Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Wild Girl by Kate Forsyth

The Wilds and the Grimms were neighbors.  It was natural that that they played together.  It was also natural to fall in love...

St. Martin's Press sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It will be published July 7th, so grab yourself a copy then.

Dortchen tries not to love Wilhelm, but it's impossible.  Her father looks down on them and wouldn't allow her to marry him because he is poor and holds no position of importance.  In that era, she can't defy him.  Her oldest sister did, but she was more independent and she was smart.  She knew how to get what she wanted and she managed to shame her father into allowing her to marry.  This just made him more determined to control his remaining daughters.

This story is a hypnotic read.  The author draws you in by sharing tales of the families, talking about the war and Napoleon (the Ogre) and you also wonder who's going to be called to service and who's going to be married to whom.  When Rose is paired with a man even older than her father, she cries.  Their mother dies from breast cancer.  And Dortchen's father turns into a monster.

I did not like reading about his abuse of Dortchen.  Even more disgusting was his public denouncement of her as a whore and calling on her to repent.  He'd kept her away from Wilhelm only to keep her for himself.  I wish this was a bit lower key in the book instead of sharing the horror as much as the author did.

I never knew the Grimm's had a neighbor who shared fairy tales with them.  There was a real girl that helped them.  It takes years after the death of her father before Dortchen can purge his memories and his nightmares from her mind and accept the love of a man.  This is a historical novel based on facts the author researched.  She also understands abuse to depict it so well in this story.  And the story does have a happy ending; you just have to wait for it just like Dortchen had to wait for love.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Jak Barley Private Inquisitor and the Case of the Dark Lords Conspiracy by Dan Ehl

Jak is back home and ready for some R & R.  He goes to the bar with Lorenzo and his brother and is amazed when a comely wench wants his autograph.  The reason becomes clear when she spikes his drink.  Then a nasty lizard is coming for him.  Killing the lizard makes the wizard goes nuts so there's that.  And after the wizard is killed and he calls for another ale, a mage shows up...

Mr. Ehl sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It's the third in the series and I've read all of them.  This is high fantasy adventure and great fun to read.  This man has the most developed imagination I've met in a long time.  He creates monsters I'm glad I can't see.  His main character hates adventure.  And he keeps you glued to the book the whole way through.

It's seems this scruffy mage believes Jak is part of a questing group.  He tells him who the other players should be and, sure enough, Jak knows all those kind of people.  He even gets the giant man he told the guy to hire in the first place.  He didn't mean he wanted him on his crew, but so be it.

Their quest is over water, over mountain and through lands infested with monsters, and there's an enemy at every turn.  Jak doesn't think their chances are good, but they improve when they get the help of a dragon.  His war horse is handy, too.

There's non-stop action, fights to death in every chapter, and every person in the quest has their own talents.  It's an amazing adventure.  It's also busy up until the last page.  Mr. Ehl never bores you.

Of course, Jak is hoping he can rest now and he won't have more adventures.  But we know better, don't we?

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Magician's Fire by Simon Nicholson

Harry is a shoe shine boy who has learned to do magic tricks.  With his only two friends in the world, they plot and weave magic into tricks that they can promote and talk up big.  The money thrown for the act means they actually are making more money than they can working.  When their friend, a real magician, goes missing, they're determined to find him...

Sourcebooks Jabberwocky and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published so grab a copy now.  There will be a sequel coming and it sounds exciting already.

Harry hides pieces of metal on him in his acts and that allows him to open the padlocks and escape.  When he's on the railroad tracks with the train bearing down on him, he doesn't have time to get nervous or drop his "pick" for the padlock.  Luckily it works out.  That skill will continue to serve him well through out the story.

Harry is full of himself in this story.  He's bound and determined to get Herbie back and he's willing to do it himself.  His partners are trying to be involved and he's ignoring them.  It won't take him long to realize that acting alone might also make him dead.

There's lots of action, good friendships, and the start of something great here.  I enjoyed the read and will be watching for the next book in this series.  Harry and his friends are going to do great things, I know it!

Charles Tillman Cornerstone Foundation Bear Stories

This little bear has a lot to learn and he has parents to help understand and guide him.  These are for young readers and they also help those less fortunate by donating a percentage of each book sold to the foundation for helping the needful.

Publishing Push sent me a copy of these books for review (thank you).  They have already been published, so you can buy them now.

The stories are sweet and nicely illustrated by Gabrielle Esposito.  The co-authors are T C LiFonti and Charles "Peanut" Tillman.  Mr. Tillman is NFL Walter Payton's Man of the Year and he's using this endeavor to help people.  I like the presentation and the stories.  These will work well with young ones.

Here are the plot summaries from Corner 33 Bear Books site:

Story Summaries

The Story of Snowy Bear and the Lost Scarf

When Snowy wakes up and sees the snow falling outside, he rushes to get dressed in order to run outside and play.  However, as he cannot find his scarf, which he needs before he can go out, he tears apart his room in frustration instead of taking a moment to listen to his mother and consider what he may have done with it.

