Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Woodwalker by Emily B. Martin

She's been banished from her kingdom.  She spoke out against the King and he took offense.  She used to be a woodwalker and took care of the natural environment around the castle.  When the King starting talking about shooting trespassers, she spoke out.  Now she can't even go back there...

Harper Voyager Impulse and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can grab a copy now.

This a great fantasy story.  Mae can't go back and she knows it.  She can be executed if she does.  But when she finds a deposed queen and her brothers in a town on the coast, she knows they need help.  Maybe if they just skirt the woods, avoid the trails and avoid the patrols, maybe they can make it.  However, the queen is not being very gracious about it.  She complains about everything and resents the physical strength it takes to do it.  She thinks she's suffered more than Mae.  But she won't tell her anything.  There's no why given just no thanks either.

This story is layered.  The past was not pleasant.  The King was powerful, mean and took what he wanted.  His son is now King and he's a lot better but his cabinet of ministers is trying to usurp him. Mae is helping a queen whose kingdom was overcome by the previous King.  She's hoping to create peace.  

Despite sneaking through the woods and taking odd routes, they get captured.  Mae is sentenced to death.  How will they escape?

I liked this whole adventure and despite the odds, everything turns out alright.  There's even a final surprise at the end that I really loved.  I'm buying this one for me.  I'd read it again.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Yellowstone Standoff (National Park Mystery #3) by Scott Graham

He, his wife, and her two girls are going camping in Yellowstone.  He's under contract by the Park Service and they've found some artifacts he's going to examine and identify.  They are going with a group of people, so it should be safe enough.  The animals aren't normally aggressive towards humans but they certainly won't bother a group.  The head ranger assures him it's safe.  It's not...

Torrey House Press and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 14th.

They are traveling with students who are doing research for the graduate classes they are taking.  They need to write a thesis to complete their studies and they are not happy about being held back a year due to the death of two members of the group who were studying wolves by a bear.  It was an unusual kill and they are still looking for the bear.  Everyone knows to be cautious and to avoid traveling alone.

This book terrified me because there was a bear warning on a camping trip I made with my husband.  We were 18 miles away from the ranger station, on foot, and alone.  I told him I had seen the bear but he said it must have been a dog.  (I KNOW what a dog looks like, thank you, but he insisted.)  We knew better than to take anything attractive along for food.  Dried soup mixes, some flour and other ready to eat dehydrated things.  We hung our packs high.  I was haunted by that bear the whole week we were there.  When we came out, the camp below us had everyone in the outhouse and they ran to the truck and climbed up and over the railings to get on.  They were in shock and they left everything behind.  The outhouse had big scratches, their tents, sleeping bags and coolers were all destroyed.  The bear went for easier food.  I could relate to this story and the people's fears.

What they see happening is unusual behavior.  They are aggressive when they should be backing off.  The wolves and the bears work together and that's not seen.  Of course, once in a while the bear will turn on the wolf.  Then a human is killed.  Unfortunately it's murder by knife.  That means someone in their group is real, real dangerous.

Chuck is a character that grows on you but he's just too nice.  It takes a while before he figures out what's going on and by then it's almost too late.  There's a very exciting finish to this story.  I'll watch for another in this series.  Hopefully it won't have bears in it...

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Love: The Lion by Frederic Brremaud

Love and life in the jungle is not an easy thing.  Mr. Breemaud tells you story of an animal without any words.  The illustrations make the story speak to you.

Magnetic Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this graphic novel for review (thank you).  It will be published July 12th.  There are early novels in this series you can catch up while you wait for this issue.

The story begins with a young lion and his family.  His father bosses everyone in the family around and he has no patience for his son.  As the lion grows, so does his hunting ability.  Soon he has a family of his own.

You see all the animals of the jungle and the plains in this story and learn how they are inter-related.  Sometimes the victims kill their predators.  Or a bigger predator might kill a smaller one.  The cats are fearless.

This story shows the cycle of life and it's a bit sad at the end.  Of course, so is life in the human world.  

These books are worth reading just so you get to see the luscious illustrations.  They draw you in...

Saturday, May 28, 2016

NUN BUT THE BRAVE: A Giulia Driscoll Mystery by Alice Loweecey

Giulia is at work when her sister-in-law stumbles in and collapses on her.  She's drugged and unconscious when she hits the floor.  They take her to the hospital and then Giulia goes to meet her client.  The client has a missing sister that the police think is probably dead or ran off to start a new life.  Giulia agrees to take the case.  And she wonders if her sister-in-law's odd drug combination is related to two deaths of young girls.  It's been a busy morning...

Henery Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published July 12th.

Giulia is an ex-nun and being a private eye sometimes conflicts with that.  Every now and again you have to lie or do something that goes against your moral grain.  But she's still a good PI, she just visits the confessional more often.

This was an interesting case for Giulia.  It involves survivalists, drugs, free love and more.  She goes undercover to find out more and almost gets too close and too involved.  It's a dangerous place for ex-nuns.

