Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Mouth by Henry Anderson



When sixteen-year-old Jack's hometown is burned down and his family killed, his only chance of survival is to travel through a device called 'The Mouth' that opens doors into other worlds.

He must do the impossible-find the world that gave his enemies their extraordinary power and travel to a place known simply as 'The Maximum.'

This book is Anderson's transition from news reporting to novelist.  He shows a lot of promise as a novelist, but I think there's still some work to be done.  Needless to say, it's a tough job to go from such extremes of writing.

The plot is phenomenal.  It's a fresh idea that is carried out pretty well when looking at the timeline.  The characters are bold and vibrant, however any information that you have about them is what you glean along the way.  The worlds that we enter are vast and intricate, but once again, we only have the information about them that we glean along the way.

I didn't finish this book.  It's non-stop action.  It's like being in a chase dream where you never get to stop and breathe.  To tell you the truth, I was just too fatigued to finish it.  Action is a great thing to have in a book, but even more importantly, we need balance.  A little time spent on world building and scene setting and inspecting our characters would go a long way.

I think Anderson could make a great novelist and I'm looking forward to reading more of his works.  He has the facts down.  He's great at keeping you on the edge of your seat.  I'm just hoping he slows down enough to add more of the human interest side of the story so that you don't want to jump off the edge of your seat.  When I find myself chanting for the hero to die, I know a little work still needs to be done.

Over all, if you're an action junkie, you'll like this one just as is.  If you're looking for more than that, wait for his next book and give that one a shot.

Tail & Trouble by Victor Catano



-Judy

When Gabriel's witch girlfriend doesn't return from her latest trip, he gets on the road and heads out to find her.  Sheila's coven is secretive and distrustful of Gabriel, so the only help he has is Sheila's familiar, a bulldog named Orson, who is psychically linked to both of them.

In Florida, they walk right into an elaborate plan to steal Orson.  A mysterious wizard named yareth is behind the plot, and he may also know where Sheila is.

Gabriel and Orson will have to fight for their lives as they navigate around all the magical roadblocks to force Yareth's hand.  They won't give up until Sheila is safe.

In the beginning, I was so frustrated because our main character isn't getting any answers.  No matter where he goes, he's greeted with the same 'I can't tell you' attitude.  Once Gabriel and Orson start to communicate, the story really starts to pick up speed.

As a familiar, Orson is perfect.  He's different than any other familiar that I've read.  I was thankful it wasn't another darn cat.  He has a great humor about him and the best part is that he realizes he's a dog and can get away with things that humans can't.  Not only that, but he makes sure that the humans are aware of his unique position.

Yareth is a wannabe warlock who stumbles on some power.  He's pretty evil and not likable at all.

As a cozy mystery, I enjoyed that this had some new things to offer.  I enjoyed it and I would love to read more by the author.  I hope there will be more in this series.

Catano does a great job of making the usual cozy mystery a unique experience and pulls everything together nicely.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Ezicash by Ian Thompson

The year is 2060, the month June, and it's raining outside.

So starts this tale of a time when the men and women of the United Kingdom, more specifically the residents of Stoke Hammond-a place some seven miles south of what used to be Milton Keynes- have to rise up and vanquish a posturing foe.


Set forty years after the collapse of the European Union, this story tells of a titanic struggle between Europe's strangling, new shadow, EZICASH, a plumber called Phil Lud and his apprentice, Snot.

Called out to what appears to be nothing more than a dripping tap, they are soon pulled into a conspiracy where their actions could very well change the world forever.  Banding together, a community is formed, one that could see these fair isles free, truly free, from its controlling yoke just a few watery miles away.

Can they defeat EZICASH?  Will another European behemoth fail?  Will Britain finally succumb to a destiny plotted so many years ago?

Or can a plumber put a spanner in the works...

Let me start off by reading you a passage...one that perfectly explains what you'll find in this book.

"...Abraham thought it best to just panic, half crouch, half stand and bob about while making an 'eeargg' sound.  Soon pushed out of the way by May, he felt relieved to be marginalised and useless."

You can't help but notice the humorous imagery.  These two, tiny sentences, completely convey exactly what's happening and the reader can see it clearly.

We also have the option of taking this snippet at face entertainment value, or delving deeper.  On the surface, we see a man panicking and being shoved out of the way.  Digging a little further in to it, we see that he has made the conscientious choice to panic.  His feelings at being pushed out of the way show that he feels relieved to be back in his comfort zone, as well as what that comfort zone is.  We also get a glimpse at what sort of person May is.

