Sunday, August 20, 2017

Falcon Wild by Terry Lynn Johnson

Karma found a falcon that had been raised by a human but was lost.  She saved it from death and then worked on training it.  She was very proud of it and used it at demonstrations on how the birds of prey are not as dangerous as they look.  Life was going well and she was hoping to train it to hunt for her when it suddenly injures her during a demonstration.  The worst part is that the previous owner has contacted the family and wants his bird back.  After the injury, her parents decide the bird's going back...

Charlesbridge and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 19th.

Karma is very upset but she knows she can't keep someone else's bird.  She has plans to plead for it when they get there.  Her father and little brother head out with her for the Canadian border.  It's a boring, long trip and she sleeps a bit on the way.  When they stop for gas and some munchies, she sees a young hitchhiker.  She asks her father to stop and pick him up.  He doesn't act like normal and her father soon stops and tells him they aren't going his way.  To make it real, he turns at the next road.  It should connect with the highway he wants.  Unfortunately, their van blows a tire and they end up upside down in the ditch.  Her father is pinned, her brother has to stay to care for him, so Karma sets out for the highway where she will be able to get help.

What do you do when you've run out of food and water, aren't sure where you are and just keep walking hoping to find the highway?  She's lucky enough to have her bird friend with her and then she meets up with the hitchhiker again.  I admire birds of prey and learned more about them in this read.

This is tale of survival and redemption both.  It's busy, heart-wrenching and all the children involved learn they can survive on their own.  Help is always welcome, though.  And friendships can last forever.

Park Bench by Christophe Chabouté

This graphic novel is unique.  It's the story of a park bench.  There are no words, only emotions on people's faces tell their story.  We see benches everywhere.  Do you see who sits on them?

Gallery 13 and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 19th.

I liked the simplicity of the story and was amazed to see how much could be conveyed by actions and expressions.  This is a tribute to the bench's life and I enjoyed reading it.

It starts with a young couple, still in grade school.  He's carving a heart in the bench saying he loves her.  One man sits on it and plays music trying to make some money.  An older couple comes and sits on it and shares a pastry dessert.  A homeless man tries to sleep on it but the cop keeps running off.  Love dies and love grows all on this bench.

Reading this story is like seeing a slice of life.  Most people don't slow down enough to do that but if you did, it'd be a lot like this.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Crows of Beara by Julie Christine Johnson

She has just gone through rehab for drinking and is working hard on not falling back into the same rut.  Then she does something stupid and her husband finds out about it.  It's the straw that broke the camel's back.  Their marriage is ending, she's moving out, and now her job is on the hook.  Will she be able to do this promotion or will she lose her job?  What happens is she finds her soul...

Ashland Creek Press and the author sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published September 15th.

The story is set along a windswept coast in Ireland.  You can feel the atmosphere, the wet and cold, and the mysticism of the land.  There's a lot of history here and some of it still talks to you.

Annie goes in believing it's just a standard promotion.  The proposed copper mines would bring jobs and better economy to the island.  But there's a conflict.  It's a nesting site for the Red-billed Chough, which is an endangered species.  It's like when they found the spotted owl in Washington forests.  Loggers want to log, and environmentalists wanted to save owls.  Nobody was completely happy.  This one looks like it's going to get the same results.

Annie starts out strong and does well with her presentation.  Then she finds out the company doesn't care about the birds, doesn't want to meet with public, and that they are hot trotting the permits through.  She's pretty sure they aren't meeting all the requirements.  Soon she's at odds with them.  She backs off to regroup.  She's not sure where she's going next or what she's going to do but she has found a new love.  They both have baggage and things to work through but love is there.  

You learn a bit about Ireland, a bit about corvids, and a bit about life in this story.  I could feel the call of Ireland and the mysticism of the isle.  Annie hasn't given up yet...

Friday, August 18, 2017

Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

When Emmett is called to the principal's office, he can't figure out what he did wrong.  Why would he want to see him?  The office has other people in it and they tell him it's like he's won the lottery:  He's been chosen to go to space and mine nyxia on a world called Eden.  He doesn't know how he could win when he didn't apply but the amount of money they are offering ends any questions...

