Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Painted Gun by Bradley Spinelli

He needs some work.  What he chose to do after being fired as a journalist paid good for a while but then the internet took off and anyone with a computer could look up information that he used to get through connections.  Now his debts were past due and he takes on a case he's not sure he wants to because he needs the money.  He'll be sorry...

Akashic Books sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published March 7th.

He knew the guy that referred the case to him but they weren't exactly friends.  The money sounds good so he says yes.  Then he gets a special delivery from him that is a painting.  The funny part about is that the man in the painting looks like him.  He never posed for anyone.  He doesn't know the artist.  How could she have seen him in those private moments to paint a picture?

The answer to that is complex.  Without really doing anything, he finds himself in the middle of a conspiracy.  There are Guatemalans, the FBI, and the CIA involved.  He's being framed by experts.  As people start dying around him, he finds out they are planting guns he used at the gun range as the killing weapon.  The more questions he asks, the more he needs to answers to.  And that mysterious woman who says she loves him intrigues him, too.  How can someone love him who never met him?

This is convoluted noir-like story set in the present day.  Lots of people die, lots are being manipulated and it's hard for Itchy to stay ahead of them.  It's an intriguing read.  Give it a try. 

When God Made You by Matthew Paul Turner, David Catrow (Illustrations)

This book introduces God to your child.  It's an easy way to let them know they are not alone in the world.  Besides you, there is someone else who watches over them.

Waterbrook sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published the 28th of February.

To show the beauty of the book, visit this trailer.

I like the fact that they point out how we are all unique and each have our own talents.  This little girl is very good at artistic endeavors and the illustrations show the lovely colors and her creations.  Mine is more the written word but my first love is reading.  What's your child's special talent?

Learn about God and learn how you fit in the world and you'll be a happier person.  This little black girl has that down!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

He was adopted by the King but the advisors don't recognize him as a prince.  They treat him as a puppet and won't give him anything to do or any responsibility.  He hates that so he decides he'll go on a quest to win a wish.  He needs a partner, though.

St. Martin's Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 28th.

Wishes are tricky things.  You have to be careful how you ask and just what exactly you ask for.  As he and the imprisoned princess who would be Queen of her kingdom head out, they know what they want.  But as they go through the quest they learn that you have to ask for your heart's desire in a way that won't come back to bite you.

This a world of fantasy with lots of challenges, a changing landscape, and a whole lot of danger from all sides.  The two stick together and work on making a successful mission by winning the wishes but it's not easy.  Others are just as desperate to get them and the other contestants are deadly.  Even the ones there and not participating in the quest are dangerous.

Then they find out only one person gets to return to their world.  They both want to go back.  They both also want their wishes.  

The story is exciting, very busy, and there are lots of other side characters that draw your attention.  I read this story in one day and I loved how it turned out.  There were a few misunderstandings but it ends on a happy note.  I really enjoyed this read!  It's an especially good read.

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Executioner Weeps by Frédéric Dard

He felt like she threw herself in front of his car.  He was driving back to his room late at night and she jumped in front of him just like a deer would.  He couldn't stop.  When he turns her over, he finds that she is still alive...

Pushkin Vertigo and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 28th.

He takes her back to the place he's staying and they get a doctor for her.  The doctor says she wasn't hurt badly and should be fine but she can't remember anything.  She doesn't know her name, if she was married, or where she came from.

Mr. Dard writes succinctly and without a lot of detail but his stories make you sit up and pay attention.  This could easily be made into a play that would shock you.

He comes up her first name.  He buys her another violin to replace the one he drove over.  He buys her clothes and soon they fall in love.  She still doesn't remember much.  She remembers the room she practiced her violin in.  He's caught between wanting to know and being afraid of finding out.

When his artwork can be shown in the US, he has to see if he can get her a visa to leave the country.  She has no passport or visa with her.  What he does when he gets to the city is see if he can find out about her past.  He should have just left it alone.

The ending is unusual and unexpected.  It's an ironic twist that will pop into my mind here and there in the future.  Mr. Dard wrote strong stories that capture you and make their point.  If you haven't read him yet, you should.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Miss Ellicott's School for the Magically Minded by Sage Blackwood

It's a school to teach them magic but they are also taught deportment.  They learn to be submissive, hold their tongues, and do what they are told.  Well, most do.  Chantel is not one of them...

Katherine Tegan Books and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 21st.

I like all of Ms. Blackwood's books.  She writes a good story with plenty of challenges for her characters and they're fun to read.  This one was also very enjoyable and a great read.

Chantel does well with the magic lessons but doesn't always curtsy and sit quietly.  Miss Ellicott gets quite upset over this but it doesn't get better.  Another thing that Chantel does is ask too many questions. (I still do that.)

The city is walled up to protect them from the marauders.  The wall is kept secure by the group of sorceresses. When the sorceresses go missing, Miss Ellicott along with them, Chantel decides to go ask where they went along with a few other questions.  Imagine her astonishment when only one man in the council can hear her talk.  The others ignore her.  This is not a good start...

