Saturday, April 30, 2016

See Also Deception: A Majorie Trumaine Mystery by Larry D. Sweazy

Marjorie is worried.  She's been calling the library and nobody answers the phone.  She has a quick question for the librarian, who she uses as a resource in her indexing work.  She has to be there.  Could she be in a meeting?  When she finally reaches someone, it's the police.  The librarian won't be answering any more phone calls...

Seventh Street Books sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  The book will be published May 10th.

Marjorie wants to go in and find out what happened.  They're saying it's suicide but she knows it can't be.  Calla was happy with her life and loved her job.  The only way she can go is if she can find someone who will watch over her husband.  He's blind and paralyzed and can't be left alone.  She goes to the neighbors hoping the young man there will help out.  He will and he has his girlfriend to help, too.  She's a candy striper, so she's had some experience with patients.

When she looks at the body, she sees the gunshot was in the left temple.  Calla was right-handed.  She points that out to the acting police chief but he ignores her.  She refuses to give her theory up.

The clues in this story are subtle.  A lot of what Marjorie finds is information she shouldn't have access to or in places she shouldn't be snooping.  I admire her because she uses her sense of "right" to follow up on her suspicions.

The murderer wasn't on my suspect list and there's another twist in Marjorie's happy ever after marriage but the story was well written and kept my attention.  I want to see what happens in Marjorie's life in the future.  I'm hoping things get better and not worse. 

Friday, April 29, 2016

Nebula Awards Showcase 2016 Edited by Mercedes Lackey

When you're talking about science fiction and fantasy, the annual collection of stories and excerpts from the Nebula Awards has to be at the forefront of what to read.  It introduces you to new authors, the type of story they write and you can be astounded by some of the tales.  No matter what you like, you should find some here.

Pyr Science Fiction and Fantasy sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published May 3rd.

There are twenty stories here.  Some were so so, some really grabbed me.  One story I had read in another collection and I really liked it then, so I'll mention it again.  Jackalope Wives by Ursula Vernon is well worth a read.  I also found some others worthy of mention in this edition.

The excerpt from The Regular by Ken Liu was intriguing enough I want to read the book.  It was a simple transaction that turned fatal.  Why???

A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai'i was a story about vampires.  It won a Nebula Award.  I don't usually read about vampires but this one got my attention and was very well written.

Another Nebula winner was my favorite story of the future.  Yesterday's Kin by Nancy Kress was an excellent read.  Aliens come to earth and there's a batch of spores coming that will wipe out the population.  The humans work with the aliens trying to find an antidote.  When you read the end of the story it rings very true.  Humans can be very selfish...

If you want an interesting read with stories that will make you think, this book will do it for you.  Give it a try.

Phage by Mark Tamplin

Scientists are a bit strange normally.  They don't think like a normal person, they can be reticent and unemotional, and they seem totally focused on their work.   Add in insanity and you have a the proverbial "mad scientist".  Now picture him ready to get even with a pharmaceutical company and the world.  Scary, isn't it?

Mr. Tamplin sent me a copy of his self-published book to read for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can get a copy on Amazon.

I was pleasantly surprised by this read.  I was afraid it would be too dry, too technical and there wouldn't be much action.  Wrong!  The author lets you know why the madman wants to get even. He talks to "Mother" in his head and he's angry another company beat him to a patent with a formula he knows was unique.  It was his and he's going to make them pay. In the meantime, another scientist he knows has kaboshed his application for a grant and he already hated the man because he was doing well in the world and he didn't even know anything. He might as well take care of him too.

Owen is the madman and he keeps everything in his unit to himself.  He decides to make a phage that will react with the new drug that will soon be offered to the public.  When everyone begins dying their sales will plummet and it might even put them out of business.  He thinks he's smarter than he is, so he gets Sam's DNA from a water bottle and sends some white powder to a State Senator with the DNA on the envelope, as if he licked it shut.

When the Feds get involved, they question Sam, search his house and office and eventually let him go.  He's supposed to stay close but he wants to recover from the experience so he takes the house offered him on an island that just happens to be in another country.  When he finds out what Owen is doing, the Feds want him back but he doesn't trust the Feds.

With Owen and the Feds after Sam and his friends, they don't have much time to prep an antidote.  They have an idea, though.

