Friday, January 31, 2014

The Blood Promise by Mark Pryor

Post-Revolution Paris was the home of death and bloodshed and a secret document signed with blood has carried forward to the present day.  It still brings danger and death with it...

Seventh Street Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It was been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

This is another Hugo Marston tale and I've read the other two in this series as well.  Mr. Pryor is settling into his role as an author and each story flows better than the last one.  

Hugo is sent to "babysit" a popular Senator who has ambitions to run for President.  He's over in France posturing as the great diplomat to gain votes.  He has no idea how much conflict and unrest he's going to create while he's there.  Hugo is just trying to keep him out of trouble.  The problem is that most everyone is posturing somehow and Hugo isn't that well versed at politics.  He recognizes trouble, though, when the Senator claims someone had searched his room while staying with a French family.  They're incensed at the accusation and the Senator is determined not to back down.  To save face for all the affected parties, Hugo asks Raul to investigate the "crime".

This is another complex tale with secrets from the past and the present melding together.  Death is walking the streets of Paris, and it spares no one.  I had no clue how this all tied together until the end of the book.  I do know that I really have attached myself to these characters.  This story made me cry.

You have a large variety of characters, the plot is complex, and it takes Hugo to put the puzzle all together.  You won't be bored reading this one.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Myrlyn's Gate by Dan Ehl

Vlad came from a long line of evil men.  They loved killing and torturing people, and the dungeons were well used.  Vlad was raised mostly by his mother and he learned about love and kindness.  When he takes over the realm all anyone knows is that the Dragol line is evil.  Telling them he's not like that doesn't do him a bit of good.

The author sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  You can buy a copy in ebook or print form.

I have to say that Mr. Ehl could be writing stories just for me.  They are the type of fantasy that I love to read.  I've read his Jak Barley adventures and this is a different side of the story.  I had mentioned in my review in the past that I wanted to know about Lorenzo.  I know a bit more, but I get the feeling you never really know Lorenzo.  He just is and can do amazing things and he's handy to have around when you're on a quest.

Vlad meets a princess who is on a quest to save the world.  He's one of those prophesied to help her, so he agrees to help.  Everything is pretty calm so far, but once they start on the quest, it gets exciting real fast.  They go to find the young men who are part of their team and end up running from Rovers.  Luckily, there's  dragon in the barn that can be used for escape.

A dragon healer and a magician's apprentice may not be much, but they are part of the quest.  If things aren't bad enough in this world, they have to go through Myrlyn's Gate to get the stone they need to destroy.  OK, that sounds reasonable.  But when they go through, they end up in present day Wisconsin!  

The story moves along well and  has all kinds of unusual characters. While it sounds like it's incongruous and mixed up, it's really a very good story.  Everything fits together and makes sense when you read about it, no matter how strange it might sound summed up.

If you like action fantasies with heroes and dragons and magic and even a troll, you'll enjoy this story.  I know I did and I plan to keep my copy of this book in my personal library.  I'll read it again.

Happy reading.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Find Momo A Hide-and-Seek Photography Book by Andrew Knapp

Like playing hide and seek?  Have you ever done this with your dog?

Quirk Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

I always tried to play hide and seek with my dog.  It was hopeless because his sense of smell was so good even if I was someplace unusual and real quiet, he could follow my footsteps to the hiding place.  But it was fun and he enjoyed it, too, so it was great.  Momo has been trained and knows not only how to hide but how to wait until he's been given permission to move.  This makes for great pictures and it's much more to look for Momo than it is to look for Waldo!

I found Momo on all but a few pages.  My problem was trying to find him on pages that had a lot of depth to them.  Sometimes Momo is off in the distance and I found those harder to see.  However, even up close he blends in very well.  I wonder how well you would do...

Here's the book trailer so you can see Momo in action and get an idea of what you'll see in the book.  This book is a keeper to me.  Momo looks a lot like my first dog.  So he's going in my personal library.

Think you're good at hide and seek?  You need to check out these pictures and learn about Momo and his owner.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Murder at Mullings by Dorothy Cannell

Florence Norris began as a lowly servant at the country house and worked her way up to head housekeeper.  Life is calm, everything is in order, and then people begin dying...

Severn House and Net Galley gave me the opportunity to download and read this ebook.  It will be published January 30th, so look for it at your local bookstore and visit with an author I've read before.

