reclaimed.  What those areas hold will make or break these young ones.

This is a traumatic tale with lots to fear, lots of hidden things to learn and facts you don't want to know.  In this story, the 1% at the top are killing the people at the bottom of the triangle.  How far is that from them being the only rich ones in the world to finding them saying, "Oh, let them die."  With no food and no water, you die if no one rescues you.  Why rescue those you don't need?

This could be a possible future for us, but I hope not.  Despite all the bad things happening, there's still hope for a future.  No matter where you live and what life you lead, it's almost always best to take it one day at a time.  Do the best you can and see what tomorrow brings.  It's demonstrated very well in this story of humans and nature violence against man.  This book will make you think.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Death by Romance by Anne Kennison

He's selling his business through an IPO, has a special present for his wife, and he's looking forward to more time with her.  It's not to be.  As he warms up his car to go home someone walks up, calls his name, and shoots him dead in the car...

Goddess Fish Blog Tours provided me with a copy of this book for review (thank you). It has been published, so you find a copy now.

Jessica was looking for a better life after the bank passed her by on a job promotion.  It should have been hers but a male got the position.  When one of her customers suggests another way to make money, she's willing to gamble.  Her only problem was that she fell into love with the man she thought she was tricking.  She had to stay married to him for seven years, then the pre-nup ended.  But she didn't want to get divorced; she loved him and he loved her.  Her world falls apart when he's murdered.  Who did it?

This is a complex tale of a plot that leads you in a million different directions, none of them the right way.  The detective is facing retirement and is glad to have found another case to carry him through.  He's not so fond of the people he has to question.  It turns out there was a partnership established that found good looking people and helped them become their best.  Then they matched the man or woman with someone who had a lot of money.  The first one was a success; the next two weren't.  Jessica is number four and they've been waiting for seven years.  The problem is that if one of them were the killer, no one would get their money.

You have the Mob, lawyers, restaurant owners, teachers, salon owners and more involved in this plot.  How do you pick someone out?  The detective is determined to get the right person but it's hard to decide who is right when everyone is lying and someone else commits suicide.  I never guessed who it was and the ending is dramatic.  This was a very good read.

Ms. Kennison has a good writing style and draws you in quickly.  As quirky as the characters are, she made me feel bad for her main character.  She got my attention and kept it.

Anne will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.  Enter HERE.

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

Good luck and happy reading! 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Imelda & the Goblin King by Briony May Smith

What do you do when you have a bully that won't share?  Imelda has an idea...

Flying Eye Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 20th.

I've enjoyed all the picture books I get from this publisher.  This one was no disappointment.  

Imelda plays with the fairies in the woods.  She's learning their secrets and they have a great time together.  Then Mr. Stomp, Stomp, Stomp shows up and announces he's the Goblin King and they can't play there anymore.  He's the King now and he doesn't like the noise.

To ease the problem, the fairy queen invites him to their next feast.  He comes.  And he eats it ALL!  To make matters worse, he kidnaps the queen.  There's only room for one leader in the forest according to him.

Imelda finds a way to use his greed against him.  It's a wonderful ending to this modern fairy tale.  As you can tell by the cover, there's lots of activity in the illustrations.  Your child could spend as much time checking out the fairies and the goblins as they will reading the story.  Why not share this cute tale with them?

Trail of the Dead (Killer of Enemies #2) by Joseph Bruchac

She's on the run, just like her ancestor of many years before that she's named for.  She has a handful of people with her but they seem to think she knows what to do.  Lozen is as lost as they are but she's willing to lead them to a place she thinks she is safe where they can recuperate and rest as long as they need to.  At least, they will if they live long enough to get there...

Lee & Low Books sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It will be published this month.  If you haven't had the chance to read the first in this series, you should.  It was very good and sets the scene for what is going on in Book 2.

This is an apocalyptic world where mad scientists made monsters created monsters, the rich and immortal killed the poor, and it's hard to survive outside cities.  Lozen remembers the tales her father and uncle used to share around the campfires at night.  She feels a lot like those first ancestors visiting new places and trying to find a place they could live in peace.  As was then, it's not easy to do when you have enemies.

Mr. Buchac works Indian history and myth into his stories as well with fantastic monsters and a human killer who is also a monster.  Staying alive is hard.  Living with what you have to do to stay alive is even worse.

I live in the area where Geronimo roamed.  As the author described certain roads and trails, I recognized them.  It made the story even more real to me.  This is a cross between a history lesson and a tale of woe with a hopeful ending.  I enjoyed the read and would read more by this author.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Lottie & The Temple Cat Quahr by J.A. Pak

Lottie is on a work farm.  Her mother died and her father couldn't keep her.  She works for her room and board.  When she's walking back from the field she sees two cats waiting for her.  Cats are only allowed on the farm if they hunt mice and these aren't from that batch.  Why would they be waiting for her?

I've read several of Ms. Pak's writings and they are always interesting and unusual.  Her mind wanders down little hallways many people would never see.  That's what makes her books unique and keeps your attention when you read.  I had to read this one because it involved cats and I love them.

Lottie finds herself taken into another world.  They take her to a temple and call her a Godling.  She's not the only girl who was brought there.  She's just one of the last.  There are eighty-eight "Godlings".  They are taught to dance and become one with the earth and sky.  The Goddess must maintain balance.

Quahr is Lottie's temple cat.  She's supposed to protect her and get her to class on time.  She is willing to answer questions, so Lottie has the advantage of learning how things work at the temple and why.  Lottie has more questions, though, and that gets her in trouble.

