Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Can't Wait Wednesday/Waiting on Wednesday #514: The Witches of El Paso by Luis Jaramillo


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that had been hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine where we spotlighted upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating. I'm now linking up with Can't Wait Wednesday hosted over at Wishful Endings

From the publisher:

A lawyer and her elderly great-aunt use their supernatural gifts to find a lost child in this richly imagined and empowering story of motherhood, magic, and legacy in the vein of The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina and La Hacienda.

If you call to the witches, they will come.

1943, El Paso, Texas: teenager Nena spends her days caring for the small children of her older sisters, while longing for a life of freedom and adventure. The premonitions and fainting spells she has endured since childhood are getting worse, and Nena worries she’ll end up like the scary old curandera down the street. Nena prays for help, and when the mysterious Sister Benedicta arrives late one night, Nena follows her across the borders of space and time. In colonial Mexico, Nena grows into her power, finding love and learning that magic always comes with a price.

In the present day, Nena’s grandniece, Marta, balances a struggling legal aid practice with motherhood and the care of the now ninety-three-year-old Nena. When Marta agrees to help search for a daughter Nena left in the past, the two forge a fierce connection. Marta’s own supernatural powers emerge, awakening her to new possibilities that threaten the life she has constructed.

The Witches of El Paso by Luis Jaramillo is expected out October 8th, 2024 from Atria/Primero Sueno Press.

Why am I waiting on this book: I like the comparison to The Inheritance of Orquidea Divina. I'm curious about both Nena and Marta and the magic they have. I want to know how this will fit in with their ideas of family. And I enjoy well told magical realism.

What book are you waiting on? Share it or a link in the comments so we can check it out and maybe add it to our TBR lists.Thanks for coming by and Happy Reading!

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Happy Book Birthday to a Fantasy and a Mystery


Through Raspberry Colored Glasses wishes a Happy Book Birthday to The Lost Story by Meg Shaffer and Shades of Mercy by Bruce Borgos!

From the publisher:

Inspired by C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia, this wild and wondrous novel is a fairy tale for grown-ups who still knock on the back of wardrobes—just in case—from the author of The Wishing Game.

As boys, best friends Jeremy Cox and Rafe Howell went missing in a vast West Virginia state forest, only to mysteriously reappear six months later with no explanation for where they’d gone or how they’d survived.

Fifteen years after their miraculous homecoming, Rafe is a reclusive artist who still bears scars inside and out but has no memory of what happened during those months. Meanwhile, Jeremy has become a famed missing persons’ investigator. With his uncanny abilities, he is the one person who can help vet tech Emilie Wendell find her sister, who vanished in the very same forest as Rafe and Jeremy.

Jeremy alone knows the fantastical truth about the disappearances, for while the rest of the world was searching for them, the two missing boys were in a magical realm filled with impossible beauty and terrible danger. He believes it is there that they will find Emilie’s sister. However, Jeremy has kept Rafe in the dark since their return for his own inscrutable reasons. But the time for burying secrets comes to an end as the quest for Emilie’s sister begins. The former lost boys must confront their shared past, no matter how traumatic the memories.

Alongside the headstrong Emilie, Rafe and Jeremy must return to the enchanted world they called home for six months—for only then can they get back everything and everyone they’ve lost.

The Lost Story by Meg Shaffer is being released today from Ballantine Books.

From the publisher: 

In the usually quiet high desert of Nevada, Sheriff Porter Beck faces one of his greatest challenges—a series of unlikely, disturbing and increasingly deadly events of unknown origins.

Porter Beck is the sheriff in the high desert of Nevada, doing the same lawman's job his father once did now that he's returned home after decades away. With his twelve person department, they cover a large area that is usually very quiet, but not of late. One childhood friend is the latest to succumb to a new wave of particularly strong illegal opioids, another childhood friend—now an enormously successful rancher—is targeted by a military drone, hacked and commandeered by an unknown source. The hacker is apparently local—local enough to call out Beck by name—and that means they are Beck's problem.