I enjoy reading about her relationship with her cop husband.  She's pregnant now and the bit of drugs she got involved with scared her for good reason.  I don't think she's going to hesitate on doing her job, though.  Giulia always gets her "man" or "woman"! 

The Bull Rider's Bride By Vickie McDonough

Dusty is home.  His bullriding days are over and he's trying to figure out where to go in life.  His twin wants him to stay home and help care for Mom but he's not in good enough shape to ranch.  He also doesn't have the money to buy a herd.  He tries not to panic as he thinks about a way to be useful again.

Serenade Books allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can grab a copy now.

This series is a light read with romance intertwined.  When the therapist for his mother comes in, he's astonished to see it's his old girlfriend.  He left her behind when he went bullriding and winning rodeos.  He never forgot her though.  She's also never forgotten him.  They're parting was at a bad time.  Her brother died in their barn, her father banned them from his farm and her life, and they both aren't sure if it's safe even now to try to resurrect their love.

They needn't worry, love comes naturally and sometimes you just can't fight it.  This is a sweet tale with a happy ending and was a good read, too.  This family grows on you.

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Voyage to Magical North by Claire Fayers

Brine floated in on a boat with a piece of starshell in her hand.  She didn't know where she came from or who she was.  The local mage takes her in to get control of the starshell and to have a servant.  She now spends her time cooking and cleaning.  The mage has an apprentice but he's not very nice.  They seem to fight all the time.  No one is very happy but they are getting along.  Then the mage decides the apprentice will marry the daughter of a rich man and he'll give Brine to the man as a gift during the wedding ceremony.  Peter doesn't want to marry anyone.  Brine doesn't want to be someone else's servant.  All they can do is run away.

Macmillan Publishing Group and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published July 5th.

Brine and Peter throw themselves in a boat and row away from the island.  They row so far they don't even know where they are.  As they sit and wonder what to do next, a boat hails them and comes to pick them up.  The problem is that the rescuers are pirates...

The captain of the boat is female.  She's nice enough when she wants to be but she's only interested in her own welfare.  She's not as bad as the mage she thinks she killed who shows up again.

There are all kinds of monsters in this story.  Birds who will eat you, invisible bears, a magical north where you can see the world, and more.  The mage is very, very dangerous and uses Peter for his own purposes.  It doesn't look like anyone will get out alive but they do.  They have a very usual prize acquired at the very end of the story that could lead to another story in this world.  I'll have to watch and see if there if there is sequel.

The story starts a bit slow, but when it picks up it races to the end.  There's lots of action and a good batch of fantasy in the tale.  I can see a young one starting to read this tale and then not wanting to quit.

Black Jack Ketchum #1 by Brian Schirmer

Black Jack Ketchum was a real person and, as this graphic novel points out, he was the stuff of legends.  Nobody knows for sure how many of the crimes he was accused of were really his.  This is the world you enter when you start reading this novel...

Image Comics allowed me to read and review this book (thank you).  It has been published and you can grab a copy now.

Jack wasn't really named Jack.  His name was Tom.  He began working as a cowboy but he wasn't making much.  It didn't take him long to get dragged into a life of crime.  His brother ran a gang.  But nobody knows the true story of Tom/Jack.  This novel is bit surreal and dream-like.  There's what we know, what we suspect and what might have happened.

In this tale, Jack has a few friends and a lot of enemies.  He even has a doppelgänger that he thinks is guilty of many of the crimes.  This is an interesting way to take a look at the old west.  I'm not sure about the monsters but the rest of the story seemed real enough.  I can say this is the only way I'd ever want to meet Black Jack...

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Lucky Strikes by Louis Bayard

Amelia is fourteen.  She's been taking care of the service station for a while now while her mother is ill.  She also takes care of her sister and brother.  But when her mother dies, she has a problem.  She's not of age, and they will put them in foster care and most likely separate them.  She can't let that happen...

Macmillan Children's Publishing Group and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published July 5th.

Amelia goes to talk to her mother's lawyer.  He's a nice man and he's willing to help her but he's anxious about losing his license if he does too much.  Amelia perseveres and goes back to the station and her family.

By pure accident, a man gets thrown out of a truck right in front of her station.  He's drunk, looks like a hobo and stinks.  She gets a brilliant idea.  Her father is unknown.  He can pretend he's her father!

If that wasn't enough to keep her busy building her story, the rich man in town who owns all the other Standard station wants hers.  She won't sell.  And, all of a sudden, bad things start to happen.  Vandalism, shots fired and more.

This is set in an earlier time period when things were more laid back.  Amelia still has her challenges but the attorney shows up with her birth certificates listing her father as the man who is staying with them.  That settles the do-gooders down for a bit.

There are ups and downs all through this story.  Amelia loses a lot.  She also gains a lot.  She has no idea how much the community supports her until the worst that can happen did.  I enjoyed the feel of the good ole days and was happy to see Amelia smile again.

