Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A Strange Scottish Shore by Juliana Gray

It all starts with call to her boss about a mysterious object found at an old castle.  He goes to see what it is and asks her to follow him with paperwork.  As she's getting on the train, she sees a man following her.  She knows she's in danger.  Then a friend from her past shows up, saying the duke sent him for her protection.  She's a bit worried about her heart needing protection but what can she say?  When the man tailing her gets off the train in mid-trip, she's hoping it's over.  No, it's just beginning...

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

This is a very interesting time travel tale.  Truelove's present time was in 1906.  When Lord Silverton goes missing, she wants to travel back in time to find him.  She manages that but then she can't figure out how to get back.  The man who follows her like a bad penny is from the future.  And when the past and the future collide, it produces very interesting results.

One thing I especially loved about this book is that the relationships were all real love.  There's no farce, no half-heartedness about it at all.  That's what carries the story and helps right wrongs.  This was a fascinating read and I really enjoyed it.

I'd tell you more but it might spoil the story.  There's an old legend involved.  And I'm not sure that they've seen the last of Haywood, her boss.  But we'll just have to see what the next book brings.

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Hunter Maiden by Ethel Johnston Phelps, Suki Boynton, Renée Watson

This is a collection of fairy tales from around the world.  These women are not forlorn weak females waiting for the white knight to ride to their rescue.  These women rescue themselves and do a good job at it!

The Feminist Press at CUNY and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 10th.

I enjoyed reading this because these women were nothing special, they just didn't give up.  If someone wronged them or they ran into a demon or a wizard, they didn't back down.  They figured out how to get around them or defeat them.

Some of them sounded familiar but most of them were new tales to me.  I sell and read a lot of fairy tales so it was unusual to find new ones.  I enjoyed them all.  Give the book a read and tell me what you thought of it.

Mystery of the Bear Cub by Carl DiRocco, Tamra Wight

The boys are back at the campground doing their chores for spending money.  They're excited to see Roy arrive but he's in a really bad mood and won't talk to them.  He's also a bit snarly when he does talk...

Island Port Press and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 10th.

When they find a mysterious old building on their island, the park ranger tells them it belonged to an old inn that was there back in stage coach days.  They suddenly decide they might try looking for leftover bottles and goods that might be worth money.  After all, Cooper already found a bottle dump.  Who knows what they might find in the privy.  There are rumors of a money box...

As they dig, they don't find much.  They do find out there's a bear in the vicinity.  In the midst of all this excitement, the Mayor wants Cooper to come to the council meeting.  He's going introduce a recycling plan that will make their trash accumulation in town much less.  Cooper wrote it up for school, and he wants him to support the issue.  What no one counts on is the fact that the Mayor won't let the businesses use it.  Also, he closes down the transfer station for "improvements".  Yeah, sure...

When they find garbage dumped on their property, Cooper and boys know they have a problem.  But they want to find out who's doing it first.  With garbage, Roy's problem, digging in an old privy, and trying to save a cub as well as trying to avoid the full-sized bears, they have their work cut out for them...

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Nail's Crossing by Kris Lackey

Finding dead bodies is no fun and when they've been really abused before death it's worse.  Bill has seen dead before but this young woman's death is disturbing.  What would be more disturbing would be why she died...

Blackstone Publishing and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 10th.  

Bill is involved because she was found on the Indian Reservation.  He and the county deputy search the area for clues.  He finds the knife but he also knows it was left in a fairly obvious place.  She was last seen dancing with a meth dealer and he has a knife like that.  But Bill doubts he would have dropped it there.

Bill and Hannah meet a lot of bad people on their way to truth.  The more they learn, the worse it looks.  It appears there's a politician involved and that will bring big trouble for them both unless they have absolute proof.  They work on gathering that and trying to stay alive while they are doing it.  After all, half the relatives they talked to about the meth dealer have been killed.  Then the killer takes Bill's girlfriend.  Things get real serious from here on out.

The interesting part of the story for me was seeing how all the agencies worked together (or didn't).  More than one reservation was involved, there were different police jurisdictions and not all of them wanted to disturb the mud.  It didn't matter.  Bill and Hannah stirred it up just fine.

