Thursday, May 25, 2017

About a Dog by Jenn McKinlay

Mac is finally coming back to town.  When her fiance left her at the altar for another woman, she left town and moved away to make a fresh start somewhere else.  Now she's coming back for her best friend's wedding.  She's not sure how she feels about it.  They'll be marrying in the same church she was using.  She'll see the man she shared her sorrow with after being left at the altar.  And she might even run into the ex and his wife.  But she's going to face all that to be there for Emma.

First to Read shared this ebook with me for review (thank you).  It will be published May 30th.

Gavin still remembers the night he spent with Mac.  He's tried to move on but he's stuck on her.  She still has an interest in him but has been seeing someone else.  The fact that someone is else isn't anybody she wants to spend her life with doesn't matter.  At least she's not being a spinster.

There's much to do about the wedding, Mac's friends are all a little bit nuts, and they party as much as they get ready for the wedding.  It gets even more complicated when Mac finds a puppy that needs rescue.  She does, Gavin is the local vet, and things start to get complicated between them.  She's trying to fight her feelings so she doesn't ruin Emma's wedding.  He's trying to behave, too, but it's not working well.

Not only that, her aunts have gone nuts.  They're buying a hot new car, playing loud music, planning a surfing trip, and more.  Mac just looks at them with wide eyes!

Then some guy tells her the puppy she's adopted is his.  He has the paperwork to prove it.  So he takes the pup.  She finds it all alone in his back yard and tries to steal it back.  She ends up in jail.  The real nail in the coffin of her previous relationship is driven in when she finds out why the guy took her dog.

The story ends well, the puppy is back with Mac and she's with the man she loves.  The dog was what drew me in to read the story but it was a good romance with lots of laughs in between.  I liked it.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Child by Fiona Barton

She left her hospital room for a few minutes to take a shower.  Her baby was sleeping peacefully and she wouldn't be gone long.  But when she came back, the baby was gone!

Berkley and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 27th.

When the reporter was looking for general interest stories, she ran across a small article about baby bones being found at demolition site.  That sounded intriguing and she began digging into it.  What she discovers will change her life.

The body is found in an area that has been deteriorating over the years.  It has been acquired for new development but finding a body slows it down a bit.

Kate is a bulldog about her stories.  She has contacts all over and utilizes them to find out how many babies were reported missing forty years ago or so.  She finds three and decides the most recent might be her baby.  She finds the mother with more inquiry and goes to visit her.  Soon she's convinced the baby must be Alice but why would someone murder a baby?

The story gets more complicated.  With a woman obsessed with a man, sexual predators and drugs, a grieving family and another mother grieving a dead baby there's lots going on.  As the story plays out, you begin to realize no one is innocent.  

The final twist at the end is what makes the story unforgettable.  The story twists and ties around itself but at the end there are no secrets.  Now everybody has to pick up the pieces and move on.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Birdwatcher by William Shaw

When his next door neighbor is killed, he's involved in the investigation and they use his house as a base during the investigative work.  He doesn't do murder investigations.  He stays as far away from them as he can.  He has a secret he doesn't want anyone to know...

Mulholland Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 27th.

South lives on the Kentish coast and watches birds in his spare time.  He enjoys the wide open desolate land.  Birds migrate and the birders keep track of how many, when, and watch the climate change make the birds come sooner or later.  He keeps track of all the birds he sees.  His life is well-ordered and he's a good cop.  But he has a big problem from his past that is touching his life again.

Despite the fact that the man blamed for the murder committed suicide (South doesn't think it was suicide) also took the fall for his father's murder, he still tries to keep his secret.  However, when he figures out who the killer was, he has no choice.   If anyone is going to survive, he needs to do it.

This is to be a new series.  I'm hoping South will serve some jail time and come home.  He's an interesting character and he's paid the price for his sin now.  He should have a good life from here on out.  Where are you going with this story, Mr. Shaw?

Monday, May 22, 2017

My Aunt Manya by Jose Patterson

This children's story is based on a true story.  My father's parent immigrated here from Czechoslovakia so a story like this was easy to relate to.

The author shared a copy of his book with me for a review (thank you).  It has been published and you can buy a copy now.  

Sarah's father has gone to America to live with his sister and work with the intentions of bringing Sarah over later.  Russia isn't a safe place to live as a Jew anymore.  The problem is that he gets killed in a road accident and Sarah loses her only parent.  (She hates her new stepmother.)  However, Aunt Manya sends her a ticket and tells her to come live with her.  Her father's friends help her escape Russia and get on the boat for America.

Sarah's fears and worries sound authentic.  She came into the same port of entry as my grandparents.  When my grandmother finally arrived, she had a three year old daughter with her.  It took that long for grandpa to make enough money for passage.

Sarah's troubles aren't over yet, but she has the strength to go on and keep hoping.  This story will let your child look at how things worked in the past and how little people had or could bring with them.  Much of what we have today was non-existent then.  But everybody did what they had to do to meet their goals.  There's a lesson to be learned here. 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Agatha Parrot and the Thirteenth Chicken by Kjartan Poskitt, Wes Hargis

Agatha is back again and she makes just as big a mess as the last time you read about her.  She's a character who does what she wants how she wants to.  I like her!

Clarion Books and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 27th.