Crown Books for Young Readers and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 12th.

There are ten students going and they come from all over the world.  They wear a mask that translates all languages to the one you understand.  They all are poor or broken in some way.  And only eight of the two ten will be allowed to go to the planet.  It's competition all the way there.  The tests are difficult, change all the time and they have to learn how to fight each other, swim well, stay alive on the river in a boat and more.

This would make a really good movie.  There is plenty of action, lots of emotion and plenty of other worldly effects.

Once they complete the trip to the Tower, they find out there is another team up there.  Both have been trained.  The best of the best will get to go to Eden.

Injuries keep you from gaining points.  One girl even gets killed.  But they are all trying hard to win.  It doesn't take long until you realize the company is not telling them the whole truth.  Nyxia is like gold used to be but more powerful.  They want to control it.  However, I don't think they are too worried about any human losses.  This is the first book in the series and they are just getting ready to land.  The next book should be even more revealing.  I hope Emmett survives...

Thursday, August 17, 2017

An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon

Living on a space ship is like living on island.  Those with money and power live in the best sections of the ship, those who are poorer are in the outlying sections.  Even in this imaginary world, there are race issues.  Those of darker color are treated like lesser beings.

Akashic and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 3rd.

Aster is a healer.  She's been working with the surgeon on patients and is learning techniques for healing.  She also learns from the women in the lower sections.  They've been healing themselves for years and they grow their own herbs to do so.  Her problem is she says what she thinks without filtering it or lying and she hates being humiliated.  Fighting with the guards gets her back lashed and for a bad enough offense, she's put in solitaire for eight days with no food or water.  This is not a nice place to live.

The Sovereign Authority is one man who acts as God in this world.  He's ill, the next one to be appointed is worse and is Aster's enemy, they kill a young girl in front of Aster to show her she's marked and vulnerable, and suddenly it looks like there will be a civil war aboard the ship.

If that's not enough, Aster is still looking for her mother who disappeared when she was a baby.  They tell her she committed suicide but she doesn't know if she believes it.  She's found her journals and she's reading them.  But it's her friend who shows her the entries are in code...

This is a tense dramatic read with lots of bad things happening.  Despite that, the oppressed still have hope.  I found this an interesting read with lots of nuances.  This author takes you to her world and immerses you in the turbulent times they are living... 

Castle in the Stars: The Space Race of 1869 by Alex Alice

His mother is an adventurer and she takes off in her air balloon in search of aether.  She finds it but she loses her life...

First Second Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this graphic novel for review (thank you).  It will be published September 15th.

He and his father are deeply saddened and move on with their lives but it's not the same.  They are still working with hot air balloons.  When someone asks them to meet them in another location to get the wife's logbook, they go.  Then they find out the Prussians are after them!

Escaping takes a lot of work but escape they do.  Then they go to the Prince's castle.  He's also interested in hot air balloons and gives them an assignment.  They recognize one of the Prussians who tried to detain them as a member of the household but they can't accuse him. There's no proof.  They do create false architectural designs to throw him off. Soon there's mutiny in the castle and the only way to get away is on the air balloon...

This is first book in the series and it's entertaining.  I'll be watching for the next novel.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Bronze Skies by Catherine Asaro

Major Bhaajan is an anomaly.  She came from the Undercity, became part of the military, and has retired from that.  She is now a private eye.  She lives above in the City of Cries, but she regularly visits the Undercity.  She has a kid's club down there she's training in martial arts and her boyfriend lives there.  But the new case she picks up is going to take her places she's never been before...

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

This is new fantasy world set on another planet.  Earth people came there years ago and it seems there may be other beings, too.  The society that is established has evolved through the ages.  Most understand why things are what they are but they don't have to like it.  When Bhaajan is summoned by the Ruby Pharaoh and asked to find a Juggernaut, her adventures begin.  Juggernauts are not supposed to be able to kill the way this one did.  How did she do it without triggering the shut down?  And why would she kill that official?