This was a good read.  There was some good police work done here.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Son of a Witch edited by Trysh Thompson

This book is great fun to read.  It's about young witches learning spells and managing to mess them up.  Most are hoping for love, but what they get is not what they really wanted...

World Weaver Press sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published October 3rd.

You get six humorous contemporary fantasy stories of magic spells gone wrong by Laura VanArendonk Baugh, Sara Dobie Bauer, Lissa Marie Redmond, Frances Pauli, Mara Malins, and Adam Millard.  All of them are a hoot in one form or another.

Everyone knows you need to be very careful when creating a spell.  You have to believe in it.  And you have to ask for exactly what you want.  The one thing they forgot to consider was just what the results would be.  

My two favorite is the one where she wishes she'd be the date of his dreams, his perfect match and the one where she meant to charm her neighbor and got an unexpected love instead.  

All in all, I found this read very enjoyable and a lot of fun.  Give it a try!

Grandpa's Ghost Stories by James Flora, Irwin Chusid

This is a reprint of a book that was published in 1978.  The stories are a bit scary but more amusing than anything.  Why not get into your favorite chair and put your little one in your lap for a read-aloud session?

Feral House and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 10th.

The illustrations in the story make this book.  The tales are good but your young one will probably have a better time looking at the pictures.  There are skeletons, bugs, spiders and more on and around the pages of the story.  The witch is particularly witchy.  You're going to wonder if the boy will ever get home...

Here's a chance to read an old classic story in a brand new edition that shows the story off well.  Let me know if you and your little one like it.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Cici's Journal: The Adventures of a Writer-in-Training by Joris Chamblain

Cici has an insatiable curiosity.  When something is a mystery to her, she goes after the answer.  This causes some problems with her Mom and her girlfriends.  It's all part of growing up...

First Second Books and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published November 7th.

The story itself is partly Cici's journal and the rest of it graphic novel.  It's an interesting combo.  Her handwriting is a bit hard to read and she doodles so the journal is entertaining.

The first adventure she gets into is trying to follow an old man who has come through the woods.  He's carrying paint cans and has paint all over him.  When it comes right down to it, she's the one who is brave enough to go over the wall and see what's on the other side.  It's an old abandoned zoo.  But the animals have all been painted and they look alive...

In the next story, an old woman keeps checking out the same library book.  Cici finally asks her why.  Her husband went to war and when he came home, he never spoke again.  She knows he loved her and it's his book that she checks out.  Suddenly, Cici realizes the numbers in his book match the Dewey Decimal Numbers used on the library books...

The mysteries were good, Cici has to apologize to all the people in her life for taking them for granted and being less than honest with her Mom.  She gets a lot of praise for her good works.  And I'm sure she'll be snooping again.

Death Overdue: A Haunted Library Mystery by Allison Brook

Carrie is living with her aunt and uncle and working at the local library.  She loves her family but her job is boring and she's thinking of moving on.  Then she's offered a permanent position in the library.  She's not sure but she agrees to try it for her aunt and uncle.  She doesn't know there is a resident ghost there that will be making her acquaintance...

Crooked Lane Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 10th.

One of the first programs she puts on is a presentation by a former cop about a cold case of murder.  He says he knows who did it and will reveal it that night.  Someone doesn't like that idea and poisons him during the meeting.  Carrie is upset it happened in the middle of her event and that he's dead.  She really liked him.  The worst part is that the police have no idea who the killer is. It might have been the person that killed Laura, the unsolved case that Al was working on.

She decides to work with Laura's youngest son to try to solve the case.  He's good looking and charming enough but he's a bit immature.  They work together and the more she searches through relationships and possible killers, the more confusing it gets.  It doesn't help when she's being bullied at the library and getting threats from the killer.

This was a very good read.  I enjoyed the ghostly help, like Carrie's new boyfriend, and am glad she's decided to stay in town.  I'll be looking forward to reading her next adventure.

The Woman Who Knew Too Much: A Nora Baron Thriller by Tom Savage

I almost didn't read this one.  Spies are not my favorite thing but this author writes an excellent tale.  He draws you in, spoon feeds you hints, and makes you worry about the characters.  Everyone is in danger.  You don't play around with Russia...

