Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Throne of Darkness by Douglas Nicholas GIVEAWAY

Queen Maeve (Molly in common terms) and her granddaughter Nemain are going to face a horror even greater than the ones they have already seen.  Molly, who is older and very wise, can handle almost anything with her magic and knowledge but this challenge is almost too much for her...

Emily Bestler Books sent me an ARC of this story to read for review (thank you). It will be published the 31st of March, so be sure to grab it then.  If you haven't read the earlier books, pick them up and start on them.  It's fun to watch this family grow in talents and love.

I have loved this entire series.  I reviewed the first book yesterday, the second book some months ago (See the review here:  The Wicked), and now here is the review of the third.  I even read The Wicked over again and was enthralled by the story.  Then I realized I'd already reviewed it!  It was good the second time, too.

This third adventure is even more formidable than the others this foursome has faced.  The King has decided to get rid of his enemies.  He plans to attack and kill the Lords who are against him.  He also plans to use a sorcerer and shapeshifters to accomplish this.  The even more horrible thing is that the shapeshifters are huge hyenas from Africa.  They, too, have senses and know quite quickly about Molly and Nemain having powers of their own.  They call them witches.

The only reason Molly is involved is because she's basically been blackmailed into it.  One of the church's spies has told her she must help or she'll be persecuted for using "magic" in the past to save those Lords who needed her help.  She's willing but then she finds out the shapeshifters are two hundred strong.  How can four people fight that?

One night, while around the campfire, Hob is teasing his wife and says something that gives Molly an answer to that question.

The church's spy is no better than the rest of the bad guys.  It's a fine line that Molly walks.  She doesn't want to be racked by the church or killed by the King, but it's hard to avoid it.  This story is exciting to the last page.  I hope there will be another in this series.  It's been a pleasure to read so far.  Each book gets better.

I have the privilege of offering a copy of this book to one reader.  Leave a comment here on the blog and then email me:  info at bookfaerie.com with your name and address for shipping.  I'll pick one name out of the hat and give it to the publisher to have your book sent.  You'll enjoy reading it! 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Something Red by Douglas Nicholas

A ragtag group of travelers are moving across the country with their wagons, an ox, a mule, and a mare and their musical instruments.  Everyone has a special talent; some of it is magic, some skill.  And Hob is there because he's an orphan who was left with a priest who had aged and could no longer care for him.  He's thirteen, but he's already growing into a man.  Traveling with Molly will make him grow up a lot faster...

Emily Bestler Books sent me this series to read for review (thank you).  This is book one and has been published.  You'll be able to find a copy now at your local bookstore.

Molly is an Irish Queen who has been displaced.  She travels with her granddaughter who is also a queen.  They both know how to heal and have some magical traits.  Hob thinks they're fey.  Jack is huge man who was a Knight in the Holy Wars and has seen some awful things.  He doesn't speak because of war injuries and he has a limp but he's whole and still has a formidable strength.  Jack protects Molly and the others and is Molly's lover, too.

As they travel, they go from safe place to safe place.  There are thieves and monsters in the woods.  When they have the opportunity to travel with others, they do so for safety. They have to fight their way forward through thieves and people who try to take advantage of them.  Both the women feel something in the woods watching them but even Hob can't see anything.  He's very observant and remembers the incongruity of sentences.  He's an aid to Molly even if he's not magical.

First the danger was with them, then behind and then in front of them.  When they try to return to one of the safe havens, everyone there has been killed.  The only person who could still speak said it was a fox, but no fox could have killed the big hounds and all the guards.  Molly regrets that the sick Lady was staying there died but then she finds her and her men at the castle they go to for safety.  The last part of this story made the pages turn quickly.  The monster is in the castle and it will take the team Molly has made to try to save everyone.

This is an exciting story that you can tell is leading to something greater.  It's a mix of adventure, mystery, horror and even shapeshifting.  Mr. Nicholas has put a bit everything in this story and it works well together.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Dark Side of The Road by Simon Green

I've read a lot of Severn House mysteries but this is the first one that I've run into that is science fiction.  It surprised me.  It was also a very good read.

Severn House and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published May 1st. If you like a book where everything ticks and ties together before the end, you'll really enjoy this one.

When Ishmael gets a call from his boss, the Colonel, that asks him to join him over Christmas at his family home, he obliges.  If the Colonel needs him, he will be there, as he has been many times in the past.  The Colonel belongs to an unnamed organization that takes care of messy problems the rest of the world doesn't need to know about.  Ishmael is really good at this type of work because he walks "The Dark Side of the Road".  People don't notice him, he draws no one's attention, and he goes in and does what he must and then vanishes again.  He owes the Colonel, of course he'll go.

An awful snowstorm has started and he barely reaches his destination.  When he gets there and meets the family, he's sorry he came.  None of them are very nice.  And no one seems to know where the Colonel is.  After a major search, he's found in the yard.  He resembles a snowman except his head has been cut off and then put back in place.  Since no one can leave the house, it's apparent that someone in the household is the killer.  They had planned to escape but instead found themselves snowbound.

