Monday, December 31, 2018

The End of the World and Beyond by Avi

He's only twelve but since he was charged with thievery, he's being sent to the states to serve as a servant for seven years.  He thought the boat was shipwrecked but the authorities disagreed.  Not only that, they are sending his sister to the states also.  He tries to stay with her but they are separated.  Now what?

Algonquin Young  Readers and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 29th.

Oliver has no idea how ugly things can get.  He's put in chains, attached to another prisoner and they all suffer in the hold.  When there's a big storm, they are set free to help the ship stay afloat.  Then they are chained again and return to the hold.

Upon arrival in the states, they are sold into service.  Those with skills go first.  Then the strong ones.  And when it's all over, Oliver has still not been taken.  So he goes to jail...

Someone finally comes and claims him for a ridiculous amount of money.  Now he's an indentured servant and his master is even worse than the ship captain.  He beats Oliver and Bara for no reason.  They work all day and get a small meal before bedtime.  The owner had killed the previous servant he had, so Oliver believes his threats.  All he and Bara can do is try to escape.  And they may die doing that.  There are predators in the swamp besides the humans.

This gives you an idea of how awful things were for slaves and indentured servants.   There's danger, nerves and threats everywhere.  Will Oliver survive?

Sunday, December 30, 2018

No Exit by Taylor Adams

This book chilled me.  It focuses on one of my fears and it made the story feel all the more real to me...

William Morrow and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 15th.  

Darby is trying to get home to see her mother before she dies.  It was going pretty well until she hit a blizzard.  The snow is piling up so fast on the pass that she has to stop at the nearest rest area.  There are others stranded there.  They won't be able to leave until morning as the snowplows can't get there until then.  At least they are fairly warm and out of the snow.  But when Darby goes out to call and tell them she can't get there that night, she can't get a signal outside either.  When she goes back, she goes through the parking lot and finds something she doesn't want to see.  There is a young girl caged in the back of a van.  The van is locked so she goes back in the building and tries to decide who to trust...

Being landlocked in the rest stop is bad enough but someone in this building is a psychopath.  It soon turns into a kill or be killed situation.  Darby is not a murderer but she does want to stay live and get to her mom.

The suspense and tension is almost overwhelming.  She has multiple enemies and a mission to save the little girl.  The method of killing is awful.  I read it straight through in one evening.  It's not one you want to read in pieces...

Saturday, December 29, 2018

The Story Pirates Present: Digging Up Danger by Story Pirates, Jacqueline West, Hatem Aly

Eliza wants to be a ghost hunter.  Her mother is a biologist that specializes in plants.  She takes Eliza with her to work on identifying new plants that have been found.  The people she's working for are a bit weird but that's not the only weird thing going on...

Random House Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).   It will be published January 15th.

This is an interesting mystery that's a bit scary.  The berries on one plant are dangerous.  If you eat one and the moonlight hits you, you turn into a dog!  While you're reading this mystery, they give you clues on how to write your own mystery, what questions you should answer in your story and more.  After your child enjoys this story, they can work on writing their own.

When Eliza and her mother put their talents together, they manage to solve this mystery and return life to normal.  I enjoyed the story.  And I like writing stories, too.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Freya & Zoose by Emily Butler

Freya, a penguin, has read about traveling and wants to do it herself.  The one trip she tried stranded her, so when some men come to fly a balloon to the North Pole she decides this is her chance to escape the island...

Crown Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 15th.

She finds a perfect spot in the wicker basket and creates her a hiding spot.  She makes several trips supplying it with what she needs.  She's all excited about her trip until she finds out there's a stowaway with her.  A mouse is using her secret spot, too.  In some ways it's nice but he talks a lot and is a bit selfish so she's not real excited about it.  She can't do anything about it, though.

The trip is long and dangerous.  Flying the balloon isn't as smooth as anticipated because the weather keeps changing.  The humans lighten the load and it helps some.  But more trouble is to come.

They meet a polar bear who is quite deadly, a fox and a narwhale, and the weather turns out to be deadly to the men.  It's good thing the penguin and the mouse become friends with each other.  They take care of themselves and each other and survive.

This was an unusual adventure written for little ones.  They will learn about different animals, the dangers of cold weather, and more.  I found it to be an interesting read with fascinating characters.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Max and the Midknights by Lincoln Peirce

Max is traveling as a troubadour but she really wants to be a knight.  Not only does she not have a chance since she's not at the castle and can't learn to be one, she's also female and they can't be knights.  But Max isn't giving up.

