Thursday, February 28, 2019

A Time to Scatter Stones: A Matthew Scudder Novella by Lawrence Block

After Matt retired from the police, I didn't expect him to come back.  But he's being a private eye now and he takes on any case that sounds interesting.  This time his wife has found one for him.  And it's interesting...

The author sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can grab a copy now.

It's like visiting old friends to visit with Scudder again.   Now that he's not a cop, he has to work around that to get the information he needs but he manages and he calls in old favors.

His wife works at helping prostitutes out of that life.  She's mentoring one young woman who has quit but one man doesn't take no for an answer.  He's glad she gave the other men goodbyes but he wants to control and own her and he's even raped her.  She only knows his first name (Paul) and she suspects that might be made up.  He begins his quest to find him and warn him off.

He hangs out in her neighborhood.  Gets an artist to draw a sketch of the man's face and then starts showing that around.  She moves.  Paul finds her again.  She moves once more.  And Scudder gets more serious.

They have a confrontation in her old apartment and the man is big and powerful and Matt is getting old.  Who will win?

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Trouble on the Books: A Castle Bookshop Mystery by Essie Lang

Shelby has come home to help her aunt after knee surgery.  She's helping run the existing bookstore and getting a new one at the castle set up.  She's beginning to enjoy it but knows she has a lot more to learn.  When the lady who runs the rest of the castle operations comes in and tells her she needs to change her stock, she finds out what a witch she is.  What's worse is that she finds her dead in the grotto later that day...

Crooked Lane Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 13th.

Shelby screams, the grounds maintenance man comes to her rescue, and soon the area is filled with emergency units.  It is who she thought it was and she's certainly dead.  Unfortunately, the local police chief already has a suspect.  It's the maintenance man.  His first wife died and he'd been scrutinized then but was not prosecuted.  The chief intends to prove it he did it this time.  But did he?

Shelby finds almost everybody in town didn't like her.  But picking out a suspect is hard.  The more questions she asks, the more she worries the killer.  She has three police forces involved and they keep telling her to keep her nose out of it.  Even her aunt is getting worried about her.  But she knows she's close.  The problem is she is too close...

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Something Read, Something Dead: A Lighthouse Library Mystery by Eva Gates

Lucy is excited about Josie's wedding.  The love between the couple is obvious and they are going to have a simple wedding with a small reception.  At least they were.  Then Grandma showed up and tried to take over the wedding.  She wants to direct everything and she has brought wedding planners with her to make it happen.  Sometimes wedding planning can get traumatic...

Crooked Lane Books and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 13th.

As Josie tries to keep her original plans, Grandma won't be dissuaded from her plans.  She thinks her plans are better.

Since Lucy works at the Lighthouse Library, she agrees to hold the reception there.  As Josie fights with her family to control her own wedding, Lucy decides to distract one of the planners by encouraging her to work on a wedding onboard a yacht.  Josie isn't going to do that but it keeps one of the folks butting in busy elsewhere so they can continue to plan the original wedding they still want to do.

Then one of the guests at the reception gets sick and dies.  The gluten free baked goods were only for the one lady's use and they'd been doctored.  They take Josie in because she was the baker.  Lucy is pretty sure the woman that died was not the victim that was intended.  Is it the old girlfriend trying to get Josie out of the way?  Might the poisoner have been going after Lucy?  Even if they weren't going after her, Lucy still almost gets drowned in the hot tub at a friend's house.  Who did that?

With a temporarily assigned detective in charge, Lucy decides she's going to have to solve the case herself.  He's trying to put words in people's mouths and is not interested in who is the real killer, he just wants to solve the case.  She's got her work cut out for her.

I enjoyed this one a lot.  There's plenty going on, there's danger everywhere and the author ends the story neatly.  Give it a try, I bet you'll like it.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Cat Got Your Crown: A Kitty Couture Mystery by Julie Chase

Lacy's pet boutique has been in business for a year now and soon she's going to need some help.  It's grown so much she can barely keep up.  And when she has to help her mother with a convention in town it's getting overwhelming...

Crooked Lane Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 13th.

The first big opening day for the pet contest, she goes to have lunch with her mom and her friends.  Imagine her horror as the master of ceremonies topples off the balcony and falls on the food table right in front of her!

She knows the suspect that Jack took to the police station didn't do it.  But she can't figure out who did.  It bothers her.  She's going to save her friend.  But is she willing to trade her life to do it?

In the meantime she has her male friend from childhood, Chase, hanging about with her.  He'd like the relationship to go further but she doesn't think that's how she feels about him.  She loves him and they're great friends but she wants a different kind of love in a marriage.  Then there's Jack, the cop.  Sparks fly between them but they both try to resist it.