Suspicions rise, the body count goes up and the only one who can probably save them is Ishmael.  There's a walking horror in the house and it intends to be the only one who leaves.  

While it was not what I was expecting, this was a good story.  I didn't anticipate the ending.  It didn't help to know who the killer was.  And it was ironic that in this house of horrors with the Colonel's relatives, Ishmael also learned some truths about his past.  I wouldn't mind reading another book about him.  He's an interesting character.

The Wolf in the Wardrobe by Susan Brocker

He doesn't like how the circus clown treated his performing wolves.  They obey him because they fear him, not because they respect him.  He's pretty sure the man is hurting them, but he hides it from the audience.  When he's coming home from doing his paper route and sees one of them run across the road and get hit by a car, he's determined to help it.  His mother won't let him have a dog, she certainly isn't going to let him keep a wolf!

HarperCollins and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  This book will be published on March 31st, so you can get a copy in a few days.

I have an affinity with animals so this book interested me right at the start.  Ms. Brocker writes a realistic story and adds in regular life stresses.  Finn's mother has moved and taken another job that pays more so she can support Finn and her mother.  Grandma has Alzheimers (so did my own), Dad has a new girlfriend, and Finn has the wolf in his closet.  You can tell this is not your usual story.

When Finn takes the wolf to the vet, he says she's just a big dog.  The vet tells him how much it will cost to treat her and he agrees.  He has to use his savings he had set aside for a rugby tournament, but so be it.  She's more important now and he can't go and leave her home alone.

He's walking a tight rope here.  The wolf occasionally howls.  Grandma has decided she's Molly, a dog she had in the past.  When he comes home from school, he finds both the wolf and his grandmother cuddling up and sleeping on his bed.  His mother would freak!

While he tries to take care of the wolf and his grandmother, he has to get another job to pay for the food the wolf eats.  He's OK with that, but then the clown who lost the wolf is back and wants to take her back.  He's really more interested in her collar, but Grandma has hidden that. As if Finn didn't have enough troubles, he finds out Lupa is pregnant.  What will he do now?

This is a well-told tale that I enjoyed reading.  I can understand Finn's fears and his desire to keep Lupa safe.  He manages that despite the odds.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Firebird Mystery by Darrell Pitt

Jack is an orphan.  His parents were trapeze artists and fell to their deaths.  He's in an orphanage where he gets bullied by the older boys.  That doesn't keep him from trying to get even...

Text Publishing Company and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published May 12th, so make a note to pick it up then.

When the bullies come after Jack for putting mud in their boots, he thinks he can escape them by running.  He gets stuck in a building but hides and thinks he's safe.  He is, until he knocks a paint can down.  Then he has to use his circus tricks to escape.  I knew I was going to love Jack as a character after the first few pages.

When Jack arrives back at the orphanage, the manager wants to see him.  To his surprise, he has been selected to work as a gentleman's aide.  He's been requested by a detective who has an injured leg and he's to do jobs the older gentleman can't.  The home he goes to is very unusual.  It's best if you don't look too close at what might be in the bottles on the shelf.  His new bedroom is bigger than the room he shared with a dozen others back at the home.  The food is better, too.  He thinks he might like this.  Of course, he had no idea what he was getting into when a good looking young woman comes in and requests them to find her missing father...

This is a busy book.  There's a mix of steampunk, weapons of mass destruction, a secret society, and electrical and biological experiments.  Trying to find out where the missing man is takes them into the depths of the secrets and suddenly they have a war to stop.  Jack has to use all his talents to stay alive.  He's also got a crush on the young woman they're helping.

I like the way the author writes, the action packed story, and watching Jack in action.  I'm also glad to see that Jack will most likely be back again because his nemesis got away.  His fight for right isn't done yet and that makes me happy.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Candy from a Stranger by Daryl Buckner

Every day, probably every hour, another child goes missing from their home or neighborhood.  You see Amber Alerts come through quite often.  What if that missing child was yours?  What would you do?

Sparkling Books Limited and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It is being published June 29th, so watch for a copy then.

The story begins with the father's grief.  His son has been kidnapped.  There's no request for ransom, no one saw anything, the cops have no idea where he is.  No one knows if he's alive or dead and it's been almost a year.  Now the cops won't even listen to Ben.  They think he's obsessed and aren't sure he's even sane anymore.  He's lost his wife because he won't let go.  But he's not done with his hunt...

You watch him go through his thought process and continue his search.  Since he's trying to find the killer and the cops see him in the locations other kidnappings take place, they begin to wonder if he's the one snatching the boys.  In the meantime, Ben is having nightmares about the day his son disappeared.  He's gaunt, bearded and tense with concern.  People are beginning to look weird at him.

He finds a common denominator.  The other missing boys look a lot like his son.  It seems the killer chooses a particular type.

As all this goes along, you read the killer's thoughts and realize the man is a real psychopath.  I wasn't sure if it was another person or another facet of Ben's personality.

