Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Dog Gone, Back Soon by Nick Trout

Dog Gone, Back Soon

by Nick Trout

When Dr. Cyrus Mills returned home after inheriting his estranged father's veterinary practice, The Bedside Manor for Sick Animals, the last thing he wanted was to stay in Eden Falls, Vermont, a moment longer than absolutely necessary. However, the previously reclusive veterinarian pathologist quickly found that he actually enjoyed treating animals and getting to know the eccentric residents of the tiny provincial town-especially an alluring waitress named Amy.

So Cyrus is now determined to make Bedside Manor thrive. Not an easy goal, given that Healthy Paws, the national veterinary chain across town, will stop at nothing to crush its mom-and-pop competitor. And the rival vet practice isn't Cyrus's only competition; a handsome stranger shows up out of nowhere who clearly has a mysterious past with Amy. To top it off, Cyrus finds himself both the guardian of a very unique orphaned dog and smack in the middle of serious small town drama.

*I received an ARC from the publisher through Netgalley*

This is the second book in a series about small-town vet Cyrus Mills, who recently returned to his hometown after twenty-five years of trying to distance himself from his family and his past.  Used to looking at life through the lens of a microscope, Cyrus is incredibly awkward in social situations as well as with the animals who are supposed to be his patients.  He truly cares about them, though, and that's what has me hooked on this series.  He goes above and beyond to make sure that not just the animals are happy, but their humans as well.

The author is a veterinary surgeon and his own expertise gives the book a very authentic feel.  The medical mysteries are very interesting and I love how Cyrus is able to look at the behavior and environment of the animals to get to the root of the problem.  Sometimes it is definitely not what you would think! 

This book has a lot of things to love!  Great characters, a lot of humor, and sweet, funny animals throughout. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Is A Worry Worrying You? by Ferida Wolff and Harriet May Savitz

Is A Worry Worrying You?

by Ferida Wolff and Harriet May Savitz

Suppose, just suppose, one hundred elephants come to tea and you discover you don't have any tea bags.
Uh, oh. What will you do with a herd of thirsty elephants?
Now that's a worry!
But you can get rid of that worry by offering the elephants lemonade instead.
Adults think of childhood as a carefree time, but the truth is that children worry, and worry a lot, especially in our highly pressurized era. This book addresses children's worries with humor and imagination, as hilarious scenarios teach kids the use of perspective and the art of creative problem-solving.
*I received an ARC from the publisher through Netgalley*
This book was darling!  It handles the topic of worry very well and without trivializing a child's worry.  Instead of focusing on the worry, it teaches alternatives or ways that you can make a situation better instead of worrying about it.  The examples were all very sweet and also dealt with being kind to others and putting yourself in their shoes.  For example, the child who was afraid of the first day of school because the new teacher is a bear.  Instead of worrying, the books says, imagine that the teacher may be nervous about her first day teaching and bring her a nice jar of honey.  I think a lot of children (and parents) can learn from this book!
The illustrations for this book are amazing and it would be worth buying the book just for the illustrations alone.  The cover pictured above is pretty but doesn't quite do it justice. 
My nephew is a bit of a worrier so I made sure to read this book to him when he found out that his mommy was pregnant again.  He was very quiet, but I think it helped.  I know we both enjoyed it a lot.  

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Cursed by Lizzie Ford


by Lizzie Ford

The Red Man is coming ...

Five years after her sister disappeared, seventeen-year-old Adrienne finds the strength to return to her father’s home in New Orleans. But soon after she arrives, the mark of a curse appears on her, leaving her worried. Will she be the next victim of a four-hundred-year old family curse ... the next to be claimed by a serial killer roaming the back alleys of the city?

The day before his senior year begins, Jayden is given a skeleton key passed down through his family for generations -- a gruesome reminder of how his ancestors betrayed their own people and sold them into slavery. He doesn’t believe in the curse the key allegedly bears and puts it away with the intention of forgetting about its message. Until he meets Adrienne, a girl he’s compelled to for more reasons than her beauty.

He’s not the only one who notices her. A man in a skeleton mask and a voodoo gang member are also drawn to Adrienne. One is determined to protect her. The other intends to mislead her. Haunted by the mythical Red Man, all are connected to the ancient curse.

Can they overcome their misgivings about one another and prevent the dark prophecy looming over them? Or will they be lured away from each other by evil’s siren song?
*I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through Netgalley*
This was a good book, a little slow in the beginning but it picked up at the halfway point when the characters started to interact more.  I especially loved the setting and the descriptions of New Orleans.  I love any book that takes place in New Orleans and the author did a great job of setting the mood.  It had a creepy, magical undertone to the book that made it great to read in the evenings when the hubby was asleep  :).
My favorite character was actually the grandmother that Jayden was so embarrassed by.  Of course, we all know by now that the creepy grandmothers are the ones with all of the answers.  
I liked the book, especially the dark atmosphere, and I especially liked the piecing together of a mystery.   I would definitely read something by this author in the future.

Artisan Preserving by Emma Macdonald

Artisan Preserving

by Emma Macdonald

Everyone can enjoy the fruits of their labours with Artisan Preserving - whether you have foraged, picked produce from your own vegetable garden or allotment, or searched out the best seasonal buys in the supermarket or market. Whether you want to preserve fruit and vegetables, meat or fish, mushrooms, flowers or nuts, this book has over 200 recipes for them all.