The Story of Pirate Bear and the Treasure Hunt

As Pirate Bear heads to the community treasure hunt at Unity Park, he makes the decision to “hunt” by himself instead of with a team because he wants the grand prize for himself.  As his friends and parents try to convince him to be part of a team and work with others, his greed gets the best of him and he goes at it alone.  Throughout, Pirate slowly discovers the disadvantages and loneliness of not being part of a team and working with others.  (This is my favorite!)

The Story of Beach Bear and the Sandcastle

Early in the morning, Beach Bear begins the construction of his dream sandcastle.  And, as the day moves on and the tide rolls in, he is unaware of what can happen to his sandcastle as he rushes off to bring back Mama Bear to show her.  One of the greatest lessons Mama Bear helps her son realize is the importance of what one does and the memories that it brings back.

The Story of Scary Bear and the Pumpkin Patch

While waiting for Papa Bear to come home so that they can go to the pumpkin patch for their Halloween pumpkin, Scary falls asleep and dreams what he thinks is reality.  By the end, Scary learns the importance of listening and staying close to his father, especially in unfamiliar places.

The Story of Lovie Bear and the Valentine’s Day Card

For Valentine’s Day, Lovie Bear wants so desperately to give his one valentine a card; however, when the moment comes to do so, he does not have the confidence to follow through.  By the end of the school day, Lovie begins to understand how many people have the same fears and that having the smallest amount of courage can open the doors to greater opportunities.

Not only does purchasing these books do good by helping those less fortunate, there are lessons in the stories that impart wisdom and reasoning to young ones.  It's hard growing up...

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Escape from Hangtown by Larry D. Sweazy

Lucas has been exonerated from the charges that put him in jail, but he never would have made it out alive if he hadn't had Zeke's help.  He intends to help clear Zeke's charges now.  He knows the Senator's disabled daughter was beat by her father, not Zeke.  Trying to prove that will take a lot of guts and some good skills to make it happen.  Zeke doesn't believe it ever will...

Mr. Sweazy sent me a copy of this book for review.  It has been published and you can find a copy now at your local bookstore.  I'm sad to say that this will probably be the last time we see Lucas because the publishing company no longer publishes westerns.  That's really an unfortunate turn of events.  I like westerns and they're very hard to find.

Thing start getting bad for Lucas when his train car is attacked by dog soldiers.  The Indians are shooting flaming arrows, kill his cook, and he and Zeke just barely get away.  When they stop for shelter, they unfortunately get more than that.  While Lucas is going after the Senator and his son, the son and the Senator are going after him.

He meets more enemies every day, more friends die, and he's not sure if he wants to live or die.  But he does know he will get his revenge first or die trying.  Even the women are a bit nasty in this story.  But it's the wild west and most folks will do anything for money.  (Just like today's world.)

The story is a bit complicated but it ticks and ties Lucas' past and present.  I was pleased with the ending.  There's no one who hasn't been hurt in some way but the ones who have survived are moving on in life and regretting nothing left behind.  That's the best way to live.

I'll miss Lucas Fume...

Friday, June 26, 2015

I Don't Want To Go Home by Sinead Poznanski

Does your child like to go home from a play day?  Or does he or she ask to stay longer or go somewhere else?  This little girl has a lot of ideas!

The author sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  You can grab a copy of it on Amazon now.

This a cute whimsical book that has verses in rhyme about places this young one would like to visit.  For example, why not dance to Paris?  Or they could go to sea and be pirates.  She comes up with several ideas and they're all fun to imagine.

How good an imagination does your child have?  If you two read this aloud, see what places they'd like to go and teach them how to rhyme at the same time.  That would make it more fun for both of you.

This could also work as a bedtime book.  Let your child pick which trip sounds like best to them and then leave them to have happy dreams about it.

I like books that encourage imagination and dreams.  This one fits the bill.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Lake Season by Hannah McKinnon

Iris has been a good wife and mother for years.  When her husband, Paul, tells her he wants a divorce, it shatters her world.  How could he do this to her?

Emily Bestler Books sent me a copy of this book to review (thank you).  It was published June 2nd, so you can get a copy at your local bookstore now.  There is a Readers Club Guide in the back of the book.

Paul begins sleeping on the couch but he hides it from the children.  The children have summer camps and activities coming up and Iris doesn't know what she will do with herself then.  When she gets a post card from her little sister that sounds like a desperate cry for help, she decides to go home for the summer.  She'll help her Mom at the farm stand, help Leah get ready for her wedding, and decide what she's going to do for the rest of her life.  If only it was so easy...

Leah has her own set of problems.  She also has secrets.  Iris has her own problems and tries to be supportive but how do you help someone who won't tell you what's wrong?  And what is her mother not telling her?  Even worse, Iris has found a man who is everything her husband isn't.  She can't destroy her children's lives by living her own as she would wish.  How will she make this all work?