The entire book runs this gamut.  It's intricately designed so that it can be read for pure entertainment value or studied and discussed.  There's plenty of humor, but it's not raucous, laugh out loud humor.

This book is part of a genre that I shall henceforth term 'chameleon' because of how versatile it is.  It's deep, yet shallow.  It has an intricate plot that you can easily ignore.  We have plenty of political and sociological statements, but if you don't want them, you can gloss right over them.  It's a dystopian as well as a fantasy as well as science fiction as well as mystery.  We have romance and adventure.  What makes this a chameleon book is that it's built so that you can pick and choose which ones you want to take part in.  None of them is overwhelming.

If you're looking for something a little different,  I suggest you check this out.  The flow and storytelling are smooth.  You can pick and choose which elements of the story you want to stick out. There truly is something for everyone here.  If you're looking for a book for your book group, this is a definite.  There are so many different facets to the book that you could take months discussing them.

What we're buying this week!!

Since I wasn't able to get here to put in last week's order, we're doing double this week!!  Let's take a look at all the wonderful books we have coming in!

Let's start with our staff reviewer's requests!!  I love that my reviewers all have different tastes in books!!





Next up, let's we have suggested books!



Now we'll go through and order from our 'to buy and review' list.



Lastly, we have our random picks.  These used to be books that I randomly found that had five reviews or less, but we're branching out a little.  I have entirely too many books that I want to read and too many holes in the library!



Happy reading this week!  Don't forget to stop in Tuesday to give us more suggestions!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

50 Things Your Parents Want You to Know by Shelly Campbell-Harley, M.A.ED



This is the second of Shelly's books that I've read, and I really enjoy them.  The purpose of the 50 Things books is to give short snippets of information that can be shared.  It's a starting off point, a jumping off point if you will, for difficult conversations.

In this book, we take a look at fifty things that your parents want you to know.  You probably already figured that out from the title.  In order to do my review, I first read the book.  Then I gathered my son and my mother and we read through each thing together.  I read aloud each item and then we had a short discussion on it.  Had we been a different family, it may have been more lengthy discussions.

As it was, nearly all of these were discussions that we'd already had in the parent/child relationship.  Now, we're a bunch of weirdos.  We like to talk.  We like to discuss after we've mulled things over.  We don't normally take a lot of time to think about what we're going to say.  We think about things and then just blurt them out to each other and see where it takes us.

For a lot of families, having some of these discussions can be tough.  Most of them involve having faith and believing in yourself.  They talk about how to be happy and how to be a productive person.  Sometimes, especially when you're angry or disagreeing with your child, it's hard to keep an open mind and sit down and tell them that you love them even though you disagree with them.  I think the most difficult part of conversations with your child is getting them to respond to you.  You can give them advice for living their life, but half the time they'll tune you out.

Between the three of us, we all agreed that everything in this book is something that a child needs to hear from a parent or caregiver.  Not only that, but great wisdom can be found for adults as well.  Knowing something and living it can be two entirely different things and sometimes a reminder is exactly what is needed.  These are all great discussion points in the book.  Even if you have a great relationship with your child, it doesn't hurt to add a little reinforcement.

The only issue that was brought up is that this book has a religious background.  Though most of the pages are good, logical sense, some of them involve faith and a belief in God.  While we all are firm believers, we also realize that not everyone is.  For those who do not have religious tolerance, feel free to skip those passages.  You can still find valuable information here.

Whether you have a good relationship with your child or not, this book can be a valuable communication tool.  You can go through it all at once for lengthier discussions, or go through one number at a time.  If you don't know how to talk to your child, you can gain some great ideas.  If you're a child who feels like your parents don't believe in you, they're probably thinking the things in this book, they just don't know how to say them to you.  Communication can be just as difficult on the part of the parent as it can the child.

Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish



Amelia Bedelia is one of my childhood favorites.  I had a difficult time understanding idioms and that has passed down to one of my children.  Looking back, I realized that she was the reason that I was able to communicate with people who used them.

In this book, Amelia begins work for a family.  She's a dedicated worker and puts all of her effort into finishing the list of chores that the family has written out for her.  Problems occur when the instructions are unclear.  Amelia follows them to the 't', even though it makes no sense to her.  The family returns and is flabbergasted at Amelia's work.  However, they find where her true talents are and learn to communicate with her in order to make this a happy situation for all.

