Sunday, December 31, 2017

A Rip Roaring Good Time (A Ripple Effect Cozy Mystery, Book 1) by Jeanne Glidewell

Rip and Rapella are retirees who have sold their home and travel from place to place depending on time of the year, events happening, and what sounds good.  There's no itinerary except to go where they want, when they want and to make sure they attend weddings and the like in their family.  All's going well at the engagement party they are attending until one of the guests falls down dead.  He's not a nice guy so there are plenty of suspects.

Instafreebie and the author share a copy of this book with for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can grab a copy now.

Rip is a retired cop.  Rapella has done all sorts of jobs; she hates to be bored.  It will take both of them to help close this case.  After all, the mother of the proposed new bride is the number one suspect with the local cops and they know she didn't do it!

Rapella is a real character.  She applies for jobs so she can question the owners.  She even goes so far to take a pole dancing class to get close to a suspect.  You wouldn't see me doing that!

It's a challenging mystery and will hold your attention as well as make you laugh.  It's a good thing they have friends.  They will need them all to get out of this alive...

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Hungry Spirits (A Daisy Gumm Majesty Mystery, Book 4) by Alice Duncan

Daisy works in spiritualism even if she doesn't believe in it.  She can earn more at doing that than any other job open to women and her customers love her.  Her husband went to war and come home more dead than alive.  Besides bullets, he got tangled in mustard gas.  She's determined to hate the Germans but Billy tries to convince her that they are people just like them.  It's the leaders that are bad.  She's not buying that.

Instafreebie and the author allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can buy a copy now.

When a good friend of hers asks her to teach a cooking class at the local Salvation Army, she tries to laugh it off.  She's no cook!  But he's bought her a simple cookbook and encourages her to do it.  His wife is even willing to help.  It's a very good thing Aunt Vi lives with them.  She knows how cook!  So she and Aunt Vi practice together before her teaching sessions and she does OK.  What she doesn't know is that there are some sponsored immigrants in the students that might not be what they say they are.

One positive outcome in this story is that Daisy learns Billy was right, not all Germans are bad.  And she certainly never expected to meet bank robbers in a class that the Salvation Army was sponsoring.

With Billy thinking about suicide, a new friendship blossoming between her and a German lady and danger from the bank robbers, Daisy is real busy in this book.  I'm glad I got the opportunity to meet her.  

There's a Hole: A Sarjent Family Chronicle by James Sarjent

This story has the flavor of books written in the 1950's.  It's charm is the family at its center.  Everybody knows children get in trouble, even when they're not trying to.  This is an odd little adventure filled with unique children.

The author sent me a copy of this book for Christmas.  It's being published in January so you'll be able to grab a copy then.

The girls want to go dig in the backyard.  They're allowed to.  When dad checks out their progress, they've got a pretty good chunk of ground dug up.  They even locate some bones.  He thinks it might be animals but when the jaw has fillings in its teeth, he knows better.

The house was vacant for years before they bought it.  The lady living there died and is buried in the cemetery.  How long was this body buried and who was it? The sheriff searches for the answers.

Dad is as unconventional as the kids.  He encourages odd approaches to life.  He also dearly loves his family and his lady wife.  He would prefer peace and quiet but a dead body in the backyard doesn't make for quiet. The death is buried in time but he and the sheriff keep digging.

This family is great.  I can tell they're going places.  I'd read more about them.  Why don't you?

Friday, December 29, 2017

The Liar in the Library by Simon Brett

He came to the library to do a book presentation of his new novel and to sign books for those who bought.  When he offers to give her a ride home because it's cold out, she accepts.  Then he gropes her and talks about how long she's wanted him (NOT!) and she slapped him and got out of the car and walked home.  In the morning, his car is still in the parking lot and so's he.  But he's not breathing...

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

He had changed his name but he was the same old Al that screwed around when he thought he had opportunity.  Her problem was that she was the last one to see him alive and the cops think she must have killed him.  Even if she wanted to, she didn't.  It doesn't help when his first wife says she broke up their marriage and slept with him in the past.  It's not true but no one believes her except her good friends.  She finally decides the only way she's going to move from the suspect list is if she finds the murderer...

