Monday, February 29, 2016

Just Like Me by Nancy Cavanaugh

She doesn't want to go to camp.  She wants to stay home and work on arts and crafts with her girlfriend.  Just because she isn't sure of her heritage doesn't mean she wants to spend time with the two other Chinese girls she knows.  They were all adopted by Americans and she's happy to be American.

Sourcebooks Jabberwocky and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 1st.

When she gets to camp it doesn't get better.  They have a bully in their cabin, along with two other girls they don't know.  No one is behaving well.  They lose points for bad behavior and even have to do the dishes for the camp.  They get so carried away playing with the water while washing that they find themselves getting even more punishment.  Camp is not fun.

Soon, though, they settle down and get into the rhythm of a team.  They begin to win competitions and it looks like they may win the grand prize.  They don't, but they win something even greater.  They begin to talk to each other about their feelings, their insecurities and why they act the way they do.  Communication can help a lot of problems and you never need to feel you're alone in how you feel.  Everyone has concerns.  It's how you deal with them that counts.

There's enough silliness to make you laugh as well as a serious side to this story.  It's about growing up and dealing with life.  You don't have to be Chinese to be different.  Middle graders should enjoy this tale about going to the camp from your nightmares...

Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Skeleton Garden: A Potting Shed Mystery by Marty Wingate

When Pru and her brother and nephew begin digging up a portion of the garden, they find a body.  She doesn't have to go looking for trouble; it finds her...

Alibi and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 15th.

Pru is married to a cop (they're still in the honeymoon stage) so she knows what to do.  The body has no identification, just a ring on a bony finger.  Who he is remains a mystery.  Then there's another death...

All this ties back to the end of WWI.  There's a German plane under the body.  Pru and her husband begin investigating.  I enjoyed the addition of a young nephew.  He's a hacker as well as a wonder with the web.  He proves useful in the story.

This is a good story that is well written but I had a feeling who the killer was.  It's more fun to be surprised but the ending is still surprising.  There was more drama than I would have imagined and it made it more exciting and interesting.

I like this couple and their relationships with friends and relatives.  Pru and her brother fight a bit.  So does Christopher and his sister.  Nobody gets along all the time so it makes it more of a realistic read.  I'm already looking forward to reading her next adventure.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Sabotage: A Reece Culver Thriller - Book 2 by Bryan Koepke

Reece Culver is back and his life isn't any calmer in this book.  He and his friend Haisley are going to Scotland to go fishing.  It's time for some R &R and they both love to fish.  What they didn't expect was to witness a car going over the embankment into the water.  Reece tries to help the driver but the vehicle sinks too quickly and the water is too deep.  When he gets back up on the road, he hears another driver tear out of there from above.  It seems the driver who went to the watery grave was shot...

The author sent me a copy of his book to read for review (thank you).  You can buy a copy now on Amazon in either print or ebook form.

Reece is tough.  He needs to be since he's pitting himself against an assassin this time.  When they follow the journalist's trail, they find he was going to visit a local couple.  Reece wants to find out what story he was following.  What he finds out is that the couple is divorcing and it's a mess.  However, the wife is very attractive and catches Reece's eye.  He should know better.

There's sabotage, espionage, and a conspiracy all rolled up in one nasty plot here.  This company is full of men of great power and ambition and they have one among them who is a bit crazy, too.  His plan will change the world and not for good.  Of course, it would be good for him because he'll have all the diamonds he hoarded and they won't lose their value.

Reece finds himself falling in love with Marie.  He's not getting much fishing in.  And the pace just keeps picking up faster and faster.  There are so many lying it's hard to pick out the truth.  This thriller will keep you sitting your chair reading when you should be doing something else.

I wonder if Reece will still have Marie around in the next book?

Friday, February 26, 2016

Clawback: An Ali Reynolds Novel by J.A. Jance

Ali and B. are back again and still sticking their noses in trouble.  This time they have to prove that Ali's father is not a murderer...

Touchstone and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 8th.

I always enjoy reading about Ali and her husband's snooping business.  The wonders of technology and hackers abound in their stories and they make the most of what's available to them.  Sometimes they find things that aren't really available but they'll use those, too.

Ali and B. are busy trying to save Bob, who would never kill anyone.  While they are working on that, they also working on who did kill the investment manager and his wife.  Since Bob and his wife lost $1.2 million, they had plenty of motive.  But where did the money go?  And can they get it back?

They know the owner of the company stole it.  What they don't know is that there is a killer working in the same company that kills with no guilt.  As they follow the trail of money and check out the owner and his personal assistant, they find more than they are looking for and the path they are following gets dangerous.

I thought sure the killer was going to get away.  I'm happy to say that those who broke the law will be paying for their crime.  And I'm going to be reading the next book in this series.  The characters are now like old friends and I enjoy a visit every now and again.  If you haven't read this series, it's good.  Ms. Jance keeps you on your toes.  If you're a nail biter, this series will do that to you. 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Amani is leaving.  She's not sure how she's going to get out of Dustwalk but she's not going to marry her uncle.  She'd rather die than sleep with him.  That makes attending a gun competition in an old barn a no brainer.  If she wins, she'll have more money than she's ever seen.  If she loses, she'll just have to run without money.  After all, dressing as a boy is no real disguise.  But the event doesn't turn out either way she planned...

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

This is a book filled with monsters, war, and magic.  Djinni haven't been around for a while but there are still children from human/djinni relationships.  Most all of them are subject to death if they are caught.