Having a special needs child, I know how difficult communication can be.  Using unclear language to someone who doesn't understand it just muddies everything even further.  Amelia Bedelia has a charming way of explaining to adults and other children how someone with communication issues can absorb what's being said to them.  For those with good cognitive skills and poor understanding of idioms, it can help teach them that some words are meant to be taken literally.  Though there are only a few examples in the book, most of them are common and could help with day to day understanding.
The fascinating part for me is that the family that Amelia works for, even though vastly frustrated with her work, finds where her talents lie and decide to focus on that.  They learn how to be more clear and communicate with her so that she can fulfill her duties to them.  What could have been a disaster is turned into a wonderful employee/employer situation with a little understanding and shifting.

For those who don't have communication issues, it's simply an adorable and humorous book.  Amelia is industrious, a hard worker, silly, and completely lovable.

This book is just one of many, but it's a great way to introduce your child to Amelia and see if he/she is interested.  The pictures are colorful and there are anywhere from a couple of sentences to a small paragraph per page.  Most third graders could easily read this on their own.

Ascent of the Unwanted by Nathan Boyce



Her family murdered.  Her unborn child ripped away from her.  And she herself was abducted, raped, and sold as a slave into prostitution.  Is any woman strong enough to overcome such unrelenting injustices?  Miranda will show that a strong woman can do to those that have wronged her.  At the same time, a stable boy seeks the tools to avenge his mother's brutal murder.  Joining the Cavaliers seemed like the only place Erik would get the training he needed, but if he failed he would either be indentured as a servant or killed.  Title and power determine what is legal and right, those deemed beneath society have little recourse.  together these two, along with their friends, begin their quest for vengeance.  The Ascent of the Unwanted is a harsh glimpse into the bowels of cruelty, and how a small group of people come to rise about their station.

Let's get the negative out of the way first.  Even though Boyce has a strong story-telling presence, we have some time issues here.  It's kind of like being on a sight-seeing tour where we spend six hours perusing a park and then we spend five minutes perusing the next park, followed by an hour at the next park.  Assuming all of the parks are the same size and have the same amount to see, this causes a bit of a flow issue.  In the long run, this might actually be pretty important.  Since this is the first book in the series, some of the information that we digested my become critically important later.  Right now though, I felt like I was being detained at one park and rushed through another.  I'm hoping that this is done on purpose so that later everything will balance out.  We'll keep you updated as we get our hands on the rest of the series.  Stop whatever you're doing right now, Nathan, and go write for us ;)

There's so much to discuss here, but I want to start with the Roh'Darharim.  It's a secret society of protectors.  They have unusual and harsh rules, but I found that captivating.  I don't like horses.  I don't make a secret of that.  However, the way that Boyce portrays the Darharim as well as their link and relationship with horses was interesting and adventurous rather than the usual 'I don't care' that I would normally feel.  The Darharim are an intricate society and I think he did a great job of creating them and beginning the sorting process on paper.  As readers, we get an idea of what they're about, but I'm sure there's still a lot we haven't figured out.

The story actually centers around five main characters.  Some of them we don't realize are main characters until near the end of the book.  Boyce does a great job of making them realistic and flawed while at the same time extending them each a hero quality.  We take turns following them through their own personal story until the time where they 'temporarily' come together as a group.  Don't worry...that's not a spoiler.  Each one has an ugly and cruel life with serious obstacles to overcome.  It's easy to get lost in each person's life.  I think the spacing in this area was about perfect.  Since we switch back and forth, sometimes authors tend to get lost in one character and then forget the others exist.  We have a long time with one character and then a short time with the next.  Instead of that, what I found was that I was happily reading along and lost in one person's story, and at the point that I was beginning to wonder about someone else, that's when the chapter ended and the next person picked up.

If you enjoy dark fantasy, this is one that you'll want to check out.  There's extensive world building without hours of boring detail.  We have finely tuned characters as well as social structures.  Most of the story-telling is brisk and keeps you on edge.  At the end of the book, you're anxious to get the second in hand.  (I've been informed that it's nearly finished!)  I think this is going to end up to be an amazing dark fantasy adventure along the lines of Falconer's Legacy of Skur.  Most of the first book seems to be setting the stage for what is to come.  Don't get me wrong, it's not boring scene-setting.  It's fascinating and fulfilling and I can't wait to get more.

What should we order this week??

Due to life, we weren't able to put in last week's order!  Argh!  So, we're just going to put in a double order this week.  We're allowed to do that because I'm the boss and I said so!

