Thursday, November 30, 2017

Mad Hatters and March Hares: All-New Stories from the World of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland by Ellen Datlow

If you thought Alice and the Jabberwocky were strange enough in the original tale, you'll have a lot more odd characters to think about now...

Tor Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published December 12th.

These tales are dark and some of them are horror tales but my favorite ones were the ones that were just a bit odd.  

My favorites were:
Mercury by Prya Sharma
All the King's Men by Jeffrey Ford (starring Humpty Dumpty)
The Flame After the Candle by Cathrynne M Valente (a bunch of short tales used to make a whole)
Moon Memory and Madness by Katherine Vaz

None of the tales are usual, none are boring and many made me go:  "Oh!"  The writer's words flow well and they will entertain you.  

I'd recommend you don't read this one late in the evening...

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Soldier's Curse by Thomas Keneally, Meg Keneally


This book was fascinating.  It's set in New South Wales and is a prison camp for English prisoners.  One of them is a man who worked as a legal clerk and then forged a certificate to work as a lawyer.  He's found out and after serving time in more than one facility, he finds himself here.  The good news is that he gets chosen to work as a clerk for the commander and he doesn't have to do the other ugly jobs.  The bad news is there's an assistant to the commander that doesn't like him.  It doesn't take long for a crisis to arrive after the commander goes looking for a river that is rumored to be large enough to be useful...

Atria Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published December 12th.

This is well told tale of a man who didn't have opportunity and made his own.  He has trouble keeping his mouth shut and he gets punished for that.  He still believes in justice even if he is in jail.  He and the housekeeper get to be special friends and share a cup of tea in the mornings.  There's a young Irish soldier that sometimes keeps them company and they both enjoy his humor.

The assistant commander shows his sadistic side when having someone disciplined.  They only give 35 lashes for wrong doing but he makes it 100.  And when he deems the soldier is not hitting him hard enough, he takes the lash and adds even more.  The lashed man dies...

When the commander's wife dies, everything goes to pieces.  Especially since she was poisoned.  The housekeeper is accused of it since she served her the tea.  Hugh doesn't believe she did it and tries to prove it but his documents that would make the assistant commander not look good get confiscated and burned.  He doesn't give up though.

The story has lots of detail and moves a bit slowly but it takes you inside the story and you feel you know the people.  I'd read more about this character.  He's intriguing.
 

Murder in the Family by Faith Martin

The job Hillary has now is a promotion but she's bored.  Supervising and pushing paper is not her thing.  She doesn't mind training new officers but she'd rather be doing investigations than paperwork.  When she gets her wish and is sent back to investigations, she finds they are replacing her with the cop that tried to put her in jail for her dead husband's crime.  She's not happy, but she doesn't have time to think about it.  She gets assigned a new murder case right away...

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

Hillary finds the victim is a fifteen-year old boy.  Someone has stabbed him with gardening shears that were in the shed where he was located.  It's a lonely sad death.  Why kill him?

It takes time for that question to be answered.  He wasn't involved in drugs, he wasn't stealing and he didn't seem to have other bad habits.  But most people referred to him as sly.  And he had money he had no way to earn.  Just what was he doing?

It turns out this little community had some secrets.  The young man had a camera and he liked to take pictures.  He even got an award for one of them.  But the other pictures he took were of things people did and didn't want other people to know.

This is a look at the darker side of life and it's not pleasant.  Hillary does find out who the murderer is.  But she's got another problem.  She's got two men who are interested in her.  She wasn't sure if she wanted one, but two is too many.  I wonder what will happen in the next book...

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Mrs. Claus: Not the Fairy Tale They Say edited by Rhonda Parrish

This Mrs. Claus is not that smiley nice lady that hands out apple cider and cookies (or milk if you choose).  These ladies (if you can call them that) are more dangerous than they are sweet.  These fantasy tales are great fun to read.  Want to get in the mood for Christmas?  Read these tales to learn what not to do.