The only skill Amani has is her gunhand.  She's a very good shot and uses that to keep the monsters at bay. She meets a stranger at the gun competition.  She splits from him but then he sneaks in where she's working to hide from the soldiers that just arrived in town.  She lies for him to keep him safe.  And when she's suddenly looking like she might end up dead right there in Dustwalk, he shows up to whisk her out of there.  That's fine but she's not ready to join him as a partner, so she doctors her drink and steals the sandhorse.

The story continues with lots of action, more arguments between Amani and Jin, and several daredevil experiments.  With lots of family members (legitimate or not) to expand the characters, unusual powers, a bit of romance, and lots of intrigue this was a very good read.  I highly recommend this one.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Staircase to the Moon by Elizabeth Haran

Emily has grown up with her father and her brothers.  Her mother died long ago and she works in her father's tailor shop.  She works hard and is not allowed to date.  The one boy she kissed at church got beat up by her brothers.  She can't even go shopping by herself.  Then they introduce to a man who reminds her of a puffer fish and tell her he's got money and is a tailor himself and will be a good addition to the family.  They expect her to marry him!

Bastei Entertainment and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published February 26th.

The first date she goes on with this old man, he reaches down and grabs her thigh while they are eating dinner at a show.  She dumps her soup in his lap and goes home.  She has an opportunity to be a seamstress a good distance away from the men in her life.  She decides to accept the job and leaves early the next morning.  She has no idea what she's getting into but she decides it has to be better than her circumstances at home.

The story is set in Australia and covers several years.  There are both humorous and sad parts to the story.  This is an excellent read and kept me glued to the book from beginning to end.

Emily hates the Chinaman that is on board the boat she's traveling on to her destination.  He's rude and unpleasant and didn't even say thank you when she saved his life.  So she's frustrated to find he's going to the same station she is.  He's going to be the cook and she's going to be the seamstress.  He won't let her put her luggage on the wagon and sits up by the Aborigine taking them home and tells her to go away.  Emily is not going to put up with another man telling her what to do and pulls one of his boxes off the wagon.  He throws her luggage in the water trough and she hits and kicks him in the shins.  Good thing the blacksmith intervened.  He loaned them a donkey and made Mr. Li sit in the wagon bed.  This was not a very good start to a relationship...

Emily isn't sure what love is but before the end of the story, she finds out.  She also sees what war does to men that serve in it.  The best part is that she develops a family relationship with those she was working for.

You learn about the outback, get some chuckles on the way because of Mr. Li and watch Emily fall in love.  I highly recommend this read.

The Duke's Accidental Wife: Dukes of War #7 by Erica Ridley

This series is a fun read.  It's romantic but not filled with sex.  And Ms. Ridley's characters always start at cross angles and no desire to get married.  Ha!

The author invited me to read this Net Galley copy for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can pick up a copy now.

The Duke is very formal, proper, and he works hard at the Parliament as well as at home.  He has no intention to get married unless he can find a woman he loves.  He makes that difficult because he doesn't date and hates being around people.  The only reason he went to the event that Katherine is hosting is because his sister practically blackmailed him into it.

Katherine thinks he's good looking but cold.  When he snubs her at her own event, she goes after him.  Nobody gets away with that with her.  She finds him hiding in her storeroom, trying to get away from the crowd.  Through a series of mishaps, she finds herself in his arms and then they get caught!  It's not what it looks like, but honor is honor and they must marry.  Neither one wants to marry and they are opposites in so many ways.  How could this work out?

I found the story amusing and sweet.  She's afraid to have a baby so, married or not, she's not sleeping with him.  He decides to give her some time.  They talk about annulling the marriage but it doesn't take long for them to decide that's not what they want to do.

Through miscommunication and good intentions there are a few angry moments but once they calm down and pay attention to what's going on around them, they discover they might not be so very different after all.

I love happy ever afters and I really enjoyed this read.  Give it a try.  This whole series has been great!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Lucky by Chris Hill

Lucky isn't being very lucky at the moment.  He was carried away from home by a bird and fell into another breed of squirrel's territory.  They took him in but he's not as big as they are, has funny ears and is another color.  He's a runt to them.  But the lady who took him in loves him.  Now they want him to go through school to become part of the patrol.  He's not well-matched at this life but he does have some skills he will share with his friends.  If only he doesn't fail...

The Chicken House and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be out today.

I like Lucky.  He's a determined squirrel who is loyal to his friends.  He's willing to risk his life to save another's life.  He's also willing to make friends with anyone, including dogs!

The dogs are one of my favorites in this tale.  There's a fox involved, too.  When the squirrels from another part of the park come to forcefully take over the area where Lucky now lives, they help Lucky and his group.  

There are politics, power plays, greed and more in this story.  Lucky has a hard time staying alive, but he manages to.  And one of friends he's made is a very important part of this story, too.

This is well told tale with some squirrel facts and friendships and love intertwined.  Do you want to go hang out in the trees with Lucky?  I wouldn't recommend jumping from branch to branch like he does.

Bonita Faye by Margaret Moseley

Bonita was young.  She didn't know what she wanted or how to get it.  Then she met Billy Roy and she had a new goal.  She'd be his girl and make him a nice home.  Of course, Billy Roy had his own ideas.  When he suddenly decides that she should sleep with the monied folks he takes on fishing tours, she loses her patience with him.  And Billy Roy loses his life...

Brash Books allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It is being published today, so you can get a copy now.

This story reminded me a bit of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg.  It has the same sort of cadence and story telling.  Bonita Faye had few friends but she had a dream.  She wanted to go to Paris.  When Billy Roy gets killed, she gets his insurance money and off she goes.