The ending is gripping and forceful.  It's also shocking.  Mr. Buckner kept me glued to the story and anxious to see how ended.  The last few pages of the book are chilling.  It appears this evil still lives on.  I wonder if there will be another book in this series?  Another thought:  This is more horror story than police procedural.  I won't forget I read it.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

You'll Die Next! by Harry Whittington

Henry is in heaven.  He's an ordinary guy who has married a beautiful woman who is a good cook and keeps the house spotless.  She loves him, he loves her, and he's proud to have her as a wife.  So when someone knocks on his door, he never expected to get beat up on his own front porch...

280 Steps and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so you can grab a copy now.

This is pulp fiction from the 1950's and it's about as good as it gets.  I like it when men were men, nobody pulled punches, you didn't worry about if it was politically correct and justice was meted out with fists and guns.

Henry has only known his wife for six months so when he gets told she's not who she's pretending to be, he's not sure how he feels.  She knows this and is hurt.  He tells her he has to go work and they can talk more when he comes home.  Work calls him in and tells him they just found out he was in jail in California.  He tells them he's never been to California, but they fire him.  When he goes home, his wife is missing.  There are two highballs on the kitchen table but nobody is home.  What does she do while he's at work?  And why is she not home?

Henry spends most of his time running around.  He's looking for the guy who beat him up, looking for his wife, trying to stay ahead of the man who wants to kill him, and he's not having much luck at all. Henry has been set up.  He's a pawn in the war between two men.  He's just a common man, so his fight is hard.  But he won't give up because he wants his wife back. 

I wasn't sure how this was going to end but it was very appropriate.  I enjoyed this hard boiled read.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Ambleside Alibi: A Lake District Mystery by Rebecca Tope

All Simmy wants to do is run her little flower shop and live a simple life.  It's what she needs at this point in her life.  So when she got a phone order with an odd note for an older lady, she delivers it as requested.  Who would have guessed that a mystery message could cause so much trouble?

Witness Impulse and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy now.

When the old woman visits and wants to know the name of the sender, Simmy refuses to give it to her.  Being confidential is part of the flower business.  When the woman's daughters approach her, she gives them the same answer.  But by then, she's wondering who the person is that sent them, too.

This is very small community.  Everyone knows everyone else.  Most everyone is related in some way.  And some secrets have been buried a long time.

I enjoyed watching Simmy try to be discrete but still questioning people.  She's not an aggressive detective, but she does find things out.  Her young friends help her and I like that.  Even the cop worries about her.  When she almost dies from a fall that was not an accident, she's ready to back off.  Instead the girl who sent the flowers and her mother come to visit her at the hospital.  She suddenly knows more than she wanted to.  And the killer isn't done yet...

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Killer Getaway: A Killer Wasps Mystery by Amy Korman

The girls are going on vacation.  It's snowing and ugly outside at home so when they get an invite to go to Florida and stay (for free!), who's going to say no?

Witness Impulse and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so you can grab it now.  You might want to read the first book in this series, too.  They're fun cozy reads.

When they go out to eat and visit their friends restaurant, they're surprised to see one of the customers get ill.  Unfortunately, it's a woman with a lot of influence in town and she warns everyone away from the restaurant.  The bad seafood was sabotage but no one believes that except the friends.  There's no way to prove it.

Even worse, an old enemy from the past moves in across the street with his own restaurant.  He also has a big TV deal, a hot new girlfriend, and great financial bankers.  He intends to put them out of business.

Suddenly, their vacation turns into an investigation.  The only help their friends have is them.  Surely they can find out who's trying to make the restaurant fail.  The competition is just that.  He didn't sabotage them.  So who did?

The girls are just as ditzy as they were in the last book.  Bootsie orders all the food on the menu and eats most of it herself.  She's also watching a tennis tournament.  One of them shops until her credit cards can't handle it anymore.  One is getting even with her husband by casually dating the hot boys in Florida.  Just a normal day/life for this group.

They also make friends with an old woman there and have to try to stop an almost bootleg real estate deal.  They sure know how to relax.  What they don't realize is that one of the people in their circle of acquaintances is an enemy who will do all they can to get what they think has been stolen from them.

This is one where I didn't anticipate the ending.  I like that in a book.

Inspector of the Dead by David Morrell

Thomas DeQuincy is a brilliant man who knows a multitude of facts and history.  He's also an opium addict.  He has an independent free thinking daughter that cares for him.  Mostly she makes sure he eats and tries to slow his opium intake down.  Their last foray in solving crimes made them friends with two Scotland Yard detectives.  One of them is still injured but doing better.  When unusual murders begin, he's asked to help.

Mulholland Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published today, so you can find a copy at your local bookstore now.

I wasn't sure if I'd like this book.  I've read a lot about early England with Queen Victoria and there were a lot of poor folk and unfortunate circumstances.  But this book is based on historical events and has a killer that is motivated by revenge over his family's deaths long ago.  It was much more interesting than I expected.  Mr. Morrell draws you in and snags your attention and off you go.

