Sunday, July 31, 2016

Cowgirl in the Kitchen By Julie Jarnagin

She's back in her hometown, living with her Dad, and putting together a restaurant.  It's a rundown bank building, she and her brother are financing it, and she needs a general manager.  When she finds him, he turns the job down.

Serenade Books gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so you can grab a copy now.

Jentry doesn't know the whole story on Gavin.  She just knows he does have restaurant experience and she needs him.  He won't work for her brother, there's history there.  So she tries to convince him to work for her.  He says no until Gracie's allergy problems are too expensive for him to handle without good insurance.  Then he says yes.

Her brother is adamantly against Gavin.  Gavin's whole life is his five year old niece whose mother (his sister) has died of cancer.  He wants no more trouble.  As it turns out, it wasn't Gavin who was in trouble, it was his sister.  He was protecting her.

He's also protecting his heart.  He can handle a woman walking away from him but Gracie wants a mom and it kills her. So no romance.  That's okay, Jentry is going to be a world-class barrel rider and has no time to hang around in small towns.

You can guess what happens next.  These are two people at a cross roads in their life who have to decide what is the most important.  Gavin has to open up and allow himself to feel again.  Jentry has to decide if competing is more important than family.  Sometimes life is hard but there are always choices. 

Home for Christmas Stories for Young and Old edited by Miriam LeBlanc Illustrated by David Klein

This anthology of Christmas stories is one that could be taken off the shelf each Christmas and the stories shared again and again.  Re-read favorites, just pick a random story, or start from the beginning and read to the end.  There are twenty stories so read a story a day if you wish.

Plough Publishing sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It has been published, so you can grab a copy now.  This would make a wonderful Christmas gift.

I found three stories that particularly touched me and I want to share them with you:

The Miraculous Staircase by Arthur Gordon is a good story about how a staircase was built to the choir loft when it was impossible with the configuration of the church.  What makes it more meaningful to me is that I live in New Mexico and the church it's written about is in Santa Fe.  That gravity defying staircase is really there.  And the wood used for it doesn't grow in New Mexico...

The Riders of St. Nicholas by Jack Schaefer has some cowboys that are left at the ranch to take care of things while the other boys go to town.  They plan on lazing around all weekend but after they found out the fence was down and weather was getting bad, they decided they better repair it so they don't lose some stock.  What they find is a man almost frozen and when they take him home, they end up finding some more presents and they donate the meal left for them.  They might be rough and tough cowboys, but they had hearts of gold.

The Vexation of Barney Hatch by B J Chute is really cute.  Barney plays Santa long enough to get enough money for his bottle of liquor.  But one kid is really persistent and even waits for him after his shift.  He wants his harmonica promised last Christmas and never delivered.  Barney tries to brush him off but the kid won't go away.  He finally agrees to go look at the harmonica.  Poor Barney...

There are a lot of older stories in here and several I hadn't read before.  This is a treasury of Christmas stories that you will want to mine again and again.  Great stories never get stale.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Carter and the Curious Maze: Weird Stories Gone Wrong by Philippa Dowding

Carter is finding the circus amazingly boring.  All the things that used to scare him, don't.  None of the curiosities appeal to him.  Maybe he's getting too old to go to the circus.  But then he finds a new exhibit, it's a maze.  That might be fun...

Dundurn and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published August 30th.

Walking in the maze, he meets Mr. Green.  Mr. Green has garden shears and is trimming the maze.  He tells him he can take any path he wants but he can't turn around and come back, he has to always move forward.  As he starts into the maze, he has second thoughts.  But the branches block him and won't let him go back.  So forward he goes.

There are other people in the maze.  He finds a young boy from an earlier time in history, meets a girl who is more wood than human and he finds fighting soldiers from the Revolutionary War.  What's going on?

The further he goes, the more confusing it is.  His fear is growing and Mr. Green is pleased with that.  When he finds a way out, he's pleased to see the rock that is there in his world.  Then he finds out that he's back with his soldiers, who are trying to kill each other.  He has the young boy with him, so he tries to keep him safe.  They almost die in an explosion, so he's plenty scared now.

As he searches for a way out you wonder if he will become another lost person in the maze.  After all, he's lost his sister, the maze moves through time and Mr. Green is always around with his clippers.  Too bad Mr. Green won't help...

This is tantalizing tale with excitement spread throughout.  I'd suggest you don't think things are so boring you wish something else would happen because it just might.

Rasmus and the Vagabond by Astrid Lindgren

Rasmus has grown up in the orphanage and Miss Hawk is quite strict.  When he gets in trouble by accident she tells him he'll get his punishment in the morning.  She canes the bad boys and he's afraid of that.  He decides to run, but his friend won't go with him.  He's not sure if he's brave enough, but run he does...

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

I've read some of the Pippi Longstalking series, so I had to read this one.  Rasmus is very enjoyable character who misses being nurtured.  The orphanage is teaching him skills he will be able use when he goes to work at thirteen but there isn't much love being shared.  This is his first time ever at being all alone and when he hides in an old barn and sleeps in the hay, he's almost ready to despair. It gets even worse when he discovers there's someone else sleeping in the hay!