Rat Run: An Scottish police procedural by Caro Ramsay

Anderson is still pretty much out of it.  He's suffering PTSD from a previous case where he watched a woman burn to death and he's back at work but he's changed.  He's more empathetic towards the victims and he almost wants to avoid the heart of the trouble.  Costello has no patience with him.  She has a job to do and she will do it, with or without him.  She's rather do it with him.

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

This village has an unsolved mystery that is 20 years old.  They have a man in jail but he denies doing the crime.  He says he was just trying to help her.  When it's the death of a young mother and her babies, there's no sympathy.  Now they've found more bones and they are in a sinkhole, not too far away.  It's just a foot but it tells tales.

You have the local characters, the odd ones here and there that like living in a pretty isolated place, and you have the gossip.  While Anderson focuses on a young woman and her children, Costello is interviewing people and trying to figure out where that foot came from.

The secrets are deep and it takes a lot of digging.  When they try to make sense about what they are finding, it doesn't make sense.  There is a lot of action, more murders and the fallout after the facts are discovered will change the entire village.  I was surprised by the murderer's motive.

All in all, it was a good read.  I'm still not sure what will happen with Anderson.  Guess I'll have to read another in this series and find out.

The last line in the book is a treasure.  It's very ironic.  I like that.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Menagerie by J.S. Frankel

How would you like to be kidnapped and informed by a floating ball that you were the new zookeeper of exotic and sometimes dangerous animals?  I wouldn't!

Finch Books has published this book so you can get a copy at Amazon now.  I found it to be a very good read.

When Karen wakes up in the hospital, she's alone.  She's badly injured but that doesn't hurt as much as finding out her parents are dead.  All her friends have faded away.  All she can focus on is getting well and making her limbs work again.  There's nothing else left.

When she hears an animal crying in the woods, she leaves the hospital for a minute to check on it.  In that minute she finds an alien spaceship and knows that where the animal belongs.  Once she takes it inside, the ship takes off!  This is when she finds she's to replace the former zookeeper and take care of the menagerie.

There are more weird animals on here than you could imagine.  It seems other worlds are having wars, too, so they are sending their rare animals away for safekeeping.  This ship is picking them all up to take them to their safe world and protect them.  Unfortunately, there are poachers who want them for the bounty being paid.  Karen is scared enough of the animals, but she needs to be worrying about those poachers. When she has a physical confrontation with the poachers and one of them is killed by the animal they are trying to steal, his brother vows to get even.

There is lots of action, a variety of animals with odd habits to get used to, and more bad guys than there are good guys.  This kept me reading and I enjoyed the story.  I hated to see one character die but the rest of the good guys survived.  And Karen has new life with new goals.  That's not a bad ending.

Final Flight: A Clockwork Dagger Story by Beth Cato

This is a short story in the Clockwork Dagger series and it's as exciting as the previous books!

Harper Voyage Impulse and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this story for review (thank you).  It has been published, so you can get a copy now.

Captain Hue got the wasters off his ship and took it into port to repair and clean up.  He didn't expect to get boarded by Caskentian soldiers.  Now he's out on a quest for the queen.  He just wants to be a passenger ship but he can't order the soldiers off.  He has an old enemy on board, too.  Best thing he can do is hide his son and hope for the best.

This is basically a suicide mission and the crew knows it.  Their only choice is to die immediately by not acquiescing or maybe have a chance of surviving by continuing.  It gets worse when they take part of their crew away and they try to find his son to remove him, too.  It appears they are going to use dark magic to kill the wasters.  The captain hates that, too.

When they mutiny, they get the ship back.  But it's going down.  Will anyone survive?

This is a teaser that makes me want to read another in this series.  Hope the author is planning one! 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Poppy and the Lost Lagoon by Matt Kindt

Poppy and her guardian are going back to Ramses looking for their next adventure.  They're riding a magic carpet and it doesn't like Colt.  The feeling is mutual.  They make it there even if Colt gets dropped and tripped.  Now to find out what their next adventure will be!

Dark Horse Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this graphic novel for review (thank you).  It will be published June 21st.

Colt was a good friend of her grandfather's and he was sent to be her guardian and make sure she comes to no harm.  Poppy just loves adventures, so Colt has his job cut out for him.  

The skull gives them a riddle about an exotic fish that they need to locate.  Colt has a good idea where to go, even if he's not welcome there.  Since they get run out of the building, Poppy has the feeling he's been there before.  When she finds out why, she puts together another piece of the riddle and they head in another direction. There are huge sea creatures, all kinds of exotic fish and amphibians, and dangerous situations for Poppy and Cole to overcome.

The illustrations by Brian Hurrt are eye openers that make you realize just how big that octupus is amongst other animals.

Why not take a little journey with Poppy and see if you can solve the puzzles she does?  She's a smart kid! 

Princess DisGrace: A Royal Disaster by Lou Kuenzler

Grace is sent to the Princess Academy by her father, the King of a very small province on the edges of civilization.  She makes an awkward appearance at the boat dock by rolling in after she tripped.  She's wearing a Yak coat and looks like a monster.  No, it's just Grace...

