Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Royal Rabbits Of London by Santa Montefiore, Simon Sebag Montefiore

Shylo is a small rabbit who's not very good at physical activities.  His siblings tease him.  His oldest brother is the worse.  But he has a secret friend that believes in him.  He's an old rabbit with lots of scars and lots of tales...

Aladdin and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 23rd.

When his brother follows him into the woods, he decides to shake him off by running through the woods and hiding.  He manages that, but he finds himself in a bad place.  The log he hid in is housing rats and they are making plans to take pictures of the Queen in Buckingham Palace while she's wearing her night gown.  Those will sell and make them famous.  (Like paparazzi but more along the lines of paparatzy.)

Shylo escapes and tells the old rabbit about it.  Since he's a retired Royal Rabbit, he tells him he must go warn the Royal Rabbits at the palace about the plot.  Shylo doesn't want to but he's the only one can.  The old rabbit tells him all the secret codes, where to go and who to talk to and tells him he may not be the strongest or bravest, but he needs to use his head to accomplish his goals.

I enjoy stories about animals and this one was a very good read.  Shylo finds himself in some very bad situations but he keeps his head and manages to stay out of trouble.  The Queen's corgis even play a role in this story.

It's an exciting tale filled with danger that ends well for the good guys.  Middle graders should love this story.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Need to Know by Karen Cleveland

She works for the CIA and works on detecting spies.  She's married, has children and life is good.  At least it is until she finds out her husband is a Russian sleeper.  She should turn him in but she can't.  She loves him...

Ballantine Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 23rd.

When she talks to him about it, he admits it.  Her world falls apart.  It just gets worse.  She tries to protect him and then the Russians begin to blackmail her into being an inside person in the CIA.  She does something that won't damage much, but the threats escalate.

This is a cat and mouse world with death hovering around the edges.  She believes in him but I'm not sure she should.  They live through this crisis but I don't think her troubles are over yet.

With lots of suspense and tension throughout the story, this author keeps you reading.  It's a scary look at how things can turn out even with the best of intentions.  Who do you trust?

Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn

This is the story of a woman who is mixing prescription pills with alcohol and gradually losing her mind.  She's suffered such a devastating loss she can't put her life back together again.  She's a bit like Humpty Dumpty.  She's created her own little, safe place and it's not good for her but she can't change...

William Morrow and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 23rd.

All she really does now is play chess, drink wine, take her pills when she remembers, and look out her windows at the neighbors and what they do.  She uses her camera with the telephoto lense to see into the houses or yards.  She's a snoop.  When she witnesses murder, she becomes a worried snoop.  No one believes her...

This is a suspenseful psychological read with only part of the facts revealed at the beginning.  As it goes along, she begins to doubt herself.  She could have hallucinated.  Maybe she forgot some of what she did.  How else could someone post things on her account and take a picture of her sleeping in her bed?  The answer to that is disturbing.

The cops believe that she believes what she's telling them but there's no proof.  The missing woman was not who she assumed she was.  No one else witnessed the murder.  And she has mental problems.  It's no comfort to her to find out she was right.  Now it's a fight for her life... 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman

Mr. Backman approaches his stories from a different angle.  You never know exactly what you're going to get when you begin them but he keeps you reading!

Atria Books and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can grab a copy now.

It begins with a father telling his son a story at Christmas in which he admits he's taken a life.  But the rest of the story is about making a deal with death...

The man finds out he has cancer and he may die.  He meets a five year old girl in the hospital and they become friends.  He doesn't want her to die.  But he can't trade his death for hers.  What he has to do makes him assess his life and his relationships with his family.

It's a story that makes you think.  It even has a message about how to make your life mean more.

Every time I read this author's work, I find myself thinking about the story days later.  This is a novella so here's your chance to quickly see how his words weave into your brain.

Ella Bella Ballerina and The Magic Toyshop by James Mayhew

This is a sweet story of a little girl who wants to be a ballerina and has a good imagination.  It reminds me a bit of Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales.

Barron's Educational Series and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can buy a copy now.

When her teacher plays her music box, Ella Bella is transfixed by the music.  When the teacher explains the story the song is telling, she finds herself being transported into the Magic Toyshop.  She sees wonderful toys that are animated and isn't sure which one she would pick if she could.  The best ones are the two cancan dancers.  He and she are in love.  And when some visiting customers see them, they tell the proprietor they'll be back the next day to buy them.  Since two couples want them, he will only sell them each one.  The toys are devastated.  They don't want to be separated.

Luckily, Ella Bella has an idea...

The graphics look old timey, the story has a happy ending and your own child's imagination will be filled with thoughts of their own personal magic store.  Share it with them for Christmas, it'd make a perfect gift.

Friday, December 8, 2017

For Better or Worse by Donna Huston Murray

The title says for better or worse, but most of the people in this story are on the "worst" side of marriage.  It makes for good reading, though.