He gets ready to run when the yawning man asks him if he thinks he eats children?  He assures him he does not.  He has just met Paradise Oscar, a vagabond.  Oscar allows him to travel with him.  He knows houses that will share food, safe places to sleep and special quiet places to visit.  Ramus loves being free to roam, getting lots of good food, and having good company.

All's well until Oscar wants to go visit an older lady and sing her favorite song.  He always visits on the way through and she is always generous.  However,  when they arrive, the maid sends them away.  When Rasmus asks to get a drink of water, he notices the lady is bit shaken up.  He also notices that the curtains seem to be wearing shoes.  Rasmus and Oscar get in a tangle with the bad guys and then escape.  The only problem is that the maid says they're the ones who did the robbery and hurt the old lady.  Rasmus isn't going to let them get away with that.

It's a dangerous road Rasmus is walking now.  He started out looking for his forever home with parents and now he's trying to catch robbers to clear Oscar's record.  

You'll love following along with Rasmus and Oscar during their adventures.  This is a sweet tale with a happy ending and I really enjoyed reading it.

Friday, July 29, 2016

The Alien That Ate My Socks by Brandon Dorman

Rock is the school bully and he likes to play tricks on people.  The Hooligan brothers were just trying to undo a trick of his when the principal caught them and thought they were the ones doing the pranking.  They looked Rock up and asked him to stop.  He laughed at them.  So they challenged him to a go cart race.  If he lost, he stopped the pranks.  If they lost, they did his pranks for him.  So they had a good reason to win the race!

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

This is a great middle grade read for those with a sense of humor.  The alien is big and purple and likes to eat socks and other clothes.  They first make contact with it during the go cart race.  All they knew was that something big and purple was in the middle of the road down the mountain and they had to go off road to get away from it.

Things get a bit more exciting when one of the brothers disappears and it appears the purple monster has him.  They manage to get him back and hurry home, even if he is heavy and hard to carry.  They go to bed and try to forget all they saw.  Unfortunately, their purple pet follows them.  He takes the short route inside:  Right through the roof.

I have to say they have very tolerant parents.  I don't think my parents would have been so understanding.  Of course, you never knew about Mom.

In a while, they decide he must be an alien.  It doesn't help that there are people after him.  How do you hide something that big?

The story is humorous, silly and just the right thing to lift your mood.  It's a fun read.  And there will be more in this series.  The bully hasn't given up yet...

Noah A Wordless Picture Book by Mark Ludy

Just about everybody knows the story of Noah and the ark he built.  This delightful book has no words but the illustrations are fantastic and you get a kaleidoscope of colors to please your eye.  Here's a really fun way to learn Noah's story!

Plough Publishing shared a copy of this book with me for a review (thank you).  It has been published so you can buy a copy now.

This would work perfectly for a bible study course, homeschooling, daycares, or as a book that will be well read at home.

There are little details in the illustrations that will be missed if you don't look carefully.  How many animals can you identify?  Can you imagine trying to engineer an ark?

This story made Noah come alive for me.  He has a wife he loves, he has a child and he has friends.  He does what God asks even if his neighbors think he's crazy.  And he's content that he has done his duty at the end of the story.  This was a lovely read. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

What Dog Knows by Sylvia Vanden Heede, Marije Tolman

Wolf is tired of dog always being smarter than he is, so he checks a book out on facts from the library.  The fact that he can't read has nothing to do with it.

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

This is a children's educational book that is done in a unique style with lots of fun thrown in with the facts.  The subjects covered are diverse, ranging from mummies to dragons and your child gets offered ideas on activities that can be at home as well as a quiz at the end of each section to see if they've learned the content.  It's only one question and it's not difficult, they won't notice they're learning.

Here's sample page from the inside of the book:
This shows the quiz and the type of activities offered.

I really liked the way this was put together.  The competition between dog, wolf and the cat is fun to read about and makes the learning fun.

Miss Seeton at the Helm by Hampton Charles

Miss Seeton is very excited.  She's won a trip to Greece.  Her friends George and Emily are going and she's thrilled at seeing all the artwork and architecture.  She doesn't know that Scotland Yard is paying for the trip and they hope she can help them solve a case.  She also doesn't know that another murder will happen while they are on the ship...

Farrago and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It is being published today.

It's an odd group on the ship.  There's a TV star that has a new girlfriend draped on him.  His ex-wife is part of the tour, too.  There's a relatively young couple, a man who is fighting the TV star in a law suit, and a man who lectures to the tour.  Most are acquainted and know each other but some are strangers.  

Miss Seeton saves a man who's on a walk and almost falls from the trail.  He was actually trying to push the man ahead of him off the trail but she doesn't see that.  I think this ability to not see how dangerous is it is what keeps her alive.

There's been a con game going on that is mostly likely to come to light during the lawsuit.  The man who shares the profits of the con with the TV star wants the other man killed.  Since Miss Seeton stopped that, the TV star is not sure what to do next.  Before he can decide, he ends up dead.  Then Miss Seeton gets hit in the head and her sketches stolen.