When she almost gets eaten by a fiend, she finds a strange way out of the castle and ends up on the other side of the wall.  There she meets a young boy who informs her he is not a marauder, he's a member of one of the tribes on the other side of the wall.  He answers her questions and she begins to wonder if the King and his friends are actually protecting them or just trying to acquire more wealth.

As things develop, her snake familiar suddenly grows into a dragon and her life changes.  It's exciting, full of battles, the old queens and kings come to life again and help her in her quest and it's a thrilling read.

I think all ages can read this book and enjoy it but the young ones will eat it up.  This is an epic adventure that I'll remember for a long time.

Lady Mechanika V.1 Mystery of the Mechanical Corpse by Joe Benitez

She has mechanical limbs but doesn't know why.  When she finally finds someone like her, she gets captured.  Even when she escapes, she still doesn't know where the other mechanical came from.  But she has an idea.

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

The artwork in this series is lovely.  She may have red eyes and strange looking hands and legs but glasses or contacts hide the eyes and gloves and clothing and shoes cover the rest.  She looks good in a corset.  And she fights like the devil.

As she and an old friend of hers fight for the same thing, someone is going lose.  Then the gypsies get involved and it gets even more interesting.

This grouping of tales takes you far enough to meet a mysterious man from the past and to get you involved in illicit activities and fights between the various competing groups.  The fights are vivid and watching Lady Mechanika win makes you root for her character.  

She has more mysteries to solve before she'll get to the truth of who she really is...

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Dragonwatch: A Fablehaven Adventure (Fablehaven #6) by Brandon Mull

The dragons are tired of being contained in their sanctuaries and want to roam the world again.  Dragons are not kind to humans or animals.  There's a reason they are confined in a safe place.  But there's a revolt growing...

Shadow Mountain Books sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 14th.

This is high adventure with lots of excitement and escapades.  You have dragons, wizards, a dragon slayer and a shadow catcher and even a griffin, and that gives you all the ingredients of a great tale.

Kendra and Seth were looking forward to having some time off and visiting with their grandparents but it's not to be.  The protective wall they have around the Dragonwatch site is failing.  It's believed a mortal will make it strong again.  The two of them are most powerful when holding hands and being connected so they are asked to take over the watch.  Seth is eager.  Kendra is not.  But they do it.

There are rules of magic, spells are about and very dangerous people stand in between them and their goal.  Putting them in place doesn't help so they have to go ask a very, very old dragon what they need.  If they don't do it right, they might not get away.

Seth is impulsive and fearless.  Kendra is a bit older and wiser and tries to negotiate more than Seth does.  Their skills work well for them but I'm not sure they'll live long enough to reach adulthood.  Where they are, life is dangerous.  And Kendra told the head dragon off so the next book will mostly likely be about him trying to kill her.  You won't be bored.

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan

The men are off to war so the church choir is shutting down.  The women protest but the choir leader tells them they need the men's voices to make it sound good.  Then another woman offers to teach them to sing and says that she will lead the choir.  Sounds simple, doesn't it?  But you don't know the Chilbury women...

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.  It has been published and you can find a copy now.

We learn the story of these women through letters, diaries, and journals.  Secret thoughts are shared in them.  Every woman has some secrets, some more damaging than others.  And no one is as innocent as they look.  The men that are still there have their secrets, too.

Since this is set during WW1, the women are expected to act in certain ways.  With the men all serving in the war, they don't have much choice.  What needs to be done must be done by women.  The women's choir steps up into the gap and helps everyone they can.  Music can heal one's soul.

There's an affair going on here, a baby swap over there, and bombs that kill two important women.  War is no fun.  But the women are resourceful and take care of their own.  There's even a new marriage that was unexpected.

This is enjoyable read about the past done in a form I like.  It reminds me of when I visited my grandparents.  These women are from that time and I think they did a good job.  What do you think?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A Lady in Disguise by Sandra Byrd

When no one comes to Gillian's father's funeral, she begins to realize something is wrong.  When she tries to find out what, no one will tell her anything.  Finally another cop alludes to the fact that he was accused of wrong doing, from thievery to prostitution.  She's sure he wouldn't do that.  Her mama died long ago but her father was a good cop and a good man.  Wasn't he?

Howard Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 21st.

One of Gillian's first duties is to visit the house she has inherited.  It's been vacant for a long time.  It was her grandparent's house and her mother inherited it.  She left to her father.  And now that he is gone, it's hers.  As she wanders through looking at damage and thinking about how much it will cost to repair it, she meets the Lord that lives next door.  He offers to look it over and give her an idea of what it will cost.  From the exterior, of course.  She tells him thank you and goes back home.  At the moment, she's growing her sewing business and needs to keep that on track.  She'll have to think about the house.

She also is investigating her father's death.  She doesn't believe it was an accident and she doesn't think he did anything illegal either.  She's being followed, so she decides to change her appearance so she can sneak away.  It works but it causes other trouble.  Now men think she's available; men she wants nothing to do with!

As the story goes on, a man who has been friends with her since childhood is interesting in courting her.  She likes but she doesn't love him.  She's falling in love with the Lord and she's not of a station to marry him.  Then when she donates her inherited home to help the poor, he buys the house.  Was that the only reason he was being friendly with her?

