Thursday, March 31, 2016

When Falcons Fall (Sebastian St. Cyr #11) by C.S. Harris

Sebastian has only come to this village to deliver a gift from a dead man.  Jamie's grandmother lives in the village and he wants to deliver the mechanical hummingbird Jamie bought her.  He feels a bit beholden because Jamie was killed because he looked like Sebastian.  Sebastian finds several people who look a bit like him but he still doesn't know who his father was...

This is an Obsidian Mystery and I received a copy to read for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can get a copy now.

I like Sebastian as a character.  He's stalwart, protects his own, and he's inquisitive.  He came with his wife and baby but had no intent to get caught up in murder.  But when the young new magistrate asks for help, he complies.  After all, the constable says it's suicide but that's not the opinion of the magistrate.  It takes Sebastian's eyes to pick up the faint marks to show she was smothered to death.

Trying to find her murderer is a challenge because she's traveling with a false identity.  It's also a problem when there are so many secrets in the village.  It seems any man with power takes whatever young woman he desires.  It doesn't matter if they go willingly or not.  And with illegitimate babies all over the place, it's hard to trace bloodlines and look for reasons for murder.

Then the murders in the present time seem to mimic some "suicides" from the past.  It appears the killer in the village has been around for a long time.

It was sad to read about all the young women who died but Sebastian and his wife manage to solve the case.  Ms. Harris writes a good mystery, fills it with facts about the era she's setting the story in, and it makes a very good read.  I'll be watching for the next book.  Sebastian is just coming into his prime. 

The Secret of Sinbad's Cave (The Natnat Adventures Book 1) by Brydie Walker Bain

Nat can't believe they have to sell the farm.  It's home!  If only she could find a way to help financially...

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

The main characters are young adults who have varied interests and backgrounds.  They use what they know to work together as a team.  There are also legends, myths, and some magic involved.

There is a treasure hidden in a cave.  Which cave is unknown.  When Nat's silly little sister starts jumping on the roof of the house, she falls through.  They know she must be in the attic but they can't see her.  That's when they find the secret room upstairs and get their first hint in the mystery.

They talk to their old neighbor and enlist his granddaughter in their quest to find the treasure.  It's a real challenge to decode the clues and find the cave.  It's also dangerous.  Someone else is looking for that treasure and they are determined to get it.  If someone gets in way, stomp over them.  The land is giving them enough trouble that they don't even think of humans being a danger.  They will...

With lots of action and adventure searching for the cave, meeting fairies and more, the author has given you a tale that is fun to read and a bit mystical.  I really liked Nat and her family and her circle of friends.  I think you will, too.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

Tessa didn't want to go.  Her father failed her as a parent, now he's in prison, and she can't find it in herself to feel sorry for him because he's dying.  But she does feel an obligation to go.  She can't help it that he died before she got there.  Nor can she help reliving old memories and wondering if she and her friend Callie might have been wrong about what they thought they had seen...

Delacorte Press sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It will be published on April 19th.

Tessa is staying with Callie and her parents while she waits for the funeral.  She's not talked to Callie for years and it's not very comfortable now.  Callie tends to spend her time away from the house either working or partying.

Remembering Lori is unpleasant.  Tessa doesn't know where her mother or her older sister are, she's been living with grandmother.  Then another school girl is killed.  When the Ohio River Monster is in jailed, who killed her?  Is the wrong man in jail?

This is an intense, drama driven story.  There's no room to be bored, there's more than one story, and the ending in unbelievable.  Tessa is going to be haunted by what she found out.  She was haunted before but this even a deeper tragedy.  I'm glad she's a strong character and that she pushed to find out what actually happened.  I'm sure she never expected what she found.  I know I didn't...

Diary of a Maxed-Out Kid by Max Candee

Maxim has a crush on an impossible girl and suddenly becomes the target of the local bully.  Why can't school be simple?

The author of this book shared it with me for review (thank you).  It has been published so you can get a copy now.

I liked how the story was presented and how Max overcame his challenges.  He doesn't want to get in a fight with Tolik but he also doesn't want him bullying his friend Alex or his crush Tanya.  It's his good luck that Tanya wants him to do volunteer work and donate the funds to those in need.  Alex is almost bad luck because he comes up with all these off the wall ideas and talks him into them.

This is about growing up and dealing with adversity and first love.  Max finds out he's stronger than he thinks he is because he doesn't back down and he doesn't give up.  I especially liked his Grandpa.  He listens to the boy and gives him a bit of advice here and there.  He doesn't tell him what to do and he doesn't mention anything they talked about to his parents.  He's Max's safe place.