I read Dorothy's "The Thin Woman" and was hooked.  She had written a book with good humor and silliness that made me laugh out loud.  When I saw another story by her, I had to read it.  This one is more formal, more sedate, and reflects the time period perfectly.  It might be the 1930's but greed is still alive.

The Stodmarsh family has lived at the country house for 300 years and there has never been any scandal, no old ghosts, nothing of any sort that stood out.  It was all pomp and circumstances and family love.  When the lady of the house suddenly dies, the doctor said it must have been her heart.  Her rheumatism kept her in her bed for years.  That was the first murder, but no one suspected it.

Mr. Stodmarsh goes away after a year of grieving to vacation and set aside his grief.  He ends up coming home engaged, not quite sure how it happened...

Florence has become friends with the local pub owner, a widower.  Just when their romance is beginning to bud, the household ends up in turmoil and Florence steps away from George.  He's hurt, but he understands.  And he soon has his own problems to worry about.

There are several twists and turns in this story.  It's a slow saunter through the countryside picking up clues as you go.  The country house that stood for 300 years without scandal is being shaken to its core.  And Florence is trying to solve the case and save her household and those she loves.

Ms. Cannell writes well.  This tale was a bit slower than those I've read in the past but times were slower in '30's.  She sets the mood, introduces her characters and takes you back in time.  I'm already waiting for the next book in this series.  I'm hoping Florence and George get back together!

Happy reading.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Secret Seekers Society and the Beast of Bladenboro by J.L. Hickey

Hunter and Elly are young and orphaned.  They are being sent to live with their Godfather, who they've never met.  The house is huge, the person they are supposed to meet at the gates is late, and then they're shown their bedroom and locked in for their own safety.  Really?  What a beginning to a new life!

The author gifted me a copy of this story for review (thank you).  You can get a copy wherever ebooks are sold now.  The next book has also been released, so you might want to grab them both.

I enjoy a good adventure.  Mr. Hickey makes his young characters strong and resilient.  They don't understand why they are getting stuck with this Godfather when they had Uncle Joe.  He took care of them while their parents were gone and they loved him.  They don't even know this Godfather guy.

It doesn't help when he's a bit strange.  Of course, the whole house and staff are strange so I guess it's normal here.  Where else do you a monster running loose, a robot walking the halls, and secrets hidden around every corner?

What they don't know is that they are part of a secret society; they are seekers.  They don't even know what that means but they're learning fast!  Having a monster trying to eat you speeds up the learning curve.

This was a very nice start to a new series.  The story is full of action, Uncle Joe might be developing a romance, the monster is still alive, and Hunter and Elly have new talents to explore.  It will be fun to see what new developments are in the next story.

Happy reading.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

What Comes Around: An Alex Hawke Novella by Ted Bell

When CIA agents start dying off from "natural causes", their friends begin to doubt it's coincidental...

William Morrow Impulse and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this ebook for review.  It will be published February 11th.  It's a novella and reads quickly.  It would be a dandy way to take your mind off a pending doctor or dentist visit.

Alex Hawke is a counterspy.  He maintains a low profile, takes care of jobs he gets, and is loyal to his friends.  When his friends start dying he takes it personally.  After all, they've all been to hell and back on assignments; you bond under those circumstances.  His friend, Andrew, agrees it's too many to be natural and he starts looking for connections.

Mr. Bell never writes a boring book.  His stories are always action packed, full of tension and very dynamic.  You might not know where you are going, but you know it will be a wild ride.  This story was no exception.

Once they centered in on who the murderer had to be, Alex uses himself as bait.  This was not a good move...

Like I said, this one won't take you long to read.  You'll also meet Alex, who is going to be main character in a new series.  I like him.  He's scrappy, brave and ready to fight.  Get ready for more excitement from Mr. Bell.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Dream Boy Cover Reveal and Prize Pack Giveaway

 

DREAM BOY © In this romantic contemporary fantasy, American teen-hood meets mystic folklore.

9781402295836©July 2014©Young Adult©Trade Paper

Like the small southern town where it's set, Dream Boy is edged by wilderness, mysticism and mystery. The bottle tree on the cover perfectly captures the novel's mix of dream and nightmare.

So what is a bottle tree?

Simply put, it's an ancient folk-magic practice intended to capture evil spirits. Southerners adapted the tradition—outfitting tree limbs with colored bottles.

In Dream Boy, the bottle tree creates a connection point between the real world and what lies beyond.