Gillian has gotten in the middle of bad business her father was trying to quell.  She almost ends up dead.  Her world is falling apart but Lord Thomas is there to catch her.

This is a good mystery plot with a very nice romance.  I really enjoyed this read.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Cruel Winter: A County Cork Mystery by Sheila Connolly

Maura was from Boston.  When the locals start warning her about the snow storm coming, she's not real concerned. After all they had snow all the time at home.  But home in Boston her house wasn't on top of a steep hill.  She decides to get a few supplies in and then wait to see what happens.  She sure never expected what would actually happen...

Crooked Lane Books and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 14th.  

Maura and her work crew are all on duty.  Billy, an old man who had a room in the building, joined them.  Various customers straggled in.  Many couldn't get home, the bed and breakfast and hotel were full, so she told them they could stay in the pub overnight.  One lady keeps to herself and is real quiet.  As the night goes on, Maura finally gets her to chat.  She finds out she was accused of murder here in town over 20 years ago.  She states she's not guilty.  Maura believes her but others are hounding her as if she's getting away with murder.  Maura decides to hold an informal court and see if it can be proved one way or another.  Maybe somebody saw something that they never brought up before.  Twenty years is a long time, though.

I found it fascinating to watch a group of about twenty go through their memories and discuss what happened and how she became suspect.  Maura tries to keep it reasonable but some get angry and some get mean.  However, by piecing it together, Maura finds the truth.  It won't lessen the years of hurt but it will make the woman sleep better to know everyone now knows she was telling the truth.

This was an interesting mystery with an odd solution and I liked it.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Argyle Fox by Marie Letourneau

Argyle Fox wants to play outside but his mother warns him it's a windy day.  He takes his cards out anyway, makes a card tower, and watches the wind carry away his cards.

Tanglewood Publishing and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 14th.

Argyle tries three or four more games outside, but the wind ruins all of them.  He comes in disgruntled but his mother tells him to use his head and figure out how to play with the wind.

This is a sweet children's picture book.  It surprised me to see the mother fox wearing leggings.  I do but traditional children's books always have the mothers in dresses.  This was a nice change.  The illustrations are lovely and you can see the love between mother and son.

After thinking, Argyle comes up with an idea.  It works very well.  What's the wind good for?  Kite flying!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

For Whom the Bread Rolls: A Pancake House Mystery by Sarah Fox

The pancake house is doing well.  Now if she could just get Ida to leave her alone, she'd be happy.  Ida blames her for her nephew being in jail.  So she spray paints her shop and calls and calls and calls with no message, not even saying a thing.  When Marley checks on the call and finds it's Ida's number, she decides to go see her and ask her to stop.  She doubts it will do any good but she has to do something.  She finds Ida in the shed in back.  She's dead and the murder weapon is a lamp base that Marley bought and Ida stole...

Alibi and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 14th.

Of course, Marley becomes the chief suspect.  She was mad at Ida and the weapon belonged to her.  The only way she's going to get this over with quickly is to solve the case herself.  If she doesn't the gossip in town will kill her business.

While she's sleuthing and getting in the cop's way, she also wondering if she can commit enough to have a good relationship with her boyfriend.  She loves him but she's been burned before.  It's a good thing she has Flapjack, her cat, for comfort.  She has her love, too, when she finally makes up her mind.

It's also a good thing she has her tattooed cook on her side.  He helps keep her alive.  This might be a small coastal community but it has meth labs being dumped.  Ida should have kept her lips shut.  Marley almost becomes another statistic before this story is over.  Even small towns can have big messes. 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Murder on Location by Cathy Pegau

Charlotte is a journalist in Alaska.  She's independent, determined and stubborn.  It makes interesting articles in the paper but in this story it almost kills her...

Kensington Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published February 28th.

There's a film crew in town that is going to shoot scenes in the Alaska wilds for their movie.  Her boss has a broken foot, so she gets assigned to go along with them and post articles about the coming film, the stars, and anything other that might be noteworthy.  She didn't expect to find a member of the crew dead.

Her boyfriend is the local deputy, so he and her brother (the local doctor and coroner) come to examine the body and try to determine if was an accident or murder.  His neck is broken but he has only one slipper on and no gloves.  You don't go out into the freezing cold without protection on.  Maybe it wasn't a fall.

The cast dislikes being held on the set and they aren't much happier in town.  The man's daughter wants to keep filming.  The man with the money wants them to quit and go home.  

You have several members of the group who didn't get along with the dead man.  The Native American Indians were bracing him on how he was portraying them.  Suspects are all over the place.  She ferrets out what she can, her boyfriend asks questions and the answer is not right in front of them.  They know someone did it because he was strangled.  But which one?

In the end, her curiosity almost gets her killed.  One thing it did for sure was let her know just how much the deputy loved her.  There's an ironic little twist at the end of the book.  It seems more than one person was trying to kill the victim...

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Frogkisser! by Garth Nix

I never wanted to be a princess but after reading this book I know for sure that's true.  She has nice friends and magical powers and a will to do good but she has to make some awful sacrifices on the way.  I think I'd draw line at kissing frogs...

Scholastic Press and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published February 28th. 