As time goes on, she gets written threats and she knows the killer is someone close.  She's trying to judge the performances the pets put on (another mom favor) and when she goes out at break for a breath of fresh air, someone shoves her off the bridge she's standing on.  It's a fight to the finish for Lacy.

The killer surprised me.  They weren't on my list of suspects.  I enjoyed watching Lacy trying to make up her mind about her love interest, too.  This is a fun series to read and I look forward to the next book in the series.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

A Justified Murder by Jude Deveraux

She was a sweet old lady with a pleasant manner.  She even forgave people for the mistakes they made.  She didn't get mad about having green hair.  She was very pleasant about it.  So who would kill her?  What's even more confusing is that she was killed three ways.  She was poisoned, knifed, and shot.  Who would do that?

Mira and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published February 26th.

It seems to be a case of murder but it's a lot more than that.  Several people in town have secrets.  As they search for a murderer, they find out a baby died, one was stolen, there were more murders, and that almost everyone is not telling the whole truth.

This turned into a much more complex case than it first appeared.  The sweet old lady was not so sweet.  She blackmailed and murdered people.  That makes the suspects list real long...

The team of three meddlers who like to solve crimes keeps chipping away at the evidence.  Once they think they've found the killer, they get another surprise.  

The ending in this book surprised me.  It was not what I expected but I can understand why they did what they did.  I also don't think these three will give up investigating any time soon.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

No Good Tea Goes Unpunished by Bree Baker

Everly Swan is living her dream.  She's bought the house she'd lusted over in her youth, she's running her own business selling varieties of iced tea and recipes from her relatives in the past and she has a new man in her life.  She has agreed to take on a friend's wedding party.  They'll marry on the beach and she'll host the reception.  Everything is going well until the groom gets a phone call and goes down the beach for a bit of privacy to chat.  When he doesn't come back, they can't figure out why.  His dead body gives them a clue...

Sourcebooks Landmark and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published February 26th.

They think he's drowned but it turns out he was bleeding, too.  The police and EMT's show up and remove the body.  It's quite a challenge for the cops because there over 200 people there for the wedding.  Everly is doing her own investigation.  And the killer knows it because they leave her notes and drawings that threaten her.  

There's lots of other work going on, so her investigation goes slowly.  The detective tries to get her to mind her own business.  Her aunts want her to make a video presentation for them.  And her old boyfriend is in town and trying to win her back.  Everly has plenty to do!

When she identifies the killer, she almost gets herself killed...

This was a fun read with lots of oddball characters.  Give it try and let me know what you think.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Leave No Scone Unturned by Denise Swanson

Dani is gearing up for the start of the school year.  Her chef's catering service gets real busy real fast with the college in session.  She sells lunches to go also.  Her boarders help with her business and one of them has been giving a homeless guy leftover food to share in the homeless camp.  Dani doesn't have a problem with that but she worries that her young boarder might find some problems in that camp.  Deuce is a bit strange and has PTSD from his war time but he's protective of Ivy.  She never expected that the next time she saw him he would be dead...

Sourcebooks Landmark and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 26th.

Spencer, who is Ivy's uncle, is with her when they find him dead in his tent.  The other homeless folks either cut out or don't talk.  The police especially don't get anywhere in questioning them.  No one trusts them because of previous conflicts with them in the past.

This was a very interesting mystery.  Dani has more than one romantic interest, there are Zombies running around as part of a college promotion, carjacking is going on by folks wearing masks, and in the midst of all this is a killer.

It takes college journalists, Spencer, Dani, and the lead detective working together to put all the pieces of the puzzle together and find the killer.  The killer was a real surprise to me.  Was it one of your suspects?

Thursday, February 21, 2019

The American Agent by Jacqueline Winspear

Maisie Dobbs is back again.  She's working as a ambulance driver for the emergency response teams responding to bomb blasts.  It's volunteer work she does as her contribution during the war.  When a man from her past calls and asks if she will work on another case for him, she agrees.  But he doesn't tell her much...

Harper and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 26th.

Maisie and her partner had taken a journalist with them so she could see just how awful all the bombing was.  America had not yet joined the war although Europe could use their help.  This journalist was trying to impress the American public with the horror of the war so they would pressure the politicians to help.  She manages that.  She even manages to get herself killed...

Her death is what they want Maisie to investigate. She even gets to work with another man from her past.  He's not telling her much either.  Secret service types don't share their secrets.  She works with him, she likes him, but she's not sure if she trusts him.  He ends up becoming her lover even though she was trying hard not to fall for him.