This is a good read but I hated it when one of the good guys died.  That makes it more real but I like happy ever after.  Give it a read.  You might look at your food differently from now on.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Body and Bone by L S Hawker

Nessa is married, has a son, and also does a successful blog and radio show.  When her husband relapses on drugs again, she kicks him out of the house and out of her life.  It hurts, but she won't let her past revisit again and she won't have drugs around her son.  Then she finds out he's missing and presumed dead.  The cops think she's killed him...

Witness Impulse and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published May 3rd.

This book is chilling.  Some is stalking her, sending posts from her that are not hers but a false email address, even posts nude pictures and about her problems from the past.  She doesn't know who is after her but she finds drugs in a package mailed to her, in her house, and even photos of her son.  When she finds out her husband is dead, she believes this stalker killed him.  There's one cop that doesn't.  He intends to nail her for murder.

Her life falls apart.  The radio talk show and the blog are affected by all this information that is being decimated about her.  Her husband is dead and she is grieving him.  She's getting a reputation of crying wolf.  She finally makes up her mind to find out who killed John and clear herself.  When she finds a microchip under her coffee table that shows her how they could hear her, she knows this is a very serious thing.  The cops still view her with suspicion, so it's up to her to fix it.

The finale on this story is terrifying.  The stalker was the last person I would have suspected or even thought of.  Nessa is facing death and she's still fighting.   I'm glad this book was fiction.  It hit a little close to reality to please me. 

Dexter the Very Good Goat by Jean Malone, Jia Min Lin

Have you ever been around a goat?  Did you ever find a good one?  They're unique individual characters with their own odd personalities!

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

Dexter has very long horns and is a bigger build than the other goats.  He's very proud of his looks.  He's also well behaved.  If someone grabs his horns and shakes his head, he might happen to butt them but that's in self-defense.  He has no bad behaviors but he has a fear.  He doesn't like having his hooves clipped!

When they arrive with the tools, he escapes and runs away.  They patiently go after him and eventually back him into corner.  They do his hooves (and it doesn't hurt at all) and then he's free to go.  Until next time he has to have it done again...

Ms. Jia Min Lin's illustrations are very sweet and Ms. Malone's tale matches that.  Why not have a visit with Dexter yourself?

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Melody of Murder: A Cotswold murder mystery by Stella Cameron

Alex is looking through the graveyard by the church trying to decide where she'd like to put a bench in memory of the loss of her child.  She hears music and a beautiful voice and thinks about going in to see who's in the church using the piano.  She hesitates disturbing the singer.  And then the music stops...

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

Not only has the music stopped, the girl playing it has stopped too, permanently.  She hates to be the one to find another dead body but all she can do is call for help.  Now she'll have to deal with the police again.  Maybe not if it was a natural death.  It was not...

That was the first death.  There is another before the end of the story.

This is the story of a young man who is a piano virtuoso whose father plans to make money from performances.  His very father is very controlling and tells him he knows best.  He knows best for the whole family, evidently.  He moves them from London to this small village so they won't be influenced by outside sources and so there will be even more practicing.  The father also allows his girlfriend to come visit on weekends.  His sister joins them in their evenings out so he doesn't really get any time alone with his girlfriend.  He doesn't like that.

The whole family and their associates are weird.  Nobody works with folks with big egos without some of it rubbing off on them.  They think it's someone from the family that is murdering the victims but who?

The sad part is that the father is really the one responsible for what happened.  His total control over emotions and well being has warped the family.  I didn't find the ending satisfying.  I did enjoy reading about Alex and Toby's romance.  They are still dancing around each other without making any commitments but they are happy together.  If Alex lets the Inspector get too close, he's going to want to date her also, so she's being careful.  Who knows what the author will do in the next book?

The September Letters by Maeve Binchy

It was just a chance meeting at an airport bar while waiting for their flights.  They were an older couple who were minding their business until the younger couples' argument got violent.  When the woman breaks her drink glass and attempts to go after the man she's fighting with, they and the bar attendant step in.  When he's gone and she's had her cry, they chat a bit and then part to go their ways.  They share addresses and suggest they write once a year to stay in touch and to see if things are alright...

Edelweiss and Vintage Books gave me the opportunity to read this short story for review (thank you).  It will be published May 8th.