Random House Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 21st.

Grace reminded me of me.  I was a tom boy and always got in trouble for not acting lady-like.  I liked to hang upside down one on the monkey bars.  Since I refused to stop, they made me wear shorts under my skirt instead of nice white panties.  I was also required to stop climbing over the chain link fence to get foul balls.  And it was all because I was born a girl.

Grace doesn't have an invitation to the academy, doesn't have the required clothing and can't even curtsy right.  Her cousin has all that down and thinks she's God's gift to the academy.  She hates Grace.

The first test is whether she can attract a unicorn.  Everyone easily gets one but it looks like Grace is out of luck.  Then a scruffy unicorn with longer hair shows up and adopts Grace.  They're two of a kind:  A bit unkept and improper, but they both know how to have fun.
When her cousin is picked to be the golden princess for the tournament, no one is surprised.  But she goes too far by slapping another girl and lying about it, so she loses her role.  The head of the school then assigns that honor to Grace which just inflames the cousin.

Poor Grace is doing the best she can but things don't work like they should.  At least she doesn't think so.  It actually all turns out like it should and her papa, the King, is very very proud of her.  So is the school and her unicorn.

This was a fun tale to read.  I'm ready to read the next book already.  Princess Grace is a kick!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Rum Luck by Ryan Aldred

Ben was getting married right up until the moment he found his fiance in bed with a clown.  The only thing the clown had on was a painted face.  That was enough to make Ben take off.  His buddy talked him into going to Costa Rica so he'd be a long way from his troubles.  It sounded like a good idea until he woke up in a Costa Rican prison cell...

Five Star Publications and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 22nd.

He's in jail because he's accused of murder.  He can't remember the night before but he's sure he didn't murder anyone.  He did get stinkin' drunk but why would he beat the bar owner to death?  It's even stranger than that; he bought the bar that night.  Why would he do that???

It's a good thing he's got Miguel with him.  The first thing he did was call Victoria, a Toronto lawyer who is a good friend of Ben's.  Ben will need friends before this is all sorted out.

It seems the bar owner was doing some underhanded little things there on the beach.  The police were watching him and one detective had a personal interest in the case.  He turns into a problem for Ben because he thinks Ben is guilty.

Ben and Miguel both find things about themselves before the end of the story.  They each have more skills and fortitude than they thought.  Everybody is becoming a partner with Ben in his business venture.  And Victoria might be more than a friend, who knows?

There's lot of action, some very humorous moments, and this would make a great movie.  I enjoyed the read and will be looking for more from this author.

Rosie the Raven by Helga Bansch

This is a light, fanciful story about a family of ravens.  They have one egg that is different colored and when it hatches, there's a little pink girl in it...

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

Her raven parents don't care what she looks like or that she can't caw well and she can't fly.  She tries.  She even tries to grow feathers.  Her dad finds her some clothes so she won't freeze to death.  The other birds and animals have things to say about her but her parents ignore them.

Her siblings grow and leave the nest for their own lives but Rosie is still there.  When it's time for the birds to migrate, they come up with a unique way to get Rosie in the air.  

This is a sweet tale with lovely illustrations and it would make a great bedtime story.  Let your child fly away into their dreams after reading about Rosie.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

We Are Death: DCI Jericho Book Two by Douglas Lindsay

Jericho knew there was still someone out there from his last case.  The people who paid with their lives weren't smart enough to have masterminded the tarot cards and the designs on them.  But who it is, he doesn't know.  He just waits.  And, as he waits, he watches his job slip away from him...

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

I enjoyed this story more than the first one.  It's an unusual plot and Jericho ends up traveling internationally but it was much like a cat and mouse interaction.  No matter how much the mouse runs and twists and turns and hides, the cat usually gets them.  In this case, Jericho is more the mouse than the cat.

He finally tells his partner about the final tarot card he found in his hospital room seven months before.  He thought it signaled the end of the trouble but he's rethinking that now.  The recent murders of some mountain climbers has drawn police attention and the chief gives it to him as his last case.  She's being reassigned; he's being laid off and can reapply.  He knows he won't be hired again.  Such is life.

As they begin their research, they find the last mountain they climbed is cursed.  You can go close but you don't go to the summit.  This batch of five climbers did, and now they are dying.  Four Japanese did the same thing and they are all dead.  Some deaths appear accidental but were they?  Who cares about that mountain top?

As they trip from country to country and deal with miscellaneous police departments, they learn there is an old organization that has secrets they don't want divulged.  There's an assassin on the job with a killer directing him.  Jericho doesn't live a quiet life.  Many of his new acquaintances die.  And there's a real shocker of an ending.  It was something I didn't see coming.  Neither did Jericho.  I can guess what he's going to do in the next story now... 