So, tomorrow I'll be ordering all review staff requested books, two books off of the 'to buy and review' list, as well as a book that was suggested last week and one that is suggested today.  Also, we'll have two random pick books.  In the beginning, I was trying to make sure these books had fewer than five reviews on Amazon.  My thinking was that I could give a little surprise marketing to some authors out there who needed it.  I still love the idea, but I realized a crucial error on my part.  I didn't leave myself any  money in the budget to buy the books that I want!  I have so many authors that I simply adore and they're always coming out with wonderful new books and I need them all!  Some of them are absolutely amazing and mail them to me, but I certainly don't expect that.  So, the last two books on the list will be just random books that I want.  Whether they belong to an author that I love, or it's an unknown that I just want to give a little publicity, or it's simply a book that I need for a collection, I'm sure it'll be something fun!

What should we buy this week?  Give us your suggestions!!  If you've been around for a bit, you know that every suggested book goes on the 'to buy and review' list.  I'll admit that this list moves a little slowly, but eventually I'll get to them all!

Do you have a new book release?  Do you want a little added marketing?  Did you just read something great you think we'll enjoy?  Tell us about it!!


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

It's a Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad World by Curtis M. Lawson



When the Vatican's top assassin, a Rhodesian merc, a pair of serial killer lovers, a dirty cop, and a professional sadist compete in a mad race for a pair of priceless magical artifacts, betrayal, theft, and murder are just the opening moves in a game of death.

Oh my goodness!  I had so much fun with this book!  It's kind of like Rat Race but with the dregs of society!

Let me get my only complaint out of the way first.  In the beginning few chapters, Lawson has a little trouble finding his voice.  The storytelling style changes from scene to scene.  At first, I was hoping this was in an attempt to change storytelling styles as each character was prominent, but I don't think so.  After a few chapters, Lawson settles into a nice flow.  Don't let the storytelling style affect your decision whether or not to read this.  The fluctuation is over quickly and the rest of the book is smooth as sea glass.

I loved the characters and the world building!  It's ugly and crass and horrible!  These are some mean, nasty, vicious people and the world they live in is the same.  You'll find no saints here and you'll be hard pressed to find what can pass as good values.  Each person has their own code of rules, which they try to live by.  You'll find a lot of 'Well sure I kick camels, but I don't hit them!  That's just wrong!'  I use that as a loose example.  Each one sees what they're doing to be perfectly acceptable while at the same time, not being able to comprehend the wretched sin of the others.

Reading this was a lot like watching a ninja gang fight.  You know you're going to see some horrible stuff.  You know you're going to be scarred.  But at the same time, you can't help but admire the cleverness and proficiency.  This is the entertaining side of the ugly side of the human condition.

This is an extremely graphic and upsetting book.  If you get a little queasy, you may not want to attempt this one just yet.  Otherwise, you'll find a well-crafted story with fascinating characters.  You'll be left wondering who's going to be standing at the end.  Pick your favorite and cheer them on!

I'm glad to hear that there's a second book coming out.  I'm particularly interested in the character of Philip Carver.  Watch for him when you read the book!

I don't normally say a lot about illustrations, but I had to stop reading long enough to look through the book to find who was responsible for them in this case.  At the beginning of chapter nine, Broken Finger Blues, there's a picture that just really caught my eye.  I've gone back to look at it several times.  I'm not sure what I find so captivating about it, but it really hits me.

Engines of the Broken World by Jason Vanhee



I picked this book up because it was at Five Below for two dollars and it had a cool cover.  You can't pass up a deal like that!  If you have a Five Below, start checking there for books!  I figured, even if it sucks, I'm out two dollars.  But!  It didn't suck at all!

Merciful Truth and her brother, Gospel, have just pulled their dead mother into the kitchen and stowed her under the table.  It was a long illness, and they wanted to bury her, they truly did.  But it's far too cold outside, and they know they won't be able to dig into the frozen ground.  The Minister who lives them, and preaches in animal form, doesn't make them feel any better about what they've done.

Merciful calms her guilty feelings, but that only lasts until, from the other room, she hears a voice she thought she'd never hear again.  It's her mother's voice, and it's singing a lullaby...


Great description, isn't it?!  And let me tell you, it barely scratches the surface of what's actually going on here.

We have incredible characters in a fascinating world.  I don't want to give any spoilers, but I can tell you that this isn't just another monster book.  Oh  no!  Mom's back from the dead!  She must be a zombie!  NOPE!  Put that theory away and just sit back and enjoy the ride!  You won't figure out what's actually going on until it's far too late to do anything about it.  Most of the book I found myself saying 'but!  but over here.....!'  and by the ending, it all made sense.

The ending!  That was the best part of this book!  One word.  It's only one word.  I finished reading this nearly two weeks ago and I'm still haunted by that one word.  I know, you're tempted to pick up the book and find out what that word is before reading it.  DON'T!  First, it won't make any sense to you unless you read the book first.  Second, you'll ruin the magic.