George calls the newspaper gal, Mel, and asks her to get hold of the Oracle and get him over to take over the case.  It's a complicated case with a sad ending but Miss Seeton sails through.  I have to say that the Oracle disappointed me in this story.  He does something that seems totally out-of-character for him.  I'll have to read the next book to see how this gets resolved.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Geis: A Matter of Life & Death by Alexis Deacon

She's a very well studied girl and is at the meeting because she was invited.  They are there to determine the next chief in the village.  Those who hold high positions think they should get them automatically.  The will from the dead chief states that they must pass a test to win.  They protest but no one listens.  Magic disperses them all over the Kingdom.

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

This is a graphic novel that combines, magic, myth, folktales and more together to tell the tale.

Those that don't return to the castle by dawn will die.  They all have to endure hardships to get there and some give up.  The girl is determined and goes to her father's library to look up information about death magic.  What she finds doesn't encourage her but she's still in castle at dawn.  Even though the prince tried to kill her three times or so.

The graphics are well done, the story is interesting, and there will be more of this story.  Any who survived the first test now has another test coming up...

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

Nina works at the library and she loves connecting people with books that resonate for them.  She knows a lot about books and it's the perfect job for her.  Unfortunately, her library is being closed and she has a chance to reapply to the main library or she can find a new job.  While she's trying to recover from the job loss, she keeps bringing library books home.  Her roommate is not thrilled.  She doesn't want more books in their home.  But what's Nina to do?  Then she got an idea...

William Morrow and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 20th.

I really loved this book.  I'm addicted to reading and have my own book business so I knew how Nina felt.  I also know how rewarding it is to recommend a book and have people get excited over reading it.  Books talk to me and this one talked pretty loud!

She decides to buy a van and run a mobile bookshop.  She doesn't have much money so she looks for an older used van.  She finds one.  It's been sitting for a long time and doesn't look like much, but she takes it for a test drive.  She also stalls it on the railroad track crossing and almost gets hit by a train. She meets the men on the train and they get her off the tracks so they can go on.  She begins a friendship with one of the men she hopes might turn into something more.

When she gets back, the man who owns the van refuses to sell it to her.  She goes home heartbroken.  A call from the pub owner offers her an opportunity; the two men in the pub and the owner will buy the van and then resell it to her for the purchase price.  She says she needs to think about it.  She does and she buys it.  Then she goes on to the adventure of her life...

She finds out she can't do her mobile business in the big city but she can in the small town where the van is.  So she moves.  Her new landlord is grouchy and rude but he has a lovely place in the barn he will rent to her.  It takes a bit to get the van cleaned up and ready to go but when she starts visiting the town, folks flock to her.  There hasn't been a library or bookshop in town for ages.  She's not making a lot of money but she's staying alive.  Nina likes to help people and her landlord calls her a do-gooder, but she doesn't care.  And, soon, he seems to be helping, too. 

This is a sweet story with some strange happenings that's set in Scotland.  Nina finds her life purpose and meets her love in this small town.  That awful loss of job turned out to be the beginning of her life as a stronger woman.

Give this one a read; it'll make you smile.

The Ghosts of Pebble Brook Lodge by Linda Covella

Pepper has had to move again.  Her parents refurbish homes, restaurants, even lodges.  They are also chefs.  Every time Pepper has made a new friend that she really likes, they move.  At least this time it's just some miles away, not states away.  She was doing OK with the change until she saw the ghost...

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

Pepper and her little sister explore the lodge but it's huge.  One unique thing about it is that a river runs through the restaurant.  It's pretty and soothing and not very deep.  It's also where a young girl died.  Pepper hears the story at a shop downtown and when she mentions it to her mother she confirms it's true.  Her little brother was accused of killing her and they say he's not right in the head.  He's an adult now and Pepper admires his skill at carving.  She also sees his gentle nature and thinks that he couldn't be a murderer.  But how to prove it?

This has a feel of the old fashioned mysteries I used to read as a child.  It's written for young adults and is a very pleasant read.  Pepper has the ability to see ghosts but she can't figure out what they are trying to tell her.  She finds four different ghosts and they all have part of the story.

Ms. Covella makes everything fit together smoothly.  There are scary moments and one evil ghost but Pepper prevails.  There's plenty of action and her words carried me down the trail to the end of the story with anticipation of how it would end.

This is the second in this series and I'm sure there will be more to come.  It will be fun to see Pepper grow up and conquer more challenges.

Linda Covella will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.  Enter HERE.

Encourage your readers to follow the tour and comment; the more they comment, the better their chances of winning. The tour dates can be found HERE.

Good luck and happy reading!

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Secrets She Kept (Fairham Island #2) by Brenda Novak

Josephine is a toxic parent.  She is totally focussed on herself.  She keeps herself in shape, fixes any little flaws, has money, image and power in her world and she has no patience for anyone who might make her look bad, including her children...  

Mira Books sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published tomorrow and you can grab a copy then.  Or you could win my ARC!  See the last paragraph for how to enter the giveaway.
When she's found dead in her bathtub, her son knows she didn't commit suicide.  That was too messy and she never accepted any blame sent her way.  She was on a trip to Australia the next day.  She was even packed to go.  He and she might not have gotten along well, but he knows she was too proud to be found that way after death.  She would have been wearing good clothing and been made up and on the bed with her hands crossed.  No ignominious death for her.  The police chief and the coroner don't agree, so he goes home to handle it...