There's enough family drama in here to wring you dry.  The worst part is that it is all so believable.  Everyone tries to plan, but life is what happens to you and you  have to deal with it.  Ms. McKinnon kept my attention and tells an interesting tale of family life.  If you like women's lit, this will work for you.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Hummingbird's Cage by Tamara Dietrich

She's a victim of domestic violence.  It doesn't help that her husband is a cop.  He's also a monster but that side of him is hidden from the public.  She's the only one who suffers at his hands so far.  But her daughter is getting older...

Penguin 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.  It also includes a conversation guide for book clubs.

This was not what I was expecting.  I knew it was about domestic violence and I expected her husband to follow her and attempt to hurt her again, but I never expected a spirit world.  She needs time to heal and time to become strong.  When she runs and her husband is right on her tail with his Expedition, she blacks out.  When she wakes up, she's in an old farmhouse with an elderly couple.  They're kind, they ask no questions and they give no advice unless she asks.  The longer she lives there, the more people she meets.  She even finds love.  But she hasn't made her peace with her husband yet.

She could stay and not go back to the real world, but she knows she has to finish it.  Her husband still haunts her.  There will be no lasting happiness until that's resolved. How she resolves it is a bit shocking.  I also was left wondering if she would ever go back to the happiness she discovered.  It's a bit open ended.

I enjoyed the characters Ms. Dietrich created and the life depicted in the long lost town was a lot like visiting my grandparents.  I found it easy to relate to the story.  It had a bit more fantasy than I expected, but it was a nice touch.  The story is set in New Mexico, but it had more of an feel of Native American mythology to me.  You read it and tell me what you think. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Wicked Charms: A Lizzy and Diesel Novel by Janet Evanovich, Phoef Sutton

Lizzy is helping Diesel find all the pieces of a old, old coin.  With the coin, a map, and a stone, they will find the treasure.  Sounds easy, but it's not...

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

I've enjoyed Janet Evanovich's stories in the past but hadn't noticed this series until now.  I had to try it to see if it was as much fun:  it is!

Lizzy can feel magic.  She doesn't think it's the greatest skill and believes she's low profile, but she's wrong.  A finder can be worth a lot to a seeker.  Especially if the seeker is driven by greed.  It's a good thing she has Diesel around.  He's a magical being that might be a bit demon but he's got an earthly body (ooh la la) and they occasionally share the same bed.  Of course, his cousin, Wulf, is searching for the same coin that Diesel is, so there is some competition there.

Lizzy gets in more trouble than there's salt in a saltshaker.  Sometimes she saves herself, sometimes her friends save her.  But when they kidnap Gramps, a friend of hers, she's willing to go the extra mile to get him back.

The story is bit silly.  You have pirates, muscle men, a crazy multimillionaire, a curse from the past and more.  My favorite part of the book is the last line.  You know the next book will be a corker, too.

Ant Dens by Mary Coley

Rebecca Aldrich has run away from home before, but she's never gone long.  This time she was getting ready to go to college and she disappears from campus.  The cops think she's run off with her boyfriend.  Jamie gets involved because it's her stepdaughter and she can help her Spanish speaking mother talk to the police.  She's also worried about Rebecca and will get even more worried as time goes on.

The author kindly sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It's been published so you can grab a copy now.

Having your dead husband's ex-wife in the same household is not comfortable but Maria can't stay in a motel because her husband would assume she came to meet a man.  Her home life sounds like it's pretty stressful.

Jamie finds out that women have gone missing from around the local area several times.  Her best friend, who is a journalist, thinks it is human trafficking: that they are selling the young girls into slave trade or prostitution.  What makes matters worse is that when she cleans out her husband's office at the university, she finds a file filled with missing persons reports going back twenty years.  They are all female.  Did Ben have something to do with this?  She knows he has some secret he hid from her because she found a note in his journal that said he couldn't tell because it would destroy their lives.  What was that secret?

Jamie is an interesting character.  She wants the truth and will pay the price to learn it.  She has her ex-husband hanging around, Maria living with her, the nosy neighbor hanging around and she's worrying about how much she misses Ben and still loves him but she loves Sam, too.  Maybe she's entering a relationship too soon?

As in the previous book, it all goes back to the past.  Something happened at the college while her husband was going to school there.  There's another family involved.  And these family secrets are deadly...

Ms. Coley researches the area she's writing about and teaches about the land as well as writes a good mystery.  I like her style.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Cobwebs by Mary Coley

When she gets a call from her aunt saying she needs to come now, she immediately leaves to visit her.  When she's ill and a bit confused, Jamie wishes she'd come sooner.  Hearing something in the house, Jamie goes to investigate.  While she's been gone, someone has attempted to kill great aunt Elizabeth by suffocating her with a pillow!

The author graciously sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your bookstore for a copy.  This book was a 2015 Winner of the Creative Women of Oklahoma Award for Young Adult Books from Delta Kappa Gamma International Society for Key Educators.

When the police chief tells her she's a suspect, Jamie is doubly hurt.  Not only did she not harm her aunt, she's been accused of helping her husband die.  His cancer was incurable and he did ask her to aid him in an early death but she always said no.  She also felt guilty because of that and how much he suffered.  This is just another painful situation for her.