The first murder happens in a church in a private compartment.  The lady who was killed was in that compartment by herself.  How could it have happened?

The notes left at the scenes of death are names of men who tried to assassinate the queen.  These notes and the identities of the people being killed are the hints the killer gives the police. 

People from all walks of life are being affected by this madman.  Even the queen is not safe.  What amazed me was the identity of the killer.  I would have never guessed.  The author shows you the complexity of the madman's mind, his confusion and how his personality is split apart in a manner that fills you with horror and understanding both.

I found this to be an impressive read.  It's a good history lesson as well as a good mystery.  Victorian England was not a nice place to be poor.

Oddly Normal Book 1 by Otis Frampton

Oddly Normal is half-witch.  She lives with her parents in a witchy-like house and goes to school with regular kids.  They bully her to death.  She's fed up with her life.

Image Comics and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It is being published today, so you can grab a copy now.

I was pleasantly surprised by this graphic novel.  I wasn't sure about a green haired kid with pointed ears but Mr. Frampton does a good job with his graphics and has an interesting story line.

We start out on earth, but it's Oddly's tenth birthday and when her folks call her in blow out the candles on her cake, she's mad.  It's always the same thing, none of the kid's will come to her party, her Mom and Dad are falsely excited, and it's just TOO MUCH!  She blows out her candles and wishes they'd just disappear.  Unfortunately, they do.  So does the house.

When her aunt shows up late, she's amazed.  All she can do is take her home to Fignation, the magical town her mother grew up in.  She's going to look for a solution.

My very favorite part of the story is when Oddly goes to school there.  The students are all kinds of monsters with defects and attitudes.  (I swear I recognized some of those kids...)  Even her teachers aren't normal.  She was hoping for a fresh start but all she gets is a new set of bullies.

I'll be watching for more in this series.  The stories are amusing, fun to read, and the graphics made me laugh.  And now I think a green haired girl with pointed ears is cool. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Bye, Bye Love: A Cat DeLuca Mystery by K J Larsen

Cat DeLuca always seems to get caught up in murder.  All she does is private eye work and that's mostly catching cheaters.  She can't help it if she went jogging and fell over a body, can she?

Poisoned Pen Press and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 7th, so you can grab a copy then.  If you haven't read any of the others in this series, you should.  Cat always in trouble, has odd relatives and can't decide which man she wants in her life.  You won't be bored.

When she's checking the body for some sign of life, someone comes up and whacks her in the head.  Upon waking, she finds the body gone.  And the police chief thinks it's all in her whacked up head.  There's no body to be found.  The only blood is on her.  She's nuts, that's all.

Cat's relatives are little like the Mafia.  They have connections, they have more money than they should have (how many cops drive a Ferrari?), and they can find muscle when they need it.  They don't like anyone picking on Cat.  The only complication here is that the dead man is apparently Bernie Love.  He was the bookkeeper for one of the highest ranking Mafia around.  Could Mr. Provenza have killed Bernie because he was trying to retire?

Cat's assistant is gun toting moll that is willing to scale fences to get where she's going after information.  Her Uncle Joey is after Mr. Provenza, and, Cat is trying to figure out why Bernie was killed.  

This story is quite the ride.  Cat has a killer after her, her Uncle's Ferrari gets blown up, she has a missing man to find, and she has to work hard to stay alive.  It's a good thing she has lots of people to take care of her even if she has to depend on herself at the end.  I enjoy this series.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Gun Street Girl by Adrian McKinty

Belfast is a war zone.  English, Irish, IRA, cops, labor movements, Americans, and more are all through the city and each has their own plan on how to make things right.  Most of the time making things right means making it right for themselves and the hell with the rest of them.  Even the cops aren't safe from beatings or death.  Those who live there do because they love the country and sometimes there is no way out.  But with a pot being stirred by so many interests, you can be sure there will be some casualties along the way...

Seventh Street Books sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It has been published so you can find a copy at your local bookstore now.

Detective Sean Duffy is an irascible copper who takes no shit off anybody and has his own beliefs and opinions.  You can tell he doesn't care what people say about him because he is a Catholic cop in a Protestant district.  He's tired though and approaching burn out.  The new case he gets assigned to isn't going to help him get over that...

When he visits a crime scene, he finds a husband and wife dead.  Shot in the head.  It looks like a professional hit to him.  There's a missing son, they start trying to find him to see what he knows.  When they do find him, he's dead, too.  An apparent suicide.  Sean isn't buying that.  He's too stubborn to take the easy way out.  He starts looking for connections.  Unfortunately, he finds them.

This is a complicated case with players from every group in Belfast and beyond involved.  Anyone who might talk ends up dead.  Sean gets badly beaten up.  Much of what should be exposed can't be.  So the whole exercise is futile and unfulfilling. 