Keith had been involved with drugs but by moving away to California, working out like crazy and starting his own business, he managed to stay away from them.  Now that he's back home, his sisters worry about him.  He tells them he's been clean for five years but they worry.  He's executor of the estate, so he'll be around for a while.  Especially since he's trying to prove she was murdered.

Josephine had secrets from the past.  They had found that out in the previous book, when they discovered they had an older sister she never talked about.  They had located her and the family was complete now.  But there was another secret she never told.  And she lived a false life as well.

While Josephine was not a good mother, she did teach them life skills trying to stay ahead of her or away from her.  No one was all that sad that she died.  They regretted the lack of a healthy relationship with her but not her death.  Keith was right, though.  She had been murdered.  And it takes all the efforts of the siblings to solve the mystery.

This was a romantic mystery with dysfunctional people and death intertwined.  There's a lot of trauma but it was a good read overall.

I will be giving away the ARC I read.  To enter the contest, leave a comment here on the blog and email me:  info at  Send me your name and address and I will pull a name out of a hat in a week.  Here's a chance for a free read!

A Deadly Affection by Cuyler Overholt

Genevieve has become a doctor as her father wished.  However, she's specializing in psychology and her father would have preferred a medical doctor degree.  He's willing to let her try, though.  He just doesn't understand how far she is willing to go to help her patients.

Sourcebooks Landmark and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 6th.

This is a Victorian mystery and the first in a new series.  The author gets very detailed in descriptions of the past as well as the present.  It read a bit slowly but it was interesting and kept me going.  One thing that happens as Genevieve tries to prove her patient did not kill the doctor is that everyone lies when it's convenient.  It could be to protect her, to save her being hurt, or because it benefits them but she can't even trust her own father.

The women she's seeing are all women suffering physical illnesses from caused by traumatic situations.  This can range from a crib death, to sudden death of a spouse, or loss of a parent.  The ladies get so upset they start having physical symptoms.  She hopes to discuss the issues of mental health and resolve their physical well being.  She tells them it's okay if they are angry.  One asks if it's okay to be happy because an ill person has died.  Caretakers tend to feel guilty because in some cases they welcome death.  While she tries to help them, she's also working on the murder case of her patient.  She doesn't believe she did it, but she's afraid she might have.

The case is complicated.  The policeman doesn't want to listen to her, he has his suspect.  When she goes to court to see if they charge her, she finds an old flame in court.  He's there to take responsibility of some young boys and offer them jobs.  She feels a spark of interest in him.  She also needs his help.

When she visits with him, she begins uncovering lies her father told her.  She also finds her patient has some secrets.  The further she goes in the investigation, the more complex the case gets.

Genevieve is no young girl but she still has a lot of growing up to do.  She does in this story.  She even defies her father and society by telling the truth to a victim that has no clue about her condition.

I could never have lived in Victorian times.  They would have shunned me and left me out of social events.  I don't think I would have minded that...

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Madeline Finn and the Library Dog by Lisa Papp

Madeline does not like to read.  She has trouble with the words, others make fun of her, and she can just do without reading.  That isn't true in school or in life.  She tries.  She really tries and all she gets is hearts that say try harder.  She wants a star...

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

This book is close to my heart.  I've been reading since age three and I've helped others learn to read by reading together, letting them read to me and finding them books that they will enjoy.  This book talks about a new way to help children learn and it's even more special.

Since Madeline can't read well enough to get a star, her mother takes her to the library.  The librarian asks to come with her and takes her to a room where everyone is reading.  She's amazed to see that they are reading to dogs!  When the librarian introduces her to Bonnie, a big white dog, she finds that Bonnie doesn't give her dirty looks, squint at her, or comment.  She just waits.  She'll let her try a word more than once.  And she can pet Bonnie as she's reading which helps her calm down.  Soon, she even gets a star!

Bonnie has one more surprise for Madeline.  I like that one best.

Machinations by Hayley Stone

Rhona is a warrior.  She's smart, fearless, and battle worn.  The world she lives in is tired and worn out, but she refuses to give up.  The machines have become their enemy and they want to kill all the humans.  She's on a mission to kill them first.

Hydra and Net Galley gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published July 26th.

The author begins the story by killing the main character.  That doesn't sound like a good start but don't worry.  She knew there was a good chance of that happening and she had DNA set aside so she could be cloned.  The problem is that when she awakens, she knows she's not what she was before but she doesn't know why.  What she remembers and what she doesn't is hard to deal with.  She also is not sure if they are all valid memories or parts of dreams.  And her lover from the past wants nothing to do with her.  He lost Rhona, has grieved seriously over her, and he doesn't want to open his heart and get hurt again.  Besides, she's not the real thing.

They don't have a lot of time to get her adjusted and back into the fold because the machines are coming after them hard.  Someone is trying to kill Rhona in the facility.  She doesn't know why but she knows she has to be alert.