While she's investigating, talking to everyone that knew the deceased and trying to ferret out the killer, she's also applying to adopt the little orphan girl she took in.  Then her ambulance partner gets caught in a house fire where she went in to get two young children out.  Her burns are awful.  All of this is really stressful for Maisie but she's tough.

The worst part is when she finally identifies the killer.  The ending surprised me.  Did you figure it out?

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Run Away by Harlan Coben

He's trying to find his missing daughter.  She's gotten on drugs, has an abusive boyfriend and has hidden herself from her family.  He finally finds her in a local park, singing Beatle's songs and asking for donations.  She looks awful and that's probably what makes people donate.  She doesn't sing that well.  Finding her was hard and now she doesn't want to come home...

Grand Central Publishing sent me ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will publish on March 19th.

As he tries to convince her to go with him, her boyfriend shows up and they get in a fight.  He breaks the boy's nose.  And suddenly the park crowd is on him.  They think he was trying to get the girl to rape her.  By the time the cops arrive, his daughter and her boyfriend have split and he's lost her again...

Simon is determined to find her.  He doesn't understand the world she's living in but he wants her safe.  He'll have to enter her world to ferret her whereabouts.  He does and he almost doesn't make it back to the world he lived in.

Along with Simon's hunt, there's a private eye involved in another people search, two killers doing a cult leader's tasks, drugs, and more.  The story of Simon's daughter is mixed the young men who are being killed and it's very dangerous.  Simon develops a friendship with an odd person, his wife gets shot and is in a coma, and more people die.

Will Simon be able to save his beloved family?

Mission Critical by Mark Greaney

Court is on his way to his next assignment when another branch of the agency arrives with a prisoner.  They want him off the plane, but his boss tells them to cease and desist so they all travel together to England.  They land in a a small airport and all of a sudden they have trouble.  Someone wants their prisoner and they don't care how many they have to kill to get him...

Berkley sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you). It has been published and you can buy it now.

When the event is over, only Court is still alive and the prisoner has been taken by forces that attacked them.  The good news is that Court can fly a plane, so he gets out of there and circles around to follow them and see where they are taking the prisoner.  When he checks in, they tell him to stay on it.  What follows is tension filled drama with people dying every step of the way.  There are multiple countries involved, it's spies, the CIA and more interacting or not, and for a single assassin it's hard to stay alive.

There are a lot of characters, information is fed to you slowly as they try to figure what's going on, and it's hard to tell who is a friend and who is an enemy.  There's even bad feelings between a father and his daughter that could become deadly.

You keep reading because you can't believe how much action can be packed in a book.  An old romance revives and then dies again before the end of the story.  And when your boss tries to kill you, it's hard to trust any agency.

Court will be playing by himself in the future.  He knows he can trust himself...

You won't be bored reading this one.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Drowned Under by Wendall Thomas

Cyd isn't looking forward to the holidays.  Her whole family is mad at her for helping the police nail her uncle and put him in jail.  So when her ex-husband shows up and asks for her help in locating his parents in Australia, it sounds like a good idea.  She won't be in town to celebrate.

Poisoned Pen Press and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 19th.  

Cyd calls her friend Harriet and they decide to meet in Australia to search together.  They are both travel agents and have free plane rides as well as other perks they can use.  She's looking forward to seeing her again.

The best part of this story is what Cyd will do in her mission to find her ex-inlaws.  She misses the boat, so a helicopter delivers her there.  As she goes down the rope to the deck, her skirt flies up and everyone gets to see her thong underwear...  What a great start to a boat trip.

When she gets to the cabin she is sharing with Harriet, she finds her on the floor dead.  Hers is not the only death on this boat.

Everybody in this story is hiding things.  As she tries to find her inlaws, she finds an almost extinct animal and ends up having to care for it.  Various people are trying to kill her so it's an exciting read with lots of silly antics.  The endangered animal isn't cooperating either.  And there's also an ex-nun who is on board that she knows who is now looking for her next sex partner.  

You won't be bored. 

Monday, February 18, 2019

A Stranger Here Below: A Gideon Stoltz Mystery by Charles Fergus

Gideon left home because he came home and found his mother dead.  She'd been raped and stabbed.  He was traumatized by that sight and her death, he didn't want to inherit the farm, and after an argument with his father, he left.  When he reached a small town he liked, he reported an incident on the road to the sheriff.  After they chatted a bit, the sheriff asked him if he'd like to be a deputy.  He accepted.  He was young, it sounded interesting.  But he didn't expect the sheriff to die in just a few years...

Skyhorse and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you.  It will be published on March 19th.