Max is on his journey to adulthood and the trip has just started.  There will be more in this series.  I could relate to the story and I'm sure most school children will recognize the problems.  This is great for middle grades.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Facts in the Case of the Departure of Miss Finch (Second Edition) by Neil Gaiman, Michael Zuli (Illustrated by)

He's come to write a script so he hasn't told anyone he's in London.  However, they find him anyway.  A friend calls and invites him to dinner and theater the next night.  They have a visitor and could use another person to fill out the party.  He agrees.  He doesn't realize it could be dangerous.

Dark Horse Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published May 10th.

This graphic novel shows you a world unlike any I've seen before.  Of course, I've never gone to a circus.


When he meets his evening companion, she's all bundled up and wearing a hat.  The theater isn't open that night, so they decide to do a circus instead.  While they chat about eating sushi later, she tells them about all the dangers of eating raw fish.  At least the circus changes the conversation.

They find a strong man, a knife throwing show, meet a vampiress, and see people live and die right in front of their eyes.  It's a show but The Theatre of Night’s Dreaming has some secrets, too.

The last room is where you get your wishes fulfilled.  Nobody jumps at the chance, so the guide grabs Ms. Finch and takes her back...

She had an usual wish.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Making Manna by Eric Lotke

Libby finds herself in an impossible situation at home.  She's pregnant and having a baby at fourteen.  Her mother is demanding to know who the father is.  Libby won't tell.  When the baby is born, her mother understands why she wouldn't say.  He's the spitting image of her husband...

PR by the Book gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can pick up a copy at Amazon now.

Libby goes to sleep after the labor, exhausted from the effort.  When she awakens her baby is not there.  Her father has set him outside in a bin to die from exposure.  Libby and her baby escape the house but not before she dumps hot stew on her sleeping father.

Libby doesn't look back.  She's got good enough luck to get a ride from a trucker and she finds a woman she can room with and work with for some money of her own.  She names her baby Angel.

Just when things are looking real positive, the police come and take away Sheila and her husband Zeb for drug dealing.  They weren't but they still end up in jail.  So Libby is left with the apartment and Sheila's daughter and her son.  A scheming attorney talks her into selling the apartment so he can defend the two in jail.  He just pockets the money.  He makes an appearance but he's no help.

At this point, some people would despair.  Libby just pulls herself together and works more than one job.  She doesn't give up and she doesn't look back.

As Angel grows, he wonders about his relatives, why he doesn't have a birth certificate and why they can't visit the graves of their dead.  His mom doesn't give him many answers.  Then, one day, he answers the phone thinking someone will be ordering his homemade bread.  It's Libby's mother.  She was never really dead.

This book is filled with trauma and decisions that have far reaching effects.  Angel is almost too good to be true.  Libby is a very strong young woman who keeps her young son alive and well.  Her friends are true friends.  For a story that started out with an awful beginning, it has a good ending.  If you're ready for drama, this is a good read.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Snail and Slug by Denys Cazet

When Snail and Slug meet they find they are about the same size and they like the same things.  Snail invites Slug to come in her shell and have some iced tea.  Slug can't believe how big it is inside the shell!

Antheneum/Richard Jackson Books and Edelweiss shared this book with me for review (thank you).  It will be published May 3rd.

They have such a good time together drinking their tea, they decide to go on a picnic together.  That's all going well until they get around to having a green salad.  Then a local bully (the banana slug) shows up and wants to eat the whole basketful of greens!

 They're much smaller but they know a secret.  They stand up to the banana slug and use their secret knowledge to defeat him.  You don't have to be bigger than they are to defeat a bully...

Once Was a Time by Leila Sales

Charlotte's father is a scientist and he believes time travel is possible.  Since it's 1940 and wartime in England, time travel doesn't sound too bad to Charlotte.  But since you don't know where you'll go and can't find your back, it doesn't sound very feasible.  You see, Charlotte's father believes they are a natural phenomena and not man-made.  He's trying to create one but hasn't been successful.

Chronicle Books graciously sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 5th.

Charlotte and Kitty are best friends; they do everything together.  When her father doesn't come home for a couple of days, Kitty comes over for a visit.  When someone knocks on the door, Charlotte opens it hoping that it's her father.  Instead it's a woman with military ID that tells her she needs to come with her, her father is in the car.  Charlotte's not sure but she does want her father back so she and Kitty go out to the car.  She's told the woman that Kitty is her sister.  When they are kidnapped and taken to a military base, she's sure they are German.  Especially after she finds they holding her father in the same facility.  

The woman asks him for the info on portals.  He tells her he hasn't figured it out yet but he's close, just give him a bit more time.  She tells him he's lying and threatens to kill Charlotte and Kitty!  While Charlotte is panicking, she suddenly notices an open portal.  She manages to get away and throw herself through the portal but she doesn't know where she's going or what time period she will be in when she gets there.