“We were beyond excited with how the cover turned out,” says Mary Crockett. “It was a serious thrill to see something from our imaginations become real. And not only real, but gorgeous.”

Madelyn Rosenberg agrees, “We're lucky we had such excellent people working on it—with designer Eileen Carey and Sourcebooks creative services manager Adrienne Krogh at the top of the list.”

Author Bio:

Mary Crockett is author of several award-winning books of poetry and co-author of a history of Salem, Virginia, her hometown. Mary taught writing at Roanoke College and served as director of the Salem Museum. She now lives with her family in an old house along Virginia's Wilderness Road.

Madelyn Rosenberg grew up 32 miles away in Blacksburg, Va. She spent a decade as a newspaper reporter before she began writing fiction. Her books include The Schmutzy Family and Canary in the Coal Mine. She lives with her family in Arlington.

Mary and Madelyn first met about 15 years ago co-teaching a creative writing class for teens.

Follow Madeyln Rosenberg and Mary Crockett on Twitter!

@madrosenberg @MaryLovesBooks

Click here to add Dream Boy to your Goodreads Shelf!

In conjunction with the cover reveal, I am able to giveaway ONE Sourcebooks Fire prize pack.  Leave a comment on here to enter and email me at info at bookfaerie.com with your name and address and why you'd like to win.  The publisher will mail the prize pack to the winner.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Buddy by Brain McGrory

Pets are normal, everyone has pets.  But a pet rooster?  That's stretching it a bit...

Library Thing and the author sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can find a copy at your local bookstore.

Brian begins his story with the tale of a well-loved dog.  He acquires it during his first marriage and when the marriage dies, he still has the dog.  Dogs are good friends, love us unconditionally and enjoy life in general.  Even when the world as you know it ends, they're still at your side and on your side.  However, dogs don't have a long life.  When his dog got cancer and he had to usher him out of this world, I cried.  Animals do that to me.

I found it interesting that Brian met his second wife through the dog.  She was the vet he used.  It took a bit of back and forth and then they became a couple.  She had two girls; he had to adjust to a life with children.  He also had to adjust to being married again.  He thought he was doing OK until a school project at their Dad's means an egg has hatched and they have a chick.  It's fine at Dad's.  Unfortunately, it came home with the kids...

Who wants a pet chicken?  That question got even more important when it turned out to be a rooster and began waking him each morning bright and early.  It doesn't take too long for him to realize that either he accepts the rooster or he might be the one that has to leave.

This reads like a novel even though it's a memoir.  The rooster tortures him, the family loves the rooster, and Brian just has to try to survive.  In time, even he grows a bit fond of the rooster.  And he learns some important family lessons from him.  

Mr. McGrory writes a smooth flowing story that sounds just like you're living it.  This is well worth a read; I enjoyed it.  Why not visit a couple of great animals yourself?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Shadow Allegiance (Unholy Alliance #2) by Lacy Yager

Rachel is a vampire chaser; her job is to kill as many of the enemy as she can.  So what can she do when she gets turned?  What does a chaser do when she's now a vampire?

The author sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  This is the second in a series.  It reads fine as a stand alone.  You can grab them both at your local bookstore.

I'm not big on vampires and told the author that, but I found myself drawn in by her story.  The fact that they are vampires is not the major plot of the story; it's the action that makes you keep reading.  The action and the budding romance...

Rachel isn't sure what to do with herself now.  Home isn't home anymore; she's become an enemy.  She has to figure out how being vampire affects her.  Maggie is a vamp and still can be around humans.  Rachel has no idea how that will work with her.

The General tells Alex to watch her and keep her safe.  With Rachel, that can be a challenge.  She meets his friends, learns some fighting skills, and finds out she has new strength and different abilities than she had as a mere human.  Alex finds himself falling for her, and he knows he can't.  Have you ever been successful trying to tell your heart something?

The General always has a plan and this time it includes Rachel's little sister.  A vamp war is never a good thing, but Rachel can't let him take her sister.  

This installment of the story was well written,  fast paced, and a good read.  Why don't you give it a read?

Happy reading.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cockroaches: The Second Inspector Harry Hole Novel by Jo Nesbo

Harry is a mess.  He still mourns his lost love and he's not quite out of the bottle yet.  He has no desire to go to Bangkok to solve an ambassador's murder.  He'll be even more angry when he finds out they really don't want him to...