Gideon is promoted to the position of sheriff.  He's married, loves his wife and their little boy, and the town is quiet so he finds his job fairly easy.  He hunts with the local judge and they have a good relationship.  When he goes early to the judge's home to go duck hunting, he finds the judge has committed suicide.  Why would he do that?  The answer is thirty years in the past...

As he digs in the past, he finds that while people tolerate him in town, he's not altogether trusted.  He's young and he's Dutch and they resent that.  He also finds much of what he wants to find out is not available anymore.  He takes the judge's journals and read through the past and finds what he wanted to know but he still isn't sure he understands the suicide.  In the meantime, he has another murder to solve.  And then one more...

This is a new series and I'll be watching for more books by Mr. Fergus.  There were hidden facts that complicated the case and offered some explanation, there's a very ironic ending, Gideon's own family has a tragedy and Gideon will have to start believing in his wife's second sight.  I want to read the next book to see what happens next.

Chicks Rule! by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

These chicks are smart, all have various talents, and they want to join the Rocket Club.  When they see a notice that says "No Chicks Allowed", they get mad.  Why should they be discriminated against?

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

Renee Kurilla is the illustrator and you can look at the chicks and figure out what most of them do.  The illustrations are cute and add to the storyline.

The chicks find some room in a barn and begin building their own rocket.  They don't invite the roosters to help.  And they create their very own rocket...

Nothing makes me more intent to do something than for someone to tell me I can't.  I've proved "I CAN" several times in my life.  I could relate to this story and I enjoyed it.

Share it with your little one and teach her not to listen to naysayers.  She'll enjoy her life more.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Ivy and the Goblins by Katherine Coville

Ivy lives with her Grandmother, who is a healer.  She specializes in animals and has a cottage where they can occupy her back yard.  Right now, she has a dragon, pixies, and gryphon.  There are several small animals that show up for treatment until they recover from their illness.  But they never expected what the farmer wanted to trade for fixing his goat's upset stomach.  He gives them an egg he found...

Knopf Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 12th.

When the egg hatches, it reveals a baby goblin.  And then their troubles start.  He makes a lot of noise when he's unhappy and the only time he's happy is when he's eating.  They had to look up what he eats.  Mushrooms disappeared as fast as they picked them.  Soon the outside animals are leaving because peace has left the house.  The neighbors start complaining.  The Mayor's wife is determined to make them give the goblin up.  None of the grown ups want to visit the goblin village.  They think they might eat them.  So if Ivy is going to help her Grandmother, who sprained her ankle while chasing the baby, she's going to have to break her promise and go into the deep, deep woods...

This was a fun book to read with mythical animals, goblins, and more to entertain you.  Ivy is brave enough to help resolve the problem of the baby goblin and her adventures were fun to read about.  I really enjoyed this one and it would be a great book to read aloud to your children.

The Cook and the King by Julia Donaldson, David Roberts (Illustrator)

The King needs a new cook.  Everyone that applies doesn't make food that appeals to him.  Finally, he's down to the last applicant who stand there shaking and saying he really doesn't cook much but he could learn.  The King hires him.  The first taste test will be the next meal the King eats.

Abrams Young Readers shared a copy of this book with me for review (thank you). It has been published and you can grab a copy now.

The illustrations are luscious.  The King is big and robust, his cook is small and thin and worried about everything.  The King says he wants fish and chips and he takes the cook out on the sea to get a fish.  He has no luck fishing, so the King takes over and gets two or three.  Back to the castle they go.  Then the King tells him to peel the potatoes and slice them for chips.  The cook is afraid he'll cut off all his fingers, so the King does that, too.  And guess what happens when he tells the cook to cook it?

The story is a bit silly and makes you smile.  I wonder if the cook will ever learn to cook?

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Allmen and the Pink Diamond by Martin Suter

Allmen envisions himself as an international investigator.  He likes to find art but the idea of a pink diamond grabs his attention and he agrees to take the case.

New Vessel Press and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 5th.

The pink diamond has been stolen.  The only clue he has is the name of a Russian that owner thinks might have been involved.  Allmen and Carlos begin their search.  Allmen follows the suspect's trail, Carlos talks to those who were servants or landlords.  The trail goes across countries and it doesn't take long for Allmen to realize that he's not the only one looking for him.

The pink diamond turns out to be even more valuable than first estimated because it's not what it was purported to be.  

When he finds the suspect, he ends up chatting with him.  He soon determines where he hides his room key and sneaks it away to search the man's room.  The problem is that when he's found what he was looking for and has hidden it in his room and then returns with the key, the man he stole it from is dead.  Soon Allmen is having trouble not dying, too...

This was a complex investigation over several countries and involved international police as well as Allmen.  The man who hired him was lying but Allmen gets to the truth.  Now if he can just stay alive... 