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

She's excited to meet knights on their journey but when they take her uncle away, she has to get him back.  He's family.  And the King has decided he will be his fool and make him laugh.  She walks to the castle and she and other children almost get caught by the knights as vagrants.  They hide successfully and they decide to help her set her uncle free.

There's a mean witch, a mumbling wizard, the previous King is dead, and the Kingdom is falling apart.  They begin by getting lost in the woods running away from the guards.  What they discover there is enlightening and they use that knowledge and their own cunning to go back to the castle.  One of them has a defective wand she's learning to use, the others have knowledge to share and Max has enough determination for all of them.

There's lots of action, touches of magic and fun characters for your young one to read about.  I'm sure this will be a hit with middle graders. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

The Darling Dahlias and the Poinsettia Puzzle by Susan Wittig Albert

Everybody in this story has a crisis of some kind.  But the Darling Dahlias are up to to meeting the challenge.  So are the other town people.

Persevero Press and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It has already been published and you can grab a copy now.

The newspaper editor finds his wife is writing a monthly check for someone.  He doesn't know why.  A man is killed in a traffic accident and his killer commits suicide at the prison.  But it isn't suicide.  A little girl who can sing and tap dance is being threatened by her father.  He wants her talent and the money she'll make him even if he tried to give her away for adoption after her birth.  A new bakery is opening but nobody knows how to make bread.  The prison is making moonshine.  The old sheriff took payoffs to ignore it.  The new sheriff isn't going to do that.

With all those problems, the story keeps you reading and wondering what's going to happen next.  The characters are enjoyable.  They're working on winning a puzzle contest.  You want to do a puzzle with them?

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Her One Mistake by Heidi Perks

Charlotte takes her friend's little one to the school fair with her children.  They go to play on one of the bubble houses.  When she looks up again, the little girl is missing.  She was following her children but she has disappeared now.  How do you tell a mother her child is missing?

Gallery Books and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 8th.

Nothing in this book is what it seems.  There are mind games, dysfunctional families, danger, and more all tied up in this story.  A happy marriage isn't.  While they search for the missing girl, secrets start coming out of the woodwork.  Will they find the girl in time?  Is one of the parents unstable?

Charlotte finds her friends aren't all real friends.  No one is speaking to her, plans get cancelled, she's become a pariah.   And she can't help feeling guilty and like a failure.

This is a complex story with lots of little nuances and an unexpected ending.  It'll take a while for the people in the case to come to terms with what has happened...

Monday, December 24, 2018

Scrublands by Chris Hammer

Martin is a journalist.  He's back from the war zone he was working in but he still feels the horror of being locked in a car trunk and thinking he might die there.  They send him out to write a story about how the town is reacting as the one year anniversary of a multiple killing comes around.  He finds out a lot more...

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

This is set in the outback of Australia.  The town is almost dead.   When the priest came out on the steps and shot five men before he was killed, it shocked the whole town.  The survivors aren't happy people.  And there are lots of secrets here...

As Martin tries to piece together why a priest would kill the men that died, he finds out other odd things.  Not everyone in town is sane, there are bikers that travel through, no one wants to tell the truth, and it takes a lot of time to make sense of what happened.

You learn about the land, follow along after Martin wondering who did what, there are two more dead bodies found, and Martin gets fired.  The story holds your interest and doesn't reveal the truth until the end.  I wouldn't want to live in this town...

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Comet Rising by MarcyKate Connolly

The wicked Lady that steals magic wants more.  All the talented children are hidden away but she has plans.  She'll make the comet come early and she'll question the historians of the group who knows where they are hid.  The worst part is that she makes the parents forget what's happened and pretends the children have won a scholarship to a marvelous school.  No, she just takes them home, changes them into flowers and uses their magic when she needs it...

Sourcebooks Jabberwocky and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 1st.

Emmaline and Lucas think they're safe at the moment but when Emmaline's shadow warns her of danger she doesn't believe her.  She's been trying to get out of the cage they imprisoned her in and she'll lie to do it.  Unfortunately, this time she was telling the truth.

When the soldiers come again, they run.  They also take the paperwork that will show them where other talented children are located.  But the Lady is ahead of them, stealing the children away.  Part of her garden is dying and she needs more magic.  However, the free children are banding together to save siblings and parents from the damage she's done.

This series is filled with magic and desperation and keeps you riveted to the pages until you see how it ends.  It's thrilling, exciting, and fun to read.  Share it with someone who likes fantasy.  They'll enjoy it! 