Anya just wishes people would leave her alone so she could read in the library.  (I can relate.)  Her step-step-father is evil.  He intends to get rid of both her and her older sister so he can take over the kingdom.  He's practicing dark magic and it's removed any compassion or morals he might have had.  He arranges for a magpie to appear human and marry the oldest sister and he intends to send the youngest to school far, far away where an accident might happen during her travels.  He's sure he can arrange one.

In this story the Royal dogs can speak.  They warn her of the danger and tell her she must go on a quest.  She's not sure she wants to but they bring her a few things to take with her and off she goes.  This turns into quite an adventure!

She meets all sorts of transformed people and animals.  There's the last prince that dated her sister who the evil step-step-father turned into a frog.  There's a boy who is now an orange newt.  There's an otter that been turned part human.  She's on a quest to turn them back to their original selves but she can only do that if she gets the right ingredients...

She meets witches, a couple of wizards, some Robin Hood like bandits, and more.  She learns about the old law of the land that was usurped when the new dark magic magicians went into power.  She's not sure how her sister will rule the land but she wants to talk to her about it.

There's lots of action, plenty of odd characters and, in the end, a lot of kissing to be doing.  Not for romantic reasons either.

I found this to be a good read with several things that will make you smile.  Here's a fun fantasy for all ages.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Murder on the Serpentine by Anne Perry

Charlotte and Thomas Pitt are back and this is their toughest case yet.  Thomas is in a new position and reports directly to the queen.  He can't tell Charlotte about his cases anymore.  She's discrete but it's forbidden.  That causes a bit of conflict at home because Charlotte wants to help.  She sees him struggle and she worries about the danger he's in.  This case may make or break him...

Ballantine Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 21st.

The queen has lost a dear friend to her.  She had him investigating and he suddenly shows up dead.  It's said to be a dreadful accident but she's not sure that's true.  She asks Thomas to investigate.

I've always admired Queen Victoria.  She fought for her freedom and made her own decisions.  In this story, she's very old and on the verge of death but she wants no sugar coating; she wants the truth!

Finding the truth is not easy.  In the world of high positions there are many secrets.  A lot of the business is done by blackmail.  No one wants to tell Thomas much so he goes to his safe and reads the papers from the man who had his position in the past.  He'd like to just ask him but he's traveling and not in one place long enough to catch up with him.  The papers tell him enough to get a foothold in the world of the rich but he still has to be cautious.

With murder, racehorses, a pending war, and smuggling guns all tied together, Thomas has to walk a crooked path trying to find the string to the truth.  Charlotte is picking up gossip and trying to help, too.  He fears for her life.

I really liked the ironic ending in this story.  He knows who the murderer is but the murderer has been playing the system for years and he will bring the prince into the scandal.  But, after Thomas thinks on it, he comes up with a solution.  Justice is served...

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Draw or Die by Alan David

Dane dropped into town on his way to visit Frank McSween.  He visits the bar and asks for directions.  Instead of directions, six cowboys face him and tell him to draw or die.  They are from the other ranch, Reed's, and they are feuding with the McSweens.  They think he's a hired gunman.  The only thing that keeps him alive is the fact that the hired gunman is in the saloon, too.  Between them, they down the cowboys.  And now Dane is involved in a range war...

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

Dane's best bet would be to ride on and leave town but when he learns that they ambushed his friend, Frank, and he's dead, Dane wants to visit the ranch and give them his condolences.  He meets his little brother, his father and his two sisters.  He also decides to stay a while because he killed a Reed and inadvertently has brought trouble upon Frank's family.

This book is all guns and no sympathy.  The old west was a mean country that guns ruled and the feuds between landowners became legends.

The oldest daughter is sweet on a Reed and she tells them things she shouldn't.  It's a fight to the death and most of them die.  At the end, Dane is pretty shot up and the last surviving daughter takes him home with her to care for.  She doesn't have much left, but Dane is still alive and the ranch is hers.  Maybe that will be enough...

Where the Lost Girls Go: A Laura Mori Mystery by R.J. Noonan

She's a new cop and she responds to the accident call with her older cop mentor.  It's a nasty accident.  The car has gone off the road, hit a tree and caught on fire.  By the time they get the body out, it's burnt and not much left.  When they realize the car belongs to the famous author on the hill, they go to visit them and see what they can find out.  They're hoping the burned body is not his daughter's...

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

Laura and her partner find that the daughter isn't home.  No one knows where she went and her father collapses because he's afraid she was the one in the car.  The stepmother comforts him and asks them to leave.  Laura thinks there is something they are not telling her but she leaves.

This story has crooked cops, a sexual predator, a survivalist living in the woods with underage girls in his camp, and a killer.  It's a twisted tale with all these lives entangled in some way and Laura trying to make sense of it.  The police chief is part of the corruption.  The author couple is hiding deep dark secrets.  And the Lost Girls seem to keep showing up as part of the survivalist's group or buried in the woods.

It's suspenseful read that keeps you going.  Laura gets to the truth but she misreads who the killer is and is almost a victim herself.