Ms. Binchy writes about common life and real people.  She sees into their souls and she never elevates them or makes them better than they are.  Consequently, it's like you are actually meeting the person, defects and all.  I enjoy stories like that.

In this story, the young woman was being led on by the man.  He gave her the standard song and dance about a wife that didn't understand him or his needs.  He promised marriage.  He lied.  They broke up in the bar and she went on without him.  For a while...

It's funny what people will do.  After that big scene and the knowledge he was never going to get divorced, she took him back.  She told the couple that, in her letters.  The barman never said anything about her personal life, just told her about how he and his wife were going to start a bed and breakfast.  The couple talked about what they were doing, traveling mostly.

As the years go on, the girl finally wises up and gets rid of the lover with no future.  When she finds another man and is building a new future together, the woman from the couple admits that she, too, was lying.  In that bar at the airport, more than one heart was breaking...

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Somebody Stop Ivy Pocket by Caleb Krisp

Ivy is quite a piece of work.  She turns around anything you say and makes it different.  She'll look you straight in eye and lie.  She creates tales about where she's going and she sneaks out at night.  If she didn't call everyone dearie all the time they might notice this about her...

Greenwillow Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published May 31st.

Ivy has been taken in by the couple who sell undertakers' services.  They have her read poetry that fits the moment of death.  These are not sweetness and light poetry, this is dark and deep poetry.  Then they give her a glass of warm milk and she naps for a bit for a bit.  There's a reason for that but Ivy doesn't cotton to it until it's almost too late.

Ivy is wearing a diamond that kills people.  She's only half-dead, so she heals other people as well as herself.  This is a handy talent in this story.

When she sees Rebecca in the diamond's glow alive even though everyone thinks she is dead, she's bound and determined to help her.  She's in another world, one adjacent to our world.  Ivy can travel between them but doesn't know enough to really help.  She doesn't falter though.

If you're going to read this book, you need to leave reality behind and tromp along with Ivy through the known and the unknown.  She's not the nicest character but she is interesting and there is humor interspersed here and there in the story.  

Ivy's story is not done yet.  This silly child never knows when to give up.

I Wanna be a Great Big Dinosaur by Heath McKenzie

We all have dreams.  Did you ever dream of being a dinosaur?  I always wanted to be a dragon...

Sourcebooks Jabberwocky sent me a copy of this picture book for review (thank you).  It will be published in May.

If you have child who loves to act out what he/she reads, this is an ideal book for them.  The dinosaur is giving the little boy guidance into how to act like one.  After all, he's made himself a tail like one.  Now he gets to learn how to roar and how to stomp his feet.  Let your child do that, too.  The dino only eats meat, but the boy shows him all kinds of other food that is available.  The ending has a nice little twist, too.  The dinosaur wants the child to show him how to be a boy...

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Lost Compass by Joel Ross

This is the second book in the Fog Diver series and I wasn't about to miss it.  The first one was fantastic and I wanted to know how this troupe of junkyard kids handled the rest of their journey.  This read was just as exciting as the last one!

HarperCollins and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published May 24th.  

Chess is the fog diver and he's managed to stay alive so far.  The driftsharks try to get him but he's just a bit too fast for them.  That doesn't make it any less dangerous...

They are headed for Port Oro where there are no junkyards and the people live free and even have enough to eat.  When they land it's both less than they expected and more than what they expected.  They even have an elevator in the main building.  But the fog is there, too.  They save Mrs. E, but then they want a favor in return.  They want Chess to find the compass that will help eliminate the fog.  To do it, he has go three stories below the building into the deep basement area.  Who knows what lives down there?

Mr. Ross always puts lots of danger in his stories.  People die here and there.  Besides driftsharks, there are tick tocks here.  The bad man is still after Chess.  How can Chess find something when he doesn't even know what it looks like?  No one knows what the compass is...

This is a busy read with loads of action and I enjoyed it even more than the first one.  Mr. Ross writes a great tale and keeps you reading by constantly creating a new challenge for the crew.  That's my kind of book.  I especially liked the ending.  It's very ironic.

Do You See What I See by Helen Borten

This is an introduction to drawing and shapes.  You learn what shapes are named and what they can do and how to draw them.

Flying Eye Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It is being published in May so you can grab a copy then.

The illustrations are simple and basic and in bright primary colors.  In poetic words, the author uses color and text to illustrate the basic shapes.  She talks of ploughed fields stretching across the countryside.  How slanted lines can be a slide or skis or a seesaw.