Friday, February 15, 2019

Stand on the Sky by Erin Bow

Aisulu is a Mongolian child who follows her nomad family from one camp to another depending on the season.  She's best friends with her brother and loves her parents.  But her brother is ill and doesn't want her to tell anyone...

HMH Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 5th.

She and her brother decide to ride up to where the herd is right now.  When they get there, it's gone.  So they decide to go a bit higher to see if they can see where they've gone.  When they look back down the mountainside, they see a blizzard coming towards them.  They can't get off the mountain soon enough so they look for shelter.  They survive the blizzard.  Then they notice an eagle eating the birds that froze to death.  Her brother is determined to catch it.  Instead he breaks his leg.  She gets help and takes him and the eagle down to their village.  Her uncle says the eagle won't be able to fly anymore and he kills it.  She hates that.  Then she remembers it had a baby in it's nest.

When she tells her father about her brother limping, they take him to hospital in town.  It takes forever for her to hear anything from them.  In the meantime, she's gone after the baby eagle.  It's almost dead, but she takes it home and asks her aunt what to feed it.  Then she becomes the mouse procurer and spends most of her time finding more food for it.

Then she finds her parents need to take her brother to a much bigger hospital.  He has cancer.  They will have to sell all they own.  But she has another plan.  There is an eagle contest coming up.  She'll fly her eagle then.  But she's young, she has no fancy clothes and she's female.  In her part of the world that's a man's sport.  But she's determined...

I really enjoyed the tale of the eagle and girl learning to trust each other and work together.  I found this to be a very enjoyable read.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

The Secret of Zoone by Lee Edward Fodi

What would you do if you found a blue winged tiger on your couch?  I'd probably approach it slowly and try to pet it, I'm a cat lover.  Ozzie talks to him and finds out if he goes through the door in the basement he'll enter another world.  He thinks it will be exciting.  Yes, it is!

HarperCollins and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 5th.

When Ollie gets to the end of the tunnel the doorway opened up and he opens the next door to see where he goes from there, the moment he steps from the tunnel it collapses.  And everyone is looking at him...

The woman who runs this world, takes him in.  He finds out that tunnels don't normally collapse.  He asks if it can be fixed and she states they are having a wizard's convention in a week or so and he can ask the council for their help.  In the meantime, she makes him a porter.

Being a porter is no small thing, there are so many doors to so many worlds it takes him a while to figure out the numbering system and locate the door he's supposed to be waiting at.  And some of the freight is deadly...

In the midst of all this, he finds out there's a spy for a criminal wizard around.  He keeps his eyes open for the spy, tries not to offend any of the wizards, and he makes some friends along the way.  The big blue tiger is his buddy.

This was a fantastic fantasy story with lots of odd characters, many dangerous, and Ozzie really flirts with death.  Will he get back home?  Will the tunnel be rebuilt?  Will he stay alive?

How to be a Cat by Nikki McClure

Do you have a cat?  Are you thinking of getting one?  This board book teaches your little one how cats act and it's a fun read.

Abrams Appleseed sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It has been published and is available now.

The illustrations are done in black and white and stand out impressively.  Most open book pages have just one word on them but my cats have done all the things this author points out.  They pounce, explore, hunt and more in this story and it shows the cats doing it.  Mama and kitten demonstrate the actions.

Here's a way to teach young ones about cats and their activities so they will understand what they are doing.  I grew up with a cat in my crib so I knew these things, but the illustrations are cool and I enjoyed the book.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Saddles & Secrets by Jane Smiley

Ellen talks with the racehorse, Ned, but he's not visiting with her anymore.  So she has to learn to ride another horse...

Knopf Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review.  It will be published March 5th.

Ellen is a good kid who loves horses and has hopes of riding in some races in the future.  She's taking lessons for show riding competition.  She's learned a secret she won't tell.  And she can tell her parents have one, too...

As time goes on, she finds some of her friends have secrets.  This worries her a bit.  What do you do with all these secrets?

She can ride a full size horse but she likes the pony they have.  His name is Hot Potato but she doesn't like that so she calls Tater.  She thinks he's a bit boring but then she finds out how to give him more enthusiasm.  She also learns to convey signals with body language.  He's not as loving as Ned but he does come to greet her and enjoys her treats.  He also performs well.

When she finds out they are moving, her heart is breaking.  Does this mean she'll have to leave her horse dreams behind?

If your child likes horses, they'll enjoy this story.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing

When they met, something clicked.  They dated, married, and had two children.  They work and live contented lives until they get bored.  Normally, one wouldn't turn to murder as a new hobby but these two did...

Berkley and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 26th.