Jamie and her family used to come and stay with aunt Elizabeth in the summer months.  She knows something happened there one summer that scared her badly but she doesn't know what it was.  Now it seems like it's coming back to haunt her again.

While her aunt is in the hospital in a coma, she's waiting for her to get well and trying to find out more about her relative's lives.  There's large gap in her knowledge and the more she finds out, the less she knows.  Not all of what she is learning is true either.

This is tale of a family tree that goes back generations and has had a troubled life all along.  There are relatives everywhere, old enemies, and a family seeking vengeance.  Unless Jamie can figure out who all the players are and why they are after her family, she may end up dead...

The words flowed well, the plot was good, and Jamie survives.  She's even found a new boyfriend.  Now I'm going to read the second book in this series and I'm sure it will also be good.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Firefly Summer by Kathleen Y'Barbo

Sessa has lost most of the men in her life.  Her husband died in an accident, her father has passed on, and her son has gone his own way.  Unfortunately, it's the wrong way...

Redbud Press and the author allowed to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be released June 23rd, so you can get a copy in a couple of days.

Sessa feels she didn't do a good enough job raising her son.  He's gotten into drugs, never visits her and then she finds he's a new father.  She doesn't even know if he knows that.  But things get worse.  In a mangled robbery attempt, he's killed.  And the new mother leaves the baby girl with Sessa.

Redbud Press publishes Christian based literature.  There are biblical references in the stories and they ask God for help in making their decisions and life.  It's not overbearing and the story is good, so they are enjoyable read.

When they let her son's killer out of prison, she's relieved.  She knew the doctor did what he did in self-defense.  She doesn't want to know anything more about it, though.  She has a little girl named Pansy in her life and a Smithsonian carousel project to work on.  

Trey is glad to be out of prison but finding it hard to return to his life before.  He killed the young man with a scalpel on his desk and now he can't hold one to perform surgery.  Once he touches it, he vomits.  What will he do now?

A psychologist talks about why he feels the way he does and suggests that apologizing to the mother of the young man might resolve part of his issues.  It takes him some time to work up the nerve to try to do that.  Imagine his surprise when she apologizes to him before he can get his apology out...

Once the apologies are done, they both begin putting their lives back in order.  Despite the death of the son, this is feel good story.  Everything falls into place and life will be much better for everyone involved.  Even the small town gossip is finally stilled.  What more could you want?

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Where Treetops Glisten: Three Stories of Heartwarming Courage and Christmas Romance During World War II by Tricia Goyer, Cara Putman, Sarah Sundin

These stories are told during World War II where everyone is guarding their heart from hurt. Too many have been lost in the war and won't be coming home.  Don't take a chance until the war is over.  But love doesn't like waiting...

Waterbrook Press 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.

These are stories of a family and faith.  Each child featured has had hurt and uncertainty in their lives.  They are trying to survive, continue to believe in God, and trust that will be well like Grandma says.  As in any romance tale, there are obstacles to get over before the road gets smooth.

This is a cozy winter story that felt good to read while it's ninety outside here in New Mexico.  I got a chill here and there from reading about the snow.  Each sibling's tale is different.  The first is about a woman who has decided she'll never love again.  The next story is about a bully.  And the last is about a traitor.  The central theme is forgiveness and acceptance.  These are feel good stories that made me smile.  If you like Christian romance, you'll enjoy this book.  And before you're through reading it, you'll be singing Christmas carols...

Star Trek/Planet of the Apes: The Primate Directive by Scott Tipton

What an odd combination:  The shipmates from the Enterprise visiting the Planet of the Apes.  I had to read it...

IDW Publishing and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 8th, so make a note on your TBR list.

I hated to hear of Leonard Nimoy's death this year.  Here was my chance to see Dr. Spock in action again.  He's his usual stoic self in this graphic novel version, too.

When the Enterprise crew bootlegs some computer files off a Klingon ship, they find they are searching portals for other worlds:  alternate worlds, parallel worlds, or the like.  When they decide to follow them through a portal, they go because they have suspicions the Klingons are trying to influence the planet's inhabitants.  What they find when they land astonishes them.  It seems the humans are not fully developed and don't have much of mind.  The rulers of the land are the apes!

I've watched the movie about the Planet of the Apes and this story is similar as far as the apes are concerned.  The main problem here is that the Klingons are trying to sell them modern weapons.  If that isn't enough, you also have a regular human whose spaceship crashed here and he's almost insane with hatred for the apes.  

There are several confrontations, lots of action, and it takes everyone's expertise to calm this situation down.  It was fun to go back to the original Star Trek days again.  I hope they do more of the stories in graphic form.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Summer Rain: An Inspector Banks Short Story by Peter Robinson

He's an odd sort; a bit small, thin, and furtive.  He also believes he's had several past lives.  He's at the police station because he believes he was murdered in his life before this one.  How the policewoman sits there and listens to him with a straight face is beyond me...

William Morrow Impulse and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 30th, so you can grab a copy then.