It's a new school year and Agatha goes back hoping for more playground equipment.  Nope.  But there has to be a surprise somewhere.  There is:  her class will be raising baby chicks this year.  First she has to wait until the eggs hatch.  When they do, the chicks are all yellow and fluffy.  Everybody loves them except the spoiled girl who lives in the biggest house on the block and looks down on all of them.  She tries to get them removed from the school by claiming they're a health hazard.  Agatha's favorite of the group goes over and poops on the floor by the spoiled one's shoe.  You would have thought it was a bomb...

When the teacher breaks the incubator, the students get to take the chicks home for one night.  There are thirteen chicks.  But when they get home, they only have twelve chicks.  What happened to her favorite chick, Random?

The next day, they take the chicks back and wait for disaster to fall.  It doesn't but you won't guess why.  Agatha has to figure out just what happened and it's quite a story.  Agatha always makes me laugh.  I enjoy books that do that.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Making Scents by Arthur Yorinks

This is a silly story that is mostly fun and a bit sad.  He was an abandoned baby that is adopted by a man and his wife who raise dogs.  They train the boy just like they do the dogs...

First Second Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 27th.

He loves his parents and his "brothers and sisters" (the dogs).  He has some trouble learning to use his nose well for dog work but he tries hard and manages to find his father's glasses so he's well on his way to dog life.  Then they decide he must go to school.  That's a real experience.  You don't do dog at school...

By telling a teacher the fish she was going to eat was bad, he finally gets accepted at school.  They're even going to feature him during the assembly.  But bad luck hits and while he's showing off his nose skills, his parents die in an auto accident.  He then becomes the ward of his mother's older sister and her husband.  The husband doesn't like dogs or kids, so it's a tough situation.

While this novel is done in graphic form and is easy to read, it covers the death of his parents which is sad.  The ending brings everything together and a family is formed again so it's not hopeless.  I'd just suggest you talk about the story if your child seems troubled.  The story starts odd, has the dog angle, and ends up fine but since the deaths are unexpected, it even bothered me. 

A Fine Madness by Elizabeth Essex

She's grown up with her maiden aunts after her father's death.  She never even knew she had another aunt until the trunk arrived along with a letter.  Once she knew, she went back on the carriage to meet this new aunt.  It changes her world.

ERB Publishing and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can pick up a copy now.

Elspeth shows up with a small satchel containing her other clothes and goods.  Her aunt looks for her luggage and is amazed she has so little.  Soon Elspeth is going shopping and learning how to do her hair.  She also finds that her father has written a book.  Elspeth has her own stories, often with little animals in them, that she created while bored to death at her spinster aunt's house.  Maybe she could write a book, too?

Her aunt is intelligent and has worldly knowledge.  She slowly sets into play a way for Elspeth to make money and even acquire a husband.  She sends Elspeth to the local publisher to ask about the book and republishing it.  She's already spoken to Hamish about it so he was expecting her. What he didn't expect was how well she wrote or how attractive she seemed to him.

Her aunts had warned her about men like him.  What they didn't tell her was how it felt to be kissed or held close...

This is a good romance read with a bit spice thrown in.  It ends like you know it will but it took a creative way to get there.  Here's a nice light read that will make you smile. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Secret of Black Rock by Joe Todd-Stanton

Erin wants to go to sea so badly but her mother won't let her.  It's too dangerous.  After all, there's a big black rock in the sea that shows up where you least expect it.  All the adults are afraid of it.

Flying Eye Book sent me a copy of this book to read for review.  It will published June 13th.

When Erin manages to hide from her dog on the boat and actually goes to sea, she meets the Black Rock up close and personal.  She falls out of the boat!  Instead of drowning, the Rock picks her up and holds her above the water.  She finds out the Black Rock is a creature who attracts the sea animals.  But the adults in her village don't listen to her.  They intend to destroy the rock.

It's a good thing that Erin has a strong backbone.  She puts up a good argument against it standing on the rock and saves her friend.  She also is saving the fisherman's livelihood even if they don't want to admit it.  Erin is our hero for the day and it's just her first battle...

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Stack the Cats by Susie Ghahremani

Here's a sweet book about counting that features cats.  One cat sleeps, two cats play, three cats stack...

Abrams Appleseed sent me a copy of this book to read for review.  It has been published and you can grab a copy now.

I love cats so I had to read this.  The cats are colorful, fluffy, and they all hang out together.  When your little one follows along with the story watching what the cats do, they'll learn their numbers without even knowing it!  This would also make a good read aloud book.  Soon you'd have children helping you read it.

This is a nice easy way to learn as you read a story.  That's stuck with me through life.  I've learned a lot from reading.  Start your young one out with a good reading background and they'll be set for life. 


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Little French Bistro by Nina George

Her life is not her own.  She lives in her husband's shadow and does whatever he allows her to do.  She's been doing that for years and she suddenly despairs.  She tries to drown herself.  Unfortunately, someone saves her...

Crown Publishing and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 13th.

When she wakes up in the hospital, all her husband has to say is how much she has embarrassed him and he's leaving without her.  She can come home after the hospital releases her.  She doesn't wait for the hospital to release her.  She sneaks out and begins a journey to a town she's never seen before except in a picture.