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

Nora is asked to do a special job by her husband's employer.  He knows she has acting skills so he sends her to meet a Russian actress who is trying to defect.  She and her team, no actual agents, will pretend to be a TV show who wants to feature this new play and artist.

The first thing you learn is that everybody is a spy or part of the underground.  They're in Venice and even the boatman is on the plan. As they play their parts, they find out things that make the defecting woman's story look false.  She lies to them to start with.  Then they find out she has stolen money.  She's not what she seems.

Nora plays along, learns what she can, and then asks to see if her suspicions are confirmed.  They are.  When her husband gets stabbed, she understands just how dangerous the Russians are.

The ending is very ironic and very fitting.  The users get used and good wins over evil.  Also, Nora's husband survives.  All is well in Nora's world.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Monster Hunter Files (Monster Hunter International) by Larry Correia

If you like stories about alien killers and things that go bump in the night, this book is for you.  If you like mercenary soldiers, you'll probably like it too.  When I started reading it, I couldn't put it down until I was done!

Baen Books and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 3rd.

Owen is in most of the stories and he's a bad ass monster killer.  Even if they look like cacti.  I also admire his wife who became a monster killer at fifteen.  This whole book is filled with impossible things that are hard to kill.  Some even come back to life.  While it's a bit horrible, it's also exciting and it keeps you reading.

Here is the list of stories:

Larry Correia “Thistle” -Owen and the MHI team take on a new monster in Arizona.

Jim Butcher “Small Problems” - MHI's janitorial staff has to handle some "small problems".

Mike Kuparii “Darkness Under The Mountain” - Cooper quits and takes a freelance hunting gig in Afghanistan for a Chinese mining company.

Jessica Day George “A Knight Of the Enchanted Forest” - Trailer park elves vs. Gnomes TURF WAR.

John C. Wright “The Manticore Sanction” - Cold War Era betrayal and espionage with Britain's equivalent to STFU. 

Maurice Broaddus “The Dead Yard” - Trip attends to to some family business in Jamaica, voodoo ensues. 

Brad Torgersen “The Bride” - Benjamin Franklin cut deals with other things besides Franks. 

Faith Hunter “She Bitch, Killer of Kits” - Jane Yellowrock teams up with MHI to take care of some werewolves in the Appalachians.

Jody Lynn Nye "Mr. Natural" - an STFU unit has to deal with hippies and plant monsters in the 1970s.

Quincy J Allen “Sons Of The Father” - Two brothers find out about what their dad used to do for a living, and kill a whole lot of monsters in the process.

Alex Shvartsman “The Troll Factory” - Heather Kerkonen needs a favor from an MHI recruit when a mission in Russia goes sideways.

Kim May “Keep Kaiju Weird” - Just because a Kitsune has earned her PUFF exemption doesn't mean she is going to let some monster wreck Portland.

Steve Diamond “The Gift” - The Vatican's Hunters from the Blessed Order of St. Hubert the Protector deal with Old Ones in Mexico. 

John Ringo “The Case of the Ghastly Specter” - Chad Gardnier recounts one of his missions from the 1980s. 

Bryan Thomas Schmidt & Julie Frost “Huffman Strikes Back” - Cecil Huffman had a brother, and he's got a grudge to settle against Owen Pitt. 

Sarah A. Hoyt “Hunter Born” - Remember when we mentioned that monster hunting screwed up Julie Shackleford's junior prom? 

Jonathan Maberry “Hitler’s Dog” - In WW2, Agent Franks really hated Nazis, dealing with Golem of Prague doesn't improve his disposition either.

My favorite was "Small Problems" by Jim Butcher.  Seeing his name as one of the authors drew me to read this book and he doesn't disappoint.

The stories were all good.  Try it.  If you like action and adventure, you'll find it here. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Hide and Seek M.J. Arlidge

Helen Grace is now sitting in jail waiting for her trial.  She didn't commit the crime but she was framed for it.  The worst part is that it's her dead sister's son who framed her.  She can't do anything while incarcerated except try to stay alive...

First to Read allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published so you can grab a copy now.

I've been reading this whole series and knew I had to read this one to see if she was able to prove her innocence.  She has a real problem with that because she had lied to the cops in the past.  Now no one wants to believe her except one person.  What can one person do?  Not only that:  there's a killer in the prison.