This is not a nice story.  You're on the mean streets of Belfast with politicians, spooks and the higher echelon of police all messing about.  It's not nice, but it's real. Sean isn't a character I like but I admire him and his quest for answers.  If you follow Sean on his journeys, you'll see bad things, share his disappointments, and wonder if he will ever be happy in life.  One thing you won't be is bored.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Margery Allingham's Mr Campion's Fox, A brand-new Albert Campion mystery by Mike Ripley

The Danish ambassador has asked Mr. Campion to check out his daughter's man.  She's young and in love but she's also his daughter and puts him in a vulnerable position.  Mr. Campion is retired and not looking for new adventures but he could have his son do snooping for him.  It would be good practice for Rupert.  Of course, while Rupert is following Frank Tate, Albert is following him.  If only Albert had looked behind himself he might have noticed he was being followed too.

Severn House and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 1st, so watch for a copy then.

I've read books by Ms. Allingham and I found her Campion a bit stuffy.  Mr. Ripley writes about the same character but adds enough other players in to make it a more enjoyable read for me.  It also seems to move along a bit faster.  It's been some time since I read anything in this series but I wouldn't mind reading more by this author.

Mr. Campion's wife is a force in own right.  Everyone around her obeys her.  She will allow no one to harm her husband or her son.  And she's willing to defend them herself.  She's quite the lady.

They have done nothing except tail Mr. Tate in town.  When he leaves for the weekend to go hang out with the ambassador's daughter, they think their job is done.  Unfortunately, he gets killed and the girl goes missing.  Instead of being done, they are just getting started.

There's something for everyone in this book.  You have two old women who are bossy and opinionated and own almost the whole town and the brewery, which is the major employer.  You have Rupert's friend and his family that Rupert and his wife go to stay with.  You have a nosy cop.  You also have a mad man who chops wood and smokes fish and never baths.  (He saw bad things in the war and was injured there, too, you see.)  There's also a dog and a fox, and even a few spies.  What more could you want?

With secrets everywhere and even Frank not being Frank, most of the mysteries are solved.  However, the young woman is still missing.  No body is has been found.  It's not until a chance conversation brings up a thought for Rupert that they have any chance of finding her.  But will they be in time?

This book is an enjoyable read and is busy to the last page.  Even if you never met Mr. Campion before, you can enjoy this read.  Give it a try!

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Wounded Thorn, A British mystery set in the sacred historical site of Glastonbury by Fay Sampson

Hilary has just recently retired and her husband is volunteering in Gaza.  She decides to take a sight-seeing trip with her friend, Veronica, who has just lost her husband.  It will give them both an opportunity to see new sights, meet new people, and think of things other than their troubles.  What they didn't expect was to have trouble follow them around in Glastonbury.

Severn House Publishers and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 1st, so check for copy then.

While these two women are friends, they are very different from each other.  Their personalities will clash before this trip is over.  The friendship remains the same, though.  That's just how life is.

The first place they visit, they find a suspicious looking backpack by the the main attraction.  When Hilary calls it in, they find that it was a bomb and people could have been hurt.  This is just their first encounter with the police.  Hilary soon gets in trouble for asking too many questions and attempting to find the bomber on her own.  She also finds her picture in the newspapers and on TV, which doesn't make her happy.

As another bomb goes off and a young Muslin woman is killed, the stakes are getting higher for the police.  The woman cop doesn't appreciate their interference but the male is willing to listen.  And both ladies get in trouble with their families and are told to go home now.  They just keep waiting one for one day, and then another, and then...

There was more than one criminal involved and the actual murderer surprised me.  Let me know if you saw the ending coming.  I didn't until the very last few pages.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Die Again (Rizzoli & Isles #11) by Tess Gerritsen

This is the story of a psychotic murderer.  He looks and acts like a normal person but you don't want to see his lair...

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

Don't read this unless you want to be scared.  Just the idea of travelling to Africa on a safari is enough to make me nervy.  When one of your fellow travellers is a predator, it's even worse.

Rizolla and Isles are investigating a murder in Boston.  A man has died an ugly death.  He's a taxidermist who does excellent work and has many trophies on his wall.  Now he's been strung up and gutted like one of the animals he hunted.  Who would do this?

The group in Botswana comes with its own problems.  They have a guide, a tracker, and five tourists in the group.  There are two young women, a young man who met them and came with them, and a couple.  The couple are arguing and eventually agree that their relationship is over.  Richard is flirting with the girls.  Millie talks quietly to their guide.  And when people start to die, they think it's the wild animals getting them.

As they research the dead man, they find out his son was on this safari from years ago.  He went missing.  When they check, they find they all have gone missing except for one survivor.  Then they start turning up other parties killed in a similar style in the woods in the states.  Who eviscerates their victims and why?  Also, whoever killed the taxidermist also stole the snow leopard skin he was working on.  To sell or?

Millie survives only by her will to live.  The killer would like to find her to finish off the last witness.  When they ask her to come to states to identify the killer, she says no.  But after talking to them, she decides she must at least attempt to stop this monster.  