When she arrives, she finds that Paris is as wonderful as she thought but it's not easy to tour it.  If you don't speak French, you're limited.  Bonita makes new friends, learns what it's like to be part of family, and falls in love with a Frenchman.  The only problem is that she has a love in America, too.  She's going to have to make a decision before she goes home.

A lot happens in Bonita's life.  Most of it is good, but murder seems to follow her.  She goes home and marries her state trooper.  They help raise the neighbors kids and foster a few boys themselves.  This is the tale of a southern woman who did what she needed to do to survive.  I liked the book and I especially liked the ending.  Bonita is still traveling and going after what she wants.  That's a good thing.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Gone Again: A Jack Swyteck Novel by James Grippando

Sashi got out of her mother's car and walked the rest of the way to school.  Her mother never saw her again.  It's almost time for the man accused of her murder to die.  She tells Jack that her daughter is still alive because she calls her on her birthday.  She also asks Jack to take the case.  He's not doing that type of work anymore but he finds himself taking it on...

Harper and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 1st.

Nobody in this family is telling the whole truth.  Some are outright lying.  Jack is limited by what may discussed in the case.  He has to find a reason for a stay of execution.  He has some reasons but they seem to get shot down by the Judge.  He's fighting a losing battle and he knows something is not right but he's not sure exactly what.

This is a sad story about an adoption that did not work out well.  The older sister of the boy they wanted had been scarred more than they were told.  It affects their marriage, their own children, and causes big problems.

The more Jack finds out, the worse it gets.  He's still not sure if Sashi is alive or not.  As he keeps investigating and answering questions, he finds the ugly truth.  His pregnant wife, an FBI agent, helps by talking to the boy who tells her what he saw.

I found this to be a very gripping tale.  It shows how one person's actions can affect all those around them.  This was a tough case for Jack.  Even solving the mystery doesn't make him feel any better.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Linda, As in the Linda Murder: A Backstrom Novel by Leif GW Persson, Neil Smith (Translated by)

This story begins with a young woman police cadet's murder.  Someone has raped her, cut her, and strangled her.  It appears to have been consensual at first and then morphed into rougher treatment and murder.  She has no boyfriend.  She went home alone.  Who is the murderer?

Vintage Crime/Black Lizard and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published February 23rd.

Mr. Persson's story almost is overwhelmed by the police involved.  This is more the tale of how this police department works than a murder mystery.  Backstrom is is a good example of what not to do as a cop.  He drinks anytime he can, eats too much, naps here and there and offers input that may or may not be useful.  He's also fond of his own sexiness even though most woman don't think that much of him.

What amusing about Backstrom is that he sets his police force to doing the grunt work, compliments them when they come up with a good idea (and then steals it) and he makes judgements about their own sexuality as he observes them.  He misjudges a reporter and comes on to her naked and can't understand why she runs out of the room.  He gets all his personal laundry done at the hotel.  Yet, somehow he manages to get out of trouble and back to work.  There is a new boss, so I'm not sure how long his grace period is going to last.  If he continues on in such a wayward manner, I think he's going to lose his job.  However, the case was solved so, for now, he's in favor with a few caveats. 

I would have preferred a more condensed version of this mystery.  There are a lot of words and some aren't necessary.  I also didn't need to know about everyone's sex life.  But somehow it all fits together and makes the story flow.  I'm glad I don't have to work for Backstrom...

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Girl in the Tower by Lisa Schroeder, Nicoletta Ceccoli (Illustrated by)

Her mother and father are minstrels that travel from town to town, make their music, get some donations to live on and see the world.  When it's time for the child to be born, they ask for help at the castle they are entertaining.  The mother is in labor, so they take her in.  But they don't give her back...

Henry Holt and Co. and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 29th.

Violet has lived in the tower room with her mother since her birth.  She's not unhappy because she's never known any better.  They get food and drink.  The servants sneak in some extra food and drawing paper and even books sometimes.  Violet's greatest joy is to play in her secret garden.  She's not supposed to be out of the tower but the garden is hidden and she should be safe.  

The Queen is a wicked witch.  She wants to be beautiful and that takes a hair from a beautiful child and a hummingbird feather to conjure the spell.  She decides Violet will do for the hair and, since Violet and the hummingbirds are friends, she's going to get her to teach her how to befriend them.  Then she'll have her feather...

The Queen casts spells on everyone, including Violet's father.  When the Queen finds Violet in the secret garden, she takes possession of her and leaves her mother in the tower.  It looks bad all around but this is really a sweet fairy tale that isn't too dark or wicked.  Everything gets resolved for the good by the end of the story.

If I were a hummingbird, I wouldn't like the Queen either.

Friday, February 19, 2016

The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle by Janet Fox

It's war time and the children are sent to an academy that is in Scotland, on the coast.  It should be safe there.  It's not...

Viking Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 15th.

This book was much darker than I expected.  I was anticipating ghosts, mysteries, and odd passages.  I got all that plus black magic.  The author grabs you and runs down the hallway through shadows and dark magic.  There's a taste of steampunk as well as horror in this story.

The students are warned at the train depot not to go to the castle, but they were sent by their parents and they do what they were told.  What they find is a strange lady that owns the castle and some odd teachers.  None of the staff is very friendly.  They are told to stay on their own floor of the castle and not wander.  Kat and her brother and sister meet the other students and find out that they get locked in their rooms at night.  It's odd.

It starts getting even weirder when the students begin to vanish.  Kat doesn't believe in magic but she's going to have to if she wants to save her family and friends.  Lady Eleanor is no lady and she has bad habits.