This an exciting read with several puzzle pieces moving around in the story.  It's hard to guess who the killer is.  Nobody wants to tell the truth.  I was really impressed with this rookie cop and would love to read more about her.  I like this series although the subject matter was disturbing.  Sometimes the world is not a nice place for the less fortunate.

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Devil's Country by Harry Hunsicker

He just got off the bus because the town's name was interesting and he thought he'd snoop around for a bit and then catch one the next day.  Drinking a beer at the local bar shouldn't cause any trouble.  But it did...

Thomas and Mercer and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published April 11th.

This is a tale of a man who had nothing to lose.  He's traveling because his whole family was murdered by dirty cops.  It was his father-in-law's fault but it was his fault, too.  He didn't intend to get involved in bad things but he didn't want to tell his father-in-law no.  Now the bad cops are dead,  the father-in-law is in jail and he's no longer a Texas Ranger.  He's still angry, though.

A woman asks for help in the parking lot.  She has two children with her.  The cowboys from the bar come out and try to take her way.  He objects and fights them both.  She and the kids disappear and he ends up in jail.  When she shows up dead and the children are missing, he gets concerned.  The cop dismisses her as a prostitute and doesn't pursue it.

Arlo isn't happy with that solution.  She was wearing simple plain clothes and was in fear of her and her children's lives.  He wants to find the children.  However, nobody in town will answer any questions or tell him anything.  When he runs across a lady journalist, she's looking for her niece.  They decide to look together.

They have a religious cult compound in town and no one is allowed to leave it.  If they try, they are disfigured and required to stay in the town.  No one sees any hope for the future.  But Arlo has already lost everything.  They can't take anymore from him and dying doesn't scare him...

This a well written book about an ugly subject.  There's plenty of action, death, and a surprising friendship built in the story.  Arlo survives to fight another war.  I wonder where the author will take him next...

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Zoey and Sassafras Dragons and Marshmallows by Asia Citro, Marion Lindsay

Right before her mother leaves for a week at a conference, Zoey makes a fantastic discovery!  When she looks at picture her mother has on her desk, she sees her mom with a strange looking frog.  Her mom's secret:  She helps injured magical animals get well...

Innovation Press and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 14th.

Her mother shows her the area in their barn she has for the animal hospital.  She tells her she gets her ideas for cures by reading books about animals in our world that are closest to the magical beings.  After her mother goes on her way, Zoey and Sassafras, her cat, go outside to play.

As you can guess, another animal shows up for the hospital.  This one is a baby dragon.  She knows nothing about dragons but gets seven different plates and puts various food types on them to see what it would like to eat.  It snarfs down the marshmallows, she names it after its favorite food.  Then it gets sick from eating so much sugar...  Uh oh!

She waits for it to recuperate and then must go to bed.  When she gets up, Sassafras is gone.  She finds her cat in the barn cuddled around the dragon.  The dragon is very lethargic and she's afraid it's even sicker.  Then she realizes it's cold!

By the time her mom gets home, she's figured out what to feed it and how to keep it warm.  She's afraid she failed but when it doubled its size in no time, she feels better.

This is a very cute story for young ones with great illustrations.  I'm looking forward to reading more in this series.  Zoey is a fun character.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Lotus Blue by Cat Sparks

Star and Nene are orphans.  Nene has healing skills and uses her talents to keep them alive.  Star crushes the leaves and makes the pastes that Nene uses.  They are on their way to a new town to get more supplies and help more people.  However, their trip is cut short by a storm and they have to go with the caravan to an alternate location.  That's just the beginning of their troubles.

Talos and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 7th. 

This story is set in a dystopian future.  With partly mechanical warriors, drones, weapons of mass destruction, the earth has been devastated.  There isn't much green, there are poisonous smells, deadly animals, and plants that will attack you.  It's an almost impossible environment to live in and yet people try.

When their caravan gets as far as they can go with those that are still with them, they take refuge in a safe place.  There's an old threat coming to life that no one knows about.  It's been inactive for years but it's coming back to life.  It also has no love for people.  Soon, no place is safe.

There are a lot of words in this book.  I found myself foundering in the volume of words.  It's an interesting story and a good book, just be prepared to spend some time with it.

Star learns she's not related by blood to Nene and it shocks her.  She goes to see a girl she met in the city they're in and finds out she doesn't remember her.  Then someone breaks in the house after the rich girl and they are both on the run.

By happenstance the two girls each find themselves on separate boats heading across the Obsidian Sea (not really a sea but it is black).  The boats are heading in the same direction but they have different goals.  

The ending is a stand off and several die along the way.  The future is still uncertain, but the biggest evil has been defeated.  At least the biggest evil they knew about...

Friday, February 10, 2017

Fight or Die by Christopher Kenworthy

He's carrying Army dispatches and trying to avoid the Indians.  The Apaches didn't like anybody and he didn't want to one of their victims.  When he stops in town for food and some rest, he meets some of the members of a wagon train.  They are planning to travel the same route he did.  He warns them about the Indians and asks them to wait for his return.  Then he will guide them on the trail and help them avoid the Indians.