You learn about the two cities, the underground aqueducts, the various groups in the society, and how the Pharaoh uses her mind and a computer interface to communicate in space and the powers out there.  You also find out that the Pharaoh and Bhaajan have some genetics in common.

This is full bodied story with lots of characters.  The author makes you care about them.  It's twisted tale from long ago meshed with the present.  It's good thing they have a strong leader.  And I'm glad Bhaajan survived the war.  She even admitted she loves her boyfriend.  What more could you want?

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding A Fiendish Arrangement by Alexandra Bracken

Prosperity has always been a bit different from the rest of his family, but he had no idea when he turned thirteen he'd suddenly be possessed by a fiend.  After all, the original contract was years and years ago.  He hadn't even known about it.  His relatives did though.

Disney-Hyperion and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published on September 9th.

When he and his twin sister are summoned to their grandmother's home for a family event, they have no idea how dangerous it is.  They are testing the two to find out which one the fiend is hiding in.  When they find out, they grab Prosperity and hold him down and cut his arm with a knife.  They would have cut more but an outsider grabs him and runs away with him.  He's thankful for being saved but he doesn't understand that there's danger there, too.

Family greed is not part of Prosperity's make up.  Alastor (the fiend) can't manipulate him like he did his ancestor.  He even finds himself helping him to do good and he finds that disgusting.

I enjoyed reading about Prosperity's night adventures while possessed.  Alastor likes eating pumpkins and spiders and other odd things as he wanders through the night.  When he finds a Hob, he takes him on as a servant.  However, things aren't at all like they seem.

Alastor's world has changed since he's been gone.  Another fiend has taken over his rightful throne.  He wants to get back desperately and take it back.  But his enemy there is the least one expected.

The ending is a cliff hanger.  The fiend and Prosperity will have to work as a team to solve the new problem.  And Prosperity is going to sign a contract to make him do so.  But then what will happen to Prosperity?

This is an exciting adventure with danger, disgusting things, and betrayers everywhere.  It's definitely not boring.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Forged in Blood by Michael Z. Williamson

If you listen hard, this sword will talk to you...

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

This is the story of sword who is almost alive.  It hungers for blood and war.  And those who use it as weapon always seem to be fighting a war of some kind.

These people wrote the stories in this anthology are:  

Zachary Hill
Larry Correia
Michael Massa
John F. Holmes
Rob Reed
Dale Flowers
Tom Kratman
Leo Champion
Peter Grant
Christopher L. Smith
Jason Cordova
Tony Daniel
Kacey Ezell
Michael Z. Williamson

The tale begins in ancient times in Asia.  The first story is about the wife of the ruler whose home is being invaded while the ruler is out of town.  She stands to fight with her warriors but when the enemy breaches the door and comes for her, she ends up alone before him.  She fights but he cuts her hand off.  She reaches behind her and comes up with an ancestor's weapon.  She wasn't supposed to touch but she calls on her ancestors and attacks him with it.  She wins...  This story is my favorite.

The other tales are about the wars we've faced and future wars we may face.  They talk of other worlds and other monsters.  Almost all the warriors who carry the sword end up dead.  But not before they've created a whole lot of death themselves.

The stories are savage and bloody but they kept my attention by continuing the story of the blade.  The sword has been changed through the years as it gets chipped or broken in the fighting.  By the end of the story it's almost indestructible.  Too bad you can't say that about the people wielding it... 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Adventures of Bella & Emily by Michelle Holland

Emily has always longed for a pony but her parents aren't real sure she's ready for the responsibility.  When she asks if she can have one for her birthday, her father arranges a job for her on the local horse ranch.  She learns how to take care of horses and even how to ride.

The author and Publishing Push sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It has been published so you can buy a copy now.  50% of any profit from the sale of this book will be donated to animal rescue charities and animal rescue organizations.

If you enjoy horses, you'll like this book.  It's a heartwarming story of young girl who loves ponies, her family, and all the people she meets in this new adventure.

She decides her favorite pony is the one that is cut off from the others and isn't being trained currently.  It appears she was abused in the past and she doesn't trust anyone yet.  But that doesn't keep Emily away from her.  She keeps trying.