There are some serious religious undercurrents running here, but don't let that be a factor in whether you read it or not.  Our main characters have to figure out what they believe, and that's the fun part for you as the reader.  You don't get any control.  You have to sit back and suffer through their consequences, and it's deliciously excruciating!

I would consider this a young adult book, but don't hand this over to a kid that's prone to nightmares.  Definitely do not give this to a child that's recently experienced the loss of a loved one.

Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter by C.A. Verstraete



One hot August morning in 1892, Lizzie Borden picked up an axe and murdered her father and stepmother.  Newspapers claim she did it for the oldest of reasons:  family conflicts, jealousy and greed.  But what if her parents were already dead?  What if Lizzie slaughtered them because they'd become zombies?

Thrust into a horrific world where the walking dead are part of a shocking conspiracy to infect not only Fall River, Massachusetts, but also the world beyond, Lizzie battles to protect her sister, Emma, and her hometown from nightmarish ghouls and the evil forces controlling them.

This book was not what I was expecting!

If you've read Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter or Anna Karenina and the Robots or any of those wonderful books, then you have an idea of what you're in for here.  It's a classic tale, or history, that has been retold to include the monstrous.  I've loved every book that I've read in this genre, and this book falls into that category perfectly.

The unexpected part for me is that we start off with the killing of Lizzie's parents.  I was expecting that to be the crux of the story, but it isn't.  It's the opener!  Most of the story is actually about the mystery of where the zombies have come from and how her parents became afflicted.  Secondary to that is the unfolding of Lizzie and her sister's lives as they attempt to get past their parents' deaths.

Where this book differs from others in this genre, that I've read anyway, is that there are historical facts pulled in.  Verstraete adds in news clippings and first account witnesses as well as pieces from the actual trial of Lizzie Borden.  I actually learned a few things from this book!  It also lends an extra facet of realism to the story.

I do wish that I could have gotten to know Lizzie better as a character.  You get to see plenty of her thoughts and emotions, as well as her motivations.  I just felt like she was a bland person, though.  I couldn't see myself having tea with her because I didn't know enough to strike up a conversation with her.  I wanted to really bond with her and start a He-Woman Zombie Haters Club or something.

Last Year, When We Were Young by Andrew J. McKiernan



Before I get in to this review, I want to let you all know that I am not a fan of the short story.  I know there are a lot of people out there who adore them, but that's not me.  It's incredibly difficult to build a strong bond between reader and character within a few short pages.  It's difficult to world build.  It's difficult to tell a story that will make the reader think afterwards, or even be entertained.  From the writing aspect, a short story is hard to write!  On the rare occasion that a writer can meet all of the criteria, I normally find myself feeling shorted.  If I'm bonded with the character and enjoying the world and the story, I want more!  It's like opening a bag of M&M's and only eating a red one.  I want them all!  Give me the bag!  Oh...hey...I think I actually have a bag hidden in my desk.  Hang on a second.

I couldn't find them.  I take donations.

I didn't love this book, and it was my fault, not McKiernan's.  He actually met all of the criteria.  He built a bond between character and reader.  He did a great job of making them realistic as well as allowing you to empathize with them.  There were key descriptors to unlock their soul.  McKiernan did the same thing with the world and the story line.  He gave you all of the key information you needed to feel like he'd spent chapters building and pulling you in.

Each of these stories has a clever twist to it.  It's a little on the macabre side.  Now, if you're just getting into that sort of thing, this is the perfect book for you to start with.  There are people from all walks of life, with all different situations, so you'll find it easy to identify.  You'll find your brain twisting and bending to come to terms with the endings of each story.

The problem that I have is that I'm desensitized.  When I first began reading the strange, unusual, paranormal, I would have eaten this up with a side of ketchup.  As it is, because I've gone so far into the world that contains this sort of thing, I found myself able to predict the outcome of most of the stories.  Now, I still enjoyed the way that they flowed and took great joy in their construction.  I just wasn't finding my brain bending and twisting.

If you're just entering the world where the ironic and dark horrors lurk, you will find this book delicately disturbing.  It's psychological horror for beginner to mid-level readers.

A Tale Du Mort by Katrina Monroe



Mort Oleander wasn't always the assistant embalmer to the world's worst funeral director.  Once upon a thousand years ago, he was the G.O.D. (General Operations Director)  of the dead, kicked out of the job thanks to corporate-wide strikes led by his brother, Sy.

Faced with mountains of paperwork and a staff high on revolution, Sy decides he's acted rashly.  His afterlife was meant to be margaritas and getting caught in the rain, not Mort's.  Ignoring the inevitable consequences, Sy brings Under out of the dark to mingle with the living.

