Saturday, May 31, 2014

Doug Unplugs on the Farm by Dan Yaccarino

Imagine being a city robot (or a city kid) and going to visit your grandparents who live in the country on a farm.  Things are very different on a farm!

Alfred A Knopf sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore to get a copy.

The robots make this story different from the usual farm stories.  I liked that touch.

When sheep run across the road, the car is forced is in the ditch and their trip is cut short.  They all get unplugged!  Mom and Dad are trying to figure out how to get the car out of the ditch.  Doug has been learning about farm life on the way out of the city and he wants to help the farm girl contain her sheep.  His parents give him permission to do so, so he plays sheep dog!  He also learns to pick apples, feed pigs, and even how to milk cows.  (Milking cows is harder to do by hand than it appears in this book.  I know from experience...)  He even comes up with a way to get the car out of the ditch.

This is a great way to introduce your child to regular farm life.  Farms aren't as common as they used to be, but they're still there.  Why not visit this farm with Doug?

Happy reading.

The Rock of Ivanore by Laurisa White Reyes

The boys of the village are coming of age.  They are sent on a quest to find the Rock of Ivanore.  If they succeed, they will return in honor.  If they fail, they get menial labor and live in shame.  Shouldn't be hard, right?  It might help if you knew what the Rock of Ivanore was or where to find it...

Tanglewood and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so you can find a copy at your local bookstore now.

Marcus thinks he knows the general direction he needs to go and starts out on his own.  Working his way through the forest and plains on his own is difficult, though.  It's very easy to get killed by the wild predators or thieves.  The boys soon find themselves traveling together.  One is over confident and sets out on his own; the others are trying to find out just what the Rock is how they can find it.

There's danger everywhere, even from the King and castle itself.  You get caught up in the hunt and wonder if any of the boys will make it back in one piece.  This is the first in this series and it's an interesting read.  It's a bit slow while the author sets up the story line but they do find the Rock of Ivanore.  Not only that, they find the story of Ivanore.  There is more to this simple story than you would think.

The next story in the series is even better.  See my review here:  The Last Enchanter  I think you'll want to get them both.  I know I'm looking forward to the next in the series.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Not My Girl by Christy Jordan-Fenton, Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, Gabrielle Grimard

She's been away at the white people's school.  They have cut her hair, taught her manners, fed her white people food and taught her to speak English and French.  When she goes home, she can't remember her native language.  Her mother just looks at her and says, "Not my girl."  So much for a warm homecoming.

Annick Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

Things get worse.  After looking forward to a home cooked meal, she has trouble eating it.  They've weaned her off the traditional foods and she has to learn to eat them again.  She also has to learn how to do work around the house again.  She's forgotten all her harvesting skills.  The dogs don't like her either because she smells different.  It's no fun being home.

In time, thing settle down a bit.  When Christmas comes everyone gets gifts but her.  She's trying not to cry and when her dad asks why, she says she wanted a doll, too.  Her dad asks if she wouldn't like to have her own dog sled better?  Wow! Not only that, her mom hugged her and said, "That's my girl!"  Now she was home again.

The Magician's Doll by M.L. Roble

Natalie knows she's different.  If she had any doubt, the boys who bully her would be sure to point out any faults for her.  The only real friend she has is Phillip and he doesn't understand.  She knows her mother is keeping secrets.  The problem is that what she doesn't know could kill her...

The author and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review.  It has been published, so check where ebooks are sold to get a copy.

This is a story of unseen and untold powers that a small group of people have.  Natalie's mother and Phillip's mother have some of those powers and they are hiding from a madman who wants them all.  They think they are hid well enough but, unfortunately, that's not true.  Now trying to keep their children safe and not telling them all the family secrets means that they may be fighting a losing battle.

I wasn't sure about this book when I started it.  The author has done a very good job of making the story interesting enough to draw you in and keep your attention.  The circus has a magician that can take a doll and turn it in into life.  That's his power:  Imbibing life into inanimate objects.  Phillip's mother stitches clothes that keep people safe and take care of their troubles.  Phillip has the power to transport to places he sees on a map.  Natalie tends to use the others' power to enhance her own.  She also has her mother and grandmother to help her out.  But the man who wants this power is insane and Natalie has the strongest power he's ever seen. 