Beck's investigation leads him to Mercy Vaughn, the one known hacker in the area. The problem is that she's a teenager, locked up with no computer access at the secure juvenile detention center. But there's something Mercy that doesn't sit quite right with Beck. But when Mercy disappears, Beck understands that she's in danger and time is running out for all of them.

Shades of Mercy by Bruce Borgos is being released today by Minotaur Books.

Reviews to follow.

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Can't Wait Wednesday/Waiting on Wednesday #513: Murder on the Interstellar Express by Gregory D. Little


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that had been hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine where we spotlighted upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating. I'm now linking up with Can't Wait Wednesday hosted over at Wishful Endings

From the publisher:

Deadpool’s sarcastic potty mouth meets a closed room murder mystery in space.

In the face of an existential threat to her world—an impending alien invasion—Bell Beauregard does something unprecedented: her job. She's rewarded by being labeled a traitor, sentenced to indentured servitude, and shipped off-world on a half-built colony ship being used as an escape hatch for the rich and powerful.

Bell is woken from cryosleep as part of an emergency maintenance crew, but before she even has a chance to shirk her duties or flirt with the enticing Tas, things go full "oh, f#*$ me!" when a fellow prisoner is brutally murdered and Bell is the most obvious suspect. To have any chance with Tas—and, like, clear her name and stuff—Bell must begrudgingly solve the murder.

But false accusations, unrequited romance, and having to make an effort are the least of Bell's concerns. Because the killer isn't content to stop at one victim. And if Bell can't unravel the mystery, the only way to prove her innocence may be to turn up dead.

Murder on the Interstellar Express by Gregory D. Little is expected out August 13th, 2024 from Cursed Dragon Ship Publishing.

Why am I waiting on this book: I like the idea of a locked room mystery set on a spaceship. And I like that the story is told with humor. Bell sounds interesting. I want to know more about what happens to her as she attempts to solve the mystery without ending up dead.

What book are you waiting on? Share it or a link in the comments so we can check it out and maybe add it to our TBR lists.Thanks for coming by and Happy Reading!

Friday, July 5, 2024

Book Review: The Blind Devotion of Imogene by David Putnam


From the publisher: 

In 1973, Imogene Taylor is seventy-five years old, on parole for murder, and works at a store that sells dented canned goods. Twelve years earlier, she went to prison for killing her love-of-her-life-husband, Wayne. She called it an accident. The judge and jury called it murder. Imogene’s parole agent is constantly on her case, looking to send her back to prison.

During her time in prison, Imogene had to vent her angst at someone and sent the sitting Presidents (during the ten years in prison) threatening letters bringing her to the attention of the Secret Service. She does extensive research and writes a novel, Peekaboo POTUS, about the assassination of a US President. She sends the book "over the transom" to one publisher. The publisher, after being unable to contact Imogene, comes looking for her.

The Cigar, an organized crime gangster, walks into Dentco, where Imogene works, and extorts the store for protection money. Pay up or get firebombed. The entire strip center is under this threat.

At the same time, Imogene’s neighbor dies of natural causes and leaves a hoarder’s mess to his daughter, Suzanne. Imogene helps Suz clear out a pyramid of boxes filled with junk in the garage. At the bottom of the pile, they find a box with a dead woman who has been hidden for many years.

Imogene must dodge an overzealous parole agent while dealing with a dead woman in the neighbor’s garage. She’s on parole for murder, so she can’t report it to the police. No one would believe her. Imogene and Suz think the woman in the box is Suz’s long-estranged mother. Rather than reveal Suz’s father as the probable killer, Imogene convinces Suz to bury her mom under the avocado tree in the backyard. Until Thelma, Suz’s mother, appears after reading the obituary.

It's a race to uncover the real killer as Imogene dodges gangsters, family members, and a publisher on her quest to find the truth.