Inspector Banks is working on crime statistics and bored, so he agrees to talk to the man and hear his story.  As odd as it is, he gets the information he can and he decides to investigate.  He's not sure about reincarnation but there is a story about a young man who fell down the stairs and died in the area of the supposed "murder".  Maybe a few more questions won't be out of line.

He confirms the fall broke the man's neck while he was visiting his parents.  He's pretty sure the surviving wife is lying to him somehow but it was long ago and he has no way to disprove her words.

This was an interesting read about a very cold case that is only solved when the dying woman sends him a letter with the truth in it.  Inspector Banks is always very good at following clues and asking questions in the right places.  His inquiries are what bring this case to a close.

I like to read police procedurals and I enjoy Inspector Banks, so this book was a good read for me.

The Adventures of Basil and Moebius Volume 2 The Shadow Gambit by Ryan Schifrin

Basil and Moebius are a real kickass team and the Collector is sending them on a new quest.  He forgets to mention that the woman they are competing with is another ancient one (monster alien being).  Their lives could be very, very short...

Magnetic Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this graphic novel for review (thank you).  It will be published July 28th, so you'll be able to grab a copy then.

I read and enjoyed the first installment in this series so I was looking forward to more action scenes and magnificent saves from this duo.  I was not disappointed.

They begin by saving a beautiful woman from a man who has kidnapped her.  She's so grateful she wants to reward them with a kiss and a hug, but they just jump out of the boat and send her on her way.  Minus her necklace, of course.  That was what they were really saving...

When they get settled on the beach with drinks in hand and sexy young girls hanging about, they begin to relax.  It's no go, the collector wants them back again to send them on another mission.  This one is really down and dirty and they have multiple enemies looking for them.  It's a good thing they have some good mercenary friends to help them.

This was an exciting story, the graphics are excellent, and it seems this deadly duo can accomplish most anything.  The only worry I have is just what the Collector has in mind...

Thursday, June 18, 2015

A Pocket Full of Murder by R. J. Anderson

How could anyone think her father was a murderer?

Antheneum Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 8th so make a note to pick it up then.

Isaveth is working hard at trying to duplicate her mother's spells.  Since her mother died and her father lost his job, things have been tight around the house.  If only she could make a bit of money they could eat better and maybe get some new shoes for her sisters.  She manages to make the magic, but she's having a hard time selling it.  When a young ruffian runs into her and her goods go into the street, the cops are about to take her in.  Luckily, a young noble explains what just happened and she's freed.  He also sneaks her a few sheckles so she can buy food.  Little does she know that she's just gotten involved with royalty that will cause her even more trouble.

When the street boy that ran into her saves her from being set on by other street urchins, she's hesitant to accept him as a friend.  He's persistent, though, and soon she's calling him Quiz.  He's also willing to help her try to find out who the real murderer was.

Isaveth learns a lot during this story.  She learns about trust, politics, truth, family and bullies.  Nothing is as straightforward as she thought it would be.  And the real killer will still be hidden, but her father is set free and comes home.

I'm glad the author added this dose of reality to the story.  Nothing was what it seemed and the outcome isn't perfect, but it's real enough.  Even magic can't save you from politicians.


Drifter Volume 1: Out of the Night by Ivan Brandon

Science fiction in comic book form fascinates me.  I read comics every chance I had growing up.  There was an old man who ran the soda shop in Pe Ell, a small town in Washington State.  When I was newly married, we'd visit to have an ice cream float there.  He'd let us read the comics for free, we just had to keep them "as new" or we had to buy them.  I was in heaven at least once a month there, when the new issues came out.  The graphic novels now are a new breed and I'm enjoying their evolution.

Diamond Book Distributors and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 30th, so you'll be able to grab a copy soon.

Abram's rocket falls from the sky and almost drowns him in the water it landed in.  He manages to get out but encounters an alien on the way.  He fights the alien and wins but the human he encounters shoots him and leaves him for dead.  So his adventures begin.

I found the storyline a bit murky.  This is the beginning of this series but there are things alluded to from the past that you get no explanation about.  It's pretty easy to see that living on this planet in the middle of nowhere with only a few people and no hope of rescue could drive you insane.  But it's hard to tell who's crazy and who's just strange.  I also had a bit of a problem telling which character was which.  There was more than one black haired mustached guy in the story.  It might have just been me, but some distinctive garb or scar would make it easier for the reader.

Abram has a woman trying to keep him alive, he's attempting to learn how to live on this planet, the priest goes crazy, there are monsters about, and he has to work real hard on trying to stay alive.

The story is brief but busy.  It's intrigued me enough I would read more in this series to see how it all works out.  It's not a happy ever after story but it is one of survival.  I admire people who can cope with dramatic change.  That's everybody who is on this planet.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Inked by Eric Smith

When you come of age, you're inked.  The tattoo on your body changes.  Those who have an affinity for flowers show the flowers of the season or the herbs to be harvested.  Farmers show fields and goldsmith's show golden lines shimmering.  You can't refuse to be inked.  If you do, you're an outcast and subject to death.  Caenum doesn't want to be inked, but where would he go if he wasn't?