The fight is tense, the madman doesn't mind hurting people, and Natalie is the only one who can overcome him.  Can an untrained child beat an insane madman?  You'll have to read it and see...

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Lil' Merl and the Dastardly Dragon by Liam Barrett


Are you good at puzzles, mazes, connect-the-dot and coloring?  This book has all those activities and more, so grab a pencil and some crayons and let's jump in!

Nobrow Ltd and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published July 15th, so make a note to pick it up then.

When I was small, this sort of book really appealed to me.  You have a story, but you also have challenges to keep moving along.  I could spend hours playing with something like this.  You might want to try this with your child and get them off the electric gadget for a bit.

Here's an example of how the book works:

 
I've never been real good with mazes, how about you?  There are also word searches, number games and more.  While the book isn't real long, it's real busy and that's a good thing.

Another thought for you:  Maybe you'd like to play along with your child.  The games are fun.  Let the little one teach you how to play... 

Liberty Frye and the Witches of Hessen by J.L. McCreedy

Liberty knew she was a bit odd.  The kids at school were quick to point that out.  She also knew there was something her parents weren't telling her...

Penelope Pipp Publishing and Net Galley allowed me to read this book (thank you).  It has been published so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

They should have told Liberty about the kind of family they were before they visited Germany.  They hadn't been back in years, Liberty didn't even know her grandparents were alive, and she didn't understand why it was dangerous.  It certainly was dangerous for her.  She didn't know who she was or how much power she had.

I enjoy this sort of madcap adventure where the rescuers are not "normal".  You don't get the police involved in something that an old inventor and a ten year old girl know.  They'd laugh at them.  But don't underestimate the power of a strong will and the love of friendship.

This is written for middle grade/young adult readers but I really like it.  Liberty's grandmother drugs her parents and tells her they're dead.  Then a mean old woman comes and takes Liberty away.  She doesn't know who she is but she knows she's dangerous.  She eats children to stay young.  Might she do that to her?  Oh no, she has worse plans...

It seems everyone is lying to her.  Everyone except Wolfgang (a friend of her mother's).  Back in the states, Uncle Frank is getting a WWII fighter pilot to come to the rescue.  Ginny, a friend of Liberty's, decides she and Sol will go save Liberty.  If that isn't strange enough, add in a duck, a bat, and some ravens.

This is a battle to the end and while Liberty doesn't know the whole story, she knows she'll lose herself and all she loves if she doesn't win...

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

100 Hungry Monkeys! by Masayuki Sebe

This book is delightful.  It's not just a picture book with simple text, there's more!

Kids Can Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

There are monkeys all over the place in this book.  They are all doing something different.  They are also all saying something.  Sometimes it's something nonsensical; sometimes it's a question to be answered.  There are also things hidden on the page that a footnote at the bottom asks if you saw them.  It will keep your child busy.

While the monkeys are hungry and thinking only of food, a monster shows up with a big mouth and big teeth.  (We look like a whale out of the water and it's green with polka dots, so it's not really scary.)  They escape across the bridge, then find out the monster only wanted to play with them.  So they save him.  And everyone gets to eat.  How could things be better?  Oh, a little sleep...

The Door by Andy Marino

This is very unusual fantasy tale for young adults.  I've read the book and I'm still not real sure what happened at the end.  Do you like a mystery?

Scholastic and Net Galley gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so grab a copy now at your local bookstore.

The story begins with a young girl and an over-protective mother.  They live by the lighthouse.  Her father is dead.  The girl is obsessive/compulsive and has a split personality. That alone makes her a bit odd.  Add in the fact that there is a door at the top of the lighthouse that can't go anywhere because it's on an outside wall and you've got a mystery.  Her mother tells her to ignore it and never open it.

When she finds her mother dead at the base of the lighthouse, she decides to try the door.  Her mother told her it went to the City of the Dead and if they have her mother, she's going to get her back!  This is where the story gets really strange.

She gets captured by the Watchers who want her to tell them everything she knows (nothing) and about the new people she met at home a few night's ago.  She knows nothing about them either.  They don't believe her.

