Saturday, June 29, 2013

Review: Jim Henson's The StoryTeller ed. by Nate Cosby

Jim Henson's The StoryTeller edited by Nate Cosby is a collection of 9 short fairy tales and folk tales in a graphic novel form. It's rated E for everyone - meaning it contains material suitable for all ages and may contain minor violence.

The artwork and author for each story is different. This interrupts the flow a little, but I think ultimately it serves the book. The change in art helps to emphasize the jump to the next story, and the art fits whatever story is being told. Everyone who reads it will have their own favorite or favorites. For me, my favorites are "Old Fire Dragoman" by Jeff Parker illustrated by Tom Fowler which happens to be an Appalachian Jack tale, "Puss in Boots" by Marjorie Liu illustrated by Jennifer L. Meyer, and "The Frog Who Became an Emporer" by Paul Tobin illustrated by Evan Shaner.

If you enjoyed the series The Storyteller when it aired, you will like this book. Or if you just like fairy tales and folk tales, you will like this book. It's a good selection of stories, some shorter than others. Some with a moral, some are just enjoyable tales. I give this book 4 stars.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: The Faceless One by Mark Onspaugh

"Waiting On" Wednesday" is a weekly event  hosted at that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. The Faceless One by Mark Onspaugh is my choice for this week's Waiting on Wednesday. It's due to be published October 28, 2013 by Hydra.

From Amazon and Goodreads:

"From a brilliant new voice in horror comes a riveting nightmare of ancient evil unleashed—and the bravery and sacrifice of those called to combat it.

In 1948, when he was just a boy, Jimmy Kalmaku trained with his uncle to be the shaman of his Tlingit village in Alaska. There he learned the old legends, the old myths, the old secrets. Chief among them was that of a mask locked in a prison of ice, and of the faceless god imprisoned within: a cruel and vengeful god called T'Nathluk, dedicated to the infliction of pain and suffering.

Now all but forgotten in a Seattle retirement home, Jimmy finds his life turned upside down. For when an unwitting archaeologist pries the mask free of its icy tomb, he frees T’Nathluk as well. Stuck in spirit form, the Faceless One seeks a human to serve as a portal through which he can enter our reality. The Faceless One can control—and mercilessly torture—anyone who touches the mask, which means there is no shortage of slaves to ferry it across the country to its chosen host.

Yet the Faceless One has foes as well: Stan Roberts, a tough New York cop whose pursuit of justice will lead him into a dark abyss of the soul; Steven, Liz, and Bobby, the family of the doomed archaeologist; and Jimmy Kalmaku, who must at last become the shaman of his boyhood dreams."

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Review: Return to Fender by Virginia Brown

Return to Fender is book 4 in the Blue Suede Memphis Mystery series by Virginia Brown. This series stars Harley Jean Davidson as a sleuth that mostly accidentally solves cases. It's not that she doesn't have a good head on her shoulders, it's that there seem to be a number of people who would like to separate it from her shoulders. Or maybe bury her alive. Or drop her off the side of the Peabody hotel.

Jordan Cleveland likes to dress up as Diana Ross in his spare time. Unfortunately, someone is trying to kill him and not limiting it to his spare time. He begs Harley to help him. Harley figures she will be safe, after all she's not the one they're after. (Can you say famous last words?)

Her friends and family and cop boyfriend are all appalled that she could possibly involve herself in a situation like this after some of her past experiences. Despite their cautions, and in some cases begging, she continues to involve herself with Jordan. And the danger begins.

The story is good. It's a whodunit/ who's-doing-it.  And I couldn't guess who it was right up 'til the end. It's also a humorous mystery. Would make good vacation reading.

I loved the characters. I especially liked her parents. The author did a great job of giving enough backstory when introducing the characters that you didn't feel you needed to read all the other books in the series to understand the one in your hand,

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday Reads: Cobweb Bride by Vera Nazarian

I Just finished Return to Fender by Virginia Brown and will now be starting Cobweb Bride by Vera Nazarian. There’s not much I can say about it right now other than what the website and Goodreads or Amazon has to say about it. It looks like a good book. It’s been on my To Be Read list for a little while now, and I feel blessed to have an advance copy to check it out. 
Cobweb Bride is a history-flavored fantasy novel with romantic elements of the Persephone myth, about Death’s ultimatum to the world. 
In an alternate Renaissance world, somewhere in an imaginary “pocket” of Europe called the Kingdom of Lethe, Death comes, in the form of a grim Spaniard, to claim his Bride. Until she is found, in a single time-stopping moment all dying stops. There is no relief for the mortally wounded and the terminally ill….
And one small village girl, Percy—an unwanted, ungainly middle daughter—is faced with the responsibility of granting her dying grandmother the desperate release she needs.

