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Showing posts from October, 2017

No More Tantrums by Maria van Lieshout

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Genre: Children's Picture Book
Publisher: Chronicle Kids
Release Date: November 7, 2017


Babies have tantrums. Big kids don't.

That's the message in this latest Big Kid Power book. In No More Tantrums, a growing girl shows everyone that crying, kicking your feet, and throwing a tantrum never gets you what you want.

The print in No More Tantrums is big and easy to read, which makes it an excellent choice for a child who is learning to read. Illustrations are also catchy, done completely in white, black, brown, and orange. If you're teaching a child colors, this book isn't overwhelming with a huge array of colors. It's just artistic and pleasing.

If you're looking for an easy-to-read book with a strong message, don't miss this one.


Millard Salter's Last Day by Jacob M. Appel

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Setting: New York City
Genre: General Fiction
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: November 7, 2017



Here's a tough book to review. I have to focus on the book itself and avoid spoilers.

Doctor Millard Salter's celebrating his birthday in a most unusual fashion. He plans to kill himself when he's still in his prime. He's had decades of loss and love, success and failure, and now he wants to end things before he faces the changes of being a frail, sick old man.

Before he commits that final act, however, he plans to reconnect with his family one more time. He wants to get the message to his 43-year-old son that he needs to find his place in the world. He wants to visit the grave of his second wife. He even surprises himself by going to see his wife for the first time in more than two decades.

Between a lynx on the loose in the building where he practices, co-workers looking for their own gains, and the surprises that seem to happen in NYC, Millard's final day is tr…

Wanted: Mom for Christmas (A Cates Brothers Book) by Lee Kilraine

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Setting: Climax, North Carolina Genre: Holiday Romance Publisher: Lyrical Shine Release Date: November 7, 2017

Since his wife's death, Hawk Savage has done a great job raising his son and daughter. His job on the police force hasn't interfered much. His biggest struggle is taking his 10-year-old daughter bra shopping, so things aren't too bad.
Professional volleyball star Nora Joy's not having the best of weeks. She catches her boyfriend in bed with her best friend and volleyball partner. She goes to her mom, who happens to also be her manager, looking for some sympathy, only to learn her mom has spent all of Nora's money, driven up tens of thousands of dollars in debt, and is going to leave her to manage her former best friend.
Nora decides it's time to head out and find something new. A job for a rent-a-mom catches her eye. She takes it and heads back to the town she left as a teen. It's in Climax, North Carolina, that teenaged Nora also had to leave beh…

Right Where We Belong by Brenda Novak

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Setting: Silver Springs, CA
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: MIRA
Release Date: October 31, 2017



Savanna Gray is going from loving wife and mom to single mom. Her husband's in prison for attacking three women, and she's shocked and trying to shelter her children from their dad's crimes. It's not easy in a town where everyone is blaming her for not knowing how evil he was.

Savanna packs all that she can carry, drains her money from their accounts, and heads to the rundown house her family owns. It's in need of a lot of TLC, but Savanna has no other option.

Abused and abandoned as a child, Gavin Turner spent years in a foster home that was not much better. It wasn't until he entered the New Horizons Boys Ranch that Gavin found what it really meant to be loved. When he gains a new neighbor, he senses that she's in need of her own helping hand.

It doesn't take long before sparks fly. Gavin has his own issues that keep him from wanting to commit to an…

Losing Leah Holloway by Lisa Regan

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Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Release Date: October 17, 2017



Claire Fletcher's been free of a pedophile's hands for years now, but the memories and nightmares still linger. She's out fishing with her sister and dog when they see a vehicle crash through a bridge guardrail and plummet into the river below.

Not about to sit back, Claire gets out to the vehicle and spies children and the driver. She manages to smash open the sunroof, but the driver, a woman, refuses to be rescued. Claire cannot figure out why.

This brings Claire back into the world of Detective Connor Parks. Claire broke things off, but they clearly have feelings for each other still. Claire doesn't want to be on the news and the focus of media attention again. Connor needs answers. Not only is the force busy trying to find a serial killer, but now they have to figure out why a supposedly sane loving mom would suddenly try to kill her children and herself.

Strengths and Weaknesses
Losing Le…

A Christmas Affair by Jodi Thomas

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Setting: Texas
Genre: A Holiday Romance Novella
Publisher: Harlequin
Release Date: October 1, 2017



After an accident left her blind, Maria's turned her skills as a chef into a thriving jam/jelly making business. She's decided she's had enough of waiting and makes her move. She wants Wes, the local shop owner, to treat her to a Christmas affair. No strings attached, just a sizzling holiday affair.

