Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Secrets of Hexbridge Castle by Gabrielle Kent

Alfie is just a normal kid.  His mom died, he and his dad get along fine and he has a very good female friend his age.  He's not looking forward to summer.  His friend is going on vacation and he'll be stuck at home with his inventor dad.  He knows he will be bored.  Boy, is he wrong!

Scholastic Books and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 25th.

Alfie gets an odd letter and shows it to his dad.  His dad doesn't act real surprised and tells him they must go visit the lawyer as requested.  Go, they do, and Alfie's life changes totally.  He finds out he has inherited a castle that used to belong to a druid.  He also finds out he was born 600 years ago.  That would be a shock, wouldn't it?

It seems that time travel works for him.  He had been almost hit by a car at home and he moved through time to escape it.  That got the lawyer's attention.  Now he has to inhabit the castle.  It's been renovated.  When he sees it, his mouth drops open!

As time goes on, he begins to understand that he has some magic abilities.  The castle is full of secrets.  His teachers are a menace and don't like him at all.  He finds a bear rug that flies.  And he knows the animals disappearing on the night of the full moon are being eaten by a dragon.  He's seen it.  Now he just has to figure out how all this fits together.

I liked this one.  There's plenty of action, some injuries, and enough mysteries to keep you entertained.  A good imagination is needed to accept all the concepts of the story.  I have one.  Do you?

Spence at the Blue Bazaar by Michael Allen

Thana goes back to her home town years later.  She's going to ramp up her blackmail efforts.  When she finds a journal hidden in the dresser in her room at the Blue Bazaar, she decides she's going to get more than that.  Now she has a whole new source of blackmail material.

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

Thana catches everyone's attention because she's wearing a see-through blouse with no bra and a skirt that's slit so far up the side you can tell she's not wearing panties.  They're all scandalized and no one wants to be seen with her.  She doesn't let that bother her.

When the locals go to see her strip tease act at the Blue Bazaar they have to admit that she has a lot of talent and grace.  She's a beautiful woman and knows it.  But she's not a very nice person.

The next day, they find her dead in the bedroom she used at the Blue Bazaar.  Unfortunately, there were two windows open downstairs, so anyone could have gotten in.  Now they have to figure out who killed her.  The worst part is that appears to be the same unknown killer from before who killed a man and his ten year old son while they were sleeping.  They try to look back seventeen years and make a connection but it's not obvious.

There first real clue is when they find out that the beautiful strip teaser was really a man, not a woman.  That changes the focus of the crime and makes it even a bit more difficult to solve.

This was a good mystery with a murderer that wasn't obvious.  Everybody has their own dirty little secrets...

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Twelve Dogs of Christmas: An Andy Carpenter Mystery by David Rosenfelt

Andy is a lawyer but he doesn't want to be.  He avoids taking new cases.  But when a dear friend of his who rescues puppies by fostering them is accused of having too many animals, he can't let her down.  He couldn't say no but I bet he was wishing he could before the end.

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

It seems someone is setting "Pups" up.  She is a widow and owns a lot of land in a lot of different places.  Her husband acquired it and he didn't want to sell, so she's not going to sell either.  Someone wants a piece of that land and will do anything to get it.  When the man who turned her in gets shot, she's accused of killing him.  They found the gun in her basement.  It's also the gun that killed her husband and the man he was talking to.  She says it's not hers.  The prosecutor doesn't believe her.

Andy has quite a job ahead of him.  Defending her for rescuing puppies is one thing; defending her on a murder charge is something else.

You have politicians, gang members, an assassin, and more all messed up in a big game of greed.  The man killed next to Pups' husband was a gang member.  His brother wants revenge.  Whenever big sums of money are around, you have greed to contend with.  Pups doesn't care about the money.  She's leaving it to rescue organizations.  Someone is willing to kill to keep that from happening.

Will Andy figure out who it is in time?  Pups has cancer and is dying, so he doesn't have much time.  He's going to try...

Dangling by a Thread by Lea Wait

Angie is out for a morning walk down by the docks when she sees a strange man come to shore in a rowboat.  He doesn't speak to anyone.  When she asks about him, nobody knows his name.  He lives alone on an island and only comes over the village in good weather when he needs supplies.  She sees him go in the post office and asks after him in there.   The postal worker tells her his name and that he comes to pick up his check and any other correspondence.  The island isn't served by any utilities.  Most refer to him as Mr. Solitary.

Kensington Books allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published on October 25th.

When Angie goes for dinner with Dave, she meets Mr. Solitary again.  Dave introduces her.  He's not gregarious but he will speak.  She gets to know him a bit better.

The next discovery she makes is that a man she had a crush on is back in town.  He got burnt rescuing his mother from a fire but he's completed rehabilitation and is just in therapy now.  He's hoping to get back into painting.  She's hoping she might have a chance at a relationship with him.  Her visit with him introduces her to the couple who are hoping to buy Mr. Solitary's island.  He doesn't want to sell, he's running a bird sanctuary.  Does that matter to the rich man that wants the land?  No...