Soon she and Bella are working on riding.  Bella doesn't like everyone but she's becoming more social.  She's also turning into a good pony for Emily.  As they continue training her, Emily begs to buy her but the owner doesn't want to sell. 

That's not the end of story.  Emily and Bella go to the horse competition to see how she does.  You'll even be happy how that turned out.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Promise Bride by Gina Welborn, Becca Whitham

She enjoys her work but her father needs a healthier environment for his lungs and her brother is hanging out with bad boys.  She's twenty-one.  She decides to become a mail order bride.  She's real excited about making a new start in Montana.  When she takes her brother and sister with her on the train (her father will be joining her later), she never expected the Sheriff to meet her at the train depot.  Not only that, he wants her to go back!

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

Emilia is NOT going back.  When she finds out her husband she married by proxy is dead and he has debts, she doesn't give up hope.  She finalizes the marriage (becoming a widow) and barters with the merchants.  She ends up working a lot but that's OK with her.  She did that at home, too.  Her disappointments aren't over, though.

The ranch and the cabin her potential husband told her about were not at all what she expected.  He said he had a two story cabin.  He had a small cabin with a loft.  She has chickens, cows, a pig and more to feed and take care of and she has only what she could find at the library to help her.  Luckily one of the neighbors is helping.

The Sheriff tries to ignore her but he also is trying to protect her and that backfires on him.  She can take care of herself!  Eventually, though, they realize the attraction they have for each other is not going away.

The ending was a compromise I didn't like but I can understand why Emilia would accept it.  We all do things in life we might not like to acquire what we want.  The authors made their characters human.

StarPassage: Book Two, Heroes and Martyrs by Clark Rich Burbidge

The stories this author creates are very different from others I've read.  He mixes historical facts and dangerous times with time travel and a bit of religion.  As odd as it sounds, it works.  It all began when they found this old relic that looks like a star Christmas ornament in an antique store.  They found out what it could do and they know they have to protect it from the Trackers.

PR by the Book sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can buy a copy now.  You might want to get the first one so you can start this adventure at the beginning.

It begins with a car accident.  One brother is just bruised, the other has broken his back.  The older brother isn't going to give up, he's going to keep fighting.  But the younger brother can't forgive himself.  That's what makes the star take him and his friends to a bicycle rally so he meets someone who gives him encouragement and help.

From there, they end up visiting D-Day and helping their great grandfather as well as getting more advice and knowledge.  They even manage to visit the major event on 9-11.  There they save their aunt.  I have to admit that going back and saving people from death sounds good but it can have an impact on the future they live in.  It doesn't seem to in this story.  I also appreciated that the boy with the legs paralyzed didn't change the life changing event that caused it.  He could have.  But he's beginning to understand that the events of life change you and make you grow.

The Trackers catch up with them and the story gets increasingly tense towards the end.  It looks like everything ended the best way and the Trackers are gone.  But they're not...

Friday, August 11, 2017

A Mother Like Mine by Kate Hewitt

Abby has returned to the small village she grew up with a child.  She was hoping for marriage with her boyfriend but he was killed in an accident and his parents didn't even tell her.  She left school and tried to leave the pain behind.  Now she's living with her grandmother and helping her run a small cafe.  Life was settling down and so was she.  Then when her grandmother meets her at the door and tells her that her mother's there, her life shatters again...

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

Her mother left her when she was two.  She ran away from the small village and made her way in the big bad world outside.  Abby could never understand why.  Her mother only came back a few times.  Why would she be back now?

Laura is back because she's become  "too old" for her hostess job at the night club.  They want younger blood.  She also back because she doesn't know her own child and she wants to make amends with her mother.  As they all dance around each other, none of them wanting to be hurt again, another tragedy happens.  Grandma dies.

Now it's just the two of them and Abby is so wary of Laura, it will hard to build trust.  Especially when Laura won't tell her who her father is.

As they work together, they do find some common ground.  Noah, Abby's son, helps bridge the gap.  And eventually the truth comes out.  There's also hope for the future.  Discussing the past honestly and then setting it aside is a smart thing to do.  I see Laura and Abby growing closer in the years ahead.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Tiny Tale of Little Pea by Davide Cali

This is a charming picture book about a very small boy.  He's tiny!