As she gathers information, she learns he was the same as he was in the past.  Why he made her his scapegoat she doesn't know.  She investigates with her neighbor and a man who had been at the library during his presentation.  When she finally breaks through to the solution, she's disappointed.  It's hard when someone you like does something bad.  The only good news is that she is not a suspect anymore...

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

Stevie is intrigued by crime and wants to join the FBI.  When she applies to a school that takes gifted students and is free, she's happy to be selected.  Her parents aren't as enthused but free is free.  No one anticipates any trouble...

HarperCollins and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 16th.

Stevie has a hard time trying to mix with the members of her class.  She's not a people person.  Sometimes those more gifted spend more time in their head than in the present.  It makes them harder to deal with.  It's a very interesting cast of characters.

Since she's constantly snoopy, Stevie observes everyone:  How they act, what they do, who pairs up, and more.  When one of the students is murdered, she turns that up and begins looking over student rooms.  She is finding info about the previous murders from the past as clues for the present.  She knows they are living with a killer, but how to prove it?

Answers are elusive, not all questions get answered honestly, and it gets more dangerous as time goes by.  When it looks like pieces might start coming together, the author chooses to end the story with a cliff hanger.  I hate cliff hangers.

This was an interesting read with plenty going on everywhere.  It's full of surprises and connections you don't see coming.  You'll have to read the next book to figure out just how to undo this cobweb of facts and untruths...

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Scone Cold Killer by Lena Gregory

She left New York to get away from the stares and the shame of being married to man who conned people out of their money.  They even had her in court trying to prove she was an accomplice.  She didn't know a thing about it.  Neither did she know he was having affairs the whole time he was married to her.  She's going to run a diner that serves breakfast all day and get her feet back on the ground.  That sounds good, she has a great friend for support, and the grand opening does well.  Then she finds a body in her dumpster.  She thinks it might have been the homeless man she met but it turns out to be her ex-husband...

Lyrical Underground and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 23rd.

Gia is a suspect, of course.  She had no idea he was in town but he ate at her restaurant.  She's not lying but they don't know that.

She's trying to track down the killer and not having much luck.  Then a woman comes in and threatens her.  She tells Gia she's got important information that she wants.  Again, Gia is clueless. This is lot like the games a cat and mouse play.  Unfortunately, Gia is the mouse in this instance.

The killer is much closer than she thinks and she's in danger.  There's a dramatic finale.  Gia finds herself thinking she might have found a new home and a new potential love, too.  I like these kind of endings.

Into the Black Nowhere: An UNSUB Novel by Meg Gardiner

They go out and they don't return.  Cameras catch them walking around a corner or down an alley but they're not seen again until their bodies are found.  The bodies are posed and there are Polaroid pictures of them as they slowly die.  This unsub is dangerous, crazy and deadly.  But they can't get a picture of him...

Dutton and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 30th.

This is a chilling story.  The suspect is picking pretty blonde girls in their twenties.  He rapes them and cuts them.  They know he's full of anger but why?

As they weed through the past and try to connect the dots, they find there's no direct tie to the killer.  Then someone informs them of a man who sent her threats when she was going to college.  It's the jump start they need but they don't realize how smart he is.

Even when he's jailed he's the best prisoner ever and manages to escape and then the body count picks up even more.  They are scared enough about the damage he's doing and working hard on finding him when they realize he has an accomplice...

The whole story is full of tension and the potential of death.  The killer wants to kill whole families to get even for the past.  Even cop secrets are being found out.  The author made me worry about the female FBI agent because she has a weak spot and he found it.  Was she going to die too?

Once I started reading, I didn't stop.  If you want to take a walk on the dark side, this book will take you there.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Queen of All Crows by Rod Duncan

She grew up as part of magic show, playing her part as a girl and then reappearing as her "brother".  She finds this skill useful as she gets older.  Women can be hurt but men are more protected just because they are male.  Using her "man" disguise gets her places she wouldn't be able to go otherwise.  It also helps her with the biggest challenge of her life...