While they are trying to figure out how to get the information out of her, the voices in her head suddenly become people.  They are living breathing beings that she can now talk to in person.  She even has an extra one she didn't know was there...

The story is one of a constant attempt to escape.  Strange things happen, she finds some friends, her father appears to be part of the enemy and she's having trouble locating her mother.  The ending is almost anticlimactic.  I think I understood what happened, but I'm not sure.  Let me know if you're more confident in your read of this story and think you understand the ending.  I'd like to compare notes.

I can tell you you won't be bored.  There's too much happening for boredom!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Good Dog by Todd Kessler

Ricky finds a puppy by accident and takes it home to meet his family.  They're not real sure about a getting a dog, but agree if that if he's good he can stay.  If he's bad, he has to go to the pound.

Greenleaf Book and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published July 15th, so make a note to pick it up then.

Ricky names his puppy Tako and Tako is very good.  He stays out of the way, never gets in trouble and loves everyone.  When Ricky's parents are selling enough to warrant it, they decide to open a bakery.  Tako helps with that, too.  The problem arises from the grocer on the hill.  Nobody is buying his stale baked goods since there's a nice clean place down the hill that sells fresh tasty new pastry.  He can't have that...

He starts sneaking in and ruining their baking by letting bugs loose in the bakery.  (These are all made-up bug names and colors so the bugs aren't scary.)  The only one who realizes what is going on is Tako.  When he finally grabs the grocer by the pant leg, he ends up getting taken to the pound.  The family is sorry, but he was bad.  

Don't give up hope.  Tako tells the other dogs about it and they all start bumping their cages and get out.  Tako and his friends expose the grocer's bugs and his plot for enrichment.  The best part?  Everyone else in the city wants a "bad" dog, too.  All the dogs find homes and the grocer runs out of town and doesn't return.  How could an ending get any happier?

Tiernay West, Professional Adventurer by Janni Lee Simner


Tiernay West's father writes books about a female adventurer who has fantastic experiences.  He travels everywhere to bring his stories to life with facts about the area he's setting the story in.  Tiernay would like to go with him but it's dangerous and she has school.  So she decides to be an adventurer at home!

Cholla Bear Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

This is a middle grade read with lots of mystery and history in it.  Who would have believed Tiernay's own ancestors had a treasure?  Or that they would be traitors?

A civil war sword is stolen and then stolen back.  A treasure waits to be discovered and another one is lost forever.  Can Tierney figure out where the treasure is buried and what is the one that is lost forever?

The story includes some detective work, some spying, and some real danger.  It's a good thing Teirnay isn't alone in her quest, she needs some help and moral support.  She learns a few other things about life as she completes her quest.  You don't need to go far away to find mystery and crime.  Also, things that happened during the civil war might not be what they seem.  There were two sides to the war and each camp did what they needed to for their cause...

Monday, May 26, 2014

Frog Meets a Bog Beast by Linda Button

Frog loves living in the bog.  There's lots of food, it's nice and damp and it's safe.  Or is it?

Troubador Publishing and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It's been published so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

This is a cute book that has a simple story.  Frog meets Hog.  He tells Hog how bad he tastes and what eating him will do to Hog's stomach right off.  He wants him to understand he's not food.  Hog asks just what he is and tells him he's a roaming hog, going where there's food.  At the end of their conversation the Hog vanishes.  Was he a bog beast?

The back part of this book is filled with facts about frogs, bogs, and more.  The grasslands and swamps house lots of animals and are an important part of our environment.  This book will help your young understand that.

I Was the Cat by Paul Tobin and Benjamin Dewey

Someone will pay a good sum for her to ghostwrite his memoirs.  Her friend is concerned he may have ulterior motives.  She refuses to worry about and goes to meet him.  What she finds is a cat who can talk...

Diamond Book Publishers and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published August 5th, so make a note to pick it up then.

This is a graphic novel that is almost noir in style.  The cat shares the knowledge of his past lives and colors and how he has been a companion to those who wished to control the world.  The histories are short, cover major events, and all had a bad ending for the person he befriended and himself.  He wants to share these stories with the world so they will understand him.

Everything is going along very well until the ladies decide he's working on another plot to take over the world.  He even admits it.  He still wants her to write his story.  She says she has to think about it.  I'm afraid if she doesn't take the job, she'll be another statistic, but we won't find out until the next book comes out.