There's a sadist prison guard, gang members, and more to deal with while you live in a cell.  The food is bad and might have a cockroach in it (or worse).  There's a disabled person in a wheelchair who sells drugs.  And now, there's someone in the cells who is a killer.  Of course, Grace is the first one they think might have done it.

Her cop friend is searching for the nephew and skirting a line between losing only her job but her husband.  She's spending too much time on it and it has now been declared a closed case.  She's not willing to give up.

When the first dead body turns up pregnant, that adds another flavor to the murder.  Who is sleeping with the prisoners and why?

As is usual, there's plenty going on and the action doesn't slow down until the end.  There are unpleasant subjects covered but it's reality.  One thing about it, you can't second guess this author.

Strange Lands: YA Otherworldly Fantasy Adventure (Heroes of Distant Planets Book 1) by Anderson Atlas

Allan won the swimming competition and set a new record.  Then he got to watch it all go down the drain when his math teacher tells everyone he got an "F" on the last test.  On the way home, he gets lectured about his future, how long he'll be grounded and then everything goes black.  When he reawakens in the hospital, both his parents are dead and his legs don't work anymore...

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

This is written for young readers but it spoke to me, too.  Allan feels guilty for his parent's deaths and thinks he's responsible.  He has no hope for athletics anymore.  And he doesn't want to go anywhere or see anyone.  No one seems to know how to act around him.  His own uncle didn't want to take him on because he's not sure how to care for him.  He's not in a good place.  He'll realize it wasn't so bad later...

When his uncle takes him fishing, he's not thrilled.  What neither one of them anticipated was a freak flood that took out their camp and moved them downstream.  Allan can't get his uncle loose from the rock that has him pinned.  He's unconscious.  Allan manages to put rocks all around him to keep him out of the water.  Then he tries to crawl up to the road to get help.  On the way, he finds this odd plant.  When he touches it, it sprays him with pollen and spikes.  And, soon, he's no longer by the river...

This is a new world, with new dangers and new enemies.  Some of the friendlies aren't really.  Lots of things would like to eat you.  And Allan can't even walk...

The journey he takes in this world makes him accept what has happened in his life.  He begins to understand it wasn't all his fault.  And if he wants to get back to his world and save his uncle, he's going to have to save this world, too.

This was a very entertaining read and I can't wait to see where the author takes the story next.  He has friends in the other world and they've made him a promise...

The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O'Neill

This is a sweet tale done in chapter book form of a missing tea dragon and a little girl who finds new friends...

Oni Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 31st.

The graphics are magical, some of the characters are creatures instead of people, and there's a lost little girl who is very shy and has memory loss.  When the main character returns the tea dragon to its home, she meets the The Tea Dragon Society.  At the moment, it only has two members.  But that's about to change.

As she learns about the tea dragons, shares their tea and visits the remaining members, she learns a lot, makes a new friend with the shy girl, and even gets to have her own tea dragon.  What fun!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Haunted Nights by Lisa Morton, Ellen Datlow

Don't look for anyone nice in these stories.  They are wicked, mean and scary stories.  And I read every one...

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

If you're looking for a book that will get you in the mood for a scary Halloween, this one will do it.  These stories chill and might even make you a bit ill.  This is the dark side of horror.

Here's the list of stories:

“With Graveyard Weeds and Wolfbane Seeds” by Seanan McGuire
“Dirtmouth” by Stephen Graham Jones“
”A Small Taste of the Old Country“ by Jonathan Maberry
”Wick’s End“ by Joanna Parypinski
”The Seventeen Year Itch“ by Garth Nix
”A Flicker of Light on Devil’s Night“ by Kate Jonez
”Witch-Hazel“ by Jeffrey Ford
”Nos Galen Gaeaf“ by Kelley Armstrong
”We’re Never Inviting Amber Again“ by S. P. Miskowski
”Sisters“ by Brian Evenson
”All Through the Night“ by Elise Forier Edie
”A Kingdom of Sugar Skulls and Marigolds“ by Eric J. Guignard
”The Turn“ by Paul Kane
”Jack“ by Pat Cadigan
”Lost in the Dark“ by John Langan
”The First Lunar Halloween" by John R. Little

The one that haunted me the most was "All Through the Night" by Elise Forier Edie.  You have to feel sorry for the pregnant widow.  The story about the man who made a deal with the devil and then fooled him was also very good.  But he should have remembered a deal is a deal...