The story is very suspenseful.  The plot is horrifying and you're not sure who is going to win until the very end.  This one sent a chill down my spine.

Ex-Isle (Ex-Heroes #5) by Peter Clines

The world as we know it is over.  A virus has turned those that get it into the walking dead has devastated the land.  Now anyone who isn't infected stays in "safe" areas where they have guards to protect them.  They haven't given up but they are very cautious.  Now another group has been found on an island.  Are they uninfected?  Are they friendly?

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review (thank you).  It has been published and is available now.

This is the first book in this series that I've read and it's very intense.  Having a bunch of Zombies trying to eat you does put you on edge.  I've always avoided books with that sort of character in it but this one sounded intriguing.  It was.

You have a few rag tag heroes still left in the world.  One is almost all flame, one can fly and is very strong and impervious to bullets, one wears a skeleton of metal that is a weapon in its own right, and another has the name of Stealth.  They are holding their group of people safe and they save all they can.  They're willing to bring those off the island to their asylum of protection if they wish to come.  They didn't expect to find a monster in the midst of them.

There's a lot of action, a certain amount of fear, and plenty of odd characters that populate the book.  It's a fast reading tale that I had to take a break from here and there.  I wanted to know what happened, but doing something else here and there broke the tension.

I'm still not fond of zombies but the characters in this story came life for me and I cared about them.  They have a hard battle here but they make it.  That's way it should go in life.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Stranger King by Nadia Hutton

Lena lives in British Columbia and is a "Daywalker".  This means she's goes outside during daylight to do her duties.  It pays well but the radiation is high during day so you pay for it with your body.  Still, it's what she wants to do, not follow in her father's footsteps and become part of the military.  She doesn't know when she leaves that she will never see him again...

Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 14th.

She's just barely getting the routine down and learning her job when aliens land.  They attack the coast first, but it's not long before they are heading inland.  The humans are nothing to them, they came for our resources.  Consequently, they don't mind killing people.  Some of them do have an interest in biological consequences of mixing the races.  Sounds to me like an even better reason to run...

You follow Lena through the years after the aliens arrival.  The humans had their own wars before they arrived and most of the land is in shambles or is unsafe.  That made them easy to raid.  The superior power of the aliens took care of any protesters.  Now the remainder of the humans are hiding in air raid shelters and using the supplies stored there.

The most ironic part is that one of the aliens is sent to communicate them and learn about them.  Lena saves him from being killed because their doctor needs his blood to work on antidotes for the various plagues that have sprouted up.  She hates him though and tells him so.  She never expected to change her mind...

Deathcat Sally by P.S. Brooks

Before you open this book, get ready to open your mind to new worlds and unusual events.  This is not a typical book; it's a book about horror and fantasy and even a bit of magic.  I can guarantee you one thing:  You won't be bored...

The author and Publishing Push invited me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can get a copy on Amazon now.

Sally is seventeen.  She's working as a classroom assistant and heads home from work, fretting about being late.  When she hits something in the road, she stops to see what it was.  It's a cat and her heart hurts because she's injured it or maybe killed it.  As she runs back across the road to call for help, she gets hit by a truck.  When she awakens after being in a coma for a while, she finds that the cat is attached to her shoulder.  She has half a cat on her shoulder.  No one else sees it except her.  That's a good thing but the cat doesn't like water and she can't take a bath!  She also ends up being clawed while they are adjusting to each other.  This is not an easy partnership.

She's amazed she can talk to the cat and he understands her.  Not only that, she understands him, too.  She can even talk to other animals.  They attempt to help her with her unusual condition.  She'll need them.  When she goes to sleep, they go to another place.  It's not a good place.

This is a war between good and evil and it will take all of Sally's talents to stay alive.  There are bad animals (made that way by human mistreatment), extinct animals live, and Sally has to figure out how to save the animals in this no man's land of the dead.

This tale was very different and a bit odd, but it was entertaining.  It also makes you think about how many animals are mistreated in the name of science as well as abused by owners.  The author is going to donate any royalty profits to animal and environmental charities.  This book in unique and unusual.  Are you ready to scare yourself?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Cinco de Mayhem: A Santa Fe Cafe Mystery by Ann Myers

There's a new chef in town.  He's rude, he's a bully, and he's willing to buy a health inspector to put the others out of business.  When they find him dead under another woman's food cart, nobody feels bad except the poor woman, who gets accused of his murder.  After all, he's under her cart and has her knife stuck in him to kill him.  Being home alone doesn't give you a good alibi...

William Morrow and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 29th.

The main female character in this series owns a restaurant.  She's also dating a good looking attorney.  The bad part is that her ex-husband is the cop in town and he's looking at Linda, the tamale stand owner, as the killer.  She knows she wouldn't do it but there were so many others who would...

You learn about Mexican food, New Mexican food and even Tex-Mex food as you read this mystery.  I live in New Mexico and most of the food they mentioned were fancier than the fare I eat.  There's even a recipe or two at the end of the book you can try.

I enjoyed the budding romance and watching the women trying to sleuth down the killer.  I suspected the killer earlier in the story than I wanted to but I read a lot of mysteries and that might have been why.  It was also fun watching how she's raising her child.  She's in the "I'm not sure what to do?" stage.

All in all, it was a fun read and makes a good cozy mystery.  Wonder who she'll find dead next?

Lottery Boy by Michael Byrne

He's young and he's alone.  His mom died, he doesn't like or trust his stepdad who already had another woman in line, and he has his dog.  They'll do OK together.  He has a pen knife, his dog has good teeth, what more does he need?  Some food would be good...