As a result, Percy joins the crowds of other young women of the land in a desperate quest to Death’s own mysterious holding in the deepest forests of the North…

And everyone is trying to stop her.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My choice for this week is Between the Devil and the Deep  Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke.  The book is due to be released August 15, 2013.

From Amazon: 
You stop fearing the Devil when you’re holding his hand…

Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town…until River West comes along. River rents the guesthouse behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard. Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more? Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery…who makes you want to kiss back. Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it.

A gothic thriller romance with shades of Stephen King and F. Scott Fitzgerald, set against a creepy summertime backdrop—a must-read for fans of Beautiful CreaturesThe Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, and Anna Dressed in Blood.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Friday Reads: Return to Fender by Virginia Brown

This is what I am reading this Friday. Return to Fender is book 4 of the Blue Suede mystery series written by Virginia Brown. It came out in May 2013 published by Bell Bridge books.

Someone is trying to kill Jordan Cleveland. Tootsie, Jordan's friend and fellow drag queen, asks his friend Harley to look into it. Harley can't resist. It can't be that dangerous for her. After all someone is out to get Jordan not her.

"But, after Jordan is sideswiped by a car and ends up in the hospital, trouble starts to turn Harley's way. The next thing she knows, she's dangling off the side of the city's famous Peabody Hotel while an anonymous thug tells her to mind her own business... or else.

Things can only get worse." (from the back of the book)

For more information before my review appears check out the publisher's site, link above, or

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Review: Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall

Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall captures perfectly the voice of a 9 year old as a narrator. Starla Claudelle runs away from her home at her grandmother's house in the summer of 1963 Mississippi. Mamie has been mean to her just one too many times. Grounding her from the Fourth of July festivities is just almost too much for Starla to bear. Being caught breaking the grounding and threatened with reform school is.

On the spur of the moment, Starla decides to run away to Nashville to be with her Mama who left her and her Daddy to become a famous singer when she was just 3 years old. She starts walking the road and meets up with Eula, a black woman, driving with James, a white baby in the car. Adventure follows.

Not all of it is what you would want for a 9 year old, but it is authentic for the time and place. Sometimes it is heartbreaking. Other times it makes for a warm, loving scene. Some of it is educational for Starla. She grows in ways she never could have anticipated.

It is a pageturner. The momentum is pretty high from the time Starla hits the road. Even before that, you grow to love her and wish some happiness into her life.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. It's not something I would normally pick up to read, but I'm glad I did. I loved Starla and Eula and some of the other characters. I loved the pacing and the use of the narrator too.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Friday Reads:Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall

This Friday I am reading Whistling Past the Graveyard  by Susan Crandall. I'm finding it hard to put this book down.

It's the summer of 1963 in Mississippi. Starla is 9 years old and living with her paternal grandmother Mamie. What her father calls her "red rage" where she speaks out without thinking or acts out without thinking often gets her in big trouble. Afraid if she stays she will go to prison for "assault with batteries," Starla finds herself running away to Nashville on  the spur of the moment hoping to find her Momma. Momma left her and her Daddy when she was 3 years old to go to Nashville to become a famous singer.

And so she meets up with Eula, a black woman, and James, a white baby, on the road. And the adventure begins. I'm only 18% along so far. I just started it, but I expect I will get a long way into the book today. Can't wait to see what happens next.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #4 - The Shadow Show edited by Sam Weller and Mort Castle

Shadow Show: All new stories in celebration of Ray Bradbury edited by Sam Weller and Mort Castle has been out for a while now, but  I haven't been able to get to it yet. It's full of short stories by authors who have been influenced by Bradbury. In turn, these stories that are published here for the first time are influenced by Bradbury, from dystopian settings to carnival settings to small town America settings and more. The authors of the stories vary from Neil Gaiman, Joe Hill, and Margaret Atwood to Jacquelyn Mitchard and Alice Hoffman and more.

If you enjoy Ray Bradbury's writing, I don't see how you could pass up this edition in tribute to the master. I won't. It's only a matter of time. It's on my To Be Read list.