This author and Net Galley shared this book with me to read for review (thank you).  It will be published January 10th.

Ginger is at her daughter's home helping them with some updates to the house.  The first thing she sees is a bag of bricks thrown out of the third floor window next door!  Then she hears what she thinks are shots.  While she's debating calling the cops, she meets Eric who lives next door with his grandmother.  He says she's eccentric and she does crazy things.  When he finds her at the bottom of the stairs, he takes her to the hospital with her fighting him the whole way.  Then the doctor suggests he murdered her...

She meets the other neighbors and ends up babysitting for two couples.  She also finds herself being stalked by one of the husbands.  He thinks she's after him but she has no idea why.

With abusive husbands, a suggestion of murder and a child the mother doesn't seem to love, Ginger has plenty of work to do trying to make things better.  She manages in her own way and things do settle down.  I'm sure she'll find more trouble in the next book.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Gate Keeper by Charles Todd

His sister has just married and left on her honeymoon and Ian doesn't know what to do with himself.  He decides to go for a drive.  He doesn't know where he'll end up but maybe it will get him out of this helpless feeling of no place to call home.  Instead, he drives up to a standing car with a woman in distress.  The driver has been shot and killed...

William Morrow and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 17th.

He begins sorting things out and working on the case even though he's not been assigned.  Scotland Yard finally sets him up as their local contact.  Then another man is found shot through the heart.  Who would kill these folks who had no enemies?

As he searches through the past, he finds that a book seems to connect them all.  It's an antique book about apples.  He can see no significance in it but it seems everyone who touches it ends up dead.  As he keeps tying the webs together, he finds there probably is a good reason. The killer was someone who surprised me.  

This mother-son team writes excellent mysteries and this is another in the series that pleases.  I'd like to see Ian find a love interest but he's a very good detective and interesting fellow even now.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Long Arm of the Law by Martin Edwards

This is classic collection of short stories done by well established authors.  I recognized some names and knew I'd enjoy reading this book.  I was right.

Poisoned Pen Press and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 2nd.

There's a lot of brainwork involved in these stories.  There aren't many clues, most of them have alibis, and they all appear to be unfortunate accidents or suicide.  Never underestimate the detectives.  They didn't get to the rank that they did by being stupid.

My favorites here were done by authors I read long ago and they still stand up to the test of time:

The Silence of P C Hirley by Edgar Wallace.
The Undoing of Mr Dawes by Gerald Verner.
The Chief Witness by John Creasey.

There's deducting of the best quality and some bluffing in these stories and they're great fun to read.  Give it a try!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Scones and Scoundrels by Molly MacRae

The Highland Bookshop is doing pretty well now.  With scones selling next door, hot tea or coffee available and her friends, Janet is content.  When one of her friend gets a well-known author to come and sign books at her shop, she's enthused and anticipates good sales.  What she gets is murder...

Pegasus Books and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 2nd.

Daphne, the celebrated author, lives in a cabin in the woods and has never returned to her hometown until now.  She's not a nice a person.  She can either be hot or cold in personality, likes to be sarcastic and nasty, and she leads people on.  Most everyone doesn't like her.

One of the first things she does is suggest the locals might like her help in solving an open murder case.  They don't want it and tell her so.  She still pokes her nose into everything.  In time, she becomes the next victim.  It's hard to feel sorry for her.  Then a missing man shows up murdered.  Who in the small town could be killing them?  There are no strangers there.

I had no suspects in mind because the man that was killed was on my list and he's been killed, too.  I was totally amazed at the real killer.  They acted normal and sane until they showed their true colors.  It's a close thing for Janet and her friends...

Stories for the 12 Days of Christmas by Linda Mansfield

Here's an anthology that can be read during the Christmas season and it will make you happy.  The stories are light, some make you laugh, and you share the characters emotions.

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

All of the stories are realistic and relate to Christmas.  None are long so you could easily read one story a night out loud.  I read the whole thing in one evening because I love short stories.

I have to tell you that the one that was my favorite had to do with a Christmas pageant that didn't work out quite like it was supposed to.  Any story that includes a "flaming ass" as an ending makes me smile.  It's not cussing, it's a happening and you'll need to read the story to understand the reference.

This could easily be your lunch break read as you approach Christmas.  Give it a try and see if she makes you laugh.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Every Dog Has His Day by Jenn McKinlay

When the little girls spy their cat up on the neighbor's roof, they immediately rush the house to get it back.  Zach goes out to see what's going on and ends up getting involved in their lives...

Berkley and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 2nd.

Their mother is hot on their heels reminding them they are not to go anywhere without checking in with her first.  Zach is attracted but he doesn't want any commitments.  That's the way it always starts, isn't it?

You have the kitten and a dog in the story but they don't play a large part.  The majority of the plot is watching the two main characters dancing around each other and trying not to fall in love.  It's hard to ignore him when your two children love him.  