Kids Can Press and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 5th.

Sebastian Mourrain's illustrations make the story a joy to read.  

You must have imagination to read this story.  If you've read about The Littles, that's about the size of Little Pea.  He doesn't have to hide like the Littles did, but he does have to have things cut down to his size to sleep eat and even go to school.  Watching him accomplish these normal activities was fun.

I especially liked the job he found when he got to be adult.  It's just perfect for him.  Read the story, I'm sure it will make you smile, too.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Under the Bottle Bridge by Jessica Lawson

She and her uncle have a good life together.  She doesn't know who her father is and her mother died when she was very young.  She thought she was well adjusted and things were fine until she found a bottle with a note in it under the bridge she hangs out on...

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 5th.

The notes in the bottle are cryptic and short.  She's not totally sure what they mean.  But she knows it's tied to her mother because that was the bridge she died on.

This is really a tale of a young girl coming of age and struggling with changes in her life.  Her uncle is looking for a good job to support them.  It may mean moving.  She doesn't want to move.  She's also supposed to be putting together a project for the artisan contest.  She has no inspiration there but she knows she could get a trip to New York for winning and that might help them stay in town.  In the meantime, she has one good friend and is working on making another.  But everything keeps going wrong.

She finds that most of the old buildings in town have initials and dates from her relatives in the past.  She even finds words carved in the old bridge showing her mother was there.  Then the boy she's friends with sets their barn on fire by accident and ruins both craft projects she and her uncle were working on.  That means they can't enter the contest.  It looks like all hope is gone.  

It does all work out but it takes her standing up to save her town from subdivision and to keep the forest everyone loves.  She finds more out about life and her home is safe again.  She might have moe questions but I think she's content with what she has learned.

You could feel the doubt, trauma and love in this story.  I was hoping for good things for Minna and the author didn't disappoint me.

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee

She's on her way to school when she sees these bullies beating on a young man.  She throws her backpack at them but the victim tells her he's OK and to carry on.  She does.  Then he shows up in her school, in her class, and walks across desks to tell her she's his...

Amulet Books sent me an ARC of this book to read for review, (thank you).  It has been published.

Genie only wants to stick to school work, volley ball and getting ready for college.  Having this cute guy hanging around is not part of the plans.  Especially since he says they were friends in a previous life.  Her life is about to change.  She's Asian and she has powers she doesn't know about and the demons are coming after her.

There's lots of action, the demons are devious and can shape shift and they intend to kill her.  But Genie is smart, in good shape, and doesn't want to die.  In between things, she finds herself falling for the boy that claimed her.  But there's a big battle coming and much more danger for her and her friend to overcome.

I enjoyed Genie's comments, her determination to overcome the demons so she can get back to getting ready for college, and her relationship with the Monkey King.  Not all those mythological tales were only myth...

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld

She finds lost children because she was lost once.  Some gypsies helped her get away.  She wants to save the children she can and to help the parents with closure if she can't.  There's something more about her own escape but she's blocked it out.  Working with the children is opening doors in her memory, though.

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

Madison disappeared three years ago while her parents were looking for the best Christmas tree.  It was snowing and searchers couldn't find her.  But her mother was sure she was still alive.  Naomi agreed to see if she could find the child.  She also warned them she might only be a body by now.

While she's researching where a child could be held in the forest and mountain area she was lost in, she finds there are caves and cabins from early homesteading still there.

This story is told in two voices.  One is of Madison, the Snow Girl, who is a prisoner in a cabin.  She was saved but she's not free.  The other is Naomi's voice with pieces of her past mixed with current events.  She may have run from her past but she still remembers it.

Then she gets another case where a baby is missing.  She doesn't usually take two cases at once but she feels for the mother and grandmother of the baby.  The fact that the mother is mentally challenged makes it harder to get the facts as they happened.