This is an interesting time travel story with Charlotte learning about life as she gets older.  She knows she can't go back but she misses her family and Kitty so much.  She finally decides to use the library to find out what she can.  As she reads about everyone's death (including her own), she grieves.  But the library also gives her one clue to where Kitty might be.  She follows that clue and makes a friend she should have years ago.  Charlotte is growing up.

More fantasy than fact, I found this one fun to read and enjoyed the story.  It's written for middle graders but can be read by all ages.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Wolf Camp by Andrea Zuill

Homer wants to go to Wolf Camp.  He knows he'll learn a lot and he's tough enough to do it, he knows he is.  Now to just convince his humans!

Schwartz & Wade and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published May 3rd.  If you like picture books or have a little one to spoil, you'll want to read this book!

The illustrations are quirky, the dogs at camp are varied and they get some surprises when they go to camp.  The wolves are big, they eat wild food, and they HOWL!  The poor domesticated animals don't know how to eat food with hair on it and they sure can't howl like a wolf.  But they have a whole week at a camp, there will be time to learn.

Here's an example of the illustrations:  

Even if Homer can't use some of the wolfie talents he learned, he can still howl...

I loved this story and plan to buy a copy for my own library.  Children's picture books are the best!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Tea With Jam and Dread by Tamar Myers

Magdalena Yoder has decided she needs to make her Inn a little more upscale.  Then she could charge more and offer more things.  So she's excited to book the Earl and Countess Grimsley-Snodgrass and their family as honoured guests,  Maybe she can start to pick up some international customers!

Severn House and Net Galley allowed to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 1st.

Magdalena isn't the most confident person and she wants to put her best face forward.  She goes all out for them and they arrive as snobs who mistreat all the help, eat her out of house and home, and demand activities she hasn't done before.  She accommodates them the best she can, but they still complain. When they take a trip to a local mountain and one of the sons falls off the cliff and dies, she's devastated!  How could this happen?

When she starts trying to work out how he died and who was involved, it gets even more complicated.  She has a real surprise coming before the end of the story.  Nothing this couple has been telling her is true.

I enjoy Magdalena as a character.  She's trying hard to keep her business going and be a successful entrepreneur.  Now if everybody else would just stop trying to mess with her...  

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Mug Shot: A Java Jive Mystery by Caroline Fardig

Things are calming down for Juliet.  Life is going well, the Java Jive is busy, and Pete's easy to work with.  Cecelia is still a pain, but that's what living on the snobby side of town will do for you.  Things don't stay calm for long...

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

They're getting ready for a big event which includes a 5K race and booths for the vendors.  When Juliet goes down to Java Jive's tent, she trips over Cecelia.  She's dead.

It all gets worse when they arrest Pete as the murderer.  Juliet has a cop friend and she's trying to get him to help Pete, but he can't.  The evidence is there; Pete did meet her in that tent the night before when she was killed.  She knows Pete didn't do it, so she's going to have to find a way to prove his innocence.  Juliet takes chances and she does learn some things but she's still not sure about who the killer is.

Pete's fiance was pregnant but not with Pete's baby.  She told him so that night.  The brother of the dead woman was a suspect for a while, then she decided he didn't do it.  What she finds out is disappointing and sad but she does ferret out the cause.

My favorite character in this series is Pete's grandmother.  Gertie is old, irascible, and outspoken.  You never have any doubt about her opinions.  She spices the story up with her observations.  Read it and see what you think.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

London's Glory: The Lost Cases of Bryant & May and the Peculiar Crimes Unit by Christopher Fowler

This is an anthology of stories about cops.  They're English, they're interesting characters and the dynamics between them are amazing.  One is very focused on facts and evidence.  The other uses his knowledge.  When one gets stuck, the other one helps them move on and solve the crime.

Alibi and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 29th.

These were a fun set of who-done-its with great characters.  All the stories were good but not outstanding.  They were just what I wanted to read when I settled down for a read and I enjoyed it.

My favorite is set in a field with no footprints around a woman whose throat was cut.  I also liked the one where a woman comes in and tells them she's going to murder a man in a week and does.  They can't shake her and she won't tell them how.  The other cop walks in, makes a couple of comments and completely undoes her even though he wasn't  in on the interview!

There are some ugly crimes in here but most of them are lighter and easy reads.  Having one make you shudder makes you appreciate the others.

I'd read more about these cops.  They're unusual and work well together.  I like them.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Drawing Dead: A Cross Novel by Andrew Vachss

Mr. Vachss writes about bad people, really bad people.  He's a lawyer who has represented abused women and children and he knows about what he speaks.  Sometimes it's easier not to expose yourself to that but it's there and it's real.  This might be a fictional story but there is evil in the world.  Are you ready to step into a world I hope I never get close to?

Vintage Crime/Black Lizard and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 19th.

I knew this was going to be a wild ride because there is only one chapter in this book.  It starts on page one and continues on with no breaks.