We Are The Hanged Man: DCI Jericho Book One by Douglas Lindsay

DCI Jericho is practically permanently depressed.  His wife disappeared years ago now and he never could find her.  He's lost without her and feels guilty.  He also sees her and can talk to her now and then, so either she's a ghost or he's a mental case.  Or maybe both of those are true.

Blasted Heath and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published so you can grab a copy now.

Mr. Lindsay writes an interesting story.  He makes his characters with faults, no one is without sin, but they persevere on the murders they are trying to solve and are diligent about results.  Not necessarily how you get there though.  They can be a bit unorthodox in pursuit.

Besides being depressed and in a police station that is out of the way and not very busy, Jericho just tries to stay to himself.  Unfortunately, his female chief decides he'd be a perfect cop to put on a British reality TV show.  He just has to show the contestants how to use police procedures to solve a case.  They really have no cases for TV until the murder shows up...

Jericho gets lots of mail but when the Hanged Man tarot card comes in, he wonders if it's supposed to be a message.  It is...

Tarot cards pile up, murders continue, and one of the contestants from the TV show goes missing.  Is she really missing or is it a TV gimmick to increase ratings?  If that isn't enough to concern him, the TV producers are spreading comments about him to garner interest in the show.  It certainly gets the interest of the chief.

It's the past come back to haunt Jericho but someone in the present is helping the killer.  I think Jericho is going to have more problems in the future.  Luckily I have the next book in the series to read.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Jeff Madison and the Curse of Drakwood Forest (Book 2) by Bernice Fischer

Jeff runs into his friend, Rhed, and Phoebe out in the woods.  He was going home until monsters he'd seen before cut him off and tried to capture him.  He tells the others to run but they aren't moving fast enough to escape.  Then a warrior shows up to defend them...

Fischer Self Publishing and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can grab a copy now.  Pick up the first one if you haven't read it yet.  I hadn't and this book reads well as a stand alone.

When the warrior says that they need to return to Drakmere get the cure to keep Rhed from turning into a tree.  He was changed on their last visit.  Jeff is a dreamer and can make dreams reality.  He brings a door to where they are and jumps through.  Rhed follows.  When the warrior yells because he's angry they didn't listen, Phoebe jumps through too. Rhed is stiffening up, Phoebe has no idea what she's facing, and the witch is after Jeff.  There's danger all the way around.

With three witches, warriors, dragons, all kinds of monsters and the walking dead, there's plenty to worry about.  When Phoebe doesn't listen to Jeff and goes in a cave, the dormant witch there is planning to eat her to become young again.  So Phoebe has one witch after her and Jeff has another after him.

The story is action packed, has humorous moments, and keeps your attention to the end.  This book is over but the story hasn't ended.  The witch is still after Jeff.  This was a very good read.

Who Broke the Teapot?! by Bill Slavin

The kitchen is a mess.  The family is up, eating breakfast, and spilling their food.  But what really sets Mom off is the fact that her favorite teapot has fallen off the shelf and broken!

Tundra Books and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so you can grab a copy now.

The two page spreads of Mom being angry and shouting are great illustrations.  You can SEE her shout and yell about the teapot.  When she questions them, they all deny touching it.  They did lots of other bad things but not that.  This story has a nice little twist in it I didn't see coming and I like it.  

I especially liked the ending when the little ones have taped the teapot together again and give it to their Mom all "fixed".  There's peace in the family again...

Friday, May 20, 2016

Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan

Julia has a special ability to make herself invisible.  That's real handy when you're a thief.  It also works out well when she acts as a servant to spy on a household.  She doesn't want to get caught snooping...

Random House Children's Knopf's Book for Young Readers and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 7th.

This is a dark fantasy novel about a girl and her brother and her boyfriend who all live with an older lady who provides room and board.  At the moment, they are living by theft.  They don't need a lot of money but they'd like more.  When the money is good, Julia takes on an assumed name and goes to work in a very strange household.

The time they live in is turbulent.  They drown witches (and call it cleansing), there are bits of magic about, and Julia can't demonstrate her talents without facing drowning.  She's secretive about it but it doesn't work with everyone.  The woman who owns the house can see her!  That woman has her own secrets.

One man is trying to put a magic book back together again.  He's stolen a tree from the yard of the house she's working in and now she's stolen the little boy for him.  She decides she must steal him back because she can't live with the guilt and she's managed to fall in love with the little tyke.

It's a deadly battle with fallen warriors and deadly damages to those still alive.  It's another family's problem but the trio is in the middle.  They do what they must in this story but there's more story coming.  The older brother is still alive and he wants the boy.  He'll be after them...

The Sleeping Prince: A Sin Eater's Daughter Novel by Melinda Salisbury

Errin is just trying to stay alive.  Since her father died and her mother has turned into something like a beast, she tries to sell her herbal remedies to get enough for food.  The cabin they live in is mostly in  squalor.  She can't care for her mother, take care of the house and keep food in their mouths all at the same time.  It's a godsend when her new friend can buy some herbal remedies from her and pays her well.  But he brings trouble...