My thoughts:

Imogene has a lot on her plate. Manager at Dentco, in love with Bernie, friend to neighbor Suz are just a few of the roles she plays. Add on to that that a thug calling himself The Cigar is extorting her for protection money for the store which she does not own. And Eugene, a friendly Secret Service agent, is looking to take her to lunch on the government's dime to help keep the president safe. Oh, and Nancy Do-right, her parole officer is seeking any excuse to throw her back into prison.

I really enjoyed this book. Imogene and Suz were my favorite characters. Imogene is well characterized as a 75 yr old ex-con who likes to drink Schlitz after work and enjoys a good Marlboro cigarette. She proves again and again that she is smart and savvy in the ways of dealing with other people. Although she does make some mistakes. The supporting characters were interesting too. A quirky cast all around.

When Suz's father dies and leaves behind a hoarder's mess in the garage, Suz asks Imogene to help her clear it out. Finding a dead body in the mess was totally unexpected and triggers further problems. Who is the lady in the box? Suz's mother? Or a neighbor? Imogene and Suz must find out before they are next on the agenda to be murdered.

The book moves along at a good pace. Once I got into it, I found myself reading quickly. I really wanted to know what was going to happen to Imogene. I felt the ending was satisfying too although there is a flurry of activity there at the end.

Overall, I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars. It's well written. The characters are interesting. And it moves along at a good pace. The final twist is a good one too. I would recommend this book to people who enjoy a good mystery with quirky characters. This is the first in a planned trilogy. I am looking forward to book two.

I received an eARC of the book from the publisher through NetGalley. This did not affect my review.

The Blind Devotion of Imogene by David Putnam is expected out July 9, 2024 from Level Best Books.

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Can't Wait Wednesday/Waiting on Wednesday #512: Candle & Crow by Kevin Hearne


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that had been hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine where we spotlighted upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating. I'm now linking up with Can't Wait Wednesday hosted over at Wishful Endings

From the publisher: From the New York Times bestselling author of The Iron Druid Chronicles comes the final book in the “action-packed, enchantingly fun” (Booklist) Ink & Sigil series, as an ink-slinging wizard pursues the answer to a very personal mystery: Who cast a pair of curses on his head?

Al MacBharrais has a most unusual job: He’s a practitioner of ink-and-sigil magic, tasked with keeping order among the gods and monsters that dwell hidden in the human world. But there’s one supernatural mystery he’s never been able to solve: Years ago, someone cast twin curses on him that killed off his apprentices and drove away loved ones who heard him speak, leaving him bereft and isolated. 

But he’s not quite alone: As Al works to solve this mystery, his friends draw him into their own eccentric dramas. Buck Foi the hobgoblin has been pondering his own legacy—and has a plan for a daring shenanigan that will make him the most celebrated hobgoblin of all. Nadia, goth queen and battle seer, is creating her own cult around a god who loves whisky and cheese. 

And the Morrigan, a former Irish death goddess, has decided she wants not only to live as an ordinary woman but also to face the most perilous challenge of the mortal world: online dating. 

Meanwhile, Al crosses paths with old friends and new—including some beloved Druids and their very good dogs—in his globe-trotting quest to solve the mystery of his curses. But he’s pulled in so many different directions by his colleagues, a suspicious detective, and the whims of destructive gods that Al begins to wonder: Will he ever find time to write his own happy ending?

Candle & Crow by Kevin Hearne is expected out October 1, 2024 from Del Rey.

Why am I waiting on this book: I'm really curious about who cursed Al and why. And being as this is the final book in the trilogy, I'm hoping for a happy ending for him. I'd also like happy endings for the rest of his friends. These probably won't come without struggle, but that's part of what makes the book so good.

What book are you waiting on? Share it or a link in the comments so we can check it out and maybe add it to our TBR lists.Thanks for coming by and Happy Reading!

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Book Review: Oye by Melissa Mogollon


From the publisher:

"Yes, hi, Mari. It’s me. I’m over my tantrum now and calling you back . . . But first—you have to promise that you won’t tell Mom or Abue any of this. Okay? They’ll set the house on fire if they find out . . .”