The author shared a copy of this book with me so I could review it (thank you).  It has been published and you can find a copy on Amazon now.

Cae is thinking of escaping but he's foiled in his plans by his girlfriend and his grandmother.  They are keeping him close and giving him treats in honor of the big day upcoming.  He loses hope of escaping when the caravan of inking Scribes shows up early.   It gets worse when he gets in a fight with the Scribe who is going to be inking him because he suggested that Dreya is a courtesan.  Nobody calls his girlfriend that!

More trouble follows.  There's fire in the center of the city where the Scribes wagons are parked and the town folk come after Caenum.  He barely escapes them.  He also finds out that his Scribe has changed.  He has white hair instead of red and he has a new power.  Then the soldiers from the Citadel show up and things get even worse.  He goes back to get his grandmother but it's too late for her.  She does give him some information on where to find his father.  His girlfriend's parents are dead, but Dreya was hidden and she's OK.  Despite their grief, they must run.

From here, the story gets even more exciting.  There lots of action, betrayal, loss of life and fights like you've never seen before.  Cae finds that even getting what you want might not be the best thing for you.

I was very impressed by the job Mr. Smith did with this story.  His previous book I reviewed was non-fiction.  It was pretty good but I love his fantasy story.  It holds up well, never gets boring and kept me reading to see what was going to happen.  His words flow well and my eyes just kept following them across the page.  If you like fantasy and magic, you'll love this book.

The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell

Feo and her mother have a strange career.  They take wolves that have been domesticated and train them to be wild.  After all, a wolf is not a dog and they have wild instincts that normally surface no matter how dog-like they've been treated.  If you lose an ear or some fingers to a wolf, you don't want them around anymore.  Give them to Feo and her mother and they will train them in the woods, how to run, what to eat and set them free.  Everything is going well until the General finds them...

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book (thank you).  It will be published August 25th, so make a note to pick it up then.

The General tells them that one of their wolves has killed an elk on the Czar's land.   Feo and her mother try to explain that it wasn't one of theirs; the bite marks are smaller and indicate a younger wolf.  He doesn't listen.  What he does say is that if it happens again, he'll be back.  He'll kill their wolves, put her mother in jail, and send Feo to a "school" where she can learn manners and become more ladylike.  Feo and her mother put their house back in order and then try to live even more quietly than they did before.  The peace doesn't last long.

They are given another wolf to undomesticate and she's fat.  Feo takes her out to exercise and teaches her how to run.  It doesn't take too long before they realize she's pregnant!  When she has her pups, one is too small and born dead.  The other one is alive and healthy.  The mother wolf ranges too far and gets into cows.  She kills a cow, the guards kill her.  Then they come after Feo and her mother. They attempt to run but the soldiers get there too quickly.  Feo escapes but her mother doesn't.  What's she to do now?

This story teaches your about Russian winters, habits of the rich, and how even insane men can get into leadership positions.  There's death in this story and I wouldn't recommend it to an immature reader or someone who has a soft heart.  The ending is just what it needed and the author did a good job with it.  I did find myself with my heart in my throat a few times.  Ms. Rundell's books are never boring.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Stardust Dreams by S B Redstone

He's an astronaut.  He's also old and sick, very sick.  He has terminal cancer.  He also has a plan...

S B Redstone and Goddess Fish Blog Tours gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published so you can grab a copy now.

Lance Forrester is going to take a chance.  If he stays on earth, he'll die for sure.  If he blasts into space, freezes himself and meets kind aliens, he'll have a chance to be healed and make some new friends.  It may be crazy but what's the other alternative?  The only thing he needs to acquire before he leaves is a companion.  He had one, another scientist.  But he died before the rocket was ready.  Then Lance reads about a woman who is also on her journey "out" due to illness and he went to school with her.  He visits her and pitches his idea.  She thinks he's nuts.  He leaves her his phone number and goes home to wait and see what happens.

This was an interesting read.  You never really know where the author is going with the story and it doesn't sound like anything I've read before.  (I read a book a day, so that's saying something.)  You have sharp mouthed old lady, an easy going and trusting astronaut and they meet up with an alien culture that lives forever and is bored.  The earth artifacts they bring with them fascinate the aliens and they mimic the humans they see in films or pictures.  

Lance's plans don't all work out but it does have a happy ending.  I prefer those.  I bet you can't predict how this will turn out either.  I sure couldn't.

Here's some info on the author:  Steven Rosenstein, penname S. B. Redstone, had a career as a school psychologist and private practice Licensed Clinical Social Worker on Long Island. Always seeking the truths of human nature, he wrote a personal improvement book, Taming Your Inner & Outer Bullies: Confronting Life’s Stressors And Winning, published by New Horizon Press Books. He has written articles on human nature and relationships, given lectures, and appeared on radio shows. Always having a vivid imagination, he first became a successful writer of short stories.  His mystery thriller, A Sinister Obsession, was published by Black Opal Books. As an expert in the field of human psychology, he has an exceptional ability to develop realistic and exciting characters in his novels. Many of my characters have been taken from his clinical experiences. Stardust Dreams is his first romance novel, although romantic relationships stand out in his other works. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers Org and Romance Writers of America. He resides with his wife in New York and Florida.