Vintage Crime and Edelweiss allowed me to download an ebook of this story for review (thank you).  It will be published February 11th, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

Mr. Nesbo doesn't write nice novels.  His are mean, ugly and very much on "the wrong side of the tracks."  Harry doesn't hang out at fancy hotels, his friends are weird and a bit unbalanced (just like Harry) and he's a pitbull when it comes to crime.  He also somehow does his job when others have set him up to fail.

The ambassador was knived through the back and left in a motel room waiting for a prostitute to show.  When she sounds the alarm, the investigation begins with Harry being sent to Bangkok.  Bangkok is well known for it's traffic in sex.  Anything or anyone you want there you can buy.  It's not a nice place to begin digging for facts and clues in someone's life.

Harry works with the local police chief, who is female and white.  They make a good pair and do a lot towards solving the crime.  Harry can tell he's getting close to the murderer because he suddenly hears the ambassador had a "heart attack" and he should head for home.  Do you think Harry listens?  If you do, you haven't read Mr. Nesbo's mysteries before.

There are a couple of things I like about Harry.  He's human; he has foibles, baggage and a few mental problems.  He's also a digger and refuses to accept the obvious answer.  He keeps looking for the holes in the story.  Or for enough evidence to close the door completely.  This makes a good police procedural even if it shows a hard side of life.  Nobody is innocent in this story; some just aren't guilty.

Happy reading.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Devil's Breath by Tessa Harris

A strange cloud of gray ash floats in the sky.  Those on the ground are getting very sick and dying from it.  Among those dying from illness are bodies that were struck down by a murderer...

Kensington Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  This makes the third in the series about Dr. Thomas Silkstone and the author's writing style improves in each book.  This is my favorite so far.  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

Thomas is a doctor who has an interest in forensics and the science behind healing.  He's viewed askance by the practitioners who are still bleeding patients to get the evil out.  Even knowing the consistency of the cloud and trying to help those who are stricken doesn't always work.  Some are surviving if it's caught soon enough and the damage isn't too extensive.  While Thomas is trying different solutions to help the stricken, murders start happening around the countryside.  He hasn't much time to devote to solving crimes but he does find that the autopsies are proving it was murder, not accidental death.

Unbeknownst to him, there's a group in the village that wants to get rid of him.  They want the land his sweetheart owns and they want him out of the way.  The best way to do that is to accuse him of the murders.  He gets a clue that they are plotting against him when he gets a message to return to his teacher's home because he's ill.  While he's there, he finds out his teacher is well and the message was sent by a dead man...

These stories are intense, the characters get caught up in battles of greed, pride, and lust, and the murderer is unknown until the end.  I was amazed by who was playing judge and jury.  You may be, too.  Why not give it a read and see if you can guess who's taking life into their own hands?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Othersphere: Otherkin #3 by Nina Berry

She's a shapeshifter from another world.  This third book in the series takes her through the portal into that world where she meets both her parents.  It's not a good thing and doesn't mean everyone lives happily ever after, though.

Kensington Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.  This is the third in the series, so you may want to grab all three to keep up on the story line and to see why this final story is so important and answers so many questions.

I loved the first book and couldn't wait until the second.  I finished the second one mad at the author.  How could she kill a character?  What's going on with the romance?  How could this cool story go so wrong?  I wasn't even sure if I wanted to read this third and final installment in the story.  Boy, am I glad I did!

Dez is still broken hearted that Caleb is shunning her since she sided with his brother.  Lance is a very nice guy and he loves her, but she still regrets losing Caleb.  She doesn't have time to worry about it, though, because Caleb and Lance's evil insane father is still plotting to end the existence of shapeshifters to save the world and they have to stop him.

Their father is possessed by a demon, their younger sister gets sent into the other world, and Caleb and Lance have to work with Dez to get her back.  Dez already knows who her real mother is and when she finds out who her father is, she's horrified!

This is an action packed story with lots of tension and suspense.  It's a fight until the end and the odds aren't good on either side.

This book redeemed the second in the series.  Thing started to come together, the battles became more fierce, more people died, but good prevailed in the end.  Thanks, Ms. Berry, for the saving the day and making me sleep better.

Happy reading.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Forget Me Knot: A Quilting Mystery by Mary Marks

Martha Rose enjoys her quilting friends and their weekly quilting day.  When they invite Claire Terry to join their group, she's a bit uncertain about it because of her age difference.  She's much younger than the others, but there's no question about her quilting ability.  Imagine their surprise when they stop to visit with her and talk about the quilting exhibit, they find her dead right inside her door...

