Thursday, August 17, 2017

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.  She's almost given up hope when the lady from the horse ranch pulls in with the horse trailer on her birthday.  What's the best present Emily could get?  Yes, it's Bella!

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!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Parrot Talk by David B Seaburn

This is a tale of a dysfunctional family that needs to come to terms with things that have happened in their life.  At the heart of tale are two grown men doing what they can with their lives.  They grew up depending on each other and they still are.  But things are going to change...

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

When they get a phone call from a stranger telling them their mother has died, they both feel betrayed.  She wasn't so far away she couldn't have called, written or visited with them.  Why did she desert them so long ago?  They aren't even sure if they should tell their father.  He was the one who ran her off years ago.  But they were still married even if he had other women after her departure.  This sets the stage for a very strange story.

They remember bits and pieces of their time with her but not much.  They've spent a lot of time forgetting.  And now the wormhole has opened up in front of them again. If that's not strange enough, the woman said she wanted them to take Paul.  They have no idea who Paul is.  When they find out, it's worse.  It's a parrot and she'd had it for twenty years.  The parrot is mourning Millie.  The men are jealous that it spent more with their mother than they did.  The oldest one wants to get rid of it.  The youngest is going to keep it.

The bird has secrets: Bits of their mom's memories and thoughts and speaks almost in her voice.  Grinder listens and comes to his own conclusions about what happened so long ago.  Their father shows up and he's found Jesus now.  It's almost worse than when he was drunk all time.  But he does share some insight on the death of the marriage.  He doesn't remember it all but the boys do.

The parrot adds a bit of joy to the story but it's really a look at lost lives and how the boys who are men now need come to terms with what happened and move on.  Grinder has a reason to smile now and I liked that.

This is not a happy book but the human emotions in it are real and it was a good family study on what we do to ourselves.

Lady Mechanika: La Dama de la Muerte by Joe Benitez, M. M. Chen

Lady Mechanika is back and she's getting out of town.  Her lover is dead.  She's going to Mexico.  She just wants to get away and get herself back together.  However, she hits the town when the Day of Dead celebration is going on...

Diamond Book Distributors and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 26th.

The illustrations in the series are always breath-taking.  Add the vivid colors of Mexico and the makeup used for the Day of Dead make this issue really stand out.

She meets the family of the place she stays and agrees to go to the party.  When men ride in on horses with green flames around them, she finds that they all go hide in the church and give the men money and goods to make them leave.  If you don't have enough, they take a child and disfigure it and then throw in the next village to ensure getting plenty.  She doesn't take well to that and decides to take the fight to them.

She tracks them, kills the ones she finds but also learns there are more.  One thing about the Lady, she's a killing machine.  All you can do is follow along and be surprised by how versatile and varied her killing talents are.  Especially after she finds out they leveled the village she was visiting and killed everyone in it.  There's no mercy here.  Well, maybe just a touch of mercy.

These series is bloody and adrenaline driven but I like graphic novels and this artwork is enchanting.  Give it read as long as death doesn't scare you. 

The Bluejay Shaman (Alix Thorssen Mystery Series Book 1) Kindle Edition by Grier Lake

Wade is a history professor married to her sister.  When he gets arrested for murder, Alix jumps in to prove he didn't.  Even if he didn't, he was in the area sleeping in his car with no witnesses and it was his knife that was used in the murder.  He's going to sit in jail for a while since the judge won't set bail for him.  She's got to do something.

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

With a touch of Indian mysticism involved, she has to try to sort between beliefs as well as alibis.  The dead woman had had a fight with Wade the day she died, so he did have a connection with her.  But it was over white women adopting Indian culture and that wasn't a cause for murder.  So who killed her and why?

The more Alix digs, the deeper the mystery gets.  You have a woman that is grieving Shiloh deeply and she's living in her house, too.  Did that mean they were a couple?  She finds there is a missing bluejay shaman pictograph, there's a cult in the area, and there's a mad history professor.  How all this ties together isn't apparent until the end of the story and then that's almost the end of Alix, too.  

The Indian lore added to the mystery and made this story stronger.  There will be more cases for Alix.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Lost And Found (September Day #1) by Amy Shojai

September has just moved into town.  With the loss of her husband and her dog, she's trying to get used to living alone with her cat.  When she gets a call from her sister saying her son is lost in the blizzard, she knows she has to help.  He's autistic and shouldn't be out alone.  It's a good thing he has his service dog with him.

The author shared a copy of this book with me for a review (thank you).  It has been published.

This is a twisted tale of desperate people who want to see improvements in their children or grandchildren who have autism.  There are secret medications being shared with them.  They have to sign agreements to acquire it and they don't understand all the risks but they can see the results.  It does help them, at first...

The story quickly becomes complicated.  The boy almost freezes but his dog manages to stop a small bus and the driver lets them board the bus.  When he doesn't get off the bus, she takes him to the mall to finish her route and then asks for his name and address.  He gives it to her, she calls for them to come pick him up.  But someone else answers the phone...

There's lot of tension, time limits, threats and murders along the way.  There is even a bad cop involved.  And you learn one of September's secrets, too.  Life will go on but it's changed in many ways.  Despite all the deaths, it's mostly a change for the good. It also looks like September has acquired a dog again.  This series continues so you know there are more cases for the dog and handler.  There was almost too much happening in this story but it helped keep your attention and the little boy is safe and sound now.

Raining Men and Corpses (Raina Sun Mystery #1) by Anne R. Tan

Raina is a graduate student who made the bad decision to sleep with one of the professors.  Then she made it worse by loaning him money.  Money he keeps promising to pay back but doesn't...

The author shared a copy of this book for a review (thank you).  It has been published and you can get a copy now.  

When he's still hedging on paying the money back, Raina lies and tells him she's pregnant and she needs the money.  He's shocked, but he's not unhappy.  Her tactics have backfired on her again.  What else could go wrong?  The next time she sees him, he's dead.  Well, that has to be end of bad things, right?  No.  She's a suspect and one of the cops is her ex-husband, who she still happens to love...

Besides being involved in a murder case, she's the executrix of her grandfather's will.  The various relatives are suing for money.  And she knows there's another family in China even if no one else does.  Then Grandma shows up and moves in.  The two grandmothers are playing matchmaker with her and her ex.  She can't tell her about Grandpa's other family.  And if she doesn't prove she didn't do it, she may end up in jail.

With plenty of relationship shenanigans, odd facts about the professor start adding up but nothing appears to be pointing at any one person.  It soon will.

I'm hoping Raina and her ex get together again.  We'll just have to see what happens in the next book.