Whisper of the Tide – Sarah Tolcser

Whisper of the TideThe sequel to Song of the Current opens with Caro, now captain of her own ship, and Markos, rightful ruler of Akhaia, in a committed relationship.  They continue to strategize how Markos can gain control of his country.  The only option appears to be a marriage alliance in exchange for an army.  Caro sacrifices her happiness by ending things with Markos freeing him to marry for political gain.  To make matters worse, Markos sends Caro to fetch his future bride.  The plot starts twisting from there and Caro is thrust into desperate adventures with her survival dependent upon an old adversary.  The sequel is every bit as fabulous as the first, perhaps better.  Caro is such an engaging heroine and her adventures are a thrill.  I look forward to reading everything this author publishes.  Highly recommend.

galley/ARC review                                          Publication date 6.5.18

Posted in adventure, fantasy, highly recommend, Uncategorized | Tagged

Bob – Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead

BobLivy and her mom return to Australia to visit her grandmother. The last time she was there was five years ago, when she was just five.  She had met an odd creature near her grandmother’s well, took him back to the house and played with him during the visit.  Then tells him to wait for her. She goes back to the States and forgets all about Bob. Five years later, she returns to find Bob still in the closet waiting. Slowly her memory of him returns and they set out to learn what he is and where he is from and how to get him home.

What an odd but charming story!  Bob is so easy-going and a natural at being a child’s best friend.  Described as short and greenish, I envisioned something like ET.  Co-written by two master storytellers, the pacing is perfect.  Slow enough to get to know the characters while keeping attention high.  I had to keep reading to learn who/what Bob is. The illustrations are soft and perfect for the story’s tone. This short lyrical story is a delight.  Highly recommend!

eGalley review                                                         Publication date 5.1.18

Posted in fiction, gentle reader, Uncategorized | Tagged

The Smoke Thieves – Sally Green

smoke thievesThe despicable King of Brigant is stirring up trouble with the neighboring kingdoms and employs his son, Boris, do the bulk of his dirty work.  They torture and kill anyone who might interfere.  The King arranges the political marriage of his only daughter, Catherine, to the Prince of Pitoria, supposedly securing peace in the process. But diversions, betrayals, assassinations, and invasions abound and all because of demon smoke.  The fierce demons live in the northernmost section of Pitoria along the border of Brigant.  When a demon is killed, a smoke – perhaps their soul – escapes and is bottled. The smoke is inhaled to induce a euphoria of sorts.  It is illegal to hunt demons and trade in demon smoke but the story opens with young, swift Tash teaming with huge Gravell to lure demons to their death.

This ensemble novel of the five central characters is brilliantly written and immediately captivates the reader.  Each chapter is told from one of the five central character’s point of view:

Catherine – the most refined, resourceful, brave and intelligent of princesses.  Ambrose – Catherine’s most loyal guard, risking everything to keep her safe.  March – the Abask servant to the Prince of Calidor, who may or may not have been led astray in dealings with  Edyon.  Edyon – the newly discovered illegitimate  son of the Prince of Calidor.  Tash – the wise-cracking, boot-loving, young demon hunter who has fun with her dangerous occupation.

Tash is fun to read, especially her interactions with her big burly partner, Gravell.  All of the characters are either good or bad, none fit in the gray range – at least not yet.  Not nearly as the dark as the spectacular Half Bad Trilogy.  The first book in this series is a fast-paced, political fantasy, filled with entertaining characters and action galore and I am eager for the next in the series.  Highly recommend!