This was an unusual read.  He picks out the victims.  She kills them.  They work well together.  No one suspects them.  But they get a little too self confident.  When they tie a serial killer from the past to their crimes, it begins to backfire on them.  It seems he had died several years ago, so it can't be him.

Reading about their planning and how they trusted each other but didn't was interesting.  The best part of the whole book was how everything went south.  There's a twist here that made me stop and think for a bit before I went on reading.  There's a monster in this family.  I didn't figure it out ahead of time so it was a really chilling ending.  Did you guess where it was going?

Monday, February 11, 2019

The Rambling by Jimmy Cajoleas

Buddy has the worst luck.  Everything he tries to do backfires on him.  He even manages to burn down part of his mother's bakery when he was just going to get the ovens going.  He decides to sneak out and go find his father.  Maybe his luck might be better there...

HarperCollins and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 26th.

Buddy hitchhikes to the swampy area where he thinks his dad lives.  From here, the trip gets real strange.  He meets witches, card playing story tellers, and enemies from his father's past.  When he finds his father, he's thrilled.  Then he finds out that his father is the one who hexed him and has given all the troubles he's had growing up.  Not only that, he learns his father is hiding in the swamp.  He has an old friend who wants his blood.  He'd also want Buddy's if he found him.  

Buddy meets Creepy, who drowns people and eats their bones.  When he meets the man after his father, he learns about his father's character.   He's always worshiped his father and now he's not sure he even likes him.  But unless he can beat the enemy at the orating card game, they'll both probably be killed.  Can he do it?

With magic, odd characters, and plenty of drama and tension the story flows smoothly, tells a tale and leaves you with a message at the end.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

The Tragical Tale of Birdie Bloom by Temre Beltz

Birdie lives in an orphanage.  A nasty witch is in charge of it and she is getting them ready to sign their tragical contracts.  No one knows what happens to those that do except they aren't there anymore.  They know it's not anything good.

HarperCollins and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 26th.

With good and evil witches, a dragon and other odd things, this tale is a fun fantasy to read.  It has enough smelly incidents to amuse the young adults and there's action all the way through.

They're not allowed to have pets but one girl does.  The witch in charge tries to destroy him but the other tragicals help save him.

Birdie goes to visit the witch in the Dead Forest hoping for help.  They visit but the witch isn't interested in helping.  Birdie sends her a letter when she gets back to the orphanage and tells her she'd like to be her friend.  The witch is astounded!

As Birdie tries to make the tragicals friends (definitely not allowed) and they start talking to each other (also forbidden), the witch decides to make an example out of her.  She's going to put her in the drowning bucket.  That will end her.  But killing Birdie isn't that easy...

This was a fun read with lots of excitement built in.  I enjoyed it.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

The Tale Teller by Anne Hillerman

Joe Leaphorn is back.  His English is bad since the gunshot.  He can speak it but not correctly.  It's a good thing he knows his native language.  That one works well even if everyone can't understand.  He's now a private detective and he has agreed to try to find some missing antique relics that the local library was going to put on display.  They have almost everything but two items are missing...

Harper and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 20th.

Jim Chee and his wife Bernie are on another case.  While Bernie was doing her morning run, she finds a dog guarding a dead body.  When she calls it in, she finds the FBI are interested in him...

Both cases are complex, it involves different tribes and the investigating officers sometime clash.  Ms. Hillerman talks about family relationships in this story and shows how their history as Indians has affected how they act.  It all sounds authentic and it's interesting.

They find the dead man was a thief.  His girlfriend's uncle get shot.  And it takes a real good detective to find the missing antiques.  The cases are connected by not obviously.

With more than one case, many different cops from different departments and a dog involved, it takes time to sort out the connections in the case and identify the killers.  Leaphorn and his girlfriend have some problems so there's even domesticity in the cop's lives.

I enjoy these characters.  I began reading them while Anne's father was writing them and she's doing a very good job of carrying the characters forward. 

Beyond the Stone Arch by Gisela Woldenga

Ellie is staying with her grandmother while her parents go on vacation.  She loves her and they have fun together, so she doesn't mind.  But this time, when she goes out in the backyard she sees a stone arch she's never seen before.  When she gets closer to it, she hears enchanting music and wonders who's playing it....

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

She finds a boy named Orly playing his flute.  He asks her to help him.  He's ghost and he was murdered and he can't find his body.  Since that was two hundred years ago, she knows it won't be easy.  And her grandmother isn't real happy about her trying to help him.  She's afraid she might get hurt.  That's a valid concern.

