Mar 17, 2015

Book Review: DONKEY'S KITE by Liana-Melissa Allen

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A Donkey's Kite: Horse Valley Adventure #2 by  

My comments: NIcely illustrated by the author, A Donkey's Kite shows the value of helping others and pooling effort and talent to produce a good outcome. When Donkey cannot get his homemade kite off the ground, along comes a large white goose named Gusty. Gusty uses its skills to help Donkey and show his friends, the horses, how to work together.
A story with lessons to teach. a colorful picture book for children and adults who can read it to younger children.

 Visit the Tour Schedule for Donkey's Kitefor more reviews and for giveaways.

The author's first book in the series has other lessons to teach: : 
A tale (based on the “Three Little Pigs”) about three little horse brothers who suddenly lose their house that is destroyed by a fire.
First paragraph: Once upon a time, there were three little horses names Lax, Max, and Jack, that lived in the magical land of Horse Valley. They lived in a house near the big dark woods. The woods were avoided by everyone, because it was the home of a big bully donkey who bullied you until you were as scared as a chicken. 
Author's Bio:
Liana-Melissa Allen has written, illustrated and published six books. The lovable cartoon characters, Max, Lax, Jack and Donkey makes them a favorite of first and second grade students. She is now working on her third book of "A Horse Valley Adventure".

Liana-Melissa is also a dedicated classical/jazz pianist. Frequently, Liana will improvise a theme for one of the stories she is writing. Capturing this improvised music ultimately resulted in theme music for "A Horse Valley Adventure". The "Horse Valley" theme will be used for a short animated video featuring her Horse Valley characters.

Please visit her website at  and visit her on Facebook too.
Thanks to iRead Book Tours and the author for a review copy of the book. 

Mar 15, 2015

Sunday Salon: The Girl on the Train, and As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust

Welcome to the Sunday Salon where bloggers share their reading each week. Visit The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also visit It's Monday: What Are You Reading hosted by Book Journey, and Mailbox Monday.

The snow is just about all melted outside, but spring flowers will take some time to pop up. Sparrows and doves are showing up in the backyard again, and we have put out, optimistically, food for the hummingbirds.

A cookbook and two ARCs came in last week for review/feature:
The Cozy Cookbook
Recipes and book excerpts by five cozy mystery writers.
Too Bad to DieAn historical thriller in which British Naval Intelligence officer Ian Fleming attempts to foil a Nazi plot to assassinate FDR, Churchill, and Stalin. 
Cokie Roberts marks the sesquicentennial of the Civil War by offering a riveting look at Washington, D.C. and the experiences, influence, and contributions of its women during this momentous period of American history

Book bought:

I couldn't wait for The Girl on the Train to be available at the library (long waiting list) so I bought the book. I finished it this morning after reading yesterday and well into the night. I think it's a terrific women's fiction story complicated or complimented by murder and psychological intrigue. Two married women are haunted - one by the inability to have a child and by the resultant break up of her marriage, and the other by a secret she keeps close to her chest. Their lives intersect through a third married woman and all the men in their lives. I don't want to give the plot away, but let me say it was an almost perfect book. I rated it 4.75/5, having just a very few minor reservations. I am not sure Anna was in character at the very end. 

From the library:  

I finished the seventh Flavia de Luce Mystery, As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley. I love this series and see that Bradley has set the stage for Flavia's future career as a spy master in this book. 

I am now reading a couple books for book tours, one of which is I Regret Everything, a love story by Seth Greenland

What's on your reading plate this week?

Mar 13, 2015

Book Beginning: A MAP OF BETRAYAL by Ha Jin

The Friday 56: *Grab a book, any book. *Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader  *Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you. *Post it. *Add your (url) post in Linky at Freda's Voice. Also visit Book Beginnings at Rose City Reader.
A Map of Betrayal: A Novel by Ha Jin, published November 4, 2014 by Pantheon.
Genre: historical fiction, spy novel

Book beginning:
My mother used to say, "Lilian, as long as I'm alive, you must have nothing to do with that woman." She was referring to Suzie, my father's mistress. 
"Okay, I won't," I would reply. 
Nellie, my embittered mother, had never forgiven my father for keeping another woman, though he'd died many years before. I kept my promise. I did not approach Suzie Chao until my mother, after a tenacious fight against pancreatic cancer, succumbed last winter. Death at eighty - I can say she lived a long life. 
Page 56: 
On the very afternoon he checked into a mall hotel on Queen's Road in downtown Hong Kong, he called Bingwen, who was delighted to hear about his arrival and eager to see him. 
Book description: A tale of espionage and conflicted loyalties that spans half a century in the entwined histories of two families and two countries—China and the United States.