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

When he returns, he finds out they didn't wait for him, they left two days.  He's afraid of what he'll find and he's right.  The mother and father and two children are dead.  The oldest boy is badly injured and the older sister is gone.  He gets the boy healthy enough to ride and then they go after the sister.  He's afraid of what might be happening to her but he's not mentioning that to her brother.  The boy has enough other devils to fight after watching his parents die.

With crazed soldiers, wild Indians, and the cat and mouse games Indians play, this whole quest to get the girl back is dangerous and life threatening the whole way.  Having a new in command who only knows how to polish his sword means disaster.  He's always commanding the soldiers to do something stupid so they quit listening to him.  He also keeps trying capture the rescuing team.

They finally survive this ordeal and he begins to worry about what will happen to the boy and the young woman.  When the doctor is through checking them out, he tells him the young woman already has a plan...

Hinges Vol. 3: Mechanical Men by Meredith McClaren

She's lost Bauble and almost doesn't have the strength to go on.  The young man they saved won't let her mope and die, though.  He makes her get up and they back to the city...

Image Comics sent me a copy of this graphic novel to read for review (thank you).  It has been published now.

This is the third and last in this series and this one tied everything together for me.  Orio is not sure of her purpose in life but she's willing to give it a go.  Bauble was more than a pet to her, he was her friend and he helped her.  But all she can do is keep on and hope she may find him again.

The city has changed.  The new leader has made everyone suspicious.  They are turning people in for perceived wrongs and he's happy with that.  He intends to use the mechanical men to keep everyone in line.  Orio has to figure out a way to stop him.

With her friends, paper tigers, and Bauble back again, it's a fight to the end.  This story was exciting, interesting, a bit beyond understanding but a satisfying read.  Things are going to get back to normal.  Or maybe there might be more to the story in the future.  Who knows?

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Chasing Christmas Past: An Airship Racing Chronicles Short Story (Prequel) by Melanie Karsak

Lily and her crew are hanging out at Rose Hopper's, the local bar.  It's a big race day tomorrow but tonight she's just feeling lonely.  It's been a long time since she's seen her love, she's pretty sure she'll win the race, her crew is in a good mood and still she feels all alone in the crowd.

The author and instaFeebies allowed me to read this story for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can get a copy now.

This is a short story to entice you to read the series.  It's written well, the idea of air ships is magical to me, and I'm like Lily.  I like to win.  This series should be good fun to read.

When poor Lily wakes up it's to find that it's morning and almost time for the ships to take off.  She and her crew tear out of the tavern and run to the race only to be the last ones to take off.  That doesn't make the odds good for winning.  However, Lily has another route in mind and tries that.  After all, the worst they could is lose...

Here is an easy way to see if this series is for you.  Give it a try, it's written well.

Windy City Blues by Renee Rosen

The Chess brothers liked music and wanted to record "race music".  When they started, it took a long time before northern radio stations would play the records.  Sometimes it took some cash to be sure it would have play time.  They eventually became known as a recording studio that would audition blacks.  If they liked their sound, they invested in them and acted like their agents.  Their music was taking off!

Berkley sent me an ARC of this book to read for review.  It has just been published so you can grab a copy now.

What was amazing was that the Chess brothers were white Jews.  They really liked the blues and worked with some well known artists from the past.  This is a fictional account but the history cited is real.

Leeba worked for the brothers and met Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Chuck Berry and Etta James.  She was also a Jew.  Her mother kept inviting single Jewish men over for a meal so her daughter could meet them.  Her daughter didn't appreciate it.  Then Leeba met Red Dupree.  She loved his guitar playing.  She fell in love with him.  He was black.  Her mother threw her out of the house.  So she moves in with Red and marries him.

When the record company has trouble transitioning in ownership and talent, Leeba is attacked as being a "nigger lover".  She gets a bit bruised, but her dog gets killed and her husband's hand has been slashed.  No more guitar playing from him.  What can he get a job doing, he knows nothing else.  He goes from being in a factory gluing shoes, to doing maintenance work around a radio station.  Eventually, he becomes a DJ but he loses that position because he talks about human rights issues.

With some of the best musicians in blues and jazz in their lives, a mixed marriage and more, it's hard life with few thankful moments.  But they do find things to be happy about and they do love each other.  This was a good read with enough going on to keep you reading and a fascinating look of musical history in Chicago.  I enjoyed it.  Why don't you try it? 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Orphan Fleet by Brendan Detzner

He didn't know his parents, he was an orphan like everyone else.  What he did know was that he liked flying through the air like a trapeze artist.  He has his job to do but he enjoys showing off and watching the evening performances.  That's about to change...

The author and instaFreebies let me read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published and  you can get a copy now.

This is a different read.  You get a general sense of the fantasy world he lives in and their customs but many things are left vague.  It adds to the mystique but it also makes me wonder what else we will learn in future books.

When a father and his warships show up to retrieve an orphan, things start falling apart quickly.  He shows off for the pretty girl on board and then he finds out the man is looking for a friend of his.  It turns into war.  The battles are mean, many die, and you learn a bit more about the players in the performances.  The count is on the orphan's side for the most part.  He's a monster-like character.

This novella introduces you to a new world where anything might happen.  I wonder where the author is going to take us next...  