This is a good educational resource that makes it easy to learn things without flash cards.  (Yes, I'm old enough to remember flash cards.)  This mode would have been much more fun. 

A child will begin to recognize colors and shapes in the world around them once they learned to look at them with the right "eye".  Maybe you could sit together and talk about the shapes you see, too... 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

A Clatter of Jars by Lisa Graff

They're going to camp.  It's a special camp for those that have talents.  Each of them has a secret talent, a skill that enhances them in some way.  And someone at camp wants to steal them...

Philomel Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published May 24th.

I enjoy reading stories about magic so this one caught my eye.  Ms. Graff has approached the idea of magic with a totally different approach.  Magic is common but not everyone has it.  Those that do are proud of it and use it to help with their own lives.  At the end of this special camp they do a talent show and demonstrate the powers they have and do their best to win the main prize.  No one thinks anything about it.  But the camp leader has a racket going...

She puts bottles in the lake and they come back to shore with a talent inside.  It's a mimic and only lasts about a year.  She gets good money from it.  She also on the lookout for a particular talent so she can make her sister forget about a bad thing and like her again.

When one of the campers finds out what she's doing, she attempts to stop her by putting her own talent in the old harmonica the lady plays.  That backfires, though, and her little brother is mad at her.  She's afraid she's ruined everything but with the help of other campers they get things back to normal.  At least as normal as it is in this story.

I enjoyed the different approach and children characters.  They were brave and they didn't give up.  More people need to be like that.  Oh, and don't forget the frogs are important because they are.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee

Mercy is determined to go the white girl's school up on Nob Hill.  She can only go through 8th grade at the Chinese school and she knows she needs an education to become a young woman who can help her family financially.  She knew she would have her battles there but she didn't know how much she would lose in her attempt to get ahead.

G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published May 24th.

Mercy almost blackmails herself into the school.  She has a rare Chinese root that the lady wants badly so she says that she will give it to her if she gets her a chance to talk to the school board and request admittance.  She garners that and with luck and a good word from her boyfriend, she gains admission.  She will be rooming there.  The bad part is the person she has to room with.  She's not Mercy's friend.

This is set in the era when the great San Francisco earthquake hit.  The story is for young readers but they need to have some maturity before they read this.  A lot of people die, homes collapse and survivors can't find their relatives.  They can't salvage or they will be shot.  The army is late bringing them supplies.  They are all living in the park and hoping for the best even if it's not around.

Mercy comes up with idea of recovering food and feeding the masses of folks in the park.  It seems impossible but it works.

Poor Mercy has lost her family and her boyfriend but she's still helping people.  And she doesn't care if they are Chinese, Negro, Mexican or other.  We need more of that in the world.

The story isn't all sad though.  It has a good ending even with the pall of grief still in the air.  Mercy hasn't given up.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Princess Juniper of the Anju by Ammi-Joan Paquette

The Princess' father is being held prisoner in his own castle.  Juniper intends to go free him.  All she has in her personal kingdom are children like herself but they have made a new home for themselves and she's determined to save her father.

Philomel Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published May 24th.

This is written for middle graders and it should hold their attention and amuse them.  Juniper takes a few people with her and goes to find their stolen horses.  What she finds is another settlement.  They are the Anju and it's where her mother grew up.  Her mother was banned from the group after she married the King.  She loved him, so she gave up her home.  Now Juniper has no idea what to expect from them but she does want her horses back.

She gets her horses and stays for a bit to see the tree homes they've made and read the history they have created.  Then she finds out that they are picking a new leader and she's eligible to take the tests by virtue of her blood-right.  Her original motivation is that by becoming their leader, she can use them to help save her father.  After the testing process, she finds herself better understanding their lifestyle and she's not so sure about leadership any more.

This is the second book in the series but it stood up fine alone.  I found the story to be fun, if a bit silly, and I liked the monster that lived in the "Claw".  What did you like about?

The Bluebonnet Bride by Pamela Tracy

This is the first novella of the Lone Star Brides collection.  I like Western romances and this was a bit over a hundred pages so it was a short read.  Just what I was in the mood for!

Serenade Books sent me an ebook to read for review (thank you).  The book has been published, so you can grab a copy on Amazon now.