Angry Robot and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 2nd.

This is a well written space opera that grabbed my fancy.  Elizabeth is willing to sacrifice herself to find her friend.  She doesn't even know if she's still alive, she just knows that she was on airship that went down.  The only way she can do that is by infiltrating the enemy.

She has a boyfriend who works at the Patent Office.  She figures out how to apply for a job there and does it even if he doesn't want her to.  She gets the job and she's sent out immediately.  She doesn't even really get to say goodbye.

They put her aboard a whaler as an inspector.  She's not well liked and she wears a birthmark to make herself pass as a male.  When she finally gets a chance to meet the enemy, they are women.  She tells them she is, too, and they take her with them.

This women's world is odd.  They all hate men but use the prisoners to breed with.  They plan to take over more territory.  They live on a floating island.  And the test to find out if you got to join them or die is extreme.

I found the story fascinating.  Small things become big things in this world.  She finds her friend but can they get out alive?  It's a very good read and there will be more in this adventure.  It's just beginning.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Last Stop in Brooklyn (The third book in the Mary Handley Mystery series) by Lawrence H Levy

Mary is a private detective who has been doing quite well in her business.  This annoys her mother who thinks she should get married and have babies, but Mary doesn't care.  When one of her friends asks her to follow his wife because he thinks she's having an affair, it dismays her but she does it.

First to Read shared this book with me for a review (thank you).  It will be published January 9th and you can grab a copy then.

As she tails the wife, she notices someone is tailing her.  When she braces him, he ask her to help him prove his brother did not kill the woman who died.  She says she will think about it and get back to him.  She does agree to help him.

The next time she follows the wife, she finds her meeting up with a lawyer, who is her best friend's husband.  She can't believe it but they go up to a room together.  She can't tell anyone about it until she has some proof, so she buys a camera and film and goes back.  What she finds is not an affair; it's a plan to win a case against a big money man.

With multi-millionaires, devious money plans, and prejudice against foreigners there's a lot going on in this story.  Mary evens finds a man she likes even though she's not very nice to him.  There's death, attempted murder, pay offs and more so the trail is crooked and has lots of potholes but Mary carries on.  

When she figures out who the killer was, it's almost too late and it doesn't turn out like she wanted.  But she keeps plugging.

Mary has family squabbles, friendship problems and loses one of her clients but she doesn't give up.  Mary makes her mark. 

Love for the Holidays: Short Stories by Heidi L Vanlandingham

There's nothing that's as much fun as reading happy ever after romance stories around Christmas.  It puts me in a good mood and cheers my spirit.  This group of stories will do that for you, too.

The author gave me a copy of this book to read as a gift for Christmas.  Thank you, Heidi!

The stories are not long, so it's like love at first sight but the stories are sweet.  There's a bit of everything here.  The stories include:  One Regency (Christmas, of course), one historical paranormal (Halloween), two contemporary with paranormal (St. Patrick's and the 4th of July), and one contemporary (Thanksgiving).

There was even a vampire tale and I don't usually read those, but I liked this author's story.  You can read one, set it down and do a chore, and then read another.  I read them all in one day and it made it me smile the rest of the day.  You need a book to cheer you up?  Here you go! 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

A Body in My Office by Glen Ebisch

He's not at all happy to hear he's being replaced by a man he doesn't like.  When he gets back to his office, the other guy is already moving in.  And the thing that makes him angriest is when he finds the man has dropped his wife's picture and the glass is broken.  She died in a car accident three years ago and he loses his temper.  He picks up the trophy the other man has placed on his desk and throws it against the wall and storms out...

Williams and Whiting and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so you can grab a copy now.

After hanging out in the parking lot for about half an hour, he calms down.  However, when he goes back to his office to get his box of belongings, the other man is dead.  And the trophy was what killed him...