This is a bit like a space opera.  We're here on earth but it's not an earth we've seen and I hope we never do.  Humans have leached the land, destroyed nature and natural elements, and there's really nothing to live for except other humans.  The machines want to remove the humans so nothing worse happens.  You can't really blame them.  There's a lot of gun battles and death in the story but there's still hope at the end.  The machines won't give up but neither will the humans.  There could be a sequel if the author is so inclined.  I enjoyed this read.  Sci/Fi can be a great read and this one is.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Behind Closed Doors by B A Paris

Grace had a good job, loved her little sister with Down's syndrome and enjoyed her life.  When her sister starts waltzing in the park with no partner, she thinks it's special that she learned to dance like that.  When a man walks towards her, she gets up to defend her.  But he just bows and then dances with Millie.  He touches her heart when he does that.  Then he asks her out on a date.  She should have said no...

St. Martin's Press sent me a copy an early reader's edition of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published August 9th.

This book scared me.  It's so plausible it's chilling.

Grace is charmed by Jack and he's so loving and caring.  He builds her her dream house for a wedding gift and they go to Thailand on their honeymoon.  She's thrilled to have found her love, she'd almost given up on the idea.  But Jack has secrets.  He's movie star pretty and they depict a perfect marriage but what happens at home is another story.

He doesn't even come home on their wedding night.  She's all dressed up when she leaves the bathroom but he's gone.  He tells the hotel staff that she has mental problems.  Then he begins locking her out on the patio all day while he does his thing.  He's not only a controller.  He's eats fear.  He wants her scared, he gets his jollies from that.

Every time she tries to escape, he locks her in for days.  He takes away her visits to Millie.  He forgets to feed her.  And if she defies him enough, he locks her in the basement.  He's playing mind games with her and he's winning.  There is only one way out for her.  And she's not thinking suicide.

This is a tense, suspenseful read that I couldn't put down.  It has a nice ironic ending, too.  Give it a try, you won't be bored.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Warship Jolly Roger by Sylvain Runberg, Miquel Montlló

The prisoners have broken out and while those who instigated it are dead and many others have been recaptured, the prisoner the president is most afraid of has escaped.  He should be afraid.  He railroaded Munro into prison for war crimes when he was following orders...

Magnetic Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published August 9th.

This a graphic novel with luscious artwork by Miquel Montllo.  Sylvain Runberg has written a story that resembles a Star Wars scene.  It's a nasty world in the future where those with money and power rule and scapegoats are created when necessary.

Munro takes three other prisoners with him.  It's escape or go in front of a firing squad, so they decide to take their chances.  Munro takes charge but everyone has important things to do if they are going to stay alive.

Starships in the sky with doublecrossers everywhere makes the story exciting.  Thirteen is young man who doesn't talk but has an owl drone who is deadly.  The girl is only along for the ride because Munro won't let her go.  And the other man is a con man who kills so there are no witnesses.  This mismatched team works well together.

They kidnap the president, Munro destroys his face, and then he sets him free in a pod.  The president then kills his son.  If he thought Munro was a problem before, I can guarantee you he will be now.

I'm going to have to read this next book in this series and see who wins.

The Angels' Share (The Bourbon Kings #2) by J.R. Ward

The King of Bourbon is dead.  Who will replace him?

NAL sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you). It will be published July 26th.  If you haven't read the first one in the series, you might consider doing that for continuity.  This book can be read as a standalone, though.

When you are living in a family of wealth, finding out you're broke can be a big shock.  It seems dad was spending money faster than he was making it.  He took out debt and then backed it with the family's assets.  The only good thing is that he's dead; now they can blame all the law violations on him.  Unfortunately, it turns out he was murdered instead of a suicide.  That's good news, though.  Then they can collect his life insurance.  Guess what?  He let the policy lapse six months ago...

This family has secrets, big secrets.  Lane finds that his father's assistant who committed suicide after his father's death has a child.  That child looks just like him.

Edward is trying to drink himself to death.  After all, he was tortured and physically disabled while being held captive overseas and his father was the one who told the terrorists where to find him.  But he refused to pay the ransom.  He lost his ability to work with horses and his opportunity for love.  Why not give up?

Max has his own business and he's doing pretty well.  He's found a new woman to be interested in.

The sister is getting married to a monster so she will have the money she's used to.  He makes her sign a pre-nup so she can't get any of his.  She sells her wedding diamond and puts the proceeds in a safe deposit box for her daughter.  She knows the man she married will kill her.  But maybe she can kill him first...

Lane takes over the business and continues to work on his divorce.  He has a new love that helps him calm down and deal with life.  He also finds that he has some of his father's characteristics.  He will get the results he wants even if he has to purchase some and blackmail others.  But he's doesn't overuse these tactics and wouldn't use them at all if he wasn't desperate.

I enjoyed this read a lot more than the first book.  That one was just too depressing.  This one has bad spots and I feel real bad for one character but I bet there will be another book in this series.  I'll have to read that one, too, because the author has captured my interest. Someone has to find a happy ending in this family.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Every year, a new baby is left in the woods.  It's said to be a sacrifice to the witch so their homes will be safe, but those leaving the baby behind assume animals get it.  Little do they know there is a witch...