Everything comes together at the end of the story but it's not a happy ending.  Both families will need to heal.  Naomi has also remembered what she had blocked out in the past and now has a new challenge.  Can she find what she lost?  I'm sure that will be covered in the next book.  I also look forward to reading it.  Naomi is starting to put herself back together and she's even finally accepting love.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Podkin One-Ear by Kieran Larwood

Podkin is next in line to be chieftain in his hollow, but he's not too interested in learning the skills he needs to use.  When they get attacked by the Gorm, only he and his older sister and younger brother escape.  His father dies and he's afraid his mother might have died, too.  He's on the run but he's not sure where to go...

Clarion Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 5th.

Following a note from their mother, they make their way to another rabbit warren, where a lone rabbit resides.  She's a witch and they're not sure if she's kind or not but they find out she is.  They stay there long enough to recover from their run and the cold they suffered.  Then she sends them on again to another hollow that the rabbits who escaped the Gorm are hiding.  It's an overcrowded bad smelling place.  They are looking for a mercenary soldier who will lead them to safe ground and protect them from the Gorms.  All Podkin could trade for was a blind old rabbit who was a soldier in the past.  He's got skills though, even if he doesn't have his sight.

The Gorm keep coming and Podkin and his family try to evade them at each location.  But when Podkin finds where they have caged their captives, he knows his mother is in the bunch and he wants to rescue her.  He puts together a madcap plan, uses the friends he's made, and the witch helps.

The story teller goes through the tale and is asked if he's Podkin.  He assures him he's not.  But there's a little twist at the end of the story that made me smile.

Here's a grand tale of brave rabbits who fight for right and good, how could you not like it?

Still Dead by J. A. Jance

J P gets a call to go back to work looking at cold cases.  This one has been declared a suicide long ago but the body was never found.  Her sister doesn't think she committed suicide.  J P is just glad to go back to work.

Witness Impulse and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published August 8th.

He's heading to the cop shop to visit the old police files.  He finds the chief and the widower were good friends at the time of disappearance and they still are.  He snoops through the files and the only thing that was not done at the time was a check on a fingerprint that was located.  He asks about but the chief said that sort of identification wasn't an option at the time.

As he looks over the people in the dead person's life, he finds they are all fine upstanding individuals.  But if it wasn't suicide, it must have been murder.  Then the chief calls him and says they have now matched the print.  And the person it belongs to lied.

It was fascinating to watch J P and his police chief wife knot the murderer up in their lies. Between them and the chief, they solve an ages old mystery.

While this is a novella, it's full bodied mystery that was a satisfying read.  Hanging out with old friends is always fun. 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Jake & the Dragons of Asheville by Brian Kacica

Jake is an unusual kid.  If he gets upset, he can blow smoke out of his mouth.  And, if he's not careful, he can also blow fire...

Magic Penny Press 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.

Dragons fascinate me.  I read a lot of fantasy. This one is written for middle graders and it has a good plot.

It begins with odd things happening in the woods.  The land belongs to the richest man in town and he has allowed the government to do some exploration and testing there.  Of course, they both want the same thing:  They are after dragons...

People die in this story so don't give it to a child that can't handle that.  Another aspect I didn't like was that the rich man's son was an "imbecile".  That made him good for laughing at but it's not a laughable matter.  His father should have found him some help, not just shuttled him around from place to place out of his way.

The soldiers are trying to find Jake.  He meets an old dragon and finds he's the relative of a long-ago legend, and he has magic to use in the fight against the dragon killers.  He even develops a girlfriend along the way.

The story is busy and exciting and I found it an enjoyable read.  Dragon lovers will like this book.  

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Pudding Up With Murder by Julia Buckley

She's at an expensive home with her boyfriend's mother.  The mother took a rice pudding dessert to the family birthday party.  Lilah made the dessert but the mother is taking credit for it.  When the birthday boy who is the patriarch of the family walks in the kitchen and tells them he loved the pudding, the next thing he does is fall over dead!  Not again...

Berkley and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 5th.

Lilah met her boyfriend during a murder investigation and she would like to avoid getting involved in another one.  But he ate part of her pudding cake.  He also had a drink.  It appears he was poisoned so she anxiously waits for the results.  It was in the drink.  He was allergic to nuts and a ground up one was added to his drink.