Saturday, December 22, 2018

The Golden Tresses of the Dead by Alan Bradley

Flavia's sister is getting married and she has mixed feelings about that.  She's glad she's happy and she's sad she's leaving.  As they cut the wedding cake, her sister breaks down.  She has a good reason.  She found a finger in the cake...

Delacorte Press and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 22nd.

Flavia being Flavia immediately takes away the finger and works on getting her sister back to the reception.  She'll examine the finger later.

Flavia is very interesting character.  She's young but she's also scientific.  She knows what kind of tests to run for poisons.  Her partner in crime is intelligent and helps her learn more all along the way.  The cake has been guarded so the finger had to have been added that day while it sat in the reception room.  Whose finger was it?

And why was their latest client poisoned?  After all, they were pretty sure she was lying to them about the case she wanted them to pursue.

There is a doctor who plays at being mentally disabled, the Vicar's wife is worried about the church's accounting records, and there aren't many clues.  As they determine the poison and wonder about the two missionary ladies staying with them temporarily, they keep trying to find the murderer...

Flavia always ends up too close to danger in her quests for the truth.  Youth isn't very cautious.  But Flavia and her partner do solve the mystery, even if it makes the inspector a bit unhappy.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Pirate Chicken: All Hens on Deck by Brian Yanish, Jess Pauwels

Children's picture books fascinate me.  The illustrations are great, a chicken acting like a pirate and and lots of unlikely events make this a good story for the little ones.  You might want to add some props that the little one can dress up in.  A handkerchief will suffice as a hat...

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

Lily doesn't want to stay on the boring farm.  She dreams of travel and seeing the world.  So when the pirates come and steal them, she's happy to go and she embraces the pirate's lifestyle.  Now she's got plenty eat and can travel, too.

As time goes on, the pirates go to check out an island and their boat floats away.  Lily declares herself captain.  But then the other chickens mutiny...

Lily isn't through planning, though.  She might be back with another adventure...

The Goose Egg by Liz Wong

Henrietta likes her quiet life.  She can nap when she wants, swim when she wants and doesn't have to worry about anyone else or noise.  That changes though.

Knopf Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you). It will be published January 22nd.

When Henrietta is enjoying her swim a little too much, she smacks into the one of the posts near the dock.  She notices she got quite a goose egg out of it and wraps her head up in a scarf.  What she doesn't realize is that she really does have a goose egg on her head.

The egg hatches and Henrietta has a companion.  When the goose grows enough to get along on her own, she takes her back to the goose families to reunite.  She doesn't expect to be sad over her quiet cottage.  It's too quiet!  The good news is that it doesn't stay that way long.  

This is a very cute, sweet story that will make you and your little one smile.  I enjoyed reading it.  Give a read and see what you think! 

Thursday, December 20, 2018

In the Company of Like-Minded Women by Elaine Russell

Lida is the middle one of three sisters.  She fell in love and wanted to marry.  Her parents forbid it, so she left home and moved away and married.  She now lives in Denver.  When her estranged older sister suggests they come visit for a while, she's excited to see them again.  She's always gotten along with her younger sister but her older one is bit like a stick in mud and shares her mother's beliefs.  It's not easy getting along for the older two after so long.  But things change...

PR by the Book and the author shared a copy of this book with me for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can grab a copy now.

Women are trying to attain voting rights and the temperance movement is well underway.  Lida's husband died and she's lost a child, too.  She decides to be active in the women's right to vote movement.  Her oldest sister is on the other side of the argument (just explain your thoughts to your husband and let him vote for you).  Mildred is hardcore temperance and wants to stop drinking.  Lida thinks a drink or two relax after working all day (as her husband did) is OK.  Just don't overdo.  The youngest sister, Eva, takes after Lida.  But she has her own problems.  She's in love with another "unsuitable" suitor.  That's why they drug her off to Denver.  She loves him and she's not willing to give him up.

This is an interesting read.  The sisters have their differences.  The older one finds her thoughts on life changing and she's more sympathetic to her sister's cause.  She also begins to see her mother's flaws and finds she still loves her husband after all.  The changes are most apparent in Mildred but the others change in small ways, too.  I enjoyed the ending.  Did you?

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Friends to the End by Shelley Shepard Gray

Her big brother Andy and her parents are in Florida on vacation.  Trish didn't go because she feels like her life is not on track and wants some time to think.  She goes up to the cabin the family owns to think about what to do.  She never expected to get snowed in!