I was glued to this book.  It was a good mystery that had horrible deaths and it ended with justice finally served.  I liked this one, but I enjoy reading about Rizzoli and Isles.  They make a good team for the most part.  This book is the best I've read so far.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Gentle Art of Murder, Dorothy Martin Investigates by Jeanne M. Dams

Dorothy and Alan go to an art exhibit at the local college to meet a new teacher that their friends know.  It will be an opportunity to see what they teach at the college as well as a chance to encourage the new teacher.  Certainly nobody expected to find a dead body under the elevator...

Severn House Publishers and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 1st, so make a note to pick it up then.  If you haven't read about Dorothy before, pick up a book or two from the series.  They'll entertain you until this one comes out.  I've reviewed several, so just search my blog by the author's name and you'll know which ones I liked best.

He was the head of the school and was going to Greece when the term was up.  It sure didn't look like he got to go.  However, someone used his ticket to make the trip, even if they didn't use his accommodations.  Why would he go and come back?  And how did he come back without using his return ticket?  

The strangest part is that he has a chisel in his back but there's no blood.  He's also had poison but that didn't kill him.  It reminds me of that story about the man on the train that everybody stabs and no one admits the murder because they weren't sure they were the one that killed him.  In this case, the body is also mutilated with weapons that point at the teachers.  Then the autopsy says he died of natural causes...

This man was hated by all who worked at the school.  There are motives everywhere along with lots of red herrings to help them draw the wrong conclusions.  The more people they eliminate, the foggier the mystery gets.

One of the charms about these stories for me are the characters that people them.  You meet young old, odd, gossipy and sometimes just plain mean folks.  Dorothy always has a sense of right or wrong and can usually filter through the facts and come to a conclusion.  However, sometimes it's not the right conclusion, so you keep reading to see how she does in this book.  I like her relationship with Alan, her second husband and a retired police inspector.  She's always taking someone new under her wing.  And nobody gets away with murder on her watch.  How could I not like her?  I think you will, too.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes

Once you lie the first time, you have to keep lying to try to cover your tracks.  It never works, eventually you get caught.

HarperTeen and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 24th, so you can find a copy then.

Max was an orphan.  He'd been homeless for a while.  When they found him, they put him in an orphanage.  He got adopted by parents with big hearts.  They adopted more children, even one with special needs.  They loved him and he guessed he loved them, but he wasn't able to say it.  He couldn't even call her Mom.  He sort of took them for granted...

He's finally made himself some good friends in school.  Preston is a boy from a rich family who gets everything he wants.  Parvati is beautiful and he might be in love with her.  As a scheme for more pocket money, they decide they'll develop a liars business.  Parvati can imitate voices, so she'll call in sick leave for kids who wanted to skip school.  Preston is smart, so he provides quiz answers.  Max can copy signatures, so he signs failing notices and requests for leave.  They're making some good money at it until things start to fall apart.

This was a very different book from what I thought I was going to read about.  Max learns a lot about life, love, and families before he's done with this adventure in his life.  He almost ends up dead.

Max tells the FBI one lie to cover Preston and his world falls apart.  As he tries to find the missing Preston, he discovers secrets from long ago to present time.  The story line is unusual and outrageous.  However, it's still believable.  If you have enough money, you can make anything happen.  You ought to think about the effect of a big lie before you tell it, though...

Monday, March 16, 2015

Bite the Biscuit A Barkery and Biscuits Mystery by Linda O. Johnston

Carrie works as a vet tech and has now opened a new business, too.  It's actually a combo of two new shops.  One sells pastries and the other sells healthy dog biscuits, muffins and other treats.  She can create a treat that will help your doggie's digestion and more.  She didn't expect to have a big fight with the other pet store owner on the day of her grand opening!

Midnight Ink and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published May 8th.  

When the lady who yelled at her is found dead the next day, Carrie becomes the number one suspect.  The fact that she was home with her brother and wasn't guilty doesn't seem to impress the cops.  After all, they found half a dog biscuit with her trademark on it at the site of the murder and the lady had a leash around her neck.

She tries to focus on her work and forget about the investigation but no one seems to be doing anything but focusing on her.  She's going to have to do some investigating on her own.  That doesn't seem to work very well.  She just gets more confused.

She's also a bit confused about her love life.  She has an out-of-town sales person for a big pet food company sniffing about with talk of buying her recipes.   She's not sure she wants to sell them, but he is good looking and flirts easily.  On the other hand, she has a handsome vet who actually asks her out on a date.  He's fun to be around and understands her life.  But when he accuses of her of dropping off human food for the dogs that had chocolate chips in it (fatal to dogs), she's not sure what to think of him.

I was surprised by the murderer.  There were a lot of people who didn't like Myra.  The killer was just trying to protect themselves.  But murder is still murder and if you can do that, you're not a very nice person.

See if you can figure out who the killer was and let me know if you thought it was obvious.  Obviously, it wasn't obvious to me...

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sleepless Knight by James Sturm, Alexis Frederick-Frost, Andrew Arnold

The Knight is going on her first camping trip.  You won't believe how she does it...

First Second Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 14th, so make a note to grab a copy then.

The Knight gathers everything she needs to take with her.  It's a huge pile with mostly unneeded but wanted stuff.  She packs everything on her horse, Edward, and off they go.  The first problem is that Edward is overpacked and off balance and he falls over.  She has to rearrange the pack.