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

This is a dark fairy tale about a prince who was poisoned and slept for years.  He's awake now and he's going to take everything he lost back, killing anyone in his way.  He has the ability to give life to golems so his army is almost invincible.  He's approaching village after village and killing everyone in it.  When Errin is told she has to evacuate, she knows she can't move her mother this close to the full moon.  She begs for more time.  Her landlord suggests she trade her companionship for it.  When she declines, he takes her mother away from her and tries to force her.  That doesn't work either.

The way this book ends didn't satisfy me.  It's a little too dark and mean and there's almost no hope for Errin and her friends.  There is a pleasant surprise in the last few paragraphs so the next in the series should be even more exciting.  I'm anxious for the Sleeping Prince to get his comeuppance.  He deserves it.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Mage of Trelian by Michelle Knudsen

Calen had no choice; he had to leave with the mage.  He hoped the others understood that but he knew they didn't.  They thought he had betrayed them.  He had to get back so he could show them he hadn't...

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

The problem Calen has is that while he wants to get away from the mage who is controlling, he's also learning about magic and how much power he has.  He wants to learn more but he'd like to get away from the mage who hurts him if he's displeased.  Then he finds out there is a plot by this superior mage to take over the world.  That's even more devastating.  All his friends will be dead!

Back home, Princess Meg is in training for war duties with her dragon.  She loves her dragon and he would do anything for her.  She's practicing picking up "wounded" soldiers and transporting them and various war techniques.  It's a good thing because war is upon them.

This is a time of sacrifices on all sides.  Anybody who doesn't do what the mage wants gets killed.  The soldiers defending the castle are dying.  And Calen finally manages to get away.  But how do you defeat a mage who has already returned from death once?

There's lots of action, new friends made, old friends found again and an epic battle at the end.  With magic, dragons and lost love, this makes for a very good read.

Hand Over Fist by Michael Ross

Martin's life has gone to hell.  His work fell apart around him, he found out his wife wasn't faithful and she took everything from him in the divorce.  The only good thing he has left in his life is his son and he has to be careful about how he handles that or she might not permit visitations.  Life sucks.

The author and Goddess Fish Blog Tours sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).   You can buy a copy now on Amazon.

At first, it's a bit confusing because you have two characters living their own lives and no way to connect them.  They're both down on their luck but they don't know each other.  It took about half way through the story before I found out what they had to do with each other.  Once they get together, though, things start happening fast!

Bobby was a cop until the night he got drunk and beat up another police officer who was trying to calm him.  Now he's a private eye and he's got his eye on a young teen that is frequenting the Chemist's house and selling drugs.  He convinces him he doesn't want to continue that by a little man-handling and loud talk and keeping him busy when he's not in school.

Martin meets an old friend who he's always thought was attractive.  She's not just pretty, she's smart.  She has a good job and she's bound and determined to get him back on his feet.  It's working, he's cleaning things up and getting active.  He's even using a young man who likes to work to help him.  They eventually become lovers.  Then she disappears...

With drugs, gangs, the underworld and two broken men trying to put themselves back together again, this is an interesting read with a lot of consequences.  It goes sideways here and there but always comes back to straight.  Read it and see what you think.

Michael will be awarding a $10 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.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Ninja Librarians: Sword in the Stacks by Jen Swann Downey

Dorrie wants nothing more than to be an apprentice librarian.  She's almost afraid they won't ask her back but she's in luck, they do.  But things have changed.  She had a teacher lined up but she gets assigned another...

Sourcebooks Jabberwocky and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you). It will be published June 7th.

This story has fascinating young and old characters, time travel, enemies all through time, and danger abounds.  The travel is through libraries by using a person who can move through time and take others with them.  The library is in danger because there is a missing key that someone stole and the wrong people got hold of it.  Dorrie is an apprentice, so she's not allowed to help look for it.  Somehow, just through chance, she finds out that her current assignment for school has put her in contact with a member of the Foundation.

There's humor, animals, magic and more in this story.  The action is intense.  They travel through time, find themselves in dangerous positions and they must get back or they're lost forever.  With everyone traveling in different directions it gets a bit confusing but it soon comes together.  It's a battle to the end and it's a good thing that Dorrie was taking sword lessons.  She'll need them...

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

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

How to (Almost) Ruin Your Summer by Taryn Souders

Her parents are taking a trip and she's looking forward to staying home with her girlfriends.  However, they have plans for her.  They're going to send her to camp!

Sourcebooks Jabberwocky and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 7th.

Camp isn't on her list of fun things to do, but she has no choice.  She ends up with the diva of the group of girls in their cabin.  It's a good thing Chloe met a girl she could get along with as she joined the new arrivals.  The other girl was totally into herself and her expensive clothes and toiletries.  

Chloe hates spiders and when she grabs the hairspray and uses it on the spider, the diva gets incensed.  That was her custom made hair spray!  Chloe ends up with several confrontations with that cabin mate.  Many times her troubles are caused by the girl.  For example, she spills her meal all over her so she can get the slot that Chloe wanted for training.  Chloe wanted to learn to do cake decorating.  Instead she ends up working with animals, which she hates.