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Never Sleep: The Chronicle of a Lady Detective by K.B. Owen

She's estranged from her husband but she misses working with him.  He's a Pinkerton agent and she'd like to be one, too.  So when he asks her to help infiltrate a household and get information for him she's willing to try.  She thinks it will be fun but it's also dangerous...

The author and instaFreebies allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published so you can grab a copy now.

Every thing is going along well when she arrives.  She's accepted and treated as a guest.  Her only difficulty is when they invite a man she knows and dated at one time.  She has to try to get him alone so she can explain and can ask him to keep her work confidential.  He's not sure about it but he still cares so he does.

When a young man is killed because he walked in the room first and the son is only slightly injured, her job gets more important.  Who was supposed to be killed and why?

While her estranged husband plays body guard, she waits until an opportune time to snoop through paperwork.  What she finds gives her a clue but will she be able to stop the assassination in time?

She's smart enough and competent enough to be Pinkerton agent.  She's also stirred up an old love.  I'll be interested to read more in this series.  While this is a novella, the story is complete and well told.  Give it a try.

What You Break by Reed Farrel Coleman

Gus has a problem.  His friend who is a doorman at the hotel has an assassin after him.  He knew Slava had secrets but he had his own so he asked no questions.  Slava had saved his life, he owed him.  Then he gets a call from Father Bill, who's an ex-priest.  He has a man he wants him to talk to.  He finds that man's granddaughter has been murdered.  They know who killed her. He wants to know why.  He's got secrets, too.

Putnum shared a copy of this book with me to read for review (thank you).  It's being published today.

When Gus starts poking around in the case, he causes more death.  The Russians after Slava threaten his girlfriend.  He sends her away to an audition early to keep her safe but they know where she is even then.  He finds himself having to dodge fists, knives and bullets.

This is a high tension ride from beginning to end.  The action is fast, unforgiving and dangerous.  It doesn't seem like the problems can be resolved but Gus manages to bind a seam and he keeps those he's working for and with alive.  However, he has to trade part of his soul to keep Slava safe.  I'm sure the Russian will call in his debt before long and I hope it doesn't destroy the only decent part of him he has left.

He spends some time remembering his son's death, remembering the cops who had been killed and thinking about Slava's crime.  None of it is pleasant but such things do exist.  Between greed, debts owed, and bloodshed you have plenty to keep your attention.

Gus survived this encounter with death but who knows about the future?

Monday, February 6, 2017

Steam and Sensibility (Sensibility Grey #1) by Kirsten Weiss

Sensibility Grey is heading to California to meet her uncle.  She's underage and needs a guardian after her father's death.  She's never met him before but she doesn't expect any trouble.  That's what she finds, though.

The author and instaFreebies  allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can grab a copy now.

Sensibility is destitute.  Her father was an inventor and he spent not only the money they had but went into debt.  Upon his death, the creditors took everything.  She has only her tools and a carpet bag with a few coins sewn in her skirt.  She's hoping her uncle can help her out.  He's nowhere around when she arrives so she tries to wait patiently.  There's no one around and it makes her nervous.  Where could all the folks from San Francisco have gone?

She hears some men talking and then a woman approaches her and drags her off.  She says she'll take her to her uncle but Sensibility isn't sure that's true.  From here, it turns into a fight over who is going to get her father's journal and the few pieces of equipment she brought with her.  

There are five different parties involved in the quest to get Sensibility's goods.  She has no idea which one to believe.  She feels herself falling for Night but is it safe?

This was a very good read.  I'm fond of steampunk so it was fun to read.  The plot's complex and her father wasn't as honorable as she thought he was.  I wonder where Sensibility is going next.  Wherever it is, I bet Mr. Night won't be far away.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Death of a Ghost by M. C. Beaton


Hamish is back and he's just as fuddled as before.  This time, he's investigating ghosts...

Grand Central Publishing and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published February 21st.

Hamish is tired of being controlled by his current girlfriend, so the first thing he does is figure out how to get out of the commitment.  He's not kind about and it's a bit crude, but she's definitely out of his life.  He thinks he'll write off women for a while.

The local castle owner asks him to come and visit and look into the noises he swears are coming from a ghost. Hamish and his assistant agree to come and sleep in the abandoned part of the building where the noise originates.  No noise but his assistant falls through the roof and finds a dead body below.  It was not a natural death, so now they really have something to investigate.

With smuggling, bad e-cigarettes, cops trying to kill each other and more, Hamish has plenty to keep him busy.  There's lot of action, more than one death, and the original body missing, you'll keep turning pages to the end.  His old girlfriend came back to town for a few days but they didn't connect.  I wonder if they are going to get together again? 

The Sparks by Kyle Prue

Get ready for a grand adventure.  Mr. Prue takes you into a world that reminds me of the Roman era and has it's own gladiators, assassins, and emperors.  He's created a full bodied world with characters that will hold you tight in tension as they fight their battles.
 
The author shared a copy of this book with me for review (thank you).  It has been published now.
 
The Vapros, the Taurlum, and the Celerius are three different families of power in the walled city.  They are each scheming about how to make their wealth more extensive and how to get to even for any wrong doing another family might have done against them.
 