It begins in prison and continues outside as the men gather into a gang.  They have one female tough enough to join them.  Some of them are married.  One has a dog he's very attached to.  They do jobs that pay them well.  They aren't picky about death.  But they take exception when a hitman tries to kill one of the wives.  He probably would have taken out the children, too.  However, they knew he was coming and all he does is end up dead.

Now they are trying to weave together the net to see who set them up and why.  They know the bottom layer but they also know that person wasn't working alone.  What they find is a monster at the center of the web with killers around him.

There's non-stop action, conflict between gang members and an organization you wouldn't believe could be put together.  People die along the way, some of them grossly, and the group marches on.  When the book ends, you know the tale isn't done.  Cross has a mark that the beast in the prison gave him and it pulses.  Until it's gone or Cross is dead, the story won't be over.  

Monday, March 21, 2016

Nettle King by Katherine Harbour

Jack is gone but Lily has returned.  She's glad to have her sister but grieves for her lover.  She wants him back so much, she's willing to go to the land of the dead to get him back...

Harper Voyager and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 19th.

Finn is determined to get Jack back and she's willing to work with whatever unearthly creatures it takes to do it.

This is the third book in this series and the first one I read.  I'd recommend you read the others first, otherwise it's a bit confusing.  This is mix of alive and dead, evil and good, shapeshifting and unseelies, and more.  While Finn's friends try to protect her, she's willing to give up her life to save Jack's.

The characters are long-lived.  They've died and been born again.  They have unknown powers, and they have a taste for death.  They want Jack back, Lily needs to return to them, and they'd be happy with Finn's heart.  Once they get it, there's only three days to get her back to normal.  A lot can happen in three days.  

There are multiple plots, fantastic beings, and a fake Jack involved.  The Moth Man isn't the Moth Man.  Nobody is quite what they seem to be.

I didn't see how this story could end happily but it did for the most part.  There's sadness but the happiness outweighs it.  I can tell you for sure if you read this story you won't be bored.  There's action on every page!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Brotherhood in Death (In Death #42) by J.D. Robb

Eve is a good cop.  She's tough, resilient, and determined to do her job.  Not everyone she deals with likes her style but they have to admit she's fair.  This new case is going to take her in directions she doesn't want to go, but she has to follow the evidence...

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

This is a long-lived series that readers don't want to give up.  I've read a few but not the whole series.  You might want to start at the beginning so you can savor the whole story.

Eve has a lot of resources available, especially her husband and his skills.  He's great at research, has his own staff, and he likes to help.  She also has her staff and her friends she utilizes as the case progresses.

It all starts when a fellow worker asks her to come with her to find her husband and see what happened to him.  He went to meet his brother without warning because his brother was trying to sell their grandfather's house without his permission.  It couldn't and wouldn't happen and he went to tell him so.  He ended up getting knocked out.

It seems his brother had been beaten a bit and was tied to a chair.  When he recovers from injury, his brother is nowhere to be found.  Eve gets on the case right away, but not everyone wants to give her answers.  Even his wife is a pain.  The man is missing but no one seems to miss him.

When she takes her fellow officer to the house to look once again, she finds the man in the hallway, hanging nude from the chandelier with a note on him that says "Justice is served". It gets worse when another man is found in the same condition: Tortured, sexually abused and hung while alive.

These are old men.  It turns out they attended the same college.  They even have the same tattoo.  What did they do then that has caused their deaths now?

This is a sordid twisted tale where I found it hard to dislike the murderers.  What they did was wrong but it's hard to find fault.  This one will stick in my head for a while.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Nocturnals: The Mysterious Abductions by Tracey Hecht, Kate Liebman (Illustrated by)

It all starts as a hunt for missing animals.  The hunters are all nocturnal and they band together to search for a missing wombat and some kiwis.  What they find is a real surprise...

Fabled Films Press and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you). It will be published April 19th.

Dawn is a smart fox, Tobin is a pangolin and Bismark is a sugar glider.  They form the core of searchers but they add more as they go along.

This is written for middle graders and is a bit nonsensical but it's fun to read.  The animals have been taken captive by a crocodile who is determined to teach his friends how to play hockey so he can get his family back from the coachers.

When Dawn and her friends are captured, she works on a plan to win the tournament and ensure their freedom.  

The crocodile changes his mind constantly, the game is a real challenge because they've had no practice, and the animal interaction is amusing.  There are traitors, animals with huge egos, and desperate characters involved.

This was different from what I expected (playing hockey with kiwi bird beaks and a tarantula puck?) but it was interesting and entertaining.  It's also a good way to learn about the animals of Australia.

Wandering Witch (Diary of Anna the Girl Witch #2) by Max Candee

Anna has destroyed the child smuggling ring near her orphanage.  She's also finally got a letter from her Uncle Misha.  She's going to go find him and then see if she can find her father.  She's never even met him but she wants to know more about her family.  Mama bear raised her but it's not the same as a family...