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

Red to Hide the Blood by Hayley Stone, which is the last story in this anthology, was one of my favorites.  The best one in my opinion was the first story:  Wight Christmas by Laura VanArendonk Baugh.  This Mrs. Santa has a heritage that stands her in good stead even if wights are out and about.  I love strong women stories.

None of these stories are bad, I enjoyed them all.  Why not give it a read and tell me which stories touched you?

Monday, November 27, 2017

Where We Belong by Lynn Austin

They were lucky enough to grow up in a home where their father allowed them freedoms other women weren't allowed to have.  They even went to college in a day and age when women didn't.  They were supposed to get married, have children, and attend functions and entertain for their husband.  These women wanted to travel and they did...

Bethany House provided me with a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It has been published.

This story moves through the present and the past.  Their memories of the past show you how they matured and how they survived several crises.  Victorian women were second class citizens and their husbands owned all their money.  They had dreams of traveling to ancient historic sites and even finding artifacts that would support their religious beliefs.  If they married, that wouldn't happen.  The oldest woman told her boyfriend she would not marry him.  His mother tried to talk her into it but she could see he only wanted her money.

She and her sister live through bad seas, desert storms and dangerous sheiks, each time saying it was the grace of God they were still alive.  I enjoyed reading about their traveling and the problems they encountered.  I also enjoyed the romances that grew in time.  There was a bit more Christianity than I would have preferred but it didn't harm the tale.  Their approach was very different from others in that time period.  They even rehabilitated those who tried to steal from them or those who ran from the orphanage.  Life wasn't perfect but they made it work.  That's about all we can do and we might as well have fun with it!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Mosquitoes Don't Bite Me by Pendred Noyce

Nala is very lucky.  Mosquitoes don't bite her.  I wish I had that skill, they love me...

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

I learned things reading this book.  Nala's father was a Kenyan and whatever is protecting her from mosquitoes must have come from his heritage.  Her mother is in a wheelchair now after an accident, so she doubts she'll ever see her father soon.  Then a scientist finds out about her skill and he wants to study her.  Her mother allows her to participate.  She can't believe it when they want her to go with them to Kenya and meet her father and other relatives to find the common denominator to stop mosquito bites.  They get malaria from bites and zika is a new concern.

While she's staying at the hotel in Kenya, she's kidnapped!  The man who took her wants free medicine from the drug company for Kenyan families.  His daughter died because he couldn't afford the medicine.  She tries to help him but it doesn't turn out like she thought it would.

This is fiction but the facts about drug costs, death and conditions in Kenya are accurate.  Reading this story will help young ones understand world issues and that all things are not equal.  Even here in the states, young ones can die if the drug costs too much.  Good health shouldn't be only available if you have enough money.  

This read is a bit sad but it offers hope at the end of the story.  Reading this will open your eyes to the challenges we have world wide.  It's very well done.

Altered to Death: A Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery by Christina Freeburn

Faith is gathering historical information for a scrapbook that will be displayed in the historical museum.  When she has an opportunity to visit a long abandoned home that had belonged to the first family in town, she's happy.  She's sure she can find some cool things for her scrapbook.  It's what the work crew finds that creates the most excitement, though.  They've dug up a dead body...

Henery Press and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published November 28th.

Everything about this family is a secret.  They left town suddenly.  No one remembers much and no one volunteers anything.  But a dead man means someone has to answer.  

Her fiance is the local cop and he wants her to stay out of the case.  She's still on the hunt for local history.  She certainly doesn't expect to find what she does.  Secret diaries, illegitimate children, more deaths, and secrets buried for years don't make your life easier.  Especially when some of the people involved are crazy.