Candlewick Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has already been published.

Bully gets by.  He raids bins, eats leftovers on plates outside restaurants, steals a bit here and there.  He has his own doorway to sleep in.  Only one guy ever bothers him and he shakes down everybody on the streets.  He doesn't need to, he has money, but he likes being a tough bully, so he does it.

When Bully gets out his most precious possession and listens to his mother's recorded voice on a birthday card telling him she loves him, it makes him feel better.  She's gone but she did love him.  Then he finds a lottery ticket tucked into the card.  When he checks the number, he finds out he's won the jackpot.  The only problem is that he needs an ID to pick it up and he also needs to be older.  Maybe he can fake that or find someone that would claim it for him.  Maybe.

It's hard to keep a secret though.  And as soon as he tells one person his good luck, the wolves of London are after him.  Every street person around is watching for him and trying to get their hands on the ticket.

This is not a pleasant tale.  You follow Bully on his run to the city where he can claim his winnings.  People are attacking him from all sides.  He eventually gets caught by the tough bully.  When his dog gets put in the ring with a pit bull it looks like the story will get even more ugly.

While the story turns out much differently than Bully or I thought, there is one good thing that came out of it.  That redeems the whole read for me.  Despite Bully's rough start, he has a better life at the end.  I wish it were so for all of us.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Journey to Munich: A Maisie Dobbs Novel by Jacqueline Winspear

Maisie is back and is finally feeling a bit more alive.  After serving as a nurse in the war, losing her husband and even living in a convent for a while, she's returned to her home grounds.  She's trying to let the grief and hurt go but it's hard.  As she waffles about how to return to a normal life, she's recruited back into action as an undercover secret service agent...

Harper and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 29th.

The last couple of books in this series disheartened me.  When Maisie loses her love and her child and goes to pieces it was not fun to read about.  However, this book is starting a new phase of Maisie's life and I have hope for her future.

Her job is to go Munich and pose as a man's daughter so she can get him out of prison and bring him home.  The problem is that the Nazis are in power and they make new rules, bully about anyone that talks to them, and you can't trust them.  The man they finally show after days of waiting is not the man she came for.  So now how will she find the one she needs for her mission?

Her mission is twofold.  She's also asked by the man she hates to bring back his daughter.  His daughter is also mixed up with Nazis.  Maisie has her work cut out for her.  

There are secrets all around and plans from more than one group.  Maisie is walking a tightrope with no help.  As she tries to complete her goals, she has to be very careful not to fall...

I like Maisie as a character.  She's fearless (except on the inside), will undertake her mission and solve it as best she can, and she even teaches some of the operatives some new things.  How can you not admire an independent woman in that day and age?

Grumpy Cat Volume 1 by Ben McCool, Royal McGraw, Elliott Serrano, Ben Fisher

You've seen Grumpy Cat on the net.  Her coloring does make her look unhappy.  In these comics she's got a companion and she sneers on almost every page...

Diamond Book Distributors and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published today, so you can grab a copy now.

This is a compilation of several comic books and it's written more for the younger set.  The stories are amusing, Grumpy Cat is not always right, and her brother, Pokey, is just way too happy and excited by life to impress her.  She unwillingly accompanies him and they have adventures they never planned on.

It's a fun, light read featuring cats.  Younger readers will have a lot of fun with this book.

Monday, February 15, 2016

The Luck Uglies #3: Rise of the Ragged Clover by Paul Durham, Petur Antonsson (Illustrated by)

Rye and her mother are hiding in the woods and hunting for her father.  He's very sneaky in the woods but he shouldn't be hiding from her.  Unfortunately, there are other things in the woods...

HarperCollins and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 1st.  I've read this whole series and have enjoyed the other two books immensely.  This is last of the trilogy and it's also excellent.

Rye finds trouble.  She and her family are in danger but a Bog Noblin saves her.  It's the baby she saved in a previous book.  It even brings her the pendant that her father used to wear.  She knows he must be in trouble.  But even she can't imagine how much.  The Forked-Tongue Charmers have captured him and they are going to drown him in the bog!

All the characters you have grown to love show up in this story.  It's exciting, everybody has an important role, you meet more monsters (besides the human ones) and it's a grand adventure.  Not everyone makes it, which made me sad, but it turned out as well as it could.

This series holds your attention, makes your eyebrows rise when you meet a new monster, and even Lottie, her little sister, flirts with danger.  This is no ordinary family but it's one you'll love.  I highly recommend this series.  (And not just for young readers, either.)

The Inn Between by Marina Cohen

She's traveling with Kara and her family to their new home, which is miles away from hers.  Quinn doesn't want her to move, but she has to accept what she cannot change.  They are traveling through the Mohave Desert and it's desolate and strange.  They stop to eat and head for the nearest inn to spend the night.  They see a big bright light coming at them and then things get odd...

Macmillan Children's Publishing and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 22nd.

This story is not what I expected.  I imagined ghosts, strange portals and other odd things would pop up at the inn but while that happened, it wasn't in the manner I expected.  This is more of a horror novel than anything.  I'd also recommend that the young reader be mostly adult or this story might bother them.  It's certainly making me think.

Kara and Quinn and Josh and Kara's parents check in at the inn.  It's opulent, they can get adjoining rooms and they can order room service.  After the first night, Kara's parents are missing.  So is the van.  The help tells them the vehicle had problems and they took it in for repair.  They're not sure that's true because they took their overnight bag, too.

