Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Book Review: 'Lucifer's Harvest' by Mel Starr

✰✰✰½ Prince Edward has requested that Lord Gilbert Talbot provide soldiers for a battle in France. And so it is that Hugh de Singleton, surgeon, reluctantly leaves his growing family in Bampton, not to fight, but to treat the woundedAlong the way Master Hugh has a run-in with his nemesis, Sir Simon Trillowe. Master Hugh vows not to let his guard down. Unfortunately, when Sir Simon ends up the victim of foul play, naturally everyone blames Master Hugh. With the help of his allies, Master Hugh has little time to investigate in order to try to clear his name before the battle begins.

The Bottom Line: The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, surgeon is a cozy mystery series that I always look forward to reading. The 9th installment is a page-turner. It's a very quick and enjoyable read. Plus, I always learn something new about medieval life. Those new to the series will find ample backstory included without having to read the books in order. Enthusiastically recommended to fans of medieval mysteries, Christian fiction, and cozies. A glossary of medieval terms and a map are included.

Details: Lucifer's Harvest (The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, surgeon) by Mel Starr. Paperback published by Lion Fiction in 2016. 160 p. ISBN: 978-1-78264-188-9 NOTE: I received a free copy from Kregel Publications in exchange for an honest review. This was made possible via the Early Reviewers Program at LibraryThing.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Book Review: 'Secrets In the Snow' by Michaela MacColl

✰✰✰½ Young Jane Austen is busy working on a draft of Elinor and Marianne when a family friend introduces her to a charming young man, Tom Lefroy. Jane is amused and annoyed at the prospect at the same time. Since the Austen family is poor, it is important for the daughters to be married off. However, clever Jane has a habit of turning every single suitor away.

Before she has a chance to get to know Mr. Lefroy, mystery arrives by way of her sophisticated cousin. It seems the War Office is keeping an eye of the vivacious, beautiful widow. With clandestine meetings and a gruesome murder, readers will get plenty of mystery and suspense in this well-researched novel.

The Bottom Line: This delightful imagining of a young Jane Austen is a fun, quick read sprinkled with romance and suspense. Recommended for teens and adults interested in historical fiction and Jane Austen.

Details: Secrets in the Snow: A Novel of Intrigue and Romance by Michaela MacColl. Hardcover published by Chronicle Books in 2016 288 p. ISBN: 978-1-4521-3358-4 NOTE: I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This was made possible via the Early Reviewers program at LibraryThing.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Book Review: 'If You'll Be My Valentine' by Cynthia Rylant

✰✰✰✰ sweet little boy takes the time to make Valentines for everyone in the family. He makes cards for his dog and his cat. There's a card for Grandma and each of his siblings. There's even a card for his teddy bear. Each card expresses the little boy's appreciation for that individual, and his story is told with gentleness and simplicity.

The Bottom Line: With rhyming verses and adorable, large scale illustrations, this picture book will be a hit with little ones in Preschool – Grade 2. Enthusiastically recommended for storytime.

Details: If You'll Be My Valentine written by Cynthia Rylant & illustrated by Fumi Kosaka. Hardcover picture book published by HarperCollins Publishers in 2005. 32 p. ISBN: 0-06-009269-6

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Book Review: 'Groundhog's Dilemma' by Kristen Remenar

✰✰✰✰½ What's a groundhog to do? Every time February 2 rolls around, half of Groundhog's friends are disappointed, and the other half are happy. Groundhog doesn't control the weather. He just calls it like he sees it, but his friends don't understand.

Throughout the year his friends bring him presents and bribes hoping to influence Groundhog's next prediction. As the days grow colder, Groundhog still doesn't know what to do. After a long, fitful sleep, Groundhog emerges on his big day. What will he do? Tell the truth or give in to the bribes? Check out this charming holiday book to find out for yourself.

The Bottom Line: Remenar's first picture book is a hit with themes of friendship and honesty. Faulkner's illustrations in watercolor, pencil, and gouache with soft tones are visually engaging for kids in Pre-K – Grade 1. Highly recommended for story time discussions.

Details: Groundhog's Dilemma written by Kristen Remenar & illustrated by Matt Faulkner. Hardcover picture book published by Charlesbridge in 2015. 32 p. ISBN: 978-1-58089-600-9