Friday, February 24, 2017

The Executioner Weeps by Frédéric Dard

He felt like she threw herself in front of his car.  He was driving back to his room late at night and she jumped in front of him just like a deer would.  He couldn't stop.  When he turns her over, he finds that she is still alive...

Pushkin Vertigo and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 28th.

He takes her back to the place he's staying and they get a doctor for her.  The doctor says she wasn't hurt badly and should be fine but she can't remember anything.  She doesn't know her name, if she was married, or where she came from.

Mr. Dard writes succinctly and without a lot of detail but his stories make you sit up and pay attention.  This could easily be made into a play that would shock you.

He comes up her first name.  He buys her another violin to replace the one he drove over.  He buys her clothes and soon they fall in love.  She still doesn't remember much.  She remembers the room she practiced her violin in.  He's caught between wanting to know and being afraid of finding out.

When his artwork can be shown in the US, he has to see if he can get her a visa to leave the country.  She has no passport or visa with her.  What he does when he gets to the city is see if he can find out about her past.  He should have just left it alone.

The ending is unusual and unexpected.  It's an ironic twist that will pop into my mind here and there in the future.  Mr. Dard wrote strong stories that capture you and make their point.  If you haven't read him yet, you should.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Miss Ellicott's School for the Magically Minded by Sage Blackwood

It's a school to teach them magic but they are also taught deportment.  They learn to be submissive, hold their tongues, and do what they are told.  Well, most do.  Chantel is not one of them...

Katherine Tegan Books and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 21st.

I like all of Ms. Blackwood's books.  She writes a good story with plenty of challenges for her characters and they're fun to read.  This one was also very enjoyable and a great read.

Chantel does well with the magic lessons but doesn't always curtsy and sit quietly.  Miss Ellicott gets quite upset over this but it doesn't get better.  Another thing that Chantel does is ask too many questions. (I still do that.)

The city is walled up to protect them from the marauders.  The wall is kept secure by the group of sorceresses. When the sorceresses go missing, Miss Ellicott along with them, Chantel decides to go ask where they went along with a few other questions.  Imagine her astonishment when only one man in the council can hear her talk.  The others ignore her.  This is not a good start...

When she almost gets eaten by a fiend, she finds a strange way out of the castle and ends up on the other side of the wall.  There she meets a young boy who informs her he is not a marauder, he's a member of one of the tribes on the other side of the wall.  He answers her questions and she begins to wonder if the King and his friends are actually protecting them or just trying to acquire more wealth.

As things develop, her snake familiar suddenly grows into a dragon and her life changes.  It's exciting, full of battles, the old queens and kings come to life again and help her in her quest and it's a thrilling read.

I think all ages can read this book and enjoy it but the young ones will eat it up.  This is an epic adventure that I'll remember for a long time.

Lady Mechanika V.1 Mystery of the Mechanical Corpse by Joe Benitez

She has mechanical limbs but doesn't know why.  When she finally finds someone like her, she gets captured.  Even when she escapes, she still doesn't know where the other mechanical came from.  But she has an idea.

Diamond Book Distributors and Net Galley allowed me to read this graphic book for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can grab a copy now.

The artwork in this series is lovely.  She may have red eyes and strange looking hands and legs but glasses or contacts hide the eyes and gloves and clothing and shoes cover the rest.  She looks good in a corset.  And she fights like the devil.

As she and an old friend of hers fight for the same thing, someone is going lose.  Then the gypsies get involved and it gets even more interesting.

This grouping of tales takes you far enough to meet a mysterious man from the past and to get you involved in illicit activities and fights between the various competing groups.  The fights are vivid and watching Lady Mechanika win makes you root for her character.  

She has more mysteries to solve before she'll get to the truth of who she really is...

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Dragonwatch: A Fablehaven Adventure (Fablehaven #6) by Brandon Mull

The dragons are tired of being contained in their sanctuaries and want to roam the world again.  Dragons are not kind to humans or animals.  There's a reason they are confined in a safe place.  But there's a revolt growing...

Shadow Mountain Books sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 14th.

This is high adventure with lots of excitement and escapades.  You have dragons, wizards, a dragon slayer and a shadow catcher and even a griffin, and that gives you all the ingredients of a great tale.

Kendra and Seth were looking forward to having some time off and visiting with their grandparents but it's not to be.  The protective wall they have around the Dragonwatch site is failing.  It's believed a mortal will make it strong again.  The two of them are most powerful when holding hands and being connected so they are asked to take over the watch.  Seth is eager.  Kendra is not.  But they do it.