Amy had a mother who wasn't much of a mom.  She took care of her own needs and ignored Amy for the most part.  She certainly didn't love her.  Now that Amy is old enough to be on her own, she's trying to run her deceased aunt's craft shop.  She'd rather bake but the established business is already there and she's made friends with the women who frequent it.  She's even learning how to quilt.  When she visits the farm where she is taking quilting lessons, she finds Shirley on the floor with a broken ankle.  The railing on the stairway broke and took her with it.  Amy calls Daniel to tell him she's hurt and needs help.  He's competing in a rodeo and it takes a while to impress him with the importance of what happened.

Amy is looking for a place to settle.  She's certainly not interested in another rodeo contestant.  She's had her fill of them.  Daniel just wants to take care of Grandma and get back out on the circuit.  He could win this year.  In the middle is Grandma, who doesn't want to listen to anyone about her limitations.  She doesn't do sick.

The characters in the story are cute and quirky.  Gossip travels faster than traffic.  Everybody knows everybody else and their business.  So it doesn't take long until they're talking about Daniel and Amy.  Who aren't dating and don't intend to be.  Sure thing...

In such a short tale, there's not enough room to solve all the problems but most are resolved with plans to fix the remainder.  And love does win, even if they didn't think so.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Fireman by Joe Hill

This book is horrifying because it could be true.  It's an airborne disease that travels through ash.  If the ash touches you, you get the disease.  It's an unusual disease...

William Morrow and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published May 17th.

Stress can set you on fire.  Dragon scales form on your skin just like tattoos and you either learn to control the fire impulse or it eats you up.  Watching people instantly combust in front of you is terrifying.

As is usual, the government responds too slowly, the disease spreads and then vigilante groups begin killing.  No place is safe for those so touched.  Even the safe places aren't safe...

There is a nurse at the core of this story.  She's anxious to help people and volunteers at the local hospital.  She works there until the hospital burns down taking all the people within except for the fortunate few who escape.  Then she finds out she has the disease...

Her husband is not happy about it.  He wants her to commit suicide.  She's pregnant and wants to have the baby first.  Suddenly her loving husband has become her enemy.

This is a very long story but I skipped nothing.  It took all those words to show how it was to survive in the new world.  You meet characters that you empathize with and you find yourself hoping for a happy ending.  The ending was not quite what I wanted but nothing is predictable or right in this world.  Mr. Hill even throws a ghost in for good measure.  After you've read it, you'll be thinking about it for a while.

Klickitat by Peter Rock

Her sister is the only one who calm her anxiety attacks.  She lets her hold on until they have passed.  Vivian knows that she has to take the medicine the doctor gives her and her mother even counts the pills.  Audra tells her she needs to stop taking it, it's part of what is making her weird.  Who's right?

Abrams Books sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It has been published, so you can grab a copy now.

The question of who's right is the theme of this book.  Vivian doesn't want to lose her sister but Audra wants to become a survivalist and live in the woods.  Audra thinks her parents are like robots and she wants more from life.  Or perhaps I should say less.  She's not into material things.  When she crawls out the window one night and doesn't come home, everything starts to fall apart.

This is from Vivian's point of view and sometimes it's a bit hazy.  She finds a notebook in her room that has writing in it but it's not hers or her sister's.  The words are strange, too.  This was a very different read.  I wasn't sure exactly what was going on.  When she finally gets together with her sister, she has a boyfriend.  He's from Alaska and they talk about going back there and living in the wilds.  At the moment, they're living under a house and being quiet so the owner doesn't notice.  Audra and Henry are working to make money to travel.

It seems all three main characters had some mental problems.  At the end of the book, I wasn't sure about what I just read.  I think that at Audra's last visit she might have been a ghost.  This is a fantasy, a bit on the dark side, and I'm still thinking about what I read.  Maybe that's how the author wanted to leave the reader...

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Camp Rolling Hills Book 2: Crossing Over by Stacy Davidowitz

It's time for camp again and Melman can't wait.  Her first love in life is soccer but camp isn't far behind.  She's here to have fun and play soccer!

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

This camp is unique.  No matter what you expect, you probably won't find it here.  However, you will find lots of things that are unexpected!