Ellie has to learn to embrace her gift and how to use to it.  She has another ghost who helps learn.  And she faces danger she has to deal with alone.  It's good that she found a coin that belonged to Orly in the past.  It helps her in ways she couldn't imagine.  She continues her search into the truth and works on finding his body.  Her grandmother doesn't really help but she doesn't hinder her either.

She's the only one who can see the ghosts.  Most ghosts can't see her.  And she works diligently on her quest, hoping to accomplish it before her parents come to take her home.  Will she make it?

Friday, February 8, 2019

The Case of Windy Lake by Michael Hutchinson

Four cousins who live on the reservation have become young investigators.  They enjoy solving mysteries.  They help their grandfather with chores and he always hears about the problems.  If they are lucky, they get to hear it, too.  But he's on to them and tries to keep them outside when he has private business.  This time they heard enough to get involved...

Second Story Press and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 18th.

The Mighty Muskrats are on another case.  There's a missing doctor.  They've found his boat but not the man.  As they try to determine where the best place to hunt him is, they learn things about nature, weather, and themselves.  While they work on the case, another relative of theirs has tied herself to the dock at a company she's protesting. She's trying to keep the water there safe from pollutants.

The tale of the lost doctor and the protesting lady are interesting.  Both of them change before the story ends.  Communing with nature can do that as does thinking about an issue can.

I enjoyed the Indians point-of-view.  This is not a long story but I found it a very good read.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Solitary by Albert Woodfox

This is a tale of oppression, false charges, racial  prejudice, and the loss of loved ones.  It's the story of someone who spent over 40 years in jail.  Mostly in solitary confinement.  The saddest part is that is a true story.  This is non-fiction.  The story horrified me.

Grove Press sent me ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published March 5th.

This a very chilling story where justice wasn't served correctly, wardens could punish you with false charges and trying to appeal was being ignored.  Mr. Woodfox had more patience than I do and he kept his hope alive even if they tried to tamp it down.  What helped him get through it were his friends in jail, his family, and the supporters who knew he was not guilty of the crime he got convicted on.  

He went to jail as a young man.  By the time he came out, he had great grandchildren.  His mother and various friends died while he tried to while his time away.  Sorrow was a big part of his life, but he tried not to show it.  Just like he didn't show his anger.  Hiding emotions gives them nothing to use against you.

Such blatant racism seems like it couldn't be but they are still killing black men because they are afraid of them.  Most of them didn't have a weapon but the cops are on high alert and overreact.  In this story, since the warden cooked up the crime, they didn't want to let him out because he'd talk about it.  And not only that, he became part of the Black Panthers group.  Whites thought they were militants.  They were trying to protest the wrongs in the world but they didn't harm people.

The most depressing part of the situation is that such racism is still here.  Anyone of a different color, religion, or different cultures is still viewed negatively.  I was taught none of that mattered.  If you were nice, you could be friends with me.  If you treat me badly, no matter who you are, I will stop being friends.  We're all human, why not be kind?  

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Gittel's Journey: An Ellis Island Story by Leslea Newman

Gittel and her mother are going to emigrate to America.  But her mother is ill and isn't allowed passage.  So Gittel must go by herself...

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

She keeps her relative's name and address close with her and offers it to the custom's official on Ellis Island.  Alas, it got damp and is all smudged.  However a journalist takes her picture for the paper and her mother's cousin comes down to find her.

My Grandfather worked as a translator for the US troops in WWI and got citizenship.  He worked in the states to get enough money to bring Grandma over.  She arrived with a three year old child he didn't even know he had.  They went through Ellis Island, too.

There are many stories about emigration, even from many years ago.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Auntie Poldi and the Vineyards of Etna by Mario Giordano, John Brownjohn (Translation)

Auntie Poldi is still having her hot affair with the policeman she met on her last murder case.  She's not supposed to interfere but she likes working for him and can ask questions he can't.  When she goes to a winery's party, she's attracted to the owner.  When he leaves her and says he will back soon, she drinks more than she should.  She awakens in his bed with him sleeping on the other side.  She blacked out, so she doesn't know what happened.  The worst part is that when she's sneaking out, she goes through the grape fields and finds a dead body...

HMH sent me an ARC to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 5th.

The dead woman was a fortune teller.  She was supposed to be meeting with Poldi later but now that would never happen.  She finds there was another murder in the area.  She starts looking for connections, asks a lot of questions and snoops everywhere.  

Her detective tells her to stop, she doesn't listen.  The more she finds out, the more danger she's in.  This time the Mafia seems to be involved.  Just as she's getting close to the truth, her detective tells her he's marrying someone else and will be moving.  She shuts down for a few days and her heart hurts but she carries on.