Starting life over with nothing is not an easy thing to do.  Especially since she never had any freedom at home.  She's just lucky enough to find a restaurant that could use another worker.  They even have a room she can use for no charge.  

It doesn't take long for her to make friends.  The villagers welcome her, take her under their wings, and help her move on from the past.  The problem is the past is following her.

Just when she's feeling secure, in love (maybe for the first time), and enjoying her life, her husband shows up.  He didn't even recognize her at first because a friend had updated her hair and another one helped her buy clothes.  But when he does, he asks her for a second chance.  She runs again.  But not far.  She has to decide, once and for all, how she wants to live the rest of her life... 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Tiny Hero of Ferny Creek Library by Linda Bailey, Victoria Jamieson

Eddie's aunt taught him to read and he loves it.  She regularly visits the library in the school they live in but she's been gone several nights now.  His father can't go after her, his mother has lots of children to watch and feed, and only Eddie might be old enough to go check.  The problem his parents see is that he's a bit flighty and unfocused and might not find his way there or his way back.  So Eddie waits until they go to sleep, then he sneaks out on his mission.

Greenwillow Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 20th.

This is delightful bug tale with small bugs and big people.  They call all the students and teachers Squishers because that's what happens if they see them.  So he has to hide, even at night.  Can't have the caretaker see him!  When he finds his aunt, she's injured her two back legs and can't walk well yet.  He has to find her food and water.  But he soon has an even more important goal.  The new librarian intends to close the library down.  He has to save the library!

I've always liked the Borrowers and the Littles (mini people) and it was easy to think of these bugs living just like they did.  Eddie has many challenges.  He has to evade the librarian, brave the mouse in the teachers lounge, and even learn how to write.  As he does this he gets the backing of the school kids and even creates the illusion of a ghost.  This story made me smile.  Let your imagination run free and travel along with Eddie on his big exploration and help save his aunt.

Monday, May 15, 2017

No Turning Back by Tracy Buchanan

Is the Ophelia killer back in town?  Young boys are dying again...

Crooked Lane Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 13th.

The story starts with a young mother who has taken her daughter down to the park by the beach.  She takes her on walks regularly but this time is not ordinary.  It's a bit late and she sees three teenage boys watching her.  She decides to take a different route home and then another young man coming the other way sees her.  He screams at her and says he won't let her hurt him.  She has no idea what he's talking about but he has a knife and he's rushing at her and her child.  All she has for a weapon is a comb, with a long handle.  She moves to protect her baby, he trips and he punctures his neck with the comb handle.  When he pulls it out, blood spurts.  Before the ambulance can get there, he's dead.  Unfortunately, he's just the first one.  More are coming...

It seems the young man was poisoned by foxglove, that's why he went nuts.  But why attack her?  The police notice it is the same poison as the Ophelia killer from the past used and now they are taking a long look at her.  She's not the killer.  But if she doesn't find who is, her whole life is going to fall apart.

This story is full of tension and suspense.  The deaths are horrible.  Her family has secrets.  The more she finds, the worse it is.  She also finds herself being interested in the brother of the boy she killed.  He's willing to help her and he's on her side.  But then his aunt says it was just a ploy to get her to trust him.  Who can she believe?

When she finds out who the killer is and how many they have killed, it's even worse.  More die before the story ends.  Even her baby ends up almost dead.  

This is a story you read fast while you wait to see what will happen next.  I almost forgot to breathe as we got near the end.  The family ends in pieces but it's time to heal now.  And she has someone on her side to help her.  She has hope and love for the future.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Crossing the Lines by Sulari Gentill

This is an unusual book.  Madeline is a writer and has an idea for a book that is different from what she's written before.  She chooses a male character, adds in a love interest, and populates the book with people from her past and present.  It's a murder mystery.  It's also like the story is alive.

Poisoned Pen Press sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published in August.

It doesn't take long before you realize she would rather live in the story from her book and spend time with her male character than do other things and pay attention to her husband.  She begins to wonder about the times her husband comes home late.  Is he really working at the hospital?  And then something else happens that makes her even more upset...

While all this is going on her life, Edward has been accused of murder in her book.  She's trying to help him prove his innocence.  Soon her book character becomes more real to her than real life.  They almost have symbiosis. They have become a unit without meaning to.

It's an interesting psychological story that gives hints of reality in the make believe world.  Personally, I'd leave Hugh behind and go for Edward too.  I found the ending to be a bit of a let down.  Neither of the characters I liked came out well.  The only good news is that she still has Edward in her mind and in her heart.  This one will make you wonder.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Emperor's Ostrich by Julie Berry


Begonia is on the road looking for their cow, Alfalfa.  She needs to be milked but she likes to wander.  This time she has wandered into trouble...

Roaring Brook Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this for review.  It will be published June 13th.

This is really the tale of a young emperor finally coming of age to lead his dynasty.  His ancestors think he has been poorly trained, is rude and is not ready for the role.  So he suddenly finds himself hanging from his window sill with only an ostrich to rescue him.  The bird takes off and the poor young emperor finds himself in the woods.  He's never ventured there before.

The ancestors help with Begonia's search, too, but not in the way she wanted it to go!  Once she finds Alfalfa, she also finds the ostrich and the emperor.  He's so rude, she sets out with her cow, but the ostrich follows and so does the emperor...