This man has a lot of money and a lot of children.  Did one of them kill him?  As Lilah picks at the pieces of the puzzle, her boyfriend is investigating the case.  What she finds out helps him.  But neither one of them knew who or how many illegitimate children he had.  

This was a good mystery with several twists and a dysfunctional family at the core.  I actually felt sorry for the killer.  (That doesn't usually happen!)  Ms. Buckley doesn't give enough away to make you guess the killer ahead of time and I like that a lot.  I'd read more in this series.  Plus there are recipes in the book so you can make the desserts, too.

Montana Noir edited by James Grady & Keir Graff

This is an anthology of stories about Montana.  Montana is an old state that was once populated by Indians, cowboys and miners.  Some of the stories showcase the history of the state but more simply show how those with less money work to get more.  The stories are all individual and unique.

Akashic sent me a copy of this to read for review (thank you).  It will be published September 5th.

The following authors are included:  Brand-new stories by: David Abrams, Caroline Patterson, Eric Heidle, Thomas McGuane, Janet Skeslien Charles, Sidner Larson, Yvonne Seng, James Grady, Jamie Ford, Carrie La Seur, Walter Kirn, Gwen Florio, Debra Magpie Earling, and Keir Graff.

These are dark stories.  There are those that try to get rich quick, those that hide things to advance in their careers and those who just like to hurt people.  This series always makes me glad I don't live where the series is set.  It's fiction, I know, but I prefer lighter fare in my reading.

My favorite story was Ace in the Hole by Eric Heidle.  It's about a man who put in jail for drug dealing.  He's out now and his dealer is after the money that was lost when the drugs went in the river.  Like he'd have money when he just got out of jail.  When the bad men come for him, he knows he's going to die but he manages to take them with him.  It's not a happy ending but it's about as good as it gets... 

Friday, August 4, 2017

A Dangerous Magic by Hounam, Donald

Frank is only fifteen but he's a first class sorcerer.  He usually works inside his room by himself.  When he hears the monks coming, he hides his work.  They tell him he has an assignment.  So much for what he was working on...

Carolrhoda Lab and Edelweiss gave me an opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 1st.

It seems the bishop has lost his head.  Frank is to determine how and to find the head.  They find a head and he tells them that's not the bishop's.  People don't believe him.  He's determined to prove it and uses unconventional forms of magic to do so.

You have all sorts of unnatural creatures in this story.  Elementals, memory masters, cops with special talents and more.  Frank even conjures up a demon (which is forbidden).  With lots of action, plenty of things going wrong, and people messing with Frank over what he does, it's a busy story.  Especially when he thinks he's falling in love with the Bishop's niece but he can't find her to talk to her.  The cop on the case thinks she's falling for him.  Ah, what a sweet mess it makes.  But Frank does find the killer.  And he's the most surprised by the discovery...

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Missing Masterpiece by Jeanne M. Dams

Dorothy and Alan plan another vacation together.  You'd think they'd learn from the others they've attempted to take, but no...

Severn House and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 1st.  

The first thing that happens is that Alan falls and breaks his ankle.  She's ready to cancel the trip but they've already bought the tickets and reserved their room.  They're non-refundable.  He tells her to go on without him and as soon as the doctor approves, he'll join her.  She hates going by herself and misses him dreadfully, but she's determined to have fun and see the wonders by herself.  What she never expected was to get into the middle of a search for missing manuscripts and music.

Her feet are wet and she slips down some stairs at museum she's walking through.  The guide stays with her and escorts her home.  She knows there is more to him than he's saying.  The more people she meets, the more she finds lying to her.  When Alan arrives, he agrees with her.  They run an unofficial investigation trying to find out who tried to drown a German woman (who actually was an American man, someone lied to the police) and who knocked a tourist down a stair well into a place cut off from the public.  The deeper they dig, they decide the three people they suspect couldn't be the guilty party.  It's trying to find an invisible player that proves challenging.