Buy his book HERE

S. B. Redstone will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN gift card to one randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter.  Enter the contest HERE.

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

Happy reading and good luck!

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Drowned Boy by Karin Fossum

When the Inspector gets a call about a dead body, he's surprised to hear it's a 16 month old child.  The boy has drowned.  That much is a given but was it an accident or murder?

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this ebook for review (thank you).  This book will be published August 25th.  

If you haven't read the earlier books in this series, you should.  These stories are set in Norway and the author describes the areas well enough you feel as though you had a visit.  There are always twists in her stories, too.  I like her writing style.

In this case, the boy was found in the pond.  It appears he left the house unsupervised and headed for the water.  He apparently fell off the jetty and drowned.  But the mother is acting strangely.  She's 19, pretty, and cries a lot but doesn't really seem to be grieving.  The father, on the other hand, is destroyed by his son's death.  He feels guilty because he was working in the cellar fixing a bicycle and didn't even know the boy had wandered.

The case changes when they find soap in the boy's lungs.  The mother's story changes again.  She was bathing the child in a bubble bath when she had an epileptic fit and lost consciousness.  When she awakened, the child had drowned.

The boy had Down syndrome.  It didn't bother the father, but it bothered the mother.  She didn't like the questions people asked her and she felt it made her defective.  As I read the story, I was sure that was why the boy died.  When the father sees how little the loss of the boy affected her, he loses hope in life.

This is a sad tale about a soulless woman who has no conscience and cares only about herself.  I really like the twist at the end that gives the Inspector what he needs to conclude the case.  Her ego comes back to haunt her.

I'll be watching for another by Ms. Fossum.  She writes good mysteries.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim review + GIVEAWAY!

Mattie is a slave.  Since she had recently birthed her son, she was ordered to come up to big house and be a wet nurse for the new baby.  After all, a new white mother didn't want to breastfeed her own child.  That's what a wet nurse was for.

The author sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  You can buy a copy now on Amazon.

I was touched by this book.  It's not all pleasant but it's typical of the era it represents.  Southern folk have slaves and treat them as less than human.  Any slave that runs take a chance of death on the way or sale to an unkind master.  This story gives you an inside look at a family that has slaves and sees nothing wrong with it.

Mattie isn't very impressed by the white baby.  She even has brief thoughts of smothering it so she could go back to Samuel, her son.  It passes quickly.  It's not the baby's fault.  Elizabeth is given over to Mattie's care almost exclusively.  Her mother doesn't appear to be interested in the child and only tries to teach her to eat properly and make a nice public showing.  Mattie is the one who comforts her, sings to her, and protects her from the bad things of the world.

When Lisbeth (nickname) talks to her parents, they tell her the slaves would be lost without them.  They need the work, lodging and food they provide them.  They're not as smart as whites and know no better.  As Lisbeth grows, she learns that's not true.  The blacks don't read because they aren't taught.  Many of them resent working for her father and never getting a share of the crops.  Nobody's home is very nice.  She begins to wonder if her parents can see that...

I enjoyed the camaraderie between Mattie and Lisbeth.  It's real, it's love, and it gives Lisbeth the courage and strength to carry on.  When Lisbeth's brother is born, Mattie is sent back to slave quarters and Lisbeth gets a new maid.  As Lisbeth learns more about the slaves and the way they are exploited, she's not sure she likes slavery as a whole.  It's a good thing she learned to be strong, she's going to need that strength.

OK, you've read my review.  Are you intrigued?  Does it sound like something you would like to read?  You've got a chance to win a free book here.  The author graciously sent me an extra copy of this book for giveaway.  Send an email to info at bookfaerie.com with your name and address and leave a comment on this blog post to be entered.  I'll choose a winner in about a week.  Don't miss your chance to get a free copy of this book that touched my heart.


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Charlie Martz and Other Stories: The Unpublished Stories by Elmore Leonard

I've always liked Elmore Leonard's stories so finding some of his early work was a treat to me.  I grabbed this one for review and I'm glad I did.

William Morrow and Edelweiss allowed me to read an ebook for review (thank you).  It will be published June 16th, so you don't have long to wait to get a copy for you.

These stories were written while Mr. Leonard had a regular day job.  He wrote wherever he found the time and made time when he didn't have any.  While friends and family carried on around him at picnics and trips to the beach, he was in his own world handwriting stories that were held on to for years.  Seeing them published now made me glad there was still a bit more to read.

My favorite stories are about the sheriff here in Dona Ana.  I live between Dona Ana and Las Cruces and it was like visiting back in time.  Every local reference he made I recognized.  It might be fiction but it was fun!

One thing Mr. Leonard does is make his characters fallible; they have faults just like we all do.  Most of them don't have regrets.  They just go on in life and see what other lemons they might be handed.