She has made a friend along the way named Key and he helps her through difficult circumstances.  And, as the ancestors hoped, the hard time the young emperor has helps him realize how people feel about him and that he needs to make some improvements.

You meet odd people along the way, the faction at the castle who intend to replace the emperor are defeated and everything works out for the best.  This is fun read with lots of action and smiles along the way.  The ostrich is a fun part of the story; he made the story work.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Swords Against Darkness by Paula Guran

This book is chock-full of fantasy tales that feature swords, epic battles and sorcery.  Some are short stories, some are novellas but all of them are worth reading.

Prime Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published May 30th.

I particularly enjoy reading this type of book.  Short stories are my thing and fantasy is fun to read.  Some of it is wicked, some of it tantalizes you into reading more by the author, and all of it is good.

My three favorites are:

The Tower of the Elephant by Robert E. Howard:  The beggar became a sorcerer but taking revenge won't save him...

Hero at the Gates by Tanith Lee:  He's not really a hero but he does what he needs to do.

First Blood by Elizabeth Moon:  This was my favorite.  He's young, on his first war tour but he doesn't give up despite the danger and he has a surprise at the end.

None of the stories are disappointing.  If you like fantasy, jump in and enjoy some old classics as well as the new ones.  Tell me which ones you liked best!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

The royal bastards were children born from mothers that weren't royalty.  They were allowed to join the family in the dining room but had their own table in the back.  Tilla aches for the time when she and her father did many things together but he married and has a new family now.  Still, she's loyal to him.  So she's totally shocked when she watches kill another royal...

Disney-Hyperion and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 6th.

Tilla and her brother along with a couple more boys and a princess find themselves condemned to death for witnessing the killing.  They run...

The way isn't easy, those who lived in castles have to adjust to living in the wild, they aren't sure where they should run and, in time, they aren't sure who they are loyal to.  After all, Tilla wanted to be acknowledged and important in her kingdom but she's not sure about her father's actions and plans for the future.  She feels he's betraying trusts.

She's also learning about a culture she didn't know much about before.  The warrior bastard with them is a killer but he also has emotions and cares, even if he's not supposed to.  That how he was declared a bastard.

By the end, Tilla has found her love, lost her brother, been betrayed and life has changed forever for her.  She and her friends that remain are a tight unit that will handle anything life throws at them.

I loved this story.  It really grabbed me by the heart and took me on a journey to another world.  The romance is sweet and adds to the story overall.  Even if they are on a new path, I can see them going far in the world.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

There, There by Tim Beiser

Rabbit complains, moans, groans and is "woe is me" over and over again.  Poor bear keeps responding" there, there" until he's had enough!

Tundra Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 6th.

The illustrations in this book are awesome.  I love how crabby the rabbit is and how bear tries to ignore the complaining.  It's like living with my little brother at home.  

When bear gets fed up, he drags rabbit out in the rain to a mudpuddle and shows him a worm.  He talks about a worms life and how he doesn't even know his end is there; if he sees it, he thinks it's another worm.  Rabbit finally admits life isn't so bad for him and they go back inside.  The best line in the story is when the worm meets itself coming and going and one end complains and the other says:  "There, there."

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

I Will Love You Forever by Tatsuya Miyanishi

When a female Maiasaura finds an abandoned egg in the forest while picking berries, she brings it home to hatch with hers.  When the baby is a Tyrannosaurus, she holds it close and names it Heart.  She loves him even if he is different.

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

One day while out hunting berries, the little Tyrannosaurus runs into the adult who lost the egg.  He tells it he's a Maiasura and the T-Rex tells him he's not.  The little one runs away home and his mother assures him she loves him and he's her heart.  The next time he goes to pick berries, he doesn't come back.  But she finds a big pile of berries where she had found the egg.  Love changes but it doesn't die when you really love someone.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Holly Farb and the Princess of the Galaxy by Gareth Wronski

Holly is the smartest kid in the class until the new student shows up.  He knows even more about faraway galaxies than she does.  Feeling down trodden, she decides to eat her lunch in the playground.  That was a bad idea because there are these funny looking aliens looking for a princess and they think she must be it...

Aladdin and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 6th.

Holly, the new kid, and her teacher end up being kidnapped and taken out into space.  It would be exciting if it wasn't so dangerous and scary.  When it turns out the new kid was actually the princess in disguise, it gets even more dangerous.

This is space opera for young ones.  There are crazy characters, weird aliens, the pirate leader wants to kill the princess, the leader of that galaxy is a bunny and they meet a bounty hunter.  It's busy, full of nonsensical fun, and keeps you reading.  There's nothing too deep about this story but it is a fun read.  It'd be great for middle graders.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Planet Jupiter by Jane Kurtz

Jupiter loves her family.  She's sad that her father has gone traveling but he sends her postcards all the time.  There's been a family friend that is getting too close to her Mom to suit her.  And now they are going to move to Portland, but her brother is not coming with them.  This is just too much change too fast.  The worst part?  Her mother comes home with a cousin she's never seen before.  Edom has been adopted by her mother's sister and is black.  As you can guess, Jupiter isn't excited about having a new cousin.  And now she's going to live with them while the sister gets cancer treatments.  Geez!