There's plenty of action, a messed up mystery, and surprises all around by the time the case has been closed.  At least it looks like Faith and Ted are finally going to get to the altar.  The next book should be even more fun.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Honey Moon Dog Daze by Sofi Benitez

Honey is looking for a way to earn money.  She decides to try dog walking.  She gets her girlfriend who is neighbor of hers to go into business with her.  But it's harder than it looks...

Rabbit Publishing and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published.

I love dogs so I had to read this one.  The first dog they get under contract is a St. Bernard.  They are young girls and this dog is bigger than both of them.  When they go to the door to talk to the owner, they almost run away because the dog is taller than they are!  But he's fairly well mannered and after a test walk, they agree to take him on.

Their next challenge is a group of three Corgis.  Trying to hang onto all three and not get caught up in leashes or tripped is challenge!

Then Titus' sister decides to copy their business.  She's got more customers and she lords it over them.  The fun part is that she often ends up on her face or her bottom because the dogs are stronger than she is.  It's when they both end up on the same street and the dogs decide to play in a mud puddle, they decide they might be friends.

There's a side story about a foster girl looking for a permanent home and working at the animal shelter that's sweet and ends well.

My favorite part is the name of their business:  Sleepy Hollow Howlers.  This was a great read.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Harry Moon Halloween Nightmares by Mark Andrew Poe

Harry might have overcome Titus' bullying but they aren't friends.  There's talent night competition for Halloween and Titus is determined to win it!

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

This book is even more fun than the last one.  In this one, Harry gets a rabbit he can pull out of his top hat.  It's even more special because the rabbit is magic and he can fly!  The practice performance makes it look like Harry will win it but Titus is determined...

When the show is over, Harry gets disqualified because no one can answer how the rabbit did it.  But he's a good sport and goes to the big party Titus' father is putting on.  It's a good thing he did...

This one is exciting, Titus needs Harry's help, and it all ends well.  Sometimes you're only enemies because you don't know each other well or you're jealous.  It's better to be friends.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Harry Moon Wand Paper Scissors by Mark Andrew Poe

Harry Moon's town has a bully.  He likes to pick on Harry.  Little does he know that Harry has magical powers...

Rabbit Publishing and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published.

This series would be great for middle graders.  The stories are exciting and there are puns and jokes interspersed in the chapters.  After all, Harry Moon gets teased because the older boys mooned the younger ones when they were going by on the bus to go to the away game.  Now they call him "Hairy Moon" and laugh.

When Harry was born, his mother was visited by a man who told her he was special.  He meant in a magical way.  Harry is thirteen and he's noticed a few things but he needs something more to fight Titus' bullying.  The man at the magic shop gives him a wand.  He has to choose the right one and he does.  But his magic won't work for bad, it will only do good.  Harry has to find another way to get around Titus. His dad even makes up t-shirts for everyone that say "Do No Evil".  Harry's solution is a good one. 

This is fun read with a good message for children.  I have enjoyed this whole series.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Ludlow Lost by Kate Robinson Dunne

This is a fun middle school read.  It's fantasy filled with creatures humans don't believe in...

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

He's kidnapped by a fairy, two goblins take him and the fairy to a boat filled with them and a banshee is the captain.  It's not looking good for Ludlow.

He has several adventures on board as he adjusts to life at sea and to hearing a banshee wail.  Both are awful but he can used to the sea.  Not so with the other noise...

He's lucky enough to make friends with a mermaid but the fairy says she's the one telling the banshee about his plans.  He doesn't believe it and you'll find out he's right later in the story.  Even the goblins aren't all real goblins.

This was a great read and I'd read more in this series.  Ludlow still has a lot to learn about other worldly creatures.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Little Pierrot V.1 Get The Moon by Alberto Varanda

He's an odd looking young boy and he likes to keep to himself.  His best friend is a snail...

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

This is simple picture book without much text.  Even small ones can enjoy the illustrations and antics of little Pierrot.  He visits the moon and the stars.  He even hooks his soccer ball in the moon slice and brings it down to earth by accident.