He talked to a couple of people while outside but not enough to cover the whole time.  He had time to go back for murder.  So he becomes a "person of interest" in the case.  When the police aren't able to get enough information about the dead professor, they let him help.  That's what he wants to do anyway.  Being retired is boring.  He also likes the female cop.  Then he goes to the house of the professor's wife with the girl carrying his baby to talk to the wife.  She's dead also.  Finding two corpses doesn't make him look more innocent.

As he tries to help with the case, he finds out things about himself and his relationships that is shocking to him.  The killer was closer to him than he could imagine.  The good news is that he is going to date the female cop, so there's hope for the future.  Sometimes knowing the truth hurts.

Christmas in Smithville by Kirsten Fullmer

Gloria is back home.  She's taking care of her grandfather and trying to fit into a community where the women don't like her.  She'd worn revealing clothing and dated most of their husbands in the past and they think she's back and intends to carry on the same way.  It was before they married but it doesn't mean she's not as bad as they thought she was.  She tries to ignore them but it's not easy.  It's a good thing she has a few friends she can lean on.

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

Ned is the deputy sheriff now and when he goes to the meeting on the pageant they are having, he finds Gloria crying on the porch.  He tries to talk to her but she won't talk.  He goes on in and asks the woman who owns the house to check on her.  He's stunned by how pretty she is and wonders if she might consent to date a stuttering deputy sheriff.  He rebukes himself and gets involved in the pageant planning.

It isn't long until others notice the attraction between them.  Since this is a small town, you know that everyone will jump in to help the romance along.

This is pleasant Christmas read as two people dance around each other.  She's going to stay away from men to make the women in town feel better.  He's not good at small talk.  But they do develop a friendship.  She has a secret admirer she can't wait to meet, too.  Maybe a new romance might not be a bad thing.

When she helps her worst female enemy during a health crisis and stays to take care of her children, things begin to turn around a bit.  It gets even better when she finds out Ned's secret.

Have a great Christmas colored with a little romance!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

She's spent her whole life moving with her mother.  They don't stay anywhere very long.  They lived in whatever they could afford or their car.  Her schooling is intermittent.  And she's not sure where the danger is but her mother does.  So they keep moving...

Flatiron Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 30th.

Alice knows she has a grandmother but she's never seen her.  When she dies, she thinks they may have inherited the house and the property but her mother has no desire to claim it.  So Alice goes on with life and school.  She meets a boy she grows fond of.  He's rich, she's poor but it seems to make no difference.  But when Alice comes home from school and finds her mother gone with no note and her stepfather facing her with a gun, life as she knows it comes to an end.  Her mother is missing, her stepfather throws her out, and she and her friend agree to find her mother.  She's going back to Hazel Wood.  The only problem is that no one knows how to find it...

This is an odd little story where the fairy tale world and our world are joined together by a bridge.  The problem is that Alice doesn't realize she's the bridge, so her world gets real strange.  She has strangers after her.  Strangers that her grandmother wrote about in her fairy tale book.  And then her friend betrays her.

It's an interesting read and you almost feel like you've fallen down Alice's rabbit hole but as the author twists the tale it turns out as well as it could.  This is a mix between fantasy and horror so be sure you're ready to read it.  It will keep your attention.

Mrs. Jeffries and the Three Wise Women by Emily Brightwell

Christopher Gilhaney comes to a dinner party and insults everyone there.  He's having fun getting even.  But on his way home, someone shoots him and he dies on the path...

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

There's a rivalry between the cops in that area and one claims the death for himself, saying it was just a robbery gone bad.  After six weeks go by and he's no closer to the truth than when he started, he says it's murder and it goes to a different inspector.  Inspector Witherspoon is assigned.  It's as bad as a cold case.  Memories fade, clues disappear, the body was moved and trying to piece things together is murder.  Especially since everyone who was at the dinner didn't like him.

No one is happy to take on this case.  They all had plans for Christmas and now it looks like they will have to cancel them all.  Consequently, it's hard to get folks put their heart into the effort to find justice.

The part I like best is how his household staff finds most of his facts for him.  They share it with the constable who tells the inspector about it, acting like he heard it from informants.  Of course, the inspector talks to his head housekeeper about the case, too, so they know what he's found.  But without the women coordinating staff activities and directing them in what to find out, the case might not ever have been solved.  