Algonquin Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published August 9th.

The witch takes the babies to the free cities where families are happy to adopt them.  She thinks she's saving the babies but she doesn't know that someone in the city that sacrifices them lives off sorrow.  She tortures people, affects the weather and does all she can to fill her black heart.  She hides behind a nun's veil but she's pure evil.

I really enjoyed this story.  There is good and evil, magic, and even love in the story.  When Xan feeds the child the starlight to keep her nourished only she doesn't notice how late it's getting.  Before she notices, she's fed the baby moonlight and that changes everything.  She can't put her out for adoption, she's going to have to raise her herself and show her to use magic.  Good idea, but it doesn't work out.  The girl finds her magic at age 5 and doesn't understand a thing about controlling it.  Xan puts a spell on her to slow her down and allow her some maturity first.

Meanwhile, the girl's mother is in a tower as a prisoner of the nun who loves sorrow.  She's learned enough not to feed the nun and she's learned some magic from the years of being alone.  That will come in handy.

The young man that didn't want to leave the baby in the woods has changed his profession.  He's a carpenter now.  He's also married and his baby will be the next one that will go in the woods.  He's made up his mind that he's going first and he will kill the witch.  His uncle sends the nun after him as an assassin.

With all that going on, don't forget the bog monster and the perfectly tiny dragon.  They have their parts in this story, too.

This is an excellent fantasy read that I loved.  Why don't you give it a try?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

H.A.L.F.: The Makers by Natalie Wright

Could you go to an alien world and fit in? Would you like to be used as a test subject for the gray ones?  What's worse, your boyfriend got left behind.  What hope do you have for survival?  This author gives us a story that answers some of those questions.

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

Erika is seventeen and is learning about love.  She has a special relationship with Tex, a hybrid human and robot.  She loves Jack who got left behind.  And she appreciates Ian, another male friend.  When she regains consciousness after the kidnapping, she is in a dark place and unable to move.  She eventually realizes that Ian is there.  But Tex and the doctor who created him are not.  They're all prisoners and the jailer is another gray one but much smaller and part human.  It only does what it's told.  It has no choice.

This is a complex sci fi story with lots of different components.  They've been taken into the future through time travel.  The aliens inject them with a virus that can kill them.  They give Erika the antidote but not Ian.  So her first quest is to get the medicine before Ian dies.

While she's working on that, the queen of the grays is working on Tex.  She wants him for new breeding stock.  He desires her sexually and she shows him how they connect telepathically and have a hive mentality.  If he joins her, he'll be revered as her mate and will be part of their community.  But he's been with humans for a long time and he's confused.

Jack is back on earth fighting to release the military soldier who ordered his death.  Life is complicated on earth, too.  

This is a busy story with multiple plots that keeps you reading.  This is the second in this series I've read so far and I haven't been disappointed with either.  I hope the next will tie the story up, but there's more danger coming.  This earth of the future is very dangerous from its own occupants to the predators in space...

Natalie Wright will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via RAFFLECOPTER during the tour.

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

Happy reading and good luck! 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Nothing Short of Dying: A Clyde Barr Novel by Erik Storey

Are you ready for a fast dangerous ride through the forest?  Have you got all your weapons with you?  Can you trust the ones you're with?  Then let's ride!

Scribner and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published August 16th.

Clyde Barr just got out of a Mexican jail and he's camping in Colorado.  He needs to rest and regroup before he continues on into Alaska and the wilds.  He's had it with people and mercenary work.  Then his sister calls and tells him he needs to come get her or she's going to be killed in a few days.  So much for resting...

Clyde calls in some markers on his way in.  He needs to know where his sister is and who might have her.  The answer isn't good news.  It's a new drug dealer in town and he's elusive.  But Clyde can be elusive, too.

This is fast paced hard hitting suspense story with lots of a bad guys, no hesitation about taking lives, and is filled with constant danger.  Even the so-called friends Clyde have are full of self-interest and greed.  He has to be careful with everyone.

Those who are faint of heart need not read this book.  It's not a kind book.  But it will keep you in your chair reading until you're done.  And you'll have big breath to let out at the end.  So it's up to you...

This Must Be the Place By Maggie O’Farrell

He should just stay away from women.  Or maybe they should stay away from him.  He's not real lucky in love...

Knopf sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  It is being published today.

Daniel starts life with great expectations.  He has a wife and children and a good job and he's happy with life.  Until he finds she's been sleeping with someone else.  Then it's divorce, a custody battle and she won't let him see the children.

His next great love he left behind when he went to his mother's funeral.  He intended to go back but didn't make it.  He did send a letter; she didn't see it.

His second marriage and final love blow up in his face when he finds out his middle love died twenty years ago.  He goes back to the US to see his father (he's living in Italy at the time) and he takes a side trip to the past.  When he tells his current wife about it and admits what actually happens, she's upset with him and leaves, with his other children.  