I'll be remembering these stories for a long time.  They're the kind that pop into your mind here and there.  If you enjoy ghosts, devils and evil beings, this is the book for you!

The Ninja's Illusion: A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery by Gigi Pandian

Jaya is going to Japan to support her friend who does a magic act.  She's also going to see if she can find some information about a dutch ship that sunk with cargo.  She has no idea both of those goals are putting her in danger.

Henery Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 3rd.

This story is complex with lots of characters, lots of different agendas and people who will kill to get what they want.

Jaya is torn between two men.  She loves them both and she's good friends with both of them but does she want to share her life with one of them?  

When the main magician is killed, they find the diary he used for this rope trick is missing.  Was that the motive?

Pay close attention to all the spider webs moving from one character to another.  Only Jaya and her close friends are telling the whole truth.

I have to admit I didn't suspect the real criminal.  He seemed benign to me but not when he has a samurai sword!

The mystery is solved and Jaya finds out who her heart loves most...

Monday, September 11, 2017

Merry and Bright by Debbie Macomber

He grew up being shuffled back and forth between his divorced parents and spending a lot of time in boarding schools.  He's good looking, smart and totally focused on his career.  He might spend a night with a woman but he's not looking for anything permanent.  So how does a young woman who is his emotional opposite suddenly become attractive to him?

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

Merry works fulltime and takes care of her family.  Her mother is disabled and her brother has autism.  When she has to work overtime, it becomes even more of a chore to keep everything going.  When her boss reprimands her twice, once for eating at her desk and the next time for decorating for Christmas, she decides she really doesn't like him.  But when her mother and brother set her up on a dating site, she meets a guy she does like.  She eventually even agrees to meet him.

Looks like everything is working out, doesn't it?  It is, until she sees her boss sitting there waiting for her.  She doesn't even say hi, she goes on home.  He's irritated at being stood up until her little brother writes to him.  Then he texts her again and they eventually talk some more.

There are more trials and tribulations to go but it does end happily ever after.  After all, it's Christmas...

Kuma-Kuma Chan's Travels by Kazue Takahashi

This picture book has pastel graphics that are understated but work real well with the story line.  I enjoy their simplicity.

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

Kuma-Kuma travels a lot.  Usually in his mind but he sees wonderful things and has fun on his trips.  I grew up in the country and stayed home by myself a lot until my brother was born, so I learned to have trips in my mind, too.

He even listens to the stars and watches the birds fly for hints.  When his mind isn't fertile enough for new adventures, he lays on his roof and watches the clouds and the birds and communes with nature.

For not having many friends around, he has a good time.  He's even learning to write his own tales...

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Halloween Carnival Volume 1 by Robert Mccammon, Kevin Lucia, John Little, Lisa Morton

This is an anthology of short stories that focus on Halloween.  They are light horror and read up easily and fast.  Especially in the daytime.  I'd suggest reading them in the daytime...

Hydra and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 3rd.

Here's the list of stories:

STRANGE CANDY by Robert McCammon

Chocolate bars and sour suckers are trick-or-treat staples, but beware the odd sweet at the bottom of your bag. You never know who it’s from—or what it might do to you.


Father Ward should have heeded the warnings about hearing confession on All Hallow’s Eve. Because a man is about to tell him a secret more haunting than any he has heard before.

DEMON AIR by John R. Little

Fear of flying is not uncommon. But on this transpacific airline, the real danger isn’t the flight itself. It’s whoever—or whatever—is up in the air with you.


Trick McGrew, former cowboy star of the silver screen, has never believed in tall tales. But down in Mexico, the land of La Llorona, he’s about to find out just how real urban legends can be.


Some people will go to any lengths to rack up retweets, likes, and follows on social media, no matter who they end up hurting . . . or even killing

My favorite story was:  LA HACIENDA DE LOS MUERTOS by Lisa Morton.  It has to do with a legend I've heard here in New Mexico about the wailing woman who is searching the river for her children.  This version has a different twist to the ending and I like it.