There were lots of men involved but the three wise women were the ones that solved the case.  I applaud them.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Strangers by Ursula Archer, Arno Strobel

This story line sounded a bit familiar but the author has created something unique here.  This turns into a real thriller before the end.  She's planning on having a quiet day at home, but she hears someone downstairs.  When she sees the man in her home, she doesn't recognize him and is fearful.  He's confused.  They've been living together for quite a while and they are planning on getting married and she doesn't know who he is?

Minotaur Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 9th.

She doesn't recognize any of his memories.  She accuses him of making it up.  He can't figure out what happened to her.  Of course, all his belongings are gone from the house, too.  What happened to them?  Neither one of them can trust the other one.  And she finds that she has an urge to self-harm herself.  She also has an urge to use a knife.  Neither of those feelings is normal for her.  Has she lost her mind?  When she stabs him, their relationship begins to fall apart.  But the troubles aren't over yet...

He's run off the road and almost killed.  Then he's sent to the train station to pick up two passengers coming in for a big job.  When the train station blows up and he was only safe because he was a few minutes late, he knows the plot is a lot larger than the two of them.

She pretends he's dead to keep him safe.  Then they try to hide her.  The rest of the story is full of suspense and tension.  The plans they make go south, they're on the run with no money, and no one wants to help them.  

You won't quit reading this one until you've read the last page and then you'll stop to breath and think about what you read.  It's a creepy but realistic story.  You'll remember it.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Navajo Vengeance by John Russell Fearn

When he and his partner ride in to save a rancher and his family, he ends up being accused of their murders and the theft of their animals.  They are going to be hung.  Only when the bar owner's girlfriend intercedes do things change.  They are thrown out of town instead.  But Cal isn't whipped.  He's going to come back and get rid of Whittaker.  He just has to figure out how first.

Pioneering Press and Instant Freebies let me read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can grab a copy now.

This was an unusual western because he decides to change his facial appearance and his voice to fool the saloon owner who is running the town.  Plastic surgery wasn't common then.  He asks an Indian Chief he knows and since he has gold, the chief says he'll do it.  He doesn't know that the gold was the Indian's to start with.  

While he and his partner were crossing the desert, his partner disappeared.  He fell into a vault on his horse.  The vault was an old Indian burial site and they had gold idols there.  He got the gold from there but he didn't mention that.

When he leaves the Indian camp and then raiders show up and kill most of his tribe, the chief decides he double-crossed.  Now he wants the man dead.

In the meantime, he's trying to beat the saloon owner at his same game.  At the base of their troubles is the woman.  She says she cares for Cal but she's still with Whittaker.  Does she really?

This is not a kind story but things weren't very kind in the old west.  It takes a bit to get resolved but it does.  Justice comes to pass.


The Wanted by Robert Crais

A woman hires a private investigator to find out where her teenage son was getting his money.  He's buying things way out of their price range and she's worried about what he's doing.  Her instincts are right.  He's mixed in bad business...

G. P. Putnam's Sons and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published December 26th.

Elvis Cole starts looking for trouble and he finds it.  The cops are looking for three thieves who rob vacant houses.  When he looks at the photo he sees the boy looking up at the camera.  That's where the money is coming from.  When his mother tries to talk him into surrendering, he runs.  He's infatuated with the girl in the trio and goes along with what she says.  It's not a good choice.

They've stolen something that is very valuable to a rich man.  He's hired assassins to get it back.  They begin by doing some heavy questioning and then leaving dead bodies behind.  They're on the trios trail and they intend to get the laptop computer back and take of the thieves all in one swoop.  Unfortunately for them, they can't locate the kids.  Elvis isn't having much luck either. When one of the boys is found dead, Elvis knows he doesn't have much more time.

He brings in his partner, Pike, and he begins gathering everyone into a safe house.  But he's set himself up as bait and the assassins are all to willing to come after him.

It has a shoot 'em up ending and things finally get settled.  It's suspenseful, full of tension and keeps you reading one page after another.  Don't start it if you have somewhere to go...

