Friday, July 21, 2017

Moon Princess by Barbara Laban

Sienna is unhappy.  Her mother is missing (everyone else thinks she's dead) and now her father wants to move her to Shanghai.  It's bad enough she's lost her Mom, now she's going to lose all her friends.  She has no choice and he's grieving her Mom, so she goes without too much protest.  After all, that's where her mother went missing...

Chicken House and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you). It will be published July 25th.

The first person they meet is the housekeeper, Ling.  Her father spends so much time working he doesn't realize that Ling isn't very nice to his daughter.  She feeds her traditional Chinese food that poor folks eat, won't let her go out, makes her learn the Chinese alphabet, and punishes her for any little thing.  She manages to ask her Dad if she can go out with the cook on her shopping trip and he says yes.  Ling isn't happy but she can't stop her.  That's when she meets Feng.

You see, Sienna has an invisible dog named Rufus to keep her company.  He comes and goes, he's very opinionated, and he has no patience with her.  She loves his company but she likes her alone time, too.

When she talks to Feng, he tells her he used to have one, too.  His was a small dragon.  Before the story is over, there are more animal friends involved.  This story requires a vibrant imagination but I have one so it was no problem.  My pets were real but I depended on them as much as these children do.

This is a grand adventure that mixes myths and superstition with current events and culminates in an exciting tale with good ending.  I enjoyed this read.  It's written for middle graders.  Anyone who likes fantasy will like this story.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Apprentice Witch by James Nicol

She's been looking forward to being a witch her whole life.  Now they are being tested at graduation time.  The testing machine goes nuts and the school head determines it's because she's not good enough to be a witch yet.  She tells her she's an apprentice.  She also assigns her to a little town out in the boonies that hasn't had a witch for a long time.  She thinks she can do no harm there...

Chicken House and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published July 25th.

Arianwyn starts her new career trying to get snotlings out of someone's home.  That doesn't go well.  Arianwyn doesn't have a lot of self-confidence and not all her spells work, so she's cautious and only stuns them.  But when another one runs out, she uses a stronger spell and it doesn't work.  It destroys the nest and sends the remaining snotlings out into the house.  A big mess is made, one of the children gets bit, and the mother is now her mortal enemy.  Not a great start...

My favorite part of the book is how she makes friends with the odd creatures of the woods.  She has a Moon Hare that she saved and healed that won't leave her.  She makes friends a little blue fey, and she has a secret glyph she knows that has some significance, but she doesn't know what or why.

As the story goes along, the monsters get bigger and meaner, her powers get stronger and she fights for right.  It doesn't help that her enemy from school comes to town to live with the Mayor.  She messes up spells, sets things lose she shouldn't, and lies about it saying Arainwyn did it.

This is written for middle school children but I really enjoyed it.  I wouldn't mind reading more about Arainwyn.  She's survived and done well so far.  What will her new challenges be?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

I Know a Secret: A Rizzoli & Isles Novel by Tess Gerritsen

Maura is called to a homicide scene and knows that it must be bad.  No one is looking well when she arrives.  It is odd when the dead woman has no eyes.  She's holding them in her hands...

Ballantine Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published August 15th.

Men and women both are turning up dead.  Their poses are odd, it's like they are trying to send a message.  But what kind of message?

It takes time to develop relationships between these people from other walks in life.  What they find is that they went to a local day care facility when they were young.  They were also part of a case of child abuse case.  The son who drove the schoolbus that picked the kids up was accused of murder as well as sexual misconduct.  He's just been released from jail when these killings began.  They question him but Jane is beginning to think he really might have been innocent.  

This is a very twisted tale that shows how early in life evil can show itself and how it affects their lives.  The people involved were "different", but not in a good way.  I couldn't believe who was helping the killer.

Get ready to read an awful sequence of events in the cop's world.  At the end, there's still one guilty party free but Jane has a long memory...

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Ivy and the Lonely Raincloud by Katie Harnett

He's a small raincloud that separated from the others.  He looks around through the city for someone to be friends with.  What he finds is everyone loves the sun and doesn't want to have anything to do with him.  Then he notices a little girl...