Gallery Books and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published February 11th.

When Trish calls Andy and tells him she's stuck, there's no electricity and not much food, he calls a friend to go rescue her.  After all, the Amish use horses and snow won't slow their buggy down.  It takes Logan a while to get there and it's still snowing a lot so he stays over, thinking they can head out in the morning.  Nope, it's still snowing...

Trish and Logan have crushes on each other but he's Amish and she's not.  Being alone together is not a good thing.  They're both trying to fight a relationship that can't be.  But something happens in that cabin that opens Trish's eyes and whether they meant to or not, they fall in love.  Can they make a relationship work?  Will they admit they love each?

The Current by Tim Johnston

She's going home to see her father, who is suffering from cancer.  She asks a college friend to give her a ride to the depot for her trip.  The friend offers to take her home and make a road trip out of it.  She accepts and everything is fine until they stop for gas.  Someone tries to rape Audrey and her friend helps her escape.  But it's not over yet.

Algonquin Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 22nd.

In their haste to get away, they slide off the icy road and end up next to the river.  A truck eventually shows up and they hope they will help them get back on the road.  Instead, it pushes them into the river...

This is a story full of ghosts from the past and a death that has not been solved.  A girl drowned ten years ago in the same river.  Was the one that pushed them into the water the same killer?

One lives, the other dies.  The surviving girl is trying to find the killer.  The story weaves between the past and the present.  It's hard to tie a wrong doer down when there is no evidence and the victims won't testify against them.

This is an interesting story but it was just a little too sad for me.  Everybody has sad moments in their lives but they also have happiness.  There wasn't much happy in this story but it did keep your attention and make you wonder who was killing the girls and why.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Bones Behind the Wheel: A Haunted Guesthouse Mystery by E. J. Copperman

They are working on the sand behind her house trying to redistribute up and down the beach to make it more people friendly.  Her house gets awful busy after they find a car buried in her backyard with a dead body in it...

Crooked Lane Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 18th.

She had no idea who the victim was or why he was buried in her backyard.  She hasn't owned the property that long.  A murder thirty years old is really a cold case so it doesn't look like she's going to get any peace real soon.

This was a fascinating history.  There was competition between car dealers, a womanizer, affairs all around, and none of it was adding up.  

Alison has the help of ghosts and there's some value to that but it also tends to make her look she's talking to herself.  They find bullet holes in the car, bullet holes in her house, an emerald here and there and nobody looks innocent.  The killer is the last person you'd expect and the living relatives are willing to do what it takes to keep the secrets secret.

You'll be amazed at how complicated it can be with ghosts and people messing with the facts and the evidence.  Alison is trying to work with the chief detective but she's not telling her anything.  It isn't long until Alison figures out too much...

Monday, December 17, 2018

A Matter of Trust by Winnie Griggs

Lucy and Toby are going out to pick berries for a pie when they run across two men attempting to rob another.  She's carrying a gun because of a dog attack not long ago (to protect Toby) and uses that to get them to leave.  She saves his life and he saves hers by hitting the gun out of the hands of one of the brothers.  She can't leave him there when he needs help but her reputation isn't good now and this won't help it.  She takes him home anyway.

Wild Heart Books let me read this story for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can get a copy now.

The man she saved is on a mission.  He's going to find his brother's lover and take the child from her.  It's an heir in his family and his father wants him raised at their home.  He'll have to heal before he continue on his quest, though.  And the longer he stays, the more fond he grows of Lucy.  The problem is that Lucy is the one he's hunting...

She's having the same problem.  She has a man that wants to marry her and is trying to blackmail her into it but she wants a love match and she doesn't love him.  She knows she's falling in love with the wrong man, but she can't help it.  Then he tells her he's come after Toby.

She's an honest person but he doesn't believe her because he's heard a different version at home.  She lets him take Toby and it rips her heart out.  Not only does he not believe or love her, he's taken her son.  Will she ever get him back?

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Freefall by Jessica Barry

When Allison sees her mother help her father die with morphine to save him the excruciating pain of cancer, she decides she hates her because she killed him.  She doesn't see any mercy, just feels the sense of having lost someone she didn't want to let go.  She moves out and doesn't contact her mother for years.

Vintage Digital sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published January 31st.

Allison has no job skills but she applies to be a waitress at a night club and gets the job.  They give her a skimpy costume, tell her to keep the customers happy and keep them drinking and it isn't until she's been there a while that she finds out what else she can do to make money.  If you drink enough and take some cocaine, you don't care what they do to you.  She's also making good money at it.  But one day things change...

