Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Dragon Teeth

by Michael Crichton

William Jason Tertullious Johnson is the son of a wealthy Philadelphia shipbuilder in the fall of 1875.  Spoiled, privileged, Yale student with no direction, William takes the bet of a fellow student to go west during the summer instead of going on a comfy, pampered trip to Europe. Full of doubt and uncertainty, he embarks on an adventure that will ‘make a man of him’ and ‘give him purpose’ but most importantly, teach him about friendship and loyalty and give him a very exciting adventure.

Discovered by Michael Crichton’s wife, Sherri, she felt this was a story that Michael had always hoped for further development and eventual publication.  It does lack the extensive scientific detail that Crichton’s previous works are well-known but it doesn’t lack the action and excitement.  It certainly delivers in the category of adventure and questionable characters. This would be a great novel to put in the hands of teens who are interested in the action/adventure genre.  It is filled with bigger than life heroes and bad guys that is sure to hook and reel them in.  Some historical details are well researched and depicted. While some characters were real to the historical times, they are placed in the story where they never visited.  This doesn’t detract from the overall feel or atmosphere of the story.  It makes it fun and certainly adds to the excitement.  It is fiction, after all.  This is a highly entertaining novel.

I am thankful to the publishers for providing an Advanced Reader’s Copy for my honest review.

ISBN: 9780062473356   PUB: HarperCollins                 PUB DATE: May 23, 2017

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

A Reference to Murder  A Book Barn Mystery
by Kym Roberts 

It’s rodeo time in Hazel Rock, Texas and Charli Rae is looking forward to helping raise money for the local cowboy home. Helping keep her friend out of jail for the murder of her bull riding boyfriend isn’t what Charli had in mind. When Dalton turns up alive and well, more questions arise as to who is really in that freshly dug grave and who is in the older one next to it.

This book is full of quirky, fun characters as any set-in Texas should be.  As anyone knows, you can be as snarky and catty at you want about a person, as long as you end your statement with, ‘bless their heart.’ Though filled with all the color and personality that is Texas this book does deal with a murder and the story has its dark moments. Very entertaining. This is the second in the Book Barn Mysteries and is a good addition.  You can pick up A Fatal Fiction if you like to start at the beginning of a series.

I wish to thank the publisher for providing an Advanced Reader’s Copy for my honest review.

Genre: Cozy Mystery     ISBN: 9781601837332        Publisher: Kensington Books       Pub Date:  May 16, 2017

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Curious Affair of the Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief
by Lisa Tuttle

Miss Lane wonders if she has, perhaps, made a big error in accepting the position of assistant to Mr. Jasper Jesperson, Private Investigator.  While investigating the night wanderings of a kind, gentle man, they find themselves involved in the mysterious disappearances of several of London's psychics.  Are the two cases connected?  Feeling frustrated that the case is going nowhere, Miss Lane quickly finds herself immersed within a dangerous web of cunning deceit and chicanery. 

Tuttle has created a likeable and entertaining duo in Miss Lane and Mr. Jesperson.  Her plotting is precise and she weaves her slimy villain nicely within her other characters.  The chemistry between Miss Lane and Jesperson will be a big hit with the fans of William Ritter’s Jackaby series though the series does not have the fantasy theme thus far.  The storyline has a mild supernatural thread and it enhances the story without overpowering. Over all it is a good story and highly enjoyable.  I hope we hear more from the adventures of Miss Lane and Mr. Jesperson, and his mom.  This title is an excellent option for teens who want to read up.

Genre: Mystery

ebook ISBN:  9780399182198   
Release Date: May 16, 2017    
Publisher:  Random House/Hydra

I want to thank the publisher for generously providing an Advanced Read's Copy for my honest review.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Seven Days in May
By Kim Izzo

Sydney wants to make a difference in her world and the world of women.  Her inheritance can be used to bring about this positive change.  First though, she must accompany her sister, Brooke and Edward, her sister’s fiancĂ©e, on the Lusitania so she can witness her sister’s marriage in England.  Brooke wants to live the life of a titled woman and Edward Thorpe-Tracey, Lord Thorpe-Tracey, is about to lose the family estate.  That is how Brooke will use her inheritance.  England is at war with Germany and warnings of a possible attack have been pushed to the side.  Isabel, a young woman who works in the British Admiralty is very concerned that the warnings are going unheeded.  As the passengers of the Lusitania look forward to the end of their journey, some on board are hoping the warnings are, indeed, unwarranted and hope to make it safely to England.