Wes is shocked and pleased when Maria confronts him. There's one problem. He's in love with her, and a holiday fling is not enough. He wants to make things between them last forever.

Young Travis is moving into town to be cared for by three elderly uncles he doesn't know. He's only sticking around long enough to get his license and then he plans to leave. Could life in this small community change his mind?

Strengths and Weaknesses
I'm not really familiar with the Ransom Canyon series. I've read three from the series, but none of the characters I really rem…

I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll

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Genre: Psychological Suspense
Publisher: Thomas and Mercer
Release Date: October 1, 2017



Ella Longfield's on a train when she spies some men boarding. It's their generic black backpacks that draw her attention. When she hears them chatting up some innocent young women who are heading into New York City to catch a show, she pays a little more attention. It's when the men say they've just been released from prison that they gain her full attention.

As a mom, Ella's instincts are to find out who the girls are and tell their parents. She's just not sure how to find their identities. When she overhears one of the girls having sex with one of the guys in the train's bathroom, she realizes they may not be the innocents she thought they were and ends up never saying a thing.

A day later, Ella sees one of the girl's pictures on the news. Anna Ballard vanished overnight. Ella tells police everything she saw, but there's no trace.

A year passes. Ella's ge…

The Christmas Cowboy Hero by Donna Grant

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Setting: Texas
Genre: Holiday Romance
Publisher: St. Martins Paperbacks
Release Date: October 31, 2017



Every day is a bit of a struggle for Abby Harper. Her mom walked on her and her two younger brothers when she was just 18. All she left were papers handing over guardianship to Abby. Fresh out of high school, Abby became an instant single mom in a matter of hours.

When she gets a call that one of her brothers has been arrested for stealing cattle from the powerful East family, Abby is devastated. She does her best to offer to repay the loss of their cattle, but she doesn't have the hundreds of thousands that are needed. What Clayton offers instead may be the one thing she needs to turn her family's lives around.

Clayton East is a former SEAL who's seen way too much death. He never wanted to return to the family ranch, but he can't ignore his mother's cries. His dad's had a mini-stroke and the ranch is in financial ruin. He returns home to get everything resol…

Hope at Christmas by Nancy Naigle

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Setting: Hopewell, North Carolina
Genre: Holiday Romance
Publisher: St. Martins Griffin
Release Date: October 10, 2017



For Sydney Ragsdale, this Christmas is shaping up to be a difficult one. Valentine's Day came and went with her favorite chocolates and a note from her husband that he'd met someone else and wanted a divorce. Sydney refuses to have him controlling her finances, so she packs up their 10-year-old daughter and moves to her grandparent's farmhouse in Hopewell, North Carolina. There, she gets a temporary position working in the bookstore she cherished as a child.

Kevin MacAlea, Mac for short, has been a single parent since his wife walked out on him and their son. She never looked back. Mac's determined to make sure the boy knows how much he's loved. As the town's mysterious Santa, Mac brings Christmas to life. When a young girl sits on his lap and tells him how she doesn't want her mom to be sad anymore, he makes it his goal to make sure Sydne…

Murder Over Mochas: A Java Jive Mystery by Caroline Fardig

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Setting: Nashville, TN
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: October 24, 2017



Now that she's a private investigator, Juliet Langley tries to leave murder investigations to the murder investigators in Nashville. This time it's tough. Juliet and her boss and best friend, Pete, are prime suspects. She doesn't believe the police are doing enough to investigate the crime. The lead detective is determined to pin the murder on her.

You may be wondering why Juliet and Pete are the prime suspects. This time, the victim is Juliet's swindling thief of an ex-fiance. He dropped dead of a what appears to be a poisoning in Java Jive.

Juliet and Pete dive into an investigation together in order to clear their names. The problem is that the more they investigate, the more it appears that the real killer isn't going to let them uncover the truth.

Strengths and Weaknesses
I've been a fan of cozy mysteries for years. Diane Mott Davidson kicked things off, and …

The Spinster Wife by Christina McKenna

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Setting: Northern Ireland
Genre: Suspense/Mystery
Publisher: Lake Union
Release Date: October 12, 2017



Rita-Mae's reached the last straw with her husband. She's had enough and wants out before he kills her. When she spies an ad for a rental cottage in a remote village in Northern Ireland, she feels it's the perfect time to escape.