When a handsome young man begins dating her and then moves her in to his place, she thinks she's safe and will live happily ever after.  He may look perfect, but he's not.

A stranger tells her he's evil and why.  She doesn't believe him.  But she wants to know for sure.  The next thing that happens is that there is an airplane crash and her mother is informed she died in the crash.  No, she didn't die in the crash but she's been injured.  She also knows she has to keep on the run to stay alive...

The story is fast reading, it's a tense thriller, and you aren't sure how it's going to turn out.  Each chapter is dedicated to the mother or the daughter.  You learn about the past as well as the present.  And it'll keep you turning those pages until the end... 

Saturday, December 15, 2018

A Risky Undertaking for Loretta Singletary by Terry Shames

Being a police chief in a small town shouldn't be that big a deal but it depends on the town.  The first thing that happens is a local goes missing.  No one knows where she went or what she was doing.  If that's not enough to shake things up, another woman her same age is missing in the next town.  When they find her dead, they really worry about Loretta...

Seventh Street Books sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published January 15th.

With help from his younger employees, he finds out Loretta signed up for a dating site.  It had a section for seniors and that's where she was looking for some male company.  They are horrified to think that she might have met someone who wasn't a nice person.  Samuel tries to get other agencies involved in the hunt but they're not interested.  They think whoever it is will fleece her out of her money and move on.  Loretta doesn't have money, so Samuel is still worried.  He's also worried when he finds out the minister in town is a womanizer that also uses the dating site.

This tale turned out a lot differently than I thought it would.  The kidnapper surprised me, the reason for it was unusual, and it almost ended badly.

I enjoyed Samuel as a character, I like his lady cop a lot, and he manages calm his town down again.  I wonder what his next adventure will be? 

Friday, December 14, 2018

Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

There's a popular tavern in town where the men go to drink and tell stories to each other. An incident can develop any number of different endings in time.  Each tells their own story with their own version of the ending.  But when an injured man comes into the tavern with a young girl in his arms, it's going to take some time before this tale is told...

Emily Bestler Books sent me an ARC of this to read for review (thank you).  According to the ARC, it will be published January 1st.

The young girl looks like a doll.  The nurse they call for help tells them she's dead.  But before the night is over, she's alive again.  She's not speaking.  No one knows who she is or where she came from.  And how could she be dead and then come back to life?  Everyone who meets her wants to adopt her.  But there are others that have lost children and hope this girl is the child returned...

One woman is looking for her little sister.  One couple is hoping it is their kidnapped daughter.  One grandfather hopes it's his missing granddaughter.

This is a long book to read.  There's a lot of family drama.  Everyone had secrets of some kind.  It takes until the end that you see how it all ties together.  

There are myths and fairy tales involved and new relationships are established as some of the old ones fall by the wayside.  There are even some pigs in the tale.  It's not all happy ever after but it's good enough and that's how life is for the most part.  

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Run Cold by Ed Ifkovic

Edna has come to Fairbanks to get a bit more background material and maybe an old prospector's tale or two so she can finish up her book.  She meets the man that supposedly is the meanest man in Alaska but now he's old and mostly drunk.  He has a friend named Sam, who also knows tales but doesn't want to share them.  Then, suddenly, they are both dead...

Poisoned Pen Press and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published February 19th.

Just reading the story made me feel cold.  The author depicts the weather accurately and I'm not fond of cold or snow.  But whoever is killing these old men is a cold person, too.  What's worse, he frames another man.

Edna knows the man accused is innocent.  Even though the reporter was killed in her room at the hotel and he knew her schedule, she doesn't believe he would kill someone he loved.  But how to prove it?

One thing Edna learns is about Indian life in Fairbanks and it's not nice.  Not all whites and Indians get along.  In earlier days, death was common.  Some by accident, some not.  And it's one of those deaths that driving the new murders.

I was surprised by who the murderer was.  I didn't see that coming.  I like mysteries that keep me in the dark until the end.  Just dress warmly if you're going to read this book now.



Skull and Pestle: New Tales of Baba Yaga by Kate Forsyth (Author), Lissa Sloan (Author), Kate Wolford (Editor)

Baba Yaga has been around for a long time. I first read about her in a children's book with Russian fairy tales.  Here are some new tales about her with the variations you can get from different story tellers.  The most interesting ones are the ones that are different from the original tale.