The story gets stranger and stranger.  They aren't supposed to use the elevator without the attendant.  The pool seems to have a deep end that is much deeper than it appears.  Quinn can see things Kara can't.  And then Josh goes missing.  Quinn decides they need to get out of the inn and head back to the diner they stopped at on the way there.

There's an analogy to heaven and hell, the hotel customers are hovering after death, and Quinn has a dreadful discovery to make about herself and Kara.  She also finds her missing sister in the hotel.  

Even after you close this book, you'll keep thinking about it.  It's very interesting presentation and was handled well.  Maybe young readers won't be concerned about it but it bothered me a bit.  I think it was supposed to. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Harlequin Valentine's Day Blogger Giveaway!

I'm pleased to be working with Harlequin on a Valentine's Day giveaway.  You get five free books and a Harlequin Tote Bag if you win.

They can only ship to the US and Canada (not Quebec) and recipients should be over 18.

Leave a comment and send an email to info at with your name and address and why you would like to win.  After seven days, I'll pick a winner. 

This is a great opportunity to get some good romance reading FREE!

Give it a try; someone has to win it!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Cold Girl: A B.C. Blues Crime Novel by RM Greenaway

There's a missing girl.  She's a singer with a band, is the band's leader's girlfriend, and all they find is her empty pickup with a barrette and her phone on the ground outside the pickup.  Did the Pickup Killer get her?

Dundurn and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 28th.

The story is set in upper British Columbia with snow and ice out in force.  They can't find the girl or her body.  After a certain length of time, they realize she's most likely dead.  However, there is chance she could be alive.  The Pickup Killer, who was in another area, had kept the girls alive longer and longer in the three murders he's done.  Maybe he's got her hidden somewhere.  As black as it is, it is a form of hope.

The cops are interesting mix.  There's local woman cop that runs the force in that town.  The Pickup Killer's head investigative man is prickly and short on patience.  He also doesn't like their temporary help, a man who seems very slow and stupid.  Dion doesn't tell him about spending time in a coma and trying to train his brain to work right again.  He doesn't even admit he was part of the RCMP before.  He pretends he's a new hire.  

My favorite character is the woman.  She's smart, determined, and she cares about the people in her community.  She also knows almost everyone but she lets them investigate without prejudice.  I din't think much of "Big City" cop, the investigator.  He's too anxious to break the case and doesn't care who he steps on while trying to end it.  Dion is odd.  He's not only damaged from his accident and the coma, he's not sure where he wants to go in life and love.

Then they get four people confessing to the murder.  It only took one to do it.  Who was it?  They still don't find the body.  When they do, it's a real shocker.

This story is complex.  Everyone is lying in some way, there's personality dysfunctions everywhere, and when you find out who the "Cold Girl" is, it's very ironic.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Beehives: A Suspense Novel by Mary Coley

Jamie is on vacation with Sam and they are going to relax, enjoy each others company, and discuss when and where to get married.  At least that was the plan...

Ms. Coley sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  I've read all three in this series and have enjoyed them all.  She writes a good solid plot with facts interspersed about the area she sets her mysteries in.  This book is available in both print and ebook form on Amazon.

When Jamie and Sam go on a walk in the woods, they're startled when a woman screams.  When they run to see what's wrong, there's a dead woman on the ground with a tree branch on her.  Since they just had a scare from a falling branch themselves, they think that's what harmed her.  No, she has a head injury that is not consistent with the fall and the branch isn't that big.  Who killed the old woman and why?

Jamie finds that there are secrets here in the woods.  She also learns that her mother was here in the past and someone died then, too.  She begins digging into the past at the library and in park service records.

When they smell smoke in the cabin, she and Sam run outside.  Sam goes back in and never comes out.  She's fearing the worst but the back door to the cabin was open.  He went through the cabin and disappeared.  She's upset because he's not like that and she can't locate him.  Neither can the search teams.  She's afraid he might be hurt or dead and she can't deal with that.  She just found love again...

Happenings in the past are haunting the future and it takes all of Jamie's smarts to locate Sam.  The problem is that the person who came to her aid is the killer...

I enjoyed the history she mixed into the story and the plot was good.  There's lots of suspense that will keep you reading.  Give it a try.  If you want to follow Jamie from the beginning start the first book.  You'll enjoy watching her progress as her life goes on.

A Dragon's Guide to Making Your Human Smarter by Laurence Yep, Joanne Ryder, Mary GrandPre (Illustrated by)

Trying to raise a human is hard.  You can't really treat them like a pet because they have a mind of their own and they don't like being told what to do.  But it's her job to protect the little one.  Her grandfather is trying to kidnap her and Miss Drake and her mother are not going to let that happen!

Crown Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 15th.

This is a great read.  Not only does have her own personal dragon who can shapeshift, she's going to a school with magical creatures.  She's not magical but she's not afraid of magic.  She's even making friends with most of the students.  Of course, there's one girl who doesn't like her but that's life.  It doesn't take long until that comes to a head, too.  Right in front of the whole class during a stage performance.  The principal is not at all happy and assigns them to each other for a week.  When they both protest, she makes it two.  They will make up and they will get along.  There is no other choice...

In the meantime, her grandfather has found her again and he's trying to grab her and take to his home.  She doesn't want to go.  Especially when she finds out she'll lose her dragon and forget her school and will become just a regular person.  Who wants to be normal?

My favorite part of the story is where she decides to settle the issue with grandfather herself and goes to meet him in his hotel room.  She talks back, she reasons with him, and she finds his soft spot.  When Miss Drake and her mother burst into the room, it's already been settled.