This was real different and is not meant for children.  It's an adult graphic novel.  And, while I didn't like the cat or his friends, I would read another installment in this series.  After all, he's on his last life.  Maybe he should be worried about the ladies...

Sunday, May 25, 2014

There's a Mouse Hiding In This Book! Benjamin Bird

I can't believe it!  Tom and Jerry are back!  I used to love these cartoons when I watched them as a child.  I know that was many moons ago, but seeing a book using the characters made me smile even before I read the book.

Capstone and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  This book will be published September 1st, so make a note on your TBR list.

I really like this book because it's interactive.  You have to open the pages slow or fast (if you do it too fast, Tom slides off the page) and you have to shake it, and at the end, you have to close the book quickly so the mouse doesn't get out!

The same old characters (included the big mean dog) are in this story and it will keep the little ones busy just paging through it again and again.  After all, how many books do you have that play with you?

Rogues by George R.R. Martin, Gardner Dozois

I'm a fan of short stories so the thought about an anthology about rogues sounded wonderful.  I personally don't believe in stealing anything from anyone, but I sure enjoy reading about good thieves and swindlers.  I think that's because it's fiction and sometimes their work can be very dangerous.  I couldn't wait to read this book!

Bantam and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 17th, so check with your local bookstore then.

There are stories of every type here:  Sci fi, fantasy, medieval, steampunk and more.  There are also several familiar characters.  You'll understand why when you look over this list of contents:


Joe Abercrombie “Tough Times All Over”
Gillian Flynn “What Do You Do?”
Matthew Hughes “The Inn of the Seven Blessings”
Joe R. Lansdale “Bent Twig”
Michael Swanwick “Tawny Petticoats”
David Ball “Provenance”
Carrie Vaughn “The Roaring Twenties”
Scott Lynch “A Year and a Day in Old Theradane”
Bradley Denton “Bad Brass”
Cherie Priest “Heavy Metal”
Daniel Abraham “The Meaning of Love”
Paul Cornell “A Better Way to Die”
Steven Saylor “Ill Seen in Tyre”
Garth Nix “A Cargo of Ivories”
Walter Jon Williams “Diamonds From Tequila”
Phyllis Eisenstein “The Caravan to Nowhere”
Lisa Tuttle “The Curious Affair of the Dead Wives”
Neil Gaiman “How the Marquis Got His Coat Back”
Connie Willis “Now Showing”
Patrick Rothfuss “The Lightning Tree”

It will take you a while to read this book, it's over 800 pages long.  I found it time well spent.  There are no bad stories.  Some made me want to change the endings, and some were a shock, but all were interesting.

My two favorites were:  “The Caravan to Nowhere” and “Now Showing”.  Both are fantasies and caught my fancy because of the story content.  The first uses magic to transport people; the second references old movies including a favorite of mine:  Jumping Jack Flash.  

I'm sure you'll find your own favorites.  After all, there's a Neil Gaiman story in the collection, too.  This would make a nice long weekend read, a beach read, or maybe one story before bed each night.  I just devoured it in my reading chair like always and had a good time doing it.  Get a copy!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Big or Little? Kathy Stinson, Jennifer A. Bell

This is a board book that begs the question:  Are you a big girl or a little girl?  This little girl is some of each!

Annick Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

This is a cute board book with a little one trying to decide if she's big or little.  She knows when she ties her shoe she's big.  But when she can't find the arms on her shirt and has to ask for help, she knows she's little.  She has a couple more big and little moments to get the point across.  The illustrations are bright and colorful and show you a very sweet young girl.

If you have a young one growing up, they will love this book.  They'll probably be pointing out big and little things they can do!

My favorite part is at the end when the girl admits she doesn't mind being little if it means being carried to bed by Mom.  Being carried to bed is the best thing in the world when you're small.  I still remember my Dad carrying me in to bed after we came back from visiting my Grandparents who lived out of town.  Special moments like that don't disappear...

The Dog Who Could Fly by Damien Lewis

What caught my attention was the subtitle:  The Incredible True Story of a WWII Airman and the Four-Legged Hero Who Flew At His Side.  I had read about dogs who had been in the war but not any that had learned to fly.  This intrigued me.