The book bounces from character to character, from time period to time period, and it made it a bit confusing to read.  There was a lot of detail about his and her previous lives.  It's all drama, trauma, drugs and alcohol, and mixed up and misunderstood emotions.  It takes him a long time to get back to life.  If you enjoy family drama, this book is for you.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Dragon Age: Magekiller by Greg Rucka, Carmen Carnero

They are paid to kill mages.  Mages are dangerous, can be bought to serve one side or the other, and the damage is bad when they are fighting.  Drawing up demons doesn't endear them to society.  So these two travel the land and, when paid enough, will kill the mage more as damage control than blood thirst.  It's still bloody, though.

Dark Horse Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published August 9th.

The assassins are quick with their weapons and in good physical shape but they need their brains and their partner to stay alive.  When they are forced to work for one leader, they know when they have accomplished their goal, he'll kill them.  They do part of the work and then run, right into another battle.

This is fast paced with lots of death and monsters as well as the mage killers and their friends.  There are even some lovers for a brief moment.  The artwork is impressive.  Here's a sample:

Dark Horse always has dark stories but I find their story lines fascinating and the artwork is fantastic.  I can put up with a bit of gore for the rest of the experience.  This is a tale of a world falling apart and most everybody is doing what they have to for survival.  Are you ready to go fight monsters?

Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Altogether Unexpected Disappearance of Atticus Craftsman by Mamen Sánchez

This begins as the story of a young well-to-do young man that has been spoiled with the best his whole life.  He's now working for his father's publishing company and he's sent to Madrid to shut down a literary magazine that is losing money.  He agrees to go and look the records over and, if necessary, shut it down.  The whole office is run by women.  The jobs are a blessing for them.  The boss gets the idea they are going to lose their jobs, so they decide to do something about it...

Atria Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published August 9th.

This is a charming story that works its way into your heart.  Atticus is good looking, popular among the women, confident and he likes things in order and his life to go on as programmed.  The five women in this magazine venture are going to mess that up properly.

The boss lady asks the youngest and prettiest one to flirt with him.  She takes him off on a secret mission to find some long lost papers written by a popular author.  He foresees a literary coup and goes off with her and her uncle.  He meets her family, which is an experience not many Englishmen share.  After he's been wined and dined and danced and drunk, he begins to fit in with the family members and he definitely falls in love with the lovely young woman.  However, she doesn't want to marry him.  He's heart broken.

While all this going on, his father is upset because he's out of contact.  He doesn't know where he is or why it's taking this long.  He and his wife finally come to look for him.

Meanwhile the group at the office has found out why the magazine is failing.  Someone was committing fraud and getting double paid for invoices.  As they work on resolving that, mom and dad show up the office looking for Atticus.

It seems that in Spain, love is in the air.  The cop on the case finds a soft spot for the boss lady.  Atticus has his girl.  His parents even feel more amorous.

I enjoyed this tale a lot.  There's plenty of action, everything gets straightened out eventually and it was fun to read.  Why don't you give it a try?

The Drawing Lesson: A Graphic Novel That Teaches You How to Draw By Mark Crilley

He wants to learn to draw because one of his friends at school can do real neat drawings of expensive cars.  When he meets a lady sketching a picture at the park, he tries to convince her she should teach him.  She keeps telling him no.  He keeps not listening...

Watson-Guptill published this book on July 5th.  I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review (thank you).

I really liked how Mr. Crilley put this together.  He gives you small little lessons from the beginning that will grow into an ability to do a complete drawing at the end.  The graphic form really works for this because he demonstrates the right way and the wrong way to do it.

The other part I liked was the relationship between the young woman and the boy.  She doesn't want to teach him, he's pesty and hangs around too much, and he frustrates her.  Of course, she frustrates him, too, because she makes him fix or redraw the picture.  But he does learn.  When she has to move, he's heartbroken.  But he's still drawing years later when a little girl finds him on the bench and asks if he would teach her...

This is a sweet and easy way to learn the basics of drawing.  I sure could have used this when I was young.  Now I have other interests but any budding artist might appreciate the insight shown on these pages.  Why not share it with yours?

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Horus and the Curse of Everlasting Regret by Hannah Voskuil

Peter can't imagine spending summertime home.  His father will be gone on a trip and he'll be there with his stepbrothers and stepmom.  The stepmom is nice enough but his stepbrothers devil him every chance they get.  And they get lots of chances.  He wants to go to summer camp, but it's expensive.  His only hope is if he can find this missing girl and get the reward.  He's willing to do almost anything to go to camp but he doesn't anticipate just how hard this case is going to be...

Knopf Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published August 9th.

Peter and Tunie meet each other at the museum.  Tunie is there doing her father's job because he's ill and Peter sneaks in through an unlatched window.  He's getting away from his brothers but when he tells her about the missing person case, she's ready to help.  He's not sure he wants her help, but he will need it.  Imagine their surprise when the museum director catches them in the building and wants to eject them and a mummy makes them invisible!  How can a mummy be alive?  Horus explains.

Tunie is a good friend.  She even speaks up to his stepbrothers and makes them stop picking on him in the alley.  It helps that she has a pet bat that works with her.  It doesn't take long until Peter is glad she's his friend.