This is a cool story with a happy ending.  I like those kind of stories and think you will have fun reading this one, too.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Steep & Thorny Way by Cat Winters

Hanalee's father died a year ago.  He was a black man, her mother is white.  It's the 1920's in Oregon and while it's been a nice place to grow up, people are starting to look at her different.  It seems the KKK has a foot in town and thinks her type shouldn't be allowed there.  Then the boy that hit her father and killed him tells her he didn't kill him.  He died while the doctor was behind a closed door with himbut not from the accident injuries.  Hanalee is thrown for a loop because that doctor married her mother...

Amulet Book sent me a copy of an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It will published March 8th.

Prejudice is an evil thing.  From my point of view, so was the KKK.  Of course, back in 1920, even white women weren't allowed much.  Still reading this book about life in the small imaginary city was hard to do.  I liked Hanalee, understood her problems and hoped for the best for her.

Ms. Winters writes a good story.  While Hanalee is hating the doctor because she thinks he killed her father, she's trying to help Joe.  He's been accused of the murder, served his time and he's now hiding out until he can figure out what to do.  The tale gets a little more sordid when he admits the real reason he got jailed was because he is gay.

If that's not bad enough, Hanalee finds out her dad was talking about the Dock, a restaurant here in town.  She tries to brace them to find out what happened with no luck.  She shouldn't have.  Now she's way up on their list to run out of town.

The time's violent, friends become enemies, and town comes apart at the seams.  It's a good thing Hanalee is resilient because she's going to need all her strength and integrity to recover from her experiences.  She will though.  I know she will.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate

Do you remember your high school years?  You're about to get a big dose of them here.  Enter Paloma High School and get ready for emotions...

Abrams Books sent me an ARC of this for review (thank you).  It will be published March 8th.

The story evolves from the seven central characters Ms. Redgate uses in her story.  They have separate chapters but their lives intersect.  She's covering issues from sexual identity, sexual habits, divorced parents, dysfunctional families, to a teacher/student relationship and more.  There's enough drama in this book to wring it out.

The author really gets into the psyche of these students.  She shows you their insecurities, who is really a friend and who is not, who is nice and who isn't, and she shows the reason behind several of their actions.  Many times they don't realize how what they've done can effect people.

She writes of blossoming love, impossible love, hate, hurt, and sorrow.  She makes her characters real, which can be very hard to do.

I had a bit of trouble keeping track of who was talking at the time.  I got caught up in the story and kept reading and sometimes had to check which one headed up that chapter.  Ms. Redgate keeps the tale interesting and mixes happy and sad endings.  That's how it works in the real world, too.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Known: A Bone Secrets Novel by Kendra Elliot

Chris can smell smoke.  He shouldn't be able to, it's a snowy day in the Cascade mountains and the cabins are a long way from each other.  It also doesn't smell like a regular wood fire.  It's something worse...

Montlake Romance and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published so you can get a copy now on Amazon.

What Chris finds is a burnt down cabin with people taking cover in an old Suburban parked there.  It's a young teenager and her mother.  Her mother has been sick, they're both cold, and they have no idea why the cabin burned.  He can smell other death there but he takes them home with him first.  They need to get warmed up and he can help them with that as well as calm them down.  He'll go back later to find out who died since they didn't think anyone else was there.

Ms. Elliot characters both have a history that is filled with trauma.  Chris was held captive and tortured, along with others, by a madman.  Gianna was involved in a car accident where both her parents died and she doesn't remember anything about it.  They are both older and functioning well now but there are cracks in both facades they show the world.

Chris has a super protective streak.  Gianna is a medical examiner and is a "fix it now" person.  Chris is a "do it when it's right" person.  They clash and they mesh together both.  There is someone after Gianna and Chris and his family will not let that happen.

This is a tight and suspenseful story that keeps you on your toes.  It's almost all action, with a little time for a growing romance.  It plays with your emotions but it ends happily ever after.  That's a good thing for these two who have had such a hard life.  Read it, it'll keep you going.

Mabel Jones and the Forbidden City by Will Mabbitt, Ross Collins (Illustrated by)

A nasty witch has stolen Mabel's baby sister and she's on a quest to retrieve her.  Since it's Mabel, you know that this story will be filled with adventure!

Viking Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It's being published today.

This is a wild ragtime adventure for Mabel and her friends.  She begins alone in a wardrobe she doesn't recognize and meets some strange animals that force her out of the room.  She knows she must go to the Forbidden City to find her sister, so she starts asking around trying to find out where it is and who might take her there.

The story is written for middle graders and Mabel has more adventures than you can shake a stick at.  She's brave, determined and willing to offer anything to get her back.  There are imaginary creatures, real creature with human traits and madcap antics all over the place.

The ending is very ironic and I like it.  This busy story will be great fun for someone who hasn't quite decided if they like reading or not.  They might even read it more than once.

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Steel Kiss by Jeffery Deaver

Finding someone beat to death with a ball-peen hammer is an ugly crime scene.  But this victim isn't the only one...

Grand Central Publishing and Edelweiss let me read an ebook of this story for review (thank you).  It is going to be published March 8th.  This is the newest in the Lincoln Rhyme series and I haven't been disappointed by any of the books in this series.  If you haven't read the earlier ones, give yourself a treat and do so.

This author messes with my mind.  Not only does he create monsters in the men or women that Lincoln is hunting, he has two or three central plots going on at the same time, and there's always personal trauma of some kind in the police force.