Neil is sneaking in on the Taurlum's with the intent to kill the grandfather of the clan to make a statement about not messing with his Vapros family.  He doesn't succeed and even has to be saved by a street girl he's friends with.  His friendship with a commoner is frowned on but she saves his life.  This is the beginning of a fast paced story with lots of action and drama.
 
I'm very impressed with this young man's writing.  It's smooth, flows well, and he's a great story teller.  This is fantasy but it reads as if it's true.  Their supernatural powers are amazing but when everyone has some, it's not such a big deal.
 
The families are there to serve the people and the emperor but not all do.  And when the emperor's guard starts to gather the family members they suddenly realize he's not their friend but their enemy.
 
The only apparent safe place for the children that got away is outside the walls of the city.  But no one knows what's out there.  All they've heard is rumors.  Facing rumors is better than facing death, though.
 
There are some tough losses in this first book and I imagine the others will be just as bloody.  I can see a mystery forming, though.  There may be a lost family outside the walls.  I'm not sure if they will be friendly or an enemy, but it makes me want to read more.
 
Can the feuding family members get along well enough to stay alive?  Only time will tell. 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Every Trick in the Rook: A Birds of a Feather Mystery by Marty Wingate

Julia's life is going well.  She's organizing events and bringing tourists to town and she's living with Michael, a man she loves.  She should have known it was too good to be true.  When they find a dead man in the unused summer house on the castle property, she wonders why he was there but she should be wondering who he was.  It was her ex-husband...

Alibi and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published March 7th.

When the press descend on Julia and Michael, he decides to leave for a while and take a break.  He thinks that will keep the journalists away from Julia.  He's mistaken.  And Juliet is afraid he might not be back.  As it is, as long as the case hasn't been solved, she can't ask him to come back.  Since they are looking at them both as suspects, she decides she better look for the actual killer.

Ms. Wingate always peppers her stories with weird characters.  That makes the story interesting and fun to read.  I mean, how often does the ex-wife to keep the ashes of her long gone husband by his sister?  And who's to guess that the weird journalist might be a new partner with her gay brother?  Or that her ex-husband had such a strange girlfriend?

As you live through events, watch relationships rise and fall, and work out who the killer is, you're well entertained.  I especially loved the rook that was in the story.  He was her protector and she needed one.  This one is the best one I've read in this series.  Ms. Wingate does it right.

Friday, February 3, 2017

The Bride's Deception by Heidi Vanlandingham

Alayna is on the run.  Her mother died, her father was an alcoholic, and he was also friends with Juan Sanchez who was an outlaw.  When Juan indicates he wants Alayna in his bed, her father says OK.  Alayna left and the outlaw is still after her...

The author and instaFreebies allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  You can grab a copy on Amazon now.

The reverend's wife in Santa Fe found her sitting on the church steps and took her in.  She gets cleaned up, has new clothes and is getting regular meals.  She appreciates their help but she knows she has to move on.  She didn't expect to become a mail order bride.

Riddick was a sheriff and didn't expect to get married but when he inherits three children from a dead friend, he can't handle them.  He's willing to do an arranged marriage if she'll care for the house and kids.

This is a very good western romance.  His new wife is half-Mexican, loves the children, and has healing skills.  She's even becoming close to him.  But another woman wants him and she'll do anything to get rid of her.  Even tell Juan Sanchez where she is...

This novella is a fast read with lots of excitement.  Alayna is no spring wallflower.  She can shoot a gun and she's determined to get back home.  Sanchez wasn't expecting her husband to find her so soon. It's an exciting ending!  I highly recommend this one.

Jorie and the Gold Key by A H Richardson

Lord Fodomalk has evil plans.  He's going to drive out the good wizard and take over his protected land.  Then everything will be dark and dreary and he can make servants out of them all.  Only one thing really stands in front of him and could stop him:  Jorie.  So he intends to eliminate her, too.

Book Publicity Services and the author provided me with a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It has been published and is available now.

To understand how Lord Fodomalk came into such a such a powerful position, you should read this first book in this series.  It's a very good series and a fun read despite the danger.

Jorie is just coming back from vacation and Rufus can't wait for her to get home.  He's so very bored.  He only has a couple of days to wait, but he's anxious.  He gets even worse when he hears that another boy will be coming to stay with them this summer.  He's never met him before, really didn't want to meet him now, and he's afraid he'll mess up their plans to go back to the new world they discovered.  When Nigel shows up, he's stuck up and thinks he's smarter than they are.  He'll learn.

Taking a boy without an imagination who says dragons can't be real and he only believes in scientific truth into a new world of fantasy is not a good thing to do.  But he won't stay behind.  Before they even get to the good wizard an old friend shows up in dragon form.  He offers Nigel a ride.  Nigel says no, then he says yes and off he goes.  But it wasn't their old friend.  It was Lord Fodomalk.  And now Nigel is his prisoner...

The story is fraught with danger but no one really gets hurt.  Scared good, yes.  It's great fun to watch Jorie and Rufus try to find a secret weapon (and which one is it?) and then rescue Nigel.

I really enjoy this series.  It has magic, fantastic creatures and good hearted kids.  Even the aunt and uncle are beginning to spark.  What a fun read!