Ms. Dams always writes good mysteries, throws some history in, and makes the crimes difficult to solve but a retired school teacher and a retired police inspector always figure it out!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A Tale of Two Kitties by Sofie Kelly

She's just met Leo Jane when his granddaughter introduced her at the library.  Mia worked for her and she took an immediate liking to Leo.  After a short visit, life went back to normal.  But she had some strange visitors in library.  One was Leo's estranged twin, Victor.  One was a casino boss that had banned Leo from playing cards in his establishment.  Then Leo turns up dead...

Berkley and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 5th.

When the evidence (what little there was) is gathered, the son is accused of murder.  That's Mia's father and Kathleen knows he didn't do it.  But how do you prove that?

The first thing she does is look the archived news stories trying to find out more about everyone.  She knew Leo's wife had left him for Victor.  She also knows she was coming back to him when she ran off the road and died.  There was nothing suspicious about the death, but there should have been...

The story is entertaining with some cat magic, Kathleen's romance, and trying to straighten out the Jane's family ties. There are several suspects but Kathleen finally gets it down to one.  Now if she can just stay alive long enough to tell the police...

Holding by Graham Norton

He's the local guard, the only policeman in the village of Duneen.  He spends a lot of time looking for speeders and sitting in his car and he's overweight.  He just managed to pass the fitness test for guard, and he's still eating as much as ever.  But when someone from the local development stops and says a body was found buried on the site, PJ Collins life is about to change...

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

A missing man from long ago is thought to be the victim.  They said someone saw him get on a bus to go to London but no one has heard from him.  Where could he be?  They decide to take a DNA test.  The man they think he is had parents who had died by now, so they had to exhume them to get a sample.  It's all messy and upsets the village. Not only that, the DNA doesn't match the parents.

As PJ questions the villagers, he picks up gossip.  He hears about a fight between two girls who were each trying to get Tommy as a potential husband.  When he questions them, each one thinks the other woman murdered him.

The murder was twenty-five years ago.  Most of the village is hoping that people have forgotten all about it.  No such luck.  With outside investigators and the emotions from those who loved him and hated him, there's plenty of local turmoil.  

I found the story had many little tidbits that took time to piece together.  Two important families were involved.  The failed romances took their toll on the two women involved.  And the young man was not what he seemed either.  All in all, it was interesting story.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Shadow Girl by Gerry Schmitt

This story starts with a helicopter being blown out of the sky right next to the hospital.  The killer used a surface to air missile and succeeded in removing the helicopter, pilots and the heart they were carrying.  Someone has inside knowledge on the hospital inner workings.  For some reason they are after the man whose heart is failing...

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

Afton has a goal of becoming a detective but right now she's the family liaison officer.  That still lets her accompany the detective she's assigned to.  She's there to help the families and she takes notes and keeps track of the officer's actions.  When someone manages to kill the rich man in the hospital, she almost catches his killer but he gets away.  He doesn't forget her, though.

There's a lot happening in this story.  There are Asian interests, the rich man's relatives and his lover, his partner and an assassin involved.  The police always seem to be a bit too late to save the day.  When they find the partner's body partially eaten in a pig pen and the leak at hospital in the same pen, they have some answers but they don't know which questions to ask.

When the assassin comes after Afton for chasing him, he attacks her and her children in the park.  He knifes her and then threatens one of her daughters.  She fights back and he runs before the cops show up.  Now it's personal and she's not going to give up...

This tale is full of tension and ugly death and the police find that no matter how rich he was, he wasn't a good man and his family wasn't happy.  It's a fight to the end but the police come out on top. Not without cost to themselves, but nobody said the job would be easy.

I Love You Too by Ziggy Marley

Ziggy follows in his father's footsteps and sings for a living.  This book was inspired by a song on one of his albums.  It's about family and that's what love is all about, too.

Akashic Books sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It has been published.
Agnieszka Jatkowska is the illustrator and the pictures are charming.  Who doesn't like cute pictures depicting little children and animals?

The central theme is love and every character in the book expresses that, even the animals though they don't have a voice.  I think this would make an excellent bedtime book to read.  Or if your little one is sad, this should cheer them up.  It's so much fun to read, they may choose to read it to each other.

Give it a look.  I bet you'll take it home with you!