World Weaver Press sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published January 22nd.

My favorite story is the one where a boy comes and asks the witch to help him get rid of a bully.  He's even willing to let her kill and eat him.  She gives him chores to do and then makes him a drink that will help him.  It's not what he expects and he's very unhappy.  He changed into a girl and so did his tormentor.  Will he change back or will he be stuck as a girl forever?

Most of the tales are about young girls that stepmothers are trying to get rid of.  She's sent out to look for fire and has no idea just how wicked Baba Yaga is.  Some stories show her bad side.  In some she's almost decent.  Most girls have a little magic doll that helps them.  There are riders (white, red and black) that Baba Yaga controls.  They add some intrigue.

While some stories are quite similar, they all have different endings.  I found this enjoyable read.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Ghost Busting Mystery: Shady Hoosier Detective Agency Series Book 1 by Daisy Pettles

Ruby Jane and Veenie are senior sleuths working in a detective agency.  When the Sheriff gets reports of ghosts in the apple trees of an abandoned house, he gives the case to them.  The man reporting it is not all there and the Sheriff is not into ghost busting.  He'll get involved before it's all over, though.

Hot Pants Press and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can grab a copy now.

This story is half silly and half serious.  It's a light read with crime going around RJ and Veenie and it takes some effort to sort out what the ghosts are, who is scamming whom, and where the treasure might be hidden.

You see, the house has been vacant for almost a hundred years and it's rumored the man who built it hid the bank's gold there when he left town.  What they find is a dead body.  And the Sheriff has no choice but to join the investigation.

This is a light read but it sure was a bunch of fun.  If you like a laugh with your mystery, you'll like this book.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

A Hug Is for Holding Me by Lisa Wheeler, Lisk Feng

Have you ever thought about how nature hugs?  Dogs and cats hug.  So do flowers...

Abrams Appleseed sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It is being published today.

You see a mother bird hugging her eggs.  A flower all close because it hasn't opened yet.  And cocoons open up and let butterflies out.

But the best hugs of all?  From your parents when they hold you close...

Monday, December 10, 2018

Past Due for Murder: A Blue Ridge Library Mystery by Victoria Gilbert

They are going to have a May Day celebration in town to bring in the tourists.  Amy is coordinating a folk tale event to share with the participants.  When a college student disappears and the folk tale teller ends up dead, it turns into a murder investigation.

Crooked Lane Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published February 22nd.

The college student is in a coma and they aren't sure if there is brain damage or if she will remember anything. When Amy picks up on college gossip and finds out they are saying her boyfriend might have been having an affair with the student, she decides to get involved in the investigation.  She doesn't believe that but she wants to check it out.

Her old boyfriend is trying to be friendly again but she won't let him in.  Mona, the dead woman, said she had information on two men she's trying to get more folklore information from and she intends to blackmail it out of them if she can't get it any other way.  Now she's dead.  Was she the victim of a hunting accident or did one of them kill her?

There's more than one death before the end of the story and it gets very dangerous for Amy before it's over.  It kept me reading.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Murders and Metaphors: A Magical Bookshop Mystery by Amanda Flower

Violet and her grandmother Daisy are doing a book signing at one of the local wine grower's home.  There's a confrontation between sisters, the author disappears and Violet starts getting ready to leave when she notices her cat has sneaked away from her tote.  She goes outdoors to run him down and finally locates him in the field of grapes.  Unfortunately, he's discovered a dead body...

Crooked Lane Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book this book for review (thank you).  It will be published February 22nd.

The dead woman is their author and there are plenty of suspects.  She's a wine reviewer and she could be cutting and nasty about the wineries products.  She even had a fight with one at the signing table.  But who killed her?

My favorite part is the crow that talks (and makes sense), the cat who gets in the way and helps a bit, and the bookstore that tries to give Violet clues by opening book pages and showing hints.  The police chief sounds luscious, too.

With a hint of romance, lots of hate, and no end of potential killers, this one holds your attention and just makes you wonder which one it could have been.  It read up fast, was busy and was enjoyable.  See if you can figure the killer out...

Saturday, December 8, 2018

The Book Artist: A Hugo Marston Novel by Mark Pryor

Hugo is still at the embassy and his boss tells him to be at one event and then changes his mind and sends him to another.  The art display he's attending has a beautiful young woman artist.  She makes her sculptures with books and that's one of Hugh's favorite things so they hit it off well.  He's even thinking of dating her.  They've already been to dinner and it was fun for both of them.  He never expected to find her dead during the first day of her exhibit...