Provato Marketing sent me an ARC of this book to read for their blog tour (thank you).  It has been published and you can grab a copy now.

This is an interesting story all the way around.  The family travels around in an old bus and makes money busking at gathering.  They sing and dance and get enough donations to continue on in their lifestyle.  But when the father leaves and the bus breaks down. Jupiter has to learn how to stay in one place for a while.  She doesn't like it, she didn't grow up that way.

Now they're in a broken down old house and she has a girl that doesn't sleep at night sharing a room with her.  They are both determined to earn enough money to go their own ways.  Edom wants to go back to her new mother.  Jupiter wants to go find her Dad.  Busking doesn't work well in residential neighborhoods.  But then they find out they put out recycling bins.  Jupiter knows all about recycling and she teaches Edom.

They meet the neighbors next door, the local neighborhood groups, and find more ways to make money.  It's a fragile peace, though.  When everything comes to head, Jupiter finds out what family means and that it's not such a bad thing to have a home base.  Everybody in this story had a bit of growing up to do, including the mother.  Reading this will teach you a bit about ecology and eating wild plants, too.  You won't be bored.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Blackout (Blackout Complete) by Marc Elsberg

In the present day and age, everything depends on electricity.  There's the internet, smart phones, smart houses, transportation and more that uses electricity as an essential element of operation.  What happens when there isn't any?

Sourcebooks Landmark sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published June 6th.

The story is set in Europe.  Piero is an Italian who used to be a hacker and activist.  He's on the road heading home when suddenly all the traffic lights go out.  So do all the other lights in the area.  Traffic crashes, injuries abound, and he's lucky to get out with just a small head injury.  This is just the beginning.

Today's world is not ready to walk where they are going or to live without heat, water, or food.  It doesn't take long for the status quo to topple.

Meanwhile, everyone in the electrical business is trying hard to find the flaw.  It's the former hacker that comes up a reason but everyone ignores him.  There was almost too much technical talk in the story for me.  I'm more interested in people.  However, the author kept me reading and wondering how it would all turn out. 

It's tense, suspenseful and dangerous.  The team that disabled the electrical systems manages to make it look like Piero is talking to Russia.  That causes him some difficulties.  He finds a love interest in his travels.  And he almost dies before the story ends.

If you read this, you probably won't sleep well at night for a day or two.

Friday, May 5, 2017

All the Best People by Sonja Yoerg

This is women's fiction with all the trauma and drama of life.  Carole knew her mother was in an insane asylum and as her mind starts taking a life of its own and confusing her, she's afraid that's where she's going to end up, too.

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

This story has alternating chapters with different character's voices.  There's the mother/grandmother who is still in the asylum, Carole and her sister Janine, and Allison the daughter/granddaughter.  Solange's story about how she ended up in the asylum is sad.  She made the mistake of telling her husband the last baby wasn't his.  It was a one-night fling with an old flame that ruined her life.  He puts her in the asylum and doesn't want her back.

Janine is brought up with her sister at her aunt's house.  The aunt knows her heritage and hates her.  Carole tries to protect her.

Life is not easy for any of them.  The ironic twist revealed at the end was great.  Carole's problems didn't come from her mother.  

This book shows just how much you can overcome if you have to.  It's sad and a bit overwhelming but there's still hope for the future.  Sometimes life is like that.  

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Death on Nantucket by Francine Mathews

Merry's getting ready for her wedding but she's still a police officer and has to work when called out.  It started out with a missing person and then the body is found on the roof.  The woman liked to sit up there and look out at the sea.  When they find out she was poisoned, it no longer looks like it was a natural death...

Soho Crime and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 6th.  

The adopted woman was staying with her father.  He's got dementia and is confused easily.  He forgot she even came to visit.  It's the fourth of July weekend, so police activity is up and the whole family has come to visit the famous father.  No one knew her very well.  Why would anyone want to kill her?  And how did they do it?

Everybody had a finger in the pot somewhere.  There's high hopes of inheritance, brothers who don't agree on whether to sell the house or not, and a divorced wife cluttering up the scene, too.  It's almost a case of mutual enemies weaseling around trying to get the greatest share of the goods.  Then the father ends up dead.  They think he fell but they found blood in his closet... 

Before the story ends, another family member ends up dead.  There are two confessions on the death of the father.  Nothing turns out like it was planned and almost everyone carries some guilt.  The father was a liar who made a lot of money out of it and he willed it away.  After all that strife and trouble, nobody won in the family fight.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Murder in Saint-Germain by Cara Black

Aimee is a private investigator who uses her computer knowledge to look for fraud or other illegal activity.  When she's working on an assignment that pays her well, one of the teachers comes to her asking for help.  She doesn't want to work for him but he's willing to pay well and just wants to know who is blackmailing him.  He won't tell her why but she's going to give it a shot.  She'll be sorry she got involved.

Soho Press and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 6th.

As if working two jobs isn't enough, a friend calls in a debt that Aimee owes her.  She's sure she's seen a Bosnian war criminal at the local coffee shop.  She's afraid he's after her.  Aimee finds no confirmation he's around but when members of Suzanne's squad end up dead she's pretty sure who's killing them.