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Alpha Alpine: An Emma Lord Mystery by Mary Daheim

She's the newspaper editor and he's the Sheriff.  When young women turn up dead, she asks about the case but he can't give her all the info he has.  He's looking for a killer, she's looking for a story.  Sometimes that causes conflict...

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

Emma and Milo have a good marriage.  They sometimes drive each other nuts but that's common in marriages.  They are tight and they are in love.  They each work the case from different angles.  He even has her talk to women that don't want to talk to him.  They make a good team.

Milo is under a lot of stress.  Not only does he have two deaths to contend with, the local timber baron is trying to change how the city administration is set up.  He wants a county manager.  And he wants to be the manager which means Milo will lose his job because they are enemies.

Add in the fact that one of the victims was the daughter of a crazy rich woman who is showboating around town and it makes for an odd but interesting story.

The killer surprised me.  Milo's older brother and his wife are a real hoot.  They come to visit and they won't go away.  All in all, this was a light cozy read and I enjoyed it.   Give it a try and see what you think.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Ghosts Don’t Ride Bikes, Do They? by Andres Miedoso, Victor Rivas

Desmond and Andres are on another case.  There's on hill on the bike run no one can get over...

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

Andres is fearful, but he's got a bike and he's a good bike rider.  The problem there arises when the kids tell him nobody gets past the kicker, the last hill in the bike run.  He can't understand why but everything is going perfect and then it's like he's stopped in the air.  He falls off the bike and his bike tumbles down.  What happened?

He gets Desmond and his tool, and they go back to the kicker hill.  It is a ghost.  And he has an ulterior motive for dropping the bikes.  He wants to fix them...

This problem is neatly disposed of and everybody is happy at the end.  

This is written for intermediate readers and with all the illustrations and the silly story line it will be popular with children. 

Monday, December 18, 2017

The Haunted House Next Door by Andres Miedoso, Victor Rivas

They are moving to Kersville this time.  It seems his parents move once a year.  They're top secret scientists and they want to keep their research safe.  That's great, but he's getting tired of trying to make new friends.  When they pull in, his mom sends him over to the house next door where there is a boy his age...

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

Desmond is a ghost hunter.  Andres can't think he has much business in that line but he's a friendly enough kid.  He decides to be friends with him.

Strange things begin to happen at their new home.  As they put their furniture in place and their clothes and dishes away, he can turn and see total chaos in the room they just finished.  Before he can get his dad or mom to see it, it returns to where it should be.

Desmond gets his ghost detector and goes to work.  Sure enough, there's a ghost messing with Andres.  They solve the problem together and all is well.

This is fun quick read for intermediate readers.  The illustrations are fun, too.  Peek at it, I bet you buy it.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Child of Creation (Book One of Then Came a King) by Robert Donohue

They were just getting ready to sit down for supper when the raiders came.  His parents got him on a horse and told him to ride!  They then went back to the battle.  It's hard to adjust to being an orphan in an hour's time.  He did ride and he was followed, so he had to use the skills his father taught him.  He didn't know where he was going or where he would end up but he got away.

PR by the Book and the author sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It has been published so you can buy a copy now.

The next thing he knows, there's an elf near his hiding place and she decides to take a bath.  He's mortified.  He's a young boy, he's not familiar with women's bodies or sex.  But when he makes a noise, she notices him and confronts him.  She finally decides to take him with her on her journey.  He's not sure that's a good thing but he doesn't even know where he is, so she would at least be company and she knows where she's going.

This is a complex story about warring factions in this fantasy world.  This author builds strong characters with lots of experience and a sense of right and wrong.  All them help this young man get better versed in sword work, listen to his questions and give him answers to most (not all), and he's an asset to them.  But, first and foremost, the upcoming war must be defended against.  When you have a spies, saboteurs and you aren't sure who your enemies are, it's hard to know which way to go.

I especially liked the main characters.  The elf is a princess, another elf is prince, there's a unequaled warrior leading the troops and the young man has no idea of his place in this world.  Some know and some don't in his party of friends but they are trying to keep his identity hidden from the rest of world.