eGalley review                                      Publication date 5.1.18

Posted in adventure, fantasy, highly recommend | Tagged

The Fourth Sacrifice – Peter May

Fourth SacrificeDr. Margaret Campbell has had enough. She could have left China and gone home weeks ago. Instead, she decided to stay and co-operate with the Chinese authorities. Now she’s tired and bored and ready to leave China and to leave the man she loves. Her plane leaves tomorrow. But once again circumstances interfere and she is asked to stay and help with the investigation of a gruesome murder. This time it is a death by beheading and the victim is an American citizen. And if things weren’t complicated enough, both she and Chinese detective, Li Yan, are forced to work together, struggling with their conflicting emotions. This second book in the Chinese Thrillers was laced with Chinese history and archaeology. I enjoyed the look into both the ancient, with the terracotta warriors, and recent with the horrors of the Cultural Revolution. The descriptions of locations were wonderful, placing me in the midst of the action. This is the Peter May I have come to expect. It is not necessary to have read the first book. Although the events of The Firemaker carryover into this one, there is enough background information.

eGalley review                                                         Paperback Publication date 5.1.18

Posted in adult, mystery, Uncategorized | Tagged , , ,

The Human Instinct: How We Evolved to Have Reason, Consciousness, and Free Will – Kenneth R.

Human InstinctHumans are special, aren’t they? They speak many languages, and write beautiful poetry. They paint pictures and music that stir our emotions. Nope, the evolutionists say. We’re just products of mindless adaptation. Thank goodness Brown University biologist Kenneth Miller has an opposing view, and he makes his case very well, rejecting the idea that our actions and even our thoughts are determined by evolution. He begins with a summary of the recent finding of the fossil record and chromosomal patterns that are similar between humans and primates, to underscore his basic belief in human evolution. He then addresses the evolution of consciousness and of free will. The book is easy to read and provides much to think about.

eGalley review                                        Publication date 4.17.18

Posted in adult, Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

Accidental Brothers – Dr. Nancy L. Segal and Yesika S. Montoya

Accidental BrothersWilliam and Wilber, fraternal twins, grew up near the tiny village of La Paz, Colombia, without electricity, running water and the other conveniences most of us take for granted. But that was the life of all those around them. They didn’t feel deprived, except that William longed for an education, something that none of his relatives seemed to need. Jorge and Carlos, another set of fraternal twins, were raised in Bogota, lived the life of city kids. They went to school, to college. They were your ordinary urban professionals. And then the lives of these four young men were changed forever when they learned that their twin brothers were not their twins, were not even their brothers. Somehow, at the hospital, one twin in each pair was switched with a twin in the other pair. Psychologist, Dr. Nancy Segal, and social worker Yesika Montoya, used this unique opportunity to carefully research the old question of nature or nurture, looking at the impact life events have in shaping personalities. I found the story of the brothers lives before and after they learned the truth, and the findings of the authors about the role of genetics in personality, very interesting. But the book could have used some editing. Events seemed to jump around and much information was repeated.

eGalley review                                               Publication date 4.17.18

Posted in adult, nonfiction, Uncategorized | Tagged ,

Sky in the Deep – Adrienne Young

Sky in the DeepEvery five years, the lowland dwelling Aska and the mountain dwelling Riki must meet in battle because their respective gods had a feud.  They fight and die because their gods had a spat generations ago.  During the last fighting season, Eelyn watches, horrified, as her brother is stabbed then falls to his death with his assailant into a deep gorge.  He is presumed dead and she, her father, and her clan mourn his passing.  During this fighting season, she is stunned when she sees her brother fighting alongside their mortal enemy.  Surely she is seeing a ghost – or is she? She is wounded, taken prisoner, enslaved and bought by her brother’s adopted brother.  The very man who wounded him five years ago.  When an even more vicious clan, the Herja, attack the Riki, the Aska and Riki must ban together to defeat this common enemy.

This story is predictable, but that is okay!  Inspired by Viking lore and infused with gory battles, this is a really good read that is hard to put down.  It is chock full of violence, complex and likeable characters and gorgeous descriptions of the land.  Eelyn is both fearsome – popping the eyeball out of a prisoner – and  kind.  She’s deeply loyal.  I eagerly await the next installment.  Highly recommend!

eGalley review                                      Publication date 4.24.18

Posted in fantasy, highly recommend, Uncategorized | Tagged