I really like her team of professionals, her little girl, her partner and her focus on her job.  She's willing to do whatever she must to get to the bottom of her case.  Her father's words ring in her ears while she does things just like he would.  She misses him but he's not gone.  He still speaks to her.

This is tense tale with lots of action on all sides.  There are games being played on all sides and none of them are nice.  The tension ratchets up until everything blows up.  Aimee walks away alive but she's going to have to go out of town for a while.  She got too much attention.

The ending is a set up for the next book.  She goes to the hospital to see her godfather.  He has betrayed her in the past and she hates and loves him both.  I wonder what he's going to tell her...

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman

Her husband was in a horrible accident right outside the house and died.  It's been three years now, but she can't make herself go on.  She's still grieving, taking care of the kids and the house, and working.  But a new work assignment is going to change her life...

Berkley sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It is being published today.

She's an illustrator and has been asked to draw illustrations for a vegetable catalog.  She accepts the assignment and agrees to go to a gardening class to see the plants and learn about them before she begins the illustrations.  There is a big variety in classmates.  She even takes her children with her.  Young and old, a couple of lesbians, some divorced, some not, and all in need of friends.  The gardening group becomes a cohesive group of friends who help each other.

They start by redoing their own gardens or creating a garden where they had none.  The whole class goes from house to house creating beautiful gardens.  Hers even has a fairy house for the kids.  But they aren't just building gardens.  They're building relationships.  A few new romances sprout, advice comes from all around to handle things.  And even a heart attack turns into a team effort on resuscitation.  They weather it all.  And they even agree to return for the next class.

Lilian is still not certain she wants to give her heart away again but, even so, Edward has stolen it.  Watching them dance around other and love made me want to reach in and shove Lilian forward.  Love can be hard to find so it's best to take it when it shows up.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Annie's Recipe by Lisa Jones Baker

She and Levi had been close when she was young.  Then his father got shunned and moved the family away.  It's been ten years since she saw him but she recognized him at once when she sees him at the wedding.  They have a lot to tell each other.  But her parents don't want her fraternizing with someone not of the faith.  She just can't stay away.

The author shared an ARC with me of this book to read for review for the Goddess Fish Blog Tour.  It has been published so you can grab a copy now.

This is an Amish tale and Annie is facing a personal crisis in her faith.  She believes in her faith but she truly loves Levi.  She wants to marry him but he's not of the faith.  He asks her to be a Mennonite but she won't do that.  He won't join her faith.  It looks like her love is hopeless.

She helps take care of Old Sam, who makes hope chests with a personal touch.  She talks to him, her mother, and a good girlfriend looking for advice.  When she get told by her mother to date others, she tries but she can only be his friend.  You can't give away your heart when it's already taken...

When Levi is almost killed in an accident saving his nephew, things come to head.  The story ends well despite all the roadblocks.  This is a tale of hope, faith and understanding.  All's well that ends well.

Enter to win a $50 Amazon/BN GC - a Rafflecopter giveaway 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! 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Nakano Thrift Shop by Hiromi Kawakami

This story is set in a thrift shop in Japan but it doesn't center on the items being sold or their story.  It's about the four people who work in the shop:  The owner and his sister and the young man and woman he hired.  They all have secrets and most of them aren't really secrets...

Europa Editions and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 6th.

The thrift shop owner is married but has mistresses.  His sister is fifty and living with a man and he wants her to stop it.  Like he can say anything about it!  So he sends his female helper to chat with her.  The sister knows he doesn't like it and tells her to tell him she doesn't care what he thinks.

The young female helper is fond of the young man.  They date a bit, even make love once, but he's very reserved and lets the relationship die.  She tries to pretend she doesn't love him but it doesn't work out well.

Then Mr. Nakano shuts down his store and decides he'll try another adventure in life.  The girl gets temporary jobs and stays there until it ends.  Her next job brings her back into the fold of the friends she had at the shop.

This is an interesting look at a slice of life in Japan.  These characters are not important people and don't hold any power.  They are just trying to make it in life.  Since time has passed and the young ones are older now, I think things may work out for them.  You get a lot of life drama in this story.

The Last Death Worm of the Apocalypse (Kelly Driscoll #3) by Nina Post

Kelly is still acting as an interim manager.  Her boss is gone, she should be getting promoted, but nothing is happening.  When something does, it's almost bigger than she can handle!

Curiosity Quills Press and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It's being published May 2nd.

This series is so much fun to read.  The stories are outrageous, monsters abound, demons are bound to the building, and everyone has their own agenda.  It's like trying to hold an uncensored war zone together with toothpicks!

She's being audited by a nasty woman, has an angel of destruction for her boyfriend, and has a mess of trouble.  She has a Zombie invasion, is building a Death Worm lap pool, and the board members are planning to escape their bondage.

The story is busy and exciting.  I liked the part where, during the Death Worm show, the judge demanded to check their genitals.  He couldn't find them in the hair so went to get clippers.  The Death Worm took exception to that and ate him.  (Haven't you had a doctor you'd like to do that to?)

With mayhem everywhere and her boyfriend off trying to get back his $5,000 he spent on a mantra that didn't work, everything is helter skelter.  The boyfriend has his own set of troubles...