Atria Books and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 10th, so grab a copy then.

My Grandfather fought for the US in WWI and got his citzenship.  His two sons fought in WW1 and the Korean War.  I have a sense of history for those wars and know it was no piece of cake for anyone fighting there.  Having a dog involved was very unusual.

This story is written mostly from Robert Bozdech's diary, where he talked about his days, the dog, and the war.  I found it fascinating and I don't read a lot of non-fiction.  This one gathered me in and kept me glued to the pages.  I think it was the dog that did it; the dog and the men who loved him.

Robert found the puppy in an abandoned farm house in the middle of a war zone.  The plane had gone down, the pilot was injured and they were trying to sneak out of the trouble they were in.  It's hard to do with a whining puppy.  Robert goes to silence the dog, but returns with it in his jacket.  That's just the start of a long relationship of love with a man and his dog.

He had to fight regulations, hide the dog from the authorities, share oxygen with him when he stowed away on the plane, and take him to the doctor when the dog got his share of shrapnel and bullets, too.  The story made me cry when the dog got hurt.  The dedication of the dog can't shaken or stopped.  That's why other men started covering for Robert and the dog and working on keeping him safe.

This story has been told before but not with Bozdech's words.  Previously the story was altered.  This is the real story, and Ant (the dog) gets his due.  He does get to come home with Robert at the end of the war.  That's another adventure that you'll have to read the book to find out about.  Life with Robert and Ant was not boring!

Friday, May 23, 2014

What Can You Do With Only One Shoe? Simon Shapiro, Sheryl Shapiro, Francis Blake

I love this book!  If it's no longer useful or broken, don't throw it out; find another use!

Annick Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

The theme here is reuse, recycle, reinvent.  I've also seen a term used now called "upcycle".  That means use old to make new.

I grew up in a household that didn't have a lot of stuff.  You used everything, hand-me-downs went through the family until they were so worn they became rags or quilts.  Empty cans became button holders.  We kept spice containers that had shaker tops so we could use them when baking for things like cinnamon and sugar or powdered sugar to go on cookies.  I could really relate to this book.

I like the idea of putting your old sneaker on a tree so a bird can make a nest in it.  There are lots of ideas in this book and they are all expressed in rhymes.  It makes it much more fun to read.  The ideas are useful, too.  Even if they just get you started on "What could I do with that?" it's worth the price of the book.

How inventive can you and your family be?

The Orchard of Hope by Amy Neftzger

Wolves are stealing all the fruit from the Orchard of Hope.  If someone doesn't stop it, all hope will be gone...

Fog Ink and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 23rd, so watch for it.  This is the second book in the Kingdom Wars, so you can grab the first book to read until then.

This is written for ages 7-13.  The story has lots of danger, magic, and adventure all rolled together.  The sorcerer is trying to take over the world; the king is trying to save it.  

Kelsey goes off to save the Orchard of Hope; Nicholas stays home to learn new skills.  He seems to be a natural born sorcerer even though he is very young.  There's a leopard that can heal, a fox that is really the Grim Reaper but is a friend of Kelsey's and more.  Everyone plays their parts.  Kelsey learns to talk to birds.  She also can hear the wolves.  Nicholas learns to scry and how to move things far away by projecting his skills.

This good fantasy with plenty of excitement.  The best part?  There will be another book in this series.  The sorcerer got a glimpse of them when they were scrying and Kelsey got spelled by a plant that spreads doubt.  This story isn't done yet...

Happy reading.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Pigs Board Book by Robert Munsch, Michael Martchenko

Mr. Munsch is one of my favorite children's authors.  He always writes fun books with wonderful illustrations.  I wasn't going to miss this one!

Annick Press and Net Galley allowed to me read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

Megan's dad tells her to be sure and not let the pigs out of the pen.  The pigs are just standing around not paying any attention to her and she thinks they're dumb.  So she opens the gate to peer in.  Uh oh...

Not only do the pigs get out, they raid the house, the school and any place else they find food.  Boy oh boy, are they having fun! Imagine Megan's surprise when she gets on the bus and it's full of pigs and they drive her home.