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

No one saw anything.  There's a surprising lack of clues and the French policeman does not want his help.  He's going to get it anyway.

When he finds they are arresting his girlfriend for the murder, he knows she didn't do it.  After all, she collapsed during her run and had an ambulance attend to her.  But they found her DNA under the girl's fingernail.  The Frenchman believes it proves she did.

Hugo can't talk to her but he can talk to the others who attended the opening.  Nothing seems to be turning up.

In the meantime, a killer is out to get him.  They set him up and end up taking him out but not before more damage is done.

It's a good thing Hugo doesn't give up.  It takes him a long time to find who killed the artist, but he does.

This series is always very busy with multiple story lines and the author engages your mind.  I find them very enjoyable to read even if they are a bit sad in places. 

Friday, December 7, 2018

The Suspect by Fiona Barton

Two girls take a trip to Thailand after they graduate from high school.  They anticipate seeing the sights and having fun.  But nothing matches what they've seen on tourism websites.  It's more run down and crowded...

Berkley and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 22nd.

Alex's girlfriend cancels at the last minute and she ends up traveling with a girl she doesn't know that well.  It doesn't take long for her to decide Rosie was not a good choice.   All she wants to do is party and sleep with the boys in the hostel.  Then she finds out she's been stealing from her.  She makes up her mind to go home even if she's afraid to travel alone.  But she waited too long.

Traveling in strange countries is not always safe.  The hostel they are staying in is known for selling drugs but they didn't know that.  The boys traveling through don't stay long.  And the boy that Alex has a crush on is being pursued by Rosie.  Alex gets drugged.  Rosie gets dead.  Then Alex is also killed.

The Thai policemen say they died in a fire but the post mortem done in the states tells another story.

The journalist covering the story has a lost son in the same area.  She goes to look into the girl's deaths and finds that her son Jake was there, too.  He was working in the hostel.  Was he the killer?

This is a sad read and the two young women died for no real reason.  The ending bothered me a bit because it wasn't as clean as I like them to be.  The journalist gave up some of her integrity and that bothered me.  It's a complex mystery, though, and will keep you reading.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Escape from the Palace by Santa Montefiore, Simon Sebag Montefiore, Kate Hindley

The ratzis are still irritated by being bested by a small rabbit.  Now they are plotting to scare the President of the United States and embarrass America and England both.  They decide they need to get rid of Shylo first so he can't interfere in this plan...

Aladdin and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 22nd.

I enjoy this series.  Shylo is small and not very strong so to accomplish his goals he has to use his brains.  I admire those who use their brains and not brawn to win a disagreement.

The first thing that happens to Shylo is he ends up a prisoner of the ratzis.  They stuff him in the gymnasium and leave him there until later because it's time to activate their plot.  He has no way out.  At least he only has one guard.

As the ratzis' raid the building the officials are in, things aren't as easy as they anticipated.  There are rabbits from the Palace and from the US protecting the tunnels and fights ensue.

Shylo cleverly gets out of his prison and goes to the rescue.  The rescue is about as confused and messed up as it possibly could be.  As things kept going wrong, it made me smile.  Sometimes your luck is like that.  

Will Shylo survive?  Will the embarrassment happen?  Read the book and see.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Valentine Candy Murder by Leslie Meier

In Valentine murder, Lucy is a brand new board member for the library.  She goes to her first meeting and they find the librarian has gone missing.  When she goes down to the basement to see if she's there, she finds her dead.  This is not a good start to a new job...

Kensington Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published December 18th.

No one knows why someone would have killed the new librarian.  There really aren't any clues to be found.  But it almost had to be someone with library access or they wouldn't have a key to the basement door.

Lucy's boss is all excited.  She's one of his journalists and she was right on the scene!  But Lucy doesn't want to just talk about it.  She wants to solve it.  Unfortunately, this isn't the only death planned...

Chocolate Covered Murder is even more deadly.  It begins with an ice fisherman's death.  Then a candy shop employee who flirted with all the men in town dies.  This is a small town and everyone knows everyone else.  Who would commit murder?  The cops arrest a suspect but no one thinks she's the murderer except them.  Can Lucy figure out it?  And, if she does, can she stay alive?

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Not A Creature Was Stirring by Christina Freeburn

Merry is all ready to go to a Christmas show where she usually sells well.  She's bought a used RV and has filled it with goods to go on display at her table.  She takes her guinea pig with her for company.  The easy trip gets more obnoxious as they go.  She thinks Ebenezer must be letting farts go, but it's worse than that.  The first thing she does on arrival is try to find what's causing that awful fragrance.  Then she wishes she hadn't...