Ms. Pak's words always flow well and are a treat to read.  This story really didn't have much of a beginning and while this story ends, the overall story is not done.  Lottie will meet Quahr again.  So there will be another novella to read.  I bet if you read this one, you'll want to read the next one, too!

Life in New York: How I Learned to Love Squeegee Men, Token Suckers, Trash Twisters, and Subway Sharks by Laura Pedersen

Have you been to New York?  Do you live there?  Just how well do you know its history, customs, habits and inhabitants?  If you read this book, you'll learn more...

Wiley Saichek, a Marketing and Publicity Consultant, sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so you can grab a copy now.

This author has written columns for the New York Times and that's reflected in her writing of this book.  She writes graceful sentences with humor interspersed here and there.  She tells of her personal past, the history of the city, and how much things have changed.  She talks about riding the subway instead of the bus and why.  She talks about the people (New York is real mixing bowl of nationalities).  My favorite part is when she talks about the food.  You can eat food from any ethnic group in the world in the big city.

She also talks about how expensive it is to own an apartment there.  I have a friend that lives there and every time company comes, they stay with her.  They can't afford to pay for a room much less buy a place to live!

Ms. Pedersen has lived in New York for a long time.  You can feel her love for the city by the tales she tells.  This is a very entertaining read for anyone who has an interest in New York or other big city life.  It's a far different world there than anywhere I've lived.  I think the big city would drive me crazy.  Those who live there get nervous when they see the fields and mountains around me.  It takes all kinds to make the world work.  Ms. Pedersen is doing quite well in New York and shares her memories with you.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse by Joseph Marshall III

Jimmy McClean is having a bullying problem at school.  He's mostly Indian but he has white skin, blue eyes,and light brown hair.  Neither the whites or the Indians like him.  He just wants to be left alone.  His grandfather notices he's not himself and gets the story out of him.  Then he tells him he'll take him on a summer trip and they'll talk about Crazy Horse, another Indian with lighter skin and hair...

Amulet Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It will be published November 10th.

This is an excellent way to learn history.  It would also be a good guide to a road trip for you.  Jimmy's grandfather takes him to various historical sites and talks about how old Crazy Horse was then, the things he learned from fighting the soldiers, his loves, and his sacrifices.  Crazy Horse was a smart man.  He fought for a long time but he could see the end coming.

Mr. Marshall gives you the tale of a present day Indian with Grandpa stories about Crazy Horse in between.  You read those stories and they don't sound like history even if they are.  It's a very nice presentation and I learned some things even though I've read quite a bit about Crazy Horse already.  There's a glossary at the back of terms that might unfamiliar.

Here's a great learning tool that doesn't look or sound like one!  Maybe you'd like to follow Crazy Horse's footsteps, too.

Epitaph to "Nickel Eck" by Eric Yates

These stories are from the memories of a child in Europe during WWII.  The subtitle is:  Childhood Mischief in Wartime Birmingham.  I'm afraid much of the mischief he got into isn't that much different from the trouble my cousins got me in...

Lutena Yates, his wife, sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It is available both as an ebook and print, I read the print.

I found myself living in a simpler time with basic needs at the forefront.  Things were rationed, things were bartered and you did without what you didn't have.  This is the story of Eric and his brother John.  John was the oldest and got all the bright ideas.  When they didn't work out, he blamed it on Eric.  Unless Eric got to talk first and blamed it on John.  Most of these pranks weren't dangerous as such, but often innocent acts can cause accidents.

Their Dad was a bit mean and their mother worked, too.  They got sent away to stay with folks who were not in the war zone.  The two of them were hard to handle and got moved from home to home to home.  Most folks tried to have patience with them, but they were too inquisitive and full of energy to behave well for long.

They tried alcohol, set off homemade bombs, let all the water out of a lock, and even teased the drunks on the way home by dropping pennies on a brick and making them think they'd dropped their change.

As I was reading along, I remembered my cousins and I playing war; my cousins shaking the log so I fell off in the shallow creek; and, my cousins removing the hay at the bottom when I jumped off the stacked hay.  You put bored kids together and things happen.  That happens everywhere, even in Birmingham.

The stories in this book are true and it's a nice look back at past.  Mr. Yates was a good looking man and did some theater work later.  He survived.  And I did, too.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Dead...If Only by Heather Haven

Lee and Gurn are off on vacation and she really needs one.  She's been busy with the family business and some down time and Gurn are all she needs to relax.  She's not sure about this mud bath thing, though.  Somehow it just doesn't seem clean.  Then her phone starts to ring.  What now?

The author graciously shared a copy of this book with me for review (thank you).  It has been published, so you can purchase a copy now.

This was my first read about the Alvarez family and it was very enjoyable.  Big families who care for each other are special and that's what this family has.  When her brother calls in a panic because his pregnant wife is in the hospital and they are talking about charging her with murder, Lee's vacation is over.  She and Gurn race back.  When her brother tells her his wife said she saw a dead man on the streets in New Orleans, she knew she had to find him.  He had beat up Vicki's sister so bad she's in a nursing home.  They thought he blew his boat up at sea and died then but no...

Gurn has to call in old markers to find out where the dead man has been and where he is now.  Lee finds that out faster than he does.  Knowing the Feds don't care about the bad guy's past means the family has to handle it themselves.  Handle it, they do.

There's lots of action, interesting characters, and an entertaining family in the story.  You have two cats, a lady who sells voodoo supplies and you find out the bad guy is even worse than first thought.  I'm real glad that justice is finally served.

Ms. Haven pulls no punches and writes a gritty mystery as well as has a good love story going on.  I enjoyed this read.  Why not try it and see what you think?  If you like to read a series in order, grab the whole pile and settle down for a read.

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...