Megan doesn't think pigs are dumb any more.  Big surprise, eh? 

A Hitch at the Fairmont by Jim Averbeck

Can you imagine solving a crime with Alfred Hitchcock as your partner?

Atheneum Books and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 24th, so make a note to grab a copy then for your young reader.

I've always loved mysteries and they can be hard to find as a young reader.  I also enjoy Hitchcock's movies and books, so I wasn't going to miss a chance to read this book.

This is a great book.  Mr. Averbeck creates an old fashioned story that catches your interest and makes your curiosity flair right from the beginning.  Nick Bertozzi's illustrations set the stage for this well written story that takes place in a hotel.

Jack Fair is an orphan.  When his aunt sweeps in from San Francisco and grabs him and a few belongings, he doesn't know what to think.  She's fat and lazy.  She lives at the Fairmont Hotel, and she has a white chinchilla for a pet.  She's not fond of children and continually sends Jack running to buy her more chocolates.  She won't share but she'll waste them.  He's not fond of her or the room or her pet, so he visits with the lady who owns the candy store and chats with the employees.

When he goes back to the room and finds his aunt is gone and there's a ransom note written in chocolate on the sheet she was laying on, Jack is flabbergasted.  What's he to do?  He's too young to find her alone.  Then he remembers who is in the room next to him and he impulsively asks for aid.  Hitchcock is busy and hasn't time to help a kid, but how to do you say no to a desperate child?

They investigate, they search, they hunt everywhere, and when they find out who is involved, Jack can't believe it.  Just like he can't believe why they were doing it!  He needs Mr. Hitchcock's help.  Can you see Hitchcock dressed up like a lady with two cantaloupes for boobs?  He does it for a good cause in this story.

It's great fun, exciting and busy and it's silly enough to make you laugh.  I liked this one a lot.  Why don't you give it a try?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Is A Worry Worrying You? Ferida Wolff and Harriet May Savitz

Do you have a worrier in the family?  I think every family has one!

Tanglewood and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

Most of the worries shown are silly.  I mean, one hundred elephants coming for tea?  So you only have one teabag, what do you do?  Make lemonade instead...

There's some good advice in here for adults as well as children.  Don't worry, look for solutions.  Keep busy so you don't have time to worry.  And just shove those worries out the door and don't look back.  

Life is busy enough without making mountains out of mole hills.  Take care of what happens but don't worry about what might.  These are lessons I've learned with life.  Here's an easy way to teach it to your child.

Happy reading.

The Last Enchanter by Laurisa White Reyes

Kelvin is living as royalty with the King, his grandfather; Marcus is studying magic with Zyll, his grandfather.  When Marcus and Zyll find out Fredric has been murdered, Zyll goes to help Kelvin and make sure he doesn't become the next casualty.

Tanglewood Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore to get a copy.  You may also wish to purchase the first book as this is the second in the series.

Marcus tries to scry using water as Zyll has tried to train him, but he has no luck.  Then he spills the water and he sees Zyll dying!  He immediately gets ready to follow Zyll and see if he can stop his death.  He's going by himself, but he can't get away without companions.  They refuse to let him go alone.  He needs them in this quest.

There is a traitor in the castle, Lael is trying to find her mother, and Kelvin is avoiding Marcus and Zyll.  Trying to figure out who killed the King is no easy thing, especially not when others are blocking you and attempting to kill you.

This is written for middle grade readers, but it pulls no punches.  The King was poisoned, Zyll does die, and the whole story has danger sprinkled through it.  It's a grand adventure with Marcus not realizing one of his companions is in love with him.  He finally gets it by the end, though, and the ending of this story is encouraging.  I'm sure this series will have more books and I know I will enjoy reading more about Marcus and his friends.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Color Game for Chester Raccoon by Audrey Penn

This is a board book for little ones that is precious.  Chester Raccoon is cutest thing and he's learning about color in this book.

Tanglewood Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

Chester looks around the meadow he's standing in and picks out a color.  All the other animals in the meadow point out other colors.  The illustrations are bright, the colors are obvious and all the animals are precious.

The best part is that at the end of the book Chester asks the reader to look around and find something white.  You can go on your own color hunt!  What a great way to identify colors.