This is more about the war and how to stop it than I would have preferred.  I enjoy reading about fantasy characters and how they interact and there wasn't enough in this story to fill me up.  However, anyone who plays a war game on their computer will enjoy the detail the author gives you.  It was well worth reading.  And there will be more in this series. 

Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Grave's a Fine and Private Place by Alan Bradley

Flavia and her sisters have gone on a trip to try to recover from their father's death.  As they float down a river with their chaperone, Flavia puts her hand in the water.  She feels something touch it and thinks she has a fish.  What she's fished out of the river was a body...

Delacorte Press and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 30th.

I like Flavia.  She's not like all the other girls (I can relate) and she uses her head.  She's very good at science, so she learned a lot from checking out the dead body.  She smelled chemicals on him and she's correct in her identifications.  She steals a piece of paper out of his pocket and she takes a sample of what she pushes out of his lungs.  That's the start of this adventure!

She finds out that the place he died was where his father had thrown the church chalice out.  Three women died from drinking wine from that chalice.  The reverend was hung.  But she begins to think there might have been more to it.  She's right.

Flavia is very unconventional, says what she thinks, and asks questions that most people wouldn't.  You never know what she's going to do next and you never know just how much she knows.  Each book in this series shows you more of what she's made of.  One thing she is not short of is courage.  That's what sustains her in dangerous moments.  She has more than one of those in this story.

This was a very good read and I'll be watching for future books about Flavia.

Friday, December 15, 2017

If You Knew Her by Emily Elgar

This story focuses on a particular hospital floor where those who need constant care live.  Most of them are unconscious or have other problems (like not being able to communicate) and the nurses keep them hydrated, medicated, clean and visit with them to encourage them.  One person in the story did it to himself by drinking too much.  The other is a young, pregnant woman who was run down by a car and is in a coma.  Their stories are sad.

Harper and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 23rd.

Frank is working getting his eyes to blink so he can say yes or no.  His daughter is visiting him and he loves seeing her.  He has exceptional hearing so he can hear what the people say to the woman in the coma.  He even learns about who put her there.  But he can't tell anyone...

As we learn about Frank and Cassie's past, one of the nurses on the floor finds herself getting emotionally tied to them.  She talks to Frank all the time even if he doesn't answer.  She's lost all the babies she's carried so she's anxious for Cassie to live long enough to have her child.  She tries to be kind to all the relatives and offer them moral support.  She does a good job but she doesn't know the killer is visiting the hospital and Cassie's future is in that person's hands.

In ways, this was creepy to read.  Life and death can't be taken for granted.  There's one semi-crazy person in the batch that does evil things to protect the one they love.  The climax is frightening and deadly.

I'll be thinking about this one for a long time.  It disturbed me but was very believable.  Read it.  I bet it does the same thing to you.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Historically Dead by Greta McKennan

Daria is making historically correct gowns for two older ladies that competing to win the grand prize on a national TV show.  She's also doing the curtains and other sewing assignments as required.  The TV crew is a bit of a pain, but she keeps soldiering on and gets most of it all done.  All she has left are the curtains and a few more dresses.  When she goes in the office the researcher uses to ask about curtain patterns, she finds him dead on the floor.  She calls 911 and waits.  When she finds out he was hit in the head and it was not a natural death, it worries her.  No one was in the house who didn't belong.  Who killed him?

Lyrical Underground and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published December 19th.

This cozy mystery has one older lady who isn't quite all there and her sister, who seems to be made of steel.  There's a rumor that the more rigid one burned down her house and her husband both.  She doesn't regret his death.  It was arson, but did she do it?  She said she stayed in a local hotel because they had a fight.  Was that all she did? And then there's the boy that disappeared years ago.  No one ever proved him dead and his fluffy aunt still thinks he'll return.

Daria finds out the researcher had a secret he was going to reveal and it would expose the local hero as a traitor.  His assistant knows this secret, too, and she begs him to stay safe.  Then her newspaper reporter she's fond of disappears along with the assistant and she's afraid they are dead.