This is not a pleasant case because one of the kidnappers is a cop.  When they report their findings to him, he has his accomplice remove the evidence and they move the girl.  When Tunie and then Peter get caught by the kidnappers it looks bad.  But Tunie has left a note and her bat behind and the bat manages to get the point across.

The story is exciting, you learn about Horus' background and the curse he has on him and he helps save the kidnapped kids, too.  It's an adventure that could have ended badly but with the bat and the mummy and smart children involved, it comes out just fine.  This was a very good read.

An Untimely Frost by Penny Richards

She's doing well as an actress; she has a lot of talent.  She's been saving her money and dreaming of having a home and a family.  Her husband doesn't work much but she has plans.  That all changes dreadfully when he assaults her boss' wife and takes the money that Lily was saving.  Even worse, he's taken all the money she had in her room, too.  Lily has no money, no husband, and not much hope for the future.  While she's trying to overcome her loss, she reads an ad in the paper asking for female operatives to work for Pinkerton...

Kensington Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published July 26th.  This is the first in a new series.

Lily is no shrinking violet and is suited for the Pinkerton job but she's also quite young.  They interview her but don't ask her back.  She's devious enough that she comes back as two different characters and does additional interviews.  They decide to hire the older woman and are astonished to see that Lily is acting the part.  The best part is their father is there and he tells her she's hired, conditionally.  She has to take this missing person case first and they will see how she does with that.

No one in town wants to talk about the preacher and his family.  They disappeared one night and most people think that's a good thing.  She's looking for them to get permission to sell the house.  What she finds is a lot of hidden hurt and more than one insane person.  The further she digs, the more dangerous the situation gets for her.  She also has a man that is pestering her all the time.  She wishes he'd go away.  He's attractive and nice but she's been burned in the man department and she's not looking for a new one.  It's a good thing he's persistent because he's able to save her from a slow death.

The town has secrets, the house has secrets and the preacher's wife has secrets.  As all those secrets get uncovered, death draws closer to Lily.  It takes all her strength and resources to keep going when the answers aren't clear.  I think she's going to make it as a Pinkerton detective...

Friday, July 15, 2016

The Sound of Running Horses by Donna Ball

Aggie and her husband, Ryan, were taking a well deserved day off.  Ryan is taking her to an island that hardly anyone visits and they will have a picnic on the beach.  They don't even get the picnic set up when Aggie is called back to investigate a shark attack...

The author and Goddess Fish Blog Tours gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can grab a copy on Amazon.

Aggie is the police chief of Dogleg Island, where they live.  Her husband is a deputy sheriff.  Upon their return, they find out it's a false alarm.  The lady evidently got a cut from a floating log and the shark attack was a false alarm.  

Aggie is back at work after almost dying in the last story.  She's still a bit shaky and her brain isn't working as fast as usual but it's working.  She keep seeing things that don't add up and hearing things that don't make sense but it takes her a while to put it all together.

If a shark attack isn't enough, her dog finds a dead body on their picnic site.  That ends the idea of having a day off or a picnic.

As Aggie digs through the few facts she has and keeps asking questions, she's making more people upset.  One of them is a council member which means she might be looking for a new job soon.  She doesn't stop asking questions.

The story is fast paced, has lots of action and has plenty going on.  There is convicted convict running with a young girl playing Bonnie and Clyde and killing people that are heading their way.  The rich aren't.  The good boys aren't either.  The ending is fast and furious and you're not sure how it's going to work out until the last page.  I like this kind of mystery and enjoyed the characters, too.  Especially the dog named Flash who is still trying to figure out humans...

Donna will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.  Enter HERE.

Encourage your readers to follow the tour and comment; the more they comment, the better their chances of winning. The tour dates can be found HERE.

Happy reading and good luck! 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Watching Edie by Camilla Way

Edie was beautiful and a bit wild.  She did booze and drugs and slept with her boyfriend and his friends.  She was out of control at 17.  When the worst happens, she tells her mother.  Her mother throws her out of the house.  She leaves her mom and that town behind and goes to live with her uncle.  She doesn't stay in touch.  She hasn't any desire to see what happened after the main event.  So she's totally shocked when she opens the door one day and sees Heather in the hallway.  Heather was the friend she left behind.  Why is she here in her new life?

NAL and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published August 2nd.

Edie is pregnant now.  She had a one night fling and has never told the man (who already had a family he had to sponsor into this country) that she got pregnant.  She's hoping her child will be a boy.  Unfortunately, it's a little girl.  And, Heather, who is still the same as she used to be, stays to help with the baby.  At first it's fine.  Then Edie finds out that Heather is controlling her by telling people to stay away and fielding her phone calls.  It gets worse...

Edie destroyed Heather's life in the past.  Heather is pretending things are fine but Edie knows they aren't.  She just doesn't know what the past will cost her in the present...

This is a creepy tale of revenge served cold.  No one comes out unscathed.  It's suspenseful and sad.  Lives that could have been so much fall apart and can't be put back together again.  I'm glad my puberty was much quieter...

Eeny Up Above! Jane Yolen, Kathryn Brown (Illustrated by)

Eeny is a mole.  Her sisters are very happy in their home but Eeny is more adventuress.  She goes up and samples all of the seasons of the y...