They were all entertaining.  The last one was a bit weird but Halloween brings that out in people.  What do you do for Halloween?

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Fixing to Die by Miranda James

The Ducote sisters are visiting an old house where a ghost or ghosts might be hanging around.  Mary and her husband are running a bed and breakfast and strange things are happening.  They get ready and take along their young man and their two pets.  Once they arrive, they do notice some things.

Berkley and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 3rd.

An'gel discovers the French Room she occupies has someone who moves things she puts in place.  Her nightgown goes under her pillow but it was on the foot on the bed when she went back to her room later.  Dickce finds a cold spot on the stair and sees a shadow that looks like a person but disappears immediately, like nothing was ever there.

If that's not odd enough, some of Mary's relatives show up and say they are staying.  Even a medium shows up uninvited.  Soon we have a nice large household full of guests.  And one of them is a killer.

Everyone has secrets.  Not everyone is telling the truth.  And when the male relative visitor asks to be in the French Room, An'gel moves out.  The next day he is dead.  And it's not from natural causes.

It's a twisted trail with stories from the past and present that must be tied together to find the killer.  I liked the ending.  It was different and worked like a charm.

Jak Barley Private Inquisitor and the Case of the Annoying Assassins (Jak Barley #5) by Dan Ehl

Jak is back and he's just as bad as he always was.  Bad puns, interesting curses, and ready to step where other people would not tread.  It's a good thing he has friends.  Without Lorenzo and his witch girlfriend and her mother, he probably wouldn't make it through these odd adventures he jumps into.

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

This one is the best one yet.  It starts a hunt for bank robbers and identifying corrupt CIA (Clandestine Information Authority) agents.  Then he finds out someone has put a whack contract on him, so he's dancing around assassins most of the story.  Even adopting a dire poodle pup isn't safe.  Now someone wants to steal him!  

Then he runs into goblins, demons, and dragons on his quest.  The worst part is he's living undercover in an elders’ RW (recreational wagon) park set atop a butte with the other oldsters and they're not a lot of help when you're being attacked.

He's wearing a ring that makes him look old but some of the creatures can tell he's magicked and they still want to kill him.  Don't feel bad for Jak, he brings a lot of it on himself.

He (and the author) can come up with the most unique curses I've ever heard.  Puns abound.  After all, he names his dire poodle "Phideaux".

I enjoy this whole series because it makes me laugh in places, the danger feels real and the author always gives you lots of magical and dangerous creatures to read about. If you like fantasy and fun, you'll enjoy this story. 

Friday, September 8, 2017

The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli

She's the dragon killer.  She was burned by one early in her life and now she hunts them down and kills them.  That's her job and she's good at it.  But she's been lied to.  Her goal and drive in life is headed in the wrong direction...

Harper Teen and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 3rd.

Asha believes she is the Iskari, the destroyer and the death bringer.  Her father has marriage in mind for her and has picked her mate.  She feels no love for him.  The only out she's given is to kill the first dragon.  He's the largest and most dangerous.  She also has to go alone.  If she kills the dragon, he won't make her marry.

She finds that everything she has been told by her father is a lie.  He's after power and will take down anyone who stands in his way.  She learns enough to know he's evil and she hates him.  But anyone who kills him will die, too.

If that's not enough of a quandary for her, she manages to get overly friendly with a slave.  He's not supposed to look at her or touch her but when she needs him, he does.  A relationship with him is forbidden.  She also uses the old stories to draw the dragons out and that's forbidden, too.  Asha is walking a tightrope and before she gets to the dramatic ending, she's going to fall. There are a lot of secrets (mostly nasty ones) and the whole story is fraught with danger.

This was a very good read and impressed me enough I have pre-ordered the book for my own library.  I will reread it and savor it all over again in the future.  Give it a try and tell me what you think.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Ghost on the Case by Carolyn Hart

Heaven is a nice place to live but Bailey likes her earth visits, too.  Playing detective can be fun.  She's sent to comfort a sister who is worried about her younger sister.  She never came home the night before and she has been contacted by a kidnapper.

Berkley and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 3rd.

This is a cozy mystery about a very rich man that is murdered.  The sister gets framed by the murderer.  Now Bailey has to find the killer and prove it was not the older sister.  It's not easy.