Melman finds her friend and they go to stake their claim on beds.  She can't believe it when she finds the rest of the girls deciding which pink things they want to wear.  She doesn't even own anything pink.  And they're doing makeup, too.  Ugh!  She doesn't participate.

Steinberg's still messing around with robots.  Since they are having a robot competition, he's sure he'll win.  Unfortunately, peanut butter gets on the wrong kid and he has to use their epi pen to keep them alive.  While he's doing that, his robot catches on fire...

Melman can't get the girls to play soccer, so she dresses up as a Melvin and plays goalie for the boys.  She does an excellent job but can't play because she's a girl and it's a boy team.  Not fair!

Then there's a budding romance for Melman, who doesn't know what to do with it.  And it gets worse, she has to wear a pink dress for three days on a dare.  A dress???  A PINK dress???

This is a rootin' tootin' time at camp with ghosts, dares, and more.  These kids aren't boring and you won't be bored either!

Camp Rolling Hills by Stacy Davidowitz

Stephanie (who's been nicknamed Slimey at camp) is looking forward to going to camp and seeing her friends again.  While she's on the bus making her way there, she sees a cute boy in another seat.  She just barely manages to meet him when she drops her colored pencils and he returns them to her.  She's thinking she might like to talk to him at camp but doesn't have the chance right away.

Amulet Books sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published May 10th.

I've never been to camp but it sure sounds like a challenge.  The kids are expected to participate in sports, learn new arts and crafts and more.  They even have a talent show.  The highlight of this story, though, are the raids on the different cabins.  The mixed up romance is right on top of the story totem, too.

The boy she's interested in gets nicknamed Smelly.  One of the girls from the cabin besides Slimey has her eye on Smelly.  She gets one of the boys from his cabin to talk her up and get him to dance with her.  He's agreeable because he thinks he's talking about Slimey.  It's a big mix-up and embarrassment for him.

The letters home from camp are a hoot.  They're all at the same camp but you wouldn't know it by reading the letters.

When the boys come and steal some of the girls' things, they decide to get even.  They go confiscate the boys' boxer shorts.  The story gets funnier and sillier the further you go.

Smelly and Slimey get back together again.  And they are both looking forward to camp next year!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Complete Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, Leah Moore, John Reppion

Most everyone has read Alice in Wonderland at some point in their life.  I've read several different editions.  I have to say this graphic novel was one of the most fun ways to do it.  It's great for young ones who haven't met Alice yet, too.

Dynamic Entertainment and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It is being published today, so grab a copy now.

The graphics make this story come to life.  The story itself is a synopsis of the Lewis Carroll story and it makes it much easier to understand.  The Mad Hatter looks mad, the Queen of Hearts has no love for anyone, and the Cheshire cat shows his smile the most.  There's even reference to the Wasp.

This makes a quick read, made me smile in places and I loved examining the animals and cards that the illustrator used.  There are a lot of odd things pictured and I found that these illustrations were fairly close to my own imagination.  I'd like to say that shows good taste, but it might just mean we're both weird...

Let you child read this story in this form and they'll be another Alice lover.  No need to wade through all of Carroll's words to get the tale.

Red's Planet: Book 1: A World Away from Home by Eddie Pittman

This is a graphic novel that is a fun read.  Red doesn't like her foster home and keeps trying to escape.  When she does it for the third time, the cop tells her that now she's going to have to go to a facility instead of another home.  She tries to break out of the car but can't.  When the aliens come to visit, they pick up the classic cop car and take her into space...

Amulet Books sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published today, so you can grab a copy now.

I enjoyed this.  Red is a crabby independent girl who just wants a pleasant place to call home.  It wasn't going well on earth and it's not going any better on the spaceship.  When pirates board the ship it gets even more desperate.  She heads out on the shuttle hoping to stay alive with the others aboard and they end up crashing on a planet.  Their rescue signal works but it could be years before they find them in this unknown location.

She decides to head out on her own for greener ground.  The desert they landed in offers no food or water.  She has to find something.  What she finds are nasty little blue creatures that want to eat her...

She falls into the pool that Goose is fishing in and wants to stay with him.  He says no.

Times are tough, there are enough different species involved to make you wonder how many other worlds they came from, and Goose just wants them to go away.  He's going to be sorry, though.  Red decides to build her own home in the woods not far from him.  His pest isn't going to disappear.

Oh, and by the way, don't call her Red.

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 ...