The author shared a copy of this book with me for review (thank you).  You can buy it now on Amazon.

I love this series.  It has all the elements of a good fantasy story.  There's good and evil, immortal and mortal beings and lots of magic.  Anna is a cool character who holds her own, tries not to use her magic, and works hard to save her father and herself from Baba Yaba, her grandmother.

There are four horsemen who do the witch's bidding, wolves, and she has other talents and spells she uses to keep Anna in line.  Anna tries to get away several times but has no luck.  Then Baba Yaba sends her out to find her father's heart.  She wants that so she has the power to rule the world.  He helps ghosts find their way out of the world.  She wants them to do her bidding.  Anna has no choice, but she has another heart in mind...

The story reads fast and the danger feels real.  Mr. Candee's words draw me in and make me live the story.  I can't wait to read the next in this series.  It's an impossible quest and there is another character being introduced.  I'm sure it will be a very good read also!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Outlaws of Time: The Legend of Sam Miracle by N. D. Wilson

If you travel through time and it doesn't turn out well, would you want to go back and try again?

Katherine Tegen Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 19th.

This is a twisted tale with some horror involved.  It's not only time travel, it's done again and again.  Things change (how many ways can you die?) and things stay the same but there's an evil man in the world that has some magic in him and he's trying to control the world.  The only way he can be stopped is if he's killed.  But if you forget everything you knew each time you get a new life, how can you track him down, find him, and know what to do?

There are various forms of magic in this story but it's not the happy kind.  I found the story interesting and complex.  You need to not worry about reality and keep an open mind with this author.  He'll take you places you don't even want to go...

The Invisible Guardian by Dolores Redondo

This is new series called the Baztan Trilogy that was originally published in Spain.  It's the story of woman police officer who has a past she has hidden from her business colleagues and her husband.  Now she's investigating murders that are ritualistic and some try to blame the basajaun.  According to Wikipedia, "In Basque mythology, Basajaun (plural: basajaunak) is a huge, hairy hominid dwelling in the woods." That sounds a bit like our Bigfoot rumored to be up north.

Atria Books sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  It has been published, so you can get a copy now.

Amaia is a good cop.  She listens to the rumors and even thinks she might have seen a basajaun in the woods but she doesn't think he's the killer.  When she finds that the flour that is in the cakes that are left on the girl's pubic mound is used by her sister's bakery shop, she is suddenly faced with the fact that her family may have some connection to these crimes.

As we go through the investigation, Amaia is brought back to old memories from the past and she begins having nightmares.  She's also not willing to become pregnant right now.  Her husband is afraid he may be losing her. Eventually the story of her mother trying to kill her comes to light.  Her husband and her sisters are astounded. 

There are a lot of family dynamics going on in this story.  There's myth and reality, they read taro cards, and Amaia works hard on the case.  I never imagined who the killer was.  I also was amazed by the ending.  These characters have a lot to recover from after the killer is identified.  I'm sure the next book will give us more insight on family relationships and Amaia's marriage.  I can't wait to read her next case. 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

How to Catch a Leprechaun by Adam Wallace, Andy Elkerton

This Leprechaun likes to do a little mischief when he visits the houses on the block.  They decide to trap him...

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

Mr. Elkerton's illustrations are bright and full in color and demonstrate just how much damage this little Leprechaun can do.  Mr. Wallace's tale is light and full of fun.

This little fellow keeps bragging about he can always get away.  He washes your shoes, paints your toilet green and puts glitter in your hair.  He steals the food he finds that tempts him.  And he dares you to build a better trap.

Are you ready to help your young one build a better Leprechaun trap?  You better be!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil, Lawrence, Mike (Illustrated by)

She's a regular girl who likes to draw.  She plans to become a comic artist but, now that she's graduated, she's not sure she wants to leave.  When you throw in a potential apocalypse, an old boyfriend back in town, and life decisions, her little world of comfort is blowing apart.

Peachtree Publishers and Net Galley gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 1st.  

This Aussie town is really small and her group of friends are tight.  When one of them sees a video that says the world is coming to an end and the only safe place is her town, the kids laugh.  It is funny until all the strangers start showing up and staying.  Tempers get short, food is running out, and then the local movie star shows up.  He's there for the publicity but he's a young man now and he's not beyond flirting with the girl he grew up with.  They were a threesome before he left.  Now she's tight with Grady but he's not her boyfriend.

Things are changing.  She can't get her comics right anymore.  Grady is avoiding her and not talking to her.  The new guy is moving faster than she's comfortable with and the world might be coming to an end.  She's going to have to go grow up fast...   

Little Felted Dogs: Easy Projects for Making Adorable Pups by Saori Yamazaki

Needle felting is amazing to me.  When I had the opportunity to look at how they are created, I grabbed it.