Lincoln ends up with a new intern, a woman who is facing a life in a wheelchair and is very interested in his type of forensic work.  She's an excellent new character that adds another element to the team Lincoln works with.  He's no longer part of NYPD, but he is taking on a civil case to help a woman whose husband died in an escalator failure.

Amelia was following a suspect when the escalator incident happened and she had to drop that and go to the man's rescue.  Unfortunately, he couldn't be saved.  When it's determined that it was no accident, it becomes murder.  But how do you find someone who leaves no trace of himself at the scene?

They know a lot about what was on his shoes, a general description of what he looks like, that he likes to work with wood and does carpentry of some kind and probably lives in the Queens area.  But there are no finger prints, no DNA, nothing to match to a person.

I had no idea who was really behind all these murders.  It surprised me when I found out.  Amelia's old boyfriend is out of jail and wants to renew their romance.  She's not sure about that but she'd like to believe in his innocence.  But is he really innocent?

The story is very busy, there's a lot of suspense, the murders are ugly, and it kept my attention to the end.  I'm ready for the next Lincoln Rhyme mystery now.  Serve it up, Mr. Deaver.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Rain Dogs: A Detective Sean Duffy Novel by Adrian McKinty

Sean never has an easy time of it but this case is a real bear.  Why would someone have killed the young journalist?  Surely she didn't climb to the top of the castle and jump.  It would be hard to do since there was a security guard, and she didn't like heights.  Besides, the one shoe she was wearing was on the wrong foot...

Seventh Street Books sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 8th.

Sean walks on both sides of the law.  He may be a cop but he's also Irish and knows players on all sides.  He checks his car each day for bombs.  He frets about his girlfriend having left him.  He's an emotional mess that shows no emotion and does what he needs to do.  Sometimes in spite of the law.

He's checking out the murder scene and wants to see all those who visited the castle that day.  He finds that the local Finnish delegation over checking out the possibility of business development had been there.  They are the ultimate bigwigs and he gets into trouble for bothering them.  His instinct tells him there's more to them than just business.  He's right.

There are old secrets, new secrets, and more in this story.  Sean's boss gets blown up.  Sean finds a bomb under his car, too.  He's been in danger before and still plowed ahead.  That's what he does in this story, too.

There's help from an unknown agency, an old friend isn't anymore, and his girlfriend is pregnant.  After all the drama is over, Sean is back together with his girlfriend.  For now.  I'll have to read the next book and see how that goes.  He's not going to back off from investigating so it should be interesting.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Mutt's Promise by Julie Salamon, Jill Weber (Illustrated by)

She's been on her own for a while now and is traveling past the farm when she hears an animal fight going on.  It's a hen being attacked by some weaselly looking thing and she goes to the hen's rescue.  When the attacker has run off, the owner comes out and checks over the chicken.  He needs to tend its wounds, so he gives the dog a pat and goes in the house with the chicken.  When the dog doesn't leave, he feeds her.  And he calls her Mutt.

Dial Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 8th.

If you have had dogs or like dogs, this book will appeal to you.  Mutt is pregnant but doesn't know it.  She finds out when birthing time is near.  She has four puppies.  The young son of the transient workers loves Mutt and thinks all her puppies are special.  He even names them.  His favorite is the runt of the litter; he calls her Luna.  But transients move on.  The owner of the farm can't afford to feed them all, so he offers the puppies for free once they are old enough.  

One little girl is taken with the two almost matching female puppies.  Her parents said one but they change to two after discussion.  They're both named Happy, one in English and the other in Spanish.  The little girl knows both languages and she's very happy with her new playmates.

The remaining puppies don't have such a good time.  The man that comes after them isn't kind, he's not even nice.  The owner wants them gone, so he lets him take them.  Then he worries after the fact.  So does Mutt.  She didn't like that man.

The pups have many more adventures before they finally settle down.  Life is tough when you're on the run.  You can't trust everybody.  But you can be lucky...

One Wish by Michelle Harrison

Tanya can see fairies.  Nobody believes her, not even her mother.  But she can.  And they aren't nice to her.  They are supposed to be her guardians but if she does something they disapprove of, they punish her.  Since no one believes her, she knows it would do no good to complain or ask for help.  Poor Tanya!

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

Ms. Harrison always writes books filled with magic and makes them interesting and exciting.  She's got a great imagination and just draws me in and fills me up with her tale.  This one is very good and I enjoyed every bit of it.

Tanya sees a fairy stealing things at the local restaurant.  She chases her and finds out that there is a young boy that protects the fairy.  He can see them, too!  She tries to be friends with him but he's a bit standoffish.  She persists and he invites to come to his place.  It's a trailer in the woods where he lives with his dad.  His dad is gone at the moment and she visits and chats about various things.  The fairy comes over and plays with her hair and bites her neck.  She decides to leave.  When she does, she has trouble remembering anything about him and their time together.  But she decides to return the next day and see if she can find him again.

She does.  She also sees a lot more than she wants to.  Her life changes when she gets involved in an old grudge with magical overtones.  Hers was not the only stolen memory.

There are madcap characters in this story.  There's a hag in the water on the way to the castle that would like to eat you.  There's a shadow running at large.  There are two insane old ladies that live in another world.  There's a crazy man trying to raise the dead.  And the boy's dad is now a frog.  With all the excitement going on, you're sure not to be bored.

This was a great read!

Long Road to the Circus by Betsy Bird, David Small (Illustrated by)

Suzy is tired of boring summers.  Then she finds out there is a retired circus performer living in her area.  She also finds that her Uncle ...