This story is dreamlike and changes on each page.  Children will love imagining his adventures.  Why not encourage them to write their own story?  Being creative starts young.

Christmas on the Coast by Rebecca Boxall

This is based on historical facts but it's fiction.  Despite that, this story makes a chill run up and down my spine.  Imagine being on a small island and the Germans come in to occupy the land...

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

When Libby's best friend turns on her after her mother's death, she can't figure out why.  Stella tells her to ask her father.  She feels her family was betrayed by Libby's family.  She finally gets an opportunity to ask and he shares her great aunt's diary with her.  He says she'll get the facts by reading the story. 

This is Christmas and there's a lot to do, she doesn't have much time for reading.  She's got mini crises with her children and is overwhelmed with what must be done for the holiday.  She finally reaches the end of her rope and tells her family what she thinks about them.  She's overridden with guilt but feels better for getting it out in the open.

When she finishes the diary she finds she knows more but she still doesn't know part of the story.  When she asks her father, he shows her another letter which ends the mystery.  Now if she can only get Stella to listen to her...

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Body in the Casket: A Faith Fairchild Mystery by Katherine Hall Page

Faith is asked to cater a birthday party for an older man at his home.  He wants her to live in over the weekend for the party.  She's open to that and agrees.  Then he tells her the real reason he wants her there.  Someone sent him a casket and he thinks it's a death threat.  She can't argue about that...

William Morrow and Edelweiss shared a copy of this book with me for review (thank you).  It will be published December 5th.

Faith works with his butler getting everything set up and learning her duties.  She finds that the owner has invited everyone from his failed production.  It's an odd choice for a birthday but it's his choice.

Some of those invited die before they can get there.  One from natural causes, the other might have been an accident or suicide.  Faith is wondering how many others will die.

The birthday boy invites his cousin to fill in the blank spot and he drinks too much.  He's the next to die.  He was playing around in the desk drawer in the library and got bit by a poisonous snake someone had placed there.  It should have been the owner, not the cousin.  So now the murderer has to get more creative.

When the murderer is unmasked, I was surprised.  Everybody had reason to wish the owner dead, but the author adds a neat twist to the end.  It's a good thing that Faith followed her instincts.  It's what keeps her alive.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Accessories to Die For by Paula Paul

This story was set in Santa Fe.  I live in New Mexico, have visited Santa Fe and I know about their Old World charm.  I had to read this book.

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

Irene used to be an assistant district attorney in New York, but her mother has asked her to come home.  She's fearful of dying alone.  Irene's mother frustrates her but she understands her need for company.  She comes and she sets up a high end second hand store for recycled designer duds.  It's a successful business.  She hires a young man who charms the women who come in the store and is a great salesman.  

Juanita sits on the Plaza and sells her jewelry.  It's all made in the Indian way and is lovely to see.  She's friends with Irene.  Her son is missing and she's trying to find him.  She knows he needs her.  Then the cops charge him with murder and she gets even more desperate to save him.

You have drug trafficking, antique jewelry being stolen and sold in France at auctions, Indian versus American ideas of right and wrong, and Irene is in the middle.  She's conflicted because she knows she has to report some of what she's heard but she doesn't want to make things worse.  And her boyfriend is another attorney and he's representing the other side.  Then she finds out her mother was dating one of the killers.

You learn about the beautiful Indian jewelry, the different tribes, and how fragile life is when you live on the fringe.  You certainly won't be bored!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Somebody at the Door: British Library Crime Classics by Raymond Postgate

Gossip can kill.  If only people minded their own business and not everyone else's.

Poisoned Pen Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published December 5th.

This story wanders around a bit.  You hear about other characters before you get to the meat of the story.  A man dies at home.  His wife finally calls the doctor.  The doctor isn't sure if the death was natural or not, so another doctor is called in.  The second doctor said someone had used mustard gas to kill him.  The unfortunate part of the tale is how many people hated him.  This man had no compassion for anyone.  No one was sparing any on him either.