Assisted by a trio of seamstresses living semi-retired in Florida and his ex-girlfriend's daughter, Mort must stop Sy before the Veil dividing Under and Above is destroyed.

This is the second book I've read by Monroe, and I'm happy to announce that it was just as great as the first.  She's a unique writer and I can't wait to read more.  After this confirmation of her abilities, I'm creating a shelf in the library for her works.

What makes Katrina's work unique is difficult to explain, but I shall attempt it!

If you've ever watched The Brady Bunch, the most memorable character is Aunt Jan.  She's quirky and odd and you can't help but cock your head to the side in wonder at her.  It's that same look on your face the first time you saw a picture of Santa in a speedo, drinking a beer.  It's quirky and unusual and stretches the boundaries of the known, but not to uncomfortable degrees.  Not only that, it brings you a sense of joy and wonder.  Not Santa in a speedo, but that feeling.  Everything I've read by Katrina Monroe/Saete has given me that cocked-head sense of wonder.  She takes everything I know and have heard of and then stretches it into the unusual and quirky.  I admire her.  She has great creative talent and I'm sure her brain is like a merry-go-round where the animals are constantly playing musical chairs.  Chaotic and different, but at the same time, fun and unusual.

Katrina also adds this same whimsy to her characters, while giving them a darker side to balance them out.  Some are lovable, some are likable, some are despicable, but all of them are real and the kind of people you want to exist in the world.

If you're looking for something a little different, pick this up.  There's a wonderful suspense story filled with magic and wonder as well as unforgettable characters.

No More Pain by Paige Green



-Knevits

Novel is living a horrific life with deep secrets.  A mother is to protect their child.  What happens when your mother is not protecting you?  Novel copes as best as she can with her secrets.  Just when she thinks she is getting help, another tragedy strikes.  Is she strong enough to overcome her fears and secrets to survive?

This book was a page turner for me.  I was hooked in the start.  Just when I thought I knew what was happening next, I could not have been more wrong.  If you want a fast and good read, this is a book for you.  Many emotions run through the reader as you read.  I will definitely read another book from this author.

Booknest's Fabulous Fantasy Fundraiser!



Stop what you're doing and take a few minutes to go check this out!  There are over 100 books that are being raffled and auctioned off!  Not just that, but they're autographed!  I've looked over the list, and there are some amazing authors listed here!

Tickets run about $1.20 in US dollars, but you can pay in any currency and the amount will automatically be adjusted!  Winners will be drawn on New Year's Day.

The most exciting part, all money raised goes to Doctors Without Borders. If you don't know anything about them, please take a few minutes to visit Grandpa Google.

Ascent of the Unwanted by Nathan T. Boyce



-Knevits

A girl who longed to have a mate ends up with all the wrong scenarios happening to her.  A boy who wants to have a better life than the way he was brought up and to seek revenge for his mother.  Two people set out to get revenge on their enemies.  These two tell their stories but their destiny might hold a different fate than what they thought it would along the way.

Going into this book, I was skeptical.  I thought it was just a historical with the background taking place.  Then in Chapter 2, I was hooked.  There's so much action!  After finishing this book, I am waiting on the sequel.  This one left me on such a cliffhanger and I want to know what happens next!

I would consider this a paranormal suspense.  It also has adult situations.

The Amish Nanny (Women of Lancaster County #2) by Mindy Starns Clark & Leslie Gould



-Wendy

Amish-raised Ada Rupp knows it's time to make a commitment to the faith and join the church, especially if she wants a future with the handsome Amish widower Will Gundy.  But when she has the chance to travel to Switzerland as the caregiver of a young child, she leaps at the opportunity.

Anxious to learn more about her forebears, Ada enlists the help of a young Mennonite scholar named Daniel, but even as she develops feelings for him, she cannot get Will from her mind-or her heart.  At a crossroads, Ada must decide what she is willing to give up from the past in order to embrace her future.

My Thoughts:

In this installment of The Women of Lancaster County, ,Ada Rupp is finally getting her wings.  She found out in the first book that her life was not what she had thought.  Her mamm was not her biological mamm and she had a sister she knew nothing of.  Now, with her disease under control, she's restless.  Her parents have always been overprotective, so when a wedding invitation arrives from her sister, she is sure her parents won't let her go.  However, they surprise her and let her.

She is overjoyed to finally be able to travel and knows that upon return she will have a teaching position.  She really wants to be a mother and wife to Will Gundy but knows that he has set his sights upon another.  Nursing a bruised heart, she decides to make the most of her life.  However, when she returns from the wedding, another adventure awaits.