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

This starts with very basic information and instructions to get you on the right path.  I had no idea that the way they turn out had to do with a felting needle.  This needle has barbs on it and creates the texture by pulling bits of yarn up.

The author walks you through the beginning steps and then offers advanced steps if you want to be creative.  There are photos and written instructions both.  It's a very good learning tool.

There are twenty-four individual patterns for dogs.  They show how to accomplish melding the colors or adding long hair as well as give the pattern.

It's a very complete guide to miniature dogs.  Even if you've never made one before, this will help you accomplish it.

Like dogs?  Get the book and make a miniature!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Extraordinary Suzy Wright A Colonial Woman on the Frontier By Teri Kanefield

I don't generally read nonfiction but this was the story of a woman who immigrated from England with her family.  She was a Quaker but, in the early 1700's, she was also a feminist.  She lived an nontraditional life compared to other women of that era.  I had to read her story...

Abrams Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It's being published today.

This is a lovely book.  It's filled with photos, side stories, and odd facts about life in that era.  It also has the look of an old manuscript on the pages, which is charming.

Suzy and her family left England because they refused to "pledge" themselves to the King.  They also didn't believe in classes of people.  They felt everyone was equal.  It was best for them to relocate.

Relocations turned out to be difficult.  The land was good and the Indians were friendly but not all the people in the area liked the Indians.  Then there was a war with the French that filtered down to them for a bit.  All in all, it was a challenge.

I'm glad I didn't live at that time.  I'm too independent to kowtow to anyone.  Suzy is a great example of how to survive at a time like that and thrive.

She never married.  She continued her education.  She did brochures and public speeches supporting the candidates and bills she wanted.  She was friends with Ben Franklin and his wife and other influential men.  She could discuss books or politics and some of the men asked her advice.  What more could she ask for?

Here's a chance for your child to see what it is was like in this era and to relive part of Suzy's life.  This book would be a great basis for a history project.  Why not share it with yours?

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb

Her husband is ill and she sits by his bedside waiting for him to get better.  It's not to be, pneumonia kills him.  He was still a fairly young man, who would have thought he could die from a cold?

Atria Books and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published May 10th.

Appalachian hill country people have their own ways.  They tend to take care of themselves, keep to themselves, and don't accept charity.  They'd rather do without than take charity.  They also aren't very social creatures.

Once her husband dies, she has the women of the town bringing all kinds of food to the house.  She doesn't like it but it's what one does and she accepts it.  When she gets her husband buried, she has to decide what she's going to do to keep her home and her boys together.  She's not moving back home again.

Her husband was Sheriff in the small town and she approaches one of the commissioners to suggest she fill his position.  He's not sure about it at all, but she's already approached the deputies and they have agreed to let her have the position.  She needs the money, she can do the paperwork and they might even get the office cleaned up with her there.  They do, but not how they were expecting it.

This is the story of a good woman who cared for her family and tried to do what was right.  It's a hard look at a tough life.  I liked the ironic touch at the end.  Everyone has to pay for their sins.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Masks and Shadows by Stephanie Burgis

She's come to visit her younger sister.  She wasn't able to attend the wedding, she's now a widow, and she wants to renew their friendship.  She never expected to find her sister acting as a Prince's consort...

Pyr and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you). It will be published April 12th.

This book has a different flavor from Ms. Burgis' other books.  It's deeper, darker, and written for an older crowd.  This one is set back in the days of Empresses and Emporers and Princes.  There's more than one evil plan percolating at this castle.  Sophie's Prince is not a good man.  Considering his wife is in a room in the castle, it seems Sophie could figure that out herself but she likes the gifts and the "honor" he has bestowed on her.  She's selfish and self-centered.

Charlotte is older and quieter.  She would prefer to have a quiet life but it's hard to do with the events and people crowding the castle.  Her maid becomes a singer.  Her interest is spurred by the contralto who sings heavenly.  She even gets to accompany him by playing the music and she finds her interest in him growing.  He's not suitable for one of her station but that doesn't stop her emotions.

There's more than one plot, alchemists involved, and it's almost a darker story than I would like.  There was much to be regretted if anyone thought that way.  It seems no one did except Charlotte.

How Many Legs? Katja Spitzer

Here's a cute counting book to help your child learn their numbers.  I like how it's put together.

Flying Eye Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It's available now so grab a copy.

The illustrations are simple.  You learn how many of what are on each page (eight legs for the spider) and then it gives you a chance to count for yourself.  This will emphasize what the child just read and emphasize their comprehension skill.

The book is sturdy enough for smaller hands.  It's also a good book to share so they can take turns counting.  What a fun way to learn!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Mechanical Mind of John Coggin by Elinor Teele

John can create a perfect casket.  He's learned to do it with all the right angles and produces a clean, good looking wooden casket.  He hates it.  He wants to do something else.  Anything else...