The Inspector has to look at all those on the train with him to try to determine if he was infected then.  There are facts, there are coincidences and with so many that could be guilty, it's hard to nail down who was most motivated.  At the end, he finally does.  I was surprised.  Usually I have an idea of the murderer, but not in this story.  The writer weaves his magic and only shows his cards at the end.

This was a good mystery.  I like to see the older novels come to life again.  They are still good reads.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Chained: A Kate Turner DVM Mystery #3 by Eileen Brady

When Kate visits a dog owner to examine a cut on the dog, the owner shows her an old bone the dog brought home with him.  The tone changes when Kate tells her the bone is human...

Poisoned Pen Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published December 5th.

Kate visits several homes to take care of their animals and she picks up gossip on the way.  When the body is identified as a high school student who disappeared ten years ago, his family asks her to look into it.  She takes some photos, finds out who is in the pictures and then she goes looking for them so she can ask nosy questions.  Her cop friend wants her to stop.  Her "once" boyfriend comes home from a dig in Africa and helps her investigate.

Between the stories she hears (someone has to be lying), the lack of evidence, and two men interested in her, she's not sure where she's going.

This was a good read.  I had no idea who the real villain was and Kate's savior that keeps her alive at the final confrontation was a surprise, too.  Now if she'll just pick her man, she'll have it made. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Dead Man's Chest by Kerry Greenwood

Phryne is off for a holiday, taking her girls, her companion Dot and the dog, Molly.  They are going to do some swimming, eating out when they like, and just generally do some relaxing.  When they arrive at their destination, she finds that the staff that wasn't to meet her is gone.  The back door was open, their furniture is gone, and there's no note or no sign of them...

Poisoned Pen Press and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published December 5th.

They search the house and grounds but find no one.  Luckily Ruth has been learning to cook so she finds a cookbook in the library, buys supplies, and begins doing meals.  They met a fish boy on the way into town.  Three local lads were harassing him and Phryne put a stop to that.  They soon get a big fish as a thanks from the boy.

Phryne begins hiring local help.  She has good luck with the young boy and girl who join her staff.  She even finds some extra food to send home for the families.  She has a good heart even if she makes a bad enemy.

As they continue to wonder about the Johnson's, an old lady across the street dies.  Was it natural or not?  And why did the Johnson's furniture go to a company that said there was never an order for pickup?  What else did that trucking do?  And why are there rumors about a hidden pirate treasure?

This author always adds some strange content to her stories.  Odd people abound and Phryne has to make sense out of small hints and her own intuition.  The good news is that everything works out for the better at the end of the story.  The girls are maturing, the locals respect Phryne, and her boyfriend will be arriving shortly.  What more could you want?

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Quick Curtain: British Library Crime Classics by Alan Melville

The play was going well until the scheduled shooting ending up being too real...

Poisoned Pen Press and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published December 5th.

Inspector Wilson of Scotland is in the audience and he's quick to take action.  When they go to find the actor who fired the shot, he's hung himself in his dressing room.  Everyone is sure the case is already over.  One actor shoots another and then commits suicide.  But Inspector Wilson is not so sure.

I enjoyed reading about the relationship of Wilson and his son.  It was entertaining for him to see a bullet hole in the curtain and the location of the bullet and watch him create a totally different solution to the murder.

It was also fun at the end that the crime he and his son had pieced together was all pure fiction.  It's not often you see a Scotland Yard lad have to admit he was wrong.

This is an amusing read that shows you just how imaginative authors can be.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Artemis by Andy Weir

Jazz is a thief, a very good one.  She smuggles things in that aren't allowed.  She has to know every nook and cranny of the bubble towns that have been created on the moon to do it.  She does.  Her father wishes she didn't do what she does but she's trying to earn enough money to buy a suit to work outside.  They're very expensive.  When she's offered a large sum of money to stop the harvesters that bring in rock, she says no at first.  But when she hears the money being offered, she changes her mind...