Kensington Books sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It's being published this month and is the beginning of a new cozy mystery series, so watch for it at your local bookstore.

Martha ends up right in the middle of the murder maze because Claire's mother asks her to retrieve Claire's quilts and look for a message she might have left in them.  When Martha searches, she finds that there is a meaning in the quilting style and the message is in Braille.  As she tries to find someone to read the messages, she becomes the target of a quilt thief/murderer.

This cozy has some nasty secrets from the past as well as a murder in the present.  My favorite part is the three older women who will do what is necessary to follow the clues and find the murderer.  They quibble with each other, sneak around and do things on their own, and sometimes disagree on findings, but they are good friends and it shows. 

Here's a cozy that will keep you guessing.

Happy reading.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Green Living Can Be Deadly by Staci McLaughlin

Dana was excited to be at the Green Living Festival.  It was the first one ever and it was hard work organizing it but she had succeeded.  Now if the fair was well attended, it would all be worth it.  It was also nice to see a schoolmate from the past right next to her.  Some catch up chat would be fun.  But before they share more than a few words, Wendy is asleep permanently.  Who would kill someone during a festival?  And why?

Kensington Books sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It will be published in February, so mark it down on your TBR list.

This cozy mystery is well paced and interesting.   You'll learn about living green, carbon footprints, and other healthy options.  You'll also find out that Wendy was taking money but not using it for the quoted purpose.  Who can be angry enough at her for that to kill her?

There's a light romance beginning in this story and that made it even more enjoyable to read.  As more people turn up dead, Dana presses on with her investigation.  The cops discourage her, but she doesn't listen.  One thing she should have considered is that once you murder one person, it's much easier to kill the next...

I found this to be a light read with lots of action and I enjoyed it.  Why don't you give it a try?

Friday, January 17, 2014

Huckleberry Hill by Jennifer Beckstrand

Are you ready for this?  The Amish grandparents living on Huckleberry Hill have decided to become matchmakers.  At least Anna has...

Kensington Books sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published this month, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

Lia is a very tall woman with a disfigured hand and she knows she will end up a spinster.  Her beautiful petite sister is the one who is looking for a husband.  And her father expects her to help her sister find one.

Anna and Felty think that Moses has waited long enough for his lost love to return and he should get on in life.  Anna likes Lia's personality and thinks she would make a good wife for him.  This is where the fun begins.

Anna requests Lia to help her around the house.  Lia is a very good pie maker and Moses is lusting after a slice or two.  He spends the entire story trying to get a bite of her pie and it's always gone before he gets there.  Even when she gives him one personally, it gets destroyed before he can eat.  Poor Moses...

Lia has gradually fallen in love with Moses.  She knows it's not meant for her, she's supposed to help him fall in love with her sister, but it hurts her heart.  Anna knows if she tries to keep Lia and sends her sister home, Lia's father will make her come home, too.  So she gives Rachel work assignments she won't like.  Rachel gets Lia to do them.  She also claims Lia's cooking and she's trying hard to claim Lia's man.

I felt like I was living there in Amish country and I was rooting for Lia the whole book.  The author makes it genuine by having Moses analyze if he should give up on the woman who walked away from their wedding or give her more time.  He also has to decide if he loves Lia.  Lia does what her father wants. What other choice does she have?  I was having trouble seeing how this could all be resolved amicably, but the author manages to pull it together.

This was a very good read and I'm glad to see there is another coming in this series.  I wonder who Anna will make her next matchmaking victim?

Happy reading.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Big Sky Christmas by William W Johnstone

Jamie never meant to get into a bar fight but when a drunk tries to take him on, he fights back.  The second tussle ends up with the drunk getting a broken leg.  Jamie isn't feeling sorry for him; he could have stayed down the first time.  Then he finds out he was the wagon master for a group going to Montana at the wrong time of the season...

Pinnacle Western sent me a copy of an ARC for review (thank you).  The book was published in November, so you can find a copy at your local bookstore now.

Jamie is at loose ends now.  He's avenged his wife's death, his children are grown and having children of their own, and he doesn't live anywhere permanent.  When the Rabbi in the wagon train begs him to offer his services scouting, he's not sure he wants to take it on.  However, the wagon captain knows how to use his pride against him, and before he knows it he's said yes.