She's not supposed to show herself on earth but she's friends with the police chief.  And she couldn't comfort the sister without a physical form.  Still, being able to do things invisibly does sound attractive.  Until you bump into someone or try to read the newspaper...

She has plenty of suspects.  The rich man fought with his lawyers, workers and family.  He had a lover and was looking at another.  His ex-wives weren't responsible, they live too far away.  While the sister stole money to get the younger one back, she didn't take the coins and someone left the door unlocked for her.  The more facts Bailey finds out, the more confusing it gets.

Another person is murdered.  The sister is arrested.  Bailey has to get moving.  And when she finds the murderer, it's a good thing she's already dead.  The killer wants to kill her again.

There's plenty of action, budding romance, lots of weeding through suspects, and it takes a faint attempt at blackmail to prove who the killer was.  It'll keep you on your toes.

Charlie & Mouse & Grumpy by Laurel Snyder, Emily Hughes

Charlie and Mouse are surprised by a visit from their grandfather.  He's fun to have around and they call him Grumpy.

Chronicle Books and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 3rd.

This is simple book for young readers.  It's done as a chapter book.  The boys have a great time with Grumpy.  My favorite story is when they get up in the morning and plan to pounce on him in bed when they get downstairs.  Unfortunately, he's already awake and drinking coffee.  But he takes a nap in his chair later...

With easy-to-read words and magical moments with little ones, this should be a story all children will love.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Dead Shall be Raised and The Murder of a Quack by George Bellairs, Martin Edwards

These are two old tales featuring Detective Inspector Littlejohn.  It begins with the discovery of a body that was buried twenty years ago...

Poisoned Pen Press and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).   It will be published October 3rd.

Two men had a fight in the bar and were removed from the premises by the owner.  They found one shot dead the next day.  The other never came around again.  They assumed he'd left the area, maybe joined the war effort, or just moved on.  When the body is identified as his, that theory goes up in smoke.  

Littlejohn is only in the area because he and his wife are on Christmas vacation.  However, the local cop has sprained his ankle, so he's going to work on the case unofficially to help him out.  He knows the true murderer got away with his crime and he's determined to find out who it was.  The problem is that many of the people involved in the case have died.  Maybe the criminal has, too.

In the second tale, he and the landlady find the local doctor hanging from a piece of his equipment.  It just so happens he was strangled first so it wasn't suicide.  This case has half the town involved in what happened.  The doctor had no medical degree (some called him a quack) and he sent on patients that needed more care than he could give.  He could set bones, offer herbal medicines and he listened well.  But someone was afraid of what he knew...

Both tales take a lot of fact gathering to get to the heart of the matter.  Nobody gets away with a crime once Littlejohn is on the case, though. 

Middle Bear by Susanna Isern, Manon Gauthier

Do you have a middle child?  How about one that's middlin' good at everything?

Kids Can Press and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 3rd.

He's not the oldest, he's not the youngest, he's the middle bear.  He's not sure he likes that.  After all, he's nothing special.  But when his parents need the children's help, he finds out that being the size he is has an advantage.  Being in the middle can be good!

The text is repetitive and the illustrations are sparse which makes the story stand out more.  What size is your bear?

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

A Conspiracy in Belgravia (Lady Sherlock #2) by Sherry Thomas

Charlotte gets a very interesting case.  The wife of the man she loves comes to her office and states that a man she first loved, who was illegitimate and poor, had been coming to a certain spot in the city once a year so they could see each other again.  They didn't talk.  It could stop at any time.  But when it stopped with no word from him on why, the lady thinks he might be ill or dead and she wants to find out.  The interesting thing is that his name is the name of Charlotte's half-brother...

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

Charlotte has never met her half-brother.  She starts her investigation by trying to learn more about him.  The more she learns about him, she begins to believe he's in trouble.  One death is just the beginning.  This a huge conspiracy with many players.  And one of them happens to be the lady with the missing love.

I enjoy watching Charlotte's mind work.  She's intelligent, doesn't care what anyone thinks about her, likes to eat, and likes to solve problems.  She even gets a marriage proposal to ponder over.  She works well with him and likes him but it appears he won't let her continue her detective work, so...