Despite all this chaos, things turn out well.  Of course, it will take a bit to get the building back together but that's how it goes when you have a demon opening at the base.  I enjoyed reading these, laughing here and there, and it has a smashing ending.  If you haven't read it yet, you have a treat to look forward to.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Independence Cake : A Revolutionary Confection Inspired by Amelia Simmons, Whose True History Is Unfortunately Unknown by Deborah Hopkinson

Amelia Simmons is the woman who wrote America's first cookbook.  No one knows anything about her but this story imagines her life...

Provato Marketing sent me a galley of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published May 9th.

When Amelia is orphaned she's taken in by a woman who has six small boys.  She's exhausted from trying to keep up with them.  Amelia takes over many duties and keeps herself busy and the boys fed.  All is going well until she gets bored.  Then she decides to take up baking.  Oh my! The boys love "testing" her new pastries.  Even the neighbors are willing to help out.

She experiments with corn meal and an herb-like baking powder to make new dishes with American ingredients.  She even bakes a cake for the new president, George Washington who says it's delicious.  You get her recipe for it in this story but I don't think you'll want to make it since it made up thirteen cakes...

This is a fun way to learn about history and imagine what life was like in the early days of America.

Friday, April 28, 2017

A Letter to my Teacher by Deborah Hopkinson

Did you ever have a teacher who brought out the best in you?  I've had several but the one I remember most was my first grade teacher.  She sent me a graduation card and complimented me for being an honor student.  She told me that she could tell when I was in her class I would go far.  I couldn't believe she'd even noticed me!  In this story, it's the student that notices the teacher...

Provato Marketing send me a galley of this book to read for review (thank you).  It has been published.

The story is written from a child's point of view and mentions how she used to tug on the teacher's shirt and whisper in her ear.  Time has passed and now she's writing her a letter.  This is a tribute to her best second grade teacher and it's sweet.  The little girl shows how trying she could be and how the teacher always saw the positive side of it.  The graphics are done by Nancy Carpenter.  They have a secret depth to them.  Do you see the scissors poking out of her backpack?   

This would be an excellent gift for Teacher Appreciation Day or a goodbye gift when moving up to another grade.  Share the positive wherever you can.  There's too much negative in the world today.  Keep your head up, a smile on your face, and learn as you go along.  Maybe you should write a thank you letter to your teacher, too.


Thursday, April 27, 2017

A Reference to Murder by Kym Roberts

There's a big fundraiser going on to benefit the retired cowboys' home.  There are a lot of bull riders and rodeo stars living there.  Prize money doesn't last long when you're young.  There's going to be a big rodeo event with the current title holders, too.  But when one of the stars goes missing overnight, it turns into a hunt for a body...

Kensington Books/Lyrical Underground let me read this ebook for review (thank you).  It will be published May 16th.

Charli has come home and is working in the Book Barn with her father.  Her girlfriend, Scarlet, has a crush on Dalton and is very upset that he is missing.  Charli tries to convince Scarlet he might not be the best boyfriend but she's not listening.  She asks for Charli's help in finding Dalton.

Charli gets attacked outside her business by a cowboy with a branding iron.  He doesn't get her face with it but he does burn off a good hunk of hair.  After Scarlet fixes her hair, they go to Scarlet's trailer and look in Dalton's backpack.  They find his phone and they track his Ipad.  When they find his location, they head out.  What they find are two dead bodies.  One was from the past and the other was from the present.  They think it's Dalton.

This first body was Dalton's older brother, who disappeared seven years ago.  The present day body has been so badly damaged they have to wait for DNA evidence.  The killer isn't going to go down easily and the story gets wicked before the end.  Luckily, Charli and Scarlet get out alive.

Lies that Bind: A Cotswold murder mystery by Stella Cameron

Alex has hired a young boy to be a bus boy for her pub.  He works hard, does what he's asked to do, and helps wherever he can.  He responsible and trustworthy.  When his younger brother busts through the kitchen door to tell Scoot he found a dead body, Alex listens carefully.  Kyle is only thirteen and she asks them where their father is.  He's a long haul driver is on the road.  Come to find out, the boys are on their own a lot.  He's trying to earn enough money to send them to college.  But right now, he's gone and they need help...

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

This turns into a mix of more than one crime.  Murder is one, the other is illegal trafficking.  As Alex and Tony try to keep the boys safe and taken care of, they are also trying to figure out where the father is and why he is gone so much and who killed the woman.  There are no easy answers.  Then someone kidnaps the younger boy while he's at work at Tony's veterinarian shop!

It seems there one more crime that was shoved under the rug in the past.  When another young boy turns up dead, they're afraid it was Kyle but it wasn't.  Who killed this young one and why?

The ending on this story is abrupt and alarming.  There's no closure after the shocking ending and I'm not sure I liked that.  It did get my attention, though.  Tell me what you think about it...

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Uniformly Dead by Greta McKennan

Daria has a successful wedding gown business but she's going to expand to historical sewing.  Her first assignment is to create a civil war uniform jacket for the Colonel.  She has to use the right cloth and the right stitches to make it authentic.  She decides to visit the Civil War Museum in town to see the uniforms on display there.  She certainly didn't expect to be there during a robbery!

Kensington/Lyrical Underground and Net Galley allowed me to read this ebook for review (thank you).  The book will be published May 16th.