History is a very important part of who we are as a global entity, a local community, and as human beings.  Izzo has shared part of her family history, as well as a part of the world history in her novel Seven Days in May. Using the account of her great-grandfather’s experience as one of the few survivors of this ill-fated voyage, she gives us a peek at life on board the ship.  The atmosphere in the British Admiralty and the attitudes directed at those who worked tirelessly in the code breaking rooms is well written and the antagonistic views perceived by some men and even women is satisfactorily reflected.  Characters of Izzo’s story are realistically depicted. The novelization of her family history is finished with a realistic and personally satisfying conclusion.  This is a good story to read if you aren’t familiar with the Lusitania and just want a little background.  There is romance, glamour and action.  A very good book and is excellent reading for teens interested in history.

I wish to thank the publisher and NetGalley for generously providing an Advanced Reader’s copy for my honest review. 

ISBN:  9781443422499
Publisher:  Harper 360
Pub Date:  May 2, 2017

Genre:  Historical Fiction

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Personal Blather About My Background 

Being new to the whole blog thing I ask that everyone be patient with me.  I basically will post only books I’ve read. I will try to remember to note if I purchased the book or if the publisher has provided an Advanced Reader’s Copy (ARC) in print or electronically through NetGalley or Edelweiss.
I am not an ‘expert’ of literary writings, nor am I one who will presume to judge and critique an author and editor’s hard work.  Talking about books is something I love to do.  I admit that most of the books I have read in the last few years have been Young Adult titles and in my retirement I am able to read what I like and what I want.  Admittedly, most of the current titles have been read electronically.  I am not a big fan of e-readers and prefer the print.  I notice I get more out of the printed books than I do on an e-reader.
In the previous chapter of my life, I had one of the best jobs in the world.  I worked in a public library as the library assistant in the Youth Services department. I was responsible for story times for toddlers and I ran the Teen Library Advisory Board. We had some great programs and hosted many outstanding authors.  I would fill my car with teens on many occasions to go listen and meet many authors. We had a lot of good times going to different book festivals and panels. I was fortunate to be centrally located to be able to provide this for the kids in my group and any who were interested. I was also responsible for developing the Young Adult collection in our library.  That was one of my favorite duties.  I still subscribe to a couple of the professional journals I used for this task. It’s a sickness. I can’t help myself. I love books.
I attended several American Library Association conferences where I also met many authors.  The best perk of these conferences were to network with the publishers and get the inside info on new titles being published.  All of the publishers were always so generous with the librarians and I, for one, am very grateful for their generosity.
I volunteered for three years serving on a committee for the YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) division of ALA. Our committee was the Amazing Audios for Young Adults.  We listened to over 150 audios a year and would create a list of thirty titles that we considered the best for teens.  These lists and whole lot more are available for access on the YALSA website.

Thank you for visiting my site.  I will try to get more ‘talks’ up. I will include the ISBN information for those who wish to purchase the book I talk about.  My only wish is that you order your books from your local book store.  Buying local supports your community and there is nothing like walking into the store and smelling the new books.  

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Book Talkin’

Readers know what they like and most know how to get it.  However, there are times when you are talking with friends or strangers that a possible new discovery can surface. Whether it is a great stand alone or a possible, yet undiscovered series, I am always ready for a recommended title. I always appreciate finding a series with characters I can relate to and become interested. I really miss sitting outside the library’s story time room and talking with the moms.  I have discovered some great reads in the weekly exchange of book talks.  As it happens, often we read and have read many of the same titles and spend the thirty minutes having a great time talking about the story, protagonist, and author.  One of my favorite recommendations from a mom is the Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries by C. S. Harris.  The first title in the series is What Angels Fear. The setting is during Regency England and Sebastian is the unlikely heir of the St. Cyr family.  He is, of course, a bit of a rogue but he is extremely intelligent and quick witted.  As a rule, I don’t usually read books that delve into the politics of court or governments. However, I have found that Harris is amazingly talented in weaving the politics around a more detailed plot which, at its heart, is more important. Harris is one of those authors not afraid of throwing a wrench in the works and shuffling the cards.  I am never disappointed in the additions to this series and look forward to each installment.  This series certainly does not fit into the cozy genre of mysteries. 

Harris released a stand alone on December 1st.  Good Time Coming is a coming of age story, of loss and survival and the hardships the women and children suffered when left alone during the hardships of the Civil War.  It touches on the good and evil that is within us all and often shows itself when we are put dire situations.  I haven’t read this yet.  At my age I have difficulty reading about man’s inhumanity to man. We see so much of it on television and read about it in the newspaper that when it comes to me sitting down to read I often want something softer. (I know, murder mysteries? Right?)  From the reviews I have read, Harris does a great job telling this story. At some point, I will make myself pick it up.  If you’ve read it, let me know.  I would like to hear what you think of it.