The case is riddled with many odd characters, lots of undercover work on the conspirators, and some near brushes with danger and death.  As Charlotte solves the other cases she gets, she keeps figuring out the layers of the case she's working on.

There's a very interesting development at the end of the story and the last line is very ironic.  I can't wait to read the next in this series!  

The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City by Jodi Kendall, Pascal Campion

When her brother comes home with a runt the pig farmer was going to let die, Josie adopts it.  She loves the little pink porker and while she's been told she's responsible for Hamlet her family does help her a bit.  But she keeps growing...

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

Josie's family is big and there's nowhere in the house to hide out and be alone.  They start with a home in the stairwell.  The larger the pig gets, the harder it is to keep her in there.

This is also the story of a family.  Josie thinks she's a forgotten member of the family.  Then she finds out one of her sisters feels the same way!  One thing Hamlet does is get everyone talking to each other again.

There are two catastrophes.  First Hamlet goes through the animal door into the house next door and really disturbs the cranky lady that lives there.  It also breaks part of her fence and some of her flower pots.  They have to pay for the damage and they don't have enough money.  Josie ends up giving up her allowance money she's saved but that alone isn't enough.  Her parents will have to make up the difference.

The second disaster is when her father invites his boss over for dinner.  She's being a pain the whole meal but when the pig gets out and dumps her pie in her lap, she kicks the pig.  Josie's father orders her out of the house.  No one abuses animals or children in his world.

When it seems like there is no way out of their money troubles and Hamlet will be taken away by animal control, a miracle happens and things turn themselves around.

It's amazing how a runt destined for death revived a family that had grown apart.  This a good-hearted story with old fashioned values and I enjoyed it.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Snowspelled: Volume I of The Harwood Spellbook by Stephanie Burgis

She's lost her magic (and almost killed herself in the process) and she cancelled her wedding.  She's been hiding out, almost in mourning, for months.  But a big celebration is coming up and she needs to attend with the rest of her family.  She just didn't know how dangerous it would be to go...

The author shared this story with me as an early reader (thank you).  It is being published today.

I love this author's work.  It doesn't matter what she picks for a theme, she writes a good story, makes you laugh here and there and keeps your attention.  This book is a winner!

The first thing that happens is that one of carriages of guests is turned away.  They then get lost in the woods and the family members and guests all go out to search for them in this strange snow storm that has come up.  She takes the easiest route since she's without magic.  Then her old fiance finds her and tries to talk to her.  She doesn't want to talk.  She also doesn't want to have walked on a troll.  When she wakes him up (he's covered in snow), he begins to move.  If you thought an earthquake was bad, this is worse.  

Somehow in the process of asking him to let them down carefully, an elf shows up and tells her she must find the weather magician and make him stop the snow or the treaty between the elves and humans will be voided.  That would be deadly.

She tries to find who did the magic but it doesn't appear to be anyone in the house.  Who else could have done it?  And why?  The answer is amazing and the ending is great.  I can't wait to read the next installment in this series!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Ghosts of Greenglass House by Kate Milford

Milo is home for the Christmas holidays and he wishes his ghost friend was around.  It's too quiet and a bit boring without her.  They do have a guest but he's an artist and not much company for Milo.  Soon Milo will long for the quiet days he had...

Clarion Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 3rd.

A caroling group comes to visit and sings Christmas songs to them.  They're a bit odd and scared Milo the last visit they made but he's handling it fine this year.  Even when part of a costume gets set on fire, he hangs in there.  Soon they are in the house trying to recover from the accident.  Then the snow gets too thick and they can't leave.  No more empty home for Milo.

They had already been invaded by two guests from the last Christmas.  They're on the run because of a theft and need a place to hide.  Unfortunately, it seems the chorus group wants the goods they stole because all of a sudden they're gone from where they had them stored.  With the painter getting in everyone's way and flirting with one of the girls, it's hard to tell just who might be guilty.  It's a good thing his friendly ghost returns because he needs her help.

There are two people trying to get their hands on the lost items, the past and the present mix, another ghost comes into play, and the hobby horse of the chorus comes to life even though it only had a skull.  It has an exciting ending and it was a busy fun read all the way through.  I liked it a lot.