Crown Publishing and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It is being published today.

I read The Martian and this writer's words resonate with me.  He talks about impossible things (at least so far) and he makes it very believable.  His stories are full of suspense and huge challenges for the characters.  No matter how many pages there are in the story, you won't skip a thing and you'll be unwilling to put it down and do something else.  His stories are mesmerizing.

Jazz had enemies, friends, and some she's not sure of.  When she goes to do her dirty deed, she makes a mistake and suddenly she's on the run.  When she goes to visit the man that hired her, she finds him and his bodyguard dead.  She runs down the other man she met while at his house and when she breaks in his room, she finds the killer instead.  I told you, it's not boring.

This a conspiracy within a conspiracy and it takes a lot of questions and some brave action to try to save the world she lives in.  At the end, she makes another mistake and almost kills everyone on the planet.  Can she reverse this?

You'll keep reading until you know...

Monday, November 13, 2017

Not Safe After Dark by Peter Robinson

This an anthology of short stories that has a few Inspector Banks stories thrown in.  I'd read about the Inspector in the past and that was what motivated me to read this book.  The author writes good mystery stories and this was a pleasure to read.

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

Mr. Robinson can tie up a mystery in a short story in not too many pages.  I admire an author that can write a complete tale concisely and succinctly in short form without excess words.  All the stories are enjoyable.  I got so busy reading I didn't note the stories I liked best but I did write down a couple as I was getting started:  Anna Said and Some Land in Florida touched me.  Many other stories did, too.

When a book has good mysteries with good characters, I get lost in the stories.  Why don't you get a copy of this and read it and tell me which stories you liked?

The Splendid Baron Submarine by Eric Bower

W. B. Baron tells his class about his summer adventure when his teacher calls on him.   She tells him his story is fantasy and puts him in the corner in his dunce hat.  As he sits there, he tells the mouse who lives there the whole story.  Once you read this book, you'll understand why his teacher thought he was lying...

Amberjack Publishing and Net Galley gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It's being published tomorrow.

This is a perfect read for middle graders.  There are silly inventions that make things big or shrink them small, there's killer monkeys, there's an airplane and submarine, and there's a treasure to be recovered.

The Barons are told that the Vice President needs this treasure to save the country.  They undergo great adventures, near death, and hazardous inventions to get the treasure.  Then they find out the Vice President is a fake and they are to be killed.  The good news is that the mistake they made with their make it big invention shows up at the right time.

There's plenty for your imagination to chew on here and you might encourage your child to write their own story and create their own adventure.  Maybe they'll come up with an even more outrageous story!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Death of Anton: British Library Crime Classics by Alan Melville

Carey's Circus is in town and everyone is excited to go see the wonders, especially the seven Bengal tigers!  Detective Inspector Minto is there because his niece is getting married.  He's not too enthused about her potential mate but he loses interest in him when they find the lion tamer in the tiger cage dead.  Everyone thinks the cats mauled him but it was bullets that took his life...

Poisoned Pen Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published December 5th.

Anton figured out something he shouldn't have and he paid for it with his life.  When Minto starts asking questions he knows he has several possible murderers.  But when he discovers why he was murdered, it limits the possibilities.  

What's worse, as he keeps searching for clues, he finds that the proposed bridegroom is not really selling vacuum cleaners...  

His brother heard the killer's confession of the crime but he cannot disclose who it was.  His niece is going to hate him for stopping for wedding.  And if he's not careful, he might get eaten by a tiger...

This is story of greedy bad men who are willing to kill to keep their profits.  More than one person is hurt because they suspect something.  But, in the end, Minto solves the case.  He also ends the circus but that's just a side note.  That wasn't their biggest enterprise.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Very Very Very Long Dog by Julia Patton

This is a very cute story about a dachshund.  He's a sweet happy fellow who lives in a bookstore and reads a book as he eats his meals.  He also likes to go for walks...

Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published December 5th.

Wiener dogs are well-known as long dogs with short legs.  That doesn't do anything to slow down their enthusiastic lives.  His problem appears when he goes on walks.  He doesn't realize how long he is.

When he finds the trouble he's caused he even goes and bites the offending animal.  He's quite to surprised to find it's his own rear end!

His handlers go back to the library and start reading books for solutions.  They find one.  And then they can go walks safely.  Everybody's happy now...

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

She has a choice.  She can either marry the old man her father chose or go to the convent.  She doesn't want to marry and she doesn't want to go to the convent either.  So she dresses herself as a boy and decides to go traveling...

Del Rey sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published December 5th.

This author's words resonate in my soul.  What she writes talks to me.  She uses some traditional fairy tale characters but changes the story enough to make it new.  She also doesn't make anyone very nice.  There's lots of danger and her main characters just barely survive, but it makes for a good story.

This girl is friends with the frost demon and while they have a symbiotic relationship, they aren't that close.  He has saved her life and he's also falling in love with her but he can't.  She's human and he's not.  That relationship is what will keep her alive.

She finds bandits in the woods and she recovers the girls they stole.  Her only place of refuge is Moscow and she gets there just ahead of the bandits.  What she doesn't know is that one of the Prince's friends is false.  And when she finds out, it's almost too late to save herself...

It's a gripping tale that holds on hard to you, the reader.  I read it in one evening and I'd read another by this author.  She writes excellent tales!  



Thursday, November 9, 2017

West from the Cradle by Brigid Amos

Gold fever is a disease.  When men hear of a discovery, their imaginations run wild and they will pick up and leave where they are to go make their fortune.  The fact that many die on the way and not everyone is lucky enough to find gold doesn't slow them down.  Neither does the fact that men will kill you to get your gold.  When a boy signs on as a helper with the local shop owner, he doesn't realize what he's getting into...

The author and Goddess Fish Blog Tours gave me the opportunity to read and review this book (thank you).  You can buy a copy now.

The first unfortunate thing that happened was that their wagon master got killed at one of the ferry crossings.  The man he is traveling with is elected the new wagon master.  However, it's not a smooth transition.  One man in the group doesn't like him and makes their life difficult.

This is a very realistic tale of how difficult the travel was and how many ways you can die.  Due to lack of food and unsafe water, people got ill and didn't make it as far as California.  They had Indians to contend with (most were peaceful) and the cowboys were deadly.  There was gambling, alcohol, and a lack of womenfolk. A lot of lawbreaking was done because most cities had no sheriff.

When the man he's traveling with dies from an illness, Travis manages to survive.  But now he's on his own and he's quite young.  His life gets even more exciting before the end of the book.  This isn't the end of the story, though.  Watch for another story to come on how Travis does in the next stage of his life.

Brigid Amos will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.  Enter HERE.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found HERE.

Happy reading and good luck!



Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Prince Who Was Just Himself by Silke Schnee, Heike Sistig (Illustrator), Erna Albertz (Translator)

This book is special.  The lead character is the youngest prince who is different from the others.  He has Down Syndrome.  But no one finds fault with that.  He's too happy and too loving for people to ignore.

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

When an evil knight comes to attack their castle and conquer their King, the princes ride out to meet him.  He has an ugly scar on his face.  While his brothers are ready to fight to defend the kingdom, the little prince rides up close and touches his face asking if the scar hurts.  The knight is taken aback.  No one has ever been nice to him.  Then the prince hugs him and it's all over.  He might not have understood the danger he was in but he treated everyone the same.  How can you not love a child that loves you?

