Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Whiz Mob and the Grenadine Kid by Colin Meloy, Carson Ellis

He's just a lonely kid in a foreign country trying to amuse himself when another young man visits with him for a bit.  He's having a good chat when the boy tells him to look across the courtyard at the activity there.  When he does, the boy steals his pen.  He still has something in his fingers but it's a twig not a pen...

Balzer & Bray and Edelweiss gave the me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 24th.

I found this very interesting.  The Whiz Mob used their own terms for locations and methods of thieving.  If you got good enough, you could become a cannon and actually do the thefts.  You had people who distracted the marks, learned how to send their attention elsewhere, and learned to steal without notice.  Charlie wants to learn and they take him in.  He has friends for the first time in his life and he likes the adrenaline rush he gets during the operations.  He doesn't realize they aren't really his friends.

When Amir urges him to quit, he thinks he's nuts and continues.  Then he finds out it was a plan to steal a secret cypher from his father.  He can't tell his father what happened, he just has to figure out a way to get it back...

The story is exciting, interesting, and educational in the ways of thieving.  It also shows the very real dangers of it.  There's a glossary at the back of the book to explain the terms.

Charlie, who liked to drink Grenadine, becomes the Grenadine Kid during the story and the efforts he has to make to get the cypher make him use all his talents and more.  This is a well put-together story that had me almost despairing but Charlie came through.  Now he has to figure out how to explain it to his father...

The Future She Left Behind by Marin Thomas

This could have been a very depressing story.  Katelyn is forty, her children are getting ready to go to college, and she has the perfect home, family and life.  Then she gets papers served on her announcing her husband wants a divorce and she needs to vacate the house.  He's already arranged for his mother to move into an assisted living apartment.  Her whole life has gone down the tubes.  She's going to go home.  She hasn't visited her mother for a while.  But she doesn't expect the mother-in-law-from-Hell to go with her...

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

Shirley thinks Katelyn should update her hair style and wear some makeup.  It's pretty much anything Katelyn likes, Shirley doesn't.  Shirley thinks she should make up with her husband.  After all he has lots of money and so he had an affair.  Maybe if she spiffed up her looks and lost a little weight she might appeal to him.  Katelyn has no desire to appeal to him.  She's done with him and that life.

One thing Shirley doesn't understand is that Little Springs is a small town and the folks there protect their own.  With lots of sarcastic bantering between both moms and Katelyn, it's a bit uncomfortable at the beginning.  But as time goes on, things settle down.  That's good because her original love is back in town and he's just as luscious looking as he used to be.

It gets more exciting.  Katelyn's boss at the grocery store wants to date her, she's attracted to Jackson but doesn't want to commit again, and her mother-in-law is dating the local reverend.

The author does a good job of keeping you amused and reading and it all sorts itself out in the end.  I liked it. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

The Big Book of Rogues and Villains by Otto Penzler

Otto Penzler always does a wonderful job of picking out stories for his anthologies.  He has it done again with these stories.  There are 72 stories and it's 928 pages long.  Took me almost three days to read this one but it was worth it.

Vintage Crime/Black Lizard and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this books (thank you).  It will be published October 24th.

With body snatchers, Dracula, the Cisco Kid and more starring in these stories, it holds your attention.  The early stories had more shock value.  The ones that always appeal to me are the ironic endings.  I'm not looking for perfect endings, I just enjoy justice winning once in a while.

Here's a list of the stories that seemed special to me as I read them:

The Unpublished Memoirs by ASW Rosenbach.
The Gray Seal by Frank L. Packard
A Retrieved Reformation by O. Henry -- excellent read!
The Burglar by John Russell
After Dinner Story by William Irish
The Cat Woman by Erle Stanley Gardner
The Theft from an Empty Room by Edward D. Hoch
Quarry's Luck by Max Allen Collins
Keller on the Spot by Lawrence Block

Many of those authors are old friends that I've been reading for years.  It's always fun to read stories you know will enjoy.  Give it a read and see which stories talk to you!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne

This fantasy world holds all kinds of creatures and has political ploys, spies, corrupt officials and more, just like earth.  Our animals are a bit tamer but the game playing is the same.  In this story, if you didn't plan well, you could very well end up dead.