Flying Eye Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published August 15th.

There's a small grumpy girl walking home beneath him.  She doesn't pay attention to him.  She's too busy being crabby.  She ignores everybody around her, speaks to no one and slams into her flower shop.  He follows her.  She still ignores him.  But he wants to make her smile.

This is a cute amusing tale that will make you smile when you see what he does to make her feel better.  There is always a special friend or two in your life.  You just have to find them.  This may not be a usual relationship, but they are special friends now.  And the little girl is smiling more.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Colorblind by Leah Harper Bowron

It's 1968 and Leah is a middle school student.  When one of the teachers retires, the new teacher begins to be chatted about before her arrival.  It's rumored she talks funny, has odd hair, lives in the quarter and more.  It takes a while before Lisa realizes they mean she's black...

PR by the Book and Spark Press let me read an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It is being published today.

Lisa's parents each have their own opinions.  Her father is a lawyer and he will represent colored people.  Her mother has the opinion of the community that they are lesser beings and a bit stupid.  Lisa finds herself siding with her father but she won't tell her mother that.  Her mother tells her things and then tells her not to tell her father.  Soon the secrets she's carrying are going to cause trouble for her.

The mean boys who bully Lisa (she was born with a cleft palate and has a flat nose on one side) are tickled to have a teacher to torment.  The teacher attempt to ignore them but the hounding is getting to her.

Lisa finds it hard to stand up for herself but she does defend the teacher.  That just gets her in more trouble.  Her mother makes problems for her by assuming things about the teacher.  If Lisa is going to handle this, she has to grow up fast.  She does.  And she's not keeping secrets anymore.

The sad part is that being different in any way invites rude comments and bullying even in this day and age.  My mother raised me to welcome any new person as a friend.  Color, religion, or politics didn't matter.  I know that's unusual but I think life would be better for everyone if we could just agree to get along.

Just remember to be like Lisa and stand up for what you believe in.  It's not easy but you can do it.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

Sorina has a special power.  She can create illusions that appear real.  She's also part of the Gomorrah Festival and works in the freak show.  She has no eyes but she can see.  It's unfortunate she can't see what's going on around her until it's almost too late...

Harlequin Teen and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published July 25th.

If Sorina has a problem, she can go the proprietor of the show.  He's her father and she loves him.  He adopted her when she small and he's always protected her.  So when one of her illusions is murdered, she talks to him.  They decide it was where they were doing their show and must have been one of the locals.  They moved on.

But the next town they stop in they lose her illusion of a little brother.  He drowns and he's always been deathly afraid of water.  He's also too young to have climbed into the place he died.  Who's killing her family?

The story is ripe with details and insight to how magic works in this world.  The bad part is that no matter how many questions she asks, she's not getting closer to any answers.  Then she starts putting the local tragedies together with the deaths of her illusions and she starts to realize the deadly truth...

This story will stick with you after you set it down as read.  It's a twisted tale that somehow ends up with a sad/happy ending and you know Sorina is going to be OK.  So is the rest of her family, but she's lost something on the way to understanding.  Ms. Foody made me care about her.  If you like magic, you'll like this story.

The Boy Who Lived In Pudding Lane by Sarah Addington

This is a tale of how Santa Claus came to be.  We meet him as a young child who liked to give Christmas gifts and that sets the course of his life...

Grafton and Scratch Publishers and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 12th.

Those of you who know your nursery rhymes will meet all kinds of old friends in this tale.  There's Jack and Jill, Mary who's quite contrary and many many more.  When Mrs. Claus keeps having twins after Santa's birth, he wants to give them presents like the other children get but there is no money.  So he starts spending time in their workshed and soon as created all kinds of handmade toys.  When he's ready to deliver them, he falls asleep on the roof where he meant to sneak them in the house.  His parents can't find him and notify the town crier so everyone is out searching for him.  That means there is a big crowd when he comes down the chimney and hands out his presents.  And that starts his new career...

The most fun was watching how the author added nursery rhyme characters to the story.  If you have a little one who likes fairy tales or likes Mother Goose, they'll enjoy this tale as well.