Found at the library, a spy novel I'm looking forward to reading.

Mar 10, 2015

Steeped in Evil: A Tea Shop Mystery by Laura Childs

First Chapter, First Paragraph is hosted weekly by Bibliophile by the Sea. Share the first paragraph of your current read. Also visit Teaser Tuesdays meme at A Daily Rhythm. .

Steeped in Evil (A Tea Shop Mystery #15) by Laura Childs
Published March 3, 2015; Berkley

First paragraph:
Theodosia Browning didn't consider herself a wine connoisseur, since tea was really her forte. Fragrant Darjeelings, malty Assams, and her current favorite, a house-blended orchid plum tea that tickled her fancy as well as her taste buds. 
On the other hand, how often did a girl get invited to a fancy wine-tasting party at the very upscale Knighthall Winery?
I can see why this tea shop mystery series is so popular it has reached its fifteenth novel. Theodosia's Indigo Tea Shop in Charleston, South Carolina is something out of a food and wine magazine, serving only the best of teas, mixed and blended by her master tea maker, Drayton. I found myself wanting to make some of the sandwiches, soups, and scones whose recipes are at the back of the books.

In Steeped in Evil, however, Theodosia attends a wine tasting party in which a murder is revealed in a gruesome scenario.  So the book has its share of the bizarre to make it a true mystery novel. Theodosia also has some scary and frightful adventures, one a car chase, another a dangerous rescue, so the high octane action adds to the plot. '

I enjoyed both the cozy tea shop scene as well as the mystery plot and the suspense. I'd give this a 5/5 rating.

Thanks to the publisher for a review copy of the book. 

Mar 7, 2015

Sunday Salon: Books for Spring and Beyond

Welcome to the Sunday Salon where bloggers share their reading each week. Visit The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also visit It's Monday: What Are You Reading hosted by Book Journey, and Mailbox Monday.

The mailman seems to have returned to our house. A few ARCs came in!

Thanks to Soho for 

Six and a Half Deadly Sins: A Dr. Siri Paiboun Mystery Set in Laos by Colin Cotteril, to be released May 5, 2015. Tenth in the series of stand-alone mystery novels.

Thanks to William Morrow/Harper Collins for

The Cherry Harvest by Lucy Sanna, to be published June 2, 2015.
A  coming-of-age story and love story, laced with suspense, which explores a hidden side of the home front during World War II, when German POWs were put to work in a Wisconsin farm community . . . with dark and unexpected consequences. 

Girl in the Moonlight by Charles Dubow, to be released May 12, 2015.   A scorching tale of love, passion, and obsession, about one man’s all-consuming desire for a beautiful, bewitching, and beguiling woman.

Woman With a Secret, a thriller by Sophie Hannah, to be published August 4, 2015. 

Thanks to Poisoned Pen Press for the book proofs:
False Tongues: A Callie Anson Mystery by Kate Charles, to be published April 2015.
The Reverend Callie Anson should have learned her lesson by now: revisiting the past is seldom a good idea. But she succumbs to peer pressure and attends a reunion at her theological college in Cambridge, where she is forced to confront painful memories – and the presence of her clueless ex, Adam....

Hair of the Dog: A Dan Mahoney Mystery by Susan Slater, to be published July 7, 2015. United Life and Casualty sends its investigator Dan Mahoney to Florida. Five greyhounds—all heavily insured—were lost in a fire at the Daytona dog track.... 

I am currently reading 
The Metaxy Project by Layton Green, a paranormal suspense novel.

I lost on the plane
A Root Awakening by Kate Collins, half read

and finished reading two ebooks,
All That Ails You: The Adventures of a Canine Caregiver by Mark J. Asher
Bird Brained by Jessica Speart, a mystery 

What books will you share this week?