They just barely get away from the castle and moat and into the trees before she has decided they've gone far enough.  It's just like camping out in the back yard.  The only problem she has is that she can't sleep without her teddy bear and she can't find him.  A local raccoon offers to help her but when she checks out the cave, there's a real bear in there!

This is cute basic story that will make little ones smile.  The Knight does find her bear.  And she makes some good friends in this story, too.  They also eat s'mores, which is the most important part of camping, right?

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Emperor, His Bride and the Dragon Robe by Lisa Sankar-Zhu

The prince is ready to pick a wife and settle down.  He decides to bring the two prettiest women to his castle and have them stay for a few months while he decides which one will be his new wife.  They are common girls and have only their beauty and manners to present.  It isn't beauty that influences the prince, though.

Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published and is available as an ebook or paperback book now.  (I just ordered the paperback version for my library.)

The prince has been given a Dragon Robe by his father on his deathbed.  He told him to keep it close and it would protect him.  He puts it away and thinks no more about it.

As he watches how the girls act and listens to their conversations he's struck by how different they are.  One is prettier than the other but it's what's inside the person that counts.  When the less attractive one uses magic to make the prettiest one ugly, she also reveals some of her character.

The prince is smart enough to see through that and picks the one with a gentle nature and a kind heart.  The other girl is more than a little bit upset and she turns her wizard on him.  The wizard wants to run this kingdom himself, so he tries to kill the prince.  It's an amazing battle.

The illustrations are just gorgeous, the story line teaches you to be honest and not lie or cheat, and it ends happy ever after.  What more could you want?

The Luck Uglies #2: Fork-Tongue Charmers by Paul Durham, Petur Antonsson (Illustrated by)

I've been waiting a long time for this book to come out.  I loved the first book and couldn't wait to read more of this tale.  If anything, this one is even better than the first book.  Mr. Durham didn't disappoint me!

HarperCollins and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It's being published March 17th, so you can get a copy tomorrow.

Rye is the daughter of the High Chieftain of the Luck Uglies.  She doesn't share that knowledge with people because it's a dangerous secret.  Her father has forbidden the Earl to enter the part of town that Rye and her family and friends live in.  It's the poorest part of town anyway, so it just means the Earl won't be pestering folks and trying to run them out of town.

The new constable, though, is another type altogether.  He's not afraid of the Luck Uglies and he's sadistic and mean.  He's making up crimes to punish people and make them afraid of him.  When Rye gets mad at him for naming her mother a traitor, she throws a fish at him.  Now she's on his list, too.

The only safe place for them is back on Pest, an island in the sea.  It's where her father and mother grew up but they're not welcome there.  Grandpa is an angry old man who has given up on the citizens of the town.  

When they find the warships have followed them to Pest, they try to get him to talk to the townfolk about danger.  He refuses to, so Rye and her mother and friends try to convince them.  It takes a small distraction to get their attention.  And then the weapons they have really aren't enough.  But they manage to turn the boats away.  Rye thinks they're safe.  Wrong...

There's lots of action, secrets are revealed and Rye proves herself during this battle.  She's smart, determined and knows how to do the right thing.  I just gobbled this book up and am already waiting for the next one.  I don't where it's going to lead, but I do know it won't be boring!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Jinx's Fire by Sage Blackwood

Jinx just wants everyone to get along but it's not to be.  There are three kings fighting over Urwald and the Bonemaster has Simon as a captive and he wants to control the world, and trees are losing their magical power.  What is what young man to do to fix this?

Katherine Tegen Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can grab a copy now.  If you haven't had the opportunity to read the others in this series, you should.  The trio of books tell you all about Jinx's life and magic and the people he loves.  This is the conclusion of his story and it's very well done.

Simon's home is becoming known as a safe house.  More and more people keep moving in.  They've had to add on to the house to accommodate them.  Urwald keeps getting more dangerous for its inhabitants and they need someone to stop the pending war.  Jinx tries to talk reason into the King he knows best but it doesn't help.  All they can do is prepare for war and use wards to keep the soldiers away.

While this is going on, he's still trying to figure out how to save Simon.  They have some clues in books, but no one knows how to interpret what they're reading.  They do have a smart werewolf on their side and he's helpful.  They just have to be attentive so they don't get eaten.

You meet trolls, elves, and other magical creatures.  Jinx risks his life several times to help people, defeat the Bonemaster and save Simon.  In saving Simon and killing the Bonemaster, he may end up severing his own life force.  But what else can he do?

With mystery, magic, war, and lots of emotional drama, you'll be so busy reading you might forget to eat.  It's that kind of book.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

American Ghost by Hannah Nordhaus

This is a true story, not fiction.  I was drawn to read it because the ghost was in Santa Fe and I live in Las Cruces.  I've been to Santa Fe to pick up my Bengal cats but I never actually visited the city.  This was an opportunity to learn more about its history and the people who lived there.