One of the first things that happens at camp is that the goat butts her in the butt and now she's supposed to take care of him!  That turns into a real challenge.  He has a mind of his own.  It doesn't help when her enemy keeps letting him out.

This was an entertaining read.  Chloe is trying to toe the line and not get any more demerits, but they just keep on rolling in.  Just when it seems it couldn't get any worse, a big storm happens and the goat is out again...

What would you do if you got caught in a flash flood?

Monday, May 16, 2016

Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger

She's working at the local bar to make some money of her own and to see her old flame again.  She walked away from him in the past but it's four years later and he's looking good.  The only problem is that he already has a girlfriend...

Quirk Books and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 7th.

This is an odd little story.  It seems the bartenders have a second job, a night job.  When they aren't working at the bar, they kill demons.  They've been trained, they are good at their jobs, and the glowing drinks give them special powers.  She finds that out when she notices the hooch hid behind a trap door in the flooring.  She decides to have a screwdriver.  She'd never seen a drink glow before but it tasted fine.  It was a good thing she drank it before going home because she gets attacked by a demon.  Using the skill she didn't know she had after drinking the special booze, she manages to kill it before it kills her.  Zane is not happy.  Civilians aren't supposed to fighting demons.

Bailey finds out that there are people near her age that form a group called the Alchemists.  With the power of the drinks, they go demon stalking each night.  She ends up being trained by Zane and she's told he's her master.  That doesn't go down well and soon Zane gives up on her and she's sent to another for training.  He's blind but he is still a bartender and can fight demons.

Disappointed with how it's going, she applies for another job.  While there, she finds out about a plot that will let a lot more demons in.  However, no one believes her.  Soon, they will have to.

There are a lot of drink recipes in the story, along with some history about the drinks.  You could keep it in the cupboard with your alcohol and use it for reference.

The story was fast paced, interesting and fascinating all at the same time.  It was well worth a read.

The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse by Brian Farrey

The queen is dying.  The princess is only twelve and she has no desire to be queen, but she also has no choice.  When the queen brings her a tutor he's an odd little man who answers her questions with more questions.  She has no idea what she's learning or how much until she gets in a crisis.

Algonquin Young Readers and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so you can buy a copy now.

When Jeniah surveys her kingdom with her mother, she sees a dark spot from the tower.  She's told it's the Dreadwillow Carse.  She's also told not to go in the Carse or the Monarchy will fall.  Just like any other child, she's determined to find out why.  But how?

She meets a young peasant girl who is trying to get her father back.  The Crimson Hoods took him away and she misses him.  She thinks the Princess can help.  They barter.  Aon agrees to go further into the Carse than she has been and, when she shares what she found there, the Princess will get her mother let Aon's father go.  But neither of their quests are straight forward or easy.

When Aon goes in the Carse and doesn't come back out, Jeniah goes in after her.  The secret of the Carse is an ugly one and Jeniah has to make a choice.  Her mother has already told her she'll have to be the queen she is not be the queen her mother was.  This is her first chance to make a change and she has to decide between better or worse.

Jeniah and Aon are both very strong young women and they fight for what they want.  The adventure was just creepy enough to keep me reading.  The ending is ironic and very fitting.  This was a good read.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Storyteller by Evan Turk

Sit down with this book and visit Morocco, the desert and the people.  You even get to "hear" a folktale that has an unusual consequence for the listeners.  Listen up!

Atheneum Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 28th.

The illustrations in this book are rich and luscious.  The colors are vibrant and you can feel the heat of the desert.  They really add to the tone of the story.

A young boy asks an old man for some water.  He tells him he needs to listen to a story first.  When the story is done, there is water in his bowl.  It's magic!  

Storytelling had died in this part of the world but the old man still remembered.  When the young boy learns the tale, he shares it with more of the village.  Soon they all have water.  It's good thing, they were going to be overtaken by the desert sand but now all is good again.  Just keep telling stories...

Descender, Vol. 2 By Jeff Lemire, Dustin Nguyen

Robots fascinate me and this series is intriguing.  TIM-21 has been taken captive by a group of robots and he has been introduced to TIM-22.  The robot leader tells him they are brothers.  Since robots don't usually have much of an emotional side, that doesn't seem to matter much.

Image Comics allowed me to read an ebook of this compilation for review (thank you).  It has been published so you can grab a copy now.  If you haven't read Volume 1, buy them both.

TIM-21 is enjoying the robot station and the interaction with his "brother".  His companions are pretty sure they will be eliminated because they have human in them and the robots don't like anyone who is carbon based.

Andy, TIM-21's long lost brother is searching for him.  His robot pet dog can help with the hunt.  How they are going to accomplish recovery when it's only two of them and a whole world of robots?

In the meantime, TIM-22 is getting irritated because his robot dad is so taken with TIM-21.  Even if he's relatively unemotional, he can still get jealous.  And that's a very dangerous thing.