The property in Switzerland that her biological mom lives on is slated to have the nearby waterfall turned into a hydro plant.  The waterfall and caves are historical to the Amish and Mennonites.  She and others must travel to Switzerland to protests the development and clear the title so that it can remain intact.

Along the way, Ada learns some independence.  She endures some heartache and reaches out to God to help guide her on her path.  There is so much to learn about the Anabaptists move from Switzerland to the United States and it's depicted beautifully.  I learned so much and I was really hoping that Ada would find peace and her happily ever after.  I had a hard time putting this book down.  I adore the characters and I can't wait to read the next installment.  Great book filled with romance, intrigue, family relationships, God and history.

I'm sorry things have been slow around here lately!

I have a stack of reviews sitting on my desk that have been here for two weeks.  I've been late getting in the weekly book order.  I haven't been keeping in touch with my wonderful friends in the book community.  I haven't cracked a book in days.  I haven't checked my e-mail in probably two weeks.  I'm dreading it.

Most of you know that I have a special needs child.  He's my primary focus, and Literary Litter comes second.  Lately, we've had some issues where he's needed all of my time and attention, and Litter has suffered greatly for it.

I urge you, everyone out there, if your child needs medical care, please get it for them.  Later down the road, it can cause serious life complications.

Because of this being an on-going issue, things are going to continue to be a little slow around here for awhile.  Not to mention the holidays and that the kids are out of school for a couple of weeks.  Please bear with me through the rest of the year, because we have some really exciting things coming next year!  Well, I'm excited by them!


Friday, December 16, 2016

What did we order this week???

First, I'd like to sincerely apologize.  Due to issues involving real life, I'm really late (again!)  getting this posted.  Some day, I'd love this to be my full time job, but for now, it has to be a back seat hobby.  It's all about priorities, right?!  I still have a stack of reviews to get posted, but it'll get there.  It's the holidays and nobody is sitting around reading reviews right now anyway!  If you are, I'm super sorry...I will get to it!  I'm determined!  First, I need to finish wrapping gifts and making chocolates.  Then I have some wonderful family time this weekend.  After that, then I'll work on getting caught up!  I have something really fun planned for the first of the year, if I can catch up with myself!  But I digress!!


First, we have a reviewer request.  This is part of a series that we've been reviewing.


Next, another reviewer request!  I'm enjoying having a true crime reviewer!


This one is a pre-order, but I can't wait!  If you know Ed, you know he's an awesome guy.  I'm interested to check out his writing, and what better book to start with than this???  Just look at that cover!  It's available for order on Kindle now, but you all know I'm a hard copy junkie.


This one was on my 'to buy and review' list.  I think a little silliness is definitely in order!


And lastly, we have our less than five reviews book.  I was a little selfish here and went for something I probably won't read...or review...but it goes to my George Macy set and it's time I started filling in those missing slots!  I have several shelves of them, but I know I have a few missing volumes.  This was one of them and now it'll be mine!  All mine!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

What did we order this week??

Things have been a little crazy here this week!  I've got a stack of reviews I'm hoping to get put in by this weekend.  That's not the point though!  It's ordering day!!  I'm veering off track a little this week because of the chaos.  Normally, I pick and choose quite carefully what we're going to buy each week.  This week, in the snippets that I've been online, I've been adding things to my cart.  As a reward to myself for still being sane on Wednesday  night, I'm buying whatever I have in my cart, as well as my reviewer requests!


This first one is a reviewer request.  I've really been enjoying reading these reviews!  I'm hoping she reads the entire series!


This second one, I know nothing about, but I do know my reviewer and that means it's probably a riveting true crime!


Next up, I am a huge Jerome K. Jerome fan.  I fell in love with his works when I was an itty bitty kid spending my afternoons in the book room at the local antique store.  It was brought to my attention that I don't have this particular copy, and that must be remedied!!  If you need to know how to deal with ugly babies or women with the vapors, Jerome is the man to turn to!


We're picking up two Vincent Scarsella books!  Why?  Because!  Yes!  That's my logic!  First up, we have Return to the Psi Academy.  I can't wait to get my grubby little paws on this one!  I was just waiting for hard copy to show up and now it's going to be mine!  If you have a science-minded kid, they're going to eat this up!  I'm not a science-minded kid...but I'm going to gobble it up too!


Then, we're getting Anonymous Man.  Eventually, I will own every book that Vincent Scarsella writes.  If I'm lucky, they'll all be autographed.  I'm picking this one up because it's a great deal and I want to read it and put it on my shelf.