The story is busy, has lots of action, and ends violently.  This one won't bore you.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Devil's Song by Lauren Stahl

Kate is an up-and-coming prosecutor who is trying hard to show her own worth.  Others think her dad got her the position and she intends to prove them wrong.  She has an excellent record.  And she's real excited about this new case.  She doesn't realize how close to home it's going to come...

Kaylie Jones Books sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published January 2nd.

Kate carries a secret from the past in her heart and head.  She soon starts to see similarities between the current killings and her near death experience as a child.  The women all have red hair and they've all been shaved to make them look childish. She thinks her predator is out of jail but he's not.  He's dead.  So who's killing them?

Someone is drugging Kate and messing with her mind.  Her cousin who was her best friend is now distant and detached even though she's living with her.  The more she searches for the truth, the more twisted the tale gets.

You have drug addicts, crazy people, blackmail and corruption cases all over the place and the people she's trying to track aren't where they are supposed to be.  Kate finds herself in an impossible place and it looks hopeless.

This story is exciting and realistic.  While Kate survives and it looks like she may have found a love interest, you can tell her father is in trouble.  He's a judge and she's always admired him.  She'll probably be protecting him in the next book in this series.

The Story of the Treasure Seekers by E. Nesbit

This tale is written for young readers.  It's full of silly stories where the children's big ideas backfire on them.  It's written well and you even laugh as you see how they carry out their goals.

Dover Publications and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It is being published today.

Their mother has died, their father is having a hard time earning enough money to keep them in their home and they are trying to come up with ways to make money.  After all, father sold their silverware and other things from the house already and their allowances have disappeared.  Just what could they do?

They try all sorts of schemes that are hairbrained and silly and they manage to get by without doing any damage.  They do get in a bit of trouble.

The ending is great!  They feel sorry for their poor Indian uncle, so they give him they money they have left since their last great scheme.  That turns their fortune around.  You'll need to read the book to see how but it's a fun read.  Give it a try.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Royal Rabbits Of London by Santa Montefiore, Simon Sebag Montefiore

Shylo is a small rabbit who's not very good at physical activities.  His siblings tease him.  His oldest brother is the worse.  But he has a secret friend that believes in him.  He's an old rabbit with lots of scars and lots of tales...

Aladdin and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 23rd.

When his brother follows him into the woods, he decides to shake him off by running through the woods and hiding.  He manages that, but he finds himself in a bad place.  The log he hid in is housing rats and they are making plans to take pictures of the Queen in Buckingham Palace while she's wearing her night gown.  Those will sell and make them famous.  (Like paparazzi but more along the lines of paparatzy.)

Shylo escapes and tells the old rabbit about it.  Since he's a retired Royal Rabbit, he tells him he must go warn the Royal Rabbits at the palace about the plot.  Shylo doesn't want to but he's the only one can.  The old rabbit tells him all the secret codes, where to go and who to talk to and tells him he may not be the strongest or bravest, but he needs to use his head to accomplish his goals.

I enjoy stories about animals and this one was a very good read.  Shylo finds himself in some very bad situations but he keeps his head and manages to stay out of trouble.  The Queen's corgis even play a role in this story.

It's an exciting tale filled with danger that ends well for the good guys.  Middle graders should love this story.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Need to Know by Karen Cleveland

She works for the CIA and works on detecting spies.  She's married, has children and life is good.  At least it is until she finds out her husband is a Russian sleeper.  She should turn him in but she can't.  She loves him...

Ballantine Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 23rd.

When she talks to him about it, he admits it.  Her world falls apart.  It just gets worse.  She tries to protect him and then the Russians begin to blackmail her into being an inside person in the CIA.  She does something that won't damage much, but the threats escalate.

This is a cat and mouse world with death hovering around the edges.  She believes in him but I'm not sure she should.  They live through this crisis but I don't think her troubles are over yet.

With lots of suspense and tension throughout the story, this author keeps you reading.  It's a scary look at how things can turn out even with the best of intentions.  Who do you trust?