She finally gets recruited by the police to be part of the investigation and does help solve the case.  She's got as many morals as an alley cat, doesn't fear much, and will wander into trouble instantly but she's also smart and uses her brains...

Monday, February 4, 2019

Little Apocalypse by Katherine Sparrow

This is a fantasy tale with monsters.  Only kids can see them.  So that leaves kids as the only ones who can fight them...

HarperCollins and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 12th.

Celia's parents have gone out of town and she's home alone.  She's assured them she'd be safe by herself.  But she didn't expect them to have an earthquake either...

She had noticed a young man on her way to library but he disappeared on her.  Then when she's in the hallway and everyone is checking with the other neighbors to ensure everyone is safe, she notices him and several kids going up the stairs to the roof.  She goes back in the apartment but can hear them moving up there, so she goes up to see them.  They avoid her as best they can, but she learns his name:  Demetri.  She'd like to be friends with him but he tells her to stay away.  Then he comes to her apartment and wants to hide from someone there.  She lets him and asks him questions but he doesn't have much to say.

She goes to a meeting at a church and finds herself in a group of Hunters.  They search for the big monsters.  She thinks they are her friends but her opinion changes in time.

The Hunters search for Bigs.  The Bigs search for Littles.  And somehow Celia has become a part of all this.  It's dangerous and it's a war.  It's creepy and it doesn't turn out exactly happy ever after but it's an interesting tale that keeps you reading. 

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Dragonfell by Sarah Prineas

Rafi is a boy who lives with his father.  His mother died long ago.  He's a bit odd and scares some people but he's a nice boy.  It's just that he has been dragon touched.  Heat and cold don't bother him.  He tries to hide his differences but it's hard when a factory owner comes to town, sees what he is and wants him.  He doesn't want to go with them.  So they come back to kidnap him...

HarperCollins and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published on March 6th.

His father tells him he will have to run to stay free.  He heads out for the next town with a dragon.  Theirs disappeared and he thinks it's dead, so he'll see if the other dragon can explain it.  What he finds is that someone is killing dragons and intends to kill them all.  The little dragon tells him he must save them if anyone can.  When he finds a young girl being left as dragon food, he saves her.  They head out together to fight for the dragons.

The factory man is after him, so it's a challenge to stay ahead of them.  Not all the dragons are very friendly so that's scary, too.  And when he gets to final challenge, he finds something out about himself he never knew.

This is written for young adults and it's written well.  I enjoyed reading it.  I don't think the war between men and dragons is over but at least it's settled down for a while.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

The Last Woman in the Forest by Diane Les Becquets

She's finally found a job that fits her.  She works with dogs to find scat and get knowledge about the animals that live in the area they examining.  She really enjoys working with the dogs.  When they assign her to Tate, she discovers she might have a romantic interest, too.  Life is good.  But it doesn't stay that way...

Berkley and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 5th.

The story begins with her learning her new job, training her assigned dog, and working with Tate.  Eventually she falls in love with Tate and sleeps with him.  But when she finds out about the murders done near their base of operations, she looks into the local cases.  She notices Tate can be charming and nice and he can be brash and odd, too.  But she loves him and tries to work around it.  Then she finds out that Tate has been attacked by a bear and killed.  She grieves him but she also wonders if he might have had something to do with the murders.

When she asks a former investigator to help her sort out her suspicions, he agrees.  The first thing he discovers is that Tate isn't who he said he was.  After she shares conversations with him, he finds Tate knows things that only the murderer would.

Marian checks on his work schedule and finds he wasn't around when the women died, so she thinks she was mistaken.  Then she checks further and finds out he lied about where he was.  Suddenly it could be possible...

This is a tale of those that died earlier, just how manipulative Tate could be, and even more about him.  She's trying to prove it but she might not live long enough to do so.  Tate has more surprises for her.

This is a thriller with a batch of horror mixed in.  It keeps you reading.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Sasha and Puck and the Potion of Luck by Daniel Nayeri, Anneliese Mak

Sasha hates it when her father gives out a potion to help the local villagers.  Her mother is the one with magic.  She's away now and he follows her recipes but Sasha is afraid that his potion might fall flat and then he'd get fined.  They don't have money to pay for a fine.  So she follows his customer and tries to help her...

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

It seems the young woman wants to have luck on her side when she goes to a lady with her matchmaking chicken.  Her father scheduled the visit or she wouldn't go, but she has to now.  What Sasha tries to figure out is which male she's interested in.  In just one afternoon she has three suspects.  She's also made an unexpected friend.

As she checks out the men she learns some amazing things.  They aren't all how they appear.  Will she be able to help her get the right one?

This story is humorous and fun to read.  Sasha and Puck make a good team.  You want to help them with matchmaking?