Flight of the Sparrow by Amy Belding Brown

This novel is based on historical facts.  Mary Rowlandson was captured by Indians and returned to society for a ransom.  She came back a different person than she was when she left...

NAL Trade and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published July 1st, so grab a copy then.

Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1676, was settled by Puritans.  Mary was taught to obey her husband, offer no opinions of her own, and to follow the rules of the bible.  The fact that her husband's interpretation of them is different than Mary's doesn't matter.  She must do what she is told.

The Indians are uprising after mistreatment and stolen land, and the town Mary lives in is getting nervous.  Her husband and a contingent of men go to ask for soldiers to help protect the town.  As soon as they are gone, the Indians attack.

I like the way Ms. Brown portrays the Indians:  They are savages and act cruelly.  But that's not the whole picture.  As you watch Mary's captivity, you learn they can also be kind.  They share their food with all, even when there's nothing much to eat.  They cloth her, fix her hair, and give her freedom to do what she wants after chores.  She never had free time at home. Many times what Mary learned in the Indian camps almost made her sick, but it wasn't long before she was helping harvest squirrels and using everything to make soup.  When food is a precious commodity and others will steal it if you don't eat it fast, you start eating fast!

Coming back was hard for both Mary and her husband.  She hadn't been violated but no one believed her.  Her husband wanted to, but he still didn't want to lay with her.  She was depressed, missed the intimacy they had before, and she didn't like staying in the house all the time.  He got nervous when she went walking because he thought she might run away.

Mary had sorrow in her life.  She also saw both sides of life and was more sympathetic towards the Indians than she had been in the past when she didn't know any of them.  She was always an outsider to the city folk because of her experience, but she managed to go with her life and even fall in love.  As long as you don't give up, there's always hope.

Anyone who likes historical novels, information about Indian life, or stories of captives will enjoy this story.  It held my interest all the way through and I'm not a big history fan.  I admire Mary for her strength of character and was glad to read about her.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Pretty Deadly Volume 1 by Emma Rios and Jordie Bellair

I've read the Sandman series so that drew me to this graphic novel.  I hadn't heard of the Preacher before, but I like a Western touch, so that was another draw...

Diamond Book Distributors and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

Reading comics like these means you need to suspend your belief system and just jump into the fantasy world that is presented.  To demonstrate that point, the story is told by a dead rabbit whose skeleton still moves to a butterfly.  Forget normal.

It all starts when a man marries Beauty and then is afraid other men might harm her.  He builds a tower and incarcerates her in it.  She withers there and asks Death to take her.  Before he does, he sleeps with her and gets her pregnant.

This series focuses on the child.  Fox is caring for her, the world is dangerous place, and almost everybody dies.  But Death is waiting for her and she must go...

It's fantasy, horror, and mayhem all tied together.  If you're faint of heart, don't read this one.  If you want to know how the Death in the Sandman series began, here is her story...

Vertigo 42: A Richard Jury Mystery by Martha Grimes

Richard Jury is back and looking into a cold case that might be so cold...

Scribner and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  The book will be published June 3rd, so make a note to pick it up then.

A woman fell to her death in the backyard of her home.  She had vertigo, they had tall steps down to the yard, and they assume it's suicide.  Her husband doesn't agree.  This is the second death at that house.  A young girl that was a bully fell into the empty pool out there at a birthday party and died.  Tess was accused of being at fault because she wasn't watching the girl.  The fact that they were forbidden to play back there is besides the point.  Then Tess falls down the steps and dies.  Did she fall, or was she pushed?

Richard decides to begin with the children at the party.  Tess and her husband had no children of their own, but Tess always spoiled the ones she did know.  

He visits with the children and gets their remembrances about the party.  He talks to her friends, her doctor, her husband and anyone who can give any insight to the death.  He has to do a lot of digging to find any clues.  The clues he does find don't stand out and are like puzzle pieces to fit together.  

I've followed Richard Jury (and Ms. Grimes) for years and know that Richard will not give up.  He keeps searching, questioning and analyzing the information until he knows what happens.  Long buried secrets come to life.  The psychological impact on the living will be great.  But the questions about the deaths will be answered.  Everyone will be better off with things out in the open except the killer.  And that's called justice.