I'll be watching for the next trade paperback.  I've grown a bit attached to TIM-21.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Grayling's Song by Karen Cushman

Her mother is a hedge witch who works with herbs and plants and trees to make potions.  She's learning a bit as she gathers supplies for her but her mother tends to think she's feebleminded and a bit worthless.  When their home burns down and her mother gets rooted to the ground, it's up to Grayling to find out why and work on undoing the spell.  Even if she doesn't know how to do it...

Clarion Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 7th.

When she finds her mother's grimoire is missing she knows she has to go.   Her mother teaches her songs to sing to seek other magically inclined individuals and sends off to find the spell book and stop her from turning into a tree.

The first night she sleeps under a tree and when she wakes up, she has a disaster.  Someone or something has broken into the bits of potions she had left from the fire.  That something was a mouse.  He even talks back to her and is as surprised as she is by it.  It seems he got a mix of all the potion's benefits and besides talking, he can even shapeshift!

He's very helpful because he can gnaw his way through ropes and hedges.  She enjoys his company.  When the song she sings finally brings her help, it's not in the form she wanted.  She gets a weather witch, an enchantress, and a teacher from the local magic college.  They're mostly old, their powers are interesting but not altogether useful.  And no one wants to lead but they are willing to help.  Grayling has no choice but to follow the song of the grimoire and keep looking for it.

I liked this story.  They have a tough time going where they want to go and Grayling is growing up as she goes along.  She does what she needs to despite the danger. There's lots of action and it has a good ending.  Middle grade readers should enjoy this one.

A Witch's Kitchen by Dianna Sanchez

Millie just can't get her magic to work.  She tries spells and enchantments and they all backfire.  The only place she's got any "magic" is in the kitchen.  She's an excellent cook but she's not learning the witchcraft her mother is trying to teach her.  Then her grandmother, the current Baba, decides she should attend the Enchanted Forest school...

Dreaming Robot Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  The book has been published so you can grab a copy now.

Millie is thrilled to go school.  She can avoid her mom's lessons and her failures this way.  She's even more excited when she meets her brother Max there.  She hadn't seen him for five years because he was with his wizard father so she's excited.  He helps her settle in and she makes more friends as time goes on.

The school is filled with goblins, pixies, elves and more.  Millie is learning different cultures and doing her lessons.  Some of those backfire, too.  She thinks she's hopeless.  As she struggles on and tries not to make more of a mess of things, she has other battles.  A budding witch that doesn't like her is trying to sabotage her.  A goblin is messing with her.  Max is going to get in trouble for going to school and she's worried about that.  And then she finds out her father isn't dead, like her mother said.  

It was a fun read, Millie has plenty of challenges and there will be more to this series.  I found this first one delightful to read and will be watching for the next in the series.  These are written at a middle grade level.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Maggie Dove by Susan Breen

Maggie and her neighbor are having problems.  He wants her to move her oak tree so he has a better view out his big windows at the top of the house.  He paints and he doesn't want the tree in his pictures.  He even offers to pay for her moving it.  She refuses to and he attempts to poison her tree!

Alibi and Net Galley allowed me to read this ebook for review (thank you).  It will be published June 17th.

Maggie is a Sunday School teacher that reminds me a bit of Miss Marple.  She's older, has her habits, and she loves her oak tree.  She and the neighbor have words one night and she gets so angry she takes a rock in the house with her.  She knows he's going to try to kill her tree again and she's going to hit him with the rock.  She sits and watches but manages to drop off to sleep for a bit.  When she awakens, he's out laying by her tree...

They think it's a heart attack but it was murder.  Who in Maggie's small town would murder someone?

When they suspicion it might be Peter, her dead daughter's fiance in the past, she's determined to prove it was not him.  He's not helping matters by giving up.  She keeps digging.  Then a friend of hers dies suddenly and that was murder, too.  What's going on?  How were they connected?

The mystery itself was good but I was a bit disappointed in Peter.  I like stronger characters.  The strongest one in this story was the killer.  And the killer finally gets Maggie alone...

Harry and Walter by Kathy Stinson, Illustrated by Qin Leng

This is a sweet picture book story about friendship.  Harry is four and three quarters and Walter is 92 and a half, but they both enjoy the company and play together.

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

Harry is devastated when his parents decide to move.  He can't take Walter with him and he's going to miss him so much!  It's so bad Harry and Walter don't even say goodbye.  Walter stays in while they drive away.

Harry can still rake up leaves and he grows tomatoes like Walter did but they don't taste as good and raking the leaves is no fun doing it alone.

One day, while he's playing outside, he hears a familiar voice.  Walter has come to visit!  It seems Walter moved to an apartment not too far from Harry's home.  He's got Walter, his friend, back again and life is looking a lot better.

Ms. Leng's illustrations show the whimsy of old age and youth and Ms. Stinson's words make you smile.  Your child will want to read this one again and again.

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 ...