Dave and Angie go to the island to warn him that they are bringing his brother in and plan to oust him from the island.  By accident, he shoots Dave with an arrow.  Angie takes him back to land and calls an ambulance.  The cops are now interested in the island man and intend to bring him in.  Angie talks the cop into taking her.  It's bad.  The island man is dead.  It's a good thing Angie and Dave have an excuse.

This is a cozy mystery with romance and I've been enjoying this series.  I didn't see the killer coming.  I'm also not sure where the romance is going.  She likes both Dave and the painter.  The painter is rich but Dave does needlepoint and lives next door.  Future stories should be interesting!

Six-gun Prodigal by A A Glynn

I've been looking for a good old fashioned western where the men were men and romance didn't take over the story.  This one fit the bill perfectly!  Lew had a difference with his brothers after his father was killed and he took off.  He was herding cattle when he heard that his brothers had been killed, too.  He finished his work and planned on returning home to see what had happened and who had ordered it.  He had his suspicions.  Before he got out of the tavern, he had a young buck try to outshoot him.  When he kills him, he finds out he's the son of an important local man and everyone is accusing him of murder.  His crew defends him but to no avail.  He heads out of town fast...

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

Lew stops to visit his only friendly neighbor left and gets the story about what all had happened.  They were bushwacked.  The largest landowner in the area claims they sold the ranch to him before their death.  Lew doesn't believe it, but he decides to keep his return secret.  It doesn't take long before his secret is out.

The Wyoming rancher that is taking over the valley is ruthless and mean.  He has power and money and he abuses both.  He's mining silver with Indians and Mexicans and he doesn't pay them much.  He stole that land, too.  There's not much to like about him.

Lew has a friend he doesn't know is his friend.  He met a gal at his ghost town he staying at and they are leaving each other alone so no one gets shot.  She has an ally, an Indian that knows how to use dynamite.  When she and her friends stand with him in a face off against the rancher and his hired guns, it could go either way.

The ending is ironic and appropriate.  And Lew finally notices she's an attractive girl.  I like those kind of stories!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig

Flynn gets a text from his girl asking him to meet her.  Since she started at a different school, they hadn't seen much of each other so he's anxious to catch up with her.  When they meet they to a place where they look at stars.  She doesn't want to do that, though.  She wants him to go into the old barn with her.  He does, they snuggle and then she suggests sex.  They had both agreed they'd wait, but she's changed her mind.  He says no, she tells him to get out.  He's a confused young man.  He tries to want to but can't.  He also can't admit why.  So he just leaves...

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

The next time he hears January's name is from the cops.  It seems that she has disappeared.  They ask when he saw her last and if anything unusual happened.  He says no.  She did want to make love but he wasn't going to mention that.  They know he's holding something back.

Things start going to pieces when they do a search and find her bloody clothing.  It's beginning to appear she may have come to harm.  It also opens another can of worms.  Her blood shows she was pregnant.  Flynn says it can't be true, she was a virgin.  DNA doesn't lie.  When he thinks back, he remembers she said she wanted him to be her first one.  So if she hadn't chosen to sleep with someone, he decides she must have been raped.

She's his very best friend and he doesn't want to give up hope.  He keeps looking and checking out the men in her life.  She seems to have been very confused herself.  She was bad talking everyone around her.  He meets a boy at the toy store she worked at that he thought might have been a competitor.  Kaz tells him no, he's gay.  And here's another complication in Flynn's life.

Then another young woman dies. Flynn had been talking to her and he knew what it meant.  But how to prove it?  And is January really dead?

This was interesting mystery with bad boys in more than one place.  The sex issues were mentioned but weren't overwhelming.  The ending is good even if there isn't the closure parents might have hoped for.  It looks like Flynn might have potential as an investigator!

The Fir Tree by Hans Christian Andersen

He's just a little fir tree that yearns to be bigger.  He doesn't like it when a bunny can jump over him.  He wants to be big and tall like the older trees.  He doesn't think past getting big.  He doesn't care where they go, he just wants to go with them.  He's not satisfied with growing up in the forest and having bird friends.  He's going to get his wish...

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

One of the reasons I wanted to read this book is because a new illustrator did the graphics.  Sanna Annukka does modern contemporary work and her illustrations are more of an art form than a picture of a tree.  Her artwork does add to the story and you might want to buy the book simply for the illustrations.

When the tree finally fills out and matures enough to make a lovely Christmas tree, it's cut down and transported.  Christmas is a wonderful event and it enjoys being the highlight of the day.  So he's a bit disappointed when all the ornaments and presents go away and he's stuffed in the attic.  He has lots of time to think about how nice the forest was and how much he misses his animal friends.  He wonders what will become of him; he doesn't have to wonder long.

The basic message in this story is be happy where you're planted.  Don't always wish for more because that might not make you happy.  These lessons apply to people as well as fir trees.

When we had Christmas trees, we always bought live ones and then replanted them around our home.  It cost a bit more but it added a tree instead of killed one.  I guess I'm a bit of a tree hugger.