Walden Pond Press and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 12th.

This story has a mix of everything.  There's the mean aunt hoarding her money that John earns, his little sister, a circus, a little cuss that gets him trouble every time, a baker, a lady adventurer who's studying history, and more.  All these characters play their parts in helping John and Page, his sister, try to get away from his aunt.

Boz (the little cuss) takes them away from the aunt on a firetruck he "borrowed".  They join the circus and everything is good until John has to produce something that can be used as an act in the circus.  What he attempts to do doesn't work.  They vote them out of the circus, so they must run again.

It doesn't matter where they go, their aunt is still after them.  They're in a good place with a baker who is kind to them and then Boz brings too many accelerants too close to the new oven and accidentally starts starts a fire that makes an explosion.  The cops are after them then.

When his aunt captures him again, he jumps from the train into some river way below knowing even if it kills him it's better than being with her.

There's lots of busy adventures, John learns what he was doing wrong in his inventions, and the ending is fabulous.  This was a fun read where the good people outdo the bad and everybody lives happily ever after.  Well, maybe not his aunt, but who cares?

Cold-Blooded (Jocelyn Rush #2) by Lisa Regan

Knox is a retired cop with not much time left.  He only has one open case and he's determined to find the answer before death.  He's not in good enough health to investigate and he's hoping new eyes will see something he didn't and find Sydney's killer.  He asks Jocelyn's private eye firm to help.  As a matter of fact, he comes directly to her home to ask her...

I won this book in a giveaway by the author and I really enjoyed it.  It's been published, so you can grab a copy now.

There was more than one victim and almost all the girls had a tie to the coach at the school.  He has an alibi for Sydney's death but Knox still isn't sure he's innocent.  As Jocelyn starts digging through the past trying to fit the puzzle pieces together, she finds several random deaths are related.

The investigation is interesting, the characters are complex and somewhere in plain view and acting normal is a psychopath.  There's good interaction between the characters.  Some things that she learns about would not be allowed in court but it does give her the knowledge she needs to keep looking.  

The killer was a shock to me.  This was an inhuman monster who loved controlling people and hurting them.  It's also very dangerous to hunt because it will strike back.

I read this one sitting because the tension was great enough I had to know what happened.  Give it a try.  You won't be bored.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Changeling's Island by Dave Freer

When he gets upset, strange things happen around him.  He's trying to impress a pretty girl and shoplifts a DVD in a store.  He gets caught, she denies knowing him and says he's a stalker.  While he's being braced in the office about the theft, a fire starts in the air conditioner and they all have to clear the building.  His mother decides that's the last straw and calls his father looking for a solution.  Their solution is to send him to Australia to live with his grandmother...

Baen and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 5th.

Tim is not excited about this change.  He gets even more depressed when he finds out his "Nan" doesn't drive anymore, there is no internet connection and she has jobs for him to do.  He can't play games or do email with friends.  He has no desire to milk a cow or work with sheep or deal with a garden.  But he also has no choice.

This is a fantasy with little people and a selkie making appearances, but it's really the tale of a boy growing up.  He finds they have very little money so he starts not only helping Nan on her place but helping other neighbors for funds.  He begins saving for a trip back home or maybe somewhere else since neither parent wants him.

He discovers his grandmother can't see much, that there is a lot do on a farm and that he likes to fish.  He makes a new female friend, Molly.  She's a neighbor who rides on the schoolbus with him and she has a big dog.  Soon they are playing on the beach together and fishing.  It's dangerous by the water, though.  The selkie wants Tim to give her the King of Fairies key.  He has no idea where it is or what he should do.  She threatens his life.

This story is tense because there's danger everywhere.  With magical forces influencing him, he has to fight for the right side but he doesn't know what is right.

I found this to be a very satisfying read.  There are sad spots (whose life doesn't have those moments?) but it has a good ending and entertained me more than a movie would have.  I found myself rooting for Tim and Nan all the way through.  Give it a try:  You'll learn about selkies and little people and about life, too.

Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan, Ben Hibon

Thorn was trying to find his father when he's caught by slavers.  They thought his father was the one who poached the deer but it was Thorn.  He was hunting for food for his family but no one cares.  Poachers get punished by the loss of fingers and eventually their lives.  Since his father was at the third and final stage, he runs.  And now Thorn has been gathered in by slavers and he's on sale at the market...

Disney-Hyperion and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 12th.

Right before he's going to be beaten again, the man who looked at him with the dead eyes offers to buy him.  He's relieved until he finds out the man he's riding with is an executioner in another kingdom.  Who knows what he will make him do...

This is the type of book that I just love to read.  There's magic, strong young people who work hard at staying alive and doing things right, and plenty of action with not very good odds.  How can you not like a story where Thorn eventually gets to ride a huge bat like you would a dragon?