Del Ray and Edelweiss let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 17th.

The author uses a bard to tell the tales of the various cities and their history.  He has magic that can make him look like the character telling the tale.  When he gets on his platform and begins speaking, everyone gathers around to hear his tales.  They are not all good stories but they are the truth.  That leads to having assassins looking for the bard.  He's assigned a professor to write his tales down and keep him company.  They put the bard in a different safe house each evening and he's not told where.  That almost ended up with him dead but the guards stopped them.

You meet a lot of different clans, it seems like almost everybody dies, and there's a new magic found.  A few people can communicate with animals and they can use them as weapons against the enemy.  The mariners can remove the water from your brain.  The lavamakers can burn you up.  Giants can squish you.  Danger is very prominent in this world.

This book was 640 pages long and I wasn't bored at all.  The story is vibrant and interesting.  I was anticipating a whopping ending and then found out it was a cliff hanger.  We'll have to read the next book to find out more.  That disappointed me a bit.  I like the books to end with an opening for a future volumes.  This one didn't feel like it was done.  But this world feels real and I'm sure there will be more fighting in the future.  It began with a volcano going off and the tension has continued since then...

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

Polly loves the little bakery she owns where she creates beautiful pastries and breads.  She's got a steady boyfriend, is living in a lighthouse and life is good.  It's true the lighthouse is not as warm as it could be but it has the most spectacular views.  All it takes is her girlfriend having a night out and the world she lives in falls apart...

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

When her girlfriend went out partying, she woke up in a motel room with a man sleeping next to her.  She escaped as fast as she could.  She also just barely got home before her husband shows up and she hides what she's been up to.  The problem is that she's pregnant now.  And she's not sure whose baby she's having...

If that wasn't enough drama and tension for everyone, Polly finds her father is in the hospital.  She has never seen him or knew him at all.  The woman calling is his wife.  And then Polly finds out he was married before he met her mother and had her.  No wonder he wasn't around.

With lots of tension and drama already crowding the pages, Polly's boyfriend finds out she didn't share this knowledge with him and he thinks their relationship is not what he thought it was.  He goes to stay with friends.

Despite all these obstacles, things smooth out and there's even a surprise for Christmas...

Happy Birthday! by Mamoru Suzuki

This is a really sweet picture book about the birth of baby and his first birthday.  It has simple text and beautiful graphics.

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

There is a short version of the baby's birth, the author even mentions the baby's beginning life which is filled with food, sleep and poop (!) and then moves on to when he begins to crawl and eventually walks.  By his birthday, he's running.  Mom even predicts him flying away when he gets older and she makes sure that he knows he'll always be loved and that home will be waiting for him.

It's a very precious look at a baby's life and the graphics make the story more real.  The author did a very nice job with this simple picture book.

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Shanghai Incident (Master Diplexito and Mr. Scant #2) by Bryan Methods

The boy and his butler are on a mission to find his uncle's missing daughter.  When his uncle goes missing, too, it becomes an even more dangerous mission.  Where could he have gone and why would he go alone?

The author sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  It will be published October 1st.

This is the second book in this series and it's just as exciting as the first one.  The tale starts in Paris, where the boy gives a homeless boy some chocolates.  After that, the younger boy has attached himself to him and he's trying to tell him something.  It's in French though and he doesn't understand enough of that.  Mr. Scant tells him he's trying to find Julian, his older brother.  It just so happens that middle aged boys have been disappearing around Paris.  Now they have three persons to search for.

You learn about the various power groups of China, find that some of their allies are really their enemies, and it's up to them to stop a plot to kill the young boy who is the current emperor.  There's plenty of action, Mr. Scant's strength is needed, and Master Diplexito mind is called into action.  They don't have an easy time trying to save the emperor and one of the allies is poisoned.  It's a good thing this team is so resilient.

This was another exciting read and I see there's another book coming next year.  That's a long time to wait but it will be another deadly adventure, I'm sure.