It was nice to see a book about a disease that doesn't get talked about much.  This is a positive look at living with a Down Syndrome child.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Boyfriend Swap by Meredith Schorr

When you're single, parents have expectations.  Christmas time is coming up and when two women are introduced to each other they begin chatting about how difficult time with parents can be.  Robyn likes creative men.  They may not amount to much but she loves their randomness and how they don't worry about the future.  Sidney is a lawyer in her father's firm and while she's dating a lawyer, she doesn't want to talk law all of the Christmas holiday.  After a few drinks, they decide to switch boyfriends for the holiday and quiet the parents down.  They can always say it didn't work out later.  What could go wrong?

Henery Press and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It is being published today.

This a light read about women messing with the wrong thing.  When the parents accept both substitute men as suitable mates, both women are despairing.  There's lots of humor used during the home visits.  I can't imagine trying to pass someone off as my boyfriend if he's not.  The worst part?  The man Robyn gets is the one she had a terrible crush on in school.

As you can guess, this doesn't work out well.  But the author does her magic and suddenly the women have some serious thoughts about their lives and what they really want.  I really liked the ending.  This is the perfect book to read right before Christmas.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Deadly Dance: A British police procedural by Hilary Bonner

This is psychological game playing at the maximum speed.  The police are pursuing three killers.  The deeper they go, the less they see...

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

This is a really creepy story.  The killers have their own chapters and talk about the problems they have in trying to establish normal relationships.  One is a pedophile, one kills his wife, and one kills his homosexual lover.  Reading the chapters from the killer's point-of-view is chilling and overwhelming both.  There's confusion, a bit of sorrow, and worry about being caught.

The police are looking everywhere, going through old police records, and interviewing anyone that might know something.  This is a sordid tale with a smart killer.  As Vogel begins to put together the pieces, he realizes these killers are all part of one man's mind.  The split personality is why the murders are different.  He has one more thing to discover and when he does, it's almost too late.

This is a spooky story that kept me glued to my chair while they hunted for the killer.  The ending is chilling.  I'd read more about this detective.  He's dedicated and smart and doesn't give up.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Escape Claws by Linda Reilly

Lara returns to her hometown and her aunt after a sixteen year interval.  She loves her aunt who raised her but she was living in Boston and loved her life there, too.  Now her aunt is having knee problems and is referred to as the local cat lady.  A friend of Lara's calls and says she should come home and see what can be done to help the aunt.

Lyrical Underground and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published December 26th, so watch for it.  It's a good read.

I have a soft spot for cats so they normally will draw me into a story.  The cat she sees at her aunts is the one she had as a child.  It would be too old to survive but she still sees it.  Then she finds out her aunt can't see it.  Lara has a ghostly friend to help her through this mystery.

Blue leads her across the property where she finds a dead body.  He's the man who planned to evict every business downtown to redevelop the area.  He even wanted part of her aunt's land and she said no.  Now he's dead there...

There are more suspects than there is population in the town!  Only one person mourns him, his niece.  He was nice to her.  So how do you figure out who the killer is?

I enjoyed the cats, watched Lara try to decide where she should live, and had no idea who the killer was until the end.  I liked this cozy mystery and will read more in the series.

My Little Cities by Jennifer Adams, Greg Pizzoli

This board book series is a wonderful rhyming way to take a sneak peek at cities that are old friends or you haven't met yet.  The illustrations are colorful and fun to look at.  You see the major points of the cities and you get an idea of the wonders that await you.  Let your little one imagine travelling!

Abrams/Chronicle Books sent me copies of these books to read for review (thank you).  They have been published and are available now.


Paris shows you a well-known bookstore and the Eiffel Tower as well as discusses the weather.


London has doubledecker buses, Big Ben, and changing of the guard as well as rain.


New York has the statue of Liberty, ball games and lots of lights.


San Francisco has the Golden Gate, dragon parades, quiet benches to sit on and sea lions to feed.

Of all these, the San Francisco book touched my heart.  I've visited there a few times and I love that city.  This book points out all the good things you can see.

Why don't you visit these cities with your little one?