The princess' parents and brother have been killed.  She's next up as heiress.  She's also supposed to be married off to another kingdom to help create peace.  The prince is good looking but he's rude and ill-mannered.  Then someone tries to poison Lily and her dog dies instead.  Who in the castle would do such a thing?

The plot is complex, there is more than one murder, and I found myself sitting on the edge of the chair as I was reading.  As much as you know, there's a lot more hidden.  Oh, I forgot to mention that Lily can't practice magic because she's female.  They'll kill her if they find out.  However, if you're fighting magic, you have to have some magic, too.

It's long and tangled path that Thorn and Lily walk but it all gets resolved by the end.  The princess sheds tears of frustration and tears of joy, but she's smiling when it ends.  I highly recommend this read if you like fantasy and magic.

Friday, March 11, 2016

A Murder in Time by Julie McElwain

She's going to avenge the deaths of her fellow FBI agents.  When so many died and it took so long for her recovery, she's amazed to find out that the major bad guy gets away by flipping and becoming an informant.  Why should a man who caused so many deaths be allowed to live?

Pegasus Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 11th.

When she visits a castle where a medieval event is being held to get close the man she hates, she finds an opportunity to play the part of a maid.  The man is a philanderer and can be tempted by an invitation.  She sends him one and puts ricin in his glass of wine she will offer him.  She's also checked out the room and found a secret passage way out.  She'll watch him die and then leave.  Unfortunately, he gets shot by someone else for before the entering room.  It's a good thing she found that passage because the killer is after her next.  It's also a bad thing because when she leaves the passage she finds herself in the time she was playing as a maid.  She's moved through time...

This story is very creative, the characters are vibrant and smart, and the murders are gruesome.  Young women are being killed by a monster who loves to hurt them as well as rape them.  The only problem I have is that Kendra arrives with a chip on her shoulder, uses modern language and acts like a woman in that era doesn't and nobody challenges her.  They wonder about her knowledge of murder and think she's too outspoken, but they know she's American and decide that's where the difference comes from.  The Duke also defends her and everyone respects him.

This was a good murder mystery, the interactions between the characters was well portrayed and she even manages to fall in love.  The ending is very interesting and satisfying.  I enjoyed this read. 

Best of Apex Magazine: Volume 1 edited by Jason Sizemore and Lesley Conner

Twenty-one stories of the future and all of them pure fantasy.  Short stories are my favorite reads, how could I pass this one up?

Library Thing and Apex Publications gave me the opportunity to read this collection for review (thank you).  It has been published, so you can grab a copy now.

This collection has a wide variety of stories.  Some focus on myths, some on sex, some on strange things the future may hold and some really got my attention.

Here's the list of stories:


    Jackalope Wives by Ursula Vernon (Issue 56)

    If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love by Rachel Swirsky (Issue 46)

    The Green Book by Amal El-Mohtar (Issue 18)

    Candy Girl by Chikodili Emelumadu (Issue 66)

    Falling Leaves by Liz Argall (Issue 60)

    A Matter of Shapespace by Brian Trent (Issue 51)

    Blood from Stone by Alethea Kontis (Issue 43)

    Sexagesimal by Katharine E.K. Duckett (Issue 40)

    Keep Talking by Marie Vibbert (Issue 67)

    Going Endo by Rich Larson (Issue 74)

    Remembery Day by Sarah Pinsker (Issue 72)

    Pocosin by Ursula Vernon (Issue 68)

    She Gave Her Heart, He Took Her Marrow by Sam Fleming (Issue 79)

    L’esprit de L’escalier by Peter M. Ball (Issue 16)

    The Performance Artist by Lettie Prell (Issue 44)

    Advertising at the End of the World by Keffy R.M. Kehrli (Issue 3)

    Armless Maidens of the American West by Genevieve Valentine (Issue 39)

    Blood on Beacon Hill by Russell Nichols (Issue 78)

    Build-A-Dolly by Ken Liu (Issue 47)

    Still Life (A Sexagesimal Fairy Tale) by Ian Tregillis (Issue 17)


The last story in the book was chosen by the readers of the magazine.  What I found most interesting was the fact that my favorite stories were the first and last in the book.

Jackalope Wives is haunting and sounds like the old tales storytellers in Indian Tribes tell.  It sticks with you.

The last story is "She Gave Her Heart, He Took Her Marrow" by Sam Fleming.  I was amazed that I picked the same story other readers did.  I'm usually out in left field and not in the pack but this time our tastes were the same.  This is another haunting story that sticks with you.

None of the stories are boring.  All them had their own flavor and each of the authors engaged your brain.  I like reads like that.  Give it a try and pick your own favorite stories.  Feel free to tell me what you liked best since I told you which ones I did.