Her ex-father-in-law provides some conflict in the story.  He wants to take the children away from her.  Zach isn't going to stand for that.  He doesn't tell her about the conversation and she says he's lying by omission.  It takes a while before the misunderstanding is ironed out.

This is a pleasant romance with a happy ending.  The sex was a bit more graphic than I like but it fit in with the story.  Two people who have spent their lives alone without a lot of love now have family, friends and a devoted love.  What more could you want?

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Promise Not to Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz

Someone is killing the survivors of an old cult.  The building was burned down but a courageous cop saved the children.  Now the children are dying...

Berkley and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 2nd.

When a beautiful young woman comes into their detective agency and tells them the woman who died by jumping from a cliff in the San Juan Islands didn't commit suicide, she was scared and running from danger.  She was from the children in the barn and she was doing a series of paintings.  The last one she painted she did it on her cabin wall.  She burned the cabin before her jump.

The reason they listen to her is because the main PI is another survivor from the cult deaths.  He is intrigued by her story.  Every survivor believes the man that charmed them into following him did not really die in a boat fire.  Is he back?  What does he want?

There are a lot of threads that need to be tied before they manage to get to the truth.  Virginia has found love and she's the next target.  She'll need her PI before they are done with the investigation.

The bad news is that the original scoundrel is still alive.  There will be another in this series I'm sure.  

This author always writes an exciting novel with lot of suspense and tension.  Once I start reading, I keep reading until the book is done.  If you haven't tasted her work yet, do.  You won't regret it.

Secrets of the Home Wood: The Sacrifice by Julie Whitley

Every one knows you need to stay out of the home woods.  Ever since his father got lost in there for a bit, it's been forbidden.  But when Jonathan's mother and father fight, she leaves to "think".  When his father finds out she didn't make it to the neighbors, he knows she must have gone too far in the woods and he goes after her.  He doesn't know that Jonathan is right behind him...

BooksGoSocial 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 author creates an imaginary world that felt very real.  It has the spirit of Watership Down, has several groups of creatures that are intelligent and for the most part peace-loving.  To get there, you have to take cover in an old tree that has been split by lightening.  You get sleepy and when you wake up, you're in the other world.

While the boy and his father are there looking for the mother, they get involved with a pending war.  One group of warriors wants to conquer the other two races and dominate them all.  If they're not careful, they may end up being victims, too.

The story flows well, not all their plans work, and it takes a bit of magic to make it all work out.  It's an exciting read and I found myself caring about all the creatures as well as the human characters.  The best part is the happy ending.  Not everyone makes it but those who do make the most of it.  That's a good approach to life.

I really enjoyed this one.  Why don't you give a read and see what you think?

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Shadow Weaver by MarcyKate Connolly

She has an usual power.  She can hide in shadows, weave them into something solid and even has a relationship with her own shadow.  It's her best friend.  After all, her parents are afraid of her...

Sourcebooks Jabberwocky and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 1st.

Emmeline has been hidden in the house away from the eyes of the neighbors.  She's not taken to any functions and they limit their visitors.  But she gets bored, so she sneaks out to play with shadows and then she gets in trouble.  When more visitors are announced, she's told she must be on her best behavior.  It's hard to be good when you're favorite thing to do is eavesdrop.  What she doesn't expect is that they will bring a young ghost girl with them.  She finds her...

The worst thing ever happens, she's being sent away by her parents to another kingdom where they will "cure" her.  She doesn't want to be cured, so she runs.

Nothing is as it seems in this story.  There's a Queen who seeks the magic the children have and she "eats" it, leaving them with nothing.  She then plants them in her garden.  The family she runs into after leaving home is kind and willing to share what they have.  But the guard comes after her and soon everyone is on the run.

This read is full of fright.  Anyone with a magical power is sought for the Queen.  Hiding is very hard to do even if you hide your magic.  Here's a suspenseful look at the world of magic and the greed of a magic eater.  Not even her shadow can be trusted...

Friday, December 1, 2017

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

What if the man you married was a chameleon?  If he could change his spots to fit his present world and make his truth the "real" truth?    What if you didn't realize that until it was too late?

Atria Books sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published January 23, 2018.

Reading this book echoed the current news headlines about men abusing women.  It's currently very topical and just as disturbing as the news.

James and Sophie met in college and married.  James had secrets from his college days he didn't share with her.  He even had current secrets.  His affair comes to light and as he tries to salvage his career and marriage, it turns to a charge of rape.  Sophie believes he didn't rape her but she still feels betrayed by his affair.  It turns out James sometimes takes what he wants...

The intriguing part of this story is how a young woman who was raped by James has remade her life and changed her name.  She's also the prosecutor on this case.  She argues well, but he gets off.  Then Sophie finds out the truth...

What goes around, comes around and James is going to find that out up close and personal.  There's lots of drama, a good deal of background, and some disgusting facts in this case but it's quite pertinent to today's situations.