*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through Netalley*

The recipes in this book sound absolutely delicious!  I haven't yet tried any of them out- our garden is only beginning to produce vegetables and fruit.  I can say that I am quite looking forward to trying out a lot of the recipes given in this book.  There is something for everyone and every mood.  Sweets, savories, and in-between.  I am a jam-maker at heart and every year I pride myself on making a variety of jams that no one has ever tried before.  Now I'll have several more to add to my repertoire. 
The instructions are all very clearly given and most use ingredients that can be found at your local farmer's market or grocery store.  What I really love is that the author has tips throughout the book to help you figure out the more detailed instructions.  The photos in the book are so beautiful!  This is one I will definitely buy for myself some day. It would be a good book for people who are new to preserving, as well as the 'old hats'.  

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Noble Metals by L.A. Witt

Noble Metals

by L.A. Witt

 Ever since Robert Belton gambled away the money to stake his claim in the Klondike gold fields, he’s been stranded in Seattle working as a prostitute. When an attractive customer needs help hauling provisions to the frozen north, Robert eagerly volunteers.

Dr. John Fauth is only searching for one thing, and it isn’t gold. He needs platinum for the prototypes of his revolutionary inventions, and if he doesn’t find it in the Klondike, his university career—and his research—is over.

Getting to the Klondike is a grueling, dangerous journey, and just hours after leaving Seattle, John and Robert find themselves in over their heads. John is carrying an invaluable device that his competitors will do anything to get their hands on. And as the cold nights and mutual desire pull John and Robert closer together, they discover that they have much more to lose than gold or platinum.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley*

This one fell a little flat for me.  I was expecting more and I think I just got my hopes up.  I feel like I didn't get to know the characters well and I couldn't connect with them at all.  Their relationship didn't feel believable to me and I was beginning to wonder what they saw in each other that made them profess their love.  For me, they were just flat and one-dimensional. 
The worldbuilding was interesting and I liked the steampunk aspect.  The machines that the prospectors used to carry their gear over the passes were very unique and I just wished we could have learned more about them. 
I probably would given this book a higher rating if I had been able to like the characters more.  In a book that focuses mostly on the relationship between two characters, that is very important to me.

I am still a fan of L.A. Witt and look forward to reading her next book!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

The Truth About Alice

by Jennifer Mathieu



Everyone has a lot to say about Alice Franklin, and it’s stopped mattering whether it’s true. The rumors started at a party when Alice supposedly had sex with two guys in one night. When school starts everyone almost forgets about Alice until one of those guys, super-popular Brandon, dies in a car wreck that was allegedly all Alice’s fault. Now the only friend she has is a boy who may be the only other person who knows the truth, but is too afraid to admit it. Told from the perspectives of popular girl Elaine, football star Josh, former outcast Kelsie, and shy genius Kurt, we see how everyone has a motive to bring – and keep – Alice down.
*I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher through Netgalley.*
For a debut novel, this book was pretty impressive.  In fact, it was a lot better than some of the books I've read by established authors.  The entire book was written from the POVs of several different characters, each who had their own secret reason for treating Alice the way they did.  Most of those reasons were childish and hurtful and absolutely messed up, but it was all absolutely believable because of people. 
The writing style was perfect for the story line.  Each new chapter from a different POV gave more insight into each character and why they would go out of their way to hurt Alice.  The characters all had their own personality and voice and the writing never fell flat.  Most of the time I wanted to just reach into the book and strangle them all (except for Kurt) and then take Alice out for ice cream. 
This was a beautiful book about how jealousy and ego can turn (mostly) good people into hateful versions of themselves, and how the crowd mentality can cause a snowball effect that is impossible to stop. 
It reminded me of a scene in the movie Doubt, where the priest tells a story of a woman who empties a feather pillow off of a rooftop.  The feathers fly everywhere across the town and it is impossible to find every feather or put them back in the pillow.  And then the priest says, "that is gossip".  
Exactly like in the movie, once the gossip starts it can't be undone and poor Alice is left friendless and shamed in a small town where she always felt safe before.  It wasn't all depressing, though, and there was a definite sense of hope and the feeling that friendship can heal anything.
I'd definitely recommend this one!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Smonk by Tom Franklin


by Tom Franklin

I honestly do not know what to say about this book.  Except that it was so twisted.  I don't even know how to rate it.  Some parts were wonderfully written, and Tom Franklin sure knows how to write interesting characters.  This is my second book by Tom Franklin, after Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter.  I was not expecting this. 
It was gruesome, like something out of a Quentin Tarantino movie.  Including the random fountains of blood and body parts flying everywhere.
And the things these people do with glass eyeballs and gigantic facial moles...has no one heard of hygiene? Or decency?  Or just not being disgusting?

Even after all that, I kept reading because Smonk and Evangeline were the type of characters that you just have to keep reading about.  Even if you don't particularly like them.  But that's ok because there was no one in this book who was likeable.  Not even the children.
I liked the humor and obvious *nudge, nudge, wink, wink* that Tom Franklin wrote with.  Which reminded me again of Quentin Tarantino.  It was absurd and everyone, everyone had a fixation on penises.  

There were penises everywhere.  Not all of them were attached.
This isn't a book many people will like, unless they don't mind gruesome and twisted.  I thought it was hilarious.  Just, please, don't let your mother skim through it!  (Sorry mom)