Daria's brother has just turned up after a seven year absence.  He admits part of the time he was in jail and that he'd had a drug problem for a while.  He swears he's clean but he still has hoods after him for the money he owes the drug lord.  Daria believes in her brother but wishes he hadn't brought his problems with him.

She takes the Colonel his new jacket which he puts on and then tries to short her on payment.  She refuses to back down.  He still is short $20 in payment but she's willing to let that go.  The problem is that she forgot to pick up her tape measure.  When she goes back for that, she finds the Colonel dead on the floor, run through with a bayonet and Chris, another friend, holding the bayonet.  He says he found the Colonel like that and she believes him but the cops don't.

As if all this wasn't enough, she now has two men dating her and she's not sure about either one of them.  Too bad she jumped the wrong way...

This cozy is busy with personal drama, murders and theft, and action.  Somehow it all gets straightened out by the end of story.  I enjoyed this read. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Though This Be Madness by Penny Richards

Lily Long is back again.  She has a new assignment.  The only problem is that she has to partner with Cade and they don't like each other.  But an assignment is an assignment.  Posing as a married couple will be difficult but they will do it.

Kensington Books and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It is being published today.

I enjoyed the first novel I read about Lily.  She's an interesting character.  After her husband left her and stole all her money she has no desire to have anything more to do with men.  But she's a pretty good actress and she'll act like she and Cade have a relationship.  

He's not any happier about it than she is.  If he hadn't gotten drunk and in a bar fight, he'd be allowed to work alone.  But he's still on probation and Lily needs more training.  It's his burden to live with.  As if that's not enough, a young boy he befriended comes along on the trip following and he has to take care of him, too.

What they are investigating is whether the wife of the household is really crazy or if she is just being put away to remove her from her money.  What they find is a hot bed of problems.  As they start talking to the servants and members of the family, they notice that the attorney is a sexual predator.  The doctor isn't really a doctor.  And most of the men aren't what they seem.

It's a dangerous game being played in the name of greed and not everyone gets out alive.  This story was also a very good read and Cade and Lily are finding they enjoy working together.  Even the young boy helps with the case.  This isn't a conventional story and I like it!

One Good Thing (Ten Beach Road #5) by Wendy Wax

Each evening they go out and sit on the deck and watch the sunset go down.  They have a drink, talk about their days and, as their mother requests, they each pick out a good thing that came from that day.  When there's emotional trauma and disasters everywhere, it's hard to find that good thing...

Berkley sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  It is being published today.

From financial disaster to a husband who walked off with a younger woman and took all her money with him to a young man defying his father and driving his love off to a popular singer who is having a comeback and wants their mother to travel with him, there's plenty of strife, emotional trauma and troubled times in this household.  Some things get solved, some don't.  What stays the same is the fact that they are there for each other, they're still fighting and they are still moving forward.

There's lots of drama, lots of love, and a sense of family and undying loyalty.  There's a bit of sad along with a lot of happy and you feel the women will come out on the top.  Their story isn't done yet, so watch for the next book in this series.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Magick & Mayhem by Sharon Pape

She was a witch in training when tragedy struck and took both her mother and her grandmother.  Now she owns the magic shop but doesn't have all the skills she needs yet to be a sorceress.  When she goes to her lawyer's office to sign the final papers on the shop, she finds him dead...

Kensington Books/Lyrical Underground and Net Galley allowed me to read this ebook for review (thank you).  It will be published May 2nd.

The magic was low key until Kailyn does the spell to find her familiar.  Her other relatives have cat familiars but hers is unexpected.  She summoned Merlin!  As you can guess, this spices up the story.  Her aunt takes him in and spoils him with food and modern conveniences.  He spouts magic here and there and creates even more problems for Kailyn.

The cops eventually arrest the lawyer's wife for murder.  She's Kailyn's friend and she knows she didn't do it.  It looks like she's going to have to prove that, though.  Not only is she unskilled in magic, she's not the best private eye either.

When she finally identifies the killer, she's got another problem.  He finds her first and covers all three of them with a gun.  He plans to kill them, too...

I enjoyed the touch of magic, Kailyn's crazy aunt, Merlin, and the cats.  This was a fun book to read and I'll be looking for more in this series.  Give it a try, it's a very good cozy.

The Door in the Alley (The Explorers #1) by Adrienne Kress


The story starts with a pig out by itself wearing a small black cap.  You don't usually see a pig in the city and you never see one wearing a hat.  While Sebastian is still trying to figure it out, a man comes out to capture it and somehow Sebastian gets involved.  It gets even worse when he goes in the door that says:  The Explorers.

Delacorte Press sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published April 25th.

This is a nonsensical story with footnotes, illustrations and strange situations all the way through it.  Middle graders will love it.  I found it great fun to read and can't wait for the next book to come out.

Sebastian finds a young girl who is on the run in the alley the Explorer's club is on.  She's been ejected from the club and is crying.  She wants to find her grandfather but the clue she needs is in the club.  Sebastian takes her home with him and agrees to help her.  He's a math and science genius and he needs his brain skills to figure out the key.  They end up in big danger, each saving the other from destruction, and the story gets more exciting the further you go.

There's cliff hanger ending which makes you look forward to the next book in the series.  You can tell your kids they won't be bored reading it!