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

Ms. Nordhaus' great great grandmother is the ghost of the story.  Janitors and guests alike reported seeing a ghost at this luxurious home from the past that has been made into a hotel in the present day.  It got Hannah's curiosity up about which stories were true.  Different family members had tales about Julia, the guides in Santa Fe had another and she wanted to know the truth.  This turned into a huge genealogy effort.  To find anyone still alive that might have records or knowledge of Julia, she had to start at the beginning.  Both great great grandparents came from a small town in Germany and were Jewish.  They didn't realize how lucky they were to leave before Hitler came into his own power there.  Many relatives they left behind never made it out alive.

This is an interesting trip through history.  There's immigration, changes of culture, difficulty with language, and food they've never seen before.  I was amazed that she found a diary kept by one of Julia's daughters that gave her an insight into the family and Julia that would have been totally forgotten by now.

At the end, she still isn't sure how Julia died but she has learned a lot about her heritage.  There were several sad stories in the past.  Times were tough then and you had to be strong to survive.  Those that had weaknesses often fell by the wayside.  That happened in this family, too.

I don't read a lot of nonfiction, but this one caught my eye and I enjoyed reading it.  The photos show you the people of the story and looked a lot like my relatives in the day.  My family also immigrated from Czechoslovakia, but came over after World War I.  This made it easy for me to relate to Ms. Nordhaus' family history.

If you like Santa Fe, genealogy, immigrations from long ago, or just plain history, this book will appeal to you.  Take a look at it and see for yourself.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Double Fudge Brownie Murder (Hannah Swensen #18) by Joanne Fluke

Hannah has to go court.  She was driving down a country road in high winds and rain and attempted to drive around a downed tree.  She made it but while doing it, she ran over a body at the side of the road.  The DA has decided to charge with her vehicular manslaughter.  Her attorney tells her there is no case against her but it doesn't feel like that to Hannah.

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

The judge has called Hannah and her lawyer to meet with him.  They are to wait until he's ready for them.  Her lawyer goes out to take a cell phone call and she hears a strange noise in the judge's chamber.  She leaves the lawyer to his call and opens the door to check on the judge.  Yep, you guessed it.  Hannah has found another body...

Her cop boyfriend, Mike, tells her she's on his list of suspects.  The judge had dismissed her case, but she didn't know that at the time.  She gets a bit irritated at him because he knows she didn't do it but she can't argue over the point.  She had access to him.

Norman is still around and still has moon struck eyes for her.  He's mellow and hugs good and has a cat that's compatible with hers.  Both men would like to marry her but she's resisted so far.

Hannah and her sisters are going on a private jet to Las Vegas where the her mother and her new love will be marrying.  This is the doctor's idea to avoid the big wedding and the girls aren't sure how Mom is going to like it.  Fortunately, she does.

What Hannah didn't expect was the best man.  He's another love interest that she hasn't seen for a long time.  She's still attracted by him and he seems mutually interested.  It seems Mom was doing a bit of match making.

There are lots of new recipes in the book and by the end of the story, Hannah has received three marriage proposals all in the same day.  She thinks she's decided but Hannah isn't reliable in the men department.  I'm waiting for the next book to see what really happens.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Harvest of Blessings by Charlotte Hubbard

Nora's divorce is final and she's going home.  She plans to ask her father for his forgiveness and to meet the daughter she had to give away sixteen long years ago.  She knows it will be hard and she may never be accepted, but she's going to go back to the simple life.

Zebra Publishing sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published this month, so watch for a copy at your local bookstore.

Nora has bought a house in town.  It's one of the fanciest around, she's driving a red BMW sports car, and she's wearing English clothes.  But she's planning on changing that.  She's also hoping that her father will remove his ban from her and let her visit her old home.  Unfortunately, he's not feeling forgiving towards her.

As far as he's concerned, she abandoned her religious beliefs when she got pregnant without wedlock.  That's why he sent her away.  Nothing has changed in his mind.  When she tells him who got her pregnant, he doesn't believe her.  The man was his friend. Most of Nora's family believes her and loves her and is happy to have her back.  But they have to go visit her because she's not allowed on the home place.

Nora goes back to wearing plain dress styles but with colored prints.  She also does quilt hangings that are almost 3-D.  She knows the Amish religion won't tolerate that, so she's leaning towards the Mennonites.  She wants God back in her life.

She's got her local neighbor pursuing her, an ex-bishop that is trying to compromise her, her daughter has a boyfriend, and her father still hates her.  She persists in putting the barn together to be a large handicraft store with hand made tools and saddles, too.  She goes to church.  She has a date or two.  And she wonders if that may be all she can accomplish there.  But she doesn't give up.

Ms. Hubbard always writes good stories and this was another book of hers I enjoyed reading.  I wanted to shake Nora's father but I had one a bit like that, too, so I could relate to the situation.  I admire Nora's strength and positive attitude in the face of adversity.  That can be a hard thing to do.

If you enjoy Amish stories and haven't read Ms. Hubbard's work yet, you should.  You'll like them.