Mar 1, 2015

Sunday Salon: Watching the Winter Birds as I Read

Welcome to the Sunday Salon where bloggers share their reading each week. Visit The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also visit It's Monday: What Are You Reading hosted by Book Journey, and Mailbox Monday.

Snowing again today, hopefully the last major snow of the year. Wishfult thinking, I know. The cardinals and finches are still coming to the feeder in front, with an occasional black-eyed junco, white-breasted nuthatch, and tufted titmouse. I have to clear out the snow in the open feeder, which is a mesh container, so the snow goes through if you sift it a little. 

I also got my morning fresh air and exercise by shoveling snow from the front path and the sidewalk. Now for some more coffee!

Three new books arrived that I have not announced as yet. Here they are:

Pleasantville book description: 
In this sophisticated thriller, lawyer Jay Porter, hero of Locke’s bestseller Black Water Rising, returns to fight one last case, only to become embroiled once again in a dangerous game of shadowy politics and a witness to how far those in power are willing to go to win.
Fifteen years after the events of Black Water Rising, Jay Porter is struggling to cope with catastrophic changes in his personal life and the disintegration of his environmental law practice. His victory against Cole Oil is still the crown jewel of his career, even if he hasn’t yet seen a dime thanks to appeals. But time has taken its toll. Tired and restless, he's ready to quit.
When a girl goes missing on Election Night, 1996, in the neighborhood of Pleasantville—a hamlet for upwardly-mobile blacks on the north side of Houston—Jay, a single father, is deeply disturbed. He’s been representing Pleasantville in the wake of a chemical fire, and the case is dragging on, raising doubts about his ability.
The missing girl was a volunteer for one of the local mayoral candidates, and her disappearance complicates an already heated campaign. When the nephew of one of the candidates, a Pleasantville local, is arrested, Jay reluctantly finds himself serving as a defense attorney. With a man’s life and his own reputation on the line, Jay is about to try his first murder in a case that will also put an electoral process on trial, exposing the dark side of power and those determined to keep it. (goodreads)

If I Fall, If I Die book description:
A heartfelt debut, by an exciting new voice in fiction.

Will has never been to the outside, at least not since he can remember. And he has certainly never gotten to know anyone other than his mother, a fiercely loving yet wildly eccentric agoraphobe who drowns in panic at the thought of opening the front door. Their little world comprises only the rooms in their home, each named for various exotic locales and filled with Will's art projects. Soon the confines of his world close in on Will. Despite his mother's protestations, Will ventures outside clad in a protective helmet and braces himself for danger. 

He eventually meets and befriends Jonah, a quiet boy who introduces Will to skateboarding. Will welcomes his new world with enthusiasm, his fears fading and his body hardening with each new bump, scrape, and fall. But life quickly gets complicated. When a local boy goes missing, Will and Jonah want to uncover what happened. They embark on an extraordinary adventure that pulls Will far from the confines of his closed-off world and into the throes of early adulthood and the dangers that everyday life offers.
 If I Fall, if I Die is full of dazzling prose, unforgettable characters, and a poignant and heartfelt depiction of coming of age. (goodreads)

World Gone By book description:
Set in Cuba and Ybor City, Florida, during World War II, in which Joe Coughlin must confront the cost of his criminal past and present.
Dennis Lehane vividly recreates the rise of the mob during a world at war, from a masterfully choreographed Ash Wednesday gun battle in the streets of Ybor City to a chilling, heartbreaking climax in a Cuban sugar cane field. 

World Gone By is a superb work of historical fiction from one of “the most interesting and accomplished American novelists” (Washington Post) writing today. (goodreads)

I have started at least two books which I decided not to finish, one a romance/women's fiction, and the other an historical, political thriller. However, a cozy on my Kindle caught my eye,
Death By a Honey Bee by Abigail Keem, the first in her mystery series.
so am enjoying that one while also reading a travel novel,
Phenomenal by Leigh Ann Henion. I'm enjoying both of these.

What are you reading this week?

Book Beginning: The Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyoun Kim

  The Last Story of Mina Lee  by Nancy Jooyoun Kim, September 1, 2020, Park Row Source: library  Genre: Asian-American fiction, immigration ...