There are rules of magic, spells are about and very dangerous people stand in between them and their goal.  Putting them in place doesn't help so they have to go ask a very, very old dragon what they need.  If they don't do it right, they might not get away.

Seth is impulsive and fearless.  Kendra is a bit older and wiser and tries to negotiate more than Seth does.  Their skills work well for them but I'm not sure they'll live long enough to reach adulthood.  Where they are, life is dangerous.  And Kendra told the head dragon off so the next book will mostly likely be about him trying to kill her.  You won't be bored.

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan

The men are off to war so the church choir is shutting down.  The women protest but the choir leader tells them they need the men's voices to make it sound good.  Then another woman offers to teach them to sing and says that she will lead the choir.  Sounds simple, doesn't it?  But you don't know the Chilbury women...

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.  It has been published and you can find a copy now.

We learn the story of these women through letters, diaries, and journals.  Secret thoughts are shared in them.  Every woman has some secrets, some more damaging than others.  And no one is as innocent as they look.  The men that are still there have their secrets, too.

Since this is set during WW1, the women are expected to act in certain ways.  With the men all serving in the war, they don't have much choice.  What needs to be done must be done by women.  The women's choir steps up into the gap and helps everyone they can.  Music can heal one's soul.

There's an affair going on here, a baby swap over there, and bombs that kill two important women.  War is no fun.  But the women are resourceful and take care of their own.  There's even a new marriage that was unexpected.

This is enjoyable read about the past done in a form I like.  It reminds me of when I visited my grandparents.  These women are from that time and I think they did a good job.  What do you think?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A Lady in Disguise by Sandra Byrd

When no one comes to Gillian's father's funeral, she begins to realize something is wrong.  When she tries to find out what, no one will tell her anything.  Finally another cop alludes to the fact that he was accused of wrong doing, from thievery to prostitution.  She's sure he wouldn't do that.  Her mama died long ago but her father was a good cop and a good man.  Wasn't he?

Howard Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 21st.

One of Gillian's first duties is to visit the house she has inherited.  It's been vacant for a long time.  It was her grandparent's house and her mother inherited it.  She left to her father.  And now that he is gone, it's hers.  As she wanders through looking at damage and thinking about how much it will cost to repair it, she meets the Lord that lives next door.  He offers to look it over and give her an idea of what it will cost.  From the exterior, of course.  She tells him thank you and goes back home.  At the moment, she's growing her sewing business and needs to keep that on track.  She'll have to think about the house.

She also is investigating her father's death.  She doesn't believe it was an accident and she doesn't think he did anything illegal either.  She's being followed, so she decides to change her appearance so she can sneak away.  It works but it causes other trouble.  Now men think she's available; men she wants nothing to do with!

As the story goes on, a man who has been friends with her since childhood is interesting in courting her.  She likes but she doesn't love him.  She's falling in love with the Lord and she's not of a station to marry him.  Then when she donates her inherited home to help the poor, he buys the house.  Was that the only reason he was being friendly with her?

Gillian has gotten in the middle of bad business her father was trying to quell.  She almost ends up dead.  Her world is falling apart but Lord Thomas is there to catch her.

This is a good mystery plot with a very nice romance.  I really enjoyed this read.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Cruel Winter: A County Cork Mystery by Sheila Connolly

Maura was from Boston.  When the locals start warning her about the snow storm coming, she's not real concerned. After all they had snow all the time at home.  But home in Boston her house wasn't on top of a steep hill.  She decides to get a few supplies in and then wait to see what happens.  She sure never expected what would actually happen...

Crooked Lane Books and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 14th.  

Maura and her work crew are all on duty.  Billy, an old man who had a room in the building, joined them.  Various customers straggled in.  Many couldn't get home, the bed and breakfast and hotel were full, so she told them they could stay in the pub overnight.  One lady keeps to herself and is real quiet.  As the night goes on, Maura finally gets her to chat.  She finds out she was accused of murder here in town over 20 years ago.  She states she's not guilty.  Maura believes her but others are hounding her as if she's getting away with murder.  Maura decides to hold an informal court and see if it can be proved one way or another.  Maybe somebody saw something that they never brought up before.  Twenty years is a long time, though.

I found it fascinating to watch a group of about twenty go through their memories and discuss what happened and how she became suspect.  Maura tries to keep it reasonable but some get angry and some get mean.  However, by piecing it together, Maura finds the truth.  It won't lessen the years of hurt but it will make the woman sleep better to know everyone now knows she was telling the truth.

This was an interesting mystery with an odd solution and I liked it.