The author's son points out these were early writings and have the same writer's problems that Mr. Leonard pointed to other promising authors later in life.  I didn't see any problems.  I enjoyed reading these as much as I did reading his later work.  Why don't you give this anthology a read and let me know what you think?

Friday, June 12, 2015

Stand Down: A J.P. Beaumont Novella by J. A. Jance

J P Beaumont's job died when his employer was killed in a horrific traffic accident in downtown Seattle.  His wife was already applying to be a police chief in Bellingham so it didn't hit her as badly.  Now he's playing part-time carpenter and deciding what to do with the rest of his life...

Witness Impulse and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published July 21st, so make a note to grab it then.

I've read J A Jance for years.  I lived in Washington when I started and I could relate to her settings and enjoyed her police procedural novels.  When I saw Beaumont's name on this one, I had to read it.  I may live in New Mexico now, but I know exactly where in downtown Seattle they had that accident.  I've also been to Bellingham.  It's like going home when I read her books.  The best part is that they are written well and keep my interest until the end.

Beaumont is fixing up houses here and there on the side and working with a contractor to complete refurbishing a second home they are purchasing in Bellingham.  He's keeping busy but he knows he can't do this forever, he'll have to find another job or another interest to pursue.  His wife is struggling with her new police chief duties.  The man below her thinks he should have gotten the job and he's working against her.  Unfortunately, she and Beaumont don't agree on how she should handle it so now it's verboten subject.

Beaumont has finally signed with a contractor for the second house.  He calls Mel to tell her.  She doesn't answer, so he assumes she's busy.  Then he calls again and leaves a message for her about doing lunch.  When he doesn't hear back, he calls the office and asks the secretary if she's there.  She said she left for lunch but hasn't returned and she's missing a meeting.  That's not normal for Mel.

He hurries home and discovers her car, her belongings, the sandwich she intended to eat and no Mel.  He knows the cops will consider him a suspect, so he goes to move his car and doesn't return.  By the time they get moving she could be dead.  He's off to find her himself...

I like Beaumont.  He's a take-no-nonsense guy who goes the distance on his cases.  He's not as good with women as he is in solving cases, but he's working on that, too.  I look forward to reading more about him.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Truth and Other Lies by Sascha Arango

He's told lies for so long that even the truth sounds like a lie...

Atria Books sent me an ARC of the book to review (thank you).  It will be published June 23rd, and you can grab a copy then.

Henry is a happily married man with a wife who writes.  She pens the novels and he sells them as his own work.  She doesn't want the attention.  He goes to the signings and is comfortable in the limelight.  She stays home and walks and swims and writes and life is good.  But Henry has a bad habit.  He sleeps with other women.

When his current lover informs him she's pregnant, he's torn.  Betty is younger, beautiful, and he feels he should do the right thing and tell his wife it's over.  But who will write his books?

Henry has secrets in his past.  He created a fictional home life and lied about his schooling and past life to everyone.  He comes across as a strong man who goes after what he wants.  But he can't decide which woman he wants.  He attempts to tell his wife and she tells him she doesn't want to know.  So then he decides he'll get rid of Betty.  She's strong and can survive without him.  When she wants to meet him, he says OK.  Then he comes up with a plan to get rid of her permanently.

He hits Betty's car with his and shoves it off the cliff down into the water below.  He comes home thinking life can go back to normal now, but he can't find his wife.  When her car shows up at home again, he goes out to meet her.  Imagine his shock when he finds out Betty was driving it...

This is really a character study of Henry.  He's a wicked man who manipulates people.  He came from a bad background and he never got better.  But he has charm, he has money, and he has friends.  The few he has he treats well.  However, the lost child he was is still at the center of his personality and he'll be on the run again.  I just hope I never run into him...

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Manhattan Mayhem edited by Mary Higgins Clark


I grew up on mystery stories.  My very favorite form of them is in short story.  When I saw this book,  I had to have it...

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

There are seventeen stories in this book and they all are set in various Manhattan locations during different eras and different seasons.  I've never been there but I have a good friend that lives there.  Several of the photos in the book depicted parts of the town that I've seen on Christmas cards or photo tours online so it was a bit like visiting there.  Most of the folks I met in this book I'd just as soon not meet in real person.  Many of them were not nice people.

Mary Higgins Clark has the first story in the book.  It's called The Five-Dollar dress. It's a short tale with a whopper of an ending.  A very subtle touch with a punch at the end.

As in New York itself, the stories are populated with every nationality and every wage range you could imagine.  Everybody does what they must to survive.  Those who are weak, don't.  One underlying theme here that I found interesting is that people with red hair aren't to be trusted.  It's like it marks them as a bad person.  Maybe it was only coincidental but I found it amusing.

The stories read quickly and are a fascinating look at times gone by.  I was pleased to see that all the stories were different from anything I've read before.  They kept me reading and wondering what was going to happen.  A few of the authors are:  Lee Child, Thomas H Cook, Jeffery Deaver, Margaret Maron, T Jefferson Parker and S J Rozan.  With these names you know the stories have to be worth a read.  You might even find some new authors to read.  That's the fun of short stories.