Every wagon train has its characters but this one has more odd ones than most!  The Rabbi is a pretty nice guy, but the Reverend is strict, mean and opinionated.  He's cold in manner and believes the Rabbi worships a false god.  He also is unforgiving with his children.

Then there's a young man who robbed a train and is trying to go straight and a young woman who was an actress and singer who is running from a moneyed man that wants to own her.  Traveling through Indians, over cattle ranches, and fighting snow should be enough for any wagon party but they have two batches of enemies coming after them.  One group is trying to recover the bank robbery proceeds, the other is trying to capture the beautiful young woman again.

This is an authentic look at what travel was like when you used oxes and wagons to get around.  It was hard work and they moved from dawn to dusk, trying to beat the weather.  Mr. Johnstone always takes you back to cowboy days, when the gun spit justice.  This is a good western, why don't you take a trip to Montana with Jamie?

Happy reading.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Clammed Up by Barbara Ross

Julia came back home to save the family business.  The bank is ready to foreclose, their business plan calls for steady business and all profits to go back into the business.  She gave up her business and invested her money in the family business to help it keep afloat.  Now there's been a murder and the police won't let them operate.

Kensington Books allowed me to read the first book in this new series for review (thank you).  It's A Maine Clambake Series and is available now at your local bookstore.

The first big event is a wedding.  Everyone is nervous, but Julia has it all planned out and everything is going as planned.  At least it is until she finds the best man hanging inside the house...

I enjoyed reading about their clambakes and how they kept to the original way of doing it.  I've been to Blake Island, off the Washington coast, and eaten salmon and little individual blackberry pies, so I had an idea of what it might be like.  We had Indian dances; they were going to have a wedding.

There are plenty of suspects but murder on an island is harder to do.  They need boat access. While the best man was a bit outrageous in his behavior, nobody really hated him or wanted to do him harm. Someone killed him, though.

The interplay between the characters is represented well and is realistic.  Stress and strain take their toll on people.  There's a taste of a new love interest and it's a good mystery.  The killer was not apparent and the motive was unusual.  I'll have to see what happens with Julia in the next book.  I enjoyed reading about her.

Happy reading.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

All Fudged Up: A Candy-Coated Mystery by Nancy Coco

Allie is refurbishing the old hotel that has been in her family for years.  She's also coming up with some fudge recipes; they're for folks over 21.  They have booze in them.

Kensington Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It's been published and you can buy a copy now at your local bookstore.

Allie has plenty to do to get ready for grand opening and she sure didn't need to find a body in her janitor's closet.  She also doesn't like being considered a suspect.  The worst part is that this isn't the only body that's found...

This is a cozy mystery set around hotel lore, good fudge, and girlfriends.  Allie wants to prove she's innocent and find the killer before more people die.  However, she needs to know the motivation and it increasingly looks like it's tied to her hotel.  She didn't know her grandfather all that well.  Could he have been involved in illegal activity?  How far back does this trail go?

I enjoyed the flow of the story, the flavor of the story and the witty comments on all sides.  It takes all her friends to find out who the killer is and you end the story with a smile on your face.  I'm looking forward to seeing Allie in the next story to see if her love life improves and how many more fudge recipes she creates.  By the way, there are a few non-alcoholic recipes included.  There's something for everybody in this story.

Happy reading.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Flight By Elephant: The Untold Story of World War Two's Most Daring Jungle Rescue by Andrew Martin

This a non-fiction account of a group of people who got cut off by the Japanese and took a very dangerous route through the mountains and rivers to a "safe" area.  The problem was that no place was safe, it was monsoon season, and there wasn't enough food to go around.  The biggest problem was that the route they were taking had been removed from the evacuation list as being too dangerous, but they never got the message.  So there was no rescue mission, just a plane flying over every now and then.

Fourth Estate and Edelweiss allowed me to download an ebook of this story for review (thank you).  It will be published January 28th, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

The only thing that was in the evacuee's favor was the fact that the white men living in that area were explorers and adventurers who didn't mind taking a risk.  There were several types of locals that knew the land, the river conditions, and could handle the elephants.  That help was priceless, too.  It was still an ugly journey with near starvation and much sickness from malaria, leeches, and more.