Structured as a series of one-sided phone calls from our spunky, sarcastic narrator, Luciana, to her older sister, Mari, this wildly inventive debut “jump-starts your heart in the same way it piques your ear” (Xochitl Gonzalez). As the baby of her large Colombian American family, Luciana is usually relegated to the sidelines. But now she finds herself as the only voice of reason in the face of an unexpected crisis: A hurricane is heading straight for Miami, and her eccentric grandmother, Abue, is refusing to evacuate. Abue is so one-of-a-kind she’s basically in her own universe, and while she often drives Luciana nuts, they’re the only ones who truly understand each other. So when Abue, normally glamorous and full of life, receives a shocking medical diagnosis during the storm, Luciana’s world is upended.

When Abue moves into Luciana’s bedroom, their complicated bond intensifies. Luciana would rather be skating or sneaking out to meet girls, but Abue’s wild demands and unpredictable antics are a welcome distraction for Luciana from her misguided mother, absent sister, and uncertain future. Forced to step into the role of caretaker, translator, and keeper of the devastating family secrets that Abue begins to share, Luciana suddenly finds herself center stage, facing down adulthood—and rising to the occasion.

As Luciana chronicles the events of her disrupted senior year of high school over the phone to Mari, Oye unfolds like the most fascinating and entertaining conversation you’ve ever eavesdropped on: a rollicking, heartfelt, and utterly unique novel that celebrates the beauty revealed and resilience required when rewriting your own story.

Oye by Melissa Mogollon was released May 14th, 2024 from Hogarth.

My thoughts: The format takes a little getting used to, but it's worth the effort. Most of the book is Luciana talking to Mari over the phone with occasional snippets of conversation between her and Abue or her and her mother. These other conversations appear in italics. The phone call itself is in regular print. While it is an unusual format, it works for this story.

My favorite characters are Luciana and Abue. Abue is definitely on the eccentric side of things. Unfortunately she is dealt a difficult hand. While Luciana and her mother were out of town from evacuating from Hurricane Irma, Abue turns yellow. This requires a trip to the hospital. And this is where Luciana starts to shine. She was good before, but the situation has her rising to the occasion. Abue's backstory is very much like a tele novella. And I would definitely say that Abue lives rather than just exists.

I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars. The story moves along at a decent pace. The characters are likable and interesting. And the format is interesting. I wasn't sure I was going to like the format. It was a little confusing at first. But, once you get the hang of it, it's definitely worth the effort.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. This did not affect my review.

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Can't Wait Wednesday/Waiting on Wednesday #511: Grimm Curiosities by Sharon Lynn Fisher


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that had been hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine where we spotlighted upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating. I'm now linking up with Can't Wait Wednesday hosted over at Wishful Endings

From the publisher:

It’s 1851 in old York. Lizzy Grimm struggles to save her late father’s charmingly creepy yet floundering antique shop, Grimm Curiosities. Then, during a particularly snowy December in this most haunted city in England, things turn…curiouser.

Lizzy meets Antony Carlisle, whose sister suffers from the same perplexing affliction as Lizzy’s mother—both stricken silent and unresponsive after speaking with ghosts. Working closely together to fathom what power has transformed their loved ones and why, Lizzy and Antony discover an important clue: her father’s treasured set of rare books on ancient folktales, enchantments, and yuletide myths. Books that a persistent collector is awfully keen to purchase. Books Lizzy can’t bear to sell.

Every bewitching passage and illustration opens a doorway to something ancient and dangerously inviting. Keys to a mystery Lizzy and Antony are compelled to solve—even if doing so means unleashing one of this bright holiday’s darkest myths.

Grimm Curiosities by Sharon Lynn Fisher is expected out November 5th, 2024 from 47North.

Why am I waiting on this book: I'm really curious about the aspect of the story coming from the Grimm brothers' works. And wondering about this collector who wants to buy the books that they are drawing from. And of course, I would like to see her mother and his sister recover from their illness.

What book are you waiting on? Share it or a link in the comments so we can check it out and maybe add it to our TBR lists.Thanks for coming by and Happy Reading!