We're also getting J.L. Murray's Monstrous!  This one was just released this week and I've been waiting forever to get a hold of it!  Doesn't it look like great fun?!  Murray is a darling with a twisted mind and I can't wait to sample her writing!


Lastly, we have All Darling Children.  I've been waiting since October to get my hands on a hard copy.  Everything Katrina writes has this unique charm to it.  You can't help but be fascinated by her work.  This is sort of a horrific re-telling of Peter Pan, to my understanding, and I'm really anxious to see her darker side.  It is my fervent hope that one day, when the fabulous Gregory Maguire stops writing, Katrina Monroe/Saete will be my 'go to' author for magic and wonder.

Hopefully, we'll be back to our normal ordering schedule next week.  In the meantime, keep sending us those suggestions!


Friday, December 2, 2016

The Dead of Winter by Jean Rabe



Though Rabe has over 35 published books, I hadn't heard of her as an author.  I actually purchased this book because I found that I liked her as a person.

Piper has just taken over as the new sheriff in Fulda, Indiana.  She's only twenty-three and her subordinates aren't happy with the fact that she's taking over.  She's not too happy about taking the job when her first murder shows up immediately after she takes office.  The bodies begin to pile up and she finds that her sleepy little town has a serial killer on its hands.  Will she be able to pull her team together in time to catch the murderer, or will the bodies just keep piling up?

I was pleasantly surprised by the mystery content here.  Rabe did an incredible job of throwing in likely suspects along the way.  As a reader, we're just as gung ho to solve the murder as the sheriff's department is, and just as clueless.  Once they figure it out, you're like 'oooh...yeah...yeah...i um...totally thought that too...'  I was half-expecting to find that it was some character we'd never heard of.  Depending upon the type of reader you are, it may be someone you've never heard of.  It's obscure and at the same time, it's staring at you with bright Christmas lights.

The characters are pretty phenomenally put together.  They're realistic and you find yourself empathizing with them.  Most of them.  Each is intriguing and carries heft as an individual.

The murderer...what can I say?  I'm terrified to send Christmas cards now.  Don't worry, that's not a spoiler!  It does take quite awhile to figure out who had motive, means and opportunity.  The way that Rabe was able to get into the killer's mind was fantastically fun.  I never saw it coming.

If you're looking for a fun murder mystery this holiday season, I can't suggest this one enough.  You'll find yourself devouring page after page.  It's not just about solving the murders, but also an urge to see what happens next and who's going to do it.  I'll admit, I fell in love with this little town and I'm anxious for Jean to hurry up and finish the second book so I can jump into it.

Transgressions by Phillip Berrie



After months of trial and error, an elderly male wizard who's body has been destroyed, takes up residence inside the body of a young female half-elf.

A malevolent spirit is after the wizard, and he also feels adamant about finding what destroyed the spirit of the half-elf.  He and his assistant do all they can to solve the mystery and save the city from the malevolent spirits.

The middle of this book was great.  Once the wizard becomes a little more comfortable in his new skin and we start to know the characters a little better, we become a bit more invested.  Once we figure out the sort of world we're in, we find that it's a pretty magical and fascinating place.  The story telling is smooth and you can easily just get lost in what you're reading.

The beginning and ending felt pretty mis-jointed, however.  Dropping into a new world is usually pretty difficult.  Dropping into this world was unusually difficult.  We find ourselves facing the same confusion and displacement that our wizard is feeling, and at the same time we're trying to figure out the characters and the world.  Not only that, but it feels like we're set down in the middle of a war zone in the beginning.  I'm all for some action in the beginning to get you interested, but this was a little more than necessary and added some confusion that made it more difficult to get into the story.

As for the ending, I was pretty confused.  I understand this is the first book in a series and that more will be explained as the series continues.  You MUST read the epilogue in order to have any idea what's going on.

At the end of the story, we have a few short stories that give you  more insight into the characters.  Though I didn't read them first, it might have been helpful if I had.  Also, there's a glossary of terms in the back of the book that I wish I'd have read first as well.  I found both of these things once I'd finished the story, but I really feel like both of them would have helped with world creation and character setting and my confusion wouldn't have lasted as long.  This is also one of those rare cases where reading the blurb on the back of the book is helpful.

If you do a bit of prep work, this is actually a pretty good story.  I think now that I'm past the confusing setting stage, I would like to know more.  My favorite character has gone missing and I know that I definitely want more information there.

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All books (unless otherwise specified) belong to me already, have been borrowed, or are sent to me by the author, publisher or review company for review. I do not receive any monetary rewards for reviewing books. The opinions expressed in my reviews belong solely to me.