I would like to officially go on record here and say you would never see me walking through a jungle like that.  NEVER!  If the plane crashed and I had to walk out, maybe, but I'd be screaming all the way. The land was so wet their boots rotted off their feet.  You could get about five kinds of malaria.  And the leeches were even crawling across the ground.  No way, folks.

It was a good thing they had a first kit with them.  They also didn't leave people behind, they carried them.  Waiting for someone to rescue them was the worst part.  The elephants helped them get the men across the raging river but, in the end, they had to rescue themselves.

This was some story.  It's based on the various journals the men kept.  They were bored, in poor health, and had plenty of time to think.  Each man looked at the journey in a different way.  By tying the stories together, you feel like you've been along with them.  As long as I can sit in my armchair and read about it, fine.  I have no urge to visit the site in person.

These were brave men.  Some lived long lives, some died sooner from the diseases they'd been stricken with in the journey.  But all deserve to be recognized and admired.  And the elephants deserve a pet, too.

Happy reading.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Night Before my Birthday by Natasha Wing

This author writes very cute books for young ones.  Ms. Wummer's illustrations add to the charm and Ms. Wing's text is simple and rhymes.  Imagine the Night Before Christmas becoming the Night Before My Birthday...

The author sent me a copy of this book for review and I'm participating in a blog tour for Provato Events (thank you).  The book has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

A big birthday party is coming up and the young one can't hardly wait for the day.  Games, balloons, ice cream, and presents are always welcome in a child's life.

All is going well and everything is right until the cat trips Dad when he's bringing in the ice cream.  Oh, what a clatter!  The child and Dad make an emergency run to the store and bring back more ice cream, but the dining room looks empty.  Did nobody come?  SURPRISE!  They're all there!

There's even a spot on the last page where your child can put his age on the cake.  Why not use this book as a birthday present for your own small one? It's fun read and will make both you and your child smile.
 
Thanks again to Natasha Wing for appearing.  For other stops on her The Night Before my Birthday Tour please check www.natashawing.wordpress.com

Happy reading.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Unhinged by A G Howard

What if Alice in Wonderland was real?  What if you were chosen to be the new queen there?  What if you escaped?

Amulet Books sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It was published January 7th, so you can find a copy at your local bookstore now.

This is part of the Splintered Series.  I didn't read the first book but this book can be read as a stand-alone.  What I did do was fall in love with the bad guy.  Look at that cover; how could you tell him no?

As always in the world of fantasy, you can't believe anything the characters tell you.  They all have their own agendas and are watching out for themselves, not you.  All Alyssa wants to do is graduate and then move on the art school in London.  Unfortunately, Wonderland wasn't done with her yet.

Jeb doesn't remember the past, Alyssa has protected her family from Wonderland and its effects and she's trying to survive and live a normal life.  That's not working out so well.

Add a rabid rabbit, monsters, a vengeful queen, and Morpheus and you have a real mess.  It's even threatening the Senior Prom.  Can she save the students?

The story flows well, there's lot of action, Alyssa is torn between Jeb and Morpheus, and she never wants to return to Neverland.

The ending left me sitting here with my mouth open; how could the author do that???  Now I have no choice except to read the next book in the series.  This ending is an awful cliff hanger.  I feel bad for Alyssa.  And I'd be glad to take Morpheus off her hands and let her keep Jeb.

Happy reading.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Plain Murder by Emma Miller

Rachel was back home.  She'd gone away to school and to visit the Englisher's world and she's not Amish anymore.  She's running her own bed and breakfast and trying to make a life for herself.  The Amish life still draws her but she likes living her life free from all the rules and without the restrictive clothes.  When her Uncle is accused of murder, she can't just stand by and let God handle it.  She has to find out what happened.

Kensington Books sent me an ARC of this story for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

Uncle Aaron will not defend himself.  He simply tells them he's innocent when they take him to jail and then he says nothing more.  Rachel tries to get him to talk to his attorney, but that's not the Amish way.

It's hard to run a bed and breakfast and be gone all the time to look for clues.  When the word gets out that her Uncle may be a murderer, her guests begin to cancel appointments.  That gives her more time but less money to run her business.  Despite the stress and strain, she still tries to find out who the real killer is.

This is a well written story with enjoyable characters.  I was amazed by the killer.  How could someone so good and kind have killed Willy?  We all do things we think we must when confronted by danger.  

This has the feel of a new series.  I hope to read more about Rachel and her adventures.  