Dorrie wakes up on a bed and breakfast with no idea how she got there or where she is. She struggles to find any clues that might help her remember more than snippets of her past.

There's also Bram, Rita-Mae's landlord. He lives under the shadow of his domineering mother. He'd love nothing more but to find his soulmate, but so far it's all been a wash. Rita-Mae may be secretive, but she's caught his eye.

Both women have no idea who to trust as they start new lives. Rita-Mae has other looming troubles as it appears a stalker is after her and determined to make her life a living hell. Is Bram someone she can trust or not? Will …

Halloween Carnival Vol. 1 Edited by Brian James Freeman

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Genre: Horror Anthology
Publisher: Hydra
Release Date: October 3, 2017



Loved, loved, loved this anthology of short and not always so sweet horror stories. Here's the breakdown of what's within the pages of Halloween Carnival Volume 1.

1. Robert McCammon's Strange Candy - Hidden in the bottom of their daughter's trick-or-treat bag is an odd skeletal hand-shaped candy. It's not wrapped, so there's no way anyone will eat it, or will someone take the chance that it's just a normal candy?

2. Kevin Lucia's The Race of Achilles - It all starts with a new priest hearing a confession. Nothing is really what it seems with this returning visitor.

3. John R. Little's Demon Air - One young woman's flight turns out to be nothing as she would imagine on Halloween eve.

4. Lisa Morton's La Hacienda de la Muertos - Trick McGrew has the chance to be a film star again. He needs the money, but he never imagines to be filming a horror movie in a place where an u…

With This Christmas Ring by Manda Collins

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Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Swerve
Release Date: October 3, 2017



When her close friend is dying shortly after giving birth, Merry Parks agrees to track down the woman's husband and present his daughter to him. Doing so will bring Merry back to the castle of a man she left five years ago.

Alex Ponsonby, Viscount Wrotham, never understood why Merry left him. He loved her and knows she loved him. When she shows up with an infant, he's stunned his cousin would abandon a new wife. He agrees to help Merry unite the newborn with his cousin. It means she has to return to his castle. When snow strands her in his castle for a week, he's determined to get to the bottom of her leaving him and maybe convince her to give their love a second chance.

Strengths and Weaknesses
This is a holiday romance, though it's subtle enough that I think it's simply a good read at any time of the year. I wasn't fond of a couple characters. One I felt got off a little too easily and…

Christmas in Kilts: A Highland Holiday Box Set by Various Authors

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Setting: Scotland
Genre: Historical Romance Novellas
Publisher: Macmillan
Release Date: October 31, 2017




Christmas in Kilts is a five-novella collection of historical holiday romances. Here's the breakdown.

A Highlander's Hope by Terri Brisbin

With this novella, you have a romance where a laird's dream girl is not a choice society will approve of. Iain MacKillop's wife died, and there's a push to get him to marry again. The problem is that the woman he most desires is Robena MacKendimen, the village harlot. She sleeps with many men for money, including Iain, and that makes her a totally wrong choice.

A Highland Christmas Wager by Lecia Cornwall

She made a huge mistake sleeping with Magnus MacVane when she was 18. In her defense, she had no idea he was looking for a conquest before he married. Meggie MacLeod is now forced to take shelter in his castle. Her grandmother needs to be safe and that's of the utmost importance. Soon, Magnus and two of his other male gues…

The Devils You Know by M.C. Atwood

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Setting: Wisconsin
Genre: Teen Horror
Publisher: Soho Teen
Release Date: October 3, 2017



To avoid final exams, seniors at Red River High are given the choice of going on a field trip to the Boulder House. Legend has it that the home's original owner cursed the property. Some enter and never return.

Five of the teens who opt to go on the trip go for reasons beyond skipping exams. Ashley, Dylan, Gretchen, Paul, and Violet, find themselves trapped in the house and facing horrifying battles they never imagined. They'll have to team up, which isn't easy when you don't even like each other and try to defeat the evil within, if that's even possible.

Strengths and Weaknesses The pacing of The Devils You Know never slowed. I did find the glimpses into the Maxwell Cartwright, Jr.'s house to be a litte jarring. I didn't need the break. I ended up racing over those to get back to the teens.

The horror aspect did a good job. I don't like clowns. I haven't liked…