Henery Press and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you).    It will be published January 22nd.

The worst part is that she has found a body and it's her ex-husband.  She knows she's going to end up at the top of the list of suspects.  And she's right.

This turns into a real mess.  The cops take her and she doesn't hardly sell anything at the sale.  Someone breaks into the RV, the car and even her house looking for something. She can't convince the cop she didn't kill him.  Then she finds out they weren't even divorced.  How could it get worse?  Oh, it does, believe me.

In the middle of all this there's a handicapped young man who tells the cop things that sound worse then they are.  Someone strands her on her roof.  And one of her other ex-husbands wants to make up again.  He's separated from current wife and is divorcing.  What a mess!

There was so much going on I wasn't sure it would all get resolved by the story's end but it did.  Not everything is happy ever after but they're working on it...

Monday, December 3, 2018

Broken Ground by Val McDermid

It's supposed to be her inheritance and it's looking good when they dig the first motorcycle out.  The second motorcycle has an attachment, though.  There's a dead body on it...

Atlantic Monthly Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published on the 5th.

Since the body has been there for twenty-five years or more, the coroner calls DCI Pirie to investigate.  Her boss is not happy about that; she's the one that gives orders, not coroners.  

As she works on the case, she gives a new man in her office work on another case.  He hates it but then he finds the DNA matches and he's probably found the killer.  When the suspect is brought to the police station to be questioned, he gets killed on the entry way by a grieving father, who should have known nothing about it.  The new man, who was a spy and a pain, is disciplined and removed from her department because he told the father about it.

They keep digging, looking for the killer from long ago.  When they find the murderer, new trouble develops.  Will DCI Pirie be able to solve her case?

Sunday, December 2, 2018

The Unteachables by Gordon Korman

Mr. Kermit knows the Superintendent of Schools doesn't like him.  A long time ago one of his students copied test results and shared them with his class.  They got an award for having the best results until that was discovered.  Kermit had no idea it happened.  The Superintendent blames him anyway.  And now he's looking for a way to get rid of him.  Kermit plans on taking early retirement anyway, but being threatened doesn't help.  And now he's been saddled with a class of seven students known as "The Unteachables".  He gives them worksheets and tries to ignore them for the most part.  That's not a good start...

Balzer + Bray and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 8th.

This is an excellent read.  The students all have issues of various sorts except one.  She came to school to register.  Her stepbrother got sick, stepmom took him home and she mistakenly gets in the wrong class.  They spend all day together so she doesn't have to go from class to class and she only intends to be there a couple of months, so she stays.

One big girl is said to be a bully and very tough.  It's just gossip.  There's a boy who has dyslexia.  One has problems with his anger.  Another boy was a hero in sports until he got hurt.  Now he's nobody.  And so it goes.

The whole class is lethargic as well as the teacher.  Then the teacher defends a student.  All of sudden they are turning into a real class.  He's helping the boy learn how to read, has another taking art classes, and gets angry when his class is left out of school events.  He knows why, but things are changing and no one is giving them a chance.  Soon, the students are saving him.

While the subject matter is a bit sad, it keeps improving every chapter and the ending will make you smile.  They might ribbit at Mr. Kermit but they support him as much he supports them.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Crewel and Unusual: A Haunted Yarn Shop Mystery by Molly MacRae

Kath is looking forward to the opening of the Blue Plum Vault.  It's in an old bank building that has been remodeled and now will house several small shops where artists will sell their work.  When two nosy sisters visit her yarn shop and tell her about a linen they saw there, she goes to see if she can peek at it before they open.  She gets to see it but the next time it's taken out of the box, it has been destroyed...

Pegasus Books and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published on January 1st.

She's upset the embroidered linen was destroyed but the owner is even more livid.  The owner blames its destruction on another vendor who just as vehemently denies it.  The police aren't having any luck finding the vandal.  And there's a ghost in this building as well as in her store.  It's a good thing not everyone can hear Kath's ghost's comments.

First there was murder at a rest stop, then the linen was destroyed, and then the linen's owner is killed.  They live in a small town.  Who could be evil enough to do all this?

Kath and her boyfriend, Joe, work on trying to run the murderer down.  They eventually decide to use gossip to set a trap.  Now if they can just carry this off without getting killed themselves...