Happy reading.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A SHADOW ON MERRIMACK RIVER by Daniela Alibrandi

Diana's father has died and the remaining family has moved to the states for a year.  A change of environment should relieve the grieving process and this will give them the opportunity to try stateside living versus Italian.  Obviously, there are several shocking differences because the cultures are different.  Diana is more old country, the other students are all "now".  Diana doesn't realize that danger has come with her.

Goddess Fish Blog and the author allowed me to download a copy of this book for review (thank you).  You can buy a copy at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

This story has been translated from Italian and the sentences are structured differently from how we speak in English.  My grandparents were Czechoslovakian and their friends who came to visit spoke in this way, too.  It's not hard to understand, it just took me back to my childhood when I started reading it.

Diana has one good friend in school.  Jenny is fat and lives in an abusive home but she has a sweet personality and is fun to be around.  They go ice skating on the river after school one day.  It's forbidden but they note where the ice is safe and sneak out skating anyway.  Diana almost gets claimed by the river but her frantic scrambling is not just because of that.  She saw a body under the ice...

Jenny refuses to tell anyone.  She'll get beat again if she admits she was there.  She also says she'll say Diana was lying.  So Diana has only one choice.  She'll have to figure out what happened to him herself.  The body is located, but it's in bad shape and has no ID.  That's doesn't stop Diana.

The girls are playing a dangerous game; one that will end with dreadful results.  Diana has the identity of the murderer wrong.  Part of that is because her mother is falling in love with an American and she doesn't want her to marry him.  She'd rather consider him a murderer than allow him to marry her mother.

This is a twisted tale with an ironic ending.  I'm sure you won't figure out who the killer is until the end of the story.  Even then it's a shock that will stick with you for a while.

Why not see how good a detective you are?

Daniela will be awarding a $25 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:  Tour Dates


Good luck and happy reading.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Geek's Guide to Dating by Eric Smith

Here's a unique approach to dating that is geared towards the gaming community.  Think of dating as another quest!

Quirk Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can find a copy at your local bookstore now.

I'm no geek or gamer, but I found the logic and rational offered in this book realistic and full of good common sense.  There are five major sections.  They cover:  What Kind of Geek Are You?  How to Ask Someone Out.  Preparing for Your Date.  During the Date.  Exclusive Dating and Beyond.

You are given examples of things you can say and the author explains why some are good and some are bad.  The advice on how to dress for a date seems pretty basic but it's good advice.  The gaming references are amusing.

All in all, if you are scoring better online than off, you should read this book about practical dating in the real world.  It will help you round off any edges and feel comfortable when speaking to an actual person instead of an avatar.

Happy reading.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Taste Fur Murder by Dixie Lyle

An eccentric millionaire who loves to host get-togethers and then verbally impale one of the guests, a pet cemetery, an assistant Gal Friday that must keep it all together, a nephew, other employees, and a few animal ghosts all get together in this murder mystery by Ms. Lyle.  It's busy, unusual, and you won't be setting it down much.  It's a good read!

St Martin's Press and Net Galley allowed me to download an ebook of this story for review.  It will be published February 25th and is the first book in a new series.  I'll be watching for more.

Foxtrot is the Gal Friday who keeps things moving and makes sure everything is working out as planned.  ZZ is the millionaire and she's one of those "make it so" folks.  ZZ is a bit snarky but she loves those around here and rewards them well for their efforts.  Life has been going well for the household, so it's a real shock when they find a dead maid in ZZ's bedroom with a locked door.  The lock is on the inside.  ZZ was sleeping with one of the guests and wasn't aware the maid was still in the room.  Who killed the maid and how is the question.  There's no doubt in Foxtrot's mind that ZZ was to be in the intended victim.

So far, this is just a normal murder mystery.  Now it gets interesting.  Foxtrot finds a cat wandering about and notices it looks just like her cat used to.  Imagine her surprise when the cat talks to her telepathically and tells her that's because it IS Tango.  Now a talking cat is one thing, but the next animal "ghost" that can actually be seen like the cat not only can talk to her but is a dog shapeshifter, too!

The murderer is threatening the existence of the pet cemetery and the animals are there to help Foxtrot solve the crime.  It's a good thing, because she needs help.

This mystery and fantasy at its best.  This one is more like a cozy than a deadly serious murder and the characters all have secrets of some kind.  It's a well-put-